A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Thursday, 14 February 2013


The refurbished Minifigs OPC cuirassiers are now repainted as the Coraceros Espanoles, and seem quite cheerful about the change of nationality after some 45 years being French. They will never be beautiful figures, but they are businesslike and will give the Spanish army some much-needed heavy horses. Since they don't have the trademark sticking-out horizontal tail, I think these are not Alberken, but they are definitely some form of 20mm Minifigs casting, and they are early enough to have horses that look like Hinton Hunt horses. The trumpeter is a broken cuirassier trooper with an arm-graft from a Kennington figure - not a prize nomination, but he will be fine.

Working with figures as old as this is interesting - the relative lack of detail in the castings, yet the satisfying vigour in the poses. It seems a little incongruous to have troops like these on the same table as Art Miniaturen and NapoleoN, but it works without problems. Like all well-behaved one-piece cavalry, these little chaps are determinedly holding their swords along the plane of the mould join, for reasons which are not aesthetic, but I was reluctant to try doing much bending and re-animating, since I have previous in the specialist field of breaking old figures.

Anyway, they are off to live in Spanish Nationalist Box File No.5, and will be ready for heroics when required.

The new pots are an improvement? Discuss...

My painting reminded me of my puzzlement over the new-generation pots from Citadel. Never mind the change of naming - I had only just got used to Snot Green and now they have got Miss Bentham's class at Beaconsfield Primary to rename the entire range during their lunch break. My real problem is I don't see how the new pots are an improvement. The old ones give you a nice little palette in the underside of the lid when you open them, the new ones don't - I am not sure how you are supposed to use these.

I'm not sure, but I think that some of the earliest of the new pots I bought had a thin tongue of plastic which clicked into place and held the pot open in a helpful manner, but none of the pots now seem to have this, so maybe I imagined it. I attempted to build a scaffold out of BlueTac to hold the pot with it's lid open wide, but the scaffold was several times the weight of the pot, and there was a close call when everything slipped and I nearly got crimson paint all over my desk, so I've abandoned that idea.

By the way, something weird seems to have happened to Blogger this morning - embedding pictures and so on uses different screens, and there is a lot less control. Not to worry - musn't grumble.


  1. Yes, these new Citadel pots have got to go! Not handy at all.

    Best Regards,


  2. As I get older and more prone to nostalgia, I find myself liking old figures more and more. Your very handsome cavalry (such determination in the way those swords are held at the perpendicular) take me back to my first experiences of Minifigs and wargaming innocence.
    Innocence is something that GW/Citadel seems determined to crush - it must be written into their mission statement somewhere. Like you I find the renaming of their paints to be perplexing - perhaps the next iteration of their product line will be sans consonants? However, to say one thing in their defence, their new generation paint pots seem to seal more easily than the old ones. I often found that the old citadel paint pots, the ones on the left in your picture, would accrue a crust of dried paint around the inner rim, and if I was not careful, would not seal properly and then dry out.
    I still cherish my one near mint condition pot of Snot Green, but these days my go to paint line is the dropper bottle system from Army Painter. Nice paint to work with.

    1. Michael - I have developed and refined a technique for removing these crusts from the lids of the old Citadel pots with my Swiss Army knife (other brands of knife are, of course, available), which is a great help. The removed crusts can be spectacular - the gold paint ones are especially striking - and my young son is quite interested in them. In the house culture, these are known here as "paint bogies", and I keep particularly good ones to show him.

      There was some brief discussion on this blog a few weeks ago of the when-worlds-collide aspects of old guys like me venturing into Games Workshop premises - the denizens used to appear to think I was a wino sheltering from the rain, but that has now progressed to the point where I'm not sure they can actually see me any more. I was in the Edinburgh shop recently, and it was a surreal experience. I had a feeling I was in a Fellini movie.

      As for renaming the paints - I'm sure that in the alternative structure and business philosophy of GW there is what mere mortals would term a management function. I imagine that someone - Mr Workshop? - has realised with horror that the awesomely cool rude/gothic/childish names for the company's paints have eventually been accepted, if not universally admired, and in desperation they have scrapped them and replaced them with something even less comprehensible.

      I have to admit - grudgingly - that I still do like the actual paint. I even like it enough to continue (as a background project, of course) to work on the problem of how to get a brush into the new pots. No progress yet, but I realise that if I was really cool I would understand them, so I keep at it.

    2. I haven't been in a GW store for some years now. Used to go more often when I was collecting their LOTR range w my son. Once I got chatting to a grizzled GW regional sales manager, a chap ink his late twenties, who asked me how long I had been gaming. I politely explained that an older brother had bought me my first Minifigs in the earlier 1970s, and before that I had played w Britains figures using my own primitive rules. As I left I heard him say to his prepubescent assistant that "I love old gamers".

  3. Nice looking unit Tony.

    Re those paint pots, they are a blasted pain in the proverbial.You are right about the small plastic bit that would click into place to hold the lid back but these just keep on springing up. The only good thing is that they have a decent 'lip' by which to open the pot, unlike Foundry (I use both). I just can't give Citadel paints up though, some very solid base colours in there with silly names, the mephiston red is a brilliant base coat red that covers straight over a black undercoat with no problem.


    1. Lee - I did a bit of detailed examination of my collection of pots, and I think that the first new-style bottles appeared when they introduced a sub-range of special base colours, with extra covering power and extra gloop. These bottles had the little tongue that flipped up to keep the lids open. The new ones don't.

      Someone emailed me (with audible snort) to say that the new GW pots are easy - you just remove the caps completely and there you are. Erm - not my pots you don't, so as far as I am concerned the mystery remains.


      Cheers - Tony

  4. To put it rather bluntly I think the new bottles are crap! Luckily I don't own too many GW Paints, nor will I in the future. Like you said you need to jam something in the opening just to see the tip of your brush dip in the paint, bloody ridiculous!
    Nice looking figures btw!

    1. Ray - I am relieved that it isn't just me that has this problem, which doesn't stop it being a problem, of course. In all seriousness, I cannot believe that GW are dumb enough to produce a design of paint pot which doesn't work, so I am determined to pursue this matter a bit, if only to make my new pots more useful.

      If I learn anything, I'll maybe put it up here.

      Depends whether I remember, I suppose.

      Cheers - MSF

  5. It's interesting to note you chaps attempting to ram a paint brush into the pot whilst holding back the lid! One advantage to painting 6mm figures is that only tiny amounts of paint are required at any time (and I hate waste)so I stick in the end of a cocktail stick to pick up a little and then place it onto my natty old CD palette. Actually I do this all the time, even with 20mm figures.The best bit is when the lid suddenly springs back splattering you with paint. I'd never considered cutting the lid off.

    All that said though I still find the base paints brilliant for sheer coverage, another example is Averland Sunset, a superb base yellow that will cover a black undercoat in a single stroke, I just can't do that with Foundry paints.Even the Citadel 'Layer' paints cover well.

    The old screw top lids were better by far in my opinion, but the paints I feel have actually been improved despite the silly names.

    This one will run and run Tony .......


    1. Splattering people with paint is excellent - I'm all for that, unless it's me.

      The names of colours seem to require different approaches, depending on the target customer. Plaka do a shade which is called BLUE - can't fault the name on brevity or truth, but it maybe could be more helpfully specific. The old Citadel names are silly, certainly, but they are only silly - I have got used to them and they sort of mean something. I haven't really formed a view on the new ones yet. I think GW may have missed an opportunity - the new names do still give some clues, even if the fantasy bit adds very little. It's just a label, after all - I've eventually come to understand what Shadow Blue and Goblin Green look like, though I still get confused (understandably) between Vomit Brown and Bubonic Brown. GW missed an opportunity to produce completely meaningless names. This is already a well-established practice in the world of household paints. Just look at the shade chart in your local hardware store.

      I once painted the walls of a room with a shade of emulsion paint called "Everglade". OK? - any suggestions what sort of colour that was? Green, did I hear? No.

      Blue? - no, incorrect. A pale, hazy, pinkish mauve? - no. In actual fact I'm not going to say, but it does indicate that meaningless colour names are nothing new.

      So GW could have done that - they could have had a shade called "Forty-Eight" which would have kept us all guessing. The next stage beyond that would be to have deliberately confusing names - for example, you could have a colour called "Elephant Orange" which was a sort of pale blue.

      Lots of scope for the imagination here - I'm beginning to warm to this whole subject now.

  6. I gave up on little pots of paint back in the 1990's.

    I was using the plaka poly-s ones, they kept drying out on me (especially the black). Now I only use tube artist paints on a plastic wrap palette. (hmm, maybe a blog post in that)

    I am liking the consistency in your forces 'old school' look with the painted green bases and brightly colored uniforms of the troops.