Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wars of the Roses in 28mm, Yorkist Artillery

I have enjoyed watching Jon's Wars of the Roses project take shape. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to join him.  I placed a large order with Perry Miniatures and waited for my figures to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

My intent is to use the figures for "To the Strongest!" with a 4" grid.  I am building both armies for the battle of Tewkesbury.  All figures will have 60mm frontage.  The medium foot will be in two ranks, 40mm deep, while deep units, artillery, and cavalry will be on 60mm squares.

I started with some metal cannon and cannoneers.  These will all be part of Edward IV's army, and I figure that any artillery would have been part of the king's household troops.  As such, these men will wear the livery of York.

I started by painting the guns in medium flesh.  Once that dried, I streaked oil paint over the entire thing, letting some of the flesh peek through.  This technique makes for a fairly convincing wood grain.  I used raw umber on the left and burn umber on the right.

I changed how I painted the figures, breaking from my usual technique of building highlights.  Instead I block painted these, applied ink washes, and highlighted with the same colors as the block shades.


Because I am sneaking WotR figures in during my commission work, I will not be able to paint many of these at a time.  That will actually work out well for me, since I will be able to hand paint the livery in smaller batches.

Monday, October 11, 2021

15mm French Guard Chasseurs a Pied

Here are the next 78 figures to cross the painting desk: the chasseurs a pied of the Imperial Guard.


I am working on the foot grenadiers now.  The guard is almost done!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

15mm French Guard Fusilier-Grenadiers

The latest 72 figures for John's French army are these colorful middle guard Fusilier-Grenadiers.


I have four more guard battalions to paint, and then I can tackle the French line infantry!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

15mm French Guard Tirailleurs


Work continues on John's French army. Today we have two battalions of the Tirailleurs of the Young Guard.

I love the way these turned out. When I am able to paint more Napoleonics for myself, I think some French Young Guard are in order!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Dark Age Saxons

While I suffered from the dread disease this summer, I still wanted to paint, but my hands were so shaky and sore that my results were not up to professional levels. Still, I find painting relaxing and therapeutic. What to do?

Well, I dusted off an old, half completed project: a ninth century Saxon army for Saga or Lion Rampant. The figures all came from Black Tree Designs with one exception: a 3D printed miniature MacPhee from Minuteman Miniatures.

The motivation for this project came from Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, which are ripping reads, and my eldest daughter's interest in the Viking age. 

Unfortunately, the period is extremely difficult to research. What did Saxons wear? Who knows? Wool, certainly, and mostly dyed with vegetable dyes, but which colors? How popular were vibrant colors? How likely were ornate decorations? How accurate are illuminated manuscripts and the Bayeux Tapestry? To a certain degree, everything before widespread photography involves educated guesses, but Saxon England involves much more guesswork than education. The Dark Age is called "dark" for a reason.

I settled on more natural colors and less hem decoration for the poorer warriors and more vibrant colors for the better equipped. That seems most likely to me.

Warrior Group One

Warrior Group Two

Warrior Group Three

Archer Group One

Archer Group Two

The Whole Force

Set piece battles were extremely rare during this period. Most warfare consisted of small scale raids, which makes Dark Age Britain ideal for skirmish gaming. I doubt I will ever need more Saxons than this, so we have here the rare project that I can call complete!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

15mm French Guard Fusilier Chasseurs

With summer over, the kids back in school, and the 'rona only a memory, I am able to get back to painting! These 72 figures are for John's French army. The fusilier-chasseurs are usually listed as "middle guard," although I am not sure such a thing as "middle guard" ever really existed.

 I have the next four guard regiments in progress. Things are picking back up!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

I'm Molting!

 I am sorry that I have not updated this blog in a while, but I have no new painting to post. My family and I all had the dread disease this summer. We recovered nicely, and everything in our lives is now back to normal, except ....

The skin on my hands is peeling off in stages, and the new skin has not yet hardened. The result is cracked and painful fingertips, which makes painting painful. This has happened to me in the past following a prolonged fever. My doctor said that while it is uncommon, it is not unknown. So yay for me.

I hope to get back to a more regular painting output in September. I always find painting relaxing, and I have definitely been missing it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

15mm French Guard Voltiguers

Here is the first foot unit of John's French guard. These Young Guard voltiguers are certainly colorful!


Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Process Part Eight: Photography

I am not a photography expert at all, but I have come up with a decent process for photographing completed miniatures. I try to get as accurate an image as I can: no tricks, no hiding flaws. I don't want any of my clients to get a nasty surprise when they unpack their figures, and I don't want any blog viewers to have an inaccurate idea of what is possible with 15mm (or smaller!) miniatures.

My photography lighting is the same Ott Light I use for painting. A single sheet of folded printer paper is my only backdrop. I bought a Nikon Coolpix L120 back in 2012. It's simple enough for me to figure out, and it takes excellent photos. I set the white balance manually, and I keep the ISO at 100. This results in very slow shutter speed, so I use the timer feature along with a small tripod to keep the camera steady.

I use a free photo editor, IrfanView, to crop and resize the raw images. I keep a copy of each image on my hard drive, sorted into folders by commission. This, along with my written notes, allows me to match colors if a client wants additions to their forces.

I upload the cropped images into another editor, Picasa 3, for fine tuning. I adjust the fill light, highlights, and shadows until the image matches the colors I see on my desk.


Once the photography is complete, I make my blog post and alert my client. Hey John, there are more pictures of your troops!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Process Part Seven: Flags and Basing

Once the figures are painted, I affix flags, base, and flock them.

I almost always use GMB Design's flags. The quality is consistently excellent, and Graeme is a pleasure to deal with.

The Tools: clean cutting surface, metal straight edge, sharp hobby knife

GMB has little cutting guides, making precision cutting easy.

These flags have narrow white borders.

I use a little Glue-All to affix the flag to its staff. I let this dry for about five minutes.

Once the glue has become gummy, but has not completely set, I use toothpicks to create ripples in the flag. The first bend is parallel to the flag pole, and each subsequent bend becomes more horizontal.

Sprue cutters clip off any excess pole.

I always paint the edges of the flags so that the white paper does not show. These flags only need a spot of red where the flag meets the pole.

A little bit of gold on the tip, and my painting is done.

I am not sure what type of ink Graeme uses, but it sometimes fogs under a lacquer spray, so I assume it is mineral oil soluble. To keep it from fogging, I brush on this water based varnish.

I go through a lot of bases, so I find that prepping a few hundred at a time is a good idea. I use a scrap piece of lumber, blue painter's tape, and a flat brown enamel spray paint.

The enamel paint adheres well to the base sides, but its most important function is to create an impermeable barrier for the water based glue wash.

I always let the enamel dry outdoors for a few hours. If I move too fast, the bases stay gummy.

Here are 105 bases ready for troops. 

In a commission with many variety of uniform, I will usually label each base by troop type.

I remove all the troops from their painting sticks and sort them by like poses. I find Elmer's Glue-All works very well to secure the figures to their bases. Because it is water soluble, rebasing only requires an overnight soak in a baking pan filled with water.

The Glue-All must set for at least 12 hours. After it is ready, I start the flocking. My dirt is Woodland Scenics Fine Brown Ballast.

The cheaper hobby acrylics contain more binder than pigment, which makes them slow drying. I use a medium sized brush to paint the entire base.

A quick swirl in the ballast is all they really need. I use my finger to wipe off the sides of the base.

Once the dirt is on all the bases, I apply a glue wash to the entire base. It's roughly one part Glue-All to five parts tap water.

This glue wash also needs to dry overnight. It dries hard, and as long as the enamel spray paint covered the entire base, the water will not warp the wood. This dirt will not fall off from casual handling of the figures. You have to put some real effort into taking any off.

I have a variety of turf that I use for different periods, seasons, and scales. The default is Gale Force 9's static grass. It looks great, and it's very easy to work with. I am not sure what they do differently, but the other brands feel coarser to the touch.

I use undiluted Glue-All and apply it in spots. I try to break up the sides of each figure's individual base.

I make a quick swirl in the static grass. Sometimes I will apply a little pressure with my fingertips to tamp the grass onto the base.

Once the figures are done, I let the glue dry for a few hours.

The last step involves sealing the figures. I have used a variety of techniques over the years, but the tried and true method is an application of Testor's Dullcote on a warm day.


I will have one more post in this series. Check in tomorrow!