Sunday, 27 July 2014

Paint Sunday

Apologies for not posting for a few weeks - I'd rather lost the painting mojo. In fact, I've clearly lost the blogging mojo too - as I started typing this post two or three weeks ago. And then when I got the urge the weather in the UK became rather hot and muggy making it very difficult to paint except first thing in the morning. I also like to have at least something completed when I post but I've been very butterfly like recently - with the result that I have lots of figures that are close to completion, but not quite there yet.

This has played hell with any hopes I had of getting caught up - this is the end of Week 30 so clearly I should have painted 300 figures. Instead, I've only completed 83.

Still, I've put in a few hours this week painting the Regimento de Linea Voluntarios de Sevilla - there were 535 men present at Ocana in November 1809. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I wanted to add a bit more colour (so far I've been painting white jackets with red facings) - so these chaps wore brown jackets with red facings. Naturally, when I decided to paint a couple of divisions of Spanish I picked two that lacked "foreign" troops - leaving me to paint white or blue or lots of brown...

This was the 5th battalion, so I suspect they were very roughly uniformed and equipped. Unfortunately, Mr Barton's troops are very well turned out - and I added to the problem by being of a mind to paint the Spanish Royal Guard (1st Battalion, 921 men on the day) - as I was going to paint a guard unit I picked out the smarter figures from AB - but then I got cold feet - the Histoire & Collections Ocana showed them in a new uniform with shako and lace front, while the Guerreros & Batallas Ocana showed them wearing the bicornes, with plain red facings. So I changed my mind and did the Voluntarios de Sevilla.

Actually it would have been nice if Mr B had turned out a pack of figures that have ragged trousers, no boots and plain jackets. Even his "militia" figures are extremely smart. Something like the above 28mm figures from the Perries would be ideal - this would allow you to produce raggedy arse militia with a leavening of figures from the regulars for the command and as a cadre within the unit. So I've been looking around for other figures to "slot in" to my Spanish units to "roughen" them up a bit and I've come up with a couple of options.

The first is from a recently returned maker that has been something of a holy grail for 15mm AWI gamer - Polly Oliver. These have come back into production after a long hiatus (evidently there was a divorce, the wife got the moulds and refused to sell them except for silly money for years) and went on sale in April 2014. The Polly Oliver infantry and artillery are excellent - the cavalry were a bit dodgy - lovely riders but really poorly sculpted horses - evidently the horses are being re-worked which would turn these into an excellent buy.

However, while these were cutting edge figures in the 80's when they first came out, they are products of their time - so expect them to be about the same size as Minifigs / BH and have well detailed but very thin muskets. They are thus a bit smaller than AB's Spanish but an excellent match for his BH sculpts. The next issue is that there are not many variants in a pack. I'm planning on using what used to be described as "Minutemen" and is now I think the AW-A15 Militia Marching pack. I bought a shoebox full of Polly Oliver  in dribs and drabs from eBay over the years with the intention of doing something AWI with them.

This pack contains troops in slouch hats marching determinedly forward (okay I admit they aren't a perfect match for Spanish Militia!) with their muskets over their right shoulders. Their jackets are very plain and I think these guys could be used quite happily in an ACW regiment too - the powder horn is a bit of anachronism but it is 15mm after all. They are sporting trousers, a knapsack and a powder horn - but no blanket roll or pack. I think they would paint up very quickly. The drummer boy has similar jacket (with turnbacks but plain front), bare feet and his drum slung over his shoulder. The officer would fit in very nicely as a company officer for a militia battalion lacking uniforms.
My second choice for variants comes from Xan Miniatures - tucked in amongst their French are a pack NF11 Fusilers Without Shako  (before anyone gets any ideas that my painting and photography skills have suddenly improved I nicked this photo from the Xan website - hopefully both Xan and yourselves will overlook the theft under the circumstances!). The chap in the centre is a flank company figure so not very suitable but the chaps on to his left and right are okay. Spanish infantry wore a forage cap very similar to the one the figure on the left has - although every picture I've seen has the "floppy bit" hanging down the figure's left rather than right (as here) but I'm not going to let that bother me. The forage cap was very common headgear amongst Spanish troops and slotted in amongst other figures from BH or AB should add a "rough and ready" look to a battalion. Of course the head wound is an overdone trope in model figure design so I'd only be inclined to use one of these per battalion.

The French flanker in bare head isn't too useful for Spaniards (he could represent a sergeant as they wore silver epaulettes) - but I have plenty of French units to paint as well. I'm not too sure if the packing is standardised but I've got three forage caps, three head wounds and two flank company bare headed in my pack of eight.

The final issue with AB's Spaniards is - no casualties. Considering Spain was a major power (well, certainly in numbers of troops fielded) and their regiments got shot to buggery on a regular basis this is a fairly gross omission on Mr Barton's part (I guess when he was sculpting these figures we still rather thought of the Peninsula War as France v the Anglo-Portuguese army with the Spanish as rather incompetent bit-part players on the margins). So I'm using some of the figures from the AB Jena Prussian pack - the key problem with them is the pom-poms on the bicorne - you either need to ignore them and press on, carve them away and go with a plain bicorne, or carve them away and add a plume from another figure or greenstuff.

Archie is unimpressed by all my hard work - he's just lying around in the heat, thinking what new mischief he can cause. This week it was "digging up" the carpet by the front door which caused me to rip a hole in the said carpet when I opened the door to get in. Replacing the carpet by the front door with coconut matting cost me £140.