maandag 27 maart 2017

Restoring the French – nearing the finish line.

These units are placed in their approximate positions as in the ‘before’ photo of the last post. This gives a better impression to the amount of work added to each batch bringing them all up to the same level.

The final touch or ‘icing’ on the cake is to paint the pom-pom in its proper squadron or company colour. As you will note in the photo these at the moment are white and they will be painted as part of my ‘ultra’ last step, the tiny-and-really-not-so-noticeable details. The rules used, each stand represents a battalion and will display the colour pom-poms for their respective company.

Uniform colour is generally darker which sets off the campaign kit and belting much better. Equipment and belts are outlined which gives a neat appearance and considering my eyes are seventy years old and can manage a steady brush stroke I am pleased with the results so far.

The tricolour will be replaced with the lozenge design of the earlier period and I know the cavalry should not be carrying them in the field but it does separate the hussar from the chasseur units nicely.

Tomorrow I shall spend time photographing the entire collection in a camp setting and post them later in the week. This will serve as a photographic inventory of what units are completed and which must be ordered; off the top of my head these are Dragoons and combined grenadiers.

Photo shows two units of hussars and two of chasseurs a cheval, three units of Swiss, horse artillery and one unnamed commander of cavalry. 

donderdag 23 maart 2017

Restoring a French Napoleonic Collection – last batch.

It has been a pleasure to see the transformation of the French from an old style to new. The figures have a robust appearance, clothing colour is darker which offers a greater contrast with belts and those figures in campaign kit have that ‘rough and ready’ look; shako covers and trousers are no longer pristine white and packs, bags and overcoats have a greater variety of colour.

Reviewing the order of battle for the second and third invasion of Portugal, I have more than enough infantry and guns for the planned engagements, but cavalry posed another problem. I have plenty of Chasseurs and Cuirassiers for which the latter saw no service in Portugal and the light cavalry seem to be evenly divided between Chasseurs and Hussars.

I did not plan to purchase more French as a budget was set for the British, Portuguese and insurgents; yet the Hussars and Dragoons (12 regiments represented) were lacking in the collection. A closer inspection of the figures and comparing online resources I decided to ‘promote’ half the Chasseurs (all in campaign kit) to Hussars and so prepared me for an hour’s exercise with Milliput making a dozen pelisse.

While painting a number of command stands I noticed one hussar actually ‘wearing’ his pelisse which is clearly seen from the fur around the cuffs, waist and neck. Brilliant. This one example offered a better solution than having a pelisse draped over the shoulder and so proceeded to paint my hussars and finish the troopers with a touch of fur (it’s a nippy spring morning).

The photo shows this batch in their 'before' state and hopefully by this weekend I can place photos of the completed project.   

zondag 19 maart 2017

Restoring a French Napoleonic collection.

I have planned to continue experimenting with the campaign rule set and use the three invasions of Portugal as a backdrop. The next step was to place an order for British and Portuguese as I have a large French collection. However, after reviewing the French I was amazed how much my style of painting has changed.

I believe the French were painted nearly twenty years ago when I used ‘pastel’ colour, so blue coats were nearly a Bavarian blue and the overall effect was quite bleached and depressing.

The thought had crossed my mind to sell the lot as is, abandon the Napoleonic period and move the campaign tests to another era. To keep or sell was the question. In either case an inventory was needed after which produced a final total of 140 elements of infantry, artillery, cavalry and general officers.

I decided to test the amount of time needed to ‘refurbish’ the collection and divided the lot in seven batches; line and light infantry with artillery for the first five batches and cavalry and some line infantry for the last two.

Basically, the coats became darker, all Mithril Silver bayonets and barrels were now Kohl Black and later dry brushed, backpacks now have three shades of brown as do the rolled up coats, shako covers were painted darker to bring a better contrast when highlighting. The end result did bring them up to a current standard and took maybe five or six hours spread over two days for the first test batch.

At the time of writing I am finishing up batch number five and will start probably Monday on the last two. These contain all the mounted units.

Reviewing the invasion forces for Portugal I will need Dragoons and combined elite companies which formed the grenadier battalions at Bussaco.

I should have new photos at the end of the week.