But this week something just clicked, and I hit the painting table at a run, metaphorically speaking.
Sixty-one Olley points, or rather forty infantry, sixteen artillery crews, four guns and a Prussian Mechanical Soldier. For some reason I just waded straight through the British in two days, then the German Zepptruppen (Wessex/Over the Wire Games from their England Invaded range) were very easy - black Army Painter primer meant all I had to paint was the jacket, skin and detailing - they took about a day's worth of painting spread over two. And yesterday I came across the Irregular Miniatures artillery teams that I'd bought for last years Big Birthday Bash and decided to finally get them painted up, which hapened in the space of a day. Finally the mechanical soldier, a trooper from some long forgotten science fiction range, took shape in little more than an hour. Overall I think this is a record for me for a week's painting (and it's not even including the Scotties who were finished off on Monday)
For me this is three major milestones.
1) Now that I've got the army painting techniques down pat, I'm no longer afraid to sit down to a 20 man unit, whereas when I first started, even completing a 10 man unit seemed like a daunting task. I'm still not ready to face the Big Battalions in the Grand Manner, but it's a step in the right direction.
2) I've now enough figures to field 20 man units for all my infantry types i.e. a unit of 20 Guards, two units of regulars, 20 Scotties (the only exception are the Special Aether Service figs, and I've no plans to increase their number beyond the original 10.) Using 20 man "companies" instead of 10 man "platoons" is one way to approach larger battles, and I have several rulesets designed for units of that size (Soldier's Companion, The Sword And The Flame, Colonial Adventures). So from now on I'll be purchasing and painting infantry in 20 man units, though with the same proportion of officers and NCOs so that they can be broken down for GASLIGHT if required.
3) With the addition of the artillery I can now put on a half decent, entirely non-VSF battle, featuring Horse Foot and Guns. This is something I've been wanting to try for a while, and with the addition of some extra cavalry, I've got my eye on a refight of the Battle of Hook's Farm.
Moving up to the painting table I have a unit (20 man) of Naval Brigade troops, which will bring the number of British troops I can field up to rough parity with the Germans. After that, I have ordered two more units of cavalry for both British and Germans, hopefully a little more heroic in scale than the current Irregular Miniatures horsemen. I've also finally managed to track down a manufacturer of late 19th century Gurkhas in 28mm, Pontoonier Miniatures from Newline Designs. I've always had a great respect for the Gurkhas in real life and long wanted to portray them on the tabletop. Although it's a little bit of a stretch to have them fighting in the Invasion of England 188x, I couldn't help but order a unit. And after that, or possibly in parallel, I'm going to have another go at my beloved Fenians, or possibly the Russians. Both of which are primed and should be quick to paint.
But in truth, priority should go to preparing the terrain for the March Madness Melee. We're now only three weeks away and the baseboards have yet to be completed.