Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Sound the charge!

Well those white horses have had to be put to some use. In this case a regiment of 32 figures of Dutch Belgian heavy cavalry. The 2nd Belgian Carabinier for 1815. These are "Connoisseur" figures available from Bicorne miniatures.and were a complete joy to paint. The castings were very crisp for both the riders and horses and took almost no cleaning up.

I wanted a bit of wow factor with these so set to work on individuality for them. The range of castings did not come with a trumpeter so a trumpet was fashioned from thin gauge brass wire. a  blob of solder added to form  the cone which is then drilled out. The troopers swords were all removed and replaced with flattened mild steel pins and drilled and soldered into place. One trooper has a  fallen soldiers shako scooped up onto  his sword point and held aloft.  Sword arms and heads were then gently moved with a pair of pliers. For more pronounced movement of heads they were removed and drilled/pinned/glued  to allow some to appear to be looking over their shoulders. A flagstaff and finial were fashioned from wire - flattening the end and shaping to a finial using a carborundum cutting disk. Horses likewise had some leg bends, hoofs released from the base where strudy,  head and tail twists etc.Ultimately no two figures are the same.

4 horses were to be done as White/Grey and the rest various shades of Chestnut bay. These were completed first to allow oils to start drying.

The troopers were undercoated in Humbrol 67 (Tank Grey) . Main painting then took place using Vallejo Dark Prussian blue(70899) highlighted to a lighter shade with a Flat Blue (70962) mix. Red (70926) was added and Flat Red (70957) through to a hint of Scarlet used to shade and highlight. Faces completed with my usual 4 colour method. Sheepskins were started Khaki and drybrushed lighter with Khaki/Offwhite mix gradually lightened. Belts initially Light Grey and Off White with top highlight of White.Helmets were a mix of Brass and Silver metallic.

The challenge here was the request for these to be a Matt finish. This takes a little more planning and management as it will generally darken bright colours and dull metallic. In some cases these need brightening after the varnishing. To get around this I decided to initially varnish overall in Matt Humbrol - make sure the medium and varnish are well mixed to work properly.. Once dried I then used a thinned  gloss varnish painted in directly over the metals of the helmet , scabbard and sword which gave then that little bit a shine and really improved the look. The flag care of Grahame at GMB was added fixed and shaped with PVA, then hardened with 4 coats of varnish. The flag edging was again picked out in thinned gloss to just to give a little shine from the frills.

For the basing I had some French infantry casualty figures falling and dead ones from "Front Rank" and these were mixed in to create an effect of a squadron catching infantry.

Time to complete - 40 hours - 12.5 of that related to conversion and personalisation.

I am very happy with the overall effect as a unit , they have real movement and life which is just what i wanted to achieve. From my more recent reading of 1815 the Dutch Belgian cavalry performed fairly well , thier commander being acknoweledge by The Duke so lets hope these boys do just as well.

A comment on varnish - nicked from Itinerant Wargamer with which I agree.

"Gloss varnish isn't terribly fashionable these days which is actually a bit wierd. There is no debate about it bringing out the colour and establishing a visual contrast between the figure and its base, this is simply optical fact. Nonetheless, a lot of folk "prefer" matt these days. Anyway, my theory is, that gloss varnish makes well painted figures look even better and badly painted figures look even worse, while matt varnish just dulls everything down to a more median uniformity (no pun inteneded). So for Mr Average painter (like me, and most of you) we think our stuff looks better when we matt varnish it, because gloss just shows up all the cock-ups, while matt is more....forgiving."

I like gloss varnish overall and I think have learnt over the years to paint well and to make it look good with shiny varnish!

At a recent game at the WHC - about to clash with French Cuirassier - and then run away , like all new troops seem too!

More at the WHC site  thanks to Mark Freeth


  1. Fantastic paintjob, as you said they look like they do have a life of their own, the photo reminds me of the famous painting, Charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo by Lady Butler.

  2. Size (of the unit) matters, and I still love the very dynamic poses of the old Connoisseur figures.

    Really this is an excellent regiment.

  3. Thanks guys... no small unit skirmish stuff here thank you!


Work in hand


No more than 3 things on the PAINTING table at once. Nothing new added until something is finished.

PREPARATION work is done when I don't fancy detail painting. Cleaning up, converting, undercoating etc.

PLANNING is expressions of interest or things that have inspired me to be created with no definite timescale as yet.

28mm Sudan
28mm Necromunda

On the PREPATION table.
28mm Sudan
15mm WW2 Landing craft
1/200 ME262

WW2 D Day game