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.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Big Uns.

To make a change , some work in progress on some 120mm figures.

French Cuirassier by "Poste Militaire". Garde d'Honneur by "Poste Militaire" .What possessed me to buy an "Almond Sculptures" Black Watch highlander  in this scale - oh boy the tartan is gonna be a test - anyone make tartan paint yet?  Inpsiration for doing these came from looking at the modelmaking of Bill Horan and Shep Paine both outstanding masters of the art.

The cuirassier was finished 10 years back (and I won a couple of painting prizes with it), but was damaged in a house move and has been locked in the "stuff to do" drawer, so needs a little clean and touch up to some paint and repair work to his sword and belt at the back. The other two are fresh projects. They will be  completely painted in oils which gives you time to work on large areas and shade and highlight easily with plenty of time to work with the medium. Although to be correct the cuirass was not actually painted at all. The bare metal was burnished usng a hard pin by moving it in small circular motions around the area until it beomes very shiney. This was then sealed in using clear vanish before it oxidised again. It still looks good all this time later. At this scale you have to paint properly - no wargames quick fixes here! . This should all be fun and will be an occasional update for something different.

Sunday 24 April 2011


Last weeks project was a unit of British Guards - 3rd Foot 48 figures in all.. These are "Front Rank" figures apart from the horse which is an "Elite miniatures".Castings are stock poses from the manufacturer apart from the wounded sergeant where I took a soldering iron to his early pattern shako to form hair and a head bandage. I used a variety of castings some with covered shako some without to give extra variation. In addition the sergeants pike staffs were removed from the casting and replaced with higher strength piano wire with head being replaced onto it by drilling and soldering.

I really enjoyed doing these using a full range of techniques using washes and dry brushes etc. The red a Vallejo flat red, which was then washed with a Citadel Devlan Mud and once dried it was highlighted over elbows, muscle top , cloth fold areas again with the flat red or Vallejo Scarlet for the NCO's and Officers.

There are a number of wounded and dead on the stands , each different as the manner of falling can be posed by simple bending . These were then supported by drilling through the plywood base and pinning into the figure  prior to basing to give extra strength.

Flags are from GMB and excellent as usual. Glued together using white PVA and shaped before drying.

These were varnished using humbrol Matt from the tin on the heads and elbows , backpack's etc to give a thicker covering, and once dried given a spray matt varnish to tone it all down. At this point bright silvers,shiny brass & rich gold was added as required to brighten things up. I even was able, to use my old metallic "ROSE" paint powders in a Vallejo thinner and it worked fine.

The officers horse was completed as part of the last batch of horses , using oils.

Defending the orchard wall at Hougomont at the WHC photo courtesy of Mark Freeth at the WHC

And seeing off some Frenchie types further along the field

More pictures from Mark Freeth WHC website

Monday 18 April 2011

It's not rocket science.

But it is a "Rocket Troop".

I have had it my head to do one of these for a while. The figures are RHA from "Front Rank". I had two with rammer which had it cut away and had my own home made rockets added. They are made from piano wire, , some milliput rolled into a small sausage and fixed to the end. A couple of thin bits of paper cut and stuck to wrap them on and finally a small ball bearing added for the ball.

The rocket firing apparatus is made from brass wire and sheet, soldered together. It may not be 100% accurate to the originals (thats is another project with the heavier version launched from the wagon) , but put it on a table and people will see its a rocket troop. As far as i have read they fired a lot straight from the ground as well , so who knows that may be another one to do.

Background to the photos courtesy of Mark Freeth at the Wargames Holiday Centre (Yes that is La Haye Saint in the background)

Monday 11 April 2011

Out with the dice

The Austrian Grenadiers I painted for the Wargames Holiday Centre have had their first outing down there. I was there for the weekend for a re-fight of the 1813 battle of Dresden. Invariably of course you expect  that the nice new shiney troops would misbehave on thier first outing and be doing lots of running away. These guys however had a great game battling away on the eastern side of Dresden , even managing to see off an assault by a force of the French Old Guard.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Vive l'empereur!

Almost, more accurately "First Consul" , in "Crossing the Alps" in 1800. I have had this figure in bare form for at least 10 years. If I remember correctly this was a limited edition low number release from Wargames Foundary for a charity support appeal.

It is a two part casting with the top half of Napoleon with cape as one part and bottom part and the horse as another. These two I decided to drill and pin together for security. The horse had its two front feet cut free as it is fairly sturdy so should should be OK unless handled carelessly.

Very few of the colours used here are straight out of the pot as I wanted to really work on it. so lots of little shades and highlights. For the cape colour I went for a more utilitarian brown shade rather than the variety of reds, and oranges etc which reference research seem to show.

The only really fiddly bit was the wild staring eyes on the horse, created by making the whole eyeball white and ensuring that when the black centre was added white was left showing . It seemed to work effectively.

Monday 4 April 2011

Too many chiefs?

Well , I have a British Guards unit on the painting board for April and while I was rooting around in the pile of unpainted metal at the weekend I came across a part painted British general and decided to pair him with a horse that was finished 10 years ago. With a little bit of work this morning I was able to finish the combination. The general is from "Front Rank" The horse was an "Elite miniatures" but with some conversion work as both front feet off the ground as if about to jump. To help support the casting when used on the "battlefield"  I had inserted a pin underneath the horse & into to the base which  is then hidden within  the added grasswork (my usual teased out sisal string). So now all I need to do is paint the chap some guys to command.

Total time to complete 2 hours .. plus the 10 years from actually starting it.

Friday 1 April 2011

The white mob.

I have been working on a contingent of Austrian Grenadiers for a friend and these have been completed apart from a couple of flags that will need adding.

These guys are again "Elite miniatures" and they were all of the German - Austrian variety not Hungarian.  I did some basic conversion work with the turning of heads (gently as I find with more modern metals there is less give in it and can be prone to snapping easy fixed if they do with drilling and pinning , but more work) I also repositioned some of the officers arms to give some more variety. I replaced all the officers sabres from the thicker cast versions with curved and flattened pins. I use an ordinary pin for this , not dressmakers as they are too hard and don't bend so easily nor flatten out so well. I use a Vee block when bending & flattening . Feed the pin over edge of the Vee and gently tamp it with a hammer to form the curve of a sabre. It is then flattened out on either side of the curve and cut to size. The figure then has a small hole drilled in the sword handle and the cut down pin can either be superglued or soldered in. If I superglue it in I also try to nip the metal around the end of the pin using a pair of snipe nose pliers.

Once ready for painting , they were given an undercoat of light grey - Humbrol 64. This provides a ready made shade area in the deeper parts of the figure - the belts etc. It means I only have to put the white paint where it is required. I would not want to use a wash over white to achieve this as it would mean re-highlighting the white again.

These figures have really good faces which come up really well. More about face painting in April. The flags are from "GMB", the finials and chords are "Front Rank" the flagstaffs are made from Piano wire.To give some additional variety I have also replaced a couple of the mounted officers with some spare Austrian General type figures in bicornes - again to give a bit of individual flair.

Gun Battery completed

I was looking for something quick and easy to do, so I thought a gun battery should do the trick. I was given the this "Elite miniatures" one to get my eye back in. It is only 12 figures and 3 guns so it was done in a couple of nights. The guns were assembled and stuck together with superglue. The barrels were drilled out a bit more. The figures had a mix of early and late uniforms. For a painting guide reference I have a a complete set of original "Rousselot plates" - the definitive guide for French Napoleonic uniforms I believe. The undercoat for the figures and guns was all dark grey (Humbrol 67). The guns are painted in Humbrol 150 which is a good match for French Artillery Green. They are then given a very  thin wash of dark brown prior to adding on the metal paints.They are finished off with a light dry brush of a light earth colour. The end of the barrel is blackened with dry brushing. The figures are pretty straight forward apart from I decided to add extra detail on the sabretache with the company number and wreaths etc.

For the bases which are cut from 1/16th ply some extra work is required to make slots for the gun wheel and trail to sit in. This is created with some blobs of blue tack which are formed and shaped by pushing in the wheels to form ruts. The blue tack is then hardened with a covering of superglue. The base is then covered with PVA wood glue and dipped in my usual sand/cat litter mixture prior to colouring.