Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year from the Mitten

Here's too the next one, cheers.

Painting Napoleonic French...A Guide

The three rules about painting a Napoleonic French Army quickly are very simple to remember. They are as follows:

1. Greatcoats
2. Greatcoats
3. More Greatcoats!!

By following these three easy steps you will have a whole French Division up and marching in no time. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1815 and all that

The rest of the French Infantry wait to be re based in the shade. As usual I may end up with more units than I can use in one days gaming, but that would not be anything new for me. I love to paint and collect and with each unit holding a different memory's for me, I can spend hours sitting there remembering years gone by. Most of the time though I sit there and think "God I wouldn't of painted It that colour now", but that's life. I hope you have enjoyed my trip into 18th Century France.

More lambs for the slaughter.

Here is a look at the next unit to be re based, a unit of Light Infantry. This one will be merged with another slightly later unit to make three units of twenty four. By re basing them all It gives me a chance to dust them down and retouch any old paint work. Also, there is a lovely feeling at having them all properly organised at last. I orginally had them in units of 36 but now have changed them down to 24 after reading the 'Napoleon' rules. I still like the idea of large French units opposed to British ones so might combine two against every one of British. 'Black powder' uses the 36 man regiment size for the French and I think I will sway that way too, we will have to see.
I have painted these troops to a standard I am happy with, they won't win any competitions but they do work en mass. I think this is the only way to go with such big, detailed Napoleonic armies.

A French Division.

Another command base with another brave French Officer leading from the front. As I am collecting the Armies of Waterloo, I have taken to coating a lot of the troops in mud. I love the fact that all these lovely uniforms were covered in mud and dirt. It gives them a real feel of the day, I will make the bases very muddy as well to finish the effect.

A large Division of French troops advances.

More French than you can shake a stick at.

This base carries a unit of Sappers to help smash down any annoying farmyard doors. I always shied away from different troop types early on but embrace them now because of their different look and character they bring to a unit.
A command base of one of the French Units. I think I will use two of these 24 man units to represent a Brigade and four of them to make a Division.
I have used the Voltigeur skirmish bases to make up the numbers here, hence the gaps in the line. These will be replaced by full numbers when the Voltigeurs on the work bench are ready. Then the Skirmishers will find the rightful place out in front of the Battalions.

More French advance

A company of Grenadiers advance, these massive men specialised in assaulting building and taking bridges, they were the shock troops of their day. Most of these Frenchmen come from 'Front Rank' with the exception of a few skirmishers from 'Foundry'. The four Grenadiers above were painted back in 2005 as was most of my French range.

Let there be colour!

Ross from Friends takes off his inpractical Shako and takes cover behind a fallen comrade.
An Voltigeur Officer orders a shaken man to return fire.

The production line.

Voltigeurs on the work bench

As there are so many to paint, I tend to use a lot of washes to speed up time. After painting or spraying the figure white, I give It a wash with watered down 'Drab C' from the Foundry paint range. When this is dry I paint on the highlights in white again. The faces and hands are Foundry 'Flesh B' washed with watered down brown Ink. The blue of the coats are painted using the layer technique as Is the wood of the musket. The gun barrel is painted silver and washed with black Ink. By using washes on these guys I can race through them and not get too caught up and bored with detail.The messy figure obove has just recieved its Drab wash and is in need of highlighting and cutting back with the blue.

Monday, December 28, 2009

French Re-enforcements arrive

My French Napoleonic Division is almost there now I'm glad to say. After dipping into Ancient Celts for a while, I am back on course with only ten Voltigeurs to paint to finish the lot. After a period of dipping figures I am quite enjoying the detailed uniforms again, something I never thought I would ever say.

As I am basing my figures for Foundry's 'Napoleon' rule set, I am also enjoying creating bases of Skirmishers. These can be great fun to do and allow you to make mini dioramas of the Flank companies as they struggle forward in front of the main force. Personally I like to put lots of casualties on these to add to the effect of them being so exposed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roman War Machine

It's a well known fact that when It came to snow ball fights, the Romans had a distinct advantage over other Nations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas from Iron Mitten

Centurion Servius's hatred of Gallic Auxiliaries started in the winter of 61AD.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Roman Holiday

A Roman enjoys the good old British weather "And I thought Germania was bad".

It's snowing!

Looks like we will have a white Christmas after all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beware bad council

This is an old drawing I did years ago and It always makes me smile. It has a kind of relevance which Isn't lost on the War games table. Don't get too blinded by the prospect of Glory, It could be your undoing. However, Secundus doesn't have to listen to bad advice about glory...he does a pretty good job of that on his own.

This picture could also represent Publius Quinctilius Varus in 9AD, blinded by the lure of further conquest.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sorry Nan...

This week I have continued to dip away and have jumped onto another batch of Celts. As a gamer I'm not so keen on totally naked warriors because my Roman wars are set in and around 69AD and most Celts would have wrapped up by then. However, having hundreds of naked men hanging around in the closet I thought it was time to bring them the skirmish units. I guess that If there were still Celts running around in the buff in the mid 1st Century, they would be found out in front of the War bands letting it all hang out and showing off how brave they were. Also from a painting perspective, they are very quick to do and once they have a large shield, no one really notices...apart from friends and family.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The quicker, easier route...The Dip Side.

Quick grab some shields!

They are almost done now. I will shade the shields by hand as they will be the main focal point of the figure.
I can't believe how quick I knocked up this bunch of no goods. I have to say It has put the enjoyment back into painting for me as I was getting a little bogged down. I already have another ten hopefuls waiting on the work bench. Next up I might tackle those long over due slingers.

Second batch of Celts

I am now a total convert to the Army painter method. By brushing the stain on instead of dipping, i can get a result that I'm very happy with. In fact some of these dipped Celts actually look better than some of my hand shaded ones. This fact is both depressing and great at the same time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Horse Archers

As these Horse Archers were quite detailed and larger than Infantry figures, I painted on the stain with a large brush and just made sure the stain didn't collect any where on the figure. By brushing the stain on you have more control and I think the results are better, although It does take a little longer.

Dipping Horse Archers

At last with my new found 'dipping' technique I am tackling my Horse Archer problem. These guys have been sitting around on my table for what seems like years. Generally getting in the way and gathering dust, I thought I would at last take care of them once and for all.
I thought It would also be a good opportunity to try out various colours, both on man and horse to see which ones looked the best once dipped in stain. I was pleased with most of the horse colours as the stain works well on shading flesh. I found It wise to always paint the figure slightly lighter than you wanted it and so used the mid-tone and the highlight ranges in the 'Foundry' paint range.

I was pleased with the results and six detailed Horse Archers were finished in an afternoon. I still have six to do but I'm finding this new way of working really enjoyable and can't wait to get stuck in.

I have also been thinking this technique may work well for creating units for the English Civil War, with lots of light buff and brown colours. It could mean the difference of actually playing a game with two sides instead of just finishing one.

I think I will still take time on command personalities but as for the masses, they can be dipped without worry. At least once dipped they can be used in a game, I think it is this last thought that really wins the argument for me that dipping is the way forward, especially with time being an issue these days.

The great 'dip' debate

After reading an article in War games Illustrated about the 'Army Painter' staining process, I thought it was time I gave 'dipping' another try. So I gathered up some figures and set about them with a large brush covered in Flesh coloured paint. The results were good and the secret was in the matte varnishing afterwards. Before I had used Games Workshop matte varnish which has a kind of satin finish, but the varnish from 'Army painter' really is very matte indeed and makes all the difference.
After they had been varnished I was very happy with them and thought they wouldn't look out of place within my existing units. There is a slight drop in quality maybe but I can live with this due to the quick time It took to complete them. The time was very impressive and rather than five figures being finished in a weekend, the number could rise to twenty four at least. So with the idea of having hundreds of fighting figures finished in a month I have decided to use 'Quick dip' for my remaining unfinished Barbarian units.

I used the weakest tone which is called soft tone, It's strentghs are light colours like browns, yellows and flesh. It works well on horse flesh too which I put to good use on some Horse Archers. Now I am thinking that with my Ancient Germans wearing mostly browns and bare flesh colours, the 'Army painter' pot will answer all my worries and I could be churning out fighting units every week.

One of the toughest ideas to live with is the drop in quality but I am training my mind to think of multiple units, rather than single figures. In Barbarian armies there are hundreds of figures needed and with my usual technique It made them kind of unreachable and daunting. I would start well enough but the endless amount of work would get the better of me and I would go onto something else. By painting just one coat for each colour without shading and then dipping the whole figure in a pot of stain the painting process is halved and my huge armies will at least see the light of day on the field, rather than be locked away in the cupboard for evermore. I am very pleased with the results so far and the thought of finishing my Barbarian hordes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009