Hedge production…

I haven’t made any small scale scenery for a while. Far longer than I remembered. I made a load of hedges for mt 6mm games way way back in 2011! http://blog.belisarius.org.uk/2011/06/boosting-hedge-fund.html. These used kitchen scouring pads and although they worked well they looked a little ‘formal’ – more like tidy well maintained hedges rather than ‘wild’ country ones!So I wanted something a little rougher looking. I’ve seen various techniques online so adopted a variation on those for these. I’ve always used Woodland Scenics clump foliage on my bases but found the colours (especially the dark green) to be a little too uniform. So a trip last week to Midlam Miniatures in Felling saw me leave with two packs of Javis clump foliage. This seemed to have a better colour with a bit of variation and highlight to it. So I started off with a sample length of hedge using a large ‘lollipop’ stick. In the past I’ve just used PVA to fix clumps down, putting PVA in a tub and dipping the clumps in and then sticking them down. However the Javis clumps were a nightmare! Very crumbly and bits sticking to the PVA and disintegrating as I picked them up! And the ‘foam’ material seemed to compress and stay compressed as you squeezed it to get a good ‘stick’. Total nightmare! I was not impressed. And the PVA seemed reluctant to stick it to the stick so I ended up using a hot glue gun. Once it was all dry I lathered the lot in watered down PVA and the end result looked OK even if a little squished in places.

I was almost going to give up on the stuff as far too faffy to use but having paid £2 a bag I didn’t want to waste it. So… deciding that 12 strips was a good number to have I lined up another 11 of the sticks. I coated one side with PVA to seal it then when dry coated the other side and dipped it in my usual ballast/sand type mix. Rather than waste time painting by hand I stuck the stick to a board and retired to  the back yard with a can of Army Painter Leather Brown spray.Although this is a little lighter than the Burnt Umber I use for my bases once I dry brush with my usual two highlight colours it is close enough.I wasn’t keen on using the hot glue gun for all of this (and visible residue is shiny) so I just ran a line if UHU glue along the stick and having spent a little time preparing clumps in the two colours I started filling up each stick.

Once stuck I then carefully socked all the clumps in watered PVA. I gave them a proper soaking and left to dry overnight. This stiffened and sealed the clumps.And then to blend them in a little with all my basing a dabbed a few bits of PVA along each side of the hedge and added some of my usual static grass mix.And that was them done! I left gaps in a couple of hedges to allow access through.

Quite pleased with the result and the final method made the use of the Javis clumps more tolerable. Given that you can never have too many hedges (and assuming I have enough sticks!) I will make up another dozen lengths and do a few half length ones to allow a bit more flexibility in laying them out. I’ll need to buy more foliage first though! I’d hoped to set up a small table for a game this weekend but time didn’t allow. The hedges look like they will work fine for 6mm and 10mm and even for for 15mm at a push so well worth  the effort!

While making up the sample hedge I also made up a couple of 6mm pylons I have had sat gathering dust since I primed the inner surfaces more than several years ago! Can’ remember who made them but they look fine and although a little fiddly to stick together (UHU worked again!) are worth the effort. I have another 8 to do…So a productive few sessions. Not quite as exciting as going to Salute but a damn sight cheaper!

A

 

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ShedCon 2018 – Grays

Despite a knackered foot and hobbling around I made the trip down to the home of Iain Burt (Essex Boy) in Grays for a 20mm WSS game to christen his shed! 

The shed is outstanding. Plenty of room for an 8’x5′ table and six of us around it. Lots of storage at one end and under table. The table is great, can be reduced in size to 6’x5′ if needed and was all built by Iain himself. The raised edge has hills and sky painted on to aid with taking nice pictures! I arrived Friday afternoon and although Iain has been planning an preparing this game for over six months I was roped into painting the bases in trees and later he was finishing basing figures! But the plan in the day was to get up early and at 8am go into the shed to lay out the table. That shouldn’t  take long should it? I knew he has some painted blankets so just throw those down and lay out the terrain on top? Not Iain… 

First a layer of 1″ polystyrene laid down followed by a double layer of compressed underfloor insulation sheets….

The river sections were then laid out and the course marked and the whole thing cut out of the insulation board to create a recess.

The blankets were then laid down, tucked under the boards and locked in by the edges and pressed into the recess to allow  the river to sit in that with matching blanket material to blend it in. A LOT of work but it really looked good.

Now the roads. These were made for the game and just needed laying out as planned as they only fitted one way. Half an hour late after looking at pictures and ‘trimming’ a few bits they finally all fitted! 🙂

A few buildings and fields and a LOT of trees added and we had the final table. Well worth the effort. The trees especially looked the part.

The scenario was a simple one. Myself and Dave Hall were defending the road junctions. Five wagons were placed at road entry points (mostly on the far side) and at end of game the other side (Simon, Gary and Tim) had to have clear roads to exit at least three of the wagons off their side of the table. As long as we had a unit that could charge the road along a route then it was blocked. We started with four infantry brigades deployed anywhere two feet away from the three ‘enemy’ sides of the table. They started with five brigades coming on at table edges. Other brigades (cavalry and infantry) were fed in to either side as Iain saw fit. Rules were based on Rank and File with a few mods from Iain.

I’ll post all the pics in a gallery but a few here to describe the key events of the game. I was defending the right against Simon with a Yomper brigade (it’s the name we give to the figure!) which included the Savage Swans and the Alterfritzenburg brigade was deployed centrally to cover against a central attack by Tim. 

Dave had the tougher job of defending the left village and centre against a determined Gary and Tim.

The battle around the village was savage with Gary having to battle through angry townsfolk and then unit after unit being thrown back before, after pushing and pushing, Dave was thrown back. Although, the road was almost open Dave was able to put up a final line of defence and with a unit of cuirassier in support still controlled the crucial junction.

In the centre Tim had a tough task. Both myself and Dave had brigades blocking his way and the impassable woods made it hard to make numbers tell as he tried to cross the river and bring his force to bear. Two gun batteries caused casualties even at distance and as both were often able to converge on one unit it made progress slow. However, as the flanks came under more pressure and unit had to be moved in support the defence in the centre weakened and with a little more time the defence would have collapsed. However, time was on the side of the defenders!

My battle was to be a grinding affair on the right to seize control of the road. After Simon’s initial attack stalled he withdrew to control the road. As his cavalry came on some went up into the woods to battle with some stubborn local militia. As his force consolidated its defence it became clear I would need to advance and contest the road as if we did lose the other flank then we could not afford to give an easy ‘point’ away here. So my first brigade advanced and the ensuing firefights did not go well for me. Supporting dragoons and cuirassiers came up and the dragoons charged into the face of multiple battalions and guns and did not fair well! The supporting cavalry did push back Simon’s line but they too were eventually thrown back. The Savage Swans were the only unit of the brigade to survive and as supporting units of Altefritzenburgers, battered from their own battles, came up in support it was clear that here too the defenders still contested the road. 

So, as the day drew to a close it was decide the defenders had done their duty and held the roads! It was a great game. The rules worked well. Each unit rolled for quality as they took their first test. I ended up with quite a few green troops! We used low ammunition rolls which restricted the power of guns a little. And the various markers and flags that Iain produced made the game flow really well. Equally the good company and their approach to the game did likewise. A pleasure to play with the chaps again! Here we all are: Iain Burt, Simon Tonkiss, Andy McMaster, Dave Hall, Gary Phillips and Tim Hall.

It was a pleasure to play with Iain and Gary’s collections and to christen the new shed in such fine a manner. Many thanks to Iain for all the work put in.

And as a final note, I spent the Sunday helping Iain buy a new PC and then setting it all up for him. I was rather shocked when I saw the PC it was replacing! I don’t think I’ve seen a monitor that small for nearly ten years!

Thanks for looking. All the images from the day are at: ShedCon 2018 Gallery

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Altefritzenburg Marching to War! Again…

Having been laid up at home following a foot operation I’ve been trying to paint up stuff for the forthcoming ShedCon 20mm WSS game. I’d hoped to get a little more painted but I can only sit for so long and then have to go put my foot up! Either way, I’ve finished the main force I wanted done and am quite pleased. So here we have the total force that Altefritzenburg will be contributing to the game:

First a little background. We first played 20mm WSS at a LAW/WD3 gathering in Framlingham in 2014 where we used Essex Boy’s and Gary Phillip’s collections. I took the opportunity to create my Savage Swans in yet another scale/period and you can see them at the back on the above picture and here:

But for the upcoming game I wanted to add some dragoons and a gun to re-create my C18th Von Donovan’s Legion.

And dismounts for the dragoons complete this earlier version of the Legion:

The Swans are heavily modded (by Essex Boy) Les Higgins and it would have been nice to do a full brigade of them but that would require a lot of work for EB so I went for recreating the Altefritzenburg units using a different Les Higgins model. A three regiment brigade:

This gives me the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Altefritzenburgers. The 3rd Regiment was a bit of a tester for the third unit I will do for my 28mm. I went for white facings but did the leggings black as I felt all white would be…well…too white! 

They are lovely figures to paint. So neat and simple. EB has been great by converting the odd figures (sometimes Irregular Miniatures) to make up command figures, and by adding proper poles for all the standard bearers.  It makes all the difference. Flags are all hand painted over a printed template.

I’m really looking forward to the game. Next plan is to complete a ‘Swan’ type brigade with two more units in the same pose. This ‘may’ lead to a slight re-write on the history of the Swans. We shall see. But it awaits EB finding the time to create the figures. I also want to do a cavalry brigade so will either do two cuirassier units to join the dragoons or do three and keep the dragoons part of the Legion. I also have some hussars to do. And then that’s it! Honest!

Next up on the painting table is odds and ends for Ayton…

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How I paint my flags…

I never used to try and paint my own flags. I’m not a natural painter. I have to learn the techniques. Cheats. Anything to make life easier. So in the past I always used printed flags, either bought or printed myself. But when you start going down the ImagiNation route then no one does printed versions of the flags you want! So with the first Ayton event (back in 2011!!!) I painted my own flags for my 28mm Savage Swans and have continued to do so for most of my projects since then (apart from 15mm ACW when the prospect of so many stars and stripes was too daunting!). So this is how I do them…

I use a software package (usually GIMP) to play around with various line art gathered from the internet and then I’ve just used Scribus to create a template for laying out the flags. The flags for my 20mm figures are 30x30mm. I’ll be doing a 40mm template for my 28/30mm figures. Basically I build the flag up from Google’d images but a good starting point is the excellent Not By Appointment blog. I have three sets if flags planned for the Altefritzenburg brigade.

And starting on the first I block in the main colours using my base for that colour. For most if my ImagiNation forces I have fixed triads I always use for the same colours… I then paint the main colour using a variable stroke at 45 degrees matching on both sides of the flag.The wreath is blocked in in black and then the usual green triad used. I could probably get away without the base coat for this…. With the main colours done the flag is PVA’d and mounted on a temporary bit of wire.But most importantly the edges need filling in! No white! And a little curving added to the flag by wrapping it round a brush handle.

The final highlighting of the flag is done once the main curves are added and only to the raised areas…  And then mounted on the unit

I never seem to be able to get enough movement in the flags. Something I need to work on….

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20mm Les Higgins – 1st Altefritzenburgers

And the 20mm stuff progresses! Wanted to get these finished before the York show on Sunday coming. The main painting has been done for a few days but I needed to base and do the flags. I’m planning on putting together a flag tutorial soon as I’ve finally knocked together a template for them.

So here we have 1st Altefritzenburg Regiment, the first of three to form a brigade for the upcoming ShedCon game. They are part of my ImagiNation forces of the city state that the Savage Swans fight for.

And after York I better get a move on doing the others as as with all painting for upcoming games the numbers of units ios expanding to fill the available time (and more…)

 

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