Thursday, March 7, 2019

3mm Napoleonic Portuguese Infantry for Blucher


Hi Folks,

Quite literally, I have a small update today.

Here are a few more brigades of 3mm Napoleonic Portuguese infantry to add to the collection for 'Blucher'. 


These are 3mm Napoleonics from Pico Armor (sourced from Oddzial Osmy out of Poland). The figures are based on 2" x 1.75" MDF bases with a 3mm thickness and rounded corners. The thickness is to allow players to more easily pick them up and the rounded corners is simply because I like the look of them (it gives the finished product kind of a wargaming chit appearance).


The common base size for 'Blucher' calls for a 3" frontage, but I've decided to go with 2" as it allows for very large battles to be played on the 8 x 5 surface which we typically use. To provide a little more perspective, by using this 2" base scale each inch equates to 150 yards, so one square foot on the tabletop is equal to about a square mile in the game. This allows us to better recreate sprawling actions like Wagram or Vitoria on a single tabletop.

Examples of various unit types, left to right: French foot artillery, infantry and heavy cavalry
To my way of thinking, painting these figures requires a fairly minimalist approach, maintaining just a basic level of detail to communicate what the figures are supposed to be.

For the infantry, I base everything up, texture the base and then prime the whole thing black. From there, I drybrush everything a light grey and then start applying over-saturated colours. 

The way I see it is that these figures should simply convey their primary features, first being their national uniform colour, with only a nod to other elements (namely face, hands, trousers, shako and bayonet), otherwise you can easily get drawn into the rabbit-hole of trying to paint fine details which will never be appreciated when seen en mass - in fact I find that too much painted detail can make the figure too 'busy', detracting from conveying the main uniform colour: French should primarily be blue, British red, Austrians white, etc. I think of these bases almost as boardgame chits, perhaps more like three dimensional playing tokens.

Examples of three British infantry brigades moving through a Spanish hill town.
Perceptive readers will have noticed that, since I base and prime everything from the start, I leave out painting the middle ranks or any inward-facing detail. Yes, in this scale I only paint the front of the front rank, the rear of the rear rank and the top of their heads and shoulders. Early on, I discovered that after painting every figure, if found the interior facing detail is completely lost once the strips of figures are based up. It's a complete waste of time and effort. So now I just paint the perimeter of the formations and I find that you can't tell the difference between the 'all-figure-detail' bases and those which are more minimalist 


The basework is drybrushed two tones of brown with a khaki highlight. I then use a semi-opaque green tinted model railway emulsion to provide a base tone for the light scatter of flock I apply later. I'll often use a brown ink wash to make 'tracks' behind the formations, showing where they have trampled through the terrain. I then paint a mark on the front center which is used in the rules for line-of-sight and movement (here it is red edged with yellow for the Portuguese, but would be blue for the French, white for the Austrians, etc.). Finally, I print off a 3.5mm label to affix it to the rear corner of the base (these are so we can use roster sheets to track all the unit information).

So these five bases should cover the majority of actions where the Portuguese fought with the British in the Peninsula, with perhaps a couple more needed for the climatic action at Vittoria. 

Thanks for dropping in!

6 comments:

  1. Small is certainly right, but they sure do look good! Great to see the village again though.

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    1. Thanks Ray, I feel like I have to amortize it for the amount of time I spent working on it. :)

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  2. Nice work! I love the Pico 3mm figs and you've put a nice look together with the way these units are based. I am also constantly assessing how much detail to try with these but still stay within the time efficiency you gain at this scale.

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    1. Thanks Ray. Yes, I spent a bit of time working on test bases to see what worked and what just ate up time to little gain. I think I've hit a balance I can live with here.

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  3. Since these are so tiny, and you skip painting the middle figures of the regiment, how long does it take to paint them?

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    1. Hmm, that's a good question. I probably spend more time prepping the base than actually painting them. If I would hazard a guess, after they are based and primed I probably spend a couple hours on each base, with most of that working on the groundwork. The cavalry take up way more time as they're not on strips so need to be painted individually. Those probably take close to five hours to do. (Thankfully you don't need too many brigades of cavalry, just enough to do a few divisions.)

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