Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Private Whitworth, Berdan Sharpshooters and wheat fields

 Finished rebel marksman. The great thing about painting Confederates is once you have the grey, just add a little light brown to it and you have the colour for the trousers and kepi...loads of fun. It was nice to finally try out the Foundry Confederate paints.
 At the first rays of sunlight the sharpshooters were up and out in the garden for manoeuvres. My colour choice seems to have worked and I think this is good enough to put the rest of the unit into mass production.
 I actually used all three paint colours in the end, the miniature paints dark green was used to do the pipping on the collar and cuffs. So in the end It did come in handy.
 A harsh lamp shows the true colour, still quite shiny these guys are still in need of a matt varnish. This model still needs a little touching up...almost there.

 Some teddy bear fur 'wheat fields' finally get a spray of green and are stored ready for use. I have had this fur for around 17 years with this in mind. Job done.

 Little house on the prairy.
Olive green is sprayed around the edges and patches are blobbed around the 'field'.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Johnny Whitworth, best shot in the brigade!

 I have been looking for a good figure to represent a Confederate sniper with a Whitworth rifle. The scope was somethimes at a slight angle for long shots."Don't worry, at this range they couldn't hit an elephan......"

The bullets were longer than the minie ball and made a characteristic whistling noise when passing. Confederates armed with these rare  British rifles could silence a battery from 1000 yards, however because the artillery men were not armed, the sniper would give them a chance to retire before he started hitting them. He did this by a term calling 'ringing the battery', this is when the marksmen would hit the steel wheel rims on both of the cannons wheels. If they didn't move then he would start to pick them off unarmed or not.

All searches for a 28mm figure were turning up blank so I thought I would make one. A very easy thing to do, I cut a piece of lead standard pole off of a standard bearer and stuck it onto a Dixon Confederate figure. The sight on a Whitworth is strangely to the side of the gun but this does give it a unique character of its own.
 A nice rule in Bonnie Blue Flag allows for a marksman to be in your force, when he fires the other player has to roll over 40% on a D100. If he fails the commander is killed and all troops within 6'' suffer . The leader is replaced with a must lesser commander the next round. So you only need one marksman per side...meet Johnny Whitworth. Good old Dixon to the rescue again.

This image is very useful as it shows the red badge worn on the arm. This meant the 'snipers' could room at ease on the battlefield without getting mistaken for deserters. this version has a longer sight.

1st Corps Berdan Sharpshooters and painting guide.

 After being impressed by 1st Corps ACW range I thought I would order some more. I ordered a packet of right shoulder shift to mix with my previous purchase but also ordered two Berdan's Sharpshooters. Again I was impressed with their scale, not small like their ancient ranges but a good 28mm size, very compatible .
 The different poses within the two packs, one troopers and the other with command.
 The figures themselves are quite nice, again the rifles are a little bit over sized and a few of the uniform details are a little on the large side (buttons). Nice kepis though and loads of variety in the sculpts.
 Above is a figure left over from the Redoubt Berdan's Sharpshooters I bought over twenty years ago ( I painted this left over as a Infantry officer). The Redoubt figures are great figures but I fancy trying something new for this new game (Bonnie Blue flag). In BBF, sharpshooter units are made up of four bases, so I thought I would buy some more and mount them on bases rather than single skirmish bases like I did twenty years ago.

 Examples of Berdan uniforms. The colour is a forest green and has black rubber buttons, a feature that even the most famous ACW artist often gets wrong. I haven't checked my old sharpshooters but I doubt I got it right back then either.

 This picture above is my favourite as it is no nonsense and a good colour guide apart from the buttons again. I have been researching green colours and come up with some close matches.
 Dark Elf green as a base shade, next a layer of Black green. The miniature paints Dark Green might not be quite right. I will try a tiny amount added to the black green for a highlight...more to follow when I know more.
 I am playing around with different paints at the moment, so far a good find was dark Elf green by coat 'd' arms. I was sold on the name let alone the colour. Anyway this is my progress so far. I plan to do quite a variety of shades within the unit including blue sack coats and union blue trousers.
A sharpshooter with his base colours added. This is dark Elf green over layered with Black green. I will be washing this with black ink to give it more depth...WIP.

Monday, April 16, 2018

1st Corps ACW Review

I finally made the plunge and bought some 1st Corps ACW figures. I had been a little worried they would be true 25mm and be quite small, a fact I found with their Roman range. However, the figures were a good size and fitted in well with all of the other mid range figure companies, Foundry, Crusader, Dixon, Old Glory, Perrys etc.
 I think these figures must be selling well as they did have a little flash on them and needed a little clean up. Also I thought the rifles were a little on the large size, but nothing I couldn't live with. After a tidy up and a closer look I found that I liked these figures quite a lot, It's nice to find a new range that fits with your old stuff. The sculpting was good and I will defiantly be getting some other packs to add into the mix. Their iron Brigade looks good and so will be on the wish list.

So all in all these figures are recommended and they are fairly priced too, being under a pound a piece in the deals 1st Corps do.

 I have fallen back in love with lots of old companies I had turned my back on in favour of Foundry. Dixon are said to be pumpkin heads but I like them, they add a lot of character to formations and have a charm all of their own, they also paint up well. Here we can see a 1st Corps figure next to a Dixon one, the two match in size and will mix very well together in a unit.
 Another size comparison showing a Dixon, 1st Corps, Crusader figure. All these mid range figures mix well together.

Crusader, Dixon,1st Corps, Steve Barber models.
The causality pack is also recommended as they have many poses and some that can be used as men struggling to the rear, great for fighting units.

 1st Corps have learnt from other ranges over the years (Sash and Sabre) and have produced codes with multiple variants in. This vast host of poses looks great and is one of the strengths of this recent range. It might be worth buying a right shoulder shift pack as well to mix in with these advancing men to give even more of a mix of poses.

 From what I can see most of these men are in forage caps rather than kepis. This is fine as again I haven't many figures in this head wear. On opening the pack I was a little put off by this fact until I researched it on line and found the peaks were really small. At first I thought it was poor sculpting, but it's right.
 Also a lot of figures in this pack were in shirts and made the unit look like a battle hardened tough fighting mob. Perfect for my Irish Brigade unit I thought to myself.
 Here is a Renegade figure with a smaller crusader drummer. The Renegade figures are the only ones I would put together in the same unit without mixing them as they are quite large. Saying that, the odd one or two here or there won't hurt, my units are all about variety of poses.

Painting by Don Troiani
Irish brigade at Gettysburg, note the shirt. I think these 1st Corps figures will be my Irish Brigade now. I have also fallen back in love with Old Glory figures and was thinking of ordering their Irish Brigade until these guys turned up.
These advancing 1st Corps figures with their bayonets and shirts just kind of tick all the boxes of a tough fighting veteran unit for me...job done!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Irish Brigade 1863 uniform?

I've been trying to research the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg for a war gaming unit and have come across many uniform varieties. Is there anyone out there that knows more about this subject.

At the moment I'm thinking about a unit in late war sack coats with maybe a few New York shell jackets sprinkled around. The coats will be all blue and without the green cuffs and collars that most uniform guides favour.

I have learned so much from readers that I thought I would throw it out for any advice. Many thanks Simon.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Dice markers for Bonnie Blue flag

I have been very taken with a set of easy to learn ACW rules I found on the Cavilier books site. I am always on the look out for interesting rules to do with the ACW as it is my first war gaming love. 
Being badly Dyslexic I have always struggled to learn most rule sets that go into loads of charts and detail but this set was simple enough to learn and gave a great taste for the period. So that said,I set out to collect the few counters I would need to play it.

 Basicily each unit requires an rating to see how much more attrition they can take before they quite the field, this is done with dice. I had tried to get mini dice locally but failed, so managed to secure some 12mm D6, these I thought though were getting on the large side. However after many frustrating phone calls my Pay Pal account was fixed and I could go to my favourite store...Warbases. They had everything I needed, including the coloured mini dice and even holders for them to sit in.
 I came up with a simple plan to hide the dice from view once on the table and to add to the scenery. These little markers will be covered in tufts and bushes to hide the dice from the opposing player. The less visible dice on the table, the better.

I have big hopes for this game and I'm desperately trying to get as much done before the curse of the war gamer gets me and I see something else which pulls my attention away. For this reason I am avoiding Salute and war games magazines like crazy.

These dice are 7mm and are perfect for hiding behind lines of guns or Infantry.