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Indians Sir, Thousands of Them!

Well, 110 of them anyway.  I have been working on these troops for quite a while now and continually meant to take some pictures of them to post, but never really got around to it.  These are the first “skirmish” troops that I have posted.  I use 12 figures to a base rather than my usual 24, giving a unit of 36 troops to my skirmish bases.  There are no guidlines to basing in Two For Tea, but I Will base troops types that can only use skirmish formations this way.

Indians took very little part in any set-piece battles of the AWI, the mostly served as scouts and raiders for the British.  I intend to write some “What if…?” scenarios featuring more native troops in them.  It’s hard to let such colorful troops sit on the sidelines.

I used various Ospreys for inspiration, as well as Troiani.   One of the things that strikes a newby about Native Americans at the time is that they wore a great deal of red and blue.   Evidently this is the color of cloth that was most commonly traded to them.  I never imagined them tramping through the forest in bright red leggings, but hey, you learn something new all the time.  I couldn’t bring myself to paint them this way for a long time, hence the first two units have  only buckskin and white shirts for color.

The last unit is a mix of Indian troops and white troops.  I was reading The Burning of the Valleys and it talks quite a bit about Brandt’s Volunteers, a mixed unit of Indian and white troops.  Many other OOB’s list things like “Canadiens and Indians” in the lists.  So here I have a double duty unit that can represent the various mish mash irregular units used by the British in the North.

I created one Indian command stand to represent Brandt in a scenario that I will publish soon.  I also hope write something about the Newtown battle, where the Indians decided to stay and fight it out.

The following are 3 units of Indians and one command stand.

Iroquois and Other Native Americans

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Uniforms From 1775-1783 American Revolution

Uniforms from 1775-1783 The American Revolutionary War
Uniforms from 1775-1783 The American Revolutionary War

Properly entitled An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms From 1775-1783 American Revolution: An expert in-depth reference on the armies of the War of the Independence in North America. That’s a mouthful.  This is one of the newer uniform references available to modelers these days.

I have been very happy with the purchase.  I was excited to finally get it, there was quite a delay from the intended shipping date.   The book caused quite a stir on the TMP boards when it was released, and the author dropped in to answer some of the (mostly) unfair critisisms.  It seems most of the posters there could have done a better job.  My only question is “Why don’t they?”

It is laid out in a somewhat weird manner that tries to get everything in.  There are some things that seem odd to the serious AWI buff, like treating Brunswick with the same number of pages as some of the extremely minor powers.  Others have noticed the wrong roman numerals on the drums of Brit drummers.  I have used it extensively while painting my troops for the Saratoga Campaign.  Most of the times, if it doesn’t have a color plate, it has a written description.

I think it is a fine book.  Does it have everything? No.  Is it perfect? No.  Will I be happy having added it to my Library? Hell yes.  When I put on the tool belt to fix something around the house, I have more than one tool in it.  I wouldn’t expect any one tool to do everything, but I do expect every tool to be useful.

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6mm Napoleonics – A Great New Blog

I popped 6mm Napoleonics in my RSS reader a few weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised ever since.  This guy can paint well and has a talent for photography and explaining things.

I’m a bit of a Napoleonic Voyer.   I love looking  at them but the task of painting anything for a Nappy army just scares the crap out of me.  I did order some of the Baccus French figs a few years ago, but thought I would wait for the French to get the redesign before venturing into the period.  I think they are some of the earlier ranges produced and don’t really stack up to the current models coming out of Baccus which are just GREAT.

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British Light Infantry

As part of Fasier’s Advanced Corp, the Light Battalion saw action at Hubbardton and both Battles of Freeman’s Farm.  These guys were great fun to paint.  I love the units that mix up uniforms.  The tough part is to pick a reasonable mix and ratio that is accurate enough to keep you happy and still looks good.

My main reference for this was the EXCELLENT resource made available by the Perry’s on their site.  It is called BRITISH TROOPS IN THE SARATOGA CAMPAIGN, by Brendan Morrissey.   Due to poor design, you have to select AWI articles from the drop down and then choos the British option.  I can’t say how fantastic this article is for anyone interested in this campaign.  It’s everything the painted needs to know, served up on a silver platter.

The interesting thing about AWI Brit LI is that they have these horse hair crests on their hats and they can be many different colors.  Good luck figuring it out, the article from the Perrys is the only place I’ve ever seen someone try to even hazard a guess.

I had a lot of fun with this unit, I just wish they had carried a flag.

British Light Infantry

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Taking Photos of 6mm Figures

When I started my first blog I had to ask my wife (the family photographer) quite a few questions about how to work the camera.  There isn’t a great deal of information on the net about taking pictures of miniatures, and what you can find is sometimes very vague.   I thought I’d pop a post up about how I take my pictures.
camedia-c-60

Camera

I don’t have a fancy SLR camera as the budget doesn’t allow for it, I would love to though.  What I do have is a Olympus Camedia C-60 ZOOM.  We bought it a number of years ago, and it is a fine camera.

I have found the most important thing to do is not use the auto settings.  Auto settings are for your most typical picture.  A 6mm subject is far from typical.  I always do the following:

  • I use the P setting on my dial.  The P setting stands for Program Mode and is like an auto that allows you to choose certain over-rides.
  • super-macI use the menu to select Super Macro Mode.  This means I can place models about 5-7cm from the lens.
  • I also turn off the flash.  This happens automatically on many cameras that have super macro.  If you don’t have super macro mode, use macro mode and manually turn off the flash.

That does it for the camera.

Lighting

You can NOT have too much light!  I repeat, you can NOT have too much light.  I have two different lights set up at all times for my painting, to eliminate shadows.  I use these same two lights and pull them in as close as possible.  I also have daylight bulbs in them.  You can find daylight bulbs at most places with a wide variety of bulbs.

Tripod

I have a cheapy little tripod that come with the bag we bought for our camera.  It’s all of four inches tall and has flexible legs.  It is fantastic for the job.  It is imperative that you use a tripod of some sort for your camera at this level of photography.  When using the slow shutter speed required for the detail of macro photography, a steady hand is not enough.

Background

Choose a neutral background color or gradient to put behind your figs.  White and black are too harsh and will really affect the quality of your photographs unless you really know what you are doing.  I try to use a cream color if I have the chance.

Volume

I take shit loads of pictures every time.  Then I go through and delete about two thirds of them.  I think you need to get brutal about what makes the cut.  I mean, you only need one good picture of a model from each angle, more than that is unnecessary, but I don’t know if it’s a good picture until I see it on the monitor.

Cropping and Editing

All pictures need to be optimized for the web.  You don’t need more than 72 pixels per inch.  Most printers require 300 ppi for a nice photo, so you can save a lot of bandwidth for your viewers by reducing the size.  A great free web app is photoshopexpress.  Give it a try.

Light Studio
Light Studio

The Light Box

I purchased a lightbox for my photography and have had good results.  I wanted to take my pictures to the next level and it worked.  An unintended side effect was that it was more of a process to take photos and I practically stopped taking pictures.   It is in a very tight corner of the basement and I have to move the extension cord, etc…  I believe that when I get it set up in a more convenient spot that requires no preliminary set-up, I will use it more.  I hope!

I’m sure that all of this info will be good for larger figs as well.  That ought to do it.

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New Galleries

I finally changed my galleries from the eye-sore ones that I used previously. I found a new plug-in that makes them easier to use and a fantastic lightbox type plug-in. I hope you like the new ones.

I also discovered why I haven’t been taking many pictures lately. I have been painting like mad for months now and am very close to completing the entire OOB for the Saratoga Campaign, well kinda close anyway. I switched to a much fancier way of doing things and it just isn’t that easy to snap off a few quick shots. I took the test model pictures from my work table and it was quick and easy. However the background is busy but doesn’t detract enough to make me go to the trouble of taking pictures the hard way. We’ll see how it goes, as I want to get the pictures out there as quick as possible.

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Stick with the Red Coats

As I near completion of my Saratoga Campaign project, I have been getting itchy feet for a new period.  I will not abandon AWI, but would like to expand my painting to cover two periods at once.  I don’t really fancy going back to 7YW yet as it still fills the same niche for me that AWI does, but I like AWI more.

My first choice was Colonial British wars in South Africa.  I love the uniforms and the period is dripping with atmosphere and great movies to watch for inspiration.  A quick trip to Amazon for Zulu and Zulu Dawn and some Ospreys later, I was definantaly ready.  Even better was the fact that Baccus was expanding it’s colonial british range at a fantastic pace, the stage could not be more set.

First roadblock: No interesting battles.  The more I read the more I realized British colonial battles are pretty much one sided affairs with the Brits decimating the natives.  So the redcoats stand there and volley at the charging savages until one side breaks.  With the occasional decimation of the Brits to almost break the monotony.   I like a bit of maneuver in my games.

Second roadblock: No rules that I like.  The more I looked at different rules, the more I decided there were no interesting battles.  The rules I did find were simple enough though.  I think this period is more suited to skirmish gaming, but that is a purely personal opinion.

So as I drifted from the Zulu wars, glazed over the Sudan campaign, I read more about the Boer Wars.  This was a fascinating conflict.  Two huge forces duking it out in the wilderness.  Problem is, how do you game Boers?  They were rarely seen by the brits (sometimes for entire battles) and there were a number of night actions and ambushes.  This war seemed to hard to game with any level of real flavor for the period and still be fun.  Worst of all, the British uniform switched from the brilliant red to boring old khacki for almost every unit.  Not much fun to paint.

Well, I realized this sometime between ordering the Baccus figs and their arrival from Blighty.  When they came, I had to paint a few, right, just to see how they looked.  When units arrived in SA, they had nice shiney white helmets that they quickly stained with tea so as not to stand out very much.  I didnt’ really like this look, so I did some test models both ways, white helmets and tea stained helmets.

I also painted my very first 6mm beard and mustache with this group.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and the figures are that good that you can see them.

I was quite impressed with them, too bad I won’t be painting more.  Here are the test models in all their glory.

I had my first mishap with an order from Baccus with these troops.  It seems about half of the bayonets were broken off during shipping.  I emailed Pete and he resonded with his usually high standard of customer service.

There was a game called Martian Emprires that I would consider with these troops, but I couldn’t find a suitable martian race in 6mm to even give it a try.  I’m not sure that I’m ready for VSF but if anything would get me into it these figures would.

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Ooops, I finally did it!

I have read on line many times about a gamer that goes to put the final coat of spray varnish on his figs and grabs the wrong can.  I alway think, “What an idiot.”  Well, last night it happened to me.  I have painted a few units of Indians for my games and decided to change the way I did it and make them more colorful.  So I finished with the first unit and then go to coat them and…grab the wrong can and spray a thin coat of white over them.  At 6mm, this can obscure quite a bit of detail.  I wanted to get a picture of them.

Here are both sides of the figures, you can see that one side is much more vibrant than the other.

They should be finished during next week and I will post pictures of them and my other two units all at the same time.