Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Peloponnesian War - Athenian Hoplites - 28mm Victrix


I have been busy painting Ancients since my last post. This time it is the turn of Phalanx's and Hoplites!  As usual I jump around with different time periods like a time traveller, paint brush in hand.

I have had small collection of Thebans, Spartans and Athenians in various states of incompleteness for several years.  I thought it was about time I emptied those boxes with figures still on sprues.  

The Athenians are especially colourful, the men being responsible for equipping themselves and bearing the cost.  With this freedom, the wealthier citizens no doubt took the opportunity to make themselves stand out from their fellows.

Just recently I became aware of how much unpainted lead and plastic I had stored away awaiting their time for painting.  I realised that I spend too much time painting and not enough time completing units.  I decided to try to speed things up with the Army Painter washes and just experiment..  I have used the 3 shade 'triad' method for a number of years over a black undercoat.  This time I opted instead to go for a white undercoat and do things differently.

I painted a fairly light shade of all of the basic colours and then applied the Army Painter washes over the top, taking care not to overpower colours that really needed lighter washes, or even dark washes of their own colour (such as the blues).  This proved very successful, and helped things to speed along.  What I found happened was that this method gave me a little more time to focus on colour choices and patterns on the linen armour and take some care with details.

I was unsure about the Foundry bronze colours that I used as they look quite light, and I wondered if the bronze should be of a deeper reddish hue.   It is possible that it was, but I read that great care and pride was taken in polishing armour to get it to shine.  With slaves on hand to clean and polish and short campaigns, I would have thought that a clean bright finish would be quite realistic.

 A wash with Army Painter 'Flesh Wash' over skin and bronze armour at the same time provided a nice reddish brown lowlight prior to highlighting.

Shield designs (thank goodness for decals!) are by Little Big Man Studios.  Mine were the best part of 10 years old and appeared to have adhered to the plastic sheet.  I found I had to pull the entire sheet off and then cut around the sticky transparent design.  Trying to peel off the cut out design simply was not going to happen.  I suffered sevearal losses with the decals.  I shall know now to try to use decals soon after purchase (ie. not leave it a decade!).

The troops have lots of character about them and a certain presence.  I really enjoyed painting them, though was glad to finish the box!  I split them into 3 groups to paint completely or it would have seemed hard work to do them all in one go.

The only criticism that I do have is the number of bareheaded figures.  They look nice for sure, but when some of the men are in full fighting order, it can look a little odd for other men to be taking their ease with their helmets off.  There is sadly no choice to use armoured heads instead.  You get what is in the box and the choice isn't there.  A bit of a contrast to the multitude of options usually found in a box of Perry Miniature figures.

The troops do have a look of momentum about them.

A few more photos to finish off.  I took quite a number of photos as I'm also doing a short photography course and wanted to try some settings on these figures and use these as examples of work on the course (combining my hobby with coursework!). 

The first photo on the blog of the Hoplite with Medusa shield and the photo below have both had some processing work to get rid of static grass left inadvertently on figures and also improving light and contrast of the image.

More Ancients to follow!

Saturday, 13 February 2021

American Civil War - Major General Pickett and other Commanders - 15mm

 Another batch of Confederate commanders have been painted up this week.  

Above and Below: Major General George Pickett, Bugler and Staff Officer 

All of the figures are from Blue Moon.  There is lots of detail on them to paint. One difficulty is making one self stop and not keep going back to improve details further.  

Above and Below:  Brigadier General Barksdale.  Not actually included in the Confederate Personalities set, this officer was in the Mounted Generals set, and reminded me of the paintings of Barksdale encouraging his men from horseback 

Below we have more Brigade Commanders with either Buglers or Staff Officers to create my standard 2 -figure Brigade Commander Stands.

I was working on three wargaming projects at the same time this week, this is normally a recipe to get nowhere at all!  However, all have made great progress.  I'm waiting on another order to arrive before I can finish one of them.  More will be revealed.

I have just one crazy purchase this week.  I was inspired by the brilliant 'Little Wars TV'  You Tube channel and their episode on Antietam.  Their game looked great fun.  It looked amazing to play an entire large battle on a table and the game was very closely fought.  So I have ordered their rules called 'Altar of Freedom' designed by Greg Wagman.  The craziest thing is that now I have got my 15mm ACW armies to that really playable stage (after over 25 years of  non-continuous effort!),  will probably require a 6mm or even 3mm army to get the troops all on the board!  

Ah well, I shall stick with my trusted 15mm figures for those slightly smaller actions and different rules like Fire and Fury as well as Black Powder.  I'm not getting rid of these15mm figures after so much effort! 

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

American Civil War - Confederate Command - 15mm

Here we have Confederate commanders ready to lead my large rebel army!   I started my Civil War collection in the early 1990's when I first obtained the excellent 'Fire and Fury' Rules.  Rapid painting followed and a large army of Union and Confederate troops made their way through my painting table and on to the board.  

Over the years since, I have added bits as necessary, but I have never really liked the very small command stands that Fire and Fury required.  At long last I'm now getting the stands organised to follow the larger bases that other armies in my collections have.  Above and below we have the commander of the Army of North Virginia, General Robert E Lee himself.

The figures are almost all all from the Blue Moon range. These are gorgeous figures, though the horses do come with a little more flash than I would like and this all needs very time consuming trimming off..

Other figures in these photos are from the Old Glory range.  

The flags are from GMB, who produce very fine flags indeed.

Above and below is a Corps Commander. This is one of the few who will be un-named and will stand in for Corps Commander's who I don't have a personality figure for. He is also smooth-shaven so is probably going to be representative of very few actual Corps Commanders on the Confederate side!

I have used the very nice Foundry paints for most of the uniform colours, their Confederate Grey has a hint of blue which looks very nice in a fine officer's coat.  I have tried to mix a few shades of grey in for interest.

I've used the same 'at a glance' system of command levels as my Union army.  The number of  figures
on the base indicate command level.  2 Figures are Brigade command, 3 Figures, are Division, 4 figures are Corps and 5 figures are Army command.

The above and below Brigade commanders are from Old Glory.

I have included a cavalry officer as the accompanying officer with this Brigade General. It was fun to get the yellow paint out.

Bases are MDF from Warbases. I have cut out and attached 'rubberised' self adhesive 3M metallic sheet beneath the bases to keep them from moving around in their plastic storage boxes.  

Basing texture is made from sand, water and brown acrylic paint and allowed to dry.  Three highlight shades are applied and cat litter rocks, twigs for logs, and small (and expensive!) tufts applied.

Instead of only applying tufts over the bases, as I used to do (I stopped for reasons of economy and also for improving the visual effect), I now apply 3 different types of static grass over PVA glue patches.  This adds interest to the base and allows me to change grass tone to match an area of the world more effectively.  

For most my armies I paint the edges of the bases, but for some reason I never have done with my ACW range and I quite like the way this helps to blend the bases into the playing mat.  The shaded wood might even add character to the base and takes the eye to the figures. 

I am at the point of deciding what next to do.  Painting time has unfortunately had to reduce somewhat due to workload from the paying jobs,   I have some more Confederate commanders ready for undercoating but I am also expecting some 10mm Gauls to arrive soon to add more ancient armies to my 'To the Strongest' collection.