Monday, 30 September 2019

42nd Highlanders & RHA crew latest.

Here are the 42nd Foot completed by the addition of the five figure command pack.  As said previously I am not a great painter of tartan! After much fussing about I settled for this 'impression' of the Black Watch kilts which I hope at least contrasts OK with the 92nd. On the subject of the 92nd I'm aware that they did not wear peaks to the caps but I was not going to start cutting them off expensive 40mm castings, I can live with them. 48 Highlander castings from Sash & Sabre plus a command base painted over the past year or so. This now completes 7 infantry battalions for the British army, plus the rifles and light infantry units.

Battalion number 8 will be the British Marines in round hats when the next order from S&S arrives in the Uk to Andy at Old Glory. Good to note that designer Chris was happy to accommodate my request for a 24 figure unit pack - the marines come as a 20 figure pack including command figures, additional castings can be purchased at extra cost, worth bearing in mind for the future.

All flags will be by GMB in due course.

Now assembling and base coating the French 12pdr to finish the battery, it's a hefty chunk of metal.  I might just jump straight into the cuirassiers next as I can't help myself. they will consist of the three command figures plus five troopers, I'm sure the other two troopers in the pack will be used at a later date. I note the horses are cast without the reins which I feel will produce a neat finish using flattened wire. The horses are lovely chunky castings.

Over a year getting to this stage!

And the RHA sculpts are coming along a treat, Ian sent me these last night. A couple of minor tweaks to do, belt plates on all shoulder belts, extending the braid further across the chest and exaggerating some shallow detail so they print sharply. I'm really pleased to see this project coming to fruition and we do plan to make the set of 5 figures available to other 40mm collectors in due course, they will fill a gap in the market.

Here's the full gun crew at this stage. Officers lace needs repainting gold.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Special delivery, Sharpe & Harper and an intriguing bracelet.

On Tuesday my Daughter and her two girls arrived for a 3 week stay in Spain, it's still hovering around the 30 degrees mark and they were straight in the pool that afternoon. The box of 40mm Sash & Sabre figures came through Gatwick customs with no questions asked this time and it was a hefty box of metal.

Delighted with the contents, the Highland command pack is undercoated, (the 42nd have been patiently waiting for months for them), and I also assembled and undercoated a few of the rifles. I had been looking around for a 40mm Sharpe and Harper for the 95th as I was not aware that the two characters below were included in the command pack. The sculpts are very good and certainly resemble them, Harper has his volley gun in hand and I gave Sharpe a rifle rather than sword, they should paint up a treat.

I mentioned on the Facebook Napoleonic page this lovely little bracelet my wife found in her late Mother's jewellery box and wanted to share it here on the blog as I'm keen to try to discover more about it, where and when was it made etc. It features Napoleon and symbols of the Empire, it must have been of some sentimental value to the original wearer. Any ideas on where to begin my search?

Also, a few shots of the assembled French army as of this week, 8 infantry battalions, 2 skirmisher units, 3 cavalry units (the Cuirassiers will follow), and a battery of guns (the 3rd gun just needs assembling and painting). There are also 4 command bases.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Italian line infantry finished!

Good going on this battalion, took me just over 2 weeks to paint the 24 figures as I'm in serious painting mode right now. I think the white uniforms and grey base coat helped to speed things up a bit, but they still required ivory, off white and small touches of pure white over that grey. It's a pretty basic battalion lacking Grenadiers, but they used up all the Perry figures I had left here.

A slight problem is that the 3rd regiment was one of the Italian regiments that appear not have served in Spain....blast it! I note the 1st, 2nd 4th, 5th and 6th regiments did and the 6th wore the same facing colour at least, possibly with a white collar. I'm not touching them again now though, I can live with them now. They are satin varnished.

So that's French battalion number 8 finished each of 24 figures, plus the 4 skirmisher bases each of 7 figures. Tomorrow morning I might get them together for a parade now that all units can form column or line due to the revised basing style as above.

On Tuesday my daughter is bringing out the Sash & Sabre order for me in her cabin bag. Grand daughters Lilly & Violet are coming of course and Lilly (aged 3) says she's coming out on a rocket. They are coming for almost 3 weeks and we can't wait, although painting will slow down somewhat. I have decided that I will resist starting the cuirassiers until after the 42nd Highlanders command figures are painted but I'll be starting with the 12 figures comprising the 95th Rifles.

Base edges just need another coat tomorrow.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Gota fria, Italian WIP & RHA crew.

My God, we have had some rain here on the Costa Blanca this week. A gota fria has caused major flooding and disruption along the coast from Valencia to Alicante and for once we are happy to be living up a mountain! YouTube has video of cars being washed along roads, drains and toilets overflowing unable to cope with the sheer quantity of rain, Alicante airport has all flight cancelled or diverted and schools have been closed. Just at a time when our friend from the Uk has started his annual holiday in Benidorm! It's scheduled for a few more days yet so perfect weather for sitting painting soldiers.

I'm into the Italian line regiment now and unusually for me I'm using a London Grey undercoat instead of my standard black. I think with white uniforms this works better as I follow up with a drybrush of Ivory before adding highlights of off white. I'm tempted to use a thin wash over this but fear it could just end up making the uniforms look too dirty so will probably leave as is. I decided to go with the 3rd Regiment with green facings rather than red, really to add a bit more contrast into the units. Flag is a web printed one with '1' overpainted in gold with '3'. Again the plan is to replace all flags with GMB versions in due course.

This will be an all Perry Miniatures battalion of 24 figures. The infantry castings are quite clean with the usual Perry casting worms to trim off. Once again they arrive with 90 odd heads to add another 60 + spares to my spares box (head mountain?). I note there are two different head sprues including bare heads, covered shakos, plain shakos and a nice head with a havelock cover at rear. each figure comes in three parts, body, heads and the upper part of the musket that needs to be glued into the fold of the left arm, the butt being cast on below the elbow. The musket fits very well with no problem but some of the heads are not so good requiring a little bit of filling here and there, nothing major though. One issue that does annoy me is that the strap for the water bottle does not come over the right shoulder, it simply is not there so I have resorted to painting the strap on as you can see. For a £4.50 casting ( £2.25 if you buy 10 together) this is something of an error that I am surprised to see on a Perry designed figure.
Need to work on the trouser patch at right.

You can see the canteen strap is missing.

In other news - Ian Smith sent me the latest pictures of the first two RHA crew yesterday, the digital sculpts are still work in progress by Dan. I really like the poses and detail but will just double check uniform details, so far all looks good to me. I think the rammer could also have potential as one of my planned rocket battery crew with a bit of conversion work later. Slowly but surely this project is taking shape.

Monday, 9 September 2019

More Perry French.

I actually ran out of figures to paint for a couple of weeks but this morning the delivery card was in the buzon so I shot down to Ador Correos to collect a delivery of Perry's. As always the little black boxes each containing a single 40mm figure made me smile, but they are obviously packed with great care and never had an issue with breakages.

Such excitement, I'm like a big kid when a parcel arrives!

These are intended for a battalion of Italian line infantry, the two test figures of which I painted previously. To be honest I will probably stick with Sash & Sabre going forward as I do find them so well animated while the Perry's I find a little stiff in pose but I'm happy enough to have both in my collection. We have a few days of rain forecast for the week ahead so they will keep me busy indoors.

On order from Sash & sabre via Andy at Old Glory UK I have the following packs that should be with my daughter this week before they make the journey to Spain the following week:

French Cuirassier troopers (7)   x1
French Cuirassier command (3) x1.

Highlander command (5)  x1

British Rifles skirmishing (5)  x 2
British rifles command (5)  x1

French 12 pdr gun.   x1.

The Highland command will complete my seventh British infantry battalion, the Cuirassiers will initially be an 8 figure cavalry unit that I will expand later to 16 figures. The French gun is to replace the massive piece I featured previously, it's just too big to look right as a field gun so it will return to the Oxen drawn feature piece and my French battery will consist of the howitzer and two 12pdrs. I don't actually think any 12pdrs made it down to Spain so I'll call them 8pdrs, but stand to be corrected on this? The rifles of course will represent the 95th on two skirmish bases and should contrast well with the 60th I already have.

This lot should keep me busy for several weeks, but planning further ahead as I need to when they have to be ordered from S&S in the US I really want to do a battalion of British Marines in round hats. S&S do make them in their 40mm 1812 range and having seen Ian Smiths unit I know I have to have them!

I'm sure some will have seen Ian's award winning 40mm Peninsular game, but if you have not seen it here is a link to an interview about the game he gave to Wargames Illustrated, make sure you enlarge it enough to see the quality of the figure painting as well as the stunning terrain, this is my inspiration and of course Ian is my partner in the planned RHA crews. The Marines can be seen in the bottom image.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Yes it's those French Hussars again!

Sunday was a good day, I finished off my cleaning and varnishing of all 500 figures with the French cavalry. The Hussars were pretty dirty from dust, with fans and aircon chucking it about it is to be expected. They each got a good wash with a soft brush and warm water followed by a retouching of a couple of points where paint had been lost probably from scratching here and there. Once fully dry they then received a generous coat of vallejo satin varnish and the result is as you see below, again the satin leaves that light sheen that I really like. The Chassuers were not to bad and had already been satin varnished. That now means that everything is done, all bases matched up, all figures cleaned, touched up and varnished.

In the afternoon we went out for lunch with friends and just for once I didn't have to drive. We went down to a place near Denia and ate roast beef with yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, probably for the first time in a year. The place was full of Brits, not a Spanish voice to be heard and the Arsenal game was on in the crowded bar. The dining room was also full of Brits eating roast beef or pork and crackling, it was packed. We left having had a good time but wondering why so many would choose to live in Spain and frequent an establishment so typically British. What was very clear was that the growing prospect of a No Deal Brexit is causing a lot of concern among expats.

But lets just focus on model soldiers.