Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From SidneyR: 28mm Great War French & Germans (125 points)

Here is Sidney's next entry, building on his new project focusing on the titanic battles for the Verdun fortresses.

From Sidney:
Well, here's my next instalment.  Les Poilus sont arriv├ęs!!  Enfin!!
There's 10 gas masked late war French infantry and 8 casualty figures.  All of them are Old Glory 25/28mm figures which I painted up really to test a few things.  As you can see, I got rather carried away with the bases! 
I wanted to work on Horizon Bleu as a colour and see how it would blend with a number of shade tones.  I found that the following painting formula looks reasonable – (i) a base of 50% Vallejo Neutral Grey and 50% Vallejo French Mirage Blue; (ii) a shade tone applied on the base of Vallejo German Grey mixed with a little (say a large dab but no more) of Vallejo Neutral Grey; a highlight of Vallejo White mixed with the base tone of  50% Vallejo Neutral Grey and 50% Vallejo French Mirage Blue (adding more white to suit the top highlights).  Life-long Francophiles (including myself) may be horrified about using Vallejo German Grey on Great War French figures -  I confess it troubled me as well, hence the dab of Vallejo Neutral Grey to the shade colour!  Let me know what you think of the Horizon Bleu colour.  Fingers crossed I’m getting there with the colour and tone … 
The attacking figures are depicted wearing the late war M2 French gas mask.  Sadly, no one else but Old Glory produces late War French in gas masks, which is odd considering the amount of gaz floating around the battlefields of Verdun and the Chemin des Dames. 
The Old Glory figures were a bit of a revelation when I painted them.  I’ve had them for a while and really didn’t like them when they first arrived.  The attacking figures arrived looking very shiny (difficult to make out the detail) and with the bayonets bent in weird surrealist angles.  But they are a very good match size-wise and bulk-wise for Great War Miniatures.  They really came to life once the rifles and bayonets were straightened and they were undercoated.  I like the dynamic pose of the attacking troops – they’ll be perfect for trench cleaners, “les nettoyeurs de tranchees”.
The French casualties were just great figures to work with.  They reminded me a lot of old-style Perry figures.  I added a few bedding rolls, mess tins, pinard bottles and water bottles.  I also made a sack of hand grenades and mini-grenades from greystuff.  No, he’s not collapsed after an energetic game of boules (as suggested by my wife!).

I also wanted a different ground effect on the bases than I’ve gone for on my German and British troops.  Although I’ve done some brickwork and rubble, I’ve also experimented with some fallen leaves.  These seemed to suit the atmosphere of the late winter woods around Verdun – definitely not “home before the leaves have fallen”.

Also, I painted up a German Stosstruppen company command group.  I’ve done a couple of German command groups before, but I wanted something more “front-line” and action-focused.  The Great War Miniatures German troops armed with MP18 Bergmann sub-machine guns gave me the chance.   The command group will be placed on the German baseline in an up-coming game, so they gave me the chance to play around with a diorama as well.

Next up are two Crapouillots.  And no, I’m not being rude!

What a stonkingly gorgeous entry! These are just top-shelf stuff. As I mentioned to Sidney offline I think he's really nailed down that tricky French 'Horizon Bleu' colour. The diorama is superb and the rubble mixed with leaves creates a great juxtaposition. 

This group gives Sidney a base of 95 points, but I'm adding on another 30 for the diorama and various additions/conversions to the bases.  A horrifyingly beautiful feast for the eyes!


  1. These are really excellent, those bricks wow!

  2. Incredible stuff. These are the kinds of posts that drag me into new periods!!

  3. Sidney is one of the great artists of our hobby. Extra points richly deserved. Bravo, maestro!

  4. Superb stuff there Sidney! You are the definitive WWI painter.


  5. Superb work on all of these and the terrain. I have OG French and really like them - you painted them much more realistically - mine are lot bluer - kind of a baby-blue. The German's are great too - especially like the camo pattern on the helmets. I have OG Germans - do you find Great War Minis compatible size wise to the OG French? Best, Dean

  6. fantastic work, its pure art with the base work being the icing on the cake
    Peace James

  7. Wow!!! A spectacular feast for the eyes!!! Well done Sydney!

  8. Masterful execution - and great storytelling Sydney. Judging a colour from photo's can be hard based on lighting used, and exposure times etc .Personally from what i see i think a little more blue favour to mix maybe IMHO.

  9. Thanks guys - very much appreciated. I'll be offering some more thoughts on Horizon Bleu in later posts here and my own blog because (as DaveD mentions) there's still some experimenting and work to do! Thanks again.

  10. Excellent work, really enjoying your WWI submissions


  11. What size basing did you use? Looks like 1 inch round for individual infantry, 2 inch round for double and 2 inch hex for officer?

    1. Thanks Jim.

      All the bases are 3mm thick MDF, and were supplied by either Litko in the US, or Warbases in Falkirk, Scotland. The standard infantry are on 25mm round bases. The diameter of the large scenario base was 80mm.

      Lighter machine gun teams (Lewis gun, MG08/15, Chauchat) are on 40mm round bases. Heavier weapons (mortars, MG08, Vickers, Hotchkiss) are on 60mm round bases. All leaders (or "Big Men" in the rules) are on 30mm hexagonal bases to make them easy to spot on the board.

      Some other figures are on whatever base suits them - such as snipers and non-combatants.

      Hope that helps!


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