Friday, 20 March 2015

28mm Ancients - Libyan Spearmen - From Box to Table

Project 2015 underway

Welcome back to the Box to Table series of painting tutorials, this article looks at the first completed unit for my 2015 project (which for new readers is 12 x 28mm Ancient units in the year). My usual opponent in terms of arms races, who paints one side of a project whilst I do the other is on a bit of a break from gaming at the moment so I'm looking to build up a Carthaginian Army to meet my Republican Romans.

I'm going to put together a unit of 24 Libyan Spearmen, the figures are from 1st Corps and I picked them up a few years ago at the York Show from Curtneys Miniatures. Figures are generally good very little flash / clean up required and in comparison to other ranges are a reasonable price. Down side, minimal range of poses, 4 in total, recessed shields which makes shield transfers "interesting" and a spear which for me is a bit on the short "javelinesk" side. Genuine question how long is a javelin ? and when does it become a spear ?

The figures come in three parts which I painted in batches of eight. All paints are Vallejo unless stated.

Stage 1 Spears and Shield Backs
My usual start point of a black undercoat (Halfords Matt Black Primer), wood painted 70875 Beige Brown, then highlighted with a 50:50 mix of Beige Brown and 70912 Tan Yellow. The Spearhead has been painted with 70863 Gunmetal Grey and finally highlighted Citadel Colour Mithril Silver. No ink wash at this stage, I will do that when the figure is put together.

Stage 2 Shield Fronts

Next stage is to finish the shields, working top to bottom of the above photograph. Shield Transfers are from the magnificent Little Big Men Studios who do a mind blowing large selection of shield transfers for most periods, scales and manufactures. I initially paint the shield centre 70883 Silver Grey then 70951 White to get better coverage, followed by Daler-Rowney Cryla 704 Bronze on the shield edge. The decal is prepared by cutting it to size and then turning it over and scoring 3 lines in a Union Jack cross on the back, be careful here not to cut the whole way through the decal ! Then because the shield is recessed I pierce the centre of the decal to allow it to fit better.

The decal has a clear cover on one side which is easily removed to reveal a self adhesive layer which you then stick and mould to the shield. Remove the paper cover protecting the decal and smooth any wrinkles with your finger, finally use a suitable colour paint to blend in the decal to the white background of the shield itself. A lot of work but easier (just) than painting the designs by hand, I can't stress how important the scoring process is, without you will end up with a crinkled mess.

Stage 3 Linen Armour
Finally we move onto the figures themselves, again undercoated black. Base layer is 70990 Light Grey, slap it on to ensure total coverage, I wouldn't worry about going over edges either as the next couple of stages will cover most things. I then do a heavy brush of 70883 Silver Grey, I put the brush in the paint and then wipe the excess before dragging the brush in one direction across the figure, this should leave only the deepest recesses showing the Light Grey. Next up is a heavy dry brush of 70820 Off White, I then go in with a detail brush and do a highlight with 70951 White. I have finished off this stage with a light wash of Army Painter Dark Tone ink wash on the lower scales part of the armour. Shown above in order from left to right.

Stage 4
I then paint the tunic which for this unit is red, a base coat of Citadel Foundation Mechrite Red with a highlight of Citadel Colour Blood Red. Next job is to block in the flesh areas, the sandals and the single belt / scabbard. For ease and speed I do the lot with 70875 Beige Brown before highlighting the belt etc with the 50:50 mix the same as the spear above. Finally in this stage I use the Daler Bronze for the helmet. Shown left to right.

Stage 5 Flesh and Construction
Photographed right to left this time, I have done the flesh with my usual 70804 Biege Red over the Beige Brown and then a highlight of 70815 Basic Skintone. I then glue the Spear and Shield to the figure and when dry I use a wash of GW Devlan Mud on the wood, belts and sandals and a GW Ogryn Flesh wash on the skin.

Stage 6 Basing
Basing is on 2mm MDF precut bases from East Riding Miniatures, following on from my AWI experiment I have gone for deeper bases than normal to offer a bit of protection to the figures. All my Ancient stuff will be on 60 x 60 bases, 8 close order infantry, 6 warband types and 3 cavalry per base. Once glued onto the base I use a  pre mixed Poly Filla to sculpt a base around the figures, when dry I paint this with Life Colour Sand Yellow. A dry brush of 50:50 70976 Buff / White is next before a slap of green basetex which is dry brushed yellow when dry. A splatter of grass tufts and viola job done.

Some pictures of the finished unit to end the post, hope that's helped / inspired some. Its March and this is only the first unit of the 12 I planned for the year, me distracted by other projects, never !

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