X-Men

X-Men

On the Benno’s Figures Forum website, I recently entered the monthly figure painting ‘duel’ against the mysterious Mr X.  The aim is that we both paint exactly the same figure, take two photos of it, let the ‘referee’ post our pics, and then put it to members of the forum to vote for the best.

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My painted Zvezda Black Hussar of Frederick the Great’s era

The figure we elected to tackle was one of Zvezda’s Black Hussars of Frederick the Great. Mr X didn’t have the figure in question to hand so I sent him one of mine via a go-between in Holland (to retain his anonymity).

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Another view of my hussar.

Mr X is an undoubtedly talented artist and has deservedly won many of the duels this year. His figure was first class and as the votes came in we were virtually neck and neck until the final day of the week’s voting.

And the winner was…

…yours truly, by a mere two votes. Hurrah! A famous victory for the troops of Suburban Militarism!

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“Charge! For Suburban Militarism and glory!”
Black Hussar Marvin (2)
To battle! My hussar of the 7 years war era.
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On the March in Arnhem

Earlier this year I painted some figures for a ‘Group Build’ on the very wonderful Benno’s Figures Forum. These were then sent over to Germany for a talented chap called Jan to build into a display alongside many other figures also received from fellow forum members across Europe and the US.

The idea behind the project was to assemble a long column of marching figures taking in different historical periods while representing the painter’s own country or region.  I painted the 17th Regiment (representing my county of Leicestershire) using RedBox’s British infantry circa 1750.

 

This week, the project has finally been declared “finished” and photos of the final, grand diorama were posted on the forum. The display featured proudly at last weekend’s FIGZ wargaming & miniatures event in Holland. I feel very proud to have contributed a little something to this project alongside my talented fellow figure painters from across the globe.

So, here’s where my 17th Regiment boys ended up after Jan’s magic treatment – marching through the woodland of the US / Canadian border around the time of the French-Indian War (1754-63).

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And here are some photos of the wonderful figures which comprised the rest of the march:

 

The contributors, their nations and figures:

  • Paul, Great Britain – Grenadier Guards with marching band. Astronauts. Prussian Infantry, circa 1806.
  • Sascha, Germany – Prussian grenadiers, circa 1760. Napoleonic Westfalian Infantry.
  • Arekmaximus, Poland – Late Roman Infantry
  • Dykio, Netherlands – Soldiers painted in the colours of the ADO Den Haag football team!
  • Michael Roberts, France – French Revolutionary Infantry
  • Gunnar, Sweden – British Grenadiers, circa 1770s. Swedish Infantry circa 1700.
  • Giorgio, Italy – Napoleonic Austrian Infantry
  • Konrad, Germany – Napoleonic Highlanders
  • Edwardian, Great Britain – 14th Middlesex (Inns of Court) Rifle Volunteer Corps, circa 1897.
  • Remco, Netherlands – Napoleonic Dutch Infantry and a flagbearer with a FIGZ flag!
  • Peter, Belgium – Napoleonic Belgian Infantry
  • Dirk, Germany – Prussian infantry representing a variety of periods.
  • Dalibor, Croatia – Napoleonic Austrian Grenzer
  • Erik-Jan, Netherlands – Napoleonic French Light Infantry
  • Andrea, Italy / Togo – Italian Bersaglieri, circa 1859.
  • Bluefalchion, USA – Indian Wars US Infantry
  • Marvin, Great Britain (…yours truly) – 17th Regiment of Foot, circa 1750.

And finally , aside from making the whole diorama, Jan also found time to contribute the following figures:

  • Jan, Germany – Napoleonic Danish Infantry, Confederate Infantry circa 1860s. Napoleonic French Infantry, Medieval hunters and WWII US Infantry.

Romaika, 1772 and a Hunting Call

This is a progress report on those RedBox figures I’m painting for the Bennos Figures Forum Group Build 2017. The theme this year is for marching figures which represent the painter’s local area or country. For my part, I’m submitting 18th century British infantry figures painted as the 17th Regiment of Foot, which later became The Leicestershire Regiment.

There’s a lot of details on these figures and they’re not an easy paint. My approach is to just have fun and do the best I can. And the are fun to paint, despite the challenging detail. I’m hoping to paint the regimental flag (now that will be tricky!) and a drummer too. Aside from the contemporary painting by David Morier, I’ve been aided by the detailed description of the regiment at the time of the 7 Years War provided on the Kronskaf website. Inevitably, I’ve had to make some compromises due to the figure’s sculpting and scale, (not to say my abilities) but hopefully it will still provide a reasonable portrayal.

Today, I’ve added the ‘greyish white’ cuffs and turnbacks, the former being lined with a delicate blue edge. I’ve worked hard on that greyish white colour – not that you’ll be able to tell the difference from white on these photos! Here’s how they are looking so far, with lots of details still to attend to…

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So why have I called this post “Romaika, 1772 and the Hunting Call”?

Well, I thought it would be nice to provide a musical accompaniment to the images of these figures; specifically I mean some of the regimental marches associated with the Leicestershire Regiment of which “1772”, “The Hunting Call” and “Romaika” are but three. The Royal Leicestershire Regiment website has this to say on this trio of quick marches.

This combination of three tunes has been in use since at least the beginning of the 20th Century: ‘Romaika’ is believed to be a Greek country dance tune and was authorised in 1882. ‘1772’ was an adaptation from an old English air of that period. ‘A Hunting Call’ is an old Leicestershire hunting song, originally used by The Leicestershire Militia.

Leicestershire is indeed renown, in England at least, for being a traditional fox hunting county which would explain the presence of the latter tune (formerly of the county’s militia). On YouTube, the Coldstream Guards can be heard playing these three Leicestershire Regiment marching tunes. Considering it includes a tune dating from ‘1772’ – what better music could there be to listen to whilst painting figures of the 17th Regiment from the very same period?

 

The BFFGMFP…

It’s that time of year when a German gentleman named Jan from Benno’s Figures Forum announces the theme for this year’s ‘Group Build’; a collaboration in which Forum contributors from across Europe, nay – the world, collate their figures for display at the FIGZ convention in Arnhem. It is officially known as (take a deep breath) the Bennos Figures Forum Great Miniature Figures Parade (BFFGMFP)!!!

Last year, I sent some WWII Dutch cyclists and Napoleonic Dutch Infantry to join the many entertaining scenes of historical figures travelling “on the road to Arnhem”. In 2015, I sent four figures (including a Scots Grey, a Hanoverian Hussar, a Prussian Jager and a Nassau Grenadier) to join a large diorama commemorating the 200th anniversary of Waterloo. Importantly, two of these figures were Napoleonic cavalry, which kick-started my ongoing Nappy Cavalry Project…

For this year, the idea is to assemble a huge column of marching figures. The figures involved can be from any historical period and the intention is to build up a parade which travels through all the ages. We’ve been encouraged to paint a unit from our own countries or regions and with this in mind, I’ve come up with the following idea:

This year, my contribution will be –

The 17th Regiment of Foot, circa 1740!

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Soldier of the 17th Regiment, 1742 (contemporary print)

The “17th Regiment of Foot” became the “17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot” in 1782, and then simply “The Leicestershire Regiment” following the Childers Reforms of 1881. Being a Leicestershire man myself, this certainly fulfils the brief to send figures representing my own country or region.

The figures I’m going to use have been lying around unpainted for a couple of years now. The figures are from Ukrainian manufacturer RedBox, specifically their British Infantry (Jacobite Rebellion 1745) set. It contains lots of marching figures, perfect for the BFFGMFP! Not having painted any RedBox figures before, I’m keen to try them out. At first glance, without being worthy of the description ‘sublime’, I’d say their figures look promising.

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RedBox British Infantry (c.1745)
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On the march: Leicestershire joins the “BFFGMFP”

I have until May to produce my contribution of what I hope will be around 15-20 figures, so there’s plenty of time. I have other things demanding my attention in the meantime. I’m still putting together the next post in my equine painting tutorial as I develop my Russian Cuirassier horses, hopefully this should be posted in the coming week, work duties allowing.

Bye for now!

Marvin.

“It’s a long way to Balaclava…”

I’ve been in a figure painting competition, a so-called “duel” on the excellent Benno’s Figures Forum. Each month a new competitor takes on the mystical Mr ‘X’ in a stand up contest as to who has painted the best figure.

This month, I elected to throw my hat into the ring and go toe-to-toe (or should that be brush to brush) with Mr X. The rules include painting the same figure and this was the figure Mr X and I had to tackle; a Russian Grenadier figure from Strelets’ Crimean War range.

Strelets Russian Infantryman

And here was my painted contribution:

Votes were cast by the forum members for the best figure over the week. And the winner was (cue drum roll)…

Me! Probably one of my finest achievements here on Suburban Militarism – beating the very wonderful Mr X!

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Victory!!!!!

Hat Dutch Infantry: Finished!

The last lick of varnish has been applied to my Dutch infantry and I’ve had an idea for presenting them in the group build. Five of the soldiers are lined up and the officer is calling for a volunteer for some duty. One of the five, in an act of rookie naivety, steps forward…

Volunteers Needed

There’s a lot of fun ideas going into this year’s group build and hopefully mine won’t be out of place.  I’ll say it again, these Hat figures look a lot better off the sprue and painted than I pessimistically thought they would. The spare figures will join the Dutch militia as part of my Waterloo-era Netherlands army. Joining them in the Prince of Orange’s forces will be the next figures I’ll be turning my brush to; HaT Dutch and Belgian light dragoons!

HaT Dutch Infantry: Making progress

I’ve been getting on with the HaT Dutch Infantry nicely. I seem to be able to progress so much more quickly than I use to a few years ago. I’m not sure exactly which poses I’m going to use for the Road to Arnhem display, or even how for that matter! So I’ve just painted a range of the non-action poses to give me some options, but I’m still scratching my head for any ideas.

I must admit, I wasn’t too impressed with these figures on the sprue, but now they’re close to being finished, I think they’ve turned out much better than I thought possible. Not too much more work and they should be ready by the weekend. A select few will be chosen for the ‘on the road’ scene. The problem is that the marching figures are out of step and the standing to attention figures need a reason to be stationary whilst out there on the road. I’ll be thinking about this issue as they near completion. In the meantime, here’s how they are looking so far with accoutrements to be painted and varnish to be added.

Going Dutch

Whilst painting those marching Dutch militia figures, I’ve been in discussion over their intended use in the Benno’s Figures Forum group build project “The Road to Arnhem”. We were unable to uncover any evidence of militia being based around Arnhem and so have decided instead to offer some regular infantry; specifically the 5th Infantry Regiment which was actually raised in Arnhem. In 1815, it was reorganised into the 12th Line Infantry Regiment in time for Waterloo, and it is in this guise that I’m going to paint it.

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Dutch National Militia figures

So, while I am eagerly waiting for a box of HaT Dutch Infantry to come through the post, my militia (who are most disappointed to miss out on their chance to go into ‘action’) have had their final attention with the brush. A search of the loft for this militia also unearthed a couple more boxes of Dutch-related Napoleonic troops; more of the aforementioned militia, and some Dutch and Belgian Light Dragoons also by HaT. I couldn’t resist having a go at the cavalry too, and so the 4th Dutch and the 5th Belgian Light Dragoon regiments are also being painted. I’ve definitely ‘gone Dutch’.

Here is the finished marching Dutch National Militia.

Early HaT figures were impressive when released 15 or more years ago, but the sculpting suffers a little in comparison with other more recent manufacturers. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge getting them up to ‘display standard’, but I’ll do my best. I’ll post some progress photos as soon as I’m able to make a start on those regular Dutch infantry.

 

 

Militia Men

Having completed my submission of Dutch cyclists for the Bennos Figures Forum 2016 Group Build, I was about to turn my attention back to the Warwickshire Yeomanry that I’ve been painting. However, Jan from Benno’s Forum indicated he’d be interested if I had any further ideas for the group build. So, that got me thinking…and painting.

A few years ago, I bought some Netherlands Militia figures by HaT from which I painted a handful of figures.

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I thought that maybe there could be a place for these soldiers marching down the ‘Road to Arnhem’. I’m using the marching figures, a natural pose for travelling alone a road, and have cut off their bayonets as they are not supposed to be in action. I’m still waiting to hear if there’s a space for including these figures in the FIGZ display in Arnhem, either way I’m always very happy to revisit some Napoleonic 1/72 scale figures. So happy, in fact, I’m minded to get back to tackling some more Nappy cavalry. I have a few sets unpainted from last year’s project (Russian hussars, French Grenadiers a Cheval, Dutch / Belgian Light Dragoons, etc).

A few words on the Dutch militia:

The Netherlands militia in this HaT set are wearing the uniform used at Waterloo with stovepipe shakos. Being militia (a mixture of volunteers and conscripts) rather than regular infantry, they were not considered to be the most reliable infantry in Wellington’s force. Nine militia regiments featured in the Netherlands Infantry Divisions. At Quatre Bras, however, they fought very determinedly against increasingly superior French forces, taking heavy casualties in the process. At Waterloo, much of the militia was kept out well of the way on the flank with the exception being those in Bylandt’s brigade which took a mauling from being exposed on the ridge to French cannon. As the French main attack developed in mid-afternoon, 1st and 2nd Netherlands brigades were brought over to the main army position on the ridge. In so doing, their blue uniforms almost led to their being raked with British musket fire, most observers initially believing them to be French!

Towards the end of the battle, the remaining two Netherlands infantry brigades were sent to help repel the final attack of the French Imperial Guard. Colonel Detmer’s 1st brigade which included 4 regiments Dutch militia wildly charged at Napoleon’s beaten Old Guard “with shakos on the top of their bayonets”.


The last time I painted some of these figures, I had barely been painting 1/72 scale soldiers for more than a couple of months. So it’s interesting to see how my style has developed since then. I’m still working on the new ones, but the older figures stand up pretty well, I think. Here’s a few pics from my old website, which I was using before the provider went bust.

 

 

Dutch Infantry Cyclists

Well, this has been a challenge! My contribution to the Bennos Figures Forum group build has seen me well out of my comfort zone. Metal figures, the WWII era, civilians, never mind those bicycles, none of these are something I’m used to painting!

I’m finding that metal figures at 1/72 scale don’t enjoy the same level of detail as plastic figures. My usual approach to painting is to reveal the detail that the sculptor has provided his model with by a careful application of shading. With the same high-level of detail as plastic figures being unavoidably absent for metal ones, I’ve come to the realisation that a slightly different approach is needed. It’s the kind of painting development which takes time to develop through experience, but I don’t have the time as I’m on a deadline for the Group Build!

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So, I’ve just had to go with what I’ve got. I hope I’ve not done Early War Miniatures an injustice as I send them over to Europe to join the other figures in the project. Here they are as they get close to completion. Amongst other things, I’ve still got to paint and glue on their rifles, but I’ll do them last as they look a little fragile.

The Cyclists:

The Civilians:

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The scene: One cyclist dismounts to speak to the young blond lady that’s caught his eye…

I’m hoping that group build ‘project lead’ Jan will provide the diorama itself, using my figures in something like the set up shown above. Once these are finished, I’ll send them over to Germany for him to work his magic!