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Summer Time and Hubbardton Reenactment

I have been quite quite on the blog for a bit, but that’s because I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling lately.  I started in late June with a  trip to Philidelphia for work, so no time for taking in to many sites.  Then it was off to Quebec City for a fun trip with the family.  I’ve done the military sites before so more of a culinary and shopping trip this time, we try to go as often as possible.  Then back home for one day before it was off to Southern Vermont for camping and a reenactment of the Battle of  Hubbardton.   All in a two week period, so no time for painting or posting.

I got some great pictures of the reenactment and a few of Quebec City.  It’s really had to get good pictures of the city with my crappy camera, but here a few.  Hubbardton was much easier as the reenactors came within 5 feet of us for the retreat portion and discharged a volley or three right there.  The kids loved it and the cannons were a big hit with my three year olds.

I made some comments on the a few pictures so do look for them.  The last 10 or so are just pics of the reenactors as they filed past, just trying to capture as many guys in closeups as time would allow.

Here they are.

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Wash Experiments – Part 1

In my continuing persuit of better quality for my 28mm models, I’ve taken some advice from a thread I started on TMP.  I’m going to try washing the white basecoat and then drybrushing over that.  I’ve created a grey wash with some paint and Future floor polish that I have from some previous experiments years ago.

Here is the original model, turn down your monitor brightness or the white may cause some temporary blindness.

Here is the same model with a grey wash on it.  I don’t think the photo shows just how dark the actual wash is, but I’m not very happy with just washing the white.

Here is the same model with a white drybrush over the the wash.  I’m a big fan of this actually.  I will most likely use this method, it’s all down to fine tuning it now.

More experiments to follow, I have some figures primed white and grey that I will be experimenting on with more washes.

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First 28mm Historical Figures

I’ve painted a lot of 6mm guys in the same pose, I mean A LOT of 6mm guys in the same pose. It’s time for a bit of a change. I first started painting 28mm “Heroic” sci-fi stuff for a short while before I become interested in historical gaming. I didn’t really do it well though. I suppose it’s time to try a little harder.

I ordered some Front Rank AWI figures to get started with. I have painted more AWI figures than anywhere else and I already have Sharp Practice as a rule set. I just ordered some test models. “Test Models,” doesn’t sound that evil does it? I have avoided them for years, as it always translated to “wasted time” to me. But now I’m a firm believer in trying things out and trying them a few different ways.

Working in 6mm, I’ve been able to block paint EVERYTHING and get away with it. In 6mm, you are working to make the unit look good, not the individual. Here is my first block painted British regular or hatman. Everything is in the right place and the right color, it’s just that it lacks…character.

I need to add something to make the model look more three dimensional. I only have experience with dry brushing and some with black lining. So I thought I would try black lining my other test model.

Here is my second test model. I block painted it as well, but black lined his straps with a technical pen ( Pigma Micron 0.25mm) to get the definition on the straps. I think the picture looks better than the model.

Still not happy with the results, I decided I had to try something else.

This figure has been dry brushed and black-lined. But this time, I painted the thin straps black and the edges of the thick straps black, then painted white on the tops of them. I also primed it gray, drybrushed the small clothes with white, then painted them with ivory. I was hoping this would break up the white areas. His red coat also has a lighter color drybrushed on top for depth.

I have another in the works at the moment, but I’m not really sure what combination to try on him. I’m hoping to get this figured out soon as I have my first Mohawks arriving from The Galloping Major Wargames soon!

Anyway, here is a gallery of my first efforts, with a few comparison pics thrown in. All models are Front Rank.

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British Forces for Freeman’s Farm

Finally some new pictures.  While I havn’t been posting as I needed some time to assess the amount of time I was spending taking pictures and blogging versus the feedback, I have been painting like a madman.  Well, like a madman for me, I’m a very slow painter.

I finished all of the forces that will be on the table for the British side in my Freeman’s Farm scenario.  This is 932 infantry, four command stands, and seven gun stands.  Quite a tidy little group if I don’t say so myself.

These are not my best photos as I’m still trying to work out the best way to take effective pictures of large groups of miniatures.  I have it down pat for small groups, but still a lot to learn.

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Updated Project Size

I have not been on top of my project size page as I should lately.  I just updated it as I have recently passed the 2100th figure mark.  It seems very rewarding to get this far.  I am a completionist and would like to be able to run any scenario I would like without having to worry about if I have enough units or having to make unreasonable proxies.  I don’t mind exchanging one unit of continentals for another, but would like to stick with militia representing militia and hat companies representing hat companies.

I just started my first unit of dragoons and they are going fine.  I really don’t like painting horses, that’s one of the reasons that I like the AWI so much.  I should have some more pics up soon.

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Saratoga 1777

Saratoga 1777
Saratoga 1777

Saratoga 1777: Turning point of a revolution by Brendan Morrissey is a book that should have had a review when I first started this blog.  I think it’s just that getting the Osprey for a relevant subject just seems like a no brainer to me, it’s simply my first step in any kind of research on a military subject.

I think this book is one of the essential books for recreating this campaign.  It has all of the Osprey staples that wargamers need, great OOB’s and lots of maps.  It is a quick, easy read and gives you everything you know to get started.  Perhaps it’s a fault of mine, but I don’t have much to say as it simply delivers everything you know and love about Osprey publishing, that I don’t have a more critical review.  I thoroughly trust the author and would recommend ANY of his AWI books from Osprey.

Get it, love it!

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Enoch Poor’s Brigade

I have been waiting a while for this.  So far I have been concentrating on getting pictures on the blog for Hubbardton as that was a manageable engagement to paint and create a scenario for.  I have been hard at work for quite some time now and am weeks away from finishing the troops needed for the the entire Saratoga Campaign.

Here is the firt of the units for the First Battle of Freeman’s Farm, Enoch Poor’s Brigade.  I have had to take some liberties  with a few unit colors and quite a few flags.  I am very happy with the way this turned out.  Without further ado, some introductions are in order.

Enoch Poor's Brigade
Enoch Poor's Brigade
  1. Enoch Poor Command Stand
  2. 1st NH
  3. 2nd NH
  4. 3rd NH
  5. 2nd NY
  6. 4th NY
  7. Conn. Militia
  8. Conn. Militia

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the results.  This really looks like a brigade ready to go to the table top, it’s recreated in 4:1 ratio.  I can’t imagine the same kind of satisfaction with 28mm in a 20:1 ratio (though I’m pretty sure many would argue with me).

Some of these units were from the most well documented units in the war (2nd NH) and other I relied up general knowledge and many trips to TMP to come up with coat colors.  I had fun with some of the flags and have found that with a little effort you can come up with something that is plausible: like a poster on TMP suggesting the 18th-century NH state seal for one flag , and things that are downright wrong, like the NY Yankees flag one of the NY units is carrying.

More than anything, it will look like a battle line when deployed on the table top.

I have had about ZERO input on my posts showing individual units, so unless there are 10 requests in the comments I won’t show the individual units.  It takes time away from painting and if I’m the only one interested, I already know what they look like.

Here are a few more photos of the boys in action.

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Saratoga by John F. Luzader

Saratoga
Saratoga

SARATOGA: A Military History of the Decisive Campaign of the American Revolution by John F. Luzander is quite simply the best book on the campaign that I have come across.  It reads very easy and goes into just the right amount of detail that it’s useful but doesn’t bog down the story.

I finally understand EXACTLY what happened at Bennington.  I have read the story of this battle from at least five different authors and never really felt that I could describe the action to someone else.

The author uses a great deal of haughty language in the early chapters and I wish I had some at hand to include here.  By the middle of the book the need for a dictionary to help understand what should be a simple description goes away completely.

My least favorite parts of the book are the detailed chapters on the conflict between Burgoyne and the British power structure and the infighting in the Patriot command.  This is no fault of the authors, it’s just that I personally don’t really care.

The factors in play on the forces involved are clearly explained and the battle are masterfully explained in the perfect amount of detail.  After reading the book, I finally was able to construct scenarios by myself.  Previously I had to rely on others’ understanding of events to figure out how to add flavor to the games.

If you only get one book on the campaign, this is it.

It was better than Cats!

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More Pictures From The Visit

Just a few more pictures from the visit.

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Visit to Saratoga National Historic Park

This weekend I was going to the Lake George area with my family for a family get away. I made sure to add a precondition that if we went that close to Saratoga we had to drop by the battlefield.  So the kids turned out to be to skinny to play at the waterpark for long and that meant that it was time to head to Saratoga National Historic Park on Sunday.  It only opened April 1st and we visited on April fifth, so I was quite lucky it was even open, Ticonderoga doesn’t open for another 2 months.

p4050123We showed up and found this charming soda machine at the entrance to the visitor’s center.  Any long time readers will know that my wife is English, and while she has lived in the states for 7 years now, she will always be English.   Now, she can tell you all about Roman roads and a little about the Beatles, but she’s fairly un-knowledgeable about the rest of her countries history, especially the colonialism/repression parts.  I asked her to stand in front of the soda machine and this is the picture that I got for my troubles.

Once inside the visitor’s center, I was promptly informed that the driving road in the park is closed due to downed trees from a recent ice storm.  Aaaarrgghhh!  What are the chances?  The “good” news is that it will be open by April 11th.  I’m not sure when I will make it down here again.  A trip to the store involves hours of planning and split second timing for us to accomplish with the three young ones.  Oh well, must make the most of it.

They did have a few nice things inside here.  The first is an electronic map of the battlefield and an audio presentation that goes with it. I really enjoyed it.  Here’s a couple of pictures showing the lights.  They move to different p0ints on the field.  Quite nice.

Over View Photo
Over View Photo
Assualt on the Balcares Redoubt
Assault on the Balcares Redoubt

They had a room with things that might be interesting for children drug along to the museum.  One of them was a small display of a fortification and some playmobile-esk type guys to position around a cannon.

The younger me would have loved it just as much as the older me.

I will post more pictures from the visitor’s center in another post as they all don’t require explanation.

So the driving track is out of commission, “You can still walk the area”, you say?  Well, I would have loved to, but it was past nap time and the walking trail isn’t conducive to strollers (we did try!).  Here is the reason I wasn’t able to walk to the Balcaras Redoubt.

They are worth it, you just have to take a back seat some times.
They are worth it, you just have to take a back seat some times.

The only thing I could see from the Visitor’s Center.  It was in the distance tempting me.

Balcares Redoubt From Afar
Balcares Redoubt From Afar

I will return someday to take better pictures.  But even with my limited access I enjoyed myself, it would take a lot for me not to.  What are the odds that the driving path would be blocked when I was there.  I’d be more upset if I lived more than 4 hours away.