With the Great Lockdown in effect I spent the first few weeks painting up more irregular looking models, but then craved for something with uniforms. So I unearthed my boxes of ACW which had remained untouched through two changes of address, and what do you know? I fell in love. Recently I already showed off two infantry regiments, but now it’s time to take a look at the rest of the force as it currently stands.
The thing about these old Perry plastics is that, because it was their first set of plastics, it was also their simplest in terms of options. That’s great! Most of the models in the set require just their headgear to be glued on, and as assembly is often unexpectedly time consuming, this leaves more time for painting. The downside is that, as the command options are on the same sprue, you end up with too many greatcoated models, and both the standard bearers and musicians have to be built from the same body which makes for some rather weird command stands. I circumvented this issue by outfitting some of the other models with leftover left arms from the plastic artillery set, or just clipping off a right arm.
Speaking of converting models: as I had 20 superfluous painted Zouaves from the 5th New York regiment I painted ages ago, I decided to partially repaint these as the 140th regiment. Just the pants and the cords on their fezzes needed my attention, but also a new command stand for which I tore off the right arms of some unlucky Zouaves, added spare ones with banner poles, and built and painted a new officer and musician – the former from the regular set, the latter from a spare Zouave body with parts also from the regular set. Easy!
The artillery was built from a box of the Perry plastics – lovely models, these. One simply can’t resist the urge to turn these into three little dioramas showing the various stages of artillery operation. The addition of the caissons is a nice touch and not even useful merely as decoration – for instance, in the Rebels and Patriots ruleset by Osprey Games, they can be an unobtrusive way of marking a gun that has the limber option,
I had previously painted up eight Union Cavalry, so I painted up the other twelve I had lying around including command options, upgraded the older paintjobs a bit, and turned these into two 10-strong units. I will probably get some more down the line, in order to be able to field a full cavalry brigade, but that’s very low on the list of things to get for this army.
Painting wise, I started off with the same techniques, but decided to apply some more highlights to the faces, hands and weapons – always the focal point of model soldiers! The other areas were left fairly basic, but as I didn’t varnish too thickly I can always go back in with some more highlights (Probably never going to happen, though – what’s done is done).
The count currently stands at 6 infantry regiments, of which two are Zouaves, two cavalry regiments, two 12-pdr Napoleons and a 12-pdr howitzer. I also painted up the sniper one gets for free with the Glory, Hallelujah! sourcebook from Warlord. This brings the number of painted models in this army up to a goodly 159, and enough for two full brigades.
But wait, there’s more! I have ordered some more boxes of infantry (the newer Union boxes, as they come with skirmishing poses), as well as some essential commanders, dismounted cavalrymen and casualty figures. With these I’ll certainly have enough for another full brigade, amounting to a complete division. Looks like I have my work cut out for me…
P.S. Mainly due to how quick these painted up, my painted model count since the lockdown started is at 321. Try and beat that! 🙂
Returning to WW2 models after a lengthy hiatus was, well, swift – It looks like I’m out of them again! Below are the rest of my fledgling French force for now, painted, of course, with the same techniques as the infantry shown before.
From left to right we have a medic, a senior officer with incredible whiskers, a forward ordnance observer (normally included with the anti-tank gun, but more useful in this role) and a henchman for the officer, no doubt ringing HQ for an update on the croissants.
Then, the artillery. The French were noted for relying on their field pieces and so, in Bolt Action, they can field a single anti-tank or howitzer without paying points. I decided to pick up the 47mm anti-tank gun, which was a joy to paint but quite tricky to fit onto the supplied base!
Finally, we have the sniper, anti-tank rifle, and light mortar teams. I generally don’t like prone models too much as they take up more space, but these are fine.
So that’s it! I have vowed to not purchase any new models until Crisis 2020 rolls around come Novembre, and in case you’re wondering: it’s a vow I have been upholding succesfully since Crisis 2019! After Crisis 2020, however, you can expect further additions to this project to grace this blog.
A new project, because why not?
One annoying habit I do have is that, when abroad, I always want to visit any nearby hobby stores. My wife usually kindly obliges (she usually is in charge of organising all the other daytrips!) although the one where I bought these models was a bit harder as it was a freezing cold January day in Vienna to a store quite outside the city centre!
So why French? Well, ever since the film Dunkirk I have had the urge to collect a Fall of France/Retreat to Dunkirk army. These French from Warlord Games are the first of the small force – I plan, of course, to add quite a few British Expeditionary Force models, some Senegalese, some Belgians, and mix these models to truly drive home the theme of a multinational force of volunteers that try to stop the Boche from reaching the beaches.
These models were painted with the usual dirty cheap techniques you know me for. I started from a death guard green spray coat, painted the backpacks and legwraps ionrach skin, the skin tallarn flesh, the water bottles elysian green, the webbing and boots mournfang brown, the wood XV-88 and the gun metal leadbelcher. Then, surprise surprise, everything was given two successive washes of agrax earthshade, and the helmets a final wash of drakenhof nightshade.
Then, highlights: the greatcoats with death guard green, the legwraps and backpacks ionrach skin, the metallics stormhost silver, the boots and webbing steel legion drab, the helmets waaagh! flesh, the water bottles elysian green, and the wood zandri dust – adding some woodgrain effect – with a final wash of reikland flesh. The skin was highlighted tallarn flesh and then kislev flesh, with a dash of carroburg crimson on the lower lip for some subtle colour. And, of course, the sergeant got a nice Colgate smile to stand out from the other side of the table!
Lastly, the bases – really chuffed with these. I added two layers of sand mixed with a little grit to hide the rather thick moulded stands, washed this with nuln oil and then drybrushed them with pallid wych flesh. Some highland tufts from Army Painter were added and that was it. I tried to go for the look of the northern French and Belgian dunes in unseasonal weather, matching the bleakness of the atmosphere of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and I think it worked out well. The only thing I’m still debating is whether to paint the base rims, and if so, which colour?
More for these French soon, as I have an HQ nearly ready, and then some support teams and the obligatory 47mm anti-tank gun to stop those nasty Panzers!
Since I last posted, I have more or less gone back to where it all started, with fantasy wargaming. Together with the rest of my club I have been mostly playing A Song of Ice and Fire: The Miniatures Game since it came out, but I have also been collecting several Warhammer armies for Oldhammer, or more exactly, Middlehammer purposes.
Here, then, is my brand new Empire army. First, though, a little history lesson.
I was just a fifteen-year-old boy when I started the hobby. Back in the summer of ’69, pardon, ’01 I was walking around in Brussels with my wallet stuffed with Belgian Francs after passing my third year of high school, when I chanced upon a Games Workshop store with the usual displays of excellently painted models in the window. I thought to myself: “Hey, you can do that too!” and left with the 6th edition starter set and a paint set. From then on, every Saturday I’d take the bus to Brussels, spend my allowance on a blister or two, and be home for supper ogling my new acquisition at the table.
Empire was my first army, and let’s just say I learned a lot by doing things wrong – very wrong. Things like:
- Thinking that I could wash every colour with black ink, because black is the absence of light, innit? No, it isn’t.
- Trying to glue a metal Warrior Priest to a plastic base using plastic cement.
- Using blood red on the back of shields.
- Painting the inside of a model’s mouth blood red – because it really is!!!
- Putting a broken pot of plastic cement in a spare GW paint pot, which began to melt, turning into a sort of Nurgle paint pot (and a health hazard, too)
- Attempting to melt a blocked superglue nozzle by holding it over a flame. A bit of molten plastic fell onto my right index finger, producing a T-shaped scar which I carry to this day.
- Unsafe cutting, clipping, ruining clothes, licking brushes, and so on, and so forth.
This time around however, I used my eighteen years of experience to produce somewhat better results.
You already saw my Empire Elector Count on Griffon in a previous blog post, so here are the other characters. From left to right, we have a Captain, a Battle Wizard, the Battle Standard Bearer, a Warrior Priest and another Captain. Apart from the Wizard these are all Warlord Games models.
Pikes! Pretty much all Warlord Games models, some with heads from old Empire models for variety, and a few Foundry models such as the one all the way on the right. I’ll be using these as plain Spearmen when playing vanilla Empire, or I could play a Marienburger Empire army using the back-of-the-book list from the 6th edition armybook and use them as Dogs of War Pikemen. I have two 30-strong blocks of them at this point, the other one is just more of the same.
Halberdiers. I only got 12 halberd-armed Warlord Games halberdiers in my set, so I had to be creative to get a 20-strong unit. The musician and standard bearer add two models, the unit champion is actually Georg Von Frundsberg (what a demotion!), the model all the way on the right is the sleeping guardsman model from Warlord, and there is a unit filler on a 40x40mm base in there. Sorted! I do have 12 more Halberdiers on the way – Warlord was friendly enough to send me another batch of bits – and I can always try to convert some more with old GW bits.
Handgunners, of course. This unit is almost completely Foundry with just two Warlord models, and I have another comprised entirely of the latter. As you can see here I went for some rather simple colour combinations – the tendency with landsknechts is to paint every little sash and puff and slash and hose and feather a different colour and then stripe it with yet another, but in order not to go mad I went for simple halved or quartered designs of contrasting but not clashing colours. Here and there I did add some stripes, but only sparingly. I think the models still look Landsknechty when ranked up into units.
I wanted my Greatswords to look more armoured than the other guys, so I used the three arnoured bodies fron the Warlord kit, I also wanted a little bit more uniformity in these guys, so I gave almost all of them plumes on their helmets or hats and painted those a simple white and red.
I also wanted me some Flagellants, but as the old metal models are hard to come by for a decent price, I went with the different vignette models from Warlord Games and rolled them into one chaotic 20-strong unit. If I do ever find an actual Flagellant unit these will instead serve as Free Company Fighters.
These Knights from Foundry have been lying around in my drawer for years, but have now finally received a coat of paint (and therewith a coat d’arms, ha!). I have just the six models, so in order to buff their size I decided to use a vignette to fill it up for the time being. I’ll get more Knights from Foundry at a later date. Although I had the greatest fun painting these models up, the riders kept detaching from their horses all the time, due to an imperfect join.
The last argument of Elector Counts, eh? These Great Cannon are great models from Foundry. Still on the lookout for a Mortar though, and I should have an 18-year-old Helblaster somewhere…
So, what’s in store for this army? Well, as I’m writing this I have just played my first 2000-point battle with it against my friend Jonas’s Skaven. Despite having the worst of luck with the dice I managed a draw, but there was much fun to be had in returning to 6th edition Warhammer.
Another friend is gearing up to start a late medieval Swiss army, meaning I will be able to use my models as landsknechts and play games of Warhammer Ancient Battles and Hail Caesar with them.
At any rate, I have further additions in store for this army. Those extra Halberdiers are nearly done, and then I have some Archers, a 24-strong block of Swordsmen, some Crossbowmen, perhaps more Handgunners… I also have a Steam Tank lying around somewhere!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 18 years of painting, it’s that the painting never stops…
Why do I always tell myself not to start new projects, when such good intentions are clearly in vain? Here’s another one fresh off the painting table: Celts! I was foolish enough to pick up the wonderful Vercingetorix model from Warlord Games at Warcon ’18 and think I could leave it at that – well fat chance, Victrix is releasing some terrific plastic Gauls these days and I had to bite. My friends brought a set of their new Gallic Warriors as well as one of Fanatics home from Salute ’18, and I’m happy to report they’re already done! Huzzah!
First up, we have the meat-and-bones of the force: a big warband of your ordinary Celts. These were pretty straightforward to assemble: a mix of the both the topless and the fully dressed bodies, and of both the helmeted and bare heads, with swords, spears and a few javelins thrown in for good measure. Painting-wise, I opted for a radically different technique: I undercoated the models AP skeleton bone, heavily drybrushed them white, then applied all colours with just washes. Usually several washes were needed across a given area to get the required result, otherwise things would look too pastel. For instance, the skin tone is two washes of reikland fleshshade and one of seraphim sepia. Obviously, the metallic were painted in the usual manner, and I took special care to make them look super shiny for contrast. Also, as Celts wouldn’t look the part without them, I added freehanded patterns to at least one item of cloth on pretty much every model, with regular paint of course.
Also built from the Gallic Warriors set are these skirmishers. I elected to use just the topless bodies and bare heads for these – to get the point across that they’re the poorer kind of warrior. For these I had to do some cutting on the left arm to equip them with spare javelins, which means they’re not equipped with shields – hence, they look a lot less spectacular than the others!
Penis! These are the fanatics, and they were stupidly easy to paint with the aforementioned technique. It’s a 24-strong block of troops but I think I’ll be getting some more to bulk out the unit, for games like WAB where they really shine when fielded as a big block. In the first rank you can see a druid model from Warlord Games, which was a leftover from my Dacian project. He’s a bit smaller (haha…) than the others, but otherwise fits in fairly well. Using watered down incubi darkness I added tattoos/warpaint to these models to spice up their appearance, which I think was much needed.
Finally, here are two other characters; the first is that wonderful Vercingetorix model from Warlord Games. I altered just one thing, which was to give him a spare plastic shield so that I could apply a LBMS transfer without too much of a hassle.
The second is a plastic command model from the Gallic Warriors set which I’ll be using as a Battle Standard Bearer in WAB, or a regular standard bearer for other games. This guy received an open left hand from a Victrix hoplite, so that I could portray him leaning on his sheathed sword. Not my most impressive conversion ever, but I think it’s an effective little distinguishing feature.
So, well, there you go! A whole set of Celts, ready to be fielded alongside or against my Carthaginians. As models always look better when put next to each other, I have a couple of group photos for you.
This first group shot is for those moments when I’ll be playing WAB. The two decently sized warbands will be intimidating to most opponents – the druid confers Hatred to the already Frenzied fanatics, and the Battle Standard Bearer and Warlord go into the big Warrior block to boost its staying power. The skirmishers will either be fielded as a single big unit or two smaller ones.
The second group shot shows the troops broken down into 12-strong units, for our games of Hail Caesar, To The Strongest, Sword & Spear and the like. It’s a pretty healthy division, with five standard units and two small units.
Project done – for now… I once purchased a box of Gallic cavalry from Warlord as well as a Gallic cavalry command blister to use with my Dacians but never got round to using them, and I think they’ll be used here. The new Gallic cavalry from Victrix are also leering at me, of course. As 24 or 25 is a bit small for a Naked Fanatic unit I’d like to bump the unit up to around 32, and I might purchase some metals from Warlord Games for variety as another pack of 24 plastics would be a little much. Finally, I’m of a mind to build a warband of nobles on foot, using the regular plastic Gallic Warriors but all helmeted, with swords, and with the capes attached (which I didn’t use much yet). Plenty of options!
End of year means yours truly takes stock to consider the past year of brushwork and how to continue doing what one does best – painting some models! I’ll cover each of my projects one by one and ramble a bit. No pictures of models in this one, so if you’re the kind of fellow who looks at shinies without reading the context – check back later! Here goes.
- Napoleonic French: I’ve added a squadron of Chasseurs and one of Cuirassiers, two line battalions and a couple of vignette models over the course of the year. It’s my first historical project, and it’s still going strong. Next year I’d like to get at least two further line battalions ready for duty, paint up more cavalry as well as horse artillery. There’s also Napoleon’s Berlin Carriage…
- Vikings: My second project, and one that could almost be considered finished, were it not for the fact that I continue to collect and paint Northmen for the sheer joy of it. I’ve actually sold off a portion of my Viking army this year – mainly duplicates and plastics – and I might continue to do so, just to keep the collection fresh. In 2016 I have no immediate plans to purchase or paint new Vikings.
- Flemings/Crusaders: I’m fairly satisfied with my collection, so much of the past year was spent filling in some gaps; priests and pilgrims, a bishop, etc. What I did paint a lot of were Maltese crosses, with a decent number of sergeants and foot knights being added to the army. In 2016 I’d like to get some more cavalry done for the army, but it’s fairly low priority.
- WW2: My Fallschirmjaegers and Red Devils both received a decent amount of attention this year, with a couple of big cats for the former and a big gun for the latter. More bodies, especially officers, for both sides as well. I have plenty of models on the lead pile to carry over to 2016 and I will certainly be adding further to both projects!
- Late Romans/Arthurians: I’m deliberately keeping this army fairly small – I’ve painted up most of the infantry this year, and I just need to finish basing one last unarmoured unit to be done. Cavalry wise I have a unit of companions and of horse archers to be handled, and then a small selection of artillery. I’d like to handle all of these in 2016 and finally finish a project for once!
- Dacians and Sarmatians: These were sidelined in 2015, with just one falx unit being completed. I purchased some cavalry at Crisis last year but still haven’t gotten round to them, and I also received some Foundry foot archers from a gaming compatriot which have yet to be handled. In 2016 I’ll try and finish them, but interest is currently low.
- TYW Dutchmen: Well, shit. Nothing whatsoever was painted for this project in 2015. Better get going again or it’s Ebay time!
- 6mm WSS Catalans: No loving for them in 2015, but just before writing these words I dug them out of the lead pile to recommence work on these imps, so how’s that for progress? I have just one foot and one horse regiment done, and my projected force will count four of the former and eight of the latter, plus artillery and commanders. At the moment I have everything but the commanders in my possession, so whils I’d like to finish the project this year I’ll have to figure out how to get a hold of more Baccus stuff. I don’t think I saw them at Crisis ’15…
- ACW: Painted a couple of ACW units in 2014, but lost interest in 2015 completely – I guess all those Prussian uniforms put me off Union blue! Perhaps I’ll pick up the trail again in 2016, as I did see good progress on the Black Powder supplement for the ACW. Who knows?
- Fantasy & Sci-fi: As you might have noticed on the blog recently, Frostgrave has grabbed me firmly and won’t be letting go in 2016! I’ve dug out many old Warhammer models and made some additional non-GW purchases to complement them, and I’ll continue doing so in the foreseeable future. On the 40k side of things, 2015 saw – shock and horror – a new project in the form of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but this has fallen by the wayside a bit. I just find assembling these newer models so bloody tedious, as even the infantry models don’t go together without having to look at an assembly leaflet and match numbered parts. Still, I’d like to pick up where I left off in 2016.
- 12mm Great War models: These were a fairly cheap purchase at Warcon ’15 of which I have painted just a third of the models. They’re great sculpts, certainly, but the scale is difficult – neither my tried techniques for 28mm nor those for 6mm work well. I’ll probably get these finished in 2016, maybe buy officers for both sides, then shelve them.
- Scenery: I built a couple of items in 2015 but didn’t finish them off and, as a result, didn’t show them on the blog. I’d like to collect and build even more, but with the small apartment we’ve moved to I don’t really have the room to store an expansive collection. Choices, choices… So my pledge for 2016 will be to finish and preserve what I currently have.
- Commissions: 2015 was a busy year with a lot of Prussians (I reckon around 200 of them?) and some Arabs thrown in for good measure. As always, I’m stating now that 2016 will of necessity be a year of fewer commissions and more personal work; we’ll see how long I’ll keep that up!
So that’s the main overview of my futile attempt at coherently outlining my painting work in 2016. As ever, stuff gets dumped due to waning interest or laziness, new purchases are made because I am a wargaming magpie who likes shinies, and whole projects get shelved for a year or more because I have the attention span of a toddler in a liquor cabinet. Nothing is set in stone!
Still, despite moving house and breaking my elbow, my year of miniature painting was successful. The figure below will tell you just how successful:
That’s how many figures I painted, with each cavalry model and vehicle counting as a single model, and artillery pieces having the gun and each free-standing crewman count as a single model as well; and this across all scales. I was going for 600, so that’s not too shabby, eh? For next year I’m upping my goal to 700, but as I did last year I’m counting in the 255 surplus models from 2015. I’m devious like that.
I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to use a Blackadder quote on the blog, and now was the time. At Crisis ’15 our club is holding a massive d’Erlon – La Haye Sainte battle using the Black Powder rules, and my French must be fit for duty. So I’ve finally built some casualty markers to that end, and here they are.
These are casualty models which come in one of the Perry Miniatures cavalry boxes, and I was fortunate enough to have six of these lying about on the plastic pile. Fortunate, because I currently have six battalions painted. I’ve mounted these on 40mm round bases and left a gap in the tufting to allow a dice to rest there snugly. They were painted in much the same way as their living counterparts, of course.
That’s that then! I hope I won’t be needing them too much during the battle, but if history repeats itself…
Other than that, I’m expecting to be able to paint up a French marshal model as well by the time the convention happens. Just two weeks away now! I hope many of you readers will be able to attend Crisis, and if you do, look out for us – we’re the Red Baron club out of Ghent – and shake hands with your humble servant. Come one, come all!