Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ewen Macpherson of Cluny

This is the completed command base for my Badenoch Royalists - led by Ewen Macpherson of Cluny attended by his piper and a flag bearer. The painted tartans are meant to represent the ancient tartan of clan Macpherson, however it is impossible at this size to paint an exact likeness of the complex tartan, and so I attempted to simply capture the spirit of the clan's white tartan as best as possible.

In the English Civil War the Macphersons played a gallant part on the side of the King. From the register of the provincial synod of Moray it appears that Ewen Macpherson of Cluny had joined with Alastair Macdonald, the Marquess of Huntly, and the Great Marquess of Montrose in their daring military enterprise; that he had been present at the battles of Tibbermuir and Aberdeen, in which he had been in command of all the loyal forces of Badenoch.

My family on my mother's side are the Archibalds of Scotland, a sept of the great Clan Macpherson - so this history has some very personal meaning to me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ECW Flag: Scottish Royalist Thistle

With my Carthaginian project well under way and on schedule to have enough units completed for a game next month, I've decided to turn some of my attentions back to my beloved English Civil War project. I have started painting the command stand for the Badenoch Royalists and their commander Ewen Macpherson of Cluny - and what is a commander without an ensign nearby waving a large and gorgeous flag proclaiming their loyalties? And so I fired up the Photoshop machine.

I designed this flag based on the traditional Scottish symbol of the thistle with the Latin slogan "PRO REGE, ET PATRIA (For king and country).

This flag was created using Adobe Photoshop at a suitable resolution for printing (300 ppi) and when printed the final flag measures approximately 40mm x 40mm.

Please, if you like this flag, feel free to download the large version and use it in your own ECW Scottish Royalist regiments.

Scottish Royalist ECW flag. Click for printable version.

Thistle in white. Click for printable version.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Carthaginian Cavalry WIP No.3

This last week has seen me a bit distracted and so not a lot of painting got done. I did manage however to complete the remaining five horses for the Carthaginian cavalry unit, which is nice to have done and I am very happy with the results. I was also able to paint one of the  mounted soldiers of the unit to test the shield design I had in my head.

The shield is hand painted with the design taken from the symbology of the goddess Tanit, which was the god held to be most important to Carthage, and is a crescent moon above the sun. The Greeks identified her as approximating Diana, the Moon goddess, and Persephone or Kore, for the grain and harvest. To Carthaginians she was the goddess of good fortune, the harvest, and the Moon. Tanit is equivalent to the Phoenician goddess Astarte, the mother goddess. Tanit also required sacrifice of human victims, but perhaps not as many as Baal Hammon. Her full title Pene Baal meant "(Tanit) Face of Baal," and she had precedence over Baal Hammon.

The full unit will be dedicated to the goddess Tanit and will carry these shields.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The New Raphael Brushes

I got sick and tired of the Citadel brushes awhile ago - so I decided to treat myself to something nicer. After some shopping around locally, reading some reviews and talking to some artists, I bought some very nice (and a little pricey) Raphael series 8404 Kolinsky sable brushes. I have been using these new brushes for about a month and I have been blown away by their quality. These things are super smooth, have a beautiful point and stand up to my abuse very well. I am currently using Nos. 1, 0 and 3/0 with the No. 0 getting by far the most use. The brushes are rather slender, but after I got used to that I vowed never to look back.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Carthaginian Cavalry: WIP No. 2

I haven't had a lot of time to paint over the last few days, but I did manage to complete five of the steeds for my Carthaginian heavy cavalry unit. The primary color for the unit will be yellow and white, thus the yellow rosettes and fringe. This week should see the completion of the rest of the horses and a start on the soldiers themselves.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Science of Painting Horses

I am married to a beautiful Kentucky girl and she just won't allow me to go around painting horses any old way just because I have some notion in my head that "they look good". I have discovered over the years that there is a very strict and ordered science (yes, genetics) that dictates coat colors, tails and manes, the color and size of leg socks, blazes, and other markings. What gets complex is how all of these characteristics  relate to each other and all of the various combinations that are common, rare, or downright impossible to have in a horse.

If you are serious about painting the horses for your cavalry units as accurately as you paint the uniforms of the soldiers, then take a look at the amazing horse color and patterns chart below and print it out to keep near your painting table for reference. Of course paints and genes are not the same thing, so it will never be an exact match - but you can get close if you try.

Guide to horse colors and patterns.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Carthaginian Cavalry: WIP No.1

I managed to get all ten of the horses coats finished up, which is some good progress tonight. I really like to have a good variety in my horses for a unit, with never two being the same if it can be avoided.

This is a list of the colors that I used for the horses:

Back Row (left to right)
  • Blue Grey Pale (Vallejo)
  • Burnt Umber (Vallejo)
  • Steel Legion Drab (Citadel)
  • Dheneb Stone (Citadel)
  • London Grey (Vallejo)
Front Row (left to Right)
  • Tan-Earth (Vallejo)
  • Doombull Brown (Citadel)
  • Neutral Grey (Vallejo)
  • Tallarn Sand (Citadel)
  • Rhinox Hide (Citadel)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Carthage Veterans of the Azure Shield

I was able to complete the second full unit of Carthaginian heavy infantry veterans over the weekend. These were a lot of fun to paint and base, but I am now looking forward to working on the heavy cavalry. The army is really coming together and looking sharp for their first battle action next month against some staunch but unproven Romans.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Basing Techniques

I have had several people ask me how I created the bases for the Carthaginian unit that I posted recently. Here is a step-by-step guide of what I do to create my bases:

  1. Apply the ground texture. I am currently using the new Citadel Texture paint Armageddon Dust. I converted to this texture paint only recently and I am very happy with the results. It allows me to create a very uneven and realistic looking earth. Scoop the texture paint out of the pot using something other than your paintbrush - I use the long wooden stir-sticks from Starbucks. Once you have a glob out and ready, use an old and stiff brush to "push" the texture around the base. Be sure to cover the base unevenly and in a realistic manner. Have some fun with this step - it is almost like finger painting!
  2. After the texture has had plenty of time to dry, wash the entire base using a brown shade (I use Games Workshop's Agrax Earthshade). Again, the earth is not uniform, so you can vary the water-to-wash ratio on the same base, leaving some areas darker than others. This is a good thing.
  3. Wash the base again using Games Workshop's Seraphim Sepia or something similar. This is an orange/gold wash and it should not be used cover the entire base. Use it as a highlight and in patches and swaths to add visual interest and additional color differentiation to the base.
  4. Dry brush the entire base using a medium brown color. I used Vallejo Tan-Earth.
  5. Dry  brush the base a second time, this time be a little more light-handed and use a very light color to catch the highlights of your texture. I use Games Workshop Ushabti Bone for this final highlight.
  6. Apply rocks and tufts of grass. This is the final touch that really brings the base to life. I use tiny rocks that I pick up while out hiking and apply them to the base using superglue. The tufts of grass are made by Army Painter. A couple of important tips on this step:
    1. Use rocks of varying sizes and group them together in places to add visual interest.
    2. Do not use a single color of grass. Again, the earth does not work this way (unless you are on a golf course). Use several colors of grass and group them together in bunches.
    3. Placing a rock immediately next to a tuft of grass is always great.
That is it. I know some people dread the process of basing their painted models, but I find it a very enjoyable and creative process.

Step 1: Apply the texture unevenly.

Step 2: Wash the base using a brown shade.

Step 3: Wash portions of the base using a sepia shade.

Steps 4 & 5: Drybrush twice. 

Step 6: Apply different sizes and colors of rocks and grass.