Home Forums General General How dirty do you like your figures?

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  • #31778
    Phil Hart
    Participant

    This is my first posting on a forum! Here goes…I have a question regarding figure painting that I would like to put out there – how dirty do you like your wargames figures? I am a professional figure painter (please don’t stop reading I’m not advertising here) and when I am painting figures for myself or customers this question often crosses my mind. For example painting British infantry from Waterloo. They get painted with nice red coats and white lace, straps etc, and the end result is a beautiful looking unit of figures. But I think they would not have looked like this in 1815. I think we all know the state the soldiers were in that day – dyes running out of the coats and running into the nice white straps etc.  I only give figures a dirty worn look if the customer specifically asks me to. I once painted a British 1815 infantry unit, and went for a more brighter, faded red to make the coats still nice but worn looking, as if the dyes had run, just a bit. I got an email telling me to paint the rest in a proper red coat colour. I have no problem doing this and understand where the customer was coming from. Even with my own figures I finish them looking all nice, thinking to myself they should be covered in dirt etc but refusing to cover my nicely painted unit in realistic looking dirt.

    The debate always comes up when working because my wife (Lynne) bases the figures and sometimes bits of brown base text get onto the figures – and I can’t help but say “that needs wiping off”. Lynne always rolls her eyes and makes the perfectly valid reply “They wouldn’t look all nice and clean in a real battle you know”. I can only agree with her because she is right. But my response is that, even though there is only a little bit on their trousers, customers do not want their nicely painted figures covered in brown basetex.

    So it brings about the question how dirty do you like your figures? As bad as the soldiers at Waterloo? Or with a tiny speck of dirt here and there which accidentally appears while basing? Or somewhere in between?

    Cheers Phil

    #31779
    General Slade
    Participant

    I like my figures to be in full dress with not a spec of dirt on them.   I think wargaming has got precious little to do with the actualities of war so the fact my toy soldiers don’t look realistic doesn’t bother me at all.

     

     

    #31784
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Infantry clean, vehicles dirty.

    #31785
    Gaz045
    Participant

    Definitely infantry clean and vehicles dirty, I don’t dry brush infantry either……except my 6 mm Vietnam and sci-fi figures………I always try to keep the basing materials off of them too ….although ‘muddy/dusty’ boots and lower trousers does slip thru’!:-)

    "Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"

    #31786
    MartinR
    Participant

    As above, clean figures, dirty vehicles. A bit of mud on the boots is not problem though.

    I _do_ drybrush my figures, but only as an overall highlight, not to make them look grubby.

    Cheers

    Martin

     

     

     

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #31789
    Norm S
    Participant

    I tend to put a thin dirty was on everything as it unifies the figure and improves my block painting. Heavily dirtied does not work for me as I have to go in and rescue highlights and that is just extra work.

    #31798
    willz
    Participant

    I would like my figures to be really dirty and smutty but I could not keep the brush steady.  So I settle for WW2 / 18th century but like mike I tend to do dirty vehicles and clean figures.

    #31800
    Patrice
    Participant

    I like my figures as dirty and worn-out as I myself have always loved to be on many historical re-enactments, entertainments and displays!

    (…otherwise I cannot believe in them!)

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #31803
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Some Armies will be dirtier than others. My Russians are very dirty. My Germans not so much.

    #31812
    James Rivera
    Participant

    This was an interesting question for me because it made me stop and think for a minute.  I was a little surprised to find I divide my dirty/clean figures chronologically.  Generally I add a light brown wash to my ancients, Celts, Romans, Greeks, Persians, etc. they all get a little dirty and dingy finish to them.  My black powder armies and even up through WWII I paint like they are on parade.  Not really sure why I do it that way, except that that’s the way that looks most ‘pleasing’ to me.

    James

    #31813
    William Jones
    Participant

    It depends on scale and theme of the army, and my tastes have changed over the years  I used to do very gritty and dirty Soviets and so on for WWII, same for AK47 Wars and to an extent the American Civil War.  Generally the more brutal and extreme the war or the army, the more I was likely to paint the army as grubby and worn, more ‘realistic’.  As I have gotten older, I am more likely to make the armies bright and vivid.

    Smaller minis need the perk of bright, clean and crisp paint jobs.  I will soon be doing a 2 Dragons Norman 15mm army using the Bayeux tapestry as the primary resource for colors and shields.  The colors will be rich and they will probably be varnished to make the army jewel-like.  A Testudo Roman army with much larger and realistic figures will show more wear and tear on shields, and matte finishes because the models will reward this.

    Another example is 6mm Great War.  As the Baccus line is finished out I intend late war Western Front Germans and French.  The figures will be immaculate and select details will be crisp and exaggerated.  There was an obsession a little over a decade ago to paint such small figures in medium values and dry brushed to a certain vagueness, because scientifically such a fade out is what we observe at a distance.  Sometimes the artistic lie is more ‘true’ though.  I don’t want a hazy swarm of feldgrau and horizon bleu, I want quaint little soldaten and poilus.  The larger the models are, the more likely I will weather them or make them dirty.

    At the end of the day our minis are primarily markers for a game.  I want the game to be visually exciting and clear,  and pretty tables cheer me up.  Most of the weathering, dirt, and atmospherics works against that, but some themes and sculpting styles just sort of demand worn out and dirty.

    #31817
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    Weathering and filth are kinda required. I like to start out with the most glamorous, hi-shine paint then add scum and disrepute to taste. Ultimately my visual model is Scorsese’s Gangs of New York kabuki filth: charisma is king.

    #31835
    Paul
    Participant

    <sup>My painting style varies depending on size: both 15mm and 28mm get base coated in black. 28s then get thin, dry brushed layers of successively lighter colours. This gives a look that I consider muted rather than dirty. 15s get bright, solid colors in high contrast to the black shadows to help the them stand out on the tabletop. So 28mm tend to look drab and worn, but not necessarily dirty, while 15s look bright and cartoony. </sup>

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #31872
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I like my figures to be in full dress with not a spec of dirt on them. I think wargaming has got precious little to do with the actualities of war so the fact my toy soldiers don’t look realistic doesn’t bother me at all.

    Yes, I have always thought Guards Armoured Division in full dress would liven up a Normandy battle.

    #31888
    Nathaniel Weber
    Participant

    I paint my infantry and vehicles as messy and campaign-worn.

    #31940
    Etranger
    Participant

     

    “Who’s that then?”

    “I dunno, must be a king.”

     “Why?”

    “He hasn’t got shit all over him.”

    In other words, I prefer my figures grubby, except if there’s a special reason for them not to be.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Etranger.
    #32000
    Phil Hart
    Participant

    Thanks for all the comments its been interesting to read them all. It has made me look more closely at my own painting habits – for example I also paint figures looking clean but by default make vehicles look dirty! Napoleonics, SYW clean looking, Medievals and Ancients get nice clean clothing and nice shiny armour – but without even thinking about it they get battle damage added to the shields and sometimes a dent in the helmet! I also agree with the point that the units of figures are gaming pieces/counters at the end of the day – so why not have them looking jolly nice!

    Cheers

    Phil

    #32179
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dirt is what we have to put up with in real life. Along with disease, deformity, disappointment, death , taxes, and sales calls at dinner time.  In my war games I play to the myth.

     

    I guess my favorite period is the 18th century. For me the myth goes like this (apologies to Hendrik Van Loon).

    For most of the year the armies hibernated in their winter quarters, but when the weather improved to the point where armies could enjoy life in the great out-of-doors, they would ally forth. But why give battle which was so chancy.  Far better to sit down in front of an enemy town and besiege it than wandering aimlessly about the countryside looking for your enemy. Here by dint of hard work and applied engineering you could after several weeks bring yourself to the point where one day you could send over under a flag of truce, an emissary which would deliver the following message. “Sir, if tomorrow I blow my mines and give fire to my batteries, you will lose three lunettes, four flechettes, nine counterguards, three ravelins and two bastions and 250 ft of curtain wall to boot, and whereas  you at most can destroy only 1.3 mile of my trenches, clearly you can see that I have won. Will you not consider therefore honorable terms to surrender the place you have so gallantly defended and not submit the hapless citizens within to a storm and sack, placing them at the mercy and unbridaled lusts of an enraged and out of control soldiery?”

    You on your part would be blindfolded and taken through the lines and allowed to inspect the mines, the powder chambers, the batteries ready to fire, the pedreros with their stones ready to blast forth their missiles and allowed to inspect the picked grenadiers, ferocious in their miters and moustachios, and you would take out a paper and  stub of pencil and do some quick caluculations, and say “Monsieur, I see that you are right and that I have lost and you have won. Therefore what terms will you grant.”  Your honorable opponent will say “Sir, I shall be pleased to accept whatever terms you care to write.” You in grateful token reach for your sword to unbuckle it and give it in token of surrender to the nattily dressed aide beside the general. However he steps forward and stays your hand saying. “Monsieur, Please! I would rather strike the pen from a Bach or the brush from a Watteau, then take the sword of so great a virtuoso in the art of war .”  “You are too kind” you say with a slight bow, and he answers “No at all” with a lower one.

    You depart and the next day all is made ready. The besieging army is drawn up on each side of the road in full dress uniform and as the gates swing open and your troops debouch, also in full dress, the bands lining the way strike up a serenade of military airs of your songs and anthems,  which, in between, your own bands marching out spell them alternatively serenading the departing garrison. You take your place with your victorious foe and comment favorably on the military bearing of both sides. Officers from both sides freely fraternize with each other, greeting old friends and inquiring of distant and not so distant relatives.  Then picked troops of the besieger move in to secure the churches, hospitals, public buildings and houses of the inhabitants from molestation.

    Should you unfortunately be required to be a prisoner for a while, it will not be a hard life, and you will no doubt be at liberty on parole  in some country down (or perhaps event he capitol) and it’s contado.  Here you will suffer far more from the dangers of dissipation than deprivation as you are invited to all the homes of the best people  who eager, in their bucolic but dull provincial towns, for any news of fashion and the world at large and there, if you are single (and even if you are not and have marriageable brothers at home) will have the parade of all the unattached and pretty daughters looking for a husband and promenaded by their fathers and Mamas for your inspection.  The prospect for dalliances and romance are abounding, and who knows, perhaps an arrangement might come about for an advantageous marriage might be made. “Will the lass wait for the war to be over and me to return? ” “At your icome of 15,000 a year be assured she will wait, her Mama will help her to wait!

    And for the soliders- No prisons for you, but garrison duty as an auxiliary in some distant fortress on another frontier,  perhaps even a bit of plunder against the Turks, and just as varied a promenade of well to do peasant and merchants daughters put out for you by anxious Mama’s and Pappa’s despairing of ever finding a match for Lil Desdimona or Pamela.

    True… it’s a myth, but it’s a nice one, and there are a few grains of truth in it.

    You cannot make those myths work with dirty gaiters and soiled linen!

    I also do ancients, American Civil War, Renaissance, and Early WWII modern and between the wars.  Similar myths in all.

     

     

    #32189
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    Opera bouffe is not wargaming.

    #32190
    Mike
    Keymaster

    How do people like their buildings?

    Dirty and a bit dilapidated for me as a rule.

    #32191
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Opera bouffe is not wargaming.

     

    I reckon you could fix up Fille du Regiment as a game with a bit of effort…

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #32192
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Just realized I’m in the wrong conversation.

    V/R,
    Jack

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Just Jack.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Just Jack.
    #32194
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    I’ll repeat a simple, uncomplicated statement of opinion: opera bouffe isn’t wargaming. Forums are, among other things, venues for opinion and dissent. If you’re troubled by what you are only able to perceive as a caustic response you might want to Google the word “solipsism”.

    #32197
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I’m an Okie and have the Will Rodgers curse, I like every one….Ok Ok almost every one. Please let us not turn TWW into other places.

    #32198
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    I fail to see what is offensive about my response. People can game as they wish. If Mike, you do not like to see other views of game on the forum then perhaps you should start your own and only talk to yourself. Many people view war games as fun. Everyone can take their games where they wish. Why you feel threatened by any suggestions of humor is a mystery to me.

     

     

    #32202
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I am not sure if there is any previous between people here, but if there is then please keep it in the past.

    #32205
    Just Jack
    Participant

    I just remembered why I don’t get into these things, and I apologize for forgetting.  I hope you guys have an incredibly stimulating conversation, I shall retire to my batreps and those of my buddies.

    V/R,
    Jack

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Just Jack.
    #32264
    teppsta
    Participant

    I’ll repeat a simple, uncomplicated statement of opinion: opera bouffe isn’t wargaming. Forums are, among other things, venues for opinion and dissent. If you’re troubled by what you are only able to perceive as a caustic response you might want to Google the word “solipsism”.

    You might want to Google the words “politeness” and “manners”. Learning how to have an opinion and to express it without being rude to other forum members is all part of growing up, and looking up these words will be an important step on that journey. Good luck.

    #32348
    Sane Max
    Participant

    well it does depend really. Some armies look best if they have been through the mill. But in the case of a Napoleonic army, i will subscribe to a variant of Otto’s myth – in my case because there was an ideal aesthetic the leaders had, and the armies were expected to strive toward it, I would prefer my Napoleonic forces as gorgeous as possible.

    #32362
    Otto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear Largarita

    I’d rather play Sergeant Sulpice in “La Fille du Regiment” than Sergeants  York, Steiner, Rock, Petrov, and so forth in a real war.  War games are fun and have nothing at all to do with real war.  So believe me, when you call the games I play and the Imagi-Nations I create based on them, “Opera Bouffe” you are not insulting me. Though I know you mean to do so.

    It is in the nature of an Imagi-nation to be a bit of fun. I freely admit that all of them that I play and create seem like comic operas and in some of them they are purposely drawn so. I’d rather play in them than the sententiously serious and crushing bores that most make of more usual  war games.

    Of my Imagi-nations…

    Saxe Burlap und Schleswig Beerstain could be straight out of Die Rosenkavalier and Die Fledermaus, with certainly the “Cherubino Aria” from “Le Nozza di Figaro”

    Flounce, the Imagination based on France, of course has overtones of “Le Grand Duchess  of Gerlolstein and Viagia De La Lune, as well as “Mignon” and “Le Contes De Hoffman.”

    Bad zu Wurst was a little harder. But we can borrow Baron Ochs from “Rosenkavalier” as a bumptuos unctuous Prussian, and add on bits of “Werther” and “Onegin”  and of course Webe’s “Freischutz” though we’ll enliven it up by “The Sorcerer”  We can always use Suppe’s “The Stupid Have all the Luck” and the music from “Pique Dame” will make great score for the elopement scene of  Prince Humberto with the Chambermaid. Get Cecelia Bartoli to sing the latter role, no one will notice how lame the plot is.

     

    Gulagia, the charicature of Russia (with its capital at Gullagin’s Island)  could be “The Golden Cokarel” with a B version of Prince Igor, but a few of Checkovs more humorous short stories could easily be set to a comic score. Don’t worry, we can have Prince Orlovsky from “Fledermaus” do a few Walk ons.

    Ikea, (so called because of the ottomans and divans and wet bars being shipped) is certainly from “Entfuhrung aus dem Serail”  and a bit of Axur, thus getting Mozart and Salieri on the same stage with a large dollop of Rossini’s  “L’ Italiana  in Algieri” and “Il Turco in Italia” and the rataplan “Viva Bachus” from “Abduction” is the march of the Sultan’s Bennenjerries. Oh and don’t Foget Nicolai’s “the Bronze Horse”  and “Abu Hasan.”

    The Grand Duchy of the Grand Duke of Gorgonzola is “Don Pasquale” and anything else by Donizetti thrown in,  along with of course the Army having Hippo’s  so we can get in The Dance of the hours from Ponchiareli’s “La Giocoda” and of course the hugely contrived and complicated plot of “Simon Bocanegra” (There’s Crocodiles too… and Ostriches… and Elephants…. Oh the hell with it bring in the whole zoo from Aida, they’re sitting around doing nothing anyway.

    I haven’t done an Imagi-nation Army for England yet, but there’s a pair of composers on the tip of my tongue… now who are the… It will be easy. “Pirates.” “Pinafore,” Trial by Jury,” “Patience,” and “Princess Ida, will all get tossed in the pot along with “The Grand Duke” so we can have the jolly jack tars “who had pity on a poor Parleyz-vous!”

    I could do Manchu China as well. A bit of Turandot, and a lot of the Mikado and with the murderous Manchhu mynx, we get Ping Pang and Pong to add to the silliness of Pish-Tush, Po Bah, and the rest.

    Spain is a piece of cake.  We’ll use what we didn’t use elsewhere of “Nozze” and we’ll put in Paisello’s version as well. Of course, “Gianni Sichi” will have to put on 18th century Garb, but today they do Das Ring costumed as Biker gangs so who will care.

    Sweden I admit is hard.  There’s not much beyond “Un Ballo in Mascera” but we can bring in “Der Schauspiel Director.” We can have the dueling soprano chorus
    “Ich bin der Erste Sangerin” as they try and out colatura each other , and make them sort of a Princess and Pauperess. One the Queen of Sweden, the other a lowly stepdaughter who sweeps the hearth (I wonder what Swedish is for “La Cenerentola”) and team them up as bunch of practical joking teens. Then we can turn the Witches cave scene with her Mezzo setting off the two soprano’s and do a take off on the laughing chorus of  Horn, Anckarstroem, and Ribbing.   Wait Wait, then we can have Don Basilio walk in and explain that the princess and the chimney sweep are really twins, separated by birth by that great Sicilian banditti Don Di Draino….

    War is hell, war games are fun, and I’d much rather play a game with a sense of humor and a broad farce where everything is due to a mistaken identity or a misunderstanding caused by an excess of champaign.

    There is misery enough in this world.  I choose not to have it in my hobby.

     

    Otto

     

     

     

     

    #32363
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    The Sultanate of Ifat is my Imagi-nation and is a blend of Casablanca (the movie) The Marx Brothers, Monty Python and Call of Cthulhu. Almost ever civilization kingdom or empire have ruled over it only to leave as it really is an awful place to live. So yes I enjoy Imagi-nations.

    #32368
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    I find that grime is almost a requirement for some armies. My slowly materializing French Revolutionaires are taking me forever because the figures demand so much in the way of unwashed cutthroat flavor: I want their opponents to be able to smell them coming in a salient of sweat, urine, gunpowder and aggresive dysentery.

    #32396
    teppsta
    Participant

    Mike, if you are building a revolutionary army you may be interested in our Neerwinden game and house rules – although I suspect the troops won’t be dirty enough for you 🙂

    http://loughtonstrikeforce.co.uk/neerwinden/

    It was a very good game.

    #32701
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    @teppsta: Just checked it out, very impressive. I particularly liked your separation of morale from training, something I’m trying to do in my rules (though they cover a different period).

    #32708
    Northern Monkey
    Participant

    All my armies look as though they have been in the field for weeks, I like them to look grimy rather than parade ground clean, saying that I don’t play napoleonics and if I did I would probably want them to look a little smarter, same applies to most of my buildings they all tend to look as though they could do with fresh lick of paint /whitewash, but this may be more to do with my lazy painting style than aesthetics

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

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