Monday, May 05, 2014

Sorting out my paints and the next thing on the Paint Table!




Until recently, I have kept most of my paints in an old biscuit tin which I have had for years (possibly decades).  It sat in the small chest of drawers next to my desk with all sorts of other rubbish like model filler, glue, rubber bands, bits of acetate and metal etc.  The problem was that if I ran out of a particular colour and tried to find a new one in the tin if I pulled it out the drawer all the tins on top would fall out and everything else in the drawer would collapse in to fill the vacant space.  Thus, getting one tinlet out often required fifteen minutes of sorting out to replace the biscuit tin in the drawer.  I also had an overflow box in another drawer which was buried under lots of tins of spray paint, static grass etc in another drawer.




So I decided to get rid of the biscuit tin and the buried cardboard box and put all my paints in two file boxes. All the tins of spray paint were moved to the drawer where the biscuit tin was, leaving access for the file boxes in the other drawer.




So now I can find my paints comparatively quickly!  Hooray!  For the newer readers of this blog you might be surprised, as others have been, that I continue to paint using Humbrol enamels rather than acrylics, which now seem to be almost universal for wargamers.  I started using enamels in the sixties for my Airfix kits and never saw any reason to change. I like to blend all my shades and enamels don't dry that quickly so I can mix a colour and use it on a dozen figures.  If it starts to get too thick a bit of white spirit thins it down again.  I sometimes use acrylics for certain colours but I hate them: they dry too quickly (I know there are things you can add to slow this down, but what a fiddle!) and, more importantly, they are far too bright for pre-chemical dye clothing.  Also the choice is better: Humbrol have lots of different shades of grey, brown and green, for example, which are really useful when painting Dark Ages figures (as I used to do almost exclusively).  Anyway, I am too old to change now!

I've had a good few days painting over the holiday weekend and my next batch of 12 Mexicans are now varnished and just need the metallic parts doing on them.  I do use acrylics for metallic areas but always paint them after varnishing.  I find it odd that some people paint on a metallic paint and then matt varnish over the top.  The metallic paint doesn't rub off like normal colours and you get a nice shiny finish.  The Mexicans have rifle barrels, bayonets, hat bands, chinstraps and buttons that need to be done so it isn't a quick job but I hope to get them done this week.




After that I think I will take a break from Mexicans and work on my new Artizan Afghans which arrived last week and I have already started.  These are very easy figures to paint (note how I keep putting off my Perry Confederation of the Rhine figures!).  The faces are very full of character but if I have one criticism of them is that they don't have a lot of equipment.  No-one has a scabbard, a dagger or the pistols stuck into their belts that many contemporary illustrations show.  




In short, they look just a little too tidy.  Studio Miniatures have a few Afghans and they do, at least, have daggers as well but I'm not sure how well they would go with the Artizan figures size wise as their Sikh Wars figures are quite slight.  It might be worth ordering a pack once I have painted the ones I have got.  

I have started eight Afghans (Pathans, really, I suppose) nearly finished another and have seven more based but I have now run out of suitable washers.  The ones I ordered from Amazon arrived yesterday but they are too small.  It turns out that the washers I have been using are not 20mm at all but 21mm.  The difference is quite noticeable.  I have some more from another manufacturer on order but I am not hopeful.  It was about seven years ago that the washers they sell in all the main shops were slightly reduced in size which is why I was so pleased to find them on the Isle of Wight.  Up until then I could get them at places like Homebase but now they are all these shrunken ones.  Oh well, the search goes on!

14 comments:

  1. I must admit, trying to keep my painting area tidy and finding the paints I am after is a constant battle... most of my delays are trying to find that pot of a particular shade somewhere in among the chaos!

    I too started off with Humbrols, but found the long drying time a problem, if you were just working on one hero type figure at a time and wanted to get it finished... I also (as a young chap back then and not knowing any different) put my turps in a plastic container... that over the course of the evenings painting melted to a runny goo and left me with smelly turps all over my desk... I switched to Acrylics shortly after though this was also spurred on by discovering white dwarf and citadel journal and their how-to painting articles. I now use a mix of GW, Foundry and Vallejo... stopping them drying out can be done using a 'wet-palette'... but hey, each to their own! And you do some wonderful work with your Humbrols!

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    1. I have wrecked quite a few pairs of trousers by knocking the pots over, though!

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    2. I blu-tac my paintpots to the table during use, as I too have wrecked some clothes with knocked over pots!

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  2. I'd spied the enamels in previous visits and looked at them with fond memories of those airfix days. I hadn't thought about their longer drying time until you mentioned it, but then it all came flooding back to me - sticky fingerprints on the fuselage, torn waterslide transfers - those were the days!

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    1. The never ending flood of plastic cement pouring out the tube when you just wanted a drop!

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  3. ...I have some of your minis, and I'm very surprised; didn't realise that they are painted with enamels! Nice, they are. I'm just painting up the new shields on the last of your legionaries, and am eyeing the archers.

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    1. I have tried acrylics but I just can't learn another technique at my age!

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  4. With reference to the washers (and hopefully I'm not stating the obvious) have you tried asking for 13/16 OD i.e. the closest imperial spec.? Our American cousins (and some UK hardware stores) are still rather keen on the old system so you may be able to source them from there.

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    1. That must be it! Forgotten about Imperial measures. That looks just right!

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  5. As a degenerate brush-licker, enamels aren't really an option for me ;)

    FMB

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  6. I used to exclusively use enamels and have ruined many good clothes during painting, I switched mainly due to the really bad habit of licking my brushes to re-point them, which is not so pleasant with enamel and turps. Also the downside was the extended drying time. Though recently I have been thinking of using enamel again to do my horses, as although I can blend nicely with acrylic I dont think they are quicker than oiling or any better

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    1. I think you might be surprised by how quickly modern enamels dry. I've never found it a problem in practice. If I am painting a base coat on half a dozen figures by the time the last one is done it's dry enough for the first shade.

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