Weekend Update

My AB order arrived on Friday, and this weekend I managed to get my first unit, the Pskov Muskteers, cleaned, mounted on painting bases and primed.    I’m going to work on a different technique this time around, something similar to what Shane Devries does with his figures.  It gives them a much more defined and ‘clean’ look at a distance which is what I’m aiming for.     Shane uses enamel paints, so his basecoating process is different than what I’m looking to accomplish.

Instead of using thinned enamel paint for the basecoat, I hit the figures with a light coat of grey sprayed primer.  I was aiming for a thin coat over most of the figure rather than complete coverage, so some of the undercuts didn’t get hit.   Next, I painted the enire figure with a thin coat of Tamiya XF1 (Flat Black).  Finally a use for a black paint that does not cover metal figures very well.   The black went completely opaque in the creases of the figure while leaving a thinner, somewhat translucent coat over the top.  Then I sprayed matt varnish on the figure to lock in the dark colors and (per Shane’s idea) avoid some of the washout problems that can happen when applying bright colors over the matte black base.

The end result was a figure that was overall a very dark grey with pure black in the creases… somewhat ghostly looking.   I am hoping this will give the felt shako a more natural look than just pure black, and it will not be quite so harsh on the final product as the deep black.  I may try this with a white undercoat as well and see what it looks like.  Experimentation is fun.  I’ll post some pictures of the finished product in due time.

Other than that, I picked up a mint copy of Scott Bowden’s old “Stars & Bars” ACW rules off of TMP.  I had a copy of these but either lost or sold them some time back during one of my “I am no longer a gamer” phases back in the late 1990s.   No idea if I will ever play a game of them or not, but it’s nice to have some of those older sets for nostalgia if nothing else.

I also read this morning on the Empire Yahoo group that Mr. Bowden is in negotiations to set up a website that will allow electronic delivery of new wargame rules and other such products worldwide.  This is excellent news even if you don’t play Empire.  Detailed Napoleonic simulations are a niche product in what is already a niche market, so I understand why few people are willing to outlay the needed cash to print even a small run of wargame rules.  With electronic delivery, the work can be put into the formatting the pages without having to worry as much about printing costs, especially if multiple formats (i.e. a ‘rich’ format and a ‘stripped-down’ one for printing) are considered.  This is what Too Fat Lardies do for at least some of their products.  Hopefully this will become a new marketing model that more hobbyists are willing to adopt.

Speaking of Empire, I enjoyed playing the game way back when, but the design is a little long in the tooth now.  I’m very interested to see what changes and refinements Mr. Bowden and his compatriots have come up with in the last 20+ years.  With all of the research he has done for his recent books, I’m sure there will be some new ideas about skirmishing and unformed combat at the minimum.    I look forward to seeing what he will come up with.

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