More miniatures painting – Wild West characters

During a few hours this weekend (the storms are brewing and it’s cold and windy outside, so it’s better to be indoors, wrapped up and warm!) I painted up a couple of Wild West characters. I started with two well known “cowboys” – Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett.
Using the Army Painter Quickshade method of painting, the first thing to do is block out all the basic colours. For these models, I’m trying something I’ve never done before and that’s to paint the black for the eye outlines before applying QuickShade. The reason for this is, if I paint the black after and slip with the paintbrush, it can be quite difficult to match the surrounding colour to paint over any mistakes. Any mistakes made at this stage can be easily covered up, using just the pure flesh base colour.

The rest of the colours are deliberately garish and bright before applying the Quickshade. My reasoning is this: I love the bright, heavily saturated colour palette used in late 80s, early 90s Games Workshop ‘Eavy Metal showcases. 
But using Quickshade tones down any colour scheme quite considerably. That said, a darkened model, with brilliant, bright highlights invokes this same high-contrast colour scheme as with early GW paint-jobs (without the need to be such a brilliant model painter!). So this is my current painting method:
  1. block out the basic colours, using bright, vibrant shades
  2. slather on some Strong Tone QuickShade
  3. apply some Testor’s DullCote matt varnish
  4. edge highlight (and tidy up) the miniature using the original selection of colours
  5. paint tiny details (faces, eyes, buttons etc)
Done!
Here’s Billy The Kid and the cowardly snake-in-the-grass Pat Garrett, pretty much finished – only the bases and some tiny bits of touching up are needed to finish them off:

While it’s very tempting to stick to a palette of grey and brown (the Wild West was a dirty, grubby place and not many outlaws wore flamboyant, brightly coloured garments) it’s also important to keep the miniatures looking interesting – so I chose a pastel green and a splash of bright red for Billy’s neckerchief.

While Pat Garrett was known to Billy the Kid (some historians go as far to say the two were friends) I wanted to emphasise that Pat was no longer “one of the guys” so painted him up with richer colours – a velvet waistcoat and red-lined overcoat along with a pale-coloured suade jacket make him stand apart from the other gang members, physically as well as spiritually  (the stripey trousers were a bit of a failure! They need re-doing). The idea is to convey that he’s got a bit more money (after being made a sheriff) so is more interested in having nicer clothes than any gang of outlaws.

The free-hand on these legs are not very good – I might just repaint them and stick with a complete solid colour, although patterned trousers do add a bit more interest to this model.

The photos don’t really do the miniatures justice: I need to sort out a proper lighting rig and learn how to take photos – the minis do look much better in real life! These photos were taken at night, under flourescent lighting and with a harsh LED flash on the camera; with a proper photo-rig, I might be able to show the colours properly.
But that’s it for tonight: two models painted up over the course of an evening which isn’t really bad going for me! A few more and we’ll have enough to try out a simple gunfight skirmish when the PCBs arrive for our electronic board game….
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