Saturday, June 6, 2015

My 10th Hussars: And a plastics critique

Thanks to my usual mid-winter cold (every year without fail) and what I reckon was a psychological breather, these figures took me a month longer than they should have. A brief trip to Nauru didn't help either and I was off to such a strong start too. These British 10th Hussars for 1815 represent nothing more than an emotional homage to this year's 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. Fired up as I was in February, I have not achieved all that I thought I might have by this time and am now reconciling my efforts to a more realistic goal by the weekend preceding the great date. I have in the process derailed most of my other long term and major projects (except Lewes for which I have been finishing my scenery). What the hell ... this is a hobby and it's about self indulgence anyway isn't it?

A WORD ON WATERLOO
Foundry Hussars - right without moustache
I was six years old when my Father was transferred to his post in the UK in the early 70's. All my school mates at Crofton Primary were right into Airfix and I thought Napoleonic solders looked amazing. I collected the Ladybird Books, the Action Transfer book and let my imagination go wild. I freaked out at the Madame Tussauds Trafalga exhibit and my brother and I harassed my parents every time we were in Paris to attend the Hotel des Invalides - and I mean every time.
When I first started experimental painting of my plastic figures in my early teens, it was Napoleonics. My first structured wargames were using Donald Featherstone rules for Napoleonics. My return to wargaming and stepping into 28mm figures with my great mate Grant was through Napoleonics and The Grand Manner. I met my other long time wargaming mate Matt thanks to Napoleonics and it's a period which, even after an active absence of years is one I will always return to.  For me, it started and ends with the battle of Waterloo. If only Bernard Cornwall could have left it there ... but I digress.
Foundry squadrons with command.

My representation of the 10th Hussars at Waterloo is a particularly studied one as my previous research posting might indicate. I'll let my choices speak for themselves through the photography but I want to talk about painting plastic figures. My 10th is very much a representation of squadrons (four) - two with the old Foundry metals and the other two with the new(ish) Perry Brothers hard plastic miniatures. I got hold of the Foundry figures off Matt years ago in a trade but needed another 12 troopers to make up the regiment in 1:20 representative scale. I saw the Perry's at a wargames convention and decided to give it a go.
Plastic Perry squadrons

Let me be up-front - I have hated painting these plastic figures. I admit, I'm unused to it for a start and have been cautious with them.  So much so that I even went and bought the ridiculously overpriced Citadel white spay undercoat to avoid what happened to me anyway. The undercoat acted like blotting paper - absorbent and totally unsuited to my wash painting technique. This made them more complicated and time consuming to paint because I had to apply block painting and dry brushing.
Perry plastics left - Foundry metals right.

Some people may like this about these figures but they are also incredibly detailed - too detailed. Maybe this is fine for six-figure or eight-figure units but a total pain in the numbers I require. Don't get me wrong - I like a detailed sculpt and am fussy about my paint jobs but these buggers were just more than I wanted to commit to. I mean, hussars are difficult enough as it is. Every detail imaginable is present and credit to the masters, they left nothing out. I just found myself holding my breath every time I turned to them and then exhaling when I returned to the old Foundry sculpts; that even included when I was detailing the shabraques.


Command got a shave too.
I work for a living and as I age, my output is slowing as my attention to detail increases. Given these factors, I at least now know that I can afford to spend the money on quality metal figures simply because my output is so slow. As it happens I have bought some of the Perry French Hussars but I only intend to build two squadrons of the 7th for Waterloo. I am also going to try my hand painted undercoat approach for them to see it that improves matters. Even if so, my foray into plastics has been temporary and I doubt I'll bother again.


Happiest with this moustache removal of all three.
I suspect when the anniversary passes this month, my Napoleonic figure fire will die down once more and I can return to Lewes full time so to speak. I still have some unfinished FPW 15's on my table, an observer unit for my 20mm 1941 Jock Column and two unfinished 1/72nd bi-planes but who can say what I'll paint/build next. 

6 comments:

  1. I've painted both Perry plastic Hussars (French & British) and French Heavy cav, and also Foundry (Austrians Hussars and Russian Cuirassiers). I agree about the more (and lower relief) details on the plastics. Anyway, your British Hussars look great in both mediums.

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    1. Thanks Dean. I haven't given up on the plastics just yet but I doubt I'll get as familiar with them as you are.

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  2. By was of a post-script: it seems I may have ruffled a few feathers with the plastic champions or aficionados on TMP. Don't get me wrong ... I think the advent of hard plastic 28mm figures is a brilliant revolution for the industry/hobby. I applaud the Perry Twins and other sculptors/manufacturers who continue to expand their ranges. I was surprised with myself just how unsuited or unused to them I found myself. I'm happy with my results and the experiment continues.

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  3. All I can say is that you have done a bloody nice job of them, and I look forward to blasting them off the table when we next meet!

    Cheers
    Matt

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  4. No apologies necessary. I think your critique was well written and you were clear to say it was your preference, not others. BTW, I've seen recent posts on other blogs about TMP (and elsewhere) being overly critical on "opinions" :)

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  5. Excellent work Greg and superbly painted. Love a good cafuffle every now and again mate :-)

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