Monday, 30 December 2019

Marines on the painting table!

Don't you just love it when you get those first couple of colours on a new unit, long way to go but you know it's going to be rewarding.

Yesterday following a very lively and enjoyable family Christmas with eleven of us for Dinner I found time to set up a painting space in the kitchen table. I had been itching to get the brushes out again and start painting the Sash & sabre Royal Marines. As usual they are very nice castings with minimal cleaning up required and should paint up a treat. The Cacadores featured previously have been put aside until after the Marines, unless of course the RHA beat them to it, but they will get painted eventually.

As mentioned earlier I got the standard 20 figure pack which includes in this case an officer, sergeant and drummer figure, plus an additional 5 figure pack to enable me to make a 24 figure unit, but I am now having some second thoughts about the size of this particular unit. As Marines I am wondering if I would be better to make them a 20 figure unit, 2 bases of 10 rather than my usual 12, given the special status of the troop type. I need to research a bit more, but my gut feeling is that rather than shoulder to shoulder formation these guys would just shake down a little more? They will be a firing line unit, front rank firing rear rank reloading in 2 poses, reaching for cartridge and pouring contents of cartridge into the barrel, the latter being something a little different from the usual ramming pose. As they won't carry colours I'm having a think about how I want to place the figures for best effect.

Space management.
I have been giving a lot of thought as to what I want to do in the New Year.  I need to find a solution that allows me to get some of my figures on the table, even if it is just small games with say 6 to 8 units per side on a 6 x 4 table, which is about as big as is practically possible in the new home. It is clear that to make this work I'm going to have to use 28mm scale buildings and terrain, and I have been looking at a few examples of this solution in use, it seems workable, especially when buildings are placed upon plinths in order to give the height a slight boost of around 10mm. The commercial buildings I am looking at have a height of 125mm anyway which I think will work with 40mm figures just about. Simon at S&A scenics makes some fine 'more realistic' large trees which stand at 4.5" and he has told me that any of his terrain items can be made to order in any scale upon request. I want and need to keep things quite simple here, maybe 2 or 3 buildings on bases that will each hold a battalion, woods and vineyards plus roads that are more tracks and possibly home made. The big issue though is how to model hills. As I plan to game scenarios from the excellent One Hour Wargames book possibly with DBN rules I'm going to have to find a solution to represent different shape hills without breaking the bank. To look 'right' any hills will need to be quite tall to sit alongside the building models, again Simon tells me he can do this for me, but I need to be bringing everything in on budget so may need to look for another solution, possibly home made in maybe 3 basic shapes/sizes that can approximate to those used in the scenarios. Research continues.


  1. I think 6-8 units a side will give a nice game and with lovely figures,look great. I am going through some 'hill thoughts' myself and having watched a recent 'Mel the Terrain Tutor', I am giving some thought to that expanding foam that comes in a pressurised can and that window fitters use when installing frames.

    It can be a bit of a nightmare to work with because it significantly expands as it cures and it sticks, sticks, sticks like glue! so is messy, messy, messy! so I am thinking about using some old boards that don't matter for a work surface and then putting some grease-proof type paper down and then squirting this stuff to make some big (over 2' long) but low hills. Once cured it can be carved.

    I have seen small cans in Homebase for about six quid. You could do worse than check his site out to see how he does it.

  2. Hiya Norm and thanks. I was a big fan of Mel the terrain tutor some years ago and it was a joy to follow him as he followed his dream to become a full time terrain maker/tutor. I was a monthly patron supporter too, worth every penny for the entertainment value alone, I think last time I checked a couple of years ago he was making a couple of thousand a month from that alone, excellent! I must check him out again to see how he's doing as he's brilliant at what he does. I have watched the expanding foam video he made, amazing stuff if a little unpredictable, but cheap as you say I must give it a go when the weather warms up and I can get outside, could be a solution:) Thanks for the reminder about Mel.

  3. If you want custom could you go the tried and trusted books/blocks under a nice covering of some sort?

  4. Lovely figures indeed. May 2020 be a good and happy year for you and yours.

  5. Lee
    I would suggest small size 25mm buildings especially if you use DBN ( which are excellent I use them a lot) as the terrain is a Built up area and depending on size has to accommodate one or more bases or a ' detachment'
    The DBN will let you play on a board 6x4 with ease


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