Friday 18 December 2020

A-wing Fighter

For a miniature gamer, watching a great show like The Mandalorian can be dangerous. I mean, how many times has that show caused me to look at Star Wars: Legion figures? How many times have I come close to buying? Now, there is nothing specifically wrong with Star Wars: Legion figures - in fact, they are some really nice minis, but I had already decided I wasn't going to get too involved with them. Mainly its the issue of scale. They are just too large to fit with any of my other minis. But also - I've got my own space game coming out in 4 months with its own line of miniatures!

So, I compromised with myself. Instead of buying some Legion minis, I bought a Star Wars model that I knew I'd be able to use for Stargrave. This is an A-wing model from Revell. It's 1/44 scale, which actually makes it near perfect for Legion, ironically, but also close enough to 28mm for my tastes. It's snap-together, and its pre-painted! It even makes irritating noises (or did, until I pulled the batteries out!). 

In fact, after a quick assembly, all I did was hit it with a heavy black wash and varnish.  It's not proper Star Wars without the grime! 

Here it is straight from the factory.

Sorry I didn't have time to take some better photos. Things are a bit complicated in the covid hotspot that is Kent at the moment.

Thursday 17 December 2020

Battletech Warhammer & Rifleman


So, in the end, I did actually back the Battletech kickstarter, though only at a very minor level. I ordered two lances of mechs (8 minis total). I knew I would enjoy them when I got them, but also that it wouldn't overload me. Anyway, I have just painted up the first 2 to join my Firehawks Legion. 

There is nothing particularly fancy about the paint jobs for these guys. I did hand-paint all of the little black lines on them, as I think it really makes them pop better than I can manage with an ink or. I suppose it would be a tedious task if I were painting a lot of them, but it doesn't really take that long when doing one or two.  

I think these are great minis. Certainly the best official minis that Battletech has ever had.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Defend the Cottage!

I finished painting this cottage a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to show it off. It's my second building from Tabletop World, and, like the first, it is a beauty. The detail is deep and wonderful. It's not only well sculpted, but just has terrific character. Here it is being used for cover by a pair of High Vault Guards.

If you look closely, you can see that I have mounted the cottage on a thin base of cork. This serves several purposes. First, it brings the building up just a bit, which counteracts the height that figures gain from their bases, keeping the height properly in scale. It also gives the cottage a grippy base, so it is more inclined to stay in place during a game. Finally, it helps absorb some impact, when it is moved around and placed on the table or back in storage. I went back and added such a base to my first building as well.

Having finished two such buildings and enjoyed them both, I think I might be ready to tackle something a little bigger. We shall see!

Monday 14 December 2020

Painting the High Vault Guards

I have painted up the first four members of my Notpoleonics Imagi-Nation. At the moment, I don't know much about the nation, but I do know that these guys are members of the 1st Battalion, High Vault Guards. This regiment grew out of the guardians of the royal treasury (the 'High Vault'). The 3rd Battalion still fulfills this original role, while the 1st and 2nd are active line units. The 3rd is mainly made up of veterans who have earned a slightly easier posting. The regiment is generally considered an elite formation, as the king is rather careful about who guards his money.

One of the tips I got from reading Armies & Legions & Hordes was to keep a painting journal - specifically to make note of the colours used for specific units in case I want to add more figures to it at a later date. This seems wise, and I was curious to know how many different paints I used on one figure. The answer in this case is 22.

So, here's my painting instructions for the High Vault Guard. I haven't mentioned every little buckle and belt, but this should get me close enough. Where I have separated colours with a '-' that means a 50/50 mix. A '/' means 'layered on top of'.  'Wash' refers to a a thin wash of 1 parts black paint and 3 or 4 parts water. Most of the colours listed are Vallejo Model Colours.

High Vault Guards Painting Instruction

Flesh: Beige Brown / Beige Brown - Beige Red / Beige Brown / Mid Brown / Beige Red

Jacket: Cavalry Brown - Flat Red / Flat Red / Wash / Flat Red

Cuffs: Medium Blue - Black / Medium Blue

Belts: Cold White

Buttons: Old Gold

Trousers: Pavement - Sea Grey / Sea Grey / Wash / Sea Grey

Scabbard: Mahogany Brown / Mahogany Brown - Cold White

Hilt and Scabbard Caps: Bronze

Sword Tassel: Dark Sand / Lemon Yellow

Backpack: Leather Brown / Leather Brown - Dark Sand

Bedroll - Brown Violet / Brown Violet - Cold White

Musket Stock - Leather Brown - Flat Earth / Flat Earth

Musket Barrel & Bayonet: Gunmetal Grey / Gunmetal Grey - Chainmail Silver

Crest: Black - Pavement / Pavement

Base: Jungle Green

Wednesday 9 December 2020

A New Miniatures Project!

As this year limps toward a close, I must admit, I'm feeling a kind of gamer angst - a pent up energy that should have been used rolling dice, pushing around figures, and hanging out with friends. Since that doesn't look like it is going to change in the near future, I've had to take a different approach. Instead, I've decided its time to start a new army!

Now, the decision on which army was greatly influenced by my desire to do something that is completely unrelated to my work. After much thinking, I decided I would begin work on a faux-Napoleonic army! By which I mean, I'm going to use Napoleonic figures, but I'm not trying to construct a historical force. Instead, I plan to create my own country for them. In wargaming, this is sometimes called an Imagi-Nation, although those are still normally placed within a historical context, where mine is going to sit outside of any specific context. Basically, I just want to paint up a big force of cool looking toy soldiers that I can use for any number of games. In the future, I hope to see these guys taking on other Napoleonic-esque foes, gunning down zombies, and fighting aliens on far flung worlds. Basically, I want to just have fun with it, and not worry too much about what they are 'for'.

I've decided this will be my big project for 2021 (though I'm getting an early start). My goal is to complete at least 8 units by the end of next year. At the moment, I plan on:

3 Units of Infantry (16 figures each)

2 Units of Cavalry (8 Figures each)

2 Units of Artillery (1 gun and 4+ figures each)

1 Command Element (Whatever I feel like)

It's a big ask, but I'm giving myself plenty of time! Nor am I above changing that alignment as I go along. In fact, I've already changed it once.

My plan is to use mostly Front Rank figures. These have a lot of advantages for me over other manufacturers. They are all metal. They are sized a bit bigger than most, making them easier on the eyes. They all fit on penny bases, and, perhaps best of all, all of the figures can be bought individually. They are also just really nice.

As you can see from the photo, I've already gotten started on the first unit. I'll provide some better photos soon.

This project isn't just about painting minis though. While the army isn't a true Napoleonic force, I am also planning on doing a lot of Napoleonic warfare reading this year. To begin, I have obtained a copy of The Campaigns of Napoleon (in 3 volumes)!

Also, to gear myself for this big project, I re-read Dave Taylor's Armies & Legions & Hordes, which is all about tackling big miniature projects. 

Thursday 3 December 2020

Continuing my researches into the activities of my ancestor, Colonel James McCullough, leader of the 16th S.C. Volunteers in the American Civil War, I came across this short account of activities during the Battle of Resaca during the Atlanta Campaign. 


HDQRS. Twenty-fourth South Carolina Vols.

Jonesborough, Ga., September 10, 1864.

Major: In compliance with the late order from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to report the operations of the Twenty-fourth South Carolina Volnteers during the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, embraced between the 6th of My and the 18th of July last.

 By the organization of the Army of Tennessee, in winter quarters at Dalton, the Twenty-fourth South Carolina Volunteers was attached to Gist’s brigade, Walker’s division, Hardee’s corps. The brigade was composed of three regiments and a battalion, viz, the Sixteenth and Twenty-fourth South Carolina Regiments, the Forty-sixth Georgia, and the Eighth Georgia Battalion…

…On the 14th [of May] the enemy was reported crossing in force at McGinnis’ Ferry, which is about a mile below Gideon’s Ford. The Sixteenth South Carolina Volunteers was in front of McGinnis’ Ferry, on the road leading from the ferry to Calhoun, the distance from the ferry to the town being a short mile. The general ordered the Twenty-fourth to march rapidly to the support of the Sixteenth, which order was promptly obeyed. Arriving near the ferry, after a rapid march of about three miles, we found the Sixteenth retiring slowly before the force of the enemy, which had crossed. Colonel McCullough, commanding the Sixteenth, reported to me a strong force in his front, with artillery. After conferring further with him I deemed it best to move at once against this force, which was then advancing into a wood in our front. Deploying, and moving up to the Sixteenth, which had meanwhile halted, and was firing into the woods, I ordered a charge in concert with the Sixteenth. We easily drove the enemy back to the river, under cover of his artillery, which was posted on the hill to the west side, and under its fire the enemy recrossed in our sight. Not a man was hit in the Twenty-fourth, though there were some casualties in the Sixteenth. I have no idea of the enemy’s loss, though I am satisfied our fire galled him at the river…

[Soon after, the whole of Gist Brigade is ordered to the main line, but appears to have remained in reserve for most of the rest of the battle. The report goes on for quite a bit, but the only other mention of the 16th is when the Major of the Regiment is killed leading the brigade skirmish force during the fighting around Dallas. It is likely that the 16th is part of some of the movements and fighting mentioned, but there is no way to be sure. However, I have included the next two parts for general interest.]

...In the fight of the 24th we captured a sharpshooter who had a small looking-glass attached to the butt of his musket, so that he could sit behind his breast-work, perfectly protected, with his back to us, and by looking into his glass, sight along the barrel of his piece…

…Next day, the 18th, while we were forming to march from our bivouacs to the right a rumor prevailed that General Johnston had been removed from command, and after we had marched some distance on the road to Atlanta a courier handed me a circular order from General Hood announcing General Johnston’s remove and assuming command. Shortly after the farewell address of General Johnston was received and read to the regiment. It is due to truth to say that the reception of these orders produced the most despondent feelings in my command. The loss of the commanding general was felt to be irreparable. Continuing the march and passing by his headquarters Walker’s division passed at the shoulder, the officers saluting, and most of the latter and hundreds of the men taking off their hats. It has been proposed to halt and cheer, but General Johnston hearing our intention requested that the troops march by in silence...