Luca Marchetti: Profession Grand Master
Earliest modelling moment
My passion was born whilst I was an infant. As a child I used to play with the plastic soldiers of Airfix and Atlantic and it is during this period that I discovered my love and passion for the Ancient and Medieval subjects. After many years, when I thought that soldiers were only a thing of my past, I discovered that there existed small but beautifully sculpted metal pieces that could be bought and painted – the famous Lead Soldiers in 25mm!! It was love at first sight and my passion for these immediately and irremediably swept me away.
I became a member of a Sienese wargaming club. I was around 21 years old and I recall being immersed in loads of rules regulating the fighting of my armed units in miniature on a table which acted as a battlefield.
Naturally, even though the units were in 25mm we painted our forces with fanatical accuracy because they were always under the scrutiny and critical eye of other fanatics.
After about 3 years I began to realize that I enjoyed painting the miniatures far more than the actual wargaming itself. I then abandoned the 25mm scale and acquired a 54mm figure …. I still remember to this day that it was a Scottish Standard Bearer at the Battle of Waterloo. The figure was a piece of a chess set produced by the Company Ares, Pietro Jula (today, his son Andrea Jula is one of my two partners at Pegaso).
I painted this figure entirely in Humbrol, paints which at that time were used by the 25mm painters. The end result was a disaster of note but I kept that figure on my workbench for many years. It always served as an example to other novices and beginners that even with a disastrous start, with perseverance and dedication one can still become a great painter.
One day in Rome, I saw displayed in a shop window some Napoleonic figures painted with a strange technique using short fine brush strokes. The results were fascinating and I entered the shop to obtain more information. It turned out that these figures were painted by a certain Spaniard ‘Antonio’ and the paints used were acrylics. Incredible!!!
Returning home I immediately purchased some casein paints from Plaka and started experimenting with satisfactory results.
Then in Siena in 1986, there was an Exhibition of painted soldiers by a certain Luciano Leni (at that time one of the most famous Italian figure painters). He used a strange technique mixing casein paints with tempera ones. The end results were spectacular and I spent hours study and slowly understanding how he achieved that fine and beautiful blending on his figures.
I returned home with a whole new creative world in my head. I decided to start examining and understanding all the water based paints which were commercially available at that time. It was then that I discovered tube acrylics, the Liquitex used by artists who paint two dimensional works of art on canvas.
I started studying various colour mixes as well as blending techniques. I soon realized that one of the most important things when painting miniatures was to try and depict every piece on the figure and material to resemble that self same material in the real world in other words silk must be shiny, cotton should be matt, whilst flesh tones should be ruddy and life-like and so on.
Finally I achieved the correct colour mixes for every colour (each colour had a very accurate and precise mixture). In practice, by mixing Plaka, Tempere and Acrilici I achieved unique mixes that made me famous in Italy and the mixtures acquired the mysterious name “Marchetti’s Mixtures”.
My works were soon displayed in Siena in the shop GIANI and some were bought by local collectors. One collector in particular that I am indebted to and wish to thank is Dr. Neri of Arezzo who made me start believing in my creative talents and in myself.
Luca’s first figure (1991)