August 31, 2010

Hard at Work

Apologies for the lack of updates - I'm still here! Hard at work on BLB2 and my net presence always 'suffers' when I get deep into a book. I'll have some more ACW pics up soon...

August 19, 2010

Cover Art for BLB2

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been putting a lot of work into the second edition of Beneath the Lily Banners. These books were sold out last year and rather than simply reprinting them, we decided to produce an updated version. This book will be twice the length of the first with updated rules, more examples, all new photographs, and a new cover!

All of my paintings are done digitally using programs like Photoshop and Corel Painter. However, they all start out with pencil on paper...


After I have a composition I like, I redraw the image to fill in the details and get a clean outline.
I scan this image into the computer and start 'painting'. I normally start by painting the background. The next step is 'blocking in' to establish local colors which is a lot like painting base colors on miniatures. In this instance, I also started working on the foreground as well to start building the effect of thundering hooves churning through the snow!


So that's where it is so far. I'm splitting time between working on this piece, the graphics for the interior, and the layouts. I'm still painting ACW troops and I'll have more on that project soon.

August 11, 2010

Bases for the Lads

I've got enough models painted up to start playing around with the basing. These are destined for an as yet unnamed variant of March of Eagles by Barry Hilton (the quick play rules that come with Victrix Napoleonic models or available form their website here). These rules call for basing characters (officers, ensigns, musicians, and sergeants) separately, but the rank and file troops can be based any way desired. My preference these days is for multi-model stands to make mini dioramas. Now all I need to do is decide on the base sizes.

My initial inclination is to place models on the smallest base that will accommodate, in this case 45x50mm. The pros of this size base are that I think the models look really good packed tightly together and these will have the smallest footprint on the table, leaving room for more units. As a drawback, there isn't much room for embellishment on the base...


Creeping up to a 25mm/model frontage for a 50x50mm base gives a little more room to work with without substantially increasing the amount of table space the unit will take up. Additionally, at least for the Rebs, there is room to mix in the occasional five model stand. I've seen units based this way for Fire and Fury, four models per stand for Union and three to five models per stand for Confederate, and the effect the contrast created was really nice (the second pic below illustrates this on a very tiny scale).



Finally (at least for the moment) I could go six models per stand on a 60x60mm base. The extra depth again adds more room to add details on the base and will actually be better if I decide to use any charging models with bayonets lowered. These units would actually have the smallest width at 20mm frontage/model, but this stand is heavy. The rules also focus on Combat Groups of four models for shooting and melee so it is fractionally tougher to figure out how many groups you have at a glance.


Ok, I've got plenty of time before I need to worry about making a choice but if any of you have thoughts on the matter, I'd love to hear them!

August 8, 2010

Rebel Yell

As I've mentioned, I am over Napoleonics for a while. I spent more than a year concentrating on building up my armies without a period shift, which is almost unheard of for me. I'm positive I'll be back to it before long (I have two boxes of Perry Dragoons sitting on my desk), but I wanted to try something completely different.

American Civil War in 40mm. I got a chance to see the great Sash & Saber models at Historicon, but I resisted buying any until my partner suggested we might put on an ACW for Historicon next year. Now, we haven't even decided for sure to attend, but all it took was the idea. I have piles of books on the ACW, but no figures... until now. I ordered enough models for one regiment of 30 or so. I have only a vague plan of exactly what I want to do so far other than collect a few regiments. I'll go into the details as they develop, but for now I thought I'd share my experiment with gray.

All paints are Foundry except the sparing use of metallics which were GW Shining Gold, primarily for buttons, and GW Bolt Gun Metal for the bayonet, musket bits, belt buckles, etc...). The models were first undercoated with black spray paint. The flesh tones are based with Terracotta 37A, then built up with Flesh 5A-C.

Rebel One
Kepi: Slate 32A-C
Jacket: Slate 32A-C
Trousers: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Blanket: Terracotta 37A-C
Haversack: Boneyard 9A-C
Musket: Bay Brown 42A and 42C (only one highlight)
Musket Sling: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Canteen: Night Sky 62A-C with Bay Brown 42A+42C strap
All black highlighted with Charcoal Black 34B

(Click the photo for a larger image)


Rebel Two
Kepi: Night Sky 62A-C
Jacket: Granite 31A-C
Trousers: Night Sky 62A-C
Blanket: Boneyard 9A-C
Haversack: Rawhide 11A-C
Musket: Bay Brown 42A and 42C (only one highlight)
Musket Sling: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Canteen: Night Sky 62A-C with Spearshaft Brown 13A-C strap
All black highlighted with Charcoal Black 34B

(Click the photo for a larger image)

Rebel Three
Hat: Charcoal Black 34B over undercoat
Jacket: Night Sky 62A-C
Trousers: Slate 32A-C
Backpack: Charcoal Black 34B over undercoat
Haversack: Boneyard 9A-C
Musket: Bay Brown 42A and 42C (only one highlight)
Musket Sling: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Canteen: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C with Black strap
All black highlighted with Charcoal Black 34B

(Click the photo for a larger image)

Rebel Four
Hat: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Jacket: Stone 57A-C
Trousers: Night Sky 62A-C
Blanket: Boneyard 9A-C
Haversack: Arctic White A+B (only one highlight)
Musket: Bay Brown 42A and 42C (only one highlight)
Musket Sling: Spearshaft Brown 13A-C
Canteen: GW Boltgun Metal with Bay Brown 42A+42C strap
All black highlighted with Charcoal Black 34B

(Click the photo for a larger image)

I don't think there are any 'wrong' choices here. There were four 'official' shades of gray issued from various CSA depots and about a zillion variations based on wear, replacement with local cloth, and captured enemy equipment. Most of the unit will be be painted using one of the schemes above (or a combination thereof), with about one in four sporting one of the alternate colors above. The result will be a very dynamic unit with lots of variety, but it should still look like a unit rather than rabble. Many Confederate units were far more uniform than often depicted on wargame tables.

More on this project as it unfolds. Hopefully this was helpful (I tried to search the net for ACW units painted with Foundry paints to get a head start and found NOTHING). This should serve as an example the type of thing I'm going to try to do in the future so the site is more than just pretty pictures!

August 5, 2010

Last Thoughts on Historicon 2010

Obviously I had a great time. I've read lots of things on the net about AC problems, noisy rooms, and overpriced food. I've never been to a convention of this size so I don't have a great frame of reference. I wore jeans for most of the convention so apparently I didn't notice a problem with the AC. Things were a little loud in the main hall on Saturday - Barry and I talked about loosing our voices that evening, but to me it just led to the excitement in the hall. The food in the game hall and hotel was expensive compared to the chain stores around it, but for me this was a vacation and I simply enjoyed the entire experience. Being able to walk from my room to the game hall and then to the bar was fantastic.


It was a very busy weekend. Six games in four days, plus setting up and breaking down every time, and carting it all back to the rooms. Barry had three talks and a fourth as a member of panel discussion on the transition from pike to bayonet. I attended all of his talks (I am now an expert on the Grand Alliance period). We had precious little time to see the rest of the convention, but that was ok since we met plenty of people around our table and from a marketing standpoint introduced a lot of US gamers to our rules.

It was great meeting Barry and getting some time to just hang out. We got to have a few drinks, talk wargames, hash out some plans for future projects, and watch the World Cup (first entire match I've ever sat through). We have talked about doing it all again next year -should make a decision on this pretty soon and of course I'll post the news here.

So what's coming up next? I'm going to be working heavily the second edition of Beneath the Lily Banners for the next few months and I'll post previews when they are available. I have several new wargame projects planned and I'll be incorporating details as I get farther along, including articles on collecting forces, painting, and building terrain. If anyone has something they'd like to see here, drop me a note and I'll try to make sure to work it in if I can.

August 1, 2010

Battle of the Boyne - Sunday

With the poll results in, it looks like most of the regular visitors won't mind keeping up with other projects I'm working on. I changed my 'mission statement' to reflect my new direction. For those who prefer Napoleonics, don't worry - that is my main areas of interest and there will certainly be new units added to the collection as well as new bits for Republic to Empire. Over the next few months I'm going to be doing a lot of work on Beneath the Lily Banners and painting some Grand Alliance units for the book. There's also a 'secret' historical project that I'll be sharing in a few months that involves a foray into a new period. I'll try to keep the sci-fi/fantasy posts to a minimum unless it means the blog sits idle for a month, but I did promise my brother I'd knock some goblins into shape to have a go at the new Warhammer edition...

Our last game at Historicon...


This game featured two very aggressive kings and we had combat within the first few rounds...


In this melee, the Irish Guards contact both units of grenadiers and the units fought to mutual destruction - something Barry said he's never seen before in over a hundred games!









This game ended with a pretty solid victory for the Jacobites on both flanks with the Williamite French struggling to get across in the center. It was very interesting playing the same scenario three times and getting three different results. Again, everyone involved seemed to have a lot of fun and in the end that's the point of the whole exercise!


On Sunday we were awarded a plaque for the BEST THEME EVENT...


So that's that! Six games in four days - more games than I had a chance to play the previous year. The entire trip was a blast. You should see more pics in the mags as I think most of the 'official' photographers wandered by our table. Barry's writing an article for Wargames Illustrated on the experience that you should see in a few months. I myself will have a post in a week or so about my general experience at Historicon and what I learned about running convention games.