Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Hello again! Well, as 2013 draws to a close and seeing as though I've not picked up a brush in 'anger' (if that the right phrase?...) for over three weeks, I thought it was a reasonable time to offer some musings on the year - an 'End of term report' as it were - on how things have gone over the last twelve months, as well as looking ahead to 2014. So here goes......

Given the fact that I've not painted anything since the command stand of d'Humieres Regiment was completed, this might seem a funny place to start! I'm a firm believer in the fact that one should at least TRY and urge yourself to paint, even if it's just a quick undercoat or a simple clean up and prep of figures, but I also understand that when the painting mojo has gone, it's gone - no good trying to force the issue! It'll come back soon, and there's lots of reasons why mine has disappeared at the moment - not least because I'm shattered! It's been a long term, and there's nothing more appealing than getting home at night, sorting family stuff, then chilling out on the sofa watching TV. Hmmm, can't see that one changing over the festive season..... However, the quality of painting is still just as good, so I'll give myself a C + in this category! (Form is temporary, Class is permanent, and all that!!!)

Here's the bad one......where I really must try harder. At least my figures painted column is in double figures for this year! The lack of painting mojo on occasion doesn't really help, and I had a big gap between March and August of this year where I didn't do anything, but even so, no excuses!!! Next year should be better for various reasons, but I'm going to have to give myself an honest E - !

Projects (Or the Non-Butterflying category...)
On this front, at least there's some positive news. Since August, apart from a brief trip into the idea of Dark Ages skirmishing, I've stuck with JUST ONE PERIOD!!! The League of Augsburg, War of the Grand Alliance, Nine Years War - call it what you will, this has been the main thrust of the second half of the year, and will be for the next year or so. It's nice not to butterfly from period to period, and it's such a fascinating era, that has really grabbed my imagination. I think belonging to the League of Augsburg Fighting Talk forum really has helped, as has blogging about my painting exploits, and those two things have kept me on the single-minded one period pathway!! Above all though, it's been the positive comments and nice feedback that has kept me going, from so many other people in this wonderful hobby of ours! Thank you! B grade for me I think! (and an A+ for all you lot out there!)

Thanks to the fact that I've been focussing on the one period for the last 4 months, my figure buying has been rather limited as well this year. I've actually been to conventions, and not really bought anything, apart from small 'bits and bobs' and bits of scenery! Unheard of, for me! Foundry has seen the bulk of my money, with the building up of my League of Augsburg units, as has Warfare Miniatures. All in all, quite positive! B again, in terms of a lower amount spent!

So what's the plan for the new year? Well, apart from moving house ( which could also disrupt the mojo...) I'm going to try and get on with more painting in general. The League of Augsburg will be my main focus, and I'll try and get my twelve units for my two armies completed by the end of the year. I also want to get my scenery boards done, as well as some buildings and other bits of terrain. Watch this space! I'll leave you with something from earlier this year, which kind of sums up the manic yet Religious theme of this time of celebrations and festivities -  a Saxon Dark Ages Monk from Musketeer Miniatures! Peace, goodwill, lots of rest and frolics and general good tidings to you all, and thanks for all the continuing support and nice comments! Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Command base finished!!

Well, finally, a few weeks after the last post, I've got my command stand finished! People who have been following this blog over recent months will hopefully be pleasantly surprised to see my drummer and standard bearers now joined by the first two of the rank and file infantry. The basing has taken place over the last week or so, in stages, and was finally finished off tonight. I've taken inspiration from Barry Hilton's post here
and I've added some water to the base. Now, realistically, this water should probably be a mucky shade of brown, but, I like the bluey-green; slightly artistic in some ways, but it's reflecting the summer skies of a European summer!!(Maybe.......) I've added a few pictures including the pike stand, just to give a sense of numbers.Next up will be the two 'rank and file' bases, starting with the officer and sergeant. Ten more figures, then Regiment d'Humieres will be finished. Until next time.......

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Next Ensign.......progress!

 Hello again!! A few days on, and here's more progress on d'Humiere's Regimental Standards - this time the Drapeau de Colonel, or 'Colonel's colour' - the equivalent of the 'Royal Colour', in British/English regiments. It features the white cross of France on a plain background. Most Drapeau de Colonel in the French army of the period were variations on this theme. This time, I've gone with a white standard pole, and silver cordeliere or tassels. The white cravat or scarf at the top of the standard pole is made out of Greenstuff as usual, and the figure is Wargames Foundry (as usual!!)

The final photo is a picture of the 'command base' of d'Humiere's regiment, as it is at the moment. Both of the ensigns are now painted, and with the drummer, look rather impressive. I've just got 2 rank-and-file soldiers to do, to finish this base off. I've tweaked about with the position of the figures since this last pic was taken - and learnt a lesson, about NOT sticking figures down too early, or with superglue! It's incredibly difficult to move figures about afterwards, if you're not happy with the position of them, so I'll have to re-think my basing 'method' in the future..... I suppose I'm just too eager!!

Until next time, when this base will be finished!!
See you soon.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

d'Humieres' Ensign

Hello all!! Still here - though for various reasons painting, and therefore posts, have been somewhat lax over the last few weeks! But I'm still working on my League of Augsburg French, and here's some pictures of the regimental ensign for d'Humieres Regiment. He's not even varnished yet, so keen I was to get some pics on here!!
 As you may notice, there's a couple of things that have changed from the last picture of the standard - I've altered the colours of the tassels - the cordeliere - to match the colours of the field shades of the actual flag. It has been suggested that these cords were either in the same colours as the flag, or often silver.The flag pole has been painted blue in this case, as was sometimes the case; sometimes the poles were also the same colour as the flag field colours, or in the case of the Drapeaux de Colonelle - the standard with the white cross of France, on a white background - the standard pole could be white. These details were picked up from French Infantry under Louis XIV - 1688-1714 by Robert Hall, which I picked up in CD form from Baccus Miniatures at the recent Castle Donington Show. It's those little things that just add so much more 'oomph' to these figures, and I'm blown away by the level of detail in Hall's work - reasonably pricey but well worth it!!

This figure has been a joy to paint - one of the old Perry-designed Wargames Foundry Early Marlburian range, and he certainly looks the part. Time to get some varnish on him, then get to work on the next ensign, and the Drapeaux de Colonelle! See you soon!!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Hello all! It's been a few days, but here's a few more pictures of work in progress on my French infantry regiment, d'Humieres,  from the War of the Grand Alliance, or Nine Years War. First up is the drummer. The information I had on him was drawn initially from the series of articles written by Mark Allen in Wargames Illustrated, from Issue 49 (I think!?) onwards. As an introductory series to uniforms and units of the period, they've been a really useful source of basic information, but as they're long out of print, I had to pop over to WI and buy a CD of scanned pages which detailed the articles. It's been worth it so far, but as with all sources, it's worth looking at others, or the original works where the information was drawn from - but more on that another time. The follow up notes in a later edition of WI (also on the CD as one of the articles), suggested that the livery for the drummer could be based on that of the regiment's Colonel-Proprietor, Louis-Francois d'Aumont, who was 'in charge' between 1689 and 1702. The yellow colours, and black and white lace are based on an illustration of a trumpeter of a cavalry unit of the d'Aumont family, and so inference is drawn that the infantry  musicians may have had the same 'uniform'. My interpretation doesn't quite match the picture of the trumpeter's clothes, and it's not clear if the white cross was used by the 1690's, but it's not a bad approximation!

Next up are more shots of my pikemen, from different angles, showing off their grey uniforms, red cuffs, breeches and hose, and the details such as five o'clock shadow and different neck scarves and gauntlets. Little touches that just add a bit more realism!

Finally, there's a picture of one of the standards from the regiment. This is the Drapeaux d'Ordonnance, or 'Regimental' colour; the other being the Drapeaux de Colonel, which was a white cross on a white background. French regiments normally carried one of these Colonel's colours in the first battalion, and the 'Regimental' colour. Other battalions of the same regiment would then carry 2 or even 3 of these regimental colours. I've had to repaint this Drapeaux d'Ordonnance twice, as I wasn't happy with the initial colours at first - they started out as being far too greeny-blue! It's believed that the tassels or cordeliere, were used to wrap and tie up the material of the colours when they were furled, but there's debate about how long they were, or even when they introduced - either by the start of the 17th century, or sometime after 1700!! The white cravate or scarf at the top of the colours was introduced by the French to their standards, after the Battle of Fleurus, in 1690, when French artillery fired on their own side. White sashes began to be worn by French officers, and the scarves were added, though not universally ( and sometimes not even in white), by the infantry and cavalry, to avoid 'friendly fire'! As usual, the standard is hand painted, paper sandwiched over aluminium foil and glued/stiffened with white PVA glue. The cravate is made out of green stuff, and the tassels greenstuff and twisted fuse wire.
Over the last few weeks, I've gained so much help from people on the League of Augsburg 'Fighting Talk' Forum, that I feel it's only right to offer continuing thanks to these fine fellows. Many people deserve a mention, but above all is 'Arthur' who really has come up trumps with some wonderful information on the d'Humieres regiment. More information on the unit when I have made further progress - I'm continuing on the command stand at the moment! Until next time!!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Summer time!!!!

Well it's been a while, but here's the opening salvo from a 'newish' period for me - the Nine Years war, also known as the War of the Grand Alliance. These are pikemen from Regiment d'Humieres, a French unit that served in the Neerwinden (Landen) campaign from 1693. They are based up for 'Beneath the Lily Banners' - a rule set I picked up last year, and have fallen in love with!! More info later, but at least I'm back!!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Progress so far - Comte de Tescaux' Regiment

 Hello again! It's been a few days since the last blog, so I thought I would give people an update on the Mauritzanian project 'rebirth'. I've set my self targets for each week's painting, and this week it's time to get my second standard bearer, drummer and 2 rank and file figures completed.

Here are a few pictures of the progress so far - some of you may have seen these chaps already, in previous posts, and they are chaps I painted a while ago. Already done are my first 'rank and file' figure - varnished and based, and two command figures - the Colonel and 'Drapeaux d'Ordonnance' or Regimental colours. I often paint up a test figure, just to get a sense of what the regiment or unit will look like, and this is the case with the chap below. Given the name of the regiment, and (coincidental) link to many High Street UK shopping consortiums for this Mauritzanian project and the units involved, it seems as though the 'records' show the Comte de Tescaux' Regiment has a colour scheme of (off) white, red and blue.....unsurprisingly! Having said that though, they do look suitably French and early 18th C. ish.

I've got to do the Colonel's Colours yet, and there is a picture of work so far on the ensign carrying these plain white colours - well, white cross on a white background! I love the way that the Perry- designed Wargames Foundry figures have 'multipose' arm choices for many of the command figures - this Ensign originally has an arm with a sword, but I have cut this off, and drilled out the hand to take a standard pole. By next week, hopefully all these chaps will be done, along with a drummer. I won't be basing them up yet, as this will be the last part of the exercise with this particular unit. Next week will see the start of the 'rank and file' proper, first three figures, then two weeks of four figures each! Fingers crossed I can stay on track! Until next time - tatty bye!!!!

Monday, 4 March 2013

No More Butterflying!!!

Hello again! Nice to be back, on a more regular basis! Although the next post may have people groaning again in despair - as I've decided to put a hold on my Swiss Impetus army for a while, and return to Mauritzania!

'But you've only just started on the Swiss!' I hear the cry. Well true, but it suddenly struck me over the weekend, whilst I was sorting through old figures, just exactly HOW many projects I've actually started. The biggest reason why I've not actually got any projects finished off, is because I've not finished any projects off. Simples really! So it became pretty apparent that I might as well return to old projects - and first on the list is Mauritzania. If I had carried on with my Swiss, it would be at least June or July before I had finished that particular army, then I would need to paint some Burgundians (which I'd need to buy) as opposition. More time, more cost, little point. Other projects - on the other hand - have all been started and I have figures for them. In some cases, I have already begun to paint up figures for the different units. So.....2013 will be the year of continuing on already started projects. Mauritzania, ECW, and if I have time, my Napoleonics. Hopefully the backlog of castings and buildings will be reduced. Above you'll see two gentlemen of the Comte de Tescaux's regiment arguing over a similar moral dilemma to mine.....'Look,' says the Colonel, 'let's just chill and go for a drink. Maybe start on something else, no worries, find a new project.....' 'No!' replies the Ensign, 'Forward! To more disciplined wargaming and painting!' Lets's hope I can follow his fine example! See you soon!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Walls!! (and not a sausage in sight......)

As promised, some pictures of the wall section I have recently made. It's about 5 inches (12cm) long, and made entirely of cardboard, on a plasticard base. I was inspired by an article in Wargames Illustrated ( I forget which issue, but it was the one with the Crimean War theme), which featured the amazing work of Dave Andrews. Dave has a name 'well known' in the wargaming world, not just for his work at Games Workshop, but for painting, model making and sculpting with more 'historical' subjects. Dave's work has always inspired me, right from my first view of his figures and terrain in the 'Shieldwall' supplement for the Warhammer Ancient Battles rules. I'd always liked his work and especially his terrain - including the walls - and I've often wondered how to make them. Up until now, I've either used brick walls from Hovels, or resin walls I've picked up from conventions, then repainted. But a close up view of the walls made for Dave's Crimean War table, showcasing the new range of Crimean figures from Great War Miniatures, suggested that I could make them out of cardboard. So armed with some sharp scissors, a load of cardboard off-cuts, and some PVA glue, I set to.

The card is quite thick, just over 2mm, and each piece is about 12 mm long by 7-8mm wide. I then cut off random angles at the corners, and then layered them up on the plasticard base, (about 5 rows) supergluing the first layer to the plastic. I then used pieces slightly wider and curved at the top as coping stones, glued at slightly different angles, to show wear and age. When this whole construction was dry, I coated the wall in a slightly watered down PVA and sand mix, to add a bit of texture, and then let that dry as well. The painting was done using Games Workshop's Scorched Brown (I'm not sure what the new name is after the recent alteration to their paint range) as a base coat, liberally applied to all the niches, crevices and corners; then a range of creams and buffs and browns, gradually getting lighter. I'll post up the exact colours (mainly Foundry paints) another time, when I get my card index back (see previous posts!....) The base is sand and PVA, painted with my usual combination of GW paints, then static grass, Woodland Scenics bushes, and grass tufts courtesy of Antenociti's Workshop. A balsa wood fence post, painted up with dark greys (sun bleached wood), completes the whole thing. I eventually hope to make a few more of these sections, as despite using over 100 'stones' of card, and taking almost 2 hours to do, it's been well worth it. Hopefully even the maestro Dave Andrews would approve! Until next time, tootly pip!! ( Swiss on the paint rack tonight - watch this space.....)


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Peninsular Architecture.. and some voltigeurs!

Here are some of my French Napoleonics again - this time with added Voltigeurs! Two of the chaps have been done so far, and the next two have been started, but have been packed away with the house cleaning mentioned in my last post etc. Hopefully they will be done soon! When I have them all done, I'll post some more details on paints used and colour schemes etc, but safe to say it's a mix of Foundry and Games Workshop colours. Figures are Foundry (naturally!), and the buildings are from Hovels 'Spanish' or Peninsular War range.The two buildings are H11 Double three storey house with ornate balcony (without the balcony!) and H13 Taverna with arched porch. You might spot some cut up bits of the door mat that makes up the wheatfield, that I've added to the stable interior at the back of the Taverna. This was mixed in with PVA glue and added on to the floor of the building. The paint scheme for the buildings eludes me at the moment, as I have packed away my card files, but I have to say as a wargamer, make a record of paints or combinations of colours you use! It's saved me much heartache over the years, as I can refer back to colour mixes that I've tried. Only problem is, that like much of my stuff, it's temporarily in storage!
On another note, I've started on my Impetus armies - work on some Swiss Handgunners began on Monday night. Hopefully next time, I'll have some pics! See you soon!!


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Far, Far , FAR too long!!!!!

Hello all!

Apologies for being away for so long - 10 months is quite some time!

There has been much activity at Pell Mell Towers, though not on the painting and gaming front, and my lack of blog posts are certainly indicative of that! However,something far better has been happening, and September saw the arrival of mini-painter number 2, so with two small people taking up our time, life is very different! Massive hugs and love to the young fella - a potential opponent in a few years time - and big love to the Lady of the Towers, who did the hard work of carrying him for 9 months, and much of the hard work since!! His big sister loves hm!!

In other news,  most of my painting and modelling 'stuff' is now packed away in boxes, as we prepare to put the house on the market and try and move. After having most of my modelling stuff around me for years, this is a very strange state of affairs and somewhat un-nerving. However, we'll press on, and hopefully 2013 will be a successful year in  gaming terms as well!

 Imperial Romans, painted up for WAB. They represent the Augusta Sebosiana (?), a cavaly unit based in Britannia after the invasion of AD43. These chaps could do with a quick revamp - they were painted about 5 years ago, before the age of proper matt varnish! Not bad though!

Foundry early Saxons - still some of the nicest figures the Perry twins sculpted. These chaps are based on individual bases, and represent the rear figures in a unit for WAB - single bases for casualty removal. The unit didn't get any further than this, though with the purchase of 'Hail Caesar' rules, they might get a recall to the warband next year...... we'll see. Still some of my favourite figures I have painted.

Here are some Foundry Egyptians - again work of the Perry Twins, and forming part of my WAB New Kingdom Egyptian Army. Different paint schemes, basing colours and scorched static grass - not bad! Again they need a new coat of slightly matter varnish, but still not bad. Another army desperately crying out for the 'Hail Caesar' treatment me thinks.......

However, I haven't been completely lazy over the last few months - some painting has taken place, and modelling as well! I'll try and get some pics up in the next few days, but since the last post I've been painting my French Napoleonic voltigeurs, Peninsular War buildings, making some dry stone walls, and generally being a bit of a butterfly!! Good news in some senses, not so much in others. Any how, 'til I get the photos done, here's some old work to keep people smiling - some Imperial Roman cavalry, Early Saxons, New Kingdom Egyptians, and finally the backside of the Comte de Tescaux' Regiment from my Mauritzanian adventure! All these figures are from Wargames Foundry, and have been painted over the last few years, and represent projects that 'never quite got off the ground'..... well that's about to change, fingers crossed!

2013 will see me focus on just two or three projects - definitely Mauritzania - more on that another time, my Napoleonic stuff (with possibly some variations), and my English Civil War collection. However, there is time for a slight, final distraction before the big push starts - something completely different....... a couple of late Mediaeval armies for the 'Basic Impetus' rule set!!! The butterfly will rear its beautiful head again briefly! And yes, I still  haven't got my head round laying out text and photos in Blogger!! Until next time - Keeeeeeeeeeep painting!! ( if only I could find my paints........)