The Great Big 15mm WWII Turnaround

You may remember a post from a few months ago.  In it, I spoke about the problem I was having trying to paint 15mm miniatures from Battlefront.  If you can't remember this and want to get up to speed, you can read the post here.  Let me be clear.  There was nothing wrong with the models.  There was nothing wrong with trying out a new scale.  But there was one problem.


I couldn't figure out what I was doing with them.  I now know that the largest part of the problem was my approach.  I was trying to paint them as I would a 28mm model.  And that way madness lies.

And then, as if all that wasn't enough, I found myself falling prey to the well-intentioned but soul-destroying comments I was receiving on various social media platforms.  The bases were too big for a 15mm model.  I needed smaller ones.  Quite how I was going to be able to pick them up if they were much smaller is completely beyond me, but there you go.

So I did what many others would do in such circumstances.  My confidence went out the window and I decided I had to step away from them.

But I wasn't happy.  My failure kept annoying me.  I read and re-read all the kind and helpful comments people put on the bottom of the blog post.  I read all the helpful advice I had received on my Twitter feed and in the Chain of Command group on Facebook.

And then one day, I decided I'd try and follow the advice I'd received. I wasn't convinced.  (By this point I was afraid that another failure would make me want to throw my models in the bin).  So I put a post on Twitter, asking people if they thought I should give it a go.

And all my chums said yes.

And thus was born a completely different approach to my painting.

And what was that, I hear you say?

Well, nothing new to all you fine people who shared your ideas with me.  But in case there's someone out there who has been as frustrated with painting smaller scales as I have, here's what I've learned.

First, Batch Paint
Again, this is not something I've had any success with in the past, but the approach I'm describing works best if you think in terms of a squad or section depending on your nationality.  Or maybe unit if you're not painting WWII miniatures.  This helps cut down on the wastage of paint drying out n your palette.  And it also saves time as you don't waste it waiting between stages.  In fact, if you have hours to spare all at once, best do two squads.  Or sections.  Or units.  Or whatever.

Second, Base Them First! 
Don't do this if all you do is apply flock to your base. That would be silly. However, if you apply a texture and talus to your base, do it now. Have anything you need to paint ready before you start painting. It's so much easier to clear excess sand or grit from the feet of your Diddy little men before they are painted. And it's so easy to remove the paint from the feet of your Diddy little men when you're brushing sand all over them!

Third, Black is your friend. 
I undercoated my models with black paint.  I'm sure you could use white or grey or any colour at all really, but I much prefer the black. It has a natural ability to dull down any colours you apply to it.  This helps with the fifth stage. 

Fourth, Paint your base colours but leave the flesh. 
I repeat, leave the flesh.  Do that later.  No point getting the faces looking good and ruining them with your next step. 

Fifth, Apply your black wash. 
Liberally.  Whether you add water to your black paint, or go posh and use matt medium for your wash instead, or use the trusty GW Nuln Oil, now's the time to do it.  And if it pools, remember to use your brush to remove some.

Sixth, apply base colour as if it were a highlight
This lifts the effect and adds definition.  from what I've experienced, this is the crucial part in painting 15mm.  Don't do it as thoroughly as you would on a 28mm model.  Leaving darker sections will help with the definition of the model. You have been warned!

Seventh, use an actual highlight sparingly. 
You're aiming for the raised parts of the model.  The uppermost parts of the arms.  The knees. Anything that makes it easy to pick out the details.  Too little and they'll just look like blobs.  Too much and it'll look great from a foot away, or still look like a blob when they're on the table. 

Eighth, Paint your flesh
I use a dark flesh tone mixed with a little flesh colour.  I then highlight the cheeks, the forehead, the nose and the chin. 

And after a few painting sessions, you end up with something like this:

They're not going to win any awards, and they still need flocking, but I'm happy with the result.  And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Well, apart from the actual gaming.  There's always the gaming.  And with Chain of Command from Too Fat Lardies, what's not to love about that?


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