I love vignettes. When I see a well-presented game, my eyes are initially drawn to the terrain, and then to any vignettes. The actual fighting forces only come third!
So my last few painting projects have been a series of vignettes depicting British camp life during the Napoleonic Wars produced by Perry Miniatures, culminating in this wonderful portrayal of Wellington and his generals studying a set of maps spread across a table.
Seated at the rear, Sir Thomas Picton leans forward with his right arm on the table, his civilian hat and stick lying discarded on the table beside him. He is intent in conversation with Sir Edward Pakenham, resplendent in full uniform, and perching with his foot up on the bench.
Bald-headed Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole sits with his back to us, taking something from his pocket, whilst the Spanish liaison officer Brigadier Miguel Ricardo de Alava leans forward in his chair. An aide-de-camp stands nearby, arms crossed nonchalantly behind his back.
General the Earl of Wellington himself is instantly recognisable, not only from his simple attire and ‘Wellington’ boots, but right down to his distinctive hooked nose.
Considering the subject matter is a fairly static group of standing and sitting figures, the animation sculpted into them is surprisingly dynamic. The poses are all so natural and unforced.
Meanwhile Sir Stapleton Cotton, gorgeously uniformed in hussar full dress, has just arrived. He hurries over to the table, having handed the reins of his mount to a passing private, who is no doubt admiring the tiger-skin shabraque draped across the horse’s back.
These figures were painted almost entirely with GW Contrast paints. I love the way the lighter colours work really well in providing instant shading and highlights. But I do sometimes find that darker colours such as blue and black can turn out a bit blotchy. This is exacerbated in these pictures, as blue is a notoriously difficult colour to photograph properly.
The Spanish buildings, by the way, were scratch-built by me many years ago. The windows, doors and exposed stonework are printed paper. The shutters are corrugated card, and the roofs are cut from a plastic sheet intended for model railway buildings. The wall texture is just sand that has been spray-painted black, then dry-bushed with ochre, yellow and finally white.