Monday, August 31, 2009

August Painting Totals

I had a very productive August, moving my last commission toward completion and finishing a lot of figures for myself as well. Here's what I painted.

15mm Macedonians (commission): 14 infantrymen, 25 cavalrymen
28mm ACW Union, 5 mounted generals
28mm ACW Confederates: 62 infantrymen
28mm Macedonians, 24 infantrymen
28mm Gauls, 3 infantrymen
28mm AWI Continentals, 20 infantrymen

In 15mm I finished 14 foot and 25 horse, all painted to a very high standard. In 28mm I finished 111 infantrymen and 5 mounted generals, and you've seen all but the Gauls on this blog. That makes for 595 SPPs in August and an annual total of 2842. I've painted the following figures so far this year:

28mm Foot: 300
28mm Mounted: 58
15mm Foot: 534
15mm Mounted: 105
15mm Elephants: 6
15mm Guns: 2

Old Glory Second Edition AWI Americans (2)

In my last post, I showed the first stick of painted Americans, and I commented on the oddness of the faces. I'm happy to report that the rest of the faces are, at least marginally, better.

But as you can see, they're still not really good faces. For $.60 each, they're pretty good figures. But they're far short of the Perry figures I have my eye on.

So how would a regiment of these figures look on the table? I'm not going to base them yet, as I plan to mix these men in hunting shirts into units with men in coats, but here are the 20 figures arrayed as a regiment.

I'd say they look the part. I'm building the American army at Freeman's Farm, which is a medium sized battle. I'll probably still use Perry for that army, but I'll certainly use some Old Glory figures to add onto that force for larger fights. They do look good all ranked up, and by mixing their four codes, I'll be able to produce suitably ragged looking units.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old Glory Second Edition AWI Americans

I picked these figures up a few months ago, thinking that I might give the American Revolution a try in 28mm. I love the period, which has everything a wargamer could possibly want, and I love the scale, but the only figure range that really called to me was Perry. Before I gave the Perrys $400 for a medium sized American army, I thought I would give the Old Glory second edition figures a try.

These are from AWI-59 "Line Hunting Shirts - Cocked Hats." I primed the figures yesterday morning, put a base coat on them last night, and did the detail work this morning.

My first reaction on seeing the bare lead, and the reason that the figures sat unpainted for so long, was that the faces were strangely long. I thought they might look better with paint, but there they are, with their long, thin noses and narrow skulls even more prominent now that they're painted.

Apart from the faces, these figures are excellent. The fringed hunting shirt takes a drybrush very well, and the waistcoat and breeches have just enough raised detail to make painting them a breeze. The body proportions are very good, and the poses should work very well once the figures are ranked up.

So could I paint an army of them? I don't know. I'll see how they look once based in their units, but for now I'm leaning toward the Perry figures.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

28mm Confederate Infantry Command Stands

While I continue to plug away on a couple of commissions, I took some time this morning to base my Confederare army's 10 infantry command stands. The figures are all Sash and Saber, and the flags are all GMB.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Highlighting 28mm Figures

I've received a dozen emails over the past six months asking me about highlighting figures. Most have asked if I'm not overdoing my figures by adding that second shade.

While it's certainly possible to create a good looking 28mm army just by simple block painting, using a highlight shade can really make your figures pop on the table. Here are some ACW Confederates I finished highlighting today. These are part of a batch of 40 figures. Block painting all 40 took me about 20 hours. Highlighting took only another three hours.

Obviously, these are before and after pictures. The block painted figures aren't bad looking, but by investing just a little more time, I can really give the figures some depth and a lot more visual appeal.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Foundry Rank and File Macedonians

Last week I picked up an entire Foundry collection on eBay, getting the figures for $1 apiece. The collection was "Macedonian Army," and it contained a variety of different phalangite poses. These are all imperial sculpts, and they have the outlandish plumes and extra armor that I associate with the wars of the successors, but I'll definitely use them in my Alexandrian army. Two of the packs -- "eastern pikemen" and "Greek mercenaries" are unlikely to find a home in my early Macedonian army, but the rest should work very well.

One nice thing about buying these on eBay was that the older packs contained 12 figures each, instead of the 8 in the current packs. The figures all had their shields cast onto their bodies, which definitely made it harder to paint the recesses behind the shield. But it did save a few steps in priming, painting, and attaching the shields.

I wanted to see how quickly I could produce well painted Macedonians, so I actually timed myself while painting these 24 figures. I thought I could crank out passable paint jobs for the whole lot in just two hours, then throw them up on eBay at about $5 a figure. If I could do that, I thought I might paint these for sale, but I fell far short of that goal. I spent an hour prepping these figures, six hours painting them, and another hour basing them. 24 figures in eight hours makes for three figures an hour, which is a respectable pace, but not really fast enough to justify selling them.

In order to get these figures done as quickly as possible, I gave up painting three tone flesh and tunic and settled for two tones. I primed the figures brown rather than black, saving myself a step in applying a brown basecoat for helmets, pikes, sword scabbards, straps, sandals, greaves, and shields. I declined to paint any designs on the linothorax armor, settling for a two tone off-white scheme.

I'll be starting in on some figures for a commission now, and I still have some ACW Confederate command on my workbench, but once those two sets are done, I'll be returning to my Macedonian army. I hope to have the whole thing done in time for a modeling competition in October.

Monday, August 10, 2009

28mm ACW Union Division and Brigade Command

While I continue to work on the Confederate rank and file, here are some shots of the Union commanders I just finished. "Guns at Gettysburg" is a divisional level game, with the table commander usually a major general commanding several brigades.

I'm using Grant as my division commander, with two colonels as staff. The Grant figure is from Old Glory pack WBS-69 "Union Western Personalities," although it shows Grant in the Lieutenant General's uniform he would have worn in 1864-5. The two staff members, as well as the brigade commanders below, are from WBS-67 "Union Mounted Colonels."

The division commander gets a huge base in "Guns at Gettysburg," measuring 70mm square. I'm not sure my minimalist terrain works on such a large base, and I may add some other elements to it. I wanted to make a mini-vignette, something more interesting than just three guys on horses looking to the front. I think I succeeded in creating a dramatic scene here. Obviously, something is going wrong on the right, and a remarkably ugly colonel is drawing Grant's attention to it.

I usually don't paint the eyes on my 28mm figures, but I wanted these figures to look really polished. Hopefully I kept the eyes small enough that the figures don't look like they're wearing glasses.

I shot some good closeups of Grant in the previous post, so here are a couple of his staff.

This guy is my least favorite figure from the WBS-67 pack. Although the pose is very dynamic, the face is pretty scary. Still, I've seen ugiler Union officers in period photographs. The army wasn't commanded by men with movie star good looks, after all.

This is a much more attractive figure, although the Old Glory sculptor has the poor colonel ready to poke out his own eye with that telescope. It really should be held with two hands for stability, but the casting process makes it a difficult pose to pull off, and Old Glory is not alone in this mistake.

"Guns at Gettysburg" calls for brigade generals to get a fairly large base, but I went with my standard 1"x2" mounted base instead. I used mounted colonels as brigade commanders, partly because I had the figures available, partly because Old Glory doesn't make any generic generals, and partly because Union brigades often were commanded by colonels rather than brigadier generals. I'll need five or six brigade commanders in all, so I'll either have to buy more colonels, or press Sherman, Thomas, McPherson, Hooker, and Buell into brigade command.

I really like this figure. He's a sharp looking officer, and the pose, shouting something to his men (go get 'em, boys? Hold, damn you? Why are you running?), would have been pretty common.

The other brigade commander is a dapper officer smoking a cigar. The black horse and the officer's black hair gave my camera fits, and the figure itself is better looking than these photos indicate.

Both these brigade commanders wear a sash under their belt, but the sculptor left off the distinctive tassels (which you can clearly see on the officer with telescope). It's a minor defect on what are otherwise very accurate figures.

So here's the whole shooting match. As I wrote, I do need to add a few more brigade commanders, but the federal army's command is coming along nicely.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant

Just two pictures of this Old Glory figure, which I whipped up this morning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Last of the 28mm ACW Rebel Skirmishers

I put the finishing touches on 22 rebel skirmishers this morning and based them up this afternoon. I bought all my lead when Sash and Saber ran their 50% off sale last year, and by sticking to regiment packs I was able to get my infantry for $.50 a figure. I bought five packs of the marching infantry and one of firing line, planning to use the marching troops as close order infantry and the firing line as skirmishers.

Since the Sash and Saber regiment packs have no duplicate poses, that means each of my 40 skirmishers is an individual. And that meant, of course, that I couldn't use my assembly line technique. This was a slow process, often involving custom mixes of craft paints to get just the right shade of grey or butternut.

The skirmishers look the part on the table. These bases were very easy to do. I started by gluing the figures to 2"x1" Litko bases. Then I painted the base sides in "brown iron oxide." Once that dried, I used the same shade to paint the tops of the bases. While the paint was still wet, I swirled the base in a bowl of Woodland Scenics dark brown medium ballast. I waited about fifteen minutes for the paint to dry, then gave the bases a wash of diluted Glue-All. After four hours, the Glue-All had dried, making for very secure ballast. This stuff won't come off through normal handling. I drybrushed the ballast with "light chocolate," then used another Glue-All wash to attach static grass. Tomorrow I'll hit the whole lot with a gloss varnish, followed once dry by Testor's Dullcote.

I have a little more commission work to do now, but once it's finished, I'll move on to the Confederate close order infantry.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

28mm ACW Union Battle Line

I spent a few free moments last week finally finishing the basing of my 212 Union close order infantry. After a long absence, I'm ready to sink my teeth back into this project.