This book represents a foot into the dark art of figure painting for me. Whilst I don’t wargame myself I do admire the skills wargamers display in their painting techniques and I do subscribe to many wargaming channels and pages on social media in the search to pick up tips that I can transfer to my scale modelling.
Despite this though I always shy away from including figures into my builds as I don’t feel I am able to do them justice. With this book and the scale’s it covers I thought this would give me a knowledge base and basic skill set to improve upon over time that should transfer over to my predominately 72nd scale work and I may well be able to include some of these figures included with kits for a change rather than throwing them into the spares box!
Each section of the book is concise and to the point, the aim being to give the modeller confidence to master the basics and build up from this. It’s pointed out the book is not intended to get you to build masterpieces, just some achievable results in good time that will hopefully prevent us from becoming disheartened with our work. So the Author does not spend page after page trying to explain the nuances of brush work but instead gives solid practical advise that you are encouraged to work with.
The book begins by covering the very basics, with a description of the most common materials wargaming figures are made from and the tools you will require to begin to build and paint small scale figures and how to look after them. It also describes the basic techniques you will be using such as dry brushing which will be familiar to many scale modellers but also washing and glazing and varnishing, these are techniques that many people are using in the scale modelling world also, so should probably be somewhat familiar to most. All good so far and nothing is sounding particularly intimidating!
Then we move on to construction techniques and poses for multipart figures. This section does a great job of highlighting the importance of prep and methodical working without making it obvious they are doing so, something I liked as it in no way felt like the author was talking down to their audience.
Now the book moves on to Part 2, which is the painting guides themselves. This is split into 4 main sections. Painting British and Commonwealth Soldiers, the Italian army, the U.S. Army and the German army. There are also sections on painting Camo uniforms and basing of figures.
Each of the 4 forces are looked at with a step by step guide listing the colours and techniques used to produce the results shown in the full colour photographs. Starting from the base coat or primer all the way through to the finished article. Along the way there are 3 skill levels to work to, Conscript with is the most basic level of finish, Regular which uses more techniques to result in an improved finish and finally what the author describes as Elite level, which whilst it may sound intimidating in title, it is really just another step up and is not in anyway saying this could not be further improved upon.
I found the colour charts and the step by steps in the painting guides to be well laid out and easy to follow and thought the accompanying photographs were detailed enough to see the effect the author is aiming for you to pick up even though the figures being built are obviously small scale.
The camouflage section follows the same format as each of the forces painting guides and even though the basing section is a little more basic than the painting guides, it has to be remembered that this is aimed at wargaming figures not diorama pieces and although the skills will transfer you would want to build on these.
Over all I found the book to be a great introduction to figure painting which as a novice to the genre will hopefully allow me to produce a good basic figure which I can then work on extra detailing, shading and other effects as my skill sets and confidence grow!