Tuesday 24 November 2020

Sikh Artillery and Zamberuks back from the Basing Department

Back from the basing department this week we have the last of the Zambureks and the irregular heavy artillery.

First to share are the Zambureks, this gives me 6 which I will arrange in 3 batteries of 2 most likely. I have tried to ensure that a couple of them look more Sikh and other particularly Muslim so they can be used for other periods if needed.

I am pleased with how the saddle blankets have come out and the basing department has excelled herself I think with this lot.

This first one has an Iron swivel gun from Blood and Plunder, a Foundry Afghan and a Foundry village Elder from the Mutiny range. Many of these swivel guns were Iron and I think it looks well painted as such.
The second one also has two Foundry Afghans but the gun is a large Trent miniatures Jezail which fits really well I think. Probably my favourite saddle blanket of the lot this one.
You can see here how the Jezail fits really well in this shot, exactly as the Zambureks probably looked I think.
This picture gives you an idea of the crew figures, again love these miniatures despite how old the range is.
Along with  the Camel guns I also got these two ornate big guns, both crewed by irregulars.

Again the crews are all Foundry figures, mainly Afghans supplemented by a couple of Sikhs and a further Mutiny village elder.
The right hand gun is from Indus Miniatures whilst the left hand gun is a chinese weapon from Victorious miniatures.
Again a subdued colour palette with the armoured gun commander in brighter clothing.

Another really nice addition to the Sikh Wars collection which continues to steadily expand.

Thanks for reading, see you all soon.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Hudson and Allen Highland Crofts Step by Step

Further to my 1745 Rising project I have decided to expand my buildings and pick up some of the lovely Hudson and Allen Highland Crofts to compliment the buildings I already have.

 Less than two weeks for the parcel to arrive and great communication from the US supplier Vatican Enterprises http://www.wargamescenics.com/products.html
The resin is a nice Amber, light and durable. Little frustrated by the 20% customs duty and £8 fee but even so these are still good value I feel, including all the taxes and postage less than £100 for the lot.
I usally prime black but being low on black spray I have cheated with white mostly, lets see how that works out.
First I tried blacking out the door and windows, then slopping some watered down dark brown to get a base coat, doesnt need to be too thick but does need to be dark in all the cracks, I didnt bother doing the black first after the first one as I ended up slopping brown all over it anyway, the black can wait till later in the process for the rest.

I am starting with brown as I dont want my crofts to have all grey stonework like most I have seen but want a more sandstone look to them. This will match the buildings I already have.

I mainly use Colour Party Paints. Apart from supporting a local small business they are also my favourite paints, great coverage, nice texture and some lovely colours. Them being a 10 minute drive for me is just a really nice bonus. The brown I use is MA10 Negro flesh but any chocolate brown colour would work.
The branches, twigs, rushes etc that made the original base of the rooves poke through the models in various places adding some nice character, I want to highlight these so again a slap of brown to kick those areas off.
The turf areas are going to be mainly shades of green, that might seem obvious but initially I though it would mainly be dead grass, so brown or buff. All the images I have googled though give relatively lush green grass so thats good enough for me. Again a slap of dark green base coat, slightly watered down  in-consistantly, this has ended up giving me different shades of green as it floods the white primer, I actually quite like how that has ended up and this first one is starting to show what the end result might give us.
The green I am using is MA4 Rifle Green, a nice dark base coat. Where it runs over into the brown it makes a darker colour so again creating a really uneven look which I like. 
From now on most of the painting is dry or wet brushing. So first layer to bring out the stone work is going to be MA41 staffwood , this has a hint of khaki/mustard to it which I quite like. I am wet brushing this, exactly same technique as dry brushing just a bit more paint on the brush to get a lot of coverage but leave all those cracks in the stone work the original very dark brown. I have then blacked out the doors and windows on the second model.

The woodwork on the roof has also recived a strong dry brush with MA36 Eurasian flesh bizarely , this is my prefered colour for any wood, whether thats thatch or spear shafts.

Whenever I am painting something I usually get a moment where I think "This is rubbish its not working" this was my moment, at this stage it really doesn't look very good and its becoming hard to see what the end result will yield. Stick with it.
Next I wet brush the doors and windows with a mid grey, I used MA30 battleship grey, just leaving traces of black here and there for the deeper cracks. 

Then its my first proper dry brush onto the stone work with a buff colour. MA58 tanned flesh I think, it is however an old bottle with faded writing so hard to read and I could be wrong.

Now I want to dry brush the grass, for this I use a yellow colour, in this instance I use Lemon yellow from Miniature paints, just because thats what I have to hand and it works well. However as it is bright you have to be careful not to brush it too heavily or it looks a bit odd.

The grass over the rocks on the right is a bit heavy in places so I will stick a wash of rifle green over it to tone it down a bit.
Lastly the whole lot with the exception of the grass gets a good dry brush using MA33 bleached linen, a really nice pale ivory colour. This brings all the detail in the models out and brightens the whole piece. Amazing what a difference this last step makes.

All that remains is to add a few tufts for colour and texture, I have used some purple flowers as heather and also dropped a couple of tufts on the rooves as I like how scruffy it makes them look. You might also add some details like door knobs etc, you can just see one in the rear building and it makes a difference.
So to finish some nice shots of the two crofts with some miniatures for comparison, really pleased with these, onto the next two.

I am sure this is not to everyones taste, the daker grey granite type stone work adds a dour look which may be in keeping with many peoples perception of the rainy highlands but I prefer this brighter look. I make no preffession that this is how to do it, just my take on it and I am happy with the end result. Hope you like, starting the next two soon and who knows one day I may even get to play with them. Stay safe.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Reviewing Plans for the Northern European Bronze Age Collection

This collection is one of my all time favourites but has languished in boxes in a cupboard for a few years.

The main reason is rules, I am really not sure what will give a good game for these guys, some years ago Chris Charlton and I did a lot of work to alter Saga to fit this collection, it worked really well but I find Saga to be a fairly boring game after the first 5 or 6 games if I am honest. A few rules seem interesting, Infamy Infamy perhaps or Dux Brittaniorium ( I probably spelt that wrong) I do like Lardie games so these may be 
worth exploring.

These are really simple figures in terms of clothing so you can spend a bit more time getting the best out of them. The collection is of course based on the old Foundry North European Bronze age range by the Perry Twins, lovely as it is, it is also a bit limited so for the larger games I envisaged (maybe 40 or 50 per side) I needed to be a little creative in expanding the range, simple conversions and additions from other ranges, for instance the nearest of the chariots below has ponies from a different range so they are not all the same.
The female leader below is a Hasslefree miniature of Boudi, a stylised Boudica, like her a lot. Basic paint job but I cut down the base so there was ust a little spike left over, drilled the chaiot base out and slotted her in. I think it works really well.

I did also pick up the pack of villagers so the Heroes have an audience. I like having characters but I dont do many as they distract me from painting the figures we will actually game with.
I initially worked towards two factions with a degree of colour difference to help me distinguish them, below are the red/brown facion, baddies of course with skull banners, I cut away the sun disk from the banners and replaced with annimal skulls which I think look pretty cool. Other than that these figures are pretty much as they come.
This bunch are my double handed axemen, the majority again as they come, a little bit more design on some of the kilts to shwo their status. The chap on the left is a spear man with the spear cut away and axe head added, next along has a head swap ad far right is a charioteer mounted onto a foot base. Each charioteer has a matching figure on foot so he (or she) can dismount and duel with other heroes.
This next bunch are a bit richer still with swords and large sheilds, mainly bronze ones, again only changes here are the charioteers mounted onto foot bases.
The spearmen below mainly sit within the blue/grey faction and I do have some conversions in with these, I had a lot of the guy advancing wih double handed axe so for a few of these I cut away the axe head and added a long spear, far left and far right are good examples of this with far right also gettign a head swap, third from the left is also a different axeman with the head cut away and replaced with a spear. It just adds a little diversity to the group.
Some lovely characters in this range, the eleborate horn is lovely, I have added a trophy head to the dismounted charioteer at the back and Boudi is at the front un-altered. The chap to the right is a North Star figure of an Irish chieftain, looking at his long sword probably Iron Age but Iwont tell anyone if you dont.
The spearman leader figure is also really nice, pointing at the back, the warrior next to Boudi on the left is carrying a hand axe, got a couple more of this one.
The standard bearer is as he comes with bronze sun symbol, this is the original for the two skull standrads earlier.
There are 3 different mounted figures, I have tried to make them reasonably diverse, however as I understand the ponies would have been very much like our Ex-moors I have limted myself to a simple pallette for them and dropped a couple of greys in to break it up a bit.
Depending on the rules I end up with I may need to supplement these a little as 13 is hardly a round number. It did occur to me to buy some dark age Irish cavalry and then convert a couple for Bronze age and the others for the Elizabethan project. Food for thought.

Foundry only made two guys with avelins and as I wanted quite a few I have needed to make additions. As well as greenstuffing kilts onto Irish dark age figures I have also added European heads onto Perry plastic ansar which seem to have worked quite well. The Irish have worked less well to be honest but it was worth a go.

Like the javelins the bowmen have only two figures in the original range, I have expanded this by adding in a couple of picts and some Trojan wars archers.

The Foundry range has ust the one slinger, a boy which works well as it would have been the village youths that employed the sling, I have done some head swaps and moved the arms a bit on some of these but not painted any of the Foundry ones yet, I added a pack of Warlord biblical slingers, the slim build is perfect but they were all bearded so lots of head swaps required, ust these two so far, pesterign a wounded warrior.
And a Bronze Age collection would not be complete without Shamen and semi naked dancing girls. I added the sword so he had somethign tosacrifice to the water spirits.

I still have maybe 40 figures to paint for these and probably some bits to pick up to fill gaps in, I have though been reluctant to invest any more time or money in this lovely project without an end goal in site in terms of rules. A few have been suggested, I am actually tempted by the simplest route which would be minor amends and down scaling to use Hail Ceasar. Fleshing out the rules on duels and chariots might make it playable, not sure if I would capture the flavour of the period though.

Food for thoughts, see you all again soon. Stay safe.