In this flipthrough we’re taking a look at P Ainting War …, Ainting Pwar … um… Painting WAR – Bringing Your Warmodels To Life. This softcover book is issue 10 of the Vallejo distributed painting guide, covering the Wild West over 64 full-colour pages.
The below text is a transcript of the video, for those who prefer to read than watch
Things start with an introduction from the Editor, who it seems is stepping down as Editor… but we’ll leave you to read about that yourself. Next, there’s a double-page spread of the contents, showing off an impressive array of painted Wild West models, all of which this book will guide you through the painting of.
Page 9 introduces this issue’s painter, Jose Antonio Bustamante, also known as “Busta”. Busta previously wrote issue 4 of Painting WAR and he has a long history in miniature painting. He’s got work on studio models for various companies under his belt so he’s more than qualified to splash the paint around.
Pages 10 to 11 are a short introduction to the equipment and painting approach Busta uses. Nothing in-depth here but a few tips and suggested products. What is perhaps most surprising is that there are just four paragraphs given to ‘General Painting Concepts’. He describes his colour triads approach and the order he usually paints models in.
It’s quite simple and what follows is more of the ‘paint by numbers’ kind of guides, detailing specific colours and basic placement. This is no bad thing at all if your goal is to get impactful models on the table with minimum strife. If you’re after a complex and cerebral book on colour theory and advanced painting considerations, you might not find too much to learn here.
The guides proper begin on page 12 with step-by-steps covering the painting of various elements on a model, rather than specific miniatures. These guides are largely visual, with clear photographs (and lots of them) that show each stage of the painting process. A box-out lists the paints and mix for each stage and occasional Tips are given by a chilled out, Sam Eliot looking, wise old cowboy (actually an Artizan Texas Ranger that is painted later in the guide). These offer good advice, occasional alternative paint mixes, and the book’s best weird translation … we’ll get to that in a moment!
The guides are all very well designed, and the clear visually striking layout is probably the thing that the book is best at – fortunate in a publication packed with painting guides! In seeing the progression through the stages, you should be both inspired and informed.
Covering clothing, leather, flesh, hair and moustache, weapons, horse, terrain, and finishing with wood, this is everything you should need to paint Western miniatures. The colours and mixes can, of course, also be applied to more diverse miniatures.
These guides end on page 24 but before we move on, let’s talk about the translation element I mentioned. It’s clear that the author’s first language is not English, and it seems that the guide has also been translated by someone whose first language is not English.
When we point out typos in the publications we review we sometimes wonder if we are being too critical – we work on a magazine every month, perhaps we are more eagle-eyed than most, and getting a few things wrong really isn’t the end of the world. Also, the odd error even slips by us at times, making its way into Wargames Illustrated. No, really, it’s true!
However, in this book, we found confused sentence structure, weird descriptions, and very odd word choices all over the place, so we think it is worth mentioning. It’s the following tip, in the section on horses, that left us the most bemused:
“We could make an intermediate light, applying at the first light only 25% of Meat Mate. If we do this, we will get a greater contrast very useful in the big horses.”
Our inner detective sees the capitalisation of Meat Mate and suspects it’s a really bad translation of the Vallejo paint called Flat Flesh… but who can really be sure!
There are adverts until pages 27 to 30’s Colour Chart, which covers the different tones in the guide, along with page references for them. This is useful, a visual index to aid you in flipping to the colour you want to apply. A really nice painting aid.
From page 31 the guide gets more specific, covering the painting of 35 individual models from different manufacturers. Things start off with a Sheriff who was already largely covered in the sections on clothing but adds an extra detail about giving him his badge.
The guide also includes a ‘Did you know that …” with each model, and these do add some historical flavour. We might have preferred to see more painting advice though.
The cowboy from the cover is the first fully mounted model and seeing the details and finished paint job does get us itching to head to the painting desk. It’s not just the American gunslingers of the West either, there are citizens, showgirls, Mexicans, Union and Confederate soldiers, and native Americans from different tribes. If you want to try your hand at these specific miniatures each has the manufacturer listed. The mounted Comanche is one of our favourites and shows off Busta’s techniques very nicely before we head on through historical figures – Custer at Little Big Horn, Doc Holliday, ‘Wild Bill’ Hickock – and unnamed folk – workers, a female gunslinger, the Texas Ranger who was giving out Meat Mate tips earlier… it’s a pretty exhaustive selection.
And on the subject of Meat Mates, from page 58 there are more of those meaty mates in the form of different beasts. Horses first, with a Prospector and mule, a cavalry trumpeter, Pony Express rider (one of our favourite model/paint jobs) and then there are even buffalo, bears, wolves, and livestock.
A Dixon Miniatures stagecoach is the impressive final flourish in a comprehensive, vibrant guide that will, despite our translation concerns, help you create a stunning set of painted Wild West miniatures.