I’ve now slowly started to get on with finishing the figures I block-painted earlier in the year! The plan would have been to get them ready so that I could finish them off over some weekends at our caravan, but the lock-down in the UK means they’ll get painted at home instead.
First to be finished are a unit of French line infantry for the Franco-Prussian War, actually my first unit of “proper” French line infantry for this conflict. Years ago I made the decision when painting some early-WW1 French infantry to leave their kepis red so that they could double as FPW troops as well, but this latest unit are in correct uniforms for the start of the conflict (later in the Franco-Prussian War, French infantry stopped wearing coloured fringed epaulettes and white summer gaiters, and more variation in coat colours occurred, so early-WW1 French don’t look out of place).
These are nice plastic 1/72 figures by Emhar and are quite finely detailed, with separate packs and very little flash. I found this detail really hard going and I thought that heavy coats should not really have had as many folds or creases in them, but it could just be a case of a bad workman blaming his tools and his eyesight! I spent ages agonising over the blue for the coats and in the end went for Humbrol RAF blue, the colour I used on some 1880s Foreign Legion figures a long time ago. The coats are described as gris de fer bleute, or blued iron-grey, and near-contemporary colour illustrations and some other references show them as a distinctly blue grey colour, so that’s what I’ve gone for. The coats for my early-WW1 French are in a distinctly blue tone, but I believe that is more correct for the later period (although shortages during the Franco-Prussian War meant that coats of bluer shades were worn).
Anyway, I’m pleased with how they’ve come out. I really need some more in this uniform, but need to push on with other figures before I even think about that. With this unit, and the chasseurs, turcos and zoauves I’d already painted, I’ve got enough French infantry to get me started, and I can add in the odd unit of WW1 French to bolster numbers.
Last figures shown here are a bit of an experiment! They’re a couple of plastic WW2 US Marines, painted simply, covered with a Vallejo black wash, faces and belts touched up and uniforms lightly dry-brushed over in olive green. Years ago I painted up a US Marine battalion quickly for my great nephew to use against my Japanese, but he’s no longer interested in wargames, so I thought I’d try out a quick method that would let me shade and tidy up those figures. These are two extra guys I did from scratch, but the finish is good enough for me, so I’ll have to try and get them all done some time (they’re a bit on the dark side, but in deference to Games Workshop I did try a Nuln Oil wash and found it didn’t really work in the much finer folds and creases on 1/72 figures).
The bases of these two were also done in a completely different way to my usual methods. I read this post over at the despertaferres blog that showed the method being used on 6mm figures and I thought it looked both fast and good so gave it a try. I used some Vallejo natural stone texture to roughly conceal the thicker bases of the 1/72 figures and then painted the whole base in Burnt Umber. Brushed PVA glue over the lot, being careful around boots, then covered it in Woodland Scenics fine brown ballast and let it dry (painting the base brown before adding the ballast means it doesn’t really need a dark wash, and if some of the ballast brushes off it still looks OK). After that, all I did was lightly dry-brush it with Vallejo Dark Sand and add scatter grass. So it’s quick and easy and looks pretty good I think, so I’m going to try it out on some more figures!