First unit of foot for my English Civil War project is done!
Ten pikemen, an officer, and a flag ensign all lined up ready for battle.
I’m plugging away at the shot in blue to go along with these guys… the musketeers have a lot more equipment hanging off them and are a lot slower to paint than pikemen!
There’s also a second unit of pike almost finished, these ones in green uniforms, as well as six firelock musketeers for a forlorn hope or commanded shot unit. The mounted commander from my last post has also had a few more details completed and is inching toward the finish line. Lots of assembly line style painting currently, which makes for really boring photos to share here until a unit is suddenly done…
Got a couple of half decent photos of Warlord’s Pike & Shotte Mounted Commander that I’ve got on my painting bench right now, along with a whole bunch of pike & shot soldiers for him to command.
This is one of Warlord’s all-metal figures, and very nice too, a good level of detail and a pose full of attitude as he slouches along, pewter wine cup in one hand and a huge broadsword on his hip. There’s an eyepatch under that wide hat too, although I don’t think you can actually see it in these photos!
I set myself the painting challenge of doing a black horse, black coat and hat, and black hair on the commander. The clothing is done with a base of Reaper Walnut Brown (a very, very dark almost black brown) with a few drops of Pure Black in it, highlighted with Rainy Grey; the horse is mostly Pure Black with some Walnut Brown highlights and then a coat of artist’s India Ink over the whole horse except the mane and tail.
Loads of highlighting and some detail painting left to do, but I’m happy with the progress so far and thought I’d show him off here!
A semi-random collection of links that have caught my eye recently!
Swamp grass from cheap paintbrushes via Rob Hawkin’s awesome blog. Hmm, I just picked up a 5-pack of Home Depot paintbrushes that look exactly like the one he uses in his tutorial, and I’m planning some stream/swamp sections! Lots of other good stuff on Mr. Hawkin’s blog, it’s well worth rummaging through his archive.
The crowded English Civil War – Royalist & Parliamentary garrisons in a 14 mile by 14 mile area of the West Midlands! I looked a few of these locations up on Google Maps – it’s mostly the suburban/semi-urban sprawl and absorbed villages on the edges of Birmingham these days. One thing that fascinates me about the ECW is just how damn small the UK is. A lot of the historical counties are 50-75 km each way or less, and for the small skirmishing squabbles of the ECW competing garrisons only a few miles apart wouldn’t be uncommon.
Tiny Furniture is a fairly new company with some neat science fiction furniture and detailing bits for your tabletop terrain projects. They’re running a Kickstarter as I write this for some retro-apocalypse (Fallout-style) furniture that looks pretty cool.
I’ve been painting the dovecote and farmhouse together, so rather than separate updates I’ll just do combined “state of the ECW scenery” update today!
Both buildings have had most of their painting finished, with touchup and work on the bases the main things left to do, along with the roof of the farmhouse.
I’ve also glued the tower section of the Warbases church down to the base, which had already had the floor glued down and cardstock flagstones added earlier. I haven’t posted about the church yet, I’ll do a separate post soon about it, but it’s a nice basic MDF kit that I’m planning on dressing up considerably!
I’m not entirely happy with the roof and cupola/tower of the dovecote, so might go back and add some more details there, and I think it needs at least one more round of paint to really get the slate tiles (from thin card) looking really good. I’m really pleased with how the rest of both buildings have come together, though, espcially now that they’re painted.
Both buildings got a black undercoat across everything, then the woodwork got a heavy drybrush of very dark brown (brown + black paint mixed), then a lighter drybrush of brown, and finally a very light drybrush of tan mostly on the corners and edges of the bigger beams. The plaster areas between the timber got a brown coat, very thinned, then tan paint, also very thinned, then a final coat of white with a bit of the tan paint mixed in, also very thin. The final colour is a great blotchy not-quite-white that varies between panels.
I am really pleased with how the big chimney up the end wall of the farmhouse has turned out. It’s a mix of stone, brick, and plastered areas (some broken with brick showing through) and came out looking great. Paint on the brick is brown base, red oxide, then washes of GW Nuln Oil and Seraphim Sepia, and finally a light drybrush with red oxide and tan. The plaster areas got the same paint mix as the walls.
More soon; I’ll be building a couple of small cottages, hovels, and outbuildings to finish off a bit of a rural hamlet or farm for English Civil War gaming or pulp games set in the English countryside.
After getting the dovecote constructed (although not yet painted) I decided the next building would be a bit more substantial, and that a farmhouse would be the obvious counterpart to the dovecote.
It’s not quite a manor house, except maybe in some rather backwoods shire, but it’s a substantial two storey building with a big chimney rambling up one end. The main structure is all 1/16th matt board, the stonework is pink styrofoam insulation, and the timbering is thin wooden coffee stir sticks, mostly split lengthwise into thinner pieces.
The dimensions, roughly, are 5″ long, 3″ wide, and about 5″ tall to the top of the chimney, which is about where the roof peak will fall too once that’s done. The walls are 40mm high; the total base is about 7″ long and 5″ wide or so.
For the cobblestone patches outside each door and the bricks up the chimney, I used two different old paintbrushes that I yanked the worn-out bristles from and then re-shaped the metal ferrule with a pair of needle nose pliers and a small file. The smallest brush became the brick press tool, and a slightly larger round one became the cobblestone tool. There’s also a larger rectangular one that doesn’t appear on this project but will at some point in the near future. I’ll get a photo of the press tools for a future post, they’re a great easy way to do bricks, cobbles, and other semi-regular or regular masonry patterns.
The second floor is three-sided to make building the big chimney down the back wall easier, rather than splitting the chimney into two or three pieces. The second floor is held in place by the half-timbering horizontal beams along the two long sides of the house, and the beams overlap at the back corners so the join between the floors and walls is nearly invisible when the house is all assembled.
The top cap of the chimney is a scrap of matt board and two little segments of styrene tube, all coated in more GW Liquid Greenstuff for texture.
The roof will be thatch, once I get around to picking up another cheap handtowel to chop up for thatching. The understructure is a mix of 1/16th matt board and lighter card, and will all be buried under towel in due course.
In the background of the last photo you can see the current state of the dovecote, all black primered with yet more GW Liquid Greenstuff to add texture to the wattle & daub panels between the timbering.
I’ll probably paint both buildings together, now that they’re both at the primered stage. More on that soon!
As I mentioned in my last post about the things I brought home from Trumpeter Salute, one of them was a copy of Issue #87 of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, their ECW special. One of the articles in there was by Tony Harwood, also known as Dampfpanzerwagon around the internet, including on the Lead Adventure Forum.
Wanting more buildings suitable for an English Civil War game (and possibly for early 20th C pulp games set in the English countryside!) I decided to build my own version of Tony’s dovecote. It’s a great building for wargaming, having a minimal footprint but nice presence because of it’s height.
My version of Tony’s dovecote has walls 60mm wide and a total footprint, including minimal base, of about 65mm by 65mm. It’s 120mm (12cm) to the tops of the walls. I haven’t actually measured to the top of the roof, but it’s somewhere around 20cm or so total height.
The walls and base are 1/16th” matt board (picture framing card). The stone foundation is thin (about 1/8th” or so) styrofoam insulation, carved with an Xacto blade and pencil. The half-timbering is all wooden coffee stir sticks, most of them split lengthwise to make narrower beams.
The half-timbering took a couple of hours all told, done in bits and pieces in between household chores on a Saturday. Do the big vertical corner beams first, then the horizontals, then the infill verticals or diagonals. The pattern of the half timbering is slightly different on all four walls, which seems pretty typical of this sort of Medieval/Renaissance building!
The central “tower” on the roof is more 1/16th matt board, 20mm a side. The sloping pieces of the main roof are lighter card, cut to fit by trial and error. The tower roof is a scrap of styrofoam insulation, cut with a fresh Xacto blade into a four-side pyramid. All eight roof surfaces will get “slate” tiles from medium weight card, and the top of the tower will get some basic detailing from card as well.
For texture in the panels between the timbers, Tony uses air drying clay in his original dovecote. Lacking air drying clay, I’m trying out stippling a fairly heavy coat of white glue over the card. I’ll slap some paint over it soon and see how it looks; the white glue I’m using currently dries very glossy which makes it hard to see how much texture I’m actually getting.
Picked up a cheap towel to use as thatching. Here it is in a quickie late-night photograph, glue still wet on the roof of the half-timber barn.
The roof has a base of sheet styrene. I used white glue to stick the towel strips down, then more thinned white glue to soak the towel, which (when it eventually dries!) should solidify it nicely.
The barn has also been given a base of mattboard and mostly primed. My usual scenery primer is a 1:1 mix of white glue and black paint, mixed right on the model. It seals and protects the scenery surface nicely, even fairly fragile stuff like styrofoam toughens up a bit!
The main arched doors are also in progress, but I forgot to get a photo of them.
Still to-do for the roof, trim the edges and glue them under the eves for a more finished look, then paint and more paint. I also need to do basswood rafters under the roof, both for looks and for actual structural support, as the roof will still be removable when this building is finished.
The roof still looks a bit too towel-like right now, hopefully finishing the edges and painting will sort that!
Something for the English Civil War/Thirty Years War table, as well as for pulp games set in the quainter parts of the UK or Europe! All those crops gathered from my fields have to be stored somewhere, after all.
The whole thing is highly inspired by Warlord Game’s rather nice 16th Century Barn. Actually, scrub “highly inspired”, I’m outright copying the building, as a learning piece! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?
The basic structure is foamcore. The stonework is soft foam salvaged from a takeout food container; I’m going to have to swing by our local (awesome) plastic supplier to see if they have something similar in sheets, as one takeout container at a time is a rather slow way to accumulate building materials! I scribed/carved the stones with a sharp pencil, and quite like how they’ve turned out.
The timbering is 1/8th x 1/16th inch balsa strip from the Stockpile’o’Doom. I have about six lengths of it, and it is entirely possible it’s leftovers from our family model railroading setup in the early/mid-1990s when I was in junior high. I think I’ve carried that balsa around long enough — time to put it to use, right?
Doors, additional timbering at the corners of the building, and a base are still to do. The inside will get a bit of plastering just for texture, and probably a lot of straw strewn around and such — details to add interest without getting much in the way, ideally.
The roof will be towel thatching over a styrene base.
I’ve heard the suggestion that you try one new-to-you technique per project; I’m afraid this simple-looking building breaks that “rule” good and proper! Foam stonework is new to me; likewise half-timbered building construction, and I’ve never actually used the towel-as-thatch technique before either! Wish me luck!
Sunday the 29th of May we got together to do a four-player 1,000pt Field of Glory: Renaissance battle; this was bigger than had previously been attempted and was my first actual game in this period.
I badly bent a rule I’ve held to for more than a decade, and fielded unfinished figures (a lot of them, in fact!) to get a force on the table. I had an allied German army of two units of standard pike-and-shot foot, a field commander, and an oversized technically-illegal unit of really good-quality horse (six bases instead of the usual four, all Superior Determined Horse, for the other FoG:R players out there), the rest of our side (centre and other wing) was all German Catholic. Opposing us was a French force, with one wing of allied English New Model Army. An a-historical mashup, to be sure, but a good game. The two allied wings wound up facing each other, my German Prods vs the New Model Army, while the two larger armies fought the other wing and the centre.
An entire week since my last substantial post! The horror, how will our dedicated readership cope?
I’ve been painting up an English Civil War/Thirty Years War storm this week, filling that inevitable post-Lead Painters League void with 40-odd plastic pike-and-shotte foot and a dozen horse. You all saw 5 of the horse in one of my LPL entries, of course, the rest are taking shape nicely and all of the foot now have most of their basic paint on them. Sunday the 29th we’re running a 1000pt Field of Glory: Renaissance big battle, and I’m breaking one of my long-standing rules by fielding figures that aren’t even anywhere near finished just to get something on the table. At least they’re not straight-up Primered Legions — there are depths to which I will not stoop.
No pictures of my WiP paintjobs, but I’ll take the camera to tomorrow’s big game and try to get some reasonable shots to share here.
The Lead Adventure Forum is, of course, one of the greatest collections of creative wargaming minds I’m aware of. A random sampling of current coolness there that should be more widely known: Chicken Race on the Arumbaya, in which the estimable Hammers plans a pulpish steamboat race with a South American feel and some great-looking boats. Also, Boggler’s converted Improvised Back-of-Beyond Armoured Truck, very nice conversions of diecast toy trucks.
Elsewhere on the web (elseweb?) An Evil Giraffe has done his own versions of my riverbank pieces, and very nice they are too. He used broken cork sheet for his banks, so it has more texture (but also more height) than mine.
Finally, also via LAF but worthy of being mentioned on it’s own, Sarissa Precision have started selling a very, very nice looking line of 28mm laser-cut and -etched urban buildings that are perfect for pulp! Information here on the Sarissa site, and on sale here in their online store. I can’t wait to have some spare money to throw Sarissa’s way, the buildings are a good size (6″x4″ or 8″x6″ footprints and stackable for extra floors) and a fair price with enough detail to be interesting but not too fussy that they’re impractical. Hopefully at some point they offer their windows, doors and other details seperately, or even just the building fronts for those of us comfortable cutting our own side and rear walls.
Photos tomorrow or Monday of the ECW/TYW big-game madness, I promise!