Sunday, 28 February 2010

Week 4, 28th February 2010

I must apologise for the paucity of my painting this week - I had some kind of bug that meant I was rather shivery (which kind of put paid to what little brush control I have) for several days. I did manage to finish the eight BH Pavlov Grenadiers, and mount a number of figures on their painting sticks to be primed, so the week wasn't a total loss.

As I have nothing really to show you this week I thought I'd pull out another picture from the Wagram game last year. The figures were painted by "Greystreak", aka Bryce Allen, who normally paints rather beautiful 28mm 1812 Russians. He put his Foundry figures aside for awhile to pick up the challenge of painting 15mm AB's. The unit advancing in the blue jackets represent part of the Hesse-Darmstadt Brigade (Bryce painted the whole thing for GdeB but scaled back by 33% to fit the OOB on the day), the Leib-Garde Regiment - the balance of the infantry are in line behind them. Tony Barton unfortunately didn't sculpt any Hesse-Darmstadt figures so 1806 Prussians were substituted (there are some minor uniform differences but short of wholescale conversions these were the best options) - I think they are just gorgeous, and would happily have sneaked them off the premises and into my collection.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Week 3 21st February 2010 Final Result

Ok, so as well as the 12 British Line Infantry (I'm still going to count the two guys that are superfluous to requirements, I'm only going to need to change the facings to make them usuable for the next battalion) I sorted four more French Line in greatcoats (3 AB flankers and a BH centre company advancing at high porte figure - have you noticed how Timecast seem to have integrated the BH range into the OG ranges?)and, am almost there with 8 BH early Russian Grenadiers painted as Pavlov Grenadiers.

So that is 16 figures for week 7 of 2010 and week 3 of my blog.

Week 3 Update

I really should start doing this midweek rather than posting twice on a Sunday...

Anyway, this week I finished the twelve British Line Infantry that I should have finished last week, I'm also confident that I can add a few more figures to the finished pile before midnight tonight. Overall the AB British Line are a pleasure to paint - I just wish I could do them more justice. The picture below shows them before they have received a wash of Dervlan Mud which should give them a bit more of a campaign look. I have to confess to being a bit annoyed with myself - I'm painting this as a 30 figure battalion (a full strength British battalion of the time would have been 40 figures strong) and thought that I had pretty much cracked it with the dozen figures this week plus the figures I had painted earlier - I thought I had the rank and file covered and just needed to do a drummer, two standard bearers and a mounted colonel to finish it off. Then I realised that I had painted two more Centre Co figures than I needed, and was two short on the Flank company (the British Flankers are distinguished by their "wings" at the shoulder - Centre Co guys just have white shoulder tabs) - my excuse is that these are very small in 15mm... and plainly my eyes are not what they were! Well you can tell my eyes aren't what they were just by looking at these fellows.

So I'm hoping to pop them safely off their painting sticks and attach them to their stands this evening - at which point I'm certain to see some more errors I didn't spot before.

I've been looking this week at the Foundry paint system - going to town on this one could easily spend £500 if one took up the "basic" offer, plus the "extension" plus the "authentic Napoleonic uniform" colours (to distinguish them from the "authentic Napoleonic artillery" colours). I currently use a mixture of Citadel/GW (which seem to dry out quite quickly), Miniature Paints (which conversely seem to last for ages) and Vallejo (which I seem to need to shake forever before using).

As far as I can see, you can buy much the same colours from Vallejo with the same variation in shades if you look hard enough, and what you are buying with the Foundry Paint "System" is the convenience of having all the hard work done for you. The first place I looked for Vallejo paints had a set of 72 paints plus a few brushes in a carrying case (do people really carry their painting gear around with them?) for £118.99. And buying them individually costs £1.85 - as opposed to £2.50 a pot for the Foundry paints. I've no idea how they compare in terms of quality (I've been very happy with the Vallejos I've used - just not so happy with the tennis elbow from shaking the damn jar). Anyway, after a day or two's temptation I've put aside the thought of buying some - after all, I mostly paint 15mm with basic block painting and washing so highlights and lowlights would be rather wasted on me. But I'm tempted nevertheless.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Week 2 - Failure

Okay, so I have 12 almost completed figures. But almost isn't success. The British Line Infantry have come along very nicely - well okay I did drop something on one of the painting sticks with the result that one figure lost his plume and another is leaning drunkenly backwards (I think I looked like that on Thursday evening) but apart from that... - but I simply didn't devote enough time to painting this week. I'm now 46 figures behind schedule.

Fortunately this week I'm assured by our sales team that they have not double-booked themselves with the result that I need to go and do their job for them in my spare time. I've also done with celebrating my bonus (well at least until I see it in my March paycheque anyway!) so there is nothing to stop me pressing on this week to finish the 12 British Line - rather than fanny around with WWII German infantry I plan to do a few more French in greatcoats as well. I'm hoping I can catch up a little.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Week 2 Update

After my confident prediction that I would be beating my target of ten figures this week it looks like I might only scrape through. I neglected to consider that an emergency might occur at work and I'd need to spend two evenings pouring wine for people (I work for a wine importer) - the good news is, that rather to everyone's surprise, my company made a profit this year. As recently as October this looked doubtful at best - but November and December were storming months for us. I guess it remains to be seen whether this was the last twitching of the consumers' credit cards or whether it is a sign of recovery (naturally my money is on the former). Anyway, this means that my bonus will be rather better than expected - well actually a lot better than expected. And obviously that required an evening in the pub.

So to get back to the point - I haven't done much painting this week. But I think I can work through the twelve British Line Infantry that are partially done in time for the tomorrow evening deadline. The figures above are from the first batch that I painted awhile ago. As you can see they are essentially block painted and washed. I prime in white as I find that black priming makes it hard for me to see the details on the figures - I then use a brown wash to add shade and paint over this. I think they come out looking suitably grubby as though they had been on campaign for some time.

So tomorrow I plan to do an update with the rest of the Brits - assuming I've finished them that is. I'm thinking of a bit of a change for next week. I have a large pile (I don't really have small piles of figures) of 15mm Battlefront German infantry that are calling me - I also have some BH Austrian Artillery that I'd like to knock off, and some Cossacks (useless on the GdeB battlefield but very pretty) so I'm not sure in which direction I'll go.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Week 1 Results

Well. This was a successful week despite some distractions. As I said last week the main intention behind this blog was to motivate me to paint up some of the leadpile at a rate of ten figures a week in 2010. Unfortunately, my procrastination led me to leave actually starting the project until the end of January (Week 4 of 2010), so I was already 40 figures behind schedule when I first started the exercise.

The prime distraction this week was not so much the joy of seeing a webpage that I had created appearing on the Net (believe me the joy of Blogger is that it's designed for idiots - and I'm bang in the middle of their target demographic!) but the associated fascination of another Google product: Google Analytics. I can only describe this product as genius (at least the half of it that I understand - there's a whole new vocabulary to be discovered here that is only loosely related to English!). Google Analytics lets you see how many people visit your site, where they come from (both physically and from whence on the internet), how long they stay, and how many people take one look, decide I'm not very interesting and go away again (this is called the "bounce rate" evidently).

I have to say that for the first two or three days I was totally hooked on seeing how many new visitors had come to see what I had to say (or more probably just to look at the pictures) and where they had come from (the Analytics programme can tell you what city or region someone hails from, and not just what country). I mean, I had never heard of Valparaiso, Indiana until Wednesday!

Anyway, despite all that, I managed to exceed my target by painting 14 figures and and make a sound start on a further 12 British Peninsula Line Infantry such that they may be finished early in the coming week.

I did consider taking a leaf from Giles' book and not posting a picture until I had completed and properly based the whole battalion - but then thought that anyone who is reading this would die of boredom in the interim. In the picture above you can see this weeks efforts - the start of a French line infantry battalion. The grenadier company stand is made up of four AB and two BH figures (I had a couple that I had already painted so I popped them on - I'm not counting them towards my target by the way). The BH guys are much smaller if you stand them side by side with the AB (or OG French Line Infantry come to that) individually but if they are painted in the same style I don't think they look too out of place on a stand. The two skirmishers are by BH again and would be fine for "Marie Louise" troops as one guy is barefoot (a not uncommon occurance on campaign). The standard bearer and officer were part of an eBay lot and I believe were originally painted by Dragon Painting Services - again they are AB figures.

The stands are obviously unfinished but are 30mm x 30mm MDF from Timecast for the main body and 30mm x 20mm for the two skirmishers. This leaves the voltigeur company (I've made a good start on the first two figures for this) and two further centre companies to complete - I also need four more skirmishers to complete the set. So, we are talking 22 figures to go (I have a painted drummer I can pop on the command base to fill it out).

One thing that is left unpainted is the guidon (actually, looking at the pictures I can see a couple of other errors / bits missed) - I'm not sure how this arrangement worked in practice: I would have thought that the easiest thing to do in reality was to just shove a small pole with the flag on it down the barrel of the musket (and remember to remove it before you fired!)- but it doesn't look as though that is what is modelled on the figure - does anyone have any idea just how I should handle this?

Overrall I'm fairly happy with how these came out - as you can see, I am neither gifted, nor fast in the painting department.

Here is a picture of the Napoleonic box - although I'm pretty sure I have some other Napoleonic stuff around "somewhere". If you don't recognise the name - Imperial Miniatures were the name that AB was marketed under in America, as I mentioned before I bought a large joblot of figures from a guy in California and he must have had them for years himself. I also have an ACW box that is slightly smaller - but more tightly packed - and a 15mm AWI carrier bag, a 15mm WWII carrier bag and a lot of other stuff.

I shudder to think how many weeks at 10 figures a week that lot represents....

Monday, 1 February 2010

Wagram Big Game 2009

I promised a little something while my first batch of figures was finished and it doesn't get much bigger or better than this. Wagram 1809 refought at the Grenadier Guards Officers Mess in October 2009.

The battle was, as you can see, fought on a large scale in just about every way. The rules used were General de Brigade, which uses a 1:20 figure ratio - so a full strength French battalion would be 36 figures strong while it's Austrian counterpart would weigh in with 48 little men. Needless to say, the wargaming gods must be sniggering at the idea that I, a glacial painter, should like rulesets that have large numbers of figures per unit. What can I say? 12 castings doesn't do it for me as a battalion.

There were several thousand figures on the table (indeed I'd be happy to own the the reserve divisions held off-table) and it has to be said they were mostly by AB - although I did recognise the big bottomed horses of 15mm Minifigs as well scattered in amongst them. Almost the first thought that crossed my mind was that Anthony Barton's bank manager would be very pleased (obviously the figures are now sold by Fighting 15's in the UK and Eureka Miniatures in Australia see links to the right).

So you can see the quality of painting I aspire to (and there were some very fine figures on the table that day) and the kind of battalions I want to build. For the Napoleonic period then it's GdeB rules and the armies I am interested in are: 1809 Austrians, 1812 Russians and 1807-15 Imperial French (I'm sorry but in 15mm scale I refuse to get upset about Bardin uniforms etc - once they started wearing shakoes that is my cut-off point for worrying about uniform differences).

So what is on my painting table at the moment? A half finished British Peninsula battalion and a squadron of French Cuirrassier awaiting two things - for me to paint one last horse, and for me to base the damned things. Now why would I have a British battalion when it isn't one of the armies mentioned above? Well....a few years ago I bought a very large box of unpainted 15mm Napoleonic figures (mostly French, Austrian and Russian) from a gentleman in California courtesy of eBay (it's about 12"x14"x6" and it is chock full of "stuff") and in amongst the "stuff" I can't identify was a bag of about 40 AB British. And they called out to me for several years to paint them but I resisted manfully - until last Summer when I had the urge to paint something. So I started them up and found I was doing (by my standards) a respectable job - unfortunately there were only about 20 figures marching and 20 figures standing at ease, not enough for a GdeB British battalion - so of course that meant an email to Fighting 15s and an order for two battalion bags of British ifantry (they have 40 figures in each and I could build two 30 man battalions with what I already had). So you see how it goes, I make an attempt to clear something from my leadpile and instead I add to it by 80 figures. And this has to stop, I mean it, really I do.