I have finally finished a little project, ahead of schedule.
It’s a topic that I have never visited painting wise, though I did study the American Revolution at Uni.
The commission was to create a French gun emplacement, originally to include within it a spot where the gamer could place his commanders. I thought about this for a while and did some research, especially of pictures and decided that it was unlikely that a general would place himself in this position if a safer spot was available; and a permanent place would look very odd IF the general was elsewhere marshaling his troops.
So I decided to create a generic emplacement without reference to generals, or indeed the 18th Century, as this would render the position useless for Napoleonic, or Thirty Years War etc. The general would be separate, and to give him a good view, he would have his own ‘temporary’ hill. The figures were the excellent Perry Miniatures.
The generals are just lovely, full of character. The artillerymen are nice but, for some reason I found some of them difficult to paint. Some of their faces were a little odd. Many have lovely expressions which suits my painting styles, and yet others were difficult to prise any character out of. A number of them were the subject of head-swaps, and a few were given new tools to hold.
The base of the generals hill is card, built up with cork tile, edged on one side with cork bark. The whole was covered with milliput and then lots of dirt and layers of Silflor, Polak, ground foam, ground olive stones and etched brass plants. One of the officers rests with one foot on a tree stump, so I decided to add more stumps to the base. Plenty of trees needed to felled to create the siege works so that was great. I also added seven Pine trees, just for show. The base has eight figures, a dog and a table laden with lunch. Luckily the client agreed that French officers would never be far from lunch! I based the generals and the trees on little sabots which fit into holes in the base, and I made finger sized holes so that they could be easily removed from the base. This was partly to allow the general to be used elsewhere, and also that if the trees were fixed permanently the model would not travel very well. I supplied blank sabots so the hill could be used elsewhere – I am not sure that this works as well as I would have liked – but there you go…
The emplacement is based upon some extra thick plasticard. The mounds were built from LEGO. I found these bricks to be fantastic for building up models- and especially buildings where you end up with a solid and straight model. I used some of the new Renedra gabions. I found these to be OK but had a lot of flash and mould lines- too much for my liking really. However, if I had to do the gabionage by hand it would have taken for ever and would have damaged my hands! After some work and a lick of paint, these gabions look very good though. The whole was liberally covered with soil and airbrushed. A disaster struck while I was airbrushing in the garden (its been hot). I managed to lose a vital piece of the machine in the grass, which was very silly. It wont happen again.I made a shed load of Abbatis from twisted wire and Milliput.. These are felled trees, laid crown-wards towards the enemy, with their major branches sharpened. Famously these proved too much for the British assault on Ticonderoga in 1758, and I think the French understood the value of these types of works.
It does look rather formidable. I also had to incorporate niches on either flank to enable the clients trenches to match up with this work. The gunners were based on 20 mm square bases covered in earth and a bit of Silflor. My dilemma was that the gunners will have to serve both in the entrenchments and in the field. Bare earth looked really bad so some greenery looked better. A nice project.