Friday, 13 September 2019

Gota fria, Italian WIP & RHA crew.

My God, we have had some rain here on the Costa Blanca this week. A gota fria has caused major flooding and disruption along the coast from Valencia to Alicante and for once we are happy to be living up a mountain! YouTube has video of cars being washed along roads, drains and toilets overflowing unable to cope with the sheer quantity of rain, Alicante airport has all flight cancelled or diverted and schools have been closed. Just at a time when our friend from the Uk has started his annual holiday in Benidorm! It's scheduled for a few more days yet so perfect weather for sitting painting soldiers.

I'm into the Italian line regiment now and unusually for me I'm using a London Grey undercoat instead of my standard black. I think with white uniforms this works better as I follow up with a drybrush of Ivory before adding highlights of off white. I'm tempted to use a thin wash over this but fear it could just end up making the uniforms look too dirty so will probably leave as is. I decided to go with the 3rd Regiment with green facings rather than red, really to add a bit more contrast into the units. Flag is a web printed one with '1' overpainted in gold with '3'. Again the plan is to replace all flags with GMB versions in due course.

This will be an all Perry Miniatures battalion of 24 figures. The infantry castings are quite clean with the usual Perry casting worms to trim off. Once again they arrive with 90 odd heads to add another 60 + spares to my spares box (head mountain?). I note there are two different head sprues including bare heads, covered shakos, plain shakos and a nice head with a havelock cover at rear. each figure comes in three parts, body, heads and the upper part of the musket that needs to be glued into the fold of the left arm, the butt being cast on below the elbow. The musket fits very well with no problem but some of the heads are not so good requiring a little bit of filling here and there, nothing major though. One issue that does annoy me is that the strap for the water bottle does not come over the right shoulder, it simply is not there so I have resorted to painting the strap on as you can see. For a £4.50 casting ( £2.25 if you buy 10 together) this is something of an error that I am surprised to see on a Perry designed figure.
Need to work on the trouser patch at right.

You can see the canteen strap is missing.

In other news - Ian Smith sent me the latest pictures of the first two RHA crew yesterday, the digital sculpts are still work in progress by Dan. I really like the poses and detail but will just double check uniform details, so far all looks good to me. I think the rammer could also have potential as one of my planned rocket battery crew with a bit of conversion work later. Slowly but surely this project is taking shape.

Monday, 9 September 2019

More Perry French.

I actually ran out of figures to paint for a couple of weeks but this morning the delivery card was in the buzon so I shot down to Ador Correos to collect a delivery of Perry's. As always the little black boxes each containing a single 40mm figure made me smile, but they are obviously packed with great care and never had an issue with breakages.

Such excitement, I'm like a big kid when a parcel arrives!

These are intended for a battalion of Italian line infantry, the two test figures of which I painted previously. To be honest I will probably stick with Sash & Sabre going forward as I do find them so well animated while the Perry's I find a little stiff in pose but I'm happy enough to have both in my collection. We have a few days of rain forecast for the week ahead so they will keep me busy indoors.

On order from Sash & sabre via Andy at Old Glory UK I have the following packs that should be with my daughter this week before they make the journey to Spain the following week:

French Cuirassier troopers (7)   x1
French Cuirassier command (3) x1.

Highlander command (5)  x1

British Rifles skirmishing (5)  x 2
British rifles command (5)  x1

French 12 pdr gun.   x1.

The Highland command will complete my seventh British infantry battalion, the Cuirassiers will initially be an 8 figure cavalry unit that I will expand later to 16 figures. The French gun is to replace the massive piece I featured previously, it's just too big to look right as a field gun so it will return to the Oxen drawn feature piece and my French battery will consist of the howitzer and two 12pdrs. I don't actually think any 12pdrs made it down to Spain so I'll call them 8pdrs, but stand to be corrected on this? The rifles of course will represent the 95th on two skirmish bases and should contrast well with the 60th I already have.

This lot should keep me busy for several weeks, but planning further ahead as I need to when they have to be ordered from S&S in the US I really want to do a battalion of British Marines in round hats. S&S do make them in their 40mm 1812 range and having seen Ian Smiths unit I know I have to have them!

I'm sure some will have seen Ian's award winning 40mm Peninsular game, but if you have not seen it here is a link to an interview about the game he gave to Wargames Illustrated, make sure you enlarge it enough to see the quality of the figure painting as well as the stunning terrain, this is my inspiration and of course Ian is my partner in the planned RHA crews. The Marines can be seen in the bottom image.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Yes it's those French Hussars again!

Sunday was a good day, I finished off my cleaning and varnishing of all 500 figures with the French cavalry. The Hussars were pretty dirty from dust, with fans and aircon chucking it about it is to be expected. They each got a good wash with a soft brush and warm water followed by a retouching of a couple of points where paint had been lost probably from scratching here and there. Once fully dry they then received a generous coat of vallejo satin varnish and the result is as you see below, again the satin leaves that light sheen that I really like. The Chassuers were not to bad and had already been satin varnished. That now means that everything is done, all bases matched up, all figures cleaned, touched up and varnished.

In the afternoon we went out for lunch with friends and just for once I didn't have to drive. We went down to a place near Denia and ate roast beef with yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, probably for the first time in a year. The place was full of Brits, not a Spanish voice to be heard and the Arsenal game was on in the crowded bar. The dining room was also full of Brits eating roast beef or pork and crackling, it was packed. We left having had a good time but wondering why so many would choose to live in Spain and frequent an establishment so typically British. What was very clear was that the growing prospect of a No Deal Brexit is causing a lot of concern among expats.

But lets just focus on model soldiers.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Keeping busy - tidying bases, cleaning and varnishing.

Right, so the Perry's are on the way and Andy now has my Sash & Sabre cuirassiers and Highlander command. The latter will be travelling out with Daughter number two and Grand daughters Lilly and Violet week after next and the Perry's could just take any time as usual. Packages seem to arrive in Spain within a few days and after that who knows where they go until they arrive at Ador Correos, still they get here eventually.

I'm using the time to work through all of my units in order to bring all of the bases up to a standard style and allowing all infantry units to form up in line with the command in the centre. It's been a little messy but it's done now. All the of the figures have also been given a thorough clean with a soft brush and warm water, they were quite dusty. Any of the original figures that were matt varnished have been given a coat of Vallejo satin after the clean up, which is now my standard varnish. The 60th Rifles were one such unit but the Satin sheen has really lifted them, although I know varnish is very much a matter of taste.

Having worked through the British I then did the French. The vast majority of the French were those I originally purchased from Andy early last year. With my additions of extra command groups etc they are actually the work of several painters, one being myself. The style does vary but I simply mixed them in all seven battalions and where shades of blue etc do differ with units I put that down to the ravages of the Peninsular weather, I like the overall appearance. Again I have tied in the bases, I know they are quite thick but need to be if I am to pick up or move what are very weighty figures.

Once everything is finished I plan a grand revue with them all gleaming!

Monday, 26 August 2019

More Spanish Guerrillas, Italian test paint and Perry heads!

This week I have painted the second Guerrilla base of 6 figures. I wanted a character for this base and decided to use the figure from the S&S Spanish supply train set who arrived with the original purchase from Andy. I removed the whip hand, drilled out the sleeve and replaced with a spare sword arm, I think he looks suitably menacing. All other figures are by Perry Miniatures as I had not realised that S&S did a pack of 20 Spanish guerrillas for half the price per figure!

I now find myself at a bit of a loss whilst I await delivery of more 40mm figures. I have 22 Perry French on order and they will be painted as the Italian 2nd line regiment regiment in white coats with red facings. I painted a couple of leftover Perry fusiliers as test figures, something I don't generally do but they turned out well. I have a lovely flag for this unit so they should look pretty smart once completed. I will re check references for the uniforms, collars seem to vary but this image is a good one, although I will need to repaint collars white.

 I also have the cuirassiers on order from Sash & Sabre along with a highland command pack, but these have yet to arrive from the US to Andy at Old Glory UK who will dispatch them to Spain. The Cuirassiers look excellent on the S&S website, can't wait to get my hands on them. Mine will be attired in drab brown coats and represent the 13th regiment in the Peninsular.

Copyright sash & sabre miniatures.

The above means that I could be facing a couple of weeks before I have more 40mm painting to do. What I am working on is the splitting of the second bases of all the infantry battalions so that they are able to form line with the command and colours in the centre. It's not something I'm enjoying as the 12 figure bases have to be soaked and the figures replaced onto 6 figure bases. I swore never to rebase these, but luckily when I based these I simply stuck the existing card bases onto sabot type bases so they do come off without much damage and just require the edges touched up with filler. Still a bit of a pain though but worth the effort and at least I only have to do one base per battalion.

The Dragoons featured in my last post now have bases finished and carbines added. I have noticed a slight difference in the red shade, the previous 8 figures appear to be lighter, I must have highlighted using more Amaranth in the mix. I'll probably correct this during the week and re varnish where required.

Finally for now, it is good that Perry offer alternative heads with each figure, but I seem to have accumulated a large collection of spares that are basically unusable. Each figures arrives in it's own little box with a choice of 4 heads and obviously you can only use one! This just seems a terrible waste of metal, given that every collector of 40mm Perry's will have the same issue so I can't even give them away. 40mm heads anybody?

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

British heavies!

The British Dragoons are now at full strength 16 figures and looking most impressive, although my intention has always been to use them as two 8 figure units when I get round to fighting a battle with them. I need to make a trip to Leroy Merlin tomorrow - sort of Spanish B&Q - for more filler powder and earth pigment plus PVA glue to finish off the bases.

I was really tempted to place an order for some of the 28mm scale Peninsular buildings I featured here some time back, but instead put another order into Perry for more figures while I'm waiting for the Sash & Sabre order to arrive. I'm actually going to have another crack at making some basic Spanish style buildings again myself from scratch, this time with a clearer idea of what I want to produce and in a scale closer to 30mm than 40mm. My favourite Merca China store has restocked on the ply sheets which are perfect for the purpose, being thin enough to cut with a craft knife but quite robust. This time round the roofing material will be corrugated cardboard which gives produces a reasonable simulation of Mediterranean roof tiles. The more terrain items I can produce from scratch the more money I can spend on 40mm figures. I'm currently sketching out a few ideas for the buildings.

The next Perry unit will actually be the Italian 5th infantry regiment in white uniforms, once again taking advantage of the 'buy 10 fusiliers, get them half price' offer so they work out £2.25 per figure for the 20 fusiliers. Of course the officers etc have to be purchased at full price. I have a couple to use as test figures experimenting with a London Grey base coat for a change. I need to check references as I have seen this unit shown with both red and green facings/lapels, I'm not sure which is correct. Currently on the painting desk is a second base of 6 Spanish Guerrillas by Perry.

Friday, 16 August 2019

10 days painting progress.

Had a good 10 days painting, 11 French infantry and 5 French artillery crew, not bad in 40mm I don't think. I'm now going straight into 6 British Heavy Dragoons to add to the two I have from the previous Dragoon unit. I am simply enjoying my painting so much at the moment.

Firstly I completed the seventh French battalion by adding 10 Perry figures to the existing 14 Sash & sabre figures, a few of which are wearing greatcoats. These were the last of the S&S French infantry I had and although the unit is a bit of a mish-mash of uniform styles they don't come together too badly. The Perry fusiliers are very rigid in pose and slightly more slender that S&S but I'm happy that they work well together. In this unit we also see a Perry eagle bearer and pioneer, the officer being a S&S with a very strong face.

A note re the flags. Currently these are generic printed flags and I do intend to replace them all with GMB flags in due course, and when I do so I will research to ensure all units represent those actually present in the Peninsular.

I love this S&S officer, the facial features are really strong. Beside him at right is a Perry fusilier, as he is bare headed I added the shako to his right hand.

The S&S 5 man artillery crew arrived here in Spain only on Tuesday in my wifes hand luggage, and by Thursday they were painted and based alongside what must be at least a 12pdr gun, it is huge! It now sits alongside my other two French guns and looks most impressive.

Also this week I have re jigged my French command bases. I was never really happy with the circular base with three mounted figures so removed them and added the Perry Drum Major you see below. One of the bases contains two mounted officers, the others a single mounted figure and foot figure. The British are getting the same treatment currently.

Perry drum major, the rest are all by Sash & Sabre.
So currently on the painting desk are the British Heavies. Again carried back by my long suffering wife through Gatwick customs, but this time without a mention. These will bring my cavalry to 16 light and 16 heavy  dragoons.

Wet palette proving it's worth in this heat!

I normally paint horse and rider together, but this time I'm trying this method using my little cork handles. The riders are drilled and the cocktail stick inserted (Ouch!) with a spot of super glue to keep them steady when painting.

40mm heavy metal!
Now waiting for S&S Cuirassiers and Highland command. Bit of a landmark, I now have just over 500 painted figures in my collection. I'm very keen to get some terrain sorted, just trying to wait until we know exactly what we are doing and where we will be.