My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Painting Cowhide Shields

I've never been happy with my attempts at painting cowhide shields. I've tried the block painting style, which is to simply paint the shield one color, typically white, then paint patches in another color, such as black, red-brown, or dark brown. That looked too ... perfect. the lines were too hard.

My second attempt was to take a soft-edge camouflage painting technique (where you do not use an airbrush) where you paint the base color, then use a thinned color to paint the patches. You then keep painting larger and larger patches with thinner and thinner colors, making the center of the patch darker and dark and leaving the edges lighter. I probably did not try that technique enough to get it right, but I did not like it and it took a lot of time to do all of those ever thinner layers. Patience is not high on my list, unfortunately.

So, one day I saw someone's painting technique for cowhide and they had simulated the texture of fur by painting strokes of a different color, both on the center areas and on the patches. So, you paint a base color solid, then outline the areas for the patches in a lighter patch color, then fill in the patch with a darker color, again feathering the edges. I also found that then using a lighter color to feather over the base color adds a better feel. Here are some examples of what I mean.


I've included three versions of each so you can see it in close-up, "at arm's length", and "on the table" sizes. (By the way, the big brown mustard blob is an Egyptian sub disk or something. I still have to clean that up.)

I think I like this and the effort really isn't that bad. I am not sure that it will be noticeable on the table, but certainly at arm's length (and with my eyesight), it looks okay.

If anyone has any better technique, please let me know.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").