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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

bench update 08 June 2023

I decided to get the LCh on bases then varnish and paint. 
If you look closely at the unpainted mounts, you might be able to see how "candle treatment" works on the raised fabric pattern Atlantic used on them. That's a technique i used some years ago when i was trying to create a distinct look for Hittite LCh. I used a sharp craft knife to get rid of remaining roughness yesterday. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

bench update 06 June 2023

Instead of throwing down a wargame as @NormanDean suggested I've spent a lot of today watching WW2's spinoff, the D-Day special, hour by hour coverage. 
Thanks to carefully reassessing my Hebrews I've decided to add the Later Hebrews I/34b list as a morph from the a list. (I may regret this as I run out of storage space!) All I need to add are two LCh and I already have a spare from the Hyksos, and plenty of spare parts I've been saving for Canaanites.
So otherwise, my existing Hebrews in their I/27 configuration:
These are a triumph of using seemingly useless extras: most of them began life as the "dying Trojan" mini from Atlantic Trojans!
The elements on left are the options for picked men/Ax(jav)/Ps.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Early Beds squared

I can field both a and b sides of i/6 Early Bedoiun, with the proviso that Caesar Miniatures did not do slingers, so I'm using their javelinmen. 
A side with choice of Ax or Wb General:

B side:

Sunday, June 4, 2023

bench update 05 June 2023

Ready for basing: the HaT Taaishi are painted and varnished, and repainted with white because these days my magic wash varnish is based on Strong Tone, not the maple or walnut or whatever I finished the original Early Beds in. 
At foreground, the unpainted hand holding a 45mm wire which will become the general's foot signal staff. 
...And here's the result, Tuareg on left, standard bearer center. Tomorrow I will add the ochre paint to the Bedouin pair, and probably finish tufts etc.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

bench update 04 June 2023

With the Hyksos fixed up and checked off against 3.0 list, I managed to squeeze them in with Libyan 7b. Libyan lights turn up in Hyksos lists, so that may work out. Storage space is terribly limited. I'm hoping to eliminate one of the various Greek boxes. As I say that I'm aware of the irony. I began Ancients in 1:72 only because I still owned those old Atlantic sets from when I was a kid. Each time I renovate, the old sets are less use.
Anyway today's project is the camelry for Early Beds, who need 2x3Cm, and iii/75 fanatic Berbers who need 1x3Cm.
This is work in progress.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

bench update 01 June 2023

Well these are okay! I've got the best three LCh for the 3.0 list Hyksos - luckily the general is one of the three - and with ochre and stone (grey grout with grit mixed in) they are not going to look too badly out of place next to allies like sherden or libyans.
Same goes for the Bd and Ps elements. Don't get me wrong, they are far short of perfect. Once I am through the far side of new army builds I suspect I'll circle back.

bench update 31 May 2023

Bits n pieces work - before getting into the camelry, I'm experimenting with renovating the existing bases of my Hyksos side. That is, the old olive colored ones that don't match the later ochre-and-stone ones. Just overpainting will not do, because they have sawdust flock. So I've spread ivory grout on, but won't be throwing grit down until I have ochre paint on.
If this does not work, I'll have to chisel the minis out and base them properly!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Libyan I/7b awaiting matt spray

Not much to say - the base finish is ochre over ivory grouting latex, mixed grit dry brushed with silver-grey, and gamers grass swamp? Something burnt-looking anyway. Not great compared to some of the other chariots-r-go sides but ok enough. I can always add some herb sprinkles or thin olive wash patches later.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

bench update 28 May 2023

Gosh I wish every weekend could see this kind of progress! The good combo of weather and pressure I'm feeling combined to see me speed-painting the Libyans and getting them onto bases. I even had time to glue the LCh crew in.
Speed-finished minis - I stuck with 50-50 varnish/flesh wash, then went back over hair. White highlights and probably cape detailing remain. 
Ivory latex grouting, from Selleys. It holds moisture well, allowing enough time to go back over all bases with mixed-size grit in a wet solution.
Grit will need to be applied later, once ochre color is done. The staining is from a wash of the same varnish/flesh. Crew have bases (and feet) trimmed down to fit, then superglue is used. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

bench update 27 May 2023

Bulk painting is all done today, and the LCh mounts are done too, which is a relief. Carefully reaching through a base to get to hard to reach spots is not something I like to try!

Looming in the background of this shot is the pile of camelry that arrived recently to fill the gaps in Bedoiun and one of the Andalusian/Saracen variants. The pressure is on!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

bench update 21 May 2023

Today I focused on the LCh again, getting them to the point where they are fixed to bases. I seem to remember needing very firm platforms when it comes to fixing the crew in. Once these are dry I can finish up the harness, shading of beasts, etc.
I also tested a couple of washes as a way to finish the foot without over-darkening. The mini on far right has an Army Painter flesh wash, which is probably the way to go (mixing with varnish, I mean).

Friday, May 19, 2023

bench update 20 May 2023

The last couple of days I've turned my attention to the LCh. Sorting out which minis to use as general and driver and archer has the useful side-effect of confirming the Libyans are only good for the 7b side, the period where they swung the same big bronze swords as other post-Troy foes of Egypt.
Base coated LCh- they are not fixed to those bases, it just seemed convenient to use them

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

bench update 16 May 2023

The "brush upward" being satisfactory - had to use quite a liberal brush or else multiple coats - it's then time for "brush downward" with about 25:75 tan to bronzed flesh. 

Again, quite a liberal brush is needed and I later spot-brush onto shoulders or sheltered cheeks with a much smaller dry brush. (The steps above using a big makeup brush).

Next I'm testing how easy or hard a simple silver-grey coat onto feathers, loinband, and cloak is:

Sunday, May 14, 2023

bench update 14 May 2023

Stage 2 of the Libyan paint job is brushing, in an upward-focused way, Vallejo Elf Skintone. 

I've also sorted out the two light chariots needed for 7b, but have yet to prep them. They are the ubiquitous Atlantic Egyptian types.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

bench update 11 May 2023

Thanks to Norman Dean I have a new approach to base coating the Libyans - gesso! It's pretty good, just a few gaps here and there, though I won't know how flexible it stays until towards the end of the project. I used the same splat on thick, brush again with a coarse dry brush, as I do with thin base wash.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

I/7ab Early Libyan project begins

I'm not sure how far along I can get with this project. Caesar's minis don't have a great match to the 3.0 edition list. But I do have spare LCh components for the b list, and I swapped sword wielders for javelin bearers today. Many years back when I first began this kit, I added grey stuff cloak/garments to some Atlantic Egyptian clubmen so those are ready.
Washed and on strips but Caesar plastic has once again nobbled my normal thin base coat. I'll have to experiment with paint plus varnish.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

bench update 07 May 2023

As a minimal update of Hebrews early and late, I've added two Psjav elements using the ever-useful HaT Alexander's Lights, and rebased a LCh. Getting the paint and flock right was a challenge! I succeeded with the Ps and went too heavy on the yellow ochre with the LCh.

Now the next problem I have is with three somewhat similar but different basing finishes, with armies that are supposed to mix and morph. These are Hyksis, Mitanni, Aramean, and Hittite OMK armies. 
I may just park this issue - perhaps do the Early Libyan army I have had semi-prepped for years?

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

bench update - banners for Normans and Andalusians

Over the past few days I've done some flags research, and Wikipedia has been the best resource.

I've selected two "Sicilian Normans" banners, and have used both of them!
Research shows that the Andalusians were mostly just using a plain white silk banner, so I've added one of those to denote a different CvGen element than the big square option.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

bench update 30 April 2023

Basing! I decided to use a square base for CvGen, featuring all of the command elements, foot as well as mounted.

So III/34b are fully covered. With the proviso that I would borrow the merc Kn and/or 4Cb from their neighbors, the Spanish.

I need three more 2Psjav to cover III/33. Conversely I can loan my Normans an Ax element now from the III/33 collection.

For III/75, a number of Cv and Sp elements need to be created, using the later-pattern shields. Plus the LHGen and (most unlikely - i have a feeling all spare minis are gone) Cm.

bench update 29 April 2023 part 2

Painting... is... finished!

Friday, April 28, 2023

bench update 29 April 2023

More highlights!
Purple: pink highlight
Pink: Red wash
Black: a mix of very pale yellow plus black. Not great.
Wood: mix of tan plus plague brown
Horse bridle, reins, some other harness: mix orange red plus saddle brown, for what I think of as English Buff.

Today: I'll be working through shields, horse hair, horse blankets and maybe horse highlights

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

bench update 26 April 2023

Flesh: about 50:50 bronze flesh and a sort of red brown sampler I got from Reaper. Probably Saddle Brown from Vallejo would do the same job.
Green: about 75% Jade Green, 25% Corpse Flesh.
Blue: about 75% Magic Blue, 25% White.
Red: about 75%  Scarlet, 25% Pink. The pink is another Reaper sampler.
I have yet to decide on black and wood.

Monday, April 24, 2023

bench update 25 April 2023

Taking advantage of a 4-day weekend, I've added all the secondary block colors (not on mounts though) plus eyes. Lots and lots of highlights to go!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

bench update 23 April 2023

Colors are blocked out, I guess you would say. A good deal of the choices are based on Neldoreth's choices, but muted. 
I'm a bit frustrated about some of the sculptors facial choices, but I'm sure they will look ok en masse and based.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

bench update 16 April 2023

Good intentions but very little progress. I found the base varnish left a lot of bare patches, meaning either my detergent wash was not good enough, or the varnish-paint-water balance was wrong, or both. So I lost a good deal of time redoing that. Then I put various grey or brown base across the horses, slapped brown on spears and bows, and ended with some Night Blue on a good proportion of foot.

I have learned a bit more about the difference between iii/34 Andalusian and iii/75 berber. I don't know that it helps me with the HaT products though. I think my main hangup is how so much of the minis' costumes is cloth. And although I praised them for being easy to prep, they do feature very badly sculpted mail hauberks here and there. In summary, there are pitfalls ahead.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Andalusian III/34 project begins 11 April 2023

So far as I can work out, this will be my final book 3 army. Of course I do have that full box of Norman foot, and any number of vaguely Slavic scrubs lying around.

Anyway, for Andalusians I splurged on not only El Cid series HaT Almoravids, but HaT Andalusians. I don't have much in the way of sourcebooks so this could end up quite wrong.

The kits are absolutely top quality, a pleasure to prep. My only quibble is that all horses are the same mixture, be they light or heavy. 

Because they were so clean, I got all the needed minis mounted on paint sticks, and base varnished, in one day. I've included enough options to cover Sicilian Muslims as well, though I'm sure the costumes are wrong. 

I decided to take the radical choice of an indigo wash. It might speed up costume painting!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

bench update 09 April 2023

Normans (pretty much) complete!
Sadly, I have run out of the beige grass tufts I've been relying on. 
I have yet to put a couple of gonfalon on lances, too. But for now...

Sunday, April 2, 2023

bench update 02 April 2023

Good progress on the Normans. The shields are going to be tricky, and I need some color here and there to relieve the brown and metal tones.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

bench update 25 March 2023

Ten days later. Last weekend all I could manage to do was visualize how I was going to approach the Normans. Today, I followed through with a burnt Siena base. Then I did some more visualizing on whether some dry brush highlights would help or hinder. I decided "help" but may have been wrong. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

bench update 15 March 2023

Just adding a quick note on results for using superglue to fix riders to mounts.

Pretty good overall. One was not seated at all well, so I had to take it off and carve some more saddle away, but the other 11 are ok, if brittle. I went over them all with a 2nd round of glue.

I used a completely new tube, to get maximum thinness from the glue, which has to soak between the pieces.

I hope that once they are all layered over with varnish base coat the brittle nature of the join won't be a problem. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

bench update 11 March 2023

For the Norman project, I turned to OneNote again. Three pages: required, have, needed. This is a morph army, using extensive amounts of Spanish and Crusader elements. After working through the army list, and those three pages, I calculate that I actually did not need to buy those Strelets Norman foot! All this project needs is the dozen Norman knights minis, and five crossbowmen. 

Those crossbow minis come from another Strelets set, medieval crossbowmen, M025. The strength of this set is that the minis are from right along the timeline, and there's no trouble finding five vaguely 11th-century looking fellows. They are sculpted with very stubby bows, allowing the crossbows to be posed realistically.

The Norman knights, 085, have quite a lot of mould lines and minor flash to trim, so that's what I've done, to this point. The saddles make an extremely tight fit, so some extra trimming and boiling water are needed. I plan to squeeze some superglue into the crevices and skip pinning them. The look is tidy and handsome, for Strelets, but some lances are just awful. The mounts are much better sculpted than their riders, frankly, and are possibly the first I've seen to be sculpted as geldings.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Vikings III/40b complete

Everything to the left is extra bits of other armies or camp followers!

Friday, March 3, 2023

bench update 04 March 2023

Vikings nearly done!

After evaluating the minis I liked or could put up with, I decided to focus on the 40b or 9th-11th century Vikings with their 4Bd formations. They fit all of the "age of conquest" campaigns. I would still like 40a Vikings but not until I have cobbled together a middle Saxon army, because I really want Saxons on horseback for some reason!
Anyway here they are at a couple of stages today, and I've just added grasses to them. There are a couple of extra bits to paint or highlight, so they should be all ready to matt spray tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2023

bench update 25 February 2023

Today, I've got towards the end of my camp followers digression. And I've set the "probables" from my various 40a and b Vikings on paint sticks, ready to touch up or just flat-varnish.
During the week, Norman Knights arrived, so that's more likely to be the next project.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

bench update 18 February 2023

Vikings on the cutting table/CF

The next project is another rebasing one, still in the "what have I got" stage... meanwhile there's a camp followers digression. Here's progress, with a viking banner-bearer in middle background

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Friday, February 10, 2023

bench update 11 February 2023

The Litko shipment arrived! So yet again it's rejig time for Caledonian warbands so as to create the bare-arsed psiloi and a full complement of options. Am I done? No! I searched my spares for a standard, but only found carthaginian poles, a Roman standard, and several Gallic warhorns. Maybe later. 

Meanwhile I decided to grit my teeth and do a proper job on the pre-feudal Scots command cavalry. They used to be the Bruce's pony-mounted desperation-period element, but now, they are 10th-century nobles with round shields. Half a Strelets Carolingian and half an Atlantic Roman, plus grey stuff, plus wire staff.

Monday, February 6, 2023

bench update 07 February 2023

The good: finished up the bases I had ready. I used a brand of foliage that's new to me, they do a four-variety pack. I chose a couple of very dark tufts, and dry brushed purple to make heather. I also chose a mixed-size dry-look grass and dry-brushed with moon yellow, for that wild ryegrass look. Of course, all grey surfaces are dry brushed with white.
The bad: frustrated at not having enough bases, I decided to go for the minimum required warbands for the Caledonians. I stripped a few unsuitable looking minis from the two kinda-warbands and put down six more.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

bench update 06 February 2023

Progress continues on basing. It is frustrating not having enough 30mm deep bases for the Caledonian foot, as it means that when my consignment from Litko does arrive, I won't exactly match this style. 
It's a public holiday tomorrow so I should be able to get the last flock elements down!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

bench update 29 January

This is not my usual approach to basing! I decided, "let's work out how many bases, stick the minis to bases, clear some workspace" and it turns out I also ordered another hundred 30mm deep litko bases.