Thursday, November 23, 2006

Painted Figures - comparison

Here they are then. From the left, Mr White Undercoat, then Mr Black Drybrushed white undercoat and finally dull old Mr Black undercoat.

Personally spraking, I think the two blck undercoats look to work the best for this type of figure. I'll try three of my RSMs next and see how they go.

The Gardes Francaises need a new draft of troops.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I decided to do a little experiment in the past few days to try out the competing “undercoat” models we have available.

I took three similar miniatures (WW1 Russians from HLBS) and undercoated them. One I did in white, one in black and one in black, heavily dry-brushed white.

I painted all three using exactly the same techniques – base-coat, first and in some areas, second highlights. Some areas got a wash of my favourite brown ink.

The HLBS castings are heavily undercut and have many a nook and cranny.

The black undercoat and the dry-brushed one let me paint the “visible” detail, while the white undercoat made me want to stick my paintbrush into every semi-accessible crevice in the figure. This is for me always a frustrating exercise and I wound up washing those areas with ink to hint at painted detail. The dry-brushed undercoat let me wash over raised strap detail without having really to paint it. I followed this up with a thinned wash of brown ink again to define the detail and it came up looking pretty good.

For comparison purposes, I ought to paint three RSM figures for comparison. They are much less heavily undercut and would make an interesting point of comparison.

Images of the HLBS figures will follow in the next day or so.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Touching History Terrain Book review

I received in the mail of a copy of the first volume of the Touching History series on terrain making last night, the Peninsular War one.

It’s a magazine format book with a great many illustrations showing the buildings and terrain. I was greatly impressed by the quality of the photos, but not too impressed by the information presented.

I did not feel that the book really presented me with tips on making “Spanish” terrain. The section on making the terrain boards while nice enough presented some nice grassy scenery that might not have been out of place in any generic European layout. There was no discussion at all of the differing terrain and climate conditions that one might encounter in the Peninsula. I always had the impression that Spain is rather diverse, and a bit more arid!

The buildings as describes are very nice to look at, but the emphasis seemed more on describing the finishing of the buildings than on the techniques used in making them. That’s fair enough – it’s always seemed to me that war games terrain is mostly about the finish, but a few more tips might have been useful. Some tips that were mentioned were new to me – using brass sheet to represent pantiled roofing for example – but most were pretty unremarkable and frankly could have been gleaned from the Terragenesis website or past issues of White Dwarf.

The book contains a great deal of padding and irrelevance – double-page spreads of scenery layouts, close-ups of single miniatures, close-ups of scenery layouts from irrelevant periods and an astonishingly self-indulgent couple of pages on re-enactors of the 95th Rifles. Surely some of this wasted space (and surely there’s not much space to waste in a 75-page publication) could have gone towards fleshing out the descriptions on building some of the more complicated buildings.

The problem today with this sort of publication is that there is so much material available on the internet. This material is filled with excellent, well-illustrated articles on virtually every aspect of terrain design. To produce a book on terrain building that is actually worthwhile, you may need to pitch it as being someone’s “master class” with perhaps tips on advanced techniques, perhaps some material on designing buildings from conception to execution.

I think that if you wanted to take a more useful look at creating the terrain of the Peninsula War, you might be better off hanging onto the GBP18.50 this cost me here in Australia (and spending it on some Connoisseur miniatures) and go here instead:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

West Melbourne Regiment

I'm taking a little time off the Seven Years War to paint up something a little different.

I have a small cache of Britains recasts from Soldier Pac and got around to cleaning up one of these already pretty clean castings. They are very light on detail, so most of what you see (buttons, piping &c) are all painted on. I'm fairly pleased with the result, but think I'd have benefitted from a brush with a better point! He represents a private from the West Melbourne Regiment c1882-85. I will do a few more in the next couple of days to go with my gun crew.

At the same time I am painting a dozen Mahdist cavalry in an attempt to cut into my lead mountain. I bought these in January at CanCon and I think they look very promising so far.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Feathery Hats

Odd title for a post?

I suppose it is. I was looking at some of my 7YW miniatures the other day and was struck by how well the feathery hat edges I'd added to a couple of mounted officers looked.

I'm the sort who likes sometimes to repeat what he regards as a success, so I started thinking that I'd like to do a few more and began casting around for a couple of units where I could have a shot.

I started thinking of the Cuirassiers du Roi in the 1740s and thought, "good, I'll do them - got a good collection of miniatures to represent a troop or two already". Then I remembered some chit chat on OSW or 7YW about Prussian IR15, the King of Prussia's own regiment. The Officers and NCOs wore feather edging in their hats.

Aha! thinks I, let's take a quick trip to Osprey-land.

One trip later and I'm a little confused. Don Fosten's magnificent plates show effectively two uniformsThe first battalion (of three) had a lapel-less coat - as some Prussian regiments did. Battalions two and three who saw a fair old bit of action had a coat with red lapels and white buttonhole edging.

Here is the question(s):

Battalions two and three can be readily modelled using RSM miniatures which come with the lapels and cuffs appropriate to battalions two and three, but did their officers and NCOs have the feathery hat edging, or was that confined to the gala-uniformed lads of the first battalion?

If they didn't, do I care and will I give them their feathery hats anyway because they look so good? Heresy!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HE/RSM Comparison Shot

Interestingly, the two look much the same size. I had always had the impression that the HE were the smaller figures.

If anything, they are pehaps a little taller and lankier.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

HE Infantry Figures

I finally got around to photographing some of the sample HE infantry I promised for Stokes.

Npt the best image, but they do get the "look" of them across, I think. I'd say they were as close to a "true" 25mm as you are likely to get. They look very slight against Foundry, and by comparison the detail is very unrefined.

But beautiful to me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One for the Kids

I'm currently painting some more Prince August homecasts for my nephew Max. He doesn't know it yet, but he's getting some Great Northern War Saxons and Swedes to bulk out the tiny force of Saxons he already has.

I decided to write some simple rules so he can do more with them other than line them up an roll marbles at them. After all, I painted them, and want them to stay unchipped for a while yet!

1. Move
Guns – 1dice in inches
Men – 2 dice in inches
Riders – 4 dice in inches

Men or Riders with an Officer or a Drummer or a Flag Bearer get to add another dice to their move.

2. Shoot
Guns – throw 4 dice. Each 5 or 6 is a hit.
Men – throw one dice. Each 6 is a hit.
Riders – throw no dice.

Each figure that is hit but has not fired is laid down on its side and may fire once before it is removed. Riders that are hit are removed. A gun needs two men to shoot.

3. Fight
Guns – throw no dice.
Men – throw one dice.
Riders – throw two dice.

Highest score wins.

4. End of the Game
The first player to lose half of his soldiers loses the game.