A 28mm diversion

I got a bit bored with 18mm, it happens. I saw the Front Rank 28mm reinforcement packs and thought I’d paint up some British peninsula figures.

I must say I really like them, they don’t take that much longer than 18mm.

Here’s my first efforts, I will do some more pictures when I finish the unit.

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More Bluemoon French

I haven’t had much painting time recently, but finally got round to some more Bluemoon French. The aim is to make a varied series of battalions made of veterans. So I decided to mix some campaign dress and some men in greatcoats.

I had done this before in 28mm but I’m not sure how it will work in 18mm.

As part of the experiment I also wanted to see if using quickshade would speed up the process without compromising the results. I have a low attention span so I realise I can’t spend too much time on one unit.

So the technique is undercoat white, block colours, quickshade dark tone, matt varnish then highlights. In total it probably saved around 50% of the painting time.

Not quite finished, I haven’t painted the pom-poms yet. I always leave the Pom poms until the figures are based up.

Below is the campaign dress.

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And now the greatcoats…

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I can’t make my mind up on the quickshade, it does look ok and does save so much time but not sure on it with 18mm miniatures.

AB Dragoons with quickshade

Well let me get this out of my system. Everyone says AB are the best figures around in 18mm so I got some Dragoons and hating painting horses I decided to test with army painter quickshade. But my test figures had a lot of flash much of which I didn’t notice until I was painting, I just don’t expect that at this price point.

So one with how I painted them…..

Firstly I undercoated them white, normally black but I figured using a dip it will darken or muddy the colours a little bit.

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Next it’s blocking out the colours. This form of painting can take much less time than normally because any mistakes will be covered up my the quickshade. The end result at this stage reminds me of how I used to paint many years ago.

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So at this stage I then brushed on the army painter quick shade dark tone. After a couple of minutes I brushed off some of the major pools of gunge.

Then I left them for 24 hours, the longer the better. The figures look better over time.

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The figures at this stage are perfectly good, if you like the glossy look. Personally I don’t, I like a flat finish but with some shiny metal bits.

So next it’s Matt varnish, I use Windsor and Newton Matt varnish brushed on. The it’s the highlighting.

Now the highlighting doesn’t take too long, some green here, off white there. I actually enjoyed painting them, normally hate painting horses. This method took a lot of the monotony out of the process. I think the finished product looks ok.

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Now there are things I would do differently…..

A) I would undercoat with the horse colour, that would have saved more time

B) removed a lot more flash before undercoating, but at the price paid for ABs I don’t see why I should

C) I would have looked at the bases when removing the gloop, it has pooled and made painting the hooves difficult

So I look forward to more Bluemoons and in the meantime I have some more test figures to paint and some Dragoons to base.

Will I use more quick shade ? Yeah probably as long as you apply mat varnish and highlight I think you get some pretty good figures.

When I’ve based them I will post up the pictures.

Army Painter quick shade dip test

Starting collecting Napoleonic figures not only got me researching figures and rules, but also painting tips.

I had read about army painter quick shade and thought I would give the strong tone and dark tone a go on the remaining Blue Moon French.

Now my figures look ok so my only reason for using army painter would be to produce basic line infantry to a reasonably good standard but in at least half the time.

So first the results…

Strong tone

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Dark tone

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I think I prefer the dark tone, especially the effect of the flesh but not sure about the rest.

Anyhow here is how I did both figures.

1) undercoated in White
2) blocked out blue, black, brown etc etc silver gold basically all the colours. I used the mid or highlight tone for the colours.
3) paint liberally with army painter quick shade
4) leave for 1 minute and then take off excess

All that took 15 minutes for both figures

Leave overnight

5) Matt varnish then leave a few hours
6) highlight, flesh, off White, red, blue and dark grey for both figures this took another 15 minutes

Considerably quicker but I am not sure I like the effect or not. The skill level and care needed is lower as you can slosh paint on and the quick shade hides the bad stuff.

For now I think I will stick with the old ways.

First units complete

After 5 weeks I have finally completed and based my first 2 French Napoleonic infantry from Blue Moon manufacturing.

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I went for 4 bases each 40mm x 30mm. This gives 32 figures and I think the mass effect looks quite pleasing. The basing will work well with Blackpowder, Lasalle, Fields of glory and probably Piquet as well. I planned on playing Blackpowder with half distances but the unit width may push that a bit.

Future units I may only do fusiliers, with separate voltigeurs and then combined grenadiers. We will see.

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The basing is done as follows :

A) Glue the figures with Bostick, then coat the bases with PVA then dip in sand.

B) cover the sand in watered down PVA. This seals the sand and stops it chipping off.

C) Painted burnt sienna, the. Dry brush heavily with a lighter brown and then dry brush again with a grey, medium or light will do.

D) Put some PVA in patches around the bases then add some static grass.

E) Then using tweezers, glue some tufts and some stones just to give a little added effect. In my pictures you can still see some of the PVA drying.

So what’s next ?

Firstly some army painter tests, I want to see if I can speed up the basic line infantry and still achieve acceptable results. I will do that this week.

I have orders some Xan miniatures line and some AB dragons. I will probably paint up the Xan next as its always good to get though the line infantry first. Then progress onto 1 line then 1 other unit or model.

Musing on basing and rules

I have one batch of figures to paint to reach 64. So I started musing over how to base them.

The place to start is rules and what rules will they be played with and also how big is my table.

So my maximum table size is 6ft x 4ft and usually it would be 5ft x 3.5ft.

Now rules. Reading through Blackpowder I love the command and control aspects, I like the thought of Field of Battle for solo play and I quite like lasalle. The one I haven’t read is the man at war rules.

So taking Blackpowder as the baseline then a standard line infantry unit has a frontage of between 24cm and 30cm in 28mm so to have a decent game in 15mm I need to half the distances to fit on my table so that’s a frontage of between 12cm and 15cm.

So I have 3 preferred basing schemes that I need to choose between.

Option 1

This option in 4 bases of 6 figures at 30cm x 25 cm. this gives 24 figures on a 12cm frontage.

In line…

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In column…

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This works pretty well with all the rulesets, but I wonder if the figures are a bit squashed and if the whole thing leaves little room for scenics on the bases.

Option 2

Again 24 figures but on 6 bases that are the Napoleon at war bases. It works out as a frontage of 15cm. I’m not sure if they look a little too spaced. But they would work with Napoleon at war as well as Blackpowder.

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Option 3

Back to 4 bases per battalion but now we are 8 figures per base giving a total of 32 on 40mm x 30mm.

A very common basing scheme good for Blackpowder and others but gives a lightly large frontage of 16cm

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So what’s it to be ? There are pros and cons in all 3 systems, but I err towards option 3.

I am a week away from having my batch of figures ready to base so no urgency but will need a decision next week.

Blue Moon French

I think most people would agree that AB are the best figures on the market, but I could see 2 problems firstly they are expensive and secondly I don’t want to waste expensive sculpts when I am re learning to paint. I haven’t painted 15/18mm figures for a good 15 years.

So I opted for some French from Blue Moon, available from Old Glory here in the UK. I must say the services was excellent and the figures arrived in 4 days.

The idea was to just get enough figures in full dress to build some rank and file ligne battalions marching. The backbone of my french napoleonic army.

The figures are nice, detailed and size wise a good match for AB. They are slightly chunkier than AB but at least it doesn’t look like the bayonet will snap anytime soon.

I painted the first batch without noticing that there is a small amount of flash between the right hand and the cartridge box. I am aged to paint this out but have removed it in subsequent batches.

There are 3 poses per figure code and they are all very similar, so the units will look like units but with some variation. I do think they could maybe do with 1 or 2 more where the feet and hands are slightly different.

They painted up well enough and I think I will use them for the bulk of my French army but I have yet to try Xan figures so may change my mind.

Considering I haven’t painted at this scale for so long I am quite pleased with the results. Yes I made some mistakes but on mass I think they will look pretty good.

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I undercoat in black and then base coat in dark shade colours and highlight with light ish shade. I think they look good from 6 inches away… Zoom right in and they look messy lol.

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I have painted enough for around 2 battalions I just need to decide how to base them.