We recently took a look at what Tom and Don from Alba Studios were up to in their workshop in Aberdeen. Tom has kindly dropped us a line with a neat way to get your army units up and running to a great standard in the time it takes to watch a good film!
Tom: This is a quick guide to show how little time it can take to get figures to a decent tabletop standard. There is some small detailing not mentioned such as the Molotov etc. but this covers the vast majority of the work. Drying time is not included and the colours are only suggestions – use what YOU want, Vallejo have a colour equivalence chart for other brands.
I often use an airbrush to spray the base coat and always spray the varnish to give a smooth coat but this is not essential as there are good aerosol varnishes and often a brush can make a good job.
After building and priming the figures I applied black ballast to their bases using PVA glue. Any sand would do but I find black ballast only needs Drybrushing to finsh it off, so it’s quick and easy.
23 minutes later, all the figures have had a base coat of Vallejo 886 Grey Green then inked with a blend of green and black ink, with a light drybrush of the Green Grey mixed with a tiny amount of off white or ivory.
Here they are at 63 minutes with their webbing painted Vallejo 882 German Cam Black Brown. Helmets and gas mask cases are 975 Military Green, with bread bags and Assault Rifle ammunition pouches in 988 Khaki. Their boots and water bottles are 872 Chocolate Brown
88 minutes in and the figures have Vallejo 920 German Green used for gaiters and Zeltbahn rolls. The wooden parts of rifles are painted using 983 Flat Earth, 981 Orange Brown is used for the wood on the assault rifles as I like the contrast. All the metal parts are 995 German Grey.
Here they are after a total of 90 minutes painting time and a couple of hours drying time. The figures get a dunk in my own recipe of dip. I’ve experimented to a point where I feel it’s quicker drying that other commercial types and is quite thin. Even though it is quite quick to dry it is best to leave the figures overnight to ensure it is dry. I find that the colours never seem right to me until they have been sprayed with matt varnish so I ignore how they look and press on with the faces and hands.
Now just shy of 2 hours from the first photo the actual figures are finished. I painted the faces and hands using 845 Sunny Flesh and then toned this down with the excellent Game Colour Flesh Wash 204. To accentuate the highlights of the nose, cheeks and knuckles etc. I follow this with a light drybrush of the Sunny Flesh. The helmet straps get a quick coat of German Grey and the cap badges get a dot of off white.
Before I finish the paint job by spraying the figures with a couple of light coats of matt varnish I check for any blemishes or oversights, in this case I forgot to paint the weapons slings but that is easily fixed.
The paint job took a total of 130 minutes, excluding drying time. I will finish off with some Drybrushing of the base and then adding static grass. Here at Alba Studio we have a “Heath Robinson” device to make the static grass stand up but flock and self-adhesive tufts work as well.
We’ll no doubt be hearing more from Tom, and hopefully Don with a tank he’s working on, soon. In the meantime get out your brush and glue and have a crack yourself with our excellent ranges of interchangeable kits such as the German Grenadiers, Fallshirmjӓger, and Blitzkrieg plastic sets: