Flying the friendly skies of Kent and Antarctica

I think I will have to divide this blog into two soon, as I am now posting about two disparate hobbies since taking up painting pictures in addition to my original pastime of wargaming.

However, I guess today’s posting may just pass muster, as one of the subjects of my latest paintings is indeed military: an LC-130 Hercules of the United States Navy. By the way, the initial ‘L’ in the name refers to the fact it is a C-130 that is ski-equipped – how they got the ‘L’ out of ski-equipped, I don’t know!

I took this photo back in 1976 when I was employed as a mess attendant at McMurdo Station, Antarctica (I have previously posted about my time there).

This was one of three LC-130 Hercules aircraft that were recovered after they all suffered severe damage during attempted takeoffs from an isolated part of Antarctica called Dome Charlie. Following major structural repairs and replacement of engines in the field, the three LC-130s were flown to McMurdo, with 319, the last one, arriving back on Christmas Day, 1976.

I must say that I always wondered about the cost-benefit ratio of sending a team of engineers to one of the most inhospitable places on Earth to recover what were essentially just dime-a-dozen transport aircraft. I have heard a theory it was because the Americans were worried about the Russians obtaining the secret of the retractable skis – but surely it was something less prosaic than that?! Maybe there is a good wargaming scenario to be found in this story?!

For my painting I moved a mountain! I wanted a more interesting background than in my photo, so I added in Mt Erebus, with its wisp of smoke and halo of cloud. This isn’t entirely fantastical, as in real-life the volcano can actually be seen from the runway. It is just that from the angle I took my photo, it wasn’t in frame.

I also wanted something in the foreground, and what better than contrasting the modern with the old in Antarctic transport. This dog team would have come from New Zealand’s nearby Scott Base, as the Americans didn’t use dogs at this time. Nowadays you won’t find any dogs in Antarctica at all, after a clause added to the Antarctic Treaty in 1994 required non-native species to be removed. Dogs could potentially spread distemper to the native seals of Antarctica.

The above slideshow demonstrates the process I used to paint my picture. As with all my paintings, I used acrylic paints on stretched canvas.

Now let’s move from freezing Antarctica to the sunny skies of a summer’s day in Kent, England! Early in his flying career, my late father-in-law was a pilot for Skyways of London, based at Lympne Airfield just out of Hythe. I wanted to paint another of the aircraft he flew (I have previously posted a painting I did of his Constellation).

I came across this photo of a Skyways DC3 in Issue 19 of The Aviation Historian. Of course, there is no mention of who was piloting this aircraft on the day – but there is no reason it mightn’t have been my father-in-law! And I loved the view of the lane and farm buildings. So I just had to paint it.

The article included some great shots of the sky-blue-and-white Skyways colour scheme. That’s a lovely fuel tanker too – maybe another painting one day …

Funnily enough, my father-in-law eventually returned to flying DC3s after a long career flying jet airliners, piloting an old DC3 air-freighter backwards and forwards across New Zealand’s Cook Strait for his semi-retirement!

Again, here’s a slideshow that depicts how I put my painting together.

I’ve been asked several times if my paintings are for sale. But just as with my wargaming models, I have an aversion to selling what I put so much soul and effort into creating! However, I am investigating the process for getting art-quality prints made.

An interlude with a Connie and two Airbuses

Whilst taking a brief pause with painting my Landsknechts (I’m waiting for an Old Glory order), I’ve returned to my other hobby of painting pictures with acrylics.

My latest three paintings have all had an aviation theme, though of a civilian nature rather than military.

My late father-in-law was a pilot with a now-defunct airline called Skyways of London. This Lockheed Constellation was one of the aircraft he flew.

The Connie is in my opinion one of the finest looking airliners ever, with its fish-shaped fuselage, triple tail and stalky undercarriage. I copied the basic shape from a photo I found online.

My picture shows the aircraft landing at Manchester Airport, recognisable by its distinctive multi-story control tower visible in the distance.

In the foreground are a trio of enthusiastic plane-spotters! Their bicycles were actually one of the hardest parts of the painting, and even now I’m not sure I’ve got the angled wheels on that left-hand bike correct.

If you’re interested in how my pictures come together, here is a step-by-step slideshow.

The colour quality changes with some of the pics, as they were taken at different times of the day. But you get to see my method of layering the different components of the painting.

This painting shows an Air New Zealand Airbus on its final approach to Wellington Airport. The passengers will be having a bouncy ride as the aircraft lands in the face of a gusty southerly wind blowing up Evans Bay!

The large fern design on the side of the fuselage was challenging to paint. Air New Zealand’s ‘koru’ logo on the tail, based on the Māori symbol of a new unfurling silver fern frond, was also quite tricky.

The Hollywood-style WELLINGTON sign on the hill is real, with its fly-away design reflecting the city’s nick-name of ‘Windy Wellington’.

My brother-in-law is an avid wind-surfer, so I sought his technical expertise in how the sail should be angled in these wind conditions.

Again, here is a step-by-step view on how I created the above painting.

And here’s another Air New Zealand Airbus arriving at the gate on a drizzly night.

I worked off plans to depict the front-on view, but it still surprised me how boxy the bottom of a sleek Airbus looks from this angle.

I thought the reflections from the anti-collision light beneath the plane would be difficult to depict, but in the end when you simplify them down, they are basically just dry-brushed orange downward strokes under the wheels, engines and fuselage.

The beam from the white taxi light worked quite well, more-or-less by accident when I haphazardly slashed in a diagonal white streak on the ground. I do have to fix the light source though, as the taxi light should be at the top of the nose wheel strut, not the bottom.

I was quite pleased with the marshaller. I’ve never been good at painting humans, but this simple view from behind came out quite well. His arms may be a little long, but that could be just an optical illusion because of his batons!

And here is the step-by-step slideshow of how I painted the layers of this picture.

I may have time to do another painting or two before my Old Glory order arrives – and I have some ideas of other interesting subjects to depict. I may even pluck up the courage to try a military painting some time. So keep watching …

A colourful diversion into Landsknechts

This new period caught me more-or-less unawares. Whilst I’ve always liked the renaissance era as such, particularly novels set during this period (especially if they feature Leonardo da Vinci – I can thoroughly recommend ‘The Medici Guns‘!), I never thought I would ever collect a renaissance wargames army.

But my latest painting project has indeed been a renaissance one – Bavarian landsknechts, commanders and a gun – and I plan on adding to this army in the near future.

This new fad actually started two years ago, when on a whim I bought and painted a box of Warlord Games landsknechts. My intention at that stage wasn’t to build an army, but just an interesting one-off painting project to keep me occupied during New Zealand’s first covid lockdown.

I was happy with how they came out (as you can see above). But even then I never gave any thought to expanding my one unit into an army.

I don’t really know what it was that led me two years later to suddenly decide to buy another box of Warlord Games landsknecht pikemen, and then to order a few extra metal landsknechts from Steel Fist Miniatures. Whatever it was, it came hard hard and fast, as I had them all assembled and undercoated tout-suite!

This despite knowing absolutely nothing about the period (other than the afore-mentioned novels, and watching a season of ‘The Borgias’), nor even how a renaissance army should be organised.

And here is the result: the second pike-block in my little army. I chose to give them Bavarian flags to differentiate them from my first block.

I have probably shot myself in the foot for using these figures for gaming in my area. Rather than the 40mm wide bases that come with the Warlord box, and seem to be accepted as the de facto base-size here, I though they should be on 30mm bases to give more of a packed-in appearance. So that’s what I’ve done, games-standard sizing be damned!

However, I am sure that (once I eventually find an opponent) we can fudge a bit to play our respective base-sizes in the same game.

I was especially pleased with how Games Workshop’s Contrast paints worked so easily to replicate those colourful uniforms. Their flesh tone also does a fantastic job on the beautifully sculpted Warlord faces.

The armour was done with basic silver paint, followed by a black ink wash, then a Humbrol gloss varnish followed by a satin varnish – though the gloss varnish was probably an unnecessary step. It has certainly turned out looking like real metal.

I mixed in some Steel Fist Miniatures figures to provide a little more variety. Here you can see a Steel Fist officer drawing his sword on the left, and a drummer on the right. These figures are a smidgen bigger than the Warlord plastics, but as you can see, they fit in OK.

I also got this impressive gun and its crew from Steel Fist Miniatures.

This photo also reveals that whilst my figures look reasonably good from a distance, from close-up you can see my style is very impressionistic! But overall I hope I have achieved the effect of a team of scruffy, gun-powder-coated gunners.

The gun comes with two barrels – this one with the ragged burgundy cross, and one with fleur-de-lis. I have only lightly glued this barrel onto the carriage, so I can interchange it if I want a French-aligned force.

“You call that a hat?! Now THIS is a hat!” The first of these two Steel Fist commanders sports a big hat, the other an even bigger hat!

Here’s my whole landsknecht force so far – two pike blocks, a gun, a handful of arquebusiers, and the two commanders.

I also have a box of Warlord arquebusiers undercoated and ready to paint, so the ‘shotte’ part of this pike-and-shotte army will soon be extended to 36 figures. Keep watching this space!

An 18th century civilian painting project

I recently painted this pack of 28mm metal civilians by Ratnik Miniatures to populate the towns and villages of my 18th century ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

Whilst probably not that useful in wargames as such, they will add some interesting little vignettes from an aesthetic perspective.

I used my current preferred painting technique of a white undercoat (as above) followed by GW Contrast paints.

A gentleman in green and scarlet doffs his hat to a passing lady. Her sedan chair (with a demure hand poking out of the front window) is carried by a pair of liveried servants. A boy scurries ahead with a lantern to light the way once dusk falls.

In the market area a burly old woman pushes a barrow of bread buns, another woman carries her wares in a basket on her head, and one more pours some liquid from a jug.

Meanwhile a young man munches on some fruit that he has piled inside his upturned tricorne.

A couple of workmen are repairing the road. The chap on the right is in great danger of doing himself a back injury – ‘don’t use your back as a crane!’

Here’s another view of the whole group, bring the street scene to life.

The civilians bring me to the bottom of my lead pile, so I have thought long and hard about what to do next.

My decision is to add to my one existing unit of Landsknechts. I’ve now bought a further box of Warlord Games plastic miniatures to paint up, and have also ordered a few metal Landsknechts from Steel Fist. Watch this space for the results in due course!

Painting 40mm figures, and some tugs

After a long hiatus, I’ve finally painted a few more miniatures. They are 40mm metal figures from a New Zealand supplier, Triguard Miniatures, so I feel I am doing my patriotic duty to support them!

On a whim, I bought two sets of these figures to try them out. I chose two of my favourite uniforms of the 18th century. Firstly, the Gardes Françaises.

And secondly, some British grenadiers.

Each pack contains twelve figures, basically two variants of the privates, and one officer.

Here’s the final result of the grenadiers. As you can see, they look pretty good, even just quickly painted with GW Contrast paints, and with no attempt at basing.

There was a small amount of assembly required (heads, arms and swords). I really hate glueing together metal figures, as I always worry how sturdy they will be. Though I did manage to pin their heads on, so at least they shouldn’t come off in a hurry!

To face my grenadiers, here are the Gardes. The complex lace on their uniforms was quite easy to pick out in this scale.

Again, some assembly is required, and I must admit I wasn’t so happy with how some of the head-to-neck joints turned out – some of them look quite gawky!

The muskets also look rather precariously balanced on their shoulders so as to fit around their tricornes. How in the world did 18th century soldiers ever shoulder arms without knocking their hats off!

Here we see the 40mm figures arranged beside a base of 1/56th (roughly 28mm) figures by Crann Tara Miniatures. They are indeed very hefty models!

I don’t know if I will ever actually game with these large figures, but they will look gorgeous in my display case.

I’m actually dithering whether to make them look more like traditional toy soldiers by gloss varnishing them and leaving the bases untextured – something I would never do with my 28mm miniatures.

So why has my figure painting been in a bit of a hiatus, as I mentioned in my opening sentence? Well, its because I have been spending time painting pictures, a new hobby I have taken up in my retirement.

This is the tugboat ‘Natone’ moored at the Wellington docks in the very early 1900s. She was actually skippered by my wife’s great-grandfather. I did a lot of research to find photos of her, and then spoke to several steam-tug enthusiasts to get the colours right. The buildings in the background are still there today, though of course ‘Natone’ has long since gone to that great shipyard in the sky.

One of the enthusiasts I consulted for ‘Natone’ was so impressed with the final pic, he gave me my first ever painting commission. He wanted a picture of the steam-tug ‘Toia’ in Wellington Harbour during the mid-1900s.

I depicted her backing over her prop-wash as she manouevres out of the tug berth. Again, the background is researched to be as authentic as possible.

I’ve also painted a couple of birthday presents. This one was for my wife. It shows, Mount Ruapehu, her tūrangawaewae.

The tūrangawaewae is the Māori concept of tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. My wife has been coming to this mountain for skiing ever since she was a child, so it is a very special place to her.

For my 94-year old mother, I painted her childhood home in the town of Weert, the Netherlands, where she lived until she emigrated to New Zealand in 1953. Her house is the one with the round window in the attic.

Excuses, excuses, excuses! Why my wargaming has lagged

The last couple of months have seen little wargaming activity in the ‘Dressing The Lines’ household (though not absolutely none at all, as you’ll see further down in this posting). This despite the fact that I retired from my career late last year, so one would’ve thought I’d have more time to spend on the hobby.

There are several reasons for this pause, which I’ll explain here.

The first reason is that I have taken up a new hobby to sit alongside my wargaming: painting. Not painting miniatures, but pictures. I’ve already posted previously about my first efforts.

My latest work (which you can see above) depicts a church on the island of Santorini. This is intended as a wedding present for my daughter, who got engaged on Santorini just before COVID.

Another picture I completed in January is of the town of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre district of Italy. My wife and had four wonderful days in that tiny yellow pension (‘Scorci di Mare’) during our last trip to Europe.

I really want to build my skill in painting water, so was trying something quite challenging with this picture, namely semi-transparent water. The seaweed-covered parts of rocks on the right are supposed to be under the water.

Now, before you get too excited, the above picture isn’t one of mine. But it’s what I aspire to. The reason for my earlier comment about learning how to paint water is that I would love to take up the art of marine painting.

I’m inspired by works such as this one showing Captain Cook’s famous barque ‘Endeavour’ being greeted by several Maori waka (canoes) in Mercury Bay, New Zealand.

I saw the inspirational ‘Endeavour’ painting on a plaque marking exactly where Cook landed in 1769 to observe the Transit of Mercury. This spot was just down the beach from the house where we spent our recent two-week holiday.

And now that I have brought up our holiday, this was the second reason for not much recent wargaming action. I mean, really, how could wargaming compete with spending an idyllic two weeks with my lovely wife in Mercury Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the world?

Sand, sea, sky, uncrowded beaches – mmm. This is my favourite of the beaches we visited: Hahei, in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel peninsula. Click on the picture to enlarge, and you’ll almost feel you’re there!

Actually, we fitted in two holiday trips last month, as we also spent a couple of days in the central North Island. The highlight was a bike ride that included cycling across this spectacular decommissioned railway viaduct. Again, this adventurous activity hindered my wargaming!

Now, this pic is a blast from the past! This is me back in 1986, when I helped develop the New Zealand Police Museum. I was responsible for this display of worldwide police paraphernalia.

So why this photo? Well, since I retired from the police at Christmas, I have decided to volunteer at the museum, where I spend one day a week cataloguing their huge collection. Another chunk out of wargaming hobby time!

For those of you who want a closer look, here is the display. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but this was before digital cameras, so this is actually a digital photo of a paper photo.

And now for the ‘piece de resistance’ for why my wargaming hobby time is depleted. Last week I managed to break my ankle!

I have to keep the leg elevated at the moment, so it is too awkward to sit and paint. Though I hope once I get used to the cast that I may be able take up my paint brush again – for both seascape paintings and gaming miniatures!

And I do actually have some figures undercoated and ready to go once I myself am also feeling ready.

Firstly, these are some 28mm eighteenth century civilians from Russian sculptor Ratnik Miniatures. They’re splendid models which should be fun to paint. I am particularly looking forward to doing the sedan chair, and then somehow including it in my fictional ‘imagi’-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

My other awaiting project is to paint a few 40mm figures I bought recently on a whim. Here’s a bunch of British grenadiers.

They’re from a New Zealand supplier, Triguard Miniatures, so I feel I am doing my patriotic duty to support them. I don’t know if I will ever actually game with these large figures, but they will look gorgeous in my display case.

I couldn’t resist a group of their Gardes Francaises too, one of my favourite-ever uniforms.

So, lots happening, but not too much of it has been wargaming-related. But hopefully as I settle into my retirement (and my leg cast!), I will gradually get more organised with my various pursuits.

The 8th (King’s) Foot joins the Barryat of Lyndonia 

After a long gestation, the latest regiment of my imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia, has finally arrived. The Barryat doesn’t have its own army, but contracts foreign regiments to fight its battles (clever!).

Initially the Barryat’s contracted regiments were all ones that had appeared in the Stanley Kubrik film Barry Lyndon. But as all the main units from the movie have now been used up, the Barryat is now employing random real-life regiments such as this one, the British 8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot.

The real 8th Foot fought at a number of the more famous battles of the mid-18th century, including Dettingen (1743), Fontenoy (1745), Falkirk (1746), Culloden (1746), Rocoux (1746), and Lauffeldt (1747).

The figures are all from the range of superb 1/56th scale metal models produced by Crann Tara Miniatures, which are now owned by Caliver Books in the UK.

In fact, I’ve really got to praise Caliver Books for being able to complete this regiment. You may recall that I previously posted about painting the grenadiers of this regiment, and said I was awaiting the remainder of the figures to be shipped from the UK.

After they still hadn’t showed up by several weeks later, I contacted Caliver Books to check the date they posted the package. I wasn’t angling at getting replacements (truly!), but Dave Ryan immediately replied saying that consignments did occasionally get lost, and that he would resend the missing figures, which he promptly did at no further cost. Now that is excellent service! The 8th Foot and in fact the entire population of the Barryat of Lyndonia salute you, Dave!

The colours (flags) are by Flags of War. This is the first time I have used their paper flags, and I must say I was very impressed with them. The shading and highlighting gives the effect of the light shining through the cloth.

Two hints for using paper flags:

  • Firstly, after gluing the two sides together, lightly crunch up the flag from the top corner by the finial down to the diagonally opposite bottom corner – this gives the effect of the weight of the flag dragging it slightly down, which you won’t achieve by just rolling the flag vertically as many people do.
  • Secondly, always paint the edges of the flag to match the design, so as the cover up the unsightly white edges of the paper.

The 8th Foot carry two colours:

  • King’s colour: Union flag, the centre decorated with the white horse of Hanover on a red field surrounded by a blue garter and surmounted by a gold crown; the motto “NEC ASPERA TERRENT” underneath; the regiment number “VIII” in roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.
  • Regimental colour: blue field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge as per the king’s colour. The Union flag in the upper left corner with the regiment number “VIII” in roman gold numerals in its centre. The gold king’s cipher surmounted by a crown in the three other corners.

The drummers of the 8th Foot wore the royal livery of red cloth, lined, faced and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (golden braid with two thin purple central stripes).

By using deep bases (60mm) I can put my officers at the front, and the NCOs and drummers behind the line.

The figures were painted almost entirely with GW’s Contrast Paints. I love the way these paints flow, and how they automatically provide some basic shading and highlighting. These figures won’t ever be painting competition winners, but they look fine from normal viewing distance, especially en masse.

Speaking of ‘en masse’, this regiment is big by wargaming standards. There are 54 privates, 3 officers, 3 sergeants and 3 drummers, along with another 8 figures on the command stands, and of course the mounted colonel. A total of 72 figures!

Here’s a picture of how I have organised the regiment, loosely based on the battalions in the old wargaming book Charge! or How to Play Wargames.

Merry Christmas! Mere Kirihimete!

I wish all my ‘Dressing The Lines’ visitors peace and goodwill for Christmas, or in Māori, Kirihimete.

It may seem ironic to wish ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ on a blog about a hobby that may seem warlike to the uninitiated.

But we are actually a gentle bunch who like nothing more than to be left in peace to paint our miniature armies, and to have good willing friends to face across the tabletop.

So from here in Paraparaumu, New Zealand, I wish you a merry Christmas, mere Kirihimete!

Five centuries of warfare in New Zealand

I’ve just had an article published in Wargames Illustrated (Wi409, January 2022). The issue’s theme is ‘wargaming around the world’, so the publisher asked if I could do an article about the history of warfare that took place in New Zealand.

If my commission was to consider warfare that actually happened here, as apart from the overseas wars that Kiwis have taken part in, it seemed to me that I needed to concentrate on the roughly five hundred years from when Māori first arrived here in the 13th century, to the colonial wars of the mid-19th century (OK, I now realise that’s more like six hundred years – maths was never my strong point!).

This meant taking a non-eurocentric view, as most of those centuries the warfare was between Māori tribes. Inevitably Europe did start to make an impact towards the latter part of this period, first with the introduction of the musket that asymmetrically changed the face of traditional tribal warfare, and then the full-on direct conflict between Crown and Māori over their land.

So in the article I divided the period into three sub-parts: pre-European conflict; the inter-tribal Musket Wars; and the colonial New Zealand Wars.

My article features not only photos of my miniatures, but also several from my trip to Tawhiti Museum earlier this year, including a particularly eye-catching shot of a haka diorama that heads the story.

The publishers particularly wanted a scenario as part of the article. As I didn’t have one ready, I called on a fellow enthusiast for the period, Australian Mark Piper, who has devoted a lot of time to developing amendments to the Muskets and Tomahawks ruleset to suit fighting in New Zealand.

Mark and I initially thought we would co-write the article, but then the publishers came up with the surprise news that between us we had given them enough content for a two-parter. So Mark’s scenario will appear in Part 2.

Wargames Illustrated commissioned artist Neil Roberts to paint the impressive cover picture, featuring a Māori chief with tattoos based on those of Hongi Hika as sketched in 1820.

The Māori cover highlights that this issue contains content about wargaming set in New Zealand. But not only from my article. There’s also a great article in the same issue by one of the developers of the Tribal ruleset, Aramiha Harwood.

What makes Aramiha’s article especially interesting is that he is himself Māori, and so can provide a unique viewpoint on the warfare experience of his people. His article even starts with a pepeha, the traditional Māori greeting which Aramiha describes as ‘a means of placing the self in the physical and the social worlds we occupy today, while also tracing our history through our ancestors and the canoe (waka) we originally travelled to Aotearoa (New Zealand) on’.

I hope these articles give a shot in the arm for wargaming set in New Zealand. But, if nothing else, I trust that they inform people all over the world about the little known but incredible history of my country.

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia! (Māori for ‘Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!’)

Basing the Barryat of Lyndonia’s big battalions

Whilst waiting for an overdue shipment of figures to complete my current painting project (hopefully just held up by the international supply chain issues at the moment) I have done something I have been meaning to do for some time now – rebasing the regiments of my 18th century ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

When I first began painting the various foreign contingents that make up the Barryat’s army, I was inspired by the big battalions in old wargaming books like Charge! Or How To Play Wargames, with large regiments of several companies of fusiliers and grenadiers being led by figures depicting the officers and NCOs.

I achieved the look I wanted by combining six-figure bases for the soldiers with single bases for their officers, standard-bearers, NCOs and drummers.

But whilst this certainly looked good, it made the units very fiddly to set up and move on the table. So I decided to try something different.

I have now introduced a new basing system that I hope retains that same nostalgic look, but that is much easier to handle and manoeuvre. By using 40x60mm bases, I can fit two ranks of privates with the supernumeries marching in front and behind.

For flexibility, I have kept the standards on separate bases. These bases are narrow, but still as deep as the main bases, which means they line up perfectly when incorporated in their parent unit.

The flag-bases also work perfectly fine when the standard bearers are out of the line, albeit the long narrow bases are a rather odd shape.

I cheated a bit with rebasing, as I didn’t remove all the figures from their existing bases, but merely glued the existing six-figure bases on top of the new bases. As both the old and the new bases were quite thin, the combined height was still acceptable to me.

I then built up the terrain to blend the bases in. Although you can still just make out the line of the old bases (as in this French regiment), it isn’t too obvious.

I did un-base the supernumeries from their old single bases though, such as the officers and standard-bearers in this picture. But as there weren’t so many of them, this wasn’t too onerous a task.

Another advantage of rebasing was that it helped solve a problem I had with charging figures, whose muskets stuck well out in front of the old bases, and were in danger of being bent or broken. The new deeper bases will give them some extra protection frm clumsy fingers.

By the way, for the above picture of a re-based Irish regiment in French service I lined them up on a textured plank that I sometimes use for photographing my miniatures. But note that that plank isn’t part of the basing.

As you can see here, the effect of the drummers and sergeants trailing behind the line gives a great effect.

Likewise, having the officers stand out in front adds an extra dimension. This worked particularly well with my Gardes Françaises, with the officer stepping out to politely doff his hat to the enemy.

For the Gardes Françaises, I massed the drums together to form a ‘drum corps’ standing behind the line. But with all my other regiments, which are organised in a totally fictional way of three companies of 18 privates, each company has its own drummer.

One of the reasons for the separate flags is because I wanted to be able to capture the idiosyncratic way that flags are deployed in the movie Barry Lyndon. For example, in the movie the Prussian regiment carries three flags together that actually belonged to three different regiments.

But if I prefer to pose them as a real-life regiment, I can just remove the flag-bases I don’t need.

Anther advantage of the separate flag-bases is if I choose to play a game using smaller regiments, I can just divide the unit into two, and give each half a flag. Simples!

My light troops had also used the same size bases as the line regiment, but with only three figures per base. I again just glued the old bases on top new 40×60 bases, and arranged their officers and musicians behind or in front.

By staggering the figures, they give the irregular look of troops engaged in la petite guerre (the little war), like these Hanoverian Freytag Jaegers taking on French Volontaires de Clermont-Prince.

The larger bases for the light troops still work fine to depict skirmishing, as you can see with this picture of the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont-Prince taking pot-shots from behind a fence-line.

My original artillery had separately based gunners, as you can see in the picture near the top of this posting. But I have now reverted to the traditional system of mounting the gunners on the same base as their weapon, as with the above Royal Artillery.

I didn’t feel the cavalry needed re-basing, as their existing system works quite well. So I will leave well enough alone.

So that’s my re-basing done and dusted. Now I just need to head down to my letter-box and hopefully find that my overdue parcel has finally overcome the supply chain problems and arrived safely, so I can get on and finish my next unit!