Friday, August 28, 2009

Behind the Scenes

I've begun posting to this blog once a week on weekends. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue at this pace for some time. Although I've been posting weekly, I've been doing something related to this blog most nights. Since the start of the summer, I've gone back to edit a few older posts. I realize that's probably not good "netiquette," but I nevertheless feel compelled to put things in reasonably good order. What I've done is rework posts on British units so they're not specifically about Cowpens (my first project), but rather summarize the service of those units throughout the war. This will better allow me to refer back to those posts in the future (the units in question are the 7th Regiment of Foot, the 17th Light Dragoons, The British Legion, and the 71st Foot). I've also reworked several posts about Cowpens specifically, so as to better explain my reasoning regarding the placement of American militia units (The Militia Line: Composition and Organization) and the numbers of men in those units (Cowpens in Miniature 3). I also deleted some dubious speculation about how the Americans deployed (Cowpens in Miniature 8).

What I've been spending most of my time on is getting ready for the next battle on which I will focus: Williamson's Plantation (July 12, 1780). I've spent a fair amount of time painting American militiamen in summer clothes and making the battlefield. I hope to be able to start describing this battle in a couple of weeks.

When I started painting miniatures a few years back I spent an agonizing amount of time on each one. Lately, I've grown much more efficient. Faces were particularly difficult for me, and the minis I've painted so far reflect various experiments, some more successful than others. What I've finally settled on is painting each face with Vallejo Game Color "pale flesh," then doing a thick wash of Vallejo Game Color "beasty brown" and then painting the highlights (cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead if visible) in pale flesh again. The result is far from great art, but it well suits my needs, works with a variety of different miniatures and produces a better result than other techniques I've tried. I've also been getting better at how I apply paint. Most of the time I'm still applying thick blocks of color onto the miniature, but increasingly often I've been able to apply thin coats that allow one color to shine through another. The Musket Miniatures militiaman below is a good example of this. The white primer is visible through the earth-tone vest and breeches.

Below are some of the latest Brits I've painted. These Minifigs are not intended to depict a specific unit, but rather will be used to represent at least a couple of units that saw hard service in the South. They will depict New York Volunteers at the battle of Williamson's Plantation and Royal North Carolinians at the battle of Hanging Rock. The brown trousers were selected partially on the basis of the striking aesthetic effect and partially on the basis of several Don Troiani paintings (such as this one).


  1. I love the accuracy and the attention to detail. You take such pride in your work with your miniatures. Given your careful study of the clothing - especially military - I welcome your input and review of my Chasing Histories blog on writing American Revolutionary fiction. – Karen

  2. I read your first post and found it to be very interesting. I'm curious as to what topics you plan to write about -- whether it will be a specific theme or a variety of topics -- and I hope you'll post on this.

    I don't regard myself as an expert on 18th Century clothing -- one of the advantages of working with such small miniatures is that they doesn't require close attention to clothing minutiae. My chief expertise is with psychology, although that doesn't come up much in this blog.

  3. You have a very nice blog here,that is rich in information.Well done!