Thursday, 6 November 2014

Why I undercoat Austrians black...!

But Austrians are white! Yes I know. I have also seen some nice examples of Austrians base coated white and washed with things like Army Painter Quick Shade, and nearly did this myself. But after careful consideration I decided to go with the usual black undercoat. Why? 

Well I gave some careful examination to how much white is actually involved on these figures and realised that it's not quite as much as first appears to be the case. I also figured that this approach would better suit what I described as an 'operatic style' of bright colours and strong definition in a previous post on painting. Madness? Perhaps... as might be beginning with 150 figures at a time...

So here we go. By undercoating black and then doing a grey drybrush I manage to 'paint' the knee-high boots, shako, ammo pouch and various other straps and equipment pieces all in one go... that's details I won't have to come back to later and try to paint in over the white, nor all the black detail in recess on the figures.

I then use a 'Lupin Grey' colour from Coat d'arms for the base coat for the white.  This offers great coverage over black. Note I'm also leaving some black lines between the different elements of the white uniform like the various belts. Not very tidily done, but will be cleaned up in the final stage by 'black lining' as I described in a previous post on the French.

Note how little of the figure is actually white from the rear.

Without the flash better showing the tone of the Lupin Grey paint I'm using.

And 150 figures with the second layer of actual white paint done (Army Painter Matt White) I did a very quick 'third coat' just of this white on some of the larger areas to make it nice and consistent. Checking these out so far I think they will be less time consuming than the French uniforms. The knee high boots in black and other little details like less straps to paint on the backpacks helps.

So white is the most monotonous bit done, now onto the rest of the detail. As you can see I've started on these on the closest figures in the photo below.

Another 120 troopers need to be added to this lot, which will give a total of 8 regiments to start with. Six of 36, and two of 24, or by reshuffling slightly - 11 regiments of 24. After much agonising over the helmet issue I think I'll give two of the 36 strong regiments helmets and all the rest shakos... That way they can be a bit 1809, with only a few of them slightly wonky for 1813 (when I strongly doubt any still had helmets?!). 

I also have 6 Landwehr, 2 Grenzer, 1 Insurrectio and 1 Jaeger regiments to add. Onwards!


  1. I prime my Austrians in black too. That way, recessed bits can be left as black and give the impression of shadow.

    Still, that is a lot of figures to tackle in one push. Impressive!

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yes it made sense to me once I thought about it a bit more too. And indeed quite a big chunk at once but will be nice to have them all done!

  2. Not a fan of black priming myself, but it looks like it's working just fine for you (and many others), so who cares. More miniature Austrian Napoleonics out there is a good thing regardless!

  3. I used a method vaguely similar to this with my Revell 30YW figures... It is decidedly quicker than my usual white undercoat, black outlining, then paint...

  4. In blak too for me...but it is very long! Anyway, most impressive mass of troops!

  5. That is a lot of Austrians to hit in one go! Looking good though!

  6. Wow, you are a painting machine! A most impressive array of figures that are coming together nicely.
    I too am a devotee of the black undercoat (Payne's Grey in my case, for everything, for the reasons that you have noted, especially the 'free' black highlights. My painting is nowhere near your wonderful standard (nor rate of output) though!

  7. I used to do the black undercoat for nearly everything. Now I chose not to spend the $$$ on the black base. For White uniforms I do a series of blue-black undercoat and progressively brighter shades of pale blue until the near white final upper layer. The layers create an extra shaping effect and combined with some inks in the second to last layer bring out all the equipment quickly and easily, permitting dry-brushing to make the highlights 'pop'.

    For uniform variety I have also used brown inks or brown undercoats. The blue creates a cool effect and the brown creates a weathered field-worn effect on the white uniforms.

  8. Interesting to hear the other ideas about undercoating and whites! Thanks for the input and comments everyone!

  9. Nice job, I think this is 1 on what works for the individual. Black works for you cool. Grey, white or cream for another cool. It's all good.