Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Painting Totals

It was a rough month. My boy is walking, and he has given up all but one of his naps, taking away much of my painting time. I took a five day trip to visit my brother in Denver. I threw my back out at the end of the month. And finally, I worked mainly on two commissions, which robs me of my painting drive. The result was one of my weakest painting months ever. I also was not able to get together with the gaming group for our regular monthly game.

Here's what I did get painted.

28mm ACW Confederates, 2 infantrymen
28mm Macedonians, 10 cavalrymen and 18 infantrymen
28mm Medieval English, 12 cavalrymen

That's a total of 188 SPPs in June. Hopefully July will be better.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Austin's Napoleonic Russians

Austin has been busy on his 1805-7 Russian army. All the figures are AB on Litko bases. The figures are suitable use with "Age of Eagles," but Austin puts three infantry on a stand instead of four.


Austin has been using Citadel washes on his white uniforms, which really brings out the figures' relief.


Austin writes: "figures that went quickly were these Jäger in greatcoat. I love greatcoats! They fit my style, and the techniques I find that work on them, I then use on my other figures."

Jäger Command Stand

"Since Jäger didn't carry regimental standards, I make up the command stand with a mounted officer on it. He's actually a French officer in the catalog, but through the magic of Ceramcoat paint - Voila! - he's Russian. I need to work on my black horse technique, though. The horse doesn't pop like I had hoped."

I'd just add that the paint job on this officer's face is one of the best I've seen on a 15mm figure.

These are some of the most recent AB releases, and they're beautiful figures. Austin is our resident lead snob, so any miniatures of which he approves must be the best available!

Friday, June 19, 2009

MacPhee Drug Store

I took a little vacation last week, flying down to Denver to watch the Mariners play the Rockies with my brother. As I usually do, I bought my wife a little present.

My wife enjoys miniatures, especially if I can make her an interesting diorama. I found an N scale pharmacy at a Denver hobby store (my wife is a pharmacist) and built it for her when I got back. The building cost $15 and took me about three hours to assemble and paint. It was an easy job to finish while some enamel paints dried on my latest commission.

Naturally enough, my thoughts turned to the building's wargaming potential. I had bought a pack of N scale figures to add some life to the building, and as we'll see, N scale doesn't match any of my wargaming scales, so these figures will always look out of place next to my wargaming miniatures. But $15 is pretty cheap for such a nice building. Is the building scale close enough to use with any of my armies?

The building itself could be from any time in the 20th century. 15mm World War II miniatures do look a little large next to it, but I think it's close enough to work. Unless we're playing 1:1 skirmish, the ground scale in our games is shrunken anyway, so N scale buildings might represent a city block. N scale is 1:160 and 15mm is 1:100 or thereabouts (TMP says 1:107).

How about for 10mm ACW? Some of the N scale buildings might be right for 1860s USA. 10mm is 1:161, just about an exact match for N scale, and these ACW Union infantrymen look perfectly in scale with the building.

Napoleonics are a stretch, since the rail lines were still several decades away while Napoleon struggled to dominate Europe. Still, some of the European buildings might do in a pinch. These 6mm figures are 1:268, too small really to fit with the building.

One reason 20mm WWII gaming is so popular is the ready availability of HO scale buildings that are close enough to work with 20mm figures and vehicles. I think N scale buildings work just as well for 15mm figures, and I may just add some to my WWII games.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Alexander's Companion Cavalry

This is the latest unit for my WAB Macedonian army. As with the Thessalians, I picked these figures up on eBay for a pretty good price. The downside was that I couldn't be too choosy about poses. Still, I was able to build a unit with a good mix of helmets and armor.

The Foundry horses are decent sculpts, but there are only four variants. I painted them in five different colors for this unit. As the companions were drawn from the aristocracy, I was generous with blazes and socks, figuring that the men would ride the best looking mounts they could find.

I painted the figures in the later uniform. They wear a red short sleeved tunic (or a purple long sleeved tunic), a sand colored cloak with purple trim, and bronze helmets instead of the earlier helmets in regimental colors. I used North Star pikes, cutting them down slightly for the xyston. The xyston are a little under-sized on these figures to keep them from being too unweildy on the gaming table.

This figure is a senior officer, indicated by his more ornate armor and horsehair plume. He rides on Alexander's right. He wears the regulation long sleeved tunic.

Alexander awarded laurel wreath emblems to men who had performed an heroic action. I only gave one of my nine troopers this mark of valor. This figure wears a muscle cuirass, probably marking a Thessalian cavalryman rather than a companion. But again, I bought these figures on eBay and couldn't be picky.

So here they are, the biggest and baddest Macedonians, the hammer which would strike the Persians on the phalanx's anvil. With Alexander leading from the front, this unit should sweep all before it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Alexander the Great

My Macedonian army is taking shape, so I took some time away from the rank and file to paint the commander.  And who should command the Macedonians but Alexander?

The figure is Foundry, part of a mixed set of Macedonian cavalry I bought on eBay.  I used the famous Pompeii mosaic as my source for colors.  I doubt the authenticity of that very common source, preferring to paint my Macedonians in more utilitarian colors, but I wanted Alexander to stand out.  Anyway, this figure's sculptor clearly used the Pompeii mosiac as his source, so in the spirit of the figure I went along.

I used three tone shading on Alexander's cloak, tunic, and flesh.  And I hit the horse with three tones as well.  I wanted this figure to pop, so I went a little lighter than usual with the highest tone.

None of the eBay horses had the animal skin usually seen on Alexander's mount, so I had to paint a common saddle blanket.  I went through three more elaborate designs before settling on this simple pattern.  The saddle blankets kept overwhelming the figure.

Now that the Macedonians have a leader, I'll start on the companion cavalry.  This army has been a long time taking shape, partly because I keep taking commissions, but I hope to have it done by mid summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Marian Legionaries

Jasper Oorthuys suggested that I mix in some tinned helmets among my late republican legionaries.  As luck would have it, I wasn't quite done with my Marian legionaries, so I decided to take him up on his suggestion for my last batch of eight rankers.

Here are the eight new figures, with a legionary in bronze helmet for comparison.  Shields are Crusader from their Punic Wars line with Little Big Men Studios transfers.

I didn't have specific shields for the signifers, so I stole this from a Crusader EIR pack.  I vut out just the emblem from the LBM transfer, painted the rest of the shield cinnamon, then applied a main shade of opaque red.  I highlighted with a mix of red, orange, and white.  Once the figure is blown up like this, I can see that I overpainted park of the emblem, but it's really not noticable on the table.

Now my WAB Roman army has nine cohorts, six of Old Glory figures and these three of Foundry.

I'm open to suggestions for the last cohort.  Should I give Companion a try?  1st Corps?  I'd like to try one more manufacturer before I declare this project finished.  They must be standing figures with chain mail and pila.  Who else makes suitable figures?

Monday, June 1, 2009

French Line Battalion

I posted an earlier review of the Crusader Napoleonic French command pack, stating that I planned to build a 1:20 line battalion for the General de Brigade rules.  Here's the result.

French Line Battalion

General de Brigade calls for each company to get its own stand, which is very nice for armies whose infantry had company distinctions, as the French do.  The gamer doesn't have to make an abstraction of French infantry organization, but can depict the regiment just as it would have appeared.

The Crusader figures are in a campaign dress version of the 1806 uniform, with trousers and no shako cords.  The elite figures do wear their plumes.  I think this is a good compromise and probably reflects the actual appearance of French infantry on the battlefield.  I'm sure the infantry covered their shakos on the march, but I'm also pretty sure that they would remove the covers before any set piece battle.  I varied the trouser colors, using two shades of tan, a grey, and an off-white.

Elite Companies

In my earlier review I wrote about how much I liked the ranker pose in the command pack.  The elites are just as good.  The figures have great raised detail and very natural poses.

Fusilier Companies

I wanted a darker blue for the coats, much darker than I usually use.  I applied a single highlight to the dark blue to bring out the relief.  I paid considerable attention to all the little details on the uniforms, taking care to pick out the piping on cuffs, cuff flaps, back flaps, turnbacks, and shoulder straps.

Command Stand

This will be the regiment's first battalion.  The other two battalions will get fanions.

I thought the Crusader figures were a great buy.  I was able to build this battalion for only $59.40, which works out to an average of $1.65 per figure.  That's a pretty good value for figures of this high quality.