Friday, 20 February 2015

71st Foot (2)

The 71st Foot was one of the first regiments I painted for the AWI, over 10 years ago now - those earlier efforts can be seen here.  The 71st raised 2 battalions and both were present at the battles of Long Island and Brandywine - for the "British Grenadier!" orbats the units are 18 figures each - so I painted both battalions.  For Cowpens and Stono Ferry (the latter being in the forthcoming 4th scenario book) you need one battalion of 24 figures.  That was no problem, as I could take one of the 18-figure battalions and add another stand of 6 figures from the second battalion.  However, my 71st are in a marching pose and at Stono Ferry the regiment defended its camp against an American assault.  I played a test game of Stono Ferry with Eclaireur a while ago and used my existing marching figures - the report on that is here.  Bill Nevins has since released firing line highlanders in his excellent King's Mountain Miniatures range and so I decided to paint up a new unit in firing line poses to use in this particular scenario.  This now brings the number of highlanders in my British collection to 124 figures!

There are a couple of things to note about this unit.  First, I wanted the unit to look like one that had assembled quickly to react to a surprise attack.  That explains why I've used a variety of poses.  Yes, I know that British regulars didn't usually kneel to shoot; but I think the irregular look of the line is suitable for this kind of engagement.  The men are defending a camp which has some abatis protection - why wouldn't they kneel to take advantage of that cover?  Secondly, the sharp eyed will notice that some of the bases are larger than others.  That's simply a mistake - I didn't notice until I'd finished the basing, and what had happened was that I hadn't realised I'd run out of my standard 4-figure infantry bases and was using ones I assumed were the correct size.  I'm not too sure what they are, but then I suppose this adds to the irregular look of the unit.  Thirdly, I decided not to have flags.  I don't think there were flags with the detachment at Stono Ferry and I thought the unit would look more authentic without them.  Lastly, given that my existing 71st are all in tartan trews, I gave these chaps some trews as well.  But I couldn't face painting 24 pairs of them so the others are in standard brown and tan overalls.  If you ever paint highlanders don't forget that the belts, equipment etc were usually black.

24 figures.  Painted over the summer, 2014.  The buildings in the background are custom-made by Tablescape.



Thursday, 19 February 2015

Eight year anniversary

Hmm, so some time in early January this blog passed its eighth birthday.  I did draft a post but it then vanished.  Anyway, what a disaster 2014 was from a blogging perspective - even worse than the highly unimpressive 2013.  Despite all the good intentions and promises of regular updates, it just didn't happen.  I'm not sure precisely why - probably a combination of various things.  I was in New Zealand for most of January and then experienced a total loss of mojo upon my return.  Painting time has now slowed to a trickle, being whatever I can snatch in the evenings and the odd 30 minutes here and there during the weekend.  How I miss the days before children, when I'd get up at 6am at the weekend and then paint for 3 hours before the Kiwi woke up and asked me to bring her breakfast!  There was a hiatus in July when my mother-in-law died and the Kiwi had to return to NZ by herself for over 2 weeks, leaving me in sole charge of the boys.  Then September to December was an awful time at work - as with January-March, I barely picked up a paint brush during that period.  So I'm not sorry to see the back of 2014, to be honest.

So "must try harder" is the comment on this year's end of term report.  The fact that it is not mid-February is not encouraging, but I'm aware that I've sat on this post for a while and I'm sensing a return to form.  I'm grateful to all readers who have stuck with this blog - I'm certain that 2015 will be better.  It can't not be, actually, since I have 5 posts' worth of material waiting to go already!  In terms of painting, the year's tally is:

- AWI: 184 infantry (including commission work for Bill Nevins);
- Napoleonics: 27 men, 3 horses and 1 post carriage;
- Other: 17 infantry.

So the total in "points" is 232; lower than last year's tally of 305 and much lower than 2008's total of 468!The "other" refers to some old Darkest Africa figures I repaired and tarted up over the summer and my Christmas project, which was to paint various things for the New Zealand Wars.  I've painted 4 packs of those figures already and want to do a couple more - then I might have a second "New Zealand Week".  On the left are some Maori figures I need to finish basing and you can see some Royal Navy types at the top of this post.  Also currently being based and/or finished off are AWI militia, another regiment of Continental Line, Isabelino infantry for the First Carlist War, some cows, Napoleonic French chasseurs, "Darkest Africa" natives and Stonewall Jackson.  That eclectic mix is the result of  trying to finish off lots of half-painted stuff that's been lying around my desk, sometimes for over a couple of years.  Finishing off Stonewall Jackson will give me an excuse to revisit all the ACW figures I painted a few years ago and never bothered posting about - "ACW Week" was always about to happen but then didn't.

Hmm...who are these chaps?

Hey ho.  Sometimes I wonder whether it's time to wind this place up, but I'm going to make an effort to make up for last year.  And if that proves to be another empty promise, well it probably is then time to let others take the torch forward!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

10th Massachusetts

The 10th Massachusetts was raised in 1776 at Boston and assigned the following year to the Northern Department.  In October 1777 it was assigned to the main Continental Army.  It appears that a Colonel Thomas Marshall was commanding officer from 6 November 1776 until 1 January 1781. Colonel Benjamin Tupper was commanding officer from 1 January 1781 until 1 January 1783.  I haven't managed to find out anything else about this regiment.  Wikipedia states that it was present at Saratoga and Monmouth, which seems plausible enough.

I was inspired by the Don Troiani painting of this regiment, which showed the brown coats with sea-green facings.  I knew nothing of the regiment but was drawn to the brown faced blue-green facings.  The round hats suggested that this would be a good unit with which to start on my Perry plastic Continental Infantry sets.  The facings were painted with Foundry's "Teal Blue 24" palette and the coats with "Bay Brown 42".  I wanted to have some variation in the colour of the breeches and stockings.  The flag design is taken from an image I found on the internet, attributed to the regiment.  I have never seen a flag with this design, but it's different and somehow the pink/peach colour of the flag goes quite well with the green/brown look of the regimental coats.  Another point to note is that this is the first unit I've painted and then not varnished.  This is largely an experiment - I had noticed that the varnishes I was using dulled the colours and in particular took the edge off the faces.  No doubt some readers will think the latter is a good thing, as the unvarnished faces here do look a little shiny, as a result of the brown ink washes I use.  I'm not sure I'd leave metals unvarnished, but I think these plastic figures may have benefitted from it. 

As noted above, I don't have much information on this regiment's battle history and it doesn't appear in any of the published "British Grenadier!"/Caliver scenario books.  Plenty of Massachusetts regiments do, however, and so I would ensivage uses these figures when something more specific is lacking - for example, the Princeton scenario has two 12-figure units of "combined Massachusetts regiments".  I'm surprised to see that it has been 4 years since my last unit of regular American infantry.  But these figures were fun to paint and in uniform colour and pose are quite different to anything else I have in my collection.  I finished painting the figures in August but then got stuck on the flag for a while until I found the online example.

24 figures. Painted July/August 2014.



Monday, 8 December 2014

American Militia (9)

It's a sign of how far I've fallen behind with things that this unit was painted at the beginning of the year.  It remained unfinished because I couldn't find a flag that fitted the standard bearer.  The pole is cast on and too small for GMB or inded any other commercial flags that I had.  So I needed to paint one up myself and I just never got around to doing so...until last week.  So this unit of American militia stood on my bookcase unfinished for almost a year.  It uses a mix of Foundry and Perry figures, together with one figure from one Conquest Miniatures' "settlers" packs (back row, second from left).  I painted most of the figures years ago (see here) but saved two back as I thought they would fit into larger militia units rather than act as skirmishers.  The smaller size of the Conquest figures makes them a good fit for teenagers - I thought of that scene in "The Patriot" where Heath Ledger interrupts a church service to call out the militia and a couple of boys stand up with their fathers.  There's also a marching figure that is in another unit I'm just finishing off now.

The Perry figures are a mix of "northern" and "southern" packs.  I just wanted to use up all my remaining firing militia figures.  The officer is, I'm pretty sure, modelled on Colonel William Prescott, one of the patriot commanders at Bunker Hill.  He is usually depicted in a long overcoat and a floppy hat, brandishing a sword.  There's a terrific statue of him at the site of the battle (see here for my reminiscences on visiting Boston).  Prescott was 49 at the time of the battle, so may well have been rather thin on top.  He is credited with giving the order "don't shoot until you see the white of their eyes".  He survived the battle and appears to have then commanded a regiment of the Continental line.  The flag is a very simple hand-painted affair - "LIBERTY!" on a white background.

I'm determined to get up to date on this blog by the end of the year.  So, and I appreciate I keep saying this, there will be more regular blogs posts  over the next few weeks.  I certainly have enough material now. 

18 figures. Painted January/February 2014.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Current wip

Apologies again - work has completely taken over my life for the past 2 months or so and I just haven't been able to turn my mind to much hobby-related stuff.  I also haven't managed to find the time to travel the few miles down the road from my office to see the amazing ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London.  I saw it in July and it looked pretty impressive then.  But now it has a poppy for every British and Commonwealth soldier killed in WW1 and it is quite wonderful.   On the painting front I have various things close to being finished: here's a photo of 3 different units that are in varying stages of completion: 2 battalions of Continentals (one of which utilises Perry plastics) and another battalion of 1815 French (Perry plastics again).  Also on the painting desk are a Napoleonic French post coach, more AWI militia and a "milking time" vignette from Eureka Miniatures.  And of course AWI highlanders and mountain men for Bill.  Phew!  I started on the 1815 French simply because I had a sudden urge to paint some - as I've said many times, I absolutely love these Perry plastic French infantry and I still think that it's the best infantry set that the Perries have produced in plastic (and I've painted 6 of their plastic codes so far).  Indeed, I've found painting these figures actually rather therapeutic over the past few weeks.

Readers Simon and Simmy asked recently how I'd found the Perry plastic Continentals.  Simon noted some difficulty in putting the figures together and he's right - having to glue the arms on can be a bit tricky and, as noted with the AWI British plastics, removing the hats from the sprues can also cause problems.  But I like the figures - naturally posed and excellent facial detail.  You can see from the photo how the size/proportions of new Continental plastics are rather different to the French infantry on the right - the former are quite a bit slimmer.

Is the chap in the middle another "Alan"...?

And here's a photo of the Napoleonic post coach, made by Westfalia Miniatures.  Although it's based it is not quite finished, as I have the outside lamp to paint and attach to the other side of the coach.  Now, if you thought putting Perry plastic infantry together is fiddly...

So the above is a taster of what I've been doing for the past 6 weeks or so, and again I'm sorry that both this blog and my appreciation of other blogs have gone awol again for a while.  I will have at least one "proper" post at the weekend, as those photos (of something that's a bit of a departure from my usual stuff) are already in the bag.  I then need a bit of sunshine to take some others, including another unit of the 71st Foot and the above Perry plastic Continentals, which I have now finished.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

American Militia (8)

This is a unit of militia that consists of Galloping Major F&IW figures.  I first started working on it in June last year, having picked up a couple of packs of "skirmishing settlers" at Salute.  GM announced shortly afterwards that they were working on more militia figures so I waited for those to be released to complete the unit.  Those figures came out earlier this year and so this unit contains a mix of lightly-armed settler types and more heavily equipped militia.  I thik the mix works well, although some might quibble whether you'd find men in shirtsleeves and coats at the same time - it would be either too cold to be in shirtsleeves or too warm to need a coat!  The GM packs don't contain a standard bearer figure.  I suppose it might be possible to convert one, but I don't mind and I'm quite happy to have one militia unit that doesn't carry a flag as it can be used as Loyalists or Rebels.  

In fact, when painting these figures I had them in mind as being used primarily for Loyalists - rightly or not, the more old-fashioned nature of the clothing (bearing in mind that these figures are designed for used in the 1750s) suggested to me men of a more conservative nature.  I also had an eye on the Savannah scenario, which I've been working at on-and-off over the past couple of years - this requires a 20-figure unit of Tory militia.  Other scenarios which feature units of loyalist militia are Camden (20 figures) and Hobkirk's Hill (16 figures).  The poses of some figures would be good for smirmishers.  If I'd started work on this unit once all the figures had been released I'd probably have saved some of the kneeling and running figures back and put those on some special skirmish bases.  Perhaps I should have reversed the chap who is holding onto his hat and running so that it looked like he'd lost his bottle and was making a run for it.  There is no standard bearer in the command packs, but that's not a problem unless you feel you really must have a standard in every unit - most militia didn't carry standard or flags, I suspect.

The figures are on the large side of 25/28mm.  Being F&IW figures their reference point in terms of size is more Redoubt Miniatures than Conquest; the latter would look rather puny in comparison.  So I'd suggest keeping these figures in their own units and not mix them with other standard AWI ranges.  They are, however, a very good fit for the new(ish) King's Mountain Miniatures over mountain men, which Bill Nevins tells me were designed with more than one eye on the F&IW.  The figures are easy to paint - the surface detail is crisp and accessible and the various straps are clearly set out.

You can't have too many militiamen for the AIW, so I recommend these figures, which come from a mixture of "settlers" and "un-uniformed militia" packs.  Galloping Major have some sailors n the pipeline which will also be very useful for the AWI - the Savannah scenario, for example, requires a unit of 8 sailors.  So it's worth putting this company on your AWI radar.

24 figures.  Painted June 2013-June 2014.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Highlander Casualties

Just a quick post while I work up a couple of longer ones.  These are painted examples of the prone casualty figure from the King's Mountain Miniatures highlanders range.  KMM do 3 highlander casualty figures - 2 standing (although I think one is designed to be advancing/charging) and this dead chap.  I have painted 4 for my own collection - 2 from the 71st Foot and 2 from the 76th Foot.  The 42nd Foot in my collection are in full plaid (at the moment - eventually I will do them in overalls and campaign dress as well) so I haven't painted any casualty figures for the Black Watch as yet.  However, below are a couple of these figures that I have painted for Bill as the 42nd.

Four figures. Painted May 2014.