Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The dreaded doldrums

Well it certainly has been some time since my last update. I've been pretty flat out with work lately, and lots of birthday and engagement parties, weddings and various other social engagements have all but wiped out my painting time.

When the madness died down, and I found myself with a bit of free time to paint, I discovered to my horror that I had encountered the dreaded painting doldrums. Before the influx of social engagements, I'd been working on a few Württemberg mounted jagers. When I saw them, sitting on my desk, 90% finished, I just could not muster up the willpower to finish them.

Taking some advice from the chaps over on the steve dean forum on how to treat lost painting mojo, I decided to put the 28mm Napoleonics on hold and paint something just for the joy of it.

Chatting with some of the guys at the local hobby shop, the idea came up for getting a 20mm WWII gaming project going. I dug out my copy of the LArdies 'I Ain't Been Shot Mum' rules and some Hungarians from near the bottom of the lead mountain, and set to work. I was powering along for a while, but as it turns out i'd commited a fatal error. I had merely replaced one huge project with another. Yet again, the doldrums set in.

Now I had not only the Württembergers sitting there almost complete, but also a couple of squads of 20mm Hungarians, as well as a few tanks and trucks.

Last week, in desperation, I decided to set my sights low. I dug out two - only two - of the excellent Askari minis 'classic' French Foreign legionaires. Last night i put the last lick of paint on the two legionaires, and started the basing. Looks like i've finally found my painting mojo. I'll post up some pics of the finished legion blokes in the next day or so, and am going to try to get back on the Napoleonic painting horse and finish the Wurttembergers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Alpine Interlude...

I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment, and i've just finished this fellow off. He is the excellent Eureka Miniatures Andreas Hofer figure. He’s the first of a large order of Eureka’s new Tyrolean range. With a part of my tax return (the lion's share went towards saving for another trip to Europe) I’ve bought two 12 man units; one with muskets, the other with melee weapons. I’ve also got the excellent little home-made cannon and crew. All of these are superbly sculpted, in my opinion comparable in both style and size to the Perry brothers work. The Tyroleans weren’t originally one of my planned forces, but the figures were just too good to pass up. Also, Sharp Practice is very well suited to playing out some of the actions from the rebellion. Nonetheless, I’ve forced myself to put the Tyroleans on hold until I’ve completed a few more units for my main forces – or at least a couple of 12 man Bavarian companies so they’ve got someone to rebel against!

In addition to Mr. Hofer, I’ve been working on a half squadron of Front Rank Chasseurs a Cheval, a unit which has been on the painting bench for far too long. This first 'group' will be the 6 figures of the elite company, along with an officer and a trumpeter. All except the trumpeter are wearing the rather fancy looking bearskin colpack, so they should turn out to be quite a nice looking little unit, after the utilitarian looking Austrian artillery. I know that the Chasseurs may not be as glamourous as the Hussars or as imposing as the Cuirassiers and Carabiniers, but they were perhaps the most common of French cavalry - alongside the equally denigrated Dragoons. I've done a bit of modification work on the figures themselves, bending sword arms into different positions, adding greenstuff plumes and what not. I like as much as possible to have each figure with a bit of individuality, especially at the Sharp practice scale. I've finished the first four chasseurs and the officer, and am 90% done on the remaining two and the trumpeter. Hopefully i'll be able to get these finished, based and get some pictures up in the next week or so.

I’m planning on painting up the first squadron of the 11e Chasseurs a Cheval for 1809. I've got the remaining six chasseurs - all in shako - sitting in a box waiting to go. The 11e Chasseurs were part of General de Division Montbrun’s force which saw a lot of action in 1809. But that's a long term project. After the elite company is done, I’ll get working on some Austrian Uhlans to oppose the Chasseurs. Then I think on to the Bavarians.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally, some progress...

We'll, true to form it's been quite sometime between posts. The sad passing of Laura’s grandfather on the 17th has meant that my painting work has been put on hold over the last few weeks as I spent most of my time with Laura and her family.

I got out my brushes for the first time in a while yesterday and finally finished off the Austrian gun and crew which I’ve been ‘sizzling’ up since I launched this blog. I must say I’m very pleased with the result. Based up for the Lardies’ Sharpe Practice ruleset, the gun is a 6 pounder with five crew and a grizzled NCO based separately as the ‘big man’ command figure. Three of the crew and the NCO have the red facings of the highly trained artillery corps, the other two have the light pike grey of the Handlanger corps – virtually untrained men who provided muscle rather than expertise. I love these figures, and I think I’ve managed to set up the base pretty well as representing a gun in action. The basing has turned out very well, with all five of the crewmen removable to both simulate casualties and to allow them to abandon the gun.

Both the gun itself and the figures are all 28mm Front Rank figures, the muskets, box-type thingy and the discarded scoop are from Nic at Eureka miniatures. The cannonball is from a tag which came with a new pair of converse shoes!
I’ve also finished off a Front Rank Jäger officer. While mixing the Light Pike grey for the collars of the Handlanger blokes, I wanted to test out how this would look on the jagers – they also wore light pike grey. From the research I’ve done, including asking some advice of ‘the’ expert on the Austrian Napoleonic army, Mr. Dave Hollins, I understand that this should be a light blue grey colour rather than the dark grey often depicted. I know lots of people paint jagers up in dark grey - more power to them by the way - so I thought I should put in that little explanation before I get a load of comments telling me that the colour is wrong. :)

While I enjoy the research behind painting Napoleonic figures, matching uniform details and colours, I do realise that any quest for realism is pretty hopeless. Before colourfast dyes, and with a myriad of cottage industry types supplying the uniforms, I’m sure there would have been a lot of variations in colour.

So, here are some pictures of the completed gun and crew, and of the Jäger officer. Hopefully the next update shouldn’t be too far off, as we’ve got a long weekend coming up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shameless self promotion..

Just a little update this time. Over on the Sharpe Practice forum, Roly Hermans, along with Rich from TooFatLardies recently organised a scenario design competition for Sharpe Practice.
Rich has very formatted my entry and posted it up on the Lardies blog (

I'm planning on doing a series of scenarios set in the 1809 campaign, based around the exploits of the Confederation of the Rhine troops, and to some extent this was a bit of a tester - so by all means let me know if you have any suggestions or criticism! For inspiration I'm using John Gill's excellent 'With Eagles to Glory'. While reading through this book, it really stuck me how many of the actions, even parts of the larger battles, could theoretically be gamed using Sharpe Practice. Even in battles like Essling and Wagram, the soldiers were really only aware of thier little corner of the battle. My ultimate modelling and gaming goal is to paint up a couple of 1:10th Austrian and French battalions with supporting artillery, build a 28mm model of the Aspern Church and churchyard, and organise a game of SP representing one of the attempts by the Austrians to storm the stronghold. I'm still a long way off completing anything approaching that scale.
At my current painting rate, perhaps i'll be done in time for the 300th anniversary :) A man can dream though...
As I've said before, SP really appeals to me as it puts the emphasis on leaders - the 'big men' - and the way that their decisions and abilities rally drive the course of battle.

Now, on to painting. Two months behind schedule it may be, but I've finally finished the Austrian gun and crew! I'm very happy with the results, and I'll be snapping some pictures on the weekend. It's supposed to be 27c and sunny, so should have some good light. I've also managed to finish off the Eureka Andreas Hofer figure, as well as a Revolutionary period Austrian and French junior officer. I'll get these posted up on the weekend.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Württemberg Light Infantry - A call to arms!

Nic from Eureka Miniatures has just posted up a 100 club request for some 28mm Württembergers.

The 100 club entry is for the elite Wurttemberg light infantry - the Jägers and leichte-Infanterie. Anyone who's read Gill's With Eagles to Glory will be well aware of the exploits of the Württemberg light troops in 1809, where they played a pivotal role in the Eggmuhl campaign.
The figure request is for the 1809 uniform, but Nic has said that he would probably also do the 1807 uniform (with the leichte Infanterie in casquet with horsehair plume) as a tie in with the French Revolutionary Wars range. I've posted a couple of plates, one from the Augsberger collection, one from Knötel's Uniformenkunde. For more details of the uniforms see this link:


Basically, the range would consist of a few light infantry poses (e.g. firing, loading, kneeling firing and advancing) and there would also be an officer and a hornist, ideally also an NCO figure and a drummer and *possibly* a standard bearer. I'm pretty sure that the jagers didn't carry a standard in the field, but a lot of people do like to have standard bearers. With a variety of poses, these figures could be used for both skirmish and larger scale battles.

For those of you not familiar with the style and quality of the Eureka 28s, i'd direct you to the following links. In size, they fit in well with Perry and Victrix.


So if this sounds like something you're interested in,. head on over to the Eureka 100 club site and put your name down. Once the number of pre-ordered figures reach 150 with at least 10 people registering interest, then the figures go into production! The cost is AUD3.00 per figure, so about 1.50GBP or 2.50USD. Eureka are available from http://www.eurekaminusa.com/ in the US.

The url for the 100 club entry is:

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 http://www.kaiserjaeger.com/at/TKJ/Custodia_trad/Tiroler_Kaiserjaegermuseum_de.htm

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.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The best laid plans...

Well it appears that yet again real life issues have conspired against my painting schedule ☺ I’ve had to move my office into the city, which has meant a few late nights and not much time for any painting. I’ve been watching with great interest the release of the Eureka French Revolutionary range. I think that after the Austrian gun crew is done, I’ll move on to a group or two of French Revolutionary Infantry, probably for Bonaparte’s Italian campaign. I’ve had a lot of these figures lying around for a shelved General de Brigade project, so might see if i can finally get some painted up.
The Austrians are still coming along, as are the Saxons. One more session and I think I’ll have them done. In the meantime, i’ve finished basing up a few more Frenchies, this time it’s a Captain of Line Voltigeurs and a Fusilier NCO. I’ve stolen part of the basing technique from Orctrader on the Steve Dean forum – it’s a wash and then a brush with some pigments. I think it’s very effective and is quite an improvement.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Maréchal Joachim Murat, le Roi de Naples!

Well, i'm still plodding along with the Saxons and the Austrian gun crew. Laura and I went to a friends birthday party on Friday night at the Löwenbrau Bavarian Beer hall in Sydney. Many a stein was consumed and I think that we got home at about 4am. Needless to say, not much painting was done over the rest of the weekend.

I didn't want to let the weekly updates slip though, so decided to post a pic of an older figure, but one of my favourites - the Wargames Foundry Marshal Murat. I'm thinking of ways to work him into a Sharpe practice scenario.

Maréchal Joachim Murat is perhaps the most interesting characters from an era full of interesting characters. I've been reading Martin Boycott-Brown's excellent 'Road to Rivoli', about Napoleon's 1796-97 campaign and came across an excellent little paragraph about Murat, which sums him up very well.

"There is nothing one can say about Murat that has not been said a thousand times before. The most unlikely candidate for the priesthood in the history of the church, he was to blaze a multi-coloured trail through the Napoleonic Wars as the most over-dressed man in Europe and gain a reputation as one of the most spectacular battlefield cavalry leaders in history. Tall, handsome, flamboyant in the extreme and extravagantly brave, this hoarse-voiced Gascon was always in search of women to seduce when he was not thundering about on horseback looking for other kinds of action."

Murat was known for his extravagant uniforms, and the one foundry have chosen must surely be one of the most flamboyant - seriously, a 2 foot high heron feather plume atop a bright yellow czapka?. He is dressed as the King of Naples, and the sculptor has used a famous portrait by Gros as inspiration - the portrait i've posted above.

Without further ado, here are the pictures. As with a whole lot of my figure's, i've still got to complete his base. I'm thinking of doing a mini diorama, with the figures removable for use individually. Now, to find a figure that would work as a Neapolitan ADC

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

French Infanterie de Ligne

I got a bit more painting done over the weekend, the Austrian gun crew and the Calpe Saxons are well on their way. I struggled for a while trying to pick the paints to use for Austrian 'roedeer brown', the colour of the Artillery uniforms. I ended up experimenting on an old figure until I came up with a combination that looked 'right'. I'm going for the yellowy-brown colour as seen in the Osprey and in Hourtouille's Wagram book. I'm hoping to have them finished and based up next weekend. I picked up some MDF coasters from the craft store which i'm hoping to use as bases, hopefully with the crew being removable.

I did manage to get some pictures though, these are of my first French line infantry 'group' for Sharpe Practice. They're painted up as the 1st company - denoted by the dark green pompoms. I've still got to do the metallics for the bayonets and musket barrels, and then finish the basing and muddy them up a bit, but they're pretty close to being finished. These guys were the first lot of 28mm Napoleonic figures that I painted - quite a few years ago now. This is their third repaint.

I didn't clean the figures up that well before painting, and so that explains the mould lines can be seen on some of them. They're not that noticable in the flesh, but they really showed up in the pictures. Still, i'm happy enough with them. The stripy pants were fun to do, these were my first attempt and i'll be doing more of these in my next lot of Frenchies. I like painting up units for the 'campaign' look, rather than looking like they've just stepped off the parade ground. Hope you like 'em.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The French Arrive

Well, we finally saw a bit of sun on the weekend, which gave me the chance to snap some photos of my latest work. I've also finished off the first unit of Austrian infantry, and they're just waiting for the basing to dry then i can add some static grass and silfor.

Next on the painting desk, i've just started on a Front Rank Austrian gun and crew. I've also been distracted from my 1809 project by the absolutely superb Calpe Saxons. I've got an officer and a musketeer on the painting desk at the moment. Hopefully my next post will have some pics of these, they are fantastic figures.

Now, for some pictures. These are all Front Rank figures, and as with all of my Napoleonic stuff are for the Sharp Practice rules by Too Fat Lardies.

I chose the 3e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne as the unit i'd model up - basically because I like the colouring scheme and they were in the thick of the action throughout 1809. The 3e was a part of General St. Hilaire's Division, which served with Marechal Davout's elite III Corps for the first phase of the 1809 campaign, and then was transferred to Marechal Lannes' II Corps for the Battle of Aspern-Essling, where both St Hilaire and Lannes were mortally wounded. It was also the first major French unit engaged in the entire campaign, being thrown into a hasty attack at the start of the Battle of Teugn Hausen.

Without further ado, here is the commander and his support 'group', the 'Tete de Colonne' (lit. head of the column). The unit consists of an eagle bearer with the Imperial Eagle, an eagle guard, a drummer and a sapper. I've based them individually on GW 25mm slotta bases, and made up my own movement tray, a system which i'm pretty happy with. The commander is 'the' big man of the regiment, Colonel Laurent Schobert, who commanded the 3e Ligne from 1805 to 1811.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whats on the Painting Bench?

After reading quite a few positive reviews, I've recently picked up a copy of the TooFatLardies 'Sharpe Practice' Napoleonic skirmish rules. I've read the rules through a couple of times, and decided that they look like just what i've been looking for. They seem to strike the balance between an entertaining set of 'fun' skirmish rules and a great looking reconstruction of Napoleonic warfare.

As it's in my nature to be contrary, i've decided not go with the general consensus and build up a British/French force for the Peninsula, but instead to go for a less popular period - the 1809 campaign in Italy and the Danube valley. The fact that i was reading John Gill's 'Thunder on the Danube' when i picked up the rules was a major contributing factor, added to the fact that i've always had an interest in the Austrian Empire.

I've decided that i'm going to have my groups represent companies, with the French at 10 figures per company, and the Austrians at 12. That decided, i ordered a bunch of Front Rank figures and started painting.

As of now, i've almost finished my first French and Austrian infantry units - a fusilier company of the 3e Ligne Regiment for the French, and an infantry company from the 4th Infantry Regiment ' Deutschmeister' for the Austrians. I've also painted up a 'big man' a piece. I'm hoping to have the basing on these finished off this weekend, and i'll post some pictures when I get a chance. In the meantime here are a few 'in progress' pics of the Austrians.

Next will be some pictures of the completed French command element - the 'tete de colonne' - of the 3e Legere, along with a mounted colonel.

Hello and welcome...

I've finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet and to set up a blog. The intention of this is to follow the trials and tribulations of my miniatures painting.

First, a bit about myself. I've been painting up metal miniatures for about 6 years now i guess. Before that i was a 1/35th scale modeller, building mostly modern and WWII stuff. I guess that i got into miniatures painting in a roundabout way. I've always had a very keen interest in history, and especially for the lesser known areas. A couple of years ago I was reading a book on Frederick the Great, and while looking around online for info about the Seven Years War, I stumbled upon the 'Kapti Fusiliers' website. Browsing through the pictures of the superbly painted 28mm units and reading with great interest the accompaning descriptions, I decided then and there that I had to get into this hobby.

My first venture into the world of miniatures painting was with a bunch of 28mm Seven Years War Prussians and British from Front Rank. When I received little box I must say i was as excited as a school kid. I dusted off the old painting box and set to work on them with the old humbrol enamels. Since then, the SYW guys have gone to ebay land and i've been through several half-finished projects - which I gather isn't that uncommon of a problem. Along the way i like to think that both my own skill and my appreciation of others painting has increased. One thing that I've gathered from my figure painting 'journey' is that it is a constant learning experience, albeit a very enjoyable one.

Recently on the Steve Dean forum there was a thread which asked to rate your best painting purchases which made me think about how i've gon about attempting to improve my painting style. I'd have to say that the two things which have helped me most are practice and observing the work of others. I know that it's cliched, but there really is no substitute for sitting down with a figure and a brush and experimenting with different techniques, or spending a bit of time looking over figures which grab your eye.
I have to say that the friendly guys over on the Steve Dean forum have also been a great help. The encouragement, to say nothing of the tips, colour recipes, and general advice i've gleaned from the SD forum, along with the ubiquitous TMP, could fill a dozen volumes. I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who has helped out - from Kev Dallimore for writing his superb painting guide (my first real intro to serious painitng), to the plethora of TMPers who provide lightning fast responses to the most obscure of uniform queries.

Anyway, on with the show.