A New Regiment - How Long Does It Take?

A question that I asked myself the other day was: "I wonder how long it takes me to 'do' a regiment?"

So I've decided to time and document the process. I already had the figures, had researched which regiment it would represent (coats and flags), and emailed my request through to Maverick Models to have the flag produced. So I imagine I have excluded a fair chunk of time there. Nor have I included 'prevarication' time - all that time spent deciding what colour to chose, trying to find elusive pots of paint that aren't where they should be, deciding what music I should listen to whilst painting, cleaning brushes, filling water pots, drying time etc. 

This is one of my standard regiments of foot: 34 figures with separate pikes, and a casualty marker. I'm not the most accomplished painter, my painting style is more akin to waving a brush in the vaguely right direction. Nor am I the quickest. I am of the school that believes if the sculptor put the detail in, the least I can do is try and paint it, believing it would be rude not to.

I don't sit down, start and paint through to the finish. I tend to do an item or colour block - so I might sit and paint coats, hats, trousers, or everything that is 'chestnut brown' in a sitting. Quick items or colours, I may do two or three in a sitting.

So we shall see how long it takes. My guesstimate: about 4-4.5 hours.

Preparation: cleaning figures of any flash and mould lines, mostly levelling bases, and the pikemen are now becoming very messy (time for a new mould I think). Just two headswaps for this regiment - the drummer and a halberdier.  Once cleaned up they are glued onto painting strips with same pose figures next to one another (so I can ensure they look different). Pikes are cut down to the required length, which doesn't take long as I made a jig to speed the process up. Normally I prepare a few units at a time, and do more headswaps; a production line speeds things up, so in this instance (just one regiment) I imagine it is a little slower than normal.

Time taken 37 minutes.

Painting time: next step is a spray of undercoat, then block painting. I wash flesh during the block painting process. Pikes have their tips stuck in blu-tack and given their base coat. Once all block painting complete, it is detail time - straps, silver and gold, before touching up the many places where I have messed up.

Time taken: 252 mins      Total time: 289 mins

Followed by a wash, some highlights added. Pikemen are glued to their bases, have their pikes attached, pikes are touched up and then have the metalwork added. Once done the figures are given a coat of spray varnish.

Thank heavens for Nuln Oil, beginning to look better.

Time taken: 21 mins      Total time: 310 mins

Whilst that is drying, I code the underneath of my bases (unit name, code and faction colour); and the flag is prepared.

Time taken: 8 mins       Total time: 318 mins

Basing: remaining figures are glued to their bases. Then mud is added; my method varies but at the moment I use GW Stirland Mud, wash with Miniature Colour chestnut ink, and a light dry brush highlight of Cd'A bone. Flag attached, once dry flag edges are touched up.

Time taken: 48 mins      Total time: 366 mins

Finally, the greenery is added. Want to see the completed unit?

Time taken: 14 mins      Total time: 6 hours 20 mins

Conclusion: I was very conscious of the stopwatch ticking over whilst I was painting, it felt like it slowed me down a little. Certainly not very nice having a stopwatch running whilst you work. Six and a bit hours seems an incredibly long time to produce a based unit, but it actually works out just shy of eleven minutes per figure which sounds a little more reasonable (even if it equates to the same thing).

I was surprised how long preparation and basing took, an hour and forty minutes; my guesstimate for the whole process was wildly inaccurate, but looks quite good for the actual painting bit of the process.

 I also don't think I'll be touting myself as a commission figure painter anytime soon.

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  1. A really interesting study! Now tempted to do the same although I’m not sure I want know the answer ;-)
    Great to see your full process. So, if you skip meals, three units a day :-D

    1. Don't. Trust me. Currently painting some more Scots, the thought of 6 hours work hung quite heavy and put me off starting. Only after painting the main blocks did I relax and get into painting properly.


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