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Category Archives: Uniforms

La Bricole Painting Competition (Part 1) / 4th Marine Regiment

La Bricole Painting Competition (Part 1) / 4th Marine Regiment

A couple of days ago I stumbled over a nice little forum called La Bricole, which is completely dedicated to Napoleonic wargaming. Now they are running a painting competition right now, which is more of a friendly contest rather than anything else. All participants need to paint a unit of their choice, any given scale. The biggest rules are that you are not allowed to have started (except cleaning the minis and priming them) before the competition started around Christmas and that everything needs to be finished before the end of March. You can pick any unit as long as it is not elite (no guards, Rifles / Schützen / Jäger…).

I decided to pick the 4th Marine Artillery Regiment. Why… Well most of all, because I need to paint them for my Völkerschlacht / Möckern project anyway and since it would give me good reason to work myself through them at a reasonable pace, since I feel that this might be the unit that might get me bored most easily!

Since I only found the forum last week I am slightly late to the party, but on the other hand I have lots of time right now. So over the course of a couple of evenings I cleaned up the minis for this unit. Right now it is only the 1st battalion, but if I find the time, I shall try to do all 3 for the competition.

French Marines at Möckern 1813

Marine Artillerie bei Möckern 1813

Marines and Brandenburg Hussars

Marines and Brandenburg Hussars

Now at Leipzig these men were actually mistaken for Old Guard, since they wore dark blue greatcoats over dark blue uniforms. They had red epaulettes and pompoms, but wore shakos and (judging by some paintings I found) bicornes. Now this made the choice of minis easy. I used mostly Victrix minis from their Old Guard Grenadiers box with shakos from Victrix and Perry. A few men received the heads from the officers with slightly modified bicornes and one bicorne from Victrixs early infantry is in there, too. To add a little diversity there are also two plastic Perry soldiers in greatcoats and three men in normal uniforms. As you might be able to see on these poor shots from the various shades of plastic, all this came from a great number of boxes. They have now been cleaned up (a few slightly converted) and holes filled with greenstuff. After these shots were taken, I also primed them and I hope to put the first colour on them by tomorrow.

Minis before being primed

Minis before being primed

Skirmishers

Skirmishers

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Brandenburg Uhlanen Regiment

Now as some of you might have noticed from some of the little remarks of mine in previous posts, these guys have been bugging me for some month now. They are part of my Möckern (Völkerschlacht von Leipzig) project. When based for R2E this unit consists of 19 minis. So far so good, but I made the mistake to paint them all in one go and not in little batches like I usually do. While I love to play cavalry, I really forgot what a pain they can be to paint since a) you always paint two minis (rider and horse) instead of one and b) they are usually more elaborate when it comes to uniforms. The later also held true for the Prussians that most people usually see as a boring and bleak subject. As a result I always got bored by painting the piping, lace, buttons (I could go on forever) on so many minis in a row and either got sidetracked to other projects like the french command or simply did other things. But last weekend I finally applied the finishing touches to them and here they are.

 Brandenburg Uhlane (Knötel and Lezius Sturm cigarette card)

Brandenburg Uhlane (Knötel and Lezius Sturm cigarette card)

Their 1813 uniforms were quite straight forward… covered shakos, Prussian Blue Kollet jackets with red collars and cuffs as well as a Kummerbund edged in red and red piping to their grey overall trousers. The “saddlecloth” was black wool skin with red edging. Now what caused me some problems were their shoulder boards. There is a Knötel and Lezius Sturm cigarette card depicting a trooper from the Brandenburg Uhlanen with red shoulder boards.

Now all other sources state the shoulder boards for the Uhlanen were coloured in order of seniority (just like the battalions within a regiment of Landwehr infantry). Now since the Brandenburg Uhlanen were the Third regiment in line, theirs would be yellow and in the end that is what I went for.

What else is there to say about the Regiment? The official title is “Uhlanen Regiment Kaiser Alexander II von Russland Nr. 3 (1. Brandenburgisches)”. It was created on 11th of May 1809 from those members of the first Hussar regiments Nr. 1 and Nr. 2 that did not go on campaign or remained behind as replacements. They were expanded to 4 squadrons in the process. Since the Hussar regiments Nr. 1 and Nr. 2 were the Leibhussaren, the nucleus for the regiment was formed by some of the best troopers Prussia could muster at that time. In 1812 they provided two squadrons for Napoleons campaign against Russia where they took part in eight battles including Borodino. During the 1813/14 campaign the complete regiment took part in a total of 21 actions beginning with the siege of Glogau and ending in Paris. Obviously they were also at Leipzig. They saw action once more in 1815 including Ligny and Waterloo, although by that time their uniforms had changed.

The minis themselves are Calpe Uhlanen on standing horses. As usual they were a joy to paint (from an artistic point of view not from the time they took me) and I have to say I am loving this range ever more! During the painting process I was not too sure, if it was such a good idea to paint such a large unit in standing poses, but in the end I am happy with them. You can just imagine them standing up on a hill waiting to charge down at the French. But now on to some photos (which are all thumbnailed to larger versions):

Brandenburg Uhlanen command

Brandenburg Uhlanen command

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 1

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 1

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 2

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 2

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 3

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 3

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 4

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 4

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 5

Brandenburg Uhlanen troopers 5

Brandenburg Uhlanen group shot 1

Brandenburg Uhlanen group shot 1

Brandenburg Uhlanen group shot 2

Brandenburg Uhlanen group shot 2

Now that they are finished, I turned my attention to something new. In this case it is the Régiment Joseph Napoléon also known as the Régiment Espagnol. Not sure when they will be done though. I got an early birthday present from my better half this week… Modern Warfare 3 and Assassins Creed: Revelations for the PS3. that might distract me a little in coming days. 😉

 
 

Woodlands MARPAT and ACU painting guide

OK, the recent posts have led to questions on what colours I used and how I painted both my Marines (woodlands MARPAT) and my Army soldiers (ACU). First off all sorry for the lack of a picture walk through… I kind of shot from the hip here after a couple of requests.

Lets start with the technique. Modern camouflage clothing can be a real problem to paint. Patterns like the German Flecktarn, USMC´s MARPAT or USArmy ACU look really awesome in real life, but the thought of painting minis in such pattern can really make one give up on the project before it starts. Who really wants to paint tons of little spots or blocks on a mini, much worse a whole set of minis!

But there really are easier ways. Since we are only painting scale models we only need to fool the eye and that can usually done with really simple techniques.

When it comes to the base colour, you should always start with the dominant colour in the pattern. So for my Marines it was a base of Valejo (VAL) Panzer Aces 339 “Field Grey II highlight”. This is actually a very light brown, much like bleached wood. For the Army I used a base of VAL 886 “Green Grey”.

The rest of the work involved what I call “dry dipping”. This basically works like dry brushing. Only that you take a brush with hard hair, approximately “0” or “Fine Detail” size. Use an old one if possible, since it will be ruined afterwards for anything but this technique. You need to prepare it first, which means putting paint on and pushing it straight down on a piece of paper. After a short time the hairs will be bend to the sides and this is when you can use it.

Before you start dipping, brush some of the paint off using the same method you used while preparing the brush. When there is only about the amount of paint left you would want for dry brushing, push the brush sideways against the mini. When the paint from the brush is used up, refresh. You do not need to dip it into the paint-can every time, but you can refresh it from the paper you used for getting off the brush. Works about once or twice. Do this for every layer of paint, always going from te most dominant colours to the least dominant ones.

In case of woodlands MARPAT this is: VAL 70980 “Black Green”, Black (any manufacturer will do) and Coat d´arms 236 “Horse Tone Grey” (essentially a very light grey or off-white).

In case of ACU this is: Games Workshop “Rotting Flesh” and VAL 70894 “Camouflage Olive”

Since this technique works the same way as dry brushing, the deepest parts will mostly just take on the base colour. Not as much as with dry brushing, since the dipping gets into the recesses to a higher degree, but still not enough. And obviously a camo pattern does not limit itself to the raised spots. So just go back and paint a few small spots of the missing colours with a normal brush into the recesses. Do the same for any spot where you accidentally put too much of one colour.

Now go and prepare a wash. In both cases I used 1 part paint (a dark chocolate-brown for the Marines, black for the Army), 5 parts water (if you prepare a larger amount for future use distilled water since it will not rot) and 1 part white or Elmers glue. The later will help the wash settle into th deep spots, creating a shading on the minis that would otherwise be bleeping hard to achieve on a camo pattern like this. Brush the wash on without remorse.

Now this technique is fast (you can do about 2 to 3 squads in one evening) and the results look good IMHO.

In case you are interested… the boots were done with Coat d´arms 222 “Horse Tone Roan” ( light tan colour), washed with the brown wash and then drybrushed with “Horse Tone Roan” again.

Coyote Brown items (the Marines vests) for example were done in “Horse Tone Roan” with a little white mixed in and then washed with th brown wash.

So once done, your Marines and GI´s can start to deploy to any tabletop field of glory.

Marines

Marines (this is a photo from an older game before I repainted the bases olive)

 
 

All the best laid plans

When I started with my Napoleonic Prussians I approached the project like I always do… I began with research. Most important thing for me is, that I get things right. The first step is to take a look at pictures, drawings, paintings and the like to make sure I will get the colours right. With modern minis this is usually it, since equipment is extremely standardized and the biggest differences you can get are patches (if at all). On the other hand, the more you go back in history, the more every unit seems to have a unique uniform. You can find great books on uniforms that cover this, like “British Napoleonic Uniforms: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Uniforms and Braids” by C.E. Franklin. The big problem is that Prussia seems to be largely ignored in this field. So you have to go through tons of webpages and books to find the information you need. Unfortunately this is often contradictory, so you have to try to verify it with the odd Knötel print or just make a choice. So this is what I did a couple of weeks ago. I then put my notes down into one nice notebook (which also holds my colour combinations) for easy reference.

My uniform notebook

My uniform notebook

So far so good. Now all I would have needed to do, was look at my notes. 😦

Right now I have another unit of Landwehr on my desk and when I finally looked at my notes, I realised, that I had made a couple of mistakes when I painted the 13te a couple of weeks ago. For one Schlesische Landwehr has white buttons and not brass ones like I painted. And the straps on the muskets were made from brown leather, not whitened leather. So I had to return to them this week and fix it. To be honest, it is no fun at all to do these things (especially small stuff like the buttons) on minis that are already based as fours, so it took a couple of hours, but now they are finally historically correct.

3tes Battalion, 13te Schlesische Landwehr

3tes Battalion, 13te Schlesische Landwehr after the corrections were made

Two other notes. Now that I have the ability to check how this page looks on an iPad, I was able to make a few changes to it (unfortunately only visible to the iPad readers out there). The most prominent is a cover image.

The other thing is… last week I hit 5 subscribers and this week over 5000 clicks on the blog. Now these are small benchmarks (and might be laughed at be people blogging for years), but they mean a lot to me and I would like to thank everyone who has visited this blog so far and has subscribed to it!!!