My renaissance cavalry

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I have been building a renaissance-era landsknecht army. This despite the fact I know next to nothing about either the renaissance or landsknechts! So my accuracy is likely to be suspect, but the overall look of my army fits what I imagine for the period … and that is enough for me.

Anyway, I wanted some cavalry to support my pike blocks of landknechts. I had no real idea of what sort of cavalry would have taken this role, but had in mind knights with long skirts and lots of plumes, but not with the heraldic surcoats worn in earlier medieval times.

As this army is really just a kind of doodling project, lying outside my main interest areas, I also didn’t want to spend too much on my figures! So I settled on a box of Perry Miniatures plastic mounted men-at-arms.

The Perry figures are designed for the Wars of the Roses period, which is a little earlier than what I wanted. But with a little basic conversion, I thought they could be ‘updated’ sufficiently to achieve the look I was after.

The first thing was to do a few head-swaps. I had plenty of spare landsknecht heads from the Warlord Games sets I had previously assembled. Adding a few floppy hats and bearded faces amongst the Perry helmets quickly gave a more renaissance feel to the figures.

I wanted some of the figures to have the long full skirts that you often see in pictures of renaissance knights. So I got somewhat ambitious (for me) and tried a little Green Stuff conversion work.

I’ve never really worked much with Green Stuff modelling putty before. But I was quite pleased with the results of my ham-fisted sculpting efforts, some of which you can see in the above picture!

Painting my cavalrymen was fun, as each figure could be painted in a different way. The end result was a cavalcade of riotous colours – exactly what I was after!

Here are all twelves of the figures, with bases sanded and textured. The flag came with the Perry box.

I was thinking of maybe changing the plain wood colour of the lances (which, by the way, were a Deus Vult product) to painted ones. But looking through pictures of renaissance period battles, coloured lances didn’t appear to be too common in combat.

Perry figures are always beautifully sculpted and animated. There’s a real sense of movement in those horses, even with all the metal they are carrying.

Finally, here’s the last view a poor foot-soldier might have as my armoured cavalry gallop out of the sun and ride him down.

More paintings of ships and planes

I’ve been doing more painting … but painting paintings, not miniatures! Well actually that isn’t quite true, as I have actually been painting miniatures as well, but they’ll be the topic of another posting.

As I develop into the hobby of painting pictures, I’m finding that I am increasingly drawn to ships and planes. I’ve already featured a few of these in earlier postings on this blog.

So let’s look at my latest efforts.

I came across a picture of a sailing ship against a sunset on an old CD cover, and thought that it would make a wonderful subject for a painting. But I also wanted my picture to tell a story.

So this is HMS Herald in 1840, sailing off Kāpiti Island on the west coast of New Zealand. She was taking Major Thomas Bunbury of the 80th Regiment around New Zealand to get as many Māori chiefs as possible to sign a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi (an agreement between the British Crown and Māori).

Off Kāpiti Island the Herald met the canoe of famed chief Te Rauparaha, who came on board and signed the treaty (actually, he signed it twice, because unknown to Bunbury, he had already signed previously!).

I was quite pleased with how the frigate came out, especially the translucence of the sails back-lit by the sunset. Though that sunset is pure artistic licence, as I don’t think the meeting between Bunbury and Te Rauparaha would have occurred in the evening!

I learned one valuable lesson from doing this painting. If you are going to tell a story, make sure the subject of that story is large enough to see. My Māori canoes are so small that some viewers don’t even see them until I point them out!

Above you can see a slideshow showing the stages of completing this painting.

My next painting is also a scene from New Zealand’s nautical history. It depicts the ships of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the war-yacht Heemskerck (right) and the smaller fluyt Zeehaen (left).

In 1642 Tasman was the first European to sight the shores of New Zealand. But he never landed, after a cultural misunderstanding led to four of his sailors in a ship’s boat being killed by Māori.

Painting the ornate stern of the Heemskerck was an enjoyable challenge, in which my experience of painting miniature figures really helped.

I chose to show the Heemskerck with its top-masts cropped off. I feel this makes the picture more dramatic than if I had portrayed the entire ship.

I’ve had lots of compliments about my portrayal of the sea. I was trying to get the effect of the sun glinting on the swells.

I’m also really pleased with how the fat little fluyt Zeehaen came out in the background!

Above are the stages I went through to paint these two ships.

This painting is based on an old Air New Zealand publicity photo I came across, which I figured would make an unusual painting. I must admit I was as much taken by the wonderful Morris van as with the plane itself!

I am particularly pleased with the metallic effect on the plane’s engines. This was a case of trial and error, and there are many coats of paint under the engines, each one unsuccessful until I came up with final effect.

In researching this painting, I found out more information than anyone could ever need to know about as prosaic a subject as air-stairs! For those interested, these stairs (with their natty Cadillac-style wings) were made by Hastings-Deering.

My wife worked for many years as a cabin crew member for Air New Zealand. Though I hasten to add that she isn’t old enough to have worked on this DC8 in the 1960s!

Above you can see how the DC8 picture was put together.

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Finally, here is a sneak peek at my next painting. Once again, a part of New Zealand’s marine history – Her Majesty’s Bark Endeavour – the ship that Captain James Cook sailed round the coast of New Zealand in 1769.

This is still a work in progress, as the sails and rigging needs lots more work. It is also the largest work I have endeavoured to do so far (see what I did there?!) – at 28 inches across, it is twice the size of my other works.

An unplanned landsknecht army that came from nowhere!

This is kind of weird, as I never planned to build a 16th century landsknecht army. I don’t know much about the period, I have never played any games in this era, and I have no-one particularly interested in building up opponents for this army.

Nevertheless, I now find that I have sort of organically reared a moderately sized landsknecht army.

It all started with one freebie sprue of Warlord Games’ plastic landsknecht pikeman. I painted them up on a whim, and then thought, ‘Why not buy one box just to see what a pike block looks like?’

Then the one pike block grew to two, then three. And when a fellow gamer mentioned a joint club order to Old Glory, I couldn’t resist seeing how a pike block of their more animated metal landsknecht figures would look in comparison to the rather staid poses of the Warlord plastics.

Along the way I realized I also needed some hand-gunners, then some zweihänder (two-handed) swordsmen and halberdiers, a cannon, some generals … and before I knew it, a landsknecht army had grown from no-where!

So for your delectation, here are some pictures of my latest additions to this unplanned army.

I mentioned above that I had been curious to see the animation of the Old Glory landsknechts. I had heard these were one of the better ranges that Old Glory put out, and I must say I was indeed quite impressed when I received them.

Apart from a couple of the officer poses that looked over-animated to my eye, the figures in general looked pretty realistic. And boy did they convey the famous panache of that slashed and be-ribboned landsknecht clothing!

I think I must have dipped my brush into every paint-pot I own to paint these guys, and even then mixed a few additional colours myself. I am really pleased at the resulting spectacular mélange of different hues and tones.

My painting style is pretty impressionistic. So from close-up the figures look a bit messy, but they do really pop when you stand back to normal tabletop height.

I rather like the officer in red in the above picture. The flags were made from images I found on the web.

This wee fifer is one of my favourite of the Old Glory figures. He looks like he has stepped right out of a renaissance-period print. Again, my slap-dash paint style is obvious here (from the GW Contrast paints that I like to use).

Above is the third of the Warlord Games pike blocks I painted. I intended that this regiment might hail from Bavaria, thus the blue and white flags. But to tell the truth I don’t know how realistic this is (as I said, I don’t know much about the period). But it is cool to look at, and that’s all I want!

For those intrigued to know how Warlord Games and Old Glory landsknechts match up, here are a couple of comparison close-ups.

As you can see, the faces of the Warlord figures are very realistic, even with no more than just a single wash of GW Contrast flesh paint. The poses are quite static, but look very natural.

Meanwhile the Old Glory figures have very active poses, and their clothing is much fuller and more flamboyant. I had to drill their hands to take the pikes (which are plastic spears from Fireforge Games). Their faces are not quite so finely sculpted, but still capture the look of the period.

A group of halberdiers, also from Warlord. The right arms are made out of metal, so they were a bugger to attach to the plastic figures. In the end I had to pin them, which was a bit of work. But I am pleased with the result.

These figures are from the same box as the halberdiers, but equipped with the plastic zweihänder swords, so a cinch to glue on compared to the halberds.

And of course I needed some handgunners. These are mainly by Warlord, but there are a couple of Steel Fist Miniatures metal gunner in there as well.

The handgunners look great defending this scratch-built farmhouse.

The cannon is by Steel Fist Miniatures. I like the way the figures are posed pushing the gun into position (though I imagine such a large gun would actually take more than just two men to move!).

Winners of the big hat competition are these two generals, the only mounted figures in my army so far.

I am currently mulling over what type of cavalry I should get. I don’t want to go overboard (famous last words?!), so just one unit. But should they be heavily armoured gens-d’armes, or maybe some lightly armoured pistol-wielding reiters?

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.