Thursday, 31 May 2012

Tutorial: Flags

When you followed the posts concerning my Napoleonic Brits you probably have noticed that they are equipped with several flags. Although there are several dealers who offer excellent pre-painted flags I decided to try my luck and make them by myself. Because I'm rather satisfied with the result I'd like to share the way I made them:

1st Step: Find pictures:
Fortunately the World Wide Web bears a lot of information concerning the Napoleonic period. Plain pictures of flags aren't that easy to find but there is an excellent website around the 100-days-campaign with detailed information about uniforms and flags: Link (French Site). Additionally there are some excellent Osprey books covering the flags during the Napoleonic Wars and other periods: Link (Osprey's website).

2nd Step: Prepare and print flags:
There are several ways to get the flags you need when you found matching graphical material. The most challenging way is for sure painting them by hand or at least trace the pictures and colour them by hand. Well I'm not that skilled as a freehand painter and I want to be able to finish the flags for a whole brigade in a reasonable amount of time. Therefor I decided to use the instruments of modern picture editing software. I used a picture which I found at Mont St. Jean (Link). It showed one side of the flag and some spontoon and tassels in front of it. So I cleared the picture, mirrored it for the other side and restored the writing and the symbols which shouldn't be mirror-inverted. Additionally I inserted a red rectangle at the place where the banner pole is to be glued on.
Then I printed the flags in the right size (for 28mm British a flag of 28mm height is fine) on our inkjet printer, cut them with a frame to pin them on a piece of foameboard and covered them with three or four layers of spray varnish. I used the same varnish I use for the miniatures and fortunately nothing became blurred.
The painted and varnished King's Colour of the 44th Rgt. of Foot "East Essex"
3rd Step: Prepare the banner pole:

The correct length of the pole would be about 3 metres including the top. Divided by 56 for 28 mm (1:56 scale ratio) it's about 5.35 cm. The top has about 0.4 cm so I cut a oiece of 1 mm brass wire of 5 cm length. Then I sharpend the edges slightly to make it easier to glue the top on and to glue the pole into the colour bearer's ferrule.

The prepared banner pole.
4th Step: Glue the flag onto the pole:
First I glued the banner pole into the middle of the flagsheet (back of the red rectangle) with superglue. After drying I glued the rest of the banner with a glue stick for paper. I decided to use another glue for that because I wanted to have the longer drying time to be able to bent the flags a bite like waving in the wind. In favour of that I twisted the flag around to pieces of round timber and fastend everything rubber bands.
The drying flag.
5th Step: PVA glue for more strength:
Since those flags are to be used for gaming I wanted to have them a bit stronger. Therefor I covered them with two or three layers of thinned down PVA glue. After drying it's nearly clear and because of the very thin cover I couldn't recognise any corruption of the colours.

6th Step: Finishing touches:
Now it's really easy to finish the flags. I painted the white paper edges and the poles in suitable colours as well as the banner tops which I cut of the plastic banner poles which where delivered with the figures. Then I glued everything together: The poles, the tops and the bearers...

The finished Colours.
There are some minour flaws which might be improved but generally I'm really pleased with the result. Since I didn't find a dealer who offers really each and every flag I might need, this is the way I'll make all the banners for my Napoleonics.

I hope you enjoyed this little turorial and perhaps it helps some of you. It's really no big deal to make such things if you're passably skilled with picture editing.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Monty on Tour: Militracks 2012 in Overloon

Last weekend a very special event took place in Overloon (Netherlands):

While the war museum at Overloon is by itself worth a visit, once per year enthusiasts of military vintage vehicles meet there and show their treasures. The event takes place in the Liberty Park which surrounds the museum and offers a large militaria market, catering, an auction and -of course- a track where the vehicles show their serviceability.
After having read of this extraordinary chance to see some of our well loved model live and in action, some fellows and me decided to take a trip to Overloon this year.
Our gang: Michael with his lovely wife Natalia, Daniel our Terrain-Builder, Auld Nick and me in front of the SdKfz. 7 we rode later that day
It started in the early morning when whole Bochum was sleeping the sleep of the innocent. Whole Bochum? No! At Monty's Manor an alarm clock teared the silence and heralded an eventful day. So the orient sun and me got up simoultaneously as well as sedately. Since my eyes were misted by doziness her's where dulled with clouds. But the forecasters predicted nice weather...
However a quick shower and a strong cup of coffee called up my spirits and after having prepared some tea (which I usually prefer to coffee) and sandwiches for lunch I sat sail to Düsseldorf. There I picked up Niclas (aka. Auld Nick, whose prior appearances in Monty's Caravan you might remember) and Daniel (another friend of ours and member of our 20mm WW II gaming group) and we went on towards Overloon.

Around ten o'clock we arrived at Overloon and first stopped at an ice cream parlour to get some insider information from the locals. We loosend the waiter's tongue with the purchase of three balls of delicious ice cream and learned the possibly shortest way to the event site. So we drove straight to the allocated car park which was 2 € for the whole day of watched parking. Fair deal!
After ten minutes of march we reached the gates of Liberty Park and were impressed by the extremely long queues in front of the ticket desks. Fortunately things went on faster than we though and after 15 or 20 minutes we had our tickets (admission was 10 €) and entered the area.

For the next ours we promenaded between vintage vehicles, other exhibits and tons of uniforms and militaria stuff for sale. I don't have words to describe all the impressions without echoing. Therefor you might rather enjoy some pictures:
A lot of Kettenkrads. Most of them from the Crompton Military Vehicles Collection

Another SdKfz. 7. There were different two of them present and running.

A SdKfz. 250...

... and its larger brother: SdKfz. 251.

The dashboard of "our" SdKfz. 7. Rpm in the green "Sparbereich" (fuel-saving) means that it neads only about 80 ltr. per 100 km... Otherwise consumption can rise up to 160 ltr. per 100 km...

Additionally a kind of modelling fair takes place at Overloon within the framework of Militracks. Unfortunately only on Sundays since the exhibitors and modelling traders use the same stands as the militaria traders use on Saturday...

After our return home we rounded the day in a nice Mexican restaurant in Düsseldorf where my lovely wife joyned us. Later we picked up our daughter at my parents-in-law's and headed back to Bochum. It was a absolutely nice and entertaining trip and I can recommend this event to all who are interested in WW II vehicles and want to see them in action.

Post scriptum:
In addition to the photos I took some videos of the moving vehicles. Unfortunately they got rahter large so I have to cut them before posting. I'll do my very best to get that finished within the next week and will try to hand them in later.

Friday, 25 May 2012

5.000 hits... A milestone reached.

Last night Monty's Caravan took its 5.000th hit!

Thanks a lot to all interested readers and especially to those who read my blog regularly. I'm really pleased that you seem to like my articles and will proceed this way unless you demand anything else. 

Thanks for all the support and your kind suggestions!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

British Line Infantry finished !

Significant events (the 5.000th hit) cast their shadows before but things no less important than this happent within the last week:

Finally I managed to finish the first unit of Napoleonic British Line Infantry. It took about six weeks which was longer than I expected. Previously I calculated with a unit per month but some events outside the workbench claimed my attention. Especially the IIHF World Cup which took place in Finnland and Sweden for the last two weeks. On Suinday evening Russia won the final game 6:2 vs. Slowakia and became Ice Hockey world champion once more.
Congratulations Sbornaja !
Although I really liked the Canadian and Swedish Hockey teams the Sbornaja played an awesome tournament and showed some really great hockey. The definitely deserve the cup.

So only the Stanley Cup still running... I feel summer withdrawal symptoms comming...

However back to business. Here are some pictures of the finished unit. 24 men for a standard size unit for Black Powder. I decided to paint for men representing the flank companies and 20 as center company soldiers. Later I'ld like to add a mounted colonel and maybe four other flank company guys to enlarge the unit a little.

Enough words have been exchanged; now see some results at last (quotation freely adapted from Goethe's Faust):
The finished 44th Regiment of Foot "East Essex" belonging to Generalmajor Sir Denis Pack's 9th Brigade at Waterloo

Basing isn't finished yet as you see but I couldn't wait to present those guys finally. Six weeks of work and waiting broke down my patience.
Additionally I'm not sure wether I like to colour of the sample base.

Here's a close-up of the two ensigns bearing the Regimental Colour (the yellow one) and the King's Colour (the altered Union Jack):

The flags were printed, sealed with varnish, glued and bent... I'll present a tutorial later...
 Somehow I can't help... Always when I look at those brave Ensings the traditional slow march "Escort to the Colour" by Ridings comes into my mind. Some of you might know it since it is an essential part of "Trooping the Coulour". For those you don't, you might have a look here: Link ("Escort to the Coulor" starts at 06:00 minutes but the rest of this masterpiece of military performance is worth watching anyway).

Some further pictures:
The command base with Sergeant, Officer and Drummer, the two Ensign behind them all on the sample base.

The troops on the right wing...

Please excuse those quick shots. I'll try to provide some better pictures with terrain during the next days.

I hope my humble word finds kind judgement under your ambitious eyes. Please don't hesitate to express any critique, suggestion or midget lod...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Posts lost...

Some of you might realize that the "Happy 50" post from last week is gone. So is my abstract for the next two posts concerning my (now finished) Napoleonic Line Infatry and a short tutorial about their flags...

When I was going over the posts I prepared over the last weeks I decided to abbondon some ideas. Struck with sudden blindness I clicked the wrong buttons and deleted some valuable articles and kept the trash...

However I'm working on the things and will try to post some news tomorrow. Just a short spoiler of what's to come:
- Presentation of the finished British Infantry
- Tutorial about my way of making Napoleonic flags
- Another "Monty on Tour" articles covering my visit at Militracks 2012 last weekend

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Bavarian soldier on the workbench and two women in the sickbed

The last week has been exhausting. Our daughter has been ill since last weekend... Somehow that seems to happen frequently but autumn, winter and spring are probably kind of difficult for a immune system of less than two years of age...
However on Monday we had to visit the doctor with her: Inflammation of the tonsils. That bestowed us two restless nights besides the increased need of our loving, parental care...

But things got worth when my wife woke up with distinctive headache on Tuesday morning. She hadn't been fine since last week because she was suffering a pink eye since then, but then things got worse: Inflammation of the middle ear.

Well! I don't know which perilous bacteria are haunting my two girls these days but we shall fight them without surrender. Blessedly the antibiotics take effect and they're getting better day by day. Blessedly at least I stayed healthy and was able to look after them a bit.

Hence time for modelling and painting was short this week. I managed to paint the flesh parts of the next ten British and deflashed a couple of highlanders for one of the next units. The only real progress I attained was a single Bavarian Fusilier I painted for a friend of mine. Perhaps some of you remember Niclas who wrote a byline-article called "Auld Nick's Workbench" some weeks ago (if you don't remember you could check here...). He bought some sets of Bavarian troops from HäT (these and these here) and asked me to paint one of them in the same way I painted my British. You see the result below. Basically I used the same technique as with my British:

Bavarian soldier "Sepp" - You might recognize that English Breakfast makes men taller and stronger than Weißwurst...

It turned out reasonably well although I don't like the HäT figures that much. The are cheap but compared with Victrix or Perry they are on another quality level. The details aren't that clearly defined and look somehow... washy. Additionally they are apperently smaller then both Victrix and Perry miniatures.
Anyway for the cadre of a bavarian force they should work rather well. Especially for a beginner it's possible to field a brigade of them much faster (= cheaper) than of the expensive metal miniatures of Front Rank or Wargames Foundry.

Over and above I was able to prepar some flags for my first units. I used pictures which I found within the world wide web and edited them with Paint (the software belonging to Windows). Stretched to the right size and printed with a colour laser printer they're ready to be glued on the banner poles...

Turned out alright to me. Of course several finishing touches are to be made but I'm confident...