Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Friday, 31 May 2013

NEW Baccus 6mm French Line Painted

Finally got these finally based and photographed. I painted up the twenty four line figures at Triples on the Sunday. Actually that's a little over simplified. I actually painted them most of the way to completion whist on Dr Mikes painting tables.

Twenty Four French Line Infantry and four Skirmish figures.
I still had the shako cords, facings and pompoms to paint. The Voltigeurs were painted at home from scratch. The line I painted at Triples were donated by Peter for the use on Mikes stand and differ from a bought pack as they don't have any Elite amongst them. Pity that, as it means I will have to paint up some more.

Close up action.
The whole painting and basing of the one battalion took about two and a half maybe three hours and was painted to the much quicker method that Dr. Mike recommends. Don't compare the painting to the Adler as it's not fair as such as the skin just gets one flesh tone without the red leather first coat and so only the nut brown ink is used on the flesh. Still the skirmisher figures are so very much better than the originals.

The view I want to see of my French!
The detail is certainly more crisp than their predecessors and they paint up some what faster and cleaner. As you can see from the picture above the bayonet and musket are much more defined. Also the shako cords are much easier to paint, so now I am painting them. Mike started these with a grey undercoat (Halfords) and then added a black wash. Nett result was very little black work on the figures, these means such as the shako have a better look about them (I touched them up a little with Black Grey (Vallejo 862).

Grenadiers = right hand man.
If you look carefully you can see the chin strap on the rear figure above. Equally you can leave it alone, yep that's what I choose to do. I also never do the coat tails but the detail is there if your that insane.

View from above, still using old style basing on the French.
So what are my thoughts after painting them up? Well it's no surprise that it's a vast improvement. Not that the old ones were bad, they were not good but not actually bad. These though are something else. I can see the lions share of my French will be new Baccus, that is slightly worrying given the number of infantry I already have. 

I still have five battalions of old Baccus waiting to be painted up as allies, these will probably remain as allies, but I can't give any indication on when they will be painted up. At the moment I just have eyes for the new boys in town and of course those Prussians given the amount I still need to paint.

The new French will stand out against the old, mostly because of the shako cords and skirmishers but given the ease of painting their numbers will grow with ease.  The pose remains the same though, which is a blessing for the all uniform camp but there are reasons Peter prefers the musket held at the side pose and it's all to do with durability. I did find the old Baccus bayonet vulnerable to breaking off, these are more sturdy but looks a little bulky to my eye. But the chances are that it will remain in place through many a campaign.

I don't score out of ten but to give you an idea based on my recent Baccus compared to Adler posts, these figures go a long way towards willing in much of the tick boxes Adler achieves without compromising the Baccus advantages. Are the as nice as Adler? No, but they have enough character that you don't mind being seen with them. So no ugly sister to your mates date issue here. 

Baccus are at Partizan this weekend so if it's a good opportunity to grab yourself some Baccus if you have the chance to hit the show.

Next up is the early French in Bicorne, I should do two battalion's, one as they are intended and the second as Guarde de Paris. You will have to see how it plays out.

News tomorrow will be of the coming shows and soon after that an update on Project Waterloo,

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pimping and Prizes

Yesterday I got home from work to find a nice little package awaiting me from Seb. of Back to the Mini's fame. You may remember that I won this

Well I was home just long enough to eat before rushing out to Lee's for a test game of our rules but did of course open up the package and have a quick look at the book. It will certainly be the next book I read and looks just the primer I need before moving on to painting those Romans (when I get a spare moment that is). So a very big thanks to Seb, your a gent Sir.

Another giveaway has come about. James at Exiles Wargames Painter is about to celebrate three years of blogging so in the grand style that seems to be in (wonder where it all started LOL) he is offering a brilliant table of prizes to pick from. I have my eye on the British 6mm Naps or the painted force by James (so tempted to get him to paint up some 6mm French for me).

You get extra points for coming up with a limerick (I seriously hope my wife does not read mine!) and of course extra for pimping.

I really advise to get over there it's well worth it.

On the subject of my giveaway I am happy to say that Mr. Lee has finally received his toys via Wayland Games so await to see just what he creates.

One last word on my giveaway. Rosemary & Co. sponsored the giveaway with two £25 (a bit more I think) of series 33 brushes which was so very nice of them. When I informed them of the two winners details they did no more than send them a second prize in the form of £25 and a $30 gift certificate. How good is that? So a great big thank you to Rosemary the owner and all round good egg.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

HMG Matt Varnish

I have mentioned before how highly I regard Vallejo Matt Varnish. But on the recent trip to Triples I only managed to score one can as Lee made off with the other two tins. But late in the day we stumbled on a trader selling a strange looking can and given one can was not enough......

Actually one of his selling points was that Leon from Adler used his spray. So I bought a can and was quick to test it that evening. I was happy enough to buy a second can on the Sunday and so I suppose I really ought to tell you about it.

HMG are a British paints supplier and the name is not a gadget name for our small hobby. They are a large company from what I can make out and a small division of the company makes hobby related products but mostly for the model planes and such. The only supplier I have found so far is Figures In Comfort Ltd. You know the guys who make the figure carry cases for the rich players amongst us ;-)

At the show the cans were priced at £8.50 but on line they are £8 at the moment, maybe you can bag a bargain or two. Aerosol cans are no longer allowed to be shipped abroad and now have to be sent by carrier (though the last one I ordered came by Royal Mail). So unless you track down a supply in your own country this review is just for mainland Britain.

The spray arc is reasonably tight and well directed, so it goes where you point. Army Painter spray always seems to spray to one side or the other, never straight ahead. It also is a really fine spray so it settles well across the figures. This has a lot I think to do with this.

The little yellow box sticks out the front of the nozzle and the hole is pin hole sized. This allows for the nice even mist like spray. Not that it comes without problems if not used properly. Due to the small hole it can be prone to clogging if you spray for long lengths or don't invert and run a short spray to clear the nozzle. In fact when the chap selling me my second can realised I had already bought a can he opened a draw and gave me the extra nozzle in case I had a problem. He also said that it did clog you can often clear it with white spirit but I am guessing if the worst comes to the worst you order a fresh can from them and ask for a replacement nozzle. I certainly will if I ever have to break into my spare.

The varnish dries 100% flat matt. None of this slight shine to it, the colours of the painting really show through the finish. I would say the figures look better post spraying than before, how often can you say that?

Drying time is a bit of a downer though. The can says 5-15 minutes between coats which may well be correct but the figures remained sticky for over a hour when I sprayed them up and the ones sprayed about an hour ago are still tacky (I am going on touching the base not the figures). So if you in a hurry, not the best can to reach for, but the rest of the time it seems the perfect spray for me.

Figures In Comfort are at Partizan next weekend so if your going to the show it may well be worth picking up a can or two. If you do, do me a favour, tell the guy you read a review on a blog and that's why your buying the can. No need to mention my blog, I just want suppliers to realise just how useful blogs can be to their business. At the moment blogs remain a fairly untapped resource for hobby suppliers and I'd like them to utilise us more.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Adler V Baccus Round Three

So the figures are clean, now it's time to paint them. Now depending on what you want this is where Adler either come into their own or send you screaming for cover. Simply put the Adler figure is a thing of beauty. The poses are lifelike, the limbs proportioned and in the modern day the wobble heads a long forgotten memory. I have to say I love the Adler castings. The figures stand close inspection and look good from a distance. The line infantry tends to be just the one pose as is the Baccus but the cavalry have two poses per figure type making for a really nice base of eight to ten figures. It's often thought that Adler are taller than Baccus and I have to admit that was my view but as the three photo's used in this series shows in fact they are much the same though it's obvious Baccus lads like their pudding. No it's the cavalry that have the scale difference with Adler a hand or two taller which makes all the difference. Baccus have listened to comments and as ranges are remodelled the cavalry are on larger mounts. I have to admit though that the Adler don't stand out a great deal when on the table together and as such I won't have any issues mixing them together but not of course on the same base.

I think Adler on the one hand steal the show here and it's why they have so many fans and loyal customers. they do look like little people, the horses have great movement. Little things such as the pennants on the end of lances flutter with the charge. Men lean into the charge whilst the casualties to pardon the pun are worth dying for! Sorry. One word they are fluid.

Baccus aren't, well not anywhere near the extent that Adler are. They remind me of the 90's Essex 15mm figures. Again Baccus have sooo many fans, but from a aesthetics point of view I have to give it to Adler they  have it nailed. Yes I want my Napoleonic regiments to be in formed ranks, I want them to have that en'mass look about them that we know Napoleonic armies are famous for. But at the same time I want them to stand up to a close look, I like the lines of cavalry to be more wave than ruler. I like a casualty to be somewhere in the line, I like a bit of character. Not that Baccus don't have this, they do but they are more the stiff Aunt than the bonkers Uncle and you know what I love them for that too.

On the other hand the idea of basing all the single bases of Adler does my head in. The thing is, all that individual character comes at a price and not to the wallet. I was surprised how close a price figure for figure Baccus and Adler are when you start talking pack sized purchases rather than at the lower numbers. No I am talking the enemy of all wargamers. Time, each and every Adler figure requires more time to paint that Baccus. That is for anyone other than the slap in on thick style of painted (not to be confused with Dr. Mikes system of painting). Not that big a deal on it's own but when you consider the extended prep time and also add in the equally longer basing time and from my personal experience, painting style and way of working I'd say three times as long to paint Adler over Baccus. That is a lot of lost production and if I fall behind on the Waterloo Project I will be subbing in a lot of Baccus to beat the deadline.

So Baccus are more grand scale than Adler, their infantry base up with ease in lines, especially the newer sculpted figures as the bases are flatter and lack the annoying rounded edges some of the older Baccus have.  Whilst I like a bit of a wave I hated the column I based up recently, though the next one will base up better with lessons learned. I do think for cavalry Adler to this point win hands down, the mix of pose and that both companies require you to base the figures as singles means time wise Adler don't suffer from such a large time lag. Sure they take longer but not that much longer.

Baccus really score big when it comes to guns and limbers, the new style all in one carriages really are a great innovation and beat the hell out of how fiddly Adler guns are. But Generals are again the strong point of Adler with the wider mix of poses and increased detail.

At the end of the day though a lot comes down to what you want from your army. I think for the majority of the wargames who want to play it big Baccus probably get the bigger share of the market whilst the spend a month on a unit painter will be all over Adler. I suspect though their is a solid base of customers that use both and I say why not. I even think it's good to mix it up, OK bringing in Heroics and Ross and Irregular would be a disaster in the making but Adler and Baccus work well together but if I really HAD to choose just the one it would have to be Baccus, though I am happy to say that's not how it has to roll.

So no real conclusion other than I would go to both, order something you want to have a bash at and try BOTH. One or the other may float your boat, but if your lucky both will.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Adler V Baccus Round Two, Preparation.

So you get that package of figures and after opening it up are confronted with your piles of lead. The experience you will now go through will be quite a bit different dependant on which company you have bought from.

Peter at the open day last year was very proud of the fact that his figures need little if any cleaning up. Well that is not strictly true. Better put would be that you don't have to clean them up most of the time. I will say that even the new released French benefit from a short period of time spent with a small file and maybe even a scalpel. Indeed the old French needed both these and a bigger file for the base before they were ready to paint whilst the ECW musket armed infantry look like they are going to war with an umbrella. 

But it's worth noting that no company supplies figures where the need for at least some knife and file action is required. Indeed some of the most thought of figures need quite a bit of prep time. I think it's fair to say that Baccus on the whole need well below average time spent cleaning them up. However the time spent on this is somewhat less than the full prep time story. But Baccus don't have those chapters for most of it's figures, the cavalry skirmishers and gun crews need the sniping of figures from strips, nothing to write home about. The infantry being on four figure strips facing forwards ready for painting is nothing new in 6mm, after all Irregular Miniatures has been doing ever since...

Adler though is a whole different story. EVERY figure you buy will need to be cut off it's strip. It will also need all the run off's cutting off them, care being taken in both cases so as not to damage either the base or some other essential part such as the sword, arm or bayonet. This is a little time consuming but please for the mother of all things holy make sure you first clean up the figures. If you have never had the displeasure of trying to hold a 3mm square base whilst trying to cut the waste from between the legs of a infantry figure with a sharp knife then my friend you are ahead of me! 

Yes they need the old file around them and in almost all cases benefit from that scalpel to cut off the larger sections of flash and as mentioned just now, most figures have the space between their legs filled in. Not that a good scalpel won't rid the figure of this extra lead but to do it right you have to attack it from three to four angles and your most pointed needle file has to come out to play. Honestly it's a ball ache, and a job that just has to be done. I am not well versed with all the Adler ranges but the French and the Prussians I have come across all have this issue. 

But it does come off, and for the most part relatively easily. What is does not do is come off fast. In fact I timed myself doing the last two battalions from the next Prussian regiment I am painting. The bad news is that it took longer to clean these two battalions than it took me to paint one of the New French Battalions. That's not good and I repeat I painted one whole 24 figure Baccus battalion in less time than I cleaned up two Adler Battalions with slightly more figures per battalion. Clearly that is not a good ratio of prep to paint. You can short cut the process but really why bother in the first place if that's the case.

Then both lots need sticking down to be painted (I use 3-4 lolly sticks glued on top of each other. Baccus take up two of these for a 28 figure battalion (inc. 4 skirmishers) and ten blobs of bluetac. That's 6 blobs for 24 figures and one each for the skirmishers. On the other hand Adler need three sticks and twenty eight blobs of tac. The reason I mention this is that is twenty eight separate actions, nearly three times the number as Baccus and so is actually three or more times slower as the 4 man strips are much faster to position than four single figures. 

The point is, at every stage from taking the figures out of the box to the point of spraying the figures with primer the time stacks up against Adler. No problem when you have all the time in the world but even so do you want to spend extra time on this? My understanding is that it's the least enjoyable part of the hobby.

Adler could have changed their method and stripped the figures in blocks of four facing forward. They have chosen not to and in that they remind me of the British motorcycle industry that refused to turn the engine case sideways so the oil would collect in it, rather sticking with it as it always was and leaking oil all over the place, Funny thing is, like the Dodo you don't see many new British bikes. Not that I am suggesting Adler are due for a trip down the pan but please it would not be the end of the world to change the way the figures are produced. Just a thought.

So once you have the figures all stood up in a row and ready to paint, finally you can see just how they are destined to look. Finally with a nice coat of primer the detail starts to shine through. Is the sun rising on Adler?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Adler V Baccus, Prussians Face Off. Round One.

I have intended to do this post ever since painting up the Baccus Prussians, well before actually painting up the Adler figures.

I guess first things first it's cards on the table. I know Peter from Baccus quite well from a customer to supplier point of view and I know he reads the blog. Mr Locke is much less a known entity. Sure I have bought items from him (three times now) and have spoken to him at cons and exchanged e-mails about product but that's all. So if any bias is shown you would be expecting it in Peters direction. I hope though that what follows is plain and simple how I see it and not at all slanted just because I know Peter is probably going to read it and to be fair I don't want to hurt his feelings nor give the wrong impression. But I also want you all to realise what follows is just my opinion. It's not facts nor is it certain I will have the same view in two years time when I possibly will have painted my last 6mm figure for some months.

I few months back I painted up twelve Battalions of Baccus Prussians, a total of 336 figures. All were painted at the same time and I did have a feeling at the time that they took way longer than the French and indeed I felt that Adler would paint up quicker. Indeed given the need for 75 battalions they need to.

Marching side by side against the common enemy.
Quite simply if you look at the finished figures and decide just on that which are the best figures I am sure 8 out of ten cats would prefer to like their own balls. Slightly less wargamers may well choose the look of Adler over Baccus. But that's not really fair, nor is it a good judge of which is the so called best. In fact neither are the best, but one will be the best for you and that's the idea behind this post. Lets look at this through the process of the gamer.

Picking the figures.
Both Adler and Baccus have websites, though it's fair to say only Baccus have a webstore. What I mean exactly is you can buy from Baccus with the minimum of fuss and the ease of buying. Don't under estimate the power of this. Adler on the other hand requires you to download a spreadsheet that seems not to work, contact via e-mail and wait to be contacted and payment made only via Paypal as Adler decided to remove payment by card due to charges. I am not personally bothered by this but for some it's one step to far. Indeed in the days of internet shopping and global shopping Adler have taken a huge step backwards though I have no idea if it has made any difference to his trade.

I am not over keen on the Baccus site in that the images often are too small and not enough of them. On the positive side you at least have images of nearly all items up for sale. 

Adler by comparison have much better images but unfortunately too often no reference to which figures they are. No images are with the list of items and all you get is a list with codes item description and price code. Defenders of Adler will be quick to point out given the rich selection of figures this would indeed be a massive undertaking and thus somehow OK not to actually do this. Many a time I have heard such as, what do you want a nice website or your figures? The simple answer is BOTH. It's poor management or a lack of understanding that most often causes the below par online presence.

Even at conventions Adler fail to make the best of their figures. The display cases are top notch, the painted figures really drive home the quality of the casts but not a code between the lot of them. The diversity of the range in itself is enough to put so many off. It seems that unless you understand Napoleonic's buying from Adler is a guessing game. Regimental and Brigade packs are suited to big units of around 36 figures whilst the more accepted 24 odd figure battalions are ignored. What's worse is not a single unpainted figure is to be seen. Some white boxes with a few details may well be lined up as well as a small pile of price lists but the Adler trading space is designed around a small footprint and I suspect the vast majority of sales are from either pre-orders or the buyer arriving with a list. I remember last year at Donnington when Lee bought all  his French Guard from the catalogue without preparation. It tied up two people and the whole frontage of the stand, good job it was late on Saturday. Then you come to pay, whip out the plastic and oops. Fortunatly I know cash is required.

Baccus on the other hand is far more clued up on what the customer wants. He must pay 5-6 times or more what Adler pay for trading space, this is also reflected in stall position. He also has nice painted figures on display but Peter wants you to pick them up, he wants you to see how they were painted. No codes on these either but as they are next to the till someone can usually tell you what they are and point you in the right direction.

Baccus have racks up filled with a selection of periods and forces from a small top up to battle packs containing both sides troops, rules, buildings, indeed everything but the dice! Behind the counter is the really small packs such as 12 bases of skirmishers etc. I have a sneaking feeling Peter would even take kidneys in payment (as long as they were working) but I do know he takes cards!

So it's fair to say Baccus have the drop on Adler at every stage in the pre purchase stage. This may well not impact on Adler sales but every nerve in my retailers body says it does.

So I would say Baccus have a commanding lead after round one, next up I will be looking at preparation. Something of a sore point after stabbing my finger the other evening whilst trying to clean up some figures  and talk to Lee on the phone at the same time.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Prussian 6th Regiment (1 West Prussia) 6mm Adler

Given the amount if Prussian lead that came home with me on Saturday I suppose it's fitting that the next post is about some of those very Prussians. These were finished just this side of the month and were the April figures. Worryingly May's figures are still at the prep stage but should be finished before the month finishes.

Here we have the 1st and 2nd Battalions. These were part of the Ist Corp under Pirch II. Rather than Jagers these two battalions just use inherent troops from the regiment. 

The figures as stated above are Adler but the flags are Baccus and the blown up picture shows the detail that Baccus provide in the flags. This is the 1st Battalion.

I have added mounted officers to the 1st and 3rd Battalions and some future bases may have a couple of riders or other figures to keep them looking varied. This was the first Adler infantry I have tried to base in column and to be honest I am really disappointed with the result. It's a learning curve like most things but I cut the bases of the figures too small. This has ended up with the figures far too close together and rather than a column I have more of a wedge. The type of formation you may have wanted to produce with some of the raw troops yet to be painted! 

So effectively a lot of time spent making them look good wasted when it came to basing them. Still I was very happy with the dry-brushing the blues which have come off well.

These close up shots make me appreciate the recipe for the static grass that Lee supplied. One part summer and  two parts Autumn, gives a nice meadow type look. Though looking at Lee's basing I have gone too light with these for the ground so next lot will be backed off a bit.

Here is the 3nd Battalion, these I did in a three deep line, I really like the mix of colours you get with Prussian flags, helps make a mostly drab force so much more colourful. Though these being Prussian at least they also have the red facings.

The lines are a bit ragged but I don't mind that at all. Getting basing paint and grass down the lines was a little challenging but I was lucky in that spaces were available.

The flash has really picked out the blue undercoat on the shako's but without it the blue does not show through so much and sometimes not at all.

The fusilier battalion (3rd) and so has no flag to add colour. Fortunatly they have some help from a few Jagers. Notice the mounted officer getting in the way.

This battalion I went for the typical wargame double line. I liked this spread quite a lot as it shows off the numbers possibly the best. One guy though just can't keep up.

I like the pose which is the typical Baccus pose but it gets that little bit extra from the super thin bayonets though one has to wonder how long they will last.

So the Prussians troops slowly build up, I plan to just work my way through each Corp infantry wise. Artillery will be done between regiments and as such will often be done in small batches well ahead of schedule  Cavalry though is another matter, these will be done a couple at a time so in some cases this will mean that regiments that did not fight at Waterloo are still painted up. This is either for the other battles around Waterloo that are bound to get some play or for different campaigns such as Russia. After all I plan to use the troops raised for Waterloo as the starting point for many another action.

Monday, 20 May 2013

On the second day of Triples my true mate gave to me...........

Before I even left the house I had my first item in my hands. Lee thought he had a spare copy of a book I was looking at on Saturday but whilst it was from the series it ended up being a different book. Not that I am complaining as he passed it over.

First purchase of the day was not the bricks shown above, but yet another pack of Baccus skirmishers. I was short by a couple of bases worth so grabbed a second pack. THEN it was over to a stand I had only noticed as I left the show the day before. I will be using these bricks with the Linka odd bits for the Sniper reminders.

The same guy sells these and it counts as the must do, impulse purchase. It's a 54mm resin cast figure who goes by the name of Rose. As you can see it's by War Griffon and is supplied by model display products. They do lots of really nice figures, bases and well just lots. Well worth a nip over.

I was drawn to this one as she has a cat, I will be painting this up at some point for my wife (who loves cats) but I have a date with three chaps first LOL.

This is the book Lee thought he had two of, so I bought it in any case, just £5 so I can't complain at all. Both books have lots of illustrations and look to be useful if only in dragging me further into lots more 6mm figures once 2015 is all done with.

The show itself though was deadly on Sunday. There was a bit of life in the morning but by late lunch it was dropping off by the minute. I spent a fair part of the lunch till home period painting with Dr Mike. Having two of us sat down painting seemed to attract more over to the table and we spent chunks of time talking to various wargamers though most of these already painted 6mm or would not paint 6mm. It was great getting to talk to guys who were interested in the paint it quicker style of painting especially when they realised the results can still be good looking. My style changed a great deal post sitting down with Ian last July (another of Mike's little helpers) but I have slowed right back down and so the sit down with Mike really was a benefit.

These just got about an hour of my time yesterday, I plan to finish them tonight ready for basing. These are some of the new Baccus French but Mike has a new slightly changed method that again seems to shave that bit more time off the time taken.

The day started and ended with gifts. Mike gave me a bottle of his special mixture. 20% flow aid and 80% distilled water (you get the flow aid from Winsor & Newton and the distilled water from any large Auto Parts/tools shop, or Halfords as we call it). Mike actually dilutes his Vallejo pots with this. He decants the paint into bottles like the Coat de Arms and adds some of this to the mix.

I will be using it to mix with the Vallejo in my bottle caps instead of water. you see tap water has lots of impurities that attach themselves to the pigment and rather than the water thinning down the paint it tends to make the paint slightly thicker whist separating some of the colour so you end up with one part thick and a second part runny. I have noticed this at times but did not know the science behind it.

So an enjoyable two days and now back to the program of getting some lead out.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Triples II it continues.

I left off yesterdays report with only some of the toys I had bought but before I finish off I'd like to point out that Baccus also have released skirmishers for the Grenadier Line Regiments, unfortunately I only found out just before leaving and by them they were all sold out. Oh well Partizan I can make up for this. It's not expected that any more new French figures will be ready given the time scale that they have to work to but the next figures due for release will be replacements for all the current cavalry codes. After that it will be the guns and crews then the Generals before moving onto the all new items. I have a loose agreement that as the new lines become available I will buy them so I can paint them up and thus review them. More on that later.

So I had one last major purchase of the Saturday to cover but felt I would leave it off yesterdays post given I was showcasing Baccus new French releases.

Not wanting to wait until Baccus release their new French I have bought more of the Adler cavalry to go with the one Lancer regiment I had already bought so long ago. Here we have I think three regiments of Cuirassier four of Lance and two of Chasseurs, not enough to complete the French for Waterloo but will Lee's added we have enough none guard when included with our finished cavalry. Still more will be needed for the other battles we wish to fight.

How many Battalions do I intend to paint for the Prussians?, well above is the mounted officers that will go on some of the battalion bases!

Here we have a mix of Jager and Line skirmishers and at the bottom extra command stands to reduce the size of the Adler Battalion size from 36 to as low as 28 for some of the bases. Most bases will have 24-30 figures in the line or column 3-4 skirmishers and the odd mounted officer or maybe two just to break them up.

Here we go, bags of Reserve and Landwehr infantry. It would not be so bad if I had already painted up the last lot but I still have hundreds of them! All told their is just around 1000 figures in those bags alone. What it does though is just about supply the rest of the Prussian Infantry for the game. Sure I still have lots of artillery  cavalry and Generals to buy but I should have the majority of the infantry in hand.

The French, well in two weeks I may or may not buy another Baccus booster, that depends on when Peter thinks the next new releases are available. If they are not going to be out for a month or so I will grab a booster, otherwise I may well order another with the next draft of releases.

So day one closed with a VERY heavy ruck sack. Between Baccus and Adler, Lee and myself had spent well over £200, I'm not sure if we should be keeping a record or not of just how much we spent.

Tomorrow I will do a post on Sundays show and what I got up to but now I am off to finish what I started.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Triples, A day of spend spend spend.

Wargamers don't tend to need to practice spending but it's become a bit of a tradition to do go through the battle plan at the Golden Archers and this year was no exception. Fortified and ready for a contest of wallets we then travelled the 60 yards to the venue (is it only me that has noticed that every large sports hall has a McD very close to it?

Anyway I digress, £3.50 to park being that bit lower than the year before and the ticket covering both days we were in like a ferret up the trouser leg, that smell that can only be Triples (or Grandma's knickers draw). I am proud to say that within five minutes flat we were standing all eager like at the Baccus stand and listening to Peters age old song about 6mm being sooooo easy to paint on two unsuspecting 28mm fans. Actually to this point I had never seen Peter at work from this angle. More importantly I had never seen the victims er customers eyes before. The blank stir and the words "" slipping almost human like from their dry raspy throats.

Being a nice guy I tried to save them by telling them how I had painted up lots of Union Regiments in just one week, whilst forgetting to mention that I was not working at the time and so had more than the average Joes time on my hands (well he has an extra mouth to feed and looking at the size of him, they certainly are feeding him, he could be a five year old he's so tall).

The reason for our haste was to take a butchers at the new Napoleonic French just released and according to Peter he has worked all the hours God sends to get it done whilst that troublesome Igor did nothing at all. Anyway the verdict?

£36 later and I would say I really do like the new figures. Pose wise they are much the same quality wise they are a big step up. I had already decided I would buy a pack of everything Peter releases in the French codes and paint them up just to follow the whole process through. This will basicly mean throwing between £3 and £6 per line at Peter and then coming home and painting them up. This is the only way to do a complete review of a new product. So Peter must have released seven to ten new lines so far? er no. That would be five new lines. But five times say £4.50...........

Just stop right there. I am only human right? OK I am possibly human and as such I am frail and for those who do not know Peter he is a bear of a man and not only does he have hypnotic powers but a hell of a head lock. 

You see the Waterloo French are not yet released and whilst Lee was disappointed that Peter has yet to release new lines to me it ...made.....perfect...sense.....MASTER. He HAS to cover the core items that already made up his range before moving forward and we need to start painting up troops for Waterloo.

This is why I walked away with the 1806-12 Infantry Booster Pack which provides me with 12 battalions of French infantry. A major upgrade is that this pack now comes with an Elite base per regiment in the blister (twelve in all). Something else, the command stand now has just the one drummer. To me the figures also look that little bit chunkier, and maybe a gnats todger taller. What they are more so though is crisper. It's obvious they have been remade from the Eagles down. How will they paint? I have no idea.....yet, but looking at the painted figures on display, they will be just fine, so very fine.

To go with these I have bought the NFR3 French Voltigeurs pack which will allow me to make up twelve battalions with four skirmishers per base for a total of £19.50 (£16.50 for the infantry booster and £3.00 for the skirmishers). To say it would be hard not to improve the old Voltigeurs would be a huge understatement. But these are so much better, oh so very much better. The poses have been altered even though one remains firing. Simply put, these are just great.

I also bought NFR4 French Grenadiers pack for £6 and compared them to my yet to be painted old pack and again we have an upgrade. These are slightly more noticeably taller, the bear skin is better cast and these will be the start of my Guard, though I will use the three old bases as well.

The really early French are represented by NFR10 and NFR20, Infantry line in bicorne and bicorne skirmishers respectfully. Originally I really did not think I would have much use for these and planned on painting just the one Battalion as I have no interest in painting up early French but then Aidy pointed out they would be good for the Paris Guard for the Iberian battles. Great, so these will get a chance to be used after all. Again really clean crisp figures with minimal prep, these should see a brush soon.

So I have to admit I am very taken with the new French and really looking forward to what is to follow. I plan to try and get the twelve regular battalions done as soon as I can, I aim to reinforce them at Partizan next month.

I also picked up three cans of Vallejo Matt Varnish but Lee managed to wrestle two cans off me, possibly because my neck was still saw from Peters earlier sale.

Not to worry though, I found this rather interesting purple can (HMG Paints, got to love a name like that). The man behind the table said that Mr. Adler used and ask his view. Instead I just bought a can before Lee dragged me to the floor. The Vallejo was £10 and the HMG £8.50 Now anyone who has followed this blog for some time will know how highly I rate Vallejo sprays so it's got some stiff competition. I have tested it on two Prussian Dragoon regiments and I am happy to say that I will pick up another can in the morning. More details on this in a later post.

I also popped over to Warbases to pick up my order (Hoplite movement trays) and big bases for groups of buildings, where I met up with a fellow blogger working the stand. 

I also met up with Dr Mike of the painting clinic and Ian his very able assistant who lives not far away and plays at Mansfield. I see more games in the future  :-)

I have more to tell but will add it to the next post. I will be back at Triples tomorrow but the focus will be on games and other such fun.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Triples 2013 and Tamsin the Whore ;-)

That's blog whore in case any of you were wondering. Well she sure is one generous dame (by this point I know I am sooo Dead come the Worlds) any ways nip over to her blog for a chance to win prizes, so far we have a Box of Warlord British WWII Infantry (enough to make up 25 figures) £21 worth of Ground Zero castings and if that's not enough £25 of Baccus 6mm castings. You can even go after all three if you like. Just  look out for The Wargaming Girl.

OK I have mentioned I planned wearing a Pittsburgh Steeler shirt to Triples so anyone wanting to stop me for a chat based on these insane ramblings could do so without worrying they were making an ass of themselves. So above is a wargames or history based clue for whose shirt I have picked. OK unless your a Steeler fan you or know the painting you may need a bit more help.

Number one draft pick of two years ago for the Steelers (or was it three?) maybe his skills could be useful in the bring and buy?

OK so what's the odds of two guys wearing a Linemans jersey with 96 and Hood written on it at a Wargames con? Hopefully extremely rare. So if you see a slim attractive intelligent looking bloke walking around tomorrow matching that description, best pass on buy, I will be along some time after.

Beyond that, lets talk Triples. Not sure who is going from this end, Lee is as he is picking me up at 9am and we have a breakfast stop at the Golden Archers planned. Matt is going but not sure which day and it's up in the air regards Aidy. Hope he comes as he is a fun guy.

How about spendies? Adler will be an early stop to collect my orders but Baccus will be first stop. Unfortunately the only new French will be early war in Bicornes so whilst I will be looking I will only spend if Lee does not buy some of these (I have offered to paint a few up so I can review them on the blog). But between now and then you never know.

I have boring spend to do, a few cans of varnish as I am all out and need some more, I recently took figures over to Lee to varnish and he was on his last can. may be the bring and buy will have something and I al looking forward to being able to look at games, check out the traders at a slow pace and more than anything else at all chat with peeps. I already have planned to meet up with Ian who has been instrumental in my 6mm painting style (along with Dr. Mike) who should be putting on a clinic so I can't wait to chat with him.

I suppose just the fact that I can go to Triples with money in my pocket and not worry about spending makes the event rather exciting, it's just ironic that I already know what I need. I also have to pick up an order from Warbases as well and they so often have something you just want to get just because so I have a possible outlet there.

Last up would be something to play with the kids, that would be great. If I see some figures that really make me think the kids would love that then I will let fly.

Hope to see you there if your going, please say high, these days it's the best bit about the cons.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

I'm a winner baby.

That fine chap Seb over at Back to the Minis is running a series of giveaways for his blogs second birthday and hits landmark. Two rather impressive achievements I have t say. Indeed I even said this before Random.Org selected yours truly for some love.

I won the book shown above and it's perfect as I will be starting my Roman army in the near future and as I know very little beyond the basics about the whole Roman thing. 

Anyway the giving has not yet stopped so head over to Seb's blog as he has a couple of prizes yet to draw, the best being the offer to paint some of your figures for you. Can't be bad at all. Actually forget I said that, he has no giveaways left. Especially the one about painting your figures for you.

Nothing to see here, please move along (just not to Back to the Mini's)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Project Waterloo R T T

Even before you place a single figure on the table this game can be fatally flawed with any one of three areas badly conceived or carried though. What's more is that many an attempt of a game of such a scale often fails to impress either the spectator (a shame) or the participant (almost a crime). Possibly the worst thing is that this is often avoidable. Of course plenty of other factors can wreck a game but I will deal with just the three I have in mind here and now.

The make or break of the actual game play. Of course this is so much more likely when one or more members have written a set of rules for the big game. Given that is exactly what we have done should mean rather loud warning bells ringing in our ears. In fact it has been a worry for me. The rules to this point have we feel produced good balanced games that feel right. Tweaking has been (and will continue) to be made with every playing. However the rules as was really seem to work well with about twenty bases per side but when it's well over one hundred I was positive it would shudder to a stop. Yes I think they would portray the battle well, the steady decline in fighting power and ever more brittle formations as the battle wore them down would work. The shear amount of time to play through this though would just end up being slow torture for the players. Very much great simulation, poor game.

The thing is we really like the way the rules are going. Yes the artillery still needed work. The fixed range of all guns did not sit well with Lee and he had rather compelling evidence but I could not shake Barry's view that all guns worked to the same effective range. So we will try keeping the set range as is but tag on a less effective range set to different distances based on the size of the gun.

The real issue for speed of play was that the Battalions just took so long to grind down. Especially when you used them well, removing the worn units from the front line and resting them through good use of reserves. The thing is I like that about the rules and was keen to keep some form of it within the rules. Truth is I just did not WANT to change the rules but clearly they just wont work as is. Cohesion has to be the key. The rules are built around one key element, that being formation and morale combined hold infantry and cavalry together as an offensive entity. Removing the concept breaks the rules.

Then I realised I did not have to break this, just water it down. Even better I did not have to change a single rule, what I needed to do was have two sets of army lists! The original allow a small action to be played out in an evening whilst the other army list will allow far more units to be used but still get a result in the same time scale. So far we have tried the new lists only the once and whilst it worked well, further tweaks will be required. In the next day or two I will do the game report pointing out some of the changes and what worked and what needs more thought. What was great though was that both of us left the game jazzed. Are these the right rules for around three hundred bases of Napoleonic madness? Possibly, in all honesty we need to throw twice as many units in the next game and see where it struggles and how well it runs. I have a hunch that if we prepare well it will be fine.

It's easy right? After all we have so many maps to work to and so many published Waterloo table layouts that we are spoilt for choice. But in fact the terrain and rules have to link together so that you get the right kind of results. Sunken roads, woods and of course certain farms all had roles in the battle and this needs to be considered. Lee has a great deal of experience building boards but for the 28mm Giants, this is something else. One decision Lee made and was firm about was that the whole set up had to be purpose built JUST for this battle. He wants to use two foot squares and as such roads will not be going through the middle of boards just so they can be used in battle x. The whole table will be just Waterloo. Maybe it will be sold afterwards to off set some of the cost, that is something Lee will have to decide at a much later date. 

Size though does count. We want the whole battle to be one big table, no Prussians on a separate board with French disappearing from one table edge to reappear eight turns later. This should supply a number of areas almost or totally devoid of troops at one time or another. Something we think will look really good.

The nett result is a bigger table, a much bigger table. Or to give it some numbers it will be six feet deep and around sixteen feet long. We have twenty four foot to play with so it can be extended if needed.

This means every farm, road, village, river, forest etc etc. needs to be represented on the boards. That will be a hell of a lot of trees and buildings. The trees will be easy enough and I am hoping we will have the buildings sorted as well. We don't want to be throwing any old buildings into this, we want period ones. Not just the famous three but also any village or farm that either was fought over or could have been. We want to fight OUR battle, not a script, not a free placement or what if. Just take the forces and the situations and just run with it from there.

Saved the hardest till last. We know when certain things happened, we also know that some things could have or should have happened before. Now we just have to take all these things and make it all work together without either scripting or fudging actions. The Prussians for instance have to arrive late in the day but how we measure time will be key to them not arriving with the battle still developing or after the French have driven in the Allied forces and waiting for the Prussians to finally come to their doom. Not only that but it's got to be fun for all the players.

Flexitime is the answer (kind of). I feel it will become early evening when they are required though we still need to talk about that. A lot is made about the need to hold La Haye and Hougoumont so that the Allies could hold out. However they have to be realistic chances for the French to take at any point in the battle or why would I attack it? The rules are designed to have special rules incorporated to add flavour to the game. This is one such ingredient that we hope will make a great stew. Anyone who has studied the battle know what each side did wrong and as such can take the short cut to victory. I am keen to limit some of those choices so that we get a good fairly even battle. I feel that certain formations either are not allowed full freedom of movement at the start or use of them is less straight forward than we are used too. This is an area that needs a great deal of thought and we will be experimenting with a number of special rules through the coming year or so so that when the big battle starts we have a working model.

As you may see, we are really taken by the project and whilst we are two years off the actual game we will keep updating various parts of our progress. We have lots to do beyond just painting up the forces and building the battlefield. What I can promise you though is that this is not going to be dull, thanks for reading this rather long post, real soon you will get a colourful battle report from Spain, note I did not say sunny ;-)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Spanish Village in 6mm by Timecast

These buildings were painted up just after the Painting Challenge finished, I just wanted to do something, well almost anything other than figures for a few days. I actually have two more almost finished, just need to pull them to the front of the table.

I still have eleven TBM Spanish buildings to paint on top of the ones you see here. I guess I will have a rather varied selection for the upcoming games, that is when I get round to painting them.

The photo's are not the best as they were taken on my phone and the fact that I had just placed them ready for a game we were playing means you don't get the best shots of the buildings I could have taken but it's been too long in the taking so I am just happy to show them off.

The village, all buildings will now make it onto tiles, most of which will be 60x60mm from Warbases, though I am collecting a few larger tiles at Triples. These were not designed to fit together so much as be dotted about the table but the scenario required a small town so here we have it.

Timecast tend to add little bits of detail to the edges of the buildings, in the one on the left you get a pile of wooden planks and a couple of barrels. Also annoyingly they had bushes that really don't look that good. These, though can be covered up with clump foliage. What you struggle with though is the plinth that they sit on. I guess the handy amongst us can make a cut out into our tiles and sink them in, or use model products to make a rim to disguise this. Not a major issue but when buildings are this nice you don't need the distraction. Also given the cost it would be nice not to have such issues but even with this bugbear they are well worth picking up.

The Timecast website had a few useful tips on Spanish buildings that are well worth passing on here. First up have you noticed the buildings are rather grubby and not the expected bright white? Turns out that painting buildings white is far more recent than the Napoleonic period. Not that all buildings were left as undressed render, the rich would have on occasion painted them white. I had fun making these buildings a more muted and slightly textured finish. I really went to town on the buildings with the rendering broken away. These were made more grubby and after looking at a LOT of terracotta tiled buildings I made these a much darker roof with the odd bright tile painted on to show they were still used if a little unloved.

The other tip was that many of the Spanish buildings of the time had yellow window and door frames to ward off the Devil. This was due to the Devil hating the colour yellow.

So expect plenty more Spanish buildings as time passes by, but then again look out for LOTS more buildings   being shown off here as I have a total of thirty three to paint and two more just to finish. Beyond that I know I will be placing order number four with Leven Miniatures just as soon as Mick has certain buildings I have twisted his arm to produce are ready.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Well it had to happen

Went to Specsavers yesterday (yes a Bank Holiday Monday!) and have to say I was pleasantly surprised at on describing what I do to pass the time both the pre optician test person and the optician asked further questions to get a fuller idea of how crazy I am what I actually meant I do and this figured (pun intended) in the way the tests and post test analysis was done. 

Yep I need glasses, but only just. I have to admit if only to myself the high concentration of painting little diddy 6mm figures to the extent and length of time per sitting is quite probably the reason or at least most of the reason I have had to buy a set of specs. I am really boarder line need and if not for the extreme close work I would not yet need them. In fact I was advised to use them for painting, any heavy duty computer work (especially on my giant screen at work) and reading small text. So watching the box, reading normal text and well writing this blog are not really times to use said bins. 

The thing is I look so dam sexy in them I will find it hard to resist ;-)

Monday, 6 May 2013

15mm ECW Guns and Crews

Matt supplied the guns part painted but I took them all the way back and stated again as I would not be able to colour match his wood look.

One of the crews ramrod was cut short by a poor run of the lead at casting so I checked my box of bits and found a barrel to rest it on so it did not look too bad. Again these are Museum Miniatures and again have a mix of plus and negative points running along the same lines as the infantry.

However I really like the guns. Lots of detail and easy to paint. I painted up one gun as iron and the other as brass and am rather pleased with the result. Just hope Matt will like them. So all in all Matt is building up quite a collection of stuff to base up. Hopefully he will supply finished shots for me to show at a later date.

Well apart from varnishing and flagging I now have three battalions of Prussians finished and four guns and crews. The cavalry have been brought to the front of the desk and should be possibly started today. I plan to get the three reserve infantry battalions cleaned up as well fairly soon so I can get them primed and started. 

Triples is less than two weeks away so I should be picking up lots and lots of 6mm Napoleonic's for both Prussian and French. Not 100% sure what else will be added to my list between then and now but I weakened last night and ordered yet more Leven Miniatures buildings even though I have not yet painted up all the last lot, oh well they are really nice.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Oooh More Giveaway Magic

Bit like buses here is another Giveaway I have stumbled across. Three rather nice books including the one I have just bought and started to read 1815 The Waterloo Campaign, The German Victory.

So if you want any of the three books on offer head over to DCH Wargames Blog.

The blogs well worth taking a look at, especially if you like your wargames to be Historical.
Seb at Back to the Minis is celebrating his blogs second birthday with a week long giveaway and today is Bloodbowl day. here is a pic of just one of the figures he has up for grabs.

The figure is blister packed so you have to do the painting, but this gives you an idea. So if you want a slice of pie, follow the link above and get your name down. Pimping like this gets you another five chances so it's worthwhile.

Good luck to all that enter this giveaway, it's been too long since I last played Bloodbowl so no point entering for me.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Duke Of York's Regiment of Foote in 15mm

Here we have Matt's figures painted up as the same regiment. The figures are Museum Miniatures and have a few nice touches such as the detail on the muskets were you can see the serpentine that would hold the match. Shame no match though is present! The figures are a nice size and have quite a bit of detail throughout such as the faces but at the same time some of the detail is either unclear or plain wrong. The bandaliers are not well sculpted making them a real pain to paint. One figure clearly had a turnback on one sleeve but not the other and other such issues.

Overall they are not bad figures to work with but I think their are a few better choices before I would turn to these for increasing my own force.

At least the figures have character and whilst they are not my first choice they are reasonably fun to paint and did not take a major clean up before painting.

Only one figure has the Lobster Pot in this lot but none of the pike have the Morion which you would expect. Good job the musket are only wearing soft hats. I would certainly prefer Matchlock Miniatures for the better mix and look of the regiments you can put together.

Yesterdays pictures and these above are the first ones using the photo table we have at work. Overall I think it works rather well. Let's see what I try next.