Wednesday, 31 August 2011

YOU ARE ALL GREEN ALIKE: bull run confederates part 1

Just a quick shot of my next Confederates, made up entirely of Perry. Most are from their new releases earlier in the year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of 1st Manassas, so if you were curious about what the Sicilian-capped infantry looked like, you can see them here.

I usually base my ACW units on 40x45mm bases, but these ones are 45x45mm, to give the figures more space and to put across how the lines spread apart a little when advancing.

The officer is from the Zouaves command sprue, and he has a sword arm from the Perry plastic infantry box. I've also hidden three converted pieces using various plastic body parts, which I'll point out in a later post.


You thinking the same thing I am right? WELL DON'T. No Smurf jokes. Or UN jokes for that matter. I'm prepping these lil' guys for matt varnishing, and so I've Blu Tacked any areas upon which I want to retain a shine.
This includes helmets, leather, boots and obviously weaponry, as you can see above. Once they're sprayed, they look like this:

So here are the finished Nationalist infantry, the Spanish Civil War's bad guys' own PBI. Okay, lessons learnt:

1- The pre-dip drybrushing and texturing? Don't bother. These subtleties were largely lost, although the green uniform does have a certain fabric-y quality enhanced by the ochre highlighting. The work on the skin is lost completely. This is a good thing to know, even if it is a little soul-destroying!

2- The dip worked great. This is, more so even than my grubby Confederates, the most apt use of the Army Painter dip in my experience. It perfectly captured the muddy, dogged look I wanted, in contrast to the soldiers' tassles and jodhpurs.

If anyone was looking for a wholehearted endorsement of the army dip technique, consider this mine. It's not always appropriate, and often it actually takes more time than traditional finishing techniques, when you take into account the dipping, shaking, dabbing and drying. But I hope this shows when it is perfect.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011



I spotted a box of the WSS plastics by Wargames Factory going for a tenner on ebay, and since I have begun a Marlburian army, I decided to nab them. What follows is an initial review.

From left: Copplestone, Front Rank, Wargames Factory, Front Rank, Copplestone, Foundry ACW, Perry ACW.
 I had poor expectations for the Wargames Factory's plastic range. On paper their business model seems like a great idea: Let people vote for the range they would most like to see in plastic, and then make it on the agreement that many of these people will purchase pre-orders. And despite the companies recent woes, this model can still succeed. But their WSS plastics are a disappointment. I thought it then and I know it now, with a box here in my hands. But other aspects aren't so certain.

I work in animation, and a great deal of that involves 3D model design. WF sculpted this sprue using a 3D sculpting program. It doesn't matter which; they're all basically identical. One assumes that they were working with limited time, but this does not excuse the somewhat lazy and ill-planned design of these figures.

The forums have already vented their frustration over the figures, and the various points do stick: the torso is too large, the detailing is too smooth, the heads appear to hover on stalky necks. I would add also that the musket is weedy, and the eyes too beady. But the greatest disappointment has to be with the stances. The figures are not quite standing, and not quite marching. They are stuck in a half step, and this is bizarrely carried over to all three figures that each sprue supplies.

One has only to compare these to Reiver Castings' Marlburian range:

Image taken from the Reiver website.
The sculpting may appear crude, but can you see the life in the figures? The energy that every gamer should want in his model army? These figures are humble, but evocative and dynamic. WF's figures at best resemble the stiff lead soldiers of the old days, or at worst capture something of the undying torpor of the various plastic zombie ranges.

I did wonder why all of the promotional shots of the figures featured goggle eyes, and now I see that the eyeballs on the heads are simply too big not to paint them in.

Although I remain disappointed by them, they are honestly better than I expected. Seeing the sprue, and the vast range of options available of wepaons, limbs and heads mean that a gamer can field a varied force from one box. This is an entirely noble effort on the part of WF to cover so many potential units, from the 17th and 18th centuries, and I salute them for it.

In all honesty, this range could have worked so very, tantalisingly well. Key mistakes, the kind one would hope would be ironed out before committing to an immensely expensive manufacturing process, scuppered the venture. I hope they have learnt from the project, and that it isn't too late to redesign. This was at best a beta, and we can only hope that WF have the nerve to see it as such and make amends.

I field units of 12 men each, so here I have 3 units' worth from one box, which is good value for a tenner. I will paint all of these up. They will see action, but if I may, here are two points to consider:

1- Every plastic set needs a metal range to augment it.

2- If you're going to go up against Alec Brown, your wee men had better be frakkin' good.

P.S. I didn't have time to finish my SCW chaps. I'll post them tomorrow right here at INCH-HIGH & TERRIFIED.

Monday, 29 August 2011


Hello wargamey pretend-shootybang friends. I gave myself a small project to take on over the three-day weekend. Some time ago I ordered some Nationalist army packs from Empress Miniatures, formally of the Anglian range by Paul Hicks. They are amongst my favourite miniatures in the world, and Paul is an astounding sculptor. What continually surprises me is how prolific he is- making ranges for several other companies such as Victrix and Ebor, as well as having his own company, Musketeer, now under the auspices of Gripping Beast. The taking on of the administration of his output by Gripping Beast and Empress is a good thing: the running of the sites do not appear, perhaps rightly so, to have been his strong suit.

Orders from Musketeer used to take weeks, but this particular Empress order took even longer! But that's a whole other story right there people, and one shouldn't bitch, especially not with figures this totally fun-tastic in one's hands.

So I decided to dig these chaps out. I've been so preoccupied with my ACW project (more on that soon) that these fellows had been languishing in a cupboard. So in a way, by basing and painting them up I was telling myself that I can commit to my various ambitions, and wear down the dreaded pile o' lead that preys on all painters.

The photo here is of the figures in their base coats. I decided to use the army painter dip on them, but I did drybrush their uniforms, skin and shoes. Whether these subtleties would survive the dip, I was unsure but I wanted to give it a try.

By bank holiday Monday I had finished them and dipped them.

I actually ordered a selection of Legion, Army and Falange packs along with some helmeted heads, and set about converting them. The two figures flanking the officer are conversions. The trumpeter was especially tricky.

They have the tell-tale dip glisten, and I'll matt varnish them tomorrow after work. Matt varnish removes the glint from metallic paints also, so you may wish to reapply dip or metal paint to regain that. It also requires some discretion as to how much dip you take off. I've taken quite a lot off, but kept it in the crucial areas.

It took some trial to get the colour of the uniform right. I eventually went for Sea Green with a touch of Ochre. Once they're varnished I'll add grass, and post a photo of the finished article. Oh, Gad these guys are lovely sculpts. Just look how bloody, bloody lovely these sculpts are. Stay tuned for more fascist pigs, right here at INCH-HIGH & TERRIFIED.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


This is the new location of my blog, Inch-High & Terrified! I figured that since every other wee men blog was on Blogger, it made sense to be part of the community. Tumblr is nicer and slicker, but it's awful lonely over there. So here I am. Normal business to resume momentarily...