Lest we Forget

As I previously mentioned I’m currently on a Rhine river cruise and my next intention had been to make a post about castles – it seems only fair as I’ve seen so many!

However, we took an excursion today to Luxembourg City but to my surprise we stopped at the American Military Cemetery en route. My understanding from the local guide was that much of this was the consequence of the fighting in the Ardennes and nearby Bastogne

This was quite a sobering experience really, perhaps more so because it was an unexpected stop off with the guide announcing than this was also the resting place of General Patton

As you see from the attached pictures the place was immaculately kept with the entrance gates and imposing monument near the entrance setting the sombre scene. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that it wasn’t long before my eyes had filled up and that tears were rolling. I remember wondering if there were more graves than flowers on this Rhododendron

I’ve always intended to visit Normandy and assumed that I would visit a military cemetery with its long rows of crosses one day but this was totally unexpected. What had the greatest impact on my emotions that day was not so much the number of crosses but the variation in what units these men had served and where they all came from. The graves from men from various infantry divisions were mixed with those of armoured divisions, airborne troops and the USAF.

There were two large plaques that provided a tactical overview of the battle of Bastogne outlining clearly what units had been engaged along with another depicting the Normandy Landings.

I probably had a lot more understanding of the battle and Normandy Campaign than many others on the trip but thought that the provision of this information reflected the genuine care and meticulous approach that liberated European countries have towards the descendants of those men that gave their lives in both world wars.

 

The guide indicated that there had been some considerable fuss about where Patton was to be buried with some initial insistence that he be buried in a Cathedral befitting his rank. It now seems wholly appropriate that his own wish was fulfilled and that he is buried with those men under his command

Lest we forget

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Posted in Holidays, WW2 | Tagged | 3 Comments

A Riot of Colour

Not quite what you might have been expecting I suppose, I just thought that I’d post a few pictures that I took at Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam a few days ago. The pictures above are from the surrounding tulip growers’ fields

I’m currently on holiday and this was the first part of a Rhine & Moselle river cruise with Avalon Waterways

The Kekenhof Garden is an annual flower show where various growers display their wares and was breathtaking so worth sharing I felt so here are a few more. Lets just say I was looking for inspiration in order to tackle some Landsknecht units

I suppose I’d better restore the balance as I suspect reading the title suggests that one might expect to see some brightly painted units. So here we are, I’ve dug a few out of the archives! Couldn’t find the most colourful of all my Landsknecht so I’ll keep looking though I know I have a fair few on my photobucket page

Next up will be about a million pictures of castles that I’ve seen in the past few days

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Perry and Warlord Russian Napoleonic infantry

It seems a bit strange to be posting pictures of my latest efforts from an hotel room in Amsterdam but its better than falling asleep.

We arrived here 2 days ago and the jet lag is quietly receding though I seem to have spent most of my time to date dodging speeding cyclists, so rather than have another nap this afternoon before dinner I thought I might compose another blog post. After a couple of glasses of red in a wine bar, a rather nice Grenache from France and a blended red from Stellenbosch in South Africa, I ask for your indulgence on any typing errors

Before we left NZ I’d planned to paint a battalion each of some plastic Napoleonic 28mm Russian Napoleonic infantry. Part of the reason was to help me to decide as to which of the two manufacturers I would use to expand my collection. To date I have 3 boxes of Warlord’s figures, (enough for 4 battalions of 32 figures each as I’d bough some extra metal command) along with 2 boxes of the Perry Plastic boxes.

I enjoy painting but I’m a rather poor modeller I’m afraid.  I can’t say that I enjoyed trimming the sprues and glueing them together but in truth this is not at all onerous and well worth the cost saving with plastic compared to metal. Some people seem to delight in using this time with plastic figures as an opportunity to make all sorts of unique conversions but it holds nothing but frustration for me as I seem to glue everything to my fingers. So apart from confining myself to the odd turn or tilt of the head I just stuck them together using the 1812 kiwer and occasional forage cap.

Its this aspect rather than anything else about the figures that have already helped me make up my mind which I prefer already – The Warlord Command figures are metal and I really did not enjoy putting the metal figures together – I found the arms did’t align too well with the shoulder straps on some officers but in all honesty it was the overall effort of getting epoxy and bluetack to behave that was the issue. It probably didn’t help that I was trying to stick a battery of their metal artillerymen together at the same time.

I undercoated the metal figures with black Humbrol enamel as I usually do (but after meting some Perry plastic French a few years ago trying the same) I used Vallejo black primer for the first time ever and I was pleased not only by the coverage, but also the short time  and ease in which this was done.

I completed the Perry Battalion first, choosing the summer uniform with white breeches.The figures were  blockpainted with VJ Russian Green tunics, pale sand breeches then tackling the black packs etc before finally being given a black wash and the highlighted as needed when dry. They probably took around 10 days to finish.

Next onto the Warlord figures doing exactly the same, except that I gave them black or winter gaiters so  I think these took marginally less time to finish.

These are slightly bigger as you can see in the first picture below with the Perry command on the left as you look at the picture and the Warlord Command on the right. Unfortunately I don’t seem to have a picture showing both battalions together from the front. In the second picture showing the backs, the Perry figures are on the right

 

Either way I enjoyed panting both, having no particular preference for either manufacturer and feel when finished they both look good.

The one drawback I think for me are the Warlord Command figures, the pose of the officers being almost hunched forward is less pleasing I think and in the end probably means that the bulk of the infantry when complete will end up being from the Perry range.

An additional drummer is present in this battalion because I used one from a metal command figures blister I’d bought

Both manufacturers deserve credit for the flags, the ones illustrated with the battalions came with each box.

For some reason I like my finished battalions to have additional officers and more than the one drummer that comes in each  box. I see that its possible to get additional command sprues separately, so I’ll go down that road and who know, rather than throw away the extra standard bearer this generates I might get out the knife and miliput or green stuff!

Posted in 28mm Napoleonics | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Over the hill

In many famous battles, topography or perhaps more specifically a ridge line was an important feature. I’ve always found this difficult to replicate on the tabletop principally because I’ve only had a series of hills that I could put together

To rectify this I decided that I would build a series of ridge boards that would be interchangeable and large enough to run down at least one side of a 12 foot table.

I put these together from some foam boards completing them in the same way as I did when I tarted up my TSS tiles a few years ago using PVA, sand and grit. The intention was they should match my baseboards, be easy to store and imposing enough  but contoured sufficiently to allow 15mm figure bases to stand without sliding of falling over

In order to make them interchangeable I marked the edge of each board with a template cut from MDF and then used an hot wire cutter and  blades to shape each one. I figured that there might be times when I wanted a ridge to end in the middle of a table so cut some end pieces and also varied the length of each board so I could vary the length of the ridge if I didn’t want it to occupy the whole table edge. The template result means that at least on their edges each board has the same depth which I suppose is a disadvantage and decided to make one end of the ridge a little steeper and the other edge a little more gentle

The boards were cut with some difficulty then covered in my usual PVA and grit mix and allowed to bake dry in the NZ sun! I added a few off cuts to some but have left others deliberately flat so I can stand additional hills on them. They vary in width from 20 to 70 cm

Once dry these were painted brown with a cheap acrylic paint mix and then dry brushed so they matched the base boards and my figure bases. When dry flock was added. The union between each board looks reasonable enough I think

 

I had a spare board or two and decided to make 2 special sections that would allow me to run these into some TSS low hill sections that I have so I cut a template from these to match.

Finally once I’d finished I felt that my ridge was too uniform in depth. Consequently I’ve since built 2 more sections, one  is deeper than the rest to allow the template to start at the back of one side and end at the front of the other so I can use this to bring the ridge forward. The other is intended to act as a kind of pass through a ridge

Finally to complete my terrain board set up I’ve made a few base boards with a stream along with a 1/2 size river board and a stream running into a river board. All I have to do now is to get some realistic water to finish these off

I think I’ll play a game of General D’Armee next and see if I can get the British and their Spanish allies off that ridge!

 

 

Posted in 15mm Napoleonics, On the workbench, Wargaming Terrain | Tagged , | 7 Comments

15mm Napoleonics to start the New year – ABC or is it ADC?

Bit of a late start to 2018 I know

Yes it’s already February and there’s not been a blog post yet. I do have an excuse though…….

Please Sir but I’ve been busy, busy painting you see – yes 15mm Napoleonics.

It all started in the New Year when I have a bit of time off, I decided to tackle what was waiting in the 15mm Napoleonic lead pile. I felt I needed a break after completing 4 battalions of 28mm SYW Austrians

I started by painting all the horse flesh first, all 131 of them! Then onto the riders in units of 24 or 12. First out of the stalls came the AB Prussian Dragoons, followed by the Silesian and East Prussian Cuirassiers. I found the inspiration from Paul Alba’s blog http://napoleonicsinminiature.blogspot.co.nz/

Not only is his painting sublime but his photography is so clear. A real inspiration for 15mm Napoleonic fans. I wish I could manage such good photos

Next in line were some old Minifig French Cavalry that I first painted in 1983 but was so ashamed of that I dipped them in paint stripper a year or so ago and have only now got around to repainting

These were followed by the AB Prince of Orange Staff set and I happened to find some sample figs that Nic had sent me some time ago – Dutch Belgian Cuirassiers – a trooper and an officer – I found some spare AB horses and have morphed them into a command stand for my Minifig Dutch Belgians

An old figure of Davout has been sitting on a base somewhat forlorn for a bit so I added a 2 figures – a mounted officer and a chasseur to keep him company. Lets be honest his glasses look pretty awful and probably need a repaint!

Whilst rummaging around in the spares box I found some AB Guard drummers and a Guard Horse Grenadier standard bearer that I bought intending to try and create a band with mounted kettle drummers years ago whilst visiting Eureka in Melbourne.

Deciding after all that time that it isn’t really going to happen I gave them a lick of paint and added an ADC from the new AB French ADC pack http://abfigures.com/command/1432-mounted-adcs-in-action.html

Here’s the result, I just need a standard now to finish the base off – Napoleon having sent off an ADC to get the drummers to knock up a tune to send the troops forward

 

These ADC figures are superb and I left these until last. I doubt that I have ever enjoyed painting a set of figures as much as I enjoyed painting these. Tony Barton is a genius!

Here they are as best as I can show them off with photos taken out in the sunshine before basing rather than in the wargames room

I added 2 to accompany an old and lonely figure of General Lasalle and another to accompany a spare French Line Lancer figure and the remaining 4 in  two pairs

They probably look better when leading scurrying around and leading troops forward though! The last picture illustrates some of my older AB French Command by the way

I hope anyone painting these gets as much enjoyment from them as I did

Hopefully the next blog post is not too far away – a Waterloo like ridge

 

Posted in 15mm Napoleonics, AB 15mm Napoleonics, On the workbench | Tagged | 11 Comments

Off the workbench – The Austrian Experiment 2

Finally after a busy time at work I’ve managed to complete 2 Austrian infantry battalions

Both are by Crusader Miniatures and as discussed in an earlier post were undercoated white rather than my usual black. The second unit with the blue facings were completed in a different way to that described in the Austrian Experiment 1.

This time I block painted in the same usual colours for the faces , facings and equipment etc but before washing with dark done I painted the coats and leggings in Vallejo Buff colour and then highlighted with buff and pale sand after the wash

I hadn’t realised but there is quite a difference between the coat colours of the first unit Regiment IR1 (red facings) and the second (blue facings) IR7.

 

I’m still not sure what to do so I’ll probably end up with a dozen or so Austrian infantry battalions each in a different shade of white!

A further dilemma was whether to paint the 1757 uniform version or the 1762 version – the latter has more of the facing colour present on the turnbacks and waistcoat.

The kronoskaf links highlight this : –

http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Kaiser_Infantry

http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Neipperg_Infantry

On reflection I think I prefer the latter and I think I’ll paint the next unit off the workbenchline in the 1762 uniform so that will mean even more variation.

I think it is likely to be more attractive but the other honest reason is that I can’t really say that I’m enjoying painting all this white.

A third unit has been started, whilst the cavalry has now been de -flashed and along with some Prussian AB 15mm Napoleonic cavalry are awaiting undercoating

Posted in On the workbench, Seven Years War | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Austrian Experiment – painting white

I’ve just made a start on my Crusader Miniatures Austrian SYW infantry, but before getting right into it I thought I’d paint a few test figures.

My dilemma has been how to represent the white colour in the Austrian uniform. My 15mm Napoleonic Austrians are just painted in white, I completed them a few years ago so its likely to be an old GW white

This contrasts with the colours of this Austrian Grenadier and Cuirassier that I took in the Vienna Military Museum

So for the moment I’ve decided to paint my SYW Austrians as more than an off white.

The next problem to overcome is the fact that normally when I paint I undercoat beforehand in black enamel and then after finishing the basic colours I use a black wash before applying final highlights. I find the black wash adds depth to a figure but of course means that I often almost have to re paint the lighter colours on a figure.

Hence I took a decision to undercoat the figures in white and then painted everything except for the white crossbelts and uniforms. As this is IR 1 with red facings I also varied the red using Vallejo flat red, VJ Red and a mix of VJ Red and VJ Hull Red but found the former too light and the latter too dark.

I decided to experiment with a range of “white” uniform colours after completing all the basic colours except for the white parts. The cross belts in the following photos are all painted with VJ off white

From left to right we have VJ Ivory, VJ Iraqi sand and pale sand highlight, VJ Iraqi sand and VJ off white highlight

Next VJ Buff with pale sand highlight, VJ Buff and VJ Off white highlight and finally on the right VJ Beige with an off white highlight

Top row ivory then Iraqui sand base followed by buff and beige

To be honest I’m not sure that there’s a huge difference in the figures with the exception of the ivory and worth the effort and angst!

 

 

Posted in On the workbench, Seven Years War | Tagged , | 2 Comments