Wednesday, 26 August 2015

15mm Blue Moon SYW British Cavalry - Finished Unit

6th Inniskilling Dragoons

This post further covers the figures I bought back in February, made by the American Company; Blue Moon, I wanted some 15mm British for my Minden army and ordered a couple of units of Infantry and a couple of units of cavalry. I did a full review of the figures HERE. In June I finally got round to painting up some of the infantry and did a show off post of that unit, HERE.

Before I begin though I have to doff my cap to Old Glory UK, having finished off this unit the urge to buy the rest of the stuff I wanted for the Army arrived and I placed an order for some more figures with Old Glory two days ago. As if by magic as I was typing this post (at 4pm) the postman brought my order to my front door, result. Personally I can't get used to the postie turning up that late, it were always before breakfast when I was a lad.

I use an old school method of painting horses with oil paints (which I will outline below), the time painting is very small but I leave a long time drying between stages so it can take a month to do a batch of horses, I usually try and do a load at a time maybe three times a year and then store them till I'm ready to do the full unit.

So how do I feel about these now they are painted up, I have to say impressed, they are better than the Infantry figures however most of that is down to the horses. There is a limited number of poses but they really do scrub up well, for me probably the best 15mm horse this side of AB Figures. As for the riders they do lack a bit of detail and the hands of the troopers are a touch large but that's only a small point, the faces by in large are much better defined that the infantry and are much more suited to my painting style (the exception being the mounted drummer).

I have enough horses done for another two units and one of these is already half done, with the new figs that have just arrived I have everything I need to complete my British Contingent, just need to find some decent 15mm Hanoverian Cavalry now, hint hint Blue Moon.

My horse units for SYW by in large are 12 figures and these bad boys will represent the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons.

Horse Painting

The oil method was the main way of painting horses back in the day and I think it was Peter Gilder who started the technique. I have tried with Vallejo but I just cant get horses right so I persevere with this method. I haven't done a full Box to Table post as I have some 28mm AWI British Light Dragoons on the go and will post the extended version of the horse method in that, but here are the basics.

Stage 1. The basic figure, cleaned up and primed with Halford Matt White Car Primer (for none UK residents Halfords is a car spares shop).

Stage 2, cover the horse in oil paint, the colour is up to you, but what you need to know is that this colour will end up being you're highlight. I would suggest that Burnt Sienna would be the darkest shade to use at this point. Now once you have done this you need to leave it to dry and I mean dry. If it isn't completely solid the paint will run in the next phase and you will just end up with a mess. I leave my base coat to dry for a minimum of 10 days, yes that's 10 24 hour periods. Some people will risk shorter but for me having done this method for 30 years, I leave it 10 days.

Stage 3, cover the now dry horse with a darker, shading colour which is compatible with the base colour. I would recommend adding a small amount of thinner to the oil paint for this as you need to make sure you get total coverage (this is why the base coat needs to be bone dry as the thinner will lift off even slightly damp base coat).

Stage 4, immediately after applying this coat you need to wipe it off, sounds daft I know. Its important that this is done relatively quick after the top coat is applied. I do this stage in batches of 4 horses. Make sure you use a high quality toilet roll for your wiping ! Gather the paper up so that you have a flat surface and drag it across the surface of the horse until you get the shaded effect above.

Stage 5, leave it to dry again, I leave it 10 days again but this time it will be probably dry in a couple. From there just paint the horse furniture as you normally would. I go back to acrylics for that and they will work perfectly well on dry oil paint.

I would recommend a bit of practice with the oil method if you are going to try it. You don't need to invest a massive amount to have a go, I would start with Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna as your main two colours along with a yellow and a white to help lighten them and off you go, by mixing you can end up with a massive pallet of colours. If you like it crack on and get some different shades of browns and grey.

Hope that's been of use to some.

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