Sunday, 9 May 2021

Swiss Pike and (sort of) Stradiots

It has been a bit of an odd week. First, two posts in one day; I am not sure if I can remember that ever happening before. Second, I have been cleaning up some Perry European Armies  metals for my Italian Wars, Battle of Fornovo 1495 project. There were some spectacularly difficult lumps of metal on some of the miniatures and I am not talking flash or run offs here, which are both a good thing. I am talking chunks of the mould missing that creates ungodly lumps on the miniatures that are extremely laborious not to mention dangerous to remove, that is, without taking a digit off! I know, I have come very close to suffering this fate before. Definitely chunks of mould missing. I bought quite a few packs when the EU codes were first released and compared to the packs that arrived sometime in December of last year there is s huge difference in the quality of the castings. I realise that I am treading on hallowed ground here.....

I did manage to get the eight Swiss from a former post matted down after a long wait for the Gloss varnish to go off.

Anyway, enough of my whinging. I chose an all metal Swiss Bike Block of a total of 64 miniatures per block. That's quite a few to clean up so I really ought to be happy that I managed to pull it off, but, there is always that nagging feeling that I have not done enough painting at the back of my mind. If you're interested in what I have decided, or not as the case may be, for the Livery colours of the Swiss at Fornovo then hop over to this blog post for a brief discussion HERE. I have mixed in some of the beautiful Steel Fist, Swiss Front Rankers, some with the variations supplied and some applied to Perry Plastic European Mercenaries bodies. no pics as they are awaiting to be cleaned up with a bit of soap and water as I had to use some ProCreate putty to fill in a few of the gaps. I'll photo them as they are painted.

I also managed to complete four horses for the Stradiot Light Cavalry with three more including their riders in various stages of painting and varnishing.

The horses have been speed painted (i.e. at least fast for me!) and are not of the same quality as my Early Byzantines but hey, I have to get this lot painted before I pop off this mortal coil and this really is the only way! :>) To give you some idea of the speed, all eight Swiss were completed in one sitting last Sunday so I'm not sure in terms of hours as I was not counting. next time I will take note of the painting times.

Very Glossy and Still very Tacky:

Nicely Matted Down:


  1. Those pike turned out well, for all the hassle you had to deal with.

    1. Thanks. They didn't take long at all to paint, just one sitting (not including varnishing which is always a good length of time between gloss and matt coats). Of course, cleaning the the bad castings was a royal nightmare.

  2. Very nice indeed. Roughly how many days between gloss/Matt? Keep getting white out on my test figures.
    Keep up the good work!!

    1. Thanks mystery man :>)

      I use Humbrol Enamel Gloss brush on so I leave the miniatures a week between gloss and matt to ensure the gloss is has 100% gone off. If not, then you can easily get an chemical interaction between the two types of varnish.

  3. sorry if it's detailed elsewhere - but could you detail the speed-painting of the horses with the gloss enamels?

    you thin them as a kind of wash? Do you wipe any paint off?


    1. Hi Mark, I don't use Gloss Enamels paint- it's just first coat of the varnish before I wait a week and then use a Matt varnish to finish. Id this what you mean?

      If so then here's a link to how I do my varnishing:

      If it is the speed painted horses you were asking about then there's an (old) step by step here- all done with acrylics-
      Part One:
      Part Two:
      Part Three:
      Seems to have gone missing!

      I suggest you try the search facility on my blog.

      I'll put together article on how I do them at some point in the future.

  4. in terms of your matt-varnishing - I see it's close to the Dallimore approach (in the book of his I have- somewhat out of date presumably - he talks of using a brush on heavy duty gloss first - although he makes it sound pretty arcane in terms of getting the consistency and 'effect' just so ...

    I use the W&N spray - could you articulate the difference between using that alone, and with the pre-gloss approach (btw - the particular brush-on Humbrol product doesn't seem to be available anymore)?

    1. Yes. I'm a bit hesitant to answer as i don't want to put the wind up you! The danger in using W&N (especially the sprays) over a none enamel glossed mini is that the matt can chemically interact with the some of the acrylic pigments beneath. This is something that I picked up on at Art College and comes with 71 years of history to back it up. (Acrylic paint being first used in the 1950's) It's not a major problem but paint can flake off due to it losing it's "tooth"

  5. I see - thank you.
    I've read also that a good gloss first-coat can improve the subsequent matt effect (due to smoothness of said gloss or something like that?).
    It's more that I wondered if the quality of the actual matt final finish is superior 'aesthetically' - you, and Dallimore, get such a 'velvety' matte...

  6. So....

    1/ Yes, the gloss does provide a flat surface for the matt to settle on but it's most important job, at least for me, is to protect the acrylic paint underneath.

    2/ As flat a matt as I can get thus the W&N Professional Varnish. It's simply the best stuff around by a royal mile :)

  7. couldn't agree more re: W&N stuff. Always puzzles me that in the 'usual' forum threads it's rarely mentioned.
    anyhow - thanks for the replies.

    1. No probs Marc. Happy to talk about painting any time :)


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