Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Hessian Jagers

At last a few figures for the Crown Forces - a company of the famous and redoubtable, Hessian Jagers. These are treated as regular skirmishers and would be rated very highly in most rules. They are armed with the slower firing, but effective rifle, with which they were very proficient. The figures are from the extensive Perry range. They are unfortunately a little outnumbered at the moment by their American adversaries, but am fighting shy of starting on my first British infantry regiment - the 71st Highlanders - all 48 of them!!


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Militia Skirmishers

These chaps represent a "company" of militia skirmishers that will do for either side (always handy). The figures are Fife and Drum from Crann Tara Miniatures and very nice they are too. They are noticeably slimmer than Perry/Foundry figures and probably wouldn't mix that well in the same units, but they offer a nice range of poses and paint up well. In Sharp Practice, these are the lowest type of skirmishers, only receiving the very handy skirmish bonus if firing from effective or long range and from cover - they feel uneasy being too close to the enemy apparently! Other irregular skirmishers also need to fire from effective/long range but need not be skulking in cover, whilst regular skirmishers get the bonus under any circumstances, being well trained and led. A nice, but simple mechanism, as one would expect from TFL. Really looking forward to trying these rules out, but still a fair bit of painting and terrain to do first. Hopefully by Christmas. 

More to come over the next few weeks. Keep checking back. All comments/suggestions welcome.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

2nd Maryland Continentals

This is my first American Continental regiment; three groups or "companies" of 12 figures each. When I get around to modifying Sharp Practice for larger games, I am going to have most units in multiples of 12 figures; typically infantry battalions will be between 2 and 5 groups (24-60 figures). Each company represents about 80 men, so this particular unit has a combat strength of around 240 - a reasonably strong unit by the standard of the times.

The unit is made up entirely of Perry Miniatures metal figures and is clothed in a fairly standard manner, with the addition of a few hunting shirt and militia figures in less formal dress just to break it up a bit. I think American units for this period look better with a definite "theme" - blue faced red, grey faced yellow or whatever, with some variation in small clothes, headgear and so on, with the odd figure standing out a bit more, like the guy in shirtsleeves and waistcoat. I have just bought a box of American Perry plastics and am going to play around with those and see if they add to the occasion or not. The flag is a Mark Allen hand painted confection - a luxury I can't usually afford, but I just love hand painted flags!

I am really into my AWI at the moment, so am going to crack on whilst I am in the mood. More fencing on the way (!!), which I won't bore you with further and a load more American militia, plus some skirmishers and artillery....and Loyalist militia and jagers and... well, you get the idea. I am hoping that I can keep up the momentum until there is enough for a game. I reckon playing unadulterated Sharp Practice, I can get a nice looking game with another 100-120 figures, so on the horizon if not imminent. Ultimately, I would like to be able to play with 250-300 figures a side; whether the rules can be made to stretch that far remains to be seen. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

More AWI Fencing

Here are the first 12 all finished off. It was a bit of an effort, but once you get into the habit of doing a little and often, it isn't too bad. I think I will need another 20 or so at least, so a way to go yet.

Here are another four made up, textured and undercoated. These are also 8" lengths.

These are part of a batch of 8 shorter (6") lengths I am on with at the moment. I thought having sections of differing lengths might be an idea when it comes to laying out the table - will probably try some 12" sections as well, if warping isn't a problem.

Anyway, this concludes my ramblings on this particular subject - not the most exciting, but hopefully it has been of some use or interest.

Monday, 16 July 2018

AWI Fencing

Almost three years ago (!!) I did a post on the start of my AWI project. I was fairly cautious about the progress I was likely to make (wisely as it turned out), and the number of figures hasn't grown by much in the intervening period. One thing that has moved along is my determination to up my game in the terrain department. So far, the terrain boards have been completely re-styled and a lot of drop on stuff done for WWII in particular. Over the last few weeks, I have been working on some trees for my 28mm collections, including experimenting with armatures made from florist's wire and am quite pleased with the results. This post though is on a subject that cannot be avoided if you are going to wargame in North America - fences. There are a fair number of ready made items out there, some of which are not bad at all, but scratch-built is definitely the way to go if you want them to look realistic and are sad enough to care about such things.

Having done a bit of online research, I decided to start with some snake fencing. I already had a load of matchsticks (around 2" long) and quickly realised that I couldn't really use them "straight from the box" - they were just far too neat and regular. So the first job was to take a small and very sharp knife and run it down all the corners in order to rough them up a little. One is easy, 10 not too bad, 50 and I am starting to wonder what knitting might be like as an alternative hobby. Am at the 300 mark about now and have ordered some knitting needles from EBAY just in case! I will probably need more like a thousand to get the 40 pieces, each 8" long that I will need. In all seriousness, this is a job to do little and often. I do 5 or 6 before I start work and similar sized batches throughout the day, and try not to think too much about it. It really is just persistence.

In the first photo, you might just be able to see the result. It may not seem much, but it does make a big difference to the overall final look.

For the sake of robustness, I decided that I would need to base them and chose 2mm plastic sheet. It is both robust and rigid, ordinary card or even MDF would probably "curl" a little over time. It was cut into 8" x 1" strips with the ends rounded off to make angles and joins that much easier. After that it is simply a matter of laying down layers of rails on top of each other until you get the height you need. In the photographs I have seen, such fencing can be anything from knee to head height, so I decided on a height of three/four rails, which looks fine for my 28mm AWI figures. Hopefully the following pictures illustrate the process well enough. One advantage of basing the fences, is that you can add a few upright or loose rails to aid realism, as well as a few tufts and the odd tree. I have painted the rails in various shades of grey, as this contrasts nicely with the bases. Modern photos seem to show that this colour is often achieved after a bit of time in the sun and rain.

The finished article looks OK I think but at the moment it is an only child. I have another 11 in various stages of completion at the moment. When they are done, I think I will go into full production and do the remainder in a single batch, over a period of a few weeks. I don't want to have to do this job again - I really don't - so I want to get it right first time. After that, I may look at some other kinds, such as stone fencing, although sanity may prevail here and I might go for the Grand Manner resin option.

Anyway, I hope that this mini tutorial has been of some interest. Will report back when I have a bit more to show.

I am also working on some extra figures to try and get a few small units done. The advantage with using an admittedly modified "Sharp Practice" is that I should be able to get a decent game with a fairly modest number of figures and build from there.

Anyway, I will report back when there is more to see, but I think I have got the AWI bug again.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Grand Alliance Vignettes

This post is, alas, the swan song of this particular collection. A few months back I received an offer that was "too good to refuse" for the whole lot. They are now campaigning in Germany under a new owner. These vignettes are just a few odds and ends of figures that I had kicking around, so decided to paint them up for old time's sake. They will doubtless make their way onto EBAY in due course. It was a difficult decision to sell them all - around 1,000 foot and 300 mounted (!!), but it is one of the facts of life for a professional figure painter. Never mind, the cash will be re-invested in future projects I am sure!


Speaking of which, terrain, WWII, Napoleonic, AWI and Italian Wars are all competing for valuable hobby time. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to focus for too long on one period - easily bored I suppose. One thing I am particularly keen on at the moment, is trying to adapt TFL's Sharp Practice for larger (2-300 figures a side) AWI games. I think the mechanisms really lend themselves to this period. Whether I will be able to make them work, only time will tell. Will certainly report back if I do. The WWII rules are still under development, but the response from the lads has been very positive so far. Progress has been halted somewhat by playtesting Olicanalad's 18th Century rules - his adaptation of the Piquet system - for Roger and Mark's growing GNW collection. I have to say that they are looking very promising. I was fortunate enough to have an earlier run out with James himself using his quite superb SYW collection.

Anyway. Will report back when I have news. For now, here are the links to the blogs concerned.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

FBB Flak Regiment (1)

Sorry it has been a while. Have been pretty busy with commissions and my own terrain boards (of which more anon). I have also been playing about with different ways of doing trees and bushes for my 20mm and 28mm collections; again more anon. Below is the latest addition to my FBB project: the first element of the Flak Regiment, which was such a powerful component of the brigade, vital for dealing with all the enemy jabos that were knocking about towards the end of the war. The vehicle itself is a die cast model acquired from EBAY and re-painted with the airbrush. The crew are mainly AB miniatures.