I got my Strelet's Finnish infantry 'test' figures completed this afternoon. Accepting the fact that the Strelets Finns - as I have said several times - are horrendous figures the best I could hope here was some interesting painting experiments. So let's see how they turned out...
As far as the painting went I was quite pleased with how it all turned out. I got some stuff right and some stuff wrong, but came across a few nice techniques that worked for me.
I found painting a realistic light grey tunic a bit of a challenge, if you're not careful wash effects can end up looking 'dirty' on the light coloured clothing (or at least that's what I found).
I think the officer turned out the most subtle of my wash effects. Light grey base with a mid-grey wash over it to bring out the creases in the material and then some dark grey in the deep folds and seams. I finished this all off with some near-white highlights at the edges of the cloth.
I used this same format for the dark grey trousers. But I did find that I went back a couple of times, re-washing certain areas until I was happy with the effect.
The deformed features and details of these figures did make it a little difficult at times and he end effect turned out a little messy because of it. It's a bit of a shame as occasionally there was a glimpse of what could have been if Strelets had taken some care in the sculpting, the kneeling rifleman was my favourite figure in the whole set...
One of the positive effects I discovered with these test figures was the use of artists' inks for shading. I picked up a cheap set of eight primary colours from Amazon and they really lifted my flat washes, particularly the flesh tones.
My favourite ink was the Sienna, a warm red-yellow, which I used around the edges of the faces and between folds of skin, joints and fingers. But the other colour came in useful too to give a rich and vivid highlight to other areas. Black ink gave a nice glossy sheen to the boots.
I guess the final learning exercise was the textured base. Not too difficult really as you can paint the base colours as messy as you like, then give it a lighter dry brush, as long as it's an earthy colour. The mossy flocking I stuck on with PVA and the few small stones did all the work really.
Overall, as I said, I'm quite pleased and do think that with better quality figures the end result will be reasonably good for a beginner. I guess the real test will be with my Pegasus converted Finns, but certainly this test exercise was really useful.