Finished – the WW1 French are launched … to the US

The fleet - set to sail - about 90 vessels in total
The fleet – set to sail – about 90 vessels in total

I finally finished painting, labelling and varnishing the 1/6000th scale French World War 1 fleet. These were being painted for John  in California. I opted for the simple French mid-grey scheme that the vessels were using in the later way period.

I also looked at “bronzing” one turret (A-turret or Z-turret), at least on the battleships and larger cruisers to account for the French disciplinary practice of having sailors paint a turret in used cooking oil when they were found guilty of a charge. I tried on one vessel and the result was that it was not really visible in this scale, so went just straight grey for the fleet.

The vessels come from Figurehead – from Noble Miniatures in the US and Magister Militum in the UK.

The detail on the vessels really is quite remarkable given their size. I would also recommend that when painting them, use a shade of grey two or three shades lighter than required and then use a black ink wash over the vessel to bring out that detail.

A close-up(ish) of some of the vessels.
A close-up(ish) of some of the vessels.

The close-up will give you an idea of the amount of detail present on the vessels.

You will notice that I opted for white canvas covers to the ships boats. The French used, as far as I can tell, a grey cover however I am assuming a sun-bleached grey that is white here. It is an aesthetic thing to bring out that extra detail and make it visible.

I do not have a sea surface to photograph on here in Singapore so the cutting mat has to do – the square are 1 cm square so yes, some of the vessels are less than 2cm long.

I know John has a US, British and German fleet still to paint up but after doing the French, Italians, Austrians, Turks, Greeks, Russians (both main fleets) and the Japanese Mediterranean Squadron, I’m not sure I want to paint any more 1/6000th ships. The feeling is compounded by knowing that the US was experimenting with dazzle patterns as a camouflage during the First World War. I’ll see how I feel in a few weeks time.

In the meantime, I will have a pleasant evening sitting in the man cave tonight, wireless on, air-con on, cup of tea in hand and starting to ponder what actually will be the next project!

All ahead full!

Painting Progress – the 1/6000th French – labels

2013-05-01 22.28.25I finally got some time yesterday, May Day, to start on labelling the vessels. I may have mentioned the process before but I’ll cover it again as someone asked me how I did them.

Using Microsoft Word (or any Word Processor really) create a table, in my case I make one 8 columns by 2 rows to start with. Then insert a couple of blank lines in the document and create a second 8 column by 2 row table.

Then a couple of blank lines and create a third table 8 columns by 2 rows.

In the second table, record the name of each of the vessels in the fleet. Record them in columns 2, 4, 6 and 8. Font and font size does not matter at this stage. You can then copy the table over table three (so that in both tables columns 1, 3, 5 and 7 are empty and columns 2, 4, 6 and 8 now contain all the ship names).

Now, to table three. In columns 1, 3, 5 and 7, next to the ship names, insert a code number for the vessel. For example, BB01 goes in column 1, next to the name Bretagne in column 2. DD03 goes next to the destroyer Epee and so on. Now you have two tables with some information in them, the second table with the ship names and the third table with a ships code number. I use the same code numbers between fleets so, for example, BB01 is Bretagne in the French, Hapsburg in the Austrian fleet, Tri Svititelia in the Russian fleet and so on. In the case where you are having a wargame with allied fleets fighting, well, I hope the paintwork will avoid confusion Smile

Highlight column 1 in table 3 (the ship codes). Now copy that and paste it into column 1 of table 1 and column 5 of table 1. Repeat this for column 3 table 3 (copy to columns 2 and 6 of table 1); column 5 of table 3 (copy to columns 3 and 7 of table 1); and column 7 of table 3 (copy to columns 4 and 8 of table 1).

Save the document.

Now there are three tables with only table 2 having empty columns. We now start formatting, Firstly, table 2. highlight the table (all columns) and select font “Calabri”, click on bold, change font size to 6 point or 8 point. The size of the font is something you will need to guess to make sure when finished the label will fit in the bottom of the ship base – so destroyers may need to be smaller than capital ships.

2013-05-01 22.40.25Next, search the internet and find the naval ensign for the World War 1 fleet you are painting (this is of course optional but adds a nice touch). Copy the image and paste it into cell 1, (row 1, column 1) of table 2. It will be very big but resize to until it is small and matches off with the text – you may need to adjust the column width here too. Play around a little and it will work out one way or another. Align the image either Center Left or Center in the cell. When it looks right, copy the image and paste it to each of the empty cells next to the ship names. Format the columns with the flags is to Center Left or Center alignment. Save the document.

Now comes the interesting part. The sea bases I have painted are coloured with a base coat of Prussian Blue then a light blue dry brush and a white dry brush. I have found that a background colour of dark blue works – the colour details are for R:G:B colour 23:54:93. This matches fairly closely with the Prussian blue as you can see in the photo to the right.

Now select all columns of table 1 and change the font to “Calabri”, the size to 6 point, select “bold”, select font colour “white” and then select fill colour –> more colours –> custom and use the R:G:B figures mentioned above. Your sea base labels should be starting to look good. Whilst the table is selected, go to design –> borders and turn borders off.

imageThe last step with the blue labels is to select columns 5, 6, 7 and 8 from table 1 and amend the character spacing, This is done so that the labels will fit the smaller label tabs on destroyers, torpedo boats and so on. Go to home –> font –> advanced and set scale on character spacing to 75%.

It does make the label a little harder to read, but not impossible but also ensures that it will fit most bases.

We have a sheet of labels. Save the document again and now it is ready for printing. Print on standard paper on a colour printer((OK, so I win a prize for stating the bleeding obvious but I needed the line in there for continuity)) and you are ready to stick on your models base.

Note that if you are using spray varnish, go right ahead and stick. If you are using varnish applied by a brush, then test first to see if the varnish will make the label run, especially if you have used an ink jet printer rather than a laser printer.

Simply cut the little blue label from the sheet with a sharp knife (I use one of the ones with a snap-off blade as it is best done with a very sharp knife and paper blunts the knife fairly quickly). I attach the blue labels with a dob of white glue (the stuff that dries clear) and then when the glue is dry varnish the vessels. They can then be separated from the tongue depressors I use to hold the vessels whilst painting.

Now you have labelled and varnished vessels. There is one final step. Using table three as a guide as it tells you which vessel is which code number, cut out and stick the vessel’s name label and ensign to the underside of the sea base. Voila! Finito!

Pick up the ship, look underneath and you know the vessels name. Use the code number on the sea base label to identify for damage and firing results during a game.

austrian_smaller russian_naval_jack italian_small japan_naval_ensign royal-navy-ensign_small sms_navy_ensign_small

Work in Process – the WW1 French Fleet

The second batch of World War 1 Ships - most of the battleships a some Armoured Cruisers - finished and just waiting their labels
The second batch of World War 1 Ships – most of the battleships a some Armoured Cruisers – finished and just waiting their labels

This is progressing nicely with 2/3rds of the vessels complete and a list of ships prepared ready for making labels for the navy. So, that is the destroyers complete and most of the battleships plus a few armoured cruisers.

The rest of the armoured cruisers, the protected cruisers and the Japanese cruisers (can’t remember why I have them) are almost complete – they are the ones shown in the picture below.

All that remains to be done on them is their lifeboat covers and the sooty funnels tops and such.

The remaining vessels that need two more coats of paint to compete
The remaining vessels that need two more coats of paint to compete

All vessels will be given a few days for the paint to really dry (well, the truth is I am off to Indonesia on Tuesday for a couple of days) and then I will glue the labels on the tab at the back of the base.

Vessels are then varnished – I use Vallejo Satin Varnish for ships as it gives them a nice moist appearance.

The vessels are then removed from the tongue depressors and a name tag stuck to the bottom. They should be ready for posting Monday of next week with a bit of luck and a good following wind!

On the workbench – painting in progress

A bird's eye view of the painting table - with the completed vessels as seen through the magnifying lamp
A bird’s eye view of the painting table – with the completed vessels as seen through the magnifying lamp

I’ve been working on the French World War One fleet pack from Hallmark ((available from Magister Militum in the UK)) for John in the US. These have been on the painting table for over two years now, business trips, the 15mm ACW and life generally having cut back the painting time I had available.

As with the other Hallmark vessels I’ve painted, these models are quite nice with a surprising amount of detail for a vessel that is only 2cms long.

They are quite easy to paint oddly enough and the process I have been using is to undercoat the vessels and bases in white, then wash in black ink (or nurgle gurlge slimy oil – whatever the Citadel black wash from Games Workshop is called these days).

I then paint the sea bases (some on smaller vessels like torpedo boats are already with the vessel, others like the battleships have a separate base. Painting the base first is useful as I am slapping the colour around and it doesn’t matter if it spills onto the vessel at this point.

The colour used for the sea bases are then a heavy coat of Prussian Blue, a heavy dry brush of mid blue and lastly a dry brush of white – heave around the wake against what will be the side of the vessel and where the wake from the propellers will be seen, light elsewhere.

A different view of the vessels and a rules to give a true idea of the scale of these wee beasties
A different view of the vessels and a ruler to give a true idea of the scale of these wee beasties

For the battleships and cruisers I do a heavy wet brush in a mid grey (uniform grey in this case) followed by a second black wash. A light dry brush of the uniform grey is then done  and yes, I know it is the third time I have added uniform grey to the vessel.

The decks are then picked out and on the French vessels I am using a desert sand colour for the decks. The vessel is then given a brown wash (earthy dirty brown or whatever from Citadel again). The last step is then to pick out the funnel tops and the ships boats. I am using white for the canvas covers of the ships boats as although it was likely a darker colour, on vessels this size it looks right and enables the detail to be seen from a distance.

I decided on uniform grey for the ship colour as the best information I could find on French vessels in World War 1 suggested an all over mid grey. French ships discipline also revolved around painting one turret in used cooking oil from the galley but I haven’t decided whether to go that far yet as to “bronze” one of the turret sides.

Other colours I read about were a dark hull grey hull and a light grey superstructure but I opted for the all-over grey as it seemed to agree with the pictures I saw online.

About 2/3rds of the vessels are now painted. I have about 30 left to paint. After that it is a case of making and printing the ship labels, adhering the ship number to the back of the base and then varnishing the vessels using a satin varnish. The last step is gluing the ship’s name under the base and then they will be finished yay!

Work in Progress

The French World War 1 fleet from Hallmark (with a few extra vessels)
The French World War 1 fleet from Hallmark (with a few extra vessels)

On the bench at the moment, John’s 1/6000 French World War 1 fleet.

Progress today has been good with the sea bases all finished and the ships having had their first wash.

The destroyers and torpedo boats have had paint as well. So have 13 battleships.

Currently there are 44 destroyers and torpedo boats that I expect to have finished tonight (well, finished except for the labels and final varnishing).

Also being worked on is 55 battleships and cruisers. I am hoping to have them finished except for labels tomorrow night, as I am off to Jakarta for a few days again on Tuesday.

For the curious, the squares on the mat on the painting table are 1cm square so that will give you an idea of the size of the vessels.

Too Many Figures

If it was September I’d put it down to Spring cleaning. However, it’s January. I’m madly rebasing figures to get ready for Cancon 2011 so I guess what just happened here is a product of a cup of coffee along with my desire to procrastinate on the rebasing.

I thought, “I must have a look and decide whether I will try and paint a new DBA army for Cancon 2011 or shall I just make one from my existing painted figures”.

I remembered that I had some figures in the other room but could not remember exactly which DBA armies they were. I recall writing something up in my blog several years about the armies that I had but I also knew that I had purchased the odd figure or two since then. I decided to have a quick look.

I started looking in the stock figures box where I have unpainted armies neatly stored in plastic, Tupperware like containers. I grabbed one box of DBA figures then opened a second box to see if there was any DBA figures in there. The figures there were for the Hittite Empire and were a DBM army I had forgotten I had to paint. I decided then that I needed a survey of my painting queue.

My goodness, this is what I found (and remember, this is just what I have here, it doesn’t count the figures I have at my Mum’s still to paint as well – those are mostly fantasy and American Civil War).

DBMM Armies (were for DBM originally)

I had collected many DBM armies when I was living in the UK – being paid in pounds made the purchases relatively inexpensive compared to buying them from Oz. Of course, the plan was to settle in to painting them all but so far I’ve not managed it yet. The figures are from Museum Miniatures, Chariot (now Magister Militum) and Essex Miniatures.

  • I/18 Minoan and Early Mycenaean 1600-1250 BCE
  • I/24 Hittite Empire 1380-1180 BCE
  • I/29 Philistine 1166-600 BCE
  • II/19 Seleucid 320-69 BCE
  • II/20 Ptolemaic 320-30 BCE
  • II/32 Later Carthaginian 275-146 BCE
  • II/33 Polybian Roman 275-105 BCE
  • II/36 Graeco-Bactrian 250-130 BCE

Now, all this may appear a little Book 1 and Book 2 heavy, however, painted I do have a few armies from other DBMM Army List books:

  • I/1 Early Sumerian 3000-2334 BCE and circa 2250 BCE
  • II/67 Greuthingi or Early Ostrogothic, Herul, Sciri or Taifali 200-493 CE
  • II/78 Late Imperial Roman 307-425 CE
  • II/83 Later Visigothic 419-720 CE
  • III/4 Early Byzantine 493-578 CE
  • III/28 Carolingian Frankish 639-888 CE

So far I have avoided book IV armies in DBMM.

DBA Armies

Of course, I can make DBA armies from the all of the above as well. I addition, I have the following armies. These are made up of a mixture of figures, from Xyston Miniatures, Essex Miniatures, Donnington Miniatures, Gladiator Miniatures, Falcon Figures and Alain Touiller Figurines. I think that is all the suppliers I am using. All of these are currently unpainted and therefore on the painting queue. The list numbers in brackets refer to the :

  • I/2b Early Egyptian 1639-1543 BCE
  • I/3 Nubian 3000-1480 BCE
  • I/6 Early Bedouin 1499-1000 BCE
  • I/17b Hyksos 1590-1537 BCE
  • I/59 Tullian Roman 578-400 BCE
  • II/5e Aitolian or Akarnanian (from the Later Hoplite Greek 450-275 BCE list)
  • II/45c Spartacus 74-71 BCE
  • II/76 Koguryo Korean 300-668 CE
  • III/10c Rajputs 747-1300 CE
  • III/20a Sui 581-623 CE
  • III/20b T’ang 618-755 CE
  • III/44 Tribal Mongol 840-1218 CE
  • III/62 (III/63) Early Polish
  • IV/01a Komnenan Byzantine 1071-1149 CE
  • IV/15 Qura-Khitan 1124-1211 CE
  • IV/17 Later Crusader 1128-1303 CE
  • IV/18 Lithuanian or Samogitian 1132-1435 CE
  • IV/22 Serbian Empire 1180-1459 CE
  • IV/28 Prussian 1200-1283 CE
  • IV/30 Teutonic Orders 1201-1522 CE (was list 151 in version 1)
  • IV/35 Mongol Conquest 1206-1266 CE
  • IV/43c Later Hungarian 1397-1526 CE
  • IV/56a Order of St John 1291-1522 CE (Cyprus)
  • IV/66 Later Polish 1335-1510 CE
  • IV/75 Timurid 1360-1506 CE
  • One other collection of figures I can’t identify

Other Items on the Queue

Of course, apart from all the stuff mentioned above, there are also many other items left to paint here including:

  • a number of 1/2400th sailing vessels for the Great Lakes war in 1812
  • a German Aeronef fleet in 1/1200th
  • British and German Land Ironclads and infantry in 2mm scale
  • 6mm Cold War Commander SciFi army (ONESS – from Brigade Models)
  • two 1/3000 space fleets for Full Thrust, also from Brigade Models
  • two 6mm Warmaster Ancients armies (Sassanian and Parthian)
  • three 6mm Napoleonic Armies for Polemos Rules (Late Prussian, Confederation of the Rhine and Polish – figures from Heroics and Ros, Adler Miniatures and Baccus)
  • 1/300th WWII Italians (North Africa) again, Heroics and Ros
  • 1/285th WWII Russians (I also need to get more vehicles for this). These are a mix of GHQ, CinC and Adler Miniatures
  • Bucket loads of 1/3000 ships including those needed for the Battle of Matapan and the Philippine Seas (WWII) and Jutland (WWI) along with then Austrian WWI fleet and some miscellaneous WWII British and German vessels
  • and the French WWI Navy in 1/6000th scale for John in the US.

With the exception of the WWII Russians and the 15mm Campaign DBA sets I’ve started building, I think I will call a hiatus on figure purchases this year, at least until I get to reduce the painting queue a little.

So, too many figures to paint? Nah, you can never have enough.

World War 1 Austrian Fleet

P1000350 I’ve been painting 1/6000th scale ships again for John in the US. This time it was the main vessels of the Austrian World War 1 fleet (well, minus a few torpedo boats that I painted with his Italians).

For something a little different, the older vessels were painted in the pre-war colours of the Austrian fleet, a dark green whilst the newer vessels were all painted in the colour scheme of the fleet during World War 1.

Also included where four cargo ships – targets for some future game.

P1000363 As these vessels are 1/6000th scale, they are quite small, as you can see with the Habsburg class battleships in the photo to the right. These little beauties are about 1.75 cm long in size. Incidentally, they are painted in the dark green colour.

It was gratifying to have John say to me about the painting of these vessels, “super job, Ian, as always!”

The next batch of ships from him will be the French from World War 1. In the meantime I have some other ships to finish for Lee and a bazillion 6mm Prussians for me.

Back to the paint table!

Painting and Wargaming Update

There has been a bit of a hiatus with this recently as the real world invaded and took up more time in the other world than I would have liked. As a result, I’ve really not managed any painting or gaming in the last couple of weeks. I have, however, managed to spend the odd minute planning and today (or rather yesterday by the time this posts), I did manage to work on John’s Austrian World War 1 fleet. They are almost complete now, just requiring labelling and varnishing. I’ll have those in the post to the US by the end of the week (and my PayPal account will feel a little happier).

With regards to my ancient purchases recently, today I started to paint a test Warmaster unit for the Parthians – undercoating a unit of archers.

I also managed to finish reading Simon Scarrow’s “The Gladiator”, the last published adventures of Macro and Cato. Of course, this then got me thinking about the Servile Wars and Slave Revolts so some time was spent today planning a Warmaster Ancients Army list for those wars. I will publish that list here when I finish it.

There are currently prepared and undercoated, a bazillion Prussians also requiring paint, as is the remaining World War 2 Italians. There are also two fleets of Aeronefs, three armies of Land Ironclads as well as a harbour full of 1/2400th ships to paint.

The good news, however, is that the paint was flowing today and will continue to flow this week. Finish the ships, finish four battalions of Prussian Landwehr, one unit of Parthian skirmishers and then finish the World War 2 Italians – well, that’s a plan!

Painting Update, January 2010

As I mentioned the other day, I have the next batch of ships to paint. They will be done over the next month. I’m away for a couple of weeks which will slow the process down a little and for the 1/6000th Italian World War 1 ships, I need to do some more research (which will, of course, be shared here later). This may result in a repaint to some of my 1/3000th ships. 😦

In the meantime, I have been finishing off phase 1 of the 1/300th scale (6mm) Modern NATO Danes. These are built for the Cold War Commander wargame rules, a game I have been playing a lot of recently. The Phase 1 aircraft (a Draken and a Super Sabre) were finished today. The phase 2 aircraft (Phantom) will be painted when I finish the extra forces purchased for this Battlegroup.

Somewhere in the air are the remaining painting projects for the next few months. On the way is a PacFed Future War Commander army in 6mm, an early North African Italian World War 2 army in 1/300th (6mm) as well as a Russian Aeronef fleet for the Peshawar Victorian Science Fiction campaign. I also need to do some more writing for Peshawar. I hope to get to that in the last week of January as I have a few days holiday where I hope to sit on a beach, play some golf and catch up on some reading and writing. More on that later too.

And now, time to spray varnish the aircraft (this is always the nervous part of the painting process for me as I wonder whether the varnish will discolour the paint job).