Friday, 24 August 2012

Part 2 - The Basing Guide.

Here is the follow up basing method guide. As my camera batteries ran out during the painting guide I decided to quickly knock off another base of horse to use for this, so here is my third base of ECW horse and a description of how I base them up.  I should stress that I regard my units more as playing pieces in a board game sense and as such I like attach labels in order to avoid any book keeping during games. I could of course attach labels to the underside of bases but in order to avoid any damage to my 6mm figures I use the small strip along the back edge.

OK, having painted the unit and cut down the individual figures I coat the base in PVA carefully with a brush as shown in the previous post. I then place each figure into the glue, brushing a little around each base as I go.

Once all the figures are in place I then sprinkle over my mix of 50% fine grit and 50% 'earth flock' before leaving to dry for several hours at least. Once the excess is removed the base is ready for painting and finishing.

Next I use Citadel 'Vermin Brown' to colour areas of the base. I thin it down so that it drys leaving nly a light tint on the raised stone areas. Generally I paint around 50% of the base and also work it carefully between the figures.

Next I glue on my printed label. This unit is a 4 'block' horse unit, 'Trained' and who charge  at the trot.

Now the static grass. I still use Citadel and I like it, you may of course prefer the shorter blade static grass as sold by Baccus especially for 6mm figures. Again I apply this in carefully placed areas to contrast with the brown, using a fine damp brush to get between and under the horses.

Finally a light dry brush of 'Linen' over the stonework and it's done!

I would say the painting of a base takes around an hour and a quarter maybe, usually in two short sessions. The basing probably adds another half hour in short stages between drying.

The project so far.

In three weeks or so I have painted 7 bases, 4 foot and 3 horse so good going, that's between a base of Napoleonic Hussars and working on more terrain bits. I have also finished the pike block for what will be a 'Pike Heavy' unit, these will have 18 pikemen, 16 muskets plus the 4 command figures and will represent units where the ideal ratio of approx 2 to 1 has not been achieved. I'm just waiting on more goodies to arrive from Baccus including artillery, dragoons and command figures. After a few more foot units I want to do more horse bases, including a base of Parliamentarian cuirassiers. Extra figures from the pack will be incorporated into my planned Ruperts Lifeguard, which will also feature some of the heavily armoured chaps as befits their noble status, mixed with the standard back and breast/ pot figures. Oh, and if you spot a few of the larger brethren lurking in the background I'm also painting a 12 figure horse unit for 'Foy' of the excellent 'Prometheus in Aspic' blog, wonderful 20mm ECW figures packed full of character. Should be a joy to paint.

A few pics of the 7 bases so far.

Edit: Added a pic of my Commands & Colours game board, set up for a Napoleonic game. The board is marked up in a hex grid with yellow dots at the points only. New ECW buildings and terrain will be added in due course.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Painting guide - a 6mm regiment of horse.(Part 1.)

As requested by Ron - and as I enjoy doing them anyway - here is a stage by stage guide to how I paint my figures. The subject is a base of 18 figures and the method has evolved to be a quick but effective way of producing what I hope are quite attractive little units. I think the basing has a lot to do with the final impact of the unit and this will follow shortly as my camera batteries died half way through! So this is part 1 - the painting method. A few of the final stages were shot using the camera on my daughters iphone and what an amazing little camera it is.

The main thing for me is to try to avoid painting black beyond the initial undercoat. Thus the armour and helmet remain black, and I try to leave a few fine black shadow areas especially where colours meet etc. I use a Citadel 'fine' brush for everything, I have several of these and keep the very finest for fine line work. I wash the brush very frequently, often every strip of figures to stop the paint drying in the brush which greatly prolongs its life. Colours have been carefully selected not just for the actual shade but also, and importantly, for the ability of the colour to cover in a single stroke without the need to re coat. I tend to use only the very tip of the brush, recharging every couple of figures or so. I don't use washes or inks or any of the now popular quick shading AP style stuff. I try to work quickly and fluently, applying dabs or dots of paint and lines.

Right then, here goes - 18 Baccus ECW horse from pack ECW6, 5 lines strips and 1 command strip. Undercoated carefully by brush in Citadel black.

1. I always start with Foundry flesh shade. On these figures only parts of the faces can be seen, the hands being gauntlets or maybe armour on the bridle arm side. This can then be highlighted with Foundry flesh (mid).

2. 'Buff' I selected Citadel ' Iyander Darksun' for the reasons above, it's an excellent paint that covers very well. I use this all of my 'buff'. You can add a touch of Foundry Buff Leather Shade for a little contrast but I just use it straight. Its a very thick paint so brushes have to be kept damp by frequent washing of the tip. Down the arms, trying to leave a little black here and there, also the coat tails. The civil war buff coat was sown in panels and could be sleeved or sleeveless. I then paint the cross belts same colour.

3. White - dot in collars~ and other white areas.

4. I went for Light Blue saddle blankets on this unit and for the flag and trumpet banner. I also used it for the trumpters coat sleeves. This just adds a touch of individuality to each base of horse I find.

5.'Leather' areas next. I mix this from Citadel 'Calthan' brown which is another nice thick shade with great coverage, and Foundry 'Tan' which is a little to thin to use alone but brings up a nice convincing leatherwork shade. Boots, pistol holsters, any hair, gauntlets.

6.They already look pretty well done at this stage - next any metallics are painted. I use Foundry 'Spearpoint' for swords and then 'shiny' for the trumpet, sword hilts, etc.

7. Finally paint any extra required touches, in this case red sashes, plumes etc. Figures are done, now for the horses, one of my favourite parts!


8. I dislike seeing 6mm horses that are simply washed over and left! I enjoy painting horses, even in this tiny scale. My base colours and Citadel Calthan Brown and Foundry Spearshaft shade. I select 1 strip to leave as black horses for contrast and then paint 3 strips with Calthan Brown. I try to leave areas of black showing for some depth, painting on the raised muscle areas. Around the head I dot both ears, the face and nose. I try not to touch any of the bridle work or straps so they remain black. I then repeat this with the remaining 2 strips and Foundry Spearshaft shade, which is a more 'chestnut' looking colour than the Calthan brown.

9. Highlights. This really brings the horses to life I think. For the Calthan Brown horses I add white for the highlights. Apply this around the rear end of the horse, down the legs, dot the knees etc. A couple of slashes along the neck, again avoiding the straps. For the Spearshaft shade horses I add Foundry 'Tan' - a lovely shade. I use some pure Tan on some of the horses and add a touch of white to the Spearhsaft/Tan mix on one or two others for contrast.

10. White - finally I add a dab of white to some lower legs and noses, manes and the odd tail highlight.

11. Green bases, not sure why I always use plain green but I do!

Once everything is dry I then cut the strips down ready for basing. Part 2 to follow shortly.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Rawdons Regiment of Foot.

This is the latest painted base - Sir Marmaduke Rawdons Yellowcoats. As part of the development of this project I have made the decision to base my units upon those of the Sealed Knot, and to follow the same organisation. This is probably partly nostalgia as I spent some very happy weekends wielding a pike for Parliament many years ago, and I retain the greatest of respect for all those members of the Knot who commit so much time and energy to bringing this fascinating period of our history back to life. I hope it will give my project a nice edge in seeing those familiar unit names recreated on my wargame table. It also means I can post a link to most units as I complete them, where the history and war service of the unit can be read.

You can also see the first of my new labels stuck to the rear of the bases, neatly marked with the units type (Command & Colors style), name and quality. In Rawdons case '4' designates a medium sized unit of 4 blocks which are classified as Veterans. The small red dot denotes 'Royalist', for those of Parliament the dot will be orange. I think they look nice and neat. Also in response to a comment made on TMP I decided to add a touch of drybrush over the brown stonework to tone it down just slightly, I'm so pleased with the result I may even do this to the Napoleonics.

The other units painted so far will be given labels too. Next unit will be another base of horse, 18 figures which I will use for a step by step painting guide as requested. While I'm working on that I also want to post up a draft of 'Foy's 'C&C/ECW' adaptions which I have been contributing a few ideas and suggestions to. They are coming together a treat now and Foy has also created a wonderful set of period specific command cards. best of all I think, he has developed a number of what started out as 'chance' cards to add a touch of spice and uncertainty to the game. They have evolved into a brilliant set of cards called 'Hazzard a Chaunce' which contains such things as unexpected powder explosions ' The Devils Match' sudden downpour damping the powder 'All Hail St.Swithuns' superstitious sign causing desertion 'Grim reaper' and many more including my favourite ' The Coronels Trubble Again' where sudden re occurring illness leaves a unit requiring a leader stand to attach and to give orders. Very inventive stuff I hope you will agree, and should add a nice element of fun into our games. I'm putting together a post to include all of the rules so far.

So back to Rawdons. The Sealed Knot link and some photos.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Well, it's been a really productive weeks painting, 3 foot bases and the first base of horse. The Baccus horse are just brilliant little figures, accurate and well detailed, the mounts themselves are sufficiently chunky to be able to nicely highlight the rumps and pick out the heads around the bridle. I'll probably stick with this colour scheme of blackened armour and heavy buff coat with buff cross belts, using a little extra splash colour on the trumpeter and standard bearer. Overall I'm very pleased with the look of this first base, it just looks the part somehow.

The marking on the rear tells us the base is 4 'blocks strong (in C&C speak), Trained Gallopers.

Going to take a short break now to paint a few more Napoleonics for the main blog, but then return to more ECW.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Another base & thoughts on the rules.

Regiment number 3 is complete, a green coated unit this time. I now need to think about what I need to add to the black strip on the rear of each base. I have been considering painting each individual Regimental name on the base (the Colonels name) in order to give each base some identity. I think this is what I will do, although leaving them as generic bases of Foot would be an alternative option. So my research for today will be to find accurate lists of the units comprising the Oxford Army and Essex's. Flags may need to be changed on these first three units.

'Commands & Colors'
As previously mentioned my intention is to play my games to adpated C&C rules, which is a hex based boardgame system as I use for Napoleonics. I hope to be able to present 'Foy's' adaptations here shortly, but they look very good with a nice period feel. One idea Foy has incorporated into the rules is the use of 'Chance Cards' to inject some Civil War specific unexpected events into the game such as powder explosions, religious zeal, divided loyalty etc, which look set to add some uncertainty and fun into the games.

The rear strip will show the strength of the units in C&CN style 'blocks', I am thinking 3 for a small undersized Foot regiment (100 to 300 men), 4 for a medium size unit (300 to 400) and 5 for a large unit (400 to 600). very large regiments such as Essex's own Foot Regiment can be represented by 2 bases. Next is the ratio of muskets to pikes. We are working on the basis that most around this time were around the 2:1 ratio, not always the case I know, but Foy does distinguish 'Pike heavy' bases, which have greater impact in melee combat, less so when firing. This should be workable. So 'pike heavy' bases will be marked as such and will include an extra strip of pikemen. I think there may also be bases of 'commanded' musketeers as well as dragoons in due course. I'm just about to paint the first horse unit, so will discuss the matter of how we represent the different training methods in due course. I should point out here that all of the research and work in preparing the C&C/ECW adaptions is that of my good internet friend Tony/ 'Foy' who introduced me to the Commands and Colors rule system, for which I am eternally grateful as it has revolutionised my hobby and allowed me to return to the fun of playing wargames at a time when I was about ready to give up again.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I'm actually surprised just how fast I can knock out these Civil War bases, two short painting sessions and they're ready for basing. The green coat regiment in the background will be finished by tomorrow and I have the first base of 18 horse to follow. If I'm lucky and plan my time well I estimate 16 bases per month roughly, which will see play testing of Foy's lovely 'C&C/ECW' rules in the not too distant future. I will also be slotting in a few Napoleonic bases into that schedule too!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Regiment of Foot #1.

Here is the first painted unit of the new project, a Regiment of Foot from the Kings Oxford Army of 1643 -1644. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to present my units, and spent some time trying different positions on the base before settling on this. As I planned to use the 60 x60mm laser cut bases from Baccus I wanted to try to break away from the traditional 2 ranks deep presentation used by most ECW wargamers, in order to better use the depth of the base. So here we see the pike block has halted as the two wings of musketeers march forward to 'give fire'. I like the accurate poses of the Baccus figures, and 'Foy' please note the standard bearer pose, pole held one handed, other hand on hip in suitably period macho style! I removed the 2 drummers from the command strip and placed one each behind the musket blocks. I'm very impressed with the way the cut of the period clothing has been accurately captured too, you can clearly see the cut of the officers doublet. The only very slight downside if I can call it that was the need to trim up the musket barrels slightly, but its a minor niggle to be honest and takes a couple of minutes only. I understand that Peter may re design the EWC range next year (?), but I'm perfectly happy using these for my project.

Painting time was faster than the Napoleonic bases of course, around 2 hours total, maybe 2.5 hours including basing and finishing which is pretty good going and should see me able to turn out around 3 to 4 bases per week. I used the Citadel 'Methesdon Red' straight over the black undercoat as it covers brilliantly well in a single coat and leaves a nice muted shade of red. One thing I have learned about painting 6mm figures is that it often pays to go a shade lighter generally, so my belts etc are slightly brighter in order to stand out better. Standing back and looking at the overall look of the first base I'm happy. Base number 2 is already undercoated and will be a blue coat regiment.

Flag colours did not always match the coat colours of course, but I used a nice red flag from the 'Warflag' site, quickly and easily pasted into Word for resizing! I left a larger black area on the rear of the base as I had planned to paint the Regimental name on the base as well as the number of C&C 'blocks' represented etc.

Here's a few pics, any comments welcome especially on the placing of the figures on the base, does it work do you think?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The project begins!

It's always an exciting time when you begin a new project. I begin this new venture back in time by offering a few thoughts and ideas on how I hope to recreate the armies and the style of battle of the Civil War period. My main aim is to be able to recreate many of the smaller actions of the war, rather than the big set piece affairs. I'll divide this post into three sections; The figures, The rules & the Historical setting.

The figures.
Baccus 6mm of course. The first Foot Regiment is already undercoated ready to begin. I have been playing around with how best to place them on my standard 60 x 60mm bases. Most wargamers tend to base ECW figures as 2 ranks, pikes in the centre, muskets on the flanks. I really want to try something else in order to make the most of the space on the bases. I'm considering placing a 3 rank pike block in the centre, but with the two musketeer wings slightly advanced of the pike block. Command figures in the centre. A total of 32 figures per base for Foot. 18 figures per base for Horse. The first unit painted will trial this base layout so I can judge how it looks.

The rules.
As previously mentioned this project will use 'Foy's' ECW adaptation for Command and Colors rules. The link at right to 'Prometheus in Aspic' follows the development of these rules. I am very keen to capture the unique style of battle in the Civil War, and to reflect the differences between units in terms of numbers and the ratio of pikes to muskets as well as the levels of training. 'Foy' has offered some very well thought out means of reflecting the above while remaining true to the C&C ethos of playability coupled with good historical period feel. I hope to discuss some of these at more length as the blog progresses.

The Historical setting.
After some thought I have decided to base my project on the Kings Oxford Army 1643 -1644 and it's opponents and battles. The first thing that strikes me is how well provided for in terms of clothing and equipment this small army was. There was however a constant shortage of Foot and a constant loss through desertion. Charles I himself obviously took a keen interest in the provisions made for these troops as he is recorded as writing to Prince Rupert: 

'Most trusty and entirely beloved Nephew Wee greet you well Whereas we are credibly informed that at Cirencester, Stroud, Minchinhampton, Tetbury, Dursley, Wooton underedge and Chipping Sudbury great quantities of cloth canvass and Locherame are to be had for supplying ye great necessities Our Souldiers have of Suits. Wee have thought good to advise you thereof And doe hearby pray you to send a competent party of Horse under ye command of some able person to visit those several places wch lye not farr asunder, and to bring from thence all such cloth canvass and Locherame as they shall find there to Cirencester.'

By July 1643 things had progressed to the point where:

'They have clothed all their foote soldiers in redd and blew having all of them monteroes, coates and briches.'

It is interesting to note that the 'ideal' musket/pike ratio of 2 to 1 was probably becoming standard around this time, at least in the Oxford Army, with for example Colonel Robert Villiers Regiment in 1643 recorded as being issued 200 muskets and 100 pikes.

The strength of these Oxford regiments varied greatly, somewhere between 150 and 500. The average would appear to be around 300.

As my Regiments will be based using a standard number of figures per base I will need to record this 'actual' strength as a figure on the rear of the base (as I did with my Napoleonics). My current thinking is to assign a figure between 3 and 5 in terms of C&C 'blocks'. I could simplify this by stating three 'bands' say Regiments of from 150 to 300 men (3 blocks) 300 to 400 men (4 Blocks) and those with 400 to 500 men (5 blocks). Next is the issue of musket to pike ratios when it comes to combat, firing and melee. More on this to follow.

So this lays down some starting points as I begin to paint figures. The first base will be a Royalist Regiment of Foot and should be completed with a couple of days.