Friday, January 29, 2010

'Bring Out Yer Dead!' - Casualty Markers Finished

Casualty markers done.  A fine selection of dead Frenchmen for your delectation. Including one sliced and diced ex-Perry's Pommie now looking much better as a dead Frog.

I'm inclined to agree with von Peter and others that it is a pity Perry's put him in a box of French rather than make a second pose for a French casualty figure.  However, plastic is nothing if not malleable with my trusty old scalpel - the slicing on the ex-Brit fusilier for example now includes a cut that has split the shako and the head to the bone.

Bad to the bone.


Sorry, just had a George Thoroughgood Moment.

Anyway, the dead'un in question.
Now I did say in my last post that I was deciding to experiment with the new can of Army Painter dip that I had acquired.  Matt gave me some good advice about painting it on rather than dipping.  So I tried it on the casualty markers.  I have to say it gives a really good lustre and subtle depth of shading - if you compare these pics with those in the previous post, you'll see what I mean.  Its the 'Strong Tone' can which is the middle effect one - and much more subtle than I expected.  Hit it with a good coat of flat matt varnish and the figure really comes up well.  I have to confess I had already used the usual washes before I applied the dip, but nonetheless it had a very good effect and gave them a really nice finish I think.

Second pic above not so hot - a very dark figure and the reflective light off the varnished board made it very hard to get it to focus.  But the 'cousin' casualty (Chasseur d'Elbe) marker turned out well and photographed much better under exactly the same conditions.

As you can see below, Unlucky Pierre's had enough of my inept photography and is rolling his eyes up in frustration...

..sorry, my mistake - that's the early onset of rigor mortis! (8-o)
Well enough of this morbid fascination.

Next week boys and girls, my zombie battalion...

No really, I hopefully will have made some progress on my cuirassiers.  Got some stiff competition out there in blogland too - never mind pro painter Sasha Herm, blogger Dean Motoyama has posted some absolutely beautiful Perry's cuirassiers and carabiniers on his 'WAB Corner' blog, the horses in particular are excellent! 

His results have inspired me to extractus digitus, put aside the scalpel and get cracking with the brushes.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Casualty markers nearly done

In between putting down the base colours for the Perry's cuirassiers, taking the family down the coast for a 'last hurrah' holiday break before school resumes AND flying back to catch (too late) the end of Cancon - I have finished the painting of the casualty marker figures.

These were my Frankenstein jobs on the casualty figures that came with the Perrys heavy cav.  I did a bit of slicing and dicing, turning the prostrate Brit into a dead Frog and then substituted some heads for the French dead'uns.  The one in the pokalem will be a Legere, the one appearing to look up in a 'what the...' dazed pose a Ligne fusilier and the converted Brit with skewed pack and (Victrix) musket one of the Emperor's 'cousins' of the Chasseurs D'Elbe.

The dead Guard Chasseur has his shako sliced open and a matching sabre cut to the bonce to hint at the means of his demise!  There's a bit of red stuff near the head which, as I'm not a fan of too much gore (oh so gauche don'tcha know?) will be toned down by the base flocking.  Speaking of which, one of the reasons for trying to make Cancon before the traders packed up was to get hold of some Stiflor grass - but no luck - I'll just have to use my own flocking mix - flockit!

  Sliced up shako - but not too much tomato sauce - we like 'em to be 'tastefully' dead!

What the 'eck was that and where's me 'effin' hat!???

Legere having a lie down...

Next Napoleonic post will be the finished markers and progress on the cuirassier.  I did manage to get a can of the Army Painter dip at Cancon (thanks Dave!) so now the debate is whether to try it out on the cuirass or something else.  

Hmmmm, decisions, decisions.  

I really don't want to stuff up the Perry's if it doesn't work the way I like/plan and amazingly (for me anyway) I don't have any other figures 'in production' at present.  Maybe I could try some 'spare' Victrix like the Gren command.  I think I'll have to paint something up for it.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some inspiration is found ...and some more cover artwork

What the heck - got most of the base colours down on the cuirassiers and the casualty markers but haven't got any WIP shots yet.  Found an unreal reference source for the cuirass - Sacha Herm's website.

The man is a genius.

What he manages to achieve with the Perry figures has got to seen to be believed.  His site appears to also be hosted on the Perry one - click on the Gallery for the Napoleonic 1815, then on his name.  Herm's latest will come up.

The first you are greeted with is his mounted Poniatowski - its enough to make you weep its so... perfect!  I'm serious - take a look and you'll see for yourself.

Did I mention Herm even has his own DVD tutorial available?  Seriously thinking about ordering it myself!

For my part I'm using his 7th Cuirassier vignette as my reference.  When I studied art at school I was encouraged to copy the masters to improve my own technique.  I figure its the same with figure painting!  With the likes of Dave Imrie, Giles Alison and others we have a host of hugely talented painters to learn from.

That's been one of the joys about my belated discovery of blogging - all this knowledge and artistry is but a click or two away! And you can interact with these miniature painting Michelangelos' through their own blogs.

How good is that?

Here Endeth the Rave.  Back to the brushes!

No, wait... I feel more raving coming on...  not - done - yet...

Just 'cos I like 'em so much - such great original GW figures (Kislev Lancers) - here's another shot of my Polish Winged Hussars that I found when I rediscovered my old artwork. Enjoy.

Winged Hussars posted for no special reason other than the fact we likes 'em!

I decided to edit this post to add some matching (sort of) artwork...  the last cover piece I 'discovered' recently, medieval Russian super-troopers, the Druzhina. These guys were the bodyguards for knyaz or chieftains and lasted from as early as 800s until the 15th C - the one depicted is circa mid to late 1400s. A bit off topic for my usual but he was such a great figure I couldn't resist drawing him.

BTW - while I remember it, thanks to another great blog I found today - the BigRedBatCave (and yet another talented figure painter specialising in Ancients) there is a competition of sorts to vote for your fave blog at the Best Blog of the Year Award at the impossibly named Figoblogotheque site... blog... thingy.  Check it out and put your vote in.  There are some great blogs there such as those I've mentioned above and Yours Truly might even get a guernsey!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

More 'Doc' art...

Thanks for the nice responses to my last posting, so while I continue to beaver away at the cuirasssier & dead'uns, here are two more of the 'lost' Kriegspieler cover artwork.  The first is the scan of the sketch of a French Hussar, taken from a photo of an exhibit of a 7th Hussar uniform at the Musee De Armee in Paris.

To be honest, I think the B&W version is better than the colour one I did - must have had difficulties in scanning the latter as the old colour jpegs were huuuuuge files! 

The next you'll recognise from the blog mast: 'Grognard' - depicting a Chasseur of the Guard in greatcoat as he may have appeared on campaign.

Please feel free to use the above and other artwork or photos, all I ask if visitors to this blog want to use them in their own or post them elsewhere is proper attribution - tell 'em where you got 'em and who did 'em.

Other than that - enjoy!  I've got to get back to my (too) rapidly drying paint!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Doc's 'art' - some of my old mag covers

Fishing around in my study looking for something I came across some old disks that contained some military images I collected.  Curiosity peaked, I had to find out was was on them - lo and behold!  I found the scans for all or most of my old magazine cover artwork.

You see boys and girls, once upon a time in years gone by (ten years gone by to be precise!) I edited and published a wargaming magazine.  Myself and my mate Doug thought it a good idea and we put a huge amount of our time, energy and money into making it happen.  And for about 12 months (and six issues in glorious colour covers) it worked.  Sort of.

The original is on A3 art paper and properly framed up for a wargaming friend (bought by his wife for his birthday)

This chap was a Hessian grenadier from the American War for Independence. The intention was to draw a different one for each of our bi-monthly covers.  That was the intention - the reality soon settled in that we were flat-strap getting the articles written and chasing those to be submitted, the getting the layout right, doing the graphics and the ads and then the whole shebang to the printers.  Stupidly I provided a free advertising design service that included artwork etc which chewed up a lot more time and for which the mag didn't get a brass farthing in payment for - not the best of business practices!

Time to draw soon became a luxury.  You can well imagine how many figures got painted or wargames played.  Not a lot.

Some of the artwork never made it to the colour stage and there were one or two for our old black & white issues (there were six of them) that probably shouldn't have been! The French Guard Eclairer was one of the better ones published in glorious B&W.

The magazines are still on the redoubtable Russ Lockwood's 'Magweb' site if anyone is interested.

Well, there you have it - some of Doc's 'art'.  Hopefully I will have the time to pick up the pen and draw again one day - until then I'll just continue to paint a few more soldiers!


Perrys Cuirass & more casualty markers

At long last have started on the Perrys cuirassier - just doing them in batches of eight at a time.  First up will be the command.  I've started with laying down a metallic colour first but have also done the base for the blue using a Ral Partha Dark Blue which I find to be the closest to the actual French uniform blue - which is so close its almost black.  Some of the examples I've seen from the Musee De Armee in Paris show this. 

I've also made up a few more casualty markers using the casualty figures out of the same Perrys Heavy Cav box.  I've done a little light conversion work on them using other heads & bits from their infantry set - and a lot more on the British figure to turn him into a French casualty. 

Apologies for the rough photography but these are WIP jobs!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Victrix - 1st Regt of Line, Kingdom of Italy

Some better shots of the regimente  complete including skirmishers and casualty marker - the latter surprisingly hard to photo properly - although being a dead'un, one can't blame him for not standing up properly to get his picture taken!

Skirmish stand using the kneeling figures and a Perry's 40x45mm plastic base.

Skirmishers forward!

Grenadier company and voltigeurs

2nd Battalion command

2nd Batalione

1st Regimente d'Lina - Grenadier Coy

1st Regimente - rear view

Bring out yer dead! Some more casualty markers from the Perrys casualty set and the Heavy Cav box (the Italian dead'un) - got another three 'in the works'.

On that somber note salute! - we've only got the other half of the Victrix box to do, some 28 figures plus a 4 figure Grenadier command, all of which I will also do as Italians to make up an Italian Brigade.  But I may leave that for a while as I really want to start on the cuirassiers which I have already assembled and primed.  As usual, please feel free to add a comment or two on this or any of my earlier posts such as the 20mm figures - does anybody wish to see more or less of them? Or should I just focus on the 28mm collection and painting?  I'd be interested on other blogger's views.

Cheers for now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Victrix finished! (well half of 'em anyway!)

After my 40mm and then 20mm digressions, its back to the 28mm figures.

The 1st Regimente of Infantry of the Line, Kingdom of Italy is now complete.  With casualty marker and skirmishers.  They turned out OK - would that I could get a finish like the figures by Giles (Tarleton's Quarter) or Dave (Saxon Dog) but I'm reasonably happy with the results.  I spent a bit of extra time on the basing and used rocks and grass - although the grass (grasfaser - dunkelgrun) is a little too dark for my liking.  After seeing Dave's results with dipping (the Army Painter system?) I'm tempted to try it.  It may save time rather than innumerable washes.

After doing that tutorial on my 'you-beaut' methods of painting white uniforms I'm ashamed to say I ended up using an inferior white acrylic in which the pigment was too coarse.  With the heat it dried too fast leaving an unfortunate chalky finish which I couldn't always disguise.  Best thing you could say about it was that it took the washes well!

I'll photograph the full regimente, skirmish and casualty sets again as the heat is affecting both the photographer and his equipment!

I'll post some more of the other skirmish & casualties and a WIP of the latter as I've got some of the Perry's from the French Heavy Cav box and Frankenstein-like I have been slicing and dicing to create more dead 'uns!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

20mm figures - the French

This is the last of these I'll post as I need to record some more but due to the oppressive conditions yesterday, my photography was found wanting.  I usually prefer natural lighting and outdoors is best but yesterday it was actually too bright - and windy AND hot - not a fun job at all.  Some of the shots of my conversions (most in fact) did not turn out as I could not get the camera to focus properly - it was just too bright even under cover with shade!

Nonetheless we did get a few good'uns and here they are.  The Revell Chasseurs were amongst the first I did other than Airfix.  I particularly liked the officer - posed like the one in the famous Gericault painting.  In front of him is a HAT Mameluke. I spent quite some time on him getting the look right - to see how far I could go with a 20mm plastic - and was pleased with the result.

Talking of conversions - one of the first and most extensive I attempted was remaking Revell's British Horse Artillery into a French one.  The battery commander and bugler in the background are HAT/Airfix(?) conversions. Again - I couldn't get the limbers and caissons pictured properly and this was the only shot that turned out even half good - at this point I gave up my happy-snapping for the day!

Finishing off the plastics are the Revell Guard Grenadiers in greatcoat.  This is another fine set from the European Revell manufacturers.  I had to 'invent' a painting system that would stay on the plastics to make them a little more resilient to the wear and tear of wargaming.  I prepare the figures with a watered down PVA glue as base coating and then encasing the paint job with a matt varnish finish.  It works well for everything but the most bendy bits like guns and bayonets - with plastics, maintenance will always be required at some point.

The metal figures next to them are either Kennington or Newlines 'personality' figures of Napoleon and Ney.

Another Kennington figure I enjoyed collecting and painting were their French Dragoons.

That's it for now for the French and for my 20mm figures.  I'll try to post the others I couldn't photo yesterday and some bits of my scenery etc. I made to go with my first wargaming collection and which, thanks to other bloggers, I am now inspired to keep and maybe, one day, add to.


20mm figures - the Russians

Some of my other favourites are the Russians - in particular the Cuirassier.  These are like the Austrian Uhlans, some of Kennington's best IMO, although I bought a box of Zvezda Cuirassiers (after being impressed with the Guard Cossacks) and the plastics will give the metals a run for the money particularly in terms of variety and animation.

I particularly liked the command figures and after getting the required standard from Napflags, made up one with some painted cotton knotted and trimmed for the cords.

Again, I chose some Newlines figures for the Russian cav - this time hussars.

The Russian cavalry wouldn't be complete without Cossacks - here I have HAT figures - usually fairly pedestrian figures quality-wise but I think this is one of their best Napoleonic sets.
Other plastics that impressed me are the Zvezda Russian artillery - which I have yet to obtain - a superb set and 28mm plastics manufacturer's (and precision die tool makers) take note - this is how you put an artillery set on a sprue!  But there are other sets which are also impressive which I have managed to collect such as Revell's Pavlov Grenadiers.  The box gives you more of the big mitre-hat grenadiers than you would ever need BUT the SYW/Revolution era conversion possibilities are endless with pike wielding NCOs, be-wigged officers waving swagger-sticks nad a nice pair of musicians - drummer and flautist.  If you've a Russian army - ya gotta have Pavlovs!

That's the 'worthy' portions of my humble Russian horde.  Typical with 20mm plastics - there are literally thousands to paint - but I doubt I'll ever get around to it any time soon.  Next post - the French!


The 20mm figures - the Austrians

I'm just finishing the Victrix Italians off today with basing, flocking and touch-up.  It'll take a few hours as its stinking hot weather here - 37 degrees C forecast today (it was 36 yesterday and 27 at 11.00 PM!)  But I didn't post to talk about the weather as I'm sure those of you freezing through one of the coldest northern winters in years will be glad to hear!  After viewing blogs like Matt's 'In The Grand Manner' I have been inspired to a) keep my own 20mm collection & b) record and post the better portions of it. 

These figures are those I first did when I got back into the hobby after an absence of 20 years. I literally openned an old trunk and pulled out hundreds of old Airfix and a few Hinchcliff figures, got Funcken's 'L'uniforme et les armes des soldats du premier empire' (vols 1 & 2) and started painting.  That was about ten years ago, and I've since acquired some Ospreys for reference as well and haven't stopped painting since then.  While I got some good results from plastic figures like Airfix - and have since discovered and collected dozens of other makes from the prolific HAT, to quality makers like Italeri, Zvesda and Revel, but the ones that really appealed were the metal Kennington range.  Other manufacturers like Newlines also produce comprehensive ranges and I have collected a number of them as well.

Amongst the first I collected were Kennington Austrians and among my favourite figures are the Uhlans.

I found them easy to paint - far more so than 25mm figures - and I used them to train myself, so apologies if some of the following look a bit basic.
Also great figures are the Austrian artillery and yeh, I know - I got the guns the wrong colour! My excuse is I was still learning and haven't had the time to go back and correct many of my earlier mistakes. Nice figures nonetheless.

While we're on Austrians, I have pics of some of my first conversion work - Austrian limbers and caison.  These are made from converted Revel and Airfix with card and paper to complete the ammo caison. As can be seen, some paint is a bit chipped - with age and plastics its unavoidable!

Another set I liked a lot were the Kennington Jaegers - another of my initial metal acquisitions.  I could also have made them Landwehr as they didn't come with a bugler - I 'borrowed' a HAT one and converted it, as you can see on the command stand. As I recall this is one of their regiment-in-a-bag deals - 36 foot or 24 cav, 3 artillery etc, very economical to collect.

Also nice figures that paint up well are the Newlines - I have a number of these like the Austrian Kuirassier.  They are slightly smaller and to my eye not quite as detailed as the Kenningtons, but a good figure nonetheless and Newlines have a comprehensive and affordable range - always a consideration when buying from the other side of the world!

That's it for my 20mm Austrians - like most of the others I have hundreds of them but these are those I consider worthy of posting - and I haven't the time to photograph all of them.  I'll do further posts on the French and Russian parts.