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Sept. 29, 2007: New Project(s) started

Well, actually the first thing I had to get out of the way before I could start on new projects was fixing Lead Legionaries. I had hit the site capacity of 10 MB when I uploaded pictures of the Pictish shield patterns. Hunt as I could, I was unable to find a way to increase that limit on Earthlink's website. I found a way to increase my e-mail storage limits, but no way to pay more to up the personal website limit. So, since Earthlink gives each account up to 8 screen names with corresponding 10 MB website, I decided to simply branch off onto another page. So, I partitioned off part of the Gallery onto a new site. I've done my best to make it "invisible" to anyone surfing. However, if any other webmasters out there have linked pictures of my Ancients or Fantasy armies on their own sites, you will likely have to re-link them. My apologies, but it seemed the only way to do it.

Now, on to the projects! I have a number of them waiting in the wings, and was having a hard time deciding which to start. So, I compromised, and began two. I am continuing my 25mm Dark Age skirmish project by beginning to paint my Vikings. These are more Old Glory figures from their "Revenge" line, and they have a lot of personality. And at ATC 2007, I picked up another half dozen figs from Matt Gilford at Alternative Armies to augment the Old Glory figs as leaders and personalities. Once I get this batch of 3 dozen or so figs painted up, I'll start running games with them for the Sunday evening crowd.

The other project is starting my long awaited Dog People Hordes of the Things army! Yes, Jason, I've won this battle, and I know it wounds you deeply that I'll have a dog army before you, but the figs have been sitting in my closet for a year, now. It was time. Anyway, the figs are once again from Alternative Armies, and feature humanoids with dog heads. I've decided the spear-armed infantry in "Breed Regiments." Each regiment will have a distinctive uniform, standard and -- of course -- be painted to resemble a breed of dogs. Right now, I've begun "The Golden Boys," a golden retreiver inspired unit. Forthcoming will be "The Fighting Irish" (Irish setters) and "See Spot Kill" (Dalmatians). Should be a fun army to paint. I'm wagging my tail in anticipation of it, right now...

Sept. 12, 2007: Pict Leaders finished!

Pictish Leader, Druid, and standard bearers

Back of Pictish Army CommanderThe final Dullcoate layer is on them, and the last batch of 25mm Picts is done. I'm very pleased with how they turned out, especially the army commander. I went with a green and red color scheme on him and it turned out well. I also painted his long, flowing hair in an auburn color, which really accents the cloak and shield. I think the best part of him, though, are the detail on his arm bracelets and the tattooes I painted on his forearms. Somehow, the combination of those two really set the miniature off, and seem to ring true. I couldn't resist giving him green eyes, nor could I keep from giving the Druid slanting blue ones.

The Druid's severed head is actually some kind of Orc-like creature (I bought the fig from Alternative Armies' Celtic fantasy mythos line). I trimmed bits here and there and painted it to look like a human head. The only real extra detail were the red dots in the burnt orange trim on his robe. I'm not sure how I'll actually USE this figure as part of skirmish games, but what the heck? He could be a subleader or something...who knows?

The two standard bearers looked kind of plain, in my opinion, with their animal totem poles. So, I dressed them up with some colorful candy striping on the poles, and silver or gold on the bird atop them. I also made sure their tattoes turned our rather nice, as they would attract a lot of attention on the tabletop. All in all, I was pleased with them. In hindsight, I probably should have attached a cloth banner to the figures, even though they don't look like they're supposed to have them. Or at least experimented and tried it on one of them. Ah, well. If I do this later, I can make these unit standard bearers, and any new, more elaborate figures the army standard bearer.

I also took some photos of the shields I thought turned particularly well, and have assembled them on the Gallery page. Click here to check out the photo montage of my Pictish shield designs...all hand painted, of course!

Sept. 5, 2007: Two Week Break...

Well, finals and the end of the quarter really put the squeeze on my painting time. I am perhaps a third of the way through the final four 25mm Picts. This batch includes the Warband leader and his Druidic ally (holding aloft a severed head). I expect I'll pick up the pace on them now that I turned in my last assignment of the quarter the day before yesterday. Woo-hoo! Of course, I have a LOT of stuff I have to do in the intervening two weeks before classes start up again.

I did get a burst of energy last weekend and pulled out the last 12 bases of my New Kingdom Egyptian DBA army that I wanted to redo the flesh tone on and rebase. This will allow me to field a double size army at the tournament on Friday night at Advance the Colors, if I wish. I'm either going to do that or a Canaanite army with Egyptian ally. Not sure which. Anyway, I have them all done except the glue and water atop the flocking and the final dullcoate.

Speaking of the ATC, one of things I also have to do in the next two weeks is my large canvas map for the Emperor of Great Lakes campaign tournament, on Sunday of the convention. So, I'll be going through various sources to locate the capitals or strongholds of all the armies I have listed as available for the tournament. I will also be constructing the player markers for each kingdom. This year, I think I'll do little stone towers rather than figures for each player. I can have a banner sticking out of each tower to identify the player. So, I'll be busy doing that stuff, too.

So, other than the Picts and Egyptians, I guess I may not be get to too many new batches of figs in my two week break...

Aug. 23, 2007: Another batch of Picts...next to last!

Pictish Leader and companions

Okay, so it was only 3 weeks between updates this time -- not a month! So, I don't suck nearly as bad in August as I did in July. Anyway, I dullcoated (the only way to go...are you listening, Jason?) the next to last batch of 25mm Picts that I'll be doing. Eight guys in tunics and cloaks, including two leader figures and two horn blowers. I have to say that after doing these 25mm figures, I understand where some of the 25mm afficionados are coming from. Not that I can afford to give up 15mm and do my gaming in 25mm (or 28mm, whatever they call it these days)! Perish the thought!!! However, I must say that it is a rare figure that isn't bursting with personality.

Okay, so what's next? Four...count them...four 25mm Pictoids and I'm done, done, done! Woo-hooo!!! This batch will include two standard bearers from the Old Glory pack. It also will feature one heroic leader that I bought from Alternative Armies at Drums Along the Maumee this May. I think I'll throw in the druid figure holding up a severed head that came in that pack, as well. I expect these guys are a bit taller than the Old Glory figs, though I haven't sat them next to each other to be sure. But hey, it's the heroic leader and his druid compatriot! They've got to be larger than life!!!

Pictish Nobles

So, I'm debating what I'm going to do after this next batch of four is done. I really, really want to build up the number of figs I have to play this Dark Age Skirmish, so I'm leaning towards doing my Vikings next. However, I should probably go back to mixing stuff in to keep up my interest. If I decide to do that, I will be doing my 15mm HOTT Dogmen army. I bought the army pack at last year's Advance the Colors off of Alternative Armies. Then I bought some more troops to flesh them out when Matt showed up at Char Con 2006, as well. For some weird reason, I don't feel inspired to do any DBA stuff, right now. So, HOTT would be the best choice to mix in and alternate with painting 25mm Dark Age figs, to keep up my interest.

Pictures of this latest batch of Picts should be up tomorrow or -- at the latest -- the day after.

July 31, 2007: Next batch of 25mm Picts!

25mm Pictish Javelinmen

Wow. A month without an update. That's bad.

The reason for this travesty is I am going back to school, in addition to working full time. I'm taking two classes online as part of my goal to turn my Bachelor's degree into a teaching certificate. Then, I'll retire from the airline, work 9 months out of the year, travel the other three, and call my life perfect. Except I'll probably still be behind updating this site!

25mm Pictish Javelinmen

So, anyway, it had been so long since I painted that I forgot I'd decided to do the 25mm Picts in batches of six. So, I finished a batch of eight last week, and have begun another group of eight. The finished eight are skirmishing javelin men in two basic poses. The first wears only a loin cloth and is heavily tattooed. The second type of pose wears a tunic and holds a handful of javelins in his shield hand. Once again, I was happy with how they turned out. Pics are planned to be uploaded tomorrow, on Aug. 1st. Enjoy!

June 27, 2007: Photos of Picts and Lions

And here they are, photos of Batch 2 of the Picts in my Dark Age Skirmish project and some HOTT lions:

Pictish Warband

I stayed with the same basic mix of tunics...a checkered one, a striped one, a plain one, and three tartan patterned ones. I'm keeping to relatively earthy tones, blue tattooes, and shields with Celtic or Pictish imagery on them. The guy in the center with the long spear, brown hair and leather shield turned out to be my favorite in this batch. You can't see it as well in this photo, but his red-brown and black tartan turned out really nice.

I liked how these two stands of HOTT lions turned out, particularly their fur color. It was a four step process, beginning with a Iron Wind Metals "Dun" base coat. I then dry brushed them with Howard Hues Colonial Khaki. I then very strategically, and very lightly, added dry brush highlights with Howard Hues Middle East Flesh (an orangish, reddish brown color). And finally, I washed them black. Probably even more important than my obsessing over the right "Lion" color, was doing my usual Google Image search for pics of lions. I then duplicated the white spots, facial features, etc., as much as possible on the models. Turned out rather nicely, I feel...!

June 25, 2007: Desk j-u-s-t about cleared off!

Okay, so the Picts are done, the lions are done, and the four camps are very close to being complete. I just finished putting the layer of Liquitex on the camp bases. All the tents, equipment and camp followers are already epoxied on -- all that remains is the painting and flocking of the ground. What I haven't been good about doing, though, is taking photos of this stuff! Hopefully, I'll have some time when I get home from work tomorrow evening.

Part of what that's been taking my time is working on the latest issue of the HMGS Great Lakes newsletter, The Herald. Deadline was the June 15, and usually the week before and the week after the deadline are pretty hectic. Added to that, has been working on something for Origins: DBA Measuring Devices. Rich Hartley had asked if I'd do up a bunch of these styrene measuring devices for DBA Ancients (and HOTT) to use as a fund raiser for his local chapter, The Ohio Valley Hoplites. Since he was offering me two huge sheets of black styrene to do them (which I could use for my own projects, as well), it was hard to turn him down. So, I've got three dozen measuring devices sitting in the spare bedroom awaiting lamination -- other than that, they are ready to go and be sold at Origins.

June 11, 2007: Three things on my desk...

Normally, I'm pretty good at finishing one project on my desk before starting another. However, at the moment, I have three on my desk in various stages of completion. When I started on my Leonine stronghold (see entry below), I also dug out some Ral Partha lions that I had bought at Cold Wars to make a couple more stands of Beasts for my HOTT army. I cleaned them up, primed them, and there they sat for more at least two weeks. Then, when I finished the stonghold, I dug out six more 25mm Pictish spearmen for my Dark Ages Skirmish project. I drilled out their hands, put their brass wire spear in there, and got moving on them fairly quickly. The lions languished off to the side, though.

Project number three entered a few days ago when I decided to do four DBA camps to hand out as prizes at the Origins DBA Tournies that I'm running. I grabbed my box of resin tents and terrain, then my box of camp followers and animals, and set them out on my desk one by one, looking for inspiration. It came fairly quickly, and I soon had two Medieval camps, a Celtic one, and a Classical era one planned. Inspired, I went ahead and cut the bases, epoxying the resin onto them. I forged on and cleaned up the miniatures for them, gluing them down on their cardboard painting stands.

On Saturday, while working on the Pictish spearmen some more, I saw the lions sitting forlornly on my desk, and felt guilty. I gave them a base coast of dun color, letting it dry overnight. On Sunday, I drybrushed khaki and an orange-red to bring out their coloring (I always like to let base coats that are to be drybrushed sit overnight so that the acrylic paint "shrink wraps" onto the figure, bringing out maximum detail). Seeing how close they were to being done, I did a Google Image Search for reference on where to place patches of white fur and for facial detail. So, here on Monday, the four lions are complete, except for the final black wash. This batch of Picts are also nearing completion -- shields patterns done, and all that is left is a few minor details.

So, for a brief moment, I can sit back and look at three projects on my desk, and look at the progress of three projects at one time!

May 26, 2007: The Walled Mountain City of Leon -- HOTT Stronghold

Well, here it is, the project that's been eating my time over the last couple weeks in an incredibly addictive fashion. Definitely the most ambitious stronghold I've ever attempted. Click here for more photos and description of construction.

Hobbit Stronghold

May 26, 2007: Hobbit Stronghold

I had to post a picture of my Hobbit Stronghold, too. Details on how I made it are on the Gallery page for my Hobbit Army.

May 25, 2007: Finally! Pics of my Picts

My first 25mm Pictish WarbandSo, after getting cast lead spear points for my brass wire, I could finally finish the 25mm Picts up, flock their bases, and take pictures of them. I also took shots of other stuff, so expect a mini-flood of updates to this site. Above is a shot of the six figures I finished grouped together. I also have individual close ups of the Picts on my Dark Age Skirmish Gallery page. Click on the link to check them out. I'm pretty excited about starting the next batch...this is going to be a fun project.

On another note, I have been semi-addicted to constructing the latest HOTT stronghold I've been working on -- one for my Leonine army of Splintered Light miniatures that I won at the HOTT Wax tournament. Zeke, doubtless, will be vexed by it, since I'm not using his "Kitty Condo" he constructed to go with it. I guess I'm just not a fan of whimsical fantasy...I prefer mine a bit gritty, ala Lord of the Rings. Anyway, from a moderately complex idea, this project has morphed into an incredibly detailed and time consuming one. It'll either look fantastic when I'm done, or overblown. We'll see. The construction phase is done, though, and I'm on to the painting up phase. So, I expect to finish it within a week.

May 12, 2007: Wow...these are simply...wow...

Okay, so as I said, it's been a long time since I painted 25mm figs. I have to say that I am VERY pleased with how the first, six Pictish spearmen came out. They're all done except for the spearpoints. They come with closed hands that I had to drill out with a pin vise (thanks again, Steve, for the gift of the extra vise!). They also didn't come with weapons at all, so I put brass wire in their hands as Pictish long spears. Rich Smethurst is going to give me a bag of old Ral Partha spear points to put on the end of the wire at Drums Along the Maumee, this weekend. Once I've got the points on and the spears finished, I'll post some pics of them.

I ended up doing three tartaned, one checkered, one striped and one plain tunic. The guy with the checkered tunic turned out unreal -- the face is so lifelike with his tattooed cheeks and steely green eyed stare. Old Glory did a great job, in general, on these castings. One guy's head looks kind of simian, but then again, I've seen some monkey like faces on people in my life! Anyway, I did this batch in earthy colors, as they're more of the rank and file warriors wearing simple tunics-- not the wealthier ones with tunics and hooded cloaks. The shields all have different designs on them, which I'm fairly pleased with. I'll get better with the shield designs as I go along, I imagine.

Anyway, next up on the painting table is the long awaited Stronghold for my Hobbit HOTT army. Mike Stelzer gave me a couple hobbit holes from JR Minaiatures months ago, and I put them on a 3"x4.5" sized styrene base. Around one long and one short side I put two Museum Miniatures wagons that I picked up at Cold Wars. One is flipped up on its side as an improvised barricade (along with barrels and a wall of grain sacks), the other will have a Hobbit defender in it. I'll crew the stronghold with five of the Hobbits I picked up from Splintered Light Miniatures at Cold Wars. Looks pretty cool all epoxied into place. I'll start painting it all tomorrow.

May 10, 2007: 25mm Picts underway!

So, I've got all the SYW stuff out of the way that I really need to do for the Sport of Kings campaign. Actually, I probably didn't even have to do as much as I did. Several of the players have gone out and bought figs and are painting them up for their armies. So, I've pt the SYW Russians back on the Back Burner as Steve and Mike Cole have them handled, I've held off fleshing out my SYW Brits as John Loy's coming along nicely on his, and Allen's finishing up stuff for the Ottoman Turks. Thanks, guys!

What that means is the painting table is clear for me to get rolling on my 25mm Dark Age Skirmish project. As I sit here typing, I'm looking at my first batch of six Pictish spearmen. The Old Glory figs are clean and simple, and would go even faster were I not painting tartans, checkers and putting tattooes on these guys. I'll post pics once I get the first batch done. Should be a different experience, it's been a long, long time since I've painted 25mm figs.

April 30, 2007: Busy Month!

Well, gaming definitely took a back seat in April, unfortunately. I think I've had the same 8 stands of British SYW infantry sitting on my desk waiting for flocking for half the month. And they're still not done! However, a trip to Albania, and the latest issue of The Herald combined to occupy a lot of my time. I do need to take photos of the Prussian infantry, though, and get them up on this site.

As for painting, I have primed a couple stands of SYW Austrian Hussars to fill that hole in my troop list. I'm looking forward to starting on them in the first days of May...woo-hoo! It feels like ages since I've picked up a paint brush!

March 24, 2007: Pics of my new basing scheme for Seven Years War

So, here's what I've put into "Full Speed Ahead" -- rebasing my Seven Years War armies from Age of Reason's motley collection of sizes to 1"x3" stands for my HOTT Lead. I really like the way they look. As of now, I've rebased 15 Austrian line infantry battalions. On my painting table as I type is a batch of 10 Prussian mounted officers (so I can do the Prussian infantry next) about three quarters completed. The cavalry were a snap to do -- I took a 1"x3" piece of styrene and epoxied two Age of Reason stands side by side. Check out the Gallery pages for photos of them.

Austrian Line Infantry on my 1

One battalion of Austrian Line Infantry

The Austrian infantry marches onto the field at its stately pace

A force of Austrians march onto the field -- I like the linear look of these bases!

 

March 21, 2007: Decisions made on projects, and pics of some new AK-47 Figures

Latest batch of Liberation Miniatures 20mm Africans

Okay, I'm back from Cold Wars -- ready my report here on the Gaming Nights pages. In the Dealer Area, I remained as disciplined as could possibly be expected. So, here's the decision on the projects below:

Seven Years War: Full Speed Ahead! I bought two packs of 15mm Old Glory generals, one of Prussians and one of Russians, to use alongside the six infantry figs on the 1"x3" bases. So, I am going to push this project to the forefront, running SYW HOTT Lead games, and hopefully, enticing the locals to doing the Sport of Kings campaign (adapted to my rules from Age of Reason).

Strandhogg: Half Speed Ahead! I bought two bags of Old Glory 25mm (yes, 25mm -- I hope you were sitting down...) at Cold Wars. As expected, they were Picts and Vikings. No hurry here, but I am going to start mixing in these guys and painting them, with a goal to doing some Dark Age Skirmish by late in the year.

WW II Aerial: Bad news...Fantasy Flight Games pushed back the release of Dawn of War, the Wings of War Battle of Britain game, until May. So, this project is at Full Stop (to continue using nautical terms).

And now, enjoy some pics of my newest batch of AK-47 Heroscape figures. I decided to paint some Congolese army forces in khaki colored uniforms. I figured their uniforms were a mish-mash of whatever they could get from various other suppliers, so that I couldn't do them all in olive drab. More importantly, though, this allows me to make squads a bit easier to tell apart on the battlefield! Next up: Some Congolese regulars in cammies...!

Close up of 20mm African soldier from Liberation Miniatures Three Congolese soldiers in khaki move through the bush

March 4, 2007: At a Crossroads on Several Projects

Thus far, this page has been more about what I've been painting and less about the actual projects that I'm working on. So, today, being a cold, windy day -- and me trying to put off going out and running -- I'll update you on the various things I'm working on, or thinking about starting to work on.

STRANDHOGG: About a year ago, I wrote a review of a Viking Age skirmish game named Strandhogg that seemed simple and fun. Since the number of figures needed for each player's force are small, I pondered in an article in The Herald whether this should be a project I take up...and in 25mm scale, no less! To my surprise, one of my friends, Terry Hollern, chimed in about a month later saying, "I'm in!" Seems he had some 25mm Saxons in his closet and he'd begun painting them up. So, my plan was to buy a warband of 25mm Picts from John Gleason at Advance the Colors 2006 -- except John's Rise of the West Miniatures did not attend. I did some searching and saw the prices of 30 figure packs from Old Glory 25mm miniatures were only $29. At less than a buck a fig, and needing pretty much just one pack to field a warband, I figured I'd order some. Money was tight at the end of last year, and I never did get around to buying that Pictish warband. Now, with Cold Wars 2007 approaching, I've read through the rules again to see if it's still something I want to do. If I do buy it, I'll probably pick up a bag of Picts and a bag of Vikings at Cold Wars so I can field opposing forces. Terry's Saxons still await, I understand. So, I'm at a crossroads here...do I, or don't I?

SEVEN YEARS WAR: I've been saying I've got to get my SYW project restarted for, oh, about two years now. Awhile back, I even pronounced myself satisfied with the rules I'd use. The problem was that bugbear that all gamers dread: Rebasing. You see, Allen and I began this project years ago, he purchasing a 15mm French army while I bought Prussians and Austrians. We used them for a rules set that was popular at the time, Warfare in the Age of Reason. Well, after many games of it, we came to the conclusion the rules were poorly organized and drove us batty trying to find the particular rule we needed to during the course of our somewhat infrequent games. It was a bit slow moving,, too, with lots of die rolling, adding up modifyers and such. So, Allen and I agreed to bag it.

I began to experiment with using Hordes of the Things (HOTT) Fantasy rules for SYW, and tinkered and tinkered and finally pronounced myself satisfied. I even ran a few games at conventions using the rules. During the playtests, I'd used two distinct sizes of temporary bases. Now -- if I'm going to go ahead and revitalize this project -- it's time to choose between them. Age of Reason's basing was 3 to a stand for infantry and two to a stand for Jagers and mounted. The only problem is that base widths were different for all three types, and HOTT requires all troops to be on the same width bases to work. So, our AOR infantry is 1 1/8th" wide by 1/2" deep (yes, that is one eighth of an inch...don't ask why); Jagers are 1" wide by 1/2" deep; Mounted are 1 1/2" wide by 1" deep. One of my systems was to put two stands of infantry back to back on a cavalry size base. The other was to place two side by side on a 3" wide base. I figured I could put a mounted officer alongside the six infantry figures on the base to help fill up that last 3/4". Plus, that might look pretty snazzy with a line of battalions led by all those dandily dressed, mounted officers. Three inches wide also means I just slap two cavalry bases side by side, or three Jager ones, and I'm set there. I'm leaning the most towards the 3" system, as I think the look also fits with the more linear nature of warfare during this period.

So, it appears I've made the decision to "ramp up" this project....

DBA ANCIENTS: Ancients is without a doubt my favorite period. And the "project" I have been working on for the past year has been building a stable of Biblical Era armies. Waiting to be painted are Philistines and the Hittites. However, in December 2006, I spent one bored evening counting up the unpainted DBA armies I have waiting their turn on the painting table. It was surprising how many I'd collected. Not just packs of this and that, but complete, bagged DBA armies ready to go.

So, I made a vow for 2007: I will buy no more new DBA armies this year. I need to reduce this backlog...heck, I still have Southeast Asians I never got around to painting when I was doing my Khmer, Malays, Thais, etc.! So, perhaps this project is being "ramped down..."?

1/300th SCALE WW II BATTLE OF BRITAIN: I've got enough Scotia 1/300th scale Hurricanes, Spitfires and their German foes painted up to start playing. I've got the hexagonal bases/flight stands constructed (although I still need to do the Altitude indicators). I've pretty much got the rules I want to use down, though I am still tweaking here and there. Essentially, I'm taking the "clicky" game Crimson Skies and the WW I card game Wings of War and melding them together. Really, the hard work left is doing the playing pieces -- the tokens representing damage, manuever, speed, and so on, plus the "aircraft panel" for them to be placed upon.

I guess what I'm really waiting on is that Wings of War is set to release a WW II version soon, and I really, really wanted to see what THEY did before I did too much more work on mine. Heck, I could come away saying, "Great! This game is exactly what I want to use" and simply replace the cards with miniatures. So, in all honesty, this project is probably best considered pulled off at the side of the crossroads, with the driver unfolding his map...

So, there you have it! The crossroads I'm at with several projects. And you notice that I didn't even mention the 15mm Italian Colonials or the 20mm Modern Africans!

February 28, 2007: Basing Italian Colonials!

Closeup of BersaglieriMy basing system...gotta love it and hate it! I'm in the hate stage, right now, as it seems to be taking me forever to do all the flocking on the lastest four units of my Italian Colonial army. It is a seriously multi-step process, which I think I will review for you now!

Step 1: Epoxy figures down onto their base. For my Ancients, I use Renaissance Ink magnetic bases. For the colonials, I decided to use plastic styrene, as with only two figs per 40x40mm base, I was worried about the weight on lead ankles.
Step 2: Using a plastic knife, I spread Liquitex modeling paste onto the base, smoothing it out with a thick paintbrush loaded down with water. This gives it a textured surface, though it takes overnight to dry. Be sure to tap excess water off, or it will take even longer!
Step 3: Paint the base (if my colonials) Polly Scale Sand Yellow. This is one of the last Polly Scale "We don't know how to make paint lids that don't get stuck" paints. It's such a good, earthy, desert color, I had to go back to it for these guys.
Step 4: Paint good old Elmer's white glue onto the base, then sprinkle it with Woodland Scenics Turf - Earth.
Step 5: Once dry, I use a thick paintbrush to put 3 or so irregular blotches of white glue on the base and sprinkle Woodland Scenics Blended Turf (Green Blend) onto the glue.
Step 6: Spray the base (and miniatures on it) with Krylon clearcoat. I use Krylon for my first coat as its less expensive than the Testors I use for the final coat.
Step 7: Using an old craft knife, I splotch several round blobs of white glue onto the brown sections. I then take the old knife, with a smidgen of glue on the tip, and place -- one by one -- Woodland Scenics ballast onto the glue. This ballast is the tiny, vaguely khaki colored ballast.
Step 8: Using my next-to-smallest brush, I put a dab of Polly Scale Clear Flat (with Black added that I use as a wash) onto the ballast rocks -- otherwise, they're way, way too brightly colored.
Step 9: Paint a 50-50 mixture of white glue and water over the base, tapping off excess.
Step 10: Once dry, I spray the bases and figures on them with Testors Dullocoate.

So, there you have it! My 10-step, laborious process for my Colonial bases, as well as my Biblical Ancient figs! Scroll down for the close up of the pic of the Italian line officer to see what the base looks like. If it didn't look so darned good (IMO), wouldn't go through all this trouble...

February 7, 2007: more Italian Colonial Line Infantry

I finished two units of Italian Bersaglieri. They turned out nice, but I'm holding off on basing them up till I get the next batch from the project done: Two units of Askaris. These are native Eritreans hired by the Italians to help fight their battles in Eastern Africa. A large percentage of their forces were composed of Askaris, and by all accounts, they fought well against both the Abyssinians and the Madhists that the Italians tangled with. Their uniforms are fairly simple, like the Italians, so I expect them to go fairly quickly. My one sticking point was what color to use for their skin. I did some web surfing and reading, and it seems Eritreans tend to be a bit lighter in complexion than typical sub-Saharan Africans. So, I sorted through my paints, not liking any, and finally settled on a brown that I used to use for a basic, medium brown (Ceramcoat Burnt Umber). I abandoned using it for their Brown Velvet because the Umber doesn't cover that well, while the Velvet is quite good. So, I'm figuring whatever of the white primer that shows through the semi-opaque Umber will make good skin highlights. Who knows, we'll see how it works after this first batch! Look for pics in a week or so...maybe less.

Italian Colonial Bersaglieri

Italian Colonial Bersaglieri

Italian Colonial Askaris

Italian Colonial Askaris

January 26, 2007: Italian Colonial Line Infantry

Italian Colonial OfficerI finished the first two units of Italian Colonial Line Infantry to be used with my friend Tom Graves' Colonial / Victorian Science Fiction project. I'd purchased the figures at Cold Wars 2006, and with the next Cold Wars less than two months away, I felt I HAD to get something done with these.The miniatures, I believe, are from Tin Soldier. I DO know that I purchased them from Silver Eagle's booth, last year. Very few folks make Italian Colonials in 15mm, so it's not like I had a huge selection. The figs are slim and have okay detail. They painted up well -- the Italian color scheme of Khaki and white, with dark brown leather cross belts turned out nicely.

One of the neat things about Tom's system is how easy it is to field a force for the game. Units are all on 40mm square bases, with the number of figures per base depending on the troop type. Regular troops like my Italians call for only two per base, so a 4-base unit requires only 8 painted miniatures. So, I did my first batch as 16 figures, i.e., two units. Next on the painting table are another two units, these being the Bersaglieri or "Chicken Feather Askaris" as they were sometimes called (their helmets had distinctive rooster feathers attached). These will be the elites of my force, or Superior Troops, in Tom's system.

 

Italian Colonials Line Infantry

January 20, 2007: 4 DBA Camps (All commissions)

So, after doing the previous batch of 4 DBA camps / HOTT strongholds, I decided to clear my "Inbox" of commissions. I owed Kanawha Rifleman (Charleston, WV based group) and friend Nick Gillispie two camps -- one a Carolingian or Charlemagne era camp, and the other a North African Arab one. I owed fellow DBA fanatic John Loy a Palmyran one, as well as a "Barker Marker" for his Egyptian army with a small statue he'd given me. And finally, it was time to start on Dennis Frank's Ottoman Turk camp, which John Loy and John Lawitzke had commissioned me to do.

They all turned out nice. Click on the links below to see photos and a discussion of each: