Sunday, 30 October 2022

Star Wars - Imperial Stormtroopers - Star Wars Legion Set


This has to be my first non-historical post!  Though I will use the reasoning that 'Little Wars TV' used to explain... Star is history. It just happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away!

I must confess, I always liked the first 3 Star Wars Movies.  I saw one of them at the cinema when it came out (Return of the Jedi, I think).  I have always been baffled as to why no one has brought out a full battle set of the Hoth battle in miniature. It would be great fun. A missed opportunity I think.

Anyway, I gave in to temptation. I bought the Star Wars Legion set as I have been having so much fun with Star Wars 'X-Wing', I am opening my mind a little bit more to Sci-Fi type games.

The Imperial Stormtroopers were my starting point. I have painted MG34's and Sterling SMG's before so I felt a bit more on familiar ground!  

The Star Wars Legion boxed set also contains a squad of Rebel troops, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, an AT-RT walker, 2 x 74-Z Speeder bikes and some barricades. In addition there are loads of markers and tokens and cards, as well as dice.

The boxed set is very nice indeed. I was impressed by all of the plastic figures and assembling them was fun.

The figures are close to 40mm in height and are substantial and well detailed.  There is lots of character about them.

When researching what colours the various equipment should be, I used Google a great deal and was surprised that there are re-enactment units who recreate all of this in great deal.   The images they used helped me enormously

There is as you can see, a lot of white. I realised that I would have to take some care to lowlight items or they would just become amorphous white blobs and appear too toy-like.

I undercoated with Vallejo Dark Sea Grey and applied matt white as a semi-wet application. I did this twice where it needed it.  When dry I applied a wash of Army Painter Dark Tone over the whole figure to assist me in giving lowlight.

White was re-applied.  The black areas and weapons were painted and dark sea grey was applied as a dry brush.

Final touching up was applied.

I finished with 2 x coats of hand applied Vallejo Gloss Varnish and then when dry, matt varnish on the dull items.

I used my usual method of applying a sand/acrylic paint/water mix for the basing.  This was painted brown and gradually lightened. A few random tufts were added to add interest.  The idea being that the terrain could double for tundra/desert/ grasslands.

I toyed with the idea of painting the grass blue or purple like it was an alien planet...but I think that would have just looked too weird.

All in all I am quite happy with these.  I have made progress on the Speeder Bikes (which are again, lovely models).  However, I came to a stop as I just needed to paint some 'proper' historical troops. 

I will get back to doing these again soon though.  I don't plan on having a massive Star Wars collection, but more something I can do skirmish games with, and almost play to a narrative.

I'm inclining to playing these with 'Chain of Command' Rules as there is a group on Facebook who have already produced a lot of excellent information.   I already like the rules and it has the advantage of not needing to cover the playing surface in cards and tokens all over the place.  It might even be that 'Muskets and Tomahawks' can be adapted well, I'm open to trying anything and having some fun with them.

More to follow...!

Saturday, 3 September 2022

28mm - English Civil War - Earl of Caernarvon's Regiment of Horse


Back to my favourite period of history this time.  If there are figures that I really enjoy painting, it is the English Civil War range by Bicorne Miniatures. 

I bought a lot of these when they were first produced and each time I see the Bicorne stand at a show, I saunter over to take a look at the figures.  I nearly did this again at Attack at Devizes in July, but thankfully before leaving I  had got my lead box out of the loft to find around £500 worth of unpainted figures still stored.  I decided against buying any more...yet!

I have had two terrific games with Ian in the last two months.  The Battle of Babylon Hill of 1642 and the Battle of Chalgrove Field of 1643.  Both of these battles are fairly small scale affairs and ideally suited for 28mm on an 8 x 4 foot table.  Both games were superb with so many things happening as occurred at the actual battles.  If I can find the time to to do full write-ups of these then I shall do so.

As I work through the excellent Scenario books published by Caliver Books, I realised that I needed some more cavalry for both sides.  Therefore I was very pleased to put brush to figure to produce another regiment of horse..

I wanted to paint up a regiment that had seen a good number of actions, as I like to to try to use the actual regiments as far as possible, for the battles that they were involved in.  Essentially though, only the standard really ties the figures to any particular unit, indeed they could be used for either side as only the command figures wear a 'scarfe' showing their allegiances. 

I mainly focus on Waller and Hopton's campaigns in the West. With this in mind I started studying unit histories.  One stood out in particular.  

The Earl of Caernarvon's Regiment of Horse had been in the West Country and in the Oxford Army.  As well as being in the West Country, there was a local connection in that they appear to have formed the garrison at Eynsham in West Oxfordshire and were also at the skirmish at Bampton in the Bush.  They would have therefore had ridden on the road going past my house many times (my house not existing at the time though), in their patrolling and marching with the field armies.

The excellent BCW-Project website provided flag information and more unit history.  The Regiment also served at Southam, Edgehill, Lansdown, Roundway Down, First Newbury and after the death of Caernarvon at Newbury, under their new Colonel,  Richard Neville, they also served at Cheriton, Cropredy Bridge, Lostwithiel, Second Newbury, and Langport among many other actions.  

The BCW Project gave details of the flag which enabled me to paint at least one of the Troop standards.

I tried different techniques again to try to give more depth of colour and to try to speed up my painting.

I also glued the rider to the horse before painting.  I think I spent too long previously, painting saddle details that never get seen.  

The Bicorne miniatures really are great to paint. The detail stands out crisply. I was able to use washes which fell into folds really well.

The trumpeter was good fun to paint too. Normally I saw trumpeters as a necessary evil, but this time I just wanted to make a good job on him and make him stand out. More time was spent on lace than I usually do.

I have to admit that I don't think I spent any less time than I normally spend painting, even with the increased use of washes.  I just enjoyed applying the colours.and trying to make a good job of it all.

Bicorne figures have really good faces. Lots of detail but without 'silly' faces - no heroic massive chins or gurning expressions. These are all quite believable characters.

These took about 3 weeks of evening and some weekend days.  I suspect that they are going to see a lot of action.  Now I have painted these up I feel like doing more, maybe for Parliament...but again, we will see. So many projects to do!

Saturday, 30 July 2022

28mm -Grand Manner - Late Medieval Buildings

Recently Grand Manner had a sale of unpainted buildings.  Usually they sell only their painted resin buildings. I have eyed their superb buildings for many years but the painted goodies were beyond my pocket.  The unpainted buildings were a different matter though. 

Firstly I bought some Dark Age (early medieval) Buildings which I painted up, to a better standard than I thought I could (I'm a figure painter really).  These featured in a post a few months back.

I liked those buildings so much that I took the plunge and ordered a large set of late medieval buildings.

The numbering in the above picture was done by me so I didn't get confused as to which bit belongs to which building! I had lovely afternoon sat in the sunshine with a bucket of water and a nail brush and had an enjoyable unwrapping session followed by cleaning off the resin residue.

I have to compliment Grand Manner on their packaging.  Their care and attention is on another level altogether. I should have taken photos of the neatly individually bubble wrapped parts, with polystyrene foam inside supporting walls and beams.  As a result each building was most definitely undamaged and arrived very safely.  It was a joy to unwrap them and examine each one in turn. If it wasn't for the intense heat of the blazing sun, I would have said that it felt like Christmas!

The sculpting on the buildings is magnificent. On the market square buttercross above, there are even pigeons sculpted on. Quite wonderful!

Close up - the blurring is down to my poor camera-work!

As you can see there is a market cross and stocks too

And lots of buildings and also cobbled streets.  

I thought I would post the pics of these now, because it will probably quite some time before they all get painted up!

Their uses will be frequent though, and I suspect they will become part of St Albans for the Wars of the Roses, and numerous English Towns for Civil War battles too.

Monday, 4 July 2022

28mm - Napoleonic British - 69th South Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot - Perry Miniatures


Napoleonics...probably my first real wargaming interest.  I started with Airfix 20mm plastic figures like so many of us, after having collected 1/32 plastics and loving the box art.  20mm gave bigger battles and with tape measures and dice instead of throwing marbles.  I don't need to go down a well trodden path, I think we mostly share the same journey.

I then had some of the 25mm Prince August moulds and in the late 1980's and made some lead figures on my dad's electric cooker in the kitchen.  I added some Minifigs from the shop at Devizes in Wiltshire and made some units. I still have memories of the shop keeper going back to the back of the shop after every hand written order line and checking to see how many he had.  Sometimes, a few...sometimes none.  Making full units was hard in those pre-internet days!

I properly got back into wargaming when I bought my first house and took over the spare room in 1993.  This is the Status Quo. There has been no change, other than the troop numbers and storage boxes in my spare room...which have got larger and larger and larger...

..and Napoleonic armies have been stop/start ever since. I can barely call them armies. I'll paint a stand and then stop!  Then I'll try 15mm then 6mm and then back to a stand of 28mm after a gap of several more years. It's odd. I have probably 10-15 wargaming periods that I play and Napoleonics has always been neglected since that early start in my teenage years.  Is it the lace and detail? Probably - I can paint American Revolutionary War troops, lace too with no qualms.  Napoleonics always seems a level too far. I can paint a unit of 30 Normans in the time it takes me to paint 6 Napoleonic figures.

I started this Regiment back in 2015, inspired by the Waterloo 200 years commemoration.  They are the wonderful 28mm plastic British Infantry produced by Perry Miniatures.  I painted a stand at time to get into it it and then just stopped.  Reading some Napoleonic memoirs recently and also purchasing an original Napoleonic carbine a few weeks ago, inspired me to look at my collection again.  

I had one stand with flank company men and the command stand to go to complete the Regiment...the dreaded command stand.  Research was required on the drummers uniform, drums, officers lace etc etc nothing was straightforward!  I just had to go for it.  Three weeks later they were done!

The flag is by GMB. This is slightly larger than the prints that the Perry's thoughtfully provide on their on painting guide in each box.  I like the flags by GMB so try to use them whenever possible.  However they did require some trimming to fit on the gap between finial and hand.  I did kind of wish I used the Perry's supplied flags with just a bit of extra highlighting afterwards.

Once I finished these today, I just looked at them and wondered why I don't paint these and nothing else.  I am really pleased with them. There is something so iconic in that Waterloo campaign uniform, with oilskins over shako caps and grey overalls. A mix of the decorative and practical that shouldn't work but somehow does.  The Perry's did a wonderful job in giving each figure character and the right look.  They were a joy to assemble too.  I could have gone more regimented with their appearance, but I wanted a line of battle appearance, when fire is coming in and hearing goes!

Will I be painting more of these...oh yes.  When will it be?  I don't know.  I put excessive detail in (again) for wargaming figures, despite telling myself that I wouldn't.  I feel like doing something lace free now.

I suspect that once I take my Paget carbine down the range the inspiration to paint more will come straight back again as soon as I get the whiff of powder!