Saturday, 18 May 2019

42nd Highlanders part 2 - tackling the kilts.

With the white now painted on the straps, belts, lace etc it's time to tackle those kilts. I have been looking around for a good representation of the tartan pattern worn by the 42nd, and settled on the references you see below. My favourite is of the 1/6th scale model, made by Anthony Barton (of AB figures) who is a collector of these large 'Action Man' size figures which are simply amazing. Andrew's site (click here), is well worth a visit, he works in wool, wood and metal, makes his own hands and heads and the range of heads are available to buy along with numerous other bits and pieces for collectors. Given Anthony's insistence on accurate uniform detail I doubt I will find a better painting guide than this one. (Used without permission, copyright owned by Tony Barton).

Many images show the tartan being far too bright, the one below is another good representation I feel:

Again the white looped lace is something I am going to have to try to tackle once the basic painting is completed, but it is surprising how many images of wargame units representing the 42nd have square lace to coats and cuffs in 28mm, not a major issue in that scale.

This example shows the pattern clearly, although it does appear far too bright to my eyes.

Another image borrowed from the web. Nice crisp tartan.

 Key is I think to keep the overall look quite dark for this regiment.

OK, so it took a fair bit of trial and error to get to something that begins to look like the Government Tartan! First attempt was a disaster and a waste of an hour or so, but it's a learning process, I repainted the base coat dark green and on the second attempt painted broad (Dark Prussian Blue) checks before slightly highlighting the green with Luftwaffe green to try to build up the pattern. I then applied thin black lines in a check pattern, but the result was the black was lost against the Prussian Blue over the basecoat, I re applied the back check pattern but same result, I think the black was a little thinned down to keep the flow steady. Unsure of how to improve it I then decided to bring the blue checks up a little with Vallejo Intense Blue. Looking at the overall effect from a foot or so away at this stage I'm fairly happy and now that I have a method the next lot will be far easier. The main thing is the contrast with the 92nd regiment looks about right to me.

Still fair way to go yet, muskets, socks, gaiters, faces, bonnets to finish off, challenging but rewarding are the Highlanders!

Edit: Following the comments below I decided to try a thin black wash to knock the brightness of the pattern back a little more. I think it's an improvement (below) BUT...... Robs description of the pattern as more diagonal has helped a lot, I have trouble seeing tartan patterns for some reason, they just don't seem to register with me, so might be worth another shot to see if I can get closer.

Friday, 17 May 2019

42nd Highlanders?

I mentioned previously that my Daughters had made a gift of 10 Perry Miniature 40mm 's from the Peninsular range as a thank you for helping out with car loans last year (like you do). Well, it's now almost three weeks since they were posted and still have not arrived. I contacted Perry and asked for a rough time scale to Spain and received a reply within a couple of hours telling me that it can be unpredictable, up to 15 working days. They said to contact them again if it has not arrived by end of next week. So, I went back to my Sash & Sabre leftovers box to see if there was anything to fill the gap with and found another 8 Highlanders. Some of these had broken bayonets, but a bit of filing to create a clean surface and a touch of my newly discovered Superglue that actually sticks  things (thanks to 'Auntie Wainwright' at Merca China in Villalonga), and they were surprisingly solid once dry.

I already have the 92nd Highlanders 24 figures, plus an extra base of 12. I would only need to paint 7 figures from the box, repaint the facings and kilts on the other 12 and then would only need add a Sash & Sabre Highland Command pack (2 standard bearers, officer, bagpiper and Sergeant) in order to create another 24 figure battalion, and the obvious choice was the 42nd Foot.

The first slight problem with painting the 42nd is that the lace is looped and not square at the ends as represented on the castings, but this is something I hope be able to get round with a simple paint job. The kilt of course is the very dark Government Sett which should be an enjoyable challenge. There is  endless reference material to be found on this regiment, so with the above in mind I have started on the first 4 of the figures. 'WIP' shots are very popular over on the Facebook Napoleonic Group so I thought I would post a couple of pics of the chaps at this early stage. I always paint the straps, lace etc in mid grey before building up the white, this helps to create some shading/shadow. The flesh is painted light brown, fairly dry, then given a wash of red ink before highlighting with flat flesh. A little more white/flesh will be applied to the nose. I find with 40mm I can use a size 0 brush even for quite detailed work (Rowney/Daler sable) as it holds a very good point. Next up today will be the white and then the kilt patterns.

I will check the dreaded Buzon (postal booth) on the way out later to see if there is a Correos card left under a lump of rock to say that my package is awaiting collection........ I won't hold my breath though!

Edit:  Bugger it, nothing again today so it's hopefully going to be next week.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

En Avant - French infantry on the march.

With all of the 40mm's now based on standard 120mm bases it is time to start getting some bits together for a wargame. Before we left the UK a year ago I sold off or gave away almost everything I owned by way of terrain, overwhelmed as I was then at the scale of the logistical challenge of packing up a home of 14 years and shifting everything 1000 miles to Spain.

Those who have followed my blog for some years will know that this is the point where I often get fed up and give up with projects, with the result that after one trial game everything ends up on eBay! But I do feel very different this time, I have just the one collection to focus on and there is so much more I want to add to it. I outlined in a previous post the units I will be adding over the coming months, in the meantime I have a little present from my daughters of 10 Perry Miniatures infantry on the way, I got to choose them and they consist of 7 x British infantry (a skirmish infantry base) and 3 Voltiguers to add to the 4 Perry's I already have painted here from the original collection. Whilst my rifles are based 6 to a base my LI bases are of 7 figures and look just about right, these are of course DBN classifications. A further LI base is planned, next time to represent the 43rd regiment with the wonderful  officer wearing pelisse.

As my intention is to play scenarios from One Hour Wargames (to DBN rules) I have been giving a lot of thought to the basic terrain board I will use. In order to be able to create the different terrain layouts illustrated in the book I'm going to go with a heavy cloth suitably shaded to represent the typical shades of Spain, this will enable me to make hills by simply cutting them from 2" foam (as sold here in our version of B&Q - Leroy Merlin) and laying them beneath. This will be far easier than having make numerous sizes and shapes of hills that would also require texturing to match the boards. I will then only require suitable trees, buildings, roads and rivers.

Meantime with plans underway the French infantry have been out on manoeuvres this morning, a most pleasing sight to behold. Of course there are photos and a (very) short video. All  are the excellent Sash & Sabre 40mm range of which I have a lot more planned.

Currently on the painting desk are these 1/72nd scale (?) French Peninsular infantry I am doing for Tony. These are old Les Higgins figures and very enjoyable to paint. I'm using a mid grey undercoat for the first time and it's working well, you can slightly thin the paints for improved flow and they appear a little brighter. I'll bring them all up to the basic standard of those at the rear and then work through to finish and detail them all together.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

French cavalry on the DBN bases.

Not a great deal of painting going on this week as the family are over and with two toddlers and a nine year old causing mayhem there's not much quiet time, but we would not have it any other way of course. The house looks like a bombsite! They have all gone out for a couple of hours today so I did a quick bit of drybrushing of the French cavalry bases, everything is now on 120mm frontage bases suitable for DBN or indeed C&C should I choose. 

Made a short video to show off the French cavalry, sometimes I find it easier to rabbit on over a short video than type. 

Friday, 19 April 2019

What I didn't know a week ago -

As mentioned previously I have been looking into the feasibility of creating some Royal Horse Artillery crews for my 40mm collection over the Summer. There is no doubt that there are many great figure sculptors out there producing small independent ranges, we are all spoilt for chose these days. It is not actually that expensive to have a master figure sculpted and moulds made, with Griffin being top of the list for the mould making/castings process. However, when looking for something like the RHA crews in 40mm scale, it is obvious that there is never going to be any great commercial demand for such figures. I am currently exploring the production of some bespoke figures with a fellow 40mm collector, for my part I am looking for the following:

  • 2 gun crews each consisting of an officer with telescope and 4 crew.
  • A single Rocket battery base consisting of an officer and maybe 3 crew.
By making a couple of the crew figures open handed it should be possible to create the 10 gun crew figures from 3 gunner masters plus the officer master, and the rocketeers from the officer and the open handed figures. Thus, I need a total of about 14 figures only. 

Being from back in the days of metal dollies and solder I was unaware of just how far the technology of 3D resin printing has come, and recent research has really sparked my imagination, and so prompted by my partner in this little venture we are now exploring the possibility of going down the digital rout to create our gun crews. Here's what I didn't know a week ago!

Masters can now be digitally created on a computer, and the resulting SDL (?) file can be used to print out the master in resin on a 3D printer that can then be used to make a mould. Having seen a few examples of just what can be achieved I have to say that I am very impressed with the technology, and a test sample of a RHA officer has been commissioned to see how it turns out. More will follow as things progress.

A few related links:

Griffin Moulds. - Rubber and silicone mould making and centrifugal casting.

Digital Sculpts Sweden. This is the guy who is doing the test RHA officer.

Graham Cummings has been experimenting with his 3D printer on his excellent Scotia Albion blog, well worth checking out these links if you are interested in the technology.

Meantime I'm painting a battalion of Les Higgins French infantry for 'Tony, very nice little castings they are too, and working on finishing off basing the 40mm cavalry in 4's on 120mm frontage for DBA/ C&C. The results are slightly chunky looking, but these are weighty figures and need a thick base in order to pick them up safely. Pictures will follow hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, 12 April 2019

On the painting desk - 3.

I have had a good sort out and tidy up of my painting desk over the last few days, the drawers were becoming rather cluttered and untidy and I find the need for order with an 'everything in it's place' mentality. One thing I have done is to go through my Vallejo paints and try to arrange them in colour batches. I always keep my paints in the same place in my box, so I know where the main shades are without needing to go through them, although the greys were becoming a bit of an issue as I have so many. I glued in a few dividers and replaced the paints upside down so at a glance I can see every shade, this also has the advantage of keeping the thicker pigment towards the top of each bottle, this is working really well and the neatness is also very appealing. I also have an overflow draw of around another 50 pots, replacements/spares/rarely used colours, kept correct way up. I have a draw for my modelling tools, drills, wire, cutters, files etc and another draw for my scenic/basing materials. All very good.

I had a few mounted officers left in my 'Sash & sabre' draw, plus some foot figures. all were painted and it seemed a shame not to use them in some way, so I made the four command bases you see below from them. These are aside from the main circular command bases already in the collection, and will prove useful and more practical for smaller games. I'm not sure what make the British officer with shako on sword is, he came from Andy and is a lovely character, I think he's a bit of a conversion, I do love that large head and that face. All got a bit of a touch up here and there.

So that's every 40mm figure used now, save for the few you see behind that I'm finishing off. Time to get an order in but I'm just waiting for a pension transfer to come through then it's more Sash & Sabres, the Perry British Light infantry and some of those wonderful buildings.

A place for everything, and everything in it's place!
The newly organised upside down paint pots.

My favourite is the young British officer, full of enthusiasm for battle.

I had to use those two spare Grenadiers somewhere.

Somewhat toothy French officer, but I really like him!

The spares drawer.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Spain, 1 year on and looking ahead.

Hard to believe it's a year ago that we moved to Spain. We have no regrets about making the choice to come here to the Costa Blanca, Valencia, it's a beautiful part of Spain and the people are incredibly warm and friendly. However, it has become apparent that we are far more isolated up here on the Monte Corona hillside than we wanted to be, and we now want to be nearer the beachfront in Gandia with all of the social life that surrounds it within walking distance. We also want to be able to spend more time back in the UK with the family as we are really missing them. So, it's time to downsize to an apartment in Gandia to begin phase 2 of our new life in Spain.

When you spend time planning and thinking about the future you tend to think over all aspects of life, and in my case my hobby is always a consideration. Looking back I always said that one day I would own a large Napoleonic collection, and the acquisition of the 40mm's from Andy proprietor at Old Glory UK last year started me on the path to finally achieving that ambition, and since then anything else I do I quickly lose interest in. This must therefore be the main focus of my hobby time going forward. I absolutely love these figures, there is not a day when I'm not admiring them, handling them or painting them and I really want to get them on the table now and expand them.

So I thought I would jot down some random goals for the Summer ahead, I find it helps to get this stuff out and down on paper sometimes.

The collection has now topped 400 painted figures, including 60 cavalry, mounted officers and 4 guns and crews. But I really want to add the following:

  • French heavy cavalry ( I cannot resist cuirassiers) only a single unit in the Peninsular, but I must have some. Sash & Sabre from OG.
  • More British or KGL heavy dragoons - Sash & Sabre from OG. These are lovely cavalry figures in bicornes.
  • A full battalion of Swiss infantry (24 figures, 12 are done). French line infantry marching pack, Sash & sabre from OG.
  • British Light infantry deployed as skirmisher bases. 7 figures per base on standard 120mm frontage. I think 2 bases or 14 figures will suffice. These will have to come from Perry Miniatures, a good match for my S&S figures - I already have some in the collection. The Perry's are a bit more expensive at £4.25 per infantry figure and £9.50 per cavalry figure but very nice castings. I like their British Light Dragoons firing carbines from the saddle very much.

So far, so good. Another ambition I have is for some RHA guns and crews. Problem is that nobody makes them! I have been in touch with Steve Barber who is currently working on a commission for a set of 40mm characters based upon the Sharp series and they are wonderful, especially the 'French Spy' figure. Steve has said that he could make a set of 4 Peninsular RHA crew under his 'Shared Commission' service, and is enthusiastic about the subject matter. The cost includes the creation of the masters by Steve, and moulds by Griffin (excellent). To make this viable I would need to find another  40mm Napoleonic collector to share this commission.

Moving to an apartment will lose the 'underbuild' space I have for a permanent wargame table, but a temporary  table is certainly managable. My intention is to play DBN games on one side (plain boards) and C&CN games on the other using 150mm hexes 9 x 13.

I have abandoned the houses I was making below, just too big and not detailed enough, so in the bin they go! I found these, and they are perfect, although 28mm scale they are tall enough (around 125mm) to work with my figures at a scale down, they will also fit the hexes and make good modular areas for DBN. Oh, and they are supplied ready painted and are lightweight robust material which helps with postage to Spain.

The winter project is on hold, I dunno, just something about painting plastic kit figures is not doing it for me anymore, although I still like the tanks, all are back in the storage boxes for now.