Beginners Guide

While I take the time to put my own examples together Jay Wirth has offered this guide to painting Later Crusaders. Many thanks to Jay!




15mm Crusaders for DBA


After deciding on figure scale, I gathered the needed materials.



Figures: Old Glory 15s? – I chose packs for a Late Crusader Army stock # CR1 thru CR10. I included extra packs of foot and command for the few extra poses that can be mixed with the rank and file offering? troop variety.


Bases: RI Wargame Bases – Thin Plastic with Magnet Looks Great with 15mm


Flocking: RI Medium Flocking Gel – This will look very good as grass for 15 or 25mm.


Tools: A Rat Tail & Flat File, Wire cutters, Gail Force 9 Super Glue.


Books & Reference: DBA 2.2, Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath, Osprey The Crusades #19 and Knights of Christ #155, and a bunch of screen shots from Kingdom of Heaven.


As you can see, I have separated the figs into elements (labeled bags). I clean and base one element type at a time.


  • 1 3kn – Command: Abelin, Marshal &? Hospitaller
  • 5 4sp – Jerusalem colors
  • 1 3bw – no set color
  • 2 4cb – no set color
  • 1 3cv – Turcoples
  • 1 3kn – Hospitaller colors
  • 2 3kn – Abelin colors


Step 1 Cleaning


Once I figured the elements required, I lay the figures out ready for cleaning. With a hobby knife and files remove any of the little “tails” and mold lines found around each miniature. I smooth the bottom of each base, cutting any protruding flash with the hobby knife. At this time, a trick I use to ease the glueing process, is to hold each figure firmly against the table, by placing a hobby knife between the legs. You will see some figs are off balance. With your free hand bend the fig till its standing straight. Each stand is glued and left to dry (about 30 minutes).? For mounted troops, I glue the horses and then their riders.?


Step 2 Flocking


I use RI Medium Gel. I think this looks good as 15mm or 25mm grass. I “prod” gel onto each base using a small spatula type tool.



I spread the gel onto each stand, completing each element ill set them aside, letting them dry before priming.


Once dry I attach each stand to a roofing nail and hold them upright utilizing a Styrofoam tray.


The Army is ready for paint.


I spent just over 3 hours cleaning and basing the miniatures. I spent much longer than that reading the Ospreys and searching the net for Crusader info. I’m looking forward to priming and painting, and will be sure to have even more pictures on each step.


Priming & Painting


Materials: Krylon Ultra Flat Black


Paints: RI Acrylics, RI Ink Wash, Armory Paints (OOP), Liquidtex & Folk Art

Brushes: Round #0, #1 (1old, 1new), Cat Tongue #4 all SynSable by Scharff

I do use different brands of paint. I use our line of RI Acrylics on 90% of the project. For wood I like the Liquidtex raw seana. For the silver and gold I still have Armory paints. When the distributor stopped producing the paint line I bought up as much as I could. Folk Art is a cheap craft type paint. How could I paints Jerusalem’s blue without Folkart’s Blue Ribbon?


Note on Brushes: This has been my observation, that I first wrote about in A Beginners Guide to Painting in the early 90s. “Nylon brushes are the best for painting miniatures. The synthetic bristles hold up to the ‘poking’ motion when painting, better than Red Sable”. After 20+ years of painting (most as professional) I still find this statement to be true.


I began by priming the miniatures with Krylon Ultra Flat Black. I then place them under my desk lamp (nice and close). This is an old habbit. I believe it helps the paint dry and produces shrinkage during this time, adhering to the metal and drying smooth.



Before adding color, I drybrush each stand with white. This leaves black in the recesses and aides with the shadows. Picking out the details is now much more obvious.


Adding Color: When painting groups of miniatures, I start with all colors (browns, reds, yellow, flesh) that will be shaded with brown Ink Wash first.


I paint 3 stands at a time.


After the colors are done I wash the figs with 3:1 ratio water to Brown Ink. Using my old brush I cover each area, letting the wash flow into the recesses.


I set the 3 stands aside and paint the colors on the next 3 stands.


Once I have painted and washed these I can return to the first 3 stands for highlights. I highlight the areas with the original base color. When highlighting, some figs can be left with just the Ink Wash creating different tones.


This works great with horses, 3 painted the same base brown. Leave one with just ink wash, highlight one with the base brown color and highlight the third with the base brown color + a touch of white. You will have three different color horses with very little effort.



To finish up the remaining colors on the foot troops. I paint the shields blue and ink wash 2:1 water:ink. The grass also gets a base coat of RI Field Green and green ink wash 2:1.


I finish up the second group of 3 stands and am just about finished.


I first paint all metal parts with black Ink Wash straight from the bottle. I also line the blue shields with the cross pattern of Jerusalem. Decals can be used, but I have always enjoyed the challenge of painting each shield freehand. Silver is drybrushed over helmets & weapons. Gold paint is lined over the black crosses on each shield.


finally I paint the edges of the bases black. After drying a few quick coats of Krylon #1311 Matte Finish and we are done.


I spent about three hours on these six stands of foot. This includes stopping for some pictures and writing done each step.



The mounted troops where done the same way. Additional care was taken with Abelin’s heraldry. The Hospitallers are mostly black. To help make them stand out and show some detail the blacks were highlighted with dark grey. Cloth had highlights a bit lighter.




Overall it took about 12 hours to complete this army. I still need to create a camp element, but have not decided on its composition. Old Painting articles have been posted on the Renaissance Ink web site. The Beginners Guide includes a chart explaining shading with inks and the ratio of water:ink used for different applications.



Happy Painting.

Jay Wirth Renaissance Ink


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike Porter says:

    Thanks Jay, I’ve replaced the images with the new ones.

  2. jmeunier says:

    Mike, you paint troops mounted on the stands. Do you have problems getting between the figures?

    You much have much more steady hands that I do.

  3. Mike Porter says:

    Actually, those figs were painted by Jay Wirth. How he paints them on the stand like that, I’ll never know. I certainly can’t do it!

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