Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Jackets... Part 3-Done in a Weekend!

So I had a good weekend of painting despite lots of errands and small things to do for the wife. —We are on an austerity campaign to shop more carefully for food so we spent a couple of hours today making a list for the week's food and shopping smart (for a change...) so we did really well in that department. And on the painting front the 95th came together nicely and really quickly so I now am on to some French Voltigeurs (Perry plastics) to oppose them so that I can get right on to a Peninsular War skirmish. I have a British Battalion (the Buffs) finished as well so some pics of that soon. Now that I have a couple of units (Brit and French) also waiting in the wings that are already assembled based and primed so I have high hopes to get a basic Naps force table ready in the coming few weeks. (Those Sharpe novels have really given me some good momentum!)

The only small problem was that I found the Foundry Brit figures are slightly smaller than the Perry and Victrix plastics (the plastics are 28mm and I think the Foundry tend towards 25mm) so I will probably eventually sell these 95th figures when I get a set of 28mms that are more compatible...but generally I think they will be fine on the table for now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Green Jackets Part 2

Another shot of the shading on the 95th. This shows the figures with the first couple of layers of green shading. So now its a black under coat followed by a base coat of Citadel "Orkhide" Foundation paint. Then a wash of Citadel "Thrakla Green" wash. Then a mix of the base green with a touch or two of Vajello 70915 Deep Yellow to highlight the next layer followed by a final highlight of the base green and a bit of white. I may try another final bit of base really lightened on the highest creases but I'm not sure...the green looks right on the actual figures but this closeup looks a bit to light, so I'll probably leave it as is. The faces are Vajello medium fleshtone with a GW Flesh wash...this, when dry, will be highlighted by the medium fleshtone.

Green Jackets!

I got a shipment of Foundry British rifles from "The War Store" and got right to them since I'm reading the Sharpe stories and that puts lots of momentum into the project. Painting the 95th is a challenge for me since I have never quite figured out how to paint highlights on a dark green uniform. It seems like whenever I lay in the highlight it lightens the green too much or if the highlight is too dark its gets lost and the figure just remains to dark.

So I'm going to try it again and maybe do a little research on the web on some of the figure painting sites and maybe get it right this time!

I also am using a Citadel green wash over the base green to further darken the detail on the basecoat. The first pic shows the comparison of the base green and the washed version on the right. It also brings up the "greeness" and the contrast so that from a distance the figure doesn't just look black.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Battle Collection

I'm a lover of maps (as many gamers are), and what better way to enjoy them than drawing them myself. I've been wanting to keep a better record of battles that I play as well as keeping a catalog of historical battles that would make good scenarios for games later on. So yesterday I bought a "computation book" from our university bookstore with numbered gridded pages printed on a buff color paper that seemed just right for the project. Here is my first page, a translation of the historical battle of Vimeiro 1808 into generic gaming terms a bit like C.S. Grant's "teasers".

I'm thinking the general approach will be to sketch out a battle based on the information I have in pencil, later to be updated as I uncover more accurate information, OBs or maps on that particular battle. I also translate the basic battle on to an 8 by 5 grid that would be able to be replicated on my table. You can see in this first example that I have yet to find the number of "maneuver units" for the French it will give me something to search for when I have a few extra minutes to spend on the internet or my reading. Since I like to draw it gives me an excuse to break out the color pencils and do it up right! I've found that even if the battle map has a few inaccuracies it can still make a good game scenario.

In addition to recording the overall strengths of the opposing sides, I'm collecting information of the number of major "manuver units" (brigades, battalions, divisions, etc.) and noting that as well so that the battle can be translated into both another period as well as be adapted to the limits of my collection of figures.

I only wish I had done this systematically years ago...what a catalog I would have now!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back In the Breech

Recently having finished the final novel (number 20!) in the wonderful Patrick O'Brian series of Age of Sail stories (the Aubrey Marturin series). I finally got around to starting Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" series on the Peninsular War. I know I'm a late-comer to these stories but I had been saving them for when the time was right to plunge in. So to help jump-start my Napoleonic collection I started the first Sharpe book....and of course it starts right out as advertised...a cracking great read and lots of scenario ideas right off the bat. So my Naps got some real momentum in the past couple of days with the assembly and mounting of a second British line battalion and a good start on a Light battalion. I was even keen enough to purchase some Foundry Brit riflemen for skirmishes so they are on their way from The War Store as well. So the combination of novel and a new set of Citadel washes to try out, —and... though a martini is not recommended if you are trying to paint, it surprisingly helps with the tedious process of assembly on those plastics! ;)— ...the formidable painting task has gotten a nice push forward.

...and finally I just had to put up a pic of my little guy's latest pirate island. For any dads out there, if you ever get a chance to read "Floor Games" by H.G. Wells (available free from Project Gutenberg) its probably the best advice for how to really play with children, a short read but really a classic. Be warned, that after you read it you will probably start buying any toy that contains decent terrain (trees mountains etc) no matter what else is in the box...not that us gamers don't already do that by nature!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sidi Rezegh: November 1941

A little something different here at Lead Gardens today. I painted the flip side of my table surface a nice desert tan and to get right down to it, I set up a historical scenario I've been wanting to play for a long while with my fairly large collection of 15mm WWII Western Desert stuff. Back in 2005 while my wife was expecting our first, I spent the evenings painting these guys in the hopes that someday I would have a table large enough to have a go with them. I've used all flavors of WWII rules over the years and using the popular "Flames of War" for me is just another facet of a long interest in the period. I've found "FOW" works really well for simulating desert battles.

The scenario you see in the pictures is the November 22nd 1941 battle for the landing field near Sidi Rezegh. I've scaled it down to fit my collection but the basic positions of the forces is fairly true to history. In a nutshell, the Brits are set up around the airfield (the area around the building in the pics) and to the north the 1 KRRC infantry have a foothold on an escarpment. On the southern escarpment South African infantry are opposed by Infantry Regiment 155 of the Afrika Korps. In the ground between is the airfield defended by batteries of the 4th Royal Horse Artillery (represented in the game by a single 4 gun troop) and a few 2lbr portees. In this particular part of the battle, the 21st Panzer (with PzIIIs PzIVs and a supporting battery of 88s) makes a strong attack from the west to recapture the airfield. Opposing them are the 3rd and 5th Royal Tank regiments with M4 (Honey) tanks and in support tanks of the 22 Armored Brigade with Crusader IIs. (There was also remnants of the 7th Armored present with A13 Cruiser tanks posted at the airfield...I've yet to lay them out in these pics). The pics show the battle at the start, I'll post some updates as it progresses.

The rest of these pics are to show the figures in no particular order...

A troop of Crusader MkIIs

the staff of the RHA battery

2lb portee

the business end of an RHA 25lbr...

Honeys of 3RTR

21st Panzer in full flood...


Rommel and staff...

view of the airfield and the Brits in the distance from the PzII recon screen

Crusaders of the 22nd Armored Brigade

4th RTR (gallant but small...)

2lbr portee section

4th RHA defends the airfield

Pz Regiment 8

Command group and MkIVs PzRgt.8

...the deadly 88s!

and finally I broke out my tripod and managed some pretty clear close ups...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eureka! (Mercenaries en route to the Konigreich)

Had a nice surprise today (this was originally written a couple of weeks ago) in the mailbox in the form of 24 Eureka 25mm mid 18th century Aquebusiers de Grassin figures. EXCEPTIONAL castings and really close in scale to my RSMs. I've included an RSM dismounted dragoon in the pics for comparison. The only real difference is a bit more "heft" to the Eureka figures.... but they are similar in height. (the washers you see in the pics are 3/4" in diameter to give you a sense of scale.)

The detail is really great. Delicate sculpturing with nice buttons, trim and musket detail but in scale and not in a "heavy heroic style" like a "Crusader" or the like. I'm planning a unit of French mercenaries fighting for the Konigreich initially, (but with a somewhat suspicious political allegiance since the Konigreich is allied with Prussia and the French being allied with Austria... you get the picture...) but you never know about mercenaries ...

I think they will be painted like the historical Aquebussiers de Grassin and just get a fictitious name because I love colors of the historic French army seen in the Molliard reference and hope one day to collect a French army as well.

...and some images of the completed unit (I'm trying out a different basing scheme on these guys...individually based for skirmishing but grouped for moving and display on 40x40 square magnetic trays)

the command group

the entire unit consists of a command group and two "companies" of 9 figures each.

These fellows have been recently spotted on the march towards the Konigreich and are expected to arrive any day give much needed bolstering of Bleiherzen's defense against the predations of the Duchess' grenzers who have been increasingly raiding throughout the winter months despite the dirty weather.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dragoons for the King

Just finished Sir Edward Dunscombe’s Greys, a unit of badly needed dragoons for the King. I didn't modify the boots on this unit (as I did on Oakey's dragoons) so they can double as a commanded shot unit if needed. The paint work is pretty basic... to be shaded up a notch later. (The flag is hypothetical...grey wolf on a blue field)