Monday, October 20, 2014

Bolg of the North

I'm still working my way through the Orc army of the North, here is a sneal peak of Bolg and his standard. I did toy with the idea of putting snow on the bases but this might hamper other battles set in middle Earth, so I decided not to. Shame, because I would have liked to have given the 'snow' look a go.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Live and Learn!

 I spent a night putting to rights an old wrong I committed many years ago. Taking a brush to many of my old collection of Union Infantry who I had painted up with shell jackets instead of sack coats. Luckily, by adding a bit of paint my Union troops were once more adorned in the proper kit.
 By adding paint to the top of the trousers and shading with highlights, sack coats were once again back in fashion.
 No one would really of cared about this, but If you're going to spend hundreds of hours doing something, you might as well get it right. From now on, my Union troops will only be in Sack and Frock coats, leaving the Shell jackets to the Confederate forces.

Of course I know a lot of NY regiments wore shell jackets but I'm painting my army up to be generic and the sack coat is the way to go. I also took the time to paint over the blue trouser stripes on the Infantry privates, a little thing but I felt better for doing it.

 New sack coated Infantry, luckily the equipment hides a lot of the detail at the front, but the contrast between the light and dark blue works just as well there too.
 While I had my Union forces out on the table I thought It would be a good chance to give them some extra details. A pack of spare muskets from Redoubt added some fallen guns to the wounded figures.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Making ACW corn fields

 Well after making the wheat fields and being impressed with how effective they looked, I thought I would try another Civil war classic terrain piece, the corn field.
I set about it in exactly the same way as the wheat, only instead of cutting random shapes, cut the mat into strips to give it a corn field look.
 Once again I spray the green mat with a brown undercoat layer first then dry brushed on varying shades of green paint. The paint got more and more yellow with every coat going up the plant, so that just the very tips were yellow by the end.
 The catcher in the Rye.
 The final touch for the corn was to add green and yellow flock to the mat bristles with wood glue. This adds a little more bulk and detail to the plants.
 Seen from above the rows of corn can clearly be seen. These too can be removed to allow units to enter the fields.
A gentleman surveys his plantation.

Making ACW wheat fields

 When gearing up to play any ACW game somewhere along the line you are going to come across a wheat field or two. Lines of blue and grey troops advancing over yellow, bristling farm land is part of the very essence of the civil war. If like me you are aiming to recreate moments from Gettysburg, then the wheat field stops being a piece of terrain and becomes an objective and a must to have. So I thought I would have a go at making some.

 I started off with a green textured door mat, which I cut into different random shapes. The idea being that these can be removed to fit the units of troops in as they march across the field. However, from a low angle they still appear to be a solid field of bristling wheat.
 Once the pieces were cut out they were sprayed three times with different colour paints. The first was a reddish brown, the second was a mid yellow colour. The last spray paint was a lighter yellow which was done very lightly over the very top of the fields to give a highlight.
 I tried to keep the odd bit of green in the fields to add realism and make it look like some plants were ripening. The shapes of mat were now given a good blast with matt varnish to take off any shine.
 Once pushed together the random shapes become one solid field.
 A figure for scale shows that the door mat makes a great wheat field, coming up to about waist high on an infantry figure and leg high on a mounted one.
Once last touch was to add just a tiny amount of green flock to some of the shapes to act as foliage growing up in the wheat. Finished.

ACW Fences and stone walls

 The great fence production line.
 Here you can see the stones are dry brushed and the base has been re flocked. I also added the odd rail sticking up to add some variety.
 Chunks of 'grass mat' were also added along the fences to create areas of long grass. Also above you can see the rails have been greatly improved by running a knife along them and taking off the edges. Once dry brushed these look great and much more worn and realistic.
 While I had my flocking tubs out I thought It was time to finish off my wall sections too. These were another purchase off eBay many years ago, however they have green painted grass on their bases. I took the opportunity to give them a brown ink wash and flock them while I was on a roll.

Finished wall section. I added a brown earth coloured flock on top of the summer meadow flock to create variety.

ACW fencing

 Gearing up for the American Civil War I have been finally piecing together all of my ACW fencing I have made or bought over the years. The ones above are some I made back in 2000 and coloured white, to bring them in line with some I bought recently I painted them in wood brown and added some detailing like rocks at their bases.

 Here is a batch I bought off eBay recently, they are nice but need a bit more detailing to bring them up to scratch. I took chunks out of the round logs with a knife and re flocked the bases. I also added rocks and bushes to made each segment different.

 Almost done, you can see the rocks are still wet and once dry they will be dry brushed and the base flocked with different colours.

A before and after segment of rail fence. The one on the right is how It was bought from eBay.

Recruiting Orcs

 I thought It time to call up some of my ancient old figures painted way back in 1987 for my new Orc army. They were all painted from 1985 to 87 but the figures are still good today and It seems silly to spend more money on eBay when you have loads already in storage. I used to want to hang on to them and their old paint jobs for memory's sake, but the truth is I never look at them any more. So they will get a retouch of paint and get re based to join the swelling ranks of Mordor. I like the fact that even back then I was painting them with the eye of Sauron on their shields...Some things never change.

 Harboth and his Black Mountain boys painted in 1985, He will be one for the paint stripper for sure. I was amazed at the amount of blue I used back then, I think every figure has blue on it somewhere. Probably shows my lack of paint back then I suppose, I think I had about twelve pots.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

All quiet along the Potomac tonight.

A Federal officer gives a rousing speech about protecting the Union to a group of tired pickets by the Potomac river, winter 1863.

This is an experiment with a new technique. This is a tiny image coloured with pencils and photographed with my i phone. The picture is then sent to my hotmail and down loaded, saved onto my computer, then up loaded to my Blog.

The colours aren't as sharp as they would be If I were to scan it in to Photoshop, but It does allow me to draw, colour and post cartoons quicker and easier. Over the last year or two I have struggled to find time to add any new drawing to my Blog due to not having much spare time, I'm hoping this quick technique will allow me to post more pictures in the future.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another Great Landwehr Weekend

 I have just got back from another great weekend campaigning in the 18th Century. Lots of fun and just a little bit scary...

Pictures by Jo Isaacs

The Blue and the Grey

In order to find more sack coated Union Infantry I have been forced to crack open the Confederate box and start to repaint old sack coated figures. This of course didn't go down well with the poor individuals involved but this is war and sacrifices have to be made.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Painting the masses of figures needed for RFAF

This week I have been gearing up to paint another horde of Union troops for Regimental Fire and Fury. Just checking through the rules and what I would need to play the scenarios, I was amazed to see just how many figures one would need for a game. Games featuring 175 stands for example, now considering there are three figures per stand, that's a lot of painting to be done.
I have seen on other Blogs that some 28mm gamers use bases with only two figures on and this certainly helps in raising forces quickly, but I like the packed, crowded battle lines so will stick with three per base. It says early on in the rules that they were designed for 15mm which does kind of explains a few things.

The one thing I do love about the game is that It tells you to paint up generic armies of Union and Confederate, so they can be used for any unit. I like this as It gives me an excuse to go crazy and paint buckets of lead not worrying about what Corps they belong to or special regiment. Just loads of dark blue and sky blue is needed to start the mass production. Saying that I have just received my favourite regiment the 14th Brooklyn from Forgotten and Glorious. This and of course the Iron Brigade will be the only units in the army that are based on renown regiments. I'm looking forward to it and It will come as a nice break from painting dirty Orcs.

I plan to paint on a big scale due the the mass of figures I will need for a big game, so will aim to paint in batches of 60 figures. I will keep everything simple with just a few colour changes to trousers etc and not go too crazy. Hopefully that way I can churn out the numbers quickly. Oh well It's a thought anyway...

I'm still going to stick with my new rule of only painting figures with Sack coats and Frock coats for Union troops. This may mean I will go back and try to tweak some of my earlier painting this year.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

This week I have been mostly thinking about the iron Brigade...

As the months roll by my mind has started to think about all things Civil war again. I have been painting up rail fences and planning new regiments for an paint up grade. The famous Iron Brigade is one.

 I have always loved this Brigade with their frock coats, black hats and white gaiters. Still have a few Orcs to finish off before I can allow myself to start anything new.

I do love painting ACW though , It has the best of both worlds as far as painting is concerned. On one hand you have the simple two coloured Union troops with their dark blue sack coats and sky blue trousers. The shear numbers that can be painted in one go is a joy to me. I still get a thrill of owning big armies even though I hardly ever use them, must be the child in me.
 Then on the other hand you have the multicoloured Rebs with their greys and browns, everyone's a different character in his own right. Pure joy!

I've just worked out after painting the ACW for many years that sack coats belong mainly to Union troops and frock and shell jackets to Confederate. I will try to paint up units in the future that incorporate this rule of thumb.  I know there were many exceptions to the rule but this is an idea I will try and stick too.