With the building of the week feature I have had to get organised so as to be able to get at least one building done a week. Indeed I have to get extra buildings done some weeks so that the more time consuming projects also get a look it.
So today I will let you in on the way I have managed to get the farm complex above done in just four hours! Not four hours straight you understand, but I could have got this all done in a day without any issues as drying times are fairly short. As it was I did it over two evenings.
For this I used three of the Leven Miniatures farm buildings, FAR01 the farmhouse, FAR02 the Stable block, FAR03 the Granary Store. Total cost £5.00 and add to that a 120x80mm Warbases base at £1.10 for three, so this project is not going to break the bank.
As it's a quick job I cleaned up the models which mostly comprised of popping the resin beads from such places as corners of windows. Don't worry you will miss the odd one but once under-coated they tend to rear up so just take your scalpel and press on the edge of the bead and off it pops just the same as pre undercoating and it never seems to leave a bare patch. After the original clean up I wash with soapy water (washing up liquid) and scrub with an old nail brush (tooth brush also works well). Give it a good brushing, with Leven buildings you know it's been done right as they come all shiny and when washed are fairly dull. In this case I used Halfords Grey Car Primer as you can see on the stable block above.
6mm figures need ink to add as a wash (nut brown being the norm for me) but buildings can use such as army painter dip. In this case though I used GW Nuln Oil though I could have used watered down black. Your not looking for an even spread but try not to make the contrast too deep between the lightest and darkest. On the roof I went a little lighter as I wanted them to look a little different. I go on a lot about Leven's skilful use of different textures in their models, this makes painting them so much easier. In the case of the stables the four different finishes for the slate tiles, stone walls, wooden doors and the stone gables will make each painted area stand out beyond just colour differences.
Here I have the farmhouse with the roof gables and door surround all painted with Vallejo Sky Grey and the windows painted Black Grey before using a stiff short haired brush to dabble an almost dry brush of Blue Grey Pale (all colours are Vallejo) Don't worry about how this looks close up, change the angle of the brush to get different splashes of light.
|Size 2 Rosemary & Co Ser 302 brush.|
It's very important to remember that whilst painting up the buildings that you are much closer to the piece than you will be once it's finished. I don't mean you can get away with being careless or sloppy but don't get hung up on getting all the lines perfectly straight etc. From a fairly close distance they will look fine.
I use a variety of browns for woodwork, here we have Mahogany Brown for the doors and Flat Brown for the boards under the roof slates. Painted doors are fine for later periods but I plan to use this one for Napoleonic play so felt brown was a better choice.
To add age to the wood I simply dry brushed Iraqui Sand or Buff to rich colours like Mahogany Brown. If it was a duller colour I would dry brush a darker brown giving a more sombre or grubby look. Dry brushing seems to be very much out of fashion these days but for weathering buildings it is still a very useful tool.
The outbuilding should really have a corrugated roof but being Napoleonic I went with a wood effect finish that passes muster. I used New Wood from the Panzer Aces Vallejo range including the wooden roof but then used a mix of different brown washes Sepia and Umber which aged the roof a little and made it less uniform. And that was that for the buildings themselves, I estimate less than two hours all together. However to really finish buildings you need to base them and it's not that difficult at all.
Planning is the thing here you see the base with Sandtex Bitter Chocolate exterior masonry paint has been applied to the areas the buildings will sit. I had drawn round each building so painted just beyond the lines. Other paints can be used but it has to be a thick paint that will act like a strong glue.
Each building is superglued in place which dries faster than the Sandtex which is handy as you want the Sandtex to still be wet and shiny. A few patches may be going dull, especially on the edges, no need to worry if it's just the odd place but it you have larger areas drying apply a little more.
Then the whole base needs dipping in a box of Shapes Sand. You need to sieve out the larger stones and also dry it out before loading up an old shoebox or such. The box needs to be wide enough so that you can put bases into the box and pour small handfuls of sand onto the whole model. Leave it for a couple of seconds then tip upside down over the box and give a few good taps on the bottom of the base to try and knock the loose sand off the base. I then use tweezers to get rid of any out of place rocks or to large boulders. This needs to be left to dry, but if you want wagon wheel tracks or such then now is the time to add these. The reverse of a brush dragged through the surface works well but don't overdo it.
Once dry, usually within an hour take a broad brush with long hairs, I use Rosemary & Co. Ebony Short Flat size 1 for this job though the handle is really long at 27cm but it really suits the job. Now I switch to MP Miniature Paints, the first semi dry brush colour 62 Sand and lightly brush over the sand areas. The surface already should be a mix of dark brown and yellowish sand with the stones at odd points showing their natural colour. Make sure all the stones get almost totally covered with the sand colour. Make sure you don't apply to much, you want the other colours to shine through and make sure you apply from different directions so you get a more natural effect. I then switch back to Vallejo to paint the bare earth sections Flat Brown and then dry and semi dry brush other browns and the odd yellow based colour such as German C. Beige which tends to look to bright but whist still wet brush over a thinned down dark brown and this tones it down. Have fun and experiment, you can always paint over it again if you don't like the result. Wait till it's dry and you tend to find it looks even better.
Then I again reach for MP Miniature Paints, this time 71 Pale Flesh and an even lighter dry brush over the textured surface, this will raise the colour further and despite it's name it's not a pink colour, rather a off cream. Once this is dry I then brush on watered down PVA (about 50/50) not so that it covers all the raised area's but so that it suits the building or buildings. Then I sprinkle static grass all over the base. I use a home brew mix of 1 part summer and 2 part autumn or winter grass, the shortest I can find. It's good to keep adding different suppliers static to your mix but always keep one summer to two of a darker colour to stop it becoming too bright green. In this case around the outside of the buildings was relatively heavy whilst the area between the house and the granary store (barn in this case) I was very sparing so it gave the impression of being often walked over. I usually leave it overnight at this stage.
Next up is give the whole model, base and buildings a gentle brush with the softest brush you own. I have a really cheap and nasty size 10 brush but the main thing is the bristles are soft and that you lightly brush the whole area. You are getting rid of the dust from the sand and loose static grass. Once your happy it's all done your free to give it a good spraying of varnish, I always use matt.
That is it but if you want to tinker you can always add an extra touch. Recently I added a gardener and a row of plants to a Spanish Villa. Here I used stranded cotton used for X-stitching and glued down with watered down PVA again. Shaping it to the shape I wanted. This had to be left to dry totally before I then added pools of the watered down PVA where I wanted the foliage to be and then added flock which having a different look and texture to the static grass gave a great look of an ivy or other creeping plant taking over the corner of the stable.
So all in all about four hours work from prep to finish including the extra work done on the stables. Now here is the shocker, I'v been painting buildings for a little over a year, so what you are now reading is not the work of an expert nor in fact time served amateur. All you see above can be achieved with average skill and a little knowledge. I hope this will help to convince you to have a go, the outlay for the materials can be a bit expensive to buy all at once but you can substitute colours for ones you own. The static grass is fairly cheap, much cheaper if you and a mate buy it between you and split it. Don't swap out the sharpe sand for another and the smallest bag will last you years but cost next to nothing.