Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Painting Tutorial: Numidian Light Cavalry In Hannibal's Army


Click on all pictures to enlarge the view

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day basing cavalry figures for my 54mm Punic Wars Project. I have shown pictures of the Numidian light cavalry in previous blog posts, however, I hadn't gotten around to basing the figures.

Unlike my Italian cavalry, I opted to not use green static grass on the bases. I wanted to achieve a more arid look to the bases so I relied on lots of dry brushing of light colored paint. Then I selected an assortment of dark tufts to provide some contrast to the base. The finished bases remind me a little bit of Western tumbleweed. I am happy with the look of the bases.

HaT Industrie Numidian light cavalry figures.

So now I have 32 Numidians that I painted and 16 more that I acquired from a collector who decided to dispose of his collection (much to my benefit). Thus there is a total of 48 Numidian light cavalry. I might paint another 16 figure unit in the future as I move into Stage Two of my Punic Wars Project.

Here are some close up pictures of some of the Numidians prior to getting based. I posted these pictures to give you an idea of the various horse colors that I painted.

1) Reaper  Ruddy Leather (09109) shade or base color.  Reaper  Oiled Leather (09110) highlight.

I used the Reaper Olive Skin triad paints for the skin color on the riders.

2) Iron Wind Metals Grey (77-707) shade or base. P3 Sickly Skin (93132) highlight.

I used the Reaper Dark Skin triad for the skin color on the riders.

3) P3 Umber base/shade (93028) and P3 Bloodstone (93029) highlight. The figure below on the far right, front row is done only in the P3 Umber color and a high gloss finish. Most of my darker horses have black manes and tails.

4) This is a color scheme that I made up. I don't know if horses exist with the colors below, but they look nice for light cavalry horses.

Reaper Oiled Leather shade or base color (09110). The I mix my own highlight color using the Oiled Leather plus some Reaper Creamy Ivory (09144) for the highlight color. I can't really give you a formula for this because I mix the paint until I get a highlight color that looks right to my eye. It doesn't take much more than a drop of the Creamy Ivory color mixed in with a lot of Oiled Leather. My recollection is that I do make a "base color" that is a little bit lighter than the Oiled Leather. Then I follow that up with a "highlight color" that has even more Creamy Ivory mixed into the Oiled Leather.

The figures are finished off with black manes and tails and hooves painted with a dark grey craft paint color. The bases are finished with a brown color, but this doesn't matter because the horse bases will get covered over with my terraining goop.

African Skin Color

This is a hard one for me because I can't seem to get a natural looking skin color for the Numidians, Beja and Dervish warriors. I assume that Numidians have a variety of skin tones so they should not all look the same. I have no idea what an ancient era Numidian looks like so I have come up with some different ideas for the skin tones.

My advice is to use a triad color system with the shade, base and highlight colors already selected for you. I use the Reaper Dark Skin triad: Dark Shadow (09040), Dark Skin (09041), and Dark Skin Highlight (09042). I use just the shadow and the highlight colors and skip the base color so that I get more of a contrast on the figure's skin.

Another formula is to use the Reaper Dark Skin Shadow (09040) and then use some P3 Bloodstone (93029) as a highlight.

The Reaper Olive Skin triad provides more variety to my Numidians for a lighter color variant. I also use this color for some of my Carthaginian Liby-Phoenician peoples.

Sometimes I slip in several figures with tan skin from the Reaper Tan Skin triad. Tan Shadow (09043), Tan Skin (09044) and Tan Highlight (09044). This is the color that I use for all of my Caucasian skin peoples such as Romans, Celts, Hibernians and some Carthaginians.

Hair Color

I use black for the Numidian figures and for any figure that uses the Olive Skin triad. My Romans and other caucasian peoples general get brown paint. 

Gloss Finish Effects

One of the nice things about a gloss finish is that it does a good job of hiding most painting mistakes and it makes certain colors "pop". The darker skin colors look better with gloss, which naturally provides a highlight to the skin tone.  

A gloss finish also makes it easy to mass produce horses. I paint the horse either black or umber and then give it a spray of gloss. Think William Britain's 54mm metal toy soldiers for how the glossy horses look. The end result looks good and you didn't have to spend extra time working with triads.

Gloss coating also seems to provide a heavier protective coating than Dull Coat or other matte finishes. I use gloss spray coating for all of my plastic figures, but matte finish for my metal figures.


  1. Great painting tutorial , a nice set of figures .

  2. I personally prefer washing, not gloss. Beside this, I have only applause for your work!
    Great basings too.