Painting 6mm Figures

We have a 6mm Napoleonic game at the club tomorrow and Mark has added a Brigade to his French Army for the occasion.

6mm figures are ideal for large battles, but many people think they must be difficult to paint – like anything it is easy if you follow some simple rules and don’t make the mistake of trying to paint them like larger figures.  Here is a quick guide on how.

The figures are 1/300 scale Heroics and Ros and the units are the 4th and 46th Line Regiments comprising GB Dalesme’s Brigade, belonging to GD Carra St. Cyr’s Division of the French 4th Army Corps in May 1809 as well as the General’s of GD St.Hilaire’s Division.

Here are the 2 packs of French Fusiliers (FN26), half a pack of French Voltigeurs (FN4), half a pack of French Grenadiers (FN27) and some assorted generals (from FN 17 and AN8) that need to be painted, straight out of the packs.

It always pays to rinse the figures in warm soapy water before starting to get rid of any mould grease, then work round the edges of the figures with a sharp hobby knife to get rid of flash and any casting mismatches.  There is some surgery on the general staff figures to removed unwanted plumes, marshal’s batons, etc, as they were all to be used as French generals.  The figures date back to when most people painted their flags and the old style metal flags need removing – good flags really do make or break 6mm figures, so this is worth your time – don’t skimp and put paper flags round the metal – the results don’t look good.  Small nail clippers are a good tool to nibble the flag off the flagpole.  Try to avoid the eagles, but you can always glue them back on with superglue if they break off!

FIRST TIP – Now base the figures, as they are easier to paint this way.  The bases are just mounting card with steel paper on the bottom (this comes in strips and is glue backed).  The infantry are on a 1″x.5″ base for our house rules, four bases to a battalion.  One battalion is on an open order base (combined Voltigeurs of the Brigade) and this uses a 1.5″ base.  There is one combined battalion of Grenadiers and four Battalions of Fusiliers.

SECOND TIP – Now undercoat all over with a black undercoat, making sure that every cranny is filled.  You can use spray, but for this size an old brush can be quicker and less messy.  DON’T USE WHITE FOR UNDERCOAT – if you do you give yourself a massive painting headache trying to cover the undercoat and then shade the figure to avoid it looking like a paint blob – this a technique for bigger figures!  Your black undercoat on 6mm means you have already painted anything black on the figure and you have already shaded it – don’t worry that all you have at this stage is a load of black blobs:

THIRD TIP – It is essential on 6mm to use lighter shades than the colours you are depicting.  This is partly to offset the black undercoat and partly to ensure the colour looks right at a distance.  Your eye perceives small objects as darker than they really are.  If you use dark ‘correct’ shades, all of the figures will simply look like near black blobs when you have finished.

There are three key colours we now need to add.  First Dark Blue for the coats and some of the horse furniture.  Citadel Ultramarines Blue was used, which is a middish blue pigment.  When you paint the coat use a fairly small brush (for these a 101 was used).  Work down the line painting the same feature on each base.  From the front do a stroke down the left arms of all figures, then the same for the right arm, shoulder to hand (don’t worry about paint getting on the hands).  Do another stroke to join these up under the chin, then fill in the lower chest, leaving the black undercoat showing in the crevices between the chest and arms.  Repeat round the back.  The horse furniture was also painted now (light crimson for the French generals, Vallejo Carmine was used) again don’t paint right up to the next colour – leave black showing around the furniture:

Second main colour is white (and white is – well white, Humbrol white here), for the trousers or breeches (both were used, so for a bit of variety I have done one regiment in each here), as well as coat lapels, which are a prominent feature on French line infantry.  Paint up the leg from above the footwear (all left legs from the front, all right legs, then reverse and do the back – a final tidy up to join the legs at the front.  Breeches are best done with a horizontal stroke around the leg as far down as the knee.  Leave some black showing between legwear and coat.  A simple stroke down the middle of the chest for the lapels.  Also touch in the drumskin on drummers.  To make the command figures stand out a bit better white scabbard and drum supports have been added, but you can omit this!   Regimental plumes and pompoms were also done at this point (a simple dob on the pompom):

Now for the last main colour; red/scarlet.  Before doing this the Voltigeurs plumes and epaulettes were painted (both regiments used green plumes with red tips and green epaulettes for their voltigeurs at this time) in Citadel Goblin Green – another strong middle shade.  Humbrol scarlet is used for the red here, which is a nice bright shade.  Paint a red line above each hand for the cuffs (again don’t worry if the paint slops onto the hand).  Then paint the grenadiers plumes and a dob on each shoulder for the prominent epaulettes.  A dob of red added to finish the Voltigeur plumes and the fusilier plumes are also quickly dabbed in (one base each of dark green, sky blue, light orange and violet for each battalion):

You are nearly there now!  Paint the back of the rawhide knapsack with leather – leave the sides black (this is Humbrol Leather) then a stroke horizontally along the back and a touch in from the front on each end of any grey you have to hand for the rolled greatcoat on top of it (shades varied enormously for this item)  Brass for the drum body and Voltigeur horns.  Masses of gold lace to finish the generals (worth taking some time over these as they are few in number) and the eagle on the flagpoles.  Optional extras are a small dob of brass for the helmet plate at the front and the visible sword hilts on the voltigeurs, command figures and grenadiers.  Senior generals horses are painted white with a black bridle.  The colour makes them easy to pick out.  Regimental command horses are painted leather and brigadier’s horses left black.  You can leave the underside of the horse as well as the mane and tail black for contrast, a few white flashes on the noses of some of the horses also make a lot of difference.

Lastly a stroke of silver along the top of each musket and any bayonet and drawn swords all over.  Leave the rest of the musket black (it really is not worth using brown for the woodwork – the black keeps it looking thin in scale and most musket wood was in any case quite dark, but you can paint the body brown first if you really want to).

Finally add a dob of flesh on each hand and a stroke of flesh across the face to finish the figure.  Don’t overdo the face and leave black around it.

Finally finish with an overall coat of matt varnish to protect the figures from handling (I use Vallejo which sets with a good clear finish):

FOURTH TIP – Don’t skimp on basing, as bad basing really ruins any figures and especially 6mm – you would be better off cutting corners on the figure painting.  Flock also is not good with 6mm – it tends to make it look like the figures are moving through a patch of dense scrub!  These figures are finished with Basetex.  DON’T USE TOO DARK A GREEN.  If you do it will kill the figure painting.  Use a light spring green for both the basing and the terrain.  Basetex green is way too dark for 6mm, so a mix of about half and half green and sand is used here, stored in a sealable sandwich box.

First work the green around the base of each figure with a small old brush:

Now use sand to cover the bases (and the sides).  A cocktail stick works well to pick up and poke the Basetex into place.  Make sure you ‘bury’ the sides of each figure base.  Some printed labels are added at this stage for the generals:

Once dry use a really old big brush with a few bristle left to work over the top of the sand with your light green mix – working quickly using a mixtures of dabs and strokes and leaving the sand showing through the green:

That just leaves the flags, which really finish off each unit.  The ones used here are adapted from those available free online from Warflag, reduced to around 20% size.  Print these on a printer using pigment (not inkjet ink which will run if it gets damp).  These were printed on an Epson printer as all Epson printers use pigment based cartridges.  Use thin 80g/m paper.  The flags are glued with simple PVA, which lets you work with the flag to line up the sides before it sets, then given a ‘crinkle’ to give the flag some life before the glue sets (easier with thin paper).  A pair of tweezers is useful to ‘pinch’ the flag around the pole.  Once dry it is well worth running round the edges of the flag with a matching colour to get rid of the ‘white edge’ effect – use a little thinned paint for this.  Finally flag poles are finished in a dark blue, covering up any glue stains.

Here is the end result:

Each battalion sits on a magnetic sheet (which is why the bases have steel paper on their bottom).  The four bases on each sheet can be re-arranged for the required formation (those above are in column).  Finally the whole lot sit on a brigade manoeuvre base (8″x3″), which is simply a sheet of steel paper with some Woodland Scenics Spring Green mat stuck on top.  This allows the brigade to be quickly moved until it gets into contact.

 

 

Extended Hours – part 1, Boney’s Final Days

The club’s next scheduled date on August 11th is unavailable due to hall refurbishment, so there is no meeting that day – we can all enjoy the summer sunshine instead.

However, as recompense we’ve arranged extended hours for the following meeting on the 25th – the club will be open until 7pm rather than the usual 5pm.

Two members have taken the opportunity to put on large games that day – in the first, Dave Bates will be running The Battle of Ligney, a 15mm Napoleonic what-if scenario set during the Hundred Days (or Waterloo) campaign.

The game concerns the battle of June 16th 1815, principally Napoleon attacking the Prussian army who were deployed along the Ligney, a small but marshy stream crossed by four bridges. As we know, Wellington was not involved as he had been busy with a banquet in Brussels. However, in this game we bring in the 2nd Anglo Allied Corps under The Prince of Orange from Quatre Bras. Napoleon’s staff failed to get orders to Marshal Ney – who had been at Quatre Bras –  until much later.

The game is Black Powder supplemented by play tested house rules, and will be able to accommodate up to 6 players.

1809 – Clash of Cavalry – 6mm

This game was a clash between the French Confederation Army of Germany Reserve Cavalry Corps (2 division of cuirassiers and 2 of light cavalry) and the Reserve Cavalry Corps of the Austro-Hungarian Hauptarmee (one division of cuirassiers and two of mixed medium/light cavalry), set in 1809.   The orders of battle were historical for early May 1809.
This was a two player game fought to test out some changes to the cavalry part of the house rules for Army scale combat at yesterdays meeting.
The day ended with the Austrian Corps forced to retire in the last move, although inflicting a halt on their opponents as they did so – preventing a pursuit.
The figures are all 1/300 Heroics and Ros – ideal for large scale actions of this type. Around 1,000 figures representing about 25,000 real cavalrymen were used.
Our house rules use brigade bases for manoeuvre, with combats fought out at battalion/squadron level, designed for actions of corps/army size using several thousand figures – but capable of being completed in a single day of gaming.  The combat phase rolls up the combat outcome into a single dice roll representing the outcome of both firing and melee.  The focus in the game is on command and control and effective use of reserves.

Blunte’s Battery

Alan K is running a 28mm Napoleonic game at the Open Day using Two Fat Lardies’ Sharp Practice rules.

Spain 1809

The French have seized the village of Valdelacastro and its bridge. They have an artillery battery emplaned on the nearby heights covering the bridge and its approaches. Can Lieutenant Blunte, his Rifles and the men of the North Essex neutralise the battery, seize and hold the bridge?

28mm Napoleonic derring-do in the Peninsular using Sharp Practice.

Open Day 2018

The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.

This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:

The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.

The Second Battle Of Sluys AD1370 – 28mm Medieval action using Lion Rampant rules.

Fields of Glory – a 15mm ancients game using the FoG ruleset.

Sharp Practice – 28mm Napoleonic skirmish action in the Spanish Peninsula.

WW2 Naval – early war action between the French and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Gaslands – post-apocalyptic car racing.

Directions to the club’s venue in Linton, near Maidstone, can be found on our website.

Club Game Updates

Time to share a random selection of pictures from the last couple of club meetings – April 28th by Andy King, May 12th by Tony Francis and Stephen Tucker. Highlights include Pete’s ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Vietnam game, two naval games (Napoleonic and 50’s modern), Celtos Fantasy and a Star Wars fleet battle.

April 28th

May 12th

Revolt in the Regency Isles

The guns have fallen silent now.

The bodies of many a sailor now reside in Davey Jones’ locker.

In our game of Fighting Sail we had a fleet of pirate ships, sailing under a French letter of marque, led by Mark ‘Black Ned the Nobbler’ Harris and Bob ‘The Scourge’ Collman harassing the British colony of the Regency Isles somewhere in the Caribbean. Coming to the colonist’s rescue were two flotillas of British ships under the command of Tony ‘Admiral Dalrymple’ Gibbs and Stephen ‘Barely Able Seaman’ Tucker.

This was the first time any of us had played Fighting Sail. It falls very much in the ‘game’ category rather than ‘simulation’ and for a non-naval man such as myself that is a positive boon.

It’s a very simple game. Good navigation rules (according to Mark, and he’s the club’s naval man) and bloody and brutal cannon rules.

In our game the privateers came out from the islands and confronted the British. The British fleet had larger vessels and engaged the pirates with cannons. The privateers steadily swung their ships around, but not before Bob accidentally engaged one of his own ships with a broadside.

In the end it would be a British victory – those damned pirate dogs turning sail and making off to whatever rum-soaked hole it is they came from.

Fighting Sail proved to be a very enjoyable game. If you want to have fun, want to feel like you are playing a sailing game, but not of a mind of having to know how to actually sail a ship to be able to play a game then it I’m sure you would also enjoy it.

We’ll certainly be playing it again.

If you have any questions then please ask.

Ahoy me hearties!

It be that this Saturday we’re weighing anchor and making for the high seas with a game of Fighting Sail.

If you be an old salty sea-dog, or maybe a scurvy land-lubber who wishes to take to the seas, then get ye-self down to Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend and we’ll put ye to work swabbing the decks, pumping the bilges, and fetching powder!

A-Ha!