Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Live and Learn!

 I spent a night putting to rights an old wrong I committed many years ago. Taking a brush to many of my old collection of Union Infantry who I had painted up with shell jackets instead of sack coats. Luckily, by adding a bit of paint my Union troops were once more adorned in the proper kit.
 By adding paint to the top of the trousers and shading with highlights, sack coats were once again back in fashion.
 No one would really of cared about this, but If you're going to spend hundreds of hours doing something, you might as well get it right. From now on, my Union troops will only be in Sack and Frock coats, leaving the Shell jackets to the Confederate forces.

Of course I know a lot of NY regiments wore shell jackets but I'm painting my army up to be generic and the sack coat is the way to go. I also took the time to paint over the blue trouser stripes on the Infantry privates, a little thing but I felt better for doing it.

 New sack coated Infantry, luckily the equipment hides a lot of the detail at the front, but the contrast between the light and dark blue works just as well there too.
 While I had my Union forces out on the table I thought It would be a good chance to give them some extra details. A pack of spare muskets from Redoubt added some fallen guns to the wounded figures.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Making ACW corn fields

 Well after making the wheat fields and being impressed with how effective they looked, I thought I would try another Civil war classic terrain piece, the corn field.
I set about it in exactly the same way as the wheat, only instead of cutting random shapes, cut the mat into strips to give it a corn field look.
 Once again I spray the green mat with a brown undercoat layer first then dry brushed on varying shades of green paint. The paint got more and more yellow with every coat going up the plant, so that just the very tips were yellow by the end.
 The catcher in the Rye.
 The final touch for the corn was to add green and yellow flock to the mat bristles with wood glue. This adds a little more bulk and detail to the plants.
 Seen from above the rows of corn can clearly be seen. These too can be removed to allow units to enter the fields.
A gentleman surveys his plantation.

Making ACW wheat fields

 When gearing up to play any ACW game somewhere along the line you are going to come across a wheat field or two. Lines of blue and grey troops advancing over yellow, bristling farm land is part of the very essence of the civil war. If like me you are aiming to recreate moments from Gettysburg, then the wheat field stops being a piece of terrain and becomes an objective and a must to have. So I thought I would have a go at making some.

 I started off with a green textured door mat, which I cut into different random shapes. The idea being that these can be removed to fit the units of troops in as they march across the field. However, from a low angle they still appear to be a solid field of bristling wheat.
 Once the pieces were cut out they were sprayed three times with different colour paints. The first was a reddish brown, the second was a mid yellow colour. The last spray paint was a lighter yellow which was done very lightly over the very top of the fields to give a highlight.
 I tried to keep the odd bit of green in the fields to add realism and make it look like some plants were ripening. The shapes of mat were now given a good blast with matt varnish to take off any shine.
 Once pushed together the random shapes become one solid field.
 A figure for scale shows that the door mat makes a great wheat field, coming up to about waist high on an infantry figure and leg high on a mounted one.
Once last touch was to add just a tiny amount of green flock to some of the shapes to act as foliage growing up in the wheat. Finished.

ACW Fences and stone walls

 The great fence production line.
 Here you can see the stones are dry brushed and the base has been re flocked. I also added the odd rail sticking up to add some variety.
 Chunks of 'grass mat' were also added along the fences to create areas of long grass. Also above you can see the rails have been greatly improved by running a knife along them and taking off the edges. Once dry brushed these look great and much more worn and realistic.
 While I had my flocking tubs out I thought It was time to finish off my wall sections too. These were another purchase off eBay many years ago, however they have green painted grass on their bases. I took the opportunity to give them a brown ink wash and flock them while I was on a roll.

Finished wall section. I added a brown earth coloured flock on top of the summer meadow flock to create variety.

ACW fencing

 Gearing up for the American Civil War I have been finally piecing together all of my ACW fencing I have made or bought over the years. The ones above are some I made back in 2000 and coloured white, to bring them in line with some I bought recently I painted them in wood brown and added some detailing like rocks at their bases.

 Here is a batch I bought off eBay recently, they are nice but need a bit more detailing to bring them up to scratch. I took chunks out of the round logs with a knife and re flocked the bases. I also added rocks and bushes to made each segment different.

 Almost done, you can see the rocks are still wet and once dry they will be dry brushed and the base flocked with different colours.

A before and after segment of rail fence. The one on the right is how It was bought from eBay.

Recruiting Orcs

 I thought It time to call up some of my ancient old figures painted way back in 1987 for my new Orc army. They were all painted from 1985 to 87 but the figures are still good today and It seems silly to spend more money on eBay when you have loads already in storage. I used to want to hang on to them and their old paint jobs for memory's sake, but the truth is I never look at them any more. So they will get a retouch of paint and get re based to join the swelling ranks of Mordor. I like the fact that even back then I was painting them with the eye of Sauron on their shields...Some things never change.

 Harboth and his Black Mountain boys painted in 1985, He will be one for the paint stripper for sure. I was amazed at the amount of blue I used back then, I think every figure has blue on it somewhere. Probably shows my lack of paint back then I suppose, I think I had about twelve pots.