Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Still limping along...

Well, it's February, and I'm still at it!  Not making as much progress as I'd like. Work is draining, and the meds too, it's no secret I've got type 2 diabetes, and metformin is no lady, probably why I'm always feeling drained, tired.  Nevertheless, I'm still painting, I have not given up.

Since the last post, I've finished eight more Airfix French infantrymen, loading their muskets, and have tackled one of the tougher details on these figures, the shako plates, on the remaining twenty figures.  That, and the chin scales on twelve of them.

Here are the seven stands all painted except for flocking.

Old Airfix figures in yellow plastic.  They might be as old as I am, I am over 50.  They bring lovely childhood memories of Robin Hood figures in green plastic, American Civil War figures in blue and grey plastic, artillery in brown, Foreign Legionnaires in blue plastic. Romans in grey, Britons in brown, and others.

And my favorite old and long, long defunct hobby shop in Chicago, I grew up in Rogers Park, and there was a lovely place called "T & H Hobby" run by the Sakura family.  They had a beautiful USS Constitution in 1/96 scale in the window, fully built, painted and rigged, a true masterpiece, among many other modelling art pieces. I'm sure they've since passed away, the shop closed long, long ago, back in the '80's, the last I'd heard was their son had gone on to West Point.  Anyway...

After these 32 are done, there are another 32 in this pose, then six each in blue and grey plastic, HaT reissues.  Before long, however, I am going to have to start thinking about some eagle bearers and foot officers, unless I can score some of the HaT Napoleonic line command that I've heard are in production.  I could go ahead and order the lovely Zvezda Art Of Tactic French command but at around $7.00 USD per stand, it might be cheaper to buy AB figures in metal.

Here are the remaining unfinished figures.

The figures above have their shako plates painted, but need their chin scales painted

 These figures have their shako plates and chin scales done.

So that's the update on the project.


Moving right along, my Christmas present arrived, a gift from my brother, who is also a modelling and collecting enthusiast.  A Late Roman Starter Set from Pendraken Miniatures!

Here's the packet it came in, the address covered for security, of course

And a plastic pouch stuffed with 10mm metal goodness inside!!  These are absolutely lovely figures!!

They did arrive late, being delayed by US customs, and when my brother emailed Pendraken, the folks there put together another set and sent them over straight away!  That was very kind of them!!

So not long afterward, my prezzie arrived, and not long after that, the second set arrived as well!  Tom says he's keeping that one, after he sent along payment for the second set, it certainly wasn't Pendraken's fault this was delayed, and it certainly wasn't lost. After some back and forth, the folks at Pendraken refused to keep the entire payment though, and refunded half for the second set, which they certainly didn't have to do!

We can't possibly recommend Pendraken enough for their generosity, polite and courteous service, and their absolutely marvellous product!!  We'll be ordering more in the future.

And, I'm prepared for that next project too... a book that I didn't think was very useful at the time, as I was interested in the Eastern Roman Empire, but which will come in very handy now...

So probably next year, if not sooner, I'll be enjoying listening to Hans Zimmer's King Arthur soundtrack, and painting these little gentlemen and organizing them into an army, while my brother does the same with his.

Until next time... good night, and good luck!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

progress report on the Napoleonics

So I'm still limping along, I still have to talk about the other twelve figures that were done that brought the number to 16, but after getting four done of the batch of 32, here is how the remaining twenty eight are coming along. 

These are done except for painting the stands brown and throwing on some green flock for grass

The latest work was painting the blue piping on their red collars

The rest need to have that done yet

They've all got their blanket rolls and knapsacks painted, maybe I will stop and break into painting four at a time, or maybe not, I cant decide, so I continue painting one detail on all twenty eight, then another detail, then another, by default.

I am still limping along.

Anyway, I've mentioned what inspired me to work on these, the video game and diorama depicted in the game, here are some screen captures to show you what I saw.

You can see what I mean, little cannons with French flags waving, the cannons look like Civil War era Parrott rifled cannons, the crews look like British Highland Infantry.  They look like 28mm scale.

Monday, January 22, 2018

an interlude...

The current project is not the first Napoleonics project I had worked on, I had worked on another project, painting six battalions of the line. I did not give them regimental designations because at the time, I had no idea what they would be, but later decided that not numbering them was probably a good idea if I were to play tabletop battles with them, and each group of figures could play the role of a different unit at a different time.

I will rebase these because I love Georgo Bases.

Georgo Bases are made by a small business in the UK.  To the best of my knowledge, they are carried by only one single solitary establishment in the US, Games Plus, in Mount Prospect, Illinois. I have used their product for my Ancient armies, my small Thirty Yeats' War Swedish cavalry force, and absolutely will NOT use anything else!

So here is an extremely rare product endorsement, unsolicited and unpaid too! 

And so here are the pictures of my six bataillons of the line, hope you like.

These are HaT figures, Hat set 8042, French Light Infantry, painted as voltigeurs and grenadiers for a line bataillon

The following pictures, taken in admittedly poor lighting are the rest of the division, some HaT figures mixed in with Esci and some Italeri french line infantry, with grenadiers in bearskins coming from the old Esci French Imperial Guard set.

back to the next chapter of my current project...

En Avant!

My ongoing Napoleonics Project, part 1

The figures depicted in the game were at least 28mm scale, but I did not go for that because 28mm is expensive, and I already have perhaps two thousand French infantry in 1/72 scale, so I went with those.

I decided on the old Airfix figures, because they don't get a lot of love on the internet. The HaT figures get more, and so do the Esci/Italeri ones. I went for that reason with Airfix. Then I went with the loading guy pose, because he doesn't get a lot of love either, though he gets more than the dead guy figure and the figure of the soldier carrying off his wounded comrade.  The shooting, marching, and attacking figures, or figures of soldiers cocking their muskets get more love.

I started with four figures, using what has been called the "speed painting method" but there is NOTHING speedy about this method, unless you are painting American Civil War figures or those of the World Wars... except for troops wearing camo smocks such as British or German airborne troops, or Waffen SS though, but plain, drab armies can be done fairly quickly and with more detail than simply blocking colors in.

Here is how it goes.

First, you would need to prime or paint the figures black.

The next step is hardest, drybrushing jolly hell out of the figures in white, until only creases in clothing, and shadows are left black. The paint has to be the right consistency, and sometimes you'll have to go over the figures two or three times until the highlighted areas are white, and not grey. 

Very hard on brushes.

Then black again for shakos and leggings... and red for collars and cuffs

The next step would be staining the paint. This time around I did not really stain the blue coats, but painted them in, with cheap craft store blue paint that only cost me a US dollar a bottle. I thought the blue was very attractive on these and looked so right on them.

The knapsacks were done in Games Workshop chestnut ink, I do not think it comes in that color anymore, but I like it because it looks like the color of calfskin on the examples I had seen, Grey paint for the blanket rolls. Brown for musket stocks.  Reikland flash shade, a current color in GWs inventory, for faces and hands.

Metal colors go in last, as abote. Boltgun metal or by the current name Leadbelcher, again, GW colors.  And then gold, but using Vallejo paint, for buttons, the scale coverings on shako straps, the horrid on the eyes shako plates that are so hard to get painted correctly.

Here is a closeup of two gentlemen in the middle of their "training"

As you can see, the drybrushing really made all the details stick out, sometimes a little too much so, the black creases in the trousers could have been softened a bit.  White piping on the cuffs, the piping on the collars was painted over blue.

And here they are finished except for pom poms, I wasn't sure which color to paint them, which company they would be in.

And then mounted on a base, four figures to a base, four figures to a company.

work on the bases comes last because for some reason I always consider that step a drag

The first step of the project was done.

The next step was to paint the remaining three companies at once.  I'll cover that in the next episode.

Au revoir!

My Ongoing Napoleonics Project, prologue


So the last project I had started working on in November 2017 was Napoleonic French infantry.

I had started on these for the same reason I had started so many others, something in a video game, movie, or television series had gotten my attention, gotten under my skin, so to speak, and set me on a "feeding frenzy" where I would read, read, read all I could find on the internet about an army, a period, and begin painting furiously, like a madwoman.

The series "Rome" and a copy of Livy's "The War With Hannibal", a Crimbo gift my dear mother, since departed, had given me had gotten me interested in raising my Polybian Roman and Later Carthaginian DBA armies.  I do not know how to play DBA, I too do not understand the rules, as they were written, but it does have some wonderful army lists in it though!

Watching the film "Gettysburg" and reading a book on General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson I got from one of my brothers who had been home schooled with a fundamentalist Christian program had set me off on my American Civil War feeding frenzy.

I don't remember what had set me off on my first Napoleonic rush though, but it did result in six battalions of lovely line infantry I have yet to show here.

This time around, it was the video game Hitman: Agent 47, the 2016 release. In it, our protagonist goes to different locales such as Paris, Hokkaido, Marrakesh, Bangkok and Sapienza, a town in Italy, which might be fictional.

In Paris, there is a fashion show at the Palais de Walewska, probably a palace given by Napoleon as a gift to his mistress Maria Walewska, a Polish noblewoman, who herself was married, but who the other nobility had egged on to pursue the affair, or to give in to the Emperor's advances in order to get France's help in reconstituting the Kingdom of Poland.

Anyway, the palace is liberally sprinkled with images of the Emperor, statues of him, artifacts, like documents, clothing, weapons, all of course digital images because this is, after all, a video game... and the centerpiece, a diorama of French artillery in action in a village, and in another room in the palace, another diorama in progress.  There are two versions of the diorama, by the way, a summer scene and a winter scene (shades of the Berezina), just as there are two versions of the Paris scenario, the one originally included, and the Christmas version, where Agent 47's targets are the villains from the film "Home Alone".

So when Agent 47 puts a coin in the slot in the glass case, he is rewarded with the strains of the 1812 Overture, and little animations of the little cannons firing with little French tricolors flying by each artillery piece.

Only the cannons, on closer inspection, are manned by British Highland Infantry!

Anyway, this is what got me started.

So... on to part 2

Saturday, January 13, 2018

An even longer absence from the blog, what have I been up to the past year


It's almost as though I need to introduce my blog once again, my last post having been published in December, 2016!  It is now January, 2018!!

I've been dealing with things, I had lost a beloved family pet the day after Christmas, 2016, then had made a trade with an online friend, traded some 1/600 ship model kits for some 1/72 armor, and had made a foray into World War 2 modelling.  Having finished the traded armor, a Su-100, two Sherman Fireflies, a Panzer Mark IV with short barrel, a Panzer Mark III, a Cromwell, and a Jagdpanther, I went on to buy and paint more World War 2 models, and built the Airfix German Recce set, a KV-1, two 7TP tankettes, five StuG IIIs in 15mm. I had started on five Panthers in the same scale, but lost interest in World War 2 modelling, having burnt out.

Besides modelling, I sometimes enjoy video games. Thanks to some youtube videos by BigMooney, I became interested in, and then fascinated with the game "Hitman".  It's a game where a mysterious, well dressed, bald assassin with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head, named 47, goes to various locales to assassinate various targets.

One of the locales is a fashion show in Paris, at the Palais de Walewska, the palace of The Emperor's mistress Maria Walewska, a Polish noblewoman, portrayed by Greta Garbo in a film about The Emperor and his affair with her.  Two targets needed assassinating.

Since the palace is that of The Emperor's girl on the side, there are a lot of paintings and statues of His Imperial Highness all about the palace, and in one of the rooms, a diorama of a Napoleonic battle, in a glass case, where if Agent 47 puts a coin in the slot, the diorama lights up, the 1812 Overture plays, sparks fly out of the muzzles of model cannons, crewed by British highland soldiers, wafing French tricolor flags. That last part didn't matter though. 

I was bitten by the Napoleonic bug. Not the first time though. So Sometime in October-November 2017, I started painting Airfix Waterloo French Line Infantry, particularly the loading guys, because of all the poses, it seems to be they don't get a lot of love.  I had planned to paint 76 of them, as part of a lot of 705 figures I had collected in E-Bay purchases over time.

I only finished 16, and then started another 32, then burnt out. So throughout December and until the other night, I didn't paint. I video gamed, had to deal with life and all, played with my four doggos, Mike the Shih-Tzu joined the crew New Years' Eve 2016, replacing the sadly departed and sadly missed Abby the Border Collie mix. Then my laptop broke down, and was repaired a few days later, and then for Christmas I got myself a desktop PC strong enough to play Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War, which I downloaded from Steam, which is something I swore I'd never do, but I suppose the saying that there comes a time in everyone's life where one has to cut cards with the Devil holds true.

So for the past several weeks I had been busy playing Empire: Total War, especially the american Road To Independence campaign, and at once I became engrossed in the American War Of Independence. So as I was going over blogs about modelling the armies of the period, I ran into a blog run by someone named "The Chasseur", who is a prolific painter.

In the post I had read, he had answered a question put forward by some of his followers, how he manages to paint as many figures, and he said he sets himself a daily goal to paint so many figures an evening, three or four, I do not remember, and if one sticks to a goal like that, one would be amazed how many figures can be painted in a year.

So, while I had painted little in the fall, leading to winter, I decided to start again, one the 32 unfinished figures. Started last night and tonight I had finished four of the unfinished, leaving 28. I'll have pictures to post for you tomorrow.

I do not know how many French line infantry I can paint an evening, they are not easy to paint, blame it on the shako plates and lots of piping, but I'll work at them consistently, and next year, we'll revisit the challenge and see how well, or badly, I did. I do hope to have all of the Airfix French line infantry painted as well as the artillery.

So... that explains why I am back to painting after a short spell, but does not explain why I am back her after such a long long spell.

As time goes on, I am becoming increasingly dissatisfied and disgusted with Facebook, and have decided that there will be a time, in the not too distant future, where if I am not booted from facebook, I will leave it myself, and do all my blogging here.  I am getting started again here.

Anyway, apologies for the long long post without pictures, next post you will see plenty of those and hopefully, they will not disappoint.

Cheers and Happy 2018!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

another long absence from the Blog...

Hello everyone, I've been away from the blog for a long time, but have not been idle.  Since the last post I have still been working on armor, armor and more armor, and I'm still at it.  So you can see, this is what I've accomplished throughout the fall...I'll come back in time and bring you closeups of the different models I've built, some I've already posted about.