Monday, May 20, 2024

Tweaking Mameluke basing.



I think this might do the trick. Not every horse-man will get his base so liberally garnished with followers, but ... enough will. Then there might also be a subsequent rank to reinforce the illusion.

I need to get my hands on some more 40x75mm Renedra bases to see how an entire unit looks.

What do you think?

Friday, May 17, 2024

Building Little Boats


Dhow are you?

The bits.

Still painting Frenchmen in Egypt, be reassured.

However, I was reading the excellent 'Napoleon in Egypt' by Paul Strathern and is starting to become clear to me that I would benefit from some watercraft, so wat could be more appropriate or more multi-use than an Arabian Dhow.

I well remember the templates available on the Major-Generals' marvellous website, so off I flew via the Wayback Machine ( and downloaded them.

The lead ship in her class.

In the photo above you can see the deck united with the hull. The smaller pieces are the fore and aft decks that will be raised a little higher then the level of the main deck by means of some shims underneath them.

The decks are heavy card with the planking drawn in black biro and then with the odd plank picked out with a wash of one colour or another. It's surprisingly colourful and effective. I'm kind of regretting using such strongly coloured paper for the hull - a manila folder seems a better option in retrospect.

Next comes the mast, yard, sail and some rudimentary rigging.

I am thinking three or four might be a good number for this flotilla?

Monday, May 06, 2024

Some Mamelukes

 Can I call them mamluks please?

Anyway. this is the start of the Mamluk cavalry horde.

The whole collection

I'm thinking this is the ranty army commander Angry Bey

The leader of the light cavalry. Murat Bey?

Breaking up the look of the cavalry with varied weapons &c

I’ve been looking at these figures and thinking a bit.

How does this seem – mount each horseman on a 50mmx50mm base and allow him two ‘followers’ on 25mmx25mm bases that can be placed behind him. They’d be the people picking up his discarded muskets and pistols for him. They might also be used (or re-used) as infantry in other contexts.

One or two might be equipped with banners to add to the spectacle.


Napoleon in Egypt

 Well, now. What to do when you are a little weary of painting tartan and your Prussians are yet to put in an appearance?

Why, you pick up the threads of an old project, of course.

Trudge, trudge, trudge. le desert mauvais... le cafard... les mirages

I painted three of these over the weekend - the thirds' base is still a bit of a WiP so he's not made the cut photographically.

They really are quite enjoyable figures to paint and I can get one done in about an hour without too much of an effort.

They will be joining the 9eme de Ligne in short order.

Using the Charge! organisation is something of a cliché with me, but, you know you pays your money and takes your choises.

The ultimate plan here is three Charge!-style units of three line and one Grenadier company, another unit of light infantry and two units (12 figures each) of cavalry - one of hussars and one of dragoon.

I have 3/4 of the first unit of infantry done and scraps of cavalry units and half the Light infantry.

Then there are the Mamelukes.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Filing in time


The 42nd
So, that was a fairly productive long weekend. I dipped into my new stash of Willie Highlanders and pushed out another half-dozen figures including the Grenadier you see in the right of the photo.

Despite the tartan and the separate swords and muskets, these are less of a chore to paint than the Arquebisiers de Grassin and I expect (hope for?) fairly decent progress on these.

I think they are quite a useful regiment to have as they can be used at both Carillion/Ticonderoga and Fontenoy with some companies also being used at Prestonpans of all places.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Small update

I just painted myself out of Prussians. IR 5 stands currently at eight figures.

I've put in an order, so watch this space.

In the meantime, a small order for the 42nd has arrived, so I'll get on with that for the moment. I've painted one figure and prepped another half dozen, so expect pictures soon..! :^)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

There is nothing quite like...


...Stadden Prussians
A small follow-up as to what's been coming off the painting desk since my "What's Next" post of a few days back.

IR #5 has had a few minor additions with a few more yet to come. Then I'll be out of stock locally and will have to make a decision on whether I should order more in if I am to continue.

My question to myself is do I want to commit to painting another 50? At my rate of painting, they would take me about two months of my hobby time.

To ask the question is to have the answer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

La poudre noire et les Guerres de la Révolution Française


This kind of works for me
So, where to start.

A few years back I had from John P. a couple of hundred (maybe a few more than that) very nicely painted Elite Miniatures French infantry of the Revolutionary period.

I started basing them up, 4 to a 40mm base because it seemed like a good idea at the time. That done, I sort of ran out of steam as I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with them or even what ruleset I liked the look of. Besides, they were just the infantry and needed cavalry and artillery to be added to get them into some sort of fighting shape, so they got boxed up and put away. 

However, they always lurked at the back of my mind. 

Now, I'm not sure why, but Back Powder cropped up in some wargamey context recently and these fellows started jumping up and down and waving their bicornes and tarletons at me. "Choose us! Choose us!"

So I looked at them, laid them out. Took a good look at the BP unit organisations and thought, "Hm. This could do."

Then I slapped myself on the forehead with the realisation that this was a wargames army that really only needed the fun stuff painted. You know, the units and stands you use as motivation while you crank out the masses of infantry.

I always was a little slow.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Arquebusiers Unchained or, What's Next?

 Well, it has been a long job, but I have finished the Arquebusiers de Grassin.

Lurking in a wood near you.

They were not a tough job, but there was a fair bit of flash on them. In retrospect, I would question using the remastered minis that are on the Tradition website. They do not seem to offer much extra value; the officer is identical to Suren's original and has all the flaws that it came with. There is a Grenadier which was nice, but it was so miserably sculpted that it was painful to paint. It would also have been nice if it could have been provided separately so you could adjust the proportion of them in your unit. There is a drummer which I have not yet had the heart to paint, but looks like a bit of a trial to assemble drum to drummer. The fusiliers have all been modified, but when that's happened, the cartridge boxes have somehow been rather 'flattened' and pushed into the miniature.

So, while I am glad I did them, I am glad I won't have to do them again!

So, now the question arises... what' next.

I have a few options. I spent some time last week painting a few sample Highlanders I have had knocking about here for months. I have a method now for tartan that works well for me; it's a bit impressionistic, but looks 'right' and I can knock out an infantryman in the course of a 45 minute painting session. I'd build the unit to the "Drums of War" organisation (4 x sub units of musketeers @ 19 figs each plus additional Grenadier and Light companies, two of each) - but it's a double-sized unit so it would be a long project. The first batch of figures are on order.

42nd Highlanders

44th Foot

Next option would be to finish off the 44th Foot. This was a hard-working regiment in the French and Indian war, being present at numerous engagements, not the least of which were the Monongahela and the siege of Fort Niagara. I started work on this unit when I finished my third French unit for the French and Indian war. I only need to paint about a dozen figures and flag the unit to put this one to bed.

Another project that tempts me is to crack on with the 46th Foot. I have some of the command in Staddens. I also found a few Grenadiers unexpectedly this morning which has dangled temptation in front of me. They are very handsome figures.

IR 5
So, who does not like a Stadden Prussian Grenadier? This chap got painted this morning. Took about an hour because they are quite demanding figures to paint as they require your very best in terms of precision. 

Lastly, I also watched on Henry Hydes' YouTube channel his restoration of the Spencer Smith "Oldenberg" Regiment and some of Charles Grants' rather super old buildings which have come to him. and now I have an itch to pull out some of my unpainted Spencer Smiths and have a go at them. 

Friday, March 08, 2024

Top Tips for Speed Painters!

 Don't do it!

I see a lot of YouTube videos with various people - some very good painters among them - smashing out units or armies of war games miniatures.

They have plenty of tips and tricks, some of which I have emulated at times. They are often very good and promote a tightly disciplined way of painting so that you can get that new unit on the table asap.

Now, this is great, and I am sure it helps many get just that result - a neatly painted unit ready to game with in a short period of time. So far as that goes, I suppose that's a good thing. I mean painting is not that delightful an occupation for many who just want to game and need to have painted miniatures to do that.

Speaking for myself it's a shockingly joyless activity. Take 'x' minis, prime them, then... paint all the trousers. By the time you are done with the last pair, the paint will be dry on the first and you can start over with the jackets!

Woo-hoo I say with poorly feigned enthusiasm. I recently had the experience of painting a box of Perry Napoleonic French. I assembled (why are there not enough covered shakos for the entire unit?) and primed them. I was about done here, but I kept on and did all their trousers in contrast paints per the speed paint guide I fund online and conked out due to the tedium.

So, I'll offer my 'method'. I paint what I feel like. I often have 2-3 units on the go at the same time. I never paint more than three of four minis at the same time and they are almost always all different in some way. This keeps me mentally active while I am painting.

The other thing that I do is keep the completed part of the unit out next to the painting table. My motivation is watching it expand and, as it grows into it's shape, I can see what I have done and what needs to be done - for me this is important when building large units of Willies to the "Charge!" or "Drums of War" rules which both require a large supporting cast of extras alongside the basic types.

So, just now as you can see in the accompanying pics, I am working on the Arquebusiers de Grassin* and some extras for my French-and-Indian Wars units. 

Avert your eves, please from the disorganised hell-hole that is my painting desk.

The expanding Grassins. The officer in the foreground shewing a leg is an unattached ADC. Each of my units has one for the look of it. It may not be too obvious but they are well into their second company or Grand Division now.

The la Reine and Béarn Regiments. Each is having a Light and a Grenadier company added per the "Drums of War Along the Mohawk" rules.

The la Sarre Regiment and assorted livestock. You will see a harried ADC dashing forward with a despatch from M. le General.

These French regiments are a pleasure to have out on display. I never pass them by without stopping and gazing upon them for a moment or two and maybe daydreaming about what might next be added to the collection. 

And in some ways this is the heart of why I paint as I do. For me one of these regiments is a thing of craft and beauty to be treasured and admired and added to lovingly. The thought of knocking a unit out is the opposite to what I am attempting to achieve.

Now, I'll have a step-ladder to get down off my high horse.

* These are largely the original Suren castings. I bought some of the remodelled ones and they are not a patch on the originals. There are a couple of interesting ideas among them -a Grenadier and a Drummer, but the quality of the casting and the mould making is poor. I have miniatures from across the remade range and would not go there again. Too many mould lines, imprecise detail, pits and pockets in the castings. they have been a bit of  chore to work with.

Monday, February 19, 2024

A Weekend of Warriors


That was a busy weekend...
"Er, father..."

Father was busy so he could only spare me  half an ear. The Brigadier would be arriving at our little house on the morrow and he was deadly keen to finish a new unit of light infantry for the War Game.

"Have you seen the new catalogue by Mr Suren?"

He shaved off another few flakes of plastic from a Spencer Smith grenadier.

"No... Why?"

"There's really something I think you ought to see."

Father was teasing some epoxy glue to form something like a mirliton. And some fur trim. The tip of his tongue was protruding from the side of his mouth. "Oh? What's that my lad?"

"These. If you look at the pages for Frederick the Great's Army."

Father's eye trailed down the page. "Whatever has Teddy Suren done this time? More blackamoor servants or naked lady sailors?" he quickly dashed some paint onto another set of gray gaiters. "A little lining in with black india ink and these fellows will look spanking," he sighed in satisfaction. 

"Right at the end. Past the Cuirassiers and Dragoons. Look. The Arquebusiers de Grassin..!"

"But.... but... they're not even Prussian!" The eyebrows went up, the pipe dropped from Fathers slack jaw. 

Straight into his tumbler of VAT 69. 

It made a frightful mess.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Arquebusiers de Grassin


Straight from the workbench to you.

I just completed a couple of test figures for a long mooted unit of the famous Arquebusiers de Grassin. Famous? Well wargame-famous anyway from Charles Grants' book on the Battle of Fontenoy where they held the Bois de Berry against the 42nd Foot.

I think I have about 16 miniatures in all sorts of paint as I probably bought them 25 years ago.

That's changing now as they are all getting a repaint and rebase to my current standard and will be fleshed out to the full "Charge!" establishment of two 12-figure companies plus various officers, NCOs, musicians, standard-bearers, whores, jugglers and mountebanks.

Flags will be by David: