Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Dec 15 2018 05:58PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table is the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, 2 battalions of which served with Prince Eugene of Savoy at Malpalquet (1709). The miniatures are 15mm Dixon

What follows is a step by step progress from painting to wargame table.

I base each figure on a handling base and always undercoat with a matt white spray. This gives more vibrant colours than a black undercoat and allows the translucent properties of acrylic paints to do much of the work, as a thinned down colour is naturally highlighted by the raised parts of the miniature and becomes darker in the folds.

An initial wash of highly thinned down Raw Umber helps to define the detail for painting and avoids any white gaps that might appear later.

This wash is applied with a thick brush and the ‘paint’ is little more than dirty water. This really helps to bring out the detail for easy painting later. I always do this with 6 mil miniatures, and often with 15 mil. When painting 28 mm miniatures I rarely find it necessary.

Tüngen regiment had ‘pearl grey’ coats with blue facings. I will achieve the very light grey with a near black wash. The blue also benefits from this so this is the first colour I paint — deviating from my normal practice of painting from the inside out in which flesh would be the first colour to be painted.

Next step is to apply a very thin wash of Payne’s Grey (which is almost black). This is applied in the same way as the earlier Raw Umber wash.

When dry the coats are a white-grey and the detail is clearly outlined. If you want further perfection you can pick out the highlights with an off-white, using pure white for the officers if you want to give them the look of wearing finer cloth.

I then paint the faces and hands with a basic pale flesh colour. When dry I apply Games Workshop’s Flesh wash which brings out the details and gives the skin a more natural look. The miniature on the right has had the wash, the one on the left not yet.

A tiny dab of brown in the eye sockets, red-brown over the lips, pale pinkish flesh on the cheeks and very pale flesh on the nose, cheek-bones and chin bring the faces to life.

Then it is on to the browns — buff belts, brown cartridge boxes, wood spontoon and flag shafts, dark brown muskets and various shades of brown for the hair.

Gun-metal musket barrels, black shoes and sword scabbards are next, along with silver buttons.

For the tricorns I use a dark grey first then touch up the low-lights with a black ink wash. This

helps to retain a three-dimensional look.

Then comes the part I really do not like — painting the hat lace. Invariably my brush strokes are not perfect and I have to touch up with black in those areas where the white over-spilled. For regiments with yellow hat lace I find it necessary to first do the lace in white and then yellow on top as yellow is not a strong enough colour to go over black. I try to avoid raising regiments with yellow hat lace!

The final step for the figures is another super thinned out wash of Raw Umber.

This further picks out the detail but, perhaps more importantly, gives the figures a realistic patina.

The final step for the unit is the flag. I design this first on my computer, scale it down to a height of 1.7cm for 15mm miniatures and print it out.

I then over-paint it. Why bother? Well a computer printed flag looks like a computer printed flag. Painting it makes it look much more natural and in keeping with the look of the unit.

And here is the finished battalion of the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, ready to move from the painting table to the wargames table

By smacdowall, Aug 7 2018 06:00PM

Painting has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few months as the warm sunny weather has been keeping me outside. For the first time in ages I have picked up my paint brushes with the intent of finishing off some Marlburian dismounted dragoons that have been sitting idly on my painting table for some months.

At the outset of the War of Spanish Succession dragoons were still primarily mounted infantry. Horses, often poor nags, were used for mobility but the men would dismount to fight. French dragoons continued to operate this way for most of the war, their great value being internal security, foraging, scouting and briefly holding strong points ahead or on the flanks of the main army. As the war progressed many Allied dragoons increasingly became second class cavalry — paid less and riding smaller, less well trained mounts than troopers of horse. By the end of the war dragoon regiments in some nations (Denmark for example) had been converted into proper regiments of horse. Britain went the other direction. Regiments of horse were re-designated as dragoons as a cost saving measure as dragoons were paid less than horse.

Austian dragoons in action against the French
Austian dragoons in action against the French

Although most Allied dragoon regiments operated as second rate cavalry in the major battles of the War of Spanish Succession, there were occasions in the early years when they dismounted. Dismounted Imperial dragoons at Friedlingen (1702) supported battalions of converged grenadiers to attack the French in the hills of the Black Forest. At Schellenberg (1703) the North British Dragoons (later the Scots Greys) dismounted to support an attack up the steep hillside. Some allied dragoons also dismounted at Blenheim (1704).

Dismounted French dragoons (red coats) supporting Swiss foot
Dismounted French dragoons (red coats) supporting Swiss foot

I have dismounted figures and horse-holders for all my French dragoon regiments and I thought it about time I did the same for some of my British and Imperialists. Finding suitable miniatures is a bit tricky as not many manufacturers make dismounted dragoon figures wearing tricorns suitable for the allied units I wished to represent. I eventually settled on Blue Moon Miniatures who have a set of tricorn-wearing dismounted dragoons in their Great Northern War range.

These new recruits to my army will probably be enough to provide the allied dismounted dragoons I may need for future engagements. The British can also serve as Dutch as Dutch dragoons all wore red coats. The blue and grey-coated Imperialists could also double as Prussians and other Germans.

Dismounted British Dragoons
Dismounted British Dragoons

Guidon of the North British Dragoons (Scots Greys)
Guidon of the North British Dragoons (Scots Greys)

Imperial Bayreuth (blue) and Swabian Hoenzollern (grey) Dragoons
Imperial Bayreuth (blue) and Swabian Hoenzollern (grey) Dragoons

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