Friday, 21 February 2014

The American Civil War - An Odyssey In 6mm - Part 5

There has been a bit of a gap between parts 4 and 5 of my 6mm American Civil War project, and it was caused primarily by basing.  It must be noted that I had hit a rich seam of enthusiasm just after part 4; born from a sense of success having completed the first elements of the army, and watching ‘Gettysburg’ a couple of times.  The finished troops even having the good fortune to be fielded in battle, where they were ably assisted by some of Andy’s troops to make up  the numbers and subsequently lost.  Twice.  But no matter, rich seam it was.  I began the task of painting more of the tiny little Yankees, focusing on infantry skirmishers, dismounted cavalry, more cannon and some command bases.  When I had finished the painting section after a short while (weeks, not days) the list had grown to include the following:
9 bases of infantry skirmishers (enough to cover  2 regiments)
8 bases of dismounted cavalry (enough for 2 regiments)
3 command bases (2 lower and 1 larger CO)
4 artillery bases of various cannon
3 infantry bases (another infantry regiment)
And 3 cavalry bases (another cavalry regiment).

30 bases later and they were all stuck to little bits of MDF masquerading as bits of a far off battlefield, and had had the required amount of sand PVA’ed to them.  Then came the problem.  To complete the basing I had to paint the sand-covered MDF brown, and as I applied paint brush to sand it started to come off in chunks.  I watered down the paint and went again.  And again.  And again.  And having failed miserably threw the brush down, and the models went into onto the back burner in a cupboard out of sight. 

All work on, and thought of, ACW ceased.

But then one day in the last week my eye was caught by the front of an old Wargames Illustrated which happened to have ACW and Gettsburg upon it, and suddenly the memory came flooding back.  They came at a fortunate moment as well.  I had painted some 28mm Napoleonic, and 19 models later was finding it a little demanding.  A few 28mm Germans had been done as well, but they were only few, and I hadn’t the enthusasism to paint any Flames of War, apart from a couple of Panzer IV’s to test my airbrush.  So it was I thought I’d just start on the30 bases, and see where it ended up.  For some reason, be it the brush, the thickness of the paint, and simply the level of patience I managed, the bases were much easier.  And now I am just a layer of matt varnish away from completion of those troops (smug mode fully engaged), and I’ve even started on another battalion of infantry; the zouvres and their skirmishers. 

Varnishing will have to wait until it gets warmer; I’m not risking my work on a white-out, but for now I’m happy, and contemplating buying more troops.  I’ve my eye currently on another 5 infantry regiments, along with some more skirmishers, and some limbers for my guns, and possibly some more zouvres because I like the colour scheme and the variation is refreshing.  I do still have enough horsemen spare for another regiment, and enough guns and crew spare for another 7 guns(!), but I’ve no need of them just yet.

Painted Army size:
6 infantry regiments
3 mounted cavalry regiments
3 dismounted cavalry regiments
6 artillery
3 command bases

The 30 bases just after having the dark brown applied (in some cases I did a second thicker coat to make sure it was all covered), and then the lighter brown drybrush.

Contrast - the two sides are the darker brown alone, with the middle having the lighter drybrush.  Sometimes seems quite pointless where I'm covering 90% of the bases in flock anyway, but never mind.

Infantry regiment and skirmishers.

Dismounted cavalry.

Biggest command base.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Work In Progress......January 2014

There has been progress!  I have picked up several painting brushes and painted a bit of paint on a number of different things.  The most work has been on my limited 28mm French Napoleonic collection, where I am working on the first of 3 projected battalions and resurrected the blog post series I had started.  I have also been trying out an air brush set on several tanks of different sizes (see below).  I have also made it back to Deeside a few times for a few games, and read a few books.  Its been a better month than December.  I’ve painted up 6 28mm Napoleonic Frenchmen so far, and based them (they are just missing the final matt spray), and subsequently painted another 13 frenchmen, but not got round to ‘dipping’ them in my strong tone yet.   I’ve an additional 15 models waiting to be painted then I was going to dip the lot together to save on broken brushes. 

Air Brushing:
I was fortunate to be the recipient of an introductory air brush set for my birthday, I can only assume that it is designed for numpties, in which case I should find it a challenge.  I initially tried it out using my normal Vallejo paints watered down, but couldn’t get the right texture and it all came out too wet, so I bit the bullet and ordered a number of the air brush-specific Vallejo Air paints and primers.  I’ve used it limitedly so far, having a good go at air brushing an old GW leman russ tank in the same style as I hope to do my German FOW tanks, and overall I was quite happy at the result, having used a primer as an undercoat, then just adding green stripy camouflage afterwards.  More to come here I think.

I’ve started to make the trip to Deeside on a Thursday evening again, and slotted in a few games of varying sorts, including getting the better of Aidan in the Flames of War campaign, and then coming off worse to his Romano-Brits in Hail Caesar (good run out for the Wwwwomans though), as well as coming just second to Luke’s Irish in a three-sided Saga fight, and being thoroughly battered by Michael’s Normans while Red’s Vikings hide in some trees.  I even bumped into several people I haven’t seen for an age from the RGMB and had a nostalgia hit.  Damn that nostalgia hit.

New section partly because I have speedily read three books since the end of December, and started a fourth, and also because for once I have remembered which ones I have read!  In terms of books I did well at Christmas and my birthday, gaining no less than 7 tomes covering various topics and in both fiction and fact.  The three so far were Stormbird by Conn Iggulden, The Hobbit, and Embedded by Dan Abnett.

Stormbird was a bit of a find by my parents, and is the first in a fiction series of books set in the Wars of the Roses, and starts just after Henry VI comes to the throne.  I had previously read one of Iggulden’s roman-based novels, and this is similar in style, plenty of fighting but also plenty of storyline, and having read up on the Wars of the Roses recently I could identify each historical character and event and their overall place.  Well written with the only disappointment being that it is the first and only book so far – I’ll have too wait for a second. 

The Hobbit is a book which I haven’t read for probably 20 years, but having been to see the second of the 3 Peter Jackson films (and enjoying it) I wanted to read it again, and heavy hints meant it turned up!  Identical to Lord of the Rings in writing style, which sometimes makes it hard to read until I’ve spent a couple of chapters slowing my reading down to be able to take it in, then it flows.  You do have to be careful not to skim-read as much (a habit I’ve picked up over the years) because in this book you almost certainly will miss something.  Super still after all this time, and the films helped me image and enjoy it just like the Lord of the Rings films did.

Embedded was the shortest read.  Written by Dan Abnett (of 40k novels fame) it’s a science fiction piece from a media perspective.  Slow to get going (and odd to get used to the various futuristic words and lifestyles), once the shooting starts it rattles along nicely.  The only gripe being a slightly unsatisfactory ending – felt like it was being left open, perhaps it was.  A good read if that’s your thing.

Painted Vs Purchased: 
Didn’t even make it as far at Vapnartek in York this year (no money, no time off), so that helped.  I’ve also not finished painting anything.  Maybe this month….
Purchased: 0
Painted: 0

My first shot at air brushing.