Monday 30 December 2019

Marines on the painting table!

Don't you just love it when you get those first couple of colours on a new unit, long way to go but you know it's going to be rewarding.

Yesterday following a very lively and enjoyable family Christmas with eleven of us for Dinner I found time to set up a painting space in the kitchen table. I had been itching to get the brushes out again and start painting the Sash & sabre Royal Marines. As usual they are very nice castings with minimal cleaning up required and should paint up a treat. The Cacadores featured previously have been put aside until after the Marines, unless of course the RHA beat them to it, but they will get painted eventually.

As mentioned earlier I got the standard 20 figure pack which includes in this case an officer, sergeant and drummer figure, plus an additional 5 figure pack to enable me to make a 24 figure unit, but I am now having some second thoughts about the size of this particular unit. As Marines I am wondering if I would be better to make them a 20 figure unit, 2 bases of 10 rather than my usual 12, given the special status of the troop type. I need to research a bit more, but my gut feeling is that rather than shoulder to shoulder formation these guys would just shake down a little more? They will be a firing line unit, front rank firing rear rank reloading in 2 poses, reaching for cartridge and pouring contents of cartridge into the barrel, the latter being something a little different from the usual ramming pose. As they won't carry colours I'm having a think about how I want to place the figures for best effect.

Space management.
I have been giving a lot of thought as to what I want to do in the New Year.  I need to find a solution that allows me to get some of my figures on the table, even if it is just small games with say 6 to 8 units per side on a 6 x 4 table, which is about as big as is practically possible in the new home. It is clear that to make this work I'm going to have to use 28mm scale buildings and terrain, and I have been looking at a few examples of this solution in use, it seems workable, especially when buildings are placed upon plinths in order to give the height a slight boost of around 10mm. The commercial buildings I am looking at have a height of 125mm anyway which I think will work with 40mm figures just about. Simon at S&A scenics makes some fine 'more realistic' large trees which stand at 4.5" and he has told me that any of his terrain items can be made to order in any scale upon request. I want and need to keep things quite simple here, maybe 2 or 3 buildings on bases that will each hold a battalion, woods and vineyards plus roads that are more tracks and possibly home made. The big issue though is how to model hills. As I plan to game scenarios from the excellent One Hour Wargames book possibly with DBN rules I'm going to have to find a solution to represent different shape hills without breaking the bank. To look 'right' any hills will need to be quite tall to sit alongside the building models, again Simon tells me he can do this for me, but I need to be bringing everything in on budget so may need to look for another solution, possibly home made in maybe 3 basic shapes/sizes that can approximate to those used in the scenarios. Research continues.

Monday 23 December 2019

The Merry Christmas post!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. It's good to be back home again and I look forward to attending some shows next year and hopefully meeting some familiar names and faces.

Rochester Cathedral and the historic High Street, just a 10 minute bus ride from our new home, bit shocking to find everything open on a Sunday after a couple of years in Spain! Lovely atmosphere there last night though, I think we will be happy here.

Saturday 21 December 2019

A road trip.

We are slowly settling into our new home in Rochester, Kent. I finally brought the figures in from the car yesterday and can see no sign of damage, not even a broken bayonet which is pretty good going for a 1000 mile road trip from Spain, through France and across the Channel via Le Shuttle. The journey was not an experience I would wish to repeat in a hurry, we left Villalonga at 6pm Sunday and arrived in Kent around 1pm Wednesday, driving mostly by night when the roads were quiet, grabbing a couple of hours sleep here and there in the car as and when needed. We did book into one hotel in France and slept from 2pm until midnight when we got back on the road again. Needless to say this left us all feeling quite shattered, (my Son in Law was driving the 7.5 ton lorry in front of us and my eldest daughter did most of the driving of my car).

Due to a cock up on my part the anti rabies shots for Sheldon the cat and Poppy the dog had been given slightly late so the Pet Passports were invalid for another 9 days as a result of which we had to book them both into a Pet Hotel in Calais and will return to collect them on Friday 27th December. That was an interesting experience as we don't speak French save a few words, but the place was nice and surprisingly rural considering it was only 10 minutes from the Channel Tunnel terminal. It cost us an extra 450 euros for both but they will be safe there until we collect them.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Packing up day for the figures.

Everything is now boxed up for the journey home on Monday morning. I bought several large and strong boxes and simply added a blob of PVA glue to the bottom of each base so everything is securely stuck down but will be easy to remove with a sharp knife later. Fingers crossed for no breakages. Made a quick video of them all before they went in the boxes.

We will be renting a house for the first year in Rochester Kent (not far from Posties Rejects I believe), to be close to family and will then decide where we want to go after that. Hope to meet some of you in the New Year when I get to attend some shows again, which I'm really looking forward to. 

Friday 6 December 2019

'Flashing Blade' 40mm Cacadores.

Things are getting somewhat stressful, so much to do, so much to organise, so it was nice to find the Correos card in our postbox yesterday informing me that I had a parcel waiting me and it could only be the 12 Cacadore riflemen I had ordered a couple of weeks back. I can only guess that this was intended as a fuller range of 40mm figures at some point in the past, maybe sales did not live up to expectation, I don't really know, but at least we have these excellent castings to add to our Peninsular collections.

I did not really need another skirmish unit but could not resist them so I ordered 12 figures to make up my usual 2 base unit of 6 riflemen each. They are nice clean castings and fit well with sash & sabre and Perry, maybe just a tad chunkier but not by much. At £3.00 per figure they sit between S&S and Perry on the cost front. Some figures have cast on heads, others have a choice of 4 different heads including bare head and bandanna head for contrast.

With just 10 days before we leave here I'm not sure I'm in the mood for painting right now but might just undercoat a few to help take my mind off things this week. I'll be using the excellent 1979 publication pictured below by our very own 'Foy' as a uniform reference, together with selected internet images for colour guides etc. The figures seem to represent Cacadores of the post 1810 period wearing the British style shako.

Sunday 24 November 2019

A quick update!

Well, that's another week flown by so that's just 3 weeks now before we head back to the UK. Packing is underway and I have bought several strong boxes in readiness for the 40mm collection.

Meantime I made this little Spanish Guerrilla 'command' base to use up 3 spare figures I had left in my drawer, just a bit of fun. The Marines are being posted to my daughter back in the UK for when I get back. I did weaken and place an order for 12 of the Flashing Blade Cacadores mentioned previously, ordered via the Fightin' 15's webstore, they were posted next day to here in Spain so hopefully could be here by end of the week. They will just see me over the final period and give me a little something to focus on beside moving! They will comprise a two base unit of skirmishers and are armed with rifles.

I now also have on order the S&S Polish Guard lancers pack and command pack from Andy at OG for when I'm back, in addition to the 2 guns for my RHA. On the subject of RHA I have received the first couple of photos of the rocketeer conversions. The officers pose has been tweaked, hand on hip and head turned slightly, I really like this one. The other guy will be in the act of loading a rocket onto the launch frame and I am also having the rammer figure made open handed to take a second rocket. Work in progress. Digital conversions take the project to a whole new level and are pretty cheap to have done from the original files.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Winding down but planning ahead.

The Royal Marines have landed so Andy informs me. I just now need to decide if it's worth getting them sent to Spain, as much as I'm really keen to get started on them it probably makes sense to wait now until we are back in the UK before Christmas. Chris at Sash & Sabre was kind enough to do me the standard 20 figure pack which includes command figures in this case, plus an additional 5 pack as I wanted to keep all of my units at 24 figures. As mentioned before it will a firing line battalion. I found this wonderful recruiting poster whilst researching, with the promise of 'plenty of beef pudding' and 'wine after dinner' for the new recruit.

I doubt that I will manage more than another single post between now and Christmas, but once settled I have plans to grow this collection and to fight some battles with it, hopefully against a real live opponent. Sash & sabre have just this month released the 40mm French Dragoons, I also have plans for Polish Lancers of the Guard, Vistula infantry battalion and a battalion of French converged Grenadiers. The New Year will also see the start of my planned Spanish forces using Perry figures. I also recently discovered these fine 40mm Portuguese Cacadores (click) by Flashing Blade, another must for the future.

Finally for now Ian sent me a couple of pictures of the complete 5 figure RHA crew masters. They have been resized by Graham to match the Perry/S&S ranges. I can see they just require a little clean up. As Ian intends putting them into a mould I'm going to wait and have my crews in metal now.

Friday 8 November 2019

Roofs and rockets!

Plans for the Great Strategic Withdrawal from Spain are ongoing, with 16th December being the planned date to leave..........

Meantime, in order to keep stress levels to a minimum I have returned to working on the roofs of three buildings I started. After much thought I decided to go with plastic straws laid onto the roofs, covered in two coats of white filler and then painted vallejo Burnt Red as a base shade. At that stage it still did not look right and I put them away for a few days. Yesterday I decided to try to lift and highlight the tiles by painting individual tiles in a lighter mix of the red plus German camo orange. I was genuinely surprised how well this worked as an impression of the pantiles, it will do very nicely for me indeed. Just need to tile the third building now before adding window frames. The Moorish style tower is still on the to do list, probably once back in the UK, I think the four buildings in this scale will suffice for my needs. Walls and roads will follow.

The RHA crew are still work in progress and Ian informs me that Graham has printed five figures in slightly different sizes in order to see which best matches existing ranges. Once this is decided upon a full set will be printed and Ian is then going to put them into a mould via Griffin (click), with some other 40mm figures he is having made. This means I will have the option of having the crews in metal, which does seem the better option. The guns are on order from Andy but it will be some time before they arrive so this will probably be a project for back in the Uk. Creating a set of 40mm RHA gunners started as something of a dream for me and I am incredibly grateful to Ian and Graham for all their work in making this become a reality.

I am now researching the rocket battery base I plan, I know I'm pushing it a bit here as the newly trained rocketeers were not sent out to Spain from Woolwich until 1813, but you just got to have them! I'll only require two digital conversions to open handed crew and I'll use the existing firer and officer along with scratch built launcher and rockets.

A few research images so far.

Monday 4 November 2019

It will all be over by Christmas ...... hopefully!

With the house now sold with luck we should be back in the UK in time for Christmas, as our buyers are keen to be in before then and we are keen to be back spending the festive season with our family. I now face the prospect of packing up and transporting almost 550 x 40mm figures, oh and the rest of the household as well including Poppy the dog and Sheldon the cat who travel on Uk pet passports. Should be fun. Just need to find somewhere to live now!

So things will be quiet here for a while although once I get my hands on the Marines and the RHA crew they will give me something to paint as we pack and prepare. Given that I just finished off the 12 figures that make up the 95th Rifles unit I thought I would get the British infantry together for some pictures, 7 line battalions plus 3 skirmish units.

Try as I might I simply cannot find the enthusiasm to paint anything beside 40mm Napoleonic figures. The box of plastic winter soviets was a disaster for me as the amount of assembly required I have no patience for these days, most have two separate arms and a separate weapon and I just could not get the rifles etc to sit correctly in the hands so back in the box it all went. I gave up and accepted the fact that I now only wish to paint the big metals, I am happy with that.

Once back in the Uk and settled I do plan to wargame with these figures, I do a lot of mental planning as to how I will do this and hopefully will find an opponent locally. I also plan to attend some shows and meet up with fellow bloggers.

Meantime, here are the British infantry so far, it's worth noting that the basing is typical 28mm size of 20mm x 25mm deep per figure, so the footprint is not over large, my  figures are more shoulder to shoulder than many 28mm units I see and that looks about right to my eyes.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

A little more building work!

I have completed the shell of all three buildings now and started to add a touch of dry brushing to the walls, so far not entirely successfully I have to say. I'll keep working on it though. The pantiles for the roofs remain in the planning stage, but a couple of good ideas have been suggested to me. The Foot Guards popped in for a photo opportunity. (Note, those colours will be reversed when replaced with better quality commercial flags, the Kings colour is the red flag in the Guards I am informed).

I now have the rest of the figures to complete the 95th Rifles and Andy informs me that the British Marines should hopefully be landing next week sometime so perfect timing. I'm looking forward to painting them, they will be a firing line battalion wearing those wonderful round hats.

The RHA resins are being resized by Graham as they are still a little too tall I am told, but in pictures I have seen they look great. The guns will be going on my next Sash & Sabre order so it will be sometime before they appear here.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Struggling on - building number 2.

For the last two days I have been suffering from a painfully stiff shoulder that has been preventing me from sleeping properly through the night. Possibly it's a result of my struggling to cut out thin plywood sheet with a blunt knife blade a few days ago as I can't think of anything else that might have caused it, I know my arm was aching at the time. However, it's been worth the pain as I'm really getting into this house building business now and have moved onto the first of the town houses, the church being essentially finished save for the tiling of the roof once I find the best method of doing this.

Pictures taken this morning with more figures to show scale, I think just about right, any smaller and the cavalry would have looked wrong alongside. I should have slightly reduced the height of the first house against the chapel maybe, but can't do much now so I'll run with it. Second house ready to cut out later today and I'll vary the style a bit. Doors require painting and all windows need card frames fitted next, then to tone down the stonework/render, wish I had an airbrush for that.

I think the tiling will now need to be laid from individual semi circular overlapped tiles, that's going to be a real labour of love! More to follow.

News on the RHA crew from Ian, he should collect the first full printed set from Graham on Sunday, very slightly reduced in height to better match S&S/Perry 40mm's. More printed sets hopefully the following week, this is very exciting news.

We also finally have an offer on our house this morning, hopefully we can finalise the deal today. Very nice Swiss couple returned for second viewing yesterday. We also have a Dutch couple booked in for the morning if negotiations go pear shaped but fingers crossed. Not a British buyer to seen apparently and any mention of Brexit has our fellow Europeans falling about with laughter, what a mess!

Monday 21 October 2019

Spanish church - more work.

I must admit that before I started this I had questioned if the time spent would be rewarded with a half decent building or be a waste of time. I'm pleased to say that at this stage I'm really pleased. My modest ambition was to create a generic set of 'Peninsular' themed  buildings that would work with 40mm scale figures. I took the basic footprint from a set of 28mm's and increased height so that doors in particular would not look too out of scale against the figures, the result is still a BIG model but the houses will be smaller and the church is a bit of a statement piece after all.

The four sides have now been glued together and based to add rigidity. The windows have had more work and black card glued inside which may later be painted or fitted with frames. The reason I added a bit of grass texture to the base at this stage was to try to see how the overall model was going to look once complete, I'm going to line out the rest of the inside to disguise the Se Vende foamboard used for the main walls.

Next stage is to get the main roof sections to fit, so a bit more cutting and trimming required yet. After that it's going to require tiling with the Mediteraean style overlapping tiles for which I can use my own roof as a guide! If corrugated card overlapped in rows does not produce the look I'm after I'm prepared to tile the roof with individual card tiles shaped around a pencil or such to achieve a more realistic effect. Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying doing this so far.

British light infantry shown for scale. More once the tiling is underway.

Roof placed on to get an idea of fit at this stage, more cutting required.

Ignore the roof pieces at this stage!