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.


Anonymous said...

Hi, what glue or whatsoever You use to fix the figures over the cork ??

DC said...


I think i know how you feel - at least i occassionally suffer from bouts of zero motivation, and then start pondering new projects. Playing a game or two usually sorts me out, and since starting my AWI project 4 years ago i've only been side tracked twice (which is pretty good going for me).
I wouldn't want to encourage you to change tack but if you want to stick with 25mm Napoleonics how about Connoisseur and Bicorne - slim, well animated figures with fairly modern levels of detail that take a 'layering' paint job well.
I can send you some pics of Connoisseur and Bicorne Napoleonics by Doug Mason to illustrate what i mean....?
Then again, your 15s were nice, so maybe Old Glory 15s are worth considering (available from TimeCast these days i think)?

Stryker said...

Lee - I really think you should stick at it but set yourself a goal for the number of figures and when you get there allow yourself to dabble in another period. Your figures really do look great and I for one really hope you see this project through! I get distracted all the time but find that blogging has kept me on the straight and narrow so please keep going.


Lee said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement chaps, Its much appreciated. Having taken some time to think about things I have made a decision to finish off the 32 Old Guard Grenadiers from victrix then make the change to metal figures for the rest of the project. It will give me far more choice of figures and I can choose just what I want. For example, I'd rather have my Old Guard Grenadiers without greatcoats as I'm convinced that such an elite unit would have wanted to look as impressive as possible on that day, but that's the compromise with plastic figures.

DC, those Connoiseur figures are great and I still need to decide which range will best fit with my Perry and victrix. I am drawn to Front Rank but I do like the slimmer style of figure so I'm not 100% sure yet. I like the Elite range too, very similar in style to Connoisseur and I understand that Peter Morbey learned his craft from Peter Gilder himself?

Ian, I probably need to get the figures out and get them on the table, but I wont stop this project. No harm in planning ahead though and working out what will follow it :-)You're right,the blog does help keep in touch with like minded people, and such feedback helps keep it going.

Stefano,no cork bases here, just plastic covered with grit/glue then some synthetic grass. I use normal white hobby glue as it dries pretty fast and dries out clear.



JAM said...

Hi Lee,

I know we all get the wobbles, my waterloo is basing, as I keep on changing it. I have looked back at your figures, and I believe they actually look great. In respect to the white base vs black base, I can see that your definition at the edges (belts etc) is a little less with the white base. I found this a problem myself with the thin wash over white. I actually tried using black and brown washes, but they stained rather than ran where I wanted them to. I than started to use Army Painter, I was very reluctant about this at first, but when I used it I was shocked at how well it worked. So essentially I got a 3 layer effect, rather than a 2 layer effect. The thin coloured wash came up light over the high points, darker in the low points, which the AP than made more pronounced. This especially worked well on light colours.

I do believe though that you can only get great results with a black undercoat. The beautiful paint jobs you see on Steve Dean forum really require multiple layering. So I suppose you have to ask yourself what you want.

Do you want to accumulate armies or display pieces, are you primarily a painter or a wargamer. Only you can answer these questions.

In respect to continuing Napoleonics, you already have a great looking army, so I would try to carry with your original plan. Why do not push a few of them around a table.

Bonne chance,


Lee said...

Hi John,

Thank you for your input and words of encouragement. You make some good points there. This was intended to be a wargame project first and foremost and to that end I'm going to see it through. I'm sure that once I get some terrain together, a few nice buildings, trees etc and I actually begin to USE the figures then it will all have been worthwhile. I never intended my figures to be studied close up but rather looked for a good overall effect en mass.

I like your Front rank figures and that's what I'm going to use in future.

I'm interested in what you say about Army painter as I keep on reading about this stuff. I'm tempted to order a pot to try, just to see how it works on my figures. Which one do you use John? is it the final varnish or do you varnish over the AP?

Thanks again,


JAM said...

Hi Lee,

There is 3 types of AP, soft, strong and dark. On my austrians I used the strong initially but I am now trying the soft and it seems good. I shake the tin a lot and I actually paint it on rather than dip it. I can control it better that way. This will come out very shiny which looks cool, but I like a more subdued look so a quick spray of DullCote from testors does a great job.

I think that you use the soft on white and than maybe the strong or dark or darker base colours. I have only started to use it, but if you look at my blog entries on Artillery elements, you can really see that it does a good job. You can also look at my entry on army painter austrians, to see how it works. Just look how the AP brings out belts etc, I think it does a great job.

You have great looking figures Lee, I went through all your blog entries yesterday and the improvement is marked.

Front Rank are nice figures and they are easy to paint, I also like elite, they are very easy to paint, but there is not a whole lot of variation. As you know I use multiple different manufacturers in my army, but try to keep to the same type in an unit.

Anyway I am hoping to finish off a 36 figure unit of Austrians today.

Good luck,


Lee said...

Thanks again John, I will try Army Painter as it may well tone down my figures somewhat. I have looked at several stage by stage AP applications and I have no doubt that in every case its a major improvement in terms of impact and shading. It would seem that the number of 'shakes' after applying the AP also determines the finished effect, but I note that you brush it on as do others for a more controlled coverage. Your Austrian examples say it all really, what a transformation over those base colours! I look forward to seeing the full completed battalion.

Once again, thanks for the useful info.