Tuesday, April 22, 2008

28mm ACW Union Command Stands

It has been three weeks since I started this project, and it's coming along nicely. I have finished all ten command stands for my close order Union infantry regiments.

The figures are Sash and Saber pack US1 "Federal Infantry Command Advancing (Right Shoulder Shift). The flag staffs are Old Glory PSJ-02 "Long Thrusting Spears with Cast Tips," which I cut down from 70mm to 55mm length. The flag tops are Front Rank EQ52 "Flag Tops with Tassels." The flags are all GMB. The bases are Litko 3mmx30mmx40mm rectangles. The flocking is Woodland Scenics Fine Brown Ballast drybrushed with Delta Ceramcoat's "Light Chocolate" and spotted with static grass.

Close-up of Command Stands (click for larger image)

Here they are, flags and tassels fluttering in the breeze. When I ordered my army, I asked for extra Union standard bearers so I could field national and regimental colors for each regiment. The extras I received were all the same pose (the beardless one), so my color parties look a little more uniform than I would like.

All Ten Regiments, Front View (click for larger image)

I ordered the flags from The Miniature Service Center during their GMB close-out sale, so I had to take what they had available. The result is a lot of New York and Massachusetts regiments. Fortunately, the flags have some variety, with two white Massachusetts regimental colors and one Irish Brigade flag (69th New York). One of those flags is for the 7th Wisconsin, so I really should have a regiment in Hardee hats, but hopefully no one will leave my table in a huff over my historical inaccuracy.

All Ten Regiments, Side View (click for larger image)

I like this view. You can really see just how beautiful those GMB flags are. I was worried that the color might run when I lacquered the figures, but this picture is post-lacquering and dullcoating, and it seems that they've held up well.

All Ten Regiments, Rear-ish View (click for larger image)

Here's one last view of the ten command stands. Now that I have these done, I'm ready to paint up 150 riflemen to fill out these regiments.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Minifigs SYW French Infantry

With my friend itching to try some Seven Years' War gaming, we placed a joint order for some Minifigs packs to sample their range. I bought a pack each of Prussian musketeers and Austrian grenadiers, and he bought a pack each of French musketeers and grenadiers. My friend primed his French grunts and even painted a stick before deciding that he didn't like the sculpting style of his Minifigs. He gave me the remains of his primed French musketeers yesterday, and I tried my hand at them.

Normandy Regiment, front view (click for larger image)

I decided to start with an easy uniform, that of the Normandy Regiment. I'm a Minifigs fan, and these figures really delivered for me. I cranked out this 12 man regiment in just under two hours of painting.

A bit of a side view

What can I say? They're Minifigs, which means that they have that classic toy soldier look. I have five poses here: musketeer marching, grenadier marching, drummer, officer, and color bearer.

I usually go for more of a minimalist style with Minifigs, foregoing any shading apart from the flesh. But with an all-white uniform, I felt that black lining would be too stark. I used the same technique here as on my Napoleonic Austrians (described elsewhere on this blog), but I used Quaker Grey rather than Mudstone as my base.

Rear view

The figures were very easy to paint. I'm finding that shaded white uniforms are faster to paint than anything else. I just glop on the basecoat and pick out the highlights in white. Because of the shading effect, I don't have to be as neat with straps and such. With these figures I was even able to dot on the regulation three buttons per cuff.

Field grade officer

One common complaint about Minifigs is that they lack character. I think this figure has loads of character. The pose is very interesting, and the face is well defined.

My Paints

I often get asked what paints I use. Here's the answer. These are all available at my local Michaels', and the usually cost around $1 for a two ounce bottle. I only used these eight shades, plus Dark Forest Green for the bases. From left to right they are: white, quaker grey, pure silver, metallic gold, autumn brown, brown velvet, flesh basecoat (my own mix, but similar to territorial tan), and medium flesh.

When I start my SYW armies in earnest (a project that is probably more than a year in the future), I'll be using Minifigs for the bulk of my army. They're well proportioned, they're easy to paint, and they really look the part for Lace Wars armies.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

When Eagles Drop: 6 June 1944

The group got together today and ran through a Battlefront: World War II scenario, "When Eagles Drop." A battalion of parachute infantry from the 101st Airborne must clear an exit from Utah beach and seize a town garrisoned by Georgians conscripted into German service. The airborne are rated veteran, and the German forces are rated training. As in the actual drops, the airborne forces are scattered into random drop zones, and they may take casualties during the drop. The Germans have three hidden units: a flak battalion and two patrolling platoons.

In our game, the paratroopers suffered fairly severe casualties during the drop, and most of them landed in three drop areas, one in the woods west of the town, one in the marsh east of the town, and one in the woods south of the town.

The Georgians' Village

The battalion of conscripts held a village of four buildings, all from JR Miniatures' World War II range.

Causeway Exit

One depleted company (two of its platoons were out on patrol) held the causeway exit, looking east across the marsh toward Utah beach. This group would lose two of its five stands and get pushed out of the building, but would retake the building at the end of the battle. The square markers behind the hedgerows are the flak battery and some dummy markers.

German Defense

The German position was a strong one, but with the major airborne attack coming from the west, to the left of this picture, most of the German guns were pointing the wrong way.

Airborne Attack

The airborne moved from the woods into the village, catching the German mortars in the open. Only two stands of German infantry held the west-most building, and they would be quickly overrun.

Blood on the Causeway

The Airborne advancing from the marsh took heavy casualties from the Germans' 20mm and 88mm flak guns. An allied air sortie against the guns went down in flames. The airborne's mortars were able to suppress the guns at times, but when the 88 knocked out the relief column's two lead vehicles, the causeway was blocked. A desperate American attack seized the causeway exit for one turn, but a German counterattack wiped out the paratroopers and secured the causeway exit. The airborne had failed their main objective

Panzergrenadier Counterattack

Thanks to a lucky die roll, the Germans got their reinforcements early. The German player chooses between a panzergrenadier company or a platoon of Panzer IIIs. With the US holding the building on the west edge of town, infantry was needed more than tanks. The panzergrenadiers moved up from the south and took the building under fire, but didn't press too hard. The American objective was to clear the area south of the village of all German forces, and the panzergrenadiers weren't going to be moved.

The end result was a German victory. The airborne failed to take the causeway or secure the town. The causeway itself was blocked by a knocked out jeep and halftrack. Both sides suffered heavy losses.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sash and Saber ACW Project

It's been two weeks since I primed my Union infantry, and I have finished painting the command figures.

All 60 Painted Figures

And here they are. I painted 5 buglers, 15 sergeants, 10 drummers, 10 officers, and 20 standard bearers. It took about 10 days to paint these 60 men.

61st New York Volunteer Infantry Command Stand

My Litko order arrived yesterday, and I decided to base my first command stand. I am using 30mm x 40mm bases for all my infantry.

The flags are from GMB. I picked them up when the Miniature Service Center discontinued the line and offered their remaining stock at half off. At the same time I picked up some Front Rank flag tops with tassels. I used Old Glory 70mm long spear shafts for the flag poles.

61st New York Volunteer Infantry Command Stand

The flags themselves got a sheet of aluminum foil between the two papers sides. The aluminum really helped me make the flag wavy.

Front Rank Flag Tops with Tassels

The flag top with tassels is all made of metal. I know that the tassels really alternated light blue and white cords, but I didn't want to paint that level of detail on these. A nice light blue drybrush worked very well. The tassels are thin enough to bend into any position you might want, but they are thick enough to hold that position. They provide for a nice touch, I think. Between the tassels and the GMB flags, I think the command stands will really look sharp.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some Napoleonic French Infantry

My Napoleonic French army has a mixture of Old Glory, Battle Honors, and Minifigs. I shot these pictures after a game last summer. The figures are based for Age of Eagles.

Old Glory FGC-01, FGC-02 and FGC-03 "French Infantry in Greatcoats"

I have almost all the varieties of Old Glory French infantry: full dress, campaign dress, greatcoats, marching, assaulting, advancing, defending. I painted fifty bases of these troops in greatcoats. After obsessing over turnback piping on my full dress French, the greatcoats were a welcome break. Like most Napoleonic wargamers, I love the pageantry of parade dress figures, but this is probably more what the soldiers actually looked like in battle.

Battle Honors BFR-03, "Light Infantry Advancing"

These were the first 15mm Napoleonics I ever painted. The Battle Honors figures are beautiful sculpts. Of the three eagle bearers I painted, this one is in the best shape. The flagpoles are so slender that they break very easily.