Thursday 4 December 2008

The Imperial Gendarmes

The final unit to be shown on this blog was actually the first that I painted. The Imperial Gendarmes were created for the Game of Sittangbad that we put on at Newark almost three years ago. The bright uniform was originally intended to be complimented by black horses, but Phil Olley nipped in first and created a black horse regt so I switched them to bays and chestnuts, ce la guerre.

After the game was completed the regiment transferred from the electoral army to that of Bohemia where it is now the senior line cavalry regiment. 'Imperial Gendarme' conjures up sufficient atmosphere for the unit without needing any further history in my opinion.

So that is all that I have painted so far. The line infantry will eventually have ivory coloured coats. The facings will be taken from the liturgical calender as befits a staunchly catholic country. Dragoon wear vermilion and Heavy Cavalry Turquoise.

But all of that lies in the future, the next goal will be to get a couple of guns and the first line infantry unit completed so that I have a usable force for gaming.

The figures of course are again Holger Eriksson 30mm. To my mind their will never be figures like this around again. Not that the sculptors of today lack talent. I am blown away by some of the work of people like Richard Ansell and the Perry twins. But the way that figures are created has changed. Today people use putty and build up the figure on dolly. they are in effect creating a model. The old masters such as Eriksson carved their figures out of a solid block. In Eriksson's case they were carved from wood.

When I was painting them I was much taken by this passage from John Garratt.

"The models are conceived sculpturally and obviously worked with a chisel emphasising the planes which gives great structural strength and is this emphasis on planes that gives an Eriksson figure such distinction. He paints his models in oils and leaves the planes and contours to make their own contribution without shading."

I did not want to leave the figures without any shading myself but I did think hard about the way it should be used to keep the integrity of the figure. I decided to use fairly bold strokes of lighter colour and to attempt emphasis the lines and movement of the figure.

To what extent I succeeded you will have to judge for yourselves! The horse were done either with dilute Humbrol enamel or an Acrylic ink wash. Both over white undercoat.

The uniforms were painted with Placka Poster paint. One of the few really nice turquoise blue around and a beautifully deep crimson. Most of the other colours were Vallejo acrylics which I was using a lot at that time for 20mm plastics.

Finally thanks to everyone for the very kind comments. I am course pleased that people like the figures, but I am not preaching to anyone that my way is best. I just love to see what others are doing, and if they are ploughing their own furrow rather than slavishly following White Dwarf so much the better. It is not a question of whose figures are best. The best ones are those that give their owners most pleasure.

Happy Painting!

Monday 1 December 2008

Teutoburger Wald Jaeger

This post is by way of being a thank you to all those people who have been, patiently logging on the last couple of months. Also in response to the very kind comments on the last post. So especially for Jean-Louis, here is the unit history.

The Battalion advances in line

In the 17C the Imperial forces of Bohemia suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the lightly armed Hungarian Grenzer of their eastern frontier. In order to counter this the first established unit of Light Infantry was raised from the huntsmen of the extensive Tuetoburger forests of the western mountain ranges. This unit was an immediate success having fought in several campaigns during the first half of the 18C and can claim to be the oldest permanent unit of light infantry by several decades. Nevertheless it is with pride that the regiment claims Varrus AD9 as their first battle honour.

With drums beating and the Colonel at their head

The figures are of course Holger Eriksson 30mm. They have had slight conversion by cutting the musket and bayonet down to rifles. I had better give a formal link for those who want to look at the full range in detail.

Tradition of London:

Peter Johnstone of Spencer Smith Figures:

I tend to order from Peter Johnstone who has always been extremely helpful getting figures at short notice for a display game. but I hear good things about Tradition as well.

Skirmish order

The Battalion has deployed into skirmish order. The gentle reader will note that the formations are those advocated by the theorist J Evans Mudd in his famous drill book '38 movements for light infantry by which victory must be assured.' A best seller in 18c Bohemia.

Two infantrymen forget their drill and 'bunch' within 1" of each other. The Sergeant is about to demonstrate how this can be rectified by the use of an halberd.
Finally a word on paint.

I painted the coats with Liquitex Acrylics as I only had camouflage greens in enamel and I wanted a pure colour. Although a nice shade it had problems covering and has a strange translucent quality which with a gloss varnish looks a bit like glass. So its kept now exactly for that. The small clothes were painted with a 20 year old pot of Plaka poster paint and worked fine. However this summer I have been trying a new line of paint recommended by Mr Mike Siggins. Chromacolour, which seem to be a more user friendly substitute for the Plaka having great purity of tone and strong pigments but much more easily worked with. So far I am very impressed and will hopefully describe them in more detail in a later post.