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Army Painter Inks

I stopped into one of the Twin Cities’ excellent game stores today while out on a hobby day with my son and picked up a few bottles of the new Army Painter “Warpaints” line.  Per a tip from Der Feldmarchall I picked up a bottle of AP’s inks that match their series of ‘Quickshade’ dips.  Since Games Workshop has seen fit to discontinue their old line of washes (including my much-beloved Devlan Mud) I’m keen to find a replacement and it sounds like these inks may just fit the bill.

I also picked up a bottle of AP’s “Daemonic Yellow” since I can always use another yellow-ish tone that can cover in only 1 or 2 coats.

Progress continues slowly on my Russian Napoleonics.  Spending the better part of a month out of town for work didn’t help matters much, and with summer now upon us that brings a whole other range of possible distractions (mostly spending nights on the porch watching the sun go down with a gin & tonic).  Now that Perry Miniatures has released their plastic Russian line infantry I’ll be placing an order for some of those in the next month or so.   Hopefully someone follows up with plastic Russian artillery since I’ll be needing those in mass quantities.



Painting Update, or How I Learned to Live Without the Optivisor

After finally kicking myself in the butt I’ve started working in earnest on my 28mm Sash & Saber Russians again.  As I described in my last post I’m trying something new (and old) starting from a white undercoat and then blocking in the main colors with a bias toward the brighter end of the spectrum and then toning it down with washes.  Instead of using Minwax I’m using my current supply of Citadel washes instead.  Unlike previous go-rounds with the washes I’m not just slathering the entire figure in Devlan Mud this time.  The faces are being done with Ogryn flesh, the hair & linen pants in Devlan Mud, and the rest of the figure in Badab Black.

I like the effect a lot and think it looks good at tabletop distance.  I’m not trying to produce award-winning paintjobs with this technique; I just want to complete some units and play some games.  With a good basing job and some nice flags these figures will look good, and let’s face it, unless you’re a top-shelf painter displaying your figures with professional-quality photos, no one will look that closely at the rank & file figures anyway, especially when you need several hundred of them.  So why slow yourself down?  I also got rid of the optivisor for everything other that shako cords and straps which again saves time and removes the neurotic need to add one more highlight to that musket firing lock.

So, here are some WIP shots of my new figures.  I took them with my mobile phone so apologies for the meh photos.  The flash bleaches out the wash details a bit more than they should.

Sash & Saber Russians, White undercoat, basic block painting and citadel washes.

Compare that with one of my attempts to start from a black undercoat and do more of a Foundry/3-layer paint job:
28m Sash & Saber Russian Musketeer
More photos are available at my Photobucket page.


FoW Painting

I picked up some 15mm Battlefront Panzergrenadiers about a year ago on Bartertown.  I got them cheap, cleaned them up, primed them white and then shelved them in favor of other things as I am wont to do sometimes.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of painting more frequently and I picked up a few sticks of these figures and starting playing around with them a few nights back, more as a break from turnbacks, collars and shako cords.  I’m painting the figures  in a mix of FeldGrau and the Heer splinter camo pattern.  A lot of the figures appear to be wearing helmet covers and/or camo smocks so for the most part they are getting feldgrau trousers and a mix of feldgrau and camo tops.  I’m throwing a few uncovered helmets in for variety.

The 15mm figures are small enough that I really need the optivisor to do a decent job with them.  I’m experimenting with both washing the figures before and after painting them.  For this batch I took some artist’s oil Burnt Umber and washed the basic white figures, let them dry for a few minutes and then wiped them down with an old T-shirt.  The net effect was a very heavy shading that made all of the nooks and crannies on the figure a very dark brown.  I then proceeded to block paint the main colors over that, leaving the recesses a dark brown.  Looks great with the beige/brown camo, not so great with the feldgrau.  As I said earlier this is an experiment so I’ll noodle around with these figures and see what gives me the most pleasing look.

I’ll post pics when I have something done.

A Fresh Start

After another long break I’m trying to climb back into the saddle again.  I started a new career last fall, and while that has been a very good thing it has meant a huge learning curve both for me and for my family as we all adjust to a new lifestyle.  Painting and gaming took a back seat throughout the winter because of that.   Now that we are all starting to adjust to the new normal I’ve started getting the urge to get back into the hobby.

One of the local groups is scheduling a 28mm Napoleonic battle this summer, and especially since it’s been moved back to the end of summer I’m taking a stab at contributing troops for it.  Russians, of course.  I have my old Sash & Saber musketeers that I’ve stripped down and started again.  Those poor SOB’s are probably terrified of the pickle jar filled with Simple Green by now.

After thinking about things for a while I’m abandoning my usual black-prime-and-layer-up approach and going back to white priming this batch.  I love the look of the dark figures but I’ve never had good luck building up bright colors like reds and yellows over a dark undercoat.  I know it can be done but I lack the patience to do all of the successive layers needed to build up the base and, frankly, I don’t have the time needed to build up several hundred figures in such a style anymore.  Life is way too busy.  So, I’m going back to priming white, blocking in the basic colors and I’ll be trying the ‘dip’ method, using Minwax polyshades Tudor to give instant shading and definition to the paint jobs.  Since I’ll be using the dip to get the shadow/undertones, I’m blocking in fairly bright colors for my main layer of paint.  For instance I’m using GW Elf Flesh as the base tone for the skin and hopefully I won’t have to do any highlighting after the dip is applied.  I’ll probably do some post-dip highlighting for the metallics and possible jackets to bring out some definition but I’m trying to keep that to a minimum.  The object is to get serviceable figures cranked out in a reasonable amount of time, not create works of art.

Another change is that I’m backing off of using my optivisor for most of the painting.  The figures being made today have amazing amounts of details, and while using the optivisor I saw all of them and felt the need to paint all of them even if I’d have a hard time seeing them without the magnification.  This way lies madness, so I’m currently just using my normal glasses and painting what I can.  A three feet away I doubt I’ll notice much of a difference.  The net effect of this is that my painting time is increasing… or at least it feels that way.

I’ll post some pics when I have something completed.  I’m working on the first batch of 24 now, experimenting with colors and techniques as I go.  I have two units of 24 Sash & Saber musketeers at home and by the time I’m done with them the new Perry plastic Russians should be available.  They are slated to go on sale in late April.  I like that they give you the option of the pre-kiwer shakos since that’s what many of the troops that fought in 1812 & 1813 wore.


An Update of Sorts

Life rolls on.  A recent job change has moved gaming down the priority chain a bit.  Now that things have settled down I’m starting to paint again.  I’m slowly working on Coppens’ Zouave battalion and am making decent progress.  After that unit gets finished I will probably be switching back to Napoleonics.   There are rumors of a large-ish Napoleonic scrum next summer and I would like to pump out some units for that, since Napoleonics is my favorite period in wargaming.   With Perry Miniatures and Warlord both releasing 28mm Russians (and Victrix to follow up eventually), there will be plenty of choices available.

I’ll post pictures of my zouaves as they get close to completion.  Assembling the plastic figures is a bit tedious, but I really enjoy the ability to customize the poses.  My zouaves all are charging with their rifles at various angles, presenting a bloodthirsty and fearsome image.

ACW project rolls on

I managed to get enough Perry zouaves assembled to create six stands for the upcoming 1862 project.  I’m trying something different and priming them white and then staining the base colors on to try and give me some natural shading so far so good other than the grainy white undercoat.

Assembling plastics is time-consuming and somewhat of a pain in the butt.  I do enjoy the variety that is possible with them and they are a lot easier to customize than metals.  Just make sure you’ve got some contour putty or green stuff available after gluing them together.  There will be gaps to fill on at least some figures no matter how attentive you think you are during assembly.

After the zouaves get farther along it will be time to order figs for the next regiment or two.  I’m currently working on Starke’s brigade around the time of the 2nd Manassas campaign which consists of Coppens’ zouaves along with the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th and 15th Louisiana regiments.

Brother Against Brother

I was invited to my friend Jeff’s house last Saturday to try out a small 28mm semi-skirmish game using the Brother Against Brother rules.   We originally were planning on an ACW clash, but circumstances being what they were it turned out that we played a game set in the French and Indian War instead.

The main purpose of the game was to exercise the rules and see how they worked.   Because of this, the French and British had identical forces consisting of three infantry squads at 10 figures each, two artillery pieces with crew, and an officer (the colonel).   We played one of the standard scenarios out of the book: a meeting engagement where both sides marched on to the table via a country lane and then had to deploy out to meet the enemy.

BAB uses a card draw system for unit activation and movement rates are randomized by rolling 2 d10 for infantry to move minus deductions for terrain.   You actually only move the squad leader figure and then get to arrange the rest of the squad around him up to 6″ away.   Jeff used an optional rule adding a joker to the card deck which ended the turn immediately which added (IMO) a nice fog of war effect to the game since we were not guaranteed that every unit would get to do something.

Fire Combat can be destructive, depending on the range and terrain.  As is fitting for a horse & musket skirmish game, infantry can either fire, reload or move in a turn, so choices should be made as to how many figures you choose to fire each turn.  You can unleash a volley but then you’re totally unloaded for the next turn.

Artillery firing cannister is nasty and can dominate an open board.  On the flip side, an average infantry squad volley can decimate an artillery crew in short order, so pushing your guns forward has both high risk and high reward.   Normally there wouldn’t be two artillery pieces with just three squads of infantry, so the guns had a larger effect on the game than might otherwise be the case.  Still, it was good to figure out what they can and cannot do.

Melee combat is brutal, and losing one’s squad leader can be a devastating impact on a squad.   We had a situation develop in the game where I had a squad of French colonial regulars in a tree line exchanging fire with a squad of British hatmen who were behind a wooden fence.   The British took a casualty, which forced a morale card pull.  The result of this was their squad leader being shot (the only way to lose a CO other than melee).  This meant that the British squad would not budge from behind that fence until their colonel came over and promoted a new squad leader.  They would sit behind the fence and shoot without issue, which seemed like an OK thing.

Next turn my French colonists took another casualty, and the morale card pull revealed that they were forced to charge the nearest enemy, which was the aforementioned NCO-less squad of Brits behind the fence.   This seemed like a suicidal move:  leaving a tree line to charge a squad set up behind an obstacle.  The French made it into combat, and then we figured out that having no squad leader means a -4 DRM for the Brits, which on an opposed d10 roll is critical.  My French ended up bayonetting the entire squad over the course of two turns which turned the game on that flank.   Lesson: keeping the colonel in a central location so he can react to things like NCO loss is critical.

Jeff posted a query about this on the BAB Yahoo group and it appears our interpretation of the rule was correct.

Overall it was a fun, if bloody game.  It ended with the French having one depleted squad left and the British the same.   I don’t know if these rules will become the staple small game set for this group or not.  The jury appears to be out, and there are other sets to try.  I have “This Very Ground” from Iron Ivan and Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies among others to try.

On the Painting Table

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