Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ground Cover Experiments

Before I get too far into my ECW project I want to decide how I'll do the basing. Undoubtedly this is a period I'll dabble in  over many years and I want to get the bases consistent whenever I do dip in.  The base color you use under the grasses makes a huge difference.

My go-to has been for nearly everything the VGC- Earth (second from right), however, I really want a lush, deep spring/summery green. Nothing dried out, but deep greens. I've been paying close attention to grass in my environs and know what I want to get, but have struggled to find matching products. I really need to get to the Scenic Express booth again to really look at the stuff with my own eyes. I also need tufts that are close in color to the grass.

These rows are a dark static grass along the top, a mix of fine turf and yellow flowers for the middle and Citadel grass along the bottom. I have two favorites so far (the two at left), but still think I need a deeper green grass. At far left is the Polly-S - Drab Brown - that's #1, followed by its neighbor to the right with a more traditional dark olive - Citadel's Catachan Green. I will get craft paint equivalent for the winning color. Never use your fancy modeling paints for this kind of thing.
 
These right side of this craft stick are my least favorite for this. Second from Right, is my most typical build with that medium earth as a base. It's fine, but not lush enough for this project. I want healthy firm green throughout here. I am also going to eschew the patchy look. On any lawn or field the bare spots are the exception, not the tufts popping out of bare earth. I have no intention of using brown anywhere on these.

Finally I wanted to see what the Leaf Litter would look like as ground cover. I put it over my lead color, the paler of the two olive greens seen here.  (I used that litter to make the ECW hedges here.) Way too big for 15/18mm (maybe for making row crops?), but might have utility in 25/28s.
Before I go whole hog, I will try this out on a proper base just to make sure it really works, but for now I think I need to tinker more.

Thanks for looking, questions, comments and followers welcome and encouraged.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Forest Floor Refurbish Job

For years, walking through the woods has been a part of my daily commute - here's a section and the inspiration for this project.
I posted about these perennial offerings from Michael's a year ago or so. Finally put them to good use and I still have tons left to do other projects with.
This was part of my tree collection. I bought the trees through the mail many years ago and then based them on stray plexiglass pieces I had lying around for this purpose. I glued just the tree stumps in and then covered the lot with railroad ballast, then painted it all green and highlighted accordingly. I have other trees for Light Woods but I wanted something more robust to denote Heavy or impassible woods.

I deliberately didn't glue the trunks to the stumps since it's easier to store them lose with the bases alongside. I also passed on painting all the stumps brown and left them green. I did remedy that while I had these out this time. But to get a denser forest floor, I simply plucked off fronds and glued them in place. Remarkable easy - I was kind of surprised.
There are already color variations in these so it was easy to vary it up and I don't have to do anything else to them. And each bush has a nice solid little trunk to take glue.

Floors completed but thought I'd add some broken logs around to make it's passage appear as troublesome as possible.

The scale is confusing, because they are slightly too big for these 15mm Essex FIW Grenadiers.

Maybe it works - I don't really expect to move figures through these - it's just to be impassible or very difficult terrain.
Much better for 25/28s - but then the tress are really too small.
Here's the completed ones. Simple and easy enough.
I require a lot of wood with straight edges to go alongside roads - I just think it's tidier for those sections of the battlefield. I also have stray clumps of trees and singles to throw around for the wilder parts of the table.
I wish I could get the dust off the tree tops. I may yet take a go at lightening up some of the foliage here with that leaf product I used for the ECW hedges.

I'd set them up on a green landscape, but have the snow table up at the moment. These are among my core terrain pieces for everything else though so they'll crop up again.

Thanks for looking- questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Possible Terrain Tiles?

Saw these plastic paving stones at my local Wal-Mart. They do not lie perfectly flat but I've seen worse ideas employed on the table top. Maybe someone can get them to work. They were a hair short of 1'x1' I think but I didn't have a ruler on me.

They also leave a pretty big seam between them, but maybe for grid based games they could be of use. It's also possible that one could scrounge up enough that do lay flat to make something interesting. 
In retrospect I probably should have bought one  - just one would be a good platform to terrain up and photograph minis on.

[Edit - I did go back and buy a pair after all - yup, not quite 1'x1']

Monday, May 7, 2018

28mm Empress Miniatures, Family Defending Homestead

Once again I've borrowed miniatures from Empress Miniatures to take them far from the New Zealand setting for which they were intended. The children have been flung back to 1812 to participate in Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
Father's been shipped off to my Victorian London collection. But here's the pack contents as assembled by Empress. Available here:
It's estimated that there were at least 50,000 women and children who accompanied the Grande Armée in 1812. (If you can find any data for that I'd be grateful.) There are certainly many eye witness accounts describing the perils the camp followers suffered. Here's a good one from the great, but now discontinued, blog Napoleon1812:

Colonel Lubin Griois is cut off from his guns and finds refuge in a hollow square formed by the Italian 92nd regiment.  The mass of stragglers among the ranks makes maneuvering and issuing orders difficult.  “This mass of isolated men, recognizing neither chiefs nor discipline and only heeding it thirst for pillage, was sorely tried.  At first the cannon shots it had halted, not knowing where to go in the fog that surrounded it.  Swollen by…  vivandières and a multitude of little carts laden with children and foodstuffs, it was throwing itself now to one side, now to the other, according to where the last projectile to strike in its midst had come from.  This flux and reflux of round shot, ploughing furrows in every direction and from which arose screams of despair, presented a horrible spectacle.  For very good reasons the units that were fighting repulsed these fugitives who were trying to take refuge in their midst, so that the poor wretches found themselves exposed to the enemy’s fire and sometimes to our squares’ too.  They floated in disorder over terrain littered with dead, wounded and shattered vehicles.”

That account and dozens of other mentions of women and children on the campaign made this an easy purchase. Apart from the very young Cantiniere, whose "uniform" I devised through paint alone based on contemporary illustrations, the other two would have served as washer women or would have fulfilled any number of functions. For most people, for most of the time, children worked in some capacity the moment they were able.

The pepperbox revolver? Probably not an anachronism here if you imagine in place a flintlock mechanism.

By the way, for the blue on the gal at left, that's the Napoleonic triad from Foundry called French Blue. I think I've come up with an even better recipe, but I do like it. The color swatches they show at the link are inaccurate and the paints themselves provide a more natural progression than pictured. More on that later. (Fences by Renendra)

Mes filles sont en danger! 

For a size comparison I've added an old Foundry sculpt at Left and the Warlord Vivandiere at Right. I honestly thought they were women when I snap purchased them at Historicon not realizing how small they were. They probably should have slightly bigger heads, but that's nit-picking of an extraordinary nature.

Another shot of the girls in peril. These will make great scenario fodder for this campaign. (Warlord Mule in foreground, Old Glory Cossacks in the roles of Heavy #1 and Heavy #2.)
I also have the Perry 1812 Campaign stragglers primed up and ready to go and I'll be folding them in at a later date, continuing my apparent strategy of painting EVERYTHING but the actual French infantry. In 15's I can handle it, but painting over 100 near identical troops at once intimidates me, so I'll continue to stall a bit. After all, I still don't have any voltigeur cornetists in greatcoats!
 
Thanks for looking- questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

25mm Old Glory Cossack Cavalry with Carbines

Old Glory never made Napoleonic era Cossacks in 25/28s which is a pity. When this 1812 project came to fruition, I had to draw from their Eastern Renaissance range and Cossack Wars ranges and Foundry's which I only picked up much later.

The miniatures below come from the former range and is the most medieval I'll ever field against the French. Yes, "Les Cupidons du Nord" and their ineffective performance was mentioned in Marbot's memoirs, but I haven't come across accounts of chain mail in the field that I recall [citation needed].

As a psych trick, I do irregular stuff first - the oddest that can be had, because then I'll always have incentive to paint up the proper stuff like the new and beautiful Perry and Murawski Miniatures.



Irregular Cossacks don't operate in formations other than in a mass, hence the circle bases. Glad to have these finished, these had been on my work bench for many years.
Here's a funny thing: I've been painting for 30 years and this my FIRST 25mm cavalry unit. I've done several in 15s and I can't say it was a lot of fun, so I get why people say they hate painting horses. (Bases are steel washers, tufts are by Silflor, fences - Renendra, unpainted buildings by Pegasus Hobbies.)
That's an unpainted Steppes Farmstead also from Old Glory.
Thanks for looking! Questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged!

Friday, April 27, 2018

25mm Old Glory French in Great Coats Upgraded and Winterized Prep



In the Summer of 2013 I started prepping the French force for my 1812 Russian Retreat game. I was going to model a single company of voltigeurs and needed more variety. I bought all the Elites in Greatcoat from Old Glory, then the Energetic Infantry (from here I drew what were to be my NCO player characters) and Casualties too. Those latter packs needed epaulets on many figures so I added those on and then added scarves in various ways to other figures so that each figure was a complete original. Old Glory makes that easy already.

Here's the results if you want a sense of the Before and After. I'm doing the tête de colonne now and remember that I never shared these.

Non-regulation, fur trimmed coat for the senior officer of this command.
At 1:1 there'll be only one Eagle in this game. I am going to put a flag on there though.

I needed a Fourier co the guy in the oversized Cossack hat is he. I would do that differently today, making it much smaller, but he is easily identifiable. Keen observers will note the Perry figure at right.

These are the eight Corporals







Most of the Energetic infantry don't have epaulets so I had to add them here. Note the beard on the guy at bottom left.

On to the casualties:






Thanks for looking - I'm looking forward to getting to these at last.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

25mm Ral Partha Bucks & Boar

More food markers for a ravenous French army, or subjects of a scenario that potentially ends badly for a desperate foraging party.


Imagine hungrily chasing a deer into the woods only to encounter a band of very angry partisans, or maybe a sotnia of Cossacks?

I've been stalling on the French because of lack of cornetists in greatcoat for this voltigeur compangie I'm building. They are all primed and ready to go, but I'm really averse to giving them drums. I may have to model other parts of the battalion and circle back.

In any case, thanks for looking. Questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

25mm Ral Partha, Three Bears & More

Three bears from Ral Partha. The middle sized one (at right) I learned after I finished is supposed to be a black bear and it does look a bit different than the other two. Too late now - I don't often revisit that kind of thing. I do like the Foundry ones slightly better, but I don't really need any more. These are either food markers or something to menace the stragglers (to go along with the wolves) for the 1812 Retreat game I'm building.

Building in the back is a pre-painted, and very dusty, Russian Izba from Pegasus Hobbies. To the side is an unfinished segment from the 4Ground set of Weathered Wood Picket Fences - more on those later as I complete them.

In the fore are lengths of palisade fencing from Renendra connected and affixed to lengths of strip basing - also from Renendra.

I made four such lengths of these - all made with one pack. They each run exactly 1 foot plus a quarter inch gap on either side. I probably should make something to denote a broken section.
I really can't abide too many short pieces because the joins and gaps are so unseemly. Same attitude with roads - hate little 6 inch segments all run together - just looks terrible.
All of these manufacturers mentioned above are excellent with eminently useful pieces.
 Thanks all for looking - questions, comments, followers are welcome and encouraged!