Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Painting guide - a 6mm regiment of horse.(Part 1.)

As requested by Ron - and as I enjoy doing them anyway - here is a stage by stage guide to how I paint my figures. The subject is a base of 18 figures and the method has evolved to be a quick but effective way of producing what I hope are quite attractive little units. I think the basing has a lot to do with the final impact of the unit and this will follow shortly as my camera batteries died half way through! So this is part 1 - the painting method. A few of the final stages were shot using the camera on my daughters iphone and what an amazing little camera it is.

The main thing for me is to try to avoid painting black beyond the initial undercoat. Thus the armour and helmet remain black, and I try to leave a few fine black shadow areas especially where colours meet etc. I use a Citadel 'fine' brush for everything, I have several of these and keep the very finest for fine line work. I wash the brush very frequently, often every strip of figures to stop the paint drying in the brush which greatly prolongs its life. Colours have been carefully selected not just for the actual shade but also, and importantly, for the ability of the colour to cover in a single stroke without the need to re coat. I tend to use only the very tip of the brush, recharging every couple of figures or so. I don't use washes or inks or any of the now popular quick shading AP style stuff. I try to work quickly and fluently, applying dabs or dots of paint and lines.

Right then, here goes - 18 Baccus ECW horse from pack ECW6, 5 lines strips and 1 command strip. Undercoated carefully by brush in Citadel black.

1. I always start with Foundry flesh shade. On these figures only parts of the faces can be seen, the hands being gauntlets or maybe armour on the bridle arm side. This can then be highlighted with Foundry flesh (mid).

2. 'Buff' I selected Citadel ' Iyander Darksun' for the reasons above, it's an excellent paint that covers very well. I use this all of my 'buff'. You can add a touch of Foundry Buff Leather Shade for a little contrast but I just use it straight. Its a very thick paint so brushes have to be kept damp by frequent washing of the tip. Down the arms, trying to leave a little black here and there, also the coat tails. The civil war buff coat was sown in panels and could be sleeved or sleeveless. I then paint the cross belts same colour.

3. White - dot in collars~ and other white areas.

4. I went for Light Blue saddle blankets on this unit and for the flag and trumpet banner. I also used it for the trumpters coat sleeves. This just adds a touch of individuality to each base of horse I find.

5.'Leather' areas next. I mix this from Citadel 'Calthan' brown which is another nice thick shade with great coverage, and Foundry 'Tan' which is a little to thin to use alone but brings up a nice convincing leatherwork shade. Boots, pistol holsters, any hair, gauntlets.

6.They already look pretty well done at this stage - next any metallics are painted. I use Foundry 'Spearpoint' for swords and then 'shiny' for the trumpet, sword hilts, etc.

7. Finally paint any extra required touches, in this case red sashes, plumes etc. Figures are done, now for the horses, one of my favourite parts!


8. I dislike seeing 6mm horses that are simply washed over and left! I enjoy painting horses, even in this tiny scale. My base colours and Citadel Calthan Brown and Foundry Spearshaft shade. I select 1 strip to leave as black horses for contrast and then paint 3 strips with Calthan Brown. I try to leave areas of black showing for some depth, painting on the raised muscle areas. Around the head I dot both ears, the face and nose. I try not to touch any of the bridle work or straps so they remain black. I then repeat this with the remaining 2 strips and Foundry Spearshaft shade, which is a more 'chestnut' looking colour than the Calthan brown.

9. Highlights. This really brings the horses to life I think. For the Calthan Brown horses I add white for the highlights. Apply this around the rear end of the horse, down the legs, dot the knees etc. A couple of slashes along the neck, again avoiding the straps. For the Spearshaft shade horses I add Foundry 'Tan' - a lovely shade. I use some pure Tan on some of the horses and add a touch of white to the Spearhsaft/Tan mix on one or two others for contrast.

10. White - finally I add a dab of white to some lower legs and noses, manes and the odd tail highlight.

11. Green bases, not sure why I always use plain green but I do!

Once everything is dry I then cut the strips down ready for basing. Part 2 to follow shortly.


  1. Great guide Lee, it looks like it will be very useful!

  2. Thanks much for the informative guide. As always the figures are great. You seem to have hit the "sweet spot" for time and effort spent and the appearance of the finished product. I'll be watching for the basing post.

  3. Nice ECW cavalry, really brilliant miniatures.

    I too paint 6mm horses in a similar manner...even if at present I' m preparing a 28mm ECW army...

    By the way, Command and colours tempts me. Did you modify the rules for the ECW?


  4. Very nice work. I must get back to my Baccus ECW soon...

  5. Thank you for the comments, much appreciated.

    Ron, I think you are right, I'm finding I can paint one of these bases in a single session, under an hour and a half certainly, then maybe another half hour for the basing. The armies build up very quickly and give a satisfying appearance en masse. Everything about this scale just seems to work for me.


    The Commands and Colours rule system is used from Ancients to ww2,the overall basic mechanics of the game remains the same with period adaptations. The designer Richard Berg is currently said to be testing an official ECW version but my good internet friend 'Foy' has been writing his own version which are looking very good, and are based upon the Napoleonic C&C. I will be posting the ECW ideas here soon.