Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dad's Army WIP Part 1

This is my first work in progress post for the Dad's Army project. My plan is to take the pictures and post them next day, so what you are seeing are yesterday's photos.
Today's post is fairly straight forward prep stuff - filing, gluing & undercoating.
Next post will give you the stuff most of us are interested in when looking at a painting post - "What colours do you use?"

I am starting out with two blisters of rank and file Home Guard to "get my eye in".
The figures themselves don't need a lot of tidying-up, the casts are quite clean. A minor bit of filing on the bases, and a very gentle flex of the pewter to make sure they can all stand up on their own. There is a wee bit of clipping on two of the figures which have separate rifles with hand attached.

These are the basic tools I use for getting metal figures ready: a set of various shaped files; some clippers; and an old craft knife.

These two figures are carrying their rifles in their left hands. The rifles have the left hand cast on and just need a bit of superglue to affix them. They will be left to cure and undercoated the following day.
Nowadays I undercoat all my figures with the excellent Background range of paints from Derivan Matisse. Previously I used their Pale Grey, but now I prefer the slightly darker green-grey of Gum Tree Green (they are an Aussie paint manufacturer). The Background paints are designed for sealing artists canvases or boards prior to painting, and so not only give a great seal over the figure, but also a good "tooth" on which to apply paint. I am not a fan of black undercoat, it does stuff to colours laid over it in my opinion, and I think white a bit too stark - I favour a neutral starting point, not too dark, not too light. The brush I use to undercoat with at the moment is an inexpensive No.10 synthetic round. Undercoating brushes get worked pretty hard, so I don't advise using your best sable :-)

After giving the undercoat a thorough shake I get some paint from the inside of the lid and lay it on my disposable waxy paper palette, and start undercoating. Sometimes little patches get missed in the undercoating stage, that is where washes and lining in come into their own in the latter stages.
I picked up the pad of disposable palette paper from an art shop, it has been really useful.

The figures are stuck down with Blu-Tack onto empty pill bottles or similar - my favoured ones were some sort of yoghurt drink. The bottles have some rocks in them to prevent them from toppling like dominoes :-)
Undercoat/Sealer & undercoating brush. Undercoat is dispensed onto the disposable paper palette.

Here are the figures with their undercoat on - first two rows,  figures in the back are part of my slow burn Anglo-Saxon project. The two figures on the left are waiting for the super-glue to cure. Rest of the blister packs have been organised into separate clip-seal bags.

Stay tuned for the next post where you will find out what my base or blocking colours are :-)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Rodger, hopefully a useful list of colours for you tomorrow :-)

  2. Ahh, so that's how you start...

    1. Interesting about the undercoat.

    2. Yep, that's my basic method :-)
      That undercoat I use is really good on 20mm plastic figures too.

  3. So organized. Nice prepping John! Happy painting. :)

    1. Thanks T! :-)
      Not as organised as some folk, but I only have a small working area so have to keep things in reasonable order.

  4. Is Derivan Matisse Background essentially just a coloured gesso? And do you use different colours for different types or has the gumtree green become your default for all?
    Really looking forward to how these turn out.

    1. Hi Andy.
      In essence, yes it is a gesso, but I'm not sure how it's formulation compares with other brands like Vallejo.
      Yes, this has become my default colour - gives me a neutral ground to work from.


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