Sunday 24 March 2013

Basing the Troops

I've been asked by a few people if I would do a post on my technique for basing my naps so here it is and I hope it is of some interest and maybe of some help?
This is how my Silesian kurassiers looked after I added the flag and finished highlighting them. They are mounted on 36mm by 30mm laser cut bases from warbases in Dunfermline. Laser cut bases are the best I have found for basing our naps and are a huge step forward from our original hand cut and regular machine cut bases
The troops still look pretty glossy from the Army Painter coat at this point. I attached the figures with super glue and they are now ready for the ground work.

I apply PVA white glue neat to the base and then dip the base in a box of gravel I prepared. It's made up of golf bunker sand and a heavier grade of grit from a railway modelling shop.

I shake off the excess grit and move onto the next base giving each 1 a few minutes to dry a little. 
Next I use a modelling tool to clean the grit away from the figures.
Now the PVA glue is dry and the bases are ready for the most important stage. Also by this stage I have coated the bottom of each base with an acrylic oak varnish and attached magnets to prevent movement in their storage trays. 
I now dilute the PVA glue and give each base a full coat. The great thing with the diluted PVA is that when it dries it contracted and disappears leaving a nice coat over the grit and doesn't harm the figures. I feel this stage is really important as when it comes to painting the base the sand/grit stays in place and when the basing is finished there won't be any bits falling off.
The diluted PVA needs to be really thin like the consistency of milk to flow around the grit.
The whole process takes roughly 20 to 25 minutes and then I leave then to dry over night.
  I then apply a coat of Citadel graveyard earth trying to avoid getting paint on the figures.  Any earth brown will do, graveyard earth is just the 1 we've been using for years.
 I then give the grit a soft dry brush with bleached bone, again trying to avoid getting paint on the figures. Once your finished have a look for any areas you may need to tidy up. I then varnish the figures with Revell enamel matt varnish no.2 (not Humbrol as it is unpredictable and can cause frosting). The finishing touch is to paint the edges of the bases with an oak varnish (any coloured varnish will do).
Once the edges are totally dry I apply PVA neat in selected areas around the base and then shoot static grass summer mix at the base from an old plastic fairy liquid bottle (this is a perfect match for GW battle mat!). I then move onto the next base and when that's done I tap off the excess grass from the previous base into the plastic tub and so on.  The fairy liquid bottle is a trick I picked up from some modelling buddies that really helps the grass to stand up on the base. 
Before the PVA glue is totally dry I clean round the hooves of the figures with my modelling tool and make sure that the grass is away from the edge of the bases. 
And that's them all finished! 

Thursday 21 March 2013

Silesian Kurassiers

Well I'm glad to say I finally finished another cavalry regiment and so I'm mighty happy! I mentioned I was working on these guys a couple of times however I had put them to the side to work on some of the Prussian infantry battalions I bought from Darren at the end of last year. The majority of these figures also came from Darren but unpainted.
The figures are from AB and are very nice only requiring a clean up around saddle and the horses legs and I have grow to really like their standing at ready poses (you might remember I wasn't so impressed with them when I finished my 1st regiment? Mainly due to just finishing a Russian curassier regiment charging).
I attached the figures to their horses before spraying them black. For ease of painting I had already separated the figures into their groups of poses and placed them with matching horses for each group as best I could. This helps with speed of painting and basing as when you come to basing you split them up leaving each base with 3 different styles of figures and horses (plus colours of horses, that isn't quite historically correct but I don't mind that so much). It also helps if you want to do different colour of hair as if you paint the group you are painting with say blonde hair it means you get a nice random split of blondes throughout your bases.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the guys over on TMP for helping me out with all the small detail like saddle cover colour, trumpet cords and wings and also staff colour!
I used a standard from the signifer 15mm range that fits the AB figures really well however they didn't have 1 in the colour I needed so I found the nearest I had and painted the field etc (the colour is much more close to purple/crimson than the pictures show).
And here they are with the East Prussian kurassier I painted a year or 2 ago. I think this will be my last Prussian kurassier regiment as I can't see me needing more than 2? (Best not to say never but I'm pretty sure they will be my last!)
And I started work on a little command base for them yesterday.It's actually almost done now as I took the pics this morning. Again sorry to Phil for the use of wee dead French men on my command bases! Next post will be on my basing technique as a few people have asked about it. I took pictures while doing my Kurass so hopefully they will be useful.

Also I bought another lot of Prussian figures from Darren recently, painted cavalry this time 33 hussars and 32 dragoons so hopefully I will have a pretty good number of Prussian horse to field in the next few months so thanks again Darren!!!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Craig's 8th Brigade

Craig sent me some more info and images of his cracking Prussian collection from the 1813 period and I am sure you will enjoy them.
8th Brigade
The first brigade of 1st korps I created was the 8th Brigade. It fought in a number of the major actions of the Autumn campaign: Katzbach; Goldberg; Wartenburg; and Leipzig . After Leipzig it was pretty much wrecked, and did not see major action again until 1814. I chose this brigade to start because of the combination of reserve units and uniforms it provides. I had just finished reading Robert Mantle’s article on Prussian reserve units, and was quite enthused. I’ve since acquired the relevant Osprey, and Stephen Summerfield’s tome, and developed a fondness for Prussian reservists (I am in the midst of a Waterloo project at the moment, and relishing the opportunity to paint IR18, which was composed of three different former Reserve units!)

8th brigade was comprised of IR12 “the Brandenburg regt”; 12 reserve infantry regt (RIR); and 14th Silesian landwehr infantry regiment (LWIR). It had the standard 6lb artillery battery in support, and rather than a single light cavalry regiment, it had two half-regiments, also known as divisions (2 sqn each) of the 3rd Brandenburg hussars, and the 3rd Silesian landwehr kavallerie regt (LWKR).

3rd Brandenburg hussar regiment
3rd Silesian landwehr kavallerie regiment
 3rd Silesian landwehr kavallerie close-up
I painted these figures back in 2002-2004. Back then I used a standard layered block painting style over a black undercoat of enamel spray. Highlight is limited to faces. A bit heavy in some parts, making them look like they have applied zinc cream to avoid sunburn. Painting gear is largely 0 through to 000 brushes, Vallejo colours almost exclusively, all targeted using the Mk I eyeball (which 10 years ago was still pretty good).
The vanguard brigade that I deploy has the fusileer battalion of IR12, III/12RIR, and III/14th Silesian LWIR. As discussed last month, these lads were leading the way, or covering the withdrawal, depending upon the week. Now, this is where it starts getting interesting.
Vanguard deployed
IR12 was created as a line regiment in 1813 by amalgamating a number of reserve battalions, including the reserve battalions of the elite lieb infantry regiment. The fusilier battalion was created from the 3rd reserve musketeer battalion IR6 (1st West Prussian). As such it was dressed in the ersatz (substitute) uniform issued to reserve units by the cash-strapped Prussian government. It retained the crimson facings of it’s original parent (stamm) regiment. Officers, musicians and NCOs (cadre) were dressed in the stamm regiment uniform of blue kollett with crimson-red facings (West-Prussian provincial colour) and white shoulders traps (1st Regiment of the province), grey trousers and covered shako. This unit saw action in the Spring 1813 campaign at both Lutzen and Bautzen , prior to their amalgamation with the lieb reserve battalions. As part of IR12, it served in the capacity of the fusilier battalion of that regiment. The figures I have used for this are mostly Fantassin, although you may spot an AB figure here or there.
III/12 reserve infantry regiment has a similar history, although the 2nd Brandenburg regiment as it was also known was not made a line regiment until 1815. It started as 3rd reserve musketeer battalion IR4 (3rd East Prussian), and was merged with reserve battalions of the elite lieb regiment to form 12RIR. It wore the ersatz uniform with the orange-red facings of it’s East Prussian stamm regiment. Cadre wore the regulation uniform of the stamm regiment, with yellow shoulder straps (3rd regiment of the province). Like all third battalions of reserve regiments, it was used in a light infantry role. Again, these figures are predominantly Fantassin, although you might spot an AB figure or two. 
  More skirmishers
For both fusilier battalions I have also created a set of duplicate skirmish bases for use when deploying skirmishers. Under GdB, light infantry battalions of this quality may deploy up to half their strength in skirmish order. It also saves me from having to choose between the marching poses and the firing/loading poses for depiction of the unit. The figures are all AB. It’s hard to go past AB figures for quality. Particularly when Eureka Miniatures was only 20 minutes from my home, and Nic Robson is such a friendly and hospitable chap.
For each battalion painted, I also provide a casualty marker in the appropriate uniform. It’s presence adjacent to a unit means that the unit has taken casualties, and the casualty sheet should be checked before making calculations that include unit strength as a factor.
III/14th Silesian LWIR
The third unit in the vanguard is III Bn /14th Silesian LWIR. It wears the standard landwehr uniform of dark blue litewka (long jacket) and schmirtze (peaked cap) with facings in the provincial colour, which is yellow for Silesia . The shoulder straps are also yellow as it is the third battalion in the regiment. The battalion is also known as Battalion Brixen – after its commander, Major Brixen
The command stand that I have created for the vanguard follows my practice of having a group which reflects the variety of units in the brigade. For brigade level commands this means two mounted figures, and two foot figures. This group represents Major von der Golz, commander of 12RIR who I have decided would be an appropriate commander of the vanguard brigade. He is accompanied by another mounted officer wearing the regulation kollett with the orange-red facings of the East Prussian regiment, suggesting he is from the former East Prussian reserve musketeer battalion, now III Bn/12RIR. The two figures on foot represent an officer and musketeer from the former West Prussian reserve battalion – now Fusileer battalion IR12. My compatriots in little gaming group have complained that they cannot distinguish between the “brick-red” of the East Prussian regiments, the “crimson red” of the West Prussians, and the "poppy-red" of the lieb regiment. I think it is pretty clear. Don’t you?
Command stand

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Eckmuhl (sort of)

Here's 1 of the battles we had just before the new year. The battle was roughly based on the Eckmuhl scenario from GdB. Cameron was commanding the Austrian forces while David jnr and myself were in control of the French. This was my 2nd time of trying the scenario and the 1st time I was gubbed by Robert after some initial success.
The French had to take both BUA's for victory and also the forest for a stunning victory. We didn't have 100% of the troops that were listed in the scenario so we filled in with what we had. After a short discussion with David I was charged with assaulting the church yard.
Austrian forces from Cameron's collection defending the village on our right (48 man Austrian battalions can look pretty frightening!).

Russian cuirassiers filling in for Austrian light cavalry exploiting our lack of French cavalry.

Minifig line (filling in as legere) getting caught in the open! I'm pleased to say that young David has finished 1 battalion of AB legere and is now well on the way to finishing a 2nd!
David's French look to be on the assault. David was given the task of taking the right hand village however it looked to be a very hard nut to crack.
After Cameron crushed my legere battalion he slowed down my assault by forcing more battalions into square. However the assault did continued if very slowly.
David seemed to be doing a merry dance in front of Cameron's position.
For some reason David didn't get to grips with Cameron's troops. It's an interesting scenario as the French have a superior force in quality however the numbers are pretty much balanced and the small Austrian cavalry unit serves as a wee bit of a head pickler for the French commanders.
My troops preparing to assault the church.

The assault finally went in and the 1st couple of battalions were given a bloody nose however next round I did manage to crack the defence taking the church and things were looking a little fragile on the Austrian left.
Young David was up against it on our right however Cameron's own assault thankfully faltered. In the end we ran out of time. We called it a draw or a tactical victory for Cameron. It was a really enjoyable game and both this game and the 1 with Robert raised some interesting questions especially over assaulting BUA's. It will be interesting to try it out again at some point when we have the right troops painted up.
To finish here are a couple of new French command bases by young David. These have been needed for a good while now!

Figures from Old Glory.

Happy wargaming!!