Sunday, May 26, 2013

Entry #7 to the Lead Painters' League: 'A Message for Der Alte Fritz' - Seven Years War Prussian Command Stand

I found that one way to gain a few extra points in the Lead Painters' League is to submit a newly painted team for each week's match. One certainly has the option of submitting older stuff from your existing collection (and foregoing the extra points), but that, to me, seems kind of against the spirit of the exercise. In fact I've been really enjoying the whole process of planning my entries and getting them prepared for the coming week's match.

Anyway, as things would have it, this past week work and life conspired against me and I had very little time to work on any hobby projects. Subsequently Friday rolled around and I only had two figures out of the five completed, and the deadline for submission was 6 am Saturday, my time... Damn. I knew I either I had to pull an all-nighter to get them done, or eat crow and submit an existing set of figures (which I was loath to do). After mulling it over I resolved to forego sleep and stick to my guns in an effort to submit a newly-painted entry.

The lovely Sarah, bless her soul, made me two espressos to power me through the night. So  I started in, furiously painting like a man possessed in an attempt to beat the clock. By 4:30 in the morning things looked promising, with the colours mostly done and the figures based. I only had to finish the groundwork and do a bit of highlighting. Well, when I next looked at the clock it was 5:45 and I blearily realized I had 15 minutes to compose the vignette on the backdrop, photograph it and arrange the images for transmission! Yiiikes! By this time dawn had just broke, but being that it was an overcast day the light was quite dim and the pictures turned out rather crappy. I had no time to set up any lights to reshoot so those were the pics I had to go with. Dammit Janet.

So, if you go to the LPL to take a look please accept my apologies for the execrable photos. I have a suspicion that for all the midnight oil I expended I'm going to get smoked due to lousy presentation. Oh well, as Keitel's Feraud in The Duellists would say, 'La!' 

Anyway, enough of my wingeing, as a consolation I took some time today to reshoot the figures in an effort to show them in a better light (literally).

This is my first effort at painting Seven Years War figures. These are gorgeous 28mm castings from  Minden Miniatures, sculpted by the talented Richard Ansell. The figures are quite slight, almost willowy in their stature, but they have a great sense of presence and lots of character. The detail on them is VERY fine which I found quite challenging to paint. Nonetheless they were loads of fun to work with and I look forward to doing some more.

This vignette will serve as a Prussian command stand. The mounted cavalryman I have painted to depict a member of the Zieten Hussars while his dismounted counterpart has been done up as a trooper of the Szekley Hussars. The 'Prussian' infantry officer is a bit of a bodge. He's actually a French infantry officer but I reasoned that the cut of the uniforms were very similar amongst the combatants so I thought I might be forgiven for this bit of heresy.  My personal favourites are the groom and the blacksmith re-shoeing the hussar's mount. I'm particularly taken with the sculpt of the groom who's seen here firmly holding the horse's bridle while gently stroking its neck with a calming hand. Brilliant stuff. The mounted hussar is actually from another set so I had to do some light modifications with greenstuff to create some saddle harness on his horse. No real biggie. I might swap out the mounted infantry officer for a figure of Frederick The Far Better Than Average at a later date, but this will work for now.

I have a few options for what I want to do for Round 8 but I better get a wiggle on so I don't get caught out late again...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Entry #6 to the Lead Painters' League: 'Citizens, We Must Feed the Revolution'

When I first saw this set of figures on the Eureka Miniatures website I knew I had to get them. They really have a certain charm about them - the young lass ardently kneading the dough with her bare feet, while her fellow citizens busily work it into loaves for the baker's oven. Bread to feed the hungry mouths of the Revolution!

I especially like her jaunty feathered bicorne and the men sporting their distinctive Liberty caps.

I've also included an industrious looking fellow sitting astride some sort of workhorse contraption. He's working on... I dunno, some manner of metalwork? Or perhaps he's a woodworker repairing some vital component of Monsieur Guillotine's Le Rasoir National.  You can almost hear some unfortunate aristocrat getting a 'haircut' in the distance accompanied by a refrain of La Marseillaise

Ah, spring in Paris...

I invite you to check out the Lead Painters' League to see all the entries from this week's round.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Entry #5 to the Lead Painters' League: Spanish Civil War Moroccan Regulares

For the 5th match of the Lead Painters' League the organizers have asked for a submission depicting a unit from a 'historical civil war.' As I have quite a mess of Spanish Civil War castings waiting in the wings this seemed a fairly easy fit.

These figures depict a unit of Moroccan Regulares in their very distinctive uniforms. I hear you say, 'Moroccans in the Spanish Civil War?  How did that happen?' Well, many of the officers who initiated the coup were veteran colonial legionnaires, some of which were stationed in Spanish North Africa. Consequently many Moroccan troops were brought over from North Africa to the Spanish mainland  (with significant help from the German air force) in order to fight for the Nationalist cause. By all accounts they were ferocious fighters who gained the fear and grudging respect of the Republicans and played a pivotal role in the first few months of the war.

I find it quite ironic that Franco's military insurrection, which had a mandate to reinstate and protect the power of the Catholic Church, saw no problem at all in utilizing Muslim fighters to fight and subjugate their fellow Spaniards on Spanish soil. Reconquista indeed.

These are 28mm Empress Miniature castings. Like most of their other offerings in this range these are wonderful models to work with - well proportioned, great detail and not much for seam lines or flash. Highly recommended.

I encourage you to visit the Painters' League and check out the various entries.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Entry #4 to the Lead Painters' League: 'A Daughter of the Emperor' Old Guard 12lb Gun & Crew

I thought I'd go back to Napoleonics for my 4th entry to the League. This time I've submitted a  French 12lb gun served by its crew of Old Guard artillerists kitted out in their campaign uniforms.

These are 28mm Perry castings which I've mounted on a thin steel base. Similar to some of my existing field artillery I have used texture gel and some clumped flock to simulate mud and turf sticking to the wheels along with gouges in the terrain indicating the successive recoil and running up of the gun.

Please check out this round's entries from the League and cast your votes. It's always interesting to see what the other painters have submitted and how the judges have matched us up.

For the 5th round, which will be the contest's halfway mark, the League organizers will be awarding extra points if we can submit a group depicting combatants from a 'historical civil war'. My entry is still in progress but I hope to have it completed for the deadline (fingers crossed).