Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tutorial: Stripping Plastics from Acrylic Paints

Finally I decided to strip the wrinkled horses and paint the anew. I searched the WWW for tutorials how to strip plastic miniatures and found various techniques from brake fluid to alcohol. Additionally some of my appreciated readers gave good advice from their experience.

After all I decided to try ethyliv alcohol and it worked rather well.
But please judge the result yourselves:

1. The Victim:
In course of the painting of my Napoleonic 2nd KGL Hussars the horses met a fateful chemical reaction. Somehow the Armypainter Quickshade and the matt varnish seem to have reacted and made the painting beneath it wrinkled and nasty (read the complete post here).

After all attempts of repair failed I decided to strip and repaint the miniatures.
2. The Solvent:
Ethyl alcohol was very easy to get. At least in Germany it is well known for several field of applications. Unfotunately the unatured alcohol is not suitable for internal use, but it widely known as solvent and fuel, disinfectant. In addition it's rather non-hazardous compared to other solvents.
But be careful it might at least irritate skin and eyes. So you should always wear protective gloves and maybe glasses as well. And make shure to work in a well ventilated area since ethyl alcohol evaporates rather heavyly. Fortunately the pollution flies away pretty fast.
3. Soaking:
Then I put the horses into a preserving jar with a sealed top cover. I let the first horses soak for about an hour but meanwhile I discovered that even three hours don't harm the plastic.

4. Swabbing the paint:
Afterwards the paint had dismantled from the miniature. I took and old toothbrush and swabbed the old paint off the horse. From time to time I moistened the toothbrush with alcohol to get the paint in the little corners off.
Finally the horse looked clean more or less. There was a little shade of white remaining and some remains in concealed corners where the toothbrush didn't reach in.
5. Undercoat:
Finally the horse is done. I put on a new undercoat and I'm really happy with the result.

By now I have all twelve horses stripped and didn't experience any problems. Although I'm still peeved about the lost time, I'm rather confident that the horses will look well when they're painted properly at least.
6. Alternatives:
Because everything went well with ethyl alcohol and because it's easy to get here in Germany and because it's cheap, I will remain with it for stripping miniatures.

But some of our fellow bloggers recommended some other solvents and their advice shall not be forgotten:
  • Simplegreen: Some kind of household cleaner
  • Dettol: A disinfectant
  • Aceton: An agressiv solvent for paints
  • Household Bleech
I've not tested those things yet and with plastics I would be really careful with acetone. I stripped metal miniatures once in acetone and it disintegrated the bases...

Last but not least a link to Stryker's blog and his cleaning experiences: Here.

So I hope the second try will bring a better result. However this misfortune give me the chance to use modern equipment next time: I'll spray the brown fur colour with my airbrush gun. Last time I didn't use it because I thought of painting some horses darker or lighter brown...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Paint stripping tutorial announced!

Unfortunately none of the well-intentioned advice worked. Gloss varnish and solvent made the wrinkels smoother but they didn't disappear.

Though stripping the paint is the exhausting way to go.

After having searched the WWW for some hints I found that ethyl alcohol should work. It is said that this stuff clears the paint nicely but doesn't harm the plastic of the miniature. To be sure I put a pair of plastic heads into the alcohol for two hours. I chose some spare heads of my Perry British lineinfantry since it should be the same plastic as the hussars are cast of.

Here is the result:
The two heads on the left after three hours in ethyl alcohol. No damage!
Judge the result yourselves.
I'm not able to realise any damage so I'll use this stuff on a first horse today.
Within the next days I'll post a step-by-step guide for stripping plastics and show you my results. I hope, you'll like both. I would give some sense to this unpleasant episode of miniature painting...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Trouble with varnish: Crumpled horses

Yesterday evening was one of those time which should better be concealed. My wife was exhausted and kind of bad-tempered, our daughter was sleeping unsettledly and I mucked up my hussars' horses. Probably the it would have been better to go to bed early...

However here's the shocking result of the evening:
Two of the blemished horses.
What really preys on my mind is the question, how this reaction occured.
Actually I did the same as a dozen times before: Painted the horseswith Vallejo paints, covered them with Army Painter Quick Shade, let it dry for a day and then applied a thin layer of matt varnish. But yesterday I tried Army Painter Matt varnish for the first time. Therefore I presume that this varnish and the Quickshade underwent a fatal. reaction. I'm kind of angry and surprised alike since two product of the same producer shouldn't do that...
Did anyone of you make similar or differing experiences?

However I think I'll drop the Armypainter guys a line and ask if it's a known problem or if I've a got a "bad can" accidentally. But it wont bring my horses and the time it took painting them.

But meanwhile I'll try to make the best of this bad job. On one of the horses I'll try to etch the dimpled skin a bit with turpentine. Maybe it works. If not I'll have to paint the highlights disregarding the defects and hope the best.

Thankfully the highlanders which I varnished during the same work step haven't been affected that much. Only some really small wrinkles...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

10.000 Hits

With the last post (The Naugart Battle Report) Monty's Caravan passed 10.000 hits!

Thanks a lot for your concern and endurance. Some of your blogs are heading towards half a million hits, but I'm very happy that 79 readers have been following the happenings on my workbench for eight months now.

In the future I'll keep on writing new posts regularly and hope to present some amusement to you.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Battlereport: Battle of Naugart

After the great success of the Battle of Kolberg event in June (Read report here and here) we decided to play a small campaing. Set in front of a partly fictional 1813 background it was to continue the events of Kolberg.

The Campaign
To begin with our gamemaster Bernhard designed a simple campaign map and a set of rules. It all bases on a more or less identical set-up of a French and an Allied division. Those meet some time after the battle of Kolberg near Naugard. The Allies are on their way to Stettin to raise their pressure on the French. On the other hand the French try to secure their retreat from Kolberg and want to rally for another attack.
In addition to the starting line-up both armies have a divisional reserve which they are allowed to arrange ad libitum before the first battle. Later this reserve can be used to replace losses or enforce damage brigades.
The campaign map with the designated battlefields between Kolberg and Stettin starting at Naugard in the middle.

Deployment of Troops
The battlefield was set up in a rather simple manner. Just some fields of rye, two swampy areas and two hills. On the one side the Allied division under command of General Major von Gneisenau fielded a Prussian infantry brigade, a British Infantry brigade and a mixed British-Prussian cavalry brigade. All three supported by some foot and horse artillery. The French mobilised a similar force consisting of Saxon and Polish infantry accompanied by French cavalry.

While the Allied commanders tried to expand their troops over the whole frontline, their French opponents chose a very narrow corridor to place their forces in. With this kind of oblique order they wanted to refuse their right flank and set enormous pressure on the Prussian flank of the Allied army.

Initial point of the battle and the substantial process of the battle.

Forces deployed... (French on the left, Allies on the right)

Progress of Battle
Unfortunately the progress of battle rewarded the French strategy. Although the Polish troops left the battle after an initial blunder, the Allies weren't able to use this throwback to give the battle a decisive route. The British infantry on the left flank was too slow to attack the weakend French flank before the Polish returned and the Allied cavalry blundered themselves. Even during turn 2 those horsemen hesitated and therefore a great chance elapsed.
On the other flank the Prussians did their very best to withstand the French pressure. They held steadily but in the end the power of the French cavalry accompanied by nearly one and a half infantry brigades was too much.
In a final step the Allied cavalry tried to secure the center of the battlefield to open the British a way to the weakened Polish and French (actually Saxon) forces. But after a unit of Prussian mounted Jägers failed to beat some French Dragoons the whole cavalry brigade crumbled and the French took the field.

Here are some pictures taken from the game:
The advancing Saxon troops on the French left wing.
The unfolding struggle at the Allied right flank: Prussians holding the ground steadily.
The Prussian mounted Jägers have beaten a Saxon infantry bataillon, put down an artillery unit and now will afterwards advance towards the French Dragoons where they will meet their fate...
After the Jägers were slaughtered, the French cavalry attacks the flank of the British cavalry with Lancers and Dragoons.
The Scots Greys prepares to smash a bataillon of the returned Polish. They didn't sense that their Allies would go under and open their flank for the Lancers...
Finally the British reached the enemy but it was too late to enforece a turnabout.

The End
Altogether it was a great evening with nice players on either side.
Unfortunately the game itself was a disaster for the Allies. The wounds we received will handicap us severely and I'm not sure wether we'll be able to recover sufficiently until the battle of Plathe which will be fought soon.

However I want to end my report with a set of pictures which represents one of the better moments of Allied cavalry during this battle (actually both pictures belong to Bernhard's archive but fit very well):
The Saxon artillery before the charge of the mounted Jägers...
... and afterwards.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

News from the workbench, this time with a glass of wine...

Once again it was quite on Monty's Caravan. Although I spent time at the workbench regularly there was nothing presentably finished during the last two weeks.
But this very evening when Mrs. Monty took an evening off to share some crossstitch pattern with a friend of hers, I thought it were time to keep you on the loop during a glass of wine and a dash of Danish tobacco.

Well then... A cheer unto you kind readers and let's walk the walk in good spirits:

You see some things I've done during the last weeks in the background of the image. You fewest of you will have noticed behind the glass of wine. However I managed to prepare twelve horse for being quickshaded and I prepared eight Highlanders for the same fate.

Besides I mixed some colours for my new gaming board, de-flashed some Napoleonic British Blues (Royal Horseguards) and did some research concerning the Generals Sir Hussey Vivian and Sir Coloquhoun Grant. Probably the latter one will be leading character of a forthcoming command base.

Additionally I try to finish a Napoleonic battle report for a battle which was fought four weeks ago finally. Some things seem to be like Scotch Whisky: They have to age before they might be enjoyed.
However I'll do my very best to present you this article during this week.

By the way:
Next weekend the "British Days" will take place at Linn Castle in Krefeld which is about an hour away frm my residence. When weather is at least bearable I'll visit the event accompanied by my loved wive and our charming daughter who -at the age of two- is not able to call the fundamental colours but she is able to identify a bagpiper within the massed bands of the Guards or a trumpeter between the Horseguards and the Blues and Royals. That's my girl!  ;-)

Thereafter I hope you stay here and I hope you'll enjoy my next posts. Whenever they'll appear...