Thursday, 27 February 2014

Carabiniers ... who can resist them?

Surely one of the most fancy and colourful uniforms of the Napoleonic wars, I could hold out no longer! Four 'blocks' for my C&C armies, count as cuirassiers of course and ignore 1 retreat flag and also ignore first hit from infantry...... the perfect cavalry for attacking those squares in C&C as they can't be forced to 'bounce' by infantry in square who can only throw a single combat dice.

15mm Essex figures and most excellent castings they are too. Also added a Russian dragoon unit. I have Russian hussars undercoated for next. I found the flashy French officer at the bottom of my box so gave him a paint job, I'll use him as a 'leader' block or something.

Commission work.
The first 16 infantry ECW figures are about finished for my new customer, as usual I can see a few small touch ups needed. These are painted to represent the Regiment of The Earl of Essex in 1642 and I think will comprise around 50 figures per unit. It's a long term project that will recreate the unit's present at Edgehill, but each large unit will represent a tercio, which should present an impressive look on the table. I'm keen to set the 'tone' from the start so that I can carry it through what follows. These have had a coat of Vallejo matt varnish and I hope have an overall period look that is about right. Figures are 20mm Tumbling Dice.

I'm now just finishing off 10 ACW Yankee cavalry for Old John, in rain capes and greatcoats, 20mm of course but I'm not sure of the maker. Will be finished in the morning.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

More Essex 15mm's - French light cavalry.

Managed to get another 8 French cavalry painted and based over the weekend, and finished basing the Russian lancers and Polish infantry. I'm really pleased with how these lovely little castings are turning out, and having the freedom to paint just a few of each type is perfect for me. Russian Dragoons are almost finished with just the 4 horses to paint, probably one night in the week. I'm racing through them!

With the Hinton Hunt's and Dragoons all now packed up ready for the post tomorrow I'm busy preparing loads of 20mm ACW's and ECW's for the coming week. Had me thinking about the recent post on Tony's 'Prometheus in Aspic' blog about scale, as there is such a difference in size between these two nominally 20mm ranges. All great castings though.

Pictures show 15mm Essex Miniatures - French hussars & chasseurs, Russian lancers and Polish infantry - all based for my Commands & Colors board game. I'm close to having replaced all of the blocks so I'll shortly be able to get started some British and Portuguese from the Essex range.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Spanish Ulcer.

As it's half term and the house is very busy and noisy painting has slowed up a bit this week. But I'm still getting a bit in as and when I can. I mentioned previously that I was sent two Falcata Spanish infantry as a 'test paint' for what will be a full early Spanish army in 20mm. Tony dislikes the black undercoat/white uniform look as I know well, and I agree that while the 'skeleton suit' look works OK on my 15mm Essex figures it does not really work so well on larger scale figures, so I set to thinking about an alternative method to represent such predominantly white uniforms. I have of course seen many different methods used with varying degrees of success, but I was determined to avoid any kind of Army Painter type wash over white paint, as it - to my eye at least - leaves the finish far too grubby or dirty looking.

After a lot of thought and research I decided to trial a Vallejo white primer which is then washed over with a coat of 'magic wash' . The wash is made up of Klear floor polish with added water and black ink, and it leaves a remarkably good surface for overpainting but above all it picks out most fine detail in a subtle grey while leaving the surface areas clean. I am grateful to Kev Lowth (aka 'Fat Wally') for his advice in the use of the wash method, and anyone who might wish to see more pics of units painted in this style should take a look here (link). Just a note to add that kev specialises in 15mm figures painted at speed, and his method uses a second wash over the completed figures and the bases. I use it only once over the undercoat.

So I present here a series of images to illustrate the method as used on the two fine Spanish gents. What I can't show is just how well the wash takes the paint, the colours are vibrant as there seems to me to be a lot less absorption as with a straight black primer, and unlike a standard white primer there is no chance of finding small areas missed leaving the white showing as the wash runs into ever crack and crevice. I'm really taken with this method as it's very efficient from the painters point of view and leaves a great finish.

*Edit - the backpacks remain unpainted while we research the correct shade for calfskin.

This unit has black facings as you can see, but even so I still think the finish is very strong and not a skeleton suit in sight! I would certainly anybody painting white uniforms  to give this method a try.

Essex 15mm Russian lancers.
I painted these four figures yesterday in between prepping up some 20mm ECW's and ACW's for the next week or so. I could find little uniform detail for these so went with that as shown and to be honest they will only represent generic Russian light cavalry in my C&C games anyway.

Commands & Colors 'Epic'.
I'm interested to find out more about this. From what I have read it features a double sized board and allows for large scale battles fought across the much wider frontage. The card hand is played differently and allows for more than a single card to be played so more units can be moved each turn. I have got to thinking that this could potentially allow me to represent more realistic formations, for example to have 4 of my 4 single figure units representing a brigade and possibly to include a command figure or two per 'brigade'. I could also brigade several cavalry units together which would enhance the game visually too. I'm just thinking about it for now, but if anyone has any relevant links about this I'd appreciate it if you could send them to me.

Right then, back to finishing of some Essex Chasseur a cheval for myself then it's onto more commission work while the wife, kids and Grandaughter are all out!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

20mm Peninsular Dragoons, Hinton Hunt's and more 15mm Essex.

Phew, it's been quite a busy last couple of weeks on the painting front! But it's also been very rewarding from the point of view of working on some very nice 20mm castings, all of which are going into what I regard as two fantastic model soldier collections.

Hinton Hunt vintage figures - these have been painted for Ian, who's fine HH blog (link at right) I have been following (I think), since 2007. There is a bit of a story behind this unit too as I was first sent these very same 24 figures for painting about 3 years ago or so, just about the time my mental health broke down and I had a major breakdown. I simply could not even so much as pick up a paint brush, it took months, and my recovery is still ongoing, so in a way it kind of felt like I was completing the circle when I painted these and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to finish them. Funny how different things seem now, and I remain very much aware of just how positive an experience painting soldiers has become for me ..... I woke up at 4am this morning thinking about horse colours!

I kept in mind the overall style of Ian's collection, and tried to use a style that would fit in. They have been given a coat of Vallejo Satin varnish.

20mm Peninsular Heavy Dragoon brigade. 
These three regiments represent Le Marchants cavalry brigade - the 3rd/4th/and 5th Dragoons. The figures I think are 20mm Falcatta castings with old Minifigs  S range heads added, I'm sure Tony will correct me here. I think they are therefore somewhat unique? They took a lot of work, but  again the motivation of producing something a bit special kept me at it! They need a coat of varnish and Tony will add his 'house' base colour once they return home. I'm still seeing small bits that could do with a touch up. Please excuse the number of photos.


I have also managed to paint a few figures for myself, more 15mm Essex figures of course, some Russian Militia with fine beardy faces and some Polish infantry. I'm following up with Russian lancers, dragoons and hussars then French chassuers a cheval, lancers and hussars.

I also continue to play Commands & Colors on the board with the figures painted so far.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Replacing the C&C wooden blocks.

Over the weekend I managed to bring my 15mm Essex figures (French and Russian) up to the 200 painted figures mark. They are fine figures and I have long been a fan of Essex castings going way back. The first time I visited the little shop attached to the production workshop convinced me that these were the figures for me. The shop was and is crammed with painted examples of all the ranges, and I have always maintained that they look far better in the 'lead' than they do on the Essex website. For some reason they always appear slightly 'dwarfish' and the painting is not always perhaps the best quality.

As I thoroughly enjoy both painting and photographing wargame figures I present here numerous shots taken on the C&C board, all Essex of course. I just need to finish off a couple of French guns and I'm ready for a first bash with these. Much more is planned though as I continue to replace all of the C&C wooden blocks with figures. Should keep me happy for quite a while yet. Hussars, Russian militia, more line troops, lancers etc etc in the pipeline. Once I have covered all of the French and Russian blocks I'll go back a step and replace all the British and Portuguese blocks before moving onto the Austrians. I also intend to do Dutch Belgian and Brunswick blocks etc for the two Hundred days scenarios.

That bloke again.

Russian gunners with cossacks and Grenadiers in support.

C&C 'Guard Grenadiers - 8 blocks!

Russian Cuirassiers.

French line and dragoons.

Old Guard Grenadiers with raw recruits in front (these count as C&C 'Militia' and the greatcoats help to identify them).

It's behind you! French gunners awaiting their guns.

This is one of my favourite Essex command figures.

French cuirassiers charging.