Wednesday, March 31, 2010

64 Man Project, Day 6

The penultimate day of painting is done, and I still look to finish on time. Today I painted the linothorax on the remaining 18 men, highlighted tunics, highlighted leather, painted everyone's toes, painted the shoulder ties, attached and painted the standards, and painted the base colors for the shields.

Here's the result of one day's prep and five days' painting: some figures who lack only shields to be complete.

First are the command figures, an officer, a musician, and a standard bearer. I did two of each of these poses.

Now the chain mail equipped men, who I needed because I was four figures short. I painted two of each of these poses.

Finally the linothorax wearing spearmen who make up the bulk of the units. I painted 18 of each of these poses.

Tomorrow I'll paint shield designs, highlight the shield faces, attach them to the figures, and paint the bronze shield rims. Then all will be done but the basing, which will have to wait on a Litko order.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

64 Man Project, Day 5

Two days left, and it looks like I'll finish on time. Today I finished the bronze armor, tidied up the brown sword straps, and applied the linothorax main coat to 2/3 of the men. All that's left on these figures are the linothorax on the remaining third, the highlight of leather equipment, and the tunic highlight. Then I'll paint the shields and call it done!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back from Trip

For my anniversary, I took my wife out of town. We're back now, and posting (and the challenge) will continue tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

64 Man Project, Day 4

After falling behind yesterday, I managed to catch up today. I painted the basecoat on the rest of the linothorax, painted flesh highlights on all the figures, and started the bronze armor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

64 Man Project, Day 3

I was only able to get in about 90 minutes of painting today. I was able to paint the base color on all the tunics and 2/3 of the linothorax armor. This day puts me seriously behind schedule.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

64 Man Project, Day 2

I'm in a bit of a painting funk lately. My 250 man ACW project helped me jump start my production a couple of months ago, so I think it's time for another painting challenge. This time I'll try to complete two Libyan spearmen units in seven days. That's only 64 figures, but they are 28s and they do include shields. I'll also be painting these to a higher standard than my ACW figures.

I'll be using Old Glory figures with North Star spears. Yesterday morning I prepped the figures, using a Dremel to drill out the hands. I washed the figures in dishwashing detergent and allowed them to dry. Then I glued the spears inside the hands and glued the figures to popsicle sticks. Yesterday afternoon I primed the figures brown then set them aside to dry overnight. That was the first day of painting.

End of Day Two

Today I started by painting all the spear heads black. I also painted any exposed beards black, and I painted the horsehair plumes on the standard bearers black as well. I was four figures short for this project, so I used four Libyan spearmen in captured Roman mail to bring the units up to strength. I painted the mail black. I painted the plumes on the officers mudstone. This completed the first phase of basecoating.

Next I drybrushed all the spearheads with enamel silver, and I drybrushed the four mail figures silver as well. I painted the officers' and standard bearers' sword blades silver, but left the hilts brown.

Using a broad, flat brush, I drybrushed territorial beige on all the sandals and spear shafts.

I used some enamel gold on the horns and on the standard bearers' scale armor.

I drybrushed all the beards and the standard bearers' plumes with storm grey. At the same time, I drybrushed the officers' plumes with white.

I painted all the flesh with my special mix for flesh basecoat. It's darker than the basecoat I usually use for 28mm figures, but these figures will have a darker skin tone than my usual northern European types.

Finally I painted the red tunics on two sticks of figures before giving up for the day.

Here's a detail shot showing what I have done after two days' painting. Tomorrow I'll finish up the basecoats on tunics and linothorax and probably start the bronze work. I may also prep and prime the 60 shields.

Gettysburg 1809

This past Saturday the gaming group got together for an "Age of Eagles" Napoleonic battle. Austin hosted and I provided the figures, so we were both in on the secret: we would be using Napoleonic armies to refight the first day of Gettysburg!

Here's the initial setup. The French III Corps approached the Austrian advanced guard. The Austrians had one cavalry division and one infantry division on the line, with another infantry division arriving in support.

The French cavalry was almost entirely absent, caught on a ride around the Austrian army with little chance of making it back in time to take part in the battle.

Don and Scott R. took the French and immediately took the offensive, just as Harry Heth did on July 1st at Gettysburg.

Don's French infantry pushed the Austrian grenadiers hard, chipping away a few stands very quickly. This was the Austrian Iron Brigade, and it played very little part in the battle after this.

In pushing back that brigade, however, Don exposed himself to a counterattack that wiped out the French equivalent of Pettigrew's brigade. The fighting in this picture is taking place between McPherson's Ridge and Seminary Ridge, and the battle lines would move back and forth through this little valley all day long.

When the second French infantry division arrived, Scott R. pushed his lead brigades against the Austrian line and broke it. One French brigade lunged for the town . . .

Just as the Austrian XI Corps arrived on the table. This was one of the crisis points of our battle, with the Seminary Ridge line shaking under pressure and the French looking like they would sweep the field.

The loss of that large French infantry brigade made it possible for the Austrians to detach strength from their left and scurry back to defend the town. The attacking French brigade wrecked two Austrian brigades, but it never did get into the town.

As Scott R.'s attack stalled, Don threw the French against Seminary Ridge once more. For the second time, the Austrian infantry held. Those woods provided a good defensive bonus, and I had attached commanders to every Austrian brigade to give them a little more sticking power.

On the north edge of Seminary Ridge, a lone grenadier battalion (the equivalent of Cutler's Brigade) and a brigade of chevauxlegere held of an entire French division all day. Unable to charge cavalry, the French infantry had to content themselves with moving up into musket shot and attempting to shoot stands of cavalry away. It didn't work very well.

By midafternoon the French III Corps was ready to try Seminary Ridge again. For a third time the Austrians held and repulsed them. Don tried to swing one French brigade around the Austrian left, but one brigade of Austrian line infantry made a valiant stand, repulsing several French attacks, even while the taking severe losses. This brigade was the equivalent of Paul's Brigade, 2nd Division, I Corps, but it fought more like the Iron Brigade.

In the distance of this shot, you can see the French II Corps arriving on the field, marching into the Austrian right and rear! While Don took over the remains of French III Corps, Scott R. commanded this new force.

Austin maneuvered the Austrian XI Corps into position to protect I Corps's flank and rear.

Scott R. took his time, waiting for the entire II Corps to get in position before he would launch his attack. Austin and I massed batteries again the French right, and Austin sent a brigade of cavalry in to upset the French dispositions.

By early evening, Scott had the II Corps where he wanted it and lunged for the Austrian right flank. He destroyed one Austrian brigade, and at one point only two silenced batteries stood between him and the town.

Then the Austrians pulled off an incredible coup. After an entire day of losing initiative rolls to Napoleon, the Austrians won one and earned a double move. Austin was able to counterattack with XI Corps, wrecking a French division. I used some Austrian cuirassiers to destroy the only French cavalry unit on the field. The French attack petered out and the day's fighting was over.

Here's how the lines stood at the end of the day's battle. The French lost something like 70 infantry stands to the Austrians' 25. Both sides had similar losses in guns and horse.

This was a mammoth game. We started at 10:30AM and finished at 9:00PM with a break of about 90 minutes for dinner. The scenario was balanced enough that the French had a chance of winning right into the final turn. Austin and I had a big advantage in that we knew this was really Gettysburg and could plan our strategy accordingly. We also got pretty lucky in that two of our infantry brigades and one cavalry brigade fought like heroes all day.

Don and Scott fought very aggressively, and the result was one of the better Napoleonic battles we've played.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FoG Numidian Light Horse

I'm gearing up to start a very large ACW commission (over 400 foot figures alone). But before I start it, I was able to complete two more units for my Field of Glory Carthaginian army. These are two units of Numidian light horse. The unit on the left is made up of Gripping Beast figures, and the unit on the right is comprised of Crusader Miniatures figures.

These are the Gripping Beast sculpts. They're nice and animated, and the horses look suited for light cavalry.

These are the Crusader figures. The figures are a little stiffer, but still look perfectly natural. The horses are huge compared with the Gripping Beast horses. I suspect that the historical Numidians rode horses closer to the Gripping Beast pygmies than these Crusader thoroughbreds.

Now that I've painted these up, I'm really happy with how both manufacturers' figures look. They have different styles, and I would probably go with Crusader if I needed any more figures, but that's just because I can get them fairly cheaply.

This guy was included in the Crusader command pack, and I painted him for my WAB armies. He'll make a good unit leader or even a Numidian general.

Monday, March 15, 2010

1/35 Soviet Tank Rider

This is not a gaming miniature, but I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. This is a 1/35 scale Soviet infantry tank rider from Dragon Models. He'll adorn the SU-122 I'm building for a diorama showing the Soviet army driving toward Berlin in the early spring of '45. You can see in-progress pictures of the SU-122 on my modeling club's website.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

HäT Industries 28mm French Légere Part II

I know it's been a long time between posts. I've been working on some figures for a commission, so I haven't painted anything for myself in some time. I've also been busy with a couple of 1/35 scale armor models, and when I posted some shots of my armor models here in the past, I've received almost no comments. If you're interested in seeing my work, you can find it on my club's website. I'll keep this blog dedicated to wargaming figures and games.

So here are some wargaming figures, then. These are the HäT French light infantry I reviewed in my last post. I wrote that the only major drawback to the figures is that it'll be tough to find other ranges that work well with them. HäT disagreed and wrote asking me to show the figures in a wargames setting, mixed with other ranges.

First, here are the French light infantry by themselves. I mounted the figures on 30mm frontage by 40mm depth, with four figures to a stand. This is the same basing I've used for my 28mm AWI and ACW armies.

Now here are some shots mixing the HäT figures with some from other manufacturers.

These are first edition Old Glory Austrians, and they look huge compared to the HäT figures. Part of that may be the effect of the lower figure density on the Austrian side. They're mounted three figures on a 1.5" square base.

So I tried more figures based on 15mm frontage. These are Crusader French and Old Glory second edition Austrians, and now the HäT figures work just fine. I will happily mix these units on the table.

You can never have too many comparison shots, right? Here are the HäT French with the Old Glory second edition Austrians. Note that the HäT figures are at least a half a head taller than the Old Glory figures.

And here are the HäT compared with Crusader. Again, the HäT figures are half a head taller. I include these comparison shots because the slender proportions of the HäT figures must create an illusion of shortness. I got a couple emails on my last review taking me to task for not pointing out how short the HäT figures are. Well, they're not short. They're a little taller than most 28s.

Monday, March 1, 2010

HäT Industries 28mm French Légere

HäT Industries very kindly sent me a set of their new Napoleonic French Légere Chasseurs to review. This was a test shot with the new molds, so some of the pieces will change before the final production run, but these samples should give a good idea of what the finished figures will look like.

If you've read my earlier review of HäT's Bavarian infantry, you'll know that I'm pretty excited about this line. I thought the Bavarians had fantastic proportions and provided good value. The same applies to these HäT Legere.

HäT has very sensibly divided the Légere into five packs. You'll get 48 figures in a box, which should allow for pretty big units.

28017 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Command
28003 Napoleonic French Voltiguers
28009 Napoleonic French Carabiniers
28004 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Marching
28016 Napoleonic French Chasseurs Action Poses

This pack mix should allow wargamers to field their Légere in any combination of poses they wish. I know many wargamers like their light infantry to look like they're skirmishing, and 28016 will allow them to do that. I prefer my regiments to march to the sound of the guns, both because I like the ordered look of marching battalions, and because the marching pose allows me to comfortably fit four figures on a small base.

With that in mind, here are the painted figures. First we have four figures from 28017 "Napoleonic French Chasseurs Command."

There are more figures on the sprue, which you can see here. I chose not to paint the pioneer, standing sergeant, or mounted officer.

The figures have pretty good detail and the poses are very natural. I elected to replace the eagle staff with brass wire, and the HäT plastic responded well to my pin vise. The officer's sword was far too short, but that will probably be worked out before the figures go into production. I replaced the stubby sword with more brass rod, hammered slightly flat.

Set 28004, "Napoleonic French Chasseurs Marching," was the one I was really excited about. Here are the painted figures.

There are eight figures in four poses on each sprue, and the poses are all perfectly usable! These figures should rank up very well. Some of the bayonets were a little too short, but again, I expect this is just the nature of test shots. I left most of them alone, just replacing one completely missing bayonet with some stretched sprue.

Although these figures are labelled chasseurs, which are the center companies in Légere battalions, they could easily be used for the elite companies as well. Many, perhaps most, Légere regiments kept the same basic dress for their flank companies, merely distinguishing them by different colored collars, plumes, and shako cords.

Still, HäT has provided carabiniers in bearskins and voltiguers in colpaks, although the pack composition is not all I could wish. Most of the figures are skirmishing, and the only marching poses in the two packs are those pictured below.

Because of the pack composition, you'll only get eight marching voltiguers or 16 marching carabiniers in each pack of 48.

I absolutely love the proportions of HäT's figures, and the overall look is just excellent. And to top it all off, at $.40 per figure, these figures are cheaper than anyone else's. The big question remains: how well will these figures work on the wargaming table? Will they look too slight to mix with beefier metal figures? I'll be basing my Légere battalion tomorrow, and I hope to have some pictures up soon comparing these HäT figures to my 28mm Old Glory Napoleonics.

Edit: HäT just emailed me and confirmed that the stubby sword and bayonets on these figures have been fixed for the production run.