Thursday, April 17, 2014

ACW Gamer Issue 3

The latest issue is out, and it's a good one, well worth the $3.50 asking price.

I was able to contribute an article on painting 18mm Union infantry.

If you're interested, check it out at  I have really been enjoying the magazine, which has offered a nice balance of topics.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blue Moon 18mm Napoleonic British Line Infantry

I was able to sneak in some painting over spring break: 80 British line infantrymen from Blue Moon.

I painted two regiments: 24th and 41st Foot.  I will be fielding these regiments in Spain, so I went with a mix of Spanish brown trousers to depict regiments which had been campaigning for a while.

The flags are from GMB.  The figures are based for General de Brigade, 3/4" frontage by 1" depth with four figures per base.

The only problem with the castings was a notch where the bayonet met the stock on one of the infantryman poses, which looked as though it might break under heavy use.  I smeared the affected area with 5 minute epoxy before priming.  You can see the resulting lump on one figure above.  It's a small defect, and I doubt it will be noticeable during play.

I painted these figures with a mix of Delta Ceramcoats and Vallejo (red and metallics).

I will probably add more grey trousers on my next batch of figures, but I do like that mix of browns and tans.  It helps these regiments look more distinctive.

The elite company men have nice looking shoulder wings.

All in all, I am impressed with these figures.  They are not quite as nice as AB, but they should hold up better with frequent gaming.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sash and Saber Rebel Cavalry

My painting is still slow, but I am able to get a little bit done each week.  These 32 mounted figures took me the better part of six weeks.  All figures are Sash and Saber.  The flags are from GMB.  I mounted the figures on Litko bases, 40mm frontage by 50mm depth.  It's a little tight, but the figures will fit.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blue Moon 18mm Confederate Infantry in Havelocks

Early Civil War regiments had some very distinctive uniforms.  Partly from a shortage of uniform supplies, and partly from a desire to appear different and unique, many regiments wore outlandish colors, headgear, or cuts of clothing.  By the time both sides ramped up their mobilization in the fall of 1861, standard uniforms became, well, standard.

As the war progressed, soldiers on each side all started to look alike, and that uniformity can bore a painter very easily.  That's the reason, I suppose, that most gamers have multiple zouave regiments in their armies, even though fewer than one in a hundred regiments wore zouave kit.

Still, I like that Blue Moon has released figures in more obscure dress, and I decided to try my hand at pack 15ACW-95 "Infantry in Kepi with Havelock."  The pack has 15 separate poses in a mix of right shoulder arms and right shoulder shift.

This is one of the more useful of the early war kits, as many regiments on both sides wore havelocks.  The havelock was a hot weather cloth cover for the kepi or forage cap.  The white fabric was supposed to reflect hot sunlight, and the cloth also was to keep the soldiers' necks from getting sunburned.

The havelocks rarely lasted long in the field, as the havelock insulated the soldier's neck and made it feel hotter.  Most ended up as coffee filters!  Still, some regiments were wearing them in the East as late as the Seven Days.

It was fun to paint some rebels for the early war, when most southern regiments would have appeared more uniform.  I was worried that the monotone grey uniforms would look too drab, but the lighter grey blankets, the khaki canteen covers, and especially the off-white havelocks all worked to make these figures pretty interesting looking.

The Blue Moon figures impressed me from the start, and this pack is a good example of the sculptor's excellent style.  The muskets are robust enough to endure rough handling on the gaming table.  The figures have good proportions, and the uniforms have enough sculpted detail to guide the painter's brush.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blue Moon 18mm British Highlanders

Although descended from highland Scottish stock myself (the MacPhee, or Macfie, or McFee clan hails from the island of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides), I have never painted the 42nd foot, in which several MacPhees served.  Who knows, but maybe one is an ancestor.

Those highland uniforms have always been a little daunting, with their checked hat band, hatched stockings, and patterned kilts.  So when Blue Moon released their highlanders, I bought a few packs, prepped and primed the figures, and then let them sit for several months.  I started painting these figures in June, tackling them a little bit at a time.  This weekend I made the final big push and got these ready for the table.

I painted enough figures to field the 42nd Foot at full strength of 800 men in a 1:20 figure ratio.  There are 27 center company men in kilts, 4 grenadiers, 4 light company men, and five command, including drummer and piper.

The Blue Moon figures are well proportioned and attractive.  The sculptor has included an impressive amount of detail, right down to cuff lace.  I resisted the urge to make an attempt at the MacPhee tartan and painted a simplified version of the government tartan instead.

I cut away the oversized cast flagpoles, drilled out the standard bearers' hands, and inserted some .020 brass rod.  The flags are from GMB's outstanding 15mm range.  Now that I have tried their flags for a few units, I will not use anything else.  These are the best looking and most detailed flags on the market.  I always paint them with a clear matt varnish before sealing the figures with Dullcote.  Otherwise the inks will sometimes fade.

The figures all carry a backpack with blanket roll, haversack, canteen, and cartridge box.

I am very pleased with how these figures turned out, but one highland regiment is enough!  I have prepped two regiments of Blue Moon British line to fill out the brigade.  I'll be painting those as the 24th Foot and 61st Foot.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blue Moon Union Infantry

Here are 102 Union infantry, all painted in the past two weeks.  The figures are from packs 15ACW-12 "Union Infantry Marching / Backpack," 15ACW-01 "Union Officers," and 15ACW-03 "Union Standard Bearers."  I cut away the cast flag poles, drilled out the standard bearers' hands, and added some brass rod.  Bases are Litko, which they custom cut to 25mm by 15mm.  The flags are from GMB, and they are beauties.