Saturday, 22 April 2017

Pause for breath: What's Next?

I've got the last of the SCW Italians cleaned up and under coated on the painting desk, and my last Reconquista Andalusian light cavalry are about to based up, so time to take a deep breath and think about what to do next.

On the game design front I'll still be working on the SCW as the rules need the rough edges knocking off and I need to keep my eye in with them as they're going to COW. It's possible that as I go on over the next few months that I'll identify further shortfalls in the collection. For example I'm fairly sure I don't have enough Basques. One of my problems is that I can tend to "over buy" (the Basques were made up from spare Carlists). I think I've done that with the Italians as I've got a LOT of artillery, and whilst it's all appropriate to the size of forces I've put together it is unlikely all of it will see the light of day on the table at the same time, as it'll be devastating. Still, might as well finish painting them.

However, I have to think about what to paint or build next. To be honest (always a good policy) I've got three DBA armies to paint that I acquired following my trip to Cambodia. Mr Kay at Irregular has supplied me with Khmer, Siamese and Burmese armies in 15mm and if I leave them any longer they won't get done.

Khmer Elephant with Heavy Crossbow (DBA Art)

Khmer Elephant

These will be fun to do, - quite a few elephants, for example, - but they're more of a starter than a main course in terms of a project. I should really use them to break up those long hauls you get in the middle of building an army when you just need to paint loads of PBI. I've also got more El Cid infantry in various boxes but I don't need them that much. I only have them as people kept thrusting them at me and I can't turn down free figures. They will end up contributing to further units, but I've filled all the currently allocated space for these armies.

Khmer Heavy infantry with standard and command 

One thing that does worry me is that I think I've got a major rebasing project to do. My Chines/Taiping/Arrow War figures are based up with 4 figures on 30mm square bases. Following my development of the Peru/Chile armies and rules with 3 figures on 30mm x 15mm bases I'm increasingly of the view that these armies could well be improved by adopting the same structure. Luckily cavalry and artillery won't be affected, but all the infantry has to come off. This will mean I have some spare British figures as the units go down in size from 16 to 12 and I've already got all of the units that served in the campaign. Perhaps they'll serve for things like the EVA of other European style volunteer forces.

The spare Imps & Pings, however, will be recycled into new units, so benefits there as you always need lots of both.

With them sorted I could look again at getting some French for the 1860 campaign, which would probably come from a Crimean 15mm range, so I'll need to find some compatible with Irregular as Ian doesn't do them.

But the problem will be the rebasing. Most of my stuff is based to last. These are PVA'd onto MDF bases then covered with polyfilla/spackle and topped with sand.

Usually I unbase figures using a sharp knife, but mostly I've been upgrading from thick mounting board, and you can skim off the top layer of the card with the knife, then crack the figures out of the polyfilla. Not sure I can do that with the MDF. The normal advice is to soak them in water, but I'm concerned it'll remove the paint as well, if it gets under the varnish.

Something to ponder over the weekend.


  1. Interesting ramble!

    First, travel has provided motivation for more than on project for me. I see I am not alone!

    Second, give Lancashire Games a look for either 15mm Crimean War or 1859 French. The infantry in the 1859 line is very good (and I have painted loads of them). Actually, quite excellent sculpting and I imagine the Crimean War French would be no different.

    Finally, with metal figures, I have never had an issue with soaking the base in water to soften the glue that secures the figure to the base. Plastic figures may produce a less desirable result.

    1. I'm afraid that holidays & travel have caused quite a few armies to be bought and painted. And the other way round, too.

      I did not realise that Lancashire do an 1859 range. They'll be even better than Crimean War. Shame their website is broken today.

      I shall try soaking a couple of bases and look at the results.

      After I've painted a few of my Khmers.

    2. How are we supposed to participate in his Salute sale if the website is broken? Very diabolical!

    3. Yeah. Crazy. Don't know how long it has been like that. The pdf catalogue dates from 2014.

  2. Rebasing, the joy of it! I've found that if you place the bases on a saucer with just enough water to reach the edges of the base and leave overnight, the figures pretty much just lift off.

    1. I've got some trial bases sitting in a plastic tray with water just up to the base top. Fingers crossed.