Distractions…

So in addition to our Middle Earth project I am also currently trying to progress two other projects whilst the rest, including amongst others our Core Space, Stargrunt II and Dropfleet Commander/Full Trust projects, go on hold.

What are those two projects?

Getting things painted for EBay (or as gifts to friends) and my most recent obsession, my Napoleonic Sharp Practice side project.

In the picture above you can see a bunch of movement trays I did as well as a Rune Wars figure and some Napoleonic French. The trays were won as part of a large Moria auction that was an amazing “buy it now” find. A couple of hundred Euros worth of stuff, including rare metal figures, plenty of movement trays and a veritable horde of plastics at a fraction of their original cost.

The Rune Wars figure I won as part of an earlier auction when I thought we might use Rune Wars figures but they turned out a bit too cartoony for us, very World of Warcraft. I considered replacing the skeleton rider with a Haradrim or Easterling and have it be a were-worm, which Tolkien mentions in one of his books but decided against it. It came partly painted, and to a decent standard so it was not a lot of work to rebase it and finish the painting.

However, the bulk of my time has been spent on the first five of my Napoleonic French!

A mate of mine is an excellent painter and avid wargamer. He is also something of an Anglophile. His enthusiasm for the hobby is part of what got me back in to it… but I did not feel competent enough to join him in Napoleonics. I have heard it said painting Napoleonics is like painting Samurai…. very challenging indeed!


My mate Stefan has a great blog…. and his painting is brilliant!

https://montys-caravan.blogspot.com

A while back, long before I decided to get back into tabletop wargaming, we went to the very interesting Bavarian Army Museum. He had a wealth of knowledge on the period and his enthusiasm was quite infectious.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayerisches_Armeemuseum

To be honest I thought I would never reach the skill level where I would try painting Napoleonics but the era still interested me. But having decided to finally give Napoleonics a try, as I felt my painting skills have improved a bit, I was full of optimism as I got some Victrix, Perry and Warlord Games Napoleonic French.

However, as time passed my optimism diminished and my doubt grew. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

I decided to try just one sprue of the Perry miniatures… if it did not work out I could always sell on the other untouched sprues. It started badly. I watched several tutorial videos, did research on the uniforms and commenced to painting. It sent very slowly and I had to go back and redo things my own way when the tutorial suggestions did not always work out for me. Getting the right blue for the coats was tough… and I should have painted them before putting the packs on. Yet again I did not prime them well, the spray paint being less than great in its finish. Finicky weather condition related imperfections I think.

Eventually I got the look I wanted and in fact I am quite pleased with them. They will not win any painting contests but I think they look good on the table.

Three of them are regular line infantry. I gave them blue insignia on their Shakos to show they are second company. This ties in with my plan to make them depot battalion troops, where I read the second company was assigned to guard ships. When I started this project I was not a fan of Shakos (their tall hats) but they have grown on me as I have learned about why they were more practical than the bicornes they replaced.

So many little details! It was quite slow going work. And I learned things along the way, like what the various insignia are for and how uniform regulations changed from regiment to regiment, year to year. I finally figured out why so many uniforms of the period have so much white, even though white makes no sense to my contemporary military mind. Easy be seen and yet hard to keep clean? But then I never considered the cost of dyes, how quickly they fade and how easy it is to use clay to refurbish the white appearance. Different times, different priorities. The tall hats and plumes made little sense to me until I read Napoleon had noticed the taller hats and plumes caused enemy troops to often shoot too soon and too high.

I also made a Grenadier and a Voltigeur out of the sprue. Each the first of what will be new units to support my line company troops. Grenadiers as elite close assault troops and Voltigeurs as skirmish troops.

I went with fairly standard French uniform colors, although I considered other options. I hate painting white generally and was wondering if there was an easier color scheme to paint that still looked cool. But I knew that if I chose not to do the usual French colors “because they were too difficult to do well” I would always feel like I took a short cut and let myself down. So I stuck with it. I decided against a completely fantasy “imagi-nation” look or something like the Polish Vistula Legion despite my idea to have these be troops of the American Revolutionary Legion (more on that below).

Because of the various miniatures companies I chose from, with troops from various years, their kit will not be completely uniform but I figure that is ok for a pre-industrialized military. I am hardly a button or stitch counter in re-enactment so why change for tabletop wargaming?

Much of the information I have used for this Napoleonic project comes from two sites.

The first is the blog of another gamer…

https://krigetkommer.weebly.com/napoleonics-blog#

The other is a detailed historical site.

http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/index.html

My poor photography skills have overly brightened the colors, they are not quite so cartoonishly vibrant in person although my wife thinks they look like Nutcracker soldiers. Five down and only 100+ to go!

For my wife, as future adversaries of my French we have a broad selection just waiting to be painted, although I think we are going to be a little “relaxed” about our timeline. I am also considering the creation of fictional locations and peoples to avoid some historical awkwardness. And my French may in fact be Americans in service to France, mirroring my service to the UK. As I mentioned above, Tate and the American Revolutionary Legion inspired me.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/wsfh/0642292.0039.016/–between-two-republics-american-military-volunteers?rgn=main;view=fulltext

As for the game to go with these miniatures, watching Sharp Practice videos on YouTube, it looks like great fun. However, at this rate it will be a long time before we can finally play a game of it!

And maybe one day I can finally face Stefan’s British troops on the field of battle.

In other news episode 3 of Walking Dead World Beyond was disappointing again. Slow, not much feeling of real risk, too much long drawn out character exposition and the characters that I originally liked well enough are starting to get on my nerves. The very end had an interesting bit but it felt a bit, off. Like it was written by someone who knows a few things about soldiers but never actually served themselves. As a veteran perhaps I am overly sensitive to things like this. I liked what I think the writer was trying to get at but it just felt wrong in the details, for example… youngest Sergeant Major ever. That would have played better if he had been a Lieutenant. Senior NCO’s need to be salty and they can have a similar plot motivation (trying not to spoil too much) but they would have a different attitude towards it, angrier, more cynical. At least based on every senior NCO I have ever met and the trope portrayed in most movies/games/books. Now maybe he was cast as a young Sergeant Major on purpose, cadet soldiers or trying to show that all the salty veterans are dead and the army is young. I know there are historical exceptions to this rule, the British Paras has a 24 year old RSM in 1946. But these are rare. The whole point of a senior NCO is experience. But all that said the very final scene does more of showing rather than telling and I like that.

It was recommended I check out Upload.

A bit silly at first but after the first couple of episodes it is growing on me. Reminds me of Downsizing with Matt Damon. My wife hates when I talk about downloading my consciousness into a Robobrain from Fallout… so again a show for me rather than her.

10 comments

  1. You’re brave painting Napoleonics, too many people that will point out that brass buttons weren’t worn with that outfit, the shade of blue is wrong for that year, etc. That said, i think what you have painted look great and keep going! It is really impressive when a well painted unit is on the battlefield.

    You don’t give me much hope for watching the next episode of World Beyond, but I will give it a shot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks again for the supportive comments. It really helps my motivation.

      I expect some folks will be critical of my Napoleonic project, especially as I introduce the fictional and fantasy elements but hopefully some folks will still like it and perhaps even be inspired to do their own “outlandish” project.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think what most people like about Napoleonics is the research involved in doing the uniforms correctly, what they fail to recognize is that soldiers/armies don’t always have the resources to completely be uniform (pun intended)

        I pity the poor Officer/Sergeant who has his troops picking up and putting an orc dagger in his belt.

        Liked by 2 people

      • One thing I have learned about Napoleonic French, despite all the regulations troops did their own thing much of the time and it was still pre-industrialized so standardization was far from perfect.

        Troops of all nations and eras seem to have sticky fingers….

        Liked by 1 person

    • Caught up with episode 3 – I get totally what you said about the Sergeant Major, just didn’t ring true. This show is dropping off my radar rather quickly, not even a guilty pleasure like Z Nation. For a limited series, Beyond is dragging too much. Have you seen Black Summer? That was a good show that even if the second season doesn’t get done, still told a complete story.

      Having Sharpe as an Officer not being able to read a map doesn’t surprise me, I had a Captain that didn’t know how to start a jeep.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I had high hopes for Black Summer but I just did not enjoy it that much. I would really like to see a zombie apocalypse film where the the military is not incompetent and/or the villains. The first season of The Last Ship was close, although not a zombie apocalypse per es. Subsequent seasons went down hill, although I am not fully caught up on the last season.

        Z Nation was terrible overall but had some good bits mixed in with the rubbish. Much as the show irritated me at times I always found a reason to go back and watch more. Like Van Helsing and the early seasons of Fear the Walking Dead. The last couple of seasons of Fear has gotten much better. I am enjoying this most recent season much more than World Beyond.

        Nothing more dangerous than an officer with a map…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you did a great job painting the Napoleonics. I appreciate how colorful and intricate their uniforms are. I can see where they’re a bit time consuming to get through but hopefully you’ll be able to get a force ready for gaming soon enough.

    For the record, I’m all for becoming a Robobrain. Those things are actually kind of dangerous in Fallout so I think either one of us could look after ourselves if we became one 😀

    Liked by 2 people

      • That’s the truth, mate! I have played Far Harbor in Fallout 4 but I think I have forgotten about the Robobrain there. I was thinking they were common in Fallout New Vegas. I better replay Far Harbor again. I love the Children of the Atom “base” in that game. I’m hoping we get to see them in Fallout Wasteland Warfare one of these days 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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