Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wooden Flats - Part 1

Here's a unit I recently finished.  These wooden flats are from Russia, 45mm to the eyes.  They're for my imagi-nations war of ca. 1820: Celtican infantry, le 7eme de Ligne.

The figures start like this.  Wooden blanks without detail.  Thickness is 4mm at this scale.  Definitely a painting challenge as where to place the details is a matter of estimation.

And painted.

I did a bit of shading but not at the edges.  As the thickness means they're almost semi-round when viewed at an angle, edge shading does not work as it does on a conventional flat.  And I gave them toy soldier faces from the front.

Next up, cavalry and artillery.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Heinrichsen Infantry - 45mm Flats

Finished painting this unit last week. Antique Heinrichsen flats, 45mm to the eyes. This is kind of a one-off set, purchased when Heinrichsen was cleaning out old inventory mid-2017. First issued 1840, they represent French troops ca. 1830.
For my 1820's imagi-nation of Celtica, I took a few liberties such as the ficticious grenadier flag. But they are plausibly French enough to sell as such when the day comes. 24 soldiers came in the box, I did not paint the extra sapper and trumpeter.
As you can see from the command figure grouping, I almost completely dispensed with the shading. Started out that way, but they are so slender that shading only accentuated it in a bad way, so I painted them more in straight toy soldier fashion.

And in closing, a rather comical stylistic mismatch with some wooden flats which I am currently working on. More about this latter to follow soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Heinrichsen Flat Cavalry - 45mm

Here's a squadron of cavalry I just completed, 45mm flats. Heinrichsen set # 6017, Pruess. Reitende Artillerie 1830. The designs date to 1845. Nominally they are supposed to be 60mm. But with these old figures, the cavalry are smaller than the foot. Suits me fine because they fit my ca.1830 project perfectly.  Stylistically, as you would expect from their antique nature, they are somewhat toylike. But to my eyes all the better for it.
It's interesting that they're sold as horse artillery, but as there's a corresponding set with caisson & gun, perhaps they are meant to be outriders ? Practically speaking they work fine as any light cavalry, and the painting guide also shows them as Englische Dragoner. I painted them as Prussians, but they'll serve quite well for the bellicose army of der Grolshken Reich.
The command.
Sample troopers.
And a parting shot.
There's also another trumpeter which I did not paint.  I'm saving him for conversion to a standard bearer, although soldering will be required.  Something I have no experience with, but then how hard can it be ?  😉

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Renaissance Flags - 30mm Flats

Let's take a look at two standard bearers which I have recently completed.  They're for my formations of mercenary reiters and later landsknechts.   I entered into this phase of the project with some trepidation as painting flags can be tricky.  My period for these is ca. 1550-1580, give or take a decade.  That aligns with the French Wars of Religion and first half of the Dutch Revolt.  And there's always the option of imagi-nations, but getting too fantastical will decrease the appeal of the figures should there be a reason to sell them later.

It seems that while the Imperialist, Spanish, Dutch, and for France the Royalist & Huguenot flags are at least somewhat known, for mercenary Germans of this period, I have found almost nothing.  Thus my avenue of approach.  One source could be the Triumph of Maximilian which illustrates a number of banners.  And while the old Dover edition of b&w woodcuts is a work of art in its own right, the colored version is absolutely glorious to behold.


From this illustration I copied the goat rampant, hoping to at least avoid having him turn out like a crazed rabbit.  And the red banner was used previously for the 45mm landsknechts, I got good mileage out of this page. For the infantry, this German flag card from the 1930's served as the basis for my design.

Taking on the diamonds would have been madness, but the stripes ?  Okay, let's do it !  On my figure, the flag is very close to 40mm in height where it attaches to the pole.  Thus eight stripes of 5mm each would work out. The thought of how to pull this off credibly with a flag that's tapered from the "front" side of the figure was intimidating. In the event, things went well enough but it was one of the harder things I've attempted.

So how did they turn out ?

I'm happy with the result.  On the landsknecht flag, I didn't bother with attempting full-on connoisseur ripple effects as he's meant to serve as a fighting soldier with no aspirations of  being a modelling contest entry.  And one final "action" shot.  I didn't paint all these figures, bought some already painted on eBay.  I doubt I'll bother trying to rework them, whoever painted them did a nice job.


In parting, I wonder about these giant banners. Perhaps the size is exaggerated for effect, but from period illustrations they do appear to be quite large.  Even though probably made of light weight silk, the effort of holding all that mass aloft one-handed with a metal spike atop, it must have taken a strong man, particularly on a windy day.  And how did they keep it from getting tangled amidst the forest of pikes ?   Perhaps a Renaissance warfare expert can weigh in.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Semi-Flat Landsknechts - 40mm

Finished painting the first group of  Italian Wars era landsknechts.  The castings are Russian, made by the Three Heroes company.  I bought three sets of 8 each from  One "Swiss" one "Mercenary" with the third being Spaniards.  Prices were quite fair,  ~ 100 rubles a figure works out to $1.50 US, not bad at all for a hefty hunk of metal.  Shipping charges were also reasonable and proprietor Maxim Latsin, very fluent in English, was a pleasure to deal with.  There are also "extra" sets of 4 figures each for these groups, so 36 in all, but none of the latter were in stock.

So let's take a closer look.  Some of the the castings are a little on the rough side, you might even call them crude.

Nominally 40mm scale, they're a bit larger than true 40mm figures.  And you'll notice some size difference in the two figures below, but within the realm of normal human variation I'd say.

Stylistically they match up pretty well with Meisterzinn.  Unfortunately,  I have no direct comparison shots for you.  My sister-in-law was asking for some painted figures and I gave her my painted Meisterzinns. I feel rather like the guy in the insurance commercial who throws his wallet into New York harbor to emphasize a point about wasting money and then says to himself, "Wish I hadn't done that".  But the mold image below at least gives an idea.

How flat are they ?  Pretty darned flat.

"Sire, the enemy advance and we can't hit them !"
And a few more shots of the completed figures.  I painted a mixture of the Swiss and mercenary groups, as unless you take into account the rather high ratio of halbardiers, there's nothing particularly Swiss about any of these. 

Too bad there's no cavalry.  Three Heroes also produced some 30 Years War cavalry in a similar style, so perhaps something could be done there, although the visual gap of 100 years in military evolution would be a little jarring.  And I'm not entirely sure the figures are currently in production although it would be easy enough to find out.

To sum up, I'm pretty pleased with them.  I think anyone wanting to game the early 1500's in 40mm who has been relying primarily on casting and modifying Meisterzinn figures would find these a useful option to pad the ranks of infantry with more variety.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Back in the Saddle Redux

Wow, it's been nearly a year since the previous post.  A lot has happened. I retired at the end of July.  In August, we moved to a city out past Sacramento where the rent is cheaper and most of the kids & grandchildren live closer.  Nice town too, with enough hills to make the road cycling more interesting.  Haven't found much for the mountain bike yet, but sooner or later I hope to discover some good trails.

Work ?  Except for the people, don't miss it a bit !  Although I do have recurring and mildly disturbing dreams in which I'm still working the same type of job.  Hopefully, like dreaming of cigarettes after one has kicked the habit, they will eventually subside.

And after a long hiatus, I have resumed painting.  Finally all the paints and supplies are out of storage.  I've set up a nice workspace in the garage which fortunately has a window which lets in a good amount of natural light.  Getting somewhat cold out there now but still tolerable.

So what do we have here ?  This is a 40mm Renaissance knight ca. 1500 from Heinrichsen Zinnfiguren.  Nice old flat, the original set of landsknechts were issued in 1885.  He is casting # 46 in the series and about the only suitable mounted figure in the set. I bought the casting as a one off from Jim Horan a few years back and just got around to painting him.  I understand from Dr. Grobe of Heinrichsen that the mold is damaged, so for better or worse my paint job will have to suffice.  Here are a couple more close-ups.

What next ?   I recently stumbled across some interesting 40-45mm semi-flats (with emphasis on the flat) made in Russia.  All told they are 32 different for the Italian Wars.  They're somewhat crude, but still appealing and match well for size with Meisterzinn.  I got 24 and will post in groups of 8.  But here's a taste.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it's been months since I last posted.   After the move,  I didn't pick up a paint brush for at least 3 months.   I'm still not sure what the ultimate source of my malaise was, after all my wife and I are living in 1/2 the space we used to with no home maintenance chores to speak of in a rental property.   Really, there's been ample time to paint.  Anyway, I've recently resumed and decided to start with the 54mm Ancients, working my way back up to the flats in time.

I sampled a box of these HaT Carthaginian infantry.

How do they look painted ?

Nothing exceptional really.   I don't know that much about the Carthaginians but I suppose the case could be made for their wearing captured Roman armor.  But I prefer something more distinctive.  Such as CTS's animated take:

I do really like these.  Too bad they only come two to a box.  You know the drill, 2x6 different figures to a box, only half of which are useful.  I'll have to inquire of CTS if they'd be willing to sell multiples of the same figure.  I doubt it but it won't hurt to ask.

And as for cavalry, I've had a rethink about using Expeditionary Force.  If you recall this previous post, the 60mm scale was a disappointment.  But the EF figures are hands down better than anything done by HaT or Italeri.  I figured it was time to just say "What the heck, they're all toy soldiers" and live with the disparity in scale.

A Macedonian Companion atop and below:

Truly nice sculpts.   The standard two poses of galloping horses are somewhat colt-like in proportion and actually aren't bad at all for 54mm, it's the riders who are big.

Speaking of scale, I ordered a half dozen reasonably priced metal phalangites from the Ukraine on eBay which I asked my wife to give me for Christmas.  Wouldn't you know it, they're rather small compared to your average Russian style figures.  Painting now and I promise not to wait another 6 months to show them.

Well, I got this one in under the wire before 2017 expires, so it's a good opportunity to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018.