Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carl Hellenistic Cavalry - 30mm Flats

More classic old figures, part of the Schlacht bei Issos set from Chrstian Carl, Cortum Figuren.  I believe these figures date from the 1920's, with figures done by master engravers such as Ludwig Frank.  The shields are an anachronism for Alexander's time but they work well as later Hellenistic cavalry.  I painted with the usual acrylics.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heinrichsen Macedonian Phalangites - 30mm Flats

Still catching up on some of the older figures. Here's the phalanx figures from an old Heinrichsen Macedonian infantry set..  I bought them on eBay in original factory paint, reworked in acrylics.  In keeping with the relatively simple style, I opted not to do anything elaborate with the shields.

Coincidentally, Heinrichsen put this set back into production this year, 24 castings for 31 euros (or 189 euros painted as below). The figures were originally produced in 1921.  Heinrichsen still has the old molds and rotates various sets into limited production on a yearly basis.

I also have a few of the slingers and couple of the command figures, haven't gotten around to reworking them yet. The original factory paint is quite crude compared to what is currently sold, but had the advantage of being cheap back in the day relative to draining your Paypal account for a newly painted set.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wargames Factory WSS Cavalry - Part 2

Completed the three sample Wargames Factory plastic cavalry yesterday.  From left to right we have three French horsemen: a Grenadier a Cheval de la Maison du Roi (the only use I can see for this head), line trooper and a dragoon.  I filed the front plate on the horse grenadier cap to make the dragoon head, not a perfect French dragoon's stocking cap, but the best I could do with it.

Not too bad, really.  Yes, the assembly is time-consuming, not all the poses you need are on the parts sprues and like the infantry you can take issue with some of the sculpting choices.  But if you don't mind gluing stuff together, the price is right.

To my eyes, the biggest flaw is the riders sitting a bit far back. This can't be easily helped, as they ride with bent knees right up against saddle holsters. Had these been placed a bit further forward towards the horses' shoulders, I think it would have helped the appearance.    That and the horses' legs look a tad short to me.

It's interesting to compare with these old Heinrichsen flats in 3/4 profile, the sword pose I wish could be made right off the parts sprues.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wargames Factory WSS Cavalry - Part I

I assembled a few samples of the newly released Wargames Factory 28mm Plastic cavalry last week.  In the French style, we have from left to right, a Grenadier a Cheval, line trooper and dragoon.

The box art looks good, a nice computer rendering on the front of the box and a few assembled but unpainted troopers on the side of the box. Definitely an improvement over the infantry boxes where the uneven quality of the collector painting might actually discourage off the shelf hobby shop purchases (if indeed there's any actual "brick-and-mortar" store sales volume).

The rider sprues give a variety of arms and heads, but whether or not you'd consider them a "good variety" depends upon what your expectations are.  The basic tricorne heads are fine, a couple very nice new ones and two others carried over from the infantry.  Aside from that, it looks like the sculptor cut a few corners but making all the others (in threes) identical - tricorne officer, Austrian/Bavarian cuirassier, horse grenadier and an oddball suitable only for French Grenadiers a Cheval de la Maison du Roi.  This latter I don't mind as I plan to use them for my imagi-nation foot grenadiers, but otherwise they're of very limited utility.  The torsos are rather basic but look serviceable enough.

The left hand for holding the reins is good, you get a variety of right hands, but I'm not terribly enthused over the pose of the sword. Would have much rather seen it in the "present" position held upright back at the shoulder than with the arm outstretched in the "hell for leather" charge posture. And I'm not visualizing any way to fix that with the parts on hand.  I really wish WF had made a torso as a one piece casting with the right arm holding the sword in desired position. Oh, well. The rider's body, once you get it assembled, pops easily and securely onto the saddle.

The horses aren't bad.  The two halves snap togther with little visible seam and the tail assembly is a clever bit with a smallish disc shape at the base which holds the tail firmly in place once you glue the halves together.  Although I would have preferred one or two of the tails hanging at rest for the standing horse position.  The neck/head assemblies are a bit disappointing, there's a noticable seam where the neck glues to the body and the mane comes up short, leaving a somewhat unsightly gap. The other thing I don't like, three of the four heads are turning left or right, the only head facing straight ahead is on the extended neck (galloping pose).  There aren't many different gaits on the sprue but you can mix and match the left/right bodies to create some different looks. To my eyes, the horses look a bit weak in the hind quarters, but I think this is party an optical illusion created by the somewhat oversized cloak rolls.

For people who complain the infantry assembly is fiddly: "you ain't seen nothin' yet".  They'll be hating life once they start gluing these bad boys together. As for the bases, hope you like your cavalry at 25mm spacings. With these particular figures, I don't.  The bases in the photo are my own, made from sheet styrene, thin enough to cut easily with scissors. As the hoofs aren't pegged in any way (and indeed the various gaits probably preclude it),  I wonder about the potential frequency of horses getting knocked off their bases when being handled or transported. 

In the next post, I will show these examples as painted.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wargames Factory Imagi-nation Battalion - 28mm Plastic

Finished the first battalion of the Wargames Factory multi-part plastic infantry.  As they're rather generic WSS troops, I thought they'd make a good foundation for an Imagi-nations project where you can build some nice troops to your liking and keep the button counters at bay.  Some have criticized the figures for the fiddly assembly.  Honestly, never found that to be much of a problem when for 2/3 of your soldiers: glue on the head, glue on the sword - all done.  Now as for building the cavalry, yes there will be solid grounds for complaint from those who detest putting small part together. But that's another topic.

Aesthetically, I'm pretty happy with the sculpting.  I did what I could to mitigate the "long neck" look which has been complained about.  I converted the legs and feet to gaiters, cut off the offending portion of the goofy upside down sword hilts.  The figures still look at tad bulky (although not consistently so), which I think can mostly be put down to the thick legs and the pose of the right arm. The latter could have easily been mitigated by moving the cartridge box back around towards the rear of the figure had the sculptor chosen to do so.

Anyway, without further preamble, here is the first completed unit of le royaume de Bourgogne (aka the kingdom of Burgundy), infantry regiment Chasselas

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

March of the Wooden Soldiers

I've always liked the appearance of the Playmobil figures and have seen some truly amazing armies and displays people have assembled with these. But wow, the cost must be staggering.  I wondered how it would turn out if I tried my hand a making some figures of my own in roughly that style and scale.

Here's the first attempt:

The head and upper body is made from gaming pawns which are some type of wood composite.  The bottom of the coat is an "angel" pawn cut in half, all the rest save for the tricorne and pigtail are various wood bits. I made the brim of the tricorne by cutting a circle of cardstock.  Here is the first figure as painted.

And this is as far as I got with the project:

I'm satisfied with the toy soldier look but the way I have built them is quite labor intensive.  After the novelty of building the first few, the construction becomes a rather laborious means to the end to arrive at the fun part, the painting. If I could buy figures like this "as is" or simplify the construction somehow, I can see painting some nice formations of them.  And of course, if no suitable toy horses could be obtained, making the cavalry would present a whole new set of challenges.

Still, haven't entirely given up on the idea yet and it could be something to do during my retirement years - that is if I ever make it to retirement, it feels like a constantly receding mirage at this point.

Kieler Austrian Infantry - 1683

More 30mm flats.  This is a combination from two Kieler/Ochel sets suitable for the Siege of Vienna in 1683.  Interesting that the musketeers are depicted advancing with fixed plug bayonets. The figures are very nicely designed and engraved, I believe the original production dates to the 1920's or so.  The pikemen were unpainted castings, the musketeers came in factory paint and tolerably done too but I wanted all the at least be painted to a consistent standard so I stripped and repainted them.

And in battle array.

Heinrichsen WSS Flats - Reworked

Here's some old Heinrichsen WSS infantry, another eBay purchase. In this case, a fellow was selling off his dad's old and extensive collection, and quite reasonably priced the lots were as well.  But as is the case with the old figures, the factory paint was crudely done. Here's a shot of the original paint along with some that I've stripped.

And as reworked, in acyrlics.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

French WSS Infantry - 20mm Flats

This battalion representing infantry regiment Saintonge are flats from Christian Terana.  Monsieur Terana is a gentleman of the old school who doesn't maintain an internet presence other than e-mail. But with the catalog listings and the help for a French friend, I was able to obtain some of these nice 20mm figures.

Painted with acrylics, as usual.  Terana has a basic, but very nice coverage of the WSS in this small scale.  I particularly like the command figures:

And a couple shots of the finished formation. I'm not too happy with these photos, will have to reshoot this group when I get time.

20mm Flat Cavalry

Here's a set of 30 Years War I found on eBay, maker unknown.  Could work for the latter half of the 17th Century as well though.

As received, factory painted and crudely flocked and mounted on cardboard bases.

Once consigned to the paint stripper, we can see what lies beneath.  And considering the small scale, nicely detailed they are too.

And as repainted.  Not bad, wish I'd had a regular source that was still in production. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Neckel "Blue King" Grenadiers

Here's a sample from a set of F.C. Neckel Bavarian WSS grenadiers I bought in a eBay auction.  Sorry to say aside from painting these, the rest have remained on the back burner for a few years now, because it's an attractive and dynamic set of flats. Neckel's coverage of the Bavarian army of the Elector Max Emmanuel was quite comprehensive. 

And yes, I do paint both sides.

Austrians - 1683

Thanks to several good suggestions to the "Still Alive & Kicking" post, I've decided to expand the scope of the blog.  Now for some housekeeping.  I don't intend to dredge up every last thing I've ever painted, but did want to take advantage of the blog format to organize some older stuff here, probably with most of the emphasis on the flats, because first you don't see them every day, and second, I just like them.

First up, a few Austrians for the Siege of Vienna, 1683.  Two makers sets here, Schiller and Kieler/Ochel.  Which goes to show that the Germans, if not entirely consistent, usually hit very close to the mark when it comes to meeting a common 30mm standard.  Painted in acrylics.