Friday, April 30, 2010

Blogging Milestone!

It almost slipped under my radar - checking the blog this evening I just happened to notice that this afternoon the blog had its 10,000th hit (a visitor from New Zealand!)

I started blogging in earnest on Oct 31 2009 and got my 10,000th hit (page view) on April 30 2010 - almost exactly six months later.  I know there are some sites that get 10,000 hits a day but I never imagined my obscure little blog would get that many in that time frame - now averaging 30 visitors a day.


And humbling - so a big thank you to all of you out there who have visited and especially those who have become followers and/or left comment.  Interacting with fellow enthusiasts all over the world has been a  great pleasure and in visiting other similar blogs, has provided tremendous inspiration.

So huzzah! and a big THANK YOU to all from 'Doc'

A big 'Hats off' to everyone from my Front Rank Bagration 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bring out yer dead... again

Likely my final post for a bit as I get into uni work - an effort long overdue!   Just tidying a few things up figure-wise as I clear the study 'decks' of painting impedimenta & finishing off most of my casualty markers.  They are all infantry as making cavalry ones at 28mm is just too much mucking about - I have a few ideas mind - but it involves using some of the French cav horses i.e. for every marker, one less mounted figure so some careful consideration is required.  What I did think of though was using the old Airfix dead horses - I have plenty of 20mm casualty markers including a number I made up for cav. 

The above are a Russian hussar, Austrian uhlan and cuirassier, follwed by a French one & two horses, one French cuirassier, one Austrian.  I have another half dozen or so in 'production' which should provide enough for an average game.

I realise that they are a tad on the small size BUT they are about the same as 28mm infantry markers and as they are meant to be symbolic after all, shouldn't look too out of place.  Damn sight easier to make up as well!

The above are the 28mm markers - most converted casualty figures from the two Perry's French cav sets or from their metal casualty set.  My favourite is the Legere carabinier figure with bearskin courtesy of the dragoons (both on the back with outstretched arm are converted British fusilier figures).  The others are a mix of Foundry and ? - mostly earlier French.  I enjoy making little vignettes for many of them - the bits and bobs you get with most plastic sets providing plenty of accessories for the battlefield!

As always, any comments are most welcome and click on the pics to see the enlarged version.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Indian Mutiny Sepoys

 Indian Mutiny, 1857: as the last rays of light set a horde of sepoys rushed our lines...

 ...then began a lively fire upon us from the edge of the ditch

After completing the dismounted French dragoons, before starting the mounted dragoons I had a commission for our Black Powder gaming group for an Indian Mutiny game we're about to have.  I had 48 mutinous Sepoys to paint up.  As with all my pictures posted on this blog, click on them for the enlarged view.

For those of you visiting this blog who may not be familiar, the Indian Mutiny 1857-58 was the uprising of both Muslim and Hindu native troops (known as 'sepoys') against British rule in India.  While the mutiny of Indian troops was not universal it was very widespread, being worse in some areas such as Bengal and the Punjab. The Mutiny (or First Indian War of Liberation if you are an Indian nationalist!) involved some famous sieges such as that at Lucknow near Dehli and months of hard campaigning and fighting. The British were shocked at the scale and ferocity of the rebellion and it took over a year of hard fighting against rebel armies (with a high percentage of British-trained troops!) by the British and loyal native troops before the mutiny was finally suppressed.

Indian Mutiny 1857: the old Subidar urges his men on...

Most of the mutinous Sepoys retained their British uniforms in particular the traditional red jackets.  The figures I've painted are Old Glory and while not the most beautifully sculpted figures around, make up for it with the wide range of animated poses and the general accuracy of appearance.  I've painted these Sepoys up as Bengali native infantry which being very dark skinned, with simple uniforms made them straight forward but also a challenge to make them look the business.  I used a Scorched Brown as the undertone and then a Dark Flesh over to highlight, followed by a Brown Wash to tone.  In hindsight I'd use a lighter base colour or just Dark Flesh  with the brown wash over for a better effect.  While what I achieved may be close to actual appearance - for 28mm figures on a table top you need to exaggerate the tones a bit to make them stand out.  I finished them using my own 'Mediterranean' semi-arid mix for the flocking on the bases.

 Indian Mutiny 1857: as the sepoys came to the ditch in front of our lines, they hesitated...
 ...before being urged on for one last charge!

'Allah Akbar!' 'Death to the Infidels!' they shouted as they came on!

All in all I'm happy with the overall result.  The flag on the command stand is conjectural - the Bengalis are largely Muslim so I've given them an Islamic green battle flag with 'God is Great' in Arabic script as I couldn't find a suitable reference for 'British Go Home!' written in Bengali!

Mutinous scum they may be, but there is no denying their courage!

It was a nice interlude from painting Napoleonics and hopefully I will have some more pics of the game using these figures to post next week.

Meanwhile, as Homer's mate Apoo says 'Thank you -come again!'

Thought I'd edit this post just to add a brilliant bit of artwork of one of your actual Bengali Sepoys at the time of the Mutiny.  I'd like to attribute it but I do not know who 'WRJ' might be - although it looks like a typical Osprey illustration. 

As you can see, there was a large amount of variation in the uniform with many local versions.  The usual adaption being the shortening of the jacket and the removal of the collar, which would have been irksome  in tropical India to say the least. This lad has substituted a frilly cotton one, as seen on yer more debonair sepoys. 


Note also the knife tucked into the cummerbund - most 'cutlery' seems to have been worn this way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perry's French Dragoons (dismounted)

The following are the French dragoons dismounted - effectively the dismounted figures from two boxes with about half a dozen conversions with other arms and heads etc, from other Perry's Napoleonic sets.  A total of 16 figures - enough for two 12 figure regiments dismounted.

Dragoon skirmish line
 Elite company in front
Dragoon skirmish line emerges from the orchard
 Junior officer and company brigadier
Dragoon skirmishers emerge from the apple orchard
Elite company
Dragoons forward!
 L'mort de Legere

I love these figures - I think they are the best of the Perry's 28mm plastics to date. I'll have to tackle the mounted dragoons next, but before that I have some mutinous Sepoys to paint!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dismounted dragoons (and a dead legere) nearly done - the 'how-to' for basing and finishing your new dragoons!

After the usual interruptions I've managed to do the finishing on the dismounted dragoons from the latest Perry's release.  I decided to use the plastic bases that came with the set - perfect for the figures in 'open order' as it were.  I cut and maggy-sheeted some individual bases to go with them.  The figures in this first pic have been finished with Army Painter, final touch-ups (white cartridge-box belts etc)- got all the way through them, glued them to the bases and started the flocking before I found out I'd forgotten the boot spurs! 

After leaving overnight for the Painter to set, a solid coat of matt varnish and then leave them for a few hours more. I found it useful to do it in stages, leaving the figures overnight after finishing the painting as the paint has to be completely dry before coating with Army Painter otherwise you risk crackling ( a nice effect interior designers strive for but a disaster for miniature soldier painters!)  The completely dried and varnished figures are then removed from the painting sticks, the figure bases cleaned up and then glued to the stand bases, all of which have magnetic sheeting cut to fit on the bottom (gives the figures a smidgeon more 'heft' too!)
The first part of the flocking I add some rock and grass features.  I gives a nice touch to the bases rather than just the straight flocking mix.  I tend to do it on the nicer figure stands, command vignettes and casualty markers.  Its pretty straight forward and an easy techniques to use to enhance the look of your bases.
I use small rocks - railway scenery 'ballast' that is actually a very light shale - put a dollop of PVA glue on the base (I use a fine palette knife to make sure I get it where I want it) and then press the small rocks into it - just enough so they are seated in the glue not covered by it!  I then get a good pinch of the static grass and making sure it covers all the glue and rocks, press it firmly, then carefully lift and tap off the excess.
The next step is to add the rest of the flocking.  I use a paint sample-pot of Dulux Olive Green which gives a nice undercoating as well as remaining wet enough for the flock to adhere to. I think I have said in a previous post that you get 250 ml. in a sample pot - enough to do thousands of bases!  As you can see above, the grassy outcrops look particularly effective on casualty markers - this one being a dead French legere  carabinier (French light infantry equivalent of a grenadier) - formerly a dead British fusilier and one of the handy casualty freebies you get with the horse sprues in each box - the grenadier's bearskin courtesy of the elite company dragoon heads.

After you've given them a final flocking (sounds kinda wrong but looks alright!) wipe off the excess on the edges finish sealing them with paint - I use a flat black acrylic as it defines and lifts the base. 

Tomorrow its off outside to give them the last coat of matt varnish to seal the lot in forming a nice solid protective coating for the stands. I'll post some pics of the final results when its all done - then its off to paint hordes of Indian sepoys for the Black Powder Indian Mutiny battle planned for week after next!

We do like that dragoon officer too! He's turned out OK but I may have to do more work on that fake leopardskin on the helmet.


Monday, April 5, 2010

WIP on the dismounted dragoons

An update of the Perry's dragoons (dismounted).  A few corrections made - putting the elite helmeted heads on the elite coy figures for starters.  Plenty of spare bits for the conversions and they paint up nicely.  Just on the last stages before the army painter and then the basing.

Also emailed Michael and Alan about some cavalry casualties - while they didn't say 'yes - what a great idea!' they didn't say no either and assured me that they intended to produce casualty sets for all their armies. 

Hmmm...  got me a thinkin' - the casualties for cavalry would involve dead horses - right?  Well I sent the boys a scan of the base they made for the giant LOTR elephant with all the dead Rohim (Alan sculpted it and included him and Michael amongst the carnage!) as a suggestion for a casualty stand.   Looking at this it now occurs to me that with spare bits from the cavalry boxes, you could conceivably make one or two yourself. 

So, while I'm sure Michael and Alan are now beavering away at cavalry casualty sets, the modeling characteristics of the plastic cav may allow for some of us to do our own.  Have to plan that one carefully methinks!

Meanwhile, some of the walking variety of dragoons to finish!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Perry's Dragoons have arrived!

The Easter Bunny delivered a nice little present yesterday - my new Perry's French Dragoons!  They are as nice as I'd expected and given the amount you get in the box, relatively inexpensive to get mailed out to Down Under (works out at less than $UK 22 or a smidge over $AUS 35 or $US 32  - not bad at all).  For that you get 13 mounted and 8 dismounted dragoons as well as six casualty figures per box.

The only disappointing thing are the extra casualty figures - they just added the same French and British dead'uns that they made for the French Heavy Cavalry set.  Frankly I would have preferred one or two dragoon casualties which would have been far more useful.  That said, if you use Black Powder or a similar rule set - you'll need plenty of casualty markers - so they won't go amiss!

Needless to say I got stuck into making them up right away.  With the two boxes I ordered I'll make up two mounted and one dismounted regiments - so I started with the dismounted first.

All the dismounted figures are dragoon troopers so I decided to add a little variance by creating a sous-officer and an elite company, plus some head variants - bare-headed (its a Victrix one) and with peaked forage hat (also used by cavalry regiments).  I added some epaulettes for the elite co figures.  That's what I love about working with plastic figures - the possibilities are endless! 
Detail of officer and elite coy conversions - the forage cap head is a Perry but all the lighter bits are Victrix

Well it looks like I've got some more painting ahead but they look like great figures and if they turn out as well as the cuirassiers I'll be well pleased.

I've just done a quick edit of the blog to include a shot of the mounted figures made up.  As expected, they are great looking figures and I'm looking forward to painting them up.  One thing I noticed though - if you do a full regimental command (trumpeter and flag/eagle bearer) you'll use two of the three torsos with the officer figure, which will leave you one short if you want to do two elite company figures.  The problem is solved by slicing and gluing on an epaulette to one of the other full figures - much easier than transplanting one of the additional elite coy torsos!  If you want to create a pre-1812 trumpeter, use one of the elite torsos and either mark, paint and add the chevrons to the right sleeve or shave or bog the ones on the trumpet arm.  That's the great thing working with plastics - conversion is not only possible, but often desirable!
And yes, that is one of the British casualty figures in the foreground - just recovering from extensive surgery turning him into a dead French grenadier!