To start I recommend having some decent source / reference material to hand that covers the period you're focusing on and the equipment and clothing of the models you're working on.
- Opacity, it's just right and really suits a black undercoat, no laborious re-painting or thinning.
- The 3 step system is great and the colours are on the whole suited to it, I rarely mix paint now which results in figures being done to a good standard quickly.
Taking the above into account and the amount you get, they're good value - their brushes are good also.
A couple of notes on assembly; This boxed set is excellent and the will to see what all the figures look like fully assembled was very strong here, seriously, I have not been this excited about miniatures in a very long time.
- Take your time, don't rush in.
- Remove everything from the sprues so that you can have a good look at what you have.
- Use blu tac to experiment with until you have what you want.
- File down each piece with a needle file and then an emery board for a smooth finish.
- Don't model archers with a visor-down sallet, it just doesn't look right, especially in a loosing pose.
- For those poses loosing or reaching for arrows tilt the head slightly, it's a simple thing to do but it looks much more natural.
- I used a thin superglue as opposed to polystyrene cement as I find the latter can sometimes bubble or melt the plastic slightly and is just generally a lot more messy and unforgiving. Furthermore I have found that once thin superglue is dry it's easy to remove arms or heads at a later stage without too much hassle - polystyrene cement isn't always as easy.
- Use any source material you have to hand to help you / give inspiration.
Don't load your brush too much. I usually polish armour on metal figures but for plastics drybrush quite thinly leaving some of the black as it helps to give you an idea of the ridges on the helmet and is a good guide for the latter stages.
- Canvas 8A for the coat, arrow shafts and jack sleeves.
- Scarlet 38A for the leg.
- Arctic Grey 33A for the striped leg and arrow fletching.
- Phlegm Green 28A for the arms.
- Deep Brown Leather 45A for the belt, chinstrap and archer's bracer.
- Chestnut 53A for the satchel and purse
- Spearshaft 13A for the bill shaft, bow and bollock knife handles
- Metal 35B for the buckles, arrowheads, splints and as slight highlight on the helmets and bill head
- Base coat is left for the legs and re-applied to the rivet heads on the brigandine in preparation for the final stage.
Not too many colors with some on both figures making for a swifter job, the black undercoat really helps at this stage giving you a nice outline around everything along with any areas which are to be black being already done for 'free' so to speak.
Furthermore, if you need to field an army fairly quickly you could halt at this stage, it looks OK, particularly because the flesh is complete - just don't varnish them and you can return when you have time or after the battle.
Midtones. All I can say really is take your time and be neat, ensuring you apply these within the colours already laid down and not over or outside them, this will contribute further to the depth. Notice the bow only has the midtone applied to the horn ends and the outer edge. The colours used here all the midtone shades of those mentioned above. Again, you could stop at this stage if you wished.
Highlights. Just as stage nine really; make sure you only apply these within the area of the latter stage so that they are a highlight rather than blending into the other colours / stages. It is important to get this stage right. For the red areas I have sparingly applied a further highlight of Orange shade 3A. At this point the rivet heads are painted in Burning Gold 44B.
So, that's pretty much it, for reference this took me around 3 hours.
I'll do horses and high detail (patterned areas such as gendarmes barding and gowns ) guides at some point.
I hope this is useful to you and gives a few pointers.
One of the things it shows I think is how it is possible to do a conversion to a figure just through the way that you paint it.
I have painted for 20 years now and practice does count towards a lot. However, I really do think that if you get a decent set of paints and brushes, use a black undercoat, and above all take your time the rest will just fall into place.
Feel free to ask anything in the comments.