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"First sprues of Epic Scale done, Zenithal and Contrasts" Topic

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Baranovich19 Feb 2022 3:37 p.m. PST

Got my first boxes of Epic Scale Waterloo the other day. I worked out a pretty good system using both the Citadel Contrasts and some of the new Army Painter Speedpaints.

On the Youtube channel "Miniature Realms" the fellow who runs it, Stewart, utilizes the Zenithal technique, with an airbrush pass of black followed by an airbrush pass of white.

Link to his British infantry painting tutorial:

YouTube link

For my first two sprues, I did a similar thing, but I experimented with black rattle can primer and then did a manual drybrush of white over that.

The airbrush is by far the better way to go. The variant I tried leaves the models too dark in some recesses for the Contrasts to properly show up, and the black spray primer had a bit of texture to it. Might have been a temperature or nozzle thing, but the drybrush over it gave the models kind of a rough finish. In the end they came out fine, not a game breaker. But like I said, airbrush is a much better way to go for Zenithal.

In any event, Contrast paints are without a doubt the best way to go with the Epic Scale system. I attempted to paint several sprues of the Civil War last year with traditional model paints and almost lost my mind. It just takes forever. The Contrasts speed up the process many times over, and you give you a one-pass shading and base coating.

So go with either a Zenithal, or a straight light colored spray primer like off-white or white.

The one big advantage of the Zenithal is that since a good deal of both armies have white straps and belts, you can let the Zenithal itself be the final finish for those areas, saving a HUGE amount of time. It's already shaded. Also worked for the white cross-lacing on the front of the British jackets.

At this small of a scale, painting the primary jacket colors of red and blue really amounts to painting mostly just the sleeves, with very small dot-size ares of jacket on the back.

The Contrasts and Speedpaints worked excellent for the uniforms, shakos, muskets, and flesh areas.

For the knapsacks, rather than laboriously paint the white straps for every single one, I did a gray and brown Contrast over them first, then did a white drybrush over them and the blankets to make the straps stand out. Would have taken twenty times longer to manually paint the straps!

The only areas where I used regular paints was the silver on the bayonets and musket barrels, and white for some of the cuffs and to touch up some of the white straps and belts.

The artillery each had only two Contrast colors, yellow for the brass barrels, and then a green and bluish gray respectively for the gun carriages.

I got one sprue done for each army, taking about two afternoons for each sprue.

At this scale you can get away with quite a bit in terms of not painting in every single detail. I shaded a lot of the equipment with a simple light gray Contrast to give it some shading. The most important thing, especially for the French is to make sure you do give distinctive colors to cuffs, shako pompoms, shoulders, etc. Those colors really help the scale pop from tabletop height.

All in all a pretty efficient way to get the armies painted up reasonably quickly.

Baranovich19 Feb 2022 3:55 p.m. PST

…and I also took photos of the complete paint palettes I used.

First is for the British infantry. In addition to the Contrasts and Speedpaint colors, I once again used my old Nighthaunt Gloom technical paint which happened to not only be the perfect color for Union infantry trousers, but also Napoleonic British gun carriages and canteens.

Next is the French infantry. Once again a mix of Contrasts and Speedpaints. The Speedpaints ended up being useful for the different colors of pompoms on the shakos.

Next is the British artillery. Only two Contrast colors needed. Nazdreg Yellow makes for the perfect brass barrels, and as I mentioned earlier, the Citadel Nighthaunt Gloom is a dead ringer for British gun carriages.

Finally the French artillery. Again, only two Contrast colors needed. Astra Militarum Green is an excellent shade for the green gun carriages, and again Nazdreg Yellow for the gun barrel.

mpanko19 Feb 2022 6:03 p.m. PST

Looks great!

Baranovich19 Feb 2022 6:31 p.m. PST


von Winterfeldt19 Feb 2022 10:59 p.m. PST

well done painted to great effect.

RittervonBek20 Feb 2022 2:46 a.m. PST

If I'd been on the fence about this game format this report would've pulled me right in. Well done.

Fred Mills20 Feb 2022 5:12 a.m. PST

Super helpful post, and brilliantly painted figures too. Many thanks.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2022 9:18 a.m. PST

Very nice work – I am still on the fence but leaning towards trying them out.


Legionarius20 Feb 2022 5:42 p.m. PST

Very good painting!

huron725 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2022 6:14 a.m. PST

Wow, they look great. Thanks for sharing this.

I have been putting off the Epic ranges for a while now to finish other projects.

Seeing this is making it very hard to stay the course.

Baranovich21 Feb 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the feedback guys, much appreciated.

The thing that I'm loving about this multi-basing and small scale is that it all blends together so nicely when you finally get the models based and ranked up. If you happen to do a strip of soldiers that come out sloppier than others, it really doesn't matter. You can put them in the rear rank to hide some of it, and even if you put them in the front rank it still looks good.

My paint jobs are adequate but I've certainly seen other people do far more precise and far more beautiful work on these. I do just enough detail and color to achieve the visual "pop" and that's it.

The real problem however, is that I'm afraid that it's a matter of diminishing returns. The photographs are so up close that you can see every nook and cranny of every model, as well as every place where a detail didn't get full attention. The photographs make the models look huge, and my paint jobs begin to break down fairly quickly the longer you look.

But when you see the bases and the ranked up models in person, they are so very small that all you really need to do is give them hints of colors in the right places and you get the same visual "pop" as someone who spent much more time on their paint jobs.

DeRuyter21 Feb 2022 9:44 a.m. PST

Wow very well done. I have painted some of the ACW using contrast over a white primer. There is a chap who sells 3d print files and has a contrast painting tutorial for them. Eskice miniatures.

On the speed paints, I am waiting for my set, but just heard that there is a bleed problem with them. Did you have any trouble with those colors? Also did you highlight after the contrast was on?

Baranovich21 Feb 2022 12:49 p.m. PST


Thank you, much appreciated.

Very, very interesting that you bring up that particular issue with the Speedpaints. I can confirm that it is true.

It's hard to tell yet if will be a game breaker or not.

But I can confirm that you've got to be extremely careful how much you have on your brush. I was using the brown and the moment I touched it to the model, the color began expanding over onto adjacent details, even though I hadn't moved my brush over them. I was taken by surprise in that I put the same amount of Speedpaint on my brush as I had the Contrasts, assuming they would work the same way.

But it's not the case, the Speedpaints seem to want to "roam" more if you take my meaning.

I got better control of it once I learned how very little you need on the brush.

However, it is a problem. I found myself having to go back and dip the brush back into the pool much more often than I would liked.

The Contrasts seem to be much more "stable", and you seem to be able to use one brushful of the Contrast over a larger area.

For example, with the brown Citadel Contrast Wyldwood, I'm able to put a little on the brush and that one brushful is nearly enough to go down an entire rank of Epic Scale muskets before I have to reload the brush. You can get away with overloading the brush a litle bit with the Contrasts and it will still behave for the most part.

I've only tried a few of the Speedpaint colors so far, but it seems like they won't be as forgiving as the Contrasts have been.

Baranovich21 Feb 2022 2:12 p.m. PST


Just wanted to amend one thing in my previous post. With that Wyldwood Contrast brown, I am able to go down over HALF of a rank of Epic Scale muskets, but not all of them. I can generaly do maybe six or so of them before I have to redip the brush. So we're talking being able to run the brush down the length of maybe five musekts or so before having to reload.

Although, it's probably better to put a lesser amount on the brush and just do a couple muskets at a time.

But in that regard I'm contradicting myself because I said it was a drawback of the Speedpaint that you couldn't have more on the brush at one time.

I guess my ultimate point is that I've been using the Contrasts for about three years now. I've gotten experienced enough where I can carefully overload a brush a bit with Contrast and get more model details done before having to reload. But you do have to be steadier and more careful so you don't push too much of it off the brush and muddle the detail or get Contrast on an adjacent detail.

The slight overloading of Contrasts tends to work better when you have a particular detail that has like a definitive "ridge" or solid seperation line that will stop the Contrast like a dam essentially, from getting over onto the next detail.

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