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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Painting Footsore Arabs

Reader alert...today's post is a bit wordy.  I’m sharing how I painted my Mutatawwi’a warband hoping it might help someone get their their figures on the table.  I like lots of options for each faction I paint and play in SAGA and these Mutts muster out at 2 warlords, 8 Naffatun, 32 warriors and 16 hearthguard.

Below are the Footsore Miniatures Arab packs I used for the Mutts:

12 Arab Heavy Infantry = 3 points of foot Hearthguard.
12 Arab Heavy Cavalry = 3 points of mounted Hearthguard.  Foot Hearthguard are versatile but I also love the speed of mounted troops. That means I paint up both.
32 Arab Infantry with Swords & Spears = 4 points of warriors.
8 Naffatun. 4 = 1 point of Dogs of War Naffatun.  Naffatun are indispensable with Mutts because they dish out fatigue easily while the battleboard allows you to shed your fatigue easily.  You can only field 4 Naffatun in an Arab warband but I bought 8 so I could paint 2 sets, one in black and one in color.   

The detail on the figures is exquisite and there is LOTS of variety in the poses.  I adore the character sculpted into each face.  After a suitable period of admiration, sort and prep your figures for basing. Scrape off any bits of flash or lines with an X-Acto knife or small file.  Lucky for us, there’s very little cleanup needed on Footsore figures because they’re superbly cast.  

I use Renedra’s 25mm plastic rounds for basing and attach figures using a hot glue gun. It’s fast, easy and adheres perfectly.  I use FireForge Games plastic spears but metal spears work even better.  Most hands are predrilled but for the few that aren’t, a twist of a pin drill and you’re done.

For flocking, I use a mix of Woodland Scenic’s fine, medium and large ballast (1/3 each).  Apply a coat of white glue (PVC) to the base and dip it into the ballast.  If you miss any bits, put down a spot of glue and dip again.  Once the ballast dries completely, apply a wash of 70% water, 30% white glue.  When it dries, this wash locks up the ballast for good.
Once the ballast is dry, it’s time to prime.  

I use Army Painter’s Leather Brown for most Dark Ages priming including the mounted Moors below.  If you leave it intact on the spears, shoes and the back of the shields, it saves some brushwork. I use black for Hearthguard so I can easily drybrush chainmail and metal.  I use grey for the warriors for a neutral base for painting white robes.

My warrior paint scheme is white uniforms .  Shields, turbans and sashes are done in bright colors.  There are many ways to paint white and this one is a bit more work than it has to be. You can prime white and wash for shadows.  You can paint white neatly over a grey primer or light grey base coat, leaving grey in the folds for shadows.   I use a Vallejo Khaki to Sand Yellow to White transition.  Khaki lightened with some white is my base color.  Vallejo Sand Yellow goes on next.  Leave Khaki intact in the folds for shadows.  Work in batches of 8 or more figures for efficiency.

Vallejo Oily Steel goes on all metal bits and is washed with P3 Armor wash. German Camo Black Brown goes on the back of the shields and skin.  White is liberally applied over Sand Yellow.  It’s a bit ragged but remember, gaming distance is 3 feet!

Saturated color alert! A dark base color is applied to sashes and turbans for the highlight color to pop against.  Vallejo Dark Prusia Blue is the base for Deep Sky Blue highlights, Magenta for Squid Pink highlight, and Black Red for Carmine highlights.  If you don’t have these colors, no worries, find a dark and light combo that works for you.    

The highlight color is carefully applied to the turbans and sashes, leaving the base color intact in folds for shadows.  Shields are painted with simple geometric shapes using a pallet of black, white, red and yellow.  Repeating color themes and a tight palette help give a warband visual unity.  Skin is painted last to avoid the trial that comes from getting stray paint on painted flesh.  Foundry Flesh 5A is the base, then a flesh wash, followed by Flesh 5B for a highlight.  Spears are Vallejo Iraqi Sand.


Script on the shields is a done with a Black Micron pen or a 000 paintbrush.  I tried copying Arabic script and decided squiggles work better for me.  I add grass tufts to the bases for visual interest and finish with a protective coat of spray-on Matte sealer.  
That’s it in 19 easy steps, more or less!  I still need to paint a linen banner, a troubadour and the mounted Hearthguard to finish the warband.  These Footsore Mutts are my second Mutt warband.  My first (below) was painted in all black, which is another option you might consider. When you paint your Footsore warband, remember, it’s your lead and your brush.  Have fun bringing your vision to life!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spanish for SAGA

Cry Santiago and let slip the javelins of war! My Spanish warband for SAGA is done.  Mustering across the table are 2 warlords, 12 Caballeros, 32 Jinetes and 10 footmen.  The warband is made up of El Cid Crusader Miniatures with some Gripping Beast Arabs for an "Andalusia mercenaries" look.

My prior Spanish warband was Gripping Beast Normans painted in a yellow and red color theme. I much prefer these Crusader Miniatures. If you're going to paint Spanish, do have a look at Crusader!   I  used Stronghold Terrain's metal bases with rare earth magnets.  Love 'em, they really hold fast to the bottom of my transport boxes!




The Spanish will travel to Chicago for the US SAGA Grand Melee in March.  I'm going to pair them with my buddy John R's Milites Christi in the Doubles Tournament.  The Spanish are not good at melee and in a melee game, that makes them tricky to run. The Milites will be the hammer while my Spanish will annoy and trip up opponents with out-of-turn activations via Iberia. Hammer and rapier, it should be a fun combination!

The last pic is the start of my display board.  My crackle-board experiment was a spectacular failure. It turns out you can apply crackle paste too thickly and it took a week for my board to finish crackling.   I applied Liquitex Matte Medium liberally over the crackle to seal it. I put it on too thickly and after it set, it became a mess.  I couldn't save it with sanding and cutting so I binned the whole thing.  No worries, Plan B is under way.

With the Spanish complete, its time for another project.  Frostgrave is catching on with some of our SAGA players so I've also started a Frostgrave warband using the new North Star Barbarian plastics and metals.  They're lovely figures as always but a lot of work for this historical painter to paint up!




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Footsore USA is open!

Attention US Saga-mites!  Footsore Miniatures USA is open and taking orders.  Bill Thornhill oversees the Ohio location that manufactures & ships to US customers. If you haven't tried Footsore, give them a go. When you do, you'll discover top-shelf figures that are among the best in the market.

Footsore is just the ticket for the new warbands in the SAGA supplement Aetius & Arthur. They've got Goths, Early Saxons, Irish, Late Roman, Romano-British and Early Byzantines. Picts will be released as well and I'll  order them as soon as they go up. In the meantime, I'm painting a new Mutataww'ia warband using Footsore's Saracen figures. More on that to come...


I'm currently making a display board using Golden Gel Mediums Crackle paste. If all goes well, this will be the Spanish display board for the US Grand Melee.   Here's hoping it looks like a dried riverbed or salt flat when it's done.  So far, it is crackly!  

Last up, I finished a new warlord for my Moors.  I like to paint up multiple warlords for each of my warbands.  Much like Lincoln and the Union army, I'll swap out leaders until I find a winner.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.


I was less happy about his first time on the table.  The poor bugger went down to a swarm of  Milites Christi knights. If he keeps it up, he'll get the hook just like McClellan.  And Hooker.  And Pope. Feeling #Kindofblue.