Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm not dead!

God I'm stressed, life has not been easy recently! My Fiancée and I are less than 2 months away from our wedding now and in the process of moving half way across the country as she has secured a new job in West Sussex. On top of that I am doing final corrections to my thesis which I intend to (finally) hand in next week. Consequently wargaming and painting have been fairly low on the radar this past month. Still I managed to get in a great ACW game with some friends about 3 weeks ago, though I still haven't had time to get the pictures from it onto the PC so that will have to wait till a future update. Do click the pictures to see an enlarged version!

These are all pictures of models I painted a while ago, and indeed I have more completed but alas no time to get them up on the blog at the moment.

This is my attempt at an exploring officer in the mould of Major Hogan from the Sharpe novels. The uniform is wrong of course, but there is not a huge range of choice available in 40mm at the moment, and he is bound for games of Sharp Practice in any case.

These two are intended to be Portuguese militia, though rather well equipped (probably hid their kit when Junot disbanded the Portuguese regular armies). The Shakos are Spanish I suppose but let's not nit-pick!

Right back to work now :(
I am not sure when I will be able to do the next update, what with moving house and all, but I suspect posts will pick up significantly once the current madness is over!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quick update!

On a whim (yes I know, but a leopard can't change its spots!) I decided to get hold of a few of the Perry's 40mm Peninsular War figures, they just looked so damnably good! Needless to say they are even better in the flesh than on the website where they looked fantastic anyway. I just had to paint one straight away, and after painting well over a hundred ACW 28s in the last month it was a pleasant and well deserved break. Click pictures to enlarge!

I have often fancied a bit of heroic skirmishing and my copy of the Sharp Practice rules are as yet unused so I will probably aim to build up a couple of small forces as and when time allows. I now have 3 active projects which is just madness really, still I can see games of Sharp Practice happening quite happily with just 30 or so figures a side, that isn't really a lot of painting!

Just to show I really have been painting other stuff here is a shot of the 20th Massachusetts (red blanket rolls but original white regimental not the post Ball's Bluff red one. That may be wrong but I like it!).

Will try to get some more ACW photos up soon, but I have a big job interview on Wednesday, busy busy busy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

What am I up to?

Busy month, and I mean seriously busy! I have spent most of my time in the last 3 weeks split between finishing the final chapter of my PhD (which is tantalisingly close!), arranging things for my wedding in September and applying for jobs and attending interviews. As you can imagine little in the way of wargaming time has been available! Even so I have managed to paint a surprisingly decent number of figures, mainly while watching television with my fiancée in the evenings. The secret has been the Army Painter system, which I am totally sold on. It really lets you paint very casually and yet gives very acceptable results. Now I certainly wouldn't use it for some projects, my imagi-nations figures for example, but for the ACW that worn and ragged look that results is just perfect.

Speaking of imagi-nations I have made the decision to rebase my 2 completed regiments. This was not an easy decision, I love the Grant style big battalions and they look wonderful on the shelf with their individual bases, but one go at moving them round the table in their current organisations immediately sold me on the multi-figure base route. Picking up a row of figures after they have collapsed domino style the first time may be amusing, it is certainly not so on the tenth occasion. I am also driven towards a different ruleset, Die Kriegskunst. The Grant rules are fantastic but unpracticable for my current setup of a 6 x 5 foot table. I want the big battalions, but my tablespace says otherwise. I have also become very keen on the General de Brigade system (upon which Die Kriegskunst and Guns at Gettysburg are based) and it makes sense to stick to one rules family, especially as they are so good!

Anyhow I hope to get some more free time soon to take and post some pictures of my ACW units (especially as I am expecting the arrival of some more Flag Dude flags this week). Toodle pip!

Monday, April 20, 2009

WW2 weekend!

The usual suspects converged on Schloss Burnstone for a weekend of over-eating and battlegaming this past weekend. WW2 skirmishing is something that has been bubbling under in the group for some time but it is only recently that we picked a set of rules that we all liked, 'Rules of Engagement', by Great Escape Games. All the British and German figures in the photos were painted by the extremely talented Edward Jackman, and the US Airborne by the equally talented Patrick Quinlan. Scratch built buildings by Eddie too, and don't they look grand!

The pictures got rather jumbled when I uploaded them and so are in no kind of sequence, enjoy the eye candy! All pictures are clickable for enlargement!

The gamers, left to right, Edward Jackman, Andy Brown, Patrick Quinlan, James Yeo

We played 4 games over the course of the weekend, the first 2 being smallish introductory games as none of us had actually played a game using 'Rules of Engagement' before. The general consensus was that the rules were great fun and the games went as you would have imagined such fights should go. The results seemed realistic and yet the games ran pretty quickly which is always satisfying. Good tactics were rewarded with success. The small red arrows seen in some of the images are potential locations of hidden squads, they outnumbered actual squads by 50% injecting some real tension and surprise into the scenarios.

I modified two of Charles Grant's Table Top Teasers originally published in Battlegames Magazine and available as an excellent compilation book. The first of these scenarios was a variant of 'Turning the flank or losing two fords' that was fought as a British airborne night attack against a German occupied village. The result was in the Germans favour but it was looking very close towards the end, we diced to see when the game would end (between 14 and 18 turns) and unfortunately for the attackers it was turn 14. A few more turns and the result may have been quite different.

British Sappers prepare to blow the bridge at Kronstadt.

German reinforcements rush across the bridge at St Anton in our replay of 'Turning the Flank'

The second Teaser I adapted was 'The Bridge at Kronstadt' which was fought as a German attack. Again things were going very closely until unfortunately the game had to be abandoned due to time constraints. We all had a great time though, and I cannot recommend 'Table Top Teasers Vol. 1' enough. If you haven't got it do head over to the Battlegames site and get yourself a copy. Although written for Horse and Musket games primarily they are great scenarios for all periods and require just a little modification to achieve a fantastic game whatever forces are available.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We are coming father Abraham

A departure from the norm today so I can blog a little about what is undoubtedly my favourite period when it comes to military history, the War Between the States. I have long had a fascination with this period (as perhaps you can tell from my mugshot to the left) but have been pretty unsuccessful with bringing that interest to wargaming fruition as it were. I think my main problem is that in the past I have gone about it wrong or to put it bluntly in the wrong scale. About a year and a half ago or thereabouts I started a 6mm project and completed around 20 regiments for each side. I was unhappy though as although I liked the models up close when I held them I felt they 'got lost' on the table and did not give me the feeling of character, individuality and excitement that I think the period merits. Now I am not knocking the scale in general, it is undoubtedly excellent in many ways, however it just felt too impersonal for me and I am afraid my interest in completing the project waned.

All pictures are clickable to enlarge!

"Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the jubilee!
"Hurrah! Hurrah! The Flag that makes you free!"

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I attended Salute 2009 in London. I do not know what overtook me but having not planned to I was overwhelmed with the desire when I was there to get some Civil War figures. I had heard of the Perry plastics before of course but I could not help buying a box when I saw them there, and on a whim a pair of Flag Dude flags too. Having got home I was not even planning to paint them straight away - being short on time and heavily involved in my 18th Century armies. I then saw, however, a couple of threads on TMP about dipping these models and saw Monty's great looking troops over at his blog and I knew I had to have a go. The models above are the result. They took but a single evening to produce (around 3.5 hrs painting) and in fact I have to say I really like the results. They are a bit muddy and lacking in detail, but if you can knock out a unit in a single evening then to be quite frank, who cares?

"Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!"
"Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!"

I now plan to develop this project alongside my 18th Century armies, as those are being painted carefully and meticulously and will take some time to reach a playable state. I also plan to use my 18th Century armies with the Charles Grant rules and so I look forward to having armies based for a more modern set to complement them, in this case I am going for Guns at Gettysburg, which are based on the General de Brigade system. The 2 6mm photos above and below are of models I painted over a year ago. I always paint both sides nowadays as the difficulty in finding opponents with complementary armies can be quite a problem. In addition I like to play solo games and to host games for people that do not have armies and so having two complimentary armies on hand is always a bonus.

"We are coming, coming our union to restore,"
"We are coming, Father Abraham, with three hundred thousand more!"

I think the problem for me with the smaller scale is that I felt that when they were on the table I felt more like I was pushing around wooden blocks than model figures. My eyesight is not great and I had serious trouble dealing with the small elements in a game. I know many will differ with me here but I simply prefer the aesthetics of the larger models and the intimacy of smaller brigade and regimental level engagements. It will also help that I do not need to get a whole new set of terrain, with the majority of the pieces I use for 28mm games in other periods perfectly usable with these models.
Anyway it has been a busy few days but the Marquisate of Valerno's first regiment is finished. I will hold off posting any pictures until I can set up my gaming table this weekend - no dedicated gaming room for me I'm afraid. I have some friend's converging on Schloss Burnstone this weekend for some WW2 skirmishing using the Rules of Engagement and with a scenario I have adapted from one of Mr Grant's Table Top Teasers. We shall have the pleasure of using my friend Eddie Jackman's models, his painting skills are of the level the rest of us can but dream of. I shall take photo's!

"Hear the 'Battle Cry of Freedom,'"
"How it swells upon the air,"
"Oh, yes, we'll rally 'round the standard,"
"Or we'll perish nobly there."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Marquisate of Valerno marches forth!

Well they are not quite finished but I have been able to commit enough time to painting them that at least the rank and file are done, if not yet based. Both pictures are clickable if you wish to see an enlarged version!

These men will make up the rank and file of IR3 of the Marquisate of Valerno, the musketeers 'Conte Di Costa'. Hopefully their commander Basilio Leopoldo the Conte di Costa and his officers will be completed next week and they can all be transferred to their gaming bases.

The flag below is the units regimental flag, the national flag is to be seen on the info bar to the left. I am not quite sure now why I went with orange, it is a singularly horrible colour to paint as the coverage is awful!

I am now off for a long weekend to Portugal to introduce my parents to my fiancees parents. Should be fun :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The slow march of progress

Well it has been some month! I have been working flat out to get my PhD written up which unfortunately hasn't left any time for painting and so the first regiment of the Marquisate of Valerno languishes unfinished on the painting table.
Anyway due to various factors I have had to extend my hand in date and so in fact the pressure is now somewhat less than it has been in the last few weeks and I hope to be able to do some painting to take my mind off things. Hopefully I will have made enough progress to warrant a few pictures sometime next week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Regt. 'Prinz Hapnick' finished and first artillery

Well it has been a fairly unproductive week painting wise, the last five members of the first Hesse-Witten regiment and one artillery piece and crew, and unfortunately with work mounting up for my thesis it doesn't look like things will pick up anytime soon.

The musketeers 'Prinz Hapnick' in all their glory (click to enlarge)

This regiment has been an utter pleasure to paint. A few people enquired of me after my last post about what painting techniques I use. The answer is as few as possible! Most of the colours on my troops are simple block colours with no highlighting or washing, notable exceptions being the flesh and white areas. In general I feel that simple but careful painting, making sure to leave a thin line of black undercoat to define the edges of colour areas, achieves good results en masse.

Prinz Hapnick's officers and drummer (click to enlarge)

I'm going to have to say a few more words of praise for these Minden sculpts, they really are fantastic and surprisingly easy to paint. The detail is very clear and in most cases has good depth and so is easy to pick out with some careful brushwork. The figures have a lot of character too, and just seem so much nicer to me than the usual cast of peculiarly proportioned figures.

The colour party (click to enlarge)

I produced these flags using a combination of the free vector art program Inkscape and photoshop elements 6. They are printed onto 140gsm paper and then stuck onto the flagpole with good old PVA glue. I want to create unique regimental flags but tie units together with common designs or colours.

My first artillery, Minden gunners with a Berliner Zinnfiguren cannon (click to enlarge)

The artillery arm of the Hesse-Witten Freie Stadt's army is just in its infancy and their rather garish red small clothes have been chosen to give the branch a distinctive identity. The cannon is a Berliner Zinnfiguren 1760 Prussian 12 pounder, I saw this company's wares mentioned on Der Alte Fritz's excellent blog and they do indeed seem to be a perfect size match for the Mindens.

Another view of the gun crew. Feuer frei!(click to enlarge)