Prolific painter Andy Singleton is back, with the third book in his Painting Wargaming Figures series; this time he’s applying his brush to the ‘Barbarian’ enemies of Rome in Painting Wargames Figures: Rome’s Northern Enemies a softback, 128-page painting guide, published by Pen and Sword.
Below is a transcript of the video, for those who prefer to read.
Its focus – on the Celtic, Germanic, and Dacian peoples who opposed Rome – brings together a diverse and potentially daunting range of cultures, visual styles and painting challenges. The author rises to this challenge; his fascination with Iron Age Europe shining out.
From the evocative opening image of Boadicea, leading a chariot charge, and Andy’s easy, concise and entertaining writing style we are in safe hands.
As a brief aside – this book is a natural successor to Painting Wargames Figures: Early Imperial Romans, which we flipped through in early 2020. – If you watched that video, or got yourself a copy, you’ll already have a good idea of what to expect here. The author has, rather wisely, followed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and the book’s layout, painting approaches, pacing and style are all similar.
But, back to the book! After the Introduction there’s a 28-page Tips and Tools chapter. This is a comprehensive look at the tools and materials needed to go prep and prime, followed by an overview of basic painting techniques.
If you’re a beginner, or new to this series, the concise descriptions will put you in good stead. If you own one of the previous guides, it’s worth knowing that the Tips and Tools chapter is mostly repeated information, with the addition of a section on filling gaps and some updated images.
Page 29 is where the excellent guides begin, tackling the Weapons and Armour of Iron Age Europe first. There are guides for clean and tarnished iron mail on Gallic warriors. All of the models in the guides are from Victrix but techniques are written to translate to various manufacturers and scales.
Guides are easy to follow, aimed at getting great looking results with minimal effort and a small number of paints. Many finishes are achieved through just three or four steps and illustrated with consistently sharp and useful model shots.
The same Gallic warriors are used in the next section, covering Bronze and Copper Alloy Armour. then a Germanic warrior is the subject of the wood fittings and striped spear guides.
Each chapter puts the focus on individual elements and techniques, applied to a range of models, rather than taking a model from start to finish. We like this approach. It gradually equips the reader with a range of skills that can be applied to various periods and ranges of miniatures.
Chapter three, Shield Designs, starts on page 45 and, after a basic guide to a solid colour shield, there’s an advanced guide on free-hand designs. While it’s more likely you’ll use the concise decal guide that starts on page 52 we appreciate that the author has covered freehand too, and it serves as a primer for free-hand skills used later.
Various Gallic Warriors get their clothing painted in chapter four, from a simple off-white tunic, to the more challenging tartan weave. With chapter five, Body Designs, the guides are rounded out with a focus on skintones and the more demanding application of tattoos and body paint.
It’s when the author simplifies these potentially intimidating details into quick, easy guides that you really appreciate the writing style. It’s as if Andy’s by your side, offering advice, support, soothing words and a cuppa.
The model painting guides finish with a comprehensive chapter on The Horse at War (page 85) and these are some of our favourites in terms of great results and easily transferable techniques. This is another section that will be somewhat familiar to anyone who read Painting Wargames Figures: Early Imperial Romans, but there’s extra advice and a section on chariot building added.
The guides end with the Basing chapter covering arid, snow and grass bases and the book rounds out with an Appendix, listing various manufactures and ranges for Late Iron Age and Early Imperial Periods.
Painting Wargames Figures: Rome’s Northern Enemies feels like a culmination of the many positives in the series’ previous two titles. If you’re looking to paint any of Rome’s Northern enemies effectively and quickly then this is the book for you.
The repeated Tips and Tools section and some familiar stages in the painting guides are really the only areas that give us pause to recommend this to everyone, but even if you own the other books there’s lots of new content to appreciate here.