Saturday, 31 March 2007

Progress report

So, the count of completed elements to date is as follows:

1 x 4Kn(gen)
Plus a half finished 4Kn and a partially completed 3Cv.

Pics to follow soon (hopefully) ....

Wednesday, 28 March 2007


The completed element of Roman Auxilia. I am using my old camera, so the picture quality aint great!

Latest additions

Two elements of Psiloi and the riders for the Command Element are now complete. Unfortunateley my camera is out of action at the moment, but pics will follow as soon as I can get it up and running (or borrow another one!).

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Auxilia continued

Another painting session under my belt, and an element of Allied Roman Auxilia complete.

The techniques are much the same as for the earlier figs. A black undercoat, and a silver dry brush. The colours blocked in, starting with the flesh and then the tunic. After that came the belts and the frilly skirt thing (the name escapes me - but I know it starts with a p!). The shield painted in white ready for the yellow main colour. Finally detail picked out with thinned black. I didn't wash the flesh with brown, because I wanted the skin tone to be lighter than the native Palmyrans.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Auxilia Shields

The army includes an element of 4Ax - Allied Roman troops. I have primed them black and drybrushed in silver, because they are wearing scale armour. I thought I would then have a go at the shield before painting the rest of the figure, just to see if the design I had in mind works. I think it does, but will need a bit of tidying.

So far so good!

...and here are the figures completed so far. I think I will do the Auxilia next.

First 4Bw

The first element of 4Bw - I am quite happy with the colour scheme.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Final pics of the latest bowman to be painted. The shots show the final stages, where belts,scabbard, bow and flesh are added. Thinned down black paint was then used to add depth to the folds in the clothing, and to add definition to the edges of belts and things. Finally a thin dark brown wash was added to the flesh to enhance the shading, and also to darken the skin to a more realistic tone.
...and so on to the other bow figure included in the army pack. I think this figure is much better suited to a Palmyran army - looking much more "local". I guess the argument is that the other guys are Roman allied troops. 1. As before, a black undercoat with a white drybrush over the top.
2. Basic colours are blocked in. I chose a maroon colour for the tunic for a number of reasons, but mainly a) I like it! and b) I am led to believe that the Palrymans favoured it too! The red hat is to add a bit of colour, and also because I want the red to become an accent colour running through the whole army. White trousers to stop the figure looking too dull.
3. The plan here is to paint a green stripe around the hem and cuffs of the tunic. If the green was painted directly over the maroon, it would come out a very muddy colour, so I have put a white band on first as a base for the green.
4. The green has been added, and when dry I used the original maroon to go over the edges and tidy up the stripe.
The first completed element of bow - very Romanesque looking 3Bw element. I have to say that despite my earlier misgivings about the level of detail on these Donnington figs, the more I paint, the better I like them.

Having done the first 8 horses I thought I would turn my attention to some bow. This fella will be part of an element of 3Bw. He looks very roman to me. There are also some more indiginous looking bowmen included in the army pack - I will tackle an element of them next

1. As for the Cataphracts, I undercoated in matt black.

2. The next stage was to dry brush the figure in white. It may seem a bit of a longwinded way to go about things, but I find that by doing it this way, the detail is picked out nicely ready for painting.

3. The next job was to block in the main colours, in this case an off white for the tunic to represent undyed linen and red trousers for contrast. I am quite careful to try and leave the black undercoat showing between areas of colour, to save lining it in later. Then I picked out the more detailed parts, such as belts, etc. The flesh came next, again taking care to leave the black showing through in the recesses like the eye sockets, between the fingers, the mouth and under the nose.

4. Once everything had been given its colour, I then took a thinned down wash of dark brown to the face and hands. This has the effect of slightly darkening the skin tone, and also softening the shading in the recesses. Once that was dry I used the same colour slightly less thinned down than for the skin and touched in the folds on the clothing, and also lined in between the hands and the tunic sleeves. Last job was for a thin line of watered down black to add shadow to the helmet, where the crest attaches, and at the join between the helmet and the cheek pieces.

So, here are the first 2 elements of Cataphract horses finished and stuck on their bases. I use 2 mm thick pre-cut plasticard bases, that I get from a supplier on Ebay. I will do the riders later.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Getting Started - pics

Here are the pics to go with the text below ... I forgot to attach them before I posted!

Getting Started

1. So, having cleaned up 8 of the Cataphract horses, it was time to get started. I tend to paint in batches of about 6 to 8 at a time. First was to stick the horses to a strip of wood. Then they were undercoated in black (I use Citadel Chaos Black spray - produced by Games Workshop).

2. Once the undercoat was dry, I then drybrushed all the horses with silver, using a largish brush. I have a brush I reserve purely for drybrushing, because it is a technique which will destroy a brush in a very short space of time, rendering it no good for anything else!

3. The next stage was to paint in the exposed horse flesh - not forgetting the ears! In the past I have happily painted an entire army of cataphracts, only realising at the end that I forgot the ears! Thus my own Parthian army consists of horses with silver ears!! At this stage I also painted in the reins and the lower edge of the caprison in white. I did the same for the chin strap behind the horse's face armour. The reason for this is that I planned to paint these red, and the pigment in red acrylic paints is not especially strong, so doesn't show up well against a dark background.

4. I then painted a bright red band along the lower edge of the caprison. Following that the reins and chin strap were painted maroon. I have no idea if this is an authentic colour, but it shows up a lot better than a standard mid-brown leather colour (which I suspect is more historically accurate). I also painted the saddle cloth white. This was for the same reason as for the reins etc - the cloth will be red, I wanted a white base so that it would show up well.

5. The saddle cloth was then painted using the same red as for the base of the horse armour, leaving two stripes where the white base was showing through, for decoration.

6. The final stage was to paint the horse's tail black, and with a little thinned down black paint to trace a line around places like the edge of the saddle cloth, the face armour, and other areas to add definition and detail.

...and there you have it, one complete Palmyran Cataphract horse. The rest will be done all together one stage at a time. If I am going to be painting a quantity of the same figure, I always paint one completely from start to finish first. This lets me get used to the figure and "suss out" the nooks an crannies etc. I find this makes the painting of the rest quicker and easier because I know what to expect.


This morning I received a box from Switzerland containing a Donnington Miniatures 15mm Palmyran DBA army. I am painting these as a commission, and will regularly post updates charting my progress and other musings.

These will be the first Donnington figs I have painted, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on them. The figs themselves are reasonable - not the best I have ever seen but by no means the worst! There is a pic of some of the Cataphracts to illustrate what I mean. The detail is not especially sharp, and there was a fair bit of flash and moulding lines to clean up before I got started.