Sunday, 29 March 2009

Quick Painting Perry Plastics

Regular readers will know that I am quite comfortable painting around 20 25mm infantry at a time but find more than that, like the 40 figure Minden unit, a slog. So when I decided to paint up a Perry box of Napoleonics (42 figures) I decided it was time to change my style of painting and look at some quick cuts.

Firstly, a word about the arrival of Plastics in this scale. Wargaming was becoming a rich man's hobby and then suddenly along came not one, not two, but four manufacturers of 25mm plastics making the hobby affordable again. And it was Napoleonics that brought me into the hobby 35 years ago – I can remember my first game with my friend Andrew J down in East Croydon back in the ‘70s. We used 25mm Minifigs and my army (the first I ever painted) was Bavarian – I’m sure I lost too as there is something of a ‘Spanish General’ to my skill as a wargamer. So it’s fitting that I return to 25mm Napoleonics and the plastics allow that.

So, with these plastics I decided to cut painting corners. I got rid of eyes, and two tone faces. I kept to two-tones in larges colour areas – trousers, shako covers, coats, greatcoats and backpacks but used one-tone everywhere else. Then I used a ‘new’ product called Quickshade (Strong tone – the middle in the range of three) by Army Painter. This gave a gloss covering but more importantly it dirtied the figures and gave them, I think, a worn and campaign look. Given my last posting about a ‘campaign look’ you can see that I’m inclined to move more towards a less pristine look. Then, because the Quickshade was gloss, I gave a final matt varnish coat. I’m pleased with the results and each figure took about half the time it would normally take me to paint a 25mm figure.

On the subject of Quickshade, it says on the side of the tin that you can either dip or paint on the product. I tried the dip method and hated the results – too much on the figure and too much product wasted. These have the shade painted on and I think it’s most effective, not surprisingly, over white. At £11 a pot it’s not cheap but when this one is finished I plan to make my own using some oil paint mixed with varnish. More on that in the future.

Actually, this is not a new product. I had a friend back in the ‘70’s/’80’s called Martin C who always mixed a drop of black enamel paint into his enamel varnish to create this same effect.

One reason why there is no flag on the battalion is because I have not decided what period to represent. It will either be 1815 (unlikely as I’m not a fan of the 100 days) or 1812 (will someone please do Plastic Russians!!) or Peninsular. I know the Bardin uniform was not in use during the latter campaign but I’m no longer a complete purist and this is planned to be a ‘generic’ French army. You can be sure that I’ll flag the unit as soon as possible.

So next week its back to the SYW and the start of a Hanoverian brigade of cavalry.


  1. They look great. I have tried the Army Painter dip myself on a hoard of 60 or so Sudanese Mahdists and was very pleased with the result too. It is surprising what can be achieved in such a short time. Looking forward to seeing more pictures!


  2. Very nice figures, Nigel.
    Do the russian campaign as you can use miniatures in Bardin uniform. Someone will produce platic russians one day. Sure.