Thursday, February 20, 2020

War of 1812: The Fox Inn

While at Fall In! 2019, Michael and I came upon the Things From the Basement booth. This small operation started out with a FaceBook page and I had greatly admired the products. Thus it was a pleasant surprise to find them at the convention and to see the products in the flesh. I was particularly taken with the Captain William Smith House, an historic 18th century building from Massachusetts. I thought it would serve brilliantly as an inn or public house in our Chesapeake 1814 campaign. I decided to copy the paint scheme on the TftB website (apparently, true to history), mainly because it would be rather unique in my building collection. I also added a scratchbuilt pub sign out of bits and bobs that could be used for any appropriate building. 

The Fox Inn
My regular process of sanding down sharp corners was followed (and painting windows and trim separately). I took a hint from My Brave Fusiliers blog (thanks Mark!) and stained the main portion of the building (after a thorough sanding of all surfaces to ensure the stain would adhere properly).

Roof tiles are from Warbases and figures from Front Rank..

Thanks to the interwebs for having various 18th century pub signs available (copy-print-glue).

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

War of 1812: Chesapeake campaign - Tidewater House & dairy

I have long coveted the Tidewater House model from Charlie Foxtrot but I've been reluctant to pay the postage for such a large item from the UK. Lucky I was to discover that there would be a dealer at Fall In! carrying the Charlie Foxtrot models. Luckier still that Michael and I had already planned a trip to PA for the convention. Thus, an email was whisked off to Wargames Tools LLC and an order placed for pickup (I'll add that interaction with the owner was pleasant and satisfying). I knew the Tidewater House was a large model but I was taken somewhat aback when I got it home and began to examine the package contents.

Here is the basic shell assembled with a 28mm OG Royal Marine for size comparison. You can see the large footprint of this building (approx 10" x 6"... without the front veranda) that will definitely dominate any skirmish game on a 4' x 6' table. 

The front veranda has been added and the shutters and other architectural details prepped for painting.

I always paint the architectural details separately and attach afterwards (in this case, the green items... the red are for another building). For this building, this step included 54 shutters for 27 windows. Tedious work but worth it in the end.

Various pieces mid-way through the assembly/painting process. Before this there is a fair amount of sanding involved. All sharp edges & corners are sanded (including the shutters etc) before assembly, if possible. This, I believe, is a crucial step in the assembly process. Sharp corners make a model look far too artificial and sanding softens the entire result. I also take the time to apply wood-filler on any areas where the assembly tabs break the natural surface. These are then sanded to match the surrounding area. Most flat areas are also sanded lightly to remove the smooth surface common on mdf. This allows the primer to more properly adhere and in the case of clapboard (as in this case), provides some subtle texture along the boards.

The basic paint jobs and shutters etc attached. Sitting alongside is the Dairy, also from Charlie Foxtrot. The clapboard walls have been primed white (Gesso) and highlighted with GW white contrast paint. The brick building foundation is a printed pattern, sourced on the interwebs and glued straight onto the mdf.

The roofs here have been tiled (with Warbases shingle sheets) and primed black in preparation for dry-brushing.

 The finished and based result! The chimneys have also received the printed brick paper as the foundations. The base, is prettied with various flowers and tufts. The key with ground scatter is, I believe, to enhance the main model, not to distract from it. If the viewer's eye is drawn initially to the basing materials and ground scatter and then to the main model, there is too much of the former! This also applies (and perhaps more so) to figure basing.

And some action shots from a recent game....

Friday, January 24, 2020

War of 1812: Royal Marines

Another addition for the upcoming 1814 Chesapeake campaign for Sharp Practice, Royal Marines from Old Glory; although, these can be just as easily be used in the Canadas and the Spanish Peninsula. Unusually for Old Glory, this pack comes with limited pose variation and no NCO figures; thus, only the one Big Man for this batch.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

War of 1812: Maryland militia

As I work toward a Sharp Practice mini-campaign set in the Chesapeake area in 1814, I have been continuing to add some American militia units from the various states in the area. This time up are some Maryland militia from the venerable Old Glory line. I realize some don't like these figures but I have a certain softness for them.  This is not least because of the low cost per figure but also that I have painted these figures before for a former collection and have a particular nostalgia for them. I find that one Old Glory bag of 30 figures is perfect for creating three 8-figure groups for Sharp Practice plus a few Big Men.

Old Glory Maryland militia with standard from Flags of War.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

War of 1812: Virginia militia

My plan for 2020, at least initially, is to build up Sharp Practice forces and terrain pieces for a mini-campaign set in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1814. To do this, I'll need to add for the Americans some local militia units from Maryland, Virginia, and perhaps the District of Columbia. For the British, it would be helpful if I were to have some marines and sailors. The last couple of months, I've been slowly amassing the figures for the project and at Fall In! in November, I picked up some American militia figures from Brigade Games. Over the last week, I've finished these up, ready to repel Admiral Cockburn's incursions...

Two groups of Virginia militia in their striking blue and red hunting shirts and one group of rifle-armed skirmishers (and yes, those are purple hunting shirts!).

I'm still waiting for flags to arrive from Flags of War. In this case and because I have little in the way of information on Virginia militia flags in 1814, I chose to use AWI versions of the state flag. SP enthusiasts may also notice that I have the drummer and the standard bearer in the groups, rather than as separate "purchase-able" force supports. Two reasons for this: 1) I'd like to use these as battalions in our Black Powder games and integral flags always look better; 2) I have separate standards in some of my other SP forces but they are rarely (if ever) purchased as force supports.

A group of Virginia rifle-armed skirmishers. These are unique with their purple hunting shirts. I've opted to remove the bayonets, as I do normally with all skirmishers. The first reason for that is practical. Firing figures with bayonets are far too "wide" and the bayonets inevitably break anyway. I also believe that skirmishers would not have bayonets fixed while firing (in fact, troops in formation would not normally either). The image of miniature armies marching across the battlefield with bayonets fixed is a falsely-based one. It was difficult to reload a musket with the bayonet fixed and made the weapon even more unwieldy while firing. Whenever possible, the bayonets would not be fixed, unless the unit was threatened by cavalry or the possibility of fisticuffs of any sort. How long does it take to fix bayonets anyway? But we all like to see shiny bayonets, with our marching troops especially (perfect example is the blue-clad militia above).

Xmas activities: gifts for the offspring

Although not many posts this fall, painting has continued unabated. Most my pre-Xmas months the last few years have been taken up with putting together hobby Xmas gifts for the family. And this year has been no exception. For Captain Dan in the wilds of New Brunswick, I decided to add some non-military pieces to his burgeoning AWI collection. Since he uses exclusively Perry Miniatures for his collection, I decided to order up some civilians and carts to populate the plantation house I whipped up for him a couple of years ago.

Large farm cart from Perry Miniatures. 
I decided to use only the single horse rather than the two supplied to reduce the footprint and avoid and base warpage. The bases of all are unfinished for Captain Dan to match to his collection.

Small farm cart from Perry Miniatures. 
I decided to spruce up the colours and used GW green contrast paint on the wood.

And some rural denizens for the plantation house.

For offspring #1, I chose to put together the start of a Romanian WWII force. While at Fall In! in Pennsylvania earlier this fall, we had picked up a squad pack of Romanians from Great Escape Games. Unfortunately, once home and on my desk, I realized quickly that I couldn't bring myself to paint the figures. First of all, the sculpts were not to my taste at all, somewhat stubby and lacking in character. That could have been overlooked if the casting quality had not been quite horrendous. I struggled through cleaning four or five figures before chucking the lot in a box in disgust. This is the 21st century, yes? Given the casting quality with other manufacturers in the industry, excessive flash and highly-prominent mold lines are ...frankly... unacceptable. Anyway, over to the interwebs and I ordered up some of the beautiful Empress Miniatures Romanians. They arrived forthwith and I was quite pleased. Beautiful sculpts, minimal mold lines, and no flash at all.

One section of Romanian infantry (late war organization mirroring the German model). Also included are an Sd222 armoured car and StugIII in Romanians colours. These were donated to the cause by Vidal, fully assembled and primed, both from (I believe) Warlord Games. Decals are from Company B. I particularly like the blue fenders on the StugIII, as discovered in numerous references.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

War of 1812: Maryland militia riflemen

I have in mind to build up some Sharp Practice forces for the Chesapeake raids and skirmishes in 1814/1813 to add to my War of 1812 collection. To this end, I have ordered and received some Old Glory British Marines and Maryland militia (with their distinctive shako turbans). But first up on the agenda are some Maryland militia rifles for which I've used some left-over US regular rifle figures. They are quite similar to the US rifle regiments  (well, close enough for me) except with red fringes on their green hunting shirts and white plumes (or feathers, depending on the source). 

The officer figure's uniform is pure speculation on my part. In all of my extensive sources (and on the interwebs), I could find no specifics for militia rifle officers. I've also added a musician who could double as an extra Big Man, if required.