Monday, April 13, 2015

Progress & Projects

March & April are a bit of a silly season for me at work.  Factory audits are frequent and time consuming (averaging one a week at the moment).  Every body wants fish at Easter so the factory is at its very busiest which means a need for increased attention to detail.  Throw in unwell relatives who demand attention and taking my son back to University (why does he leave packing until the morning he departs?) and it's just not going to lead to getting to the club for a game.

 But I am on occasion allowed to escape to the painting table for some peace.  And it's a bit of an assortment at the moment.  I've decided to take a break from the WSS for a while apart from getting some command stands completed.  Instead I'm spending my time in the Seven Years War.  40mm French Indian Wars & 15mm Hesse-Kassel.
 These are the last three Indians which I've got to the metals stage.  Figures are Sash & Sabre.
 Another command stand which will be used for my WSS collection and is required for the "A Military Gentleman" forum game at Partizan in May.  The idea for the game is to bring together some of the wargamers who have bought a copy of John Rays fabulous book of the same name, each gamer providing a number of battalions and squadrons.  This stand is the one I'm choosing to represent me - overweight and needs to be shouted at since he's a trifle hard of hearing.
Behind him are the first of the figures for the British infantry contingent for the 40mm project.  All have the flesh and hair complete. 
Just to the left are the next lot of cavalry for the 15mm project.  At the back the second squadron of Prinz Wilhelm have been based and, to the fore, the squadron of Militz have been basecoated.
 The Hessians are based on the troops deployed at Hastenbeck 1757.  However, I have decided to use the 1760 uniform so I can take advantage of the presence of fusiliers (regiments No1 & No2 were converted into fusilier along Prussian lines).
So far I've completed the first four battalions and one squadron of cavalry.  The infantry are all Old Glory and the horse a mix of Old glory & Blue Moon.
 The Lieb Regiment lead the way.  Flags are from Maverick Models (excellent service and quality from Stuart).
 Hessian horse didn't wear the cuirass so I've used the dragoon figure for the heavy horse. 
I do quite like painting these figures.  Enough detail to make them presentable without being a chore.
The entire project will consist of twelve battalions, eleven squadrons and six guns.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday Night Game

Last night my long term opponent Mark graciously took the field against my French at the Grimsby Wargames Society.
This was the first opportunity I've had to use the newly created Regiment Clare and two of the recently revamped battalions of Alsaace (see earlier posts).  Fielding eleven battalions of French (and Germans, Italians & Irish) I had a serious advantage in numbers of foot over Marks seven English & Dutch.  But what you gain with one hand you lose with the other and Mark provided five regiments of horse and dragoons to my three regiments.  Those dragoons were to be a source of annoyance all night.

Revamped Alsaace in the front line.  Those new bases look okay.
 Having the advantage in foot I decided that the best course of action was to try and overwhelm the enemy centre.  so deploying a couple of battalions to protect my right flank the majority of the foot lined up across the field from the English.

Three lines of three ranks

The extra base does not make a deal of difference when placed against other units in terms of height at least.
 The front line of the French advanced boldly forward and met the English across some undulating folds in the middle of the field.  First volley fire went decidedly in favour of the English (as did the second and third).  Whilst the number of hits wasn't significant on the French their return fire was desultory to say the least. 
The Irish go into action
 The issue with large bases of multiple figures is that it gives a deceptive appearance to both sides.  Units can be on the brink of losing a third of their strength before it is realised they are starting to look shaky.  In the photograph below both battalions of Alsaace are actually almost a third below strength compared to the English battalion which is at two thirds strength.
This deceptive appearance was to prove critical at the end of the game.
Alsaace in action
 Mark decided to retain his first line in the action despite being at two thirds of their original strength.  The fourth volley from the French saw both of the English battalions retire in disarray, although the French weren't in much better shape.  Numerous disorders prevented the line from advancing and allowed the English second line to come forward with aggression.
 Meanwhile of the right flank the Dutch and French just looked at each other.
 Now those damned dragoons began to make their presence felt.  Having dismounted and occupied the large wood in the middle of the table they began to pepper away at the French.  This distraction saw one battalion of Alsaace flee and brought another French battalion to less than three quarters strength in a few short rounds.
 Having little choice the French were forced to fall back on their second lines.  The dragoons following them up and applying more pressure on the right hand battalions.
 My son had taken the entire left flank command (three regiments of horse and three battalions of foot).  All night he had been battling across the table against the English horse, eventually clearing all the opposition but just a little too late.
At the end of the game the English were reluctant to advance against the French line which appeared quite strong.  The reality was that most of the French were depleted in numbers and disordered.  A final moral test saw the French bravado crumble and the army retire from the field.

Another good game and whilst the outcome was more of the same for the French - defeat - a highly enjoyable night at the Grimsby Wargames Society.  so my thanks to Mark for bringing long his English & Dutch and to my son for taking part.
Club rules used as always.  We may need to revisit the morale tests to prevent the three rank units being quite so dominant but more on that in another post.
Apologies for the blurry photographs - hand shake due to a cold I'm afraid.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Base and Figure Design part 2

Once the Burnt Umber had dried the bases get a very wet quick brush over with a chocolate colour.  Then a damp brush over with a coffee colour (make mine a mocha).  Finally they get dry brushed with stone.  I use cheap craft paints or test pots for these stages.
 The bases are now almost blended in to the original stands although there is a ridge where old meets new.  To help combat that I added static grass in patches to the new bases.  This included pushing the grass into and over the ridge to blend the two together in some cases.

To apply the static grass I dilute PVA 2:1 with water and then scatter the flock over the top. Press down with finger and thumb and leave for a couple of hours.  Tap off the excess and, if you're feeling brae, blow over the base to lift the grass - I didn't.
Finally I placed all the different flora on to the bases.  Small clumps of green and dried sedge like material to lift the grass.  Some red, white and purple flowers and heater like clumps.  A couple of pieces of gorse and some shrubs with autumn leaves to bind all the bases together.

 Antenociti's workshop provide my static grass, red and white flowers and the leaves.  Everything else from Tajima One.

A couple of these battalions will be on the tabletop on Monday night for a game against my long term opponent Mark.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Base and Figure Design Part 1

One of the things I dislike is buying figures and then have them damaged due to their design.  Infantry with broken muskets, missing swords or bayonets are things I really want to avoid.  especially when they are reasonably new recruits to the collection.
The recently completed Ebor figures are some of those at risk of this.  Partly down to the way I have them based and partly down to the sculpting and quality of metal used.  The muskets on the infantry are very fine.  Almost flat in style with very little bulk to them but perfectly in tune with the rest of the figure.  The metal is very soft when compared to other makers and easily bent.
So putting them in three ranks with the musket barrel protruding over the edge of the base isn't going to help.  I noticed that several of them had already bent and were at risk, even though I'd tried to store them in the best manner. 
To overcome this I've decided to extend the bases.  Rather than remove them from the new bases I bought some larger MDF bases from Warbases.  And here was my first mistake.  I ordered 80x105mm in the mistaken belief that the bases were 80mm deep.  Actually they are 60mm deep.  what's that old adage - measure twice cut once? 

 Being reluctant to ditch these and order some more I decided to press on regardless.  So using standard wood glue I attached the old to the new.
 And that's my second mistake.  I thought laser cut bases were the same size - they're not and some of the old were slightly wider than the new.  Also I would recommend scouring the surface of the bases first because they're quite smooth and slippery.
 Once the glue had set I then used polyfilla (spackle to my American readers) to fill in the joints and cover the front portion of the extended base.
As they were drying I sprinkled some fine sand over the surface for a little extra texture.  At this stage it all looks a little stark and dramatic.
 Once dry though and given an undercoat of Burnt Umber it begins to look a lot better.
Don't forget to paint the edges.

Next steps this week will be to drybrush and highlight followed by the addition of some fauna.  That will come in part 2.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wooden Toys

I remember when you could buy comics that had illustrations drawn and painted by hand by artists.  Similarly a number of books had colour illustrations for the younger reader that were just wonderful pieces of art.
Now imagine combining that style with wooden soldiers.

Hopefully the gentleman won't mind be publishing his photograph and providing a link to his website.
The figures have a certain style and presence and although a little large are appealing to say the least.  I would love to get some of these and create a small game (with big figures) but I fear my painting skills are not to this standard.

Monday, March 02, 2015

A busy Weekend at the Paint Table

I quite used to enjoy going away on business trips but I've found that is not the case recently.  I don't know whether it's the increased time it takes to get through airports (despite the ease of online checking) or the fact that living out of hotels is not always a pleasant thing to do.  Either way it is good to get back and get some painting done.
 Regiment Clare is complete.  Bases have been painted and landscaped with a variety of flora. 
The battalion has also received its colours.  These are from Warfare Miniatures and are easy to use and very well printed. Printed on quality paper they simply need to be cut out and glued (I use dilute PVA) to the staff.  I've touched up the white edges with the appropriate colour to finish and am pleased with the end result.
 I've also brought my first 15mm Seven Years War battalion to the basing stage.  Regiment No10 Kanitiz of the Hesse-Kessel contingent have a Swedish look to them with all that yellow - I'm not quite sure why they have an orange colour or orange finish to the drums.  The flags are from Maverick Models and I am very leased with them.  These are their standard size 15mm items although they will resize them on request if you want them larger.
My experience with this first battalion was a good one.  The sculpting is sufficient for the details to be picked out quite easily and the belts all line up.  Well except the shoulder straps on the infantry which seem to be half way down their backs on some of the poses.
 Additional figures for the French WSS command base have also been finished.  A trooper to act as bodyguard and a trumpeter will go alongside the other command figures.  The trooper is from that well known range of "Where the bloody hell did I get him from?" and came in a goodie bag from a long forgotten bring and buy - if anyone does recognise him let me know because I'm quite taken with him and his mount.
 Not quite sure what to do with the two scantily clad ladies from the "Belt Fed" range available through Colonel Bill.  The sculpting didn't look too promising initially but they seem to reward a bit of attention in the painting. The at ease pose is the nicer of the two to my mind but I think the face of the other slightly better done.
Finally I also prepped the next battalion of the SYW project.

A busy weekend and more rewarding than cheering on a male English national team in sport this weekend.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Workbench Update

With wide and various forms of crap at work at the moment it has proven difficult to get out to the club for a game.  However, that hasn't stopped me altogether and whilst progress has been slow there has been some painting taking place.
Regiment Clare. which is one of the battalions I've committed myself to fielding at Partizan in May for "A Military Gentleman Game", has now had all the figures painted and mounted.   The figures are all Front Rank and based in the new convention of three ranks.
 One thing that I can't seem to get right is consistency in painting the faces.  For some reason the Cote D'Arms flesh wash doesn't hold on every figure the same way.  All figures have a basecoat of tanned flesh and then a wash of the aforementioned flesh tone.  On some it stays nicely in the folds and creases, whilst on others it is less pronounced.  Same pot of paint same method of application.  Oh well.
 I just have to complete the basing texture and fauna and give them their standards (from Flags of War this time).
I've also made a start on the next batch as well.  Some figures for the command base for the game in May where I'm going to rebased my Commander in Chief in a more dramatic setting.  Currently all my officers are on single bases and I intend that the Marshall will be on a multi-figure base and then use a convention of wing commanders being three figures to a base and brigade command having two.
Next them is the new Seven Years War project.  The first of the 15mm (from old Glory) battalions for the Hesse-Kessel contingent has been blocked in with blue and flesh before being a wash of Army Painter Dark tone.  I'm trying a different way of painting these figures to try and brig out the colours on these smaller figures.  My usual style of painting doesn't work well at this size and so something new is required.
I thought blocking in and then washing to accentuate the recess and shadows before a brighter highlight might work.