Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 9 January 2020

WSS Project - Figure Suppliers

Tonight I hope to finish off the current period of painting and re-basing, and then I'll spend a week or so trying to catch up on the small matter of flags. By tonight I should have completed a third and a fourth unit of cuirassiers for my 1702 Austrians. There's plenty more refurb work to be getting on with, but I'll take a bit of a break.

I cannot promise I have a completely firm idea of how these WSS armies may progress from this point, but there are a couple of basic principles I'd like to stick with if it's at all possible.

(1) The whole reason for buying these figures was that they provided an attractive shortcut into a period of which I have no experience. I intend to keep them "as-is" as far as possible - with just a modicum of touching-up where necessary. This is partly sheer laziness on my part (consciously so, since left to my own instincts I would have everything stripped back to start again, and I don't have the time or the energy for this) and partly a matter of respect - a wish to keep Eric's old soldiers in some recognisable form. It seems only right.

(2) I am determined (and if I succeed it will be the first time ever) to keep some idea of constant scale - I always tend to drift off into some kind of scale creep as I build armies, having convinced myself that 20mm = 25mm, or some such nonsense, and I always regret it later.

In pursuit of End (2), I have been checking out the availability of suitable extra figures. My units will be rather smaller than the original organisation, so - proportionately - I'll need extra command figures. The armies consist entirely of 1970s 20mm Les Higgins figures - and these are pretty small 20mm, too. I can get extra figures from Old John, including conversions and extensions to the original Higgins/PMD catalogue which he has produced, but in the interests of variety I have been looking to see what else will fit with them. After going through everything I could think of, the only makers I am left with are Irregular Miniatures (which are just a tad small, to be honest, but are OK if I mount them on Higgins horses), and Lancer Miniatures (which are OK for height, and have a bit of character about  them, but they are FAT, man - this is the Front Rank of the 20mm world).

On the Lancer front, I think they will probably be OK for isolated figures like staff groups (let us assume that the nobility were obese, then), and possibly odd cavalry command chaps, but generally they are less of a good match than I had hoped - also their horses are crude. I have to say that the cannons and carts look very nice - I'll probably make use of some of them.

A third unit of Austrian cuirassiers - these chaps are the regiment Jung-Darmstadt - the flag is in the pipeline; the odd man out is the trumpeter in the tricorne, who is an Irregular man on a Les Higgins horse. Yes, all right - he's a small man, but he's OK

This is the command base for the fourth regiment - Alt-Hannover. Once again, the flag is coming soon. The trumpeter is one of John's conversions of Les Higgins, the other two are Fat Lancers - not sure about them at all. They are quite nice, if you are into Noggin the Nog
Separate topic: I am disappointed to note I am having problems with metallic paints again. This is a recurrent theme for me - I have a long tradition of getting annoyed with metallic paints which won't cover, or don't shine, or lift when subjected to varnish, etc etc. I have the Foundry metallic paints, and have found them to be a bit feeble - I've tried all sorts of Vallejo and Tamiya and Revell and Testor paints. I used Citadel for a while - they were OK, though the pots went "off" rather quickly. For the last few years I've been using Humbrol acrylics - shades 11 (silver) and 16 (gold) - with no problems, apart from the hand-removing properties of the stupid little screw-top plastic pots. I have now replaced them with new Humbrol pots - different design, in the style of Foundry. The pots themselves are a lot better, but I fear that the paint recipe has been changed again. I spent a lot of time stirring, warming, swearing. The paint, I fear, is crap. I might as well apply yogurt to my soldiers. Thus I am back with my Foundry pots - they seem OK - maybe they've thickened up with being opened. I must revisit the Citadel range again - I have to admit that I don't really understand Citadel paints any more - nothing is just a pot of paint, it is a base colour, or a highlight colour, or some bloody thing or other. I must pay attention, and get some decent gold and silver paint in.

I was spoiled, decades ago - eons ago - by a brief flirtation with Rose Miniatures gold paint, which came as a jar of metallic powder and a jar of clear medium, into which you mixed the powder. It was fiddly, but it produced a magnificent finish - never seen anything as good since. Anyway - persevere.

Flag work starts tomorrow.

Thanks again to Old John, who has been heroically helpful with links and uniform sources, and to all others who have offered help and advice.    

24 comments:

  1. Looking good there Tony. Re gold paint, there is a guy over on the Napoleonic FB page who actually applies gold leaf where gold is required on drums etc, the same guy has all of his French Eagles cast in solid gold. In 18mm scale he sells them for around £12.00 each, they look nice but why would you?

    And what's all this fuss about the new Citadel Contrast paints? Are they just trying to re invent hobby paints because I have seen loads of examples and I really can't see any difference to standard acrylics?

    Vallejo gold and silver are very good in my humble opinion, silver is thick but over black can take a couple of coats to fully cover, is that the issue you are having with your silver?

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    1. I haven't used Vallejo metals for a few years - I had some problems getting them to mix thoroughly, so there was a sort of "curds and whey" texture. I ordered some new Vallejo metallics online and received some tinlets that used alcohol thinners - I admit I still have these tinlets unopened - I never was sure what sort of alcohol they used. This, in truth, was before Wonderland of Edinburgh started stocking Vallejo stuff, so maybe I should just ask about this next time I'm in town.

      Citadel paints, in my experience, were always good, but I didn't appreciate the change of (already adolescent) names a few years ago - it may well be that "Boris's Blood" is actually fluorescent green - I don't have the patience to ascertain this - since it only adds to the unease of discussing the paints with the shop staff, I have to assume that the device is at least partly a Boomer Blocker.

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  2. Sir I must take issue with your “fat shaming” of those poor lancers. Unfortunately both men suffer from a rare glandular condition and your act of holding them up for public ridicule does you no credit whatsoever. I’m sure their solicitors will be in touch after I launch the appropriate twitter campaign... lol.

    By the way I have a half used pot of citadel silver which is at least fifteen years old and still going strong, while a new style pot purchased six months ago and only used twice is now a gloopy mess that is definitely on its way out. Something in the water maybe ...or another one of their cruel money making strategies to make you come back and buy another. I think we should be told!

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    1. All my metallics eventually end up as chewing gum - it's probably just me, though it may be some dreadful curse.

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  3. Aah some people are never satisfied ūü§£ I'd be more than happy just using Old John's figures. All looking very good though, especially like those Cuirassiers I still use Vallejo bronze, old gold etc and the citadel/GW silver and gunmetal and have found no need to change

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    1. Hi Graham - I'm more than happy relying mostly on John's figures but - though the range has some useful extensions - there are still some things he doesn't make. I can make a cuirassier standard bearer with a Higgins cuirassier officer and a piece of wire from North Star, but if someone makes one straight out of the pack that has some attractions! Lack of variety amongst the general staff is the main issue - maybe you could run me off some 20mm versions of suitable 3D-printed generals? [I jest, though the idea is interesting]

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  4. Tony, Although I use Foundry and Vallejo for most painting, for the last couple of years I’ve used Army Painter for metals. The paints go on smoothly straight out of bottle, so no need to dilute and no grainy bits. They cover well. And they store well. You might try those?

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    1. I'll try to get hold of some of these - good shout - thanks, Ivan

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  5. I don't know whether this helps, but years ago I read that it was a good idea to varnish your figures BEFORE applying metals. That obviates the 'lifting' problem.

    My method for burnished metal - swords, firearms, iron or steel cannon, armour and helmets - is to mix a wee bit of gloss black with silver (Humbrol) or black and silver (Vallejo). I do this even for my Imperialist cavalry, though with them I go heavier on the black. You have to experiment a little to get the mix you want.

    What I like about this method, is the sheen (rather than shininess) you get, and there is no need at all to highlight or drybrush.

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    1. Thanks Archduke - I really should try harder. I've got so used to using paints straight from the jar and wasting everything out with water that I have become very impatient with anything which requires an honest effort!

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  6. I like those Cuirassiers Tony. Are they little Fuggers’?

    I’ll get me coat.

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    1. Erm - I've thought about this for a while, and I fear I've drawn a complete blank, which is embarrassing...

      Fuggers as in the financiers?

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    2. The very same. Cuirassiers was a bit of a sideline to the finance job. You have to have a hobby.

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    3. I’d never made the connection before. Thanks Chris.

      Sorry Tony. That little quip backfired on me. ☹️
      Fuggers Cuirassiers were the chaps that Eugene sent to aid Marlborough when his chaps were struggling on the enemy side of the Nebel near Oberglau.

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    4. Ah - thanks Chris - I'd never heard of them! Right - now I understand. Was this Fuggers title a contemporary joke, or were they actually called this?

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    5. There was a regiment in 1704 owned by Count Eustach Maria Fugger. Same cuffs, lapels etc as the Alt-Hannover regiment. Alt-Hannover was in Fugger's Brigade at Blenheim along with Regiment Lobkowitz.

      https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thewaroffice.co.uk%2FBlenheim%2FImages%2FAllied%2520cavalry%2FFuggersBrigade.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thewaroffice.co.uk%2FBlenheim%2FIndex.htm&docid=FkDGGpmn_Ei0tM&tbnid=ojsy4dmwYO0ohM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwi_6N-2lv_mAhWhxoUKHQH_D4sQMwhTKAIwAg..i&w=612&h=906&safe=active&client=safari&bih=743&biw=1200&q=fuggers%20cuirassiers&ved=0ahUKEwi_6N-2lv_mAhWhxoUKHQH_D4sQMwhTKAIwAg&iact=mrc&uact=8

      https://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Kreisregiment_Hohenzollern_Cuirassiers

      http://www.thewaroffice.co.uk/Blenheim/Blenheim.htm

      The Fugger Curiassiers in the War of the Polish Succession had the same uniform colour (and its successor had the same in SYW - see Kronskaf).

      https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fc8.alamy.com%2Fcomp%2FGD2FF3%2Fmilitary-germany-swabian-circle-cavalry-horseman-of-regiment-of-cuirassiers-GD2FF3.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alamy.com%2Fstock-photo-military-germany-swabian-circle-cavalry-horseman-of-regiment-of-cuirassiers-111308823.html&docid=QumAIC8AgyNv6M&tbnid=uGwqX-pTyLKx0M%3A&vet=10ahUKEwi_6N-2lv_mAhWhxoUKHQH_D4sQMwhOKAAwAA..i&w=799&h=1390&safe=active&client=safari&bih=743&biw=1200&q=fuggers%20cuirassiers&ved=0ahUKEwi_6N-2lv_mAhWhxoUKHQH_D4sQMwhOKAAwAA&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=1390&imgdii=rANuapXYXhEIoM:&vet=10ahUKEwi_6N-2lv_mAhWhxoUKHQH_D4sQMwhOKAAwAA..i&w=799

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    6. Chris - that is the single most informative comment I've ever had on this blog - many thanks for this. I had become aware of Fugger's brigade at Blenheim - the Kronoskaf note indicates that the regiment they discuss (and I'm not exactly sure how this all maps together) became the property of Graf Fugger in 1704. I'd assumed that this was a change of Inhaber for Alt-Hannover, but I can't find this anywhere in Robert Hall's book - no reference to Stauffenberg or Fugger. Not to worry - the exchange has amply demonstrated my heart-stopping ignorance, and I learned quite a bit!

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    7. Fugger may have become my second-favourite brigadier at Blenheim - my favourite is still the Marquis de Silly, I think.

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  7. I have had little issue with the water soluble Vallejo metallics myself, but your experience may be different.

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    1. For normal, non-metallic shades they are fine, though they seem to deteriorate on a wet pallet faster than other brands. I use them a lot.

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  8. I’ve been using Citadel Retributor Armour for gold... Ironbreaker for chain mail and gunmetal... and Armypainter silver... all with no problems.

    I remember the old Rose gold powder... splendid stuff.
    I once spilled some of the powder... it got everywhere...I think everything including myself had a slight golden shimmer for months... I am sure the pigment was so fine it could get into your pores....
    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks Aly - Retributor Armour? - that makes sense, then. I'll check these out.

      I'm disappointed with the Humbrols - I can buy these locally, and the acrylic "model railway" type range is handy - there's a useful dirty white which I think is supposed to be LMS carriage roofs (of course), which is OK for Austrian off-white uniforms - stuff like that.

      Spilling the Rose gold-dust is the stuff of nightmares - I can imagine my mother standing over me while I try to get it out of the carpet.

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  9. Hi Tony,

    you forgot Pieter's Spanish. Even John bought them:-)

    All the best for the new year

    cheers
    Uwe

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    1. Hi Uwe - I saw the WSS Spanish - they are very nice, but at 1/72 they will be too big to match - my 20mm Les Higgins Marlburians are about 20mm to the eye - most of the plastics are too big to match. That's the problem!

      Happy New Year to you - I hope the EU goes from strength to strength now you don't have Britain causing trouble from the sidelines!

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