Monday, December 10, 2018


Close up of the conversion inspired by Hungarian Gen Artur Georgei

In this post, dear readers, we "deliver the goods" on recent work-in-progress posts on 28mm mounted Hungarian/Honved commanders for the Hungarian Uprising, 1848-49.  For those just joining us, none of the figures in this post began life as you see them here. For more discussion on figure selection and modification, please follow the links in the commentary.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this post.

First up is the army command stand, which has a general based on Hungarian Lt Gen Artur Georgei (shown above left) and a Grenz Staff officer (above right)--images are from the indispensable Gyozo Somogyi, Honved Army 1848-49. The figures are a Perry ACW Confederate General and Dutch Belgian Napoleonic commander, respectively.
The confederate general sculpt has a nice row of prominent buttons on each lapel--I brought those out in yellow and painted a corresponding yellow braid line to each--all underpainted in black to bring out the structure. I also echoed the pattern on the vest, only with a central yellow seam.  I think the end result delivered a good impression of the jacket as depicted in the source.  Given that I already had Grenz units in pink and yellow facings, I picked sky blue distinctions for the staff officer--always liked the blue/brown combination.  To keep the large feather plume on his headgear from looking like a big, black, lump, I dry brushed it with dark grey and then highlighted it with a touch of light gray (which is an off white, basically).

Next up is the Hungarian General Staff Officer in slant cap, inspired by the above images (again from Somogyi). This conversion was made with a head swap: from a Steve Barber Honved dismounted officer onto a Foundry Maximilian Adventure Austrian Red Hussar torso. 
I decided on the more embellished yellow and red braiding shown in another illustration of Honved general staff officers. There was a fair amount of trial and error to get this braiding to look "red and yellow" as opposed to like a series of disembodied yellow spots interrupted by red and green (in places).  I finally used an impressionistic approach, sizing and spacing the red points so they look regular to the eye as opposed to always trying to spot them geometrically ("realistically?") on the features themselves, if that makes sense.  I went with the red trousers as opposed to the gray based on a period painting showing Hungarian staff officers in this snappy combination. Originally, I was going to use this fellow as a "secondary" figure on the army command stand.  Instead, I paired the two Perry figures on the army command given how well they went together and let this fellow stand on his own.   

When I started this project, I had originally intended to use a Spanish colonel from the Perry Carlist War line for the grenz staff officer However, I wound up switching from that figure to the Perry Dutch Belgian Napoleonic command figure. This left me with a spare, partially done command figure that I wasn't thinking much about.  Then I saw Iain's comment on the work in progress post expressing an interest in seeing what I would make of this figure. This brought about a heel-of-the-hand to head moment: Duh! Of course! Why not finish him?  So here, dear reader, we witness the answer to Iain's question-turned inspiration.  I have created a "generic" officer (no sash!) suitable for use with just about any mid century army... other words, he is the very image of a Chocolate Box major general (apologies to Msrs Gilbert and Sullivan).  Were it not for my WIP post and Iain's comment therein, he would have disappeared into my spares box(es) until stumbled across again (it has happened before). Thus, he is also the very image of the benefits of blogging.

Steve Barber Mounted Hungarian Officer: not yet in production

Although an actual mounted Hungarian command figure that I commissioned will eventually be available (above), I decided to take matters into my own hands and do a set  via conversion (birds in the bush vs birds in the hand and all of that).  And It's not like I won't also be getting the above figure once it comes out (try and stop me!).  Given how many conversion figures there are among my Hungarians, anyway, it seemed only appropriate that their high command should also be conversions: one-of-a kinds leading one-of-a kinds.

Saturday, December 1, 2018


An earlier "How To" post ( Ed M's Basic Basing ) generated some interest in my marker systems. In this post, dear readers, I will follow up to provide more information on those.  
By way of quick review, I have metallic strips on the back of most of my bases where I can put magnetic markers. As I mentioned in my earlier post on basing, I don't try to hide this function, but incorporate it into the style. I think that providing readily available game information boosts playability a great deal. These markers coupled with the reference sheets I produce combine to present most nearly all the game information players need, and puts the information right in front of players in the context of the situation on the table. This allows one to run games that might be a bit more involved than might otherwise be possible. To make all of my graphics, I use the universally available (and dead simple) MSPaint, which is bundled with most windows operating systems (although I hear it will be discontinued in the future).  So no need to learn or buy any special graphics program to replicate this madness.  Producing these markers is a significant project, I have to admit, but I consider it a valid one--no less so than the other projects we take up in this hobby, like painting figures or making terrain. However, once done, these markers are most handy and have become central to how I run games.
This is my most versatile system.  It consists of several sets of color coded markers and sets of white on black informational markers (numbers, letters, etc)...

...above, two sheets of markers (there are more).  Colored coded markers on the left and a set of numbers and unit information on the right.  These markers are 1/4" square. For anyone interested I've posted a complete set of markers that you can review and download
The unit information markers (above left) I print out and put on peel and stick magnetized sheets. These are thinner than the colored markers.  This works well because these markers aren't going to get handled during the game.  The colored markers (above right) I put on thicker magnetic strips (which can be got at most craft or DIY stores)--these get handled during the game, so being thicker helps with that.  The magnetic strips come in 1/2" widths, which is particularly handy since you can fit two rows of the 1/4" colored markers on them, which  lowers the number of cuts you need to do to create the markers once stuck onto the strips.  After sticking all of these to the magnet material, I then use a pair of scissors to cut them all out (lots and lots of little squares: a good project to do while watching or listening to a favorite sports game or podcast--it only has to be done once).
Storage and organization are important to help make these systems viable. I put my color coded magnetic markers in metal DVD cases (you can buy these by themselves) with a paper strip on the outside indicating the colors.
 For my unit information/numbers and letters, I use a clear, multi-compartment container.
An example of the markers in play.  In this case, the colored markers represent strength points and command relationships.  To the left, a three strength point, morale five light cavalry (5 L) and a to the right a four strength point, morale five infantry unit. They both have the same color markers (black), which indicates that they are in the same command. The artillery is a two strength point, morale five field gun (5 FLD)--the white crosses on green markers represent an army-level unit. You can see the thickness difference between the strength point markers and the unit information markers.
Here is an illustration of a complete system for a two battalion Polish Napoleonic Regiment. Each battalion has strength point markers in a unique color. Some strength point markers have "S" indicating, that it is a skirmish point.  The regimental command stand (the oval mounted figure) has a marker identifying each of its subordinate units.  The empty base at the back substitutes for a roster system.  It tracks the regiment's exhaustion level (the yellow and brown marker--once the  number of hits reaches that level, the command is exhausted).  In the upper left hand corner are markers representing the component units of the command.  When a unit in the command takes a hit, the strength point marker is moved from the unit stand to the tracking stand. When the total reaches the exhaustion level, the command is exhausted. 
The above system in a different game.  Here, pre game,  there are four Prussian brigades arrayed with their tracking stands beside them. In this case, each command is only one color.
The same Prussian brigade as it enters the table. You can see that the tracking stands have  been placed out of play on the edge of the table for reference.
Following from the same example, an illustration of how the markers help to differentiate the commands in action. You can also see that one of the stands in the yellow brigade has lost two strength points (those are back on the tracking stand).
For the tracking stands, I put a 3"x3" metal wargame base (spray painted green) on a 3"x3" wooden wargame  base.   I also made up a set of magnetic tracking markers (above right). 
When not used as tracking stands, these bases can also serve as sabots to allow me to use  my individually mounted figures on unit bases (the figures have magnetic bottoms). 

The color coded markers are also useful for other systems.  In the skirmish game above, the individual figures have markers indicating which unit they belong to.  As I said before, I get alot of mileage out of these markers. 

I have made specialized markers to support specific game systems. In the above case, it is our group's Napoleonic Rules, Napoleon's Rules of War.
You may need to click the above to enlarge for clarity. These labels were important aids to help facilitate play in the mega-game that I ran for the club.

 A French Division Marching In
In the above, you can see that there are two French divisions operating in the area (the black labels at the bottom and the blue in the middle ground). 
So the labels helped to present low level game information and they helped to visualize larger unit organizations on a crowded table. 

For my Baroque Battles system, I produced a set of magnetic labels to indicate the unit type and the morale grade. Instead of numbers, I went with dice symbols. The above is a morale five Tercio.
An example of the Baroque Battles labels in play. I will (eventually) be posting the rules and other files for this system on the content page. For now, here is the QRS (for the curious). 

Finally, in one of my earlier efforts, my Smalle Warre collection, I used wooden plugs as unit markers. 
Units consist of 10-12 individually based figures.  I put a plug on the back of each stand, with each unit being color coded. Each figure within the unit is numbered (hand painted: I now appreciate calligraphers and their craft!)--the command figure is left blank, with no number.  Numbering allows me to also use these figs for lower-level systems where individual figures might need to be tracked, such as my Loot the Baggage Train  game. 
And that, dear readers, is enough for now (I think you'll agree!) on my obsession with unit marker systems--just remember, you asked!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


In my previous post, dear readers, I reported on the beginnings of my latest project, the conversion of several figures as Honved command figures. In particular, I related how I was going to... 

 ....represent a snappy Grenz Staff Officer (left) by converting a Perry Figures Carlist War command figure (right). The major difference in the end would be that the subject Grenz officer is in a tailcoat and the figure is not.  As I was painting what was visible of the trousers on said figure, my mind was wandering, as it tends to.  I was especially thinking about this as I was making the most of the little bit of black and yellow braiding that was visible.  This brought to mind the the difference between the tailcoat, with trouser leg exposed, and the mostly covered trouser under the tailcoat.  Which then started me thinking about other likely figures--and it was then that I realized that there might be a closer match. And so there was, from the Perry Napoleonic range...
 ..specifically, the staff officer in the Perry DB 1 set (Prince William of Orange Command).  This figure is spot on. And since both are Perrys, the proportions would be consistent.  Even better, I had this figure set on hand! (No more fussing over having a lead pile for me!). 

Conversion of the DB 1 figure, above: ready for priming as soon as the green stuff sets.  As before, I shaved down the uniform ornaments, clipped the bicorne a bit to fit the lines of the subject, and then clipped the small tuft and added the more pronounced, hanging feather tuft using green stuff. This figure includes a nicely sculpted sash (I was thinking of whether I was going to try and work that up somehow on the other figure.
I suppose I could have just gone ahead with the original plan, but once I knew that there was this closer match I found myself aiming to do it later, anyway.  So I figured it was better to just switch lanes before things had gone too far and go for it now. At least this is a minor shift in a small project, which helped with the decision. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it!)

Now, while I'm painting this fellow, I'm sure that I'll be dwelling on ways to use the original figure, and goodness knows what madness that will bring on. 

Well, we're on the eve of the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US.  After an interlude of good food and drink, there should be some quality time for painting, too.

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