Sunday, 29 April 2012

Command figures.

Miserable Sunday morning here, pouring with rain and dark, what better way to spend a quiet hour than doing a bit of painting? The new kittens arrived yesterday and are settling in nicely, charging around as I paint! I knocked off a few British command figures that I needed, 2 brigade 'marker' bases and a mounted commander for my planned base of rifles which will now be coming next with more highlanders to follow.

I'm continuing to read numerous sets of rules, mostly specific 6mm rules, I have a pretty clear idea of how I want my future games to play. Polemos will be first for a test run shortly but I'm not sure how well they will work if playing solo.

Thanks again for all of the supportive comments, I have to say that I resisted a move to 6mm because I doubted my ability to paint these tiny figures to a level that I would be totally happy with. I have painted Heroics and Ros long ago (still great figures to this day), Irregular 6mm (about 15 years ago, but didnt like the casting quality), Old Glory 10mm (lack a little animation for me, but superb castings), and I studied endless images of Baccus before finally taking the plunge. I'm so glad that I did. Over the last few years I have been struggling to find something that presents a real challenge and rewards time dedicated to it. I'm now sure that this is the future scale for me.

Cheers all,

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Tabletop pictures.

Further to my post earlier today I placed everything so far on the table and took loads of pics! Apologies if it seems like overkill, but I wanted to get in all the units I have painted up until now. Used a mix of warm white and 'daylight' bulbs for the lighting with the flash turned off. Some are slightly off focus but after all there are 6mm figures. I won't ramble on, I'll let the pics do the talking. I should just add that I'm still working on the terrain, needs to highlight the road surface etc and add the buildings to the first village base, so its work in progress.

Another battalion of Highlanders on the painting table, then I want to try something different and do a base of rifles in loading and firing poses but in 2 rank close order or possibly random skirmish order, I'll see how they look when I begin to base them up.

OK, here goes!

4th Swiss Regiment.

Here is a battalion of the 4th Swiss regiment resplendent in red uniforms with blue facings. What I like about this scale is that stepping back a little they appear to blend well with the mass of blue uniforms to become just another line battalion. You can see I have started to replace the rear numeral with a letter denoting unit quality ( R T or V, with the addition of E for elite) and a skirmish value figure (sk1 or sk2). I have now decided to add a printed label beneath each base with the name/number of the battalion etc and any other info.

I also re worked my first 'woods' base, reducing the size slightly and re-positioning the trees as the circle of trees previously did not look right to me. I built up the foliage slightly by adding further lumps of the clump foliage I use to make them. The  free standing  trees on the coin bases improve the overall effect when the woods are not occupied.

Later today my wife and 2 youngest daughters are off out to pick up our newest family members, 2 tabby kittens. We lost one of our old cats recently and the other is now 16 years old and looking frail. I'm sure all hell will break lose once they are home (we also have an 8 year old Golden Retriever who is going to get a bit of a shock with the new arrivals!) I'm going to make the most of the peace and quiet this afternoon by laying out some terrain and taking a few photos of the armies so far under decent lighting. I'll post them later if I get time. My wife has told me not to leave any figures lying around once the kittens are let loose, and I think she might be right!

Thanks for all the comments so far, nice to get some feedback on the 'Polemos' rules (I will reply to the latest comments shortly). Any further comments on Polemos or indeed other 6mm suitable rules are especially welcome.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Chasseur à cheval & village base.

Completed the base of line Chasseur a cheval, 18 figures. Will add a second unit of these later with different facings. I have also just finished my first village base, which will hold 3 of the Time cast Peninsular buildings I'm waiting for. The black patches are where they will be placed. This one has a road running through which matches the roads I started making a few posts back - see here. The next village base will have 4 buildings including a lovely church model, I can't wait for them to arrive. This is an aspect of the hobby I love working on, and lurking in the back of my mind are dark thoughts of heavily landscaped terrain boards in the future. I blame Ian for this! But the potential is huge, something like the 'Siborne' model that I'm sure I saw many years ago at Dover castle.

Coming next is French battalion base number 6, the 4th Swiss regiment. Can't resist them any longer I'm afraid! I'm actually now thinking of removing the large number/letter on those bases and replacing them with a colour code as suggested in Polemos to indicate unit quality and skirmish value instead. I then want a way of representing the changing 'shaken levels' in a way that will not look too out of place, possibly some kind of marker base with a casualty on, not sure yet. On the subject of markers I painted up a couple of brigade command stands, purely for the look of them as Polemos does not represent brigade commanders on the table. I placed them on round bases to indicate that they are just 'markers'.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Step by step guide - Part 2. Basing.

So we have the battalion painted and ready for basing.

First step for me is to mark out the small area on the right rear of the base which will be my unit identification number. I want to avoid lots of markers on the table so will record stuff on a chart instead. Cut down the skirmisher strips. I then add a VERY thin sausage of blue tack to the bottom of each base. I do this in order to prevent the figures from slipping or moving once in the wet PVA glue, it's worth doing. Now coat the base liberally with PVA and brush it out to the edges, avoiding the small pre marked area. carefully place the figures in position and push down gently once you are happy with the composition. In this case 2 deep line with skirmishers in front and officer at rear.

Now I take my old box of ground cover material. Yes, it's an old Barbie lunch box ( slightly embarrassing!). In it I keep a mix of 1 pot of Ground Force scenics 'Earth scatter' and 1 pot of fine grit from the same company. Carefully lift the base and hold by its edges before covering it in the scatter material. So long as the figures are dry and you have been careful in placing them none of this will stick to the figures.

Let this dry thoroughly, about 4 to 5 hours I find before its dry enough for the next stage. Now take Vermin brown (Citadel) and adding a drop of water to thin it slightly select areas to paint patches and leave to dry. I use a then long handled brush to work in between the ranks being careful not to touch the figures. It drys down darker yet leaves a nice highlight on the exposed grit.

Once the brown is dry its time to add the flock. I love this part as the whole base springs to life as a finished piece. I use Citadel static grass as I like the quality. Baccus do a nice shorter strand grass for 6mm figures too. So now I carefully paint PVA glue over the non brown areas, using an old fine brush to work up over the bases where possible and in between the ranks. I tend to do this in stages as you can see.

And that's it done! I would say the basing is probably another hours work or so but it's well worth the effort and care required. Final shots show the completed base.

British line battalion - step by step painting guide. Part 1.

Here is a colour by colour pictorial guide to how I paint my 6mm figures, in this case a typical British line infantry battalion with white facings. I hope it proves useful to anybody just about to try this scale and shows how simple steady brushwork and a consistent basing style can produce reasonably good results in 6mm. The figures are of course Baccus line infantry, 5 strips of 4 figures plus a command strip. Also going on this base will be 6 skirmishing figures (riflemen in this case) and a mounted officer. 31 figure which I find looks OK on a 60x60mm wooden base (as sold by Baccus, really good quality and nice and thin). I'm going to run through shade by shade with a shot of each stage, so here goes!

Firstly, figures are undercoated by brush in black. Then I take Foundry flesh shade and paint in the faces, hands and the arms and jacket areas. This will provide a base for the Blood Red and give a clean bright finish.

The first image shows the quality of the castings, the shako plates etc are clearly defined! Next I take the Blood Red and paint over the jacket areas. I use a Citadel 'fine' brush all the way through, frequently washing the brush to keep a good point. I try to keep the paint right on the tip only.

Next is the facing colour, in this case white facings. Paint the collar and cuffs. The collar is a very fine and quick stroke of the brush with paint only on the very tip. If any gets on the face dont worry as we will add mid tone flesh next. I also add the white over red to the plume, but I dont paint crossbelts etc at this stage.

Now highlight the dark flesh with mid tone flesh, this brings the figure to life I find. This stage I regard as phase 1 completed.

OK, next paint in the trousers, light grey in this case, could be white of course. I used Foundry Charcaol grey light. I add a dash to the lower tummy area then paint down each leg carefully. I also use this shade to paint in the blanket on the backpack, just 3 dots rather than a solid line.

Now I make a coffee before I tackle the crossbelts etc! Take white a paint in those belts trying to get a single stroke of paint. After that I add a line of white down the back of the musket as a strap and a dot or two of white for the haversack below the canteen.

Next take Calthan brown (Citadel) and paint in the muskets, not forgetting the stock below the hand. I also add a touch of brown to the hair at the back of the head. Paint the same brown as the base colour of the officers horse, leaving a touch of black in the shadow areas. Then take Foundry Tan and mix a touch of white as the horses highlights.

Almost there now! Foundry 'spearpoint' is next. A fine line down the musket barrel does it. And of course the bayonet, as shiny bayonets stand out in this scale nicely.

Now take Foundry 'shiny' and touch in the shako plate carefully. Paint in any officers lace etc and the points of the flag poles.

They're now about done. Take sky blue light and paint in the canteens. This light blue touch stands ou nicely on the rear of the figures, Its well defined on the casting. That's the figures painted now! I just paint the base areas in dark angels green and add flags at this stage as they can be a bit fiddly in 6mm so it's easier to do when you can still hold the strip by the wine top base.

And that's it. Ready for basing which I will cover in part 2. painting time on the above 31 figure was probably around 1and a half hours excluding undercoating, with a break to make coffee half way through. Fast accurate brushwork is the key, and not overloading the brush. Don't let the paint dry on the brush and if the paint begins to skin over add a touch of water to keep it fluid but don't overdo it or it wont cover well. I hope I have covered everything, back with the basing part 2 shortly.