Wednesday, 4 February 2015

From JohnM: 1/55émé Régiment de Ligne (116 Points)

This is the first Napoleonic infantry unit I have painted since last year's Challenge and my god, I had forgotten how difficult painting Napoleonic's is. I just checked and I think this is the 80th Napoleonic battalion I have painted over the last 7 years.

Here we have a pre-Bardin uniformed unit from Crusader Miniatures, these are the only Napoleonic figures they sell which is a pity as they are nicely sculpted and well cast. Very similar to Foundry, I think in pose, but a little larger thus fitting much better with Calpe, Front Rank and Perry lines. I think the mounted officer is from Warlord Games, but I am not absolutely sure.

These 28 mm troops will join my French Order of Battle as the 1/55e. This completes Quiot's 1st Division at Waterloo. They join Jérome Bonaparte's 6th Division, as well as the 13e Régiment de Légère (3rd Division). I think that maybe 24 French regular infantry battalions are enough. I will paint one more Garde battalion to complete Petit's Brigade of the Imperial Guard but that is it for the French blue!

But back to painting Napoleonics, when I started I had no idea what I was doing, I got better after awhile and by last year I had evolved a method of painting thin shades over a white undercoat, applying AP Dark and then finishing with some highlights. It was pretty happy with this method as it produced good looking war games standard troops in a fairly quick time.

The unfortunate bit of course is over the last two years I have started to paint mostly skirmish figures and when having to paint only 30-40 figures for an army, I started to spend much more time on each figure using various shades and highlights. I still used AP as it gives a nice hard coat but I would not shake the tin, so the polyurethane was essentially minimally tinted. I found it pretty hard to go back with these troops. I noticed I was painting much more detail etc etc. They are still not great but they took a lot more work.

The dreaded close up with all the warts!
I have also made some major changes in basing. I was finding storage increasingly difficult and damaging to the troops. I have finally settled on some high grade cardboard 2" high filing drawers, they are quite nice and sturdy, but the troops were moving about in them when a moved the box. A couple of years ago we had a Napoleonic game with Curt and he had brought some of his own troops which were based on low profile metal bases. I really liked how they looked, but maybe it was Curt's painting. With these I can glue in a magnetized sheet in the file drawer and viola the metal bases would stop moving. I really like the low profile over the 3 mm Litko plywood bases.

I have stuck with 40x40mm bases (although Curt tried to persuade me otherwise), but am now going with 4 figures to a base, so essentially 6 bases for a regular battalion rather then the 4 I had been previously using. My friend Iannick, with whom I have played most of my Napoleonics, recently switched to this convention, so I said why not. I have to admit though I somehow doubt whether I will ever get those 79 battalions re-based!

From Curt:

Eighty Napoleonic units in 7 years?! Wow. That is an amazing achievement in of itself John. I knew you had a good sized collection but not THAT large. Fantastic. 

These fellows look marvelous John. I've always had a soft spot for the pre-Bardin uniform and you've done all those tails, turnbacks and waistcoats great justice. I think you'll like the steel bases in the long run (I like the low-profile they afford as well) - just be sure to sand down the edges a bit so they're not so sharp. 

Hey, general question to all who use his stuff: Has anybody been able to get an order filled recently from The Flag Dude? Greg and I have tried these past few months and have had no luck at all. I hope nothing is wrong...

Again, wonderful  work John.

PS: The mounted officer is from Perry Miniatures I believe.

From JamieM - Royal Navy and Curtgeld Anti-hero (65 Points)

You know those times when you start a biggish project..... And it goes slower than you'd hoped so you lose a bit of interest...... So you decide to squeeze in a small bit of painting something else on the basis that new thing will be really quick and will give you a new buzz to crack on with the big thing..... Then the quick thing takes longer than you think, so you try to find something else even smaller..... And suddenly your painting table is so full of half finished things that you can't see the wood for the trees!

Well, that's been my last few weeks. But I've finally finished one of the mid projects, so here it is!

These are Royal Navy figures from Black Scorpion, 8 regulars and an officer

Inspired by all you historical types, I actually researched historic uniforms and it turns out the Royal Navy have a special page showing uniforms through the ages to mark some special occasion at the moment - sorted! Using that, these figures seem to be a mix of a couple of eras, but that's good for me as I don't worry too much about real history when wargaming (heresy!). I went with the red jackets which were chosen because it was the cheapest material apparently, and not because it hid the blood as popular myth would have it, the article told me.

Mostly white and black for the rest of the outfits as they seemed pretty standard colours over a long period of time.

The officer got a natty blue coat on the basis I wanted something a little different to make him stand out.

Tut, and my memory tells me that Admiral/Lord Nelson always seemed to be in a blue coat when I've seen him in pictures. I also went for a conversion by adding a large blunderbuss on the chap behind him to give me something else to use in gaming terms. The pistol wielding chaps will probably be NCOs. I have no idea what game I'll use these with, but I have a bunch of pirates painted from ages ago (these were bought at the same time and neglected) so no doubt something will crop up.

Buoyed by my spectacular historical research successes I decided to do the same for my cost of entry to the Challenge anti-hero. So I turned to what I'm sure we can agree is the seminal work in the area.....

"But how are pirates anti-heroes?" I hear you muse...... Well, if you'll all turn to page 7 in your texts....

That's right, Privateers. These chaps were (barely) legalised pirates, who were ok by one side as long as they only preyed upon the other. So they were simultaneously hated and feted, depending on who you asked. As the text notes, Sir Francis Drake was a famous Privateer and the fact that piracy was ok if your king or queen said it was is really rather baffling given the rules of war and all.

Anyway, another miniature by Black Scorpion gave me the figure for this one

It's a Governor figure, but I thought the parchment he is clutching could easily be his Letter of Marque, officially proclaiming him a "good" pirate. Business has clearly been good, given the gold lacing and the expensive purple waistcoat beneath his fine coat.

So, there are two of my smaller projects complete and here's hoping the clearer paint station means I crack on with the larger project now.

From Curt:

Ah, a wonderful entry Jamie! Those Royal Navy Ratings look the business - especially the chap with the blunderbuss! I love your Pirate book reference source ('With Wipe Clean Pages!') and of course the fabulous Privateer himself. I think it's brilliant that you used the 'Governor' casting as he definitely does cut the figure of a successful privateer (the wig is brill). I very much look forward to adding him to the other heroic miscreants in my display cabinet. Thanks again!

From MartinN - 28mm First Indochina Viet Minh in Greyscale (67 Points)

For this weeks submission I left the homey shores of my favourite period and went to explore the perilious lands of South East Asia.As some of you might know I'm doing the First Indochina War lately. And as if that's not enough of a challenge all this is done in greyscale.

Redstar Miniatures offer a very nice range of figures sculpted by the very talented and ubiquitous Paul Hicks (Somehow it seems to me as if there's almost no range out there he hasn't already sculpted at least a few figures for).
If you only have the slightest interest in this period you really should give this range a try. I certainly can't recommend these figures enough.

Those of you knowing my earlier greyscale figures will know I'm always trying to add a focal point by using red for some part of the figure. But for a whole force I considered it to be too much. So I painted a red flag with yellow star for my Viet Minh. For the flag shaft I tried to make it look like bamboo.

Another nice touch about the Redstar figures is the weapon teams coming in both moving and firing poses. The firing version of this mortar team is still to be done though.

For the metallic parts of the rifles I tried to produce something akin to Non Metallic Metal but I'm not totally convinced yet by my first attempts.

I'll happily let our grand judge calculate the points as he might want to add some additional points for the flag *hint* or subtract some for the guy carrying the wounded. But all in all there are 13 figures in this submission including the wounded.

From Curt:

Stunning work Nick! I love your approach to the greyscale in this project. In fact, from these images, they look to be more an impression of de-saturated colour rather than straight greyscale. It really does give a fabulous effect, especially when you punch it with the contrast of the vibrant red banner (well done on that BTW). 

Again, beautiful stuff Nick. Now, this makes me want to do another installment for my greyscale Great War collection...

From MartinC - Painting Practice (175 Points)

So with the completion of the ACW, apart from stragglers, I had a chance to play with painting styles. The ACW were all primed black in my old style and I wanted to try out some of the ideas I've picked up.

First up 4 random Afghans from a Northstar lucky dip bag, quite like these as it gets my creative juices flowing. These were primed in burnt umber and then a series of washes were used to build up the colour. This was quite successful but I still needed to deepen the shading and lighten the highlights. The faces were washed with burnt umber and then cheekbones added. Eyes were done white with pen pupils. I changed varnish to a matt lacquer which is nice. Overall these are great.

Secondly were 12 pilgrims from Crusader, again from the Northstar sale. These were undercoated in a burnt umber wash, this was too thin and didn't work as the paint would come off with a nasty stare. Again washes were used and then the figures were dirtied up. The eyes weren't suitable for pupils so just shading here. Again I'm happy with these.

Thirdly I purchased some knights. A unit of 8 with 2-handed weapons and a unit of 8 with maces and axes. To these I added 3 knights from the lead mountain (actually it's a hill now and I await reinforcements). These were undercoated in grey and the armour washed in black. I then dry brushed with citadel mithril silver - it's a little shiny but still the best silver / metal colour.

The surcoats were blocked in dark blue with shading in prussian blue (both Vallejo) and highlighted with light sky blue (Foundry). They are trimmed in yellow and were supposed to be retainers for the Percy family. The shield design was supposed to be 5 yellow diamonds on a blue background but after effing it up 3 times I gave up and just painted a yellow line. Need a new plan here.

The bases have a frosted ground look as I mixed far too much glue and brown poster paint for the previous unit and so put the base terrain on these before priming. Actually I quite like it.

Overall these are pretty good and I like the uniform colour scheme for the unit.

Overall I've had a fun week doing these so I hope you enjoy them