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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The year’s big project

Enfilade made it official last week and announced the theme for the 2015 convention.  It will be Raids.  Not really much of a raids person, though I could imagine a few raids that might be worth gaming.  I’ve painted some figures for raiding the frontier during the American Revolution.  Maybe, we’ll see.

Actually I’m fibbing.  Daveshoe and I have long discussed the possibility of gaming the St. Nazaire Raid of 1942. This raid was carried out against the Normandie docks, the only one on the Atlantic coast capable of hosting the German battleship Tirpitz.  In a daring land/sea expedition elements of the Royal Commandoes and Royal Navy destroyed the docks and important infrastructure in St. Nazaire’s maritime/industrial region. Unlike lots of games, there aren’t a couple hundred 28mm figures that will need to be painted.  Instead, we’ll be modeling the game table for a 1/600 scale coastal action.  I have many of the British gunboats already built and painted, but I have eight more to go.  There will buildings galore to paint, felt game space to construct and etc., etc., I’ll keep you posted on the project as we proceed.

I’m currently painting my Fife and Drum British Guards from the American Revolution.  These are exquisite 28mm figures, with just the right amount of detail.  They were sculpted to model troops for the 1777 campaign.  Though their coats are a bit long, they’ll do for Guilford Courthouse as well.  They are very nice, but a little on the small side. Smaller than Perry’s 28mm AWI, and even a little smaller than Old Glory figures.  I’m working on a 24 figure unit and making steady progress.  I hope to have them finished by the end of the week.

What then?  I have fourteen singly mounted militia and civilians I want to paint for the AWI frontier scenarios I mentioned earlier. These are all Perry figures that I expect to paint up very quickly.  They’re nice figures, a good variety of men, women and children.

I proposed to do some role playing with my son and friend David, and promised to take on the role of game master.  I asked Casey what kind of role playing he would most be interested in, and he thought it would be fun to do some swashbuckling along the lines of the Three Musketeers.  I thought that was a great idea because it gives me an excuse to pull out my Eureka 40mm And All For One figures.  They are unpainted, but I think they’ll take the next place in the painting queue.  I’ve been re-watching my copy of the Richard Lester stories (The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974) are by far the best versions of the Dumas story; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) I’ve also checked out the BBCAmerica The Musketeers series for story ideas and I’m anxious to get started.  I’m likely to use Fudge as the rules set but am consulting the ancient GDW EnGarde rules as well as Ganesha Games Flashing Blades for ideas as well.  I have the original nine figure set Eureka issued a while back, and I’ve ordered a couple more of the assassin type figures, and I’m looking out for where I might be able to pick up a few more additional figure types for the era.

Finally, there’s been an increasing amount of talk about the SAGA rules for some quickly small action gaming.  I have 25 painted Vikings and was pawing through my piles of unpainted lead hoping to find a few more.  Indeed I discovered another 20+ miniatures which I want to paint.  That way I can join the cool crowd too.  I would guess I’ll work on these while I’m painting my Musketeers.

In any case I’ve got lots on my plate to keep me busy.  I can assure you I’ll do my very best to make it a good time.