Monday, February 28, 2011

Entry from Greg: 28mm Foundry Austrian Jaegers

Here we have the second entry from Greg for the Painting Challenge: a batch of 12 Austrian Jaegers ready to put the 'volt' back in some voltigeurs. Heh heh, I kill myself sometimes... Anyway, these are 28mm Foundry castings.

As Greg mentions here these guys look like 'Central Casting' characters for a Ricola commercial - except with guns instead of horns.

Greg plans to do a few more Foundry boys based as singles, like these, for skirmishing but will use Alban Miniatures castings for a unit that is formed up into ranks for close order duties.

So this entry puts another dozen points on the scoreboard for Greg. He says he has a full unit of Austrian dragoons in the works so lets see if he can close the gap with JohnM with those boys, or will John beat him to the punch with some fresh stuff? Only time will tell.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From JohnM: 28mm Front Rank IR Vukassovich Austrian (Hungarian) Infantry

Here is the third Challenge entry from JohnM, a battalion of Austrian infantry mustered from  one of the Hungarian provinces (Infantry Regiment Vukassovich to be precise). 28mm Front Rank castings.

John tells me that this battalion started as 16-man ebay purchase (the front rank attack figures) and he then supplemented it with another 20 figures to make up the marching rear rank along with a couple flanking officers.  Good job in matching the colours and paint-style, John (with Quickshade making an appearance again)!

So another 20 points to JohnM's total! I'll have some more stuff up in the next few days in an effort to close the gap...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Field Test: Army Painter Quickshade

I've always been a bit skeptical of the minwax-type 'dips', especially with 'colourful subjects' like Napoleonic figures, as I find it often muddies the brighter colours and can give a jaundiced look to skintones.  Then a few months ago I came across the blog by Saxon Dog and was very impressed with his painting techniques, especially with Army Painter Quickshade. His approach to 'the dip' is a little different than most as he utilizes it merely as a step in the layering process. He blocks in the main colours, brushes with Quickshade and then goes over the highlights before the final matte spray. His results are quite nice, I think.

So I thought I'd give it a go to see if I could pull off a similar effect as I typically use a layering technique as well (though certainly not as nicely executed as Mr. Dog's). My thinking is if I can even take one step out of the process it might reduce my painting time by almost a third, which is no small feat in of itself as I am a fairly slow painter.

For castings, I chose eight 28mm Foundry Napoleonic Russians in greatcoats as I thought that the muted tones of the overcoats would help mitigate any potential disaster I might have with the Quickshade dip.

Here are the eight Russian infantrymen after being primed black and with the main colours blocked-in. I made an effort to spend no more than around five minutes on each figure while blocking-in the colours to see what the results would be like under 'speed painting' conditions (well, speedy for me). I also tried to keep a little blacklining visible in the deeper folds and creases as I was unsure how well (or dark) the dip would penetrate these spots. I found doing this stage really weird as I usually start with a darker basetone and 'lift up' from there. It sort of reminded me of when I first started painting figures as a kid, before I cared about things like shading and highlights. Kinda liberating actually!

I tried to pick base colour tones that were mid to high in brightness as I knew the Army Painter dip would darken them. This way I could use the same colour (or slightly higher) to do the highlights later.

Here they are (above) right after applying the Army Painter Strong Tone with a large brush. My application, for the most part, was fairly light as I was unsure of the results. It worked pretty well, but I think I'd go stronger for the next batch, perhaps even mixing the Strong Tone with a bit of the Dark Tone. Nonetheless, don't go overboard in brushing it on. This is basically varathane so it will build up and soften the casting's detail if you're not careful. Have a jar of thinner on hand to keep the brush supple and to thin out any blotchy areas. Otherwise the whole process moves along pretty quickly (perhaps five minutes application for this batch of eight). I then let the models dry overnight before continuing to the next stage...

The next day I matte sprayed half the figures an kept the others glossy to see how the highlighting would go. Again, I used basically the same colours that I used when blocking-in and I tried to move as fast as possible with the highlighting. I don't think I spent more than seven to ten minutes per figure on the highlighting. The highlighting actually worked pretty well on the glossy finish so I'm thinking I could save a step and only do a matte spray at the end of the process.  Below is a group shot of the batch of eight after the highlighting and with a final light spray of Dull Cote.

And here are separate shots of each figure to give an idea of how they turned out. So, what's your opinion of the results? Hmm, its a little subtle but the whites certainly benefited from the highlighting as otherwise they would look quite dull and muddy. The other colours also get a little more 'punch' from the highlighting. Nonetheless, all-in-all I think that by using the Army Painter dip I shaved approximately 30% off my time as it removed an entire 'stage' in my normal layer-painting routine. That's pretty significant. I'm thinking I'd see even greater benefits when doing cavalry as the horses could be basically done in two stages (basecoat and dip).

I must admit the required 12-hour drying time for the varnish is a little aggravating, as I often like to 'steam along' with my painting without pause, but this isn't really that big of a issue as it just means I will have to be more organized with my time.

I have some KGL Light Dragoons primed and on the table,  ready to go, so I think I'll try the Quickshade with them to see how it works with cavalry...

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Entry from Greg: 28mm Foundry Austrian 6pdr Artillery

Shifting from the steppes of Russia to the Austrian Marchfeld, here we have Greg presenting us with two Austrian 6 pound artillery pieces with their crews, ready to help blast the French back into the Danube (or announce the opening of Oktoberfest). Beautiful work, Greg! You just need one more section and you'll have the battery done. (You see, Greg hates, HATES painting artillery...).

Greg has already built a gorgeous 15mm Austrian force, but has recently decided to take the plunge and do it all again in 28mm, organized around the 'Grande Manner' scale.

These two artillery bases will give Greg 11 points for his opening gambit in the Painting Challenge.

Even though they were completed not long before the Challenge contest parameters I thought I'd include below a few shots (gratefully poached from the Fawcett Ave Conscripts) of some his beefy 40-man infantry battalions. Yes, very nice indeed - bravo, Greg!

Two battalions of German infantry with Command

...and a Grenzer battalion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Painting Entry by Sylvain: 28mm Victrix 1805 -1808 Russians

Here's another entry for the Napoleonic Spring-Thaw Painting Challenge! This one is from my friend Sylvain and he brings to us a battalion of mid-period (1805-08) Russians from the Smolensk Regiment. Beautiful work, Sylvain!

One thing you have to understand is that  Sylvain is a very task-oriented kind of guy, with a terrific amount energy and clear focus (freakishly obsessive, really). So I was delighted when I caught him between projects with a game of 'Black Powder' (I let him win) and a cock n' bull tale of 19th century Russian stoicism, martial glory and their perverse propensity for using acres and acres of guns. The poor man really didn't have a chance. He took it, hook, line and sinker and now I have great expectations of seeing a  Russian army on the table in the near future. All in all an epic win for Curt's Cunning Plan.

These are new(ish) Victrix metals are sculpted by the talented Paul Hicks. In addition to the above lads from Smolensk, Sylvain has the following regiments either arrayed on his painting desk or coming in as reinforcements:

- Novgorod
- Apsheron
- Arkhangelrorod
- Preobrajensky (Guards)
- Pavlov artillery, plus cavalry - the man is completely mad! Bless his soul.

So with this in mind, keep and eye out for more entries from Sylvain in the coming months...

Sylvain tells me that eight of these were done before the Challenge started, with another eight that were already in process, so this group will count for nine points.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Battle Report: The Great Retreat from Waterloo

If you're interested, check out the 'Past Games' section for a battle report of the 'When Things Go Boom' scenario using 'Republic to Empire'. Cheese Warning: Its a bit of a cliffhanger...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

28mm Napoleonic Pioneer Assault Teams

I completed these three pioneer combat stands for the 'When Things go Boom' scenario that I put on for the guys recently. Two are French and one is British with a mish-mash of figures from Foundry, Victrix, Perry and Sash and Saber.

In 'Republic to Empire' a brigade's pioneers can be commandeered together to form specialized assault teams to aid in defending or seizing built-up objectives. These hard nuts are quite the terror in close combat but the downside, of course, is that they are amongst the first to take casualties in a pitched fight. 'Lasalle' also features Engineer bases so these boys will serve for future games in that system as well. I quite like the inclusion of these elements to a game as it builds the excitement when players have to 'ante up' their forces for close combat.

As you can see I didn't have enough pioneer castings to fill all the stands so I included a selection of grenadiers to back them up. This seemed reasonable as I would think grenadiers would be a common choice for leading these kind of assaults. If I hadn't been in such a hurry to get these done for the game I would have modeled them on cobblestone bases with some of the figures carrying ladders, pickaxes, etc. - well, maybe for the next group.

These brawlers will count for 12 points in the Spring-Thaw Painting Challenge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Napoleonic Hypothetical Scenario: The British Retreat from Waterloo

Over in the 'Past Games' section you will find a Napoleonic scenario I cooked-up for a recent set of games. Its built around one of those crazy 'what if's' of history.  The basic premise is that after the battle of Ligny the Prussians decide to fall back on their lines of communication instead of supporting Wellington. The Duke is subsequently defeated at Waterloo. The action depicted takes place during the British mad dash to the sea (and the salvation of the Royal Navy) at a village which overlooks a pontoon bridge crossing the river Rupel. The position has to be held to allow the army to retreat on to Antwerp, but for the French this is a golden opportunity to finally rid itself of 'Perfidious Albion.'

I've put this scenario on a couple times now. Once up in Saskatoon for Tim and John as a 'Black Powder' game (see Tim's report here) and last week using 'Republic to Empire' for the lads here  at home (report to follow). Perhaps next we'll use 'Lasalle'...

I apologize in advance to the scenario's length. I definitely was not living up to my given name when I wrote it up...

Monday, February 14, 2011

JohnM again: 28mm 10e Cuirassiers (redux)

"I don't know about you, Francois, but I found the green more slimming..."
These Perry boys, originally in Dragoon Green, were sent back to 'Wardrobe' for a costume change and here they are in all their Blue glory! Well done John, they look great!

I understand that four of these were done before the Painting Challenge so we'll count the remaining eight for the scoreboard. I'll have to get going so John does not squeak in a hat-trick!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

From JohnM: 28mm British Horse Artillery - Congreve Rocket Battery

Behold, another entry for the Painting Challenge! This one is from John de Terre Neuve. Here are a beautiful set of stands depicting a Congreve rocket battery about to unleash their destruction (entertainment?) on foe and friend alike! These figures are 28mm castings from Old Glory Miniatures

John had started the rocket models prior to the Challenge (check out his helpful review here on his blog) so they fall outside the scoring, but the nine crewmen places him at the leading position on the scoreboard! Rumour has it that there are some French Cuirassiers soon to make their appearance, so keep posted (I understand there was a slight 'wardrobe malfunction' ;) ).

Great work, John!

Excuse me as I scurry back to my painting desk in an effort to catch up...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Painting Challenge Entry: 28mm Napoleonic French Artillery

Here is something to officially kick-off 'The Napoleonic Spring-Thaw Painting Challenge.' I thought that since Perry Miniatures has kindly offered to sponsor some of the prizes for the Challenge (Thanks very much Alan!) I would show off something from their lovely range of models. This is a Perry Miniature 6pd French artillery piece with its crew. I put on a game up Saskatoon last month and Tim pointed out that I should put some mud and turf on the wheels as I clearly show the furrows in the groundwork. I totally agree and so I decided to begin incorporating elements of this into all of my artillery models. 

I saw 'Secundus' post on his blog Iron Mitten how he did his mud effect and I decided to try a slight variation on his technique. To do the 'muck' I first brushed on some slightly watered-down white glue onto the wheel rims and then tweezered some static grass into it. Once that set up I then brushed on Liquitex gloss gel medium mixed with some brown paint. (I also brushed this into the furrows on the base to better tie it all together.) This gives a nice, wet, gloppy look and dries hard. For a bit of added depth I brushed on a bit of  thinned down Citadel Devlan Mud Wash.  

I might go in and trim down some of the mucked flock, but otherwise I'm happy with the overall look of it and will do the same to the rest of the battery.

In terms of the Painting Challenge this is worth 6 points (1pt for each crew and 2 for the gun model). Book 'em, Danno!

I'll have more stuff to post on the blog very soon PLUS I know both Stacy and Sylvain have some Prussians and Russians (respectively) about to make their debut as well so we should see the scoreboard begin to tick along. Huzzah!!