Contrast & Compare: Lockdown painting

Let me start with a huge caveat.

I HATE painting.

I’d rather be playing than painting.
It’s not that I can’t, in fact quite the opposite when the mood strikes, but I prefer to spend my time gaming. That being said, it’s always a far better game when everything looks good.

Additionally, while there are hundreds of memes and articles about how we (hobbyists) have been preparing for a lockdown all our lives, I have almost zero motivation to paint, because the next game is most likely months away. I need a target to make me paint.

One of the more pleasant developments in painting over recent months has been the introduction of contrast paints. Marmite I believe; you either love them or hate them. They are, in the right circumstance, very good paints. Apparently so good that Scale 75 recently had a kickstarter for something very similar, their instant colour range.

I’ve painted many a Sci-Fi & fantasy miniature in my time, and I’ve mainly just used inks to get a similar result, not something that translates to historical miniatures.

Below is my painting method for using contrast paints on tanks, something a lot of people said doesn’t work. Again I believe it’s getting the right models. I can’t see it working well on the fairly smooth hulls of Sherman’s, but on boxy vehicles like Cromwell’s, it most certainly does.

And as this was done during the early stages of our lockdown, I used whatever I had left.

First off, I undercoated with Zandri dust. (I did say I had limited products!)

Next, I drybrushed a heavy coat of white to give a “pre-shade” variation in the base layer.

Battle damage added before undercoating, easier than painting it on.

This was then followed by a layer of Militarum green contrast paint, avoiding too much pooling where you can.

The Stuart was the test for the drybrushing further down the article.

Digging about in the paint box and trying to ensure I don’t stray too far from British colours, I gave the tank a heavy dry brush of Vallejo Heavy Grey, focusing on blending out any ‘tide marks’ or pooling from the contrast paint.

Sepia wash brought back any details lost from drybrushing too heavily.

Finally another drybrush was applied. It was at this point I tried a couple of variations.

On the left is another heavy grey drybrush, and that on the right is an interior green drybrush.

Most assuredly NOT a photographer!

And that’s it. Overall, doing the whole set of ten Cromwells, four Achilles, four Stuarts, three Carriers and four 25pdr artillery pieces probably took me less than two and a half hours.

Do they look great? Probably not. But, at about 4 foot away as gaming pieces, they will do.

I’m sure that most would be applying decals, but I’ve not done that since I built my first Airfix kit in the 70’s, so I’m not starting that again! More time for games, and at the rate they get taken off against my regular opponent, it’s a wasted exercise (I’ll have to change dice – Mark).

Infantry next, and vehicle crews.

Category: BritishD-DayFlames of WarLate WarNormandyPaintingPainting Guide

One comment

  1. Actually very nice, as you say good from 4 ft away. Let’s remember that as a standard. I enjoy painting up to a high standard and putting on the decals 😉 but no matter what sitting across the table from an opponent is what we can enjoy most.

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Article by: Paul Murphy