Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Archive for the ‘Horse Artillery’ Category

Black and red all over

Posted by Martin on August 18, 2010

Gunner with ammunition box.

Gunner with ammunition box.

I’m making steady progress with the figures for my first Prussian horse artillery base and now I’ve started to work in detail on the fourth of the five figures for it. I have a target completion date in mind and if I can keep up the current rate of progress, I might just achieve it. Apart from the face and hair, everything so far is shades of black, grey and red but that’ll soon change with the grey-blue of the ammunition box plus this chap has a nice leather satchel for me to paint too (though you can’t see it in the picture here because he’s holding round his back with his left hand).

No particular painting notes except that Vallejo Carmine Red is now a permanent fixture in my red palette. It’s a really red red, if you see what I mean and fits nicely as the layer before the more orangey red of Vallejo Scarlet.

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That’s wheely interesting

Posted by Martin on August 14, 2010

Close up of painted Prussian cannon wheel.

Close up of painted Prussian cannon wheel.

Whoa! That’s a huge close-up. It’s a Calpe Prussian cannon wheel and one of a pair that I’ve painted for the horse artillery I’m working on. I don’t usually like these extreme close ups – they tend to disappoint me, a bit like finding out how a magician does a great illusion – but the photo came out so well that I felt the urge to pull back the curtain for a change. To compensate, I’ve inset a smaller version of the picture to give you an impression of what the thing looks like at real-life size.

For those of you familiar with Calpe artillery pieces, this is one of the newer thinner wheels rather than the original old ones that were too thick and chunky. I’m painting the component parts of the cannon individually because it’s easier to get at all the nooks and crannies with the paintbrush. So this one is temporarily impaled on a cocktail stick which is, in turn, firmly skewered to a chunk of cork.

Yes, things are coming along nicely now.

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Nurse, pass the trailspike

Posted by Martin on July 25, 2010

Horse artilleryman with trailspike.

Horse artilleryman with trailspike.

Back to the painting table this weekend and another one of the figures for the Prussian horse artillery base is completed. This chap holds a trailspike – the name for a glorified wooden pole used to help manhandle artillery pieces in the field. Some nations seemed to go in for trailspikes that were carved into interesting shapes but the Prussians stuck to a simple straight pole. The woodwork of Prussian artillery equipment was painted a grey-blue, so I’ve gone for a palette of Prussian Blue, Grey Blue and Sky Blue here which seems to work well.

I’ve also taken on board some feedback about the mud weathering and applied it to the bottom of the overalls as well now – thanks to Harry the Elder for spotting that oversight.

Only two more figures to finish off plus the artillery piece itself before I can base up the whole ensemble. I’ve started on the wheels for the cannon using the palette described above. The plan is to paint each part of the cannon individually and them assemble it because that makes painting those awkward to reach places much less stressful. So, at the moment, my painting table sports the comical vision of two cannon wheels impaled on cocktail sticks which are in turn skewered to a wine cork that is firmly blu-tacked to a bottle top. It’s a Heath Robinson affair but it’s standing up to the rigours of handling very well.

As I look at this pair of photos that I’ve stitched together here, I’m definitely feeling that I’ve mastered the photography set-up now. I’m getting the results I’ve always visualized in my mind and, more importantly, it’s a consistently repeatable process now. Plus, I only have to do minimal digital post-processing. I suppose that means I ought to write it up for reference – you never know when a memory lapse might strike. I’m tempted to describe it right now but I think it would be better with a few illustrative pictures of the set-up so I’ll leave it until another occasion.

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Warm weather painting

Posted by Martin on June 5, 2010

Another horse artilleryman goes under the brush.

Another horse artilleryman goes under the brush.

I’m not sure what to make of painting in such warm weather. One thing I do like is the light. I can set up my painting area back from the French windows at the back of the house and still enjoy plenty of natural light for close-up brushwork. On the downside, warm weather can be uncomfortable and it does seem to affect the paint. I’m inclined to think this has more to do with the straightforward impact of high temperatures rather than some more arcane effect caused by humidity. The paint seems to thicken up more quickly on the palette and then start to dry. This means I have to work more quickly than usual (perhaps no bad thing) and, crucially, put smaller amounts of paint out on the palette.

I particularly noticed this with the white strapping on this figure but the eventual result is pleasing and should look just fine after varnishing. Next up for this chap will be his grey overalls, then the handspike followed by weathering with mud colours before finishing off with details like his hands and the scabbard. I’m especially looking forward to doing the handspike in Prussian artillery grey-blue. These lighter shades of blue are ones that I rarely get the opportunity to use and that’ll make for an enjoyable variation.

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