I am far too nice for my own good.
I know, a little out of left field and some would argue that I would be hard pressed to understand the word "nice", but even so.
A long term retirement project of my long-time friend, Mark Brandon-Baker, is to collect the opposing armies of the English Civil War, Royalist and Parliamentarian with a smattering of Scots. Hoorah, I said, forgetting myself and using my outside voice. "In 28mm, using all manner of beautifully sculpted figures by a variety of manufacturers, don't worry, we can get Perry and Foundry to work together?" I asked, my hands clasped together against my cheek in child-like delight, tears brimming in hope-filled eyes.
I confess, there was a small sob that escaped.
"No," said Mark, a cheesy grin playing around the lower half of what can only be called a face because it occupies a place at the front of his head, "of course not, nothing that difficult. I want it in 10mm."
Hope clattered noisily on the ground, like a cast iron pot of week-old pea and ham soup.
(Actually, Mark was very apologetic about the 10mm scale, and not at all as I have portrayed him. Mark is one of nature's gentlemen and a better friend could not be found. He believes that ECW and Zulu Wars are best constructed in 10mm, to give a full visual impact. I have to agree with him, especially for the big engagements.)
Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of all miniatures, all shapes and sizes, big and small, including the malevolent and smug 10mm scale, and it's malignant dwarven cousin, the 6 mm.
I just feel the need to retain my eyesight for a little while longer.
I had already undertaken 10mm, in the shape of the GW Warmaster figures, having painted several armies for Ian Trout, many years ago. I was younger then, more arrogant, better postured. I felt myself invincible.
I started the Baker project with fear and loathing, predicting disaster, and the rising threat of glaucoma. I could only hope that it would lead to prescription marijuana, a small benefit.
Imagine my surprise when the first units turned out not too bad. Mark insists on building his armies from the cavalry . . . down? Loves his mounted troops does Mark. So the first order was for Royalist cavalry, eight by eight figure units, one unit of which is seen below:
I started with a dark brown undercoat, and simply applied the colours on top, respecting the black outline between different pieces of clothing and skin. The dark brown also provided the blackened armour. A lighter shade for the clothing and buff leather was applied, giving highlights.
I normally drybrush horses to give a hair texture, but in this instance straight brushstrokes were easier and more controllable. The addition of red plumes and sashes to denote Royalist troops, and hey Presto, ipso facto, coitus interruptus, the pieces were complete.
Has to be noted that without the red plumes for Royalists and orange for Parliamentarians, the troops of both sides would be virtually indistinguishable from each other. It can only be imagined how many were killed in close melee by their own side, by mistake. Even the difference between red and orange may not have been enough at times.
Mark's plan is for his forces and battlefield to look like this:
It will be beautiful. Hope I will be able to see it. Probably not, the Roundheads are on the table now.
I have painted 6mm as well. I have two battalions of Austrians post-1810, Heroics Ros figures. I was going to build the Austrians at Aspern-Essling in 6mm, with one Ros pack equaling a unit. In other words, 48 figure battalions. After the first two, I laughed hysterically for about half an hour and gave it away as a bad joke. I retain these two units to remind me of my folly.
You never know, I might try it again someday.
And then again, I might flap my arms and fly to the moon, accompanied by the pigs winging their way out of my butt.
A boy can dream.