AB Dragoons with quickshade

Well let me get this out of my system. Everyone says AB are the best figures around in 18mm so I got some Dragoons and hating painting horses I decided to test with army painter quickshade. But my test figures had a lot of flash much of which I didn’t notice until I was painting, I just don’t expect that at this price point.

So one with how I painted them…..

Firstly I undercoated them white, normally black but I figured using a dip it will darken or muddy the colours a little bit.


Next it’s blocking out the colours. This form of painting can take much less time than normally because any mistakes will be covered up my the quickshade. The end result at this stage reminds me of how I used to paint many years ago.


So at this stage I then brushed on the army painter quick shade dark tone. After a couple of minutes I brushed off some of the major pools of gunge.

Then I left them for 24 hours, the longer the better. The figures look better over time.


The figures at this stage are perfectly good, if you like the glossy look. Personally I don’t, I like a flat finish but with some shiny metal bits.

So next it’s Matt varnish, I use Windsor and Newton Matt varnish brushed on. The it’s the highlighting.

Now the highlighting doesn’t take too long, some green here, off white there. I actually enjoyed painting them, normally hate painting horses. This method took a lot of the monotony out of the process. I think the finished product looks ok.


Now there are things I would do differently…..

A) I would undercoat with the horse colour, that would have saved more time

B) removed a lot more flash before undercoating, but at the price paid for ABs I don’t see why I should

C) I would have looked at the bases when removing the gloop, it has pooled and made painting the hooves difficult

So I look forward to more Bluemoons and in the meantime I have some more test figures to paint and some Dragoons to base.

Will I use more quick shade ? Yeah probably as long as you apply mat varnish and highlight I think you get some pretty good figures.

When I’ve based them I will post up the pictures.


First units complete

After 5 weeks I have finally completed and based my first 2 French Napoleonic infantry from Blue Moon manufacturing.


I went for 4 bases each 40mm x 30mm. This gives 32 figures and I think the mass effect looks quite pleasing. The basing will work well with Blackpowder, Lasalle, Fields of glory and probably Piquet as well. I planned on playing Blackpowder with half distances but the unit width may push that a bit.

Future units I may only do fusiliers, with separate voltigeurs and then combined grenadiers. We will see.


The basing is done as follows :

A) Glue the figures with Bostick, then coat the bases with PVA then dip in sand.

B) cover the sand in watered down PVA. This seals the sand and stops it chipping off.

C) Painted burnt sienna, the. Dry brush heavily with a lighter brown and then dry brush again with a grey, medium or light will do.

D) Put some PVA in patches around the bases then add some static grass.

E) Then using tweezers, glue some tufts and some stones just to give a little added effect. In my pictures you can still see some of the PVA drying.

So what’s next ?

Firstly some army painter tests, I want to see if I can speed up the basic line infantry and still achieve acceptable results. I will do that this week.

I have orders some Xan miniatures line and some AB dragons. I will probably paint up the Xan next as its always good to get though the line infantry first. Then progress onto 1 line then 1 other unit or model.

Blue Moon French

I think most people would agree that AB are the best figures on the market, but I could see 2 problems firstly they are expensive and secondly I don’t want to waste expensive sculpts when I am re learning to paint. I haven’t painted 15/18mm figures for a good 15 years.

So I opted for some French from Blue Moon, available from Old Glory here in the UK. I must say the services was excellent and the figures arrived in 4 days.

The idea was to just get enough figures in full dress to build some rank and file ligne battalions marching. The backbone of my french napoleonic army.

The figures are nice, detailed and size wise a good match for AB. They are slightly chunkier than AB but at least it doesn’t look like the bayonet will snap anytime soon.

I painted the first batch without noticing that there is a small amount of flash between the right hand and the cartridge box. I am aged to paint this out but have removed it in subsequent batches.

There are 3 poses per figure code and they are all very similar, so the units will look like units but with some variation. I do think they could maybe do with 1 or 2 more where the feet and hands are slightly different.

They painted up well enough and I think I will use them for the bulk of my French army but I have yet to try Xan figures so may change my mind.

Considering I haven’t painted at this scale for so long I am quite pleased with the results. Yes I made some mistakes but on mass I think they will look pretty good.


I undercoat in black and then base coat in dark shade colours and highlight with light ish shade. I think they look good from 6 inches away… Zoom right in and they look messy lol.


I have painted enough for around 2 battalions I just need to decide how to base them.