Monday 24 September 2007

The German Regiment

Glover's Marbleheaders are almost finished (just 2 left to paint) but in the meantime I thought I would post some pics of the German Regiment. This unit was raised from recruits in Maryland and Pennsylvania. It is sometimes referred to as the 8th Maryland Regiment, although there seems to be some doubt as to whether Maryland ever formally adopted the regiment onto its establishment. Eight companies were raised in July 1776, largely from the state's German immigrant communities. The regiment fought at Trenton, White Plains and Brandywine, before being disbanded in 1781.

I modelled this regiment whilst painting De Borre's 2nd Maryland Brigade from the Brandywine orbat (in Sullivan's 3rd Division). Volume 1 of the Osprey on George Washington's Army refers to an order of hunting shirts and and officer dressed in a blue faced red coat. On the basis of that information I decided to use a mix of coated and hunting shirted figures, with a couple of new recruits in civvies thrown in. The idea, in effect, was to paint up a generic Continental unit for general use. I think this was the first regiment I painted that features a mix of Perry, Foundry and Eureka miniatures. I had no idea what kind of flag a regiment of German patriots would carry, so gave them a simple flag with just "Liberty" on a red field. As this is an older regiment in my collection, there are a few figures that would not make it past quality control nowadays. In particular, my "black-lining" was much bolder than it is today; I find that now I spend about 30 minutes "touching up" each batch of figures to ensure the black-lining is much less noticeable than it used to be.

I have some photos of my Cornwallis command stand which I will post later in the week. Hopefully the Marbleheaders will be photographed at end of the week. In October I am going to take a short break from the AWI (not completely mind, as there are one or two things I want to do).

16 figures. Painted March 2004. Flag by GMB.

Thursday 20 September 2007

American riflemen (2)

Earlier this year I posted pictures of some skirmishing riflemen that I based on large format bases with tree-trunks and logs etc (see here). At the same time I based a small unit on standard "first grade" skimisher bases of 25mm x 50mm. Again, each pairs consists of 2 moving figures or one moving whilst the other covers him. When I dug them out this morning, I was expecting to find 10 figures instead of 8. If a fifth picture suddenly appears at some time over the next few days, it means I have found this errant stand.

I'm itching to get these figures blooded in an Oriskany game....when I've sorted the terrain out. These figures will also do for Morgan's Riflemen in the Saratoga Campaign; one of them might even have a lucky shot at a British General. Morgan's Rifles at Saratoga numbered about 300, so you'd need about 16 figures for a BG unit. I can also use these and the other riflemen figures as the 11th Virginia set out to skirmish (the formed, 16-figure unit of which is here). These are all Perry figures of course, marvellously sculpted.

8 figures. Painted June 2006.

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Colours 2007

Last Sunday I went to Colours, the show in Newbury put on by Newbury and Reading Wargames Club. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, so no pics of the games I'm sorry to say. Touching History's AWI set-up was there again and there was an excellent La Vigie game (a French v British game from "British Grenadier!" the scenario book). I had always thought that La Vigie was very hard for the French to win, being a kind of Bunker Hill only far worse. But I gather the French won several times over the weekend, so well done them. Another good-looking game was "The Death of Macbeth" by Aldearn Wargames Club - lots of well painted Foundry and Gripping Beast figures. Unfortunately the journey to Newbury race-course was horrendous; what should have been a quick 1 hour train ride from central London took almost 2.5 hours due to emergency track work. I had to catch a replacement bus from Reading station to Newbury (which left Reading only once an hour, obviously, and didn't even stop at the race-course) and it was then a 30 minute trot out to the race-course. Many thanks to Kerry (Valleyboy, on holiday from NZ) for the lift back to Reading.

The shopping was excellent. Purchases included more Perry/Conquest AWI and Perry Sudan figures from Dave Thomas (the Hessian Von Bose regiment is pencilled in for painting in November, whilst next week will see Conquest's mounted Iroquois); some back issues of "Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy" magazine (and I was delighted to see that the Saratoga issue contained pictures that featured some of the figures I painted for Alan Perry); Caliver's new ACW scenario book "Heartland"; and a copy of Robert Rogers' Journal from the F&IW.

I also bought some products from two companies I came across for the first time. First, some Virginia fencing from "Products for Wargamers" (as featured in the photograph above). These cost £1.50 each and are based on lollipop sticks, which is a neat idea and looks like warping won't be an issue. The ground texture is a bit more detailed than the other bits of fencing I have from "Last Valley". Secondly, I got talking to the lads behind a terrain company called "Tablescape". To date they have been concentrating on WW1 trench pieces and "Sci-Fi" fortifications, but are branching out into proper stuff. The result of our conversation was that I commissioned a replica of an AWI house that featured in the Saratoga campaign. This is the "John Neilson house", built in 1775 or 1776 and which sits at the top of Bemis Heights ridge. It was used by the American general staff for their headquarters in September 1777. I hadn't heard of this building under Ronan showed me some photos on Sunday, just in time for me to then show them to Tablescape. I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished product, and last night perused the British Grenadier scenarios to see what else I might be able to have made. I have posted links to both these company in the links section. A link to information about John Neilson's house is here.

As stated above, the photo shows some Virginia fencing from "Products for Wargamers" with a couple of Perry American riflemen. It's a bit dark because it's pretty miserable here in London today (for a change).

Friday 14 September 2007

Civilians (4)

I'm not sure that "civilians" is the correct description of these figures; involuntary migrant workers perhaps? Anyway, they are taken from Eureka's 19th century Colonials range, where they are described as "plantation workers". I bought a pack at the time of my first purchase of Eureka's ragged Continentals a couple of years ago; I needed to buy a few more figures to qualify for free postage from Fighting 15s. They patiently sat in the leadpile until last Friday, when I suddenly decided to paint them. I see that there are a few more variants in the range - in total Eureka have 5 women and 4 men. When I turn my attention properly to the southern AWI theatre (the latter half of next year on current projections!), I may buy some of those other variants, although it looks like they come in random packs so you can't choose the exact figures you want. The dress of the men is a little bit odd. They seem to be wearing tunics fastened with a rope belt; I'd have thought a simple shirt would be more suitable no matter there they are supposed to be.

I'll add a couple of painting notes in respect of the chap carrying chopped wood. Whilst on painting autopilot I almost began painting the wood with my usual Foundry "Spearshaft" palette, but then realised that of course chopped wood looks very different to other wood - it is pale cream on the inside and then much darker on the outside. So I used various "Boneyard" and "Buff colours to create a freshly chopped look. Not quite so suitable is the colour of the figure's tunic, which was painted with Foundry's "Raw Linen" palette. I find this set very difficult to get right. The differences between the 3 shades are quite extreme (as opposed to some of the palettes where the differences are negligible, like "Stone" for example). "Raw Linen" works ok on small areas, and it is one of my standard set of colours for shoulder-bags, but is less effective on larger areas when used "straight out of the tin". I should have mixed some intermediate colours; to be honest these figures were painting in a bit of a rush. Still, 4 figures in one evening ain't bad! Negro flesh I paint using the Foundry "Dusky Flesh" palette on top of an undercoat of Coat D'Arms "Negro". I blend in the second and third Foundry colours as those are more paints where the variation in the tones is quite stark.

The scenery is once again a Touching History cornfield (with Realistic Modelling trees in the background). This time I have taken the central section of the cornfield out, to show what the ground underneath looks like.

4 figures. Painted September 2007.

Thursday 13 September 2007

20th Foot

The 20th Foot had its origins in a Devonshire regiment raised in the 1680s. The county link was retained when it was officially designated the East Devonshire Regiment in 1782. The regiment has an outstanding pedigree, having seen action at the Boyne, Dettingen, Fontenoy and Culloden. In 1968 it was combined with the old 5th, 6th and 7th Regiments to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The 20th Foot arrived in Quebec in 1776 and formed part of John Burgoyne's Saratoga expedition the following year. I painted this unit primarily for the battle of Freeman's Farm, where it joins my earlier battalion, the 21st Foot, in the British front line; hence the "firing line" poses for the figures.

I have mentioned before the excellent articles by Brendan Morrissey on Saratoga troops that are available on the Perry Miniatures website. This regiment shows the importance of consulting Brendan's articles prior to painting, as he states that all companies of the 20th Foot wore black belts, not just the lightbobs (ditto for the 24th). If I hadn't read that, I'd have assumed the belts would be white.

These pictures also show the approach I take to painting lace. You can find details of the lace designs for all the British regiments that fought in the war at the back of the Mollo Blandford book or on the Fife and Drum website (see the links on the left). If you stare at the lace designs for long enough you begin to see which of the colours stand out. Usually the lace resolves into a white rectangle with a colours centre or vice versa. When I looked at the 20th's lace I saw a blue rectangle with a white middle, so that's what I painted. You need a very fine brush to add the middle bit, but I think the end result looks fairly effective - at least it gives an approximation of some kind of woven lace design. Of course this doesn't really work for bastion lace. By coincidence, the majority of the figures wear Indian leggings. I didn't set out to make them particularly colourful but I used a range of browns, buffs and blues to add some variety. I think the officer figure next to the drummer may have been designed as a sergeant; anyway, judging by his expression, he's noticed that the American riflemen are deliberately targeting the British officers....

12 figures. Painted August/September 2007. Flags by GMB.

Tuesday 11 September 2007

More posts soon!

Once again I'm sorry for the lack of posts. This is a direct result of (1) being very busy at work and (2) being away for the past 3 weekends. As a consequence I haven't really had any serious painting time recently and being out of London at the weekend means that I have not been able to set up my weekly Saturday morning photoshoot. I had forgotten how much my "12 figures a week" regime relies on a couple of hours most evenings; at the moment I have no time to paint in the evenings at all. And today we have house guests arriving with more on Friday, so things are unlikely to improve until next week.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I have finished my second Saratoga British regiment, the 20th Foot, and some Eureka plantation workers. These just need to be "grassed" and then photographed. There will be pics by the end of the week. I will also ensure I take some photos of some earlier units over the weekend to give me something to post next week. I'm off to the Colours show in Newbury this Sunday and that should provide some nice pics too. I have started work on the 14th Continental Regt ("Glover's Marbleheaders"), but that is a biggie at 20 figures and will take a couple of weeks to finish. I have received a couple of emails recently about how I paint faces and eyes in particular. The answer is with extreme difficulty and usually after a couple of attempts. I'm currently finding painting eyes much harder than usual - it may be the Eureka figures, which have very small sockets, or it just may be that painting fatigue that we all get from time to time. But what I thought I might do when I next paint a marching or standing Perry unit (the 62nd Foot probably, after the Marbleheaders) is to try to post a step-by-step.

The photo is something random I took a couple of months ago: the command stand of the Hessian Knyphausen Fusilier Regiment. I have not posted this regiment yet, because I made a ghastly mistake and painted the cuffs red instead of black.....