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!