Friday, 22 June 2007

Painting horses

After a long and stressing week I'm to relax myself painting some cavalry figures.
The color of horses depends on the type of unit: heavy cavalry (dragoons, cuirassiers...) usually had a greater percentage of dark horses, whereas the light ones were reserved for light cavalry (chasseurs, hussars...). Therefore I use the following approximate percentages:
Heavy cavalry horses: 60% reddish; 30% light brown; 10% dark brown
Light cavalry horses: 30% reddish; 60% light brown; 10% dark brown
Light grey horses are reserved for trumpeters, and I paint also some odd horses: light grey, dark grey or blacks to increasing the variation.

Below there is a scheme of the painting in the order Base color/First light/Second light. When Idem appears it refers to the same mix with a greater proportion un the lighter color. All the numbers are from Vallejo paints

Reddish Horse
814 Burnt cad. Red + 950 Black / 814 Burnt cad. Red + 982 Cavalry Brown / Idem

Light Brown Horse
875 Beige Brown / 875 Beige Brown + 981 Orange Brown / 875 Beige Brown + 981 Orange brown + 955 Flat Flesh

Dark Brown Horse
872 Chocolat Brown + 950 Black / 872 Chocolat Brown + 875 Beige brown / Idem

Light Grey Horse (Trumpeter)
992 Neutral grey / 991 neutral grey + 990 Light Grey / Idem

Dark Grey Horse
994 Dark Grey / 004 Dark Grey + 992 Neutral grey / Idem

Black Horse
950 Black / 950 Black + 975 Hull red / Idem / Idem (some more higlights are required)



  1. Hello,
    Some very useful information regarding horse colours. I too enjoy the Napoleonic era for wargaming as well as reading the history of the era. You have one of the best personal sites on the net! Keep up the good work.

    Brad Heath

  2. Brad
    Thanks for your kindly comments. I am in the hobby from many time so I want to return to my fellows all the infomation they gave me over the years. Don't hesitate to question me about any napoleonic topics
    Rafa Pardo

  3. Great info on using the Vallejo Model Color for horses. I've been trying to find some decent color combos for a while.

    Now I can finish painting this Roman cavalry!

    BTW, I also got a good result for the dark brown horses using Vallejo Game Color Charred Brownas the base and then gradually adding the Beige Brown for highlights. The VMC SS Black Brown would also work.

  4. Yeah, there are many ways to paint brown horses.The result is almost always very good because the shades fuse well