Yet Another Diversion – Samurai

I have to ask what I’m doing again when I was supposed to be painting some ECW figures or was it 28mm SYW figures or was it Russian Napoleonics! At what about those 15mm AB Young Guard figures I just bought!

The reason? A Feudal Japan group build suggested on one of my favourite forums the Outpost

This is where I have to confess that the leadpile contains Samurai figures in 40mm by Steve Barber /, 28mm by Perry Miniatures and 15mm from Two Dragoons Production. These have been languishing there for years –

The Steve Barber Models purchase came about as a result of seeing what I think I recall was a Penarth and District Wargames club had a demo game on at a wargames show. I moved to NZ in 1999 and I’m not sure if I bought these just before or on a return visit to the UK a few years later. These are really nice models to paint but the 4 Samurai Armoured foot and the Samurai Cavalryman in the just about did my head in. My main focus was to get them finished, but without a deadline to meet I could have taken more time and been more diligent in the painting as any minor error really shows up in this size. As it was I was laid low by a flu like illness and was unable to work for a few days. I still feel rotten even now but had I not had time off work through the illness I would never have got them finished!

The last of the Steve barber Models is a mounted Samurai. I put this together and it hung around in various boxes for years and the horses tail broke off. The first thing I had to do was greenstuff and epoxy this back one – conversions are not my strongpoint I’m afraid!

As I handled the figure to take pictures I kept rubbing the paint off and had to retouch it more than once and only after I started taking photos did I notice I hadn’t painted the  cast on grass on the base. Now I don’t normally varnish but because of this it was the first thing I did after taking the photos

Next the 28mm from Perry miniatures. I bought a few packs more than 10 years ago, the intention was that my younger son would paint these up and sell in order to get some pocket money but alas he never got a round to painting more than 1 figure

Again not being sure what I’ll do with these I decided to base them somewhat temporarily on some Warbases multi-bases I bought a few years ago but that were found to be too small for their intended use with dark Age figures

I suppose that just leaves me with the Two Dragoons 15mm Figures. I suppose its a bit of a surprise that these are still breathing and not squashed flat as they’ve been at the bottom of the leadpile for the best part of 15 years I think. I bought them after being tempted by the collection of a Wellington Gamer that I saw on the net years ago. Wish I could still see them as I could do with the inspiration again

They look a bit small in comparison but hopefully that means that these Red Devils will turn out to be quick


Posted in On the workbench, Samurai | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Oh Look Shiny – yet another new project and other bits

Will I ever learn? No matter how many times I tell myself I have more than enough to do and despite the fact that I already seem to have several large projects on the go in 28mm Napoleonics, 28mm SYW and 28mm Italian wars I’ve now started a 28mm ECW collection

I blame the internet and more specifically Empress Miniatures! I’ve always loved their ECW range and up to now have managed to avoid buying any. However a few months ago I found myself in possession of some cash that I won at golf and thought that spending this on wargames figures was a more appropriate reward than something golf related. This coupled with a visit to Partizan last year where I was captivated by Simon Millar’s For King and Parliament rules and game which weakened, nay, abolished my resolve!

Consequently having bought a 3 Regiment Brigade deal from Empress, the rules and bases from Simon along with flags from Flags of War I now somewhat shamefacedly present my efforts ( my shame face is because I’ve bought even more since and made the units bigger with 12 pike, 6 command and around 20 Musketeers!)

Firstly Sir Allen Apsley’s Regiment of Foot


The second unit is Anthony Thelwell’s regiment of Foot

Why these 2 Regiments? I just like the look of the flags! Painting on a 3rd Regiment is currently underway, these will be Sir Edward Stradling’s Regiment of Foot and so far the Pikemen are finished.

I’ve really enjoyed painting these, Empress seem to take paint nicely and suit my painting style. The only off putting thing I found was attaching the swords as I found it rather fiddly

Not content with just that? OK then, a few other things have rolled off the workbench

This 15mm Russian Church from Hovels – took me only a short time to paint

I also painted up some of their 28mm and 15mm walls, the 28s are in the pictures above and then  finally nine  WWI British Cavalry from Footsore Miniatures

These are currently out of production but I bought them when there was a sale on some time ago (I sound like my wife now!) and intend to use them for my VBCW games

Not a bad turn out I suppose in the past 2 months considering I’ve been playing golf on most Saturdays and Sundays since my last post.

Not sure what I’ll tackle next, either some Empress ECW cavalry or some 15mm Prussian Napoleonic Reservists


Posted in ECW, On the workbench | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

The Great Wargames Room clean up

I’ve not been that productive in the paint department of late but I have at last managed to finish the 28mm Perry Russian Hussars whose horses I painted some time ago

Here they are – the Izumy Hussar Regiment

I also had a change from painting white Austrian SYW uniforms by painting these Grenz by Crusader as the Banal-Grenzinfanteriereigiment Nr 1


At the moment, rather perhaps stupidly, I have begun a new period 28mm ECW and bought some figures from Empress Miniatures. This is a test figure

The figures are very slender compared to other 28mm figures I’ve painted but do seem to take paint nicely. I suspect that this means I will end up having a break from painting Napoleonic and SYW figures, thereby stalling progress in these projects by being side tracked by the “Oh shiny” effect! I’m really looking forward to painting the cavalry

The other distraction was the need to re-arrange my wargames room. I did this because one of my display cases was in the NZ sun for a few hours early in the day and I felt that they would inevitably fade. This meant emptying both display cabinets and the cupboard and swapping their positions around. I think the photos give an idea of the size of the task, it took me the best part of 5 or 6 evenings and reminded me how much lead I and plastic I seem to have acquired over the years. I’ve also vowed to sell off some figures and have a good clear out of some old wargames magazines but I’ll do that at a later date


Whilst doing this I decided to move my Dark age figures out of the cabinets having bought a metal filling cabinet with 15 drawers

For those in NZ you might be interested by this link

I’m going to have to trim the odd spear or standard as the drawers won’t quite take a spear or standard height of greater than 70mm! Again I think that will have to wait

One unforeseen effect of the new drawer unit is now the spare no of storage boxes I have again! I’ll have to paint faster so I can refill them again with painted figures! I think I must be a hoarder though, that Kickers box in one of the above photos must be at least 30 year old – oddly enough it contains an unfinished card model of Hougoument!

Posted in 28mm Napoleonics, On the workbench, Seven Years War, Wargames Room | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Mamelukes, ADCs and Prussian Command

I finally managed to paint the remaining 37 horsemen from the fast paint horse batch along with 3 additional foot I found in the spares box to make up some ADC stands and Prussian command

The French ADC stands are from the Command range and I have painted these previously but Nic from Eureka very kindly sent me an additional set when I bought some cavalry for my birthday.

I added a few additional figures and found some Young Guard Officers in my spares box to make a divisional commander for my Young Guard along with a few of the more individual figures in the range

This time I painted the ADCs in different uniforms from the last batch I think


I just love the Lefebvre-Desnoettes figure

My favourite in the Mameluke range  is the following one that I think was modelled on Capitaine abdallah d’Asbonne 1813 as  illustrated in the Osprey series


He just has to be based alongside this Guard Horse artillery Officer that I painted up as Chasseur a cheval of the Guard Officer

That’s the 15mm Napoleonics finished for now, I’ve just had 4 battalions of Young Guard as a Christmas present but I suspect they are well down the painting queue. I have however made a start on the 28mm Russian hussars who’s horses I painted a few post ago

Posted in 15mm Napoleonics, AB 15mm Napoleonics | Tagged , | 10 Comments

15mm Prussian Napoleonic cavalry

Happy New year to all

Following on from the fast paint horses post I’ve managed to finish some of the cavalrymen in the past month. I’ve completed the 2nd Dragoon Regiment, The Leib Hussar regiment and the 1st Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment.

All are AB figures – the Leib Hussars, the 1st Silesian Landwehr Cavalry

The 2nd Dragoons

I’ve added an old Revo standard to the dragoons, but will get another from GMB next time I place an order and because I broke one of the lances on one of the Landwehr I just added a cut down infantry standard to cover and make up for this – Wargamer’s licence!

The Prussian cavalry is now looking reasonably strong when I add in the other dragoon  regiment that I painted a few months ago, though because of this the dragoon coats show quite a variation in colour! There are also 2 Cuirassier regiments that I painted earlier this year

The last picture shows that I couldn’t resist adding in the newest units today to a current game

From the remainder of the painted 15mm horses  completed earlier I have some Prussian commanders, French ADCs and a 12 strong unit of the New AB French Mamelukes to finish. I plan to tackle these next

Posted in 15mm Napoleonics, AB 15mm Napoleonics | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Speed Painting Horses

From talking to most wargaming friends its pretty obvious that one of our most common complaints or difficulties is actually getting units finished and painted so they can be used on the wargames table. Sometimes there is added pressure to complete a unit for a particular game for example but in the main what I hear mostly is the pressure to make inroads into reducing the size of that all too big leadpile.

This is commonly accompanied by groans about and complaints of how much time actually completing a unit takes. We complain of how glacial the pace of painting seems to be, coupled with the difficulty of turning a unit out with a respectable enough paint job given the quality of painted examples that we see on the internet today.

When that desired unit is a mounted one, some wargamers are even more reticent because of the additional time needed and the added discipline of painting  horseflesh to a good standard

With this is mind I wrote an article on speed painting horses for Miniature Wargames a few years ago which Henry Hyde the editor kindly published. So a few weeks ago when I decided I would paint a batch of 15mm Napoleonic cavalry I thought I would write another guide and post it here.

I’ve always found painting horses enjoyable and tend to paint them in large numbers when I do and on this occasion my original plan was to paint 3 regiments of Prussian Cavalry each of 24 figures – these consisted a regiment of dragoons, one of Hussars and a Landwehr  cavalry regiment. The figures themselves are of course 15mm AB figures from Eureka Miniatures sculpted by Tony Barton. I really do enjoy painting AB figures, the sculpts are so nice and seem to suit my painting style and the castings by Eureka have the barest minimum of flash.

I glued the horses to old bottle tops with PVA but then I thought what the hell, I just as well paint all my remaining AB cavalry and so added a few Prussian command figures, 12 of the new Imperial Guard Mamelukes and finally the French ADC set that Nic at Eureka kindly sent me as a present with my last birthday order – thanks again Nic!

I paint in large numbers because I find it quicker but most importantly to me its allows me to vary the individual horse colours quite considerably. I prefer the varied look this produces despite the fact that regulations in some armies of the time stipulated certain horse colours for particular regiments or squadrons. I’ve taken wargamers licence and ignored this. The second thing that I decided was that I wouldn’t paint many black horses as these weren’t heavy cavalry so I aimed for a range of browns.

As usual after washing the figures and preparing the figures I undercoat them with Humbrol Black enamel diluted with white spirit. When dry and ready I decided to chose a few basic colours to use as a basecoat to which I would add others in order to produce the colour variation in subsequent layers. I took the first few pictures and then unexpectedly at this point I thought I’d add some 28mm Horses as the technique used works for 28mm figures as well with the advantage that  the pictures might be clearer at the larger scale. To this end I’ve added some horses from Perry Miniatures – Russian Napoleonic Hussars to be precise

Step 1 – Get paint on the horse

As you can see from the size of the brush used, this is a coarse procedure with absolutely no finesse whatsoever. The idea is not to actually attempt to paint the horse accurately but rather just to get some paint on the horse or covering the horse. Use a side to side motion using a light flick of your wrist, just like when dry brushing, taking no notice of any detail. It doesn’t matter where you get the paint, the mane, tail, tack, its OK, the aim is to be quick, first covering one side then the other and then finally stab the horse a few times with a little paint on the brush to get at any crevices and the underside.

Hence its quick, I’m using a large brush with dilute paint in a side to side flicking motion – this is what makes it quick rather than trying to accurately use a fine brush to paint only the horse flesh, avoiding tack etc as one might ordinarily paint – that’s too time consuming and isn’t necessary. The results might look awful now but as we go on in the same manner the shading and quality comes. Agreed it won’t result in a prize in any painting competition but it will result in decent units on the table in a fraction of the time it would take with a more measured, accurate and usual painting technique.

I’ve used a range of basecoats, GW Mournfang brown (used to be bestial brown), Vallejo leather brown (from the Game colour range), VJ Cavalry Brown, VJ Flat brown and finally a dark VJ German Cammo Black Brown. I pick a random number of horses from each regiment and paint them all in one go, the different regiments are on different coloured or coded bottle tops. Doing this to each horse takes no more than 30 seconds

As I said the result looks pretty poor at this stage with relatively poor coverage and a bit of a mess!

Step 2 – Variation

As you will see in the pictures below a number of lighter colours are now added. Again this is done with a large brush, but this time with the paint only at the tip of the brush. Again a non accurate dry brushing flicking technique is used with the emphasis on speed. The paint should be thicker than used for the basecoat and mainly rubbed off on the worktop cover. The aim is just to get a little lighter paint on the raised or more prominent surfaces of the horse.

I suppose you could use triad paint systems for this, I don’t, I used a range of lighter colours as in the pictures. This painter on youtube has some interesting and helpful combinations but I didn’t follow these.

He also applies the paint accurately which is the opposite to what I’m advocating, his results are excellent but my main aim is speed. Again take a few horses from each regiment and a apply the second coats.

Here are a couple of combinations

Mournfang Brown with added orange, desert yellow and scrofulous brown

Leather Brown with desert yellow, Buff and pale sand for Palomino type horse.Dark browns are varied by adding the yellow, orange and cavalry brown. Cavalry brown is varied by adding red, orange and yellow. Black horses can also be lightened in this way with very small amounts of darker browns. At this point a range of Bays, chestnuts etc are beginning to appear. Again even more variation can be added by applying more or less of the lightening colour

Step 3 A dilute wash

I said there was little point in being accurate with the application of paint as the next step covers up any poorly covered areas. Generally I use a black wash – Army Painter Dark Tone as its no longer possible to get GW Badab Black which I thought was much better than their current washes as these are not easy to dilute.

Yes I agree looks even messier now and you go from this

to this!

Step 4- Second Highlight

Once the wash has dried repeat the second highlight step but this time with even less paint on the brush and a lighter flicking action barely making contact withe the surface of the horse. Now they’re beginning to look presentable

Step 5 – The time consuming step – painting tack, mane and tail and hooves. and now they are looking presentable at last. I cannot think of a way of speeding this up as the painting needs to be accurate, at least on the tack

(Stupidity confession moment – I decided to paint the shabraque on the 28mm horses to make the pictures appear a little better- unfortunately I forgot I was painting Hussars and applied a green colour thinking they were my mounted Jager horses! I will have to repaint them red)

There’s quite a bit of variation by now

Step 6- A bottom wash

This is the penultimate step and is essentially another black wash but just applied below the knees of the horses. Sometimes I use a dilute black paint rather than a wash for this. It has the advantage of producing dark lower legs which I think look good and is useful for cutting down on the need for painting white lower leg markings. At this stage I do give the same wash to the occasional horses mane and tail in the interest of yet more variety

Step 7 – The Final step – paint any individual markings including those on the face, the nose and the fetlocks if desired but most have already been adequately painted by the preceding step

So the end result and variations……

Starting with Mournfang Brown

With Leather Brown

Dark or Flat Brown

Cavalry Brown

And finally a group photo!

The colour variations are probably easier to see if you expand the pictures.

So, there we are, quick and easy. The emphasis is on speed using a dry-brushing technique

I got through 24 28mm horses and 101 15mm Horses in just a few sessions. I took the first pictures on the 21/11/18 and finished painting yesterday 1/12/18. I wish now I’d logged the exact number of hours

So now I’m off to paint some riders………………


Posted in 15mm Napoleonics, 28mm Napoleonics | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

ABC or Another Bloody Castle

Today we start the first leg of the journey home with a journey to Nottingham. This will entail a stop off at the Partizan show tomorrow and hopefully a visit to Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry on Monday. (oops update – this was true when I started writing this post a few months ago!) I promise not to visit any more castles because I’ve already seen plenty on the trip so far.

I’ve always wanted a castle – not a real one – just one for the wargames table and I keep on looking at those on offer from various manufacturers. I quite fancy something to use with my Crusade figures in 28mm and also the odd tower or keep for smaller scales. I remember re fighting the battle of Castalla  – a Napoleonic battle in Spain and bemoaning the fact that I did not have a suitable castle to put on the battlefield. Some time ago I made a decision to build my own, but like many things it never seems to get near the top of the “to do” list.

With this in mind I thought I’d get some ideas on what to build by taking some pictures whilst we were on our Cruise of the Rhine and Moselle. The banks of both rivers are littered by castles along their course. These are in various states of repair, with many having the building stone looted for other buildings by the locals. In the middle ages these served as bases for the local warlords, barons and bishoprics allowing them to control tracts of land and were often the bases of the “Robber Barons”. Many changed hands in the local wars but what I think was most surprising is how close together they were built. I remember one portion where I could see 3 castles on the same bank and all in a distance of less than 10 km. Each would of course have had a different owner and not necessarily be on friendly terms with their neighbours.

We started our trip in Amsterdam and used some free time to visit Muiderslot Castle just a short train ride outside the city . Steeped in Dutch history, and built by Count Floris V in 1280, this was one of the most pleasing that we saw from an aesthetic perspective and a real source of inspiration for a future scratch build.

As we moved down the lower Rhine Valley we came across innumerable other castles but irrespective of their state of repair I quite happily snapped away.

There were some interesting variations with the one on the left in the picture below having been converted to an hotel whilst the one on the lower right is actually not a castle

Its the entrance to a railway tunnel, the guide advised that these were constructed at tunnel entries during WWII in order to confuse or mislead allied bomber pilots whose orders were not to unnecessarily damage historical buildings!

Along the river banks a range of towers can also be found that initially served as toll gates

Many like the one above now serve as radar stations ensuring safe navigation for the abundant shipping

Bored with castles yet?

OK lets have a change

The first picture is an unfinished cathedral and the green guy? Well that’s old Blucher himself – a monument erected in his honour for kicking out the French in 1814 we were told.

Apologies, but were back to castles again but at least these are the really cool ones

Had enough, this is a beauty that unfolds as you sail past it – this is Rudesheim Castle

Now here’s a test to see if you are still awake

Which of the following is not a castle?

Just checking……. neither!

You don’t want me to show you pictures of churches just for a change do you? I thought not.

I’d hate you to think that I spent all my time looking at castles – after all we did look at and stop at some local towns such as Rudesheim, Cochem and Bernkastel. In Rudesheim there is a cable car that takes you to up the side of the hill  to the Niederwald monument commemorating the unification of the German states under Bismark and built between 1870 and 1880 after  the Franco-Prussian war

I suppose I’d best be getting back to Castles………………

For what its worth I wrote the above in May, its now November so perhaps not surprisingly I’ve forgotten much of the detail that I was told about the various castles. This next overlooks the town of Cochem –

One of the things I do recall is being told that this one had been used as a camp for Hitler Youth training in WWII

The castles themselves are daunting, the view from the top shows how commanding they must have been. What remains of the town walls or gate towers are impressive enough and the old town buildings themselves that they protected really are wonderful


I was also interested to see this plaque on one of the walls and recognise the coat of arms depicted as being pretty much similar to that one one of my Swiss Landsknecht flags

I was interested to see the fountain depicting the bears, another common sight on banners

Getting fed up of ruined castles? Well here are a couple of older ruins from the old Roman city of Triere

Here’s the old Porta Nigra

I could go on forever posting pictures of some of the other beautiful buildings in Triere, particularly the churches but at  this rate I’ll never get around to finishing the post

With that in mind I’ll skip Luxembourg City, Paris and leave you with pictures of a castle back home in wales – Chepstow Castle, bit of a contrast to some of the finery in the Rhine castles but an equally tough nut to crack no doubt but hopefully another example to give thought and inspiration to a would be model castle builder!





Posted in Holidays, medieval | Tagged | 12 Comments