Painting Figures for Hasbro's Battle Cry Board Game - Part III

An Overview of the Battle
An Overview of the Battle
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

- Abraham Lincoln

In this article, painter Brady Severns presents his tips and techniques for painting figures for Hasbro's Battle Cry game. Brady gave away this set of figures as first prize to the winner of the Millenium Gaming Convention Battle Cry Tournament JP Rodman on October 1, 2000. The JP Rodman Collection is now on display by appointment only at the Russ Williams Gallery. Here Brady shares his techniques for some of the best Battle Cry figures I've ever seen. All photos by Dan Becker.

Brady, could you share a few words on how you painted your figures? What paints did you use?

Mostly Ceramcoat water-soluable acrylics plus a little of Howard Hues acrylics. The colors were:

My method for using colors on figs is a bit involved, although not especially difficult to do. Basically, I research a uniform, select the colors used in it as my base set, and then develop two or three varying shades for the pants and jackets. So with my Union troops, I used Hessian Blue as a base and cut it with mixes of Midnight Blue and Black for the jackets and kepis. I used Wedgewood Blue as the base for the pants and cut it with mixes of Avalon and Dolphin Grey. This gave a wide range of similar-looking uniform colors to recreate troops with new, worn, and faded uniforms.

The Union Cannon
Notice the red piping on the cannon officers and the antique metals on the cannon.
For the Confederates, I used various mixes of the Maple Sugar Tan, Butternut, Brown, Dolphin Grey, Candy Bar, and a little Black to give a wide range of the homespun cloth that adorned the Confederate soldier. Here and there I gave them dark blue kepis and light blue pants from my Union pallette

For the horses I mixed about six different shades: Black cut with a little Brown, Butternut and Brown, White and Dolphin Grey, Candy Bar and Brown, straight Brown, and Dolphin Grey and Black.

As I progressed with the painting, I gave the Union troops mostly black leather, tack, and harness. The Confederates were mostly brown with a bit of black thrown in. The Union Cavalry and Artillerists were very uniform while the Confederates Cavalry remained pretty ad hoc. Many Confederate artillerists I let sport a few red kepis along with their home-spun. The generals all have individualized uniforms. Union Generals sported competed shades of blue-black while the Confederates sported a divergent variety of gray.

The Cavalry Attacks
Notice the shading and three dimensional effects on the horses.
The basic idea was to give the Union a fairly uniform face while the Confederates were given a more rag-tag appearance. Some grey uniforms and some captured clothing and equipment, but mostly homespun in appearance. All figs were given dark flesh for their skin tones. Various shades of brown, blonde, black, and red were used for the hair and beards.

Did you prime them?

Yes. I used a product by Zinsser called BIN Primer Sealer (White Pigmented Shellac - Stain Killer) on general recommendation from a hardware store assistant and from information gleaned from an article about soft-plastic figures by Frank Chadwick. I'd always used a black or grey primer in the past and thought I'd go with white for a change to brighten the overlaying color. The Zinsser specifically recommended itself as an undercoat for toys and models.

The Union Charges
Once again, excellent coloring on the horses. Notice the bedrolls and blankets are all detailed.
Did you use washes or dry brushing?

The decision to use white as a base color worked well during painting because the white sealer brightened the paint noticeably in the highlights, eliminating the need for dry-brushing. Especially on the skin for the horses. When finished, the figures turned out so nicely that I didn't see any need to treat them with a dark wash, either. A step I almost always take when doing 20mm figures. I did mute the horses' flanks with a very thin brown wash in the end, though

Did you coat them with a protective finish? Do you anticipate any wear-and-tear problems?

I gave them a coat of a matte acrylic sealer. However, I should have also sealed them with a mixture of water and white glue (about two or three parts water to glue) as well. I neglected to do that with these. So far, the figures have held up. Especially the sabers of the cavalrymen.

Have you done this with other games?

The South Marches
Notice the General is detailed right down to the brass buttons. Each cap visor is detailed.
The set in discussion was actually given away at a Battle Cry tournament I hosted. But I'm working on my own double-set of Battle Cry figures now, though they've sat on the bench for a while of late. This time, I'm picking out a few units on each side and giving them specific uniforms. I also plan to issue all units new flags. I have a pattern book of Civil War battle flags I picked up at Shiloh and have used the patterns to adorn several Civil War regiments in 15mm.

I've also purchased many ESCI modern-era 1/72-scale infantry kits to do a "super-sized" version of Fortress America. However, I'm stymied on how to do the vehicles and aircraft in that game without making the scale discrepancies look outrageous.

I'd like to "super-size" other boardgames in this fashion, but haven't really sat down to ask myself which ones I'd like to do this way. However, Shogun/Samurai Swords screams for a similar treatment. Especially as a Battle Cry cross-over.

Well I can't wait to see these super size games! Perhaps we are starting a new niche fad of taking a game we like and improving the components. Be sure to call and let us see any more painting projects you do. Thanks for sharing your painting techniques and ideas with us, Brady!

I appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions, Dan! Thanks ever so much for asking!

Read all three articles on Battle Cry Figure Painting.

My hat is off to Scott and Brady for sharing their insight with everyone.

Update (2001/11/18): See a few more images of Brady's work in the article Meeting Richard Borg.

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