TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2007

I am waiting for paint to dry before adding static grass for to two units of Hussars.  Then I can post the pictures of them and post them up.  I have primed and put the initial color on my first unit of Prussian Fusiliers.  I have two units of fusiliers, two more units of musketeers, and some jager/frei-corps to do and that's if for some time for the Prussians.  I might have to do some additional cuirassiers to make a game-able force, but I really need a break and to try something different.  I think that's why I have so little to talk about concerning the modeling lately.  I have done it all, and am now in the repetition stages for the Prussians.  I know it is time to mover to the Austrians when I start to look at English Civil War forces and think about how to model them and what rules to use.  I'd better get going on the Austrians soon, now that I think about it.

While we are waiting, I have been working on a new page for the site.  The My Library page.  When I started buy books and reading about the Seven Years War, I found that there is VERY little out there, and much of it is VERY expensive.  So I wanted to try and help the beginner decide where to start and maybe save them some frustration.  The following page should be viewed with the warning that I am no expert in this period, but I do have valid opinions about the worth of some of these books.

I try and ask about a book on TMP before I drop any more than $20 on a book.  Some of them are $100 plus, and that book had better mow my lawn and do dishes when I'm done reading it.  Sometimes it's worth it if it is the only book in the English language that deals with a particular subject, and some books I'll be reviewing fit this category.  Sometimes there is a cheaper option, and if I find one, I'll record it here.

The main problem with the SYW is that there are few books on the subject written in English, well I suppose this is only a problem if English is your only language.

I would love to host some guest reviews, so if you have a particularly good or bad book you'd like to review, please send me a paragraph or two about it, the title, author and ISBN and I will host it on the My Library page.  I will of course hold editorial privileges over anything hosted on the site.


MONDAY, JULY 24, 2007

I have finished my Hussars and am ready to show them to the world.  It is tough to paint these guys to the same standard as some of my other figures.  Their faces weren't as distinguishable, and the hats had to be trimmed and had lots of detail that I wasn't able to pick out with a brush.  So the effect, to me, is that they seem a little sloppy upon close inspection, but fine from table level.  I have included some extreme close-ups and some more distant picture to show you the effects.

8th Hussar Regiment





6th Hussar Regiment








As those of you who have been reading the blog regularly know, as my Prussian forces wind down, I have begun to think about the challenges that painting Austrians will present.  Perhaps my biggest pet peeve in painting is painting flesh and white on something.  Now, with 6mm flesh is not much of an issue, a single pass with some thickish flesh color and presto.  But white is still a problem, even with grey primer, it takes two coats, and that's one too many for me.
As a solution, I have begun experimenting with white base coating.  My first experiment was not very successful.  I used ColorPlace flat white spray paint.  I could still see the metal through the paint, and I just wasn't happy in general.  At the right is my first experiment with the white basecoat, a unit of Prussian Fusiliers that will have pink breeches.  I wanted the pink to show up more than it has on previously black base coated figures, so it seemed like a good place to start.

When I first sprayed black base coats, I was pleasantly surprised that my black Vallejo paint was the same color.  I am looking for the same situation with the white base coat.  I am hoping to use the base coat for the coat color of the Austrian army.  If this works, it will help immensely with painting time and ease.

My dissatisfaction with the job my good 'ole standby, ColorPlace spray paints, spurred me on to buy a few other sprays that are used by modelers and give them a try.  I purchased some TESTORS flat white, and KRYLON flat white primer.  Here are the results.  (I have to apologize to any dialup users for the large picture files, but the pictures needed to be big to demonstrate the differences in 6mm.)

I tried to shake them all very well for this comparison.  If I were more scientific, I would have shaken them all for a certain time, maybe next time.

TESTORS Flat White

This was the worst of the performers, surprisingly as it was the most expensive.  The paint pooled on and covered up details as well as dried with small holes.  Overall, unimpressive.

KRYLON Flat White Primer

The only proper primer in the group, I was expecting something from it.  OK coverage, a little pooling.  It dried nicely, but covered up some details.   It could work, but I would always be looking for something better.

ColorPlace Flat White

Back where I started.  This time I was determined to give it a good shake before spraying, I mean, my old standby can't let me down.  Well it didn't, after a firm shaking I got the results I had hoped for from ColorPlace.  A nice even, thin coverage.  Much better than my first attempt.  You can still plainly see all of the detail on these figures.  Best choice overall, and the cheapest.

Some places I was looking at to compare the quality are:
  • on the left figure, between his right arm and body
  • on the shoulders, looking for clear lines of the straps
  • on the chest, looking for the details
  • between the musket and the face

Now that I have the base coat down, I have to figure out how to differentiate the cross belts from the uniform.  As they are all white and this is 6mm, black lining is out.  I hate washes.  So I have some limited choices.  Correspondence with other 6mm modelers doing Austrian forces have given me some alternatives.  Here are the two obvious answers.

1) Using an Ivory color for the uniform and then painting the belts white.

2) Using white for the uniforms and painting the belts an light-ish grey color.

I think I am going to try both of them on these test figures that I have just sprayed.  I think that #2 has my hopes up as that doesn't mean painting over the base coat.  I hope I can live with the compromise, or else I have to get some Russian painting guides!

I am consistently more impressed with every new unit that I see from Mr. Berry.  These troops are by far the best yet!  (and I'm not just saying that because I have a thing for Hungarians.)  Funny thing is, I didn't know just how good they were until I put the base coat on them.  The detail just wasn't evident in the bare metal.

Some things that stand out in the new figures.

  • hat lace is easily distinguishable
  • brackets on the muskets are visible (first time I've seen this)
  • faces are clearly evident, the mustache is there for overachievers
  • the Hungarian hair style is evident upon close inspection (braids on the side of the head)
  • the Hungarian dolmans are evident

Overall, just fabulous figures (and I don't just bandy about worlds like "fabulous"). 


MONDAY, JULY 30, 2007

These guys were quite fun to paint actually.  I really like the white undercoat to work with, it seem to make for some brighter figures.  Again, they look a little sloppy this close up, but from table level or even looking at a stand of them, the appearance should be nice.

I haven't reached a definitive solution for the straps, but I am starting to think that they don't need to be accentuated at all.  I am beginning to think at 6mm, they won't really be noticed.  I just hope that I'm not beginning to lower the standards. 

I tried brown hair on some of these fellows for a change.  Usually all of my troops have black hair, and that is simple because colorful hair doesn't bring a lot to the model and it's already black.  Since I would have to paint the hair black, I tried brown and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference to me, so black it stays.

I just realized, as I am writing this, that I forgot to paint the had lace.  Back on the painting table they go.




I have been looking forward to painting the fusiliers for a while now.  I think they offer some colorful options for the Prussians, with a little less work than grenadiers.  I chose a unit that was very pink in appearance to start with.  After beginning to paint them, I made an executive decision to not try and pick out the detail on the back of the fusilier helmet.  It's all there, it would simply be a headache to try and highlight it all.  I think it is still quite a nice effect.

Without further ado...

40th Infantry Regiment



Already on the painting table, the 35 Infantry Regiment...

Time for a new order as I am two and a half units away from finishing my current batch up Prussians up.  I had a bit of a tough time deciding what to order, it has always been clear before, I needed some of everything.  But, when is it time to move on?  When I can play every historical battle accurately?  I choose to begin my Austrians when I had a number of Prussians that allowed me to play a fair amount of the beginning scenarios with minimal fussing.  So when I finish what I have on hand, I will have the following ready for battle:
  • 6 musketeers
  • 2 grenadiers
  • 2 fusiliers
  • 2 artillery units
  • 2 curassier units
  • 2 dragoon units
  • 3 hussar units
  • 1 General
  • 4 officers

I think that should get me through quite a few smaller scenarios, but just in case I ordered the following to round out my Prussian force:

  • 2 artillery
  • 2 curassier
  • 2-3 jager/frei-corps

And to begin my Austrian force:

  • 2 Hungarian infantry
  • 2 Hungarian grenadiers
  • Hungarian flags (so I can see the correct size, I will make my own German-Austrian ones)

All of this will be ordered from Olde Rivertowne Miniatures, which leads to the next section...

A little late, but hey we had no choice but to wait.  Olde Rivertowne Miniatures is now open for business in the USA!  I tried out their site, complete with a shopping cart.  I found the site very friendly and easy to use.  The shipping is flat rate $6.00, quite steep I think, but what are you gonna do.  I ordered using PayPal and the transaction seemed to go pretty smoothly.

I will let you guys know how it went as soon as they arrive on my doorstep.


3 months to read The Anatomy of Victory and 15 days to fly through Christopher Duffy's The Army of Frederick the Great.  An amazing book to read on the subject.  If the Osprey series on SYW Prussians puts the uniform on Prussia's soldiers, this book puts the face on them.  I feel very well informed on the world situation, Frederick's motives, and the lasting effects of the SYW.

Duffy begins with a description of each arm of the Prussian military and a description of typical conditions for officers and soldiers alike. 


He then goes on to describe the "nuts and bolts" of the war machine, and finally ends up telling about the 2 Silesian wars, Seven Years War, and the War of Bavarian Succession.  He breaks up all of the major battles and discusses them, supplying very clear maps.

This is the first CLEAR account of the SYW that I have ever read.  I have many times tried to understand the intricacies of the war, and why it was fought.  Finally I have a good feeling about my understanding of the events. 

Duffy uses many French and German expressions that he doesn't translate.  I found this to be very confusing at times.  There were also some very obvious typos in the text, but never enough to turn me off the book.

Over all, a VERY enjoyable read for anyone interested in Prussian history.  I look forward to reading Duffy's The Military Experience in the Age of Reason next.

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Copyright (c) Russell Gregory
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, V 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".