Sunday, 28 March 2010

Paint On Lead

So, after the debacle of taking the best part of three weeks to paint 8 cuirassiers and seven horses (only to find that I'd used the wrong horses!). I thought this week I'd throw caution and pride to the wind and just try and finish off a lot of my half finished figures to get some "scores on the board" - so this week's figures are a real grab bag.

I painted (another) light horse to mount my final cuirassier on - I did consider remounting them and re-using the light horses for something else (and in fact bought some "heavies" from Ian at Fighting 15s to do so) but then thought better of it - I'll just blame inferior remounts from the quartermaster instead. It's just occurred to me that this is my first complete unit (ok it's just a squadron but nevertheless...)

I finished an Austrian mounted infantry officer, a couple of French Line Infantry in greatcoats (not march attack but advancing at high porte - BH figures) and I'm working on an Austrian 3lb artillery battery (twelve figures and three guns) - again by BH - touch wood this should be completed by midnight.

I've also primed about a dozen horses, the unidentified bicorne cavalry and three Russian Uhlan (I glue my riders to nails so I can hold the nail while painting the figure - unfortunately I couldn't find the box of nails I use so I was limited to re-using the nails vacated by the cuirassier and Austrian chappie.

I've been looking at my Hourtelle book on Borodino and there appear to be only two Uhlan regiments at Borodino - the Poland Uhlans (rather fetching in a purple and dark pink outfit), and the Lithuania Uhlans. Needless to say, I don't have the right colours for these units in my paintbox - so another delay - at this rate I may well have to buckle down and try and paint some French Line infantry in campaign dress.

I also have a large bag of OG Russian infantry marching in greatcoat - I'm thinking that for next week I might just see how I go on painting a big lot. I usually prefer to paint in small groups and have some completed every session - I find painting one hundred bayonets at a time a bit dull.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Slight Deflation

After asking on TMP what the bicorned cavalry are I feel somewhat deflated - Colbert (who paints rather better than me) identified my French Cuirassiers as AB figures mounted on light cavalry horses (the embarrassment of it!). I thought they looked a bit small but as all the rank and file were identical I thought they must be BH - which generally speaking are smaller than their AB brethren.

So I looked through my "big box" and, needless to say, I have no standing heavy cavalry horses. I did find another dozen or so cuirassier but no horses to go with them. I suppose the good news is that as AB have gone up in price again (for completely understandable reasons) lots of my toy soldiers are worth more than they were a few weeks ago - the bad news is I was putting off buying my AB's until Salute. So now I'm thinking I need remounts for my Cuirassier, a command group for my Pavlovskii, and some Cossacks to make up the numbers.....

Well that didn't take much thinking about - which also means I've breached one of my aims for this year already, to paint twice as much as I buy. Which I suppose means I need to keep plugging away.

I've also kept my Borodino "thing" going by buying the old Talonsoft PC game, "Napoleon In Russia" - I was astonished to find it is now selling for about £15-20 on eBay. The last time I saw these things in the shops they were being remaindered for a fiver.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Apologies, Apologies, Apologies

After saying I should post more frequently what happens? I don't post for three weeks - mostly because of a dodgy video card in my PC (which was "state of the art" a few years ago and is now more "state of the ark") which meant I was off line for sometime.

You would think that not being able to surf the web I'd spend some quality time painting - and I have. Just not enough to keep up with the ten figure a week mantra. And I seem to be remarkably incompetent - I promised myself that I would finish a complete unit for once, and what did I do? I've painted eight French Cuirassier but only seven horses!

So here is (almost) a squadron of French heavies:

The figures are Battle Honours by Anthony Barton I believe. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out but they were very time consuming to do, I found the detailing took ages so finding that I was a horse short was rather annoying to say the least.

I also worked on a second batch of Pavlovskii Grenadiers - realising too late that I had painted the first batch of figures with their mitres in 1798 colours and the second batch in 1812 colours (orange and red respectively - or is it the other way round?) - I haven't decided whether to repaint the first batch or the second.

I'd like to paint the figures pictured below - but I have no idea what they are. I'm sure they are by Anthony Barton but I've looked through the Fighting 15's and Eureka websites and cannot see these guys. I asked awhile ago on the GdeB forum and it was suggested that they might be Austrian Chevau-Leger from the Revolutionary War. This is certainly possible as the "big box" includes some Austrian Revolutionary War generals.

It was also suggested that I could paint them as Spanish Cavalry (as I already had some Peninsula War British infantry) but that doesn't really appeal. I'm thinking more and more of the Russian campaign of 1812 - so if anyone can suggest a unit that these chaps could fill in for, then please let me know.

Finally some time ago I bought a number of lots from eBay - all French Line Infantry. As I didn't have enough to produce full 36 man battalions from any one of the lots I decided to mix the together. So the following pictures are of figures from four makers painted by four different painters - the only thing tying the units together is the basing I've done on some of the stands (on a couple of stands I've also painted the pompoms to match one another - and obviously I'll get round to doing the rest at some point).

From a few feet away the differences aren't too noticeable, I think. The makers are OG, BH, AB and Fantassin - of the four brands I think the Fantassin figures are the weakest in this instance. I'm frankly a lead snob - I can't see why anyone would want to paint roughly designed figures when there are much nicer ones out there.

AB are simply superb - okay there has been a bit of scale creep between ranges but overall Anthony Barton's body of work is incomparable and I'm very pleased to see him producing a few new figures now and then for Eureka.

Battle Honours (BH) now subsumed within OG are also designed by Anthony Barton and are not quite so nice as his later work but more than serviceable (I've bought some bags from eBay that were a bit rough - I haven't bought any from Timecast who now sell these figures so I can't comment on their current production qualiy).

Old Glory (OG) are a producer that, I believe, uses different designers for different ranges - unfortunately they have not enforced a "house style" meaning that some ranges are good and some are verging on the awful. They have a fluid style that usually includes in every bag some figures that are in "tussock tripping" poses that look like they are about to fall over flat on their faces. The production quality in the past has sometime been a bit iffy - many bags of ACW infantry that I've bought include some whose faces are simply not there. I think the moulds are run on beyond their lifespan and miscasts are the result. I haven't bought any recently so I can't comment on current quality levels. Given that OG have a fluid style I suspect that ranges where you want lots of variation in figures (like ancient Celtic warbands for instance) are extremely suitable for OG figures but Marlburian infantry (whom in my mind's eye I see striding along like automatons in neatly dressed ranks) not so much. So my advice for buying OG is - see them in the flesh before you buy them.

One thing I've been doing instead of painting the last three weeks is read "The Battle of Borodino" by Alexander Mikaberidze. It's very good but my lack of detailed prior knowledge is counting against me - I find his discussion of what previous scholars have written about the battle confuses me somewhat. I've also found it difficult to find a really good map of the area so I can try and follow the actions on the map. Anyway, I'm plugging away at it - the fault is not Mr Mikaberidze's but my own for being so dim.