Posted by Martin on August 26, 2013
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.
Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol, Paint and Equipment | Tagged: airbrushes, Osprey Publishing, Perry | 8 Comments »
Posted by Martin on January 1, 2012
Painted abandoned backpack.
I wanted a low-stress way of getting reacquainted with the brushes and paints for my contribution to the La Bricole painting competition, so I settled on tackling the abandoned backpack that I had prepared and primed the other day.
Whether it was the fact that it’s New Year’s Day or that I’m rusty, I don’t know, but this little piece of scenic clutter for the first base took me a couple of hours to complete. Perhaps most surprisingly, on nearing completion, I realised that I’d used 11 different paints! In no particular order they were Vallejo Ivory, Burnt Umber, Cavalry Brown, Red Leather, Orange Brown, Dark Grey, Neutral Grey, Light Grey and White plus the 1st Shadow and 2nd Shadow from the Andrea White set.
Posted in French Infantry, On the Workbench | Tagged: France, La Bricole painting competiton, Painting, Perry | 5 Comments »
Posted by Martin on December 31, 2011
Primed figures for first base in La Bricole painting competition.
Regular BfK‘ers will know that I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions or entering painting competitions but coincidence has thrown something seasonal into my path. Over at the La Bricole discussion forum ran by my virtual friend in Tokyo, Robert Swan, (previously founded by Iannick Martin), there’s going to be a friendly Napoleonic painting competition running through the the end of the first quarter of 2012.
Given my pre-disposition against resolutions and entering painting competitions, why would I bother with this one?
Well, it has several interesting features to recommend it. Firstly, it comes at a time when my painting motivation needs a kick-start after an end to 2011 that saw my time heavily committed to the day job and my involvement with school governorship to the complete exclusion of hobby activities. Secondly, La Bricole is a small and friendly forum where a group of people with similar hobby values to my own hang out, so I almost feel a duty of camaraderie to participate. Lastly, the rules of the competition have been designed in a way that really appeals to me. There’s a goodly length of time to get entries completed (until 31 March 2012) and the scope of what’s required for a valid entry fits in nicely – the theme is militia and line units and we can opt for infantry, cavalry or artillery. I’m going for the former which, for 28mm scale, means I need only produce an entry of 18 figures.
And that’s the main attraction – this competition will, hopefully, give me sufficient motivation to make some real painting headway as we hurtle into the New Year. Doing 18 figures will get me halfway to my first completed battalion of French line infantry using the Calpe Route March figures. Once I get up momentum, I’m hoping it’ll carry me over into even more productivity as the year progresses. My plan is to complete at least one six-figure base per month of the competition and I’m hoping to throw in a couple of surprises as we go along.
Each entrant has been offered the opportunity to show work-in-progress updates in a special thread on the La Bricole forum and to offer encouragement to fellow participants as we go along. Of course, as well as doing that, I’ll be posting updates here too. I’ve already prepped and primed the figures for the first base and that’s where the first couple of interesting little surprises come into play. Firstly, I’ve done a head-swap on the drummer to give him a shouting barehead stolen from a Calpe Saxon infantryman; secondly, for a bit of scenic enhancement, I’ve added some putty straps to a backpack from the Perry plastic French infantry box to represent some discarded kit on the groundwork. The idea is that these touches will keep up my interest levels in the project and give my fellow competitors something to think about.
I’ve got some more sneaky ideas in mind to up the ante on the second base 🙂
I’m also going to use this competition for some experiments I’ve had in mind for a while. Having prepped the figures for the first base, I’ve primed them grey (a continuation of an ongoing experiment) but this time I’ve used Army Painter Uniform Grey spray paint for the job. It was certainly a quick job but somewhat smelly and you do need to be careful that details don’t get obscured by overspraying. Looking at the photo above, it would be easy to believe that these grey figures were Perry plastics rather than primed Calpe metals (well, apart from the backpack). More about other experiments as we progress.
Posted in Announcements, French Infantry, On the Workbench, Paint and Equipment | Tagged: Calpe, France, La Bricole painting competiton, Painting, Perry, primer | 6 Comments »
Posted by Martin on September 5, 2011
It’s struck me that wargamers hibernate the opposite way round to nature. We rest from our hobby through the warm Summer months and the come out of our metaphorical burrows when Autumn begins for a period of activity that runs through to the end of the following Spring. I’m even beginning to develop the theory that here in the UK, the wargaming “season” (rather like the grouse shooting season) has official start and end dates. My suggested start date being the Colours show at Newbury in September and my suggested end date being Salute in London in April. Enough of this folly…
There is some truth in my theory though because I do detect increased hobby activity around this time of year. As evidence of that I offer the following: Perrys’ bumper release of new Prussian metals, a fascinating horse painting video tutorial from Toby “Artmaster Studio” Thorton, increased discussion fora activity and (being briefly parochial) the seasonal increase in traffic here at BfK.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of these beginning with the Perrys. Among other things, they’ve release nine metal Prussian cavalry packs, each comprising three figures and three horses. These packs are evenly divided across Cuirassiers, line Uhlans and Landwehr cavalry. I haven’t had the opportunity to inspect the figures in person but there are photos of all nine packs on the Perry Miniatures website. I suspect that the Cuirassiers will be the most popular release with many Prussian collectors because there a few options in 28mm for this troop type – even the extensive Calpe range doesn’t include them yet.
As for the Landwehr cavalry and the Uhlans, well these may pose a dilemma for some collectors since they provide the first credible competition for the Calpe figures. I suspect it’ll come down to a matter of personal taste but you all know which side my bread is buttered. I even managed to earn the dubious “sock puppet” badge of honour on one discussion forum for pointing out in a thread about the Perry release that I felt the Calpe figures were better. But, knowing the forum in question, I suspect this was light-hearted jest rather than a serious insult. Of course, there’s another forum that shall not be named where things would probably have been more spiteful…
Perry Prussian Landwehr cavalry command pack.
As an aside, one of the things that I noticed in the photos of the Perry Prussian cavalry was that they’ve all be primed light grey. I think the reason for this is to make the photography easier to show more details. It’s an uncanny coincidence that I’m also experimenting with grey primer but for different reasons. I’m investigating whether I can get better results by switching from back to grey – especially for lighter colours like yellows and whites. I’ll post some photos once the experiment gets into full swing.
Talking of painting, Toby Thorton has tackled the often thorny (see what I did there?) topic of painting horses in the latest of his insightful series of tutorial videos. He covers all kinds of territory including several useful paint triads and an overview of several different horse painting techniques. I’ve embedded it here for your viewing enjoyment:
I’ll sign off by bringing things full circle to say that the Autumn campaign is set to start at Calpe Towers too with news of the the next packs in the French infantry “route march” set. Head variant packs F7 to F9 will be next and possibly a head variant pack for the regimental command group because Peter F. wants it for his own collection (oh, what it must be like to enjoy that kind of luxury). Peter is also working on the battalion command pack and hopes to have this ready for release early next month. More officer packs (both foot and mounted), an NCO pack and “dynamic” packs (with casualty figures and enthusiastic figures) will be released to complete this set of figures before the end of the year.
Look out for us rummaging round the demo games, traders and painting competition at Colours this coming weekend!
Posted in Calpe Towers, Forward Patrol, Tutorials | Tagged: Colours, Perry, Prussia, Toby Thornton | 8 Comments »