Category Archives: Painting Projects

Richmond & Beyond

Back in February I provided an overview of some planned projects for the year. Given the year is disappearing at an alarming rate perhaps it’s time to check in with something of an update.

Painting has proceeded at a slower than planned rate, but progress has been made. At the time of writing this year’s 6mm American Civil War goal, set early in the year, has been reached.

It can be best described as an eclectic mix of infantry, cavalry and artillery to expand my collection for specific battles. Some additional rifled artillery as well as some horse batteries, several infantry brigades and an assortment of cavalry, both mounted and dismounted. A selection of which are above and below, all in 6mm using Heroics & Ros miniatures.

These reinforcements allow me to refight my initial batch of 1862 battles. Specifically, a couple from the Peninsula Campaign and then Second Bull Run and Antietam before switching to the west for Stones River at the end of the year.

A new stretch goal has been set for Glendale & Malvern Hill. This requires a few additional Confederate infantry brigades to be completed.

The first 160th anniversary battle has also been played. In particular the Battle of Seven Pines, shown above. We actually refought Seven Pines twice, once each side of the anniversary. For those interested a summary of our first refight can be found here.

The result of each refight was different, yet in both the key historical narrative was followed. Confusion, delayed reinforcements and challenges with command all proved critical. All testament to the Volley & Bayonet rules and the historical scenario.

Next up is Gaines Mill, assuming I can complete the terrain in time…

The Year Ahead

Well, I am really pleased with the painting and games I’ve managed last year. Armies have grown and some stirring games have been played. Not a minor achievement in a challenging year where the pandemic has rolled on while also changing employer. Yet somehow January has come and gone. How it disappeared so quickly I’m not really sure. Worse those minor wargaming projects I had planned to action over January have also failed to be started, never mind completed. This of course provides a degree of concern for other projects being considered for the year.

So what are these projects for the year I hear you ask? Well I feel this year I really do want to complete some additional historical refights. Some require only minor additions to the miniatures I have, others a little more work. All are in 6mm, which increasingly is my focus. Here is my current list, subject to change of course…

Firstly, I must completing the terrain project required for the American Civil War Battle of Stones River (1862). December will mark the 160th anniversary so there is some time. In addition a stocktake is required to determine what other minor painting is required for a couple of other battles of the Civil War in 1862, including Second Manassas and Antietam.

Next is completing the Seven Years War Austrians required for Kolin. The Austrian army is certainly playable but with a little more focus I should be able to complete the last infantry and cavalry required to expand the army to that needed for Kolin. There is a degree of satisfaction that the SYW Prussians were completed last year, so surely I can assemble the paint brushes for a final push on the Austrians. There is a possibility I may get distracted with some terrain for a minor battle of the period. Distractions are so dangerous.

Finally, I must return to the Hundred Days project. With the Prussian reinforcements having arrived a couple of months ago from Heroics & Ros there needs to be a focus on at least completing one more Prussian Corps this year. Clearly I need to do some planning on this. The additional Prussians will of course be so useful for 1813 games, that at least is what I’m telling myself as I write this.

This all sounds like a busy year. It would however be remiss of me to ask about your projects. So, what are they?

Hundred Days Campaign

Readers of my Volley & Bayonet blog will have already read of my 6mm Hundred Days Campaign project. A project that really started a year ago when, during the first COVID-19 lockdown, I decided I needed to make the most of the time at home.

Now previously I have played all four of the major battles that mark the Hundred Days Campaign. However, searching through my lead mountain which had been bolstered by miniatures purchased second hand, it occurred to me that I could field all the French to allow me to refight the battles of Waterloo and Wavre on a single long table.

In February I completed the French, and they along with the project, are outlined in a previous post that can be found here.

Last week, around a year after I started, the next part of the project is all but complete. Specifically the Anglo-Allied army under Wellington. A colourful collection of regiments drawn from various national contingents the army is certainly diverse. For those interested a few photos of the miniatures, along with a short description, can be found here.

Staying on Track

In recent weeks I’ve been focussing on some rebasing of miniatures. While rebasing isn’t as glamorous as seeing new miniatures roll off the production line I’m convinced spending time on basing quickly pays dividends. Likewise I feel investing time on terrain improves the visuals of the game.

One of my current gaming projects is to refight the Battle of Franklin using my 6mm miniatures. This American Civil War battle was fought in 1864 and is just south of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s long interested me and I had the pleasure of visiting the battlefield in 2018. I still need to post a few photos of my visit, but I shall leave that for another day.

Anyway, to refight Franklin I need some railway track. Finally this week I found time to complete this project. The track is from Irregular Miniatures and comes in 50mm lengths. I’ve always been impressed with much of Irregular’s terrain and use a selection of their range on my table. Specifically trees, fences, walls and field defences. Like the other items I think the railway track paints up well.

I have used a black undercoat to which I’ve dry brushed grey to represent ballast. Then the track sleepers are picked out with a faded brown for contrast. The tracks themselves are painted with Vallejo “Oiley Steel” before applying a matt varnish.

The final step was the selected application of a fine Woodland Scenic flock as used on my basing. This is locked in place with two applications of Woodland Scenics flock cement. I expressly didn’t apply a long line of flock. Instead sections of flock are used to break up the track edge and blend it with the basing used on the miniatures themselves.

Of course the track is useful for other battles. For the American Civil War Fredericksburg and Corinth spring to mind. But equally it will be useful for the Franco-Prussian War and of course 20th Century battlefields. With this in mind I’ve painted around 2.3m of track.

As to other items illustrated, the trees and split rail fences are from Irregular Miniatures while the buildings are from Timecast. The miniatures are of course all from Heroics & Ros.

A Little Painting & Basing

As regular readers know I have been using the Volley & Bayonet rules for many years for my 18th and 19th Century wargaming. In my view they are an excellent set of rules and a level that aligns to my reading of the great battles of the period. Indeed, the rules have allowed me to refight many of the great battles of the period. Some that spring to mind are Aspern-Essling, Ligny, Waterloo, Antietam, Gettysburg and Chickamauga, along with many others. All possible due to the very clever period specific rules.

Each historical refight has provided a fascinating game, but also they have provide an opportunity to further understand these battles. These refights have also been supplemented by many fictional encounters, ideal when time is lacking. These of course lack the historical background yet provide their own interesting narrative. Not unlike  the narrative of historical battles of the period. For me that’s a sign of a good set of rules.

But of course playing these battles requires miniatures to be painted. Our lockdown, due to the pandemic, provided a little more time to dust of various miniatures in my burgeoning lead pile, pick up a paintbrush, and paint what ended up being rather a lot of miniatures.

Now, some background. Over recent years I have been slowly focussing my limited painting time on the refurbishment of several of my miniature armies. All of which use 1/300th or 6mm miniatures from Heroics & Ros. This typically has meant a combination of rebasing miniatures – including increasing the number of figures per base, increasing the figure variety on bases, changing my labelling system and painting additional miniatures.

Some armies, such as the Anglo-Dutch and Brunswick troops shown above, have newly painted figures to supplement those previously painted allowing rebasing to continue.

Other projects have been relatively small, a sub project if you like. An example being the expansion of my Napoleonic Russians which were woefully short of cavalry. These can be seen above and below.

Now of course the pandemic ensured I couldn’t order more miniatures, or at least expect them to arrive quickly. So as mentioned the focus was on the lead mountain. Over the years I have collected a lot of odds and ends in second purchases. So one day I sat down and lay out all the second hand unpainted French Napoleonic figures purchased at bargain prices. After some thought I realised that I had almost enough for another large expansion project.

Above and below Napoleonic French cavalry for my Waterloo project. All are newly painted. Each cavalry stand represents a brigade of 1000 to 1500 men.

Here I’ve opted to model two regiments per brigade using the Hundred Days Orders of Battle. So any brigade here will have the correct facings for its historical equivalent. Above are four brigades of Dragoons in front, each brigade having two Dragoon regiments. Behind are four brigades of Cuirassiers. In total above there are the equivalent of 8000 French cavalry.

Below, another eight eight French cavalry brigades also for Waterloo, many of which are light cavalry. There include Lancers, Chasseurs and Hussars to name a few.

Currently on the painting table are the infantry, an additional 400 French infantry. This project, when added to previously painted miniatures, will see all the French units present in the Hundred Days campaign completed. This will allow the battles of Waterloo and Wavre to be refought on one long table. A project I’ve often pondered, but that really seemed unachievable.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before starting the French I started on my American Civil War armies.

Above and below a portion of the Confederate reinforcements.

Like the cavalry previously each infantry stand is 1.5″ square. Now however each brigade stand typically represents 1500 to 2500 men. Each stand has between 25 to 28 figures per base with additional figure variation adding, I feel, to the overall visuals.

Returning readers may also note the use of white text on black labels, something that I am increasingly pleased with. Of course changing labels in part of the army means doing all the bases.

Of course the Union army also needs reinforcements and these too have had some focus. In addition to several Union infantry brigades I have added artillery.

Below, a massive Union deployment of rifled artillery. In Volley & Bayonet an artillery stand typically represents 12 guns. With a frontage of 0.75″ per stand at the ground scale we are using each artillery stand frontage is around 150 yards.

Combining all the painting, the photos being just a subset, over recent months many hundreds of new figures have been painted and merged into the existing armies. A very pleasing result.

Of course painting is one thing, getting them on the table is another. Long delayed by the pandemic over the last few weeks we have finally returned to some rewarding multiplayer games using Volley & Bayonet. These games have of course provided an opportunity to deploy portions of my American Civil War armies. You can find a short game report of one of these games here.