Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The return of the desk!

After what seems like an age we finally have our belongings from the UK. Son in Law Jay drove from Kent to Valencia without an overnight stop, he clocked just over 1000 miles and it took him around 26 hours. My wife has been furiously unpacking boxes since Thursday and it's been nice to see some of our treasured possessions back out again. Some may recognise my painting desk, I must have painted many hundreds of figures sat at it. It was my late Mother in Laws, it's a bit battered from long use but works well for me. It not being a full sized desk I can't actually get my legs fully under the thing, so have always sat kind of side on but that's never really been a problem and is very comfortable now that I am used to it. I tend to have my I Pad set up on the right so that I can listen to and glance at various historical videos as I paint. I just need to find a small suitable painting lamp, although the room is flooded with natural light most of the day, it's beginning to feel a lot like more like home now. The fan in the picture is today being replaced by air conditioning, with the temps in the mid 30's most days - much like the UK at the moment I understand - it's more an essential than a luxury and will create a lovely cool room to sit and paint.

I have now based up the additional 40mm figures, and they are now in the desk drawer as I start to work through getting them finished with texture and static grass. There are around 70 of them, more French than British but I have a good number of unpainted Highlanders to get stuck into next job to make the numbers up. I'm still playing around with ideas on how I want to use them, I'm thinking company sized units, maybe 16 figures per company looks good now, inspired by Big Andy's lovely 'Shinyloo' game on his blog with his 30mm figures. I put the 16 French Voltiguers together to form a company, I think they look good, although of course they could be used as 4 x 4 figure light companies for 24 figure units of 6 companies, the basing is very flexible which is something I like after years spent rebasing multi based figures.

Life in Spain continues to delight us. Attending the local village town hall in Ador to complete some paperwork was an exercise in Spanish efficiency, the staff could not have been more helpful and friendly. It was a hot day so we had a cold beer in the bar opposite afterwards with the customary complimentary plate of nuts and olives. 

More Spanish efficiency, 3 men fitting 3 air conditioning units in one day. This has involved drilling through walls to feed pipework from externally mounted units via bathroom false ceilings, a noisy and disruptive job but well worth it.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Thinking about formation and table plans.

After a busy three Months in Spain during which I simply have not had the time or inclination to get down to some proper painting of model soldiers I'm just days away from  having my old painting desk set up again in our new home. It's due out here on Thursday, along with the remainder of our furniture and packed boxes. A few days ago we took delivery of flat pack bookshelves, TV unit, bedside cabinets etc from Ikea in Valencia and I have been gradually putting the stuff together, certainly not my favourite job. I am really looking forward to some quiet days spent sitting at my painting desk again next week, we are also having air conditioning fitted next week, a couple of days work, but after that things will settle down to something more like normality!

The shelves are finally up, and the first thing to go on them was my 40mm Napoleonics. It was a moment of great joy to stand back and look at them all together for the first time so of course I had to take more photos! This has led me to spending quite a bit of time thinking about how I plan to use these figures on the tabletop - and I DO plan to play wargames with them this time. Over on his 'Napoleonic Wargaming' blog Paul has made a couple of very thought provoking posts recently on the subject of formations and how they are represented on the tabletop, and he has had some interesting discussion. This subject has caused me much anguish over the years, and to be honest I have never really found the answer that suited me. This time round, and with large scale figures, I'm determined not to get too hung up on this issue, the basing style is flexible enough to play 'Sharp Practice' large skirmish style games with 8 figure companies, or indeed to follow Paul's example and deploy 4 x 16 figure infantry units, a couple of guns, an 8 figure cavalry unit plus a commander to represent an entire division, the latter looks quite impressive in 40mm and it's really just making that mental adjustment from the days of Big Battalions in Peter Gilder style, to understanding that groups of figures can represent anything I want them to be, and I don't need to feel guilty!

The photos show the figures as I arranged them on the shelves and after a bit of fiddling around with them. As you can see the bulk of the British infantry are arranged into 2 x 25 figure units, each including a mounted officer. That's another option of course, and I think they look great, but again I can deploy them anyway I wish and the 4 x 16 figure option also looks good en masse. I do of course have another 50 + figures mostly painted but unbased still in the box.

As said previously I intend to add to this collection considerably, unpainted in the bags here I currently have British Light Dragoons, French Chasseur a Cheval, Highlanders to expand the 92nd and more Royal Artillery crew ans another gun. The cavalry will be painted and deployed on the shelves in units of 8 figures. The 92nd Highlanders will need to be rebased to conform with the rest of the infantry and more figures added including flank company. On order from Andy are more infantry and command packs for both sides and British Heavy Dragoons - my favourite British cavalry of the period in bicornes.

Great characterful faces.

I really like the kilts on these.

These are the only 4 figure in full dress, but again beautifully painted examples.

No doubt inspired by 'The Gun'.
A solitary light dragoon superbly painted but not by me. He will form the 'test figure' for the rest of the unit.

Into the underbuild!
I have won the right to build a wargame table down in the underbuild as it is called here. It is a considerable space that will easily accommodate a table 5' wide and 7' long with plenty of room to move around it - I would not want a table any larger than this. As we tend to unload our shopping from the car through the space and up the stairs to the kitchen the table will need to be able to push against a wall when not in use. It's also quite cool down there, even on a day when the temps push towards 40 degrees as they did yesterday.

So all in all plans are going well,.

Far too useful to park the car in surely? The tiles are each 30cm so you can see no problem getting a decent sized table in there.

To the left is another useful space, will be converted to extra guest accomodation.

I really love it down here!