Friday, 1 March 2013

Empress Miniatures Jazz-Age Imperialism and experimenting with washes.


I recently painted up some 'Empress Miniatures' figures from their 'Jazz-Age Imperialism' range. These are wonderful sculpts with loads of character and a joy to paint.
I plan on using most of these for both my North West Frontier and Modern Afghanistan collection. Obviously the machine gun crew are not suitable for the NWF and the chaps brandishing swords I wont use for the modern period.






They are also a good match in size with Wargames Foundry Afghan range of figures. Foundry are the 1st, 3rd and 5th figures from the left.


I also experimented with some different washes. My usual wash of Windsor & Newton Raw Umber on the left, Vallejo Lavado Wash in the middle and Games Workshop Devlan Mud wash on the right.
 I think I will stick with the W&N Raw Umber wash. The other two washes I found give a tinge that changed the whole look and colour of the figure too much. These would be more suitable I think on horseflesh.
The W&N wash I like because it doesn't give the figure that 'Tangoed' look, it just darkens/shades and weathers the figure, which is more the look I am after.
I find the ideal time to experiment with your painting is when you are working on things like tribesmen or peasants, rather than a uniformed unit of figures because the look does not have to be exact and you can get away with a bit of a mix and match in painting methods.




I have just answerd a question to this post, so I will put the answer on the main page here for all to see.

You only need to squeeze a small amount of the W&N Raw Umber into a 'well/tray'(something that is going to prevent the mix from running away, if you usually mix on a flat surface this will be no good) and then add the flow improver into the well and mix together until really runny/weak. Depending on the strength of your mix, it will have an effect on how dark/light the wash will be. If you are painting Napoleonic Austrians for example with nearly all white uniforms, then you want a really weak/thin mix, darker colours you can make the mix a little stronger. It all depends on what you are painting and what effect you are after. Another tip when using this method is to load your brush with the wash and start washing the figure where you want it darkest and then spread the wash over the lighter areas. I will then usually dip the brush in water only, and go back over the white/lighter areas drawing off the wash where I think it might be a little too dark. It sounds like there is a lot going on but it is really quick, so give it a go and experiment. When the figure is dry, I then highlight the flesh, white and any other lighter colours, it depends how much time you want to spend on the figures, you will find just highlighting the flesh and leaving the figure at that stage is fine, if you want a quick wargaming standard of painting, your choice.
I mix the flow improver with water at a ratio of about 1:10 and add this to the mix with one of those little plastic syringes. Hope this helps.
Also, one tube of W&N and a jar of flow improver will last you years, so it is a lot cheaper than using commercial washes.
Cheers,
Pat.            

26 comments:

  1. Ouch! Those figures are really impressive! I love the fantastic details, the colors (no "flashy colors", not sure for the translation) are amazing...you can be proud of those wonderful guys!
    All the best,
    Phil.

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  2. Truly terrific, Pat. That's great painting. The Windsor & Newton gave some great results there. And thanks also for introducing me to a new range of figures I never knew existed. They looks very smart indeed!

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  3. Not helpful with WMMS only a week away:-)
    I have to get me some of these...
    Great stuff
    Stu

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  4. Nice looking figures Pat, I like all three wash effects, but I think the W&N one just pips the others.

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  5. Stunning paint work Pat !!!

    Best regards Michael

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  6. Great painting on some lovely figures.
    Always looking for effective 'short-cuts' and the W&N acrylics certainly do work well for you - will be giving them a try soon.
    Brilliant blog and collections to envy!!
    cheers, Simon.

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  7. Awesome painting Pat. I love them! I have been using the GW washes of late but I am not always that impressed. Might have to give W&N a try.

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  8. Pat, these are sensational! Top quality painting on some wonderful miniatures.

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  9. Pat, your finally getting the hang off this painting lark ;)

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  10. Thanks for the compare and contrast Pat. They are all fine figures , very tempted...

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  11. Yep, agree with the general consensus here. Terrific figs, and you've more than done them justice.

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  12. Oh jeez. Distractions from what I need to paint, and glorious ones to boot.

    Great job on them!

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  13. Beautiful minis and terrain, I'd love to game on that!

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  14. They're lovely...! Must hunt down some of the Vallejo wash...

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  15. What formula are you using to make up the W&N wash? Paint: flow-improver:water I'm guessing, but what proportions?

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  16. Thanks very much Chaps.

    Zardoz, if you look under 'labels' near the top right hand side of this blog and click on 'painting figures' it explains my methods but to answer your question, You only need to squeeze a small amount of the W@N Raw Umber into a 'well/tray'(something that is going to prevent the mix from running away, if you usually mix on a flat surface this will be no good) and then add the flow improver into the well and mix together until really runny/weak. Depending on the strength of your mix, it will have an effect on how dark/light the wash will be. If you are painting Napoleonic Austrians for example with nearly all white uniforms, then you want a really weak/thin mix, darker colours you can make the mix a little stronger. It all depends on what you are painting and what effect you are after. Another tip when using this method is to load your brush with the wash and start washing the figure where you want it darkest and then spread the wash over the lighter areas. I will then usually dip the brush in water only and go back over the white areas drawing off the wash where I think it might be a little to dark. It sounds like there is a lot going on but it is really quick, so give it a go and experiment. When the figure is dry, I then highlight the flesh, white and any other lighter colours, it depends how much time you want to spend on the figures, you will find just highlighting the flesh and leaving the figure at that stage is fine, if you want a quick wargaming standard of painting, your choice.
    I mix the flow improver with water at a ratio of about 1:10 and add this to the mix with one of those little plastic syringes. Hope this helps.
    Also, one tube of W&N and a jar of flow improver will last you years, so it is a lot cheaper than using commercial washes.
    Cheers,
    Pat.

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  17. Thanks for that information. I'm successfully using artists acrylics to paint my minis but have had much less luck making washes out of them. You certainly need the top-shelf acrylic brands (W & N is right at the top) because cheaper paints do not have the fine-ground pigment needed to make an effective wash. Generally now I use modeler's paints to make my washes. I've tried various formulations including Future floor polish, artists' matte medium etc but haven't played much with flow improver as a wash vehicle yet. FWIW I'm keeping an online record of my experiments which may be of use to others.

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    1. Thanks for the very informative link on your 'an online record'Tony. Your research is on a much higher level than mine, I will definitely be coming back to your link in future.
      Cheers,
      Pat.

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  18. Excellent stuff as usual Pat - I seem to be getting my painting mojo back and it's all your fault!

    On a related note - I got some Daler and Rowney siluble varnish as per your recommendaion - how long do you wait after glossing them to put the matt varnish on?

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    1. Hi Rubixcube, glad to of helped with your painting mojo.

      I personally wait 24hrs between gloss and matt. I guess if it is in a warm room you could probably get away with overnight if you were in a rush but it is probally not worth the risk.

      Cheers,
      Pat.

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  19. Very true - 24hours it is to avoid the dreaded 'white-out'.

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  20. Wonderful painting work. I´m going to paint these same figures, so you are a great source of inspiration for me!

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