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


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

WSS - More Imperial Foot

The painting is still coming along nicely. As promised two weeks ago, the next hefty batch is refurbished and finished - flags apart. Another four battalions of Austrians.


As this job continues, I'm starting to get to the rather more battered parts of the hoard (horde?), so the clean-up work becomes more substantial, and in this case I had to supply about 15% of new figures, painted from scratch. To avoid any culture shock, or obvious silliness in the line-up, I have started painting the new figures in a style which is unfamiliar to me, with black outlining, to match the originals. This is slow going, but I have enjoyed the challenge, the results are quite pleasing, and it is a good exercise for me to have to produce finished soldiers painted "in the style of" the previous owner. Certainly the new boys fit in well enough with the refurbed old ones for me to have to look carefully to tell them apart.

There you go, you see - forging antiques; my teachers said I would come to no good.

Two battalions each for the regiments of Th√ľrheim (left) and Gschwind. Not a flag in sight, of course, but that should be sorted out in the next few weeks
Next batch of Imperialists will be another of the same size, 72 figures, and that will be Phase One finished, apart from general officers. Lots of flags to do now - the new arrivals have to wait in a lengthening queue for their flags, but I'm coming around to that. Something should happen there soon.

You can see the large command bases in the centre of each unit, with the mini-dice frame at the rear. The research team here at Chateau Foy came up with a design which would make a column 150mm long or a line 150mm wide. No reason, really, just OCD at work.
Immediate plans for what happens after Phase One are to add two battalions of grenadiers to the Bavarians, two more battalions of Austrians (blue - Baden-Baden - for a bit of variety) and a small batch of foot dragoons for the Austrians.

I'm trying to keep this painting frenzy organised, so I don't lose all enthusiasm for the task. I'm (roughly) working 6 days on, 3 days off, I limit each session to two hours max and take a lot of trouble over keeping things tidy and putting everything away at the end of a batch. I think the attic area may become rather hot for extended painting sessions as the Summer comes in, but the night shifts are good [no extra pay, though]. Radio 3 on permanently during painting hours - I've sat through more screeching sopranos than usual over the last few days, but generally very calming.

The two-hour shift rule works nicely - I also try to keep my hands off the soldiers during my days off, or else I just get distracted and fiddle about, which, overall, dampens the mojo.

Strange times, so if I can delude myself that I'm staying organised - however petty the context - I find it helps. I am not painting because I have nothing else to do, I'm painting because I choose to do so.

My thanks to Stryker for advice on painting in this style - much appreciated. Keep well, everyone - look after yourselves and each other.


27 comments:

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    1. Thanks Robbie - the results are quite motivating!

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  2. looking good, cheers Old John

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  3. Nice touch taking the time to repaint them in the same style. Very respectful.

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    1. I wasn't sure I could do it - something about old dogs and new tricks.

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  4. That is a lovely collection. I really like the contrast with the white and the red-coated command figures.

    But - screeching sopranos on Radio 3 - never - unless its one of Tony Soprano's victims.

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    1. Contrasting colours for the officers went out of fashion with the development of the rifled musket, I guess!

      The Radio 3 support has been excellent. I was a bit disappointed with a recorded live performance of Weill's "Street Scene" (maybe not quite my sort of thing), which I had been looking forward to, and eventually I switched off what was certainly a fine radio production of "Othello" because I couldn't keep track of who was who without disturbing my painting concentration. I need radio with subtitles for the slow of thinking. One thing for sure, no-one was happy, and they mostly died in the end anyway.

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  5. The black outlining is very effective. Do you paint things like the cartouche straps black then overpaint in white or do you do the edge in black afterwards?

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    1. The modern way to do this, I understand, is to undercoat in black and leave a thin gap between adjacent colour blocks. That's no use for me, since I can't use black undercoat nowadays - can't see anything at all.

      What I did, after consultation with the bold Baron Stryker and after staring at Eric's old soldiers for a while, was as follows:

      * Use light grey undercoat
      * Paint matt black outlines around all belts, sashes, neckties, cuffs, coat edges, stripes on drummers' coats, faces, hair, etc etc. This became a lot less arduous once I realised (duh) that, as long as you actually hit the edge you want, the lines don't have to be very neat at all - you can clean up the edges when you overpaint the colours
      * fill in the "paint by numbers" panels defined by the outlines - it's far easier to leave a convincing narrow border of black than it is to paint a dead accurate black line in the first place.

      Overall, I enjoyed it - it's slower than my usual style, but I relaxed as I got the hang of it. Blocking in the colours seems fast and is very enjoyable. The gloss varnish also seems to set it off nicely. One thing that helps me with batches of soldiers is to paint all the flesh areas immediately after the outlining - thereafter I am dressing an identifiable person rather than just flopping more paint on a blob of metal. Psychologically useful - works for me, anyway. This is conscious production of rather unnatural looking toy soldiers, which is exactly the level at which these armies work, I think. Keeping the spirit of Eric's little chaps is an important element in this exercise!

      At last I have a job for those handy "Insane Detail" fine brushes I got from Army Painter!

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    2. Makes sense. Make no apologies for the toy soldiers style. I was convinced to go for ‘more realistic’ toned down colours were everything is washed out but you can’t tell the bloody difference between the sides.

      A good tip I was given was to paint the faces and hands first and paint everything else as you would dress. You can beaten up as you go along. Might seem obvious to most but it was a revelation to me.

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    3. In my lead pile at the moment there are a couple of battalions of absolutely beautiful pre-painted British Napoleonics - the paintwork is really very good, but someone dipped them in Army Painter dip, or maybe Marmite, and they are dingy - so much so that I really can't see what i can do with them short of a complete repaint. This is a very subjective thing, I know, and if done with skill and taste I'm sure it's wonderful, but I was always very suspicious of the idea that I could dip my crap soldiers in a pot of something costing £6.99 and it would turn them into works of art.

      Nah - that's a story for infants. It's up there with tartan paint.

      The "flesh first" approach does work - agreed - I always do one-off figures (staff personalities and similar) in this way. It seems wrong to become acquainted with the personality only at the end of the process!

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  6. Great work Tony, I look forward to seeing them in the flesh - one day!

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    1. Thanks again, Ian - I'd have been stuck without your input. Well, I might not have been stuck, but the add-on recruits wouldn't have looked so much like their mates!

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  7. Superb work sir. Look forward to seeing the boys in action.

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    1. Getting there, M Le Duc. Getting there.

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  8. Splendid toys Tony...
    You are cracking along at a nice steady pace...
    Hopefully the only flagging that happens will be on the miniatures...

    It still worries me a bit that they are on the floor.... ūüėĀ

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks Aly - I'll admit that it does look like a floor, but that's actually the dining table. We eat on the floor, of course.

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  9. I've tried being organized a couple of times, or well, I have occasionally attempted to get sufficiently organized to try it...anyway, I confess that these look quite good to me despite being black lined, probably due to the technique and sjill you have used.

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    1. I'm not sure that being organised will ever catch on. Seriously. Talking about it is an established industry, of course. Deliberately steering clear of any Covid19 parallels, I have an ancient recollection of a market research company that once sold their services to a former employer of mine - they offered us a special deal on something we didn't really need, which was a state-of-the-art selling approach at the time, and eventually we handed to some poor rising hopeful the task of identifying something fairly innocuous they might do, which could not waste too much time and would not cost us a fortune, and get them off our backs for a while. The company made such a complete disaster of the research project they carried out that our financial people screamed offside, and attempted to get the bill reduced on the grounds of uselessness. This was an unusual criterion at the time, and is almost unknown today, of course.

      The CEO of the market research company (who was, I recall, an Australian - not that it matters) came up to Edinburgh to attempt to sell us the idea of a further research project, the object of which was to determine the nature, the extent and the likely impact of what had gone wrong with their original job.

      It sounds like a scene from the Life of Brian, but it is, as it were, gospel truth. My views on industry have never recovered from this exposure. Organised? They could write books on it, but they couldn't cross the street without a small child to help them.

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  10. Great progress and an impressive looking collection, one of the joys of refurb projects is that there are moments where big gains are made for not too much investment of time. The mojo is thus replenished and ready to surge! Forward again

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    1. Hi Graham - yeah - the lockdown situation has put me in a position where I can make more progress with this project than I ever anticipated, and it needs some deep meditation to handle the implications. It is motivating, definitely, but it's the sort of motivation that could plunge very quickly, so I have to manage my own expectations and think through what I'm actually trying to do!

      Mojos to the fore! - hope you are keeping well.

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  11. A quartet of fine looking Imperialists, Tony. I did black lining using an India ink pen back in the 1970's.

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