Friday, April 17, 2020

Battle for Quebec: Otway's 35th regiment of foot

Leaping straight into this very large unit, I was required to prepare for converting 44 sets of cuffs prior to undercoating. This unit really did absorb a lot of effort and is another massive battalion and the last of the real big ones. In fact, I will only have four more regiments to go all of which are 30 figures and less - hooray!
This unit is all advancing with bayonets charged and once more mainly Redoubt Miniatures - the last of my original purchases. This unit has a very interesting and different cuff lace with a fish-bone pattern extending up the arm from the cuff. Redoubt Miniatures come with a box-grid lace extension up the arm from the cuff which I cut away and filed off each miniature. I determined to paint on the fish-bone.

Otway's 35th have very unusual orange cuffs and turn-backs and for this reason I have deepened the red coat tone to help contrast the cuffs and lace more than I normally do. With the same contrasting intent, I kept the orange mix from mid to lighter orange. At least this is what I thought I was doing.
The advancing pose is not varied within the Redoubt Miniatures range so I carefully twisted heads in an attempt to generate some individuality. I even cut away one figures leg from the base which makes it look like the soldier has lost his balance - but that was all I could achieve so I left it at that. Any other irregularity will have to rely on fixing them irregularly to their bases
I left all metallic painting until after matt spray coating them. My artists picture varnish flattens everything in the extreme so I thought I'd wait until after that application before finishing barrels, buckles, locks and bayonets. I thought I'd finish them off easily over my isolated Easter but they took so long. A whole day was spend painting white lace and grenadier mitre designs - an exercise in cross-eyed madness.

I based the lot with either figures on four figure frontage bases (80mm) although the flanking bases have only six figures if you pay attention. I just love that I came to realise these minor details don't matter any more - so liberating. These are likely the widest bases I would ever have and I have only done so because of the size of these battalions and the fact they are designed specifically for a re-fight on the relatively open fields of the Plains of Abraham (table-top). Generally, a maximum of 60mm bases wide is preferred so a unit can march in column through narrow streets or over model bridges within the confines of the model. I just loath looking at precarious bases balancing on ill-suited terrain pieces ... ugly.   

I'm happy with the result and they are a very different and colourful mob but I'm even happier I don't have to paint them any more. To be frank, I am exhausted and over painting tricorn infantry for a while which is just as well because I'm all out. I'll not be able to get any more to me whist stranded in Tonga so for the time being my British for Quebec are on hold. I imagine when the nations come out of lock-down I'll end my posting and return to Oz. In the meantime, it's back to Rome

Friday, April 3, 2020

Quebec: Wolfe's detatched light companies & Cran Tara Minis

It's been a hell of a start to 2020 and I've struggled to cultivate the motivation to paint. I am now marooned with 100,000 souls in a locked-down Kingdom of Tonga for an indefinite period. I have had to cancel a large spate of anticipated leave back in Australia which was to coincide with my daughters' 18th birthday (twins) and an Iron Maiden concert in Sydney. Well that's not happening now. Thankfully the fires which raged across Australia didn't directly affect me or mine but a massive hail storm with stones the size of golf and billiard balls destroyed my car. Fortunately, the insurance write-off was worth more than it's trade-in value so I'm ahead for the purchase of a new Hybrid SUV. I also managed to squeeze in a ten day trip to Dubai and Muscat over which my partner Tania accepted my proposal of marriage. So, the summer of 2019/2020 has been quite the roller-coaster ... and distracting.
I've finally got back into a groove somewhat less intense than last year's end-of-days frenzy. To ease myself back in, I turned to the composite detached light companies for Wolfe's army. This unit comprises for me a 21 figure group made from light companies from three regiments - the 78th, the 2/60th and the 28th foot. It's been a little tricky inasmuch as I've had to flick back and forth between three sets of colour references and late last year I ordered some supplementary figures from Cran Tara as I didn't have quite enough Scots ... needing eleven.

I had not ordered from Cran Tara previously and I was a little dismayed when they turned out to be nearer true 25mm miniatures. I've been used to scale-creep 28mm figures and I didn't feel these boys would mix that well along side my Crusader and Redoubt ranges - not to mention the oversize Blue Moon figures.
The Cran Tara sculpts are very realistically proportioned and very nicely detailed - they are very life-like. Being just that much smaller or rather finer, the kit is a trifle fiddly compared to the others. Don't get me wrong, they paint up lovely but it's a wee bit more of a strain to my ageing eyes and it felt harder going. Their Scots also have all the kit for French and Indian wars with hatchets, powder horns, ration sack, water flasks, bayonet scabbards and sporrans. These figures aren't so much shorter than the others but more accurately slender and I'm not at all sure they would fit well into a formed unit along side my other figures. It's just as well they don't have to as they will be skirmishing three to a circular base so what I've been scrutinizing under my magnifying lamp will be barely noticeable on the table-top.
I have to remark that once painted the differences seem to reduce. I found the faces on these Cran Tara figures to be less well put together than the other ranges in my collection. They are okay but more akin to Elite Miniatures in their attention to detail than Crusader or Perry Miniatures. This range came out years after I had started this project and it looks to be extensive and expanding. If I had my time over again I would definitely have considered them as a foundation range. As it is, I have been working within the uniform limitations of pre-existing ranges where sometimes significant variations in uniform styles between regiments is simply not provided for.
My previous go-to Humbrol metals have partially perished in the heat and humidity of Tonga with no hope of replacement in the short term. I had thought to experiment with alternative acrylic metals from the Vallejo ranges which were thankfully to hand and I will say they are superb. I do believe I am converted now using their flesh tones and now brass, gold and steel metallic ranges.

This makes the eighth unit completed (not including the two guns and crew) and I've already started on the next jumbo unit of 44 figures. I'll push along this Quebec effort but I'm about to hit the end of that particular lead pile and it will be time for the final orders to complete Wolfe's army.