Monday, September 5, 2016

Spanish Civil War Headquarters (and the last of the Cottages)


For the past few weeks I've been slowly plodding through a group of Spanish cottages that I picked up from Grand Manner. I paired the first two buildings along with some Napoleonic figures, but I thought for this last one I'd place it in a Spanish Civil War setting.

Depicted here is a Nationalist command group who've set up their headquarters up in a little casa close to the front. 

The 28mm figures are from the Empress Miniatures range. I got these from Atlantico Hobbies when we were in Madrid this past spring (great store btw) - and I thought it an apropos purchase in light of the setting. (Thanks again for the day out Alf!)

These figures are listed as Republicans, but since the officer uniforms between the two sides were fairly similar in cut I thought I'd take the liberty of swapping their allegiance. 

I've seen many great vignettes of these figures skillfully arrayed on a single base, but I thought I'd be a bit of a philistine and split them up, allowing the figures to be used separately and also to reduce their footprint so they can easily fit within more confined settings. 


The sculpting on this set is remarkable. For example, the little details crisply cast onto the table - the plate of food, knife, wine bottle and the eyeglasses on the map - all really help to set the scene. 


For the map I've painted a rather impressionistic rendition of the 'Battle of Ciudad Universitaria' which took place during the first months of the war in Madrid.

Period map of the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria.

A modern rendition.

The cottage itself, like its two brothers, is a lovely bit of kit. Highly textured, charming and suitably rustic.

 



The recent popularity in MDF kits is amazing - their quality is excellent and their ease of shipping and assembly is certainly a boon. Nonetheless, there is something about the surface detail which high quality resin models can convey that is very hard to match with MDF. I often find MDF buildings to be too crisp, too geometric, almost too perfect. Certainly this is great for modern or sci-fi buildings, but I find MDF has a difficult time conveying the natural, yet charming imperfections we see in older structures. For example, this cottage has bowed walls, uneven lintels and less than perfect joins, yet the model has a feeling of lived-in authenticity that I don't often see in many MDF models. Maybe its because that MDF is constrained by using perfectly flat planes as its design elements, I'm not sure. I realize that much of this can be softened with judicious sanding, grinding and liberal use of filler, but that seems to defeat the inherent ease and speed of their assembly. This all being said I'll still remain a fan of MDF, as their many benefits outweigh these criticisms, but after working on this series of charming cottages from Grand Manner I clearly see resin terrain has a continuing place in the hobby.


Next up: A bit of Post-Apoc nastiness.

32 comments:

  1. Very nice work! You're right about MDF terrain vs resin in the detail and finishing department, but quality resin can be pricey. Still, the Grand Manner terrain is very nice, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted!

    Lovely work on those figs! That's the human elements taken care of; how many points are you spending on ogres and fauns? I distinctly remember seeing something about those in Franco's Spain...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, one of my favourite movies (though I think the nasty Captain Vidal was the real monster in that tale).

      Thanks for the comment, Ev. Of course you are right about the typically high price of resin models, though I find you usually get what you pay for - I suppose that margin is what MDF manufactuers work within.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful. Really like the command group and the casa is great.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely work on the figures and the building :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice indeed! Love the details on the map table and I agree with your thoughts on mdf buildings, in my view they take too long to make them look good so I may as well just scratch build... But if you need a bunch of buildings quick smart I guess they would be ok!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, MDF provides a nice, relatively easy way to fill a city block. I also find that the smaller the scale the better they work. For example 4Ground's 15mm WWII Western Europe stuff is very nice and looks great en mass.

      Delete
  5. Excellent work all around Curt! That command group is one of my favorite pieces from Empress. I like your idea of splitting them up for more practical usage.

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christopher, it is a really lovely set. One of the best from Hicks, I think.

      Delete
  6. Great work- the command group is really special.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Superb! Love the commanders at the table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Chris. The command piece is an excellent little set. I especially loved working on the map.

      Delete
  8. Beautiful work on the cottage Curt, love the commanders staring at the map too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. another amazing piece of art kind sir! Great addition to your collection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sander, it is nice to add a few more to the lot.

      Delete
  10. Lovely job on your nationalists and the cottage looks suitably run down and wonky, I enjoy scratch building scenery but there is the time saving appeal of mdf and it gives you something pretty good for not too much money, can't be bad!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Iain, yes, both MDF and resin have their place especially when you're a turnip like me who has little skill in scratchbuilding. :)

      Delete
  11. Masterful painting on some exquisite miniatures! It's getting harder and harder to resist the urge to delve head first into yet another topic. The casa too is another fine piece of painting. I really love how you managed to enhance this "lived in" feeling with your paint job.
    Can't agree more on MDF. It definitely has its pro's but making it look as convincing as your casa here would take me almost as long as completely scratch build it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nick. Yes, I often have the patience of a 4-year-old when it comes to the hobby as I always want to move along to the next project so scratchbuilding (which I always stand amazed with the work of others) often falls pretty low on my priority list. I really should give it more of a try though...

      Delete
  12. Great work dude, fantastic stuff, particularly the terrain.

    Agree on MDF, and totally on your approach to splitting up vignettes - the larger the diorama, the less useful they tend to be on the gaming table...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Greg! I tried to set them all up on a single base and it looked good, but, as you point out, it would've narrowed their utility on the tabletop.

      Delete
  13. Fantastic scene again; a quiet corner at the front...
    Great painting work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...just waiting for a shell to come over. ;) Thanks Juan.

      Delete
  14. i think splitting them is good idea, lots of options...

    cracking job too Mr C

    ReplyDelete
  15. Did you know that you can create short urls with AdFly and get dollars from every visit to your short links.

    ReplyDelete