24 October 2009

Peninsular War: French Army of Portugal: 6th Corps, Cavalry Brigade, May 1811

Time to post again. I have been industriously working on the 6th Corps, but needed a break from the blue infantryman. I felt some cavalrymen would be nice, so decided to do the cavalry brigade attached to the corps. This was a pretty small brigade with just 8 squadrons of troopers. I wanted to put in all figure types, but had to leave out the musicians as I would have had no troopers! So each 4 figure group has an officer, standard bearer, elite and trooper. When I paint the next unit, I will leave out the officer.

Brigadier-General Auguste Étienne Marie Lamotte was the officer in charge of the brigade, I can find little about him. He started off with the 4e Dragoons, but here he is in a nice Hussar uniform. All the figures are Front Rank, I did the Lamotte figure about 16 months ago and my technique has really progressed. I really enjoy using washes over a white primer.
3e Hussars (170 hommes)

15e Chasseurs à cheval (170 hommes)

Anyway, time to get back to the blue, 25e légère. À la prochaine.


06 October 2009

Peninsular War: French Army of Portugal: 6th Corps,3rd Division, May 1811

Well that is enough of diversions, time to get back to building divisions. Below is a nice aerial view of the 3rd division in the 6th corps of the French Army of Portugal. In May of 1811, division Ferey had a little over 4000 men. Pictured below are 107 figures in 1o battalions with 4 mounted officers, 3 colonels and the géneral de division. This is a little under a 40:1 man/figure ratio, but battalions of less then 4 bases are really not amenable to wargaming.
Général de Division Claude-François Ferey was promoted in 1810. He entered the military in 1787 as a cavalryman in the Chasseurs à Cheval. He was killed in July of 1812 at the Battle of Salamanca.

Behind him are 2 régiments étrangers; la légion hanoverienne et la légion du midi.
La légion hanovrienne (433 men) is to the right in their nice red uniforms and to the left is la légion du midi (385 men) in their brown uniforms. These are Foundry figures that were painted around 2 years ago. A glance to the left or right clearly shows some improvement in my painting technique.
Next are the 4e, 5e and 6e battalions (1370 men) of the 66e régiment de ligne. I have to make a confession here, about half of the figures were painted by someone named Patrick. I was quite interested in improving my technique so I bought these figures on ebay. After discussion with Patrick and looking at his figures, I decided to change to using a white primer and very thinned paints. By looking closely at the figures you can see the difference between the master and the pupil, but this purchase was the best I have made, since I started painting figures. They are Front Rank, aside from 2 Voltiguers and 2 Grenadiers in the second row which are Perry plastics. The colonel is also Front Rank and was painted by myself about a year ago.
Here are 4e and 6e battalions of the 82e ligne. These are Victrix figures and are the most recent off my painting table. The command stand with the eagle show a Perry plastic drummer and flag bearer. I will change them out when I get another box of Victrix. The mounted colonel du régiment is a Foundry figure.
Finally, the 4e, 5e and 6e battalions of the 26e ligne, also Victrix figures.


05 October 2009

Victrix French Infantry: Enfin!!

It is quite a relief to get these figures finished. I started putting this box of Victrix French infantry together in mid July. I got 60 figures out of a box, and you can see 59 of them below. I was able to get 52 figures out of the box in non-firing and non-crouching poses which is excellent. Using a wash over white prime technique, it probably took around an hour a figure to assemble, prime, paint and base each figure. Assembly took 25% of the time, which is excessive in my opinion.

They are painted up as 5 battalions of the 26e and 82e regiments de ligne, as well as some 4 bases of legere. I painted 6 Perry plastic figures to make up the required 5 battalions (they are not posed here). I got a little out of control with the drummers. The Perry's were much easier to assemble, but they are in the Bardin uniform, wrong for the 6th Corps of the Army of Portugal in 1811 (this usually does not trouble me too much, but I am trying to pay more attention to detail).

As I have previously noted, there was an enormous amount of flash and I think I may have got a defective box as some of the figure's details appeared to have been melted away.

All in all though, I suppose they look ok posed as a unit. I do plan to buy a box of the Victrix early French Infantry to paint as Italians for the Battle of Maida, but I think that might be it for me with Victrix. I have 2 boxes of Victrix British Infantry, which I just figured out are centre companies only, so I suppose I will also have to buy a box of British flank company figures, but no more after that.

Some French light cavalry may tempt me though!!!

I almost forgot to say the metal Victrix mounted colonel was a very nice figure, which I quite enjoyed painting.



Just a brief note on my basing technique. I mix up some pumice gel with brown paint.Patient voltiguers waiting for their base to be done.
Apply the stained pumice gel and then touch up the base with the same colour paint.
Dry brush with bubonic brown, maybe I could be a little more aggressive here.
Then bleached bone.
Important step, is the mixed flock. I use the leftovers from my terrain projects, so it is a mixture of everything. I apply brown stained white glue, especially to areas that are not well covered with the pumice gel (usually between the feet). Place the base in the bag and then shake off.
Then a bit of "german grass".

02 October 2009

Painting with Washes

It is with some reluctance that I put these images on my blog. The Victrix figures are quite nice but the effort of glueing them together was onerous. I had gone over them removing mold lines before they were sprayed, but when I started to paint them there were still multiple pieces of flash and what was more troublesome there was significant defects in the castings. In some areas, it looked like someone had taken a blowtorch to the figures. I wonder now if I had got an early box of figures, if I remember correctly Victrix had some production problems early on with the French Infantry box, I wonder if the box I received was reflective of this, as I had pre-ordered them. I find it hard to reconcile these figures with the descriptions of others.

Additionally, these were the last figures I had painted of the box of Victrix French (around 60 figures) and I was getting pretty tired of them by now. Notwithstanding this, I had taken the photos, so I will post them. My technique definitely can be improved and any suggestions would be welcomed. Please remember though that I am interested in painting units, rather then a figures and am not a modeler. A nice unit of figures is my goal in as few as painting steps as possible. I feel a white primer with a wash is an effective way to quickly paint figures so they have somewhat of a layered look with a single step.

I usually paint 12 figures at a time, glueing them to a painting stick and then spraying them with an automotive white primer. Although the French uniforms I have seen in museums are quite dark, I feel that on campaign they would have faded quite a bit so I like a blue-grey colour to give the infantrymen a lighter blue. Here I used an very thinned down GW Shadow-Grey as a base coat for the jacket. The GW wash is too blue I find. I try to be neat, it is ok to go over on an area that is going to be painted with an minimally thinned acrylic paint, but if the adjacent area is going to be painted with a wash any areas would have to be repainted with white before I applied the wash. I apply the wash and roll the figure to let the thin liquid settle into the crevasses.
I then wash the flesh areas with a GW Ogryn Flesh. I find this wash is excellent and as far as I am concerned the flesh area are done now in one step.
I then paint the shakos with a thinned GW Badab Black and the shako covers with GW Devlan Mud or GW Gryphonne Sepia. I do add a second full strength black wash to the shakos, but this time avoiding the shako chords. I also paint the metal parts with the the black as a base for the metal paints and the boots of course.
I then reverse the figures and use the same 3 washes on the shakos, the ammunition pouch and the water bottles. I also paint the hair with the flesh wash. Sometimes, a second wash is required as the first coat does not give a dense enough colour. I am pretty well finished with the washes now.
I then use a 3/4 thinned GW Blood Red on the collars, cuffs, the thing that hangs next to the ammunition pouch and the buttons.
The figures are then again reversed and 3/4 thinned acrylic paints are applied to the rifle (Khemri Brown), the water bottle strap (Calthan Brown), bayonet sheath (GW Terracotta), rifle barrel, bayonet and shako straps (GW Boltgun Metal) and finally the cuff flaps (GW Enchanted Blue).
I then start to repair the white, fixing the edges and the straps and applying some white to shakos.
The figures are reversed the whites areas are repaired and the pre-painted knapsacks are glued in place. I use the GW black and sepia washes on the knapsack and the blanket roll. Once glued in place I touch up the knapsacks and the metal work and sacks with various colours. I also start to apply a brass paint to the musket and the buckles on the straps.Continue with the brass to the buttons and the shako plates.
I then paint the straps on the knapsacks and the shako pompoms. I then used a very thinned black wash to shadow in the crevasses and to delineate the straps on the front of the figure, I also use it to delineate the equipment. I then put a very thinned second coat of Shadow Grey on the coat and if the relief is not good, I will dry-brush on an highlight of GW Ice Blue.

The final step is the wash over the white trousers and here is where I clearly need help, as I am quite unhappy how these 12 figures came out. I uses a thinned Devlan Mud and it did not work this time, it just looks a mess up close. Any suggestions using washes would be appreciated. On the table, though it does give a nice campaign look...c'est la vie! It took 7-8 hours to paint these 12 figures.