Following the Renaissance of Old School traditional armies in the manner of Grant and Featherstone I have been painting a couple of projects using a combination of white undercoat and/or gloss varnish and I am loving the results. I can actually see the figures, they are nice and bright and a pleasure to handle with a thick coat of yacht varnish on them (thanks for the tip Mosstrooper), and I can bang out 3 or 4 individual figures (or more if uniformed units) an evening.
I recently picked up a copy of the PSL Guide to Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie
which I used to borrow on a regular basis from the library. In it are several grainy black and white photos of Late Roman and Medieval armies I used to lust after, rows of the same pose figure, all apparently block painted or with minimal shading and a glossy finish
(how I longed for those Hinchliffe catapults, and look at those smooth shiny shields)
Over the last year or so I have tried a variety of styles and finishes
3 x 54mm figures, block painted with no shading, from left to right
white undercoat Klear floor polish varnish
white undercoat no varnish
black undercoat matt varnish
25mm Garrison Conan figures, a maximum of one highlight shading
all black undercoat and yacht varnish
28-30mm Tradition, Tradition, Front Rank and Eureka Miniatures
maximum one highlight shading
black undercoat and yacht varnish
(to my mind the gloss varnish suits the slender older style figures better than the more squat modern sculpts)
Some fantasy figures with shading and a matt varnish
(dull and a pain to paint)
2 x 25mm Garrison Conan figures finished differently. The shiny feller wins hands down and took about 5 minutes to paint..
So, it appears that I am favouring unipose units, simple paintjobs with little or no shading and a gloss varnish for the smaller figures (and maybe for the 54mm guys, as yet undecided). Is it an age thing?