Showing posts with label paint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paint. 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.

7 May 2020

Special Bonus Podcast - Painbrush Special !


In this special one-off bonus episode released in time for VE Day weekend the regular 6-person crew take a deep and typically discursive dive into the complex world of paintbrush procurement and maintainance, and surprisingly discover that at least some of them* even have valid, educated and informed opinions that are actually worth sharing. 

More importantly they all attempt to come to some sort of conclusion to the two key questions of "how much should I spend on a brush, and how many should I own?"




Brush brands discussed and reviewed in the Podcast include : 
  • Kolinksy Raphael 
  • Windsor & Newton (Series 7)
  • Army Painter 
  • Cass Art 
  • Royal & Langnickel
  • The Masters (Brush Soap)
  • Broken Toad (Brush Soap)
  • Da Vinci Cosmotop 
  • Great Art
 (* That'll be Tamsin then.)

14 Sep 2019

More New Malifaux

A few more "wargaming standard" Malifaux models have made it through the painting pile. They are OK on table, but these close-ups are a tad unforgiving. 

First up are Joshua Fitzsimmons and his Saboteurs - M&SU agents who focus on the Union's more, ahem, "destructive" goals and are in the Backdraft box set thats now been sort of replaced in M3e. 


Joshua has a long scarf and a bit of a mad look about him, so a Tom Baker-style Dr Who colourscheme seemed about right. 


The pair of Saboteurs could easily have been quite dark, but I went with a green khaki coat to give them a bit of the "1984" about them. One is modelled with long flowing hair, so she's ended up with some radical anarchist style purple locks as well to keep the theme going.


Fitzsimmonds has a placard too - mine borrows the placard imagery from the seminal 1986 Billy Bragg "difficult third album" Talking with the Taxman about Poetry, drawing obvious parallels between Fitzimmons ideologically indistinct place in the Malifaux MS&U pantheon and the 1920's radical Russian Poet Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky's equally ambiguous and troubled relationship with the emerging Soviet state. Or something. 


Ferdinand Vogel and the Beast Within round out the set.


Unambiguously a rip-off of the Jeckyll and Hyde classic pairing, but with Wyrd Games own IP.

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