Friday, 29 March 2013

The Verdun Project: Les Crapouillots!

Well, it’s been quite a while since I last posted! I’ve very much got out of the habit, for which please accept my apologies!


As I mentioned in one of my last comments on the previous posts, I’ve been very busy at work. It happens from time to time and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Just one of those things I guess, but it certainly plays havoc with life in general and with hobby things in particular.

When I last posted, in February, I was in the midst of painting French Poilu for Curt’s Analogue Hobbies Annual Challenge. Everything was kind of going according to plan. Then the hobby tasks and plans took a long back seat while I worked my way through a mound of real work. By the time I’d finished, the hobby challenge was over and spring had, sort of, arrived.

So first, a huge thank you to Curt for staging a terrific Challenge. It was a huge privilege to take part, and see the work of so many wonderful hobbyists and wargamers. I’m deeply embarrassed I didn’t manage to get more done, but no harm done I guess – “worse things happen at sea” as my Grandmother always used to say.  Thank you again, Curt, for letting me take part and for bearing with me right up to the end!

In the end I brought up the rearguard with a couple of small items I managed to get finished towards the end of the Challenge. The first was a German 77mm feldkanone from Great War Miniatures. This was the third 77mm feldkanone I’d painted and I felt that I’d finally got the hang of the model this time. It took a bit of patience to put together and in the end I resorted to pinning the seated gunners, but it was still fun to paint. The artillery officer is from Renegade Miniatures.





The second item was not even finished in time for the Analogue Hobbies rearguard. Think of them as stragglers from the Challenge! They’re a pair of French trench mortars from Old Glory, also known as crapouillots, or “little toads”. Les crapouillots were pretty straightforward to put together. The figures need a bit of gentle bending and filing along the base, but they’re pretty clean figures with very little flash, if just slightly on the small side compared with the Brigade Games Poilu and other Old Glory late war French infantry. I doubt the size will matter much as these trench mortars would be left on the French baseline in any game.






I wanted to add something to the bases for added colour and ended up trying to build replica mortar shells. The very distinctive curved tail-fin shape of the mortar rounds proved to be too much for me to carve in plasticard, and I ended up on this first attempt with a much more angular mortar round which I’m not really happy with. I’ve one last crapouillot from Brigade Games to build, so I can have another go at a more convincing model trench mortar round next time.

As for painting, I modified the colour scheme for the trench mortar crew slightly from January and Febraury.  I went with a 50/50 base of Vallejo Dark Blue Grey and Vallejo French Mirage Blue. The mid-shade was another 50/50 mix, this time of Vallejo French Mirage Blue and Vallejo Grey Blue. The highlight simply added white to the mid-shade. If you think this looks familiar, it was suggested by Ben Fiene, Ansbachdragoner, blogger, world-traveller and all-round top bloke in one of the previous post comments. Thanks again Ben – the formula looks a lot more “horizon bleu” than my first attempt. I’ll keep experimenting, but I think I’m getting there - albeit it slowly.

And finally, again, many apologies for the slow posting.  Hopefully over the Easter weekend I can post a couple more times, but if service is slightly interrupted after that on this Blog....well, you'll know its not for want of being here, mes braves!

51 comments:

  1. I saw the title and I thought you might have need of these: http://wargamesandrailroads.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-holers-from-gamecraft-miniatures.html
    But it really sounds like you need a small pond for those mortars instead. Awesome, I may have to start working on my Marines again.

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    1. Different sort of crapouillot, Kris!! But I understand the initial confusion, as I thought exactly the same. We do need a small waterlogged, boggy pond for these guys - oh, hang on, there's one of those somewhere in the club terrain cupboard, so I guess we're in business!

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  2. Lovely work, particularly on the '77.

    Dave.

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  3. I think the new bluw mix is looking great , certainly more to my idea,pictures and actual uniforms I have seen of horizon blue. I would be tempted with a bit a straight vallejo medium blue in the initial mix, says he who is not doing any...maybe next year

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    1. Thanks Dave. I took your advice to heart and started trying out a few Horizon Bleu mixes. The ones you see above - the Ben Fiene mix - are not the bluest I've tried. I'll give your "DaveD Medium Bleu Mix" a try on one of the Poilu sections coming up so you have see what you think. Thanks again!

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  4. Just superb work Sidney on all of it and that wood grain really grabs me in particular!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher. The wood-grain was pretty simple - just painted on scraps of cardboard. It's a lot less impressive close up!

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  5. No need to apologise for real life hitting back. Think we all suffer from that at times, and the merrier it is to see you coming back to us with even mire great stuff.
    The French are still on my top list of forces to get for WW1 (speaking of delayed plans myself…). Unfortunately, my favourites are Brigade Games which are a bit hard to come by in Europe. I understand, though, that OG gives a fair match? Hum…

    Anyway, avant les Bleus!

    Cheers, SG
    www.mountainsoflead.com

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    1. Thanks SG - I really do appreciate you mentioning about real life biting back from time to time. I know its not just me that happens so, but sometimes it really helps to hear otehrs having the same rocky ride! Good luck with the Great War French. I ordered quite a few of the Brigade French Poilu at New Year, so you'll be seeing them here soon. I'll do some "before and after" shots so you can see them "in the metal" so to speak. They are very nice sculpts, perfectly sized for Great War Miniatures and Old Glory. You're right, you do have to order them from the US - but Lon Weiss over at Brigade Games is such a great guy to buy anything from, its really a pleasure to order figures from him.

      Avant les Bleus, indeed, Sir!!

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  6. Lovely paint job. The Horizon Blue colour is really tricky (actually German WW1 Field Grey is just as tricky). All the "colour" WW1 photos are hand tinted as far as I can see, so it's hard to judge the true colour sometimes. I've seen some original French uniforms in a few museums, but again these are materials which had already been weathered at the time, and then bleached with light over the prevailing years. It's the same with the Austro-Hungarian uniforms you see in the Military Museum here in Prague. I guess it's a case of what looks good from 3 feet away. Anyway, you've inpired me to seek out packs French figures at Salute.

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    1. That's a great point about photographic tiniting, Wilde Goose! It's so difficult to get the colours just right, and then consider the weathering, and aging of the samples of Horizon Bleu cloth which you can see these days in a museum. It's a case of experimenting, listening to you guys and then seeing what looks good from 3 feet away - absolutely right, Sir!

      Hope to catch up with you at Salute, where I shall be participating in the fun on the TooFatLardies table (wherever that is in the aircraft hanger proportions of the Salute show!!)

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    2. First, beautiful work Sidney. I think you've done an admirable job on the munitions. Those fins are completely mental!

      Second, and forgive me for posting this again, but these colour photographs used the then groundbreaking Autocolour Lumiere process and were not colourized in post production (i.e. hand tinted):

      http://curiouseggs.com/extremely-rare-color-photography-of-early-1900s-paris/?fb_action_ids=10200255605049848&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7b%2210200255605049848%22%3A362706617161809%7d&action_type_map=%7b%2210200255605049848%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7d&action_ref_map

      Even though the colour is very saturated you can see that the blue is quite vibrant. Interesting to see and something one could experiment with to indicate a unit of newly raised conscripts, fresh to the front.

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    3. Thanks Curt! Those photos are spectacular. I love that vibrancy. I am thinking of doing a couple of sections of new recruits in that vibrant blue, alongside a section or two of Hardened Veterans (yes, very Warhammer Great War, but I very much like the description). In the end I think I shall probably end up with a variety of Horizon Bleu - which rather means that everyone wil be right about their preferred shade of the colour for at least some of the time!

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  7. I saw your German guns already in Curt's blog and they are great. The French mortar stands are outstanding!! Looking forward to seeing the French project finalised and the poilus on the gaming table!!!

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    1. Benito! Thanks so much, and apologies again from dropping behind on commenting on your excellent Vietnam posts. I'm catching up quickly, though! The French trench mortars were fun to do - heaven knows when I will get the Poilus on the table and finished. Tentative guess is early July (fingers and everything else crossed!!)

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  8. Fantastic work Sidney. The spare rounds look fine to me. I didn't notice and had to go back for another look!

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    1. Thanks Rodger! That's very kind - I wasn't sure that the spare rounds were quite right, but they're an OK start, I guess!

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  9. Beautiful as usual. I think the mortar rounds looks just fine.

    Frank
    http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Furt - great to see you here, and with comments like that you are always welcome old chap!

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  10. When are you going to do some "Ladies from Hell", Scottish Canadians want to know?

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    1. Aha, Muskie!! Fantastic to see you here again, Sir - and yes, a great question.

      OK, once the french are finished (estimate somewhere in July, but give or take a month), the next on the painting table are Lord Strathcona's Horse from the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. After that, some "Ladies frae Hell" will indeed be making an appearance - probably the 8th Battalion of the Black Watch (for reasons which will be revealed). Some Picts will also hopefully be making an appearance from time to time.

      You take care, good friend, and see you here again soon.

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  11. Great work Sidney, the colours are superb

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    1. Thanks Andrew, really glad you liked them.

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  12. Sidney, you are back with a bang and I think we have all missed your posts.
    The contrast with the bases and the blue on the French really catches your eye, this is going to be a wonderful looking army when finished.
    Happy Easter,
    Pat.

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    1. Pat, that's really very generous. Thank you very much. Happy Easter to you and the family, and I'll be trying hard this Spring to get the French Poilu finished in the manner they deserve. Thanks again!

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  13. Looking lovely!

    While I am usually a fan of your basing the one on the mortar is not just great but exceptional!

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    1. Thanks DHC, I really appreciate that - thank you very much indeed. I've plans for similar things with the other French heavy weapons, so stay tuned for that. Thanks again!

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  14. Fantastic details and colours, an impressive work! Great bases too...
    Phil.

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    1. Thanks Phil -very pleased that you like them!

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  15. Fantastic looking kit as ever mate. No need to apologise either, as a fellow-blogger i very much realise that real life can often interfere with best intentions and carefully laid plans. What with the wedding, honeymoon and now straight back into study i'm struggling to find the time for posting anything at the moment! Your blog posting is far more reliable than my intermittent ramblings :)

    Both the Jerries and the French look superb, little works of art! What you've done with the Old Glory figures in particular is amazing, (and I think the spare rounds look great). Thanks for the kind words too, and i think that the horizon bleu is looking very nice indeed! Cant wait to see more

    Ben

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    1. Ben, see the comment below (sorry, posting comments seems a bit erratic for me at present using Mrs Roundwod's iPad!). You will realise that my "Ben Fiene paint cocktail" is not your original vintage you posted in comments before - but don't worry, that will be coming soon enough! In fact, I confess I thought I had used your cocktail, but then found there was more than one Vallejo Dark BlueGray.....!

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    2. I know, I despise trying to update my blog using the ipad or iphone - probably one of the reasons why my postings are so few and far between!
      I think the recipe you've posted above looks bang on the money, I can't wait to see more. This is shaping up to be a very nice looking force.

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    3. Thanks Ben. I am really glad you approve of the colour scheme, even though I diverted slightly from your "paint cocktail"!

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  16. Beautiful painting as ever, Sidney - and I love this hue of blue! Perfect!

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    1. Thanks Nate - really glad you liked it. There's a few more hues of Horizon Bleu to come, so save your favourite choice for a bit longer!

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  17. Thanks Ben. Compared to getting married and all the fun and games that involves, work related chaos is nothing! Hope you had a brilliant day and a great holiday before getting back to the books!

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    1. Thanks mate. The wedding was fantastic, and the honeymoon was great, lazing beside the private pool in sunny Bali. We'd just managed to relax and then it was time to come back to the real world.

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    2. Bali ....gosh, mate, as if you didn't already get enough sunshine in Oz!! Really pleased you had an incredible time - my very best wishes to you both!

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  18. Ton travail est tres bon comme d'habitude, mon ami.
    I am quite taken with the Renegade artillery officer. Does he have a monocle? He looks quite dashing.
    The muted blue of ther French mortar men is quite evocative, and would like terrific mixed in with some of the more vibrant blue as per those amazing photos Curt posted.
    Hoping real world demands abate somewhat for you.
    Mike

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    1. Merci Mike! The Renegade artillery officer does indeed have a monocle. Very Erich von Stroheim (pre-Sunset Boulevard days). Now there's a man who one day needs a whole post to himself.... but I digress!

      I think I'm getting there with the Horizon Bleu, and yes, more vibrant shades to come shortly I hope.

      Easter has been less frantic on the work front, what with Easter and Passover. A chance to get some time away and visit the blogosphere!

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  19. Amazing, stunning work mate,
    You have this special talent that balance between little pieces of art and generic gaming minis. It shows that you have many years of experience, a lot of talent and all so a special way of define and formulate how you want things done before you do it - like a director have a storyboard before filming ...

    Thanks for sharing

    Reese

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    1. Thanks Reese, that's really very kind indeed. I've been doing this wargaming lark a while, but I'm still very much learning new stuff all the time!

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    1. Thank you Monty - always great to welcome you back here!

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  21. Happens to me from time to time, just too busy with work and other things. Anyway, these are spectacular again, especially the camo on the Germans with their feldkanone. Hope to see you next week, I assume I will find you at the TFL demo which I'm very much looking forward to to see.

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    1. Mike, thanks very much for the comment - I really appreciate it. And YES, I shall certainly be at Salute 2013 next Saturday, and shall be on the TFL participation game table where we shall be running two or three games of "Chain of Command". You'll be very welcome indeed (as will anyone else) to stop by and have a go - it's a great set of rules which Rich and Nick have produced. See you soon, mate!

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  22. I guess you've seen the World War One landscape in concrete from the Building Blog, right?

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  23. Just in case it filters out, here's the link separately: http://bldgblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/model-landscape.html
    QUOTE:
    Past Horizons reported the other week that "a large concrete terrain model on Cannock Chase, representing a section of the Great War battle of Messines Ridge, is to be excavated" by archaeologists later this year.

    The preserved but damaged model "represents the section of the front captured by New Zealand troops," and, indeed, the model itself was used most extensively by troops from New Zealand who had been stationed in England during the war.

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