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Wargames figures- the six colour challenge

Despite being in my fifth decade I still love my toy soldiers. Any casual reader may have guessed that from this blog but what exactly is there to “love” about miniatures? As a boy you had the colour and noise of imaginary battles. As an adult the gamer has tomes of leaden rules and measurements to the millimetre. The one element I think a lot of people miss in our hobby is the humour in the miniatures. The title image of veteran Timpo wild-west figures makes my point admirably. It’s not the figures themselves that make memories but the whole mix of history, play, imagination and social interaction. To this end I thought I might try a quick painting challenge to get our miniature armies into action. Six colours maximum and super fine details omitted. I didn’t go the whole Timpo route with skin the same colour as the weapons but see what you think?

Firstly, the inspiration. I have in my collection, Normans with green horses straight from the Bayeau Tapestry, and legionaries in green and blue from the Asterix series. With tongue firmly in cheek I decided to look at the rather cute Indian carvings for inspiration ( if your important other was wondering!) The Terracotta Army was the feeling I wanted, a limited pallette of colours, with nothing too garish.

The above image was the more realistic depiction and this decided me on oranges and browns to dominate the scheme.

The miniatures were Old Glory- thirty Indian spearmen. I hate drilling the hands of these minis. I must have spent two hours cleaning up the castings but they are quality sculpts, true 25mm. I undercoated them with rattle cans, Army Painter skeleton bone. The great weather helped but timing my visits to the garage to avoid nosey neighbours took great skill.

Sunday evening, the first day, had the miniatures cleaned up and undercoated. Monday morning started with Agrax Earthshade by Citadel. This stuff is legendary and not without reason. If you are short of time, this wash gives you fast results but it can get messy.

By Monday evening, I’d got two more one hour sessions in. The metal bit were painted with oily steel ( Vallejo 70865), the spear shafts ( Foundry Boneyard light) and a trouser highlight of GW squige Orange. All I did on Tuesday was to colour straps in Mournfang Brown and paint belts/ headscarves with GW Averland sunset. Shields were painted on the front only with Vallejo cork brown. Three days after starting and they were stuck on their Wargames bases with Bostik.

Those who can remember my 15mm Aryan Indians may recall that I left them with dyed red hair. The competition was next day and they still have dyed hair to this day. I did restrain myself from the historical green hair they sometimes sported.By Wednesday I had six units and thirty miniatures coloured. Null oil hair wash took me to seven paint pots opened but they were done. 

They may not win any prizes but I think they are perfectly serviceable. We shall see if I can stick to just six for my Late Romans. I’m starting them on Monday and hope to be finished by Friday- we shall see! After that it’s the Tercios of Spain and that will be a challenge.


  1. Ann

    Yep, they are indeed perfectly serviceable, I agree, though I’m sure they miss their lovely, dyed hair that made them the envy of their fellows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mark,
      With your planning skills you’d be a natural! I have to admit I do think the system only really lends itself to certain armies. It would be a tragedy to paint medieval knights or Aztecs in a limited colour range. Orcs, Indians and early modern conscripts are fine!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Brilliant job Mike, they turned out really well and I’m with you on the Agrax Earthshade ,it and Nuln oil are so good, and have made life a hell of a lot easier since IRO put me onto it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger that Pat- thanks very much!
      Those washes are amazing- I first came across them doing tanks and they don’t need a lot else if you are going for speed. I prefer the washes the newer contrast paints. I’ve just been watching Tabletop Minions on YouTube and he has given a whole list of Contrast paints that really are good so I’m down to the newly opened store tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job, look great with so few paints. I can’t wait to see you do the Tericos as that does appear to be a challenge. Now does appear to be a good time to reduce the pile of unpainted figures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much. I’m a bugger for jumping between eras and scales. I do admire those who can put all their energies in a single direction but it just doesn’t work like that with me. I have stuck to my plan to get whole Wargames armies finished though. I can start playing the English and American civil wars skirmishes and the reorganisation of the Italian wars is going well.
      One of the reasons I like the Renaissance Spanish is that they look quite sombre in comparison to their Landskneckt, Swiss or Aztec adversaries.
      Hopefully another month of abstaining from metal purchases but we shall see! Do you work to a budget or is that ungentlemanly?
      All the very best


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