Monday 28 January 2019

New Project for the New Year

In my earlier post on project planning I mentioned the possiblity of the French Revolutionary army as a possible project. Since then I have looked into this in more depth and made the decision to make up a sample unit.

I had decided that the army at the time of the War of the Second Coalition was where I wanted to be so that sensible opponents could be the Russians, Austrians, British or Ottomans, fighting in Italy, Switzerland, along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, or in Egypt and Syria. The thought of fighting battles in Swiss terrain is mouthwatering...those alpine meadows and pretty chalets...

The decision on figures was simple. The only complete range is by Eureka, but I had never seen any Eureka figures in the flesh. So I placed a small order for a single battalion. Eureka were great to deal with. First they sell by the single figure, a concept long gone amongst most mainstream suppliers, but something I like. The order was despatched the next day, but still took the better part of two weeks to come through the Australian and New Zealand postal services.

I like the figures. They are clean castings and the variety presented meant that pretty much that every figure in the unit is different.  I chose to make a unit in ragged dress that seems more typical of the time. The result was a unit with torn and patched clothing and a variety of footwear from boots to clogs, shoes bandaged feet and bare feet. I chose to do this unit a little bit differently to those I have done recently. Once again I have used the three stand structure for the battalion, with six figures to the stand, although the stand in this first battalion of the 43e Demi Brigade de Ligne the inclusion of a mounted colonel on the command base reduces the foot figures on that stand to four. Of the two rank and file stands one has two grenadier figures, on the right of the line of course, and a foot officer inthe  front rank.

I am pleased with the results and the project will proceed further. I am not sure how large the armies will get. The plan is around 12 units of foot a side, but I have no doubt that some scope creep will occur.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Left Overs

It has been exceptionally busy at work this week with overseas visitors taking up a fair chunk of my evenings. Production has suffered as a result.

This week's output has been limited to a single battalion of French line infantry made up from left over figures from the French 1812-13 project.

The only thing that differentiates this battalion from the others that I have is that completed is that I have done head swaps on all but two of the 24 figures, utilising some of the many heads in pokalem or bonnet de police that were left over. The result is a rather motley bunch made more so by giving them a mix of trouser colours.

Meanwhile on the painting table is a test unit for a new project that should be ready for presentation on Monday or Tuesday

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Carlist War Expansion Concludes

With these two units the Carlist War expansion is completed.

The first unit is a Valencian outfit.

The second is a Castillian unit, the 4th battalion, the Grabaderos del Ejército. Below the battalion officer is unimpressed as the new recruits enter the local uniform store...

...but watches them with pride as they march out so smartly outfitted...

...and onto the drillground.

Then in a brief parade, the whole expansion - the cavalry followed by the infantry - march in review under the admiring eyes of Don Carlos, Cabrera and Zumalacarregui, while the artillery fires a final salute.

The parade finished these new units have been marched to their new barracks where they will await thier first action.

Saturday 12 January 2019

More Carlist Infantry

This week sees the completion of two more Carlist infantry units.

A Navarre unit...

...and a Guipuzcoan unit in summer dress (in white trousers).

There are only two Carlist units to go in this expansion project.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Project Planning

As we bask in the heat of our summer evenings and with an abundance of BBQs, beer and wine thoughts are turning to projects for 2019.


Still on the plan are existing projects like the fortress guns, the Carlist War expansion, phase two of the Spanish Napoleonics and the remaining 18 figures of the Crimean heavy brigade. Those projects (supply permitting) should be completed by the middle of March.


I do have firm plans for the addition of some early British for the Peninsular, something to augment the British in Egypt with stovepipe, maybe half a dozen units with the possibility of two of those superb Perry flatboats for coastal operations.


But beyond that I am at a bit of a loss for figure painting projects. What I am determined to do is that wherever possible I want ranges to overlap with existing ranges.


I have been seriously attracted to three or four POSSIBLE projects:


First is the French Revolutionary campaigns – I have been inspired here after following games on Colin Ashton’s “Carryings on up the Dale” blog. This would add forces for France, Austria and Russia, but would overlap with the British in Egypt that could be used in Holland with the Russians against the French. The French could also be used in the early phases of the Egyptian campaign, against the Turks, before the Kléber uniform was introduced. The Russians may also be able to be used against the Turks, although the Turks would need to have a few more Jannisaries and artillery added.


Second is the campaigns in Scandinavia during the Napoleonic era that would involve the Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and Russians. Overlaps here could be Danes vs British; the Russians would have to be a new force since the uniforms in 1807-8 were significantly different to 1812-13, but they could be used against the Turks.


Another area of interest is the Seven Years War (again I have taken some inspiration from Colin). My interest here would be on the eastern campaigns Prussia vs Russia and Austria rather than the conflict in the west involving Britain and France. The only logical overlap here would be the Russians against the Turks again.


The Great Northern War also interests me. While there is some overlap with Prussian, Saxon and Danish units fighting in both the GNW and WSS that linkage is rather tenuous.


One project I really do want to settle on this year is sorting out a gaming area at home. At present all my games are played away from home, but the plan is to be able to set up in the garage. This will have a three phase approach.


First will be a table and it will be in the form of a fold up table tennis table.

Second will be to rework the storage facilities in the garage by building some purpose built cupboards that will allow for a figure expansion!

Third will be terrain boards that will store within the reworked storage facilities


The first phase is simple and will probably happen in February, but the second and third phases require the removal of a number of items from their existing location and then the storage being constructed. The storage may not happen until June and then the terrain boards can be constructed.


It is all food for thought on these sunny evenings.

Monday 7 January 2019

Napoleonic Fortress Guns, part two

Over the weekend I finished the first of the Spanish fortress guns.

The figures are from Brigade Games and for this set, intended to be ready to fire, three of the gunners are bracing for the gun's blast while the officer watches calmly.

Ready for the next couple of guns are another eight gunners.

Finally there is one more Spanish figure, again from Brigade Games - the general on foot, twisting his mousatche. I'm not quite sure how I am going to use him yet, but I'm sure I will find a way.

Saturday 5 January 2019

First Units for the Year

Although I have billed this as the first unit of the year, I actually painted this Carlist cavalry unit on the last two days before we went away.

It is the last cavalry unit that I am doing for the First Carlist War expansion - unit number six for the Carlists.

This time it is a Castillian unit. Almost as soon as I completed the first three figures I regretted making it a Castillian unit. The uniform seems a little dull. White belts would have lifted the unit, but the guide book shows them with black belts and that is what I have given them.

Actually completed in the New Year, although started in late-December, are the last two sets of the six Victrix British artillery for use in the War of 1812 and the Peninsula.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

End of Year Round-up

Every year when I review the year's hobby production and forecast the coming year’s schedule I always think, "this year won’t be as big as the last."


Well 2018 would have been less than 2017 if I hadn’t decided to expand the French in Egypt by half, doubled the Ottoman force, increased the War of 1812 armies, added the Spanish Napoleonic army to the equation and decided on a reasonably sized expansion to the Carlist armies.


The end result is that what I expected to be quiet-ish year has been my busiest year for many years. What is different about this year is that the size of the result is not skewed by the usual high proportion of scratch built items since those have only accounted for only 11% of the 2018 total. The bulk of the result has come from painted figures.


The 2018 year total landed on 13,060 painting points based the formula of 5 points for a foot figure, 10 points for a cavalry figure or piece of equipment and 10 points for every hour of scratch building. That is 2,330 points above the 2017 total of 10,730. All up 1,486 foot figures, 372 mounted figures, 34 guns, 19 pieces of equipment and 34 scratch built items were completed.


I worked on nine projects during the course of the year, five of which were completed in their entirety, three still have items to complete and one (the scratch built items) is a constant work in progress. I also suspended the Swedish Napoleonic project and introduced the Carlist War expansion in its place.


The Completed Projects:


The Egyptian Campaign of 1801 had three sub-groups:

• French in Egypt expansion which counted 208 foot figures, 27 mounted figures, 6 guns and 1 limber             

• British in Egypt which counted 390 foot figures, 33 mounted figures, 6 guns and 6 limbers

• Ottoman Turks in Egypt which counted 74 foot figures and  48 mounted figures


The French 1812-13 project was the biggest project by far this year and counted 507 foot figures, 206 mounted figures and 13 guns.


The War of 1812 Project (originally targeted as an American force only, but which has also absorbed some British artillery and cavalry, plus a stack of Woodlands indians) was completed with 70 foot figures, 6 mounted figures and five guns.


The Ongoing Projects:


The Crimean War British Heavy Brigade has been started, but issues with supply persist so only 12 mounted figures were completed, while 18 are outstanding.


The Spanish Napoleonic army is well under way with phase one, the 1805-1808 portion, complete with 170 foot figures, 18 mounted and two guns painted. The 1809-1810 portion that will make up phase two will start in February.


The Carlist War expansion has started but only 61 foot figures, 22 mounted and 2 guns are finished. The remaining 72 foot figures will be finished in 2019.


Constant Work in Progress

The never-ending scratch building section has seen 34 pieces completed including the Egyptian Village, the War of 1812 Blockhouse, the Maori village, some Indian lodges, the basing of a bunch of palm trees, the two of six Napoleonic fortress guns and included the completion of two 54mm figures.


So to the statistics:



The Current Year


So what does 2019 hold? Well it DEFINITELY will not be as high a count as the year just gone. The plan is:

• Finish the projects in hand – Carlist expansion, Spanish Napoleonic, Crimean War Heavy Brigade

• Work on a Swedish Napoleonic force

• A small number of British units for use in the early Peninsular war and Napoleonic coastal operations.


The rest of the year is to be given over to another project, that I shall discuss later, and playing games.


Speaking of games played, the count was 23, one down on target and was broken down as follows:

• 6 Napoleonic (3 in western Europe, 2 in Egypt and 1 in the Russian winter)

• 4 American Civil War

• 3 WWI (2 Europe 1914 and 1 East Africa)

• 2 Medieval

• 1 each, Russo-Japanese, War of Spanish Succession, Carlist War, French and Indian, Austro-Prussian, WWII, American War of Independence, English Civil War


This year’s goal is to get above 24 games.


New Year greetings are delayed this year because we headed off shore to Fiji to see out the year. Four days were spent in and around the pool where the two biggest decisions of the day were whether to have the pork belly bites or the burger for lunch and whether to wash it all down with a Heiniken or a Fiji decision in most cases was the former food type and the latter can be seen in part below (some veteran readers of this blog might think that they have seen a similar image last year and they would be right, but that image was taken on Christmas Day 2017 and this one was taken on Monday, just gone...and the glass in this instance has a little less amber liquid contained within).

Despite the threat of rain on a couple of days New Year's Eve was hot (32 deg C) and sunny and a big evening was planned. We had an early dinner with a seven course degustation menu at the resort's signature restaurant then returned to the pool where the night's fesitivities were to be held to find that four evil flamingoes had landed in the pool - one of which can be seen casting its evil beady eye on our position by the pool.

The night was one of fun, music, midnight madness in the pool and culminated in a huge fireworks display. 

We are home now to recover for a few days before going back to work on Monday.

Happy New Year to all!