Nice and shinyPosted: April 2, 2015
In my case I think that one reason why I like this toy soldier style of figure is because the first toy soldiers that I ever used were good old pre-war Britains figures. The infantry wore red tunics and the cavalry and artillery wore blue … even though the latter were crewing a green-painted 25-pounder field gun! I used to play with them on the floor of my paternal grandparent’s front parlour when we visited them.
I also owned a few of my own Britains, Herald, and Timpo toy soldiers, and all those in ceremonial dress were painted with gloss paint. I can clearly remember my father ‘fixing’ the broken-off head of a Britains hollow-cast figure back on to the body using a length of matchstick.
When I bought my first metal wargames figures (they were from Hinton Hunt’s 20mm-scale Crimean War range) I painted them using Humbrol gloss enamel paint because that was all I could get hold of. I did try turning the gloss paint into matt paint using trick I had read in Airfix Magazine. This involved adding tiny amounts of talcum powder to the paint, but I could never get it to work; all I ended up with was very lumpy paint that had a distinctly odd smell … a sort of mixture of paint thinner and lavender perfume.
During the early 1970s I painted a whole load of Minifigs 25mm-scale American Civil War figures using Humbrol gloss enamel paint, and during last year’s clear out of my garden shed I found them … and other than one of two easily repaired chips the paintwork looked as good as when I painted the figures forty years ago!
After that I moved over to using matt enamel paint and then – in the fullness of time – to matt acrylic paint. Even then I used to give my completed figures a coat of gloss polyurethane varnish to protect the paint job I had done prior to applying a coat of matt varnish.
Nowadays I don’t bother to apply the final coat of matt varnish, and although I know that certain wargamers find this totally unacceptable, I have found that I prefer the nice and shiny toy soldier ‘look’ of my figures. It not only protects them from the ‘slings and arrows‘ of normal wargaming use, but also reminds me that my hobby is fighting warGAMES.