Painting Britons, part 2

Partially finished Celts

Roman uniformity makes the assembly-line painting process easy, and I generally paint ten at a time (a Century in the new scale I’ve been working on) and they come out pretty quickly. I tried that with the Celts and it took two weeks to finish them all. Not very assembly-line. So, I applied an old trick I figured out when I was painting Confederate infantry years back (funny how analogous Romans v. Celts is to Yankees v. Rebels…?).

For purposes of clarity I will define what I mean by “assembly-line” here: painting figures in such a manner that whenever you open a color, you apply that color to all the figures down the line, and that color is usually always in the same place on each figure (sort of paint by numbers). Example: Roman chainmail is gun-metal silver; their shields base dark red, bright red highlights; helmets are bronze, etc. Celts aren’t uniform enough to do this. In fact it is their individuality that makes them look like a Celtic army. What I had to figure out what that just because a mob looks diverse, you can select out any dozen people that are probably wearing the same jacket and pants color. That’s how I do the Celts.

I pull out a small number, say five figures, and I mix their types: two heavy infantry, two light infantry, and a skirmisher (or two). These figures all get the same two colors for pants and shirt, but I switch that up as I go down the line (blue pants here, blue shirt there). Then, when I go back to do the plaid designs, I don’t need to keep swapping colors every time I come to a different base color. The plaids go faster, so the assembly-line begins to work.

Finished Celtic Warriors

The next step along these lines was doing the same thing for the shields. I selected a base color for all the shields in the little group, yellow is in the example to the right. I broke up the pattern into quartered and halved shields, using black in this example, then did the reverse pattern in the yellow. For the chief I used a red swirl pattern to make him even more unique. I also did his plaid in red over blue (not sure if the pic shows this) to single him out a bit more. Contrarily, for the skirmishers, less is more, and I don’t always even do a plaid pattern on them (since they are the poorest members of Celtic society). You can see that the blue-on-blue plaid was much easier, because I was able to get into a rhythm by doing the same design more than once. Also, something else, on an aesthetic note: I used to do a single line grid for plaid, but that was not terribly satisfying, now I use a double-line (clearly shown in the blue plaid I think), that isn’t much harder to apply, and looks much better overall.

The final step when deploying your army of Celts it to make sure too many of the same figs from one assembly line do not deploy next to their brothers.

Celtic Warband, no two figs painted the same, at least not standing next to each other...

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