Friday 31 January 2014

End of another weeks painting.

Friday again, and I'm hoping to be able to get out in the garden this weekend to do a few jobs weather permitting. I'll also be painting more 15mm Essex Napoleonics for the C&C board, just about to break through the 100 figures painted mark. I'll be ordering French and Russian artillery next, plus more Russian infantry of various types and I want to add a bag of Polish infantry to the French Grande Armee as it grows. I'll be painting French Generals and Dragoons if I get time over the weekend too.

Commission work.
A few shots of some more 20mm ACW figures painted yesterday for Old John, walking wounded, two Reb gun crews plus a couple of couriers.

The 6mm 'starter armies' are just about finished and will be ready for the journey home on Monday, these add to the 8 infantry bases already painted previously. I only need to finish off the bases and add the guns before a final highlight and touch up where required. Included are the two 'HQ bases' shown below as required under the rules. Tents are of course just heavy card, painted with white glue for strength then shaded. The figures are actually 6mm Adler command, and incredibly good they are too.

February looks promising with plenty of variety - I have 3 regiments of 20mm Peninsular War British Heavy Dragoons, a 50 figure ECW unit to represent The Earl of Essex's regiment at Edgehill (the first unit of a quite large new long term commission using the same excellent 20mm TD figures that I had been painting for Tony), and something new for me, a chance to paint a Battalion of Hinton Hunt French line infantry. Of course I'll continue to paint for Old John too. All in all an exciting months painting lay ahead. I seem to be becoming something of a 20mm specialist now!

Wednesday 29 January 2014

C&C Russian Expansion scenario #1 and 20mm ACW's.

I managed to play through the first of the Russian scenarios over the past couple of evenings - Czarnowo 1806. This represents Davout's three Division attack against Ostermann, who's Russian forces began well dug in behind field works and with a strong central position. The Russians had just 4 command cards to the French 6, which enabled the French to switch about with ease, opening the battle with a strong attack against Czarnowo on the Russian left. This was followed by an attack across the Wkra stream (fordable) against the Russian right. I really enjoyed this scenario, even playing solo it played out so well with the strength of the Russian position becoming apparent very quickly as the French were at first driven back with losses. Russian Grenadier units on both flanks proved hard to shift and even the line troops proved stubborn, even though mostly only 3 blocks (Russian line ignore 1 retreat flag). The pre battle Mother Russia Roll was fun, allowing me to add an additional block to a couple of Russian line units to bring them up to 'paper strength' and an additional Cossack unit. At one point I sacrificed a Cossack unit in order to allow me to pull back a single block infantry unit rather than give away another VP, they are excellent for this type of work! The game used all of the Napoleonic tactics of the C&C rules, squares, retire and reform, combined arms, leader casualty throws etc and it really moved at a pace. The French eventually won by 7 VP's to 3 although many French units were reduced to 50% by the end of the battle and others had been pulled back from the front line before losing the final block. Only in the final move did the French manage to attack the Russian centre, taking the final 2 VP's in the process, the Russian defenders having been softened up first by musket and artillery fire.

I was left feeling well satisfied by the game, a good balanced scenario that I will replay with my figures once ready, to see if I can force a Russian victory by changing tactics. The second scenario is Golymin 1806 and I might play this one over the weekend possibly.

Commission work.
Painted more 20mm ACW's for Old John, these are lovely 'Musket Miniatures' pewter castings and would match well with plastic ACW's I should say as they are anatomically similar. There are very few if any creases in the trousers for example and highlighting is used to represent this a little here and there. I have more to do yet, Reb gunners, walking wounded and a couple of mounted couriers for tomorrow. Today I'm focusing on flagging up and basing the 6mm ACW's I completed last week. I have a little trick for making the addition of flags to 6mm figures much easier and less fiddly so I'll try and get a couple of pics and describe it later if I can.

For next week I have 3 units of 20mm Peninsular Heavy Dragoons to paint for Tony, again fine figures with loads of character. In the box was this wonderful old Hinchliffe box, the like of which I have not seen for probably 25 years and it gave me a real nostalgia trip to hold one of them again, recalling the early trips to Eltham Models in SE London who were the first place I saw Hinchliffe Napoleonics on display, probably late seventies.

The box contains two early Spanish Napoleonics for a 'white uniform' sample paint. There are several ways of painting white uniforms and often it's hard to make them look convincing, but I have a method that I hope will give good results - more later.

Blog title.
I'm still faffing about with the title, I think 'Figure painting' rather than Napoleonic more accurately reflects what it's about now, but with a strong emphasis on the Napoleonic period as I continue to build up my 15mm Essex figures to replace the blocks.

Friday 24 January 2014

More 15mm Napoleonics & Adler 6mm ACW Generals.

I have been busy knocking out the odd French Napoleonic figures for myself where I can. After so many years painting Essex figures I find the brush almost does the work itself! It's about knowing just where to add touches of paint to give a strong finish, I'm not saying this style would suit every figure - AB's for example - but it's fast and furious and I like the bold finish with the satin varnish.

I think a big problem with Essex figures is that their figures are not shown the best advantage on the website, but they really are still great figures and perfect for this as they will take a lot of handling.

Could not resist any longer painting a few Old Guard figures, who can? The cuirassiers  are the first of the French cavalry and I plan to cover all of the cavalry types gradually. Will be ordering artillery next week plus more Russians in the meantime I keep going with the French line infantry figures.

Commission work.
This morning I painted these lovely 6mm Adler command figures for Chris, they still need a bit of work to finish off in the morning, bit of extra highlight here and there, edge a few more saddle blankets etc. These will break down into two each bases with two figures and each side will have a HQ base that I'm allowed to go to town on! Next week everything gets flags added before being based up and sent home. Next week I'll mainly be concentrating on Old John's 20mm ACW's.

Some pictures.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Catching up.

Sometimes I just don't know where the time goes! For the first post of 2014 I thought I'd just post some pics and you can see what I've been up to.

Commission work.
It's great being able to switch between just a few commission projects, going from 6mm to 10mm to 20mm in different periods. I think I'm keeping everyone happy though. I'm happy that my painting service has become just what I wanted it to be - an enjoyable way to earn a reasonable part time income working in the comfort of my own home. My wife is the real breadwinner in the family, but it helps and gives me the ability to spend money on toy soldiers. I'm pretty disciplined about it though, I like be out early on the beach with the dog then back for coffee and toast, see the kids off (well, only the youngest one now really). I'm ready to paint by 9am and I try to stop around 2pm. I have a few breaks of course and stretch the old legs! When there's free time evenings and weekends I paint for myself. Painting is a therapy for me, I love it and I'm rarely more relaxed than when I paint soldiers.

Right then, tomorrow (Sunday) is my birthday and more importantly our middle daughters birthday too, she will be 19. We're all off out for a meal and I'm a little worried as my anxiety issues make it difficult for me in noisy crowded places, but I'll be there. It's been a joy watching Jess grow and develop into the beautiful soul that we love and are so proud of. Our other daughters are aged 24 and ....... almost 13....... a late surprise!

I won't waffle on any longer other than to say that the focus for the foreseeable future is going to be Napoleonics once again, as I begin to replace the Commands and Colors blocks with 15mm Essex figures. Wonderful to be able to paint just a few figures of each type with such a huge diversity in uniforms. You can see how far I have got so far. These are purely tokens now, playing pieces and as such they painted in a bold but simple style before being given two heavy coats of satin varnish.

So, the pics. Different periods different scales for different people! 20mm ECW's (a few of the 5 x 20 figure units just completed, these are Newcastles and we deliberately went for this cream shade as being more authentic than 'white'), 20mm ACW's for ... who else.... Old John, 6mm Baccus ACW's, and the 15mm Essex figures French and Russian for myself. The 10mm AWI's are due for a push during February.