Monday, July 21, 2008

New painting project: Spanish scutarii

The Panzer Depot in Kirkland, WA carries a sinfully tempting amount of 28mm miniatures. I game there pretty regularly and often stop by on my way home from work. Every time I'm there, I hear the crude come-ons from the display racks testing my moral resolve not to get sucked into new projects that I will start and then abandon before I complete them.

Alas. This Saturday I gave in. I bought four packs of Crusader Miniatures 28mm Spanish scutarii. I couldn't resist. They had that ineffable something that draws you in until before you know it, you're walking out with a bagful of lead. Mea maxima culpa.

I'd been mulling over a 28mm Field of Glory project and the Punic Wars have always been an appealing period to game. It's got elephants! I already have some Crusader mid-republican Romans (no, they're not painted--yet) and I wanted to get figures to start a Carthaginian battle group. Spanish seemed like just the trick.

Now I have to plan a painting regimen that will get the figures painted and leave me wanting to paint more. I have always tried to paint whole units at a time and it doesn't seem to succeed. Painting a few figures at a time, maybe no more than six or eight, provides the kind of success in completing figures that fosters more painting. So here I go.

I cleaned eight figures on Saturday night. On Sunday, I glued spears and javelins into the hands of figures that have them, then Sunday afternoon I primed the lot using my favorite primer: Krylon white spray primer. For spears and javelins I used the excellent wire spears from North Star military miniatures. These are great, albeit pricey, little spears. The 40mm long ones are thinner and are ideal for javelins in 28mm scale. I cut them down to about 30mm. I used the 100mm spears for the Spanish throwing spear (whatever it's called). I cut them down to about 30mm also. They're sharper than the dickens, so there will be blood. I used to hammer out, cut,  and file spears from brass wire. It was not fun, but the spears were OK and were were worth the effort if the other option was using someone's cast lead spear (i.e., metal spaghetti) or having the spearman look like he's armed with a broom handle.

Just this evening, I put on the base coat for the flesh tones. Long ago, i.e., when Nixon was still in office, I picked up the advice from the legendary Shepherd Paine (he wrote all those great guides to Monogram models) to paint figures from the skin out. So I always start with the skin and faces. My base coat is Howard Hues Ruddy Flesh. Then I paint detail for the face (like the eyes) and give all the exposed skin areas a wash with Ceramcote raw sienna, much watered-down with a drop or two of Liquitex Flo-aid. When the wash dries, the skin has a nice tone and the wash settles into the contours to provide suitable shading.

At this point, I'm ahead of myself. I know I have the Osprey book I need when I'm in the hobby shop. Rome's Enemies (4): Spanish Armies was no exception. I confidently went to my bookshelf when I got home to research and plan how I would paint the tunics. Oops. Perhaps I mistook it for the Osprey volume on the Waffen SS armed auxiliary tea ladies. In any case, I don't have it. Soon I will have two: the one I just ordered from Amazon and the one I'll find on my bookshelf just after the one from Amazon arrives. I have Duncan Head's excellent Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars, but I'm looking for information that goes beyond white tunics with red trim. I'm also looking online for sources.

My hope, as I go forward, is that recording my progress on this blog will provide some accountability for staying on track with painting--unless I spend all the time blogging instead.


  1. The Spanish throwing spear is called a falaricum (which they would occasionally wrap in flammable material and set afire.)

    Wait, what happened to those Frenchies that must become pin cushions for my longbowmen?

  2. Oh yeah, I have medievaloid Frenchies to finish painting, too. Maybe a base at a time...

    I always thought Falaricum was a resort in the Azores.