Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Summer silence ends

Posted by Martin on August 26, 2013

Example pack from the new Perry Retreat from Moscow releases.

Example pack from the new Perry Retreat from Moscow releases.

I’ve had such a busy Summer with “real life” that posting to BfK has taken a back seat. Thank you to those of you who have been kind enough to enquire after my well-being during this period of silence. I’m delighted to say that there’s been nothing wrong. It’s simply been a case of having so many other things to attend to that I’ve been rushed off my feet for ages. I’m not going to bore you with it all but it’s a combination of the day job, my role as Chair of Governors at the local secondary school and having to keep up with the demands of a wife, two teenage daughters (one of whom is about to head off to university), two dogs and two cats. Not to mention an ageing mother-in-law with health issues who lives 400 miles away.

So what have I missed? Well, there’s been a lot happening on the hobby front that has passed me by and many of these things occurred long enough ago not to be fresh enough to mention here. However, a couple of things to stick out for me…

I see the Perry twins have been as industrious as ever and have been working to extend their Napoleonic range into more theatres. One of the most notable avenues under exploration is the arrival of some lovely Retreat from Moscow packs that I confidently predict will lead to snowy skirmish games on many a club and exhibition gaming table over the coming months. And why not? It doesn’t need too many figures or much painting effort to put together enough collateral for a few games that will offer a pleasing diversion from the staple diet of big battalions. The other furrow being ploughed by Alan and Michael is an extensive delve into the rarer Confederation of the Rhine units. This looks like a concerted effort to cover all the options needed for the so-called German division that served in the Peninsular. Eventually, I might take a closer look at the range to see if any of them are suitable for my preferred Autumn 1813 campaign.

A Retreat of Moscow game might fit the bill for my favourite discussion forum thread of the Summer. Over at WD3, they’ve been toying with suggestions for “Come Wargame With Me”, a hobby version of the Channel 4 television extravaganza that is “Come Dine With Me”. It’s a fun thought experiment: given a budget of £100, what kind of evening game could you put on for three wargaming guests? That’s £100 for everything mind – figures, terrain, rules and refreshments with a one month time limit to get everything painted and prepared.

Osprey has gradually been slipping out announcements about its forthcoming publication programme. There are only a few Napoleonic titles but of more interest is the company’s planned open day on 14th September. It sounds as though a lot of old, rare editions will be on sale at bargain prices and I daresay there will also be the chance to meet and chat with Osprey staff. Despite the relative close proximity of Oxford to BfK HQ, I may have to miss this opportunity because it clashes with the weekend that my elder daughter starts at university 😦

Meanwhile, closer to home, the drawbridge is up at Calpe Towers for the Summer holiday until the end of August. But the interest levels have been maintained by releases of some of the French infantry march attack packs along with the availability of some French and Saxon artillery pieces. And even closer to home, I have actually been doing a little painting, mainly with the aim of completing work on the sample BfK Limited Edition figure set. I’ll save details of that (plus some photos) for a separate posting. The other area of activity for me is that I’ve been researching the darkly mysterious subject of airbrushes. I’ve got some specific uses in mind for an airbrush where I can save time and get high quality results, not to mention learn a new skill for my modelling armoury. I’ve got a fair idea of which airbrush I’ll eventually go for but the choice of compressor is more complicated. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with airbrushes and how you’ve got on with pushing various brands of acrylic paint, primer and varnish through them.


8 Responses to “Summer silence ends”

  1. Jeffrey Smith said

    Good to hear that real life takes precedence as it should! Looking forward to the limited Edition post.


  2. Nice to see you back in action Martin.

    So is Salute “long enough ago not to be fresh enough to mention here”? No intelligence leaks out of Calpe Towers? Sheesh … some people are so demanding! 8O)

    I look forward to the airbrush story. I’ve always assumed that I’d spend more time preparing and cleaning them than actually spraying with them!

    von Peter himself

    • Martin said

      Sorry Peter, I can barely remember Salute now 😦

      As for airbrush timings. It’s not just about the time you might spend prepping and cleaning. You have to factor in the time you’d save by being able to do certain things more quickly with an airbrush. For instance, I envisage that priming and varnishing will be much quicker. Also, basecoating larger items like terrain, artillery pieces and horses should be quicker. And don’t forget, the time you spend cleaning up is time that you might have to let elapse anyway if you’ve got to wait for primer or varnish to dry properly.

      Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Plus, there’s the irrefutable lure of a shiny new toy. Inside, I’m still nine years old 🙂

  3. Burkhard said

    Good to see you back! Although I know the feeling… I have been mostly quiet for the past two months as well.

    Now from somewhere who has been using an airbrush for ages: there are two things that are really essential when looking for an airbrush compressor:

    1. It needs a moisture trap. If it does not have one the moisture from the air being compressed will travel to your airbrush as well. This will lead to ungainly spots or even worse a sudden drop of water escaping and creating havoc with your paintjob.
    The cheap solution would be one to add to the hose, but those are no as effective and while most compressors with build in ones will either drain them automatically or at least show you how full they are, the ones you put between two pieces of the hose will not. Once the are you get the same problems all,over again.

    2. The ability to regulate the air pressure. Absolutely essential since you need different (and most important constant) levels of air pressures for different jobs. Ones that do not allow you to regulate the pressure are a pain in the behind when doing detailed work!

    While you seem to have decided on an airbrush already. One of the most important things is to keep it properly cleaned! This usually also means dismantling the parts that come into contact with the paint after a session. So it is most important that you are able to dismantle them easily and best without tools. Especially the nozzle is a delicate anf fragile part. With most manufacturers you will need a wrench to remove it though. In my experience this is useless since you will eventually have a weak moment when you do so damage to the nozzle.

    The funny thing is… Back when Imwas a scale modeller I always painted my tanks with an airbrush. For some reason this has carried on to my wargaming days in that Imonly use it for modern or WWII vehicles and guns. Do not know why I never used it for other periods. Anyway while painting up my last Prussian battery, I decided that in the future I shall do all my Napoleonic artillery with the airbrush. Speaking from WWII experience, this will mean about 4 minutes per gun instead of the 45 for the basecoat right now (the spokes on the wheels are killing me!).

    Really looking forward to your experiences!

    • Martin said

      Hi Burkhard – thanks! Your advice about moisture traps and regulators tallies with my own research into compressors. It’s always good to get confirmation, though.

      I’ve pretty much narrowed down the choice of airbrush to an Iwata Revolution. That seems to be a nice compromise between quality and price. That led me to looking at Iwata compressors but they seem to be expensive for the worthwhile ones and the ones at the lower end of the range don’t have the features I’m looking for. However, my latest research has revealed that a company called Sparmax makes compressors for most of the main airbrush manufacturers including Iwata. Sparmax’s own-brand compressors look comparable with the Iwata ones at much better prices.

      I’d be interested to know what airbrush/compressor combination you use. I’m also interested in any other BfK readers’ experiences with Iwata airbrushes and Sparmax compressors.

      • Burkhard said

        Hi Martin,

        I started off with an an Aztec (can not remember the model) which was good in its results, but never made me happy when having to clean it. Someone dropped the box it was in when I moved 13 years ago and it was damaged beyond repair. Looking at the damage it was probably hit by the compressor and bend.

        After that I switched to a Harder & Steenbeck Evolution Solo with a ,2mm nozzle. It disassembled completely without tools, very nice to handle (good balance and smooth operation) and great availability of spares (managed to drop it once when I reassembled it and it hit the ground needle/nozzle first).

        Compressor wise… I am still using the old one I bought twenty years ago, but since it is not oil and maintenance free, it is starting to act up by now and I shall soon replace it. With what? Now you will laugh. I am looking at either the AC-501X or TC-501ast, depending on the price I can get.

        • Martin said

          What a coincidence! The two models I’m considering are the AC-501X and the TC-501ac. I’ve found a UK website offering them both a good prices and sent an e-mail to ask them to explain the main differences between the two models. I’ll PM you the link – I would post it here but, selfishly, I don’t want them to run out of stock before I’ve placed my order. After I’ve done that, I’ll happily add the link here for everybody.

  4. Rob said

    I’ve been in the same boat – all of my paints and brushes have been in storage since May 17!

    I’ve looked at the Retreat from Moscow figures, and I was thinking of mixing them in with greatcoated figures. Some, like the dismounted carabinier firing two pistols, would work superbly as eagle escorts, while the rest would blend nicely for generic fall/winter or specifically the 1814 campaign. The officers and some others I could see working their way into units for Eylau and the Polish campaign. Lots of potential there.

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