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Color Mixing:

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While it may be more artistic for a modeler to mix up a new shade of a color every time he wants to paint more troops in the same uniform, club members have enthusiastically embraced the concept of 'store bought colors.' Even if that shade of khaki isn't quite right straight out of the bottle, the fact that all of your Sikh infantry are now the same shade, despite the fact that it took you over a year to paint them in twelve different batches, is well worth the sacrifice in the accuracy of their shade and hue. Below is a list of color mixing tricks that the membership has developed to make painting faster and easier. And it even includes the manufacturer and stock number for each color.
Colors Flesh Shirt Boots Dark Blue Horizon Blue
 
A Word On Mixing colors.

Years ago, when we were all still using oil paints, one of the club's most advanced painters bestowed some advice on the membership. He said, "Never shade a color with black, it creates a darker color, but also a muddy color. Blue mixed with black doesn't make a darker blue, it makes a darker 'Blue Grey.' Never lighten a color with white. Mixing red with white doesn't give you a lighter red. It makes pink. Always lighten or darken your colors with a lighter or darker shade of that same color."

This is, basically, the theory behind that new and exciting line of Foundry paints. The advantage of this sort of a system is that someone has already determined the 'best' colors for lightening and darkening your base color. This has the added bonus that when you come back later, and let's face it we usually mean much later, you won't have to remember which colors to use. Your colors will always be consistent.

Flesh Tones

Now before jumping into a laundry list of colors it might be best to step back and think through exactly what the modeler is tying to accomplish when he's painting up the hands and face on a figure. No matter how magnificent the praise you might receive on your painted skin tones, or how realistic someone claims your work is, your paint job is never going to look like the real thing. As a matter of fact, the more experienced a painter you are, the more likely it is that your flesh tones will be highly exaggerated so that they appear better from a distance on the wargame table.

As a part of this 'table top fine tuning' a good painter will probably also paint a couple of shades lighter than he would if the figures were designed to be permanently displayed under museum quality lighting. Add to this the fact that much of the driving force of our hobby comes from the United Kingdom, land of my ancestors and home of perhaps the most pale people on earth. The result is that what is described as 'normal flesh tone' is really far more light than what might be considered normal anywhere else. I mean the greater part of my day is spent indoors, not cavorting about in the California sunshine, and even I am far darker and more tanned than would be considered normal for a 25mm figure.

Think of your miniature armies as something out of a cartoon book, although perhaps nowadays one should say out of an illustrated novel. Go have a look at a color photograph of people in Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The ancient Egyptians weren't trying to accurately portray peoples' skin tones. The colors they used were symbolic. A pale cream, almost white skin tone was used for women who spent most of their days indoors, or perhaps effeminate scribes who spend their days the same way. The skin of manly, physically fit Pharaohs was painted in a rust, almost red color. And Sudanese were painted with a skin color that was quite literally black.

OK, so the following flesh tones are designed to look good on the wargaming table, and to make figures representing different nationalities appear more different.

Pale English Flesh
  1. Start with an undercoat of Americana Medium Flesh-DA102
    (it's more of that cheap doll paint)
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash of Vallejo Light Brown-929
  3. Let dry, then dry brush with a mix of mostly Vallejo Light Flesh-928 mixed with just a little of the Americana Medium Flesh-DA102
  4. If you want to, come back later and shade with thinned down Vallejo Light Brown-929 and then highlight with just the Vallejo Light Flesh-928
Mexican Revolution Flesh
  1. Start with an undercoat of Apple Barrel Colors Country Tan-20778
    (even more cheap doll paint)
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash of
    Ral Partha East Indian-77-810
  3. Dry brush with a mix of the Tan-20778, Americana Medium Flesh-DA102, and Vallejo Light Flesh-928. Use just a little of the two flesh colors to warm up the color.
  4. If you want to, come back later and shade with the Ral Partha-77-810 and highlight with just the Vallejo Light Flesh-928
Sudanese - Dark African Flesh
  1. Start with an undercoat of Vallejo Mahogany Brown 846. (I'm not quite sure if this step is really necessary. You could just start off by painting the whole figure in the color from the next step.
  2. Once it's dry, give the figure a very thick wash, purists might insist on calling this 'a stain' of Americana 'Bittersweet Chocolate' DA-195.
  3. Dry brush with Americana' Mississippi Mud' DA-94. Most of the time dry brushing looks best if the paint is slightly thicker than normal. However, this flesh tone seems to look best if the DA-94 is mixed up a little thinner than usual, so that the underlying DA-195 seems to show through. Naturally, this means that extra care must be taken to insure that there is not too much paint on the brush.
Boxer - 'Yellow' Flesh

Again, let's remember that paint jobs on wargames figures are symbolic, rather than realistic. So Chinese figures would be painted in far more yellow tones than in real life. Just like 'English' flesh tones would be painted in far more pink tones that in real life.

  1. Start with an undercoat of FOLKART (another brand of cheap doll paint) acrylic #737 - Buttercrunch. Make sure that this undercoat has sufficient time to dry.
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash of Vallejo Light Brown-929
  3. Dry brush with FOLKART acrylic #902 - Taffy. This may result in a tone too yellow for your personal tastes, so mix with Vallejo Light Flesh-928

British Army 'Blue' Shirt

This is the blue-grey shirt worn under the uniform jacket during most of the colonial period. It's the not quite blue shirt seen in paintings and dioramas of Rorke's Drift, or in prints of British W.W.I infantry in Africa.

  1. Start with an undercoat made from a 50/50 mix of Americana Baby Blue-DA42 and Americana Williamsburg Blue-DA40. If you prime your figures with white instead of black then you could make this undercoat just a little bit thin so that the highlights come out a bit white.
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash made from a 50/50 mix of Americana Williamsburg Blue-DA40 and Americana Uniform Blue-DA86
  3. Dry brush with Americana Baby Blue-DA42
British Army Riding Boots

This is to create the redish brown of British officers' boots

  1. Start with an undercoat of Vallejo Mahogany Brown-846
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash of
    Americana Asphaltum-DA180
  3. Apply a very light dry brush of Vallejo Light Brown-929
Dark Blue Uniforms

This is the sort of very dark blue worn by; Mexican Federales, English Bobbies, French infantry, etc. The instructions given below will produce the effect of a garment that started out as a very dark indigo, but has been faded by prolonged exposure to the sun.

  1. Start with an undercoat of Americana Uniform Blue-DA86
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then dry brush with Americana Williamsburg Blue-DA40
  3. After finishing all leather work, packs, etc. dry brush with a light yellowish khaki that is close in color to what you've been using for 'dirt' on your bases.
Horizon Blue

This is the color of French uniforms in W.W.I after they switched away from dark blue jackets and bright scarlet pants.

  1. Start with an undercoat of Americana Williamsburg Blue-DA40
  2. Let the undercoat dry thoroughly, then apply a wash of
    Americana Uniform Blue-DA86
  3. Dry brush with Americana Williamsburg Blue-DA40, or Americana French Grey Blue-DA98. DA40 is more blue, DA98 is more grey. On some figures, such as Chasseurs you might use DA40 for the jacket and puttees and DA98 for the pants.
  4. After finishing all leather work, packs, etc. dry brush with the color to what you've been using for 'mud/dirt' on your bases.
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