Sunday, December 27, 2009
The 2 36 man infantry battalions are also Perry plastics, but in all honesty, were not painted by me. I was introduced to a very gifted painter in the UK, Adrian McWalter, via John Stallard of Warlord Games After a few emails back an forth, I commissioned Adrian to paint 2 battalions and they arrived on Christmas Eve. As you can see, Adrian is a very talented artist and I'm very happy with both his work and service. In fact, I liked the progress pictures so much that I commissioned another 2 battalions! I did the basing, so if the shoes look a bit off, that's my fault. Here are some close ups of the units - I now have something to aspire to with my painting:
My club is having a large game on 1/23/10 and I hope to have a completed force of 5-6 infantry battalions, 2-3 cavalry units and a few artillery pieces completed and table-ready. I've got 3 other infantry battalions painting and awaiting dipping and one other about 60% painted so there is a lot more to do
Monday, December 21, 2009
Merry Christmas everyone from St Michael's, MD. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and that you get to spend time with your family and friends, as that's what the holidays are really all about.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I'll let everything set up tonight and start dipping in the am. I'm going to use the light tone from the Army Painter product set. Army Painter may be a bit pricey but I know it works so I keep using it.
Still rushing to get my Frenchies completed by mid January. I hope those of you in the mid-atlantic states are using this weekend's blizzard to good use by catching up on your wargaming projects!
Outside of being fun (I've always enjoyed the change of pace inclement weather causes), the snow storm has created a nice pause in the normally hectic and somewhat commercial prep for Christmas. Usually our family is running around getting ready for the holiday getting silly trinkets and such to prepare to spend time together. Being snowed in has slowed things down and, I for one, am really enjoying it. Of course there may be some additional rush freight charges from the online merchants but that's a small price to pay.
Rest assured that I am using my "Christmas Snow Day" to also catch up on my miniature painting. I should finish up the basic painting on my carabiniers and begin to dip a few later this afternoon. I also have another box of Perry French infantry to assemble and prime. My petite version of La Grande Armee, continues to grow.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I'm hoping to get the remaining 14 carab's finished up in the next week or so.
I did win an e-bay auction for some cuirassiers (again the Perry Plastic Figs). I'll let you know how this foray into the e-bay world of miniatures works out.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I have discovered that I have more fun and do a better job painting figures in small batches of 5 - 7 figures rather than as either a single fig or a whole unit. I recently tried to paint a 42 figure grenadier unit like a color based assembly line - lets paint flesh on 42 figs, then white etc. It took a lot of the fun out of painting and the quality of the middle figures was pretty poor.
On other wargaming fronts, I have been reading the new Black Powder ruleset and have found it to be both a good read and a very interesting ruleset. I'm thinking of giving it a go with my 6mm American Civil War (ACW) armies. I'll need to adjust the movement and shooting distances down a bit but it looks like it might be a fun endeavor. I saw that yesterday over in the UK there was an official Black Powder event that sounded like a lot of fun. Perhaps Mr Stallard and crew will elect to host something over hear in the colonies some time in the future?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The first day's march was a comedy of errors as each column had to roll for various special events and the french were further delayed by some time lost dealing with broken wagon wheels and issues with the camp followers (yes there were even figures for them also). The end result was that a french dragoon unit made it to the town first but got caught in between the spanish guerillas in the town and my intrepid lads:
Oh yes, there was a certain Sgt Hakeswell within the ranks of the British regulars who seemed to cause no end of troubles - taking pot shots at our hero, Sharpe, and then actually trying to steal both the gold and the game from us - you can see Sharpe and the dastardly Hakeswell in a melee as Sharpe was trying to prevent the loss of the gold.
Our next game will be in January and will be a more normal Napoleonics battle but on a 20-24' table. I'm tasked with completing 6-10 french units, of which 5 are done - it should be a great game!
Monday, November 16, 2009
The assembly process was very quick and there was almost no flash on the sprues. It took me about 3 hours to assemble, clean-up and prime the 28 horsemen. I found this to be a much faster rate than it takes me to clean-up and prime metal cavalry figures (Perry French Light Cavalry). I modeled the riders separate from their horses to facilitate painting and will attach them once the details are complete.
The horses are modeled in half sections and there can be some minor gaps that occur (usually around the breast of the horse) that will require some minor filling with green stuff. There's a very good article in Battlegames magazine, issue 18, on assembling Perry plastic ACW cavalry which I found helpful for these guys.
While a small detail, this version of boxed plastics comes with a very useful card for painting and unit identities, etc. which I found very useful. Overall I would highly recommend these figures for all Napoleonic gamers. I'm looking forward to the upcoming Hussars from Perry!
Even though they are just primed in white, 28 French cavalry massed together makes a very impressive sight - now I've got to finish them to get them on the table. I think it will take me three weeks to get them done, assuming I take advantage of the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays here in the US.
My gaming group is planning a massive Napoleonics battle in the first week of January and I'm committed to bring 8 units (5 infantry, 1 cavalry and 2 artillery) of which only 5 are complete!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The war game table looks a bit cluttered as it's currently being used by my son's robotics team to build their robot for the FTC competition this year. I'm coaching them and its a lot of fun, but we loose the ability to play war games for 3-4 months each year while robot engineering is underway. Oh well, it's educational!
Here are some more photos of the Uncharted Seas Fleets:
Sunday, November 1, 2009
There was yet another mis-step on the Nappy front. I had ordered some Old Glory limbers in an effort to save a few bucks, but like their artillery figures, the scale is a bit small and the quality really poor (look at me becoming a miniatures snob!). The limber models were really not usable so yet another effort to save money via lower quality ends up a failure.
As for other modeling, I completed 2 basic starter fleets for "Uncharted Seas"- Dwarf and Orc. I found the models a lot of fun to paint. I tried to do some free-hand skulls for the Orc sails but was disappointed with the results so I'm looking to find some details. The game is a simplistic naval game and it's both quick and fun.
Lastly, I have a confession to make. As I've reflected on my glacial painting pace with 28mm Nappy's (3 units in roughly 3 months) I've realized that it will take close to a year to get a nice sized force in place. Being somewhat impatient, I've decided to hire a painter in the UK who was brought to my attention by some acquaintances over there who are in the war game industry. My initial commission is for 2 infantry battalions. His quality is outstanding (you'll definitely notice the difference from my efforts). It's a bit pricey, but as I've learned one usually gets what one pays for (see the Old Glory reference above). If the quality is a good as I've seen, I'll recommend the painter in a future post.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I need to decide on how to base these guys. I'll likely go with the 25mm round GW bases for individual figures and 40mm for crew served weapons (the 30 cal machine gun).
Saturday, October 10, 2009
One can really see the impact of the economy by observing the show this year. The discounts on the boats are very significant, especially if you wait until the last minute and the vendor is facing the cost of transporting the boat back to wherever they came from. The spreads the vendors lay out are also reduced but that helps my waist line! It's still very hard for sellers of new boats to compete right now with the used boat market right now, where the discounts are extreme and there is a very large inventory of boats that people bought when they thought they were flush. There is a bit revenge here on my part for some of my former compatriots in the financial services industry. One does reap what one sows. Enough moralizing on my part. There's a show rumor that the FDIC has a small tent with pictures of foreclosed boats they've taken possession of from bank seizures but I haven't seen it.
I'm not really in the market for a boat, but then again they are all so pretty and my son mentioned something about wanting to move up to the comet racing class.....
Of course, the most likely way you'll discover if I do acquire a new boat will be from my lovely and fierce wife's posting of my obituary.
The one unfortunate aspect of the boat show is that it has impacted my progress on my French Nappy's. I've almost completed the grenadier unit and have made some good progress on the light cavalry. We are heading into the prime wargaming season so I need to get moving!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
As a change of pace from Napoleonics, we decided to play a Flames of War (FOW) game pitting an American armored company attacking a depleted German paratrooper company with tank support. Sean played the Americans and I was the Germans. We didn't bother to tally up the point totals but the forces were roughly equal.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
We’ll I’ve completed my first group of 28mm French Napoleonic troops - a 6lb artillery piece with 4 man crew and the first 6 infantry (2 grenadiers and 4 fusiliers). All of the figures are from the Perry brothers (plastic infantry, metal cannon and crew). I’m trying different forms of shading - the artillery crew was “dipped” in the Army Painter medium tone product and I used the GW wash “Delvan Mud” for the infantry. I think I like the GW shade better.
I do need to coat the lot with a matte spray but it was very humid today, so I’ll be waiting a bit - I’ve heard some horror stories about matte spray applications and humidity, so I thought lets put that step off.
I am finding that painting in a “production line” method helps me control the brush better when painting details (straps, facial hair, etc). While these are not up to the standards of some of my club members, I’m very satisfied that we’re off to a good start.
Here are some more pictures - let me know what you think!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I’ve made some progress building painting and building some of my new French 28mm Napoleonics. My infantry is all plastic figures from either Perry or Victrix and I’m developing a relatively informed opinion for both. Here are what I see the strengths and challenges for each set:
- Very good sculpting, with the detail features both easy to see and paint
- Very quick and clear assembly time, I especially like how the arms and musket for firing poses are one piece
- 36 of the 42 figures have roughly the same marching pose (minor variations) which I find aids “assembly line painting”
- Pointy parts are relatively strong (bayonets, swords, flag poles) which means a more durable table-top piece
- Cost per figure is $0.67 (source the WarStore) vs $2.58 from Foundry
- I’m not a fan of the mixing of infantry with and without great coats - 15 of the infantry sport a great coat and 15 don’t. This isn’t a problem if your just starting out and buying multiple boxes but if you only buy one box you’ll have an odd mix of with and without winter gear.
- Lots of variability in poses (all figures need to be assembled and consists of a body, two arms, a head and backpack).
- Very good detail (a little more “realistic” than Perry)
- Cost per figure is $0.58 (source the WarStore) vs $2.58 from Foundry
- Very long assembly time
- Pointy parts (bayonets, etc) are very thin and delicate - they will need some minor repairs from table top mishaps.
- Can be a bit awkward to mount on six figure company stands (this may be more due to how I chose to assemble the figures)
I plan on using both. I will use Perry for may basic line infantry battalions and I’ll use the Victrix for my “elite” light battalions that fight in open order based on the rules my club uses. If I had to pick only one, I’d go with Perry, but that’s more because I’m just starting out and want to field a force fairly quickly.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I’ve been going through some pictures of old Napoleonic games and I must say I’m hooked both on the period and the scale. While my painting skills haven’t progressed to what you can see in the picture above, I can improve them a great deal by working on this project. So now you have it - yet another project to be completed - do war gamers ever actually finish any project?
Anyway, I recently took a drive up to Lancaster to go to Historicon and came away with the makings of a initial French force:
3 Boxes of Victrix French Infantry
3 Boxes of Perry French Infantry
1 Package of Perry French Officers
21 Perry French Light Cavalry Figures (expensive little buggers)
1 Perry 6lb artillery piece w/ crew
I’ve got enough for 6 36-man Infantry battalions, a light cavalry unit and some artillery. I’d like to get some French Dragoons and a 12lbr to round out the force.
I didn’t pick up an artillery limber as they are awfully expensive - perhaps I can scratch build one using some plastic horse models and some strip wood.
Once I finish the French, I’m thinking of picking up some Foundry US war of 1812 figures (in the same scale).
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Two more ships have entered the US 1/1200 scale fleet - another 74 gun ship of the line and the famous 44 gun US Constitution. Of course, they still need to be rigged but that should get down soon. My build times for these Langton models is now around 5 hours each and I must say it’s a lot of fun.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I’ve always wanted to have a mobile model building setup so that I can take my hobby with me when the family and I are at our weekend place. After much procrastination and fruitless internet searches, I finally decided to just wing it and build one myself. My “Mobile
Modeling Manufactory” (M3, for short) consists of two major components - a storage unit and a work surface.
The storage unit is a metal Craftsman 4 drawer tool box. Now before we go on, I do need to disclose I’m a huge Craftsman Tool fan. Craftsman hand tools and tool storage units are the best I’ve ever used and the guarantee is superb. I selected the 4 drawer version. Here’s a link to the Craftsman website for the item. The top storage bin has enough room for the critical modeling tools and the four tool drawers seemed to be designed to hold Vallejo paints. I can fit 40 bottles per drawer - that’s a 160 paint bottles!
I do suggest you install a thin foam liner so the bottles don’t roll around.
As for my M3 list of critical tools: here they are (suggestions for additions / deletions are most welcome)
Xacto Knife (#11 Blades)
2 pair of tweezers
Small Curved pliers
Small file set
Spray on Primer
“Chopper II” Cutting tool
High quality paint brushes (I think they’re worth the money)
The work surface was cobbled together with some excess finishing wood I had left over from a boat repair project. The overall dimensions of the work surface is 24” wide by 22” deep. I added a small shelf on the back to place models for drying. I also drilled some holes for brushes. I covered with wood with 5 coats of polyurethane to help with durability and prevent warping (we’re on the water, so the elements play havoc with unprotected wood). My design has more than a passing resemblance to the paint station sold by GW - isn’t mimicry a form of flattery? There is one difference, the GW item costs $40.00 and is made out of MDF. My version is made out a marine grade wood and cost maybe $5.00 - plus about 90 minutes of bench time.
The bottom of the work surface is cushioned with 12, 1 inch wide felt pads which help ensure heavy usage on the bench doesn’t damage the table underneath - very important in keeping the warden, oops, I mean the wife happy.
I use a bungee cord to clip the work surface to the tool box for storage in the hall closet.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I’ve finished both the 1/2400 and 1/1200 versions of the 74 gun Ship-of-the-Line. The final verdict is the same as the last post - I like the 1/1200 Langton a lot more. The Langton’s are a challenge to build but it’s a fun challenge and I
really like the end product. After completing the rigging (which is not as detailed as the instructions indicate) I have realized I need some special model ship rigging tools so it will be off to the Micro Mark website after posting this update. I still need to weather the sails but that cam wait for now.
During this latest build step I completed the rigging, added the etched brass ratlines and finished the detailing. All-in-all I’m very happy with the results and have already started my next Langton - the second of 4 74 gun US ships-of-the-Line for my “what-if” fleet. All told it took me about 12 hours to complete the model. I’m very confident that with the experience learned on the first model that I can get the build time down to the 6 - 8 hour range. I’m not sure I want to go any faster as the building has been a lot of fun.
I did have a tricky time with the etched brass ratlines - they can be a little finicky but they’re worth the effort.
I will be completing the rest of my 1/2400 scale ships that came with the intro kit I got as it’s a shame to waste them and they’ll be useful to recreate a large scale battle. I will probably build them as a large British fleet since the first one is painted in a UK color scheme.