Saturday, 17 January 2009

Perry Armenian Spearmen Conversions

It is not often these days that I feel the need to get my hacksaw out, especially when dealing with the figures produced by companies such as Perry Miniatures. But when I looked at their Armenians I had the sneaking suspicion they had been added to the range as something of an afterthought. Granted, each figure in each pack of six is equipped or dressed slightly differently, but they are all in the same pose - spear held overarm and somewhat 'level'; the nearest figure on each stand in the following two shot shows this pose.

So out came the hacksaw and several arms were removed at the shoulder, repositioned and super glued into a new position, gently filed, the wound dressed with Araldite, drilled and pinned with Araldite coated wire, and any remaining holes and gaps finished off with Milliput. Some figures only needed the arm bent to a new position, several were also drilled for a second spear to be held in the 'shield hand', and out came the bag of weapons (swords) for an even greater mix. The results can be seen below.

I think the results give a much more 'active' looking unit - something a bit different. All in all I converted half of the 40 figures in an afternoon - and breathed a sigh of relief when they were completed. You never quite know what you'll get when the hacksaw comes out!


Richard Lockwood said...

Hi James
These look very good. I am currently building a 1st crusade army using mainly Perry's so have been watching your project with interest!
Your painting technique is very striking - a high contrast layering. Could you say more about the palettes and colour combinations that you use to get this impressive effect?


Hi Richard,

Only that I use Humbrol enamels on black undercoat. Undercoat, base coat, highlight, 2nd highlight. Other than that, its a matter of knowing how the enamels mix together (which is largely common sense / trial and error) and never trying to be too subtle - go big and bold!

Richard Lockwood said...

Big and bold eh? I shall have to have a go! I'd love to see your Crusades game in the flesh - did I see somewhere in your blog you say you were planning to take it to a show this year?


Yes, Sheffield Triples.

As it happens I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to play the game on either Saturday or Sunday or both (we are going to be a bit short handed this year). It would involve a commitment to the day's play (but we take plenty of breaks to look round the show - go shopping - catch up with people etc.), and we (Ilkley Lads) would field the punters questions etc.


Hussar said...

Hi James,

I received a delivery failure notice on all previous attempts at e-mailing this.
Hopefully this works a bit better.

You have asked for feedback on the rules published in Miniature
Wargames. The lack of observable response via the web has been a bit
surprising to me. I managed to (finally) obtain a copy of the magazine
with the pull out section for Ager Sanguinis, and having looked the
rules over, will now offer my comments.

I can sum up pretty simply. A brilliant effort all around! The spirit
of FOB is clearly intact but equally clearly, some "regular Piquet" is
added back where it makes sense to do so.

The rules are great. The figures are brilliantly painted. The terrain
is evocative. Truly what more needs saying. Bravo sir!

On another subject, I wrote you some while ago, about your painting
style and materials selection. You kindly responded, recommending
Humbrol enamels. I have since located a couple web based retailers
that seem to carry the complete range. The problem is , I live in
North East North Dakota, about as far inland, and away from anyplace
else you can get in the USA. The upshot is, I don't have the option of
looking at paint displays and picking my "triads" personally.

Can you assist me by recommending three colors for each of the following?:

A yellow brown

A red brown

A buff color







I suppose a basic selection would allow for mixing the shades and
tones required but as you know, mixing colors really slows down the
whole process.

Back to Ager Sanguinis. Though my finances will simply not allow a
project anywhere near the scope of yours, I'm sorely tempted to put
together something,even if it means using 15mm figs.

Wonderful, inspiring work.

Thank you,



Hi Hussar,

Thank you, sir, for your kind comments about AS.

OK. I use spray acrylic matt black for undercoats

Base enamel colours first.

White 34

Black 33

Red 154 & 60 (60 is the 'brighter') use yellow to lighten, black to darken.

Blue 24 (true blue - add 33 for dark) 109 (very nice light blue you can't mix from 24).

Green 88 (dark bright green) 75 (dark dull green) use yellow or white to lighten.

Yellow 154 and 24 (24 is brighter, 154 covers better - I generally use 73 to mix up 1st coats, sometimes with a bit of 33 aswell for deep mustards)

Browns - OK - if you get the following (what I use) you'll have no end of fun -
73 Red brown (great colour - I use bags of it, sometimes for red base coat)
62 Light brown (light leather base coat, dark leather highlight - good start for buff)
63 Sand (Highlight for above, 1st mixed with 62, 2nd neat)
186 (best described as wargamers tree trunk brown - I've started using a lot of this instead of mixing up a similar colour, add black for dark leather base coat.)

I also reccomend that you try

61 Flesh - good colour this

72 Mucky off white colour - (I've started using this as a base coat for unbleached linen etc., mixed with white for 1st H, white and a bit of 72 for 2nd H - I first used it in Nov 08 when painting up some WW1 for a client and had to use it up - I like it a lot)

103 A brighter version of mucky white.

For metals (you can't varnish over metals - it runs, but I never varnish anyway - enamels are as tough as old boots). Warning, metals go off in the tin quicker than any other paint if you get white spirit in it.

56 Aluminium (great metal colour this one - I use it as a base colour for all of my steal - sometimes with a bit of 33)

11 Silver (another good smooth paint - very bright and shiny for highlights - you can mix it with 16 for gold highlights)

16 Gold (not as good as 56 and 11, but using black and 11 I use it for all yellow metals - I tend to stay clear of the other enamel yellow metal colours.

Painting tips:

Never shake your tins or mix with a stick. Take the gunk form the bottom of the tin with your brush and use the tins paint thinner only for mixing - surprisingly, you don't waste paint this way and it does not dry in the tin as quickly.

Use white spirit to clean your brushes and thin paint. I go through brushes like crazy (because of commercial work) but if you are not painting lots and lots, and in short sittings, after cleaning brushes in white spirit dry off and wash with hair conditioner / conditioning shampoo and water. Your brushes will last twice as long.

Get a piece of glass or flat shiny bathroom tile to mix your paint on. When you finish a colour scrape it onto kitchen roll with a blade and clean off with white spirit. I've been using the same piece of plate bevell edged glass over white paper for four years now - I like a big pallet when painting quickly and lots because you can time your colours to use whats already there - e.g. base coats - I want red so do a red mixed with black base coat - there is dark red on the pallet so use it up doing some dark yellow base coat by adding 154 / 24 etc. etc.

If you need any more advice don't hesitate to ask - but it might not be this full - I type slow!


Hussar said...

Thanks very much James! Actually more info than I was anticipating. This will prove very useful as I begin experimenting with enamels.

I'm already looking forward to following your progress with the Napoleonic miniatures but certainly hope we'll continue to see your Crusades collection for some time to come.


Hussar said...

Hi James,

You've stated the use of black primer for your figure painting. Unlike many of the proponents of the "Dallimore School", you seem to leave little evidence of the undercoat (i.e. "the black line") visable on your completed work. So at the risk of sounding daft, why do you choose black primer instead some other color?



Hi Ron,

Three reasons I suppose.

The first is habbit. I feel that everything needs a grease free sealing undercoat to which to 'stick' the paint. Plus I buy undercoat in bulk (6 - 12 tins at a time) so I only ever want to fork out for one colour.

The second is that undercoat affects (slightly) the finished colour of the base coat, which is rarely a uniform colour when applied (it can be a bit 'patchy'), and the result is what I'm used to. White for instance, would lighten the effect of the base coat and throw off my thought process as to pallet.

The third reason, is I think, why black undercoat became a 'standard' in the first place. If you use a light undercoat for dark figures you have to paint absolutely everything - you can't miss a spot - because if you do the light spot glares out like a sore thumb - if you miss a deep crease or a bit you just can't get a brush to, for example, with black undercoat it just 'merges' in.