Showing posts with label Blue Moon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Moon. Show all posts

16 May 2020

Blue Moon Swiss Pikemen

At Cold Wars I picked up a pack of Blue Moon 18mm Swiss Pikemen (15WS-105: Swiss Pikeman Advancing), partly because I was one pike block short* for my 15mm ADLG Swiss army, partly because I really like the small handful of Blue Moon figures I already own (namely their Three Musketeers set) and also as I just wanted to spend some money with traders in what was a very quiet, "even of lockdown" trader hall.

Those figures and now finally finished, and out of the pack of 30 figures I managed to conjure up two 12-man pike blocks (on 40x40 ADLG bases) as well as half a dozen halberdiers.  

The figures all came without pikes or weapons, so I also took the opportunity to try something I'd stumbled across online where a blogger gave instructions how to make plastic spears with actual tips - a much more sophisticated approach than the 'brass rod with the end painted silver" approach I'd been using beforehand. I've sadly failed to remember where I saw this idea, but I've dug out another site with exactly the same technique.


The figures were really clean and well cast out of the packet, and I duly followed instructions and created plastic pikes and halberds for them all with 0.8mm plastic rod, squeezed at the end and cut to shape. The pikes do have proper points, whilst the halberds are relatively unsophisticated long blades on the end of a pole. 

One downside I discovered however was that with the pikes being soft-ish plastic it was impossible to force the pikes through the partly-open lower hands of the men (which you can do with brass rod). As drilling out a load of hands which are cast close to the mens bodies wasn't something I really wanted to do, these pikemen ended up all holding their pikes at the butt-end in their left hands.  


I went with a black undercoat, drybrushed white using a tip from Dave on the Madaxeman Podcast a couple of weeks ago. I had throught this technique was about getting extra depth for the colours when using semi-transparent paints, but he pointed out that a white drybrush also really helps pick out the contours of the figure and guides your painting of them, which an all-black undercoat can make quite difficult to follow. 


Here they are almost done. As usual I used a very narrow colour palette, with white and red being the first two colours onto the figures. 

I've been struggling with getting good consistency and coverage from my go-to red, Army Painter Pure Red, and so recently changed to Vallejo Scarlet and Vallejo Dark Vermillion, both of which seem much better so far. The blue is a Vallejo Game Colour Electric Blue, and the yellow is Army Painter, but always on a full white undercoat. 
 

Unlike most of my other medieval figures the Swiss I have are generally not ink-washed, as their bright colours seems to work better if they are not muted - Swiss are stand-out troops anyway so why not make them "ping" a bit more? Paul Frith's 28mm Perry Swiss army also provided some inspiration for this approach when I played it last year at a competition - although it's not nearly as aggressively black-lined as these ones are.
 

I have however blacklined them - not a technique I usually do as it's a PITA, and not really compatible with ink-washing but here it seemed necessary to highlight the different blocks of colour. 
 

To give them a little more detail I added some white-on-red crosses onto some of their backs, sleeves and trousers. These I didn't blackline - there is a limit to my steadiness of hand!


The Blue Moon figures are very clean designs, but despite being marketed as 15mm by Old Glory UK I'm much more inclined to regard them as being the "15mm/18mm" scale as they are described by Blue Moon in the USA

Stood next to some Mirliton Swiss pikemen here the difference in stature and height is obvious, with the Blue Moon men being a full head taller than the Mirliton ones - although ensuring that the pikes are the same height on both blocks of men does go a long way to obscuring the difference in stature on the tabletop. 

Facing off against the Mirliton men I think my money is on the Blue Moon soldiers to win this particular push-of-pike! 


Here the QRF pikemen join the line on the left, with Blue Moon in the middle and Mirliton on the right of the photo. QRF are also "true 15mm" and are tiny next to the Blue Moon guys - the following photo where the Blue Moon figures are unpainted shows how the addition of equal-height pikes does tone down the difference in stature though. 


 
Overall I do really, really like these figures, but they are big, and stylistically very different to other ranges so it would be pretty much impossible to mix them in the same unit with any other manufacturer. Side by side in different units is just about OK at tabletop ranges though. 

This one packet of unarmoured pikemen also doesn't quite have enough variety of poses for my taste  (there are too many flat beret hats, which when painted in a range of colours can make the unit look a little like a packet of M&M's when viewed from above!) so I'd buy a mix of armoured and unarmoured men next time and mix them together were I to do this experiment again.

The jury is very much out however on whether the plastic pike-making experiment is one I'll continue with, as I've already snapped a couple of pikes with just normal handling. They do glue back on very easily (the plastic doesn't melt with Superglue thankfully) but I suspect the problem may be that the 0.8mm plastic rod I used (from Plastruct) is either just too thin, or too brittle to really work as it should. Creating the points is easy, and very effective so I may try that part of the technique again with 1mm rod, or even go thicker for spears for some 28mm figures. 

Casting around online the more permanent solution seems to be to buy a cheap sweeping brush head, and cut off the bristles - but that's currently harder to do with online shopping as Amazon doesn't tend to say how thick the individual bristles are on the brushes they are selling!


And finally, here they are with their Gnome of Zurich leader hurling his stinky cheese at the enemy! 


* This is of course a lie. I don't "need" any more pike blocks, I have got 9 already, and a load of other medieval ones who could be pressed into Swiss service if needed. But as long as I don't tell myself I'm sure I won't realise.

16 Jun 2016

Piracy on the high seas of... Leighton Buzzard!

Leighton Buzzard is not normally associated with Piracy on the high seas, nor is it twinned with any exotic ex-Colonial cities from far flung continents (although being twinned with a town called Titisee is admittedly vaguely amusing).



But, even so it was the venue for the latest round of the UK FoGR One-Day Competition ....and so on a bright Sunday morning my Buccaneers yet again took to the table in a flurry of bad dice, even worse puns, and some oddly appropriate commentary on lawn care !


Read on for all three reports!

25 Nov 2013

PIRATES! The Buccaneers return in 4 more match reports

The "I can't believe it's a serious army choice" Buccaneers return in 4 match reports from the BHGS Doubles, taking on opponents from the year 1695 in a fury of pirate-based action.


See a 900AP Pirate army in action against non-historical and entirely infeasible opponents such as The Tatars, The Anglo-Dutch, The French and finally, The Poles and Lithuanians as Piracy reaches shorelines previously thought safe from the scourge of the Caribbean (especially the Tatars, on account of Mongolia technically being land-locked).

The reports even feature proper maps and stuff so you can make some sense of the action, as well as just being vaguely amused by the bits I've spliced into the reports..


11 Jun 2013

Arrrr! Here be Pirates!

In one of the most extensively trailed competition writeups ever seen anywhere on the whole internet, the Buccaneer Army takes to the field at Campaign in Milton Keynes (well, where else would you expect to find Pirates eh?) for 5 games of cutlass-swinging, eyepatch-wearing, blunderbuss-shootin' Pirate-ey action of the most intense type imaginable.



See how me band o'hearties fared in combat in 5 pages, 200 pictures and several thousand words of puns, random links, irrelevant videos and three of the best episodes of Madaxeman TV ever broadcast!



Arrr!

10 Jun 2013

Compare the Pirate (.com)!

Just added a lot of photos of various 15mm pirates to the site, so you can see the manufactures side by side

As a sample, in this picture you have mostly Blue Moon with additional figures from Grumpys (far right) and Peter Pig (2nd from left). The pictures are all online here and searchable by manufacturer


27 Apr 2013

The Pirate Ship is now finished...

The Old Glory 8 Gun Barque is now finished... completing the Pirate army








I must admit to being quite pleased with it. Admittedly the rigging is a bit, well, jerry-rigged, but it does allow me to take the masts down for transport and storage - and it allows you to see the deck and crew very well too.

Lots more photos on my Facebook page

21 Apr 2013

The Pirates are Here!

My much-heralded Pirate army is now finished - just some ship rigging to finalise and then the whole thing will be ready to take the field in a rather ineffective yet amusing manner.





The whole process of painting them can be followed on my Facebook photo album (Facebook access not required).

The ship is almost done as well, and will make it's appearance online hopefully this week.  

17 Mar 2013

Pirate Baggage

I've added a load of photos of my Pirate Baggage base to the Madaxeman.com Facebook Photo album. You don't need to be on Facebook to see the pictures - just follow this link

Here are some of the photos of the baggage anyway for those of you too lazy to follow a link!





24 Feb 2013

Pirates!

My Pirate (well, Buccaneer) army is gradually taking shape - keep up with the progress on my Madaxeman.com facebook page, as I add photos to a gallery of "work in progress" Pirates...


25 Dec 2012

Happy Christmas - it's The Three Musketeers !

On a day when everyone gets presents they don't really want and then tries to slope off to think about what stuff they might buy online that they would have actually preferred to get instead of those socks, this post is intended as a timely reminder that whilst there are some figures you "actually" need, some you just, well, "need" even though you don't really have an army list drawn up to use them in, and some that you kinda think "well, I could probably find a use for them and they are quite nice, so as long as no-one notices....", there is a whole, separate class of figures that fall into an entirely separate "lets throw reason out of the window, I just GOTTA have some of those!" category.

And the latest contenders for the Gold Medal in this regard are very definitely the figures in Blue Moon Manufacturing's new Three Musketeers range.

In the French army from the early part of the Thirty Year's War, Field of Glory: Renaissance
allows you to field the Kings Musketeers as part of a tooled up (well, Superior grade) Light Foot unit armed with muskets. So, everyone wants 4 bases of them huh?

The Blue Moon figures however come in packs of 10 - 5 mounted and 5 foote. So, whilst somewhere in Madaxeman Towers a unit of 5 mounted and one pedestrian are being painted, some spare Testudo infantry were quickly pressed into service to add to 4 of the Cardinal's Guard to create the almost-useless unit of 4 bases of Superior LF Musketeers
The Testudo figures - here in the slightly blurred foreground - are a smidge
taller than the Blue Moon chaps, and also styled rather differently to the fairly cartoonish but eminently lovable Blue Moon - but its a very  good match at wargaming distances
Where the Blue Moon guys excel however is in their deployment of quite phenomenal Depardieu-esque moustaches ... (Testudo on the right here)
I actually bought the Cardinal's Guard set in preference to the actual Musketeers set as I thought they looked a lot more like the Hollywood impression of the Musketeers. (Testudo on the left)
"Have at you Sir!"   (Testudo on the right - although you'e probably picked up the style now..)
They truly are very loveable figures - and in the spirit of Hollywood-ization, my choice of uniform design for this unit was inspired by a classic Hollywood version of the tale of The Three Musketeers!


Blue Moon stuff is also available from Old Glory UK in the UK. 

Go on, you know you want some.... 

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