Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Posts Tagged ‘Kurmark’

Let’s put it behind us

Posted by Martin on January 6, 2009

First things first. I’d like to wish a belated very happy and prosporous new year to all of you who regularly (and not so regularly) read my blog.

I, for one, am really delighted to see the back of 2008 – it was a very trying year on the hobby front. I didn’t paint anywhere nearly as many figures as I’d hoped; my dalliance with the idea of entering a painting competition didn’t come to fruition; I’ve wrestled with inconsistent photography and the saga of the Calpe vulcanizer of doom has been depressing. All sorts of people have asked me questions about that and the impact on the release of the Saxons. It’s been difficult at times to know how to respond. Clearly, I’m lucky to have inside information and to know about the struggle Peter F. has faced. And it has been tempting to share more of the details to help people understand and appreciate the situation but I also feel a strong sense of loyalty and friendship with Peter so I’ve always ended up saying less rather than more because I believe that it should be Peter’s decision what to say publicly and when. After all, it is quite literally his business and not mine!

But 2008 hasn’t been a total hobby disaster. I managed to attend both Salute and Colours and I even showed my face at the local Devizes club’s big Napoleonic game. I’ve also acquired a second hand digital SLR camera at a bargain price and started to understand how to get good results with it. Best of all, BfK continues to thrive. Traffic to BfK has gone up by 82% in 2008 compared to 2007; and comments on BfK increased by 19% in 2008 compared to 2007. All that extra activity is down to you kind people. So thank you all and I hope you continue to visit, enjoy and participate in BfK during 2009.

And what of 2009? Well, those who know me will tell you I’m not one for new year resolutions. Frankly, I think that they’re artificial. If there’s something new or different you want to do in life, why do you have to save it up for a new year to come along? Having said that, a year-end does make for a convenient time for reflection and planning and here are some things that, when we get to the end of 2009, I’d like to be able to have ticked off the list – they’re not new year resolutions, you see, because they’ve been on my rolling list for quite a while:

  • Get some Prussian units completely painted, varnished and based. At present that probably means battalions for the 2nd Kurmark landwehr infantry regiment.
  • Get at least one Saxon unit completely painted, varnished and based. The first release of the Calpe Saxon musketeers is really very close now so they’re the likely target.
  • Settle on a final design for my casualty bases. There was a lot of positive feedback to the SBS I did this year but I’m still not quite satisfied with the design. I’ve got some ideas for improvements and I hope to be able to demonstrate those for you over the coming weeks.
  • Achieve a consistently high standard of miniature photography. I’m pretty confident on this one. I’ve got a really good camera now and I received a wireless shutter remote control as a Christmas present. All I need to do is find a value-for-money tripod and set up the lampshade lightbox I described back in July.
  • Actually enter a painting competition. Either one at a big show like Salute or Colours or possibly the regular one on Steve Dean’s forum.

Now, if all that goes well, there’s a second tier of not so crucial objectives on my rolling list. These aren’t well formed ideas but I’d like to share at least the flavour of them with you and invite your opinions on them:

  • Terrain pieces: I’m hoping to build a few of these in 2009. I’ve got some books with nice photos of farm buildings, houses and churches in Saxony that I’m using for inspiration. I’m not quite sure what I’ll go for yet but perhaps a couple of small complexes of a couple of buildings that can be used as farms or villages. The other option is some landscape pieces. I’ve got a fascination with ditches, hedgerows and dykes. I can imagine constructing some of these as places where skirmishers might deploy to take advantage of cover.
  • More interactivity on BfK: you might recall the experiment with a voting poll a while ago. That’s something I might do more of in 2009. I’ve also got a bizarre pipedream about audio. I have some friends who are RPGers and they create their own podcasts. I’m not sure that I have the time and resouces to commit to anything so regular or intensive but I am toying with the idea of making digital recordings of certain visits or events later in the year. On top of that, I’m flirting with the Flickr photo-sharing service and the Twitter micro-blogging system.
  • Leveraging BfK traffic for pocket money: some of you may know that I have a small BfK bookshop set up on Amazon. So far, it hasn’t been a spectacular success but it costs me nothing to run and provides a few pennies to pay for paint. At present, the rules of my hosted blog service provider (WordPress) forbid certain sorts of commercial activity like advertising but I’m considering options that would enable me to overcome that legitimately. So if you happen to be a potential advertiser, now’s a good time to get in touch. I may not attract vast amounts of traffic, but what I get is top quality and highly relevant. Commenters during 2008 have included several top figure painters and gamers as well as well-known book authors like Dave Hollins, Stephen Summerfield and Anthony Dawson. Er… that’s quite enough self-promotion!

So that’s enough about me, as they say. What about you? Any grand plans for world domination in 2009?

Posted in Announcements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Black or white?

Posted by Martin on June 29, 2008

Landwehr work-in-progressAnother small update on progress. I’ve been following a thread on TMP about Prussian landwehr uniforms with some amusement. As usual, there seem to be several TMPers who are content to make categorical statements about things with little or no historical evidence to support their assertions. In this instance, there were some people prepared to state definitively that the straps for things like cartridge cases were white for the landwehr. Well, sorry, no…

We’re talking about poorly equipped militia units from a nation with sorry finances in a continent almost totally exhausted of all resources after 20-odd years of constant warfare. There’s no way that a regulation insisting on white staps could have been honoured. Equipment was begged, borrowed or stolen from where ever it could be found. And that meant straps were a mixture of colours. Yes sometimes white but far more often black. I’ve previously posted Knotel plates of Prussian landwehr here and the mixture of strapping colours can clearly be seen in them.

What’s this got to do with the current painting progress? Well, I was working on the figure shown here while this TMP thread was happening and, as you know, I’m striving for a campaign look with my Kurmark landwehr. I do actually want a mix of black and white straps so this chap has just happened to get white ones to offset the black the others painted so far have received. Other bits of progress on this figure include canvas coloured straps for his bags, completion of the footwear, trousers and litewka along with the now traditional muddying up of things. I think he’s coming along rather nicely.

Posted in Landwehr Infantry, On the Workbench | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

And just a little bit more…

Posted by Martin on June 15, 2008

Landwehr figure w-i-p Just short painting session yesterday to get the second figure of the current w-i-p pair up to the same stage as the first figure. So this chap’s face is done and he now has all his red provincial facings and I opted for light blue for his neck scarf. I’m pleased with the result though it doesn’t show up too clearly in this picture. I’ve also started on his trousers with the first two layers of grey: VMC neutral grey and VMC light grey. These will be finished off with Foundry arctic grey and Foundry white. And after that, of course, they’ll get the mud treatment!

Posted in Landwehr Infantry, On the Workbench | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A little progress update

Posted by Martin on June 14, 2008

First landwehr figureSecond landwehr figureThird landwehr figureFourth landwehr figure

Keeping up my Planet Armor approach that each small bit of progress is worth documenting and celebrating. Here’s two figures you’ve seen before finished and ready for varnishing (on the left) and the next two just started (on the right).

The left-most figure gave me some trouble. I want to vary the colours of the blanket rolls through the battalion to aid that landwehr campaign feel so I tried out some red-brown shades for this figure. They were an abject failure and I don’t really know why. More reflection called for there I’m afraid. So that led to a repaint using one of my trusty brown combinations (burnt umber basecoat, beige brown first highlight and cork brown second highlight) with a twist. I chose to experiment with an exceptionally dark brown called german camo. black brown (VMC822) as the basecoat and promoted the three other browns up the layers.

Success! You can see this darkest brown in the deepest central fold of the blanket roll. Don’t be deceived though – the other two “folds” you can see are a). burnt umber rather than german camo black brown and b). aren’t even folds really – they’re actually lines painted on the smooth surface of the blanket roll that give the illusion of folds. This is a tactic I’ve adopted on all the figures I’ve painted recently and really seems to give the texture of the figures a lift.

The two w-i-p figures are the ones that will complete the first company of the battalion and therefore the first officer makes an appearance. As you can see, I haven’t done too much yet. The first step was to paint the figures overall in a mixture of VMC black and Daler-Rowney FW black acrylic ink. Then I started on the faces and the fiddly bits on the caps: the landwehr cross and the black and white Prussian cockade. And yes, I do paint a little black dot in the middle for the central part of the cockade.

It’s at this stage that I also tackle everything that’s in the Kurmark provincial facing colour of red: cap bands, collars and cuffs. This is a four layer process (hull red – red – scarlet – orange-red). As you can see, one figure is further on than the other. The second figure wears a small neck scarf, so I’ve got the luxury of choosing a colour for this non-regulation item. I want something that’ll stand out from the red and dark blue of the uniform without being garish or unprototypical. I expect I’ll go for yellow or light blue.

Posted in Landwehr Infantry, On the Workbench | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »