"All resources will be used to make the army ready for war." - Napoleon, 1813

Monday, May 27, 2013

2nd Battalion, 13th Regiment - French Line Infantry.

Forward March...
The bases are painted and the grass and brush are glued on.  My first battalion is now ready for the battlefield.  Pour l'empereur!  This has been a pretty fun project. Such a different experience painting true 28's to GW's "28s".

Painting around the ankles and boots was bit tough and I had to go back several times to touch up my mistakes. I need a steady left hand. :)

Column March

I think as my battalions continue to grow in numbers I'll probably go back here and there and make adjustments/corrections as necessary but I think the process will work itself out as time goes on.

I'd love to move on to some sweet Hussars but I really should buckle down and give these guys their First Battalion battle brothers and then a command stand to lead them.

Enjoy and a big thank you on Memorial Day to everybody in the USA!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Long March of the Frenchman- Line Infantry 2

Did we even get spring?

After a three month march we're a bit closer to the battlefield.  With my new job (big smile) I have slowed down a bit on the hobby time but this is ok - everything comes in stride. So now I present a couple hobby updates for the first of my french soldiers:  2nd Battalion,13th Line Regiment.

I found out early that my normal army painting style was not going to work. I had to line them up exactly the way they would be on their bases as order and organization were key to figuring out the colours.

Colours of the French line soldier:
As with all historical miniatures, there comes a bit of research. A big thanks once again to Jason for helping me pour over the internet and loaning some of his "Library of War" to find examples and documentation. :)

Normally I'm a big Vallejo man but I've recently started to using the colour range Games Workshop has to offer. I started with Kantor Blue base paint and added black to get the base coat going. Then I built up the layers with the Kantor Blue and lastly did some minor edge highlighting with the addition of GW Space Wolves grey.

The white pants and straps were simple.  I started with Vallejo Deck Tan and built up with white. Easy to do although lengthy because of quantity.

Shakos and Boots. For producing black I varied the models with different amounts of GW The Fang and/or shadow Grey added to black. I would sometimes do a final highlight with just Shadow Grey.

The Guns were simple with Vallejo Air steel. I found out painting with air brush paints are also really nice just to paint with a brush- especially the metal paints. For the browns- Vallejo flat earth highlighted with Vallejo Desert Yellow. I did one Badab Black Ink wash.

With the brown and yellow pants/shakos I played with a variety of colours including  Vallejo Flat Earth, Leather brown and Burnt Umber.  Most of them I added Vallejo Yellow Ochre or GW Ushabti Bone to build up the highlights. I usually did one wash which was either Gryphonne Sepia or Delvan Mud.

Lastly I should mention that when it came to the Blacks, Browns and Greys (Coats) I did not keep a standard with the colours as I wanted to give the appearance that every man is trying to take care of his business as best he can.

I ordered my flags from GMB Designs and I was very pleased with the turn around time and result. 

Lets get on to the bases! I used SuperT glue and it worked great for both Plastic and metal figures.

Now we need to to fill in the bases to make them natural with the little round raised areas of the miniatures. For this I used Apoxy Scuplt like Jason did here. My Apoxy Sculpt is black in colour.  

After the AS has dried it was time to add effects and the ballast. I decided to wait on adding fallen branches, rocks and/or enemy effects for the first go. I just kept the ground simple.  White Elmers (PVA) Glue works the best for ballast.

Last update for this post is the first layer of paint. The base I decided to use was flat black interior house paint. Since this has to be brushed on the house paint works really well for locking the ballast down and acts as a great primer for the next colours.

Ok, the next post should be the finished Battalion and so it should be up a lot sooner then 3 months. :)


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We're On a Mission... From God!

"I think Lepzig is over that-a-way..."

Much like my beloved Russians, I'm a little slow to mobilize some times...

I've been playing miniatures wargames of one sort or another for a long time.  Since the early 1980's in fact.  Over those years I've played most historical periods and a number of Fantasy & Science Fiction ones in multiple scales.  The one I keep coming back to over & over again is Napoleonics.  I got my start in 15mm scale but have dabbled in 6mm/10mm and, now, 28mm scale.  In most of those periods I have usually built Russian armies.

Why Russians?  The main answer is simple: when I was a teenager & wanting to get into Napoleonics, another gamer was looking to offload his army and offered me a good deal.  I got an instant army full of the old Heritage, Minifig, Hinchliffe & Ral Partha (old school, baby!) 15mm figures, and the rest was history.

28mm scale Napoleonics has always had a special pull for me as well.  When I was getting into the hobby I went down the old Little Tin Soldier Shoppe in Minneapolis and readily traded my hard-earned paper route money in for figures, paints and wargames magazines.  One of the first magazines I ever bought was Miniature Wargames #10, featuring massed columns of Napoleonic infantry advancing on a village.  These were forces from Peter Gilder's Wargames Holiday Centre and featured large units of figures moving across wonderful terrain in large and swirling battles.  I was hooked.  Ever since then the only 'right way' to do Napoleonics in my mind was massed battalions in 28mm scale.  I've worked on many projects since then, but Peter Gilder's imagery always stuck with me.  Fortunately I made contact with Jason and it appears that we are well on our way to creating our own magic on the tabletop.

Napoleonics "In the Grand Manner"

I love the Russian army for a number of reasons, both good and bad.  They have a number of good traits: the massed grenadiers with their tall plumes and (in the Pavlovs' case 18th-century brass mitres), the wild & colorful cossacks nipping at the edges of the battlefield causing trouble, the huge amounts of artillery available (each battery was twice the size of a regular French one, and the Russians had scads of batteries), the doggedness and toughness of the rank & file infantryman, etc.

The Russian army had a number of bad traits as well:  The army-level leadership could be notoriously bad; the Russian generals were so bad even Austrian generals made fun of them sometimes.  Not all Russian officers were incompetent, however, and some of them displayed a great deal of skill and courage. Political infighting was rampant, with the 'true Russian' bloc conspiring against the 'German' bloc, and there were also plenty of French émigrés to make things interesting as well.  Marksmanship among the line infantry was challenging; there were enough different calibers of musket issued that supply was difficult & musketry practice was limited.

Tsar Alexander I

Finally, there's just a lot of color and character to the army.  Tsar Alexander was a meddling emperor who thought he was ordained by God to rid Europe of Napoleon.  His brother, the Grand Duke Constantine, was a psychopath & leader of little skill who got to lead the Guards due solely to being the emperor's brother.  As mentioned before, when you look at the names of the generals in the Russian army, many of them are obviously not Russian:  Barclay de Tolly, Bennigsen, Langeron, St. Priest, Prince Eugene of Wurttemburg, etc.  These 'foreigners' (whether native born or not) were actively conspired against by the 'true' Russian generals even on campaign, which did nothing to add to the overall effectiveness in the field.

There's also regimental flags of almost any color imaginable, the unkempt cossacks running amok, the Russian Curassiers resplendent in their white uniforms, and a number of interesting special units like Naval Infantry, the Russo-Prussian Legion, converged grenadier battalions, etc.  All in all, it's a fun army to build, and one that requires a certain amount of skill to play well.  I will be very curious to see how it plays out in Black Powder.

I laid out a basic order of battle on my own blog a week or two back.  Jason has ported some of that over to the Russian OOB page on this blog and I'll expand on it and fill it out sooner or later.

I'd like to thank Jason and Eric for inviting me to join their 1813 project.  I think it will be a very rewarding and fun project and I can't wait to see where it goes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vive la France!

Planning and organizing armies can be exhausting work.

 (Be sure to check out the French OOB page HERE or this post doesn't make much sense.)

(My previous POST on the Prussian OOB includes much of the philosophy
and ground work that was laid down before choosing the French OOB.)

After seeing them in action at AdeptiCon last year, Eric knew two things: he wanted to play French and he wanted to play Black Powder.  Other than that, he honestly didn't know too much about Napoleonics at all, so when he was looking to finally place an order with Perry Miniatures in August/September he asked me for some help.  And lots of advice!

After finally figuring out what makes playable 28mm force and what I was actually going to do for my Prussians, I started cracking open some my books and revisiting some old links.  After being immersed into the Prussian research for so long, I found I really didn't know as much about the French as I thought I did.  At least for 1813-1814.  If I would ever paint up French it would be from 1809 or maybe even 1812.  Those armies and Order of Battles are quite nicely organized and very straight forward.  But when most of the Grande Armée was destroyed in Russia the year before including most of the horses getting eaten, then the OOBs turn into a collection of Provincial Regiments, Combined Battalions, conscripts, and "Marie-Louises."  Pure chaos.

French Marines at Möckern

I approached this as if I was choosing what Division command and commander I would want to do myself.  Along with that, I wanted to try to find a force that wasn't over run with conscripts and specialty units, and could conceivably be used anywhere from 1810 to 1815.  Especially if we decided to run a semi-historical / fictional campaign someday.  Finding a command with a bit of notoriety and uniqueness would be a plus, but mostly I wanted something that was as straight forward and generic as possible.  Along with this I didn't want to saddle Eric with having paint up too many conscript level battalions and the historical shortage of horses/cavalry the French suffered in 1813.  I figured if conscripts made up roughly 25% of his infantry that would be enough to start, and as we both love cavalry I am willing to "fudge" a few things so those lovely units still appear on our tabletop.

As previously mentioned, we are using the northern front of the Battle of Leipzig (Möckern) for inspiration in choosing our forces.  Especially for the Prussians as well as for the Poles and Russians that we'll cover later.  So it made made the most sense to begin looking here.  The defense of Möckern was tasked to Marshal Marmont's VI Corps, and his command was heavily dominated by Marine Regiments.  These units definitely fought well, look good in their dark blue great coats, and are unique.  Unfortunately they might be a bit too unique since they really only fought exclusively during this campaign and few battles during the Fall of 1813.  Still, I might just paint up a regiment of these guys someday as Victrix's recently released Middle Guard boxed set is pretty much perfect match for their unis.  (Or Victrix's Old Guard if you do head swaps.)

I spy with my little eye something that begins with "M"...

Spreading out my search radius a bit more I came across a familiar name: Morand. That's Général de Division Comte Morand to you, son.  Morand is the commander I researched a few years back when considering collecting a French army for either 1809 or 1812, both times being the lead Division in Marshal Davout's I and II Corps respectively.  By all accounts Morand was one of the most capable divisional infantry officers in uniform, would have made an excellent Marshal, and was a major stud.  He started off as a Captain in the Doubs volunteers in 1792, was a hero in Egypt, made general in 1800, wounded at Austerlitz (1805) and was made Major-General after the battle.  He also distinguished himself at Auerstadt (1806), Eylau (1807), Eckmuhl (1809), Wagram (1809), and Borodino (1812) where he had his jaw shattered during the first attack on the Great Redoubt.  In 1813, Morand brilliantly led his division at Wartenburg (where my Prussian 7th Bde (Div) helped win the day) and Leipzig,  At Leipzig he spearheaded the attack of Bertrand's IV Corps which smashed Gyulai's Austrians on the Lindenau front (just south of the fight over Möckern).  He continued his distinguished service record in 1814 and again during the Hundred Days campaign where he commanded the Chasseurs of the Guard.

Now that I had a more than adequate recommendation for Eric's Division commander, I had to double check the actual units he commanded.  It seems I lucked out again as the divisional OOB was pretty straight forward and seemed to meet the criteria I was looking for.  It included one Light Infantry Regiment (8th), two regular Line Infantry Regiments (13th & 23rd), and the 137th Line Regiment which would fill my 25% requirement of conscripts.  It also includes the option for painting up a couple of unique green and yellow uniformed battalions of the Provisional Croatian Regiment.

 Needed:  Cavalry, lots of cavalry!

Looking at the various historical OOBs during the Fall of 1813, those for the 12th Division flux from having two to three brigade commands at times with multiple battalions per each regiment.  Seeing that most of the battalions were understrength, I decided to streamline Eric's command into two brigades with four battalions each.  He can always include a third brigade commander if he wishes or expand, and the more generic build also satisfies my requirement to keep things flexible so Eric can use his French anywhere from 1810ish to 1815.

The last thing I'll touch on is the French cavalry.  There's already some notes on the French OOB page, but I'd like to revisit the subject here as well.  After the disaster of the 1812 campaign, Napoleon had a major shortage of cavalry/ horses in 1813.  This greatly impacted his flexibility, reconnaissance, and ability to exploit success on the battlefield.  For the most part, the units he did have were a patchwork of the remnants of various squadrons thrown together to form viable units.  Both Eric and I are big fans of cavalry and would in no way want to limit their presence in our games or desire to paint up hodge podge looking units  We also have no plans to do an actual historical 1813 campaign where this crucial French disadvantage could not be ignored.

Although I have given Eric a few vaguely historical recommendations, I felt he should have a free hand in choosing whatever cavalry units he desired with uniform colors that met his fancy.  Especially with Hussars.  The only limitation is following the typical composition of a Light or Heavy Cavalry Brigade.  Although he has committed to doing at least two infantry brigades, he can paint up as much cavalry for the French side as his heart desires. :-)

Some of the resources I used:

Napoleon's Grande Armee of 1813 by Scott Bowden
Leipzig 1813, The Battle of Nations (Osprey Campaign) by Peter Hofschroer
Lutzen & Bautzen, Napoleon's Spring Campaign of 1813 by George Nafziger
Wagram, The Apogee of the Empire by F.-G. Hourtoulle
Borodino-The Moskova, The Battle for the Redoubts by F.-G. Hourtoulle

Nafziger 1813 OOB links:
The Grande Armée August 10th, The Army of Berlin Mid-August, Dennewitz, Wartenburg, Leipzig, and Möckern.

The Napoleon Series:
French OOB at Leipzig

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Für Gott und Vaterland!

Vorwärts meine kinder!

(Be sure to check out the Prussian OOB page HERE or this post doesn't make much sense.)

For me this 1813 Napoleonic project all starts with with the Prussians, so we'll start off there.  This is the first in a series of posts where we'll chat a bit more about the Order of Battle pages that have been lingering towards the top of the blog.  These provide a basic framework of our "planned" project forces.  I'm sure both will be tweaked more than a few times before those initial goals are met.

Although I've been aware of using OOBs for the basis of collecting wargaming armies for quite awhile, this still was a very new experience for me.  The last time I did Prussians it was in 15mm for the Napoleon's Battles rule set in the 90's.  Units were at the brigade level and force sizes collected were corps or even army level commands.  So I didn't really have to be choosey or understand the ins and outs of particular battalions, I just painted up EVERYTHING for a particular battle.

The rest of my gaming experience is solidly in the "army list" driven games department.  Although I might have created "story driven" Warhammer armies, figuring out how to collect a "historical" ones despite not actually planning on re-fighting any particular event was going to be quite different.  To make things more interesting, historical Order of Battles are just like snowflakes: no two are the same.  I really started to surf the blogosphere regularly in 2011, and spent a lot of time trying to make heads or tails of other Prussian armies to slowly figure out how I wanted to create my own.

Taking it to Johnny Frog!

First though, I had to figure out a few things.  What period / campaign of the Napoleonic Wars was my army going to be based on?  How large of army and what command level was a good size for 28mm wargames?  Then finally settle on a commander and OOB to serve as a background and structure for my force. 

The first question was easy to answer.  If I was going to do Prussians it was going to be in 1813 fighting the patriotic Befreiungskriege (Wars of Liberation).  I had no interest refighting a one sided affair in 1806, or the ever popular and overdone "Two Weeks in June" of the Waterloo campaign of 1815.  For me the army is an interesting mix of regular line infantry, reserves, and zealous militia Landwehr.  Although the period might not be as attractive for the post 1812 French player having to paint up a large fraction of "Marie-Louises" and conscripts, it does offer a very even parity between all the armies involved.  The variety of nations involved is also a huge plus.  Along with France and Prussia, there's also Russia, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Saxony, Württemberg, Bavaria, Confederation of the Rhine (More Germans), and the Duchy of Warsaw (Poles).  The French ranks also include Italians, Croatians, Neapolitans, Badeners, Hessians, and possibly some Swiss.

Choosing the right command...

The answer to the second question seems to be a Division sized force.  A force of two to four infantry brigades, plus cavalry and artillery a side commanded by one or two players is about the right size to knock out a game of Black Powder in around three or four hours.  For most part, our group is trying to paint up roughly two brigades each along with supporting cavalry and artillery.  This also allows for smaller one brigade projects like the Poles I hope to do, or even for players who wish to dabble in the period on a more limited basis.  I think the optimum sized battle for an evening's enjoyment is about two or three players a side, with things maxing out with four plus players and a corps level command each.

So now that I've determined I'm collecting a division sized force of 1813 Prussians, it's time for the real hard part: choosing exactly which one.  I'm not going get into more details on the organization of the Prussian Army here, but there is an excellent article by Martin Kelly over at Befreiungskriege 1813-14 written for Wargames Illustrated #268 that can be found HERE.  (The Prussians actually called their divisions "Brigades," but for simplicity I'll try to keep referring to them as divisions.)  At this point it might be easy to pick a more generic / cookie cutter looking division like von Kraft's 6th Brigade (Division) in Bulow's III Corps, but it's always nice and more motivating to pick an OOB or commander that's more characterful or personally interesting to you.  I think it gives you a bit more depth, meaning, and sense of connection with the units you're collecting, painting, and eventually playing.

 Marschall Vorwärts

By far, one of my favorite characters of the Napoleonic Wars is the hard drinking, hard riding, hard fighting old hussar himself, Generalfeldmarschall von Blücher.  Nicknamed "Marschall Vorwärts," his direct, aggressive, and relentless approach to warfare and the pursuit of Napoleon's final defeat is truly the spirit after which this blog, Immer Vorwärts! (Always Forward), takes its name.  Given the possibility of Blücher showing up on the battlefield as a random event to led some cavalry charge means my Prussian division had to come from his command: The Army of Silesia.

From there the Army includes Russians and the Prussian I Corps under von Yorck.  I Corps was known as Blücher's "Fighting Corps" and saw more than its share of action in the Fall of 1813.  In studying the various battles leading up to Leipzig, I came across an account of the Battle of Wartenburg were the Leib (Life) Regiment of von Horn's 7th Brigade (Divison) had distinguished itself and delivered the decisive blow of the battle.  The attack almost failed as the first assault was brought to a halt, before von Horn himself after having his horse shot from under him, grabbed a musket, and personally lead the second and successful assault with the words: "Ein Hundsfott der einen Schuβ thut!"  (A scoundrel that fires one shot!  Meaning: don't pause to shoot, just attack!)  Even though von Horn would have an even bigger day fighting at Möckern, my "connection" had already been made.  :-)

Yorck doffs his cap to the 2nd Bn, Leib Rgt, in recognition of their bravery at Wartenburg.

Von Horn's 7th Brigade (Division) not only includes the Leib Regiment and your typical Landwehr, it also includes the flashy ulhan uniformed 3rd Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment and the unique but short lived Thüringian Battalion.  At times the 7th also included parts of the the Brandenburg Hussars, 2nd Leib Hussars, and the Guard Jaeger Battalion.  As already mentioned in the OOB page notes, given the ad hoc task force organizational nature of the Prussians means I can realistically choose other units from I Corps to paint up and include under von Horn's command from time to time.

Some final thoughts... although we do not plan to actually recreate a certain historical event, when choosing opposing OOBs, it's always more interesting to pick those that might have actually fought each other or were at least in the same vicinity and certainly could have.  With this in mind, we are also taking a lot of inspiration from the Battle of Möckern which was the northern front of the huge Battle of Leipzig.

Other notes:   Our individual battalion basing scheme and model count were already covered extensively in previous post (HERE).  As mentioned above, since we're not reenacting one particular battle we're also not needlessly limiting our armies/units based on the unit strengths recorded on a particular day in history. Although the focus of our forces are firmly from the period of August through October 1813, the same battalion that would have 800+ men on August 1st would have 500+ on the first day of Leipzig. Our battalions will have a good general look and feel, and can always be tweaked through Stamina points in Black Powder, or by adding or subtracting stands later.  If figure scale ever does matter again in the future, then our battalions can simply be thought of as 1:30+ in August and 1:20+ in October.

Immer Vorwärts!

Some of the resources I used:

Leipzig 1813, The Battle of Nations (Osprey Campaign) by Peter Hofschroer

The Napoleon Series: 
Allied OOB at Leipzig.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Magnetizing Napoleonic Bases

Time for a saw dust storm...

It's time to prepare my bases for transport using magnets.  I have been using rare earth magnets for many years and they are just perfect for miniature hobbyists.  The size I get the most use out of are 1/16 thick by 1/4 diameter (0.25'' Dia x 0.0625''). I usually order mine through Amazing Magnets. If you do make sure you add the "free Sample Pack" when you order. Lots of good stuff in there.

The tools I use are a dremel with a rotary mount, a .0625 router bit and a tray to hold the wood. You will also need a good mask preferably with filters and some eye protection. The MOST important thing is that you have a good area to work with some air movement. Really this is best done outside if possible.  Since I live in Minnesota, father winter has proclaimed NO. I set up two fans to get some air flow going and I covered everything near to the project with old sheets.  Don't keep a coffee near the operations...

My good friend Jon made a nice tray clamp to hold the wood in place. He used plastic but you could make it out of MDF or hard board and a couple of slip clamps.  The size of the opening allows me to route 2 bases in a row.  The next step is setting the router brace to be roughly in the middle of the Litko base and by setting the depth of the bit.

I have one of the fans blowing directly on the project to get the dust away while I'm routing. The whole process took me 40 minutes to do 136 holes. Not bad. The clean up is the real task as everything has to be dusted and vacuumed. Luckily this process only happens once in blue moon. 

The last part is getting out the super glue and getting the magnets in. This is messy because wiping away excess glue always ends up on the figures but It's what we hobbyists have to deal with.  Hopefully this has been helpful. We'll cover transport cases and bins in another post. 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Then There Were Three

Oooh, I wonder which one is the spy?!  Not me I hope...

Although sometimes late to the party, but always in for a good time the Russians have finally arrived at our little corner of the blogosphere.  With this I'd like to welcome the newest member of our 1813 Project crew, Bart Kersteter.  Some of you may know him as GreatRedoubt on Twitter, or from his blog: The Great Redoubt.  Although new to the blog, Bart no stranger to Napoleonic wargaming.  He brings a wealth of gaming experience and historical knowledge (and hopefully some good beer), but most importantly a great personality that will blend right in with our group where the visuals and fun are first and foremost.  :o)

Sorry guys, but you're wearing the wrong big silly hats...

With the addition of the Russians, the Order of Battles pages found at the top of the blog are finalized (sort of) for now.  Although we will cover the individual OOBs at greater length later, let me just say they are still just an initial framework of  the forces we plan to use in our games.

Rome won't be built in a day and the OOBs include many things we'd "like" to do.  For now we're all working on getting at least some infantry battalions plus some cavalry and artillery done to get the ball rolling.  Then we can start messing around with the Black Powder rules and adjust our plans accordingly.

Thinking terms of the rough equivalent of a French Infantry Brigade, our initial (long term) plans are for each of us to do at least two brigades (plus cavalry, artillery, etc.) worth of French (Eric), Russians (Bart), and Prussians (Jason).  I also hope to do a smaller force of Poles as well.  For now we are just starting with a battalion at a time.  :o)

A fourth Musketeer??  Perhaps someday...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My First Frenchmen Assembled- Line Infantry 1

A nice happy Battalion...

Hooray!  I finally got some men ready for the black primer.  2nd Battalion, 13th Line Infantry Regiment is assembled!   Life has been extra busy so this probably shouldn't have taken as long as it did, but I'm treating it like a hobby and not a crusade.  I am hoping the tiny amount of SuperT glue will keep them on their painting bases...  and HOPEFULLY it will let them off!

I did a couple head swaps for my fusiliers, and everything else is pretty much straight from the Perry Miniatures box.  I'm excited and to get some paint rockin' on these guys. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Basing Flock & Foliage

Great period flick!

Last night Eric and I got together to watch The Duelists, have some beer and pizza, and oh yeah, mix up our static grass/flock blend we will use for our bases and terrain boards.  All pretty exciting right?!  Anyway, in this post I will wrap up the rest of the stuff we use to deck out our unit bases.

Big pail of flock...aaaaaaachoo!!

Along with the colors we use to paint our gravel/ballast, we also choose a grass mix appropriate for the time of year and to compliment the colors of our figures.  The products we used are pictured below using a full bag of NOCH's Sommerwiesen Gras that includes a hint of red, a full bag of Streugras Wiese which is a nice Summer green, a full container of Woodland Scenics' Harvest Gold, and half a container of Burnt Grass that would complete a late Summer early Autumn look of green-brown grass.  You may not want to mix up as much as we did, but at least it gives you rough idea of the fractions involved in matching our bases.

Oops! Forgot to take the pic before emptying the bags...

I've seen the grass on many flocked bases turn out pretty flat.  A couple of tricks I use go way back to when GW first introduced their static grass product.  After applying the glue and then the grass on top, you wait a few moments (maybe doing up the next base then coming back).  Then turn the base over to let the excess fall off and gently tap on the bottom of the base.  This helps the freshly glued grass to "stand up" a bit.  Another trick is to then lightly drybrush the static grass with a very light bright green (I use the old GW color Bilious Green).  This not only further helps the grass to stand up, but also gives the impression of fresher blades of grass growing up through the darker brown ones.  If you're going for a more late Autumn early Winter look, then perhaps using a light slightly pale yellow brown would work.

To add some additional texture and color to the bases, using a variety of grass tufts like the ones from The Army Painter for example are really nice. For a bit of color here or there, the tufts of wild meadow flowers from NOCH are great.  A spot of blue or red on a few of the unit base will really compliment and help the uniforms, cuffs, and collars pop on your figs/unit.

Another great product to use is Leaf Litter.  I don't remember where I got mine from, but it usually comes in "natural" brown or dyed yellow, red, and orange.  Below is a mix.  We plan to use these sparingly, as even in the middle of Summer there's still various leaves found on the ground.  These are great for warming up your unit bases along with the colors mentioned in the previous post, and once again complementing the colors of the uniforms as well.  As with the flowers, you don't want to overdo it though.

Otherwise known as Birch tree seeds.

With a quick revisit of my first Fusilier base, I wanted to mention my use of Apoxie Sculpt to help smooth out the ground around the metal/plastic bases of the figures themselves.  The bottoms of these Perry Miniatures are really nice, but some ranges are rather chunky.  I usually trim them down the best I can, and then use the Apoxie to smooth things out so that no unnatural looking bumps appear on the base.  Then apply the ballast as normal.

Next up will be a blurb talking a bit about the planned Order of Battle (See the page tabs towards the top) for each of our forces including our initial goals and more on our overall design philosophy.  Hopefully later in the week will bring some more WIP shots and a post detailing how to magnetize your unit bases and figure cases to really help in the ease of transport as well as the protection/security of your army.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Basing Ballast & Paint

Our basing colour line up.

We have covered the Litko bases and so I thought I'd talk a bit about texture and paint. Jason and I have been kind of doing the same bases for years for our GW armies. As we've kind of been mimicking each others styles it was very easy for us to come up with a solution to match our preferences.

We start with the ballast. Some people have given me "great" ideas on how to save money with large quantities of cheap stuff. The only thing I found cheap was the quality of the end product. I stick to what I know is best- Woodland Scenics Ballast.

Basically our mix is one part Medium and one part Fine. Applied with white PVA (school) glue and left to dry. It's simple and always comes out right. This gives enough texture for good drybrushing.

Normally the next step would be primer but as we have to attach our little soldiers on the bases before the ballast we have to use the brush. Again, the Vallejo colours we chose are based off our old styles combined. We start with a German Cam. Black Brown. This one was discussed the most as we thought about mixing a warmer brown (like Burnt Umber shown above) with it or just dry brushing the warmer brown as the next step. Either way German Cam. Black Brown is our base.

A little trick I picked up is that for large projects you can go to a hardware store and they'll match a paint sample into interior house paint. This is good for game boards, terrain AND laying down the first layer when a brush has to be used. It's thick water based paint and it's perfect for sealing in the ballast.

The next layer is English Uniform. This is a thickly dry brushed on as it acts like a second base. Next is the Red Leather. This is applied lightly in patches as it will help the cool paints for the uniforms and really ties in the earthy feel for dirt. The next colour is the either Olive Green or Yellow Green. This is also applied lightly in patches and not always the same ones as the red. This will help the warmer colours of the uniforms. The last dry brush is Stone grey. This is applied very lightly as it's not too far from white. This helps give the texture a little strength at the end.

Basing drybrush steps.

Of course not every one of our bases will be the same with the amount of grass, flowers, shrub and other scenic gestures applied.

Time for a static grass mixture...   :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prussian Fusiliers - WIP +1

Just a quick down and dirty WIP post.  Eric and I have been discussing our basing color scheme etc. this week.  Although the entire battalion isn't finished yet, I decided to try things out tonight between loads of laundry.  Unfortunately against my better judgement I also decided to spray the stand with Dullcote and it came out shiny.  Eric will get more into basing stuff and things in the near future, but this at least gives us all a bit of a sneak peek at how things will look.  :o)


Monday, January 28, 2013

Prussian Fusiliers - WIP

Digital pictures...  Friend or Foe?  :-/

Well, I figured it was about time to give this blog a little eye candy.  :o)  These are my very first ever painted 28mm Napoleonics.  Their names are Fritz, Jurgen, Karl, and... Just kidding (about the names anyway)  ;-)

These guys are basically my first stand of figs completed for the Fusilier Battalion of my Prussian Leib Infantry Regiment including a NCO.  The models are from Perry Miniatures which I will be using to fill out the bulk of my Prussian army.  As these were my "prototype" models as well as my introduction to "real scale" 28mm miniatures, there was a bit of tweaking and tinkering that hopefully is out of the way so that the painting process picks up the pace a bit.  Painting all the gear is what really took the longest, plus the fact that 99% of the reference pics out there only show the front didn't help either.

I always prime in black regardless, and I usually paint using a hybrid black lining technique as I like my minis clean and well defined.  The black primer certainly helps with this, and I always find a number of white specks peeking out when I prime with white which makes it much more troublesome for me anyway.  Coverage usually isn't a problem, but I do have the old GW Foundation Paints sitting around to mix in with a red, yellow, or white base coat if needed.

I'm trying to force myself to become more dependent on using the Army Painter washes to speed things up and then come back and hit the highlights.  Highlights are a little trickier than the "Heroic" scale minis that I've painted in the past.  You want to give the figs a little "pop" so they don't look flat on the table top, but there's not a lot of room for layers on these minis, and then there are all those other "battalions" of figs staring at you from the workbench waiting to be done.  Regardless, I need to remind myself that the visual effect of the unit as a whole is paramount, not necessarily the individual minis.

These figs haven't been Dullcoted yet either, so I need to see how badly that makes my highlights/shading disappear.  I'm used to coming back and touching up metals, but maybe the final highlight layer or two might have to wait until after the spray.

The main paints I used are pictured above.  Many of the others are old out of production GW paints that I still have around.  No reason to move on until they're used up I guess.  If you have any questions on the paints I used feel free to ask in the comments below.  Although I'm sure I will continue to tweak things as I go along.

The next step is to hammer out the basing colors (and static grass mix) for the project.  These will be the same that we will use for building our terrain boards.  Look for that post in the near future as well as one explaining our planned Order of Battle(s) that we will be using to base each of our forces on.  Although still "under construction," you can get a sneak peek of our OOBs by checking out the page tabs just under the blog title.

Anyway, let me know what you think of this first batch.  :-)