As predicted, most of the remaining work on my Guardsman figure was done over a couple of evenings, though I did leave the most detailed work until yesterday as I needed much better light. Sure enough, nature delivered the goods again, supplying another fine sunny day for the first day of spring. Just the ticket.
The largest job was finishing off the soldier's trousers and painting in the thin red stripe up each leg. I thought this might be tricky, but actually it took much less effort than I thought it would. I had undercoated the legs in Humbrol 104 (Oxford Blue) enamel and left the figure overnight. The next day I again pencilled in the lines where the stripes would go and once I was satisfied I cut some masking tape into thin strips and outlined the stripe down the leg and so stencilled in first a white line before overpainting in red, the white line making the red much brighter than it would be over blue. The rest of the trousers were then painted with a 2 to 1 mix of the same Humbrol 104 (albeit acrylic this time) and Humbrol 33 (matt black). Taking a biggish brush, I then painted the colour on very liberally, finally finishing off around the stripes with a finer brush. I'm still not sure the blue is truly dark enough, but I'm happy with the result.
Having glued the figure to the base after finishing the trousers I let it dry overnight and yesterday I painted the bayonet sheath and the epaulettes. These had already been undercoated in enamel and I did most of the painting whilst they were still on the sprue. The bayonet sheath was a doddle, a white top coat with added gold enamel details and some of the Vallejo Grey Wash to shade, and it was done and soon stuck in place. The epaulettes, though took a little longer. First I roughly painted the white piping on the edges then carefully painted the same dark blue mix that I had used for the trousers (I had by this time also used the same colour on the cuffs and collar). I find that the easiest way to paint piping is to paint the piping colour on first then carefully pare it back with the main colour; it is much easier than trying to paint a uniform thin straight line.
Then came the garter, crown and cypher motif on the epaulettes and this was the trickiest part as even with my biggest magnification goggle lenses on, I was attempting to paint a reasonable amount of detail in a very, very small space, first painting in a solid white form before detailing it in blue. As it was all very fiddly I decided to take an 'expressionist' attitude to my painting of these; I'm not knackering my eyesight or fraying my nerves any more than I have to. There was a slight problem when I fitted the epaulettes to the shoulders as they stood rather pround of the shoulder at the arm end and I mused that it would have been much easier if I had fitted them in place at the start of the build – a lesson for the future. Anyhow, a little Plasto and some fine sanding an hour later sorted the problem out and after touching up the paint and applying a coat of Army Painter Anti-Shine to the clothing parts, the model was finished.
All in all it has been a very satisfying and fun build, ending with a good display piece. ICM have produced a kit that for the most part fits together extremely well, requires little work and is (so far as I can tell) very accurately modelled, kudos to them. Though in a perfect world I would have preferred a more animated figure, marching perhaps, the formality of the pose is perfectly in keeping with the subject matter, so I have no major issues with that and it was nice to paint a 'clean' figure which I did not then need to weather excessively. A bit of British army 'bull' instead of battlefield grime made for a pleasant change of pace and I'm now looking forward to tackling the other formal figures in this series.