Airfix 54mm English Pikeman 1642. Finished.

After a few utterly manic days at work, it has been good to knuckle down and enjoy a little me time and finish my Airfix model of an English Pikeman. Several evenings ago I undercoated the whole figure in a sand coloured enamel and left it overnight and the next day easily blocked in most of the colours.
I had decided to paint the figure much more simply than suggested on the Airfix package art, which had the pikeman clad in a green tunic with yellow bands around the arms. Instead, I mixed a little Games Workshop Blood Red with some of the pinkish 'Roasted Red' Dulux tester pot colour that I have used on earlier models, most notably the Miniart Gladiator. This produced a nicely muted red for the tunic which was consistent with the fairly low-key colours that could have been achieved with vegetable dyes. For the trousers I used Citadel Gretchin Green, another nicely muted tone, and a pale grey for the figure's stockings. The rest was a mixture of leathers and fawn colours produced with Citadel colours or Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber artist's acrylics, which produce good leather finishes. The only burst of bright colour I allowed myself was the blue feather on the soldier's helmet alongside a pure white feather and the figure's large white collar.

The armour was painted first with Humbrol 67 enamel paint 'Panzer Grey' to give it an overall tarnished look. This was then dry brushed with Games Workshop (GW) Boltgun Metal which I also then used more precisely by using a fine brush and painting thin lines and scratches on the armour to indicate battle damage from the rough and tumble of a push of pikes. I think it works quite well. When this and everything else was done to my satisfaction, I coated the figure with a layer of Army Painter Soft Tone. Once this too was dry I went over the parts I wanted clean or highlighted with more of the original colour, leaving the shading in the folds and recesses.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, on larger figures I like to use oil paints to paint faces, as once dried it gives a slightly waxy effect which looks much more skin-like; it's also good for leathers too. Using oils on smaller figures, though is not so easy as I find that thinned oils (and you do need them thin on smaller features) tend not to work as well as the much more impasto style that can be employed on the larger figures. Maybe that's just me, I'm sure others would say it works just fine, but we all have our likes and dislikes. For 1:35, or in this case Airfix's 1:32 scale, I fall back on the modeller's standard practise of building the face from the darker tones up. First I undercoated the face in Humbrol Flesh before giving it a coat of Citadel Ogryn Flesh shade. Some, I know, would lay down a dark base layer such as GW Tanned Flesh, but I prefer using the shade, as it goes only where it's needed and you don't lose surface detail as easily as when you apply several layers of paint. Once the shade was dry I coated most of the face with GW Dwarf Flesh and highlighted and blended in the upper cheeks and chin with GW Elf Flesh. The lower lip was painted with Tanned Flesh and the eyes were picked out in white with the pupils in brown. I used a Humbrol acrylic 110 'Natural Wood' to give the soldier a five o'clock shadow.
As anyone who has seen some of my other entries will know, I sometimes despair about my basing skills. Some people produce bases for their model that are absolute works of art, but mine aren't. I don't know why that is, perhaps I just lose interest once the figure itself is done and dusted and happily accept any old rubbish at the time, only to regret it afterwards. Just recently, though, I came across grass tufts being sold for model makers on eBay. I ordered some green tufts and a few days later received a small box of them all laid out neatly on a backing sheet. These tufts can be peeled or plucked off the sheet (being a pudding fingers I opted to use tweezers) and stuck down in place. The ones I purchased have adhesive bases and stick down quite firmly without any additional glue. Though I think they are designed more to be used with 28mm figures and the like, once I had finished my figure (already glued to its base) I used these tufts to simulate a grassy field. Though rather bumpy looking, I think this works reasonably well and it certainly saves me pulling my hair out and beating myself up over another rubbish base. To finish the figure off I first undercoated the edge of the stand in enamel black and then painted it over with black acrylic.
I will leave the other figure I purchased, an English musketeer, for a later date as I'm going to try and make an effort to get several half-finished projects out of the way first.

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