Friday, October 31, 2008

Focus Dave, Focus!

So many Periods so little time. That's my motto and I'm sticking to it. I know somwhere it's said that to really do miniatures right you have to focus on one or two periods and concentrate your time and resources on them and not get distracted by the trap of pursuing too many periods. I've rarely met a gamer who can faithfully stick to that rule except for the notable and fantastically talented Phil at the magnificent Pils-Holstein Campaign. My garage is full of half finished projects that speak to my inability to concentrate when it comes to little men.

That being said, being careful not to get spread too thin has become a necessary survival skill— if not to save my marriage (because she is a VERY understanding spouse...) then at least to keep my Paypal account from groaning under the weight of all that purchased metal yet to be painted.

I've collected figures at one time or another for nearly every major historical period out there and not a few weird Sci Fi detours as well (let's see AT 43 would be my latest in that category...). Most of these eventually get sold, some never to return, but some that, like the seasons, return because either a new line of figures comes out, or a new scale is introduced, or a new set of rules, or I just happen to have a refreshed interest in the period. 40mm has been that for me and it has brought back English Civil War (...had two collections prior in 15mm and 25mm), and French and Indian War (...had a nice collection in 25mm). I recently let go of a huge collection of 25mm Colonials and I know someday that period will come back because the "narrative" of colonial gaming can be such a blast...(as colonial wargamers know, the sun rises and sets on the the Major Generals site!)

The images of my workbench tell the tale... 25s and 40s sitting side by side...and those 10mm Ancients...well that's another story...

One rule in all this stands supreme....NEVER SELL YOUR TERRAIN ;)! ... because you may always come back to the period... I opened a box in my garage the other day that contained a nice scratchbuilt Pathan village...hmmm...maybe I shouldn't have sold those colonials...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Best Things in Life

Time for a bit of reflection on how truly beautiful the season is here in Virginia. My little guy and his lovely mom enjoying the Fall colors at an amazing farm of a friend near our town. The place really sends you back in time...

May We Play Through?

I've currently got a 7 Years war battle set up on my gaming table and I'm finishing that up so that I can get my new ECW stuff out for a small battle. Photos a bit blurry but not so bad for a pic taken on my phone.

Follow the Prince!

I finished the second squadron of Prince Rupert's Horse this evening with the final adding of the carbine or "snaphance" I think it was called...? I painted the carbines separately and glued them on after everything was done. I'm thinking of another layer of highlighting for the horses but I'm going to move on to another unit for now (see "Finished..Unfinished" post). These guys are all ready to raid Waller's baggage train! I also added carbines to my Wallers horse unit after painting the weapons separately. That method works well at 40mm scale...I've found that devoting some close attention to ink wash and shading the weapons really pays off in the look of the the clouds of battle are gathering on the horizon! My table currently has a 25mm 7 Years wars battle set up, but as soon as it's clear, I'm going to throw down the "big rigs" for a battle!

The Sash and Saber figures paint up surprisingly fast and I'm really excited about the result. To keep a rough balance of power between the two armies, I'm going to do another Royalist foot regiment and I think I'm going to try a "forlorn hope" musketeer unit that can serve either side depending on the scenario. I'm thinking of basing them with 2, 80mm wide x 60mm deep cavalry bases but with 5 musketeer figures each roughly arrayed in skirmish formation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Building a 40mm World

With two ECW armies in the works my thoughts turn to how to get a few buildings on the table. I'm guessing that the larger 28mm stuff will generally suffice though with my background in architecture I think I'm going to try a few scratchbuilt structures properly scaled to 40mm as well. I built a bunch of buildings Charles Grant style for my other ongoing Big Project, (25mm 7 Years War using Charles Grant rules and RSM to someday follow...) and they turned out really well, a nice "old school" feel. I already have a bunch of river sections that I made for my 40mm French and Indian War collection (another crazy obsession) but the buildings look a little too American for ECW so I'm going to want a few half timbered "Tudor" era structures and perhaps a fortified house to storm. For Ye Kinge's Pokesay Castle is an awesome example and perhaps over Christmas Break I can get the time to try my hand at making at least a few structures...more anon. Big trees are readily available now that christmas season is coming at big craft outlet stores like Michael's and A.C. Moore here in Virginia. The only thing you have to do with them is spray the snow flocking a nice flat green (again Krylon Camo colors are the ticket) and maybe follow with a lighter drybrush highlight. I got a big bag of 21 assorted sized pines for 14.99 USD that range in size from a couple of inches to a more substantial 7" or 8" that looks proper with my 40mm guys.

...could this be any more fun?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tower Hamlets Regiment of the London Trayned Band

I finished my Tower Hamlets regiment for Parliament this past weekend and the Romanov's work out well. The couple of S&S figures and a few S&S head swaps are hardly noticeable though the S&S are a millimeter or two smaller. I looked at some reenactor pics (Col. Charles Gerard's Regiment of Foot) and differences in individual soldier heights is noticeable so I now officially chalk up differences in the two figure lines to that from now on. Poses of the Romanovs vary less (the arms torsos/legs you get in the bag of 5 are all the same...heads vary) than a bag of S&S so I think you need the S&S to get a good range of poses in a unit.

I was also able to change out my Haselrige's Horse flag thanks to tidders at "For Ye Kinge"...many thanks Alan!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unfinished Finished...

When I first start a collection I sometimes, in my zeal to get to that first small battle, finish a unit without that final layer of highlighting and detail (eyes and such) with the idea that later I'll return to the unit and give it its final polish. I think this will be especially true with these 40s since the larger areas of painted surface will benefit from a more subtle shading than might work on a 28mm. At this point that's yet to be proven but that's what I'm thinking. I'm also seeing that a photo brings out some of those missed details and touch ups...but at least the troops can get to fighting! The closeup camera is a harsh mistress!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Massing for Battle

I'm just getting back from a two day stint with work late into the night both days. The approaching weekend of painting is on the horizon. So far my two ECW armies total 2 regiments of foot per side and 2 Parliamentarian Horse and 1 Royalist Horse Regiment. I'm going to have a small fight soon the give the troops a workout. Battle report to follow so stay tuned. In the meantime here are a couple of other units I had just finished when I started the blog. The horse is supposed to be a squadron of Ruperts but I think the flag I used is Rupert's infantry pattern. I've seen other references since then that show Ruperts horse with a 4 quartered square with alternating blue and checked quadrants and a heraldric I may be making some changes to the flag when I figure out which it should (might) be.

I tend to build both armies simultaneously so that I can get to small battles as soon as I can. It helps keep my enthusiasm up and gives me an idea of what I need to buy next. Dragoons are yet to be released by Sash and Saber so I'm holding off until then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Winning the Mental Game

Enjoyably keeping a large painting project going for several months (if not years) really requires a mental game working in the background. Having a good pile of reading goes a long way towards keeping the enthusiasm for The Project at a high level. Though my collection of references for ECW are minimal at the moment, I'm having to rely on primarily internet resources (re-enactors and wargamers) for uniform and battle information, I did find this book at the local town library and so far its is pretty good as a general history that is rich with detail and gives a great sense of the period and its characters so important in bringing life to a gaming experience. Since I'm "across the pond" the ECW is a more distant period to collect than might be if I was going in the American Civil War direction. So I'm finding the period more exotic but because of that, very compelling! I've also got my eye on the Partizan Press offerings but at the moment every spare cent has to go buying more metal! That can lead to some missteps in the colors of uniforms, flags and such so I have to be prepared to backtrack occasionally as my knowledge of the period improves. Fortunately the ECW was prior to strictly uniformed armies and I can chalk up any mistakes to the scarcity of records from the period...and just enjoy the pageantry that I am able to produce with the references at hand. Having a set of rules already in hand helps with basing decisions so at least that direction is taken! I've also found that the website of the "Sealed Knot Society" has a good list of the units they re-enact with a basic color reference for coat colors of the various regiments. Many of the regiments also have websites with flag information that helps complete things at least to my "game table" satisfaction.

I really love the research end of the hobby so I know this period will provide many satisfying hours of digging in order to find (for example) the flag of "Haselriggs Lobsters" (... anyone knowing this one...please post!).

Monday, October 20, 2008

How far We've Come

A shot of one of my old Peter Laing 15mm ECW units. We used to "lovingly" refer to them as "Peter Slugs"...but at the time they were ahead of their time and really they got many of us on the road to more gaming because we could afford them in High School! I still have these out for a game from time to time using a Warmaster variant for ECW. (and yes, those are Flames of War bases...) These guys have been re-based about 5 times over their lifetime. Goes to show how hard getting the "right" pike and shot rules is no small task. But you can easily see how the newer 40mm stuff has such a hold on us "old school" guys.

Romanov's Roll Forward

I've made good progress this weekend on a new Parliamentarian unit (Romanovs TYWs) and a squadron of Royalist cavalry (S&S)... (yes, astute readers will note a box of Ogre SF minis in the background...but since this blog is so far devoted to ECW...I'll pass in silence) far primer coat and the base colors laid down. As far as priming and the first coats go, I'm a big believer in the "triple threat"...Krylon Specialty Camoflage "Earth Brown" spray paint (a very dark brown), followed by Citadel Foundation colors and Vajello Model Colors. The Earth Brown Spray has a little less harsh contrast than the usual Flat Black, and for anything from the dark ages through the 1700s works great to produce a dark leathery background for the rest of the figure's colors. It also gets horses to a dark brown quickly ready for further colors and highlighting. The Krylon is designed to paint trucks and hunting great on metal and is really flat. I get it here in the states at my local hardware store.

I think this unit is going to represent the Tower Hamlets trained band. I'm loosely basing the two armies on the Cropredy Bridge battle since Clarence's "Quindia" website makes such a good case for doing so and because I have a good order of battle from Bob Giglio's essay on the battle (link). The London Bands apparently had a higher proportion of "buffcoats" since the townsmen could afford it, but the Romanov's are mostly in wool coats. I'm not too worried about it though since gaming is the one place in my life where I'm "in charge" and...well...I don't have any 40mm pikemen with buffcoats so I'll have to make do. I'm going with more mixed colors for the coats, unlike my other units, assuming the Trained Bands would have just been called up in their civilian clothes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In the Works

I always have a batch of painting in the works regardless of what's going in life ...etc. I have the good fortune to have a very understanding wife... as well as a good place to paint that make it possible to be present with the family and still get some good painting time in as well! Here is the current batch of Romanov and Sash and Saber 40mm stuff that's on the work bench.

The Story So Far

After discovering Sash and Saber 40mm figures last spring and Clarence Harrison's Quindia website a few months ago I finally found the right figures, the right rules and the all important attitude towards the English Civil War period that would be inspirational enough for me to spend the time (and cash) to paint up two opposing armies. I've always found the ECW to be a really interesting period to game visually but never could settle on a set of rules. Clarence's beautiful website outlines a great approach to collecting armies for the period and I decided to dive in with both feet using his ideas and his free rules "Victory Without Quarter" as a guide.

Here are a few images of completed units so far.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Hello everyone,
This is my first post on this new blog that will showcase my latest wargaming project, English Civil War in 40mm. I've had a lot of years (since I was 12) of great experiences in this best and noble-ist of all hobbies! I've had the good fortune to have painted and gamed with some of the hobby's great personalities. Though much of my gaming has been solo, I've loved the camaraderie of conventions and to anyone who I've gamed with in the past Welcome!  

I've just recently started a collection of English Civil War figures in 40mm. Initially, I'm going to track my progress with this blog. Hope you all enjoy!  In the future I'll try to post some explanations of painting methods, rules ideas and such.

I discovered 40mm figures after years doing 15/25/28mm gaming. Perhaps my painting has risen to the challenge or maybe it's just good for aging eyes but driving the "big rigs" is really appealing to me these days. I've had English Civil War Collections in 15mm and 25mm over the years...(even still have a Peter Laing collection, some of the earliest 15mm)....most eventually sold because of life's other necessities. Yes it's true, painting miniature figures has gotten me out of not a few financial jams. And always, it never failed me...  After a long gap where other stuff in life pushed gaming to the very back of the closet, and painting figures was a means of paying the rent, I finally have had a renewed interest in both gaming and painting.

So again, welcome to The Project, and I hope you enjoy keeping up with its progress! DECLARE!...ARE YE FOR KING OR PARLIAMENT!