Monday, 31 December 2012

Black Watch finished and a happy new year !

My finished Black Watch... A snapshot at least...
Finally I managed to get the last Highlanders finished. The basing is to be done but the painting is over. Thankfully! Although it was fun to paint those brave sons of Scotland a unit of 24 took it's time. Please excuse the poor picture I'll present a better one and some more information about the unit next week when I've got a little more time.

The Christmas week was rather busy. Fortunately my mother was able to leave the hospital -thanks for all your kind and caring comments! - and we had a merry Christmas Eve with my parents. Christmas Day we spent at my parents-in-law and on Boxing Day we had some members of our families at home. Three absolutely enjoyable just as much as exhausting days.

The time between Christmas and New Year belonged to the family as well. Since my wife and me hadn't to work for this week we were able to spent a lot of time with our daughter. By the way she is just learning how to handle paintbrushes and to chose the right colours for my redcoats.
Viktoria pondering about the right shade of red...

Well then... That's it with my last post of 2012.

I wish you all a happy new year and all the best for 2013. May you and your kin be blessed with luck and health and may all your aims be crowned with success!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A week reviewed and best wishes to spread

It has been quit here at Monty's Caravan for a couple of days. And this will be a really short update and sign of live alike.

The last week was a real hustle and bustle. The last presents for Christmas had to be bought, the home cleaned and the tree prepared. In addition my mother had to go to the hospital last week which caused a lot of sorrows. She has been coughing since November and finally it turned out that she got a pneumonia. We all hope that the antibiotics will help quickly and she may leave the hospital on Christmas Eve.

I regret that there aren't more news at the moment, but I hope for your understanding that painting got into the background momentarily, Hopefully I'll have more time after Christmas to tell you about the annual year-end closing event of our wargaming club where we played a funny game set in Ankh-Morpork. Furthermore I'm waiting for a parcel from Warlord Games with the new "Albion Triumphant" and there are some scotsmen to be finished soon...

However... I wish you and your kin a merry and blessed Christmas!
Viktoria's interpretation of being merry.   :-)
 Hopefully you'll get some moments of peace and silence during those stressful days.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Tutorial: Black Watch Tartan in 28mm

When I started my British Napoleonic project this spring I decided to muster some English as well as some Scots units. The thing I feared to by most difficult was the kilt. It turned out to be easier than I thought, but before I started to paint, I searched the world wide web for some help. There are only a few tutorials about tartan painting on 28mm miniatures, but John O'Brien's article from 2001 (read it here) was very useful for me.

To make things a bit easier for those who are as much beginner as I am on this domain, I want to present my way of painting the Black Watch tartan step-by-step. Please ignore the other parts of the miniatures since they are highly WIP. I'll post some pictures of the finished ones around Christmas I hope.

1.) Basecoat:

Basecoat of VMC 050 "Dark Pruss. Blue"
The basecoat of the Black Watch Tartan, the so called Gouvernment Set, is a dark blue. After some experiments I decided to use Vallejo Model Colour 050 "Dark Prussian Blue" on white undercoat.

Monday, 10 December 2012

North Africa snowbound, time for literature

Actually there was a Bolt Action game sheduled for Friday evening, but unfortunately heavy snowfall started to haunt the Rhine area on Friday morning. Therefore our host -who is living a bit rurally outside of Düsseldorf- decided to cancel this meeting because his home was snowbound temporarily and he judged it to unsave to visit him. On the one hand I was a bit disappointed because I was eager for playing with the recently finished Indians, but on the other he was completely right: Weather is more powerful than plans of battle.

However the Ruhr-area where I live was hit during the night from Friday to Saturday. Since the streets in the middle of the city where covered with a thick white blanket on Saturday morning, I can imagine how countryside might have looked...
Bochum covered with snow... A view outside our daughter's window.
However thereby I was able to do a little reading on Friday evening and finished the fantasy novel I was reading recently:

"Elfenwinter" (engl.: Elven Winter) is the second part of Bernhard Hennen's excellent saga about the elfish realm "Albenmark" and the elfish people that lives there and their widely ramified web of allies and foes.
In this volume he describes an episode which was a side event in this first part "Die Elfen" (The Elves): The last war between the Elves and the Trolls. The author describes the events from the point of view of different main characters on the different side:
- Ollowain an elfish knight and captain of the guard of Queen Emerelle

- Alfadas a duke from the Nordic Fjordland which is allied with the Elves of Albenmark

- Ogrim a trollish leader who fights in the army of King Branbard and ascends during the campaign

All characters are well designed and each and every of them has his good and bad features. I enjoyed the passages about Alfadas and his army most. The mixed host of fierce, Nordic warriors and pledged peasants and workmen is presented so impressively that I took those Norsemen in my heart. But the other passages of the book are equally enjoyable. The elvish queen is obscure and her aims unclear, while the Trolls are not a crowd of brainless man-easters, but a people with a prfound background. They don't wage that war because of bare bloodthirst but to avenge a crime which was done to their people ages ago...

In any case I honestly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in epic fantasy stories. Unfortunately it isn't available in English, but as far as I know it's translated into Italian, Dutch, Czech and Ukrainian. In German it's available as book (of course...), as e-book and a audio book (which is probably shortend I fear). The book is from 2005 and since then Bernhard wrote several sequels and coherent stories about Albenmark.
"Elfenlicht" (Elven Light) which is the next episode is definitely one of the next books on my list. Actually I started reading it last week but another book forged ahead:

For my collection of Napoleonic miniatures I've been working on a conversion miniatures for Major General (later Lt. Gen.) Sir Richard Hussey Vivian. Some weeks ago I found a biography about him on Amazon and ordered it right away. It was originally published by Claude Vivian, the 5th baron Vivian, one of the general's descendants. Mainly it's a collection of letters from General Vivian furnished with historical notes from the author.
Although I have only finished the first twenty pages or so it seems to be good reading material and gives an interesting view into the life of an officer during the Napoleonic wars.

The book is available as hardcover and softcover from Leonaur Ltd. I decided to buy the cheaper paperback and enclose it with self-adhesive foil to protect it. Unfortunately I bought a very low prized product for that and the process of applying it caused several ugly wrinkles and some nasty curses. But however it doesn't endamage the pleasure of reading too much.

Well then... I hope you enjoyed that somehow unusual post and perhaps you became interested in one (or each) of the books I've enjoyed a lot. Later this week I plan to post a short tutorial about painting kilts.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Some Indian Infantrymen finished

Tomorrow evening we'll have another game of 20mm Bolt Action. The game will be set in North Africa around 1942 and the DAK will have to fight against some of Monty's Desert Rats. While a fellow provided most of the miniatures I have to bring in some makeshifts to complete the British.

Therefore I painted some Indish infantry rather quickly. Those boys will man a 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun which will teach the Germans what fear is:
I really like those guys since it was my very first attempt to paint dark skin.
The miniatures are from good old Britannia and I ordered them years ago. I used the following colours to paint the boys:
  • Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) "Dark Sand" for the uniforms
  • VMC "Leather Brown" for the skin
  • VMC "Leather Brown" + Citadel "Elf Flesh" for the skin highlights (two steps)
  • VMC "British Uniform" for the socks
  • VMC "German Camouflage Beige" for the webbing
  • Vallejo Game Colour "Black" for the shoes
Between the basic coats of paint and the highlights I used my good old friend Armypainter Quickshade (Dark Tone) once more.

Well then... I'm prepared for tomorrow evening and will keep my fingers crossed that the luck of battle will be with us rather than with the Germans...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Weekly News: Introducing the Headless Horseman

Last weekend was very special. Instead of whirling the brushes I took my camera and visited some fellows to hold an extensive photo shooting. It was great to try out different configurations of aperture and shutter speed to influence overall impression and depth of field. I took more 60 pictures and haven't sorted them all until now. Mayby I'll come back to this topic next week and present some of the pictures.

Yesterday evening I spent some tim at the workbench. I continued to paint the highlanders and found out that there are two or three things I really hate at those lads. It's not the kilt as you might have guessed, but those bloody checks on the socks and the hatband as well as the ruddy white loops all over the british jackets.

After I had enough of those tiny things and my smudgy tries to paint them tidyly I turned my attention to a new project which fits in my hussars (which still have to be finished...) very well:
Some time ago I was looking for some British command figures for my (very slowly) growing collection. Unfortunately there are only a few options besides Wellington, Picton and Uxbridge which are made by nearly every manufacturer. Since I needed a rather universal Hussar general I decided to try a little conversion. After some research I discovered that Col. Heymes from the Perry set of Ney's staff (here) should work. The horse furniture and blanket are fine for British horses and the hussar uniform is rather universal to. There are only three outstanding things to correct: Heymes head and his arms which have a noticable embroydery near the sleeves.

Here's how I prepared him yesterday evening:
Colonel Heymes lost his head, but he'll gain some parts of the British plastic hussars.
Once finished the guy shall personate Major General Sir Richard Hussey Vivian who commanded the 6th British Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo. I got inspired by this picture (link) and want stay close to it. Since it is said of hin that he lead his brigade to the deciding charge against Napoleon's Old Guard very fierily I thought that Heymes' aggressiv pose should fit very well. There are two minor mistakes which I'll leave because I'm not skilled enough to redo them: The ammunition pouch is a bit unusual for a British general and most of the time they are shown with leggins and hessian boots rather than with overall trousers.

What do you think of the plan?
I'll try to get the conversion done while I'm still on the highlanders and then paint him together with the hussars and his ADC Capt. Edward Keane of the 7th Hussars. Hopefully they'll make a nice command base for my British light cavalry or a mixed cavalry brigade until I finished more units...