Saturday, 26 July 2014

Fife & Drum AWI - first pics .. and some Perry Loyalists.

Its been an extremely hot week here with high humidity, the place is packed with tourists and I have been enjoying my painting between the usual summer break activities, family around, pool up in the garden and time over the beach in the evenings when it's quieter!

I was delighted to get my hands on some of the Fife & Drum Miniatures this week, and having been drooling over images on TMP for many months - in fact since they began to appear - I can say that they are every bit as good as I thought thought they would be. Really very fine sculpts is the first thing you notice, the figures are tall and slim, beautifully proportioned and animated. Muskets and swords are to scale, the muskets appearing very long at first but are to perfect scale. I decided to paint up four of the British light infantry to start, depicted with roundabouts or coat tails removed along with most of the lace etc, hats pinned up, minimal equipment, even the officer has rid himself of most of the lace and badges of his rank, retaining just the gorget, fantastic. Those dastardly Americans would insist on shooting down our officers!

They are slightly more slender than the Perry's but I wont let that bother me at this stage, if needs be I'll  replace the Perry's later down the line, see how things go.

Some pics to be going on with.

Kings Royal 'Yorkers' - Perry plastics.


An American command base.


Fife and Drum - Light infantry skirmishing and command.

Bases will be finished tomorrow.

Comparison shots - LtoR - F&D, Perry, F&D, Perry - not bad at all really.



I'll do a more detailed write up of the Fife & Drum figures in due course, painting another four lights then going to paint 12 militia - they are so spot on period, the clothing will be a joy to do.


Institute of Advanced Loyalist studies.

Saw this link (here) over on TMP and have been enjoying browsing it since. I found this page, supplies for  Lieut. Young's ( Kings Royal Regiment of New York ) mess bill  for a month - I make it 4.5 gallons of Port, 2.5 gallons of wine and 3 pints of spirits aside from anything else!

Lieut Young's mess bill - November 14th to December 10th 1783.








Saturday, 19 July 2014

Further thoughts on the Perry plastic AWI's.

Having been practicing on a few more of the Perry plastics while I wait to get my hands on some of the Fife & Drum figures I must say I have really come to like them. I have begun to enjoy assembling them now, trying different arm combinations, altering slightly the angle of the hats. The glue makes this easy and can be done quite cleanly. Once undercoated it can be hard to believe these are multipart plastic figures I think. For the price these would be great for building up large units and will stand shoulder to shoulder to many metals, but my aims are for skirmish or company level quick games, using C&C adapted rules, but in the meantime I'm just enjoying painting them and trying to achieve a consistent look by simplifying the colour schemes etc. At some point I'll have them all back on the painting table for a facial touch up and highlight and a polishing up of those straps!

Enthusiasm for painting is high despite a few down days recently, often these short projects help drive me on.The three continental command figures I knocked off this morning when it was quite overcast and gloomy but very humid.

I should mention that I only noticed yesterday that my Continental Infantry box contained no less than 4 command sprues and I seemed to be 3 short on the actual infantry sprues, bit annoying but I'll probably keep them in the spares box. Does mean I'm short 15 private soldiers though!

I'll paint a few more of the British for now, might do some loyalists and play around with conversions a bit, but my main focus will be on the Fife & Drum range.

The usual load of pictures taken under different light conditions. The flag will be replaced with something better.









Sunday, 13 July 2014

More Perry Plastic AWI's.

I have painted up a few more of the British box set, including a three figure 'leader'  base. I guess if I'm going to do AWI again it has to be on a 'company' level basis, but for now I'm just experimenting with painting methods and colours/shades. Those leggings for example are now simply a base coat of Foundry arctic grey shade over painted with Vallejo off white. The key seems to be where to apply the white and where to leave the grey shade showing, around the knees for example..... a few attempts and now got it! Flesh has been simplifies too: Vallejo light brown over painted with sunny flesh tone, and I try to hit the same spots each figure if I can.

Also experimenting with chunky bases, gives a bit of weight to a plastic figure and is easier to pick up.

Those riflemen - something was bothering me! I just had to repaint all four in matching green hunting shirts, these garments seemed to be issued at company level at least, so matching is kind of OK. They are also the first figures fully bases.

Photos - been building a little space for taking my pics, the bulb is a 70w miniature CMH, the light is very balanced,maybe leaning more towards the blue spectrum. Not quite finished yet, but its producing some nice crisp shots.







Thursday, 10 July 2014

More 20mm ACW's for Old John.

A quick update to show some of the 20mm ACW figures I am currently painting for Old John. A mix of makers here but all fine little castings, this lot consists of Reb markers, retiring, falling back etc, low ammo markers, artillery battery flag bearers, casualties etc. Among them are great some character castings - Zouave carrying comrade for example and the magnificent 'Reb with chicken'!

I'll be back onto more 20mm ECW's next week, just have a couple of guns and crews for John to finish first.

20mm ACW figures for the collection of Old John. All require a matt varnish finish.











Saturday, 5 July 2014

Looking ahead.

I'm slowly settling back into my old routine of painting regular hours again. I have painted more figures for 'Old John' - 20mm Strelets plastic command set and ACW's and I continue to work on my 28mm painting method, it having been quite a few years since I painted in this scale. I'm trying to improve my faces in this scale without going to far into eyes etc as I like the simple effect from a light brown base and a sunny fleshtone. This method is used by Scott MacPhee, who I consider to be one of the very best painters of 28mm AWI figures and who's style I am quite unashamedly trying to emulate, although I'm not there yet. (click here to see the original post and pictures that inspired me to try this).

While I am waiting for the Fife and Drum stock to arrive at Crann Tara - the range being only previously available in the US - I'm playing around with a few more Perry plastics. Those 'advancing' Brits were annoying me! Something not quite right there, so I decided to try the trail arms option and consider it a better pose, it certainly makes painting easier as the advancing pose covered much of the front of the coats and the lace etc and it was hard to get the brush tip where it was needed. I'm in the process of painting the new arms, having removed the old ones with no damage done.

My painting environment has improved too and I'm sure it's helped to give me the boost I needed. I'm back upstairs again in the spare fourth bedroom (some may recall this had been used as an 'art room' by the kids for many years and was covered with paint on all four walls and the ceiling! It's only small at 9' x 7' but I have everything together up there again now and have room to keep a Commands & Colors game set up so that at any time I feel like it I can play a few turns to keep my hand in. I'm planning to enter the next Vassal competition of cc.net so I'm also working on Vassal. There are fewer distractions upstairs and I'm finding I can paint for several hours again at a time with of course coffee breaks etc.  The view from the window is quite pleasant, and even on hot days like the last week there is always a cool sea breeze blowing through.

On the subject of Commands & Colors it would seem that exciting developments are in the planning  and testing stage. Following the Prussian expansion will be the much discussed "La Grande Battles" expansion and then the "Generals, Marshals and Tacticians" set. As Richard Borg  posted recently:

 "All I can really state on this subject is "Wait for it". Leaders are about to take a very bold step forward, that is when the Generals, Marshals and Tacticians details are released by GMT. Right now it looks like La Grande Battles along with the Generals, Marshals and Tacticians rules should be out sometime next year.Fans of the Napoleonic game will not be disappointed!"

I'm sure all fans of the Commands & Colors Napoleonics game will welcome some development of the 'leader' rules.

Anyway, here area few random shots taken over the last few days as I have settled back into the old art room, I need to buy a new table top to give me the length and size I want  but it's getting there. Note my new C&C plastic block storage boxes, just right and incredibly cheap on eBay, I paid £8.00 for 20 boxes ( they are sold as business card boxes and are perfect size), I can see exactly whats in each box and set up time has now been slashed! I'll be ordering more for the Austrian expansion and they are useful for many other things hobby related no doubt.


C&C storage solution.


For 'Old John' .

Test paint - plastic Perry's in hunting shirts.

Arm replacement service.

View from the 'art room'as it used to be called. You can just see the Dymchurch sea defenses completed a couple of years ago, and without which we have no doubt that we would have been flooded during the Spring tides and strong winds. The new wall is 1metre higher than the old one it replaced.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fife & Drum AWI's.


Since my attempts last year at fighting AWI battles on the Commands & Colors board there have been some exciting developments that are calling me back to this period. Firstly numerous AWI scenarios have appeared over on the C&C forum and they seem to offer some nicely balanced and well thought out games.

Last year I simply replaced C&C blocks with individual 15mm figures and it worked well with what I considered good visual impact. It's nice to look back at projects occasionally so I have dragged up a few pics from one of the games last year. (Gibbo has become much larger and fluffier since then, we call him 'The Beastie' although he's nothing but, one of the softest male cats I have known). Now imagine this with 30mm figures!

The 15mm set up from last Autumn. All figures are by Peter Pig, and fine figures they are too!





General 'Gibbo' commanding the American forces!
Fife & Drum 30mm range.
I only learned a few days ago that this magnificent range of figures is now to become available in the UK from Crann Tara Miniatures. Both ranges have much in common, being sculpted by the talented Richard Ansell and both being to 1/56th scale, which makes the figures roughly 30mm tall. They are anatomically correct with true animation, none of your chunky Front Rank style chaps here, these figures are very realistic. It's been a good while since I painted 28/30mm stuff but the temptation to paint some of these is more than I can bear! Luckily, I only got eight figures painted from the Perry boxes before noticing the availability of F&D over here so I can switch without any real loss of time. The project will be a re run  of the above, but in 30mm with a new hex board to suit. It's a sideline to my commission work but I can still paint maybe 12 figures a week for myself on top.

I had been following the release of the range since they began to appear over on TMP but they only been available in the US far as I know. I noticed today some new pics of the cavalry figures ...... words fail me, they are simply brilliant!

British Legion, 16th/17th Light Dragoons and the 1st/3rd Continental dragoons.

So that's my decision made for the new project, sometimes things just come together perfectly in Life.

Head on over to Crann Tara to see the F&D range and of course Crann Taras own splendid 45 rebellion figures. (click).

Plastic Perry AWI's.
To be fair, for the price (around 50p each roughly) they are great value. I have a few issues however, just personal things but I'll share them.

Assembly. - Now I'm well used to fiddly work but I struggled with the arm positions on some of these figures, especially the British where the left hand is moulded on the musket so that the left arm has to be glued on to fit both arm and wrist, it just took me ages to get right, time that could have been better spent painting the things.

Pose - can't put my finger on it, but some simply look 'awkward' to me. The march continentals for example. The hanging right arms look wrong to me, I'd liked to have seem a few arms reaching round to steady the cartridge box or canteen for variation. I used a few different arms on my test paint of the continentals but they still don't look right to me.

Overall they are nice figures and great for building up large battalions, but from my perspective as a painter I'd prefer to spend the time on metal castings.

So, I have a box of each British and Continentals here that I won't be using, so if anybody can use them you can have them for £10.00 per box, postage included. Aside from the painted examples
which are of course included all is as new and still on the sprues. Paypal only please.

lgramson@yahoo.com

Perry Brits ... 

Perry Continentals in formal march pose.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Shiny 28mm AWI's?

It's been a difficult past few weeks on the hobby front and indeed for my painting service. After eighteen months of continuous painting I hit the dreaded 'block'. For me that's time to clear the decks and start again with something fresh.

I had to make the decision to focus my ongoing commission work on 20mm figures from now on, mainly because I have noticed that my eyesight is struggling with the smaller scales (6mm & 10mm) somewhat. Unfortunately this has meant returning a couple of 6mm jobs unpainted, something I was really loathe to do, but all is now sorted amicably I'm pleased to say. With the 15mm Napoleonics now sold and posted, together with two more units of early Spanish infantry (20mm) completed and delivered I feel that I can move on again. This morning I have undercoated and started on more figures for Old John, beginning with the Strelets  plastic set featuring Charles X11 of Sweden being carried on a litter at Poltava.

28mm Perry AWI's.
Last week I was browsing the Perry website and was drawn to the latest plastic boxes - the American Revolution British line and Continental line sets. On impulse I ordered a box of each to 'play around with'. Both sets are great value offering lots of variations and after a break from the brushes painted up 4 test figures from the British set. I'm pleased how they turned out, and after painting smaller figures for so long I found them remarkably easy to paint. The results you can see below.

Last night I gave them a final highlight to coats, flesh and belts and then sat back to think about varnish. I thought I would try a shiny finish so they were given a couple of coats of Klear wash. I kind of liked the results I have to say, the reds came up nice and bright and it seemed to lift the highlights slightly. However this morning I matt varnished them. I'm still not sure which I like best! I don't know what I'll do with them yet, I have no intention of starting another large collection, but I might - just might - think about using them for the new Commands & Colors AWI scenarios that are appearing on ccnapoleonics.net. Just 50 or so figures per side would do the trick and could look quite spectacular.

Before final highlights.

Highlights added (coats brought up to scarlet) 

'Unfashionably shiny'..... nice though?

Yes, I kind of like this finish.

And now matt varnished - I can't make up my mind!
I like to listen to music when I paint although I'm quite selective and tend not to listen to the radio but rather individual tunes and albums of choice. Today's post on Tony's blog (click) re great guitar solos caught my attention. I find certain songs can match my mood, and often when I'm about to do some close painting work I'll choose carefully what I listen to. My tastes run from the seventies through to the nineties mainly, but above all I enjoy good rock/blues. One of my all time faves is Rory Gallagher, one of the great Irish rock musicians, I could listen to his music for hours, surely one of the classic rock trios. Last nights highlighting and varnishing was done while listening to several of my favourite Gallagher tunes, including this fine live performance of 'Bad Penny'. Sadly Gallagher died young, he was as he sang "a hard drinking man" and he died following a failed liver transplant. The battered old Stratocaster he played is now on display in Dublin I believe, and was the first Start to be delivered to Ireland I'm told, the rich tone he got from that guitar was always stunning and still sends shivers down my back today!