Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Posts Tagged ‘France’

News trickling out from the Towers

Posted by Martin on May 1, 2014

Calpe pack P22: march-attack Prussian musketeers.

Calpe Pack P22: march-attack Prussian musketeers.

Calpe pack P23: march-attack Prussian musketeers, head variants.

Calpe Pack P23: march-attack Prussian musketeers, head variants.

After a hiatus almost as long as mine, the 2014 Calpe Towers release juggernaut is ready to roll. Peter F. has had to content with some rubber-related troubles over the last couple of months (sorry, I couldn’t resist that little double entendre opportunity) because his long standing supplier is no more. After trialling a variety of replacements, you can now expect new packs to start becoming available on the website very soon. Are they French, Prussian or Saxon? The answer is: all three!

The immediate focus will be completion of the French march-attack infantry set with packs for voltigeurs and grenadiers with their coats down followed by various command packs. Then there are some Prussian infantry march attack packs and a selection of Saxon infantry packs. Peter’s complete predicted order of priority for work is as follows:

  • Finish, the French march-attack set.
  • Finish the Prussian march-attack set.
  • Finish the Saxon advancing set.
  • Finish work on the French gunners.
  • Finish work on the Saxon gunners.
Calpe Pack S1: advancing Saxon musketeers with covered shakos.

Calpe Pack S1: advancing Saxon musketeers with covered shakos.

Calpe Pack S2: advancing Saxon musketeers with calfskin shako covers.

Calpe Pack S2: advancing Saxon musketeers with calfskin shako covers.

Calpe Pack S3: advancing Saxon musketeers with uncovered shakos.

Calpe Pack S3: advancing Saxon musketeers with uncovered shakos.

I think you should see some packs on the website later this week or early next week because Peter has been frantically taking pictures, photoshopping them and writing the blurb to go with the packs. Indeed, some of them already appear to be there! If I’ve got my sums right, there are three Saxon musketeer advancing packs (S1, S2 and S3 – not to be confused with the “old” Saxon packs) and a couple of Prussian musketeer march-attack packs (P22 and P23) already mustered for duty.

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Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol | Tagged: , , , | 14 Comments »

Paint-in #3: a slight diversion

Posted by Martin on March 3, 2013

This is by way of being a small interlude to address a potentially thorny little topic that we’ll run into later on in painting the BfK Limited Edition figures. I thought that by covering it now, it would give you all advance notice. So what is this strange little diversion all about? Well, it’s another case of the French penchant for highly poetic if awkward names for the colours of cloth they used in their uniforms. You may have run into some examples before like “lie de vin”, “aurore”, “capuchin” and so on. The one that concerns us now is “gris de fer” because it is the main colour of the uniforms of French soldiers of the artillery train (and the baggage train too – more of this below).

Translation of the name of this colour into English presents only a modest challenge: it simply means “iron grey”. But that’s where the fun starts. What exactly is iron grey and how can we represent it when we we wield our paintbrushes? Let’s start by looking at the first of those two questions. Gris de fer is generally regarded as a grey-blue colour not dissimilar to sky blue but duller (or, dare I say it, greyer). Finding good trustworthy examples to inform us about what this actually looked like isn’t easy because few uniformologists and books pay much attention to backwaters such as soldiers of the train. Luckily, two of the very best have devoted some of their energies to this subject.

Let’s start with Knotel. There are two plates of interest: Band XVI, Plate 34, which depicts a trumpeter of the artillery train in 1812-13 (and, perhaps more interestingly for this posting, shows a number of artillery train soldiers in the background), and Band XVIII, Plate 29, which shows baggage train soldiers from 1807. Life isn’t helped by sky blue still often being in use instead of iron grey in 1813 but you can get the idea of things from these two – both shown for your delight below:

Knotel Band XVI Plate 34: French artillery train trumpeter 1812-13.

Knotel Band XVI Plate 34: French artillery train trumpeter 1812-13.

Knotel Band XVIII Plate 29: French baggage train soldiers 1807.

Knotel Band XVIII Plate 29: French baggage train soldiers 1807.

What I can’t show here, for copyright reasons, are the Rousselot plates covering the artillery train. These go into much greater depth and show a wide range of detailed uniform variants but, for the purposes of this discussion, iron grey is shown as a bluer and darker colour – frankly much closer to sky blue.

Of course, we also have to put these colours in the context of real life on campaign in the early part of the 19th Century: dyes were organic rather than chemical, there was no centralised supply system so individual local factories produced uniforms and campaign conditions were harsh. All of which would have led to tremendous colour differences in supplied uniforms that was only made even more variable by the effects of sun, rain and wind.

So, on to the second question: how to choose paints for iron grey. First, I’d like to point out that you have the legitimate option of clothing your artillery train soldiers in sky blue for which there are already easy paint choices (several Vallejo colours conveniently identify themselves as suitable by including “sky blue” in their names and I’d recommend them). However, I’m going for the iron grey option and I know, from previous experience of trying to represent blue-grey uniform colours, that this is an awkward job – especially when you’ve got to try to find a basecoat, first highlight and second highlight (at least) that match tonally. To cut a long story short (you really don’t need to hear about all the trial and error experiments I’ve conducted) I’ve settled on four paints:

  • Basecoat: Vallejo VMC964 Field Blue – a mid-to-dark grey with the definite blue overtones that are needed for iron grey.
  • First highlight: Vallejo VMC943 Grey Blue – now, I think this one is optional and you could miss it out of your iron grey palette. Give it a go and see what you think.
  • Second highlight: Andrea NAC-24 Union Blue – Quite close in colour to the previous one but slightly my preference. But it’s a personal subjective choice.
  • Third highlight: Andrea NAC-17 Azure Grey – this is a much lighter colour, so use it sparingly for final highlights.

In the next paint-in posting, you’ll see where I’ve started to use these colours on the figures’ lentille pompoms. In the meantime, feel free to comment and share your own recipes.

Posted in BfK Limited Edition Figures, On the Workbench, Paint and Equipment | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Extending the range

Posted by Martin on February 24, 2013

This week I received the latest photos from the Calpe Towers workbench. There are no surprises, because these figures are in line with what I’ve been trailing for a while – the first of the march-attack pose French infantry packs and a couple of packs of legere command and officer figures that you can use with the existing route march packs to create light infantry battalions. Without further ado, on to the pictures. Enjoy!

F19: French light infantry command.

F19: French light infantry command.

F20: French light infantry foot officers.

F20: French light infantry foot officers.

F22: French march-attack infantry, uncovered shakos.

F22: French march-attack infantry, uncovered shakos.

F25: French march-attack infantry, covered shakos.

F25: French march-attack infantry, covered shakos.

I know I’ve been quiet on the posting front the last couple of weeks – a case of reality intruding on enjoyment, I’m afraid. However, I expect to get back to more frequent posting in the next week or so and I have several updates lined up for you.

Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol, French Infantry | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Getting ahead with the photos

Posted by Martin on April 26, 2012

These won’t be available until the start of May but here are sneak preview shots of two of the forthcoming Calpe French packs that’ll round out the route-march set. I think I mentioned these in my Salute report so it’s good to be able to follow up so quickly with the eye candy. Enjoy!

Pack F17 - the "cherry on the icing" pack as Peter F. has christened it!

Pack F17 - the "cherry on the icing" pack as Peter F. has christened it!

Pack F18 - the regimental command pack.

Pack F18 - the regimental command pack.

I think these will prove to be two very popular packs. Pack F17 includes a several lovely scuplts, especially the typically enthusiastic French pose of a shako being hoist high on the end of a musket! And I can see how many a command stand will be painted and based up using Pack F18. I even forsee some nix ‘n’ match between these two sets!

Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol, French Infantry | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »