If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and again and expecting a different outcome, then I must be mad. Not content with painting up loads of figures for the Spanish War of Succession in 15mm, I sold them and decided to start on something else. That something else, was, of course, 28mm figures for the War of Spanish Succession.
I’ve been looking at the Wargames Factory plastics since they were released, and stayed away, mainly because I already had armies in 15mm, and there was no conceivable reason for starting again in a different scale. Well, that isn’t a consideration anymore, is it? They have had mixed reviews. For a start there are the WF ‘haters’, but I pretty much ignored those. Then there were those whose opinion I respect, such as my old mate Scott (link in side bar), who were a bit concerned about the googly-eye complex. But what the heck, at $30 NZD a box I thought I’d give them a shot. I’m happy to say that I am not disappointed.
The first two test figures are above. Yes, yes, I cocked up the chap on the left and cemented the wrong body on so he has his crossbelt going in the wrong direction. It was too late to cut him in half again by the time I realised, as the cement had set overnight. Never mind that right now, there are more important things to talk about.
This project is going to be my Old School Wargaming endeavour – my chance to get into the spirit of Charles Grant and Don Featherstone that inspired me as a junior novice wargamer. Now, I have thought long and hard about Spencer Smiths, but they aren’t available in plastic anymore, and frankly, they are not all that inspiring. Not too mention that although I like the War of the Austrian Succession, my true love is 35 years earlier. I saw these guys described on TMP today as the Spencer Smiths of the 21st Century, and I agree. They have a real old school feel about them while still being nice figures in their own right. But no 48 figure battalions. Just too big for my 4′ x 8′ table. So 24 figures they will be, all individually based on 20mm diameter washers. The rules will be the Rick Priestly 1644 book from Foundry. The latest version has lists for the Marlburian period, and I have worked out my forces at roughly 1,000 points each.
The next question was painting. I’m dying to get into white undercoat and black lining with ink. But I’m also lazy. So this first battalion – the Orleans regiment, have been my guinea pigs. I started with a wash of Vallejo London Grey. It was too dark. So I mixed up a magic wash and this flowed much more freely. I will now declare myself happy with this part of the experiment. The only problem is that in places the plastic detail is not as raised as it would be in metal, and the wash does not give defined outlines. So I decided that I would have to line in these areas with London Grey. But the contrast wasn’t strong enough. So I have now relined them with black. So that attempt at being lazy was totally unsuccessful. Never mind, the next phase to make things easier/quicker was to turn to my new friend, Mr army painter quickshade. I realised that strong tone would be too powerful on white coats, so I went with the soft shade. Result? It didn’t make much impact at all on the face, cuffs or belts – again, the detail was too fine – but managed to be too strong on the coats for my liking. The one positive was that it tinted the white coats a dirty creamy-brown – what I would consider the perfect colour for ‘white’ coats in this era! So the dip stays, but only a very light coat and preventing the excessive pooling at the bottom of the coat. Oh, yes, and before varnishing the figures I dropped them on concrete from a height. They bounced, did not break, and the dip protected the paint job! I will be returning to the old techniques of three layer flesh painting from now on though.
So overall, I’m pretty happy with this project. I plan on buying a box a month and having all of the figures painted before the next box arrives, so that it doesn’t become another monkey on my back with a pile of figures sitting there just looking at me. Should be totally finished by half way through next year I reckon.
And as for the googly eyes – you be the judge:
‘Hey Thierry, did you see that les Tricolores got into the Rugby World Cup Final?’
‘Oui, Maxime. By the way, what are you doing with your cross-belt?’
Oh, and Go the All Blacks! Big semi-final tonight.