Thursday, 31 January 2019

First bases and my old dice box.

I have now made a start on texturing the bases, having  thought long and hard about just how I wanted them to look. The washers were ugly if functional, and detracted from the painting so they had to be covered up. I have gone back to basics here (Old School?) and cut all the bases by hand from 2mm card which was then sealed with PVA before sticking the figures down. A 50/50 mix of powdered filler and PVA was then mixed and colour added from here (click). The result was a light tone that reflected the Spanish earth shade of this region (Valencia). I then applied by brush (not too watery so it does not dry flat), and once dry added a few fine stones from cat litter ground down in my wife's pestle and mortar which made sure I thoroughly cleaned afterwards! This morning I applied static grass sparingly and the result is as you see below. I'm still pondering if I should slightly tone the stones down with sepia ink, but for now I'm not sure. I had in mind when doing this the basing style of Bill Brewer of the Rye Stamp and Hobby Shop, who had on display some of the first 15mm figures I saw with fully textured bases. I was a regular visitor there in my lunch breaks when I worked for IPC Magazines in Southwark and would cycle over to Peckham Rye to buy my Minifigs. he was always painting or basing when not serving, and I enjoyed watching him work.

I'm starting on the French cavalry, which now comprise 48 figures in 8 x 6 figure units, 3 dragoons, 2 lancers, 1 Hussars, 1 Chasseur and 1 Horse Grenadiers, the latter to represent the C&C 'Guard Cavalry' type.

I don't intend to remove casualties, but rather mark them using 6mm micro dice (see below), these are quite non intrusive when placed behind a unit only when a unit takes it's first hit.

On the subject of dice, I thought I would share a couple of pics of my old dice box, 30 years old now and given to me a present by my sister in law for my birthday. The brass plate in inscribed 'Lee's HQ' with my date of birth 19 January 1958, and it holds my collection of dice.

Light Dragoons, 2 x 6 figure units.

Royal Horse Artillery.

A battalion of Guards.

A battalion of foot, possibly the Buffs!

The bases are slightly darker than they appear here.

6mm micro dice - unit reduced to 3 'blocks'.

30 odd years old, dice box.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

At last an update..... 15mm Blue Moon armies.

It's been a long time since I went three weeks between updates to this blog. Fact is that I felt that I needed to post something other than images of small groups of figures representing a weeks painting so have held off until I have something more substantial to add here.

The Blue Moon 15mm Napoleonics continue to be my main focus, and I have been knocking them out around 30 to 40 figures per week, thus the collection has grown to close to 350 painted French and British. This is turn has raised the issue of the need to multi base them and what you see below is the French army based in 4 foot or 2 cavalry on hand cut 30mm square card bases, true old school style! These will all be textured with  filler/glue mix before earth colouring and the addition of static grass. I have just started on the British, you can see some Light Dragoons and Guards below.

Unit sizes - these are flexible, but I have organised into units of 12 foot or 6 cavalry for the small table games I intend to play. This gives a better impression of mass I find, maybe 12 figures are not representative of a battalion, but then are 24 figures or even 30 figures? I still intend to use a (subtle) grid as I can't get my head around playing any other way these days, the frontage of the units is 90mm so a 100mm square grid will be required, which leaves plenty of depth for terrain features.

On the subject of terrain, I have now painted the items I ordered from Steve Clay at Battlescale. These are all 10mm scale but fit very will with 15mm figures. I gave them a generic paint job, maybe a touch Ballamory in my choice of render colours but pleasing to my eye. The bridges and artillery earthworks are very nice models too. As said before they are very robust resin castings - survived the journey to Spain in the post with no problems - and there is little if any sign of air bubbles that can spoil the look of a model building. They also remarkably inexpensive in the days of costly MDF kits, excellent as they may be, so well worth a look by any wargamer.

My copy of Bob Cordery's latest book 'The Portable Napoleonic Wargame' arrived yesterday and I hope to start reading it later today. I really like Bob's choice of cover picture as it very evocative of Wargame books of the Seventies and works well with the solid bright red frame.

So next I need to focus on basing and terrain, the end of the beginning is in sight and I'm remaining true to my  concept of a small space (portable?) Napoleonic wargame system based on a subtly gridded board, albeit one that has outgrown the original C&C board idea.The board will now be 3' x 4' and sit comfortably on my dining table It's coming together slowly but surely, I don't plan huge armies, just up to 20 elements per side, and with the French and British about done I'm turning my attention next to a Prussian Army using the Blue Moon figures.

I like this lot, French Chassuers, Hussars and lancers.

Overview of the French army, the guns yet to be based. The British force is the same size but still in the box as need basing.

French heavies, 2 units of Dragoons and a unit of Guard Grenadiers (as I had them).

Converged line Grenadiers in bearskins.

French artillery, will add more guns and expand the crews as I seem to have packets of them!

My favourites among the French, line lancers.

The French lights, Hussars, Chassuers .

Voltiguers, two such units.

Could be fielded in 24 figure battalions for 'off grid' games!

A battalion of Foot Guards, run out of command figures!

Light Dragoons of course.

A gaggle of Scotsmen awaiting basing.

More Brits in the box.

Couple of units of heavies... I like these.

The completed buildings and accessories from Steve Clay... will be back for more.

Latest arrival, Bobs book.
Edit: image for Rob of plastic Warlord pin/damage markers fro Bolt Action!

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Phew, that was quite a year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year in the great blogging tradition. For once I am not going to lay down grand hobby related plans for the year ahead, I'm just going to let things take their course. If I am honest with myself I am struggling for motivation on the wargaming front once again, although I continue to get much pleasure from painting soldiers. The figure per block C&C project has gone well with over 200 figures painted, I need to find some Portuguese and then I do plan to do the Prussians simply because I see so many beautifully painted Prussians on the 'vintage' blogs that I really want to paint some. I have decided to refrain from expanding the 'units' and stick to the original intended format of 1 figure/1 block.

The 40mm collection has hit the 350 painted figures mark and I now have 4 more Chasseurs undercoated and will just plod along with these as and when the mood takes me. Andy has more cavalry figures for me in the pipeline.

One thing I do want to do is to paint some armour again this year. Before we left the Uk in March I had ordered both the German and Soviet Bolt Action Tank war starter sets as I saw them on offer at a price I could not resist, £75.00 per set. This might seem a lot of money for a box of plastic, but bearing in mind these plastic kits are currently on sale at £20,00 a shot from warlord games they were a good deal, both sets are now listed at £95.00 each on the warlord site. The German set came over to Spain with us, but the Soviet set was 'lost' at my Daughters house until recently, thus the motivation to make a start on the first Tiger 1 you see below. I really enjoyed putting the kit together having first undercoated by brush on the sprues. I used Superglue with no problems as I have no Plastic cement here. I have no grand plans beside enjoying building and painting the 12 kits, but lurking in the back of my mind is a Winter theme, something I have never attempted before so represents a fresh challenge. I had previously built the resin Tigers from Warlord, but have to say these plastic kits seem to carry much more refined and sharper detail. The 4 part tracks can be tricky but after working things out with a dry run they went together perfectly with no gaps, the superglue gave me a very tidy finish. You see the first kit with a dark grey dry brush over the undercoat, next stage is to figure out how to give it that whitewashed look for the Russian Winter. The commander will be replaced with a metal one from warlord, he sits far too high out of the turret!

The tracks are not yet attached for ease of painting and the turret just twists off.

Commander stands far too high, he would soon lose his head!

Fine detail on this kit, the Zimmerit coating being very well defined.

You get a lot in the box, I like the red pin markers that turn on the bases.

Magnificent 40mm Chasseurs (Sash & sabre) awaiting a paint job.
And finally, to return to the title of this post 2018 was quite a year moving to Spain and settling down here on the Costa Blanca, packing up the house and getting everything down here was pretty stressful at times, we learned a few lessons, lost a few thousand euros on an unsuitable property before finding our current house, but we are not done yet! Lovely as it is up here on Monte Corona we want to live down in one of the villages, we have both reached that conclusion. Many of the villas here are second homes and empty over Winter. We want to be less reliant upon the car and to be able to fully integrate ourselves into Spanish life so we are looking at Villalonga and possibly an apartment from where we can walk to local cafes, bars, restaurants, municipal pool, sports centre, shops  etc. We also want to be able to travel. So that's our next step for 2019. We will still be only 15 minute drive from Gandia and it's beautiful beaches. Yesterday being New Years Eve we were both feeling a bit deflated having spent our first ever Christmas without the family, we really missed them all, so went down to the beach and marina to remind ourselves why we came here, it did us a lot of good, we sat and ate mussels with a glass of Stella watching the locals enjoying splashing in the Mediterranean. The kids are due back out in January so won't be long before we see them again. Life is nothing if not an adventure.

Gandia Marina, there are some whoppers in there as well as the smaller sailing crafts.

The beachfront seafood restaurant.

Miles of golden sands, the Brits tend to go down to Benidorm in summer, but Gandia would be my choice for a holiday.