Sunday, 12 May 2019

SYW French Bercheny Hussars

After four and half months I've finally finished my SYW Bercheny Hussars project! I started this unit way back in the Christmas holidays, but for some reason I procrastinated with then and was enticed away to other small side projects. I think it was the thought of painting all that white lace type stuff that put me off. I got the Front Rank figures for this unit in a second-hand bulk buy of some poorly painted troops (minus horses) at the local wargaming swap-meet a couple of years ago. After a soak in some nappy cleaning solution I was able to discard with the old enamel paint and prepare them for re-painting, but I needed to purchase some new Front Rank horses to go with them.
Although the figures are actually SYW Prussian Hussars, I decided that with the Mirleton felt cap that they could pass for a French hussars unit if you don't look too hard. The bugler is not in the historical regular dress of the Bercheny Hussars, but I can live with that.
The bulk buy of poorly painted figures from the local swap-meet from which the troops from the new unit originally come from. The rest will probably end as Hessian and Hanoverian hussars.

The newly painted, but not totally historically correct, French Bercheny Hussars.

The officers of this unit were distinguishable from the troops by wearing red trousers

Although not quite fitting the historical dress of the buglers of this unit, I think this bloke fits in nicely with his feathered hackle on his Mirleton cap.

The flag may not be historically correct either, but it was the closest I could get from the GMB flag French SYW cavalry range. It is marketed as a dragoon guidon, but I think it looks the part. 

I'm quite happy with the look obtained by using shading washes on the faces, followed by touching up the highlights afterwards. To be honest, at my age I'm just happy to be able to see such detail.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

'Bring out ya dead!'

Something that I've never had enough of in my miniature forces are casualty markers. I know that some choose to use dice in calculating the 'wastage' from combat in their units, but I reckon that distracts from the aesthetics of a well-presented wargame. To rectify this, I've recently purchased a bunch of War Bases MDF casualty counting-bases which are perfect for mounting 28 mm figures. These circular bases cater for up to 12 casualties per unit and look great on the table next to engaged troops. At this point I intend to have one of these casualty bases for each individual unit in all my 'Horse and Musket' armies. I highly recommend them. All the figures are from Front Rank.
SYW/ FIW British casualty markers

British and French casualty markers for my Peninsula armies
42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) casualty for the mid 1740s period. Note the buff sleeve facings which changed to Royal Blue in the late 1750s

French SYW/ FIW casualties. The blue coated figure is for the Royal Ecossois, while the red coated figure is for Lally's regiment of the famed Irish Brigade. I'm currently painting up this regiment, which has a special significance for me as one of my ancestors led a picquet from this unit at Culloden...and survived!   

Another recent purchase is a couple of Teddy bear fur terrain mats from Killing Fields in the US. Previously I wasn't sure whether I liked the Teddy Bear fur effect until one of the other Southern Strategist hosted a 28 mm game that changed my mind. They even come with complementary combs to gain the desired effect. The standard size is 7ft x 5ft  size and they weren't cheap to post to NZ, but I'm sure I will get years of use out of them.

Until next time!    

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Minor Projects in the Mess

It's been a while since my last post and that's mainly because my painting output has been on a 'go slow' of late. That's not say that I haven't been plodding along on my projects. I started painting a unit of French SYW hussars during the Christmas holidays and, sadly, they still have not been finished as the amount of white lace required has created a small psychological hurdle that I'm yet to get over...maybe this week will see them completed. However, I have managed to finish a couple of minor projects along the way. I've put together a couple of 4Ground American Frontier two-storey cabins that will see plenty of action in my FIW, AWI and ACW campaigns. I've also painted up a couple of single-based characters as quick-to-paint side projects as a distraction from painting big units. These include a mounted Hessian general and a Jacobite artillery stand for my '45 project.
The completed 4Ground cabins with added mdf bases

This represents a French (Canadian) style cabin with the planks mounted vertically

This cabin is built in the style used by British colonial settlers with horizontal planking

A freshly painted Front Rank Hessian general. I must remind myself to brush away all the loose grass fibres that collected on the model before applying the protective varnish next time.

Front Rank Jacobite artillery ready for action. The cannon is a re-cycled second hand item, very much like the artillery the Jacobites used in the early actions of the '45. 

The cabins under construction with other projects in the background

Another wee side project that I've nearly finished is working on increasing the number of tree stands for my games. The cheapest and most practical trees I've found have come from our local Christmas Shop here in Christchurch. The tree on the right is how they are when first purchased, while the one on the left looks more realistic after it has been dipped in a solution of  watered down PVA and then sprinkled with grass flock. All I have to do now is paint the bases and mount them.

Until next time!

Friday, 4 January 2019

Napoleonic French Gendarmes a Pied in 28mm

On the very last day of 2018 I finally finished my last painting project of the year, the much neglected Gendarmes a Pied for my Napoleonic French army in the Peninsular. These superb Brigade Games figures were purchased to defend my blockhouse model and to take on my British light troops and Spanish guerrillas. Sadly, they languished in various states of semi-paintedness for far too long. However, now that they are done I'm happy with the result. I love the dynamic poses and they will provide a bit of spice to my French force.

I'm not sure whether Napoleon ever awarded the Gendarmes a pied with an Eagle, and even if he did, it would have most likely been stored safely in a barracks somewhere instead of being carried in the field. However, my battalion of gendarmes will carry an Eagle into battle as I intend to use them as a formed battalion on occasions, as well as fighting in skirmish formation.    

 I've got another week off before having to return to work after the festive season, so the new projects for 2019 are getting a kick-start. Look out for a freshly painted unit of SYW French Hussars in my next post.

Until next time!     

Saturday, 1 December 2018

28mm Redoubt model

Over the last couple of months I seem to have lost my figure-painting 'mojo', with my current project of painting up a battalion of Napoleonic French Gendarmes-a-pied taking forever. However, as a wee side project I've built a 28mm redoubt to house my 4Ground blockhouse. This ties in with the Gendarmes project as I intend this unit to be defending blockhouse in a future Peninsular campaign.
Inspired by Paul Darnell's book, 'Touching History: Recreating History in Miniature - The Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular War', I built the redoubt model along the lines Paul uses. I cut a 12 inch square piece of insulation foam board, cut out the middle and then glued the outer piece onto an MDF base. I then cut out strips of  balsa for the interior planking and glued them in. The final touch was to use filler to plug any gaps between the base and the insulation foam. I used a Black & Decker 'Mouse' sander to get the round edging of the embankment.     
The next step was to glue some railway flocking to give some texture to the embankment. I then painted the whole model with a dark brown base paint (cheap water-based stuff) and then dry brushed both the planking (light grey) and the ground (light brown). I wanted the redoubt to look as though it had been built for some time, so I was looking for the wood work to seem a bit weathered.  

This is the redoubt completed. I had initially intended to have defensive stakes coming out of the sides of the embankment, but decided that this would probably be a bit impractical in storing and transporting the the toothpicks I was going to use would probably easily break off over time.   

The beauty of this model is that I can use it for many periods and it will fit in nicely with my Napoleonic, AWI, ACW and SYW forces. Paul Darnell uses a drawbridge as a defence measure for the entrance to the redoubt, but I will keep it simple by making a couple of cheveax-de-fris to block it. 

I've added the 4Ground blockhouse to show how I intend to use the model. I made sure that I had enough space to to fit my infantry bases between the embankment and the blockhouse before I cut the foam out at the start. 

I can also use the model as an artillery redoubt, as seen here with my late 17th century Jacobites in Ireland.
   This was really easy to make and I hope it has inspired others to have a crack at simple terrain building. I've already got some other terrain project ideas that will keep me busy over the festive season.

Until next time - Yuletide felicitations to all! 

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Battle of Cowpens in 28mm at the Mess

It was nice to get my 28mm AWI troops out for bash at the Mess when the Southern Strategists met for a game this week. The game was loosely based on the battle of Cowpens in 1781 and the rules were a variation of  Lion Rampant. Unfortunately, due to a combination of  a slight miscalculation in making the rebel militia too strong in defence and poor dice throwing on the part of the attacking commanders of His Most Britannic Majesty's forces (of which I was one), the game only lasted an hour! We did manage to follow history in having the British force defeated, but unlike the real battle, the British only made it to the second line of defence before capitulating. I managed to get a few photos of the action before our troops disappeared from the table.
The centre of the British line as it advanced towards the rebels in the distance. The unhistorical von Munchausen-by-Proxy Hessian Grenadiers (in the foreground) formed the reserve.  

The centre of the rebel defence, with militia in the first line, State units in the Second, and Continental regiments formed in the rear. They never got to fire a shot.

The British light infantry and grenadiers advance on the left flank and should have made light work of the militia...if only they had without sustaining heavy casualties.

The rebel commander showing confidence in dealing with the enemy. 

These are Rodger's superbly painted Eureka Miniatures rebel militia. They proved to be a harder nut to crack than in the real battle.

The British light infantry push back the rebel militia, with things looking quite promising for British at this point. 

British Legion dragoons outflanking a rebel unit on the British right flank. Sadly, too many of Tarleton's boys were shot from their saddles and the unit was destroyed. 

The light infantry charging the militia, and like their counterparts on the right flank, they too suffered heavily and were destroyed.   

What a sorry sight! The British only had two units left after seeing off the militia. Now I know how Tarleton felt having to quit the field after receiving 'a damn good thrashing.'

Until next time!