I decided to just push ahead and start cutting foam, instead of the complex geometry stuff. It seems to have worked out so far, what the heck? So I cut three layers of foam to the outline of the bastion and then cut it again at the draft angle of the walls I had finished earlier. A couple of mistakes and a whole mess of hot glue and I have a bastion. All in less time than the math would have taken.
those are 28mm WSS figures from Wargames Factory
this is going to be a HUGE model when it is finished
Wow, if I had any clue that I was going to be doing this sort of thing later in life I would have paid more attention in Geometry (and drafting) class! So, it turns out that there is a lot more to cutting a bastion than nice straight walls. The intricate inside corners of angled walls almost defeated me (BTW, Pythagoras, you were no help) but then it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't need to cut the object in one continuous action, all I needed to do was make a pile of parts that would reassemble into a bastion. Blunt Force has always been a specialty of mine so the world made sense again and I got to work.
The next step was putting the lines down on my 1/120 scale test model, this is where some drafting skills would really have helped (or a CAD designer and a 3D cutter). After much head scratching and a lot of graph paper the drawing came together and was transferred onto the blue board. There were a few issues during the transfer process but I got it worked out producing this magnificent mess of a drawing;
the red lines indicate the footprint of the bastion,
the lines labelled "cut" account for the inward tilt of the wall face
As each cut passed completely through the block of foam I glued the block back together after each cut, making sure to only glue the areas that would be part of the final piece. This way I was able to use the fence on the foam cutter to ensure that the lines were straight. Finally with all the cuts made and the spoil cut away I had this;
now all I have to do is figure out how to get something three times as large to go through Proxie
All in all a satisfying experiment. Now that I have figured out the way to proceed with the cutting, reassembling, more cutting sequence I just need to find a way to get the parts through the tool. Another consideration is that each bastion will have a largest dimension of over 24" with all the storage and handling issues that arise from that.
............if this were a real fortress there would be three more walls and four bastions. My faithful servant Proxie had been misbehaving so I had OldSarge take a look at it. The cutter is now back up to speed and I wanted to give it a go, then this happened
of course it lack crenelations and a firing step but this was just an exercise
one glance at the arches and you can see that I am out of practice at cutting curves...
At fifteen inches long it is only half the length of the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos and the bombproofs would be tree times as deep and faced with a stone wall. That said, all of this took less than a half hour including waiting for the hot-glue gun to warm up.
I grew tired of looking at them so I skipped a couple of hours of sleep and powered through and finished the paint jobs on the 29mm Gripping Beast Arab Infantry. The Housemartin had wanted four readily identifiable units. You have seen the musket armed conversions. The other three groups were, swordsmen, Wallachians (in nasal helmets) and Akinji spearmen. I threw in an added level of unit identification by painting most of each groups with an over arching color scheme, this is particularly obvious with the Akinji, per the Housemartin's request.
As usual they were painted using Americana colors (available from Michael's, Hobby Lobby and other retailers) over a flat white primer coat. Colors were diluted slightly to ease the p[ainting process and then the figures were given a thin coat of Future Floor Wax. Over this was added a flesh wash of ten parts water, ten parts Future and one part Russet Brown, with just a touch of burnt umber. Once that had dried I did a fifty-fifty water /Future with a dash of black wash over the whole figure.
first we have the Wallachians, I have only the faintest clue about them but I imagined that study Balkan mountain-dwelling men would have muted colors so I went with a variety of shades of green
Long troubled by the ongoing conflict in the adjoining Satrapy of Kondoo, the Prussian Governor-General, Victor von Schimmelpfennning (brother to the famous Franz von Schimmelpfenning of Deustches Ost Daftrica fame) decided to intervene to stop feckless bloodshed. Backing the late-departed (or as others might claim, recently murdered) Satrap Iben Dunnin's, oldest son Muuhvin Onup the Governor-General sent his troops into the field to protect commerce and missionaries in the surrounding territories.
Effective native intelligence helped identify the location of the main rebel army and the Prussian forces, assisted by loyal Malagassian units, took to the field. A swift march hoping to catch the rebels in their encampments was foiled by the horrid state of the local roads and instead of catching the enemy napping the Prussians were forced to fight past the enemy's advance guard and engage the rebels in an open battle. The results was a close run fight as you will see below.
the initial deployments, most of the Prussian forces were still stuck on the muddy roads
as the cavalry and spearmen guided the artillery into position
One of the things that stands in the way of recruiting new players to the hobby is the significant amount of up-front commitment that a novice has to make before they can even get in a game. Witness the current popularity of "out of the box" boardgames that use minis as counters. These allow interested people a way to get into gaming without having to pick up a paintbrush or organize an army.
A good many people are intimidated by the standard of brushwork that appears in miniature wargaming magazines. To be honest even after painting minis for forty years I can still find the artistry displayed on those pages pretty darned intimidating. I point out to new players that nobody starts out at that level and almost anybody can paint figures up to an attractive standard with reasonable effort. I then show them some of my "early works"; those grizzled veterans that have served under my banners for three or more decades (and continue to serve BTW). These aren't figures with "bad paint jobs" I was doing my very best at the time with the tools that I had. They are just the product of my limited skills and circumstances.
In honor of those ancient warriors, and to encourage newcomers, and anybody else who hesitates to pick up a brush, I am opening a new venue here on the blog; my Humility Corner. I will post from time to time pictures of some of my oldest, most battle-worn troops juxtaposed with some of my better efforts. I encourage any and all readers to send similar pictures of their efforts to my email with the details of the figures and when, and how, they were painted.
To start things off here are my oldest, most experienced warriors; 25mm (yes, back when such things existed- along with dinosaurs) Der Kreigspeilers ancient Greek spearmen, I painted these in the fall of 1976 using Testors oil-based enamel paints (intended for model cars and such). Four decades of service under my command finds them suffering from the fact that they are made of nearly pure lead (notice the dreaded "lead-rot" afflicting some of them) along with much mis-handling. I will keep these heroes in service as long as I wargame.
cast in butter-soft lead (I trimmed the flash with my thumbnail)
they are endlessly getting bent and re-straightened,
a good many have broken off at the ankles
the patchy gray areas are lead-rot a form of oxidation that seems unstoppable short of giving the figures a "dip-n-strip" a heavy coating of Future a while back slowed it down a lot , but I'm still taking casualties from this insidious disease
The years have passed and my skills (although still modest) have improved; these are (not) Foundry minis "Turkish Officers" I no longer remember if they are from the Great War or the Darkest Africa range but they bear the unmistakable hand of the Perry twins (Boy was I wrong, an astute reader advised me that the Turks are from Copplestone's Castings). I just liked them when I first saw the package and bought them for no purpose other than the enjoyment of painting a well sculpted figure.
primed flat white with Rustoleum 2xpigment primer
and painted exclusively with Americana brand water-based acrylics,
Future Floor wax protective coat dulled to matte using Armory flat spray
Any reader who wishes to submit similar photos please email them with a description of the mini and the paints and any other pertinent info to me at email@example.com put "humble" in the title in case it goes to spam.
One brave reader has submitted a photo of some of his earliest work. Paul from Paul's Bods has given us a glimpse into his past with a picture of some Airfix Napoleonics that he painted a long while back.
Normally his work is to a much higher standard (see this photo that I lifted from one of his more recent posts). Take a look at his blog and remember that he is working with 20mm figures (which are only slightly larger than most "15mm" figures are these days). Beautiful stuff!
I confess; I am addicted to modifying plastic figures.
It is so easy, quick and lends such a air of ownership to my units that I simply cant resist. Thus, when confronted with the relatively narrow selection of torso poses offered in the kit I decided that no two figures would be the same, even if I had to go to Frankenstein levels of body part swapping. This was further complicated by The Housemartin's request that they fall into four readily identifiable groups, one of which was a semi-regular unit (and would thus be more alike than different). Much head-scratching and chin-rubbing ensued as I perused the available parts. I sorted the torsos into three groups (having already built the musket armed troops) and spent some time studying the selection of arms and weapons. The Housemartin added another complication by requesting that one of the units (all were of ten figures) be armed entirely with swords. I was forced to conclude that some major surgery would be in order.
after assembling one each of the "standard" poses I was unhappy with the way that the figure held the weapon, a quick fix is to cut off the hand and re-position the angle at which the weapon is held, or move it to an entirely new arm
It has been ages since I did a figure review and I know this isn't a particularly new subject. This is mostly because I have toned down my purchases to try (emphasis on try) to lower the height of the mountain of unfinished projects in my basement. I have been pounding away at the Lace Wars Project but I was starting to feel that itch, the desire to be distracted. Enter my old buddy The Housemartin, he is working on a project himself and doesn't care for the fiddly process of assembling plastic miniatures. The Housemartin has known me since we were both teenagers and he knows my tendency to love any new and different project. A few well-placed comments later and I found that I had not only agreed to assemble his minis for him, I had agreed to modify some of them to have muskets and then paint them.
Ignoring the lovely weather I stuck to my guns (deliberate bad pun alert) and got the crews finished. There is a surprising amount of fussy little details on the figures which slowed things considerably. In the end they were completed and will soon join the ranks of Caribbean Sea circa 1700 forces. Eventually I will have enough to run the giant game/campaign that has been haunting my dreams since these minis were released.
All that aside here are the guns and crews.
an undercoat of olive gives the gold paint (which is translucent) just the right touch of green for the bronze effect
I had a couple of hours so I sat myself down and worked on the guns and their attendant gunners. Having dug around in my sources it seems that blue coats with red facings was a common uniform for artillerymen of the day. I decided to paint my first batch of gunners in that livery. The white-primed figures allowed me to wash on a very dark blue and get instant highlights on the figures coats. I then went in and painted the flesh, facings and details. Looking at the sombre colors of the crews made the cannon look like Christmas ornaments so I gave the guns a dark brown wash to tone down the color and made the barrels look more like bronze than gold.
the best part is that I still have three more boxes of guns