Saturday, 14 May 2011

Black Powder Roster

The day before the game, and I'm painting my fingertips off trying to get the cavalry and artillery finished! 

I did manage to find the time to put together a unit roster for the Black Powder rules, which I heavily adopted from one that was posted in the Black Powder Yahoo! Group files.
 click to enlarge
I just have the two more units to finish, and this brigade is complete.  

A few evenings ago I starting putting together my first plastic units- Perry French infantry and Warlord Games' Prussian Landwehr.  While the Perry offering is the best of the two, I've been enjoying working on both.  The Warlord models will be very simple to paint, and I'm getting to the point where getting units painted and on the table quickly is a much, much more important consideration that any amount of detail on the individual figure.  

I also realize that less is more, in that this time I'm not going crazy with different shades of greatcoats on the French.  Less variety "works" better visually, and the eye has enough to take in what with the elite company frippery, facings, and all that kind of thing.  Keeping things simple also speeds up painting time!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Over the Hill.

I finished a trio of hills and rough ground to go with the trees for this Sunday's game.  I wanted them to be quite rocky, as it makes them more interesting visually.  That, and I was running out of (pricey) flocking so I didn't want to cover them completely in "grass".  
They are simply carved pieces of foamboard, covered with a sand and PVA mix, with cork chips and small pebbles added as boulders and rocky outcrops.  They were then sealed with a final coat of brushed-on undiluted PVA, and then painted using artists tube acrylics.  Static grass was again glued on using- you guessed it- PVA. 

I tried to make them generic enough to pass muster in battles ranging from the Peninsula to Russia, but also with an eye for a future project we are thinking of where something along the lines of Gettysburg's Devil's Den may prove very handy.

I had fun doing these, but I'm ready to get back to working on miniatures again after a refreshing break. God knows where I'll store all these, but I'll find a way.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Out of the dark woods at last!

It has been spring vacation time here, and I spent a few days in Sendai with family and friends.  Sendai city itself is very much on the mend, and while a few buildings remain damaged or shuttered up due to the earthquake, things are otherwise getting back to normal, with well-stocked shops again.    

However, to the east of the city- the port side and the areas all along the Pacific coast- they are still dealing with the huge task of cleaning up from the tsunami.   
Natori, a suburb of Sendai, a photo taken by a reporter not long after the tsunami. Much of the area still looks like that now. The desolated landscape reminded me of one of those bleak pictures you see taken during the Passchendaele battles in 1917, but with wrecked and abandoned Toyotas and Hondas instead of tanks. 
Very, very sobering.

So when I got back, it took a while to get into a hobby frame of mind, but I really wanted to finish those trees- if for no other reason than to clear my painting table!  And finish them I did.  Here they are.
The bases were textured, with cork chips and small pebbles added for variety.  I then "fleshed out" some of the trees with more hobby flocking, and sealed it all with a clear matte lacquer spray.  

After that, I took a can of matte black acrylic spray and sprayed some of the interior areas for depth.  Then I gave them all a few passes of Armour Yellow spray paint, from one direction only.  
After looking at some trees in the sunshine, I realized that the sun and sky can make them appear many shades of green, yellow, and even white.  So I decided on an impressionistic approach, and using the side of a fairly broad brush I just "tapped" on successive layers of light green,  mustard yellow and finally (and sparingly) bright yellow.  I'm very pleased with the way they turned out.  

The bases were painted with artists acrylics, raw umber drybrushed with some raw sienna.  I picked out the rocks with various shades of grey, and ran a brown ink wash over them for depth.  Finally, I just added some static grass and that was it.  In a few days I'll seal the flocking with another spray of matte lacquer spray.

So they are all set to go for our Black Powder game this coming weekend.  No doubt they will be used by Matt's riflemen as cover from which to shoot up my Frenchies.