Sunday 24 May 2020

1745 Redcoat Sample Figure

Rather pleased with how this is looking, some further work to be done obviously, with metallic colours, washes and highlights to go. And then a light dusting via the airbrush with a mud spatter, and I reckon they will look the business.

Colours used so far:

White Base - Vallejo Sky Grey 70.989
Boots, hat, scabbards, canteen - Vallejo German Grey 70.995
Facings - Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue 70.899
Flesh Base, Musket Sling, Canteen Strap - Vallejo Red Leather 70.818
Gaiters, hair tieback - Vallejo Basalt Grey 70.869
Hair - Vallejo Flat brown 70.984
Kidskin sack - Vallejo US Field Drab 70.873
Flesh - Vallejo Flat Flesh 70.955
Knapsack - Vallejo Tan Earth 70.874
Musket Wood - Vallejo Mahogany Brown 70.846
Buff Straps - Vallejo Medium Grey 70.987
'5 o'clock' shadow mix of Basalt Grey and Flesh

And now some highlights:

I can see some stuff needing a cleanup, and the airbrushing on this one was too heavy and caused paint bubbling. But it works for me.

White Highlight - Vallejo Ivory 70.918
Blue Highlight - Tamiya Field Blue XF50
Flesh Highlight - Vallejo Basic Skintone 70.812
Musket Highlight - Vallejo Beige Brown 70.875
Gunmetal - Vallejo Gunmetal 70.863
Brass - Vallejo Old Gold 70.878
Black Wash - Citadel Nuln Oil
Brown Wash - Citadel Agrax Earthshade
Flesh Wash - Citadel Reikland Fleshshade

A Humble Plea to the YouTubers who Shouldn't

I'd like to take this opportunity to make a humble plea to wargamers out there who are considering getting online and making a video, and putting it on YouTube, consider this:

"Is your video really necessary?

Now this is not a universal truth, but it is overwhelmingly the case, that many wargamers' videos shared on YouTube, shouldn't be.

Yes, I know, I'm an old curmudgeon, but bear with me on this one. How often have you gone to look at a supposedly interesting video, and found:

1. Monotone delivery, in a voice that cures insomnia, or alternatively is at a constant fever pitch of enthusiasm that makes you reach for the mute button?

2. Constant umming and ahhhing, repetition or irrelevancy. One video I watched purporting to be an instructional, ran for nearly twenty minutes before even starting on actual content.

3. Presenters who think themselves raconteurs and hugely entertaining, who aren't. Let's face of it, there are very few of us who can make a living as stand-ups.

4. Camera work that would shame a 4 year old after a two day diet of red cordial, including insufficient lighting, lack of focus, camera on presenter rather than subject, cut-aways to family pets, a passing sparrow etc..

5. Veering wildly between overestimation and underestimation of subject familiarity.

6. Sound quality. There are certain accents I have great trouble in following even at the best sound quality. Poor sound quality is a switch-off offence.

So before you go sending us video links, or having dreams of being a world-famous YouTube star, here are some things you might consider.


- Is it something that needs video? Would it be better explained in text and/or pictures? (Remember, many of us read a lot faster than you can mumble and stammer, so I can consume content at least seven times faster than you can speak it.) Video wastes my time when it could equally be communicated by text.

- Do you know who your audience is? I mean, do you need to explain that the guys in Red are the British army, and the guys in Blue are French, and if so, why are you going into lace details at the start of the 45 minute mark? Know your audience, and consider that message.

- Now you know your  message - script it! Yes, extempore is a lot easier for you, but for us it can be tedious, unfocused and a waste of time. It doesn't need to be word for word, but just what are you trying to communicate, a beginning, middle and end, with the critical detail or facts you need to include. Go read a guide about giving a presentation.

- Do a dry run with the camera setup, get the lighting right. If your camera isn't good enough, get hints and tips on improving the setup, or get a different camera. Ditto with sound.

- And I can't say this loudly enough... go back and edit it.. even better, show it to someone else who is prepared to be critical. Listen to them! Then go back and edit it.

Harsh? Perhaps. But I'm much more inclined to click that link, or share it, when it's worth my while. 

Saturday 23 May 2020

Redcoats and airbrushes

I've previously used an airbrush to paint 15mm Sasanians, with reasonable results, and I thought I would like to try something similar to get some basic effects on the 1745 Hanoverian red coats.

Overall, the effect I was going for was a somewhat dirty red, pretty bedraggled by the elements. After all, key battles in the campaign were over the winter, from September to April, so everybody should be wet, cold and bedraggled. The image that everyone is familiar with, by David Morier:

Was a studio portrait, using nice fresh uniforms. Contemporary sketches by the Penicuik artist, show a very different picture. Looking at the last few sketches on this page:

You can see tricornes flattened out, coattails unbuttoned, and a variety of equipment. With the exception of the flattened tricornes, the Flags of War figures are a nice representation. So these men will be weary and unshaven, uniforms faded and mud spattered.   

First step was an undercoat of spray-can black. I don't buy or use expensive primers, and the usual car spray paints seem to do a good job.

Then the first step, a fairly dense base coat of Tamiya Hull Red, which is actually a nice leathery colour.

After the first spray
The Tamiya paint airbrushes beautifully, especially if it is thinnned at about 50/50 with their own thinner Tamiya X20A

At this stage, I am just trying to get  relatively even coat. Varying the paint pressure, distance etc provides some basic contrasts.

Red coats
These have now had an overall light coating of Vallejo Flat Red, then a second top down over-spray, to give a nice feeling of light and shade.  I am going to purchase some Tamiya Red though, for when I do the next batch of redcoats. The Vallejo is a great brush paint, but just doesn't spray as nicely as the Tamiya.

When this is all dry, I am going to go back and add some highlights. I am not quite sure what to use, I am tempted to use Vallejo Dark Vermillion for the officers, and a lightened Flat Red for the rank and file, to try and get the effect of the better quality cloth for the officers. A few discreet experiments will be required I think.

And while the airbrush kit is out, time to do some of my WW2 Japanese for Chain of Command. The Tamiya Dark Yellow makes a great base colour for Japanese uniforms.

Thursday 14 May 2020

More 15mm Vikings

These guys have been on the painting table for a week or two, I undercoated and applied the base flesh colour, then just got distracted with the arrival of new figures from the 1745 Flags of War Kickstarter.

So the last two days, in between some plumbing, some paint stripping etc... I managed to get some additional colour down. Now the army is 86 elements in size, and when I counted, I was surprised to find I have painted up 43 so far! Halfway exactly. I reckon I should now split them up into maybe another 4 batches and charge through, and kick off the basing.

So should I start them now or maybe take a break from the Vikings, and do some Hanoverians? 

Anyway, here's the boys. It's interesting, but the camera (Samsung S10) seems to really flatten out the colours. When you look closely; for example at the red cloaks on the generals, you can see there are shadows and highlights there, but the camera has made them almost disappear.




Viking Mounted

Wednesday 13 May 2020

A Necessary Evil?

As every wargamer knows, regardless of how much you defer it, how many figures you paint or discussion you have, at some point the lead hits the tabletop and you need to decide what rules to use. Preferably of course, you will have decided much earlier, and sorted out basing... a whole other issue.

I was having a chat with some wargamers, one of whom I was meeting for the first time, and as he lives nearby, I was trying to figure out whether we had any rules/scales in common, so we could play a game. I was trying to remember just what I had played, had thought about playing, played and hated, or conversely, always wanted to try and never got round to it.

Being a confirmed tragic, I thought a spreadsheet would be ideal to track them. Plus, with lock-down, I am getting fed up with DIY, and after strenuous effort my muscles ache too much to hold a paintbrush steady. I've re-organised my DVD & book shelves, I'm replacing the sink taps, I've resurfaced tables, painted doors, stripped varnish, worked in the garden...  etc. so this is by way of amusement.

So these are all the rules I currently have in hard-copy on my shelf. There are actually a few more, but they form part of a book, such as Lost Battles, or Little Wars, so I haven't included them. I got to a nice round 50, of which I have actually played about 30 or so. I reckon a 60% Purchase to Play (PtoP) ratio would be pretty high for a wargamer...   so what's your PtoP ratio?

(NB- the term scale is an entirely subjective view of whether the rules play for a small, medium or large engagement.)

Name Scale Period Theatre Played It
DBMM  Large Anc/Med Land Y
DBM Large Anc/Med Land Y
WRG 7th Edition Medium Anc/Med Land Y
Crusader Ancients Medium Anc/Med Land Y
FoG Medium Anc/Med Land N
DBA Small Anc/Med Land Y
Dux Bellorum Medium Dark Age Land N
Dux Brittaniarum Medium Dark Age Land N
SAGA Small  Dark Age Land N
Lion Rampant Medium Medieval Land Y
Tercio Medium 16-18th Cent Land Y
DBR Medium 16-18th Cent Land Y
Gush WRG Renaissance Medium 16-18th Cent Land Y
FoG - Renaissance Medium 16-18th Cent Land N
Galleys & Galleons Medium 16-18th Cent Naval Y
Principles of War Large 17-18th Cent Land Y
Polemos ECW Large 17-18th Cent Land Y
Maurice Large 17-18th Cent Land N
Horse Foot & Guns  Large 18-19th Cent Land Y
WRG 1685-1845 Medium 18-19th Cent Land Y
Sharp Practice 2 Small  18-19th Cent Land Y
General d’ Armee  Large Napoleonic Land Y
Age of Eagles Large Napoleonic Land N
Grande Armee Large Napoleonic Land N
Polemos Napoleonics Large Napoleonic Land N
General d’ Brigade Medium Napoleonic Land Y
Song of Drums and Shakos Small  Napoleonic Land N
Langtons SCA Quick Play Small Napoleonic Naval Y
Principles of War 19th Cent Large 19th Century Land N
Polemos FPW Large 19th Century Land N
DBSA (Pre-Dreadnought) Large 19th Century Naval Y
Age of the Dreadnought Medium E. 20th Cent Naval N
Blitzkrieg Commander Large WW2 Any Y
Airfix Battles Medium WW2 Any Y
Rapid Fire Medium WW2 Any Y
Chain of Command Small  WW2 Land Y
What a Tanker Small  WW2 Land Y
Cold War Commander Large Modern Any Y
Force on Force Small Modern Any Y
AK47 Small  Modern Land Y
Shipwreck Medium Modern Naval Y
Future War Commander Large SciFi Any Y
Full Thrust  Large SciFi Naval Y
Aeronef  Large Steampunk Naval Y
Imperial Skies Large Steampunk Naval N
[RPG removed]

Fear & Faith Small  Horror Any Y
Warhammer (1st Edition) Medium Fantasy Any N
HotT Small Fantasy Any Y
Geezers Small Street Land Y

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Something Personal

I've always made sure this is very much a wargames blog, and not a personal blog, so you never get to hear what I've had for tea, or how my employment interfered with wargaming, but this matters.

Thirteen years ago, she and I drove the 400 miles to collect a couple of tiny Labrador puppies. Those years have been where they became so much a part of us, that we never even thought about it. They were put in boxes and shipped halfway round the world when I needed to go back to the UK to see ailing parents. They've chased rabbits on multiple continents, and walked hills thousands of miles apart.

But big dogs, with big hearts, don't last for ever. So after a long time of declining health, perhaps no longer able to sort out young ridgebacks, snatch birds out of the sky, or live in fearsome reign over the cats of the neighbourhood; when a Labrador no longer eats, and can no longer stand up without help, today we took him to the practice, and lay beside him and held him as he breathed his last.

So today I said goodbye to my best friend. When the tears stop, I may paint again.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Virtual Wargames Club

I am pretty confident that most wargamers, in the UK at least, will know the name Phil Olley. Well, as we are all still in lockdown and unable to go to club meetings or play face to face. Phil came up with the bright idea of a virtual wargames club;

This morning, thanks to Phil's organisational skills, a bunch of wargamers got together on Zoom. Technical issues aside, (my laptop deciding not to play nicely) it was great to meet a fine bunch of folks from as far afield as Pennsylvania and Michigan, and a pleasant surprise to discover there's a bloke whose wargaming is limited to a cupboard under the stairs, and who lives in the same city as I do. (Hi Martin!)

Introductions took a while, and I'm thinking that if further members join in, as I hope they will, then it might be an idea to have a potted Biography so that much time isn't taken up with introductions.

All sorts of stuff got discussed, what we were up to, beards, Pike and Shot rules, drilling the National Guard in a virtual way, painting and DIY. (Ok, that was just me having a whinge as usual). Although I'm a bit left out, as it seems I am about the only one present without an ImagiNation  - something I shall have to give thought to. Perhaps my Flags of War 1745 figures could proxy. We shall see.

All up it was brilliant to get together and just chat about wargames. I'm hoping it's going to be a regular thing, with a weekly get together online at least till lockdown is over and quite possibly beyond.

Thanks Phil!