Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Last Books for 2015...

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I spent Christmas morning sleeping (I was standing guard up till the wee hours and was quite tired), then went to see the extended roadshow viewing of The Hateful Eight, which I enjoyed. Then this morning I hit the town, and ended up at the local book store. I really need to stop visiting second-hand book stores, because I always seem to leave with fewer dollars in my pocket than when I arrived!

My two newest acquisitions:


Napoleonic Wars: Wellington's Army by Ian Fletcher, part of the Brassey's History of Uniforms series. This book goes over, in detail, the uniforms, weapons and equipment of Britain's army during the Napoleonic Wars, to include infantry, cavalry and artillery. It includes color plates, contemporary paintings and illustrations of soldiers, as well as photographs of extant uniform and equipment items. This is probably the best single book on the British Army that I currently own.


 
 
Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars, 1796-1814 by Jack Cassin-Scott and Philip Haythornthwaite, two authors whose other books I currently have. This is a relatively small, quite handy little uniform guide, compete with uniform plates, of all of the major (and a few of the minor) armies of the Napoleonic Wars. A solid addition to my reference library.
 
 
Coming soon: my 2015 In Review post.
 
Thanks for looking!
 
-Chuck

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas, Lost Mojo, New Figures and Books

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's been a little while since my last post, and for that I apologize. I was waiting for some figures to arrive in the mail before making another post, but since the military's mail system is slow as molasses they haven't yet arrived and I wished to post at least once more before year's end.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost a bit of my painting mojo as of late, ever since I arrived at my first command and have yet to move off the ship. Navy ships are not known for the vat amount of space they afford their crews, so I have not the space for painting. But this hasn't stopped me from picking up a few figures, here and there.

I discovered a new local game shop here in San Diego, and there I was pleased find some Perry Napoleonic figures. So I picked up a box of 28mm plastic British Hussars, which I more than likely will paint up as one of the KGL Hussar regiments.


They are very nice figures, and I look forward to putting them together as soon as I move into a bigger place.

Additionally, I found an Essex miniatures British Rocket Battery caisson on sale online, and picked it up to complement the Minifigs Rocket Battery figures I picked up on eBay a couple of years ago. This is what's currently bogged down in the military mail system.

Finally, I have picked up a couple more interesting books. While out shopping for my mother's Christmas present today, I found a nice little second-hand book shop where I picked up the following two books cheap:

 

The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships  by C. Nepean Longridge is an illustrated guide to all parts of Napoleonic Wars-era sailing ships. from deck plans, obscure bits of rigging, guns, ship's boats, you name it. I rather wish I had had this book handy whilst I was reading Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin books in high school.

1815: The Armies at Waterloo by Ugo Pericoli covers the history and tactics of the Battle of Waterloo in its first couple of sections, but the last two thirds of the book is devoted to beautifully illustrated, full-color uniform plates of the different belligerents. While I don't game Waterloo, I am a sucker for books with uniform plates, and so I had to add this to my collection.

Well, that's about it. I get to go home for the first two months of January, which will be nice. I hope to get some painting done, hopefully. I would also like to do a "Year in Review" post, to cover what all I accomplished over 2015. Until then, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Thanks for looking,

-Chuck

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New Book, Terrain Bits and Excuses

Hello everyone!

It's been kind of slow here the past few weeks, and for that I apologize. It's not for lack of painting... it's just that I've been painting a 1:1 scale Navy ship instead of my miniatures! I'm hoping that in the next month or two I'll be able to move into a place more conducive to painting productivity than on my ship.

In the mean time in-between time, I've purchased a new book:


"1812: The Navy's War" takes a look at the Napoleonic sideshow fought between the United States and Great Britain that was the War of 1812 from a Naval perspective. This is especially fitting for me, given my current profession, and is incidentally one of the subjects that initially piqued my interest in the Napoleonic timeframe. While I've only just begun this book, it certainly seems promising!

I also picked up a small, plastic, Spanish-style fountain from my local Michael's craft store which I will eventually use for a terrain base. I'm thinking it will be the centerpiece for either a "town square" or "monastery" base for my Peninsular games.

Coming soon: Not much, unfortunately. I may purchase some figures here soon (I have a couple of things  earmarked for myself) but I probably won't be painting anything for the next month or so.

Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Saturday, October 17, 2015

More Brits, in Both 28 &15mm

Hello everyone!

It's been a minute since I've been on the blog, and for that I apologize. I just returned from two weeks of Rest and Rehabilitation visiting my parents back in Kentucky, and now that I am back I've finally had a chance to sit down an blog about what I was able to accomplish over the break.

I managed to get some painting done while I was at home, in addition to moving my entire Naps collection across the country so I can paint and game to my heart's content! Here's what I managed to get done: a center company stand for the 1/4th Regiment of Foot and another casualty marker, as well as some conversions (remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions).





These are 28mm Knuckleduster minis, and were a joy to paint up as usual. The only things really differentiating these chaps as being in a center company is their red and white shako plumes, as all other uniform differences are hidden by their greatcoats. These lads are mounted on one of the wooden 40mm x 40mm bases I purchased last month. This brings the 1/4th up to four completed stands out of six.





It was hard to get good pictures of this casualty marker because of how small it is. This is a 15mm AB British casualty figure. As with all AB figures I've ever worked with, this one is sculpted perfectly and painted up really fast, even considering its small size. I painted him up with dark blue facings of a generic "Royal" regiment. The base is a strip of card approximately 40mm long by 20mm wide.

Finally, I managed to sort out the Brigade Games figures I'm using for Whyte's West Indies Regiment that arrived without their heads. I had thought about what might work to recreate the round hats required, and so I gathered the materials I thought I would need.

Here's what I (thought) I needed: two 28mm plastic heads from the Wargames Factory Zulus sprue and a pair of 1/72 Spanish militiamen in round hats. My original plan was to cut off the round hats and use them as is: in practice however, this looked like they were wearing one of the tiny top hats that were all the rage in Victorian ladies' fashion:
Not really the look I was going for...

So I fell back and punted, and turned to greenstuff. I cut down the Zulu heads to fix, then glued them to the figures. I then used a flat disc of greenstuff to form the brim of their round hats.

After this had set for 24 hours I added the crowns, made from carved pieces of a 1/4" wood dowel. I then sculpted on their plumes with a bit more greenstuff. In the end I think it came out rather well.
Coming soon: I actually ended up starting to paint on some other figures while I was at home, but didn't end up finishing them before I had to leave. As I'm currently living aboard ship for the time being until I can get a place of my own, I really don't have the space or time for painting, and I probably won't for a couple of months. I will work on stuff when and where I can I guess.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Monday, September 28, 2015

1st (Whyte's) W.I. Regiment Colour Party--28mm

Hello everyone,

A quick post today, as I managed to finish up the command stand and colour party for the 1st (Whyte's ) West Indies Regiment. (Remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions.)





These are all Brigade Games figures, sculpted by the very talented Paul Hicks. Like the rest of this regiment, these figures are all wearing round hats and older style uniforms. The European officers are all wearing the old coats with long tails, and have their hair pulled back in queues, though the hair hasn't been powdered. The drummer is of African decent, as were most of the rank and file of the West Indies regiments, and he is wearing the typical reversed colors of musicians in the British Army.

The flags are hand painted by myself, as I shared in my last post. The regimental color's Union is wonky, but it's too late to fix now. Flagpoles are pieces of straw from a whisk broom cut down to size.

Coming soon: I'm working on a stand of the greatcoated 1/4th Regiment currently, and we'll see if I can get them finished up tomorrow. After that I'll be leaving for home for a couple of weeks of well-deserved R&R, so maybe I can work on something then.

Questions comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Friday, September 25, 2015

The 2/4th Foot Colour Party and New Old-School 25mm Figures

Hello everyone!

There have been several developments hobby-wise that have happened here recently, namely the arrival of a big lot of figures off of eBay. I also managed to get a little painted done yesterday, this time some more British: the start of the 2/4th Regiment of Foot (remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions).





The drummer and both ensigns are old, true 25mm Minifigs that came in a large mixed lot of figures that I bought off of eBay (more pics of these below), and as such they are just a tad smaller than the larger 28mm Foundry and Knuckleduster figures I own. They are all wearing the post 1812 uniforms, with short coatees, grey trousers and Belgic shakoes. They are painted in the dark blue facings of the 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot; this will be the 2nd Battalion, as my greatcoated battalion is the 4th's 1st Battalion.

I really like the dashing Battalion commander figure; he looks like he's rallying his men to push on despite the storm of steel around him. He seems kind of old school, even compared to the Minifigs, like some Hinton Spieler or Der Kriegspieliers figs I've seen. I tried looking him up myself, but my Google-fu was weak. Does anybody have any idea who made him? The code on the bottom of the base was BN28.

The Colours are my usual hand painted creations, as per usual. I actually did two sets at once; these as well as the Colours for the 1st (Whyte's) West India Regiment.


I'm planning on finishing the command stand for Whyte's W.I. Regiment before the weekend is out, you'll be seeing these flags again shortly.

So I picked up another large lot of figures off of eBay, this time a mixed lot of seventy 25mm Minifigs (and others) miniatures. There are both British and French miniatures, with a mix of different troop types.

The entire lot of 70 figures, cleaned up after unpacking. Unfortunately, several bayonets didn't survive the journey through the US postal system.

The French: Clockwise from the rear, 13 Old Guard Grenadiers , 4 French Artillerymen, 1 mounted French Dragoon, and 11 Line Infantrymen.

The British: Clockwise from top left, 7 Scotsmen, 28 Line Infantry, and 6 Foot Artillerymen.
Again, these are true 25mm figures, and so are smaller than my other 28mm minis. They are still large enough however that only four figs will fit on a 40mm x 40mm base, meaning a regiment of these lads will be 24 strong, just like their large 28mm cousins. The bulk of the British Line Infantry above will form the 2/4th Foot, which I started last night. These guys are very old school, which I like, and, though they are not the most detailed or dynamic sculpts in the world, as you see they paint up very nicely.

Coming soon: The figures for the command stand for Whyte's W.I. Regiment and those of a stand of the 1/4th Foot are on painting bases right now, and I expect to finish them before the weekend is out.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back to My (Small Scale) Roots

Hello everyone!

I only managed to get one stand of figs painted over the weekend, but instead of 28mm minis like I've been doing lately, these are 1/72; returning to my roots, if you will.  These are French from Italeri 6066 painted up as the command stand for the 2eme Regiment d'Infanterie Legere. (Remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions.)






These guys are painted up in the all blue of the Light Infantry regiments. While there are lots of pictures online of light infantry in dark blue uniforms (and photographs of actual, extant uniforms showing them to be dark blue) I've taken the liberty of painting these chaps in a lighter blue, mainly because I like this color blue. The uniforms are piped in white, with red collar and cuff flaps and silver buttons. The drummer is painted in the later green tunics worn by drummers; I've actually had this figure painted since May, it's taken me until now to finish up his mates.

These guys are based on my standard 40mm x 40mm infantry bases, though these are made of wood. I was at the local Michaels craft store yesterday where I found these bags of wooden squares for sale, and I noticed that the largest squares in the bag might be the right size for bases:


After doing a bit of in-store measuring, I found that I was correct: the larger ones were exactly 40mm square, perfect for my needs. Between the two bags I ended up with 40 precut bases:


These will save me a lot of work in the future, which is always a good thing.

Coming soon: Maybe some American command stands, or some artillery; that's what I have on painting bases at the moment.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More 28mm Sash & Saber ACW Figures Converted to Napoleonic Casualties

Hello everyone!

Another quick post tonight. Based on the success of the last casualty figure I did based on a Sash & Saber ACW figure I had lying around, I took another look at the other minis I had. While I only have a small number of ACW casualty figs (which I will probably never use), most of them have very distinctively late 19th Century uniforms and equipment, that would not be conducive to conversion. I did, however, find two that, with a little carving, sculpting, creative painting, and a fair amount of research for one fellow in particular, would work, and I present them here now. (Remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions.)





The lad in green is meant to depict a dead Russian. The original ACW figure already had a blanket roll, so I decided to use him basically "as-is"--really the only conversion I had to do was some trimming and greenstuffing to turn his anachronistic kepi into a flat forage cap. The forage cap allows this guy to be used with any of my Russian units, to include my Pavlovs. I think it worked out rather well. The original Sash & Saber fig was wearing an open shell jacket, so I painted this as a coatee that had been opened by the victim to get at his wound: a nasty (an fatal) gutshot.

The gentleman in red is another dead Briton, this time in the dark green facings of the 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot, a regiment of light infantry, though he will represent any British unit that is in need of casualty markers. Why light infantry? Because of his curious choice of kit, namely his blanket/greatcoat blanket sling. When I first looked at this ACW figure, I wondered if I could use him as a Napoleonic casualty because of the figure's rolled blanket strapped across his back. Now I had never heard of such a practice being used in any of the armies I collect, nor had I read of this used in the Napoleonic Wars at all. So I fired up Google and went to work, and what I found surprised me. I actually found a blog post about a group of AWI reenactors who discussed blanket slings, and in fact had a number of pictures contemporary to the Napoleonic Wars of British soldiers using them both in 1800 and in 1808 at Corunna, as well as a picture of an extant British blanket sling dated 1804 (the blog post can be found here):

In use in 1800
 
At Corunna in 1808

An actual surviving blanket sling, dated 1804
During summer campaigning troops would often leave their knapsacks with the baggage to have less of a load to bear, and I would imagine that lightly equipped, fast moving and overall sneaky formations such as light infantry regiments (like the 51st) would have taken to such devices readily. I had never heard of blanket/greatcoat slings until I read about this, and I was pleased to have learned something new. When it boils down to it, isn't that why any of us really games, to learn new things about our favorite eras of history? Situations like this are the reason why I've stuck to this hobby over the years while others have fallen to the wayside.

Other than the research to justify my figure choice, really the only converting I had to do was to use greenstuff to make a shoulder strap for his cartridge box. Evertything else is just clever painting to bring this ACW fig back to the Napoleonic Wars.

Coming soon: probably some Brits, either West Indies Regiment or the King's Own, though I feel that my French could use some loving... Then again, getting the green out for my Russian casualty was satisfying too... we'll see.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Casualties

Hello everyone!

It's been a while since my last post here, but lots of real-life has prevented me from doing much painting, let alone blogging.

Today a long-awaited order from Brigade Games arrived, and inspiration struck me to do a very VERY simple conversion: a British casualty marker.

(Remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions.)

My new figures: British Command in Top Hats, two British flank company figures in round hats (these lads will "round out" my West Indies Regiment), and two French 8 pounder guns, which will complete my American battery. All are 28mm figures.
Here is my conversion fodder, a 28mm Sash & Saber American Civil War casualty figure. I saw this chap in my lead pile today as I was separating out my new figures and though, "with a little trimming that fellow could pass for a Napoleonic casualty." With that my interest was piqued.
Here's the final article, painted up and based. Really all I had to do was trim away the original figure's kepi and long beard (neither of which would become fashionable in Europe for another 50 years or so). A very quick and simple conversion.
A view from the other side. You can tell from this angle that his tunic isn't quite right for Naps, but I bet that if I hadn't pointed it out you wouldn't have noticed, now would you? The base is a 40mm x 30mm plywood Litko base that I had left over from another project; the perfect size for 28mm casualty figures, I found.
The Sash & Saber figure came from a large lot of mixed ACW figures that I purchased a while back for another project. By shoehorning him into my Napoleonic collection, I've added another painted figure to my totals, while getting to completely sidestep the purchase column! A coup! A coup d'├ętat I tell you!

Now, the name of this post is "Casualties' in the plural, and so far I've only shown one casualty figure. Allow me to explain: two of my brand new figures are headless! Somehow, through malice or neglect (though I rather expect that Lon at Brigade was just extraordinarily busy and it slipped by him) neither my British sergeant nor drummer boy arrived with a top hat head, or any heads at all. This is a shame, but not necessarily a game changer. I will have to do some sculpting and modeling to get some new heads for these chaps, and as figure conversion is one of my favorite aspects of this hobby, I rather look forward to the challenge!

Coming soon: Some new heads for some British infantry. These new figures also give me a hankering to start on some more West Indies lads.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck

Saturday, August 29, 2015

28mm: New Figures, Caisson, and Whyte's Lights!


Hello everyone!

A lot has happened hobby-wise over the past few days, but I haven't had much opportunity to get it up on the blog until tonight. A couple of my orders came in, so I spent some time working on cleaning up some figures for the 1st West India Regiment, as well as putting together the MDF French Artillery Caisson from Blotz. I also managed to paint a stand of West Indies troops; so I've been pretty busy! Here are some pictures of my progress (remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions):

Two packs of Trent Miniatures "Chasseurs (Ste Dominigue)" received from Recreational Conflict. These are big, chunky figures with bold details. They are noticeably bigger than both Foundry and Knuckleduster.

My French Artillery Caisson from the British company Blotz. This is a very nice MDF kit. I took some pictures while I was putting it together, but I will post them when I finish painting it. This kit was a pleasure to put together and looks so good I'm (oddly) a little apprehensive about painting over it!

Cleanup of the Trent Miniatures begins. Out of all 16 figures, there was only one figure with any significant problems, namely the chap in front here who is missing the front half of his musket! The rear figure shows what he should look like.

And here's my fix. A few pieces of carefully carved styrene rod in three different sizes to represent the musket's fore end, barrel and ramrod. It looks pretty good, if I say so myself, despite this picture.

Everyone cleaned up and ready to go. In the background is a sneaky peek of the completed assembled caisson.

Finally, here we have the Light Company of the 1st (Whyte's) West Indies Regiment. The chap firing his musket is the figure I fixed with plastic rod. See? I told you it looks pretty good!

Uniform for these guys are long sleeved, red single-breasted jackets, with cuffs in the facing color, in this case white, and white loose trousers. Like many West Indies regiments in the field, these lads have gone barefoot and are wearing round hats, which support their green light company plumes. White crossbelts, black leather equipment and brown leather machete scabbards in addition to their India Pattern Brown Bess muskets complete their kit. 
The West Indies uniforms were inspired by a number of sources, namely descriptions of "West Indian tropical dress" found in Haythornthwaite's Uniforms of the French Revolutionary Wars, 1789-1802, plates 49 and 50. (This also marks the first time I've used this book, which I got for my birthday this year, as source material for some figures!) Even though these uniforms are from many years prior to the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, I find it hard to believe that, as remote a station as the West Indies was during the Napoleonic Wars and at the far end of a rather long supply chain, some elements of these uniforms would not still have seen use well into the 1810s. Also, the bare feet of the West Indies is well documented from the War of 1812, further strengthening the notion that the above uniform is far from implausible. Plus, these speculations have the added benefits of justifying the sculpting on the figures I bought and giving the entire unit round hats, which are awesome.

Coming soon: This weekend I plan on knocking out the artillery caisson, battery commander, and Brigadier General John Adair.

Questions, comments and criticisms are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!

-Chuck