With Pike & Shotte Epic Battles now out in the open and making its way into peoples’ hands via the free sprue included with Wargames Illustrated 424, we’re starting to see some fantastically painted regiments appearing in the community. One of the joys of working in the Design Studio is that I’m constantly surrounded by the work of our awesome Studio Painters, covering all of our ranges – Pike & Shotte: Epic Battles is no exception! Naturally, I had to collar Jamie Getliffe, who painted the Studio forces alongside Andres Amien Fernandes, to find out a little bit more!
As our resident Napoleonics specialist, Jamie is usually found elbow-deep in frogging and lace, and the rather more austere uniforms of the Pike & Shotte period are about as far from fancy as you can get! Small wonder that the first time Jamie had ever painted seventeenth century miniatures is when this job landed on his desk – but he’d had a familiarity with the period ever since his brother became a member of the Sealed Knot re-enactment society in their youth – I’m starting to sense something of a theme! As always, Jamie began the project with some research reading, before diving straight in. Finding the rather simpler uniforms much quicker to paint than their eighteenth century counterparts meant he was able to get plenty done quickly, working with a very simple scheme. He describes it as “one base colour, one wash of dilute Strong Tone, one highlight” – if only mastering brush control and colour composition were so easy!
Every time we talk to someone who’s been painting a lot of Epic Battles stuff, we find ourselves asking the rather daft-sounding question “how do you paint those really little details”, and getting treated to the appropriately weary reply of “with a very small brush”. Jamie swears by an Army Painter Insane Detail brush, calling it his best friend on this project, and while “use a small brush” may sound facetious, it’s amazing what you can achieve by going slowly and using the right tools for the job.
With so much work on the Epic Battles series under his belt, I had to ask Jamie for his top tips for those embarking on their first forays into smaller-scale painting, and he gave me two great bits of advice. Firstly, horses – paint them just like the infantry with the basic base/wash/highlight approach, but vary the tones of black and brown as much as possible across units and the army. This will give a really realistic and stylistically excellent variation of colour while sticking to the main ‘theme’, and breaks up the monotony of painting horse after horse (after horse after horse after horse after horse after…). Secondly, when basing up your units, stick the front rank strip to the base first, then add your basing material around it (particularly behind) before you add the rear rank(s) – this avoids having to fumble around trying to get static grass in the gap between the two!
With plenty more Pike & Shotte Epic Battles goodness on the horizon, we’ll be seeing plenty more of Jamie’s awesome work in the Studio’s display cabinets before long, and he’s also embarking on a personal project – Thirty Years’ War Swedish, inspired by his research into Gustavus Adolphus, whom Jamie describes as, and I quote, “an absolute mensch”! I can’t wait to see it, and as soon as he brings it anywhere near the studio, I’ll be certain to collar him for another interview!
Inspired? Get your Pike & Shotte Epic Battles pre-orders in now to be among the first to get your hands on the seventeenth-century goodness!