Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reinforcements Arrive

Those of you on the OSW group have taught me well that the thing to do when you don't have time to paint your figures is to buy new ones, right? ;)

So, this is just what I've done, but with a vaguely valid excuse behind it. To paint the figures one must settle them into units, so that one can provide the proper indicators of the unit to which they belong. And to settle them into units, one must do two things:

1) settle on a rule set, in order to know whether one is painting units of 12 figures or 48 figures.
2) Provide the proper mixture of figures to represent the units of the selected size.

I'm still struggling with the former, but I think I'm starting to sort things out a bit. In the process, however, I've identified some deficiencies in the figures I already have. There's some lacks among the poses that I needed to address, and a portion of my new purchases are sets chosen because of their proportions of certain figures. For instance, the Zvezda French infantry have 4 foot officers per box. If I limit myself to one officer figure pure unit, this should permit me to utilize some of the excess officers to command the officer-poor figures from other manufacturers.

The other portion of the new figures deal with balancing my army better. There were, before this purchase 498 French soldiers, compared to 183 British. And both armies had a lack of light or medium cavalry.

Therefore, I've purchased the following:

3 boxes Zvezda French Dragoons
4 boxes HaT King's German Legion Light Dragoons (British)

3 boxes Zvezda French Infantry
2 boxes Italeri British/Scot Infantry
3 boxes HaT Prussian Landwehr

I wanted more Prussians, but just couldn't afford them right now. 3 boxes gives me a core for some good battalions, however, and I can try to scrape together money for more later.

The French infantry do further unbalance my raw numbers, but that should be compensated for by selling excess troops once I've settled on my desired regiments. My existing troops were bulk lots of mixed figures from varying manufacturers, and I believe are the excess from someone else's purchases, so I'll be continuing that tradition I think.

I endeavored to buy no less than 3 boxes of each type, credit for which concept goes to Donald Featherstone's little outlay of 5 "reasonable regiments" from 3 boxes of Airfix figures. This, combined with looking at examples from other wargaming blogs of their own unit compositions has swayed me towards the idea of battalions formed of 1 or at most 2 poses for the bulk of the figures, excluding officers and standard bearers and so forth. So I tried to select sets that could work towards that and provide several battalions of similar figures. The seeming exception to my rule of 3 is the Italeri British, which were chosen to match up to existing figures I already have and round out the numbers to 48 figures of each of the three main British poses.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Painting Plans

I suspect I may end up painting two units at once, as I'm anxious to see the results of my new paint upon some of my infantry, but my first unit is intended to be a squadron of French cuirassiers. However, I just did a test of the black Plasti-Dip basecoat on one side of a complete sprue of 25 French Grenadier Gaurds in greatcoats, to see how a complete sprue would do.

The cuirassiers should be an interesting place to start, and I owe a photo of them (if they're good enough) to someone once they're complete, in thanks for the provision of some spare horses I needed to get the unit fully mounted.

Outside of those, I have some intention of Plasti-dipping the plastic German tanks that I recently received, as they look rather better in black than in their molded plastic colors. I may, at some point, try to paint them up, but for now I simply want to get rid of the cheap plastic look, as the prior owner had spray painted several hulls black but most of the turrets and part of the complete units were still the original color when I bought them. A uniform black will be preferable.

I might put some sort of British unit in the queue, since I have a very nice red to use and my French will need someone to fight. I'm *probably* not going to start off with trying to paint 1/72 scale kilts, so it's more likely to be basic regulars or the Scots Guards cavalry.

Between greatcoats and the possibility of painting the Scots guards, I definitely need to learn to mix gray paint.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

WW2 Vehicles revisited

Yesterday was a good day for the mail, with the biggest portion of the items I was waiting on arriving finally. This is a good thing, because it means that some of my more annoying anachronisms get laid to rest. There's still a disparity of scale between some of the items, and some anachronisms are going to live on for a while yet. But it's closer to where I want to be. Several of the anachronisms are going on Ebay, mostly more modern tanks, and will hopefully help repay the cost of my recent upgrades and reinforcements.

I'm still awaiting 1 delivery of 2 Sherman tanks, 2 Halftracks, and 1 Chevrolet staff car. But counting those in, my present expected organization, subject to change is:

5 Sherman tanks
1 Churchill tank
3 Crusader tanks (Bradleys doing designation duty)
2 Stuart light tanks
1 M36 tank destroyer
1 Quad w/25pdr towed gun (HMMV w/25pdr)
2 Jeeps w/6pdr AT guns (one is a civilian jeep)
1 Bren carrier (MicroMachines Priest, which I dearly want to replace when I can find a cheap substitute)
1 medium truck
15 large trucks
5 half-tracks
1 M12 SP gun (150mm)
1 mortar jeep
1 radio jeep w/trailer
6 jeeps w/50cal MG
1 Chevrolet staff car

1 Tiger II (broken barrel, may discard)
1 Tiger I
16 PzIV (these may actually be PzIIIs, but they're cheap plastic so I'm not sure. Look decent spray painted though.)
4 PzII (M113s with turrets, doing designation duty. May replace with 3 Weasel armored cars?)
1 Nashorn TD
2 StugIII
3 Staff cars (all civilian cars)
4 Kubelwagen
3 Half-tracks (all US halftracks redesignated)
1 motorcycle w/sidecar
1 large truck w/150mm towed gun (US truck, generic toy artillery piece)
10 large trucks (all US redesignated)

Not yet committed
3 Weasel armored cars (I'm torn between giving these to one side or the other, or selling them to Matchbox collectors. I can't identify a historical vehicle they're supposed to be.)

The truck allocation, in particular, could change depending on how I organize my troops and what trucks it takes to motorize them.

Removed from usage are: 8 Hot Wheels "Big Bertha" tanks (M60s?), 1 Patton tank, 1 Rocket tank (formerly used, minus rocket, as a tracked prime mover), and 2 yellow civilian jeeps. I'd love to get rid of the M113s, especially, and replace them with real PzIIs. But I can't find any that match the requirement of cheap, around HO size, and little/no assembly.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

It begins

Well, I just tried out the Plasti-Dip spray last night on a French Cuirassier, using a clear plastic trash bag as a spraying surface. This is intended to be my primer, basically, for all figure painting, as it's praised on various sources for providing a good surface for paint to adhere to that maintains its flexibility.

1) I probably need some type of suspension to hold the items above the surface when I'm spraying. The rubber builds up on the bag around them, and they have to be peeled out of it afterwards, which means only one side at a time gets done. And I'm concerned that when I do the second side, lifting it up will pull loose some of the rubber on the finished side.
2) It makes a lovely black coat, which I may actually utilize by leaving some of my horses black and only painting the non-black parts of the horses. I'm debating this.
3) I'm going to need some Osprey books before I'm through. I also need flesh-toned paint.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Napoleonic Rules Pondering

I'm presently considering three sets, though I may run across others I like as well. Nothing's set in stone, really, at least till I start basing for one set or another. :>

I think my front runner at the moment may be Shako ( The rules make an easy read, and I really like the breakthrough rules at first glance. I also like the rules for artillery crews retreating and then returning to get the guns back in action. I'm tempted to allow artillery crews even in rout to be rallied (subject to the regular rally rules of course) and returned to the guns if their side still has control of that ground. I wonder how historical this is.

I'm also considering Grenadier (, which looks interesting but perhaps a little complex for my liking.

The third set under consideration is Old Trousers ( which I have yet to actually open and look at. The introduction looked interesting, but we'll see if the actual rules hold up under scrutiny.

Overall, I'm looking for rules sets that will give roughly 10-30 soldiers per battalion, which with my current troops on hand (not counting any an opponent brings) would give me roughly 3-5 cavalry regiments and anywhere from 20 to 60 battalions of infantry on the table, counting both sides.