Useful Tips to Produce More Convincing Tabletop Units
But painting white uniforms in miniature is a challenge. Consider that “white” clothing is rarely a uniform shade. The season, amount of light, angle of the sun, type of cloth, and exposure to the elements mean that white garments exhibit a variety of shades, ranging from dark grey through cream, tan, or light grey, to brilliant white.
Now, it might seem difficult to paint tabletop units with white uniforms to a convincing standard in light of these “artistic” considerations, but it needn’t be. You don’t need an art school education or special talent to get decent results, just the usual supplies, some time, and the helpful pointers below to guide you along the way. The following tips make it relatively easy to produce wargaming units or, indeed, armies clothed in predominantly white uniforms. And here’s how to do it.
1) Plan and visualize the effect you want produce in miniature.
2) Don’t use white spray paint!
3) Apply a dark grey basecoat to your figures first.
Use a large brush to apply a dark grey basecoat to your figures. Spray cans inevitably leave some areas of untouched and flood others, obscuring detail. Sometimes, the old fashioned way is best, so a brush it is! Make sure you get the basecoat into all the nooks and crannies. It might even be even helpful to apply a second coat of dark grey, ensuring complete and uniform coverage before you allow the figures to dry thoroughly.
4) Next, apply a tan, cream, or light grey undercoat.
5) Use acrylic-based white hobby paint for your highlight.
6) Don’t use that old bottle of white in your paint collection.
7) Before you dip a brush into that new bottle. . .
8) Control the amount and consistency of white on your brush.
9) Apply a coat of thinned white to the raised areas on your figures.
10) Don’t overdo it with the white paint.
11) Here’s a quick-fix for those inevitable painting mishaps.
12) Work with manageable batches of figures.
Finally. . .
This article is hardly the last word on painting figures clothed in white uniforms. The process I describe above evolved as I painted through an 80-figure unit of infantry during late 2009-early 2010. As I have gained more experience, I’ve refined the technique. However, the points outlined here should help if you wake tomorrow morning with an itch to paint up a Confederation of the Rhine infantry division. Whatever your particular interest, though, painting miniature formations in white uniforms is mostly a question of planning, practice, and persistence. And on that note, I’ll close with a challenge. Why not have a go at planning and painting your own snazzy new unit of Spanish grenadiers or Austrian cuirassiers in white uniforms? Go on! You know you want to.