Sunday, February 20, 2011

Franco-Prussian War French - Chasseurs d'Afrique and Doc's basing technique demo'd

Well it took a little longer than anticipated, but that wasn't because they were harder to paint.  There's a lot happening both with figures from various periods as well as at work so just a bit time poor of late.  I decided to give the Chasseurs - the pretty boys of French FPW cavalry - the 'deluxe' basing treatment.  And I used the Army Painter shading as well to give them a nice finish.  The last bit alone added an extra 24 hours to ensure it was properly dry and hardened before varnishing.

The other thing I had to sort out is my new camera - a Panasonic Lumix TZ10.  Its a great little digi compact with a very good Leica lense and all sorts of macro and manual controls.  It takes terrific low light macro shots but like anything, you need to practice to get it right.  The pics I'm posting are my first attempts, so bear with me.

I've recorded the stages of my 'deluxe' basing technique, starting with the figures after the final painting and the application of the Army Painter shade dip.  BTW - I don't dip - I brush it on which gives far greater control of where you want the shade effect concentrated and it is a far less wasteful way of doing it.

 Dipped, cured and ready for basing

The boys based & ready for a good flocking!
I make my own bases from 6mm heavy card & magnetic adhesive sheets, all cut to size & sealed with black acrylic paint.

The three stages above are first: add a small blob of PVA glue and carefully place some scenery rocks in it.  I use the reasonably fine light railway scenery rocks - if you want they can be stained up realistically with diluted fleshwash afterwords.  Second; press on a pinch of static grass - not too hard, just enough for it to bed into the PVA & rocks mix, then tap off the excess - it should look like the third pic.   The next part is an addition of mine - adding some patches of 'burnt summer grass' mix on the base.

While the paint is wet put a decent pinch of the grass mix on - press it lightly so you get a good amount sticking, then tap off the rest.  At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious I do say 'tap' as if you blow on it, its so fine it'll go everywhere - and its not stuff you'd want to inhale! 

The patches of grass & rocks done, its now time to finish the flocking off.

I use a nice sloppy acrylic green paint that I've watered down a bit (not too thick, not too thin!).  I work quickly but carefully, covering the base with plenty of paint but trying not to slop it on the grass patches or the figures, I use an old brush about 2 cm long with some point left so I can push the paint mix into all the nooks and crannies.  Once all the base is covered I put it into my flock mix container, making sure its well covered by mix.  I push it threw the mix several times, tapping it off in between.  This allows any larger bits to fall off and the finer material to adhere to the paint.  Again, resist the urge to blow the excess away - its healthier to tap!  The final pic above shows the bases flocked and the figures ready for the (final) varnishing.

The Chasseur regiment after the matt varnish has dried - all Foundry figures and very nice to paint up.
The officer is wearing the shako like the men did at the time of the attempted breakout from Metz, where the Chasseurs sacrificed themselves charging Prussian rifles and artillery to give time for the Emperor and the rest of the army to escape.  It proved fruitless as most went into the bag - including the surviving Chasseurs - although at least one regiment of them busted out and fought with distinction for the rest of the Republican phase of the war.  They were the finest mounted of all the French cavalry, all being on pure blood Arabians, mostly grays.  Although Prussian cavalry generally outclassed the French, they never bettered the Chasseurs who were arguably the best cavalry of the war, albeit on the loosing side.

Well, that's the lot so far.  Click on the pics for enlargement and leave a comment if you like.  My French are just about done - still toying with the idea of another couple of battalions but the rest of the Prussian army awaits!