Friday, 20 January 2012

Basic Napoleonic Painting: New treatment for old Airfix

Bah! Humbug! Spend a fortune on fancy new metal? Never! You'll be wanting a living wage next. Christmas is over and the reality is...I'm broke. Still, the much maligned 1/72 Airfix figures are still around and a neighbour, friend, person who thinks you sad and takes pity, relative or person who had grown up may yet have a bag of these old popular figures in a cupboard some where. Get them, or the ones you know you have somewhere, and paint them up. They make great units!...oh, don't make that face...look, even the odd ones from the Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery are useful...stop smirking, it's true...
 When I base I use 'No More Nails' 'Hard as Nails' 'Don't Bite Your Nails'...well you get the picture. But it just isn't useful for basing. Stick a blob on the front of the shako and half your chagrin at these old figures will fade as it makes a sound pompom that will take paint.
 So this is the bare article, and yet...
 ...happy days looks not bad with paint. Of course, the main complaint with nearly all plastics is that the paint flakes off.
 This, though depends on your primer. A good plastics primer is an expensive type of paint (though not quite as expensive as say Army Painter) but is worth it a) because if you decant it into smaller containers so that the whole lot is not exposed to air all the time you paint, it will probably last for years and do thousands of figures and b) because primers for plastic are extremely flexible and don't lose figure definition and don't flake.
 As you can see, the primer (which is white) takes cheap black acrylic really well...
 ...and then away you go...Obviously, I use the black undercoat method for Napoleonic's.
But, if you are a white undercoat painter, you can cut out a stage and go straight to the colour stage. I think the artillery marching figure makes a good flank company infantryman.

On a tip from a mate (Colin) I now paint figs on nails. I know other folk do this with metals which sometimes requires that you glue the fig to the nail and snap it off after painting and varnishing is done, but with plastics blue or white tack is plenty strong enough.


  1. We have loads of these that I have been ordered to ebay this year at some ponit. Nicely done!

  2. What primer did you use?

  3. It's an oil based Dulux product called Zamix. One very small tin is enough for a lifetime so, overall the cost is not too great. Just decant some into a smaller tub/pot and keep the rest sealed tight and it will last quite well. It takes acrylic paint really well once dry. It's not the only plastics primer on the market but it's the one I use.

  4. Love the 1/72 - best value for the $. Many of my old plastics have peeled...before I knew to use primer. If I ever paint more, I'll try primer.

  5. A tip I got from the guys of the ANF is to do a final top coat of Pasti Dip (some kind of spray paint that I sourced from an automotive store - it smells bad, but goes on like spray varnish). It seems to give the soft plastic figures super strength.

    This figure is one of my favourites, although I've never got around to doing any of them "properly" I've had them earmarked for Young Guard.