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Author Topic: Let's talk about ... ... horses  (Read 443 times)

Colonel Kilgore

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Let's talk about ... ... horses
« on: January 07, 2018, 07:50:46 PM »
I've just finished varnishing a batch of horses for my Western Cattlemen:



This has been something of a labour of love. While Martin's horses are the nicest [cleanliness of castings, size, proportions, sensible poses, range of poses, realistic load-outs...] I've yet painted in 15mm, I have realised that I just don't enjoy painting horses very much.

As can be seen, I decided to paint these before sticking on their riders. This has the dual advantage of making the horses easier to paint and deferring the decision of matching up riders (useful as the Gunman-centric force I initially planned on has morphed into Cattlemen during this process...). But it then makes riders difficult to handle while they're being done.

So, what do people do with their horses:

 - stick the riders on first (I think I may be doing this for the next batch...)?
 - what range of horse colours / markings do you go for?
 - what style of painting (mine are block-painted with a dash of Army Painter dip on top)?
 - how much detail do you bother with when painting the horse furniture?
 - forget the gee-gees and just stick to infantry and tanks?

Thoughts and ideas welcomed (ideally before I embark on my next batch), please!

Leman

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 08:12:43 PM »
I tend to glue rider first then undercoat the lot in black. I then paint the rider and saddle/ blanket/ saddlebags etc before starting on the horses. These usually get a base coat followed by two levels of highlight before finishing off with straps, buckles etc. It is highly unlikely that I will ever paint a Hun or Mongol army.

Stewart 46A

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 08:35:54 PM »
They look great, variations in colour look fantastic.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 08:37:29 PM »
It is highly unlikely that I will ever paint a Hun or Mongol army.

I did Essex 15mm Huns some years ago. Maybe my aversion to painting (perversely, I like playing with them...) horses stemmed from there.

I had a Tabletop Games Mongol DBA army too, but they got sold as I couldn't face the pain...

Stewart 46A

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 08:40:29 PM »
Iíve always fancied doing a mongol hoard but martin keeps producing new figures

Alex918

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 08:48:40 PM »
They look great to me, far better than my efforts. I also tend to mount the riders before painting, but attack the horses first before painting up the mounts. Can't say I enjoy painting horses either, I usually have a reference image to try and follow showing colour schemes for the various breeds but usually end up using a little creative licence.

Radar

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 09:55:47 PM »
I used to hate painting horses. But since I worked out a system I find them much easier, and less of a chore.

I tend to do bays or chestnuts. Base coat, dry brush legs black and manes/tails then wash (GW dervlin mud). Next up add white blazes and socks. Yes I probably put more socks on than would be found in nature but they make my horses look more horse like. Blanket, saddle furniture, tack, tiny bit of metal on bridle/bit. Localised black wash on saddle/blanket etc. Job done.

(Napoleonic horses in 15mm get blanket stripes and occasionally a dot to represent crowns etc on blanket)

Occasional grey - base coat, light grey or white tail/mane, thin black wash. White stippling brush for dappled bits. Rest as browns.
I have tried black horses, but not happy with how they turn out.

I find it easier painting seperate horses - easier to get them right. Plus helps with my slap dash painting. 

To be honest I think finding the right combination of base coat and wash is the secret. I'm a fan of the Coat d'Arms horse colours. The bay colour in particular. Looks awful when first put on, but once washed, and with blackened legs it looks good.

Seperate riders are a pain to paint it has to be said. My 15mm naps (mostly Naismith) are a little easier to paint as they usually have a tab between their feet which has their catalogue code on. I leave these tabs on, and glue the tabs onto a lolly stick, lets me pick up the stick and have 4 riders. Lot less messy. I don't paint their feet until I have finished the rider, cut the tab off, glued rider in place on horse. Easier to paint feet (and stirrups) in situ.

My PP ECW riders - can't glue them onto a stick, so tend to hold them by their feet whilst painting.

The tab system works better for me, slightly less messy and quicker, but not much. I saw a picture where someone made blutack ridges for riders to sit on whilst painting, looked interesting. Possibly worth a try.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 06:46:41 AM »
Thanks for your comments so far chaps. I used Coat d'Arms horse colours on mine but didn't bother with the washes too, as they were going to be getting Army Painter later: probably a mistake.

Their riders are currently mounted on Blu-Tak: I'll need to up-end them to do their boots later.

I'm also using Coat d'Arms washes instead of Army Painter on the men. I did this with my first batch of "cowboys" (on foot) and was pleased with the results. The main reason I didn't use washes on the horses was that I knew I was going to mess up later and would have to re-touch, which can really spoil the effect of a nicely-washed figure (well, the way I do it, it does!). However, for the riders I'm trying Vallejo varnish as I go so I can readily wipe off any subsequent overspill from finished parts. I've used suntanned flesh + flesh highlight + flesh wash so far for the skin tones and these are starting to look OK: the nice deep sculpting really helps with this kind of approach.

Radar

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 08:01:32 AM »
The blutack mount gains further traction. Will try with my next batch.

I steered clear of the Cd'A supershaders, tried them in the past, found I got better results with Citadel nuln oil and agrax earth shade. I have used, and am very happy with Cd'A brown ink wash for wood (works a treat on their wood colour).

But agree the depth of sculpt makes washes work better. PP faces are great for this very reason. If only I could find a flesh I'm happy with (currently on Cd'A, might give Foundry a look, like their shades and palette)

Radar

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 01:54:53 PM »


Here's some of my horses (not PP I'm afraid but principle is the same), with a PP dragoon horseholder. They need a good dusting though!

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 08:52:16 PM »
Very nice horses - nice clean paint jobs there!

Radar

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 09:25:30 PM »
Thanks. The paint recipe isn't that dissimilar to yours, so between us I think we have a winner.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Let's talk about ... ... horses
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 08:13:12 AM »
Excellent - I'll try washes on the horses in my next batch (might be some while - I have to paint the riders first, and then the chaps on foot will probably be next...) and report back here.