Thursday, September 27, 2007

7 Day Painting Challenge - Final

Here we are at last.

I've had to stop painting - we are just about to go overseas for six weeks. IR33 has had it's faces and hats painted. Three-quarters of the mens' small-clothes have been painted (and look quite spiffy, too) but I am out of time now and have to go.

I think I have had just a few too many distractions or preparations to really have time for the paint-brush this week!

I'll be updating this blog as time permits and material allows.

If you want to follow out travels, please feel welcome to drop in here:

All the best.

Monday, September 24, 2007

7 Day Painting Challenge continued...

A very unproductive weekend has passed me by.

Family celebrations over a big barbeque (and cleaning up, and cooking) reduced my painting time severely.

I've painted the small-clothes of fourteen fusileers in their base-coat of pale-gray, that's about it. I'll try to get another few finished tonight and tomorrow morning so I can start on their blue coats.

It's not looking good.

UPDATE: The image above shows you roughly how we are going. I love the chracter that the blackundercoat technique imparts the faces. I also like how well the cartridge belt and small-clothes look with the black undercoat defining the edges of this and that. Nice and crisp, just the way I like it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 2 of... The Seven Day Challenge!

Well folks, here we are on Day two of the Seven Day Challenge and it's not looking too good for our contestant - Greg?

*Oh, well, you know, at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, there's no I in team and..

Did you get the hats painted?

*Yes, good-looking aren't they, nice and pointy on top...

Did you get the hats painted?

*Er, no, not entirely, I gave them a nice dry-brush of white (that's 36 hats, remember - 36!) then base-coated them orange, did some touch-ups with black and then painted on the brass mitre fronts. I washed them with some nice, thinned Windsor and Newton Sepia ink to define the detail and then i ran out of time.

A little overambitious?

*No - OK, yes, but it also painted a couple of horses. They look nice. I also realised one of the limitations of my Osprey one-and-only reference; no details on Officer and NCO hat lace! I just took a gamble on gold. It looks pretty even if it may be wrong.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seven Day Challenge

This is a bit of a follow on from a post I made a day or two ago about building on my Prussian collection.

I've since had a good scrounge through my lead pile and have come up with enough castings to build two Fusilier and one Grenadier Company. To build this force in the configuration that I am aiming at (three companies of "hatmen" and a company of grenadiers per batallion), I'm obviously a bit short but will carry on for now with what I have for now because I'm off on holiday in a week and don't have the time to wait on a new order from the lads at DPC.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

I have 41 figures and one horse to paint. To challenge myself, I aim to paint them before I go away. To make things a little more difficult for myself, I've decided to create a little vignette depicting the death of General Schwerin at Prague.

After spending the past few days with my nose stuck in an Osprey I have decided that I will be painting Fusilier Regiment Nr. 33.

The night before last I cleaned, mounted and undercoated the castings with my favoured matt black spray paint. Last night I painted all their little lead faces and hands and this morning while I got ready for work, I put the highlights on chin, cheeckbones, knuckles and nose.

As I write this I have just finished trimming the standards for IR 33 and IR 24 (the latter for the Schwerin vignette) and tonight I ought to get a couple of hours to myself and I'll get the hats and the horse done at least and start on the vignette.

As to the vignette, I'm hoping to use the mounted French officer and a rearing horse as the basis. I'll swap his hat-holding hand for a flagstaff and try to get a couple of suitably-dismayed-looking troopers from IR24 on the same base.

I shall report again tomorow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things to do in 2008

Just thinking out loud here, you understand. I can’t be held accountable for any of this, OK?

I’ve been thinking about where to go next with the Duchy of Alzheim. As I’m writing this, my French Army stands at nine foot units (7 Line and 2 Light), five of horse and a smattering of artillery. Now, I reckon that this is a pretty fair force for now and probably won’t be adding too much more to it for a little while, apart from the ongoing effort to round out the unit sizes to my current targets and eventually adding some Gardes Suisses to pair with the Gardes Francaises and some more gunners. Naturally I’ll revisit this at a later date and add more units, but that’s for the longer term.

I’m now looking for another project to take me through the next twelve months. I’m thinking of taking up my original Seven Years’ War project and picking up where I left off with my Prussians. I’d gotten as far as building out IR13 to my original unit standard which was about 43 figures, so it won’t take too much to build it up from there. On top of that I had about a dozen of DR5 and a half dozen of the von Kleist Horse Grenadiers and a couple of guns.

From this base I’ve been poking around at my lead stocks and think I can make a pretty good start on another two Musketeer Regiments and a Fusilier Regiment, each with sufficient Grenadiers to give me a couple of combined Grenadier battalions. I’m then wanting to round out DR5 to three Squadrons, the v. Kleist Horse Grenadiers to a similar strength(?), add a Cuirassier Regiment, a Hussar regiment, some more guns and some v. Kleist Light Infantry.

That should make a nice little force, smaller than the French, but able to stand well enough against them in the field, especially if they ally up with my Bavarians once they’ve been built up to 2 Foot and one Horse unit.

I think that’d be enough to occupy me for the next twelve months or so.

What are your longer term plans?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wagon Hill Container

I have spent the best part of the past five or six days researching respectively the Saxon Cavalry from about 1740 to 1763 and Field Bakeries.

Enquiries in the usual places have yielded quite good results on both topics, but in the case of Field Bakeries, the process has been linguistically interesting.

The materials I have forund on Field Bakeries have been exclusively in either French and German, both languages with which I am not very familiar - although my French is FAR better than my German. As a result I have been using Alta Vistas' online translation software "Babel Fish". We are all familiar with it's limitations - it is linear, processing a sentence one-word-at-a-time and thus provides a literal translation that often lacks the sense of what the author was trying to convey. Then there is the problems with words that may have more than one meaning. I fear that this software will only use the most common meaning used for that word, thus in the fairly specialised translating required for English-speaking users the French word for "Grenadier" which has a very specific meaning in our context tends amusingly to get translated as "Pomegranate".

Then there are German compound words. I fantasised today about being a German speaker who might have been something of a military buff who wanted to find out what the amusing English term "Cartridge Case" meant. Imagine his surprise at getting back a result like "Wagon Hill Container "!

If no-one else has done it, I am going to start compiling a glossary of French and German 18th Century military jargon. If anyone wants to contribute, please email me at . We can discuss terms like "hat lace", "facing colour*" and "turn-back" and compile a list.

*OK, "coleur distinctive"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Painting Panzers - OT???

I bought a box of Armourfast PzKwIIIG this weekend and have been happily painting them in North African livery. To this end, I purchased some of the appropriate Tamiya shade and some Matt White with which to lighten it.

Assembling the kits was a breeze. For anyone who is not familiar with the Armourfast kits, they are very basic with upper and lower hull, complete track units, turret, and a vew detail units to complete a satisfying model in a simple kit that takes little time to throw together.

I halted construction when I had the hull, turret and tracks as seperate units. I sprayed these in a flat black as an undercoat and then proceeded to paint these in German Dark Yellow.

Tamiya does this colour as an attractive sort of orange-ish tan. I laid this on with the biggest, flattest brush I own. The first layer was laid down quickly and lightly over the whole kit and the idea was to get good coverage while leaving the black undercoat in all the recesses. More paint was layered on with the aim of producing on a nice, smooth coat onto the flat surfaces of the vehicles, the aim being to get an almost "enamelled" surface. The black base-coat will create shading in the recesses.

Next will be to highlight with a couple of successively lighter shades put on with a lighter dry-brushing per coat.

Finally I will give the vehicles a very light dry-brush of Panzer Gray to simulate wear on the Desert Yellow base-coat.

I will then gloss varnish the vehicles and apply decals from my spares box.

I hope to finish off by washing the tyres with a thinned gray then lightly spraying with a little Tamiya USAF Tan and then an even lighter spray of white - both to simulate dust. Finally I'll apply a coat of mat varrnish to dull down the finish of the vehicles.

I'm a bit painted out on the 7YW just now, so I'm taking a few weeks out on this project; I'm thinking of a couple of batallions of Commonwealth troops and a company of Panzers, some reconnaissance troops and a Panzer-grenadier battalion. A nice diversion courtesy of Rapid Fire.