Sunday, May 31, 2015

Entry #7 to the Lead Painters' League - 'Les Paras Francaise en Indochine, 1954'

For my seventh entry to the Lead Painters' League (LPL) I decided to return to my admittedly neglected but not forgotten French Indochina project which I started a couple of years ago.

Actually, it was really great to dig out these figures and get them done-up over the past week. Even though its been a while since I've worked on this project I found it was like putting on an old, comfortable sweater. This probably due to the fact that the Vietnam War served as the focus of my research for my graduate studies (back when dinosaurs strode the earth) and my shameless love for French culture (well, at least their cuisine and wine - hic!).

These 28mm figures from Red Star Miniatures represent the French paratroopers which became so iconic during that conflict. These are Paul Hicks sculpts and are absolutely superb castings, with almost no flash or visible seams to have to mess around with. Their overall animation is very dynamic and well-posed, with a nice variety of heads options available (soft caps, bush hats and helmets) - allowing a nice variation to the range.

These half dozen figures seen here feature a few specialists and some bog-average regulars. 

First up is a .30 cal LMG team firing from a prone position (sorry Greg, I know you hate prone figures!). I discovered that the pair, once assembled, have their M1919A6 Browning in a slightly elevated pose. So instead of messing around, trying to correct it (and invariably making a complete hash of it), I decided instead to mock-up a rotted log to place under the raised bipod in an effort to make the pose look a bit more natural. 

Below is a marksman specialist armed with a long barreled version of the oddly designed, aluminum-stocked MAS36 rifle with a scope attached.

Here we have a fellow fitting a grenade projector to the barrel of his MAS36 rifle.

And two regulars armed with MAS36 rifles, one is hustling forward while the other is giving covering fire.

Finally, a last shot to show the entire force to-date. Yeah, it's slooowly going, um, somewhere...

Thanks for visiting folks!

Next up: 3mm Napoleonics!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Entry #6 to the Lead Painters' League: 'Reds 1918'

My interest in the Russian Civil War began this past winter as a 'little side project' but, as these things often go, has slowly grown out of all proportion with various armoured cars, herds of cossacks and even an armoured train (!) all vying for space on my hobby desk. It's a bit ridiculous actually. To be honest, when I first contemplated getting into the period I was concerned that it would be too boring, with nothing but browns, greys and khaki to look forward to. Nonetheless I soon discovered that the uniforms of the RCW were actually quite colourful and incredibly varied, such as these Kronstadt sailors below who first fought for the Bolsheviks, but ended up as hunted fugitives after refusing to come to heel under the Soviets. 

Another thing I quite enjoy is that the combatants frequently carried huge honkin' banners, usually emblazoned with cryptic political slogans, imperial heraldry or religious iconography. That being said, at times they could also be quite simple affairs, featuring a single colour, like this Red banner proudly being held by a female commissar.

Several of the figures (and the armoured car) pictured above were completed during the last Painting Challenge, so I decided to top them up with another half dozen assorted models for the LPL.

The prone MG team and riflemen are from Copplestone whereas the NCO is from Musketeer and the female Commissar is an Artizan casting.

Similar to my Wars of the Roses figures I'm using red and white flowers on the bases to denote Soviet and White Russian combatants.

I really can't face that armoured train right now, so onto something else, wot!

Next up: French Indochina, 1954

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Entry #5 to the 9th Lead Painters' League - 'Attack of the Clockwork Monkeys'

For something a little off the beaten path I decided to do up this whacky group of clockwork monkeys for my 5th entry to the Lead Painters' League.

These 28mm figures are from Westfalia Miniatures' new steampunk range. I found the castings to be excellent, requiring almost no prep, essentially ready for paint straight out of the packaging.  A delight to work with.

Their fezzes crack me up. I dunno what it is, but there is nothing like a jaunty fez for adding that  je ne c'est quoi to a villain. 

Unfortunately these little fellas didn't really gain much favour with the LPL voters, but no matter, I still had a ball working on them. 

I have another four or five to get done and then they'll be ready to cause clockwork mayhem on the tabletop.

Thanks for stopping for a visit everyone!

Next Up: Bolshevik Infantry from the Russian Civil War

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Entry #4 to the 9th Lead Painters' League: 'Berne Baby Berne' - Swiss Mercenaries, 1476

My friend Peter and I were both bitten by the Italian Wars bug this past winter and so agreed to work together to get some miniatures done for the tabletop. 

For my first unit I thought I'd cut my teeth with some Swiss mercenaries as I reason that they could be used for any of the bewildering number of factions that fought during the period.

These figures represent halberdiers from the Swiss canton of Berne.

All of these figures are Perry metals from their rather vaguely titled 'European Armies' range. These are fantastic models with loads of animation and character. That being said, they did require a fair bit of prep work to get ready for painting (something I have less patience with especially when you pay a premium for the castings themselves and other manufacturers are now providing products that are virtually pristine out of the packaging). 

I decided to go with Berne for no other reason than I had this great pot of orange paint I wanted to try out and I knew the colour featured prominently in that canton's banners. Yup, rather lame, I know.

I chose to arm these guys with a variety of halberds and pole arms as I knew I'll probably use the boxed set of Perry plastics for the my future pike-armed figures. 

I based the models in groups of three on 40mm rounds as I wanted the ability to create quasi mini vignettes, and it also allows me to use them for a variety of rules systems depending on how I decide to mob them up.

For the unit's banner I scanned one provided in the Perry boxed set, printed it off on decent quality cotton paper, molded it to shape using diluted white glue and then repainted it using the same tones I used for the figures.

I often use this approach with my 'homemade' flags as I find that if the colour medium of the flag is the same as the figures (i.e. paint as opposed to laser-printed ink) then they somehow work better together. This is the same reason why I always paint my groundwork instead of leaving it as raw bits of stone, sand and talus. It's weird but it oddly jives with my whacky sensibilities.

I'll add a few more stands to beef up this unit and then try a group of pike and perhaps some Landschneckts. 

Thanks for dropping by!

Next up: Something both Simian and Steampunk...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Entry #3 to the 9th Lead Painter's League - 'Goblins of 1979'

For my third entry to the Painters' League I decided to paint up a set of very old castings that I found in a dark corner of my Lead Shed.

These figures are 25mm Ral Partha Goblins and Great Goblins sculpted by the talented Tom Meier, circa 1979. Though perhaps fairly average sculpts by today's standards, one has to keep in mind that these models were produced over 35 years ago. 

I remember getting these as a youngster for our D&D campaign and being completely blown away by how dynamic and very characterful they were - there was really nothing like them on the market at the time and I think they still hold up rather well.

I was in a bit of a flap to get these done for the LPL deadline and frankly it shows. Nonetheless, I'm content with how they turned out.

I originally picked up quite a few of these in order to play Gary Gygax's 'Chainmail', a set of miniature rules which I remember to being impenetrable at the time, but that recollection may speak more to me being an inexperienced and impatient youth rather than to the rules themselves.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane - back when I had far less pocket money but much more hair!

Next up: Italian Wars!