Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Perry Miniatures 40mm's first impressions.

Yes, you read that right, the Perry Miniatures finally arrived on day 28 from posting! I must admit I was getting a little concerned as the average wait here for standard post from the Uk is about 10 to 12 days but at least I have them now. As usual I took my card down to the Correos in Ador which is only open for collection Monday to Friday 1.30pm to 2pm. Typical of Spain it's an open office, no security screens, cigarettes and ashtray on the desk along with a muddle of papers, labels, packages etc. You are supposed to show ID so I always take my passport, but the woman behind the desk just waves it away with a smile. It can be a culture shock here to walk into a post office or bank, the first thing one notices is that there are no screens to be seen at all, business is conducted across open desks, cash passes back and forth within grabbing distance, there are no security guards and the employees wear their own smart clothes - no corporate uniforms here thank you very much. I'm not sure what that says about Spanish culture or possibly UK culture?

Anyway once I had returned home and given the dog her second walk of the day I set to opening the box, everything securely packaged in typical Perry fashion. The first thing that struck me was that each individual figure is in it's own little black cardboard box. I'm really not keen on the packing material within the boxes, it's the stuff gamers use to mark smoke as it can be pulled apart. I find the casting gets annoyingly caught up in it and removing them the stuff gets snagged in bayonets and other pointy bits. Once extricated from the material the next thing you spot are the numerous little casting 'worms', again this is something that you come to expect from Perry metals, they just need a careful check over and most will fall away with a scrape of a fingernail, a few will need a scalpel to remove.

These figures cost £4.50 each, more expensive than Sash & Sabre castings, and are of course excellent in detail, very slightly slimmer than S&S but a good match overall. The British Light Infantry figures require right arms to be glued on or muskets glued into the sockets, they fit reasonably well and allow for a slight variation on the musket position. The right arm on the sergeant holding his musket to his side troubled me a little in getting the fit right, he still does not appear totally natural in his pose somehow. Overall though they are lovely figures and will paint up well, I'll make a start today I think. As said previously my light infantry bases are of 7 figures on a 120mm x 70mm (deeper than line infantry). I find this looks just about right. They will be painted as the 43rd Monmouthshire Regiment with white facings and a second base will be added later complete with distinctive pelisse wearing officer. Meantime I intend to return to Sash & sabre for a stock up.

Note the officer in his special little case, I like the boxes, takes me back to Hinchliffe days!

A rough idea of base composition.

Note the sergeants arm position, I guess it will grow on me.
RHA officer update.
We are about there now as you can see below, ready for a first test print. The crossbelt has been removed and the sword hilt enlarged to match the scale size of the hands. I have noticed the thickness of the end of the cuffs, but lets see how he looks when printed as I'm looking at the image about 120mm scale. The face is brilliant and if he retains that detail in the print he will be amazing.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

42nd & 92nd Foot, enough tartan for the time being!

Here are the 92nd and 42nd Foot together to illustrate the different tartan impressions. The 92nd look a bit darker in reality, the satin varnish I think is responsible for this, but I'm happy now when I step back a foot and look at them together. The Sash & Sabre Highland command pack comprises 2 standard bearers, officer, piper and sergeant to fill the remaining gaps, three of them wearing trews.

I'm a bit stuck now as the Perry's have still not arrived after 25 days and my wife returned to the UK for a week yesterday and I had planned to get a lot of painting done. I'll give it a few more days to see if they turn up before contacting Perry miniatures to see what can be done.

Shaz carried the French 1/72nd battalion that I painted for Tony back to the Uk in her handbag as I thought it would be safer and quicker if they were posted to him from there. They were  individually wrapped, each with a short piece of plastic straw protecting the fragile Les Higgins bayonets. I decided to attach a printed picture of one of Tonys units to the outside to illustrate what was inside before they went through the scanner and this caused quite a stir among the customs guys at Valencia airport. I don't think they had seen model soldiers before because at one point three of them were looking at the picture, all smiling, one of them said as the package was handed back "No bang bang on the plane" which made everybody laugh..... Shaz was suitably embarrassed, but all in a good cause.

No Bank Holiday here in Spain on Monday (they have far too many anyway), so I'll be down checking that buzon again tomorrow!

Thursday, 23 May 2019

That Tartan again, and RHA officer test sculpt.

It's been an interesting week on the hobby front, mostly spent buggering around trying to paint tartan whilst waiting and hoping for the arrival of the Perry Miniatures - it's now day 23 since posting. I'm checking the dreaded Buzon ( postal booth where all post to the Urbanisation is delivered) on a daily basis for the card left under a lump of rock, but to no avail. A visit to the Correos in Ador to enquire after the package resulted in an encounter with an elderly Transgender chap from Sunderland in the bar opposite with whom we had an interesting chat, much to the amusement of the four Spanish workmen enjoying their usual lunch time beer (or three) on the next table.

I have painted 7 x 42nd Highlanders this week and on the whole the Black Watch tartan 'impression' that I have achieved would seem to be about as good as I'm likely to get now, for some reason I really struggle to paint tartan despite some useful tips from Rob and others. It's a kilt, its very dark with a slight highlight and that's the best I can do for now. Next step is to convert the extra 12 figure base of Highlanders from 92nd foot to 42nd, this will involve repainting the facings and kilts to bring the total to 19 figures and the Sash & sabre command pack will need to be ordered to bring them up to the full 24 figures. This will then give me a total of 6 x 24 figure British line infantry battalions including the 92nd and 42nd foot. In addition there will be 12 x 60th rifles on 2 bases and 14 x 43rd Light Infantry in skirmish order on 2 bases  .....subject to the Spanish postal service delivering the latter eventually of course!

Photo taken in low natural light to show the dark kilts.

RHA crew - progress.
I mentioned a couple of posts back that myself and Ian Smith were planning to get some Royal Horse Artillery crews sculpted in 40mm to add to our Peninsular War collections. Whilst my initial idea was to commission the masters the traditional way, Ian persuaded me to explore the possibility of digital sculpts that could be 3d printed to create resin masters, indeed the 3d prints themselves could be painted and used for our artillery crews. A test digital sculpt of the RHA officer was commissioned by Ian and After a couple of small changes the latest images of the figure looks quite amazing. There are still a couple more alterations required, removal of the cross belt being one, and enlargement of the sword hilt another. Still early stages but I think the potential to produce some unique gun crews here is quite evidently a reality. I welcome any comments or suggestions at this's a sneak preview.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

42nd Highlanders part 2 - tackling the kilts.

With the white now painted on the straps, belts, lace etc it's time to tackle those kilts. I have been looking around for a good representation of the tartan pattern worn by the 42nd, and settled on the references you see below. My favourite is of the 1/6th scale model, made by Anthony Barton (of AB figures) who is a collector of these large 'Action Man' size figures which are simply amazing. Andrew's site (click here), is well worth a visit, he works in wool, wood and metal, makes his own hands and heads and the range of heads are available to buy along with numerous other bits and pieces for collectors. Given Anthony's insistence on accurate uniform detail I doubt I will find a better painting guide than this one. (Used without permission, copyright owned by Tony Barton).

Many images show the tartan being far too bright, the one below is another good representation I feel:

Again the white looped lace is something I am going to have to try to tackle once the basic painting is completed, but it is surprising how many images of wargame units representing the 42nd have square lace to coats and cuffs in 28mm, not a major issue in that scale.

This example shows the pattern clearly, although it does appear far too bright to my eyes.

Another image borrowed from the web. Nice crisp tartan.

 Key is I think to keep the overall look quite dark for this regiment.

OK, so it took a fair bit of trial and error to get to something that begins to look like the Government Tartan! First attempt was a disaster and a waste of an hour or so, but it's a learning process, I repainted the base coat dark green and on the second attempt painted broad (Dark Prussian Blue) checks before slightly highlighting the green with Luftwaffe green to try to build up the pattern. I then applied thin black lines in a check pattern, but the result was the black was lost against the Prussian Blue over the basecoat, I re applied the back check pattern but same result, I think the black was a little thinned down to keep the flow steady. Unsure of how to improve it I then decided to bring the blue checks up a little with Vallejo Intense Blue. Looking at the overall effect from a foot or so away at this stage I'm fairly happy and now that I have a method the next lot will be far easier. The main thing is the contrast with the 92nd regiment looks about right to me.

Still fair way to go yet, muskets, socks, gaiters, faces, bonnets to finish off, challenging but rewarding are the Highlanders!

Edit: Following the comments below I decided to try a thin black wash to knock the brightness of the pattern back a little more. I think it's an improvement (below) BUT...... Robs description of the pattern as more diagonal has helped a lot, I have trouble seeing tartan patterns for some reason, they just don't seem to register with me, so might be worth another shot to see if I can get closer.

Friday, 17 May 2019

42nd Highlanders?

I mentioned previously that my Daughters had made a gift of 10 Perry Miniature 40mm 's from the Peninsular range as a thank you for helping out with car loans last year (like you do). Well, it's now almost three weeks since they were posted and still have not arrived. I contacted Perry and asked for a rough time scale to Spain and received a reply within a couple of hours telling me that it can be unpredictable, up to 15 working days. They said to contact them again if it has not arrived by end of next week. So, I went back to my Sash & Sabre leftovers box to see if there was anything to fill the gap with and found another 8 Highlanders. Some of these had broken bayonets, but a bit of filing to create a clean surface and a touch of my newly discovered Superglue that actually sticks  things (thanks to 'Auntie Wainwright' at Merca China in Villalonga), and they were surprisingly solid once dry.

I already have the 92nd Highlanders 24 figures, plus an extra base of 12. I would only need to paint 7 figures from the box, repaint the facings and kilts on the other 12 and then would only need add a Sash & Sabre Highland Command pack (2 standard bearers, officer, bagpiper and Sergeant) in order to create another 24 figure battalion, and the obvious choice was the 42nd Foot.

The first slight problem with painting the 42nd is that the lace is looped and not square at the ends as represented on the castings, but this is something I hope be able to get round with a simple paint job. The kilt of course is the very dark Government Sett which should be an enjoyable challenge. There is  endless reference material to be found on this regiment, so with the above in mind I have started on the first 4 of the figures. 'WIP' shots are very popular over on the Facebook Napoleonic Group so I thought I would post a couple of pics of the chaps at this early stage. I always paint the straps, lace etc in mid grey before building up the white, this helps to create some shading/shadow. The flesh is painted light brown, fairly dry, then given a wash of red ink before highlighting with flat flesh. A little more white/flesh will be applied to the nose. I find with 40mm I can use a size 0 brush even for quite detailed work (Rowney/Daler sable) as it holds a very good point. Next up today will be the white and then the kilt patterns.

I will check the dreaded Buzon (postal booth) on the way out later to see if there is a Correos card left under a lump of rock to say that my package is awaiting collection........ I won't hold my breath though!

Edit:  Bugger it, nothing again today so it's hopefully going to be next week.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

En Avant - French infantry on the march.

With all of the 40mm's now based on standard 120mm bases it is time to start getting some bits together for a wargame. Before we left the UK a year ago I sold off or gave away almost everything I owned by way of terrain, overwhelmed as I was then at the scale of the logistical challenge of packing up a home of 14 years and shifting everything 1000 miles to Spain.

Those who have followed my blog for some years will know that this is the point where I often get fed up and give up with projects, with the result that after one trial game everything ends up on eBay! But I do feel very different this time, I have just the one collection to focus on and there is so much more I want to add to it. I outlined in a previous post the units I will be adding over the coming months, in the meantime I have a little present from my daughters of 10 Perry Miniatures infantry on the way, I got to choose them and they consist of 7 x British infantry (a skirmish infantry base) and 3 Voltiguers to add to the 4 Perry's I already have painted here from the original collection. Whilst my rifles are based 6 to a base my LI bases are of 7 figures and look just about right, these are of course DBN classifications. A further LI base is planned, next time to represent the 43rd regiment with the wonderful  officer wearing pelisse.

As my intention is to play scenarios from One Hour Wargames (to DBN rules) I have been giving a lot of thought to the basic terrain board I will use. In order to be able to create the different terrain layouts illustrated in the book I'm going to go with a heavy cloth suitably shaded to represent the typical shades of Spain, this will enable me to make hills by simply cutting them from 2" foam (as sold here in our version of B&Q - Leroy Merlin) and laying them beneath. This will be far easier than having make numerous sizes and shapes of hills that would also require texturing to match the boards. I will then only require suitable trees, buildings, roads and rivers.

Meantime with plans underway the French infantry have been out on manoeuvres this morning, a most pleasing sight to behold. Of course there are photos and a (very) short video. All  are the excellent Sash & Sabre 40mm range of which I have a lot more planned.

Currently on the painting desk are these 1/72nd scale (?) French Peninsular infantry I am doing for Tony. These are old Les Higgins figures and very enjoyable to paint. I'm using a mid grey undercoat for the first time and it's working well, you can slightly thin the paints for improved flow and they appear a little brighter. I'll bring them all up to the basic standard of those at the rear and then work through to finish and detail them all together.