Monday, June 23, 2014

Welcome; adventures in paint mixing and figure progress.

First off let's welcome a few new followers to the blog:

Jason has several links in his profile. The one that comes closest to a blog is J's Notes.

Wargames News and Terrain of the eponymous Wargames, News and Terrain. I've been a follower of his blog for some time and it has all the latest news on figure and rules releases, as well as some pretty good terrain tutorials. Check it out.

Austronaught of Attempted Gamer, the top post right now shows some pretty cool planets made for Battlefleet Gothic.

David, who has no blog listed in his Friend Connect. If you have one let me know and I'll link to it.

On to the paint mixing!

First off just let me say, this is a royal pain in the ass. Following the Nordalia guide has proven difficult as some of the shades are out of production and stock of even current colors is variable. I have been to five different stores in my area and still could not come up with a couple of the colors. It appears that some may still be available online, but I wanted to get started so I ended up trying to buy the next closest equivalent. In some cases there really wasn't one so I just chose a color. My methodology for this was to use a color picker program. ColorZilla works well but only in your browser. Color Finder from sourceforge is the one I ended up using the most. If you click, hold and drag it gets the color from wherever your cursor is. You can also input the RGB or hex value and it will show you the color. At my leisure I will go through the paints I have and try to determine their numeric values. These are of course approximations of the actual paint color, theres only so much you can do on the web or in a graphics program.

My first mix was to make 830 German Fieldgray. I had all the colors, no problem there, but my method of measuring and mixing turned out to be problematic. I measured out the parts as mL in an old antibiotic dosing syringe and the paint is hard to draw up hard to pour down into it and just generally frustrating. For this color I put the paints directly into the dropper bottle, big mistake. No matter how long or hard I shook it the paint did not fully mix. I ended up having to dump it out and mix it in a separate container, then put it back in the bottle. I ended up with this.

Recipe calls for 6:3:1 ratios of above.

DO NOT do it this way.

Just comparing the base to the mixed color.

If we're going in order I then painted up the gray on the figures following the Farnsworth method. You may notice, if you have it handy, that I should have done this step before painting the flesh. As if by some miracle, I was lucky not to foul my skin tones. Another anomaly one may notice in Farnsworth is that it says to pint them Khaki Green. I read this several times and then looked at his Soviet guide for a lark. The text appears to be cut and paste. This leads me to believe that the Soviet one was done first and the fact that it was left Khaki and not Field Gray was missed in editing.

Anyhow, the idea from here is that you take your base color and apply it in three layers as a wet brush (ie. A sloppy drybrush). First mix in some black to darken for the shade/base layer. Straight color for the midtone and then mixed with a beige or yellow tone to highlight. I also did the highlight closer to a true dry brush. I like how it looks, but it also got me thinking of the Reaper or Foundry triad systems for doing this. You buy more paint, but you don't have to dick around with all this paint mixing. To each his own I guess.
Here are the results.

I thought it looked pretty good.

After that I went into color mixing full force and mixed up 826 Ger. Camo Red Brown,

984 Flat Brown,

822 Ger. Camo Black Brown,

896 Ger. Camo Extra Dark Green,

823 Luftwaffe Camo Green

and 924 Russian Uniform.

924 was the main one that I could not find a particular, main color for. So I improvised. I also realize now that I did not make up a base color for the Splintermutter Camo. So I'll have to get on that. Of course the base is either 990 Light Grey or 986 Deck Tan, neither of which was recreated in the chart. Oh bother! (As an aside I noticed that SHQ's painting guide suggests 823 Luftwaffe Camo Green as the base and 846 Brown and 885 Green for the splinter pattern on the Zeltbahn [tent/ poncho thing]. Of course I don't have those mixed up. 846 Mahogany Brown is supposedly just Burnt Umber, no problem there. 885 is, of course, not listed.

But I digress. What you really need to know is, how I settled on the mixing etc. As I described earlier, I gave up mixing in the squirt bottle and mixed in a little thing that I would call a ramekin, just a small dish for holding a sauce or whatever. I try to mix up in the vicinity of 10mL of paint. I find they are easier to shake up if they have some air space. I eventually also hit on adding approximately 1mL of 20:1 Flow aid into the mix just to help it flow better into the dropper bottle. I used measuring spoons to measure out the paints, put in ramekin with flow aid (or water) and mix with palette knife or some kind of spatula/ stirrer. I then went back to the syringe to inject it into the dropper bottle. Be careful here as sometimes the paint can stick to the neck of the bottle and build up back pressure. I shot one of the dark colors all over my shirt and the desk.

I tried the colors on Schnurrbart, and am reasonably satisfied.

In sporting news, I'm pissed off that the US let that goal in during the last minute of stoppage time. Grr! Now we have to win or draw against Germany.


  1. Nice work Sean!!! Mixing paints might take a bit of time and effort, but you certainly save some dosh!!
    At least the US are still in it!!

    1. Thanks Ray. I'm just not sure if all the time driving around and trying to figure it out has truly been worth it. I guess I should count my blessings, but they were through to the round of 16 until they let Ronaldo free with the ball with 1 minute left in the game. Doh!

    2. I applaud your efforts mate and thanks for taking the time to document them. I've been tempted to go this rout myself on occasion. However, having seen how much time and effort you've had to expend I'm thinking it might not be so worth it after all.

    3. Thanks Millsy. My hope was that it would be an easy way to replicate colors, and if you have access to the paints I think it is. The real issue is coming up with the mixes in the first place, and how to substitute colors when necessary. Then there is the issue of how you store your mixed paints, if that's what you want to do. My hope is that I will lay some ground work so that the next person who tries it won't have to work so hard.

  2. Very well done with the colour mixing Sean!

  3. Nice work, Sean. I have many of the ceramcoat / etc bottles of paint and play around with them to find the right color. German colors can be especially difficult.
    My problem is that the pigments separate from the medium (clear fluid in the paint bottles) and when I mix them, they don't go on right so I have to cut them with a different color. I still use them because you can't beat the price though. I like mixing ochre and black to get a nice field drab.

    1. Hi Steven, thanks. Yes separation is a big problem for all paints, especially if you're like me and still have many pots from 1990. Ochre and Black for field drab? Do tell.

  4. Hi sean,

    Really awesome referral to Attempted Gamer's Blog. I really like his recent post on making planets and his battle fleet posts. Last but not least, a great post on colour mixing. It really gives me great insight on how to improve my paint job on my current GHQ miniature Modern Military SX1250 Chinese PLA Truck.

    Finally, thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I would just like to say that I have finished my post on the Liebster Award and have given my honourable mention to you! The blog link is

    Thanks once again for exposing my hobby blog and keep up your awesome posts!

    Cheers :)

    1. Hi Jiaqi, thanks. Yes those planets are really cool. Good luck with the GHQ miniatures. I'll be posting more on the methodology soon. Nothing earth shattering, just an idea on how to approach colors that you don't have a guide for.

  5. The Grey you mixed up looks the same as sombre grey made by Game color

    1. Hi Vinnie, I think I've been looking at the Model Color line. I'll have to take a look at Game color some time and see what they look like.



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