Tuesday 30 April 2019

Buildings & Terrain: Painting my 6mm Russian Tower.

So, day three of my little 6mm Russian tower build, and I've finally finished the basic construction. I suppose I might add more, if things look too bare as I paint it up. But I hope not. As my first foray into buildings and terrain, I think I'll be content to keep it pretty basic.

Second and final grey undercoat. I'm pleased with it!

I've decided to use artist's acrylics, as you get a lot more paint for your pounds and pennies with them. Though they're still pretty dear, in my view. I mixed a pale brick colour from yellow ochre, white and cadmium red, and base-coated everything but the dome and 'spike'. I'm using the latter to handle the model at present.

 A pale terracotta type colour to start with.

As with my miniatures, I'm holding off basing at the mo', as I don't yet know how I'm going to base either my figures or my scenery. That's a conundrum for further down the road.

In the meantime I'm fortunate to have the leisure time to allow me to alternate painting sessions with lounging on the sofa, watching the snooker World Championships on ye olde BBC iPlayer. It's Gary Wilson vs Ali Carter, with the latter three one up (at the time of drafting this bit!). I think I'm rooting for ex-cabbie Wilson.

I'm a little chary of accelerating drying time with a hair-dryer, as much as I'd really like to, 'cause there's quite a bit of cardboard in this model, and I don't want that bending it all out of shape. I have to be patient, and pace myself. Not easy for an impetuous chap like me!


Okay, back to work after a 'foot long' chicken sub-sandwich. A darker red-brown artists acrylic wash over the terracotta base-coat looks fab! I actually feel it'll be a shame to paint over any of it! But I have to, really.

Dark red-brown wash, over two layers of varnish.

For the roofing and stonework I went with Vallejo's Basalt Gray, a colour I really like. The roofing will be various colours, ultimately. Not sure exactly what colours yet. The columns, lintels, arches, etc, will be various shades of pale off-white. I'm not sure whether this will have a gilded onion-dome or not. And the roof of the second-floor might be oxidised (green) copper. Hmmm?

Vallejo Basalt Gray for roofing and stonework.

Anyway, I have to confess I'm really chuffed with how this maiden build is coming along.

Getting the columns and lintels painted.

Doors and windows block-coloured in.

Getting there... still a fair bit to do painting wise.

Getting into the colour painting is fun, if fiddly. I'm not a terrifically neat painter. So I'm constantly having to go back and touch up bits and bobs as I go along. I think I need to do a lighter grey on the upper faces of the roofing, gild the dome and do a tarnished copper roof on the second story.


Dinner eaten, snooker on the telly, and my Russian tower more or less painted. I still want to do a wash or two, or some extra paintwork, e.g. to make the oxidised copper roof more defined, and get the whole building really 'popping'. But this will have to do for now. I've really enjoyed building this. And look forward to making more terrain.

Nearly there... copper roof and gilded dome painted.

I also glued a bit of cork to the base, so I could handle the model without using the spike atop the dome. Ok, it looks nothing like the building that inspired it (see previous post). But that's fine. That was just inspiration. And I'm very happy with how this has come out. Thanks to Tony Harwood and his title on Napoleonic buildings for the motivation.

One final thing I feel I should note: I think that reproducing building in 'true scale' doesn't really work. If we remember that each figure we have represents however many real soldiers, then we ought to realise that direct equivalence of individual figures to buildings will result in grossly oversized buildings. And yet we want the terrain to look right, in relation to our miniature troops. This is a tricky area! And in part why I named my blog 'a question of scale'!

Personally I like the approach this American dude whose name I forget uses. He wargames in 6mm, but using Heroics and Ros miniatures, which are smaller and less detailed than the Baccus and Adler I prefer. But his games always look stunning. His terrain being amongst the best looking I've ever seen. Taking a leaf from his book, my building are smaller than those commercially available from manufacturers like Timecast and Total Battle Miniatures.

This does present an issue: will I be able to use the models I bought from these guys? Will they work with mine? Or will I have to build all my building and terrain myself? I'm kind of thinking/expecting it'll be the latter. But I don't mind that. It's a challenge, for sure. But one I welcome.

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