|All a matter of balance - and special equipment...|
I have received the first prototype Thing (not sure what it is – a buttress, a pedestal, a support…?) to enable garrison units to stand on a walkway on the walls that is narrower than the subunit bases. My ECW Foote are on 60mm x 60mm squares, but the walkways are about 20mm wide – you can see the problem. The prototype seems to work OK – Michael has produced a build-it yourself kit in 2mm MDF which glues together to give a block 50mm wide, 48mm high and 23mm deep, and I attach a piece of steel paper to the top. Since my unit bases are all finished with magnetic compound, this should be a big help. I have glued-up and painted the prototype in a delicate stone shade, as you see, so that it blends in a bit (i.e. looks less stupid than you would expect). It should even be possible to mount artillery on the walls if I use the Things two-deep. Now I need a supply of about 20, plus I need a good name for a Thing.
|Troops on The Thing|
Call out the trusty Spares Box. It also occurred to me that it would be useful to have some musketeers mounted in single rank, on half-depth bases, specially for siege and fortress work. It seems a bit of a grunt to paint some up just for this role (and I’d begrudge the use of figures which could be made up into proper battlefield units), but the Spares Box came into its own. A while ago I bought some old painted ECW figures from Harry Pearson, and some of them are from the very earliest “Subscription” series which Les Higgins made before his more famous centrifugally-cast 20mm range (of which I use a great many). The early figures are interesting because they are seldom seen, but for me they are a bit puny in stature to mix comfortably with the later ones. However, for isolated special-purpose siege stands they could be just the thing, so I did some (minimal) touching-up and revarnishing, and mounted them up on 30mm-deep stands. They could never be accused of possessing actual beauty, but I expect they will do as they are told. In any case, given their age and history, it would be sad for them to live in the Spares Box forever.
|Surprised to find themselves on special duties - "Subscription" Les Higgins ECW|
|They can do it without The Thing|
While I was looking in the Spares Box, I was also reminded that the ex-Harry figures also include some of the later Higginses which are in good nick and – with a few supplementary figures painted to match, should provide me with 3 new units of foote – there are some red-coated fellows who will give me a decent double-sized unit for Francis Gamul’s City of Chester regiment – there’s that siege theme again…
I also have prototypes for some of the new MDF structures which will form the basis of my trench sections, but more of that on another occasion. I also have some MDF pieces which will provide a pretty radical solution to the placement of rivers on my hex-grid table. I’ll get some painted up – this week, I hope – and there will be some pictures (unless they are terrible, in which case I shall just change the subject – good heavens, is that an elephant in the garden…?).
The river system is that I paint up some 2mm-thick hexes to be water – good gloss varnish finish and all that – I’m still pondering the best colour for water, by the way – I tend towards mud rather than sky-blue, but I am open to ideas. Then I have a series of bags of extra parts laser-cut from 2mm MDF, painted in baseboard green, which sit on top of the water hexes, and are painted on both sides to give maximum flexibility. The bags are labelled “cheeks – straight”, “cheeks – inners” and “cheeks – outers” and that sort of describes the system – there are two different profiles for a straight (a bit wiggly, these are not canals) and two profiles for a curve. Each river piece connects at the edge, with a 2-inch wide river in the middle of a (4-inch) hex edge. Using the cheek-pieces in different combinations, it is possible to produce a wide range of river shapes, and you can even make estuaries, lakes or a coastline. Until I get more to fiddle about with, I do not know the full extent of what is possible, but it seems very promising. When I have a decent number of pieces painted up, I’ll try to put together a post to demonstrate this.