The bulk of soldiers in most DBA armies have black or brown hair painted straight from the acrylic bottle of that color. In reality, however, hair comes in a variety of colors like blond and red including shades within each color range. And of course, your venerable commander-in-chief is likely to have acquired a fair share of grey. This page collects tips on painting the more challenging variants of hair color.
The following tips came in response to a query posted in the rec.games.miniatures.historical newsgroup on how to paint blond hair on miniatures:
Paul Bernardino: Here is a technique I picked up that does a good job. Take a yellow colored paint and apply it as a base coat to the hair. Then apply a wash of light olive paint. (I know it sounds strange) It does work.
Lloyd (aka DucDallas): A technique that I use that works well is to prime the figures white then when I am doing a brown wash on the face I wash the white primer as well. I use oils for my washes and burnt sienna gives shadows in the texture and the white primed hair a straw color.
Jason Schmidt: I dated an artist for a while, and she did a few oils of me. She explained that to paint blond hair you take yellows, browns, and GREEN and mix. For some light/pigmentary reason that my li'l mind will never grasp, the result is really nice blond hair. Of course, too much green and you get the "post-bleached-hair in the chlorine swimming pool" syndrome. Not a pretty sight on your Viking hordes...
John (aka Aetius9): Games Workshop makes two colors that are close to blond hair, "bleached bone" and "bubonic brown". There is also a paint color by Howard Hues "#62 Planking". These are all close. I used to mix a pactra color "Desert Sand" with normal white. I could get different shades of blond by the amount of white I would mix in.
Brian O'Leary: I used to use Polly-S Mud with a drybrushing of Polly-S light yellow to good effect. The Mud color is available as Polly-Scale, but don't know about the light yellow.
Painting Black Hair
Joe Mann: as with horse manes and tails, highlight basic black with bright blue.
Painting Red Hair
Joe Mann: Fairly bright orange base, wash with chocoalte wash, drybrush canary yellow or not at all.
Bathead207: Red-hair is a misnomer - it's more of a brownish-orange (trust me - I *have* red hair - I know whereof I speaketh!) I typically use an orange base with a dark to medium dark brown wash, drybrush with orange with yellow highlights, being careful with the yellow, too much and it'll look too bright, unless you're going for that Kool-Aid look! Experiment with varying degress of orange drybrushing and shades of brownwashes until you find a shade you like, and don't worry if the coloring doesn't exactly match from figure to figure - in our family, 3 of us have red hair and if you look closely, each are subtly different, no two are the *exactly* the same.
Thane Morgan: Start with a mix of Brown and Red for the under coat. Now make a mix of red, yellow, brown (very little of this) and gold (also a very little bit). Use this to highlight once, then lighten with a bit of yellow, and touch up one last time. The gold really gives a realistic sheen to the hair. Copper also can work well. Just don't use too much.
Jonathan Ashton: Red 1: block in with raw umber. When dry, drybrush with chestnut for red. Red 2: upon a white base paint hair orange. Wash with a reddish brown. Dry brush with a mix of reddish brown and orange. For highlights, dry brush orange and or orange mixed with a touch of ivory.
Tom Taukner: Try chestnut base with orange on top. Vary the brightness for different shades. Remember that true "redheads" are ginger, not red as such.
Painting Grey Hair
Joe Mann: White base, wash with back till dark enough for your tastes, drybrush (lightly) with white or light grey.
Painting White Hair
Joe Mann: I paint a lot of white hair, one of my armies is painted around the model of santa claus - white fur, white hair and beard, red outfit, black belts and boots. White base, wash with very dark black wash, drybrush with white, usually 2 passes on the drybrushing, same works for fur trim, and black spots after the second whit drybrushing renders it into ermine.
Last Updated: April 13, 1999
Comments, questions and additions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.