And One For All . . . : Eureka’s 40mm Musketeer figures

I’ve painted a lot of figures in my gaming life, but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed painting a batch of figures like Eureka’s 40mm Musketeer figs.

Just to be clear, these are the first 40’s I’ve ever painted before.  They are modeled on the characters and dress from Richard Lester’s excellent The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers from the early 70’s.  They are beautiful figures, incredibly well cast.  They have lots of nice folds in the clothing, presenting lots of opportunities for shading.

Let’s start with the chief characters (note: I’m referring to the first 11 figures I painted, so the Musketeers, Rochefort and the Cardinals Guard, and a couple of identical tough guys.)

Each of the four musketeer figures bear a resemblance to their character from the movie.  The difficult part is to make them interesting.  For the most part they are clothed in black.  They even lack the slashing, allowing their white shirts to pop through with a bit of contrast as they did in the movies. I did a lot of highlighting with a charcoal gray color.  Wherever possible I used a light gray in shirt creases or in bits of lace, just to break up the monotonous black and white. Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan are variations of this black and white theme.  However Porthos, vain character that he was, had lots of gold lace and his belt was entirely gilded, except in the back, as you may recall.  It was difficult to create suitable designs in the space available, so I did the best I could. Even so, Porthos was fun to paint.

Christopher Lee’s Count Rochefort is probably the most recognizable of the character figures, with its long hair and eye patch.  I painted the figure with a Ceramcoat dark red figure so old I can no longer read the name on the bottle.  The lace on the figure is well-formed and it’s easy to add a little bit of gray to help it stand out. In the movie Rochefort’s boots are almost exactly the same color as the rest of his red attire, but I decided to do a little something different, mixing the Ceramcoat red with a Ceramcoat Maroon.  That gave me something a little bit different, but still similar. enough to give the sense that they were color coordinated.

The four different figures that are part of the Cardinal’s Guard are all painted a base of Vallejo Vermillion.  These figures were very fun to paint.  I lightened with Vermillion and white and darkened with Vermillion and Carmine Red, and they came out quite nicely.  I also used the Carmine Red to “blackline around the gold edges and the crosses. The Vermillion is a bit bright, but it’s also easy to work with as a base color for shading.

The two “hired blade” figures are pretty straightforward, and I lavished the least attention on them. ‘Nuff said.

I probably have all the 40mm figures I plan to buy for this project.  I did add all the remaining Eureka figures with the exception of Mr. Bonacieux. If I have any criticism of these miniatures it is that there aren’t more figures to flesh out the range.  Some soldiers, a few beggars, a few more civilian types would really be nice additions. However, they are absolutely a hoot to paint, and I honestly believe they are my best efforts in at least a decade.

I’m taking a little break from these guys for now as I wrap the last 18 figures I need to finish up all my Vikings for SAGA, and my first handful of buildings for St. Nazaire.  Then I’ll return and finish up the remaining 15 or so figures for this project.

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Plodding toward the finish line

The 44th Regiment waits to be mounted and flagged.  There is an extra stand not quite finished in the middle of my painting sticks.

The 44th Regiment waits to be mounted and flagged. There is an extra stand not quite finished in the middle of my painting sticks.

I’ve been working on just my Bladensburg project since May.  With so many other things I want to do, it’s beginning to feel a little like the Chinese water torture.  Even though I seem to have acquired the September version of this year’s school-directed biological warfare, I’ll likely drag myself into my den for an hour or so painting.  Why?  So I can be free, of course.

I whine, I fuss, I whine and I fuss, but I have been productive.  Here’s what I have painted since Enfilade:

Two-24 figure un-uniformed battalions of Baltimore militia:     48 figures

One-48 figure British light Infantry battalion (85th Bucks L.I.): 48 figures

Three-32 figure British line infantry  (4th, 21st and 44th regts.) 96 figures

This weekend, all things being equal, I will finish Scott’s battalion of U.S. regulars (elements of 12th, 36th, and 38th regts.) 24 figures.

That will leave 24 more of the evil Victrix Brits to assemble and paint, and seven mounted British commanders by Old Glory.  All that will remain of Bladensburg is the playtesting and some terrain making.

Scott's regulars are nearly finished.  I'll probably put an hour or so into painting them tonight, sick or not.

Scott’s regulars are nearly finished. I’ll probably put an hour or so into painting them tonight, sick or not.

On the positive side of all this, I’ve always wanted to do Bladensburg.  Sheer distance between Surrey and Puyallup makes it difficult to playtest it effectively sharing figs with Doug, and it’s a damn fiddly game if the British are to have a chance.  So I’m excited to have the whole kit and kaboodle under my own roof.  Needless to say, when, it’s all over I’ll have painted 225+ figures toward completing the project as well.

Fix Bayonets: Back to the Future

I love Fix Bayonets.  It’s a small gathering hosted by the Fort Steilacoom Historical Association (or something like that,) a preservation group aimed at keeping up the oldest buildings in Western Washington.  Each year Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump host a modest gathering in one of the original fort buildings and we play a day’s worth of games for a modest entry fee that goes toward the many needs of the maintaining the site.  It’s a nice fundraiser for them and we certainly have a good time.

I was particularly looking forward to yesterday’s event, because I hoped to see an old friend there.  Scott Appleby recently joined the NHMGS Facebook page, and I had my fingers crossed he would be at this event.  I played Fire and Steel Napoleonics with Scott back in the 70’s and 80’s.  But as I gradually became more involved with NHMGS and took on different projects we lost touch.  I hadn’t seen him in twenty years.  So when he came to the event I was thrilled.  It made my day.  A semi-truck could have backed over my hydroplanes, and it still would have been a very good day.

I ran a Thunderboats game in the morning period.  It’s a great game for gatherings like this because after the first twenty minutes it almost runs itself.  It was actually an exciting game because my friend Chris Bauermeister, who always has terrible die rolls in my games, had stupendously good die rolls.  He got off to an early lead in the Miss Bardahl that he never relinquished.  In fact it was never even that close.  Bill Vanderpool and Al Rivers both bought nitrous bottles, used them and both had some interesting moments with flames. There was lots of risk-taking, which makes for a fairly fun game.  I went through an entire deck of event cards-a first.  But, with a lot of risk taking goes a high attrition rate, and four boats did not finish.  Still a lot of fun, as Thunderboats usually is.

Chris Bauermeister rolled a twelve on a 12-sided die on turn one and never looked back.  Miss Bardahl won the race quite comfortably.

Chris Bauermeister rolled a twelve on a 12-sided die on turn one and never looked back. Miss Bardahl won the race quite comfortably.

A look at the also-rans coming into turn one.  Scott Appleby, racing Doug's Hamm's Beer boat didn't survive turn two.

A look at the also-rans coming into turn one. Scott Appleby, racing Doug’s Hamm’s Beer boat didn’t survive turn two.

 

There some other interesting looking games in the morning session. Scott Williams brought up his Galactic Knights game from Olympia.  Bruce Smith also ran a pre-dreadnought naval game.

We dashed down to Steilcoom to our favorite sandwich shoppe for lunch and I got to talk to Scott and some of the guys a bit longer.  Scott is also a teacher so we talked some shop, as well as about the Huskies.  So it was a good time.

During the afternoon session I decided to play in Hugh Singh’s 28mm Sky Galleons of Mars game. I’m a sucker for SGoM, so it didn’t really take a lot to convince me to play.  Hugh converted  three Stonehouse Miniatures resin gunboats into flying vessels for Mars. He did a really nice job using some Houston’s Guns  and crew for the armament, as well as using some interesting bits for Martian tether mines and fire pots.  Very nice and very serviceable.

Hugh Sing's Austrian gunboat was quite a death dealer at Fix Bayonets

Hugh Sing’s Austrian gunboat was quite a death dealer at Fix Bayonets

 

I really liked the touches on Hugh's Martian sky galley.  The firepots fore and the tether mines aft are quite nice.

I really liked the touches on Hugh’s Martian sky galley. The firepots fore and the tether mines aft are quite nice.

 

Gene Anderson brought up his vessel from Centralia, a gorgeous (and huge) Endtime screw galley.  Gene constructed the deck and skeleton from plans and covered the hull with planking fabric and coated it with liquid starch.  It looked amazing, and takes its place alongside Mark Waddington’s Aphid and Ranger as examples of superb modeling.

Gene Anderson's Endtime gunboat is an exquisite model.  Constructed using fabric coated with liquid starch, Gene was able to achieve the unique shape of the most common Martian ship.

Gene Anderson’s Endtime gunboat is an exquisite model. Constructed using fabric coated with liquid starch, Gene was able to achieve the unique shape of the most common Martian ship.

The nicest touch to the Endtime model is Gene's creation of the bridge in the lower hull.  Great work Gene.

The nicest touch to the Endtime model is Gene’s creation of the bridge in the lower hull. Great work Gene.

 

Unfortunately bad things often happen when a single Martian vessel takes on an Earth gunboat.  I commanded Hugh’s Austrian gunboat with two long 4″ guns.  It was fast enough to keep the bigger Martian craft from closing and with superior firepower, slowly began to pound the Endtime to pieces.  When we decided to call the game, the screw galley lost all but one of its guns and the crew was about 50%.  It was having difficulty maintaining altitude, and with about a third of its turncranks dead, was half the speed of my vessel.  I took only slight damage to my hull and crew.

Word is out that there are plans for a big 28mm Sky Galleons game at Enfilade. That would be pretty to see, but we sure need to plan how to run it. That will require quite a bit of room.

There were some other great games in the afternoon period too.  Chris B. hosted a Cold War armor battle.  Bruce ran a big Korea vs. Japan ancients game with some pretty smooth looking rules. Paul Grandstaff hosted a Check Your Six game.  Bruce Smith ran a very cool looking post-apocalyptic game in a very trashed city.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the organizers were pretty happy with the support.  It was an early in, early out kind of day, and I was able to be home by 3:30 to see most of the Huskies game.