I was an enthusiastic supporter when Games Workshop started releasing miniatures in hard plastic. They started with figures that were basically the same; e.g. Elvish spearmen with the same armor and pose. Then they moved on to what became essentially 28mm figure modeling kits suitable for wargaming! Even though it took time to put the figures together, they were a joy to paint.
By ignoring or hiding some of the fantasy elements of their Empire and Bretonnia ranges, the figures could be used for historical gaming. A good example is the Bretonnian archers which can easily stand in for English longbows. "Sigh", I thought, "If only someone would do historical figures in hard plastic."
Bretonnian Plastic Archers
Well, did that wish come true! In just the last five years, the availability of historical hard plastic miniatures have grown exponentially. But I digress.
One of the things I like about the Games Workshop hard plastic miniatures is how fun they are to paint. The details are crisp and figures can have individual character. On the wargames dining table we use to have Warhammer armies representing the Empire, Bretonia, Dwarves, Elves and everyone's favorite: Orcs and Goblins. I also like the Warhammer rulebook. Though geared toward tournament play with point systems, I really enjoyed the "fun" of the fantasy rules. In fact, I still use Warhammer Ancients as my preferred set of ancient and medieval rules. Unfortunately, though still a good set a rules, it seemed to me that the Science Fiction/Fantasy Warhammer 40k Gothic influence started to infiltrate the fantasy world of Warhammer. Too much goth, heavy metal and weirdness starting creeping in - and some influences that I did not particularly think were healthy. In 2005 our Warhammer armies (except for some exceptional characters we kept) went the way of eBay to finance our new interest in World War II with Flames of War.
Anyway . . . that doesn't mean I don't like painting the figures! One of my favorite Empire units were the Pistoliers. Based on German Reiter cavalry of the 15th and 16th century, they just look cool in their demi-armor armed with pistols. When GW came out with a plastic box set of Pistoliers, cavalry became affordable. We had a box left over from the Warhammer days, so I pulled it out and starting putting together a leader figure . . . taking my time and having fun. There are three sets of sprues that allow you to build 5 pistoliers or 5 mounted outrider bearded engineers with large shotgun blunderbuss things. I'll stick to the pistoliers.
Above is one of the sprues. I have always read and heard that you should wash the plastic in a mild, detergent soap to get any oils off, etc. I have never done that. Of course, I don't make my living painting figures but for me I don't have the patience to wash them first. Prime them of course, but not wash them. I primed the plastic with Krylon Flat Black from Wal-Mart.
Here is the intrepid commander with most of the base color painted with some shading and highlights. All of the paints are from GW. For the face I use a base of Dark Flesh, then Dwarf flesh and highlights with Elven Flesh.
That is one cool sword he is carrying. It's a combination broadsword with a built in pistol. Fortunately he pumps iron and works out so he can wield this might weapon. Armor is a base coat of Boltgun metal highlighted with Mithril Silver. Gold trim is just Shiny Gold.
I'm not very good at painting horses mainly because I am lazy. But this one is turning out okay. The base color for the horse is Adeptus Battlegrey and then I went over it with Codex Grey. The hair is a base of Bestial Brown and then Bleached Bone over it. I haven't finished the livery and straps; currently they are a base color of Scorched Brown. Still have some areas to clean up around the straps.
I'm not sure what color the saddle blanket is going to be. For some reason (I really can't remember) I painted the blanket base color Bestial Brown.
The feather was painted with a base of Bestial Brown (one of the greatest, most versatile colors in GW's inventory), then Bleached Bone and highlighted with Skull White. His left arm sleeve will eventually be red, currently it has a heavy wash using Scab Red. Yes, I do love the names GW gives its colors (sigh).
The rider is not glued to the horse yet. This angle gives an idea of the great job GW has done in sculpting and animating both rider and horse. For some reason there is an hour glass hanging on the front of the horse. I forgot to clip that off before I started painting. I may have to leave it on. For the base, I use pumice which is easy to apply and dries very quickly. It is easily available from The War Store which has very fast shipping and excellent customer service.
Arrghhh! My teeth were painted with Bubonic Brown then highlighted with Bleached Bone. Plus I have a big, cool pistol that is about .69 caliber.