Monday, January 25, 2021

World war 2 Terrain

 Its been an interested month.  I've half-painted about 30 figures and assembled some french cavalry but I've been Pretty unmotivated about actually finishing anything. this past weekend I was looking in a box and I found a 4Ground Polish Rural Dwelling model, and a pack of 4Ground Yard Panel fencing with Gates.  both of these will work well for eastern front terrain so i decided to get them assembled and based up. I also had a pack of Wizkids Deep Cuts log piles, that I tossed into the pile to work on.


4Ground Polish Rural Dwelling with
scratch-built fence


I built a wooden fence using 2 types of balsa wood(posts and planks) and  matchsticks(crossbeams).  i used a steel wire brush to accentuate the wood texture.  the building kit came with fur for thethatch roof.  I soaked it in PVA to harden it and then I highlighted it with light cream colour. i then applied patches of GW Agrax Earthshade wash(brown) and Athonian Camoshade( green-brown) wash to mottle the colour a bit.  I also added a pile of stacked wood from the deep cuts pack to one of the walls on the opposite side of the base from the fence, and added a trio of matchsticks to the peak of the roof to cover up the seam of where the teddy bear fur pieces meet. Otherwise the building is unmodified, other then some Scenic Express  Super Turf  texture foliage around the base to make it look less like a building glued to a piece of HDF.


4Ground Polish Rural Dwelling internal detail.

 this kit is well designed and is much nicer looking then some of 4Grounds early, more simplistic looking buildings. the interior has a nice stove/fireplace and the front door opens and closes. it also comes with matte board blue shudders.


Wizkids Deep Cuts Wood Piles(3). I fixed the
stacked woodpile to the building.


I left the remaining 2 wood piles lose so they can be placed as needed. they aren't big enough to affect anything so they are just around to add some character to tables. still they are nice and not hugely oversized like some end up being. the Wizkids Deep Cuts line is as always wonderful. 


4Ground Yard Panel fences with Gates. 

The Yard Panel fencing is nice looking and easy to put together, but badly designed.  They have the fence panels situated along one edge of the base, with no overlapping bit to improve stability. As a result if left unmodified, they fall over if you breath a little too heavily.


lower angle of 4ground fences for height comparison

As you can see below, I added some pebbles I have kicking around to help counterbalance them. this makes the fence sections much more stable. the fences are tall enough to lock infantry LOS, and give concealment to even large-ish tanks. I didn't check but it may actually completely block a 1/56th BT-7 or T-26.

Rear view to display rocks needed for stability.

If anyone is interested in what makes the models i used for size comparison, the tank is an Army Group North Miniatures T-28 medium tank, the infantry in front of the panel fences are Crusader Miniatures  Soviets, and the soviet infantry inside the fences are 1 each of The Assault Group and Black Tree designs.  the AT gun on the building base is a 47mm at gun I got from AGNMiniatures (old force of arms model?) with crew from Warlord Games and Black Tree Designs.

Given my fickleness with painting, I'm now aiming to have at least one new post a month. if I'm in the painting mood, I'll post more often. when the mood strikes me I paint a ton, so I'm sure I will end up with a good deal more then 12 posts in 2021. But i think otherwise that is a more reasonable way to ensure I get some progress done on something regularly.



Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year!

As 2020 draws to a close, I finished 8 french command stands.


French Generals

Light Cavalry Generals

Divisional Generals

Heavy Cavalry Generals


I decided this time to add more stuff to the bases to make them a littler more interesting.  I have a bunch of leftover pieces from various 4ground kits, including a ton of wagon wheels.  I'm happy with how they turned out.

Looking back at 2020, I had a pretty productive fall. Since September I've painted 122 Cavalry, 378 infantry, 4 cannons and 5 limbers/carts. that's pretty good. the rest of the year was pretty much a wash. Thanks Covid.

Looking forward to 2021, I'll be painting many more Napoleonic miniatures.  I have a Russian and a Prussian division, and  I have more French, mostly cavalry and artillery.

Heres looking forward to a better 2021!





Sunday, December 13, 2020

Pandemic Projects: Victrix French Infantry

A few months ago I started re-purposing my Peninsular skirmish project and rebasing for larger battles. I started with the British side. The French half had been built with the wrong mix of posses to be able to build battalions of similar poses, so I had to get another box of Victrix 1907-1812 French infantry to get useful battalions.  well I finally got a hold of another box last week.


6 Battalions of Victrix French Napoleonic
Infantry 1807-1812, in 3 Regiments

I painted about 48 figures this week. and touched up the remaining 48 so that they blend well with the newly painted ones. i also did several head swaps. out of 2 boxes  I got 7 battalions of 16, and have 7 figures left over(3 drummers, and 4 centre companies kneeling). I didn't get to the 7th battalion this week. the 7 battalions are split into a 2-battalion Legere regiment, a 3 battalion Line unit, and a 2 battalion line unit(only 1st battalion painted so far). I also have a box of perry french in bardin uniforms, so I'll probably add a 3rd battalion to the smaller of the 2 line regiments.


French Legere Regiment

French Line regiment

Reverse angle

1st battalion of another line regiment.

Since I normally build my stuff to be 1812-compatible, I did my units with the older style flags, since it would have taken time for the new style to disseminate. the light infantry still have their eagle, as some of them kept them as late as 1814.  but the light infantry were ordered to leave their colours in depot earlier so I figured I would use the fanion for the 2nd battalion. I made it with an imperial eagle on it and under the eagle is the battalion number.

when I initially assembled the first box of  Victrix french a decade ago, I was not fond of them. This time around I found them much better, both to assemble and to paint.  Maybe I just have more skill at both now.  while they certainly have more pieces then your average Perry plastic miniature(5-6 pieces versus 2-3 for most  Perry Napoloenics), you can get a much more diverse  selection of poses, and more miniatures in the box. I also don't have to buy extra command sprues for each box to fit the size of my units. I do rather like Victrix a lot more now.  I'll certainly use them if I ever do an Austrian army and I look forward to them releasing their Bavarians.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Pandemic Projects: Ten Years in the Making...

Around a decade ago my friend Jonathan Holmes and I started doing an eastern renaissance skirmish project. I bought a whole host of Polish From The Assault Group.  Jon was going to do Zaporski cossacks, but he sustained an injury that made it hard to paint, so the project was shelved. Some time later the infantry component was repurposed for my Polish themed ImagiNation.

In my attempt to find something to paint this week(Still lots of Napoleonic to go, but waiting on a shipment of bases), while searching through boxes I found my not unsubstantial Renaissance polish cavalry contingent. I have 32 hussars, 16 Pancerni, and 11 Rieters.  8 of the Pancerni were painted, and about 12 of the Hussars were half painted.  I pulled out the hussars and had at them.

 

32 TAG Polish Winged Hussars
 

TAG hussars done in the traditional red and white.



Winged Hussars in less traditional blue and yellow

As always TAG miniatures are lovely models and fantastic to paint. I have 2 renaissance armies, and I've painted dozens of modern british and iraqis(which i then sold), so i have a great deal of experience with TAG. 

I snipped off the white metal lances above the ball guard and drilled out the balls to replace it with music wire. I shaped the tip using a dremel with a grinding wheel.as with all my flags, the pennons are printed off, folded around the lances and glue together using carpenters glue.  I wrap the pennons around the shaft of a narrow paint brush immediately after I've glued together the pennon, so when dry it takes the wavy shape.  The carpenters glue makes them surprisingly resilient.

 

Finally, my mother made me this:

Bunka interpretation.


This is Japanese embroidery called Bunka. we took the reasonably famous picture by Angus McBride(below)  and my mother recreated it in this rather unique form. I have yet to frame it, but when I do it will grace the wall of my game room!

Original picture by Angus McBride




Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pandemic projects: American War of Independence

 I started my 28mm American War of Independence  skirmish project a little over a year ago. I painted 120 figures in about plus artillery and command in about a month. I used the project as a test bed to learn how to use GW contrast paints. It was also the fire project to seriously use tufts during the basing. i learned 2 things:

1)  most Contrast paints aren't really worth using.  The Blood angels Red is the most notable exception. it shades constantly and produces a red that works well for British uniforms. other notables are skeletal horde and Apothecary white.  most other colours I used were either the wrong tint and required mixing multiple colours to a close enough colour and/or they went on with an inconstant effect. 

2) tufts are way too expensive to use on every project. I spent over $40CDN dollars on just tufts! it literally doubled to cost of the basing. they look nice, but if i used them on every project I'd definitely have fewer projects! unless there is a viable way to bulk buy them(in Canada, specifically), its not worth it in my opinion.

Everything I've painted since last post, last week.
 

Anyway, I had not painted 2/3rds of 1 group of 24  in each army so  I pulled them out, touched up the finished figures and painted the remaining ones. I also finished up the remaining artillery bits and officers.

I refer to each unit of 24 figures as a "regiment"  as I only paint 24 figures from a given regiment usually. since its a skirmish project, obviously its not an actual regiment, its not even half a company. its just the terminology I use.



Continental(top) and British(bottom)
grasshopper guns and limbers

Grasshopper guns, limbered

I had a pair of Fife and Drum grasshopper guns to paint. 1 each for continental and British. i decided to leave the gun loose so I could limber it as shown in the pictures.  I coated the peg on the limber in carpenters glue to protect the paint.  The guns fit securely on the peg, so when I store them they get stored limbered. I don't normally do this with guns so this was a bit of a viability experiment.


A pair of limbers for my 6pdr cannons

These limbers belong to my 2 6pdr cannons, 1 British, 1 continental. They are also Fife and Drum miniatures.


Continental light infantry, from Pennsylvania

These continental light infantry are Perry plastic with Perry AWI British arms. I just didn't paint the lace in the cuffs. they are painted up the same as my Pennsylvania regiment, and there was at least one entire Penn. regiment that wore light infantry caps, so they can be used either way.  a 24 figure light infantry "regiment"  can be used as show in 3 units of 8 line or 4 units of 6  skirmishers in Sharp Practice.  I repainted the blue coats and all the white on the 8 figures that were painted last year. the mixed contrast blue I made(Tallasar blue and Ultramarines blue) didn't consistently shade to my liking.

this "regiment" also has an attached amusette team not shown that i had previously painted. I did some reading and found that at least one armoury in Virginia? made amusettes for the Continental army. There are even surviving examples. so I bought a pack of Perry Hessian jager amusettes and converted one team to be in (plastic)light infantry caps, and then painted them to match my light infantry.

Loyalist Kings Carolina Rangers

The Kings Carolina Rangers are Perry British plastics. they can be used as any green coated loyalist regiment. I picked Kings Carolina Rangers because they name sounds cool, and because they had green lapels on green coats with no lace. Easy to paint! I repainted a lot of the white on the 8 figures that were already painted, as well as added some colour variation in the gaitered breeches.


Bits and pieces

 I had a few bits and pieces of other "regiments". The commander and infantry in hunting shirts belong to my Maryland regiment, and the brown coated commander is going to be the leader to a 16-man unit of brown coated continentals/militia that have yet to be assembled. the water cart is a 4ground accessory I think.


I really like these figures.  I only used the collection once before the pandemic began, but I'm looking forward to getting more gaming in with them when the pandemic is over!  I still have some British grenadiers to paint, and enough plastics for a 16 figure continental/militia "regiment"in brown coats, and a couple of 6-figure British light infantry units at the trail.  I plan on ordering some cavalry eventually but that is down the road a ways.






Saturday, November 7, 2020

Pandemic Projects: Finishing off a few Loose Ends

 This week I decided to take it easy and slow down before I burn myself out. I  had a half finished Front Rank French foot battery half painted( 1 gun and 4 crew painted), and half-based individually from my skirmish project. Also, having decided to switch my personal  artillery to 4 crew on a gun on a 60x80mm base, I went a head and converted my lone Prussian battery to that standard. I found a bag of Front rank Russian foot artillery crew, so I fully intend to get my 3 Russian foot batteries upgraded to this new standard once the bases arrive.

Stuff I put paint on this week

 

I also had some regular french infantry in great coats and a Prussian command base kicking around in various states of being painted, so I took some time to finish them off.

 

Front Rank artillery battery with
Perry  infantry in great coats

Front Rank Artillery Closeup

I had the left gun and crew painted and individually based for skirmish.  the right gun and crew were primed but not painted. I managed to Match the dark blue colour pretty good.  then both were based on 60x80mm bases.


Perry plastic infantry with
some metal command added.


 Prussian I Foot Battery, Perry Miniatures

Blucher(left) and Gneisenau(right),
Perry Miniatures, on a 60mm base

The Prussian foot battery was  finished and based as 1 gun and 2 crew on a 50x50 base. Recently I have decided to abandon this basing because Perry guns come 1 gun and 4 crew to a pack for about $16.20 CDN (£9.50).  most companies o comparable quality don't sell individual guns and crews.  Front rank are the major exception. but a FR gun and 2 crew cost almost as much! so I decided to completely convert to the Perry artillery standard on 60x80mm bases. I do admit this looks nicer on the table. it still going to be awfully expensive for my 2nd Russian division's artillery.  I need 3 batteries of 3 guns(9 guns total).

This week I also assembled a  Perry Prussian regiment ( 1 fusilier battalion, 2 infantry battalions), but I'm still waiting for bases to arrive so I'll need to find something to keep my occupied next week.













Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pandemic Projects 6: French Old Guard Grenadiers(etc.)

Before I left Ontario 5 years ago, I picked up a box each of Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers and Chasseurs. Once I got here I found that there was only a small historical community, and they didn't really do much that I had an interest in, so many of my historical projects got neglected. after digging through my project tubs in the last month, I came across the sprues for these and decided they needed to get painted. I also had a unit of Perry cuirassier laying around and decided they also need some love.


This weeks painted units.

First unit this week is Perry French cuirassiers.  These are wonderful models.  I have more of these but I need to order a pair of command sprues to finish the units.

Perry Plastic French Cuirassiers

Next up is the Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers.  Each box of Old Guard has 60 models: 48 infantry and 4 sets of 3 command figures.  i used one set of command figures with some Perry plastic french in greatcoats, and there were 9 figures left over so I used them to make an 8-figure skirmish unit. I'm not sure if the Old Guard actually used skirmishers, but its a good use of figures.  With all that done, I have but a single figure left. I have the say that these boxes are much easier to assemble then Victrix' earlier offerings.  the figures have 3-5 parts.

the 2 command stands are from the Victrix(now Brigade Games) Metal Old Guard commanders. In the blister I wasn't really keen on them but I got them cheap.  Unpainted the bearskins make the figures look strange. once i painted them though they looked far less odd.


Victrix Metal Guard commanders and Plastic
Old Guard Grenadier Skirmishers


Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers charging

Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers marching. back unit
flipped to display the detail on the backpacks.


overall I'm very happy with this weeks productivity.  I still have the Old Guard Chasseurs to paint, but  they are essentially just head swaps of the same figures so I'm going to give it a bit of time before I try to paint them. The edging on the backpacks made me go cross-eyed. I'm sure I can find something to keep myself busy next week!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Pandemic Projects 5: Napoleonic French Cavalry

 This week I decided I was going to start eating in to my 28mm Napoleonic pile.  I have a Russian Division, a Prussian Brigade, and a whole host of french kicking around unfinished, mostly Perry with a bit of Victrix mixed in.  The french are the least represented in my painted collection(especially cavalry), so I decided to start there.

Perry French Dragoons and Hussars

Normally I pick a section of an Order of battle to build my formations and decide on regiments, but I haven't really done that with any of my french.  these dragoons are no different.  I have 3 units now.  these 2 are pink faced(Regiments 13-18) and yellow faced(regiments 19-24). I already have a unit that is orange faced(regiments 25-30). I intend to do the other half of all 3 regiments eventually. These colours almost fit the 6th Heavy Cavalry Division, 5th Cavalry Corps at Leipzig. I also converted 2 of my individually based dismounted units into my mass combine system skirmish units. I only got 1 based in time for the photo shoot. they were less important as I figure thy won't get used to often.  I'll need 2 more boxes of Perry Plastic dragoons plus an extra command sprue and a pair of horse artillery guns to finish off this division.


Dismounted Dragoons skirmishing

Dragoons from a random regiment 
between 13 and 18

Dragoons from a random regiment 
between 19 and 24

Unlike the Dragoons, Hussar regiments are pretty unique in colouring, so I did find an order of battle for Leipzig, and chose my regiments that way. I chose the 2nd Light Cavalry Division, 2nd Cavalry Corps. These units represent half of the 5th and 9th Hussar regiments. i have another hussar box kicking around, so if I order an extra command sprue I'll be able to finish off these regiments. in order to finish off the Cavalry division, I'd need 3 units of Lancers, 4 units of chasseurs a cheval, and 2 Horse Artillery teams. that translates into 2 boxes of Warlord lancers, and 2 boxes of Perry chasseurs cplus 2 extra chasseur command sprues.

Painting the hussars was a bit of a daunting task due to the lace. I wasn't sure it would turn out well  but I'm happy with the result.


Hussars from the 5th regiment, Perry Plastic

Hussars from the 9th regiment, Perry Plastic

I have to show off the lace on those white jackets. 
it turned out way better then i anticipated!

 


I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing for next week. might be more french. It'll probably be more Napoleonics, as it makes up so much of what I have left to paint.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Pandmic Projects 4: Terrain Making and Casting

 I've had a few terrain projects dangling near-finished for a while, but I lacked the motivation to get the over the finish line.  some like gun position has been sitting around needing to be grassed for 9 months. others like the walls have only been sitting idle for 2 or 3 months. then there is the bridge, which I bought at HotLead(I think?) in Ontario 6 years ago, before i moved to Edmonton.either way i decided i needed to get some  finished.


The bridge was a great find.  I bought it at the HotLead fleamarket 6 or 7 years ago, broken in two.  I knew I could pin it and fix it, and more importantly, it fits 50x50mm bases perfectly! it also happens to fit my river system well.  it also painted up really nice.

It had broken right at the middle point to the side of the central arch stone. I pined it in 4 places for extra strength.

Side shot of bridge
 

50x50mm bases fit perfectly!

 Next is gun position. I built this a year ago as a test bed for some techniques in making wood texture. it was a general success. I used Renedra wattle fencing and gabions, but I intent to make my own for future projects.  in the future I'll probably also make the walls higher. they came out a little lower then I'd want.

The texture on hte wood planks was created by "scrubbing" the wood with a wire brush. The wood used was basswood.

Position occupied by Napoleonic British guns

Lower angle to show the height of the position walls.

Reverse angle. Note the texture on the planks.

 

This wall project started both because I wanted some more walls, but also because I wanted to try my hand at casting in 2-part self-skinning polyurethane expanding foam.  i started by making some dry stone walls. I had to modify how i cast them, but they ended up working ok.  there are some bubbles because I don't have a vacuum chamber I can't really do much about it. Note on the drystone walls the moss/vines on the walls furthest from the camera. I did that to cover up places where walls were damaged coming out of the mold the first few times. the skin would separate from the foam. I managed to solve the issue after a few castings.  Each wall section is 6 inches long. for this set, i have a single straight wall, one with a gate, and one with a corner on the end like the old GW stone walls.


the 3 unique lengths of wall.

A three sided paddock defended by the Buffs

From a lower angle so you can see the height

 

The second set of walls is more of an attempt to replace my old GW fantasy stone walls. you can't get them anymore, and they are slowly breaking.  I built these out of individual styrofoam blocks textured with a foil ball. the blocks are on average under half the size of the massive 200lb blocks the GW ones are apparently made out of. I also varied the block size a bit more. So there are some that are very small and some that are almost the size of the GW ones, near the bottom usually.  I built two unique straight sections, one section with a corner, and one with a gateway/opening. I've seen these style of opening in several pictures of similar style old stone walls.

These cast nicer then the dry stone walls. I thin there are less extreme changes in topograghy for air to get stuck in. there are still air bubbles but they are generally less noticeable.

the four unique sections of wall

Three of the master walls shown with a GW
Fantasy stone wall for comparison

From a lower angle so you can see the height


And finally, a well I bought on Friday this well is from the Wizkids "Deep Cuts" line of scatter terrain and accessories.  They are cheap ($6.95 CDN, or about $5 USD) and are full of detail. This one came with a little water insert that pops out easily.  good 28mm wells aren't easy to find so I'm glad I got this one for really cheap.


Deep Cuts well with water insert out

Well with water insert in



As some of you might have noticed, I'm trying to update once every week or two now. we'll see how long that lasts.  being unemployed certainly makes finding the time a bit easier.  Its also nice to have some Motivation to paint. The lack of historical gamers in Edmonton combined with lack of gaming during the pandemic had certainly taken its toll.

Cheers!