Saturday, 8 October 2011

Look at me, still talking when there's science to do.

Those of you playing along with the blog post title/song lyric game will have already worked out that this is a "Still Alive" post.

Those glengarry-wearing infantry from Rapier Miniatures are proving to be much more of a struggle to paint and progress a lot slower than I originally expected. I have 5 painted up to about 90% complete, just needing a couple of details like water bottles and the bonnet checking to complete. I've got another 5 catching them up at about 70% complete. With grey skies and pretty poor natural light over the last few days, I'm struggling to focus on the finer work, so I'm just doing little bits here and there when I can. In addition to the Scotties, on my painting table I've got a random selection of civilians and adventurers which I'm delving into now and again for some light relief, and once the Scotties are done next up will be the long delayed Fenians.

So while avoiding the tyranny of the painting table, I've been reading the original sourcebook for 1938 A Very British Civil War. It's a nice glossy product, full of photos an illustrations, and does a good job of setting up the fictional civil war against the backdrop of real history. I found it filled out a few pieces of the story that I'd not been able to pick up through reading discussions and blog posts about the setting online. I would love to pick up the next two sourcebooks (Gathering Storm 1 & 2) but since buying the original book something funny appears to have happened to the Solway webstore page, which keeps coming up blank for me.

I'm not about to hare off and start buying figures for VBCW, not when I'm already backed up with the VSF figures. To be honest, most VBCW games I've seen on the web look so similar in style and tone to the GASLIGHT games I've played, I'm not sure what playing 1938 would give me that 188x doesn't already. But VBCW is a good source of inspiration and ideas that can be ported across to a VSF game, and a Very Victorian Civil War is a very plausible alternative to my current "England Invaded" setting.

Finally I keep coming back to the idea of completely ditching my 15mm figures. I still think the scale has a lot going for it, and 15mm SF, VSF and modern appears to be going through a renaissance at the moment. But I've a serious need to de-clutter the flat right now and there's a strong case for streamlining where I've got duplications across scales. For instance, there's no point me keeping 15mm and 28mm zombies setup for essentially the same kind of game, especially since that would mean keeping two different sets of terrain in the different scales. If mi hermano moderno Jonesy is still keen to play Force On Force modern games in 20mm/1:72 it would make sense for me to join him in that scale for my Axis of Naughtiness modern imagi-nation games (that I'd previously thought to do in 15mm). If not, there's still a strong case for it, and an almost as strong case for switching it to 28mm (one scale to rule them all etc) I've already switched the VSF gaming entirely to 28mm, leaving me with two crates full of 15mm figures in various states of readiness (some still bagged, some based, some primed and some ready to play).

And then again there's the hassle of actually finding a way to dispose of all these "unwanted" 15mm figures, plus the loss in investment of time and money (sadly my painting doesn't exactly add value to the figures, so I'm liable to get more for the painted figures if I strip them before selling). And add to all that the fact that I still think 15mm has a lot of advantages over 28mm.

Decisions, decisions...


  1. Hi, just noticed you mentioned gray skies and poor lighting affecting your painting? Have you not tried using an angle-poise lamp? I have one positioned that just about sits on my forehead, and its vastly improves what you can get done.
    See pic at end of this post:
    I've also altered my painting style of recent again slightly since writing this blog post, but it remians essentially the same.

    As for figure scale, I persoanlly like the 28mm scale figure. They are just a nice size model to enjoy painting without getting too big (like 32 to 40mm stuff), nor too small and 'fiddly'.

    I'd ditch the 15mm stuff onj ebay and keep the 28's but of course it depends on what your playing circle are doing!


  2. Impressive stuff Scott, what size figures have you gone with in the end then Dr V?

    Ordered my first figures today (28mm), and although they're for a different purpose I face the same painting dilemma. I really can't imagine trying to paint 15mm, nor the brush required for such a task!!

    Might have to dig around and see what paints I can rustle up.

  3. See now Scott's an example of what I'd call a real figure painter, and seems to have gone through the same series of painting techniques that I've tried, but with significantly better results!

    R1ck, given what you're using the figures for (everyone else: it's cake decoration) I'd go for a nice non-toxic set of acrylics. I've now switched entirely over to craft acrylics, which are much, much cheaper than "proper" miniature paints. The most important thing is going to be the undercoat - I'd really recommend it would be worth splashing out on a can of Army Painter primer on eBay, either white to give you a nice flat base to paint on or in the figure's primary colour in which case you'll only need to paint on highlights and details.
    Scott - good thoughts, especially about the anglepoise. Full post followup coming soon.