They'll never take our Freedom!!!!!!!

OK, the title is not entirely incorrect.  Scots are Celts - and what we think of as early Celts (i.e. the ones that fought the Romans) were simply barbarian tribes from which the modern Celtic nations descended.

So what does that have to do with gaming?  Well if you recall, I built up a 1000 pt Roman list for our Kings of War Historical league (you can see my progress here, here and here).  My son initially was volunteered to build a matching Celt force (that I got for my birthday last October), but only got the first month put together (he then gave them to me to put sand on the bases and prime, and never picked them up to work on them again).  I don't blame him, he had to get a ton of walkers painted to use as zombies in our Martian Dead team army for Adepticon.

So I've had three regiments of warriors sitting here, and (probably because I'm an idiot) thought I would see if I could get them painted up in time to use them against the Romans for the "How You Use It!" tournament at Origins in less than three weeks.  (For reference, I am currently writing this up on Saturday, May 27th).  I actually have just under two weeks, as I leave for Origins on Wednesday and will be booked solid running games.

So not only did I think it would be "fun" to get them ready, I figured with the long holiday weekend (Monday is Memorial Day in the US (for those in the UK who aren't familiar with it), a national holiday dedicated to paying tribute to those in the military who have fallen in battle. It also marks (for us) the unofficial first day of summer (as opposed to the true first day of Summer on the Summer solstice - but come on - who really feels that summer starts the third week of June?)) it would be the 'perfect' opportunity to attempt to paint an army in a weekend.  Because, as I said above, I'm an idiot.

So Saturday morning I get started putting together the rest of the army.  It is a fairly simple list, consisting of
  • 6 regiments of warriors
  • 2 troops of archers
  • 1 regiment of cavalry (with fury)
  • 1 general
I can hear people already asking why I don't have some of the warriors as hordes?  Well I like the idea of exactly doubling the Romans - plus I wonder if hordes will be too powerful against the roman regiments.  However with easyarmy it is trivial to try out new configurations, so I'll make an alternate list

  • 2 regiments of warriors
  • 2 hordes of warriors (both with fury)
  • 2 troops of archers
  • 1 regiment of cavalry (with fury)
  • 1 general
  • 1 musician
This only requires 1 additional model, and moving around some trays (even if there will be a 2 standards in the hordes :-) ).

So, except for the musician, the army at 11:00 am on Saturday was all assembled

First step is priming all the rest of the minis.  I'm priming everything white, because I want to try something different.  When I painted up my Walking Dead models, I tried a different technique where I used transparent paints and washes - and they went VERY fast and I really liked how they turned out.  The paints and washes auto shaded/highlighted the mini, and came out pretty bright.  Celts were traditionally very bright and colorful, so I plan to use primary colors on their clothes, and if I have time, go back and paint complementary stripes / patterns on them (this with normal paints).  So we'll see how it goes.
the metal minis
plastic minis
I decided to just prime these lying down as it would be faster, because if they were standing with blu-tack then I'd still have to lay them down to get the undercuts - and these need to be a good solid white for the washes to work.
shield backs
The backs of the shields I actually used a brown spray on - the fronts will be white and have decals on them.  I actually realized that I made a mistake with the cavalry - I had an old, wrong list with them as light cavalry - so I made sure all of them were bare chested and was not going to put shields on them - but since they are normal cavalry they will all have shields.  There are not enough shields for everyone, so the cavalry get 10, and the 96 infantry will have to share the 50 remaining (if needed, I do have 10 more on sprues (by multi-basing 8 to a troop, I have 23 (two entire sprues plus a few) more warriors if I need them (I used one to make a musician).

1:00 pm Saturday - flip the model and apply the primer to the other side.  The front of the shields and everything else goes white.

Now some people may be thinking that I could speed things up with an airbrush - and that might be true if I were any good with an airbrush.  I just don't have the skills with it yet.  In addition, this technique requires a bit more precision that I usually do - as you just can't cover up mistakes (because except for metal, the cloth patterns and the tattoos all the paints are transparent).

The first color was a sepia wash.  This gives a nice brown stain.  I picked out hair on some models, all the boots, spears and horses.  Too late did I think I should have done some of the horses in black/grey instead.

Next was black - actually Valejo dark grey wash.  This is generally what I use for shading most miniatures, but in this case it gives a good grey for hair and all the bits that will be metal.

Then comes the flesh wash on all the exposed flesh.  This really gives a nice color over white.  And with that I had to call it a night - letting all these washes dry thoroughly.  Making sure everything dries is crucial - if you try to do a wash next to a wet wash, capillary effect can pull the two wet colors together, which is generally not what you want here.

Sunday morning was the start of the real colors.  First the transparent red.  This was for both clothes and hair.

Then the transparent yellow.  This finishes off the hair on all the figures (either brown, black, red or yellow)

Then purple on clothes.  For each of the six transparent colors I divided the various groups and then painted them with a proportional number - so for example the based regiments had a total of 48 models - so for each color was painted on 8 of the paints in these.  Because some were shirtless, the same color would only be used on 5 of their shirts.  I tried to not put the same color clothes as hair, but was not always successful.  (It is amazing how you can not see something that should be obvious until too late).

I decided to do all the horse blankets in purple, leaving the other five colors for the pants (since all the cavalry are shirtless).

 Then comes orange

 and green

and finally blue.  Now, ideally, everything should have a color on it.  The biggest missing piece was the saddles/pouches on the cavalry though.

At this point I had done all the transparent colors - and it was midnight on Sunday, so time for bed. It was nice knowing I had the day off to finish these.

In the morning it was time for some 'normal' opaque paints.  I was going to use my standard leather brown for the straps and saddles on the horses, but it was too close to sepia.  Instead I used a heavy goldenrod to finish them off.

I then used some black to redo the hooves (the wash left them more grey than black), as well as the eyes and noses of the horses

At this point the base was complete, all with natural shading and highlighting (well the red ended up being not quite as transparent as I would have liked, but the rest I was pretty happy with).  I really love the way the blue comes out.

Speaking of blue - Celts / Barbarians always use war-paint or tattoos to intimidate their enemy, so I took a detail brush and painted magic blue warpaint on every figure.  The ones without a shirt of course had it on their chest and back - everyone else just got it on the face.

I wanted to do some patterns on some of the clothes, because they didn't just wear solid colored clothes.  I tried a bit, but I just don't have a steady enough hand to get the stripes and check patterns even and straight, so I stopped with only a few patterns instead of the majority.

Finally, time for basing these into units.  These are all 8 to a regiment (hits PMC, so that is good).  I purposely (like my son did) did NOT rank them up - these were to look more like a rabble / crowd than an organized force.  You can see the new black magnetic bases.

Then sand was glued to all the bases for texture.  This seems to take a LONG time to dry - even though it is only thinned PVA (i.e. white) glue.

My first attempt to paint the bases in the normal brown I use showed that the glue was not yet fully dry - the sand tended to come up in the paint.  I waited a few more hours, and was able to finally paint all the bases.  These however, do take several hours (best overnight) to dry, so that is as far as I got on Monday.

My planning skills failed me, because I just kept looking at the shields and thinking I had time to apply the decals later - which now meant Monday afternoon.  Some of the decals didn't quite fit (because of a thin transparent lip around them - especially the ones with the circular hole in the center) so had to be trimmed.  All were done, so after I thought they were dry, I took them out to clear coat them and help to set the decals.

Well I didn't take a picture of that disaster.  Apparently these were NOT set yet (one of the problems of trying to rush things) so the paint peeled and really damaged nearly all of these.  I still had some extra decals, so the last thing Monday night was to put the 30 extra decals over the ruined ones (still leaving 20 with some damage unfortunately - but it will be battle damage!).

And that was Monday night.  The brown paint on the bases is drying as I type this, and I'm leaving the decals until tomorrow night to set.

So I didn't quite make the army in a weekend, however with any luck I'll be able to apply some static grass to the bases, paint the edge of the shields metal (as well as where the decals are peeled to make battle damage) and glue the shields in place tomorrow evening after work.

So Monday evening, I added the static grass to the bases

For the shields I used paint on matt varnish to help seal the decals.  Having sat for almost 24 hours they did NOT curl and look like crap.  I painted the edges with chain mail silver, as well as any exposed white pieces - reflecting battle damage.  Then glue them on the models.  I made sure that all the bodies that had their left arm held close in got shields, and just others that I thought looked good.

The final bit was to give two coats of flat black primer to the movement trays.  I need to see if I have any horde trays if I go with that configuration (if I don't then I need to drop the musician)

And the army is done.

I pulled out the light box and took shots of each of the units.
Entire army
I'll post the nice pictures up as a separate page for demo armies.

Now to see how they fare against the Romans.

Because it is all fun and games . . .