Saturday, 26 April 2014

Painting Table Saturday #25

Another saturday another short newsflash from my workbench. Besides some backgrond projects lurking around in the corner of my painting table there two thinks which I'll finish next:

Some little progress on Fran's highlanders. They are really fun to paint since Paul Hicks made some excellent and characterful skulpts. Next are the socks and the final highlights, then basing and they'll take a trip to good old England.
A scenery piece for my SAGA collection. Actually I've been working on it quite for a while and to be honest I don't like painting terrain pieces too much. Therefore such things take rather long until I finish them. Anyway this Dark Ages cottage is a very nice building by Stronghold terrain. Finally the paintjob is coming to an end and I'll try my very first teddy fur covered roof rather soon.

Enjoy your weekend !

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Many thanks to the Kind Lurker !

As you all know Salute 2014 took place about two weeks ago. This year the South London Warlords were offering a very nice special miniature: Commander Colin Maud sculpted by Michael Perry. A miniatures under which's spell I was from the moment I saw a preview picture of it painted by luminary Kevin Dallimore. Therefore I sent an appeal for help three weeks ago hoping that one of the fellows visiting Salute might have a spare copy of the figure they wouldn't need. Fortunately an Irish gentleman affirmed that.

Although he calls himselv The Angry Lurker I experienced him very kind and helpful. Yesterday I received a letter from the UK and what he put inside simply delighted me:
When I opend the envelop I found even more than the desired treasure. In addition Fran sent me Kevin Dallimore's painting guide and a special edition counter by Warbases. I didn't even know that the latter existed so I was exceedingly excited by this nice surprise.

Many, many thanks to you, Kind Lurker !

Still faltering I proceeded with painting the rude Scotsmen. Hopefully I'll have them finished this weekend. I used a slightly different painting technique as for most miniatures during the last years avoiding Quickshade. Actually I'm really satisfied with the result and will present it as soon as possible. At Paint Table Saturday #25 at the latest...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Painting Table Saturday #24

It's saturday once more, another week went by...
This time I'll try do get some work done with Westfalia's Rude Highlanders which I'm painting for Fran. Great sculpts by Paul Hicks and real fun to paint. Sooner or later I'll need another set for myself.

Enjoy the weekend and happy Easter everyone !

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thoughts about artillery

Actually it has been quite busy this week but unfortunately there's nothing new to present by now. I cleaned some World War 1 figure by Great War Miniatures - excellent sculpts but a bit flashy and with very soft material - and I proceeded with Westfalia's rude highlanders which I'm currently painting for Fran as betting debt from the painting challenge.
But last friday when we met up at our club HQ we came into a discussion about the size and mobility of Napoleonic artillery batteries in our Black Powder games. Actually we agreed that a single gun without a base seems quite too narrow and too mobile, but which size is appropriate?
During the last days I picked up C. E. Franklin's "British Napoleonic Field Artillery" and Mark Adkins' "The Waterloo Companion", reflected about the frontage of several formations and did some simple calculations.

1.) Infatry in line formation:
Kind of basic formation during Black Powder time line is infanty in line formation. Although it's slightly different from nation to nation in Black Powder this formation is simplified to a certain number of minitures placed in two ranks behind each other. In our group we tend to use 24 miniatures for units of standard size which means an actual strength roughly between 450 and 700 men. That's a rather large span but for reasons of gaming simplicity we try to cover most units as standard size and hold large, small and tiny for very special units like detached companies, severely battered units or really large battle formations.

Anyway since the British are my pet issue I concentrated on them and pored over the Waterloo companion to get an idea of the frontage of a British infantry bataillon in line. Fortunately Mark Adkins explains this formation very graphically by taking the example of the 2 Btl / 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot. The regiment had a parade strength of 650 men before being battered at Quatre Bras. So it's perfect for our standard size Black Powder unit.

He calculates the frontage as follows:
- strength of slightly more than the average 630 of the British at Quatre Bras / Waterloo
- the usual two ranks formation with 300 men per rank
- each company has a frontage of about 20 metres, the HQ slighty less
- in total about 210 metres frontage (= 21.000cm)

Compared to this, the frontage of a standard Black Powder unit is:
- 24 figures in two ranks = 12 figures per rank
- each figure based with 20mm frontage
- in total it's 12 x 20mm = 240mm = 24cm

Therefore the ratio is:
21.000cm = 24cm
=> 875 : 1

2.) Deployed Artillery:
In 1812 a British battery of Royal Foot Artillery (actually called an artillery brigade) consisted of 6 guns. 5 of them were either 6pdr or 9pdr guns combined with a 5.5inch howitzer. Although these units could be split into troops, halftroops or sections, I'm only looking at a completely deployed battery with all guns besides each other. The limbers, ammunition cards and other baggade which doesn't influence the frontage will be left out for now.

Usually the guns were placed with 15 yards between each other. Althoug this depended on the actual terrain and in some battles they were placed closer to each other I'll use this regulation from the drill manual to calculate the frontage:
- 6 guns in the battery with a gun carriage of about 2m
- 15 yards (= 13,71m) between the guns
Overall that's:
6 x 2m + 5 x 13,71m = 81m
=> 8.100cm : 875 = 9,25cm

Well below the line a British artillery battery should occupy a frontage of slightly more than 9cm. To keep things easy I would estimate 8cm as working well with the usual 20mm / 40mm basing of infantry models. But unfortunately our artillery models have an uncomfortable size. Too large for two besides each other on a 8cm base but too small to place just one on such a large base without scenic stuff around it.

After all I'm not sure whether this calculation will or should affect our way of playing Black Powder. But at least it's interesting for me to know the kinks in the rulesets I'm playing. At the end of the day it's a just game so each group has to decide how accurate or playful they want to have the rules. Actually you could deepen such calculations for other values: Frontage of cavalry units, frontage of foreign formations with a different drill manual, movement distances, size of buildings etc. We'll see whether I'll tackle these arithmetic problems later...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Paint table Satur... Sunday #23

This week I'm a bit late but I can't resist to present the figures I painted yesterday and today. It's a bunch of figures for the 2nd KGL Light Battalion at Waterloo and in addition another test for my airbrush equipment. Firstly I primed them with the excellent ready-to-airbrush Vallejo Survace Primer, then I sprayed the trousers gray and covered them with masking tape after drying. Lastly I sprayed the jackets dark green and now they are to be detailed...
Until now I'm really happy with the result. It saved a lot of time and I'll try this technique with the next figures again. Unfortunately on some figures the masking tape damaged the grey coat of paint slightly. Maybe I should try masking putty which is said not to adhere to the masked surface.

Anyway... Enjoy the remaining weekend !

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Wet Palette

Yesterday was D. I. Y. time on my workbench. Finally I decided to create a new wet palette. Actually I tried one some time ago but wasn't too impressed. But next week I'll have to highlight a dozen of napoleonic KGL riflemen and so I thought mixing the colours once and then conserve it for a few days might be a good idea. Anyway making a wet palette is a rather easy task and here's the way I did it.

In the light of recent events among us wargamers and bloggers please be warned: 

Knives are sharp and dangerous. Always cut away from you and keep your fingers - and thumbs - out of the blade's way !!

1.) Grunding and sponge
To give the palette some stiffness I used a piece of styrofoam as base. Nothing special just a waste piece from a terrain board project. On top of that a placed a kitchen sponge which I cut to the right size. This sponge will hold the water to keep the palette wet. Alternatively you could use folded kitchen paper.
2.) Layer
Next is a layer of water-permeable but not resorbing material. I'm not sure whether which alternatives there are but I'm used to baking parchment for this purpose. Just cut some pieces to the right size for grounding and sponge. Of course you'll only need one at the same time but it will not work too long so have some pieces in reserve.
3.) Filling and fitting:
Nearly done. So fill the sponge with water and fix the grounding, the sponge and the baking paper well together. Actually you have to fix all things somehow because otherwise the baking paper will roll up and our nice wet palette wouldn't work.
4.) Cap
Finally you'll need a cap to close the wet palette to prevent drying out. Since I used a kind of chocolate box to put the wet palette in that was easy.
Well then, that's all about it. An absolutely easy tutorial for a helpful device. Next time I'll present some tokens I painted for a club fellow of mine and next week some adventures with the wet palette.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Great project: The Great War 1914 - 1918

This year is a very special one for military historians or wargamers. It's not only that the opening of the last act of World War 2 - the allied Normandy landings - have it's 70th anniversary. Above all 2014 is the year of the centennial of the Great War's outbreak.

For me this conflict was always interesting and touching alike. It was the first mass destruction war in which the technological development overpowered the importance of the soldiers on the battlefield. The outgroths of this change of military culture within the material battles at the Western Front were always uppermost in my mind. I'll never understand how military leaders on both sides could accept those meatgrinding battles as means of choice.
But besides that it was an era of political upheaval. The European society was shaken to its very foundations and even the victorious powers weren't able to return to their traditional routines. But for the countries in Central Europe the outcome of the Great War was even more changing when their crowned heads were swept away by the tides of revolution.

And as always, when I go deeper into such historical and military topics, recreating it in miniature is just a step away. Already previously the nice figures from Aly Morrison's and Dave  Andrews' Great War Miniatures range caught my eye. Fortunately a friend of mine has some remains in his lead mountain which will give me a good start with some late war Tommies.

What exceedingly inspired me is Sidney Roundwood's excellent blog "Roundwood's World". His miniatures and scenery are pure eye-candy and I honestly recommend to have a look at his great work. The collection about WW1 he's presenting there reaches from nicely painted miniatures to completely designed gaming boards with trenches, ruins and so forth. Overwhelmed by the ideas the lecture of his blog planted in my mind I bought a notebook to keep my golden threat in view.
Within the book will be some space for lists of sources - scientific ones as well as fictional ones like movies featuring WW1. In addition I'll write down my plans of miniatures I'm going to paint, colour suggestions, thoughts about terrain and so on ad nauseam. It's the first time for me to try a project diary and I'm curious how I'll get along with that. Actually I'm a kind of modern, computerised, paperless guy who tries to keep his stuff on data-disks of any kind...

Anyway you'll witness it...

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Paint Table Saturday #22

The last week was rather quite on my workbench. After the busy painting challenge I took some time for my other hobbies. Especially ice hockey where the play-offs in the German league are running currently.

But this morning I sorted my painting stuff and tested my new airbrush compressor. It was delivered yesterday so I was keen to give it a first try. Fortunately I got re-supplies of grey paint as well so I gave the Pegasus Bridge another layer of dark grey. The compressor passed this first test with success. It's more quiet than my old one and it delivers the air more consistently.
This afternoon I was able to realize another session and painted the second part of the bridge as well. For that I needed two bottles of Vallejo Model Colour Dark Grey and so I'll running out of supplies again soon. Unbelievable how much paint this terrain piece consumes. And it's not because of the wood soaking up but because of the sheer size of the bridge and the attached buildings.

Next step will be the wooden parts of the bridge, the café and the bunker. But not today since Mrs Monty and me will leave for a dinner in intimate togetherness soon. Our daughter is with her grandparents today and we'll take the chance for a relaxed candlelight dinner at the Turkish restaurant we visited more often before the birth of our daughter.

Enjoy the weekend !

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Help needed: Salute special miniature

This time I have to present a desire on my own account. As most of you will surely know the great Salute 2014 convention in London will take place on 12th April.
Although I was hardly thinking of taking a trip to my favourite metropolis I turned out to be just impossible. We're awaiting the birth of our second daughter in June so time is precious at present while our flat has to be renovated for a second nursery. And on the other hand a two day trip just to visit Salute is simply too expensive with two flights and two overnight stay in the venerable, old city. Maybe next year...

But just this very year the fellows from the South London Warlords will present a special miniature which takes my fancy beyond all measure. As Miniature Wargames uncovered they'll have Commander Colin Maud sculpted by Michael Perry (complete TMP entry here and a picture of the special miniature here). Maud was a Royal Navy officer who served during World War II and took an imprtant part during the Normandy landings as principal beachmaster at Juno beach. He gained immortal fame after the characterful embodiment by English actor Kenneth More in the epic war movie The Longest Day.
Anyway this film is one of my first and most vivid memories of war films and especially the scene with Cmd. Maud and his dog Winston is a highlight for me.

So here comes my concern:
Is anyone of you travelling to salute and doesn't place value on the figure?
In this case I would appreciate very much if he - or she - is willing to dedicate it to me. If desired I could offer to trade a - unpainted or painted - miniture from my collection for it or take over appropriate costs for the miniature and shipping. In any case I would be pleased to add Cmd. Maud to my collection.

If you're willing to help me please contact me via Google+, use the contact form on the right hand side of thios blog or just email to montys[dot]caravan[at]googlemail[dot]com.

Thanks a lot in advance !

(I don 't have to mention that this is no April Fool's hoax, do I ?)