Hoplites (II) – Getting them painted


So big talk in the last post about get hundreds of hoplites painted and building big ‘ol hoplite forces for Classical Greece.

To do this will require some streamlining and focus on ‘the big picture’. By big picture I mean not getting down to the minutiae of highlighting an eye brow here and touching up and highlighting every detail there…we are focussed on massed units and the principal effect of shield and spear blocks. We don’t want to do a sloppy job, its just that we want good representational forces in massed units.

Last time I spoke about the mixing of Victrix plastics and Foundry metals as the main go to source for my troops – this has proved a success.

The technique I’m using is nothing wholly original but it is simple and fast. For this period it will be about getting a nicely painted shield out front and having a good crisp paint job on the figure – Army Painter will do the rest. Hoplite armies, or indeed armies of this period and ancients in general, lend themselves particularly well to army painter use. The soft and warm tones and natural dyes allow for the use of the three army painter shades in several combinations to produce a quite believable result.

On individual figures I have gone back and highlighted as and when the mood takes me. I think getting all figures assembled and in a unit…then looking at them…gives a good indication of what’s required…do not waste time fiddling with details that won’t be seen! Remember, you’re looking at many, many figures at once and the ‘missed’ detail doesn’t really show.

They really do look ‘pretty average’ with a single coat paint job (a bit out of focus).

The nice thing with the Foundry and Victrix figures is they are very well sculpted and take an army painter ‘wash’ very well. Hit with the flat varnish they have a suitable grungy feel when all assembled that I think reflects the reality fairly well.



You can see from the above shots that fundamentally the paint job is crisp and sharp – that’s the key for the most part – the army painter dip will do the rest.

I prefer to use the mid tone army painter for most colors but mix in the dark tone on blues and greens and sometimes a thinned dark color to have it run into the detail and really make the figure ‘pop’. When I say ‘dipped’ I mean the figure has army painter shade painted on – I always use a brush for application and never actually ‘dip’ the figure in the pot.

Some pre and post officer figures painted and dipped – you can see the dip doing its work.


The detail pops nicely with the dip.


Here is a figure, painted as above, but now with a dark shade dip. You can see if it is thin it pulls the linothorax detail out very well.



For Spartans, I used Army PainterRed spray paint as an under coat and then blocked in the remaining few colors – very fast.



…just add flesh and black hair plus bronze helmet.





As you can see this is really simple painting – no shading, just block painting.

For shields I wimped out and went all in on the Victrix (LBM) shields. Can’t beat them really and whilst a bit fiddly to cut out they deliver a consistent and excellent result. There are a number of blogs showing how these shields transfers are applied – best check them out. Whilst a touch fiddly, they are worth the results IMO….particularly when you want consistent results over many, many figures.

When you get the figures painted, shields off first, then a-fix the shields you’ll start getting your troops together. I start to organize them to begin ‘the look’ I’m after.


Figures not yet dipped with Army Painter.



Starting to organise into unit blocks.


See how you don’t see alot of the figures so pick your best guts for the front rank and hide a few ‘not so perfect’ minis in the main formation.

.…though not yet dipped – even these look good arrayed as they are.


So, this is the process – organisation and simple flat painting and then using army painter dip and flat varnish to produce figures that can be mass produced and look good when all put together. This method is used for all the figures painted in this project. Undercoat-single block color paint job-army painter dip…finished.

Next post we’ll look at basing…see you then.


Not yet based – but starting to look like massed ranks of hoplites





5 thoughts on “Hoplites (II) – Getting them painted

  1. Looking great.
    I’m looking at ancient greeks now.
    What did you use to thin out the army paint strong/ dark tone dips?


  2. Hi Dan,

    I just use white spirits (Turpentine). Use it sparingly to thin it to the right viscosity.



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