Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Inspiration! - blog link.

I'm sure many of you will know this blog already but I have only just discovered it, so for those who have not seen it here's a link to 'Lord Ashrams House of War'. I wont add the blog to my main list as it covers too many eras and is currently concerned with Vikings, but there is much in there of interest to the Napoleonic gamer/collector. I love this guys table set up, its truly inspirational. I have copied the link dealing with play testing of his own rules (can be downloaded). Its full of lovely pictures of beautifully painted Napoleonics so its well worth a look. I like the way the raised board edges of his table give a kind of 3d effect to the terrain. Great stuff.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

First Old Guard Grenadiers.

Thanks to those who commented on my last post, its great to be able to get such encouragement when enthusiasm for a project just begins to waver slightly. I have made two positive decisions regarding the future:

1. I keep going but any future figures will be Front Rank only, that's once I have finished the 2 x 16 figure Guard battalions I'm working on.

2. I'm going to experiment with 'Army painter' shade/varnish. If you look at the pic of the first 8 Guard figures below I think you can see the areas that could be dramatically improved with AP. I've been thinking about it for weeks now. Every before/after pic I have seen using AP shows more depth and shading that also emphasises the highlights too.

Here's those 8 figures. I reckon the greatcoats would be improved with AP? Also the cross belts would take a subtle touch of shading and AP does that too!

Added the excellent 'iron Mitten' blog to my list at right. Its well worth following and browsing the archives. The Napoleonic's are wonderful and he has a great basing style. Take a look at the 'Waterloo wheels' for example. Also uses AP method.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A touch of the wobbles!

No, I'm not talking about the England football team I'm talking about my hobby! I know many wargamers/painters experience this and I'm no exception. Having almost hit the 200 figures painted mark I'm just beginning to find myself browsing other ranges and periods and thinking to myself that I could do much better. I was looking back at the pics I took in 2007 (here - scroll down for close ups!) when I began this blog using 15mm Essex figures and I cant help thinking that the standard of painting and finish was better than these 28mm plastics. The standard black undercoat seemed to deliver deeper shade and crisper lines, it was actually the lack of animation in the figures that caused me to stop and sell those off with the intention of starting again with a different range. Somehow when I look at this collection so far I don't quite feel that sense of achievement that I think I should. I would also add that Napoleonics was never my 'speciality' period, as much as I love those uniforms I have to admit to being pretty ignorant of the period generally. But its funny because despite being an ardent ACW enthusiast since school days I just cant get into wargaming that period, and I put that down to my years spent re enacting the period and of seeing those gruesome photos of bloated bodies lying where they fell on those bloody fields. I suppose I spent most time in the past wargaming and collecting the English Civil War to Forlorn Hope rules with a nice bunch of local friends who also happened to be 'Sealed Knot' members and had a real passion for the period.

Good thing is that I'm addicted to painting again and I wont stop now. I'm fortunate now to have plenty of spare time on my hands after 30 years of working long hours and I'm going to make the most of it, but doubts are beginning to creep in around what I have painted so far in this project. I'll take a few days to weigh things up and browse the metal ranges online in both 15 and 28mm, then I'll make my decision. It may be that I'll just continue this project with metal figures, possibly Front Rank and switch back to the old black undercoat, but I'll have to see how the muse takes me.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Battery completed.

Have finished the remaining two British artillery crews. Overall I'm happy with the results and if I have one gripe about the set its the fact that the cross belts are poorly defined, with for some reason a raised centre strap, (not the canteen strap) that really spoils the lines of the cross belts. This is where metal figures score of course with much more raised definition and deeper undercuts. But for the price I'd say its good value and a cheap way to amass artillery.

I have put just 2 washes on the first 8 Old Guard Grenadiers, the blue is a mix of GW Midnight blue and Ultramarine blue and I washed this over much of the figures as you can see. Then a wash of GW brown ink over hands faces and muskets to give shading. Again the figures are good with excellent faces but some of the detail such as the sword and scabbard are poorly defined in my opinion but again I guess for cheap plastic figures one cant complain.

Having thought about all of this I am now considering moving over to metal figures for the rest of this project. I feel that I have made a good start but I'm beginning to miss the quality and detail of 28mm metal figures. I'm torn between Front Rank and Elite. I'm not yet sure which will most match my existing plastics? Any opinions on this welcomed.

Right then, time to go and pull on the lucky England shorts for the big game in a couple of hours time...... so here's hoping they do what we know they are capable of doing and win convincingly.

*EDIT* - having looked at a few pics of Royal Artillery uniforms I now see that the raised 'strap' over the crossbelt is actually a red cord, (possibly representing match cord from a previous era?) and so once again Victrix have got it spot on! I'll need to correct that. I looked at some pics of metal RA crew yesterday too and its so much more obvious what it is.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

British Artillery - Test crew.

I painted the first British artillery crew yesterday and finished basing this morning. I keep the basing style consistent but its very fast and simple, just my big box of grit and a couple of bags of Games Workshop's synthetic grass. The 'stone' areas are finally given a coat of 'leather brown'. I don't bother to highlight this as it gives a nice 'muddy' effect and contrasts with the grass areas.

Overall I'm pleased with the crew although I still find the officer figures a bit 'wooden' in pose. I've started the other 8 crew figures and have taken the liberty of giving the battery commander a bicorne. One thing I miss from earlier campaigns are those wonderful bicornes! But I'm sure a few officers would have held on to them, even though they would have looked a soggy misshapen mess on the morning of Waterloo.

I keep opening up the box of Victrix Old Guard and peeping in at those wonderful figures; they really do look nice figures and the faces are quite amazing, full of expression, so they should be a joy to paint. of the 60 figures in the box I'll only be using 32 of them for 2 battalions of 16 both in 'march attack' pose.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Victrix artillery - first impressions.

I now have a box each of Victrix British artillery and Old Guard Grenadiers. I have to say that upon opening the artillery box I was not immediately impressed with the guns on the sprues. The first thing that struck me was how thin the wheels seemed, the rims looked to be somewhat too thin for scale to me. The poses of the crews also looked a bit wooden at first sight I felt. I'm still waiting for some metal artillery to arrive from Perry who are awaiting new stock but I have a feeling that there will be a considerable difference. I initially thought I might put the artillery box aside but then decided that I may as well at least put the set together and see how they looked when assembled. I also did a bit of research on the British carriages of the period and surprisingly on the diagrams I found the wheels do indeed look thinner than I'd imagined. So I went ahead and gave them an initial paint job, the result of which is I think they look OK! They need highlighting as there is no wood texture on the carriage at all, but the pics show my results so far. (The barrels also need more work). It will be interesting to compare with the Perry metal guns once they arrive. I still think the wheels look a little 'thin' but I think they will now be usable at least. I have a test crew undercoated ready for painting, 4 crew per piece. I think in future though I'll stick with metal artillery.

The Old Guard Grenadiers box is good, maybe more mould lines than Perry plastics but they should clean up OK. Heads and faces are excellent and I look forward to painting 2 battalions of these. campaign dress is correct for Waterloo I think given the appalling weather overnight and the descriptions of the bedraggled look of even the finest units on the day.

Any comments on the Victrix artillery welcome, do those wheels look a little thin to you?

(The 95th Rifles in the top pic have just been re-based onto skirmisher bases to match the French.)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Light infantry.

I have finished basing the 12 skirmisher figures. 6 are newly painted and the other 6 have been re-based and touched up slightly. All in all I'm pleased with these, I think they make a neat little unit. I'm not sure how they will be used with the rules yet, either as replacements for flankers when deployed or as an independent composite skirmisher unit. Maybe I could add a 12 figure skirmisher screen per brigade or something along those lines. I decided from the outset that I wanted to base my units a certain way so any rule-set that I use will have to accommodate my basing style.... I refuse to re base these figures at any stage!

I also completed the 16 figure Legere battalion over the weekend and they make a nice colourful little unit too I think. By the time of the Hundred Days campaign the Legere were operating very much in the role as normal line infantry, although they held on to their former elite status.

The World Cup will slow my painting a little for a while, but I am close to breaking through the 200 figure milestone. Its been quite a number of years since I painted 200 figures, but my enthusiasm for this project remains very high and there are just so many units that I want to paint. I should have my Victrix order within the next couple of days as 'Total wargamer' have already confirmed despatch, great service and reduced prices on many items. Following that its some Heavy Metal ........ 2 regiments of British cavalry.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Victrix on order.

I now have a couple of boxes of Victrix figures on order, Old Guard Grenadiers plus the British foot artillery. Found them online at just £15.96 per box, great value! I'll paint 2 x 16 figure battalions of Old Guard Grenadiers and then the 3 gun battery.

Total so far is:
4 x 16 figure battalions (3 line and 1 light)
12 x skirmishers (I'm basing these in 2's now)
2 x 8 figure cavalry regiments
3 Mtd generals.

5 x 16 figure line battalions.
8 x 95th rifles (based in 2's)
3 Mtd generals.

So things are moving along nicely. What I need now is for Victrix or Perry to release some British cavalry, heavy dragoons would do nicely! But as there is no word of any such plans I'll make the next order for some British metal cavalry to balance the forces.

No more pictures yet as its the same old units, but I'll post the 12 French figure skirmisher unit once its based and finished, its amazing how much variation you can get from the same two basic bodies with head and arm swaps etc.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

French infantry.

Completed the half a battalion of light infantry and as its a bright day took the French outdoors for a few pics. This is all of my French infantry so far minus the 6 skirmishers that I'm not sure what to do with. Still no flags added yet, I'll have a sort of 'topping out' ceremony when I hit a dozen or so painted battalions and add flags to the whole collection. I did re work the coat colour on all of the figures as some of the earlier ones were a little patchy I felt, so now its more matched and I'm finally happy with the shade of blue!!

Just waiting for the order from perry to arrive to complete the Legere battalion, then some artillery to follow.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Gilder mania!

Well, lets face it the figures from Peter Gilder's amazing collections got many of us into this hobby in the first place and its been great to see so many of those old figures popping up on the blogs that I follow. I spent a relaxing hour last night browsing through all of the images posted on 'Unfashionably Shiny' 'The Hinton Hunter' and 'The Old Metal Detector' of figures from the original Gilder Napoleonic collections. To be honest I had always assumed that Gilders collection started with Hinchliffe and it was a surprise to me to learn that the original figures had in fact been Hinton Hunt. But what an amazing job he did with them! I had not realised just how good those old HH figures were until I began to follow 'strykers' excellent blog 'Hinton Hunt Vintage Wargame Figures'. By comparison with my Perry miniatures those old figures are slim and elegant and every bit as well detailed. I should say that it was seeing a colour picture of Gilders Waterloo game in a Sunday glossy mag as a schoolboy that fired my imagination, I cut the pages out and kept them for years! So hats off to all you gents for keeping it going, and if anyone has not already looked at the blogs mentioned above then you should do.

Update on my painting quickly: I have completed French line infantry unit number 3 and undercoated the first 8 of what will be a light infantry unit. Did a few head swaps this time to add some Pokelem caps, they add a bit of variety. The command for this unit will be metal. sadly by 1815 the Legere had lost much of its individuality in dress, looking much like their line counterparts except the Bardin regulation habit-veste had blue lapels and they wore blue trousers. Cuff detail was also slightly different. The Chasseur companies had also shed their sabres and belts. Still its enough to give a slight distinction so I'll enjoy painting them.

Total so far now is 160 figures painted.