donderdag 26 maart 2015

The Postman rang.

Just as I was about to start cut bases for terrain pieces the postman rang. The moment between orders was indeed brief and I quickly started sorting bags and figures for cleaning.

Pictured below are the infantry elements of foot and skirmishers that will be painted as French and Imperial Austrians. The two single figures are generals for the new commands.

These will be undercoated tonight so I can have an early start tomorrow. 

woensdag 25 maart 2015

Moments in Between Orders.

For the past 20 years I have kept a rigorous programme of completing an order (painting, basing) before ordering new figures. That regimen has resulted in completed units and armies, a lead pile that is no longer present and plenty of spare time to build terrain pieces.

Five years ago, I made the conversion to a DBX system of basing for not only Ancient and Medieval collections, but for all my Horse and Musket and Colonial armies. The upside of this, all my terrain pieces are now uniform for a multitude of geographical locations. Currently between painting projects I have looked to some simple terrain items to bridge the time between a completed painting project and my new order which should arrive next week.  

The current project, the early wars of Louis XIV resulted in two DBX size armies, one French, the other an Imperial Austrian. For good background information I found “Gustavus Adolphus” by T.A. Dodge an excellent start. Despite the title, over half the book treats the conflicts following the Thirty Years War and ends the League of Augsburg. The maps are an invaluable reference as I have not seen this elsewhere on the Internet.

It was the detail on some of the battlefield maps that inspired me to add terrain items for the campaigns between the French general Turenne and the Imperial generals Prince Montecuculi and Count Caprara. These for the most part took place on the doorstep of France in Alsace, a region known for its wine.  This now prompted the addition of two terrain projects for my table; quick set hedges and vineyards.
Quick set hedges.
This is a term I had not come across until reading Dodge. The term refers to the planting of brush to mark field boundaries. There is sufficient spacing between stems to allow new growth and in time, “plashing”. Often these would have birch or other trees to act as a wind break. On maps of the period, these are clearly marked.

Those vineyards I have seen on game boards are large pieces with half a dozen or more rows placed on them. I will need a system that can be easily stored and ideally modular so the rows will have to be separately based or paired and removed if needed to allow troops moving through them.

Next post, the work bench.  

donderdag 19 maart 2015

Flags – the finishing touch.

On a recent post I received a number of queries about the flags for my late 17th century units, namely the shaping or bringing movement to them.

I draw by hand and paint my own flags and since last three decades, the technique has become second nature to me even the size of flags and standards has remain consistent over the past decades.

This latest project (Late 17th c.), I have made enough flags and standards for units that have yet to be ordered. This not only works as a stimulus to finish my project, but also saves set up time and paint.

Apply a fixative to protect your finished work as fixing flags to their staffs you may smudge or wipe out detail with your fingers or thumb.

My flags are marked with a centre line, so they can be folded in half.

Using a piece of brass rod I will score that section which wraps around the staff.

Un-diluted white glue is applied to one side and the area which will fit around the staff. Matching the upper corners, gently press the two halves together working back to the staff. Using your thumbnail, make sure the flag is set 
tight about the staff.

Half n’ half method:

Using a brush handle, preferably thin, set this at about a 60 degree angle and gently curl the flag back.

From the farthest upper corner curl the flag back in the opposite direction stopping short of half way.

This “S” form can become compact (close to the staff) or relaxed as in fully extended. 

Your choice.