Saturday, November 17, 2012

Refurbishing Normans

Following up on the jolt of wargaming adrenalin that a convention always provides, I got home and pulled out troops to set up a Day of Battle game using the Imperial German and Papal Italian lists. The figures I have to do this are somewhat of a mismatch, but not horribly so. For the Germans I will be using primarily Germans and generic types from the Liegnitz; Mongols in Europe range by Old Glory. Standing in for Papal Italians will be Normans (also Old Glory). In the early to mid medieval period, I have Germans and Hungarians from the Liegnitz range, and Normans and Crusaders (1st and 3rd), so Normans and Crusaders have a tendency to stand for English, French, Italians, or anything else I need.

Normans Before
Every time I do pull out my Normans (and to a lesser extent the Germans too), I am struck by the same thing; these are some of the earliest miniatures I either painted myself or had painted for me, and they are not up to the standard (or style) that newer parts of my collection are. It's not that they are old and worn; they are in fine shape. It's just that they were painted in a much more drab style. The aren't as colorful as they would be if I were painting them now. While the more muted colors and the predominance of earth tones are probably more historically correct, they just don't look as good. Part of the fun of miniatures is that they look great on the tabletop, so I am willing to take a few liberties and paint them perhaps brighter than they might really have been. As they are now, most of the cloth areas, for example, are painted with darker shades and then have been washed with a brown wash for shading. The end result tends to be dark and dull.

With that in mind, before embarking on a game, I have opted to take time to selectively refurbish some of the figures. Specifically, as a first pass, the six stands of Norman knights and six stands of German knights that I need for the game I am setting up.

Normans After
I don't intend for this to become an exercise in repainting the figures completely, as they don't need that (nor do I feel like investing the time), but is more an exercise in highlighting and brightening. I am going to:

  • Repaint flesh brighter
  • Highlight the armor and metal parts with silver
  • Clean up straps and belts, etc, with more contrasting brown colors so that they pop a little more
  • Highlight all cloth areas, brightening where needed and repainting entirely in a few instances
  • Repairing any places where there are chips or other minor damage.

Here are a few samples of before-and-after Norman cavalry. They don't completely look like they would if I were painting them from scratch these days, but they are much closer. More importantly, they  do look much better on the tabletop than they did before. Some of the highlighting looks a little severe in close up pictures, but I am more concerned with what the figures look like en masse on the table than what they look like if you pick one up and study it, and I have learned that going a bit "cartoony" actually looks great at the distance they are normally viewed at.

I am happy with these and am almost done the six stands of Germans as well.

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