Thursday, 14 July 2011

Back again!

Well, it's been a while - a scarily long time to be honest, and the plan to update this blog every two weeks or so has fallen very definitely by the wayside! 'Real life' (TM), redundancy threats, and car accidents have transpired to stop some painting progress, but hopefully we're back on track now, and the job is safe, we have a new car, and the holidays are here! Things haven't been totally quiet though, with scenery being the focus over the last few weeks. I've also started work on the Comte de Tescaux' Regiment - with their off -white, blue and red uniforms. The test figure for this regiment is on the left.
First up though, is a Hudson and Allen barn, which I picked up a few years ago at the Vapnartak show in York. Sharp-eyed viewers might remember it from earlier posts. Eagle-eyed viewers will spot that I didn't show the base off in earlier posts, for the simple reason that it wasn't done! Now it is, and it can be shown in it's full glory. Also on view are some of the dry stone walls from Coritani miniatures, which I've collected at both the Derby and Partizan shows over the last year or so.
My recipe for basing is fairly simple - after the standard diluted PVA glue and sand/small gravel mix, it's all painted using Games Workshop paints. I start off with Scorched Brown as a base coat, then dry brush up in successive layers Dark Flesh, Bestial Brown, Bubonic Brown, then a final drybrush of Bleached Bone. This is a recipe I picked up a few years ago in White Dwarf, and it works well. All my figure bases for 'European' theatres are painted like this, and the edges of figure and building bases are painted with GW Graveyard Earth. Rocks are either left in their 'drybrushed' state or are painted a mix of greys, washed with GW Badab Black wash, then dry brushed up with Foundry's Arctic Grey 33A tone. The walls started off already pre-static grassed when I bought them, so this was stripped off with warm water and a scourer - be gentle! Then they were undercoated in black, then drybrushed up in the follwing order - GW Adeptus Battlegrey, Codex Grey, and finally Fortress Grey. Static grass is added using patches of diluted PVA glue, then some grass tufts from Antenociti's Workshop - summer I think - and bushes using Woodland Scenics clumps. All spot on!

I've also discovered a new technique for painting wood as well - moving away from the traditional brown, to a more faded and sun-bleached grey colour. Shown in my rather out of focus scratch-built barn, this consists of a black undercoat, followed by a drybrush of Foundry's Granite 31A shade, then 31B, and finally a drybrush of Rawhide 11B. For a bleached look, finish off with a final brush of Rawhide 11C. I washed the 'wood' with GW Badab Black again in small quantities, and 'greened up' the structure with Foundry's French Dragoon Green 70. However this process is in reverse, starting with the 'C' shade higher up the building's foundations, then a layer drybrushed on of the 'B' tone, finishing with the 'darker ' (ie. damper) 'A' tone.

The building on the right - with the Regimental Ensign of the Comte de Tescaux's Regiment and his Colonel arguing about dispositions - is the first piece of Mauritzanian 'Real estate', representing the Toll House cum Border checkpoint. It also doubles up nicely as a roadside tavern - hence the table with roast chicken and tankards outside! The building and walls were picked up at Partizan in Newark this May, and are from Hovels.
The walls are actually from the 20mm 'Battleground' range - a suggetion from the very helpful chap on the Hovels' stall - and they work very nicely too, with slightly smaller, more in-scale bricks. My recipe for brickwork was also a bit experimental, but finished off being a GW Scorched Brown basecoat, with drybrushed layers of Foundry Brick Red 59A, then Madder Red 60A (in small patches), then Brick Red 59B, and finally Mediterranean Flesh 125A and GW Dwarf Flesh in small patches. Wash with GW Ogryn Flesh and Badab Black in small patches, and 'green' up using the above technique with the Dragoon Green! Simples! The plaster on the building is the Foundry Butter Fudge 55 pallette, and the roof is the 32 Slate Grey pallette. I've made the building and the surroundings 'modular', so the tavern can be used in isolation or with the barn and walls together.

The Roast chicken and table/chair set also come from Hovels as well - it's these little things that add to the whole feel of the piece. The final picture is of my first wheat field - more on that, and the next instalment of the Comte de Tescaux's next time - which hopefully won't be so long! I may also have progress on the Mauritzanian Guard Regiment too! Until next time!

Monday, 18 April 2011

So it begins......Mauritzania!

Greetings again!

It's been a mad week, and real life and work have got in the way, but back to blog land we go!

One of the aims of Fall on Pell Mell!, apart from sharing my work and thoughts, inspiration and eye candy, was to drive forward my wargaming projects - the thinking being that if I started a blog, I'd need pictures to go on it, and that would keep me focussed on one project (maybe!) at a time.

So we come to Mauritzania. Some time before last Christmas, inspired to start a late 17th/early 18th century project, but knowing nothing about the Marlburian period, I created.......ahem..........discovered archives and documents relating to the small nation of Mauritzania. This kingdom - sadly now disappeared from history - lay close to the French border, in what is modern day Germany. Possibly.......

The documents 'discovered' tell of the events of the early 18th century, when the rulers of Mauritzania, the Royal house of Mauritzans, were undergoing something of a succession crisis. To describe briefly, Heinrich Rudolf XXIII (the previous ruler) has recently passed away, and left the throne to his legimate son, Heinrich Rudolf XXIV (the 24 H.R. Mauritzans of that name.....). This ascension has been challenged by the Count von Azder - the previous king's illegitimate son by an earlier ill-advised marriage, which was hastily annulled by the Mauritzanian Government. As a lasting quest to avenge his maligned and dear-departed mother, who died shortly after his birth, and in an effort to claim the throne he (wrongly) believes is his, Von Azder has rallied a rag-tag bunch of central European princes and dukes to his shady cause, with the promise of financial rewards from the lucrative coffers of Mauritzania should he be triumphant. An attack on Mauritzania is imminent!

Providing much experienced backbone to the invading forces, are two 'unofficial' French Regiments. Unofficial as Louis XIV couldn't possibly have anything to do with such a despicable cause........however the Sun King has an eye to the long game, and may have possibly nudged two malcontent colonels, the Comte de N'Etteau, and the Comte de Tescaux in the direction of Von Azder, backed by large purses. After all, every little helps......

So the scene is set. The Mauritzanian Border is on a state of alert. The whole of Europe, completely unaware....... and the Comte de N'Etteau is on the march with his Regiment of Foot, moving steadily towards the time of invasion.

(Any similarity to the names of British high street supermarkets and food outlets, is purely co-incidental by the way.........)

The Comte de N'Etteau's Regiment practising field tactics. Even the Comte's dog, the unusually named 'Dai' (it's a Highland terrier) accompanies the Regiment on the march.

Mean while, over the border..... the Ensign of the Mauritzanian National Regiment boldly flies the flag, waiting, waiting.........'Green and Gold Forever!'..........

Until next time.......

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Me, my scales and life

Well, here goes.

About me - I'm a thirty-something Midlander, originally from Nottingham. I suppose with that heritage, and the proximity to the 'Lead belt', of Foundry, Games Workshop, Warlord Games, Northstar, the Partizan Show, et al, it was inevitable that at some point in my life, little soldiers would make an appearance .

I blame my dad - early memories of making Airfix kits. Then followed the ground crew, 1:72 figures, and my very first copy of Wargames Illustrated - issue 55 if I recall correctly - fairly rapidly followed by a Donald Featherstone book from the library. Tamiya figures and tanks featured somewhere in these formative years as well!

Since that hallowed day of my first Wargames Illustrated purchase, hands shaking as I perused the articles, I've meandered down the wargames river. I started on 15mm, progressed to 20mm WW2, then finally arrived at 25mm (the one True Scale), black undercoats, and 3-colour system a la Dallimore.

Oh yes - I'm also a re-enactor of almost 20 years as well - fighting battles as a pikeman, Musketeer and Sergeant of the English Civil War. I also dabbled with the American Civil War as well for a few years, fighting in both the Blue and Grey as our regiment took on dual roles!

As to title of this blog - it comes from an order given during the English Civil War - my favourite period of history- to 'Fall on Pell Mell', and indulge in a bit of hand-to-hand fighting!


Greetings - and welcome to Fall on Pell Mell! A bit about this blog - being a wargamer in name only for over 20 years, I felt it was time I started to get some figures on the table, and this blog is a means to an end - inspiration if you like, and a kick up the proverbial! I really enjoy painting wargames figures in most scales, but the biggest problem, like many wargamers, is that I suffer from 'Butterflyism' - fluttering from project to project on a whim, or inspired by a film, book, forthcoming set of rules or new figure range! Over the last 23 years or so, I've collected over 2000 figures, many of which still aren't painted. So in an effort to get lead on the table, and get rolling those dice - 'Fall on Pell Mell!' has been born. It is, if you like, a collection of thoughts on the hobby, ideas, a charting of progress, and hopefully some eye candy, as I chart my way through the Seas of Lead, to the Land of gaming Nirvana! Welcome, and I hope you enjoy the trip!