Sunday 31 January 2016

Crimean War Expansion

Regular readers will be aware that my focus for this years is to be the Crimean War. I have a significant game planned for later this year and need to get the armies built. I already have a small British infantry division (the Guards and the Highland Brigades), part of a French infantry division (a zouave regiment and a Chasseur á pied battalion), a Russian infantry Regiment, and part of a Sardinian force.

The plan is to use Great War Miniatures where possible and pad them out with Foundry for items they don’t do. Fortuitously the Foundry had a Christmas deal of 25% discount with no postage for orders above £80. This enabled me to complete the French cavalry (a regiment of Chasseurs d’Afrique that I posted an image of a week or two ago), the remainder of the Sardinian infantry regiment and three batteries of French artillery (one horse and two field).

Careful observers will note that the uniform of the Sardinians is incorrect. The infantry should not have epaulettes, as cast on the Foundry figures, but rather should have wings on the shoulders. However, because I didn’t fancy carving the epaulettes off and then fitting Green Stuff wings, I am going to live with the error.
All I need to finish for the Sardinians is the command stand. Nobody makes command  figures for the Sardinians so I have had to make one. For this I have used an 1866 Austrian cuirassier officer I made some years ago. I swapped his head for a bicorne one, added some epaulettes and a sash. I put him on a Foundry Franco-Prussian hussar horse, with the houndstooth edging covered. I think he looks just the part!

Next on the Crimean painting table will be another regiment of Russian infantry, four mounted officers and a Russian battery. The order has been placed and its arrival is eagerly awaited.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Another building and the first figures painted for the year

In the days since my last post, I have been busy.

The first item I worked on was a smaller thatched building intended for use in the Crimean War, Napoleonoic Wars (with the express intent of using it with the Napoleonic Russians that will be done this year) and for the Great Northern War.

It is a simple structure that came together pretty quickly, largely because it was so hot here over the last weekend that the epoxy putty cured in half the time. Here are a few quick shots of the result.

Then on Wednesday my Foundry order arrived. The first unit for the year has been one of  Chasseurs d'Afrique that will have dual use; for the Crimean and Franco-Prussian Wars (and possibly the Franco-Austrian War of 1859 if I every get around to it).


Saturday 16 January 2016

The Mill Bridge

The mill, completed in the previous post, is intended to be the central feature in a Crimean War scenario that involves securing a river crossing. So it needs a bridge, something substantial, something worth fighting over.  I also needed to disguise the fact that on the model the mill race is 10mm above the pond level and to have that starting so abruptly on the table would just look weird. So I wanted the water to flow into the race through an arch in the bridge. Now because the arch on the opposite side of the bridge sits at table level and the mill race is 10mm higher, the more astute readers will realise that the water flowing out of the arch will have had to have flowed uphill to reach the mill race, and they would be right. But the visial break that the bridge provides does make the different levels a fraction more believable.

For inspiration I searched some Crimean War sites and these two images drew my attention.

Using them as a very loose basis for a design, this that I came up with.

And then when it fits together with the mill...

Friday 15 January 2016

The Mill, part 11 - Completed!

With the water effect finished and the model removed from its working base, the Mill is complete.

I am really pleased with this model and it came together so quickly. I wish all projects could deliver such results so quickly.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

The Mill, part 10

All the basic work on the mill is complete. There is just the second and third coat of the water texture ito be applied.

Here are a few shots of the model with all the paint work complete.

Applying the water has its own technique. First of all I painted the water area phtalo blue over a black undercoat. Before the blue is competely dry, and without washing the brush, I add a little bit of green and brush it randomly through the blue, just enough to give a hint of green. Then while the paint is still damp, I add a little terracotta to the brish and brush it sparingly around the edges of the pond. This gives the effect of a shallower edge to the pond. Finally I dry-brushed a few streaks of white on the ramp that will carry the water past the wheel. 

For the water I use an artist's texturing product called "Golden Heavy Gel (Gloss)". This stuff goes on white, but dries clear. It can be sculpted to a small degree and will hold peaks. It is really good for creating flowing water. Smoother water can be created by brushing it with a soft wet brush. To get depth two or three coats are required.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

The Mill, part 9, and a little planning for 2016

Today’s work on the mill has focussed on three tasks:

Getting the main structure painted (excluding the thatched roof)

Finishing the base

Fixing the structure to the base

The next phase will be to paint the base and finish the thatched roof. Then apply the water effect.

I have begun some work on the first stage of the associated bridge.

The Annual Plan 

At the same time I have given some thought to my projects for the year.

They say it is good to commit your plans to paper (or digital paper in my case) to keep focus on the goal. Although I have a pretty strong record of completing projects of late (even if they do stretch beyond the original scope), I am well aware that I am easily side-tracked when new figures appear on the market or when some great photographs of a different period appear in Wargames Illustrated!

So here goes my plan for the year - more than likely subject to change without notice:

The Certainties:

Crimean War Project:

This will be the prime focus for this year. I need to have the armies completed for a game that will form a part of  our annual gaming week away, probably in September or October. I have this pretty much planned out with seven monthly purchases all carefully timed so that the credit card charges roll over into the next payment period so that I can manage the financial impact of the project.

Russian Napoleonic Project:

The first Napoleonic army I ever owned was a Russian army and I have a soft spot for them. My original Hinchliffe Russians were sold long ago and I have been thinking about replacing them ever since the Perry’s brought out their plastic figures. So this will start this year, more or less in parallel to the Crimean project. My goal will be to complete the infantry, and maybe some artillery, during the year. The cavalry will follow next year.


These will be a number of these for the Crimean and Russian Napoleonic projects and they will be slotted in as time permits and as the whim takes me. The first items will be the Mill and a bridge. Following that will be some structures based on some of the Roger Fenton photographs from the Crimea.

The Possibilities:

Great Northern War:

I am seriously tempted, but it will be dependent on the Ebor figures becoming available. I would expect this to be a small project maybe half a dozen infantry units three or four cavalry and some guns….oh dear I have this feeling of déjà vu…it sounds rather like the Wars of the Roses project that started with a target of six units and ballooned to 23!

Second Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864:

This is more likely a probability than a possibility. I have wanted to do this for many years as a part of my Wars of German Unification collection. This can be a small project. Eight battalions and a couple of batteries, will give me a complete Danish division, and I already have the Prussians and Austrians. This may well be handled on a “unit here and a unit there” basis.

Carlist War:

This is the danger project for me. Ever since the recent article in Wargames Illustrated it has been gnawing away at me. There are so many tempting units that it could balloon very easily.

Monday 11 January 2016

The Mill, part 8 - the first lick of paint.

While the chinney is still under construction, and it will still be another evening's work, I was able to start painting the model. I need to do this because parts of the model will not be able to accessed once final assembly begins.

I had to add one more detail. At the foot of the stairs the point where the hand rail joins the model is a very weak connection, so to strengthen it I added a barrel, a metal casting from many years ago. I attached it to the stairs with green stuff and then stacked some green stuff sacks around it. It is a really strong joint now.

After undercoating most of the model in black, I worked on the wooden detail, first dry brushing it tith terra cotta. I then gradually lightened the surface by adding degrees of white to the mix, dry brushing it over the detail. Finally a light dusting of pure white was applied.

This picture shows how the model sits on its base. The water will "run" down the race between the building and the stone wall, under the wheel and into the mill pond. The flat abrubt end to the base on the left is where the bridge, under which the "water" will flow into the race,  will join the model.

This image shows the other end of the mill pond. The beginnings of the chimney can be seen rising on the left. You can also see how the mill itself sits slightly raised above the pond.

 A closer shot of the pond end of the model.

Tomorrow night I expect to have most of the base texturing completed and the bulk of the model painted.

Sunday 10 January 2016

The Mill, part 7

All that has to be done now is position the chimney and all of the work on the main structure of the mill will be complete.

In these picture the wheel is in its approximate position, but will sit a little lower in the finished model, which will be positioned on top of a small bank so the wheel will sit about 6mm below the position shown, supported on the outer side by the stone wall of the mill race.

I have begun to design the base of the model, which will see it sitting alongside a mill pond with a weir and a short race. It will join onto a separate model of a stone bridge.

Saturday 9 January 2016

The Mill, part 6

Today's work on the mill has seen me start by adding some small details. I added the door hinges and handles to all the doors. I added a heavy timber trim around the lower edge of the upper floor. I added some detail on the underside of the bay window and a bit more ivy across the front of the stairs.

I put the thatch on all of the roof areas, except across the crest.

I finished the inner side of the mill wheel. I cut the mill paddles from plasticard and then attached them to the front side and filled the space between them. 

When all of the components had cured, I did the final assembly of the wheel.

The model is probably 85% complete, with just a few small details to finish, but the largest part to be completed will be the basing of it. I need to give some thought about how I am going to attack this. I have the idea of placing it beside a bridge with a mill race or a pond.

Friday 8 January 2016

The Mill, part 5

Tonight's work on the mill was the completion of the fourth face of the mill, the side on which the wheel will be attached.

I also finished the timber under the bay window, and started to add some ivy the the hand rail, which will give that some strength.

Last of all I put the metal fittings and bolt heads on the mill wheel.