I also remembered a while ago, a friend posed the question - "when did our wargame tokens start having to be painted masterpieces?"
It's still a really good question for me to ask, particularly as last week when we had a great 15mm ACW bash at the club using my figures. Several thoughts went through my head during the evening, including do I want to get more figures painted, or should I keep the painted ones and sell the unpainted, or should I sell the lot after our current campaign. For the record I have over 2000 15mm ACW figures, and just under half are painted.
After some thought, my friends statement came back to mind and I then thought back to the old wargame adage of - the 3 foot test, i.e. what can you see on a figure 3 foot away in the middle of a table. If you cannot see it at that distance, do you really need to paint it in detail.
Then I thought of all the boardgames I have, such as Commands and Colors, Squad Leader or any number of Russian front or Bulge games, where I'm quite happy to play with wooden blocks or cardboard counters.
Now there's also the aesthetic side of a game and seeing nicely painted figures, but I guess I'm questioning the need for me to do detail on 15mm figures.
So, my solution to test is just basic colours, and here are some photos. In a sense, I'm thinking of these figures as we did back in the days of good old Airfix, where we happily accepted blue and grey plastic and pushed them around without a care in the world.
These have all been undercoated white for ages. I splashed on some washes. At the back left is Army Painted green shade. In the middle is Vallejo blue wash, and at the front right is a mixture of Army Painted blue shade and Citadel fancy-name wash. I noticed the Army Painter and Citadel shades are more indigo and the Vallejo more blue. Not pictured was a test with Vallejo inks and their blue is a beautiful striking colour.
Just a closer view of the Vallejo blue. On a first try, I think I'm happiest with this tone. At the back are some chaps where I'd previously painted the faces, and was wondering how fast and casual I should be with a blue wash over them. I've decided to leave them for the moment and go back later.
And now with the confederates in shades of grey. The Vallejo wash was a bit light so I went back to my old DIY ways of doing washes and used 3 or 4 different greys. I worked very fast with these and didn't bother if paints were mixed or not.
I then took some half-painted figures and quickly painted a wash of earth on the bases. The end results look OK.
And a closer shot of the Berdan Sharpshooters in green with the bases given a wash of earth. This gives and idea what the 'finished' figures may look like, though I may want to add a couple of touches like rifles and faces.
At the moment, I think I'll carry on with this experiment and see what they look like with the minimum painting necessary to look reasonable from 3 feet away. They would certainly do as rear rank chaps, supporting fully painted chaps in a front rank. I'll also have to think about flock if I'd want to add it. At the moment I'm thinking yes.
Also, as far as I can remember, this took an hour or so. Not bad for 60 bases.