Saturday, 7 February 2015

Painting Challenge 2015: French Soixante-Quinze and Trench Raiders

It's taken me quite a while to get started with this year's Painting Challenge, hosted by Curt Campbell over at his splendid blog "Analogue Hobbies".  Nothing but the usual excuses, I'm relieved to say - general family stuff, work, winter colds - although my daughter's swimming routine which starts at 5am every Friday morning is pretty much wiping out Thursday evenings for me.

So, in brief, these chaps have been much delayed making it here on to the blog.  Which is a shame, as they were fun to do.  First up, there's two French 75mm artillery pieces from 1917, with 28mm Brigade Games late war French crews.  The guns are made by Great War Miniatures and fit together very easily.  The guns can be mixed very well with the Brigade crews.



Also, I wanted to paint up a small force of French Trench Raiders from the First World War.  I really struggled to find any detailed information about French raiding, although I found enough to be able to tell that it certainly happened.  Without photos, it was a bit difficult to recreate that these chaps might have been equipped with.  I therefore too the easy route for figures, converting some Musketeer Miniatures British trench raiders, and some Brigade Games French officers, with the addition of Woodbine Miniatures heads.  I have a vague plan to do some trench raiding later this year as a fill-in game at the club, with the French and German raiders mutually looting each others' trenches and amassing all kinds of interesting loot.  Possibly not the most serious of games, but certainly fun nevertheless!



The next figure is the first test figure for the Tirailleur Senegalais.  I tried a few times to get the figures skin tone right, and what you see here is the result of some experimentation.  I also wanted to try and ensure that the tone can be achieved with simple Vallejo Model Colour paints, so that it should be easy to replicate for me, and for you!

I'd like to post the paint formula for the skin tone for the Tirailleur Senegalais, and also the Tiralleur Marocains I did last year, on the blog in the next few weeks.  I just want to paint a few more figures before posting anything - which, conveniently, gives me a chance to ask you what you think.  Does the skin tone look OK?


The figure is one of the very nice Old Glory 28mm French casualties, with a Woodbine Miniatures head-swap.  The black port on the base is to fit a casualty or "shock" dice into.  Grassy tufts from Silfor.  There are 80 of the Tirailleurs to get through, all of which I have converted (and yes, my fingers have almost recovered).  Fortunately, I think the uniform colour - a kind of khaki/mustard/ochre dye tone - seems to be a lot easier to get the hang of than Horizon Bleu. Again, any comments welcomed!


I couldn't resist a photo of the French Soixante-Quinze side by side, with both intact and destroyed guns.  I tried to get the ground work consistent, with suitably autumnal leaves and more grassy tufts across all of the bases. 


Next up, hopefully some more painting for the Tirailleurs - I've a couple of infantry sections and a Hotchkiss machine gun I'm working on - plus a couple of other things, including the latest edition of Wargame Bloggers Quarterly, which is just about ready to roll off the presses!

65 comments:

  1. As always Sidney, a post of figures that are a pleasure to behold. Very nice.

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    1. Robert, many thanks indeed, and welcome back, Sir!

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  2. Gorgeous, paint job and basement are top notch!

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  3. Cracking stuff, great to see more WWI from you.

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    1. Phil, thanks so much for the comment and for dropping by. And yes, lots more WW1 to come this year hopfully!

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  4. Very nice work! Nice to see destroyed equipment. Adds a lot of character to the battlefield during games!

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    1. Thanks, Samuli! The idea is to have the damaged/destroyed guns to hand for when the German heavy artillery find the brave, but unlucky, Soixante-Quinze!

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  5. Superb brushwork again, Sidney. Always impressed to see your fine figures and basing.

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  6. Fantastic looking forward to seeing more of the African adventures.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks Stu! Lots more from Africa and the Tirailleurs to come...

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  7. Great stuff Sid.. Really like the uniform colour used . I think the flesh is pretty good ..personally I would look for a bit darker brown shade.. A medium leather for warmth with a black brown mix.. Easy to write not so easy to describe!

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    1. Dave, many thanks indeed for the suggestion. I'm trying a few figures right now as you've suggested, adding Vallejo Black to the brown base I have been using. I'll post the results later this week. Thanks again for the idea!

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  8. Inspirational works of art! Yes, great to see more WWI

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  9. Yet again, excellent work Sidney! Very impressive, your style is inspiring :)

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    1. Thanks Monty. Great to welcome you here again!

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  10. Stunning work, totally stunned by it. I must do better.

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    1. Ashley, thanks so much. I think you do brilliantly already - no lessons needed from me! :) Catch you soon!

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  11. Skin color-superb. Uniform color-superb. Brilliant work all around, Sidney.

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    1. Monty, thanks so much, and happy birthday again for yesterday! Very pleased to welcome you back.

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  12. The guns, crew figures and bases are all excellent, but the Senegalais is top notch. The skin tones are fine. It will look just right on the tabletop viewed from gaming distance. Looking forward to seeing more soon!

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    1. David, thank you so much. You have got it spot on. Viewing the table from the right gaming distance is exactly what all my games and painting are about. Thanks so much!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate it so much!

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  14. Striking work and the skin tones on the Senegalais looks terrific.

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  15. Excellent work as always. I've been painting some of the lovely Great War Miniatures Germany trench raiders recently. Would be interesting to pit them against your French.

    Really like the Tiralleur casualty too.

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    1. Paul, many thanks, especially as I can imagine you typing that comment from the frozen wastes of Iceland! Pitting the French trench raiders against their German opponents would be a fantastic game in prospect. Let's give that a go sometime!

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  16. Hello Sidney:
    How splendid to see you back in for again. I can empathize with your lack of painting time, that is certainly the case with me as well, but you have been sorely missed. The basing and colouring of these figures is certainly to what I have come to think of as The Roundwood Style. I especially like the Senegalese soldier. You asked if we thought the skin tone was right, and to me it looks fine. I'd appreciate getting a small tutorial from you as I hope as tome point to steal it for some US ACW negro troops (USCT).
    Again, splendid stuff.
    Cheers,
    Michael

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    1. Mike, thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. Just as it's good to be back posting, it's very good indeed to be commenting on other people's blogs, catching up on news, and welcoming readers and commentators here as well ! Glad you like the basing and the colouring. As I mentioned in my reply to David above, for me it's all about viewing the table from at least 3 feet away - trying to capture in the player's or viewer's eye an image of colour and action.

      Rest assured I shall be posting a "how to (and how not to)" guide to my experiments with African skin tones shortly. I very much doubt I have all (or indeed any) of the answers, but I do have some dramatic mistakes to share!

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  17. Hello again Sidney! I am excited that you are posting again even if it is only temporarly. The 75s and raider look excellent, but I feel that tirallieur should have a slightly darker skin tone. I would also like to reccomend the book (if you don't already have it): French Army 1918: 1915-Victory. It is full of illustrations of uniforms from all of France's infantry of that time period and would come in handy when you painted your pictures. The link below is a website that I found of some excellent pictures of tirallieurs senegalese

    http://warandcolonies.com/3d/

    will

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    1. Will, thanks very much. I really appreciate the comments!

      Your point regarding the slightly darker skin tone is well noted. I shall certainly be giving that a try in the next section of the Tirailleurs, and you can see if you prefer a darker tone. And thanks for the book recommendation - they are always welcome. I shall be sure to hunt that down; it looks very useful.

      Thanks also for the link to the photo-archive. There's a wealth of vignettes there, just waiting to be recreated in miniature.

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  18. I thought the skin on you Tirailleur looked a bit too light, so I took to googling for Sengalese celebrites.
    Turns out we can get away with anything due to 1, ethnic mixes and 2, light.
    Check these two pictures of the same guy, singer Baaba Maal:
    http://www.worldbeatplanet.com/baaba-maal/images/baaba_01.jpg
    http://playingforchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/baaba_acoustic.jpg
    Same guy, different light, three Vallejo codes apart!

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    1. Great example, Thomas.... and very much the subject of my up-coming post! I think you can get away with a lot of variety, and I did the same trick of googling Senegalese celebrities (mainly members of the Senegal football team!). It's also a process of trial and error, and looking back to old photographs and seeing what looks "right" - both under the daylight painting lamp, and on the table.

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  19. Really great figures....as usual! Thanks for sharing! You have the best WW1 stuff around!

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  20. Thanks Cory ! Just glad you like what's here, Sir!

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  21. Lovely! Can't believe you converted 80 Senegalese - should be quite a spectacle. Skin tone looks fine; I was expecting the uniform to be slightly greener, but maybe I've been overly influenced by those tinted photos. Love the 75mms - I am literally just sticking together one from Brigade Games. Any reason you went for the Great War Minis guns instead?

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  22. Oh, Sid, who makes the French 37mm guns at the top of the page? They look like a sensible option for close support for Chain of Command games.

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