Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mounted - L'arm Blanche... and a French General

French Divisional General from Perry's set: another beautifully proportioned figure.

Amongst the other figures I've collected and painted are some Russian, Austrian and Bavarian cavalry.  The Russians are the very tasty Front Rank Don Cossacks I bought to keep Platov company.  They like him and give him a rousing chorus of cheers before they race off to loot and plunder.  The usual great quality you come to expect from FR - they are in my opinion, one of their better sets.  And even better - a Christmas present for me last year! (Wonder what Santa will bring this year?)

Yaaay Platty! He's our man, if he can't flog the French no one can!
'Err, yair... uh, thanks... guys'

'Three cheers for Platty!'  'Yeh, OK guys... that's enough - you're embarrassing me now...'

'Actually, we just like yelling alot, any excuse really...' 'Urrah! Urrah!...'

Another lot that turned out well - seemed to take ages to collect - were the Foundry Austrian Cuirassiers.  Part of my Reserve Division with the Grenadiers, they have yet to be 'blooded' but I'm sure they'll acquit themselves like true Austrian nobelmen: 'Vorwarts Meine Kinder!'

The trumpeter was an old small Foundry Chevau Leger but we 'dragooned' him into the 'eavies - a bit of green stuff on the helmet to make a bigger crest and he makes a good boy bugler!  Even let him grow an 'eleven-a-side' mo to feel part of the lads!

Next lot are amongst my fav-o-rite German cav - Foundry Bavarian Chevau Leger.  A birthday present (thanks Doug!) I spent ages painting them.  They took more time to finish than any other unit of cav I've done in living memory.  Dunno why - but getting the shading and detail right took forever.  I did them in stages.  Finish one bit, put 'em aside and do another unit, then do the next bit and so on.  A year later they were done! Phew!  They are beautifully sculpted figures and I think worth the trouble just to make 'em look the ant's pants - nearly went blind and mad painting those dot-dash lines on the horse blankets tho...!

French - Elites and such

Of course the rest of the collection, particularly the French, are an eclectic mix of figures but featuring prominently are Elites. To be honest they're not the greatest figures in the world but as you can see on other blogs (Garage-gamer and Lonely Gamers in links on the right) - they look fantastic in large numbers.  They also had a huge range and were also very affordable - particularly compared say, with Foundry.  Although, as I said, not the most elegant figures, their deep folds, raised detail and overall sculpt make them some of the easiest of Napoleonic figures to paint.  With a moderate effort, you can get great results and in the hands of a master like Leroy Simpson, they are fantastic eye-candy (check out the Lonely Gamers blog to see what I mean).

So, despite the recent advent of hordes of cheap, large (28mm) plastics, I will be holding on to my Elites as they easily hold their own - looking great and mixing in well.

Hey, I wonder if THEY will manufacture my long desired Polish Horse Artillery limber that looks something like...

The other thing about Elites is what they lack in refinement, they certainly make up for in animation - there have one of the largest range of pose variants of any figure make, which to my mind puts them ahead of more refined and better sculpted figures like Front Rank when presented en masse.

You get a sense of Elites animated sculpting with the French Horse Artillery set.  I think I acquired the limber and guns from Old Glory, adapting one of the artillerymen as a horse holder for the limber.

And as can be seen, with a minimum of conversion make up other units like these Berg lancers in their pretty white and amarinth (sounds like you thay it with a lithp) 'dress' uniform. Hmmm - the world's first metrosexual cavalry perhaps?

The following is my 15th Legere, again mainly Elites but with a number of other makes thrown in including one or two ancient Hinchcliff and Connoisseur (?) or possibly Essex  figures (I scrounged figures from everywhere and anywhere when starting) making up the command stand. You can see what I mean about mixing in well with other makes as a regiment (done up as 30th Ligne) of Front Rank can be seen immediately behind.  Front Rank battalion packs are very handy - regiment in a bag!


And last but not least is the man himself: Boney next to his 'daughters', accompanied by one of Soult's ADCs.  The guns are Old Glory and the artillerymen possibly Essex with a few Foundry thrown in.  The guns are too big with the figures - really could have done with some Elites but I've another battery of  Elites yet to paint up

Another shot, this time of the Dragoons brigaded with the Chasseurs a Cheval (Marbot's boys!) Again, not sure of the make, could be Connoisseur or early Essex - dunno - with an Elite command.  Ya makes do with wot ya got right?

Finally, I was keen to see how the Perrys fitted in with the rest.  Not too shabby at all as it turns out.  Hope its the same for the Victrix, but that's one of my next painting projects over Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chasseurs D'Elbe Command

Couldn't resist it - had to post more of the Perrys!

Just finished one of the command stands for the Chasseurs D'Elbe using the metal battalion command figures and a casualty to make a four figure command diorama.

The idea is that I can field three 12 figure battalions, one deployed as skirmishers, each with a command stand.  One command is supplied with the box of figures and the other two have been made from the regimental/battalion command metal sets available.

The idea for the commands is to have battalion flags - white for the 1st and red for the 2nd - based on Guard Bttn flags of the time. The flags are put together in a graphics program and then printed on 300gsm bond.  A little paint and pen work then PVA glue covering one half of the folded flag which is then attached to the pole and, while still damp, given a few bends to get that waving in the breeze look.  When dry the whole thing gets a few coats of matt varnish and viola! - your command with flag is done!

Note too the base is a little deeper than the standard - 30mm rather than 20mm - to accommodate the diorama and use the animation of the figures in an interesting combination - it was only only way to fit the wounded guy on too!

The command matches with either the other skirmish stands or with the marching figures.

The German Allies

Of the older part of my collection and my current obsession with Perrys and plastics (28mm of course) aside, I  like the most Napoleon's German Allies and in particular the Bavarians.  These are very popular with collectors and gamers precisely because the uniforms are so colourful and distinctive with their big 'Raupenhelm' caterpillar-crest helmets.  I seem to have acquired and lost (as in traded or sold) several Bavarian armies so when I got a job lot of old Foundry that needed a bit of a touch-up with the brush I decided to keep them.  One thing led to another and I actually ended up buying one of Front Rank's battalion bags of them too, along with a regiment of their Chevau-leger brothers.  Esthetically, they don't mix in that well with the Foundry figures as they tower over them but when massed together in a brigade you don't notice or care that much as they make great eye-candy! The mounted officer is a conversion from an 1805 French officer in bicorne (Foundry) - required a bit of work to create a Bavarian coat out of a French jacket but it came together OK and now the six battalion brigade has a commander!  The guns are also scratch-built and meant to represent captured Austrian ordnance which the Bavarians made quite a lot of use of.  The gunners are Foundry (some of their nicer old sets) but no idea what the guns are - apart from captured Austrian 6 pdrs!

The Foundry Bavarians are on the right.

The Front Rank figures are very good, only criticism is the Teletubby proportions of the figures - they could all use a trip to Jenny Craigs! - and  the lack of variation in poses, noticeable against even old Foundry's.  But the detail etc is superb and they paint up very well - particularly the cavalry.

Another one of the guns.  We like the guns - very pretty (with apologies to Trailape: 'pretty' is not a thing to call gunners or their guns!)

Next in line is the cavalry.  I have actually painted these up as Baden Chevau-leger - the horse's cloth is the only way to tell the difference between them and the Bavarian version.  Imagine the confusion if that lot came up against Austrians Chev-Legers in their green uniform!  The Baden infantry (old Foundry Austrians with some conversion) are in the background.

What the FR lack in animation is well and truly made up for in detail - lovely figures.  I have also finished a regiment of Bavarian Chevau Legers in 'Wiesfrocken' - horse furniture cloths correctly painted this time! - all later Foundrys which I will post at a later date.

Next in line are the Baden infantry - converted Austrians from very, very ancient Foundry figures (I wondered if they were knock-offs some were so rough) but they turned out OK I think.  I created a little command diorama to go with them.  The only figures missing are the Grenadier companies which I made out of a combo of Foundry and Minifigs (shock horror - yes Minifigs!) and they actually look OK. Probably because they fit in with the dwarfish old Foundrys.

Note also the Swiss along side them - all Old Glory (I think) command in front and Elites behind - not too shabby either!  So there you have it - the 'German' allies.  Always room for more of course - a few Rhineland Federation regiments wouldn't go amiss.  No problem really, just have to sell one or two of the children to afford it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The new Perry's Heavy Cav

The Perry's sent us a couple of boxes of their new French Heavy Cavalry recently and I finally got around to making a box of them up.  As expected, they are beautiful figures.  The horses are well sculpted in animated poses with the proportions looking right for big blokes on big 'orses!  Only criticism - there are some joint lines visible and the cartridge boxes attached to the back of the saddle rather than on the figure is a bit iffy.  If you were a pedant you could remove and glue to the back of the cuirass but I couldn't be bothered - I don't think it'll detract from the figures when painted up.

An advantage is 14 figures per box.  With two boxes I plan to run them as two 8 figure Cuirassier units and one 12 figure Carabinier - making one brigade of 'eavy cav!  Unfortunately I'll have to wait to paint 'em up as I've a rather large uni assignment to finish but these look superb figures.
            What you get in a box - all made up.

The next in the Perry's production line are French Hussars - from the preliminary models on their site these promise to be amongst the best Perry plastics yet.  Can't wait!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Painting Perry's Part 3

The other units I created were the 55th Line (who I've nicknamed 'Regiment Des Miserables'!) and a Middle Guard unit reportedly part of the Hundred Days; the Chasseurs Ille D'Elbe - mainly Corsicans.  The 55th benefited from my obtaining the greatcoat command - they fit in nicely with a pair of helmeted Port Aigle and again, a few casualty figures to make them more interesting.

The Chasseurs D'Elbe are in green coats like the regiments Etranger but one source has the officers in the plain blue surtouts, others in green.  Given the equipment and uniform shortages and confusion at the time, some regiments, even the Guard, were not particularly well dressed.  I've tried to make this lot look quite distinctive.

I like the skirmish figures so I've given one a nice hole in his shako and he's just about to reload and deal with the cheeky sod that mangled 'is 'at!
Still some work to complete on the Chasseurs - 3 x 12 figure bttns, just finishing the 1st & 2nd bttn cmds and I'll have one in full skirmish order, which I'll post at some future date.

Now last but not least - the guys in greatcoats - 'Les Miserables'


Painting Perry's Part 2

19 Ligne - somwhere in Russia?

I must admit painting up the Perry's has been somewhat of a revelation.  As well as being beautiful figures, playing around with simple conversions, as long as the eyesight holds out (touch and go at times, I admit) they are great to paint because you can get such terrific results.  The other thing is, as I'm sure Alan and Michael planned, you can mix 'n match the metal sets in with the plastics to create many more then the 42 figures per box (with just one command each) allows for.  I also bought the regt. command in greatcoat, a bttn comd and a casualty set.  Out of two boxes (82 figures) with two commands I now have 8 x 12 figure bttn units - and some neat casualty markers! Anyway, nearly all finished now - the results have been well worth it. And most importantly - affordable!

All of the following are my 19th Ligne.

Painting Perry's

Further to my last post, here are pics of the stage by stage process of creating Perry's late French in a grungy 'campaign' look.  Being plastics, they present plenty of opportunities for simple conversions as well to give even more variation.  In this case I've turned one of the lads in a greatcoat into a drummer.

First after base-coating are the flat colours

Then the washes and highlighting

Basing, flocking & a coating of varnish (flat)  - gives a nice 'wet' look for a minute!

Finally done - the lads perhaps in a downpour - suitably 'feelthy Frogs' on the march!