Having been encouraged by the level of interest in the new 3mm from Oddzial Osmy, I threw caution to the wind, and threw some paint in their direction.
Being a lazy sort, rather than spend a lot of time and thought forming units, I merely had a go at the strips that I had prepared for the Review, in order to get an idea of how they would handle, instead of committing to large scale project work.
Thanks to the advice of Thaddeus over at 'Lead doesn't Bleed', I had a good idea of how I was going to paint these, namely with a generic, fast approach, that would hopefully play to the strengths of such miniscule minis, and produce large numbers without too much hassle; well, we'll see how far that plan "survived contact with the enemy" during the course of this post!
Perhaps out of force of habit, I started with a black undercoat, minded that in the past this has helped to pre-shade, if you like, smaller figures, and remove the need for later washes etc, that can often overwhelm minis under 10mm in size.
As this was going on, I began to immediately regret it, as it seemed that all of the detail was disappearing, so I panicked and threw on a drybrush of medium grey, which seemed to restore the equilibrium of things, although of course meant that we had already done two stages of process in what was only supposed to be the opening.....ho hum.....
I then went over the figures using a lightened shade of the same grey, to give a more Confederate look - this was supposed to be another drybrush-style action, but actually ended up being more lining and dotting, even highlighting things like raised details - picking out trouser legs, tunics, hats, that sort of thing.
Overall, things were beginning to shape up, but it was all looking a bit bland, so I pushed ahead and did the bases of all the strips in a light earth tone, and to some extent, this helped the individual figures to 'pop' a bit more as I worked on them.
So, I thought, a few bits of detailing, and we're done, right? Well, having flustered and fiddled my way through the hand-drawn flags, I followed up with dots of flesh colour for hands and faces -fairly straightforward, if a little time consuming, but then no more than I would do on say 2mm minis.
I realised, then, of course, that it helps to do the rifles before the hands, so then went on to outline these in a chocolate brown - hopefully this doesn't make it seem that they are hefting telephone poles, which can often be a danger in sculpts of this size....
Next up, and remember, we are quite a few stages into our alleged 'just a few steps' approach, I had to grasp the nettle of those darned cheapskate Confederate butternut homespun style vagabond uniforms.
Out came the 000 brush once more, and in varying shades of brown and the odd bit of blue, in went more trousers, hats, jackets and blanket rolls.
At this point, I was getting much more pleased with the results, but was painfully aware that we were most definitely in 6mm and above territory in terms of stages/time taken.
So, a quick once over and done? Unfortunately not - for the life of me, I couldn't resist popping on some colours for pouches and knapsacks, not to mention the artillerymen's ramrods, buckets and of course red kepis here and there..... I consoled myself by doing this all quite haphazardly, but then that of course meant that quality control overall wasn't quite what I would normally aspire to.
Another thing was that I was reminded of just how fiddly it can be when working on individually clipped small-scale figures - it's really the only way to get to all sides of a mini- I always stick mine down onto paintsticks using double sided sticky tape - but the artillery crews meant a whole gang of teeny-tiny figures to work on; I think this would impact any ideas I had for using a lot of individually clipped figs in future bases - the cast together strips are so much easier to do.
I think the main impression was that with the level of detail that the sculptor has provided, it was just not meaningful to shy away from detailing the various accoutrements, and therefore add to the painting stages and time taken - the artilleryman's ramrod, for instance, or the infantry blanket rolls, would just look odd if they were not picked out.
The Command figures in particular, would stand a lot of detailing, even when done quickly, and again I think this speaks for the theory that these 3mm minis are a bit too detailed when placed against their 6mm cousins - same amount of effort to make a meaningful paint job, smaller impact overall. Yet then again, look at the price differential - 120 infantry for UK £3.00 - 2.5 pence a figure, versus for instance, Baccus 6mm at 96 for £5.50 - 5.7 pence each....
So, what about the visual impact of these 1/600th versus minis that are twice the size - well, I haven't painted enough of them in numbers that would illustrate - obviously the bases of the strips need finishing, and I have to think about basing, etc so it is as yet quite hard to say.
Do I like them? - absolutely yes, and I think the more generic uniforms one tends to paint for the Union side would help with a quicker paintjob, but I think they still require a commitment of effort that puts them closer to 6mm than the 2mm I am more used to.
I think if you are new to the smaller scales, and would find 1/900th too small, and are looking to work cheaper than 1/300th, then these would certainly not disappoint - the charge of 'blobby blobs with no detail' could in no way be laid against these top-notch sculpts.
So will my North Carolina good 'ole boys be joined by more of the same, and might the Union also make an appearance? - again, absolutely yes, but I'll be setting aside more time than I had originally thought would be needed in which to produce them.