Monday, 9 May 2011

Italeri French infantry, step-by-step

First I painted my French infantry blue...
Just kidding, I promised myself if I were ever to do a tutorial, or step by step I wouldn't be teaching anyone's Grandma how to suck eggs. I've included pictures showing the figures as they progress and I'll not be going into specifics about paint and colours used as everyone has their own favourite paint manufacturer. Having said I am about to completely contradict myself by talking about paint specifics.
I've given up buying cans of aerosol undercoat. Mainly because a money saving venture on my part resulted in a fortunate discovery. I purchased a cheap spray gun (Badger 250) for the purpose of undercoating. You'll notice I have avoided using the term 'airbrush' to avoid being reprimanded by the airbrush purists. Now filling these up with Citadel or Vallejo acrylics was going to get a bit pricey so I needed to find an alternative. My local shopping centre has a huge hobby superstore, with aisles of paints and brushes of every possible ilk. After wandering the shop for what seemed like minutes I happened upon a bulk pot of Acrylic by Daler Rowney called System 3. Says on the tub it's suitable for models, was a fair price and was in a spill proof bottle (essential for a clumsy oaf). I bought a 250ml bottle but its available in sizes up to 2.25 litres!
The good news is, it was a triumph, thinned nicely and covered soft plastics, hard plastics and cardboard well.
Stages 1-3, Red, White & Blue

One aspect of painting figures rarely discussed is the inevitable 'wobbles' or going over the lines if you like. I paint stages 1-3 and then correct any errors. Most mistakes made are because of inevitable hand wobbles (I think it's an age thing). I find it useful to rest the hand holding the figure or figures on the table and rest the little finger of my brush hand on my other hand to minimise wobble.
After stage 3 I tend to correct any errors as I go along, this prevents the figure getting too untidy.

On figures this small, painting hands and faces can be difficult, but it's worth doing a good job as good faces can give your figures character. I make sure my paint is a bit thinner than normal as it goes on a bit easier. I paint the back of the hand then fingers (not always successfully) then the opposite side, palm etc.
Faces are just a series of dots. I dot the nose, each cheek and then the chin/bottom lip. This gives a great 'Frenchman with big moustache' look. You can paint the top lip for a 'slightly younger Frenchman' look that is ideal for a bit of variation. Or you can paint that top lip grey for a 'really old Frenchman' or Old Guard look.

Stages 4-6, detailing.

I start quite untidily, and finish with as much detail as possible.
The last stage is always metallic details. Gun metal, silver and gold.

Hope one of these tips is of use to someone. I have picked up many useful tips from the internet over years, time to return the favour.


  1. Excellent post CG. Very useful to a completely useless painter like me!
    Keep up the great work.


  2. Hi

    We love your Waterloo terrain and figures. We'd be very interested in having you show off some of your stuff at our games show next year in Scarborough. We're also doing a World Record Event for Napoleonic 28mm.

    Check out our Waterloo from a few years ago

    More about our games show is at


  3. Marvelous! Can you tell me what your base sizes are please and what rules you use,

    1. Hi Sedgemoor, individual bases are 60x20mm and the rules are free, found here:
      Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.