Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 Years War - Part 2: Heinrichsen 40mm Flats

Finished a few more figures. As indicated in the preceding post, these are antique designs, first issued by Ernst Heinrichsen in 1883.  As usual, painted in acrylics.

One challenging aspect of designing/engraving flats is making the figure to appear completely convincing from both sides. Nice as these figures are, they missed the mark a bit with this pikeman, from the back side his smallish helmet riding high on his head like a steel derby.  The pike is short as well but probably done to facilitate the casting process.  I do like the classic "ready to receive cavalry" pose.

Lancers were on the way out by the early 17th Century but not just yet.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Heinrichsen Thirty Years War - Old 40mm Flats

Here's an interesting set of classic Heinrichsen 40mm flats. # 4063 - Der 30-jährige Krieg.  They're somewhat on the smallish side as 40mm go, but usefully bigger than 30mm for painting purposes.  These 33 figures were originally issued in 1883, re-issued in 1989.  There's a complimentary set Wallensteins Lager which preceded it in 1882, executed in the same style.  

The Wallenstein's Camp has some poses of armed soldiers on guard duty and so on, but the set focuses more on scenes of camp life, cooking, eating and of course drinking & carousing. The 30 Years War set contains more fighting poses, about evenly divided between horse & foot. Sadly, the great artillery piece was no longer available as the mold broke, but I have the rest of the castings, plus some badly battered originals which I got cheaply on German eBay.  Of the mounted figures, this set doesn't lack for generals, indeed there are more chiefs than Indians: Gustavus Adolphus, Bernhard von Weimar, Baner, Wallenstein, Tilly, Maximilian of Bavaria, Piccolomini, Pappenheim and the Croat leader Isolani.  All figures are numbered with an identification key.

Without further preamble, let's take a look at a couple sample castings. These represent Bernhard von Weimar and Tilly.

The death of Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen. These are original factory paint jobs.

And the Imperialist field marshal Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim.  I painted in acrylics as usual.

Lastly, a Merry Christmas to all ! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peipp Remounts

This is for Brian, Uncle Toby of Vauban & Shandy and others who are embarked upon or contemplating an 18th Century toy soldier project in 54mm. Just a few quick shots here related to the previous post about using Peipp 45mm with 54mm horses. Here's Piepp's 45mm cavalry trooper mounted on the original horse.

And remounted on a 1/32 HaT Roman Cavalry horse. He fits very nicely although no doubt a Napoleonic horse would be more suitable so far as the saddle and accoutrements go.

Would the Peipps sell rider castings without their horses ?  Based on my experience and how the timing of the order processing worked out,  I suspect that Helmut casts on demand, making it seem likely that they would. In any case, wouldn't hurt to ask.

Yes, I'm still painting. Just resumed that is, after another week in New York City tending to cleaning up the estate of my poor deceased sister.  Thankfully New York State has a simplified small estate probate process, there's more to do but I can at least wrap things up without incurring an even worse hit by adding lawyer's fees to the mix. Well, enough of that.  Next up, antique 30 Years War flats.  I think you're going to like these.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Peipp WSS General - 45mm

Here's a Peipp figure which I finally got around to painting last week. He is from Peipp Miniaturen Dresden, part of the 45mm range, Prinz Eugen und seine Zeit - 1703.  This is figure # PE4: General Charles Churchill, although I didn't paint him as such.  Painted in acrylics as usual.

As I've commented on the Vauban & Shandy blog and elsewhere, I think these figures can be used with 54mm 18th Century projects, strange as that may sound when you consider the "45mm" tag.  Let's see how it looks posed with some HaT 7YW Prussians:
Not too badly mismatched. I hastily shimmed the base with a piece of 3/16" balsa, but 1/8" or a few millimeters should do it. The general himself is quite large, as are all the Peipp riders. It's the horses which are the problem for upscaling purposes, being noticeably small for their riders. But they're stocky, hence a little thickness added to the base gives the overall illusion of a larger figure.  To my eyes, the biggest mismatch in this photo is our hero's antiquated fashion sense.  But what's a few decades in the world of toy soldiers ?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Flats

Glorious Empires - 54mm
Something of a mixed bag in this post, finishing up odds and ends in the painting queue. First, Fechner 30mm Renaissance cavalry.  Most of them have shown up in one post or another, but now combined.  Good engravings but not great ones.  To my eyes the lancer is the weakest of the bunch with the strange helmet and the horse's smallish hindquarters.  Nicely animated though.

The TYW musketeer is from Glorious Empires. I liked the look of these and bought of few samples from The Little Tin Soldier. These are 54mm, designs originally 30mm and scaled up.  I have no real aspirations of switching to flats in this larger scale but was curious to see if I could pull off a passable paint job, as the shading comes in for closer scrutiny than what you can get away with in 30mm.  He came out well enough I think and I somewhat regret choosing the faceless guy here for the test paint as the personality is definitely lacking.

Upcoming posts, I've finished a Peipp 45mm general which has been primer coated and ready to go for many months. Just waiting to apply the varnish.  The real exciting thing for me is a set of classic old Heinrichsen Thirty Years War set in 40mm.  These designs date to 1883 !  They arrived from Nürnberg a few days ago and I've started painting some. I really look forward to sharing these with you, masterful designs for the most part with a number of mounted generals and leaders of the TYW.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hinsch Arquebusiers - 30mm Flats

Factory Painted

Sorry I've been somewhat dilatory with the posts of late.  Here's a smallish set of latter 16th Century arquebusiers I bought on eBay.  Ten gunners come in the three poses shown plus the group contained one NCO figure.  I'm not certain, but I think they belong to to Keiler's  Bruno Hinsch: Serie 29 - Religionskriege.  Flats experts, please advise if I've got that wrong.

I stripped the factory paint to see what the castings looked like underneath. Not bad at all really, rather small for 30mm and very thin castings, bordering on toylike in style but appealing in their own way. Repainted with acrylics.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Paint

New to me, that is.  Somewhere on my blog travels, and as I recall it probably was the Grand Duchy of Stollen, there was an interesting thread about painting techniques. Mike Siggins replied to it with a link linking Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylics.  What sold me on trying these out was the more controllable dry time.  That seemed a nice fit with the flats as I've stretched the mileage as I can with the Vallejo bottles.

What's pictured above is the introductory set with a dozen 20ml. tubes, plus sample media and an instructive DVD (which I'll admit to not having watched).   This isn't a bad way to go if you just want to test the waters as the starter kits go for around $25 online.  I have to say the results seem to be quite satisfactory so far.  You can control the drying time with water or prolong it medium to long depending upon the choice of media. Just using water seems quite satisfactory to my own needs. You can re-wet the paint on the palette or directly on the figure.

For those of us who like quick results with acrylics, the 7 days recommended cure time can something of a drawback, although of course it has doesn't impact on overall your work rate - things just stay in the completion queue a bit longer while you paint the next figures.  And I think the 7 days is generous, perhaps calculated to let all moisture wick out from heavy application on canvas.  No doubt Chroma wants to avoid disconsolate e-mails from artists who varnished part of their masterpiece into a smeary mess.  I expect to be able to cut down this time with the figures.

Here's the first figure which I just finished painting primarily with the Atelier Interactive.  I'm satisfied, the blending for more subtle shading works well and the colors seem richer than with the standard wargames paints.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Period Engravings: Dutch Revolt

Taking a rather different tack here, this thread contains no painting updates. I am still painting, of course. No day feels complete without doing some. However, I've embarked upon a new tack with the flats, testing out artist's acyrilic paints, Chroma Atelier Interactive. Thanks go to Mike Siggins for the tip on these.  More to follow, but suffice it to say now that the normal fast rate of drying can be retarded by means of adding more water or the drying slowed even further by various mediums.  They do indeed blend better but the drawback is a recommended cure time of 7 days before varnishing.  Meaning I have figures done but still in the drying queue.

To the images.  I've stumbled upon a source of inspiration for the Renaissance era, namely the Frederik Muller Historieplaten digital collection from the Dutch Rijksmuseum.

Here we have a collection of some 4966 historical engravings, mainly illustrating scenes from the Dutch Revolt/80 Years War. To a lesser degree, the War of the Spanish Succession also gets some coverage.  The images are of a generally high quality, perhaps not as uniformly excellent as Merian's Theatrum Europeaum splendid images of the 30 Years War, but quite a few of these Dutch illustrations are fine examples of the engraver's art.  Just a few examples:

Last but not least, the WSS:

I do enjoy printing out a batch, pouring a glass of port and retiring to the man cave, there to transport myself to bygone centuries.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spanish Tercio - 30mm Flats

"Watercolor" camera setting

Well, at least a portion of it.  I ran out of men with angled pikes for the 2nd rank but the idea is eventually to at least double this formation.   Most of the flats are from Alexander Wilken's Landsknechte series, with a few Scholtz Conquistadors and misc. pikemen added to the mix. Painted with acrylics, as usual.

At the moment, I'm painting more flats, a few Hinsch arquebusiers suitable for the Wars of Religion / 80 Years War.  I've also got a few 54mm Thirty Years War infantry flats, trying to work up the courage to paint flats that size. The order of later landsknechts & reiters has gone missing, I'm afraid.  Either between the Deutsche Post and USPS somebody fumbled the handoff, or worse - the package was stolen from my mailbox. Hoping it was the former as there's a chance they'll eventually turn up.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meisterzinn - 40mm Home Casts

Readers of this blog will well recognize these familiar Nurnberger Meisterzinn figures.  I have most of the molds for the Renaissance range, although my collection is lacking a few: the sword-wielding knight,  the foot cavalier (sword or pistol), the wagon set and the nice artillery pieces. But this is most of them.  Yes, they're a pain to cast but the figures do have an appealing toy soldier look.  I also have the color pamphlet Zinnfiguren aus Meisterzinn which shows painted examples of all the castings.

Armored men. I rather wish the tournament knight had come with a detachable shield, making him more useful as an early 16th century man-at-arms, but still it's a good figure.

Classic landsknechte although the standard-bearer is more of a hybrid figure to my eyes.  According to Ross MacFarlane the trumpeter can be converted to a pikeman and I can see where that would be an excellent way to get more mileage out of this mold. 

The halbardier is more of a "tweener" who can bridge the gap between the early 16th Century and later, but the musketeer and mounted figure look like 30 Years War, hence the Matthaus Merian backdrop.  The musketeer comes with mold cavities for two heads but he's somewhat oversized relative to the others.  The rider cuts a dashing figure.  Although so far as I know of the 30 Years War, figures bearing lances are usually depicted in 3/4 armor, he appears to have some conversion possibilites. He could be easily become a standard-bearer,  or replace the lance with a musket and you could have a nice dragoon.

Lastly, although it has nothing to do with Meisterzinn, here's a quick shot of what's in the painting queue.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Picked up a new camera.  Haha, at Costco - one of my least favorite places to spend an hour or so.  I stifled the impulse to abandon my wife with the cart amidst the warehouse-roaming hordes in favor of watching the 49ers game in the TV section. The camera is a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX150.  Very strange that the insurance company allowed nearly triple the coverage (and not much at that) for replacing the old obsolete Sony than they did for the Nikon.  There's no Macro function which concerned me somewhat, but all the shots here were taken with it, so I think we can surmise that it's at least competent with the closeups.  The blame for any bad shots can be attributed to my indifferent photography skills.

Here's a couple WIP shots of the custom 40mm semi-rounds, designs from the talented hand of amateur scupltor John Bertolini.  John has kindly given me permission to cast my own.  I like these for the French on account of the full coats without turnbacks. I did a few things such as filing off the moustaches and adding the bayonet scabbard, but essentially they're faithful to the original design.  The figures are good match in scale and "semi-roundness" for the Prince August Karoliners and the NCO carries a Prince August pole arm.

Here's a nice feature of the camera, creating photos using a Picture Effect mode.  The Renaissance flats in this post were shots taken in Watercolor mode.  The effect is kind of cool, like artist's illustrations from a book.  It  might make for an interesting excercise experimenting with painting them that way from the get-go.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reinforcements - 30mm Flats

I recently received a spot bonus at work, allowing me to rationalize getting more flats.  These three sets offered by Alexander Wilken really caught my eye. The figures are actually edited by Wohlmann; but unlike a certain large and well-known flats dealer, he doesn't overcharge for acting as middle man, nor for the shipping costs.  Figures now en route from Germany.

These quite caught my eye: the reiters are disinctive and although both sets of landsknechts are in marching poses, I think they won't look at all bad combined together in a battle formation.  I tried using Picasa's Invert Colors function on these, essentially it turns the photos into negatives.  I'm pleased with the effect, a bit strange but effectively accentuating the beauty of the engravings.

Meanwhile, I'm still working away on the 40mm customs and hope to pick up a new camera this weekend.