Thursday, 29 May 2014

Old Glory 15mm Austrian Caisson Out-of-Bag Review

Getting ready for some more painting, and after a much needed break from masses of white uniforms, I've been picking up some more bits and pieces for my Austrian army.

I came across, and managed to win an opened bag of Old Glory's NAE8 Austrian Caisson.

Popped the bag open this morning and emptied out the parts. Everything was complete and flash free. I separated out the parts and what you get is two caissons, each with four horses and two riders.

The horses are quite small compared to the newer ranges, as are the riders. The riders are also wearing post-1800 shakos, so not really suitable for Marengo, but they are nice little figures with three (maybe four) variants.

I've quickly glued the wheels to the caissons - the rear wheels attach to a separate axle, and the front wheels attach to the from axle (I'm not really sure what the correct name for the front section of a wagon/caisson is). These all fit together easily and cleanly. There's also two small parts that I assume fit to the top/front of the caisson.

All in all, this is a nice little set, though quite small compared to newer figures. Sitting beside my other caisson they seem far to small, but they may look better once painted.

I'm looking forward to the forthcoming Blue Moon wagons and Caissons, which should be the correct size. Hopefully they'll do earlier riders as well as ones in Shako, so that I can have properly uniformed troops for the era.

The Village of Marengo - 15mm building from Total Battle Systems

After finishing of the Fontanone Stream it seemed to make sense to get some buildings for the village the battle of Marengo was named after. Unforunately it seems though that 15mm Northern Italian buildings for the Napoleonic period are not all that easy to find. Russian, Northern European and Peninsular, and obviously Waterloo, are all pretty well covered, so for now I'll be making do with buildings that are close, but not perfect.

The first and only house so far is from Total Battle Systems "Big Battalions - 15mm Black Powder Europe" range, available here LINK

This building is the "Three Storey Single House", which comes unpainted for £6 plus P&P. The mould is clean and almost without any bubbles, paints up very easily, and is one of the highest quality resin terrain pieces I've seen. The footprint is 50mm x 50mm, so it takes up little table space.

I've painted this house in a "Italian" colour scheme. It's not 100% correct, but its close enough. I'll definitely be getting some more of Total Battle Systems 15mm buildings, though the others are more obviously not Italian.

Crossing The Fontanone - a 15mm scenic stream from Small_Terrian

Its been a while since I posted on my blog - work, children and other issues have been distracting - but in the meantime I've been working away on my Napoleonic collection, while being distracted from my main project of the Austrian army at the Battle of Marengo by Revolutionary French and some Vendean Revolution miniatures, and creating the flags for these guys.

The first post here is about my first scenic items for setting the stage of the Battle of Marengo. One of the most famous areas of this battle was the Fontanone stream, where the French unsuccessfully tried to stem the flow of the earlier Austrian advances.

Rivers and streams have always been an issue for me on wargames tables. Obviously a river or stream needs to be at a lower level than the surrounding ground, so how can this be realistically, and easily, be put on a table? Today, more than ever, there are many products for roads and rivers and other terrain, and some are not at all costly.

A quick search on eBay showed plenty of choice, and picking a very reasonably priced set, I placed an order and waited to see if what I received looked as good at what was advertised. To be honest I was expecting something cheap looking but with potential when I ordered from a small company called Small_Terrain, available here LINK.

What I received was a lot better than I had hoped for. Made from cut MDF and ready painted, these river/stream sections are ready to straight (or bendy) onto the table.

Here's how they describe their items...
"Made from  hard wearing medium density fibreboard these river sections feature raised banks flocked with War World static grass and clump foliage, textured water effect, painted and drybrushed .  Muddier river water colours can be painted at your request."

Here's how the pieces look as supplied...

My only real issue was the waters edge, where the blue paint slightly overlapped the earth banks, but to be honest, you could live with that. 
I decided that, although these looked great already, that I wanted them to match the ground colours that I had on my figures bases, so I repainted the streams banks and the other visible earth. I've managed to source a cheap alternative to the Games Workshop Earth colour I'd been using - Wickes Chocolate Brown, available in a testor pot for about £2 and almost exactly the same colour as the GM paint.

First I painted the stream edges then filled in the rest of the earth...
Once the paint was dry I then drybrushed using a mix of the chocolate brown and a little white...
Then all that was needed was some grass tufts and some tall water weeds trimmed from a doormat...
This gave me enough great looking streams for the Fontanone, all for less than £15. All I need now is a bridge as the troops are struggling to cross the stream in an orderly fashion...
I may repaint the water at a later date. I recently visited Italy and have noticed that the water tends to be a lot less blue than what I have here, but the blue looks fine for now.