Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Highland Bling

(Don't hate me for the title, it just happened...)

Hi folks, a fun one today, these three have been a blast:

must stop painting hard to photograph brown tones...

These are a the latest commission and are a mix of the new plastic Scions and Victoria miniatures kilt legs and pith helmeted heads. The combination works really nicely I think, something about the anachronistic helmets and the ornate armour is fairly "40k-bonkers". I had completely free reign on the colours for this one so had to think through the feel and balance of the models. The kilts were going to be tartan, the helmets "pith canvas" so there were already colours there, the armour would have to either complement all the colours in the tartan or be a more neutral tone. In the end, I figured that painting the gothic armour in bare steel would be neat. In fact, the whole thing cried out for Victorians in Spaaaaace vibe. So I went with it.

love the stowage on these guys

The rest of the uniform was a either Val English Uniform and Val Khaki. Because everything else was so uniform on them I felt they deserved some individuality, so each got their own tartan on their kilts. I'd like to give some form of full tutorial on the tartan but it really is a matter of fiddling back and forth until you get the result you want. Tartan is created through intermixing coloured threads during weaving so can look very complex, we just use paint so the thought process is different to the weaving and it's one I am still getting to grips with. I feel I can, however give you the basic theory behind getting tartan looking right:

Start with a solid base colour of the background, shade the background in any creases as you won't want to later. Make a mixture of the background and whatever colours you want the squares to be until it looks like it's a 50:50 mix. It won't be, it'll be more like 3:2 or even 2:1 depending on the strength of pigments. Paint these in a broad grid over the tartan, trying to keep the spaces even, you want the gap between the lines the same width as the lines themselves. Then paint the pure colour you wanted into the squares formed where the lines cross.This gets you the basic shape of the tartan.

Now you need the stripe colours, these can be all sorts of colours but here I'm using black. Very, very thin lines (thinned paint and a decent point on the brush here) and paint through an area of the pattern, chose either in the stripes or crossing them. Both will look messy. Real tartans often have multiple lines but we're dealing with 28mm men here. It'll look fine by this stage but you may want to kick it up one more notch and darken the edges of the stripes where they meet the background. Helps the finished look.

Animated .gif! PVP, now with awesome mid-nineties technology...
Look through the tartan patterns on line to get inspiration. Though bear in mind that some patterns that look cracking on people will look utterly horrible on a miniature. Use good plaid judgement folks.

With that, I am off. Happy painting folks



  1. One can almost smell the camel dung...

    1. "I say Carruthers, these Orks are a rum bunch and no mistake"