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.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Out with the soldering iron and the oil paints.

Well having located a bunch of old "Connoisseur" Russian Uhlan castings in the depth of the cupboard. I thought I would bring them to life.I always really liked the original Peter Gilder light horses as they have a a good sense of movement, and they paint up nicely too.

Having consulted my reference material I settled on Lithuanian Uhlans purely for the aesthetic reason of the white czapka. I always think it is important that units look good together rather than just individually and try and make them tell a story. As these are lancers I wanted to give a a reasonable impression of movement with pennants flying. The lances were created from "Piano/Music Wire" (also known as spring steel wire .I used 1/32" or 0.813mm which is 20 AWG available from Mugi in Barnsley in 36" strips for 59p)

This is very hard stuff and will easily ruin your cutters , so it was cut to lengths using a mini drill with a carborundum disc. These lances were then soldered into the hand positions of the figures to give the front squadron with lances down , 2nd dropping them down and 3 and 4 upright at a range of different angles. In addition as Peter Gilder never seemed to get round to niceties of things like standard bearers and trumpeters these had to be created too. A trumpet was fashioned from brass wire and the cone formed from solder and it was added to officer figure to replace a sword.

Unit flag and pennants were ordered from Grahame Black at GMB. Makes life so much easier than back a few years when these had to be fashioned by hand too.

Painting commenced. 4 White horses created and 28 others in differing brown shades. To paint an oil horse you start out painting it yellow... yes YELLOW. I used Humbrol 74 to undercoat, allow at least a couple of days to fully dry. Then paint in the horse furniture with black. Once dried it is out with the oils "Burnt Umber" and a big brush and work it all over. After doing that to all of them, take a piece of sponge and some tissue wipe off all the excess paint and it leaves a thin covering over the horse and naturally more in the creases etc. Leave this to dry somewhere warm , and forget about them for a least a week. Once dried , add socks , blazes , mane and tail highlights and any metallic horse furniture.

Meanwhile waiting for the oil to dry  it was on with riders. An undercoat of Humbrol 67 worked in by brush, this allows all the crevices to have a dark colour in them but not black which shows up far too glaringly under a gloss varnish.These were pretty simple mainly being dark blue and crimson. I did add extra detail on the czapka for effect.

Some teased out sisal string was added to the basing to give a grass effect. Overall as the first cavalry unit completed for many a year I was very happy with them. These took just over two weeks from start to finish , about 30 hours altogether.

Monday 28 March 2011

Picking up those brushes again.

So rooting through the mass of unpainted metal in the back of the store cupboard. I came across some old figures and decided to finish them.

First off the stocks a 28mm "Elite miniatures" French Cuirassier general.Some basic conversion work carried out, adding a flattened pin sword to replace the thick cast one. The horses reins are replaced with flattened wire and soldered into position. The horses head is turned to the side with a little pressure applied with pliers, and a little working of the mane and tail with the soldering iron too.

White horses. I had forgotten the challenge here. Started with a light grey undercoat (Humbrol 64). Then a very heavy dry brush of pure white. Once dried I then painted in an Off white (Vallejo acrylic)  over the top of the muscles areas. A wash of  yellow ochre (Vallejo - thinned with water)  was applied all over and allowed to dry. Then a dapple can be applied by spotting pure white over the flanks and chest area.  Black socks added and dry brushed. Sounds a lot of work , but the whole figure took less than two hours overall which is fine for a "special"

Doing his job - leading a division of Cuirassier at the WHC.