It’s fall in New England and the trees are starting to change. It’s my favorite time of year, I suffer through summer just to get to fall. The main battles of the Saratoga Campaign happened around this time of year, with Freeman’s Farm on Sept 19th and Bemis Heights on Oct 4th. I finally got around to basing up some fall trees for my table. Not to many as I only really have access to one “fall color” of tree with the trees I use, but it really matches the foliage outside my window at the moment. Here’s a couple of shots of them on the table.
I have been trying to find a good set of rules for the Boer Wars for years. I looked for so long that I finally gave up. For about the past year I have been interested in finding a passable skirmish game that I might like. See, I have been painting so many strips of row upon row of bayoneted troops for about three years straight. I really like painting them, but now I’m really interested in a change once in a while. So I bought Sharp Practice from Toofatlardies and loved it. Then I bought Through the Mud and the Blood, and about ten pages in, I thought “This would be brilliant for the Boer Wars/VSF in 6mm!” Before you can get anyone’s interest in a conversation about how to tweak the rules, you have to have something to show for it. Here it is, my first unit for my newest project.
This is 1/2 a company, 50 men or 1 unit in Through the Mud and the Blood. It is scarlet coated British troops in the green trim of the 24th.
About three years ago I started a SYW project to go with the Might & Reason rules. I didn’t know a thing about the war or the combatants and used it as a springboard into serious historical war gaming and actual research on a period. I have taken a few detours (like painting 2600 AWI troops) along the way, but it’s been fun. Along the way I set Lobositz and Kolin as the two battles I wanted to be able to game as a goal.
I am now ONE UNIT away from completing my goal of having the forces ready. I thought it was time to show the troops off a little. The following gallery shows 30 units of Cavalry ready to go. When I looked at them, I found I had very round numbers of these units, twenty units of dragoons/curassiers and ten units of Hussars. I use 14 troopers to a unit and 10 units is 140 men, almost a full squadron on paper, and certainly as much as anyone had in the saddle in an engagement. So I lined them up in three rows and took some pictures. The third row consists of my Hussars and I only use 10 troops to a unit for the lights, so they would be a little light, but let’s not split hairs.
I think seeing large numbers of models in units like this really helps you to imagine the spectacle that would have been warfare in the mid 18th century. This is a single 400 man unit, there would have been many battles with 12,000+ cavalry men per side.
Now, on with the painting. I am working from internet sources linked to from this site, but they seem pretty reliable. I have decided to do a rather generic, simple scheme for my first Prussian stands. White, blue, and red. Keep it simple and just get on with it!
I use Vallejo paints almost exclusively now, not because I think they are the best out there and I have tried every variety of paint known to man. I simply ran across them and they do a fine job. I use them exclusively because I like order, and it looks nice when you have only one type of bottle in your paint selection, no other reason. These are the paints that I will be using in this section. White, flat flesh, dark blue, red, and beige brown. I will use black and GW Graveyard earth in the later stages.
I like to start from the bottom up at this scale, mostly so you don’t have to go back an put your brush where it can easily bump into something that has already been painted. And hey, you gotta start somewhere.
I mixed my white with the smallest amount of water to give it some flow, in 6mm thick paint will not be your friend. I then coat it on the legs only, not really worrying about if it gets on places that it shouldn’t be. I also use a brush that has been retired from detail work. This puts less strain on a good brush. Next I coat the top of the models with dark blue paint, again mixed with a little water, and again with an older brush.
The next thing I painted was the white cross of the chest belts (I will use proper terminology as I acquire it!) Now I wasn’t sure if I should give them some white shirt showing through or not, and I was thinking not, so I tried it on one strip with it and will show the results at the end.
It’s time to break out the fine brush and take our time with each stroke. The odd bad brush stroke will not show up in our overall army effect, but consistent sloppiness will.
Up next, red collars and cuffs. I was spared having to paint red facings and turn backs as the uniform doesn’t have facings and the turn backs are covered by ammo and other cases!
After the red, it was time for the muskets to receive the treatment. I used a beige brown, but this is the first color that I might end up rethinking. I wanted to keep the figures from getting to dark, but this color brown might be way to light. I will see when they are finished.
And the final stage that I managed in this session is the flesh. This step is one that I dread at 15mm as it always takes at least two coats to get a decent shade, then it must be washed with ink to bring out the detail. Well, not so in 6mm, just dab a little on and bob’s your mother’s brother.
This is the stage where the figures start to really pop!
The only things left to paint are the bayonets, tricorn trim, and bases. But, that’s enough for one day!
Well, I managed to find some more time today, so I finished the troops. Unfortunately, in my haste to finish them, I forgot to take pictures between each step. So I only have the finished pics, if I remember to take them while painting the rest of the troops, I’ll post the interim pictures at a later date.
Oops! I just noticed that I forgot to paint the hands holding the muskets on this strip, just my luck I take a picture of the only strip without flesh tone hands. I’ll get another pic up there next time I take them.
Now, I’ll admit, they look a little more like blobs up close than I had hoped, but when you see a few at a time they tend to look more impressive.