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Monday, June 29, 2015

Bolt Action - Painting Guide: French Goumiers

Welcome to another step by step painting guide, this time I've chosen a very exotic unit, the Moroccan Goumiers of the French army. This is actually the first squad for a future project, the French Expeditionary Corp in Italy. The miniatures themselves are from the Artizan Designs range. These are fantastic miniatures and are a pleasure to paint. Let's see how to do it...

Before you grab your paints and brushes, here is a brief history of these fierce fighters. The French empire on the eve of the Second World War possessed large colonies in north, west and central Africa. It was common practice to recruit local men into the armed forces, these troops both 'policed' their own lands and were also sent to other colonies as garrison troops. Morocco was one such colony, and it provided the groups of irregular mountain fighters called Goumiers to the French Army of Africa. Organised into groups called 'Tabors' they were regularly employed to raid and break infiltrate Axis defenses, especially in mountainous regions. Their most famous campaign being during the battles for Monte Cassino in Italy. As part of the French Expeditionary Corp, the Goumiers scaled the mountains and outflanked the German defensive line, contributing to a the Axis abandoning this long held position and opening up the road to Rome itself.

You can see in the reference pictures above, the Goumiers were equipped (like the rest of the French Expeditionary Corp) with a mixture of French, US and even British equipment. They were given older 1908 Springfield rifles from US stocks, not the M1 Garand. But it was their knives that the Goumiers were most famous for...

They dressed in traditional tribal robes, with the coloured patterns denoting which tribal area they were from. So, there are a variety of patterns and colours you could choose from when painting your Goumiers. You could feasibly even paint your different squads in different coloured robes to help tell them apart on the table and give that 'irregular' tribal look!

Okay, let's get painting!

1. Spray Primer

First step is to undercoat your miniatures with 'English Infantry' spray from the Plastic Soldier Company. This is essentially the same colour as VJ921 English Uniform. I used this colour from the bottle to paint into any areas the spray missed.

2. Base colours

Leaving the robes the colour of the spray undercoat. Use the paints below to apply the base colours. Guns, dark leather webbing and boots are black. Helmets in Olive Grey. Turbans & scarves, sleeves and trousers are Iraqi Sand. Skin is Beige Brown. Canvas webbing is Khaki.

3. Base colours 2

Use the paints below to apply the second round of basic colours. Paint the Gun stocks with Flat Brown and metalitc parts a dark silver. The dark leather (webbing, boots) with Rhinox Hide. The bases paint with Brown Sand.

Now comes the tricky bit, the stripped pattern on the robes. This is the one part of the process worth taking careful time with. The stripped robes are what give these guys their distinctive look, so it's worth it. There are many patterns I have seen, but I am trying to keep this one simple but eye catching.

These patterns seem daunting when you look at a finished model, but break it down into steps and you can do it! Start with some thick vertical stripes coming down the robe using a dark brown (Rhinox Hide here). Use a brush that holds a good point so you can keep them clean and neat. Make sure to add a little water to the paint to keep it smooth as you apply. Space these dark stripes out so you don't end up covering the light brown!

After this, take your smallest, fine detail brush to apply the thin light strips like on the right pic there. I used Dark sand, but any 'bone' colour will work. Carefully paint a thin line down the sides of each dark brown strip. Again, use slightly watered down paint and take your time! You'll get better with each attempt.

Like I say, take the time and be patient, it's worth it! This is the most difficult stage, the rest is easy once you have the stripes on.

4. Shading wash

I used Army painter 'Strong Tone' ink out of the bottle to give the entire model a wash. I also then applied a second wash of black ink to the guns and helmets.

5. Highlights 1

Use the paints below to apply highlights to the base colours. For the robes there are three colours to highlight. Use Khaki Grey over the English Uniform basecoat, Doombull Brown over the Rhinox Hide and Pale Sand over the Dark Sand.

Highlight the Helmets twice, once with Olive Grey, then some Brown Violet. Apply a highlight of Dark Sand over the turbans, scarves, sleeves and trousers. Use Khaki on the canvas webbing.

6. Highlights 2

Use the paints below for a final highlight. For the robes, apply Khaki onto the light brown area, Tuskogor Fur onto the dark brown and leave the light stripe, this doesn't need any more highlighting.

A final thin highlight is applied to the helmet using Nurgling Green. Mix Flat brown and a little Dark Sand to make a colour to highlight the wooden gunstocks. Mix Khaki and Dark Sand to highlight the canvas webbing. The skin is highlighted in two stages. First use Beige Brown and a little Dark Sand to highlight the nose, fingers, chin, cheeks and any other raised area. Then add a little more Dark Sand to the mix and highlight again. Any beards (which are black) are then highlighted with German Grey.

If you are keen to paint the eyes I always use a fine detail brush and start by painting a tiny white horizontal strip. I find it easier to turn the model upside down and on it's side for this. I then apply a dot of black paint as the pupil straight on. Be careful not to use to much paint or you'll cover the white.

7. Finishing touches

Last up, give your bases a drybrush highlight in three layers. Start with Brown Sand, then Dark Sand and finally Pale Sand. It's a good idea to varnish your Goumiers at this stage as without it metal figs tend to chip over time. I always use Testors Dullcoate.

Lastly I used PVA glue to apply a variety of grass tufts from Gamer's Grass, plus some lichen from a local hobby store. I really love the quality and price of Gamer's Grass, they have a large variety of colours and sizes available and I'll be using them for all my armies in the future. 

So there you have it, painting Goumiers! Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be on the forum:

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