Using painting strips for small-scale infantry is hardly a new invention (I remember using it decades ago when working on my Epic infantry) and it certainly isn't my idea, but I still thought I would share the painting strips I have made up for my 6mm Napoleonics. In the past I have used offcuts of sprue but they had some limitations, primarily stability (I had to lie them on their side while drying) but also having to find lengths long enough. So this time around I decided to purpose-build my painting strips.
I had three design goals:
1. Stand up nicely while the paint dries (allowing me to paint both sides at once);
2. Be light (so I can paint for extended periods without straining my wrists); and
3. Be thin (so they won't interfere with my access to the miniature).
The rough design in my head was for some strips about 200mm long and 6mm across, with feet of some description. I decided on 6mm square Tasmanian oak stripping to form the main strips, with 20mm x 8mm pine cut into 40mm lengths for the feet. I got more than enough of both from Bunnings (my favourite hardware superstore) for less than $10 and cut them to length with my compound mitre saw (although you could just as easily use a handsaw). I then glued the feet lengthwise onto the strips using PVA - definitely no need to use nails or tacks for this one.
They ended up looking something like this:
I ended up with ten in total, easily enough to have several different battalions on the go at once. An important consideration with the length is how many strips of infantry you want to fit on at once. I wanted eight at about 20mm each, so I made the strips 200mm leaving room to spare for my hands. In the background you can see a battalion of British Line Infantry awaiting undercoat - this gives you an idea of how big the strips are and how the models are spaced out.
So there we go, purpose-built painting strips. I'll let you know how they go and whether I end up changing the design in any way.