Friday, 10 May 2013

The new challenge - speed painting 15mm Essex Napoleonics.

As mentioned previously I wanted to try something a bit different and challenge myself. I selected the older 'Essex' miniatures range for this for several reasons:
  1. The intention is to 'speed paint' using a specific method of quickly picking out colours from a black undercoat with minimal shading (the black will be left to give the impression of depth and shade).
  2. The Essex figures have nicely raised detail, easy to 'hit' with a single stroke of the brush.
  3. They are cheaper than for example AB figures, but have all of the detail I need for this experiment, and the poses are also more suited to speed painting.
  4. The design of the range means there is little hidden or hard to get at detail, so no twisting and turning of the brush.
  5. I just like them!
It would seem that I last painted Essex Napoleonics back in 2007! These are a few pics taken back then and now in the gallery of my 'War Artist' blog. The basing style will be updated.

The first thing that struck me upon opening the first bags was how HUGE they seemed compared to the 6mm and 10mm figures I have been painting for a year or so now - should be a doddle really to paint these. I want to keep standards high, I don't like washes or the Army Painter type varnishes, I prefer to pick out my colours accurately but quickly and achieve a good overall impact within each battalion. Ideally I'd like to be able to paint a batch of 8 infantry figures (16 figure battalions) in maybe 1.5 hours to begin with until I get fully up to speed, that's pre- undercoated, start to finish in a single session. That's around 10 minutes per figure for a foot figure.

Looking back through the blog last weekend confirmed to me where I went wrong with the 6mm Commands & Colors project - I'm convinced now that at the point where I had the original plain dotted 95mm hex terrain board (before I ruined it by attempting to 'texture' it) and the figures on the earlier 60mm x 60mm bases with the deployed skirmishers, was probably where I should have stopped (example pic below). I tried to go too far with it and lost sight of my initial aims, and in doing so definitely lost enthusiasm for it. By the time I was painting the 6mm Russians I was beginning to look backwards and knew I wanted to paint something in a larger scale.

This the point at which I should have stopped! Whats planned now is a 15mm version of this!
Forward march!
I'm clear in my head how I want to approach this. Still Commands and Colors, but this time using a base of 4 infantry figures or 2 cavalry figures to represent a C&C single 'block', thus a British infantry unit will consist of 4 'blocks' and a cavalry unit of 3 blocks etc. This time it will no longer be 'Peninsular' based but all figures will be of the later 100 days campaign with the aim of eventually producing all of the required units for the Waterloo scenario. My main guide will be my old and battered copy of 'Regiments at Waterloo' by Rene North, published back in 1971.

Commission work - 20mm ECW Dragoons.
From this weeks output are these 18 ECW Dragoons on foot, I think they are Les Higgins? They are for the collection of Tony / 'Foy'. I have 2 x 12 figure matching mounted Dragoon units scheduled for the beginning of next week as well as some 'Boyne' cavalry for 'Old John'. Of course I'm continuing to add further 10mm AWI units as well. I have had numerous enquiries in the past week or so and I'm slightly behind with my email replies, but I'm just not in a position to take on any further work at the moment. I would be happy to discuss future projects of course, but it's important to me that I continue to deliver on time and don't get bogged down. I will catch up with emails over this weekend so please bear with me.

The first 15mm French Napoleonic Essex unit will follow shortly!


  1. Yes they are Les Higgins dismounted dragoons and looking very tasty indeed, lovely work, congrats
    cheers Old John

    1. Thanks John, I thought they were but could not tell from the underside of the base.


  2. I like Essex too. Maybe it's because it's where I started. You're right, they have lots of detail and a fair bit of character as well even if the poses are a bit rigid.


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