Sunday, 24 October 2021

1st Regiment of Foot Guards.

There is something special about the British Foot Guards and I was delighted to be able to paint these splendid castings for Tony. Les Higgins and PMD (Phoenix Models Development) 20mm figures.  Finished in a Gloss varnish it was the first time I had applied Gloss in many years and was a little nervous as I applied it (Valleyo) but it dried very quickly to nice clear coat. Tony will apply a second coat of his 'house varnish' when they arrive home. Photos below include a couple of 'before' images, the Gloss really does bring out the strong colours. For information the red coats were built up from the black primer coat with Cavalry Brown (my go to dark red  with excellent coverage over black), Flat Red mid tones then pure Scarlet highlights. The mounted and foot officer then had a final touch of Aramanth Red which is an Orange Red for that slightly superior quality cloth look. As always I ask myself if I would be happy to have them in my own collection (if I had one these days!) and that is quality test for everything I paint.

Schombergs Horse coming next for Tony.

Below shows them 'in the flesh' as it were pre gloss varnish.

Friday, 22 October 2021

More 6mm Crimean War - and a plan!

 Beautiful morning here in Rochester, coffee and toast, fed the cats, walked the dog, primed another eight 20mm soldiers and ready to spend a few hours painting.

The 6mm's are coming along nicely, I REALLY like the Irregular Miniatures cavalry castings, the horses are slightly chunkier than Baccus so I can get some highlights on the rear, it's really about carefully picking detail out of the black base with these figures. 

I have a bit of a plan for the Crimean war, a modest one to begin with but it's a plan! I'll be starting with just 8 bases per side, 4 line infantry (one of which will be designated as Guards) 1 skirmisher base, 2 cavalry ( light and heavy) and a battery of guns, plus a command stand. This will allow me to play through some small solo games. The board will be just 2 x 3 and what I want to do is to make it up from 6" interchangeable squares with all terrain features modelled on. This will be phase 1, and beyond that there is the option to produce more terrain squares and many more figures, but that's for the future. I estimate that within a few weeks this could be done. I'm thinking of 3mm MDF for the basic squares, sealed with varnish before texturing. I envisage winding roads and streams, hills, woods and towns all modelled onto the small squares, this is something I have wanted to do for years now.

Of course the commission painting comes first, I'm currently working on English Foot Guards and a regiment of horse of the WSS for Tony. I have an enquiry to paint 80 German Volkssturm in 20mm scale something I would enjoy doing if confirmed so fingers crossed. I just can't capture the subtle tones of the reds with my old phone camera but I'm really pleased with the first 8 soldiers.

Added the Scots Greys, Rifles and more Russians to the 6mm's, I'm not certain that the Greys still had that red patch rear of the bearskins by 1854, references are hard to come by?

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

The Cosy Corner, ECW's and a 20mm preview!

 It was Wellington Man who mentioned on his blog that he was set up for painting in his lounge where he felt comfortable. I'm just the same as you can see from the image below, corner of a warm lounge, the faithful old miniature desk that has travelled from Kent to Spain and back again and at which I must have painted thousands of soldiers over the years. I inherited it from my late Mother in Law, it's not full size as you can see so I have never been able to sit directly at it, I can only fit one leg beneath it so tend to sit slightly side on, looking toward the right where the TV and sound bar/bass speaker are set up. I have adapted to this position over the years and it's extremely comfortable for me. I'm very tidy and orderly, not obsessively so, but I can't paint any other way. I keep all printed references in the top left drawer for easy access, tools etc in the top right and around 100 pots of spare Vallejo paints in the second right drawer. The rest stores figures awaiting a paint job. I use the simple wet palette, changing the greaseproof paper daily. The collection of wine caps have been built up over the years as I find them perfect for size and grip when painting. I normally blue tac figures for painting, two per cap for 15mm a single figure for 20mm. The two lamps were bought from Amazon and are perfect painting lamps when used side by side, there are five LCD settings from a warm yellow through to a daylight blue and I use both lamps on the third setting which is somewhere in between. With Winter approaching I can't think of a more comfortable space to work in.

Below: Sugar free (of course!) Butterscotch, essential for painting model soldiers.

With these two Peter Pig ECW units (below) ready to pack for returning to Graham I'm about to start on some lovely 20mm castings for Tony, they are Les Higgins and PMD. I remarked to Tony how crisp and clean these old castings are and he said that the key is to get hold of the early ones. I had seen the PMD stamp on many of Johns figures but was never really clear on why they looked so much like the Higgins figures, the reason being that they in fact the same range with a change of ownership! I do like the way the bases are inscribed with such clarity something I don't see on modern ranges so much.

Monday, 18 October 2021

6mm Crimean War - a decision on basing.

 As I paint through a couple more ECW foot regiments for Graham I'm also doing a bit here and there on the 6mm's. This range has really grown on me, nice crisp castings with plenty of detail that seems to emerge as I paint. I was not sure how or even if I wanted to stick them onto large unit bases as I'm less keen these days on 2mm bases with 6mm figures. My solution was to try using thin plastic about half a mil thick but stiff enough to do the job and cuts easily with a craft knife. I gave the bases a coat of green paint to help key the PVA glue  before adding fine grit and a touch of static grass, all in all I'm happy with the results. So far there are two Russian infantry regiments, British Guards, Highlanders and line and a base of Lancers. I'm kind of thinking along the lines of The Portable wargame on the good old folding card table that might just scratch that gaming itch again and I'm brimming with idea for it! I'll knock up a couple more Russian units then do some British riflemen (superb little sculpts these), and British Command base. I also have the Scots Greys to do and will order up some Russian Cavalry and the first artillery. Excellent customer service from Irregular Miniatures, arrived 3 days after ordering.

Edit: You know what, I'm going to have to make the cavalry up to 24 figures so they match the frontage of the infantry bases! Should also make them more impressive.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Another box for John finished & more 6mm Crimean War.

Before I get this batch packed up I thought a group photo was in order. Very colourful batch this one representing a couple of weeks painting. A few of the odd foot figures, mostly Minifigs had a paint job on them but required retouching. The plastics are by Strelet (French dismounted Dragoons) and Zveda (Russian Cossacks and the figures in white Kaftans). Mounted Dragoons by Lancer Miniatures and the Winged Hussars of course by Ral Partha. I have another follow up box that remains unopened, I'll surprise myself over the weekend! The same outer box and inner boxes travels back and forth as we try to recycle as far as possible on packaging. 

Next I have two regiments of Peter Pig ECW foot for Graham and then a unit of 20mm WSS British Foot Guards and a cavalry regiment for Tony before delving back into John's next box.

I'm continuing to enjoy painting the Irregular Miniatures 6mm Crimean war figures with 2 Russian and 1 British infantry units done and a couple of bases of British Lancers. I have more on order and will make the cavalry units up to 16 figures each keeping the infantry units at 36 figures. The basing has grown on me just as they stand, they seem to sit far more naturally in the terrain in this scale than rigid 2mm MDF bases and can be formed into march column or line. I do have something in mind for them.