Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Russian Up-Date

Okay, I have finally made headway on my OG Russians.

The unit will be based on the I Battalion of the Simbirsk Musketeer Regiment.

The Simbirsk Musketeer Regiment came from the Simbirsk area within the Middle Volga region. It is located along the Volga River and is about 554 miles east of Moscow.

The citizens of Simbirsk took an active part in the 1812 Patriotic War. The Simbirsk Infantry Regiment performed many heroic feats and distinguished itself in some critical battles.

During the Battle of Borodino, the Simbirsk Musketeer Regiment was a part of the 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Neverovsky and attached to the VIII Infantry Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mikhailovich Borozdin. The VIII Infantry Corps was part of Prince Peter (Ivanovich) Bagration's Second Western Army. During the battle the Regiment was commanded by Capt. R. Baykovsky.

The Simbirsk Musketeer Regiment was virtually wiped out during the fighting against Marshal Davout at the fleches at Borodino.

This would be the standards carried by the I Battalion

Before we get to the pictures it might be worth noting the following.

In the I battalion the Grenadiers had solid red cockades tall black plumes; the Strelki had solid yellow cockades with tall black plumes and the Musketeers had white cockades with green center. The shoulder straps were green with red ends except for the Grenadiers who wore solid red ones.

This should give you a general idea of what the shoulder strap would look like.

Anyway, here are some pics for you to look at.

Just your typical 'before' picture.

Behind the Russian unit is the British Peninsular Line unit I want to get started on as well.

The tubs with blue lids are various other units.

You can also see a couple of canoes for the F&IW as well as an elephant.

An here is an 'after' pic of today's work.

Now that you've seen the whole group, let's see a few close-ups. Again, please forgive the photo quality.

Before we get to those let me show you the following picture.

This is a sampling of the greens I considered for the Russian uniforms. I have never been too good at picking the proper colors but I wanted something that was as dark as the original green the Russians used, but still green enough you could tell it was green. Does that make sense?

As you can see I started with 9 possibilities.

I decided on Vellejo Model Color 3980 Dark Green.

I hope the color comes through in the pics, but I just don't think they did. Oh well, maybe the next time I get pictures it'll show up better.

Anyway, here they are.

This is just a general picture of what I got painted so far.

I have blocked in most of the black items, the white breeches and of course the green jacket.

I do not bother being too neat at this point.

For those of you interested...the hideous wallpaper in the background is from the mid 50s. I know one of the guys who helped hang it while he was in high school.

Here is a closer picture. I think you can see the green a bit better.

I noticed that the digital camera picked up some spots that didn't quite get paint on them. OY!!

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to start on the flesh and adding a few more colors.

Before I call it quits for the night, let me show you a couple more pics.

Here are a handful of Front Rank Russian horses that I've primed.

I'm going to practice a few horse painting techniques on these. I'll let you know how it goes.

This is just one of those 'interesting' pictures.

In case you are wondering why I'd be showing a picture of my paint rag - there's a good reason. I have had this rag since the summer of '76. It's got paint on it from every project I've ever worked on. Believe it or not, I even have the same little, folding, card table I used back then as a painting table!

Well, that's enough for now.

Till next time...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just In!!!!


I just scored a copy of 'Tactics and Grand Tactics of the Napoleonic Wars' by George Jeffrey off of eBay!!

The best part - dirt cheap!

Till next time...


Some Past Work

Hello Everyone!

I know I haven't posted for a while, but working on the house has to come first. I'm going to do my best to set aside at least an hour or two a day to paint.

I'm a little leery of getting started though. Since starting this hobby, shadowing and highlighting have caused me problems. Switching to 28mm is going to force me to work on these two techniques and I'm not sure how it will work out. When painting 15mm figures I didn't really do a lot of this.

With this in mind, let me show you some of my past work. All of the minis are 15mm Old Glory and Battle Honours. Also, I'm still learning to get pictures of my minis with the digital camera, so bear with me - the quality isn't the best.

These minis are the only exception to the above statement.

If you look close you'll see a small white thing sitting on the stand. That's a grain of rice.

The minis are 2mm Russian Musketeers. For the life of me I can't remember who made them.

This is my favorite mini.

I don't think he needs an introduction!!

Vive l'Empereur!!

These are some Russian samples I tried out.

The one on the left is from OG and the one on the right is from MiniFigs.

Next are some of my French.

"Good line infantry is, without doubt, the sinew of an army." - Napoleon

French Command with members of Fusilier company No.1 , OG miniatures.

French Voltigeur company, OG miniatures.

French Grenadier company, OG miniatures.

French Fusilier company No.2, OG miniatures.

French Drummers, OG miniatures.

Okay, here is one of my idiosyncrasies when it comes to building wargaming units.

I like to have the musicians on separate stands. I saw this done with another persons minis and liked the effect. I don't count the stand as one of the unit stands. It is there as eye-candy only.

I'm not sure if I'll do this with the 28mm units or not, but I still think they're cool.

Here's the whole battalion.

Now you can see how the drummers are positioned.

Not counting the drummers there are six stands total for this battalion.

Here are some of my Waterloo period British.

"Scum. Nothing but beggars and scoundrels, all of them. Gin is the spirit of their patriotism." - Duke of Wellington

Command stand; Standards; and Drummers, BH miniatures.

Again, I did these drummers just like the French ones.

Sergeant with Center company trooper and the Standards again, BH miniatures.

A couple of the Center company stands, BH miniatures.

Elite companies, Light company on the left and Grenadier company on the right, BH miniatures.

Here's the whole battalion.

Just as with the French you can see how the drummers are positioned. Not counting them there are 10 stands total for this battalion.

Thought I'd toss in this picture for fun.

Not only can you see some of my Brits in action, but they are defending a cottage I built.

I really like scale buildings as well!

Well, I guess that's enough for now. Let me leave you with a couple of parting shots.

"Are you ready...


Till next time...


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hello Again Everyone!!

I thought this post would be a bit more eclectic.

As you will soon learn, I'm more of a gaming 'Wannabe' than an actual gamer. I have had a devil of a time finding gamers in my area so I do not game much at all. In fact, there is a guy in my area who games, but we have a very hard time getting together. Hopefully that will change with the new year.

Anyway, since I don't get to game a lot I live vicariously through other gamers and their web sites and blogs. What I do is a lot of reading and research, collecting and painting miniature armies, and building terrain and buildings.

Part of this process is the purchase of books (I'm passionate about books - so LOTS of books) and other items used in the hobby. This past week as afforded me the chance to go to the hobby shop and crafts store to purchase some of these items. Unfortunately, the store I really wanted to go to was not open. This shop is a HUGE comic book shop that deals in fantasy gaming. I've never had an interest in fantasy gaming, but the shop has lots of paints and other goodies for the hobbyist.

While at Hobby Town USA I picked up a Citadel Hobby Drill.

This is what the little bugger looks like. It even came with a small case of bits.

Before we continue... Even though the link for the drill will take you to Amazon, I do try to buy as much as possible from local dealers - especially hobby stores. No one carries historical minis, flags or such so those need to be ordered. But items like paints, brushes, tools, and terrain materials I buy local.

That being said...a stop at the local Hobby Lobby was in order to pick up some Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour paints as well as brushes for them.

A friend in the UK showed me an interesting way to paint horses using artist's oil paint so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm going to see if he'll give me permission to post his method. I've never worked with this type of paint so we'll see what happens. Luckily I have a handful of 28mm Front Rank horses to practice on.

Okay, even though the excursions to the hobby shops was fun, the big event was going to the book stores!! I love books - all kinds of books. My favorite types are history books and if they are heavily illustrated the better. This hobby gives me plenty of reasons to buy lots of books. Even though my concentration is on the Russian army of 1812 right now, that does not prevent me from buying books of other areas I'm interested. Come to think of it, a discussion of those other areas might make a good post.

Again, this past week gave me a chance to lurk around a few of the shops and find some nice volumes.

Here are the ones that came home with me:

Mr. Kipling's Army by Byron Farwell.

Excellent little book. It gives and interesting, and humorous, 'Upstairs/Downstairs' type view of life in the British army during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Battles in Britain Volume 1: 1066-1547 by William Seymour.

Now that I have this one 'Battles in Britain Volume 2: 1642-1746' NEEDS to be on my shelf as well.

The Retreat from Moscow: the Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne 1812-1813

The title says it. This will be an excellent read for the project at hand.

The best part about the three books above - I got them at an antique / used book shop for next to nothing!!

Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior 1200-1877 AD by Thomas Conlan.

Now this is one of those types of books that's a pure joy to look through. This book has tons of illustrations and fascinating facts. If you enjoy learning about Samurai you might want to check this one out.

After looking through this book I was ready to buy some 28mm Samurai, but I restrained myself...really...I did...

Well, I think this is enough for now. However, this post might give you an idea of what to expect in from future posts. Even though this blog is dedicated to historical wargaming, it isn't going to cover just minis and games.

Till next time...


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Russians are Coming - the Russians are Coming!!

Hello Everyone!

This post is a bit past due. I had wanted to post this a few days ago, but life just sort of got in the way. Better late than never though - eh?

I thought I'd go ahead and do a post introducing my new project - Napoleonic Russians for the 1812 Campaign. Let's just say that this project is getting off as well as Napoleon's advance on Moscow did.

The figures I'm using are the 28mm Russians from Old Glory. Some gamers do not think that the OG miniatures are all that good, but I like them and the price is right.

So, the goal is to get these:

To look like these:

I'll be very surprised if this is pull off.

While the first picture shows the unpainted version of the minis I'll be working with, the second picture shows a unit painted by a very talented painter who's name I have misplaced.

Now, I'm not saying I'm a bad painter, I'm just not as good as such illustrious artists as Steve Barber, Steve Dean or Sascha Herm.

Here are a few examples of sources I typically use as painting guides.

These are some plates from the Osprey books.

Here is another sample of an Osprey plate.

I also like to use more contemporary sources if they are available. Here are some samples of these.


Standard Bearer...


& Line Infantry.

The first step in getting ready to paint (for me anyway) is the removal of flash, mold lines, and other such aspects of the raw figure.

Once this is done I then glue each miniature to a roofing nail.

This rather strange picture is just showing the prepped minis getting ready to be primed.

Perhaps this is a better picture. Actually it isn't; it's a bit fuzzy isn't it?!

I'm not the best photographer when it comes to small items. Hopefully I'll get better.

Anyway, in this pic you can see the Officer, Drummer, and one of the Standard Bearers.

Here are the same minis, just bit more organized and primed.

And these are the same Officer, Drummer, and Standard Bearer.

You might have noticed the 'spear' looking thing laying on the wood block. Keep this in mind for later.

Before I go much further, perhaps I should explain a little about the unit to be painted.

As I said earlier, the unit is going to be a Russian Infantry battalion of 1812.

The Russian infantry battalion of 1812 consisted of 1 Grenadier and 3 Infantry companies, composed of 2 platoons each. Of special note, the Grenadier company consisted of a Strelki platoon and a Grenadier platoon.

This is what the typical Russian infantry battalion would look like in "Closed Column by Division".

BTW - the Russian's had two other 'Column' formations besides this one.

The miniature unit is based on the 'In the Grand Manner' Napoleonic Rules. So, at a 'miniature to real man' ratio of 1:20 this Russian battalion will have 32 miniatures.

This is what the miniature battalion will look like.

O = Officer; F = Standard Bearer; D = Drummer; S = Strelki; G = Grenadier X = Infantryman.

Now lets get back to those photos that had the spear type thing on the wooden block. remember those?

Anyway, that spear was actually the flag staff that had been on the miniature. It snapped off right after the figures were primed.

I was not happy. This meant that the staff would have to be replaced with metal wire.

So, after a long drawn out process of removing the remainder of the flag staff it was replaced with 1/16 brass rod.

I used a pin drill, X-acto blades, and a tiny file to to dig out the remains. Just to make matters worse, I went ahead and tortured myself by replacing the flag staff on the other figure so that they would match. To finish these new flag staffs out finials will need to be added.

Here is how they ended up looking.

To be honest, the results were not as good as I had hoped, but it could have been worse.

Maybe they will look better once finished.

I do know I won't be doing this again unless there is no other choice. At least the flag staffs on the British unit waiting in the wings are good!

Well, till next time...


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just a Bit More - the War Room

Okay...just a bit more about me with a sneak peak of the War Room thrown in.

This is also going to be a post to tie into my other blog as well - so be afraid!

One thing I have always found interesting about Wargamers, and miniature painters in general, are their work stations/desks.

Over on the Steve Dean Painting Forum there is a thread called 'Post your Desk'. So, I thought I would post a picture of MY painting desk here. I also need to re-read through the one on the STDPF site - I could have sworn I posted a pic of my desk on it, but didn't find it listed.

Anyway, here is my spot:

It isn't much - but it's mine.

Now for the tour....

The shelves and cubby holes contain my painting guides (mainly Osprey) as well as rules and terrain guides.

Most of my paints are kept in tool boxes under the desk.

Right now, there is a unit of British Peninsular infantry on the desk. They are going to be based on Sharpe's beloved South Essex.

There is also a unit of Zulus (the dark figures in front) and a small unit of Zulu War British.

On the middle shelf is a unit of F&IW British, some Indians for the same period, a few Roman gladiators and a couple of elephants. However, I'm going to be switching gears for a bit and start on another project. I'll talk about that in another post.

Now, on the very top of the desk is a LEGO Pirate ship, one of my model buildings, some minis and toy soldiers as well as a collection of wargaming specific books and rules.

For those of you who are real nosy....

On the top of the file cabinet, in the back, you will see a box with some red books in it. This is in fact one of my very first eBay finds and a REAL treasure. What it is is a set of books covering WWI that was printed in 1919. Now what makes these so special is the fact that the 'box' they are in is their original shipping crate! That's right, these books had NEVER seen the light of day until I purchased them and opened the crate. Each book is mint and was in it's original paper wrapping. The guy who listed them on eBay found them in his father's garage on a shelf behind a bunch of junk. They were intended for a school library (per the shipping label) so we have no idea why they were there. The best part is what I paid. The guy listed them in a funky way so not many people found them (keep in mind - this was in the first few months of eBay starting). I paid a whopping $35 for the books and $25 of that was shipping!! The down side was that the set wasn't complete. The original packing sheet said that the final volume would be shipped at a latter date. Well, I hunted down that last volume and bought it. That book set me back $45 and didn't include shipping!!!

Also of interest... On top of the books is a Roman style helmet I made for a church play way back when I was in High School.

Okay, I know some of you are asking "What's with all the junk around the painting desk?". Well, there's a simple reason for it - my gaming room is under construction!

Currently I'm working on the biggest building project of my life, a 100+ year old house we call 'Simpson's Folly'.

About a year and a half ago my father-n-law bought a huge amount of insulation for pennies on the dollar. He knew we wanted some for our attic so he bought it for us. The problem was, we were not ready to start the attic project! This was going to be one of our last projects. However, he bought the stuff, it had to be moved, and the only place to store it was our garage. BTW - it filled half the garage - to the the rafters - so it could not stay. We had no option but stop work on the kitchen and start work on the attic - during the hottest part of the year.

Now, from day one we knew the attic was going to become MY room. Affectionately known as the 'War Room' it is to be my hobby/gaming room. Before this could be done the attic had to have a lot of work done to it. New floor joists had to be installed, insulation put in, wiring, a floor, etc. We still have a lot to do such as ceiling insulation, outlets, heating/cooling, refurbishing windows, etc. All-n-all it took about 4+ moths out of the kitchen project to get the attic to where it is now.

The attic foot print is bigger than our first house. The total space is about 960 sq. feet. Once the knee walls are up and the built in storage/book shelves are in it will shrink the room to about 700 sq. feet. The top of the ceiling is just under 13', right below this is where the gaming table will be.

That said, here are some pics from the attic/war room project. There are also going to be some links to take you to the full description with pictures.

This is just a general view of the attic 'before'.

The gaming table will go in front of where the white bookcase is.

You can go here to see more pictures and read about the beginning of the transformation.

If you go to the general house blog you can see all the posts dealing with the attic and learn all the dirty little pitfalls of dealing with it.

There is even a ghost involved!

As you can see, there is no floor - just planks. No insulation in the floor or on the ceiling either. Basically the attic was just being used for storage - ours and all the owners that came before (yes, some of there junk was left behind).

All of the stuff in the attic has been sorted through and boxed up. Some of it has been done away with as well. For the most part, all the stuff from the attic is now being stored in three of the rooms on the second floor. One of those rooms is where my painting desk currently resides.

So now you know why there is so much junk around my painting desk!!

Here is a picture of the same spot as above. It has been cleaned out, floor insulated, and a floor installed.

The ceiling insulation has yet to be installed, but we might try to do this next month.

If you go here and can see a lot more photos and read the full story.

Before we continue on, to the right you can see a window leaning against a window well along with a coil of power cable. This is where my new painting station will go.

The far back corner area is where I'm planning to have storage for unpainted lead , buildings and terrain. There is also going to be a small fireplace next to chimney (to the left in the photo).

This is the space to the front of the painting area (see the coil of cable at the bottom left?). This will be a general lounging area.

To give an idea of scale, that is one of my favorite reading chairs. It was left in the house after the auction. SWMBO hates it and keeps trying to get rid of it!

At the lower right side of the picture you can see the stairwell leading down to the library.

Here is a better view of the where my painting desk will go.

It overlooks our back yard and the window will be made to open up so I can take advantage of cool breezes.

This last photo is a general view of the south west corner of the attic. I'm not really sure what I plan to do with this section yet. SWMBO and I found a picture of a cool looking day bed that hangs from the rafters. We have thought about putting it up here.

I didn't include a picture of the spot, but there is also going to be an area just for my history/gaming library. It will be located in the south east corner of the attic. This spot has no window, so if a bad storm hits there will be less chance of damage to my books.

Remember the picture that shows the chair in it? In that photo you could see part of the stairwell. The library section of the attic is directly to the right of the stairwell. Also, to make it so no one falls down into the stairwell I'll be adding book cases along the edges. They will be tall enough to act as a wall, but short enough to be used as seating.

When all the main work is done the entire attic is going to be finished out in some sort of military/safari camp type theme. I just hope it turns out the way I envision it.

Anyway, now that you know the rest of the story I hope you can understand why I'm not getting a lot of painting done!!

Well, till next time...