A friend of mine and I are currently getting warmed up for some historical gaming in 1/72 scale. I have done some stuff in this period before, and I am quite looking forward to it, but my problem is that I find painting the rank and file a bit dull. I think this is why I prefer skirmish gaming, where, potentially at least, each model is its own little character.
So what I decided to do is experiment with some speed-painting techniques. Today I will see if coloured primers work for me.
The leading makers of coloured primers are probably The Army Painter, who advertise a whole system based on spraying with a coloured primer, blocking in base colours and then dipping the whole thing in floor polish. Or expensive, Army-Painter-repackaged floor polish if you live in the only place in the world that has a gaming shop but not a B&Q (or Home Depot for my American readers).
Now, I am not that far gone, but perhaps this coloured-primer business has something to recommend it. I know that some people don't like the effect it has on colour, but I paint over black and regard people who paint over white with a mixture of awe and dread, like sorcerers.
So then. I picked up a can of Army Painter "Leather Brown" primer. It is £9.99 or something at my local game shop, so about on par with the GW product, certainly not cheap. I picked a couple of 28mm models out of the tin bin and the sprue drawer to try it out on.
Left to right, these are an archer from (I think) Essex Miniatures, which I got as part of a job lot of early medieval minis, a multi-part plastic spearman from the Gripping Best Dark Age Warriors box and a dismounted biker from Excalibur Miniatures. This miniature is, how you say, pretty ugly.
I hit them with the spray and ... yup. It is a primer. And it is brown. I had had very bad experiences with Army Painter products in the past, but this one was fine. Maybe I got a bad batch.
Next I bashes in some base colours and did some quick highlighting. Wherever possible I tries to use the primer as the base colour, varying the effect by changing the highlight colour or using a wash. The hair is the same colour on all three, for instance. And all parts of the biker's jumpsuit, skin and hair are the same colour, just with different coloured highlights and washes. After about 30-45 minutes, we were here:
I then went back and added my usual detailing of wonky eyes, boring weapons and sloppy clothing embellishments. I am not sure my finishing touches really added much.
But as far as rank-and-file dudes go, I think they are not half bad. They only took a short time, though. So that is good. I am going to try it on a proper "unit" of GB guys next, and will time myself rigorously. If I can do a squad in an hour or two, that is good news.