Monday, August 31, 2009

As slow as a wet week...

Well, it's been some time since i've posted anything on here, but despite the fact that i've got no new pictures to post, I thought i'd do a bit of an update. August has turned out to be a very busy month indeed, including a fair bit of travel. This has meant that yet again all of my painting deadlines turned out to have been wildly optimistic. Last night I put the finishing touches on the last three Austrian crewmen, as well as an Austrian Jäger officer I painted up as a change of pace from all that brown. I'm going to be putting the last touches on the basing tonight, so hopefully I should have some pictures up of these in the next few days. The cannon itself is coming along as well, so the whole gun and 5 man crew should be done by the weekend!

Last week, I received a big shipment from Nic at Eureka Miniatures. Included were a couple of groups of Revolutionary era Austrian 'German' infantry wearing the casquet, along with a mounted commander and the figures for a command stand. I must say that Nic was a pleasure to deal with, and the quality of these sculpts is superb, in my opinion very much the equal of the Perry brothers with considerably less flash too.

I also received a couple of fantastic Revolutionary era French guns and crew - including one figure sighting the gun who looks very much like General Bonaparte. Again, the sculpting on these is superb, the gun crews are some of my favourite figures, the sense of movement is superb. I'll try to post up some pictures along with the completed Austrians. The guns came with a bunch of artillery equipment - buckets, rammers, discarded muskets etc. After seeing these, I've ordered a couple of extra lots. I'm hoping to use these to spruce up the base for the Front Rank Austrian gun I'm working on, along with a few other Front rank guns i've got laying around in the lead mountain.

Along with the Austrians and Frenchies, I also received a bunch of Eureka's new 1809 Tyrolean rebels. I noticed some pictures of this range over at the Lead Adventure forum, and they were a very pleasant surprise indeed.

For those who have never heard of the Tyrolean uprising, it is the 'other' guerrilla war of the Napoleonic era, and one which is almost totally overshadowed by the Peninsular war. In 1809, the fiercely pro-Austrian Tyrolean peasants rose up and drove the Bavarians and French out of their homeland before finally succumbing to overwhelming numbers following the defeat of Austria. They were led by the burly innkeeper Andreas Hofer (pictured above), the redbearded priest Joachim Haspinger and the peasant marksman Josef Speckbacher.

The figures are superbly sculpted and positively brimming with character. I've already cleaned and undercoated the Hofer, Speckbacher and Haspinger figures, along with a drummer boy, a sergeant type with a nasty looking poleaxe and a standard bearer. I'm hoping to have some of these done in the next week or so, as i've got a bit of a break in social and work engagements which will hopefully allow me to catch up on some painting.

The picture of Andreas Hofer is courtesy of the Tiroler Kaiserjägermuseum

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Artillerie vorwarts!

It's taken me a few weeks more than I had anticipated, but I've finally finished the first three Austrian artillerymen. For Sharpe practice, the crew for a gun is five figures. I'm painting up the crew plus a grizzled old Feldwebel (picture to the right) to serve as a big man.

I had a bit of a varnishing disaster with these guys. This seems to be a recurring thing to me, so much so that i dread varnishing, and always put it off as long as I can. In this case, i think the problem was that I didn't wait long enough between the gloss and matt varnish layers. I also failed to mix the Daler & Rowney matt varnish well enough. The result: the figures i'd spent so much time on were coverd in alternating splotches of semi-gloss and a sheeny , foggy white colour. Needless to say, I was not best impressed, and I actually literally 'threw my toys'. Not really the smartest move, as the only results from this were some nice little paint chips on one of my almost-finished French grenadiers. As it turns out, I managed to salvage these guys, thanks mostly to some great advice from Andrew Taylor and the rest of the lads over on the SD forum. Now i'm actually quite happy with them. Heres hoping the next lot of varnishing goes more successfully.
The last three blokes are also on the way, i've finished the flesh and done the basecoat for the white. I'm planning on painting two of them up with the sky blue collar and cuffs of the Artillerie-Handlanger corps, just for a bit of variety. Fingers crossed, i should have the lot finished next weekend. The gun itself, a 6 pounder, has been undercoated and had it's basecoat of 'tweaked' GW foundation dark yellow plastered on.

I picked up a few MDF coasters from the local craft / sewing store and my plan is to uese these for diorama style bases for the gun. I've based the crew on metal washers, which i'm planning to have sit flush in the terrain i'm going to sculpt on to the base. This way, the crew will be removable if they are forced to abandon the gun! I'm not sure how this will turn out, but in my mind's eye this system should work well and look good to boot. Laura even suggested to do up some plain washers with grass and terrain that can be added to the base when the crew are removed.

On another front, i've been working on a 28mm scale Austrian/Bavarian walled farm compound, based loosely around the 'Sommerkeller' which played a role in the battle of Abensberg. I was inspired by the awesome terrain projects by Theomar Pius, and i'se stolen quite a few techinques from his walkthroughs. The project, which consists of two main buildings and a walled yard, is coming along nicely. It's nice to have something i can do in front of the TV, even if individually gluing the 4mm square cardboard tiles is driving me a bit loopy. I'll hopefully have these far enough along in the next few weeks to get some WIP pictures posted up. If these are successful, i'm planning on building up a 28mm scale Aspern Church.

Anyway, my current focus is to finish off the artillery crew and gun. Once they're done, i'm going to go on to finish off my next french groups, one each of Voltigeurs and Grenadiers from the 3e Regiment de Ligne.