Monday, November 30, 2015

Edward Montagu's Regiment of Foote

The first unit to roll off the new painting block is done and ready for the base-work to be applied. Here's Edward Montagu's Regiment of Foot, of the Eastern Association.


These are Pendraken Miniatures 10mm figures. I did think the russet uniforms would make for a boring-looking formation, but on the whole it works en-masse. I did mix musketeers in caps with those in broad-brimmed hats, and painted a few figures with britches of muted blue, black, greys and so on. The armoured pikemen break things up some more. The pikes are mounted on one base for convenience, and have a first and second rank of eight figures. The command is in the rear rank along with two unarmoured pikemen. I stuck with a musketeer to pike ratio of 3:2, which was fairly typical of the early war.

Next up on the painting block is a Royalist regiment of foot. I'm thinking of making it Richard Bolle's (later Sir George Lisle's) Regiment. Their flag was white, but details on their coat colour vary - some sources say red, others blue. As they were part of the King's Oxford Army, I will plump for blue.

The Royalists had a hard time recruiting and equipping their troops. A Royalist foot regiment would typically have a musketeer to pike ratio of 1:1 if they were lucky - some units went into action with clubs and billhooks. I'm going to noodle around with the number of figures and see what looks good. I want to reflect the period, but I don't want to make Royalist regiments too small to take on their Parliamentarian equivalent.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Day once more here in the US. We'll be heading over to friends soon for the traditional meal.

Wargaming-wise, I'm making progress with painting the ECW figures. As mentioned before I'm building up the Army of the Eastern Association, and I chose to begin with Edward Montagu's regiment of foot. The musketeers are now finished and in the early basing stage, and the pike and command element are on the painting block and undercoated.

I did put an officer with the musketeers, but decided in the end to keep with just the one command element, which explains the missing man space at the rear of the right-hand base.

Montagu's regiment was issued russet uniforms. Now, I always thought russet had a lot more of a reddish tint than it subsequently proved to have...

Let's face it, it's bloody near khaki, and not the most exciting colour for a uniform. I decided to break things up a little and have some figures wearing muted blues, greens and rusty black here and there, and it seems to have worked.

I did toy with the idea of having the command element as a separate base so they could 'lead units into battle,' but decided for convenience to base them with the pike block. The pike block itself will be a single base and have a frontage of eight figures three ranks deep, with the commander, standard and drummer in the rear rank where they'd naturally be in the course of battle. In the ECW the better armoured troops were placed in the first two ranks and that's what I'll do, with a couple of unarmoured pikemen in the rank with the commander.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Painting block for 10mm figures

We have a dusting of snow on the ground and the garden is put to bed for the year. Having a bit more spare time now I thought I'd make a painting block suitable for painting 10mm figures, specifically my shiny new ECW collection. The block I already have is best for 15mm-28mm figures, and those poor little 10mm blokes look lost on it.

It's a simple design, based on one a friend of mine uses. Take a block of scrap wood, drill a series of holes in it, fill holes with a number of galvanized nails, and glue the figures to the nail heads using a hot glue gun. The nails make it easy to grip and maneuver the figures to get at all angles with your paintbrush. Bob's your auntie's significant other!

This block will take 45 nails, but I'll typically use fewer than that to allow a bit of handling space. The inaugural batch of figures to grace the block are musketeers for a Parliamentarian regiment of foot. These are Pendraken Miniatures.

I'll paint these up as Edward Montagu's regiment of the Eastern Association, which was raised in Cambridgeshire and issued with russet-red coats. Being early-war Parliamentarian they'd have roughly a 3:2 or 2:1 muskets to pike ratio, which I'm going to represent with 24 musketeer figures to 18 pike, including the command element.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

ECW Shininess

I'm back from a family event in southern Florida, with long road-trips through the south-eastern states there and back. Travel takes its toll and I feel like ten miles of rocky road - but! The mailman delivered my Pendraken ECW order today!

ECW shinies in all their glory.
The figures are clean-cast and have a nice heft to them without feeling or looking clunky. Sometime in the next few days I'll clean off what few pieces of flash there are on the bases, bung 'em in the soapy water to soak, then have at them with the paint. Something to look forward to.

In the meantime, I'm going to press on with a new project - river sections for the tabletop. These are an experiment I'm trying out, using lengths of clear plastic packaging material bound with thin strips of wood as stiffeners. The aim is to make the banks as low profile as possible so they don't stand too proud of the table surface. I'm toying with the idea of sealing off the ends with masking tape and pouring a thin layer of Envirotex Lite epoxy varnish mixed with a little blue acrylic ink onto the plastic. Once the varnish has set the tape is removed. The varnish should stick in place and show the surface beneath (which will be either green or brown anyway - both natural river colours), tinted a watery blue colour by the ink.  

The banks are covered with liquid nails adhesive, the kind you get in those cartridges that fit inside an extruder gun. I press this down (it takes a bit of work to get the stuff to stick to the surface, but perseverance pays), then sprinkle sand on top and press that into the adhesive. In the photo above are (left-right) the basic piece of clear plastic, a piece with the wooden splints glued into place using epoxy adhesive, and a piece with liquid nails smeared on and sanded. I used green sand to show the effect more clearly in the photo, but I'll use plain sand, paint and flock to get the final result.  The section above is a river bend in the making.

I've cut enough sections to stretch over five feet - the width of my gaming board plus a foot or so of bends and so on. The river should work in either N-scale as a river, or in larger scales as a stream. An N-scale bridge and ford will make an appearance somewhere once I've worked out my ideas on how to make the sections.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Je me souviens Paris

My wife and I were travelling down to Florida for a family event when the dreadful incident occurred, so I was unaware of it until now. The horror which was visited upon a city I know and love has left me shocked and saddened. My sympathies and condolences go to the people of Paris, especially those who lost loved ones. As a tribute to the indomitable spirit of that beautiful city and the citizens of France, here is the singing of La Marseilles from the movie Casablanca.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thistle do for trees

So, I've finished a batch of one dozen N-scale trees for gaming, with another dozen in the preparation stage. The thistle head method is generally working, although dealing with spiky bits whilst trying to trim the bloody things down to a safe level is a trial. Attaching the flock with spray adhesive is also problematic. It's not as strong a bond as it could be, except when gluing fingers to any loose object in the vicinity; then it works just fine...

Anyway, one vital step is to remove all seeds from the head. This takes some time. The cache shown below is from the next batch of twelve alone.

If this step isn't taken, given the right conditions the seeds will germinate, and you'll have odd tendrils appearing through the foliage! Unless you're gaming some kind of Weird War or Cthulhu scenario, it's probably not something that's desired.

Once the adhesive is dry, I paint the trunks a neutral shade of beige and attach them to circular card bases using hot glue. A spray over with cheap green paint helps stick the flock to the trees, although they still tend to shed if handled roughly. The bases are then painted. I gave mine a simple coat of green craft acrylic with a few brown splotches for soil. I'm not going for great detail here as I find it isn't required - a case of seeing the wood but not the trees once they're deployed on the tabletop. The whole process takes a couple of days for things to dry/set, etc, but the result isn't bad at all.

Those fine chaps at Pendraken Miniatures have emailed to let me know my ECW figures order is on the way. It's a courtesy I appreciate, because it means I can arrange for the order to be safely gathered in ready for me to get my sticky fingers on. I must do something about that bloomin' spray adhesive...


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