Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Painting Challenge Submission 12 - 28mm Byzantine Light Cavalry

Light Byzantine cavalry - 28mm figures from Gripping Beast's line of Thematic Byzantines.

My 12th submission to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge saw my brushes return to a previous project...thanks to the timely arrival of some parcels in the mail,  my 28mm Byzantine project has been able to resume! Freshly resupplied with LBMS transfers and banners, as well as some steel spears, I  completed the next unit in my Byzantine collection. No surprise - more cavalry! These are lighter, skirmishing cavalry - although they can form up to fight in a pinch. The figures are 28mm metal castings from the fine folks at Gripping Beast, and the banner and shield decals are (obviously) from LBMS.

I enjoy the character of these castings - particularly the commander!

As with all of the Byzantine units there is a mix of arms/capabilities within the group. Six of the models are meant to be armed with a mix of throwing spears and or javelins, and four of them are mounted archers. They are meant to skirmish and harass larger enemy formations on the battlefield, and keep enemy skirmishers from doing the same to key elements of the Byzantine battle line.

Steel spears!! I love those things!! They make a difference for figures like these.

These castings from Gripping Beast have oodles of character, and were quite a lot of fun to paint. The LBMS transfers were, as ever, a real b*tch, but still 1000% better than trying to paint shield patterns on my own. The headaches those things cause are so worth it in the end!

Mounted archers in the mix, helping to pepper the enemy with missile fire.

I figured a musician would be important for a light cavalry unit like this, to directing them and their maneuvers.

These models are all based individually, so in addition to representing a unit of light cavalry in a game of Warhammer Ancient Battles, this group could be split up into various elements for a game of "Lion Rampant". The mounted archers in particular are flexible - they could be dispatched to join the heavier unit of cavalry to bulk it out, depending on the scenario. 

Off we go!

Thanks for reading - stay tuned for more everyone! Hope you are staying safe and, as always, staying sane...

Monday, February 22, 2021

Painting Challenge Submission 11 - 10mm French Lancers for FPW

French Lancers in 10mm for the FPW - figures from Pendraken.

So I have been lazy when it comes to posting things on the blog - time to catch up a bit with more submissions from Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. This one contains more 10mm Franco-Prussian War figures - no surprise there. I have been on a bit of a roll with it, so I want to keep it going. These 10mm figures are meant to represent two regiments of French Line Lancers, ready to ride to glory in the summer of 1870. The castings are from Pendraken - as always, a joy to paint, but with one sort of mysterious feature, one which I could not quite bring out in the photos, but I will share a little more about below...

Beautiful sculpts as always from Pendraken - but take a really close look at the musician, if you can.

Cavalry was very important to the armies of 1870, but the era of cavalry regiments closing to contact and having a decisive impact on the battle itself was coming to an end. Of course, no point wasting you time advancing those views in the summer of 1870, right? These brave fellows will run down any enemies foolish enough to mess with Imperial France! What should they be scared of? A bunch of foot-sloggers with black powder muskets? No,...they have rifles you say? Breech-loading you say? How many shots per minute? Backed by breech-loading artillery? Well...I'm sure it will all work out in the end - debrouiller, as the French say. Instant glory awaits. You should charge that Prussian line right now.

Maybe check the musician in this photo? No...a bit blurry...

These are based for the "1871" game rules, where a single base represents two squadrons of cavalry or so, and two bases together represent a regiment. Of course, as with the infantry, the scale of the game can be increased or decreased, so different combinations are possible, but the intent for now is that these will represent two different regiments ready to fight in some of the early engagements near the French/Prussian border.

Yellow facings for this unit.

It was difficult to find clear uniform references for the Lancers in this period. The relevant Osprey book is a bit of a disappointment in this regard, so in the end I bodged it a bit. One of the regiments has yellow facings and collars, the other red...I think I ended up exaggerating the amount of colour on the facings, but it helps when the figures are in this scale.

To battle! Vive L'empereur! I mentioned at the outset there was something odd about the musicians. Can you spot it? Probably not...but each bugler is missing his right forearm - a flaw in the casting, I suppose. And pretty odd that both musicians had that issue. But you only get one bugler per pack, and I didn't want to order new packs of Lancers just to get more the "ghost bugles" will help lead these riders to battle on the table!

Thanks for reading! Stand by for more Franco-Prussian War cavalry...stay safe and stay sane!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Forth Eorlingas!

This is the second part of my 'Heroes of the Riddermark' project. It consists of five mounted figures depicting Théodred, Éomer, Gamling, a Rohan Royal Knight, and Éowyn. I had actually started the project by painting the horses, but then moved to the dismounted figures before coming back to finish the mounted characters. As much as possible, I tried to match the colour palette between the foot and mounted figures of the same character, so I kept the completed dismounted figures on my workbench to use them as a reference. I painted two of the horses as bays, two as chestnuts, and one as a dun, so only one new colour scheme for my horses having already done a chestnut and a bay on some mounted Gondor miniatures.

Théodred was a Prince of Rohan, and the only son and heir of King Théoden. He was slain by an Orc-man in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen. I copied the paint scheme on his armour from the Games Workshop website, and painted his horse as a dun. Alas, I only have a mounted version of Théodred. Dismounted figures are still available, but only as a part of a set, which makes it an expense proposition for only the foot figure.

Éomer, Marshal of the Riddermark, is the nephew of Théoden, and one of Rohan's foremost warriors. I gave him a bay to ride. He will make a nice addition to the tabletop.

Gamling, Captain of Rohan, is the Royal Standard Bearer. This was probably the most difficult figure to paint due to the sculpted standard with all its folds and creases. There is no raised detail on it, so I had to paint the running horse freehand. It was why I did this one last. I also mounted him on a bay.

A Rohan Royal Knight, he is part of King Théoden bodyguard. I mounted him on a chestnut with two white socks on its front legs. I still have a two more of these in unopened blisters, but I will leave them for another day.

Éowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, is the daughter of Éomund and Theodwyn, younger sister of Éomer and niece of King Théoden. Disguising herself as Dernhelm, she fights at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where she and Merry kill the Witch King of Angmar. I mounted her on another chestnut. Since it was the only horse of the five without a chanfron, I gave it a blaze.

With the exception of Éowyn, all the other figures have very intricate designs on their armour. I found I could only paint one a day before my shoulder and neck muscles started to tense up trying to maintain the fine control on the tip of the brush. 

Time now to move on to 'building an army worthy of Mordor'. Stay safe and healthy until we can meet around the wargames table again.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Vauban Style Star Fort

 This is a terrain project that I completed last July when I was able to work in my garage and set up a work table for sawing and painting. It is a star fort that my father made in 1966 as a Christmas present. The walls had been constructed primarily from the wooden ends salvaged from apple boxes. This became the focus of my initial dive into wargaming, although at the time my brother and I used spring loaded metal tubes my father had made to launch wooden projectiles at each other's troops. 
The base measured 1.2m by 0.8m. Originally the fort and base were all grey, but I had painted the base green at some point in the 1970's so it would look better on the wargames table. The large size of the base meant it was still a bit unwieldy, so it was time to trim things smaller as well as repair and improve the overall appearance. The impetus for the project came from watching a video by the Terrain Tutor on flocking gaming boards. I used a number of techniques presented in that video to do the upgrade.

The black lines are the cutting guide for my Skilsaw to trim the base as close to the bastion corners as I could. You can see a lot of the cracks where the wood had split over the years, and the grooves on the outside of the some of the bastions. That was supposed to be where the interior platforms were to slot in, but these were accidentally cut on the wrong side.

 The base was trimmed, and the sharp edges sanded to give a more rounded profile. All the cracks and the unnecessary grooves on the outside of the bastions were filled with plastic wood, and everything was sanded smooth. The 'stone work' (rectangles of heavy paper and cardboard of varying thicknesses) was glued on using PVA. I also used pieces of self-adhesive address labels sent to me over the years by various charitable organizations. I cut them to the desired size and stick them on to give a hint of stone or brickwork.

The entire fort was repainted in a dark grey with highlighting and drybrushing of the stone work in lighter shades. Then sand glued to the base using PVA and painted brown after the glue had dried. The paints used for all the colours were latex paints from Home Depot. They often have smaller containers for sale in the 'Oops' section of the paint department. Anytime I pass through there, I have a quick look for shades of brown, green, and grey that might be useful for wargames terrain projects.

I constructed three ravelins from polystyrene foam and mounted them on cutoffs from the original base that were trimmed to give an equilateral triangle. To get a consistent size and shape for the pieces of polystyrene, I first cut a pattern out of cardboard that was used as a guide for my handheld hot wire cutter. The simulated stone work was done in the same manner as the main fort.

 After the brown paint on the bases was dry, I flocked them as outlined in Mel's tutorial video, mostly using a medium green blend, with patches of darker green near the bottom of the walls, and lighter green where 'high traffic' or drier areas might be. A few clumps of lichen were added here and there,  just to give some variety. The gates were constructed using balsa wood and match sticks, and then given a coat of dark brown paint followed by drybrushing on lighter shades. The bridge that spans the moat was originally something my father had made for a sand table he had constructed for training soldiers. It was originally just a 1 by 2 cut with a curve and some square arches. It has been augmented with popsicle sticks on the sides, and coffee stir sticks for the planks. It was painted in the same manner as the gates. 

 With the ravelins being separate pieces, it is possible to use the fort without a moat, or without the ravelins completely, depending on the scenario.

The fort was originally designed to be used with Airfix American Civil War Union and Confederate Infanty and Artillery, so the the barrack doors and windows are HO scale. Here's a view of the fort interior.

When I repainted the base many years ago, I thought I might use it for 15mm Napoleonics or Seven Years War, which would have made the barracks too large. I made some 'quick and dirty' facades using cardboard and felt pens to cover the fronts of the barrack blocks and look like buildings that butted up against the fort walls. The buildings in the center are 1/160 scale resin models. I may do some more elaborate facades at some point in the future, as well as some 'battle damage' pieces to place against a wall section or bastion to show where a breach has been established.

This was a project that has been in the back of my mind for quite some time, so it gave me considerable satisfaction to finally get it done. Now all I need to do is find a good set of wargame rules for sieges in the 17th to 19th centuries. I know Conscript Dave is already thinking about doing the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. The possibilities abound.
I hope you have enjoyed my little journey down memory lane. Until we can meet across gaming table, stay safe and healthy.



Saturday, February 13, 2021

Heroes of the Riddermark

 It took a while, but I finally finished my dismounted Heroes of the Riddermark. I still have five mounted heroes which are already in progress, but they will have to wait for another post. With the exception of the Éowyn figures, all the rest had a ton of fine detail on their vambraces and greaves that took much longer to paint than I had originally anticipated, hence the two week gap since my last post. I was also unhappy with the flesh tone I had initially selected for Éowyn (Vallejo Light Flesh) which came out looking too pale and pink. After a few attempts to fix it with some washes, I decided it wasn't going to work and scrubbed all three figures back down to the black primer using Simple Green cleaner and a toothbrush. I guess that is one of the advantages of doing the faces first.

My nine heroes were photographed in front of a 3D puzzle of Meduseld, the great Golden Hall at Edoras, the capital of Rohan. To my knowledge, with the exception of the Rohan Royal Guard, all of these figures are out of production or have replaced by new sculpts.

Below are Hama, Captain of Rohan and Doorward of Edoras, Éomer, Marschal of the Riddermark, and Gamling, Captain of Rohan and Royal Standard Bearer. (The mounted figure carries the Royal Standard, and a newer sculpt released by GW has the dismounted figure also holding the Standard. I have a second Gamling figure that came with a bulk eBay purchase that I may convert by putting a standard in his hand.) Éomer had the most raised detail that needed to be picked out with a fine brush, but was the easiest of the three to paint due to not having a lot of deep recesses where it was difficult to get a brush.


Next are three different sculpts of Éowyn as a woman of Rohan, or in armour from the Battle of  the Pelennor Fields. They came from different GW boxed sets of heroes from their Middle-earth range. (Heroes of Helm's Deep, The Fall of the Witch King, and Heroes of the West) Other than having to start over on the faces, these three were the easiest to paint as the armour consists of plain leather vambraces and riding boots. I am happy with the final result.


Lastly, three men of the Rohan Royal Guard. A lot of fine detail on vambraces, greaves, and shields bogged down the rate of progress on these, but I like the rich green on their cloaks and shields. They are now ready to do their duty as the King's bodyguard.

Next up will be the five mounted Heroes of the Riddermark. After that, I think I will need to take a break from all the fancy detailed armour  and work on some grot Mordor orcs or Fighting Uruk-hai.

Until the next post, stay safe and healthy. Hopefully we will be able to meet around the gaming table soon.

Friday, February 12, 2021

From the Challenge: Great Unclean One, Greater Daemon of Nurgle

I painted this model for the "Lair of the Great Beast" room in the Chamber of Challenges... and if this doesn't qualify as a "great beast" I'm not sure what would... it's Forge World's absolutely magnificent Great Unclean One, Greater Daemon of Nurgle. It's a massive resin casting that I picked up at a swap meet/bring and buy thing locally, likely about five years ago.

The detail on the model is great, and by great I mean disgusting...

Unfortunately someone's gotten to the GUO's backbone, or maybe he's just cracked apart back there...

So many open sores... no way this dude is getting in a hotel swimming pool.

The right hand and sword with tongue wrap were a separate resin casting. It assembled very slickly.

Had to apply some gloss varnish to his guts.

It's a pretty large model, sure to be the centrepiece of my Nurgle Chaos Space Marines force, if we ever get to have a game again...!

He was remarkably straightforward to paint, the base colour is my special "Nurgle mix" of Castellan Green overbrushed with Death World Forest and a skosh of Steel Legion Drab for that sickly brownish cast. Horns are Rakarth Flesh highlighted up to Pallid Wych Flesh, and the stringy bits are similarly done with PWF.

Stay safe everyone!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Painting Challenge Submission 10 - French Turcos and Command for 10mm FPW

More 10mm troops for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870!

Some more work completed for my 10mm Franco-Prussian War of 1870 project. This submission includes a unit of French Tirailleurs Algeriens - the feared "Turcos - and also a command base for the French, all in 10mm. The Turcos are castings from Pendraken, and the command figures are from Magister Millitum.

The Turcos are Pendraken sculpts, and they are amazing quality to work with, I love them.

The Imperial French Army had a poor showing overall in the Franco-Prussian War, but it was not for lack of bravery or determination on the part of the front-line troops, and the Turcos in particular gave a good account of themselves. They were fierce and disciplined in battle against the Prussians and their allies - and from a gaming perspective, they also had cool uniforms, which is great fun to paint!

The problem is much more likely to be found on that command base...some spare figures left over from my Magister Millitum packs. Again, these command bases can be generic but in the "1871" rules, two figures on the base generally represents a division commander. His uniform is nice, but I expect his command modifiers will not be...

A close-up showing the Turco officers...the flag is cast-on, so painted in free-hand.

These figures are based with the rules "1871" in mind, but of course can work for a number of other rule sets.  Even the "1871" rules themselves can scale up and down, but the default starting position is that each base of infantry would represent a battalion, and the three bases together comprise the regiment. But rules like "1871" and "Black Powder" are very flexible, so in the the future there are many potential uses for them.

Ready for action! Vive L'Empereur!

The Pendraken castings are really, really fun to paint. Yes, they are small, but the sculpting and casting are brilliant, with all sorts of little details that will reward your time if you try to bring them out. Painting the flag freehand was a bit of a challenge, but in this scale it is manageable. I'm not sure my brush was up to all of it, but I sure enjoyed these fellows, and they will add to the colourful variety of uniforms to be seen on the Franco-Prussian War gaming table...whenever that can be...sigh. 

Great details on these Pendraken figures!

One thing about the Challenge is your points target. Everyone gets to set their own target, so it's a competition against yourself. I set a target of 1,500 points of painting...that might have been an overreach. To give you an idea of how much to paint, this was worth 33 I had better get cracking if I expect to get to my ambitious target. Watch for more!

Thanks for reading, and try to stay sane!