Sunday, February 28, 2016

Swiss Pike Men

Curt and I are in a side duel over at the the Painting Challenge.  Hard on the heels of Curt's latest Gendarmes, I have a more much more modest post for our 'Renaissance Men' duel.  These are 16 Perry miniatures painted as Swiss Pikemen from the Zurich Canton.

These were a while in completion.  The first 8 were ready to go on the 12th but I decided to wait a week to get the whole unit a once, since the next 8 were in progress already. However primer failures and a stomach issue left me 98% ready with the unit last week end.  Given how I felt I waited another week to make sure I was happy with the results. And while not up to Curt's standard (Pah! -ed), I am quite happy with the results.

The mix of figures is 7 metal figures with pikes leveled and at 45 degree angles, 1 metal Swiss horn player bartered from Curt (thanks bud), 1 plastic command figure with standard from the Mercenaries boxed set, 1 plastic foot knight with pikemen's arms, and the rest European Mercenary plastics with pike and halberd arms (the latter from the bill and bow set).  The heads from a variety of plastic boxes plus some metal Swiss heads.  The metal pikemen come with pollards so the pikes are brass rod.  The flag is paper printed at home based on a Zurich flag from the Burgundian wars.

I am continuing to work on my basing.  Here again it is the Perry plastic bases topped with an acrylic gel/paint  mix and with ballast rocks and GW tufts.  Comments, feedback and suggestions for improvement are appreciated.

Monday, February 15, 2016

War of 1812 Generals

Brits left and centre, Yank to the right.
Last post this week is another lot of leftovers from AHPCV, in the form of three generals for my War of 1812 project.  There are two British (the good guys) and one American (boo, hiss, Yankee go home).  All are Perry's, from the British Napoleonic range.

I really like these three figs, good poses on the riders and fine looking horse flesh underneath.  The one officer in the navy coat has been initially allocated to the staunch defenders of Upper Canada.  However, uniform similarities and the top coat mean that he could end up leading our brutish southern neighbours bent on  conquest rape and pillage.

Once again I used slightly different basing techniques.  To suite the rough Canadian Shield I made the ground quite rocky, using a mix of ballast and Kitty litter.  I then added tufts for weeds to suit my mood at the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

28mm Serving Wenches

Last week I hit the dreaded point where I had run out of the figures that I had pre-primed to paint for this year's Challenge.  This post and the next feature minis that I had actually primed for last year's challenge.  But then Brendan the Kiwi lured me over the Renaissance and my first batch of Perry figs arrived before I got to the older less shiny figures.

While most ACW battlefields feature a church in a prominent location, the 1812 battlefields tended to be based around pubs.  This probably says much about our two nations.  But in actuality, the War of 1812 was basically fought by small Napoleonic armies on an old school Wilderness D&D campaign map.  Roads and settlements were few and far between, with the roadhouse often being the first (or only) building at key locations like and crossroads, fords and the like.  The armies fought for the key locations and thus fought around the roadhouse inns.

No slap and tickle of the waitresses lads!
These are two metal Reaper Miniatures from their Townsfolk range.  I have painted them up fairly generically so that they can serve in more than one era.  This poses are nice and the figures well done except that the faces could use better defined features.  Of course, one doesn't always notice the faces of serving wenches, especially after a few pints.

Supper seems to include soup broth and veg, and be accompanied by red wine.

Who's round is it lads?
I am continuing to experiment with basing.  These two lasses got my new standard treatment of acrylic gel, raw sienna and small rocks with a raw umber wash on top.  I chose to go with static grass as I figures that the areas around the pubs might be less rocky and weedy than the wilderness at large.  Comments and suggestions continue to be welcome.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Anaolog Painting Challenge Curtgeld

Please excuse the poor photography and lighting
For each version of the Challenge, Curt asks each participant for a figure as an entry fee.  The figure must meet a broad criteria along the theme of the Challenge for the year.  This year's theme is risk takers.

My Curtgeld is a Condotierro captain and standard bearer, which I have modeled after the character Nicomo Cosca from Joe Abercrombie's First Law world.  The figures are 28mm metals from the Perry European Armies 1450-1500 range, specifically the Italian command pack.

I do like the movement and posing on these figures
This is a risk taking on my part, since I know Curt has the exact same figures and will surely do a much better painting job than I can achieve.  But what the hey, it's all about pushing personal envelopes.  I have left the figures on pennies commemorative copper medallions featuring an image of the queen, rather than basing them.  Curt's instructions said that this was perfectly Kosher, plus he can base them as he sees fit (or not).  Hopefully they can find a home as a command stand with his Italian wars forces.

I seem to get the flag in profile!  However, the shields show up well here.

I don't follow many high fantasy series any more, but Abercrombie is one that I follow eagerly.  He produces books that are great reads, fittingly witty at times and thought provoking at others.  Plus his writing speed seems to match my desired reading  input speed. I really like how the same characters can appear sympathetic in one novel and then be less likable in the next.  A prime case is Cosca, a mercenary who appears in most of the books of his First Law world in various roles.  Initially he is a broken down drunken soldier of fortune forced to take a command in a forgotten garrison, but who finds his courage when the moment comes.  Later he becomes a successful mercenary commander, a schemer in an assassination plot, a duke and lastly a hired thug who meets a well deserved end.  He consistently goes all in and rolls the dice and we see the result of his wins and losses along the way.

Again excuse the poor lighting.
There is a First Law Wiki which has info on Cosca plus pictures of how others imagine him for those who are interested.  It channeled my inner John Lennon "They're just stories man!", but gave me details without reading all 5 of the books in short order.  He likes fancy clothes, the drink and rides a roller coaster of life.  I gave him a slashed crimson tunic, bi-coloured purple and yellow hose and gilded touches to his rather simple armour (mail, breast plate and barbute) plus a rotadella shield with a griffin emblem.   His standard bearer wears similar but less splendid clothes and carries a flag carrying the same griffin emblem.  
I added this close up to show the details better.  The faces have detail but I lack the skill to bring it out in a photo.

The shields are hand painted as I lack either the patience or skill to use transfers.  I am not completely happy with the griffin but in the end went with the "two foot standard".  I am quite happy with the quartered rotadella on the standard bearer, particularly as it was achieved without the requisite glass of red wine.  The flag came from this excellent site.  

Monday, February 1, 2016


This week I have a unit of 8 Stradiotti for my Italian Wars forces and my Renaissance Men side duel.

These are all Perry figures, mostly metal.  There are 6 riders from the pack of Westernised Stradiotti (which are metal castings) mounted on plastic horses.  (This is how they are sold, six metal riders with instructions to buy two sprues of the plastic horses for mounts. ) The other two figures (with the long coats and top hats) are metal on metal, from the Stradiot command pack.

The all metal figure are on the left of each stand.

Backside of the same figures.  I love the poses here.

Stradiotti were Balkan light cavalry, manly Albanian., and were armed with a mix of bows and light lances.  They served first with the Venetian army and famously looted Charles VIII's baggage at Fornovo, including Charles' diary detailing his amorous conquest during his time in Naples.  Charles was so impressed that the French soon hired Stradiotti as did others including Henry VIII.  I painted this unit in less vibrant colours than my Italian units but I think that the figures has lots of colour themselves.
The shield design reminds me of ones I painted for my Hellenistic armies.

Shields are hand painted based on Osprey type illustrations and the flag came off the Internet, but got trimmed down once printed.  On one horse I included a severed head, the must have fashion accessory for Balkan auxiliaries since Cyrus the Great invaded Thrace.

Other entrants have commented that they hate painting horses, but I find it a lot of fun and very rewarding.  My mother (a former Bengal Lancer) was horsey and in my younger days I spent many a weekend being the dutiful son at her dressage and other events.  This gave me the chance to note various horse colour combinations.

The Perry horses are wonderful, especially the plastic set.   A single sprue comes with enough bits for 3 horses with 6 half bodies plus 4 heads, all interchangeable.  This gives you 24 different horses in the basic set, plus more with the armoured heads that come with the Knights.  I've yet to find a losing combination and you get a sense of a unit galloping at the same speed but with different positioning of legs and heads and differing horse furniture.

I am continuing my experimentation on basing and again looking for critiques.  The ground is a mix of Acrylic Gel with Raw Sienna plus fine ballast.  I then washed the bases with Raw Umber and am quite pleased with the colour effect.  I think I've hit the right combinations of Italian dirt colours.  Foliage is a few tufts from the Evil Empire.

I am looking forward to fielding these ruffians in an Italian Wars game soon.  Keep you dirty books well under wraps Campbell!