Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Orange Sash Matchlockmen

Several years ago, I acquired a collection of figures to play in a game of Ponape at an Advance the Colors in Springfield. After that, they sat in a box until the Colonials bug bit me at the turn of the year. Through ebay, I acquired enough additional Foundry Baluchis to flesh them out to two twenty-man matchlock units and a fifteen-man sword unit.

Shamelessly stealing an idea from The Campaigns of General William A. Pettygree, I've designated them by the color of their sashes. The first unit of matchlockmen, the Orange Sash Matchlockmen, are shown below:
Each unit will have a chief, and maybe a sub-chief. If in British service, they may have a British officer. For the Orange Sash Matchlockmen, their chief is Mehrab Khan:
Ideally, he should be part of the sword-armed unit. However, since I now have two of the figure (from Foundry) and he looks sufficiently fierce, I've no real problem promoting him.

The Baluchis have also been a chance (along with the Sassanids) to experiment with shading and colors. Mehrab Khan shows two successful color combinations: the terra-cotta of his robes, and the yellow sash.

A color that's been giving me real problems lately is red. I have some reds I like for 15mm, but getting good shading on 25mms was quite difficult. I finally accepted the recommendation of Churchill on the League of Augsburg's Fighting Talk Forums. His painter for his 25mm Marlburian British cavalry uses a five-layer combination. First Vallejo Burnt Cadmium Red (70814), then Carmine Red (70908) for the shadows. The base coat is Vallejo Red (70947), highlighted by Vermillion (70909) and Scarlet (70817). It was a lot of work, and I was skeptical if it was worth it. However, I think you will agree that the results are well worth it:

The real joy is that this figure is a complete repaint. I'd initially tried to paint him in a white robe, and was bitterly disappointed with how it turned out. So I repainted the robe red, and the figure came out well!

Here you can see the Orange Sash Matchlockmen blocking a pass somewhere on the Northwest Frontier:

Who are they blocking the pass against? Who knows? Maybe Pathans, maybe the British. Maybe they're securing a weapons convoy to the Pathans somewhere in Baluchistan or Persia. Maybe they're around the Horn of Africa.

The advantage of the Baluchis is that they can fight for both sides!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rumors of this blog's demise are slightly exaggerate

I've been slowly making my way through the pile of pewter on the painting table, as the winds and period enthusiasms take me. Since Sunday is usually slow at my LGS, I decided to take some pictures.

One of my projects is a 25mm Sassanid army for Might of Arms. The Sassanians (in 15mm) were the first Ancients army I ever collected, and so I'm quite partial to them. Might of Arms is a fast playing, quite flexible, and quite enjoyable "all period" ancients game. While it is probably a bit too generous in your ability to command your troops, it does provide a good compromise on playability and accuracy. I rather enjoy it.

One of the members of the club has always wanted a 25mm Belisarian Byzantine army, so I agreed to paint Sassanids. Might of Arms provides suggested Army lists, which while FAR too small at the given 1:50 scale to recreate historical battles, are at least illustrative of what size armies the game can handle in an afternoon, and what the ratios of forces are. While Christmas is probably too ambitious a completion date

The current objective is the "left wing" of the Sassanian Army. Three regiments of clibinarii (9 figures each), three regiments of light cavalry (4-6 figures each) and a general. So far, two of the clibinarii are completed, and the third is on the painting table.

Clibinarii Regiment #1 from the front:

Side, with a close-up of the shields:
The figures are a mix. Standard bearer and musician are Gripping Beast, while the troopers are all Old Glory. Lances are from Xyston, and the standard is from Essex. Shields are all Little Big Man transfers for Gripping Beast miniatures.

Sassanid Clibinarii Regiment #2:
Side view:
You can clearly see how my basing style changed radically from Regiment #1. Regiment #1 had the base painted with Delta Ceramicoat Mississippi Mud, then immediately dipped in the rock. Silfor tufts were later glued on. For Regiment #2, I paint the base Mississippi Mud, glue rock to it, wash it with GW flesh wash, then dry brush it with Delta Ceramicoat Teddy Bear Brown, Vallejo Thick Ochre, and then Delta Bamboo. Dry and Summer grass mixtures are then glued to the base to finish it. I'm much happier with the results, and given the possible terrain in the Sassanian Empire, it's still equally plausible.

My painting style has also advanced. Every figure has at least a base color and highlight everywhere, and large expanses are shaded, main colored, and then highlighted.

All of these are Gripping Beast, with the large draco standard by Essex. I had high hopes for the figs, and I was sadly disappointed. There were LOTS of issues with flash. To make the bows fit, I spent an afternoon with a Dremel buzzing out their hands. The horses also had a LARGE amount of flash, especially around the forelegs. Finally, the draco - while VERY pretty - is also fragile.

The results are pretty, but they're a LOT of work. I'm not that motivated to get back to Regiment #3, about 1/2 done. Instead, my colonials collection has absorbed my fancy, with 15mm Napoleonics fighting for second place. But, as they say, that is a blog post for another day.