Tuesday, 30 July 2013

On The Eve of The War- WIP 15mm Feudal Scots

A project I got started on some time ago, and have since got sidetracked away from (temporarily!). Started of as being the Army of Alexander III or John Balliol, purely as an excuse to do all the Scottish heraldry in one place, rather than having to try and figure out who was on what side at any given time, and to avoid the more cliched Army of Wallace/ Bannocknburn 1314 type Scots Common force.

However, the potential for forward stretch was too tempting, and I've started to plan alternative command bases with different commanders dependent on the period, making sure the knights that most commonly fought on one side or another are based together, etc, etc...

But, as is my wont, other periods called, and construction has stalled a bit, but here's some shots of where I'm up to so far...

Spearmen, lead by the Bishop of Glasgow, Robert Wishart. He's the bloke in armour, not the monk (who's probably being told by the good Bishop to go melt down more church roof lead for trebuchet counterweights...), since Wishart didn't take a sedentary approach to the struggle for Independence; there's a brillian whnging letter sent by one of the English Commanders to Edward I, complaining that Wishart was commanding the siege of Cupar attired "Like a man of war", and was also subsequently to be found using wood given to him by Edward for repairing church buildings damaged by his forces, instead for building siege engines. Good lad, that.
The banner was run up on the computer, using a drawing/photo-editting package, and printed off on a normal household printer onto cartridge paper. Whilst I don't mind painting my banners, enamels and paper aren't always the best of friends, and since I'm something of a late convert to pre-printed flags, I thought I may aswell put my training to work (I was a graphic designer in a former life), and make my own, especially since my chosen sibjects are rarely covered by manufactures. Gives something distinctive for the peasants to rally round anyway...

...and their Social Betters. The original raison d'etre for the army, the kinigits. I had visions of re-fighting the battle of Dunbar, but with the Scots Knights being told to hold the damn line, just to see what would happen. I'm going to end up with far more bases of knights than DBM calls for, but hey, where's the fun in that...?

From left to right, the earls of Atholl, Ross, Strathearn, Mar, and Buchan, and the John "The Red", Lord of Badenoch.
Despite what populist history loves to tell us, Scotland was not this small,impoverished nation incapable of fielding heavy cavalry, quite the opposite. One only has to look at the muster rolls of Edward I, that show Scots serving in English garrisons, all armed and equipped, by their own means, to the same standard as their English colleagues. Had they been unable to equip themselves to this standard, they would not have been accepted for service, certainly not in the capacity of "Armati", or man-at-arms, that they are shown as drawing pay as. Of course, Scotland could never match the numbers of mounted men-at-arms as England, for obvious reasons; but to say that Scotland's cavalry were all hunched spearmen riding ponies, lead by the odd nobleman who had risked all to defy the King of England, is just perpetuating the same tripe that's been fed to schoolkids since the 60's. I don't have the space to go into detail here, but if you're interested, I would recommend reading some of Chris Brown's works, notably "Scottish Knights of The Wars of Independence", for a breakdown on the research and reasoning behind this.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Warm Fluff...?

Following getting some advice re: macro photography from a couple of friends in the business (cheers Craig and Mark!), I decided to have a crack at some photography outdoors. Results were definitely better; still required a wee bit of post-prod tweeking, but definitely better!

The models are Hasslefree Miniatures' "Definitely Not In Any Way Sgt Nicholas Angel" Officer Nick, and "Obviously Not PC Danny Butterman At All" PC Sam Ford. As per usual, Kev's workmanship is truly beautiful, and the figures practically paint themselves.
The newspaper headline came about because I wanted some suitably post-apocalyptic identifier on the bases, and this line from an Entombed song just seemed t be a perfect indicator of the approach of the End times...


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Progress...and a worrying development.

Started sleggering paint onto another 3 Fusiliers this afternoon, due to a torrential downpour stopping play outdoors. However, now that the first few basecoats have dried, they seem to have done so to a gloss finish, despite the paint being matt... All the paint was well mixed and thinned, so I'm not sure what's happened. The odd thing is that there's no rhyme nor reason to it, the grey used on the trousers was brand new, but the black and red for the tunics has been opened for ages and used several times without issue. Wondered if it's anything to do with the hot weather, but the, it's actually a lot milder than it has been. Strange.

Anyway... put the finishing touches to some of the Taffs that I had been working on. Still trying to get decent shots with the phone, and got a bit carred away trying to sort out the saturation on the computer with this first one...
Slightly more subtle attempts...

I did however give in and undercoat one of the Elhiem 20s that were waiting in the wings...ooh DPM. No! I must be strong! Got to get these chaps finished, then I can move on....

...ooh, new 14th Century Highlanders/Islesmen from Claymore...



The Forestry Commission

The woods discussed earlier are finally beginning to take shape! So far I've managed to finish a swampy section using a couple of Heki tall trees bounted on a Warbases long vehicle base, and two copses of Noch mixed trees mounted on 4Ground's forest bases with removable sections.

These are quite a handy idea, to allow figures to be easily deployed or moved through the woods; simply move some of the trees out of the way and place them around the figures to preserve the effect! the bases themselves come in two halves, a slightly larger lower section, and a smaller top section with removable blanks. The two sections are glued together, and the blanks taken out, and then simply posistion the trees to suit. If you weren't sold on the removable idea, you could just keep the blanks in situ, and fill the very slight gaps around them. For 28mm skirmish games I don't see any great need to remove the trees, as an average sized unit of individually based figures will comfortably fit around the trees, but they'll come into their own for smaller 15mm games with troops based in groups, or for moving vehicles through.

The swamp itself was created by leaving a blank area of MDF surrounded by filler. This blank area was painted Humbrol 29, and some ripples added using Revell matt varnish that had gone all thick and gloopy. Once set, this was painted with successive layers of Tamiya transparent paints (yellow, red, blue, green) until I arrived at a shade I was happy with. Then a couple of coats of Tamiya clear gloss to complete the effect. Some Army Painter Swamp Tufts were added for long grass/reeds growing up through the water. I'm quite happy with the effect achieved.

Small Copse:
Trees removed:
Large Copse:
I'd painted the tree trunks and roots of all the trees, just to improve the general look from a blanket semi-gloss brown with no definition, to something a bit more representative of bark. I stopped short of adding moss, though... Base coat of some Humbrol 29 with a bit of H33 black added, then some stripes of H29, and then some stripes of H29 with a bit of white H34 added
Trees removed
The swamp in particular had been designed with Muskets and Tomahawks North American wilderness setting in mind for 28mm games, but should be equally usefull as German forest for 20mm Cold War games or similar. The other copses were reasoned at being pretty multi-purpose. I've still got a bag of Woodland Scenics Connifer kits to do, which should make perfect German woods, as well as plety of left-over Noch trees from the packets used to make the copses. These will be added to the off-cuts of MDF that surrounded the cut-out shapes, as they're nice and irregular, and too big not to do something with. Combined with the two main stands of trees, that should give me a decent sized forest for a fairly modest outlay.

Trees with 28mm figures
Equally effective with 20mm
And also with 15mm

Cheers for now

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

DPM, a brief experiment in macro photography

Still relying on the camera phone for pics, unfortunately. Just a quick shot of an Elhiem 20mm BAOR Jimpy gunner to try and get the Macro focussing on the DPM properly...

For anyone interested, the DPM is a basecoat of Humbrol 86 Olive Green, then irregular brush strokes of 84 Mid-Stone, overlaid with 98 Chocolate and finally 33 Black. Gives a reasonable representation of temperate DPM at this scale, I feel (who am I kidding, I do the same in 28mm and 1/35...) I don't bother with shading or highlighting disruptive patterns generally, as it destroys the effect of the representation. In larger 80mm+ figures, I might be tempted to try, but nothing smaller...

As those of you in Blighty will be aware, the weather's been suspiciously warm of late, so I've been slacking off painting lately; not only do I feel guilty lurking in the loft when it's beautiful outside and there's gardening to be done, but it's also like a bloody sauna up there! I clocked 37C last week, which, for a small, pale blue person from north of The Wall, is far too hot...

I'll be attempting to catch up once it gets a bit cooler.



Friday, 19 July 2013


In the midst of all this powdersmoke, the new BAOR releases from Elhiem I'd ordered have arrived, ad they're absolutely beautiful!

I'd ordered one of everything, to give me a platoon command, 2nd rifle section, MILAN detatchment, SF GPMG detachment, 81mm Mortar team, Blowpipe/ Javelin detachment, A MILAN command element, and a couple of sparies to form the nucleus of a recce section (since they've got a TRILUX and IWS on their SLRs; they'll also aquire Bergens or rucksacks shortly...)

Platoon command, left to right; signaller, platoon commander, platoon sergeant, Combat Medical Technician (a stretch I know, but the Ambush Alley CWGH TO&E calls for it) and a 51mm mortar.

Rifle Section, including LAW, Charlie G and GPMG in the light role. the number 1 and number 2 on this will be based on a single 35mm round base, rather than individual 20mm ones. This is a cobble-together from 3 seperate packs ("SLRs skirmishing", "Launchers" and "GPMG team", the thrird member of this last pack became the platoon sgt in the previous photo...)

MILAN detachment; these and the other two crew served weapons will go on a 50mm base

SF GPMG; I'dreally been looking forward to this one!

81mm Mortar

Blowpipe/ Javelin detachment; these chaps will get a Spartan to ride in. I'm fairly sure that's about right (if anyone can correct me, please batter in, I'm all ears...) they'll be mounted together on a 35mm base. The number 2 would possibly be better suited as one of the guys with binoculars, or again the figure used as the pltn sgt, but since I didn't have any spare, but did have a spare Rupert, I suppose it could be the Aircraft Silhouette recognition Guide he's holding, rather than a map; "Eeeh, Ah'm sure that's a MiG, Jim....I think...."

MILAN Command element. Again, they'll be on a 35mm base. According to the Ambush Alley TO&E they get a Ferret to bimble about in. Not convinced that's totally right, but since the Ferret's awesome and has that quintessentially British quirkiness about it, a ferret they shall have...

And finally the odd couple with the TRILUX and IWS. the TRILUX chappie comes in the "Observers/ Advanced Optics" pack, which is where I thought the IWS toting chap would also feature, but instead he comes as the platoon Sgt in the HQ pack. However, with the addition of bergens or rucksacks, they'll become the nucleus of the Recce Section, along with some more similarly equipped riflemen and any other appropriate looking figures from the above that seem to fit...

Since I'm still waiting on the 35mm and 50mm bases for these chaps, it'll be a while before they see paint, so here's a few shots of the existing BAOR section they'll be reinforcing...

Brick 1; featuring the full screw in charge, and Charlie G gunner

2nd brick, featuring lance-jack, and GPMG Lt Role team.
Again, the photography's a bit grim, they do look a bit better in real life! The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that some of these old sweats are wearing Tropical issue trousers (a popular combo with the temperate weight jacket, I'm told; if it wasn't for the sculpted-on baggy pockets, I'd have done a few in green lightweighs, too), and there's a smattering of wooden SLR furniture aswell for variation. Not so obvious is that some are painted with putties and DMS boots, rather that the Boot, Combat, High. since you can't actually see that now the bases have ben done, and it's a bit naff, I'll probably refrain from doing that on the next ones...

Oh well, back to red coats and pipeclay...


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Fuzileers, Boyo!

Currently, most of my creative energies are being spent on churning out a unit of Perry's AWI Royal Welch Fusiliers. And trees. Lots of trees, but you'll see why in a minute.

Whilst not a period or subject I'm particulary interested in, I'd bought a pack about 6 years ago, as I was about to purchase the (then) new Mark Urban book, Fusiliers, and decided to pre-empt the inevitable immersion in the subject and desire to paint things from it, and get the figures in advance. However, much as I enjoyed the book, for once, I didn't really get the instant feeling of having to paint American War of Independence redcoats without delay. The net result being I painted two and a half of six, and they lay in the back of the display cabinet for years, despite being joined by a command pack obtained at Border Reiver the next year.


Last month, I made a rare appearance at the local Wargames Club, as two mates and and the club leader were having a go at the Muskets and Tomahawks ruleset. The game went well, and with suitable prodding (Cheers Dave), I resolved to finish the Fusiliers, late though their AWI timeframe was for the French and Indian War setting nvolved, as if nothing else, it would be some badly needed reinforcements for the Brits, who had recieved something of a drubbing at the hands of Skulking Badger's French aligned Indians....

On the subject of whom, it was realised that what was also needed was even more trees for the Indians, militia and other sundry irregulars to really come into their own on the table and "play the period accurately" as it were. And thus, in addition to the bold Welshmen, some miniature forestry began to take shape in my workshop.

But enough of my drivel! On with the toys!

All 12. The chaps on the right were the original two painted about 6 years ago...

 Awaiting some Colours. A nice set of pre-printed paper ones from Flags of War await...

As usual, my photography (in this case on a phone, so I've got an excuse) isn't quite doing them justice, but you get the idea! I'll post up some more as they progress...