It’s Like How Much More Black Could This Be?

The answer is none: none more black.

I’ll give you a dollar (not really) if you get the reference.

Actually the question is a legitimate one, and not just an attempt at humor. I’ve painted up some test figures for some Napoleonic skirmish gaming, and need some constructive criticism. I haven’t painted much 28mm, and even fewer all black 28mm figures, and would appreciate any tips on how I can improve the appearance of these Brunswickers.

Brunswicker Test Figures

Brunswicker Test Figures

The figures are Perrys, and are painted up to represent the 2nd Light Battalion of the Brunswickers, circa 1815. I’m planning to paint a dozen figures, or so, per side (the other side being Frenchies, naturally), and will use Song of Drums and Shakos to start. Then I’ll start filling out the forces until I have around a company’s worth of figures per side, and will begin using TooFatLardies Sharp Practice rules as the forces grow.

This is my official new ‘filler’ project for when I’m sick of painting my usual fare.

My own observations, from painting these guys:

  • I need to clean up the figures better, and not be so lazy removing flashing or other bits of excess metal that I missed during cleanup, and only discover when painting. They really show on 28s!
  • Black is hard to paint. I tried to give various materials different hues of black…blueish for the clothing, brownish for the ‘lesser’ leather, and purple black for straps and the leather parts of the shakos. By the time I get to the end and apply varnish, those hues are largely lost.
  • Contrast could be much better
  • I have no idea how to highlight large flat areas of black, like the tops of the shakos. Not that you can see that in these pictures.
  • I really don’t like the look of metallic paints.
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  • Frank Arey  On 11/06/2014 at 7:28 pm

    You know how pedestrian my painting skills are, and maybe I can’t see the issues in the picture – but really, they look pretty good to me.

    • arkiegamer  On 11/07/2014 at 8:15 am

      Thanks, Frank. Maybe I’m too critical-a result of architecture school!

  • 40kterminatus  On 11/07/2014 at 1:09 am

    They look pretty good to me. I highlight black on space marines with a colour called Dawanstone which is a light grey colour.Grey is a perfect colour for edge highlighting black and contrast. Give it a go :)

  • 40kterminatus  On 11/07/2014 at 1:11 am

    Dawnstone is what I meant,hell Dawanstone is something my predictive text just invented lol

    • arkiegamer  On 11/07/2014 at 8:16 am

      And I spent all night internet searching Dawanstone! Kidding, of course, I’ll stop by my local Warhammer purveyor and see if they have that color in stock. Thanks!

      • 40kterminatus  On 11/08/2014 at 1:23 am

        I think Vallejo London Grey is about the same.

  • dave2718  On 11/07/2014 at 1:24 am

    I agree with the others, they look pretty good. Black is hard, but that is because there is very little that is black, especially when it comes to cloth and hair. I think you have the right idea to use subtle dark brown and dark blues to mix it up. For 28mm, I think strong contrasts are OK – the grey suggestion is good, as is blue.

    • arkiegamer  On 11/07/2014 at 8:19 am

      Well, that confirms my own thinking. It was fairly easy to get a deep brown black, or a deep blue black for a base coat, but the highlighting was tricky-really all the highlighting ended up looking like the same mid-rangy grey, and somehow lost the brownish/blueish/purplish cast that I started with. I need to do some experiments on mixing colors, I suppose.

  • James  On 11/07/2014 at 2:03 am

    This is Spinal Tap. I will have me non-dollar now, thank you.

    • arkiegamer  On 11/07/2014 at 8:16 am

      Ding ding ding! Take a virtual non-dollar, sir.

      • Frank Arey  On 11/07/2014 at 10:00 pm

        I’m so ashamed – I missed a Spinal Tap reference.

      • arkiegamer  On 11/07/2014 at 10:13 pm

        Well, dont feel too bad, its certainly not as memorable a quote as “but this one goes up to 11,” or the like.

  • daggerandbrush  On 11/08/2014 at 6:09 pm

    I think the different shades of black are still visible, if subtle. I always use blue these days, but brown also works as highlight colour. It seems the key is to not have too much pure black showing through. I also found this very comprehensive tutorial by [url=]Massive Voodoo[/url]

  • daggerandbrush  On 11/08/2014 at 6:12 pm

    I think they turned out nicely. The subtle variations in shade are still visible, if subtle. I normally use blue or brown to highlight black. I read the key is to not have too much pure black left over or it looks grey. There is acomprehensive tutorial on Massive Voodoo:

    • arkiegamer  On 11/08/2014 at 10:48 pm

      Great tutorial-thanks for that! The part about getting the proper gradient is especially good.

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