17 August 2009

Peninsular War: Anglo-Portuguese Army: The Third Division, May 1811

This unit is comprised of figures which were my first attempt at painting 28 mm Napoleonics. I started these figures in the late spring of 2006. Looking back at the figures now, I can see my painting style was quite rudimentary, but I think fairly accurate in respect to the uniform details, aside from a few idiosyncrasies. The first figures I bought were Foundry which make up the majority of the figures in the 1st Brigade, as well as Major General Picton. My big purchase of Front Rank Figures came in January of 2007, and these can be seen in the 3rd Brigade. The 2nd Brigade is mixed. The 2 English brigadier generals and the Portuguese artillery (actually converted British) are from Redoubt, these were painted about a year ago. I really find Redoubt figures are no match in quality to Front Rank or Foundry. Artillery units are quite expensive, and I got these at 80% off.

I have recently moved the figures around so the rank and file in each battalion are from one manufacturer. A bit of repainting of facings and base repairs were required, but the figures are otherwise as painted at the time. Most of the British battalions at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro fielded a little over 500 men, so the figure ratio here is around 1 figure for every 40 men. I have not bothered with grenadier companies, but each battalion has their light company based a skirmishers (2 figures).

Sir Thomas Picton, as he would have appeared at the Battle of Waterloo, but who could resist.
1st Brigade, led by Colonel Henry MacKinnon. The 74th Highland Foot was de-kilted by this time, but for some reason that escapes me now, I decided to dress the battalion colonel in full highland kit. Next is the 1st battalion of the 88th Foot, the famous Connaught Rangers. The last unit is the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Foot. The 60th Royal American Rifles had three companies assigned to this Brigade.
2nd Brigade, led by Major-General Charles Colville. Leading the brigade are the 5th (Northumberland) Foot, followed by the 2nd battalion of the 83rd Foot and the 2nd battalion 88th Foot. The last battalion in the OB is 94th (The Scotch Brigade) Foot.
5th Northumberland Fusiliers, painted in error as fusiliers: The Fighting Fifth did not receive this distinction until 1836. I am not sure why their regimental colours do not match the colour of their facings (gosling green)
3rd Brigade led by Colonel Manly Power, here dressed as a Portuguese brigadier general. Here we have the 1st and 2nd battalion of the 9th line (Viana) regiment and the 1st battalion of the 21st line (Valanza) regiment, all in the Portuguese Northern Division. The command stand of the 1st/9 regiment was painted this weekend (I was short one stand)
Portuguese Artillery, 4 batteries were at the battle, de Preto's and de Rozziere's of the 1st (Lisbon) Portuguese Artillery Regiment and de Sequerra's and Rosado's batteries of the 2nd (Algarve) Portuguese Artillery Regiment. each battery had five 9 pounders and one 5.5" howitzer by 1812 in Wellington's army. There were around 140 men in each battery, thus 3 figures on each stand.
5th battalion, 60th Royal American Rifles, with slightly lighter green jackets then the 95th, red facings and nice blue trousers.

13 August 2009

Photographing Miniatures: White Balance

I am not an intuitive photographer, at times I am not even sure what looks good. I use a Panasonic Lumix 10x optical zoom, 9 megapixal camera. It is nice and compact; but I feel the pictures, I take, could be better. I wonder if I could get some help with white balance. I am curious on what you think is the best setting. The halogen setting seems to capture the colour of the blue background most accurately, but I wonder if the green is right?

Below you can see my trial set up for photographing miniatures. I am using 2 lamps with 100w Daylight CFL bulbs. In the ceiling, there is a halogen spot aimed at the table. I think I need 1 more overhead light, but I am still trying to find something that is inexpensive.
iA: This is the automatic setting on the camera.
What follows are the manual settings (macro, no flash, spot focus, auto ISO), with variable white balance.
Average White Balance
White Set (I am not sure what this means)

12 August 2009

Peninsular War: Anglo-Portuguese Army: The British Light Division, May 1811

The first of my peninsular units is the famous Light Division. They are represented here as they were at Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro. I probably painted these units 2 years ago. Only the 43rd (the Monmouthshire Light Regiment) and the 1/2 52nd (the Oxfordshire Light Regiment) battalions have colours. Neither, the Portuguese Caçadores or the 95th Rifles carried or I think had regimental colours.

The 52nd and the 43rd are based as in battalion order (3 figures to a base) while both the caçadores and the rifles are based in skirmishing order (2 figures to a base). The figures of the 52nd and 43rd are from Elite Miniatures and the Cacadores and the Rifles are from Front Rank. The flags are from GMB Flags.
"Black Bob" Crauford, the general in command of the Light Division. These are Foundry figures.
The 2nd Brigade, under Colonel George Drummond, comprising the 1/2 battalions of 52nd Light infantry regiment. The skirmishing units are elements of 1/95th Rifles and 1st Caçadores.
Close up of the 52nd.
Here is the first Brigade under Colonel Beckwith, late of the 95th Rifles. The brigade was made up of the 43rd Light infantry battalion, units of the 1/2 95th Rifles and the 3rd Caçadores.
And of course, the Light Brigade's usual companion; the 1st KGL Hussars.

11 August 2009

Victrix Voltiguer Skirmishers

These voltiguers are the first off the painting table from the new Victrix French Napoleonic Infantry. As previously observed, I found these quite difficult to assemble. Generally, I do not like crouching figures as they are hard to set up in battalion order. Since I had no skirmishing stands for my French battalions, I thought that these 8 figures from the box could be used in skirmish order on 40 x 20 mm bases. Only 4 of the figures are voltiguers (the ones on your right on each base), but the differences are obvious only on the left side of each figure. I think it would be unlikely that I shall ever notice. All those little extra heads are very useful.

I was hoping that they would be easy to paint, but I found them a little challenging. I suppose, that I have never painted such an elaborate uniform and the fact that they were in a crouching position made some of the details of the uniform difficult to tease out.

Generally, GW washes were used over a white prime coat, with the details picked out using acrylic GW paints. Overall, I am not completely satisfied with the result, I feel I have done better. I shall have to see how the standing infantry figures go.

02 August 2009

01 August 2009

What a mess...what a mess...

In a recent post's comments, I said I was going to start to post photos, a division at a time, of my figures completed to date. The above photo show all the Anglo-Portuguese units I have now painted. I started painting on a regular basis 3-4 years ago. At the time, I decided to attempt to paint the forces, at around a 1:50 figure ratio, that were present at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro in May 1811. This was a pretty ambitious project and I am surprised that I am about maybe a third of the way there.

Above are the Third, Light, First and Cotton's Cavalry divisions, aside from the Scots Guards and 2 regiments of cavalry, which are still left to do. All the command figures (Wellington, the divisional and brigade stands) and artillery are also done.

Looking back now, though I realise there are many problems. It is amazing how little I knew at the time about uniforms. The most glaring error is that the is that they are all in Belgic shakos!!!! Also I bought figures with a firing pose which are a nightmare to pose on the small bases I like. They look good on the base, but are difficult to align into march column. Certainly too late to change out the figures.

It is also interesting to look at my painting style. At the time I use a black undercoat and was a very poor block painter with some elementary shading. I did not appreciate the subtleties of the detail on the figures and never painted in the muskets etc. properly. Well I do not think that I am going to repaint them and they do document the evolution of my painting ability (my wife says I have improved greatly; I do not show her the photos of some of your work!).

Another problem is that I switched from basically Foundry figures to Front Rank figures somewhere along the way. If I remember correctly, I think it was because of the way that Foundry command figures were packaged. When I started to paint the Front Rank's, I liked them and started to buy their basic infantrymen. Somehow or another, I ended up mixing the figures together within the battalion unit. I think I will fix this as much as I can by moving around the figures and repainting the appropriate facing as needed. This I hope will not be too big a job.

I am also going to slightly change my basing scheme. My original thoughts on basing has changed. I am ok with the everything I originally planned, except the the British Infantry battalions. I think now that I will increase the unit size to 14-15 figures (5 bases) from 11-12 (4 bases) figures. You may notice that all my British infantry battalions have an integrated mounted officer while my French units have the mounted officer at the regimental level (3 battalions). The British units look lopsided with one 40x40mm base and three 20x40mm bases. I realise the 3 figure 20x40mm base is not the norm and that most of you use 4 figure square (40,45 or 50mm) bases. I am not really in to creating mini-dioramas so I feel my scheme is more historically accurate, ie. it gives a thinner looking line. I can also suck this up historically as the British arrayed themselves in lines of 2 deep, while the French were 3 deep. Therefore I think it reasonable that my British Battalions when in line are 200 mm wide, while the French are 160mm wide for units with generally the same number of men (500-600).

So how shall I start? Well, I am going to have to raid some of the infantrymen of the 4 battalions of KGL line to build up the other British units to 5 bases and to make the battalions uniformly either Front Rank or Foundry. I hope this is not too much work. In the end I can order some new figures for these units with stovepipe shakos and they should stand out nicely.

I also still want to adhere to some historical orders of battle for my units, so I am still not sure how many figures I will use in the large Guard (Coldstream and Scots)and Light (52nd) infantry units. I would appreciate any suggestions.