Saturday, December 29, 2012

Walking in a winter wonderland

It snowed in Montreal yesterday. A lot. Over 45 cm! I had the good fortune of being on holidays and so I stayed home and did not leave the house. A perfect excuse to paint all day.

The joys of the Québec winter...

No, I'm not the poor bastard who owns this car
My backyard...snow almost reaches the top of my hedges
Shoveling is (ahem) an especially popular activity for us locals...
I'm making good progress on my first entry in the Analogue challenge (24 Canaanite spearmen). A lot of entries have already been submitted over there and we're barely a week in!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas (and happy Hanukkah) to my all my wargaming friends around the world, you know who you are. I'm always amazed just how friendly and helpful you lot are,  and it's great fun to get to discuss and share my projects with you. 

Also a big thanks to all my followers; this blog has just started but already it's been very active and your comments keep me going.

And remember, now more than ever it is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas! ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Look what the postman brought today

Found a small package in my mailbox tonight; yes the Chariots have arrived from the UK (woo hoo). 

These are Cutting Edge miniatures and they look great. A review to follow soon. 

Just in time for the painting challenge. The gods are smiling upon me...

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Colonial Militia

"Speed-painted" (well as per my standards) in the same batch as the 8 previously shown (using washes instead of AP). Again all Perrys.

Next post, we go back in time...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A contest and a new project

Iannick-san has received the immense honour of being part of the 47 brushes who will compete in the 3rd annual Analogie Hobbies painting Challenge. Unlike previous challenge I undertook, this one is about quantity. A long painting marathon of 3 months where our resolve will be put to the test! But more seriously a great opportunity for a bunch of painters to motivate one another in a friendly competition. And 47 participants is quite something! As anyone told Curt how crazy this is?! ;-)

Amongst the 47 one finds my two gaming mates; Nicolas and John. Oh this should be fun. This year, Curt has asked us to make a prediction, to fix ourselves goals for this competition. Now, I know what you're thinking. In the immortal words of wiseman Peter Lafleur:

But rules are rules so I'll abide by it ;-) (more on this later).

So we are not allowed to start painting figures for the contest before the 20th of this month. We are however allowed to clean and prime figures.  The cleaning has begun, and the priming will follow this week-end.

What's on the table you ask?

15th BC Canaanites! Did not see that one coming, hey? Yes, I'm going back to Ancients with a new project, a Chariot/Biblical army. I'll talk more about the project in later posts, but here is the army in bare metal, recently received from the Foundry (bless their new shipping prices) :

The Foundry Biblicals have been on my radar for a long, long time (just a fantastic old school range) and I finally succumbed. Chariots from Cutting Edge miniatures are also on their way.

So my cunning plan is to use the contest to launch this project and do as much as I can in the next 3 months. Well, with some FIW here and there.

Being a slow painter I know there's no way I can beat some of the freaks participating in the contest (I keep hearing about this Ray dude...) but I'll try to give myself an ambitious target (well considering my painting speed). I figure a higher number will motivate me more than a conservative one. Of course it's a double-edge sword as failure to reach that goal will be even more shameful...

So my magic number is 710 pts.
Here's the tentative plan. It will possibly change as I go along and might very well include more FIW depending on my 'goût du jour'.

- 2x unit of 24 Canaan spearmen (48x5) : 240pts
- 1x unit of 20 Canaan archers (20x5) : 100pts
- 6 Maryannu (Canaan) chariots (35x6) : 210 pts
- 12 Bedouins skirmishers (12x5) : 60 pts
- 16 FIW Indians (16x5) : 80 pts
- and of course the entry fee, a samurai figure. I will use an old but great Clan War figure (1x20) : 20 pts

 My biggest concern and question mark is the chariots; I've never painted chariots (other than a Warhammer Chaos chariot many years ago) so I expect the first batch to be quite time-consuming. 

So yeah, wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Colonial Militia

And now, for the enemy...

My first "British" forces, in the form of Colonial militia. The figures are from the Perrys this time, as Conquest does not produce Militia types. Actually, these guys are from the AWI range, but the differences (slight difference in the tricorne, cuffs and such) are subtle enough for me not to care. I like the figs, reason enough. These guys will especially be used to represent settlers, farmers and the likes in various scenarios.

While the animation of the figures is superb, I was a little disappointed by the lack of details on the faces. Made worse by a couple of unfortunate casting lines on faces (grrrrr). Nevertheless very good sculpts.

I have to admit these are not my best work. I fast painted them, 16 in one go in less than a week which is very, very fast for me. I also tried to use the new GW washes instead of the army painter, as a test. Man I miss the old washes...I'm coming back to AP for the rest of my project. Anyways the important part; 16 more figures for my project.

I'll post pics of the other 8 figures in a couple of days.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I"m now one of the cool kid! I've been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by Nicolas over at Nowhere to lead soldiers :

Par la bouche de mes canons is the new born blog of a combat hardened wargamer, better known as Archiduc Charles by the Napoleonic Era fanatics. I have some insights of what's coming next... Lets only say you would not want to miss that.

(don't ask, I'm not telling...yet)

I'm honoured that my blog got nominated, especially since it really just started. And since, as any fan of Spider-Man will tell you, with great powers comes great responsibilities, this award comes with rules :

- "Copy and paste" the award on your blog, and talk about it a bit.
- Select for the award your five favourite blogs with less than 200 followers, leaving a comment on one of their post to notify them that they have won the award. You need also to list them in your own blog.
- Enjoy the moment, knowing that you have just made someone's day.
- Of course, there is no obligation to pass the award, but it is a good deed really.

It seems I'm a little late to the party (been quite busy at work recently) so it appears many of the blogs I follow have already been nominated for this award. Nevertheless there are still quality blogs outhere which I believe haven't been nominated yet.

Here goes :

RTB at large : The blog of my good mate Roger, filled with great painting of Napoleonic figures, many now in my possession. Rog's productivity is remarkable, and so is his brushwork.

West Tokyo Wargamers : The blog of a wargaming club in Japan. Founded in part by Robert (known as Stavka to those in the know), wargamer extraordinaire and Canadian now exiled in Japan, the blog features all kinds of different projects and eras. 

Großbeeren 1813 : A blog on the Prussian army of 1813. Also featuring a lovely small range of figures. Some great painting, too.

Page of SADA's Hobby : A Japanese painting Napoleonics. And they are fantastic.

Wargaming in 28mm and Nowhere to Lead Soldiers : well these two have already been nominated elsewhere, but I'll put another good word for the blogs of my regular opponents and friends, John and Nicolas. John's blog is now a staple of the blogging wargaming community and Nicolas' new blog sure is starting well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Kinda obvious this was coming, heh?

Indeed, Indians are an important part of any French & Indian war project (dah). I must admit I was a little wary of painting them. I haven't painted a lot of large flesh surface in the last couple of years and my technique changed immensely since my days of painting an Ancient greek army. Moreoever there's the whole 'red skin' thingie that you really want to get right; overdone it just looks silly.

As usual the figures are by Conquest, their early (now discontinued) Woodland Indians pack. I believe some of these sculpts were reintroduced into the Woodland Indian War Party box sets but many have I'm afraid disappeared for good. I got mine from a helping fella over at TMP. They sure are not easy to get a hold of. Mind you the new ones are just as nice...but one just can't have too many of these guys...

When I first started the project the Militia and the Rangers were my favourite figures but the Indians have grown on me. I really enjoyed painting them, a lot more than I thought.

Now before anyone says anything (I can hear you from up here) yes I know they lack war paints. As it was my first batch I wanted to work on the skin before moving on to war paints. I intend to slowly incorporate more warpaints in future batches. Not a fan of painting tatoos I have to say. I find they just look bad on 28mm figures, unless painted by the very best (which I am not). Your mileage may vary on this...Anyways most of my Indians will be used as French allies (Hurons). who were rarely tattooed.

So yeah, here they are. My very first Indians.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Milice Canadienne II

A second batch of Canadian militia. Figures by Conquest. Those figurers are actually advertised by Conquest as Compagnies Franches de la Marine, but really they're was no difference between militia and Compagnies Franches in campaign dress, other than the colours of the tuques. I avoided using the figures in Bicornes or semi-uniforms to represent militia, as these will be used for my Compagnies Franches. 

I used the same techniques as my last batch. I really like the animation of these figures.

So that makes 16 Canadian militia. Another 8 and I think I'll have enough for a start. Although I might go for some Indians first...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

La guerre de la Conquête (my FIW project)

(I felt like writing this part in French too, it seemed appropriate. The english version follows. I'm usually too lazy to write in both language, so apologies to any Francophone reading this blog, but don't expect this to become a normal occurrence!)

La guerre de la Conquête est une époque que j'aime beaucoup, évidemment tout d'abord parce que c'est LE conflit qui a façonné le Québec et le Canada et que mes ancêtres y ont combattu, mais aussi simplement parce que c'est une époque fascinante.

Cela faisait longtemps que je voulais vraiment m'y mettre mais les figurines disponibles me laissaient de glace. L'arrivée des figures Conquest a changé la donne. J'ai l'intention de peinturer les deux côtés du conflit, comme à mon habitude. Toutefois, contrairement à mes projets Napoléoniens et de la Guerre de Trente ans, je ne suivrai pas un ordre de bataille préçis pour créer mes forces. Habituellement, je suis du type à tout planifier dans les moindres détails, en sachant exactement ce que je vais peinturer, dans quel ordre, etc. Pas cette fois-çi! Je vais probablement y aller au goût du jour, et peinturer ce dont je suis dans le mood de peinturer.

Bon, je dois quand même avoir un genre de plan, quand même...chasser le naturel et il reviens au galop quoi, alors l'idée est plutôt de me baser vaguement sur les forces en présence lors de la Monongahela. Plus tard, je rajouterai possiblement des troupes du siège du Fort Carillon, question d'avoir des Highlanders en kilt et des réguliers français.

La "bataille" (ou massacre, au choix) de Monongahela est assez représentative des premières années de la guerre. Les forces françaises sont composées majoritairement de miliciens Canadiens, de Compagnies Franches de la Marine et de beaucoup d'amérindiens alliés à la cause française. Les forces britanniques, elles, misent sur les soldats réguliers et les milices coloniales. La petite guerre y est particulièrement à l'honneur, alors que les forces canadiennes utilisent l'embuscade et évitent les batailles rangées comme la peste.

En me basant sur cette bataille, je souhaite créer deux forces versatiles qui me permettront de jouer différents scénarios de skirmish. Pour les français, cela signifie donc quelques compagnies franches, un peu plus de miliciens Canadiens, et beaucoup d'amérindiens ! Comme précédemment mentionné, je n'ai pas l'intention de me casser la tête avec ce projet, alors pour l'instant le plan est de peinturer une vingtaine de miliciens canadiens, une dizaine de compagnies franches et une quarantaine d'amérindiens. Pas trop compliqué.

Pour les Anglais, ça commence avec les Redcoats. Les miens représenteront le 44th Foot, présent à la Monongahela (les pauvres). J'aime bien les distinctives jaunes, pas d'autres raisons. Je pense que 24 miniatures représentent bien un bataillon. Ensuite je diverge un peu de la bataille de la Monongahela puisque j'ai besoin de miliciens/colons américains, et si possible aussi des civils, pour plusieurs scénarios de FIW. Je compte donc peinturer une vingtaine de colons américains, incluant quelques civils. Après ça, on verra ! 

Pour l'instant, les deux règles (qui semblent excellentes d'ailleurs) que je compte essayer sont Mousquets & Tomahawks et This Very Ground. Mais bon, les modes changent, les règles aussi...

For reasons I would think obvious I really like the French & Indian war (FIW). For a while I avoided it mainly because I did not like the choice of figures available (which is very important to me). The fantastic Conquest figures convinced me to invest in it. As I usually do, I intend to build forces for both side of the conflict. However, this time I will not follow an Order of battle or any precise plan. For you see I'm usually somewhat anal when starting a new project, planning everything I need, the order in which I paint what, etc. Not this time! 

Well, ok I do need some basic of a plan. So the project is loosely based on the Monongahela. I might add later on elements from latter battle, probably Ticonderoga,  in order to field French regulars and Highlanders in kilts. Obviously.

The battle of Monongahela is pretty representative of the early war. French forces are made-up of Canadian militia, Compagnies Franches de la Marine and a lot of allied Indians. British forces are mostly made-up of regulars and colonial militia. Skirmish is the name of the game, as the Canadians  use ambushes and avoid open battle like the plague.

The goal is to create two versatile forces which will allow me to play various FIW scenarios. For the French that means some Compagnies Franches, a little more Canadian Militias and a whole lot of Indians! I intend to keep things simple for this project so let's figure about 25 Militas, 15 Compagnies Franches and 40 Indians as a start. Nice and simple.

For the British, it starts with the Redcoats. Mine will represent the 44th foot, present at the Monongahela. I just like yellow facings...I'm thinking 20-24 figures for a battalion sounds about right for a start.Then I have to leave the Monongahela since I need some random militia/colonial types (including some civilians) for many FIW scenarios. I intend to paint about 20 of those, plus a couple of civilians. After that, we'll see!

The goal is to try Muskets & Tomahawks and This very Ground; both seem like fine rulesets. Of course, new shinier rules comes out all the time...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Milice Canadienne

Some pictures of my first batch of Canadian militia for my FIW project. Since it's a skirmish project, I decided to go with painting 8 figures at a time. My usual for rank & file being 16 to 24 figures. I'll post details of this project in a later post.

For this project I decided to forgo my usual style of bright colours and pristine clothing and use muted colours, with a limited palette of mostly browns, beige, dull reds and blue. I've seen some really colourful FIW figures and it does not fit with my vision of the era at all. I made a point of not using any standard colours that might look like uniforms, but I did give all my militia red tuques to give them at least a sense of similarity; from my readings, the regional distinctions of red for Quebec, blue for Montreal and white for Trois Rivières were not introduced until late in 1759. Also, since I intend to give blue tuques to my Compagnies Franches de la Marine, red for militia seems like a good choice to clearly differentiate the two on the gaming table.

 To increase the dirty campaign look I used Army painter strongtone.  I painted the figures as usual with my 2-3 layer method and then just added the AP on top for added highlights. The AP also serves as a very good gloss varnish. The marvellous Dullcote was then used to remove the AP shine off the figures. For an experimental first try, I'm really happy with how they came out. I quite enjoyed working on a few figures instead of 20+ figures, and I think it shows.

The figures are from Conquest. These guys represent some of my ancestors, who did their best to defend their land against almost impossible odds.

'The unsung heroes of North America were the French Canadians, who were out numbered to the order of twenty to one by the English colonies and yet contrived to maintain the balance for so long through their mobility and skills with woodcraft and weapons'.
Chris Duffy Military Experience in the Age of Reason

A word on Conquest Miniatures; they are bloody marvelous! I am a huge fan of the Perrys, but these are just as nice, maybe even better. I'm really impressed by their looks and how well they paint for such detailed figures. The Indians might be even better. Very, very impressed by this range.