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Painting 15mm Horses

By Assistant Doc Deane P. Goodwin


The purpose here is to demonstrate a reasonably quick, functional method for painting 15mm miniature horses. The horses being painted here are a chestnut (left) and a bay (right), as these two colors constitute about 80% of European warhorses. The paints used for these horses were primarily Howard Hues paints, with the exception of two washes and the green detail colors. These are personal preference as their coverage is excellent and they dry dead flat. The process will be the same regardless of the paint used.

Here are the horses after their base coats were applied. This is simply the base color, thinned with water and applied evenly. Normally, I do not paint the saddle blankets at this time, but did so here for the sake of contrast.

Below, the horses have been washed with a VERY thin wash of standard raw sienna artists acrylics. Several coats may be needed. The objective here is to establish the shadows and darker highlights, while minimizing the darkening of the general body.

Following this, a thin wash of raw umber is applied to the tail, mane, hooves, eyes and nostrils. This will serve to define the longer haired areas of the horse as well as those areas which are naturally darker.

The horses are then highlighted with a thinned version of their base color. Specific areas that benefit from highlighting are shoulder, rump, lower jaw, knees, high points of any defined muscle group and the front side of each leg

One last trip across the table! The hooves are lightly drybrushed with equine grey, the harness is painted, and all accessories are finished.

This is a simple yet effective horse coloring system. Other colors can be done in essentially the same manner, only needing adjustment to the wash colors. Any socks, blazes, stars, or similar markings I usually add in a light grey or off white, well thinned. Using this system for horses, I can usually paint about 24 horses in 2-3 hours.