After a long while, I finally got my 6mm Dutch army completed for our long awaited War of Spanish Succession project, using the Sam Mustafa "Maurice" rules. Painting 6mm can be a challenge and I went back and forth with different methods to get a decent amount of detail, but not spend too much time. For the final batch of figs, I settled on a much faster method that got pretty good results.
My good buddy Rookie Wargamer is going to be fielding a Bavarian army and wanted to know what the "quick method" was - thus, this blog post.
I happened to take a few pictures while I was finishing these figs so I'll do my best to recreate the process but there are definitely a few stages missing.
Basically - over the last few months, I've been experimenting with light primers, or grey primers with a sloppy"wet brush" of basic higlights right over the primer, then successive thin washes of the main color. This lets the light primer/wet-brush highlights show through and provide the highlights. This really sped up the process of getting highlights on 6mm figs. Just slop on the color wash - no need to worry about picking out highlights on very small sculpts. After that, pick out the rest of the details on the model, but don't worry too much about being exact. I'll describe more about that mindset later.
Some of the stands were already spray primed white or grey, and for those stands that weren't, I just brush-primed some Vallejo primer on.
Here's a few sticks of strips with the various primed figs. You can see on the two grey strips on the left and right ends of the front stick that they have a little "wet brush" of an lighter off-white color to get some highlights. Obviously, this isn't necessary for the white prime figs.
Now comes the wash stage. Mixing the wash is a trial an effort thing - you'll know it when you get it right, so it's worth experimenting a bit because it will depend on what you're using for the mix as well as which paints (some have a heavier pigment). The consistency you're looking for is really really thin, almost soupy. If I had to guess, it's about a 70/30 ration of medium/color. I used a combination of Vallejo Glaze Medium and Vallejo Thinner Medium, with whatever paint color. Mostly Glaze Medium. Sometimes i'll add a drop or two of water as well.
Here's the front and back of strips that were hit with red and blue washes.
Usually it take two coats of the wash. You're looking for thin layers. Sometimes you'll only need one coat if your soup wash is heavy on pigment. Don't worry too much about pooling - just let it dry and see what it looks like after. Try not to overreact when you first apply the wash. It will look darker than you expect. Once it dries the highlights will show through.
Details: At 6mm, you don't need to be concerned about getting every strap, buckle, belt, or whatever on the model. You just want to give the "idea" of the major details. So pick out hands and faces (blobs of flesh is ok), cuffs are important, so blob on bits of color for the cuffs/facings, maybe the neck cloth, basic straps, gun stock, and hair. That's really it. It's a mindset to keep in mind - don't focus on painting each soldier because they're just too small. At 6mm, you're going for the "effect" of units. Once you get that mindset down, you can start cranking out units on the painting table.
Ok, back to the process - at this point, the figures look ok, but they can look a little flat. To get a richer shade, almost a black-line affect, I learned a trick from Le Coq Fou: apply a gloss varnish at this stage, then apply an ink shade. Once the gloss varnish cures, the glossyness will allow the ink shade to settle into all the cracks and crevices of the model and give you a nice dark shade. It leaves the lighter colors the same and doesn't tint the model. If you used a matte varnish (or no varnish), some of the shade/ink would remain on the rest of the figure which you can see below.
These pictures show stands with different ink techniques I was trying before settling on what I liked. From left to right: no ink; varnish with brown ink (Army Painter Strong Tone); varnish with blank ink (GW Nuln Oil); and brown ink with no varnish (you can see how it stained the figure, leaving a dirty look).
Same stick just flipped to the back.
I settled on the Nuln Oil for the rest of the units. Another important tip: don't get impatient with the varnish. Apply it, and let it cure for 24 hours otherwise the ink will seep through. Trust me, i tried to speed it up and it didn't work. I used GW 'ardcoat Gloss Varnish and brushed it on, but that got a little tedious. I think in the future I will buy a can of Testor's Gloss Varnish and just spray it on. However, since the whether was poor when I was working on these the brush varnish allowed me to continue without having to wait for good outdoor spray weather. Humidity is your enemy with aerosol spray - anything lower than 70% is fine.
Obviously hat and hat lace is important for units in the Age of Marborough, so spend a little time on the hat lace.
Final shots of the completed infantry, artillery, and command units.
The last batch was cavalry...lots of cavalry...
And here's the entire Dutch army complete. I will need to buy a few English units to sprinkle in as Marlborough was in command of most of the Grand Alliance armies and the Dutch rarely fought by themselves. This army is roughly 200 points in Maurice (I think).