Painting 6mm Papelotte

Front of building with tower roof
Front of building with tower roof

Following on from my “teaser post” of Leven Miniature’s Papelotte model, I thought that a walk-through of how I painted it might be useful to people. Mick asked me to paint this model after seeing the pictures of my version of his La Haye Sainte model, and I was truly honoured that he asked me to do this as I’ve never been invited to do anything like this before! Papelotte farm from Waterloo is one of several iconic farms that were important during the battle. I hope that this guide of how I tackled the project is helpful to people.

Firstly, I cleaned the buildings with warm soapy water and a toothbrush. Mick’s models are usually very clean, but this is a good idea to do with most resin models in case of any residual releasing agent.

Frustratingly for Mick, the prototype that he sent me for painting had a tiny air bubble trapped under the surface of the farmhouse. This produced a very small bulge under the surface. Being the consummate professional that he is, Mick decided to completely remake the production mould in order to deal with this! In order to hide it on the prototype I decided to add a render-effect to some of the farmhouse. In order to do this I used two coats of Games Workshop Liquid Green Stuff. I tend to avoid a lot of GW products nowadays, but I still find their paints and brushes to be very good.

Farmhouse with added cladding
Farmhouse with added cladding

Once the Green Stuff had set, I undercoated all of the buildings using Halford’s Grey Primer. I’ve previously painted from white and black undercoats, but I tend to find now that I mainly paint from grey or brown. This primer is inexpensive and provides very good coverage.

Halfway through the undercoating process I remembered that Mick had sculpted two rooves for the entrance porch of the farm: a more traditional sloped roof that was present during the Battle of Waterloo, and the unusual octagonal tower that was built after the battle and still exists today. Mick wanted to be able to show either version on his display model, so I took some time drilling the model and adding rare earth magnets for this purpose. I did manage to accidentally get the wrong polarity on the magnets first time around, but fortunately Mick had sent me two models so I was able to substitute. A valuable learning experience!

Magnetised rooves
Magnetised rooves

Once dry, it was time for the main terracotta colour of the bricks. The colour I used was Winsor & Newton Galleria Burnt Sienna. I’ve tried several paints to get the right colour for bricks, but this is the best terracotta colour I’ve found. I watered it down about 50% and painted onto all of the bricks, avoiding rooves, doors and windows.

Once this was try, I mixed an approximately 50:50 mix of Vallejo Game Color Plague Brown with Model Color Deck Tan, although any light, warm yellow would do. I then lightly drybrushed all of the brickwork in order to lighten the model and add definition to the brickwork. Once finished, I painted all of the doors and lintels Model Color Saddle Brown, and the windows Games Workshop Caledor Sky, with dotted highlights of Teclis Blue in the top right hand corner of each window (again, there are Vallejo blues that could be used).

I then touched-up the grey of any of the rooves that I’d gone over before highlighting them with a drybrush of Model Color Light Grey.  I also painted the flat roof of the tower Molor Color Natural Steel. I assumed that the flat roof was probably clad in lead during this period, but I have no documentation to support this! Once dry, I gave all of the rooves and woodwork a wash of Winsor & Newton Nut Brown – a magical substance that it perfect at giving definition and shading at this scale!

Buildings finished!
Buildings finished!

At this stage, the buildings are finished! Now it is all about the basing. This is an important feature in 6mm as it becomes an integral part of the model. For the base I used Vallejo Grey Pumice and mixed in approximately 50% of a dropper bottle of Vallejo Game Color Charred Brown. The pumice is great stuff – it is grey to start with, but dries fairly translucent and therefore any colour you mix into it comes through nicely, and can be shaped to some extent. It is also quite flexible when dry, can be cut with a scalpel and doesn’t warp bases. I applied a coat to the entire base. It has the additional benefit of acting like a mortar when dry, so I could position the buildings where I wanted them whilst it was wet and knew that it would hold them in place – a big advantage over gluing them in place and having to carefully get basing material around them! I then added some find sand, the intention being that this would represent well-travelled areas around and within the farm. However, I forgot to bed this in properly into the pumice, so most of it fell off when I was finishing off the base!

The base with the pumice, all ready for the buildings.
The base with the pumice, all ready for the buildings.
Buildings embedded, along with the ill-conceived sand!
Buildings embedded, along with the ill-conceived sand!
Highlight on the base finished
Highlight on the base finished

It usually takes about 24 hours for this to dry thoroughly. Once dry,  it was highlighted with a drybrush of Model Color US Field Drab, followed by a very light drybrush of Games Workshop Rakarth Flesh, and edged the base with Charred Brown. I then used PVA glue to apply very light and light green flock. Once dry, I superglued down clumps of foliage and flowers. The entire model was then sprayed with Testors Dullcote.

I hope you like it!

Aerial view
Aerial view
Finished building with a base of Baccus French Line for scale
Finished building with a base of Baccus French Line for scale
Rear view of the building with the tower roof
Rear view of the building with the tower roof
Corner view, with tower
Corner view, with tower

6mm Papelotte from Leven Miniatures

I was honoured when Mick from Leven Miniatures approached me recently to paint his prototype 6mm model of the Papelotte farm from the Battle of Waterloo. As with all of Mick’s models, it has an amazing amount of detail and was a delight to paint.

I believe that he plans to release the model next month (October 2014). Around that time I plan to post a guide on how I painted the model. In the meantime, Mick and I thought that people might like to see some pictures to whet the appetite! As always, please let us know what you think!


Papelotte from the front
Papelotte from the front
Papelotte from the rear
Papelotte from the rear
Papelotte from the front. The entrance has the towered roof that was rebuilt after the Battle of Waterloo
Papelotte from the front. The entrance has the towered roof that was rebuilt after the Battle of Waterloo.

6mm Napoleonic Spanish Town

This is my interpretation of a 6mm scale Spanish town by Total Battle Miniatures appropriate for the Napoleonic period. I actually painted it about six months ago, but I’ve only gotten around to uploading photos of it now.

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this model and I’m pleased with the overall effect. I’m planning on using it as a central feature for some of my Peninsular War battles soon.

This is a picture of the town looking “south”
This is the town looking east
This is looking west
This is a model-eye view looking up the main street to the north. I’m particularly pleased with this view as it looks like an actual street!
This is a close-up view of the fields. The baa-sheep and cart are from Baccus.

I think it is safe to say the virtually all of the manufacturers in the wargaming industry are nice people, but the chaps at TBM are particularly helpful. They were very good at recommending the appropriate colours for the buildings. Their models are very handy in that the buildings are detachable from the bases making it easier to move troops through.

Start of my SYW British Army – The 37th Regiment of Foot

I am really getting into the Seven Years War period, as you can probably tell from my last post about Maurice. I am currently working on a British force in 6mm, and it is based primarily on the First Contingent, possibly with a few units from the Second Contingent (a.k.a. “The Glorious Reinforcement”) or allies if needed.

The 37th Regiment of Foot in line formation

The first unit that I have finished is the 37th Regiment of Foot. The Regiment was raised in 1702, and fought at Blenheim, Ramillies, Falkirk, and Culloden (and others). During the SYW it was part of the First Contingent  which reinforced Ferdinand of Brunswick’s Allied army in 1758. It took part in the battles of Minden and Vellinghausen, and others.

A side-on shot

After much experimentation and discussion, Mike and I have decided upon a flexible basing system which should hopefully enable us to (a) accurately represent different formations using the same unit in an aesthetically pleasing way, and (b) to be able to use different rulesets, both now and hopefully in the future.

This is a top-down shot in order to show the flexible basing that we use

For the SYW period at least, this means basing stands on 15mm by 15mm or 30mm by 15mm metal bases, and then arranging them on a larger 120mm by 30mm metal base, which also has a magnetic sheet on it. Thus the smaller bases can arranged to reflect line, march or mass formations. We can also similarly represent squares for later periods, such as the Napoleonic period, but more on that later!

The 37th Regiment of Foot in March Column formation

As 60mm by 30mm bases are a common standard for basing in 6mm, we hope what we have achieved here will stand us in good stead in the future.

Mike has detailed his particularly extensive exploration of basing in 6mm on the Baccus Forums (all models in these photos are from Baccus), and is well worth a look.

The commander of the 37th (Stewart) in all his glory! This is one of my favourite Baccus models.

I’ll include more pictures of units as I add them and build up my force.

First game of Maurice

Mike and I had our first game of Maurice last night, and we throughly enjoyed ourselves!

We have both read quite a bit about the game, particularly from blogs like this and this, as well as discussions on the Baccus Forums and  Honour Forums, which really inspired us. Mike has been into the Seven Years War period for quite some time, and has gradually enticed me into it. I really like the look of Might & Reason and Black Powder, which we hope to also use our armies to play, but it is Maurice that we are most excited about at the moment.

I am gradually building up a British force (more in future posts!), but during our game I borrowed some Prussians in order to field an Anglo-Prussian force. Mike was using his Austrians, which was nicely historial. Due to a lack of some pieces at the moment I am somewhat ashamed to say that some ACW Confederates and GNW Swedes were pressed into service as substitutes (I know, I know… I hang my head in shame…).

In order to keep things balanced and easy for us, we had identical forces for our first game. Both sides consisted of:

  • Seven regular infantry units (two of which were elites)
  • Three regular cavalry units
  • Three artillery units

We also both randomly drew two Notables from the deck and two National Advantages.

Mike drew “Great Captain” as his first National Advantage, giving him two extra Action Cards at the start, a more maneuverable CinC, and advantages on terrain set-up. He then drew “Cavalier”, allowing his cavalry units to re-roll a combat die when charging enemy cavalry. This would prove to be useful to him later. As his Notables, he received assistance from Augustus von Thiesing (+1 to all dice when rallying) who he attached to a cavalry unit, and Laurent van Hussen (+1 to all rolls to hit from ranged attacks) who decided that he would join an artillery battery.

I drew “a la Baionnette” (allows regular infantry to re-roll combat dice on the charge) and “Rally to the Colors” (regular units can re-roll failed attempts to rally). The Notables who declared to throw in their lot with me were the Earl of Brent (could have been a chief of staff, which I should have done, but put him with an artillery unit instead), and Sir Theodore Creasey, who joined a cavalry unit in case they needed a pep-talk to rally them.

Mike won the scouting role and elected to attack. As such, he added a regular cavalry unit to his force. Even though this was our first game, it was evident that he had a strength in cavalry, whereas the strength of my force was more in my infantry. Sadly for me, infantry would end-up not playing a role in the upcoming battle.

The objective was placed in a town on my side of the board (as defender). I placed my artillery in front of the town, with all my infantry in roughly two lines to the right of the town and extending into the centre of the board. I had little choice but to place all of my cavalry on the exposed left-flank next to the town.

Mike’s army arranged itself in an almost perfect mirror of mine; his infantry were aligned opposing mine, the artillery almost directly opposite my artillery, and his cavalry lined up against my cavalry and mainly in massed formation. He also wisely used the undulations of the terrain to his advantage, with his cavalry and infantry largely positioned behind hills at the start.

The two armies arranged against one another. The Anglo-Prussians (my force) is in the foreground, and the Austrians (Mike’s force) are towards the rear of the picture.

Mike’s artillery opened up an initial barrage against one of my cavalry units, causing a disruption. My return fire against his artillery was ineffectual, mainly because a “6” is needed to disrupt artillery from a long-range bombardment. Whilst this was unsatisfying from my point of view, it makes sense from a game-mechanic perspective, as artillery duels would be over too rapidly (artillery only need two disruptions and they break).

A view from my lines with Mike’s cavalry just peaking behind the hill.

We quickly agreed that long-range artillery bombardments were not going to end this, so Mike then surged his cavalry over the crest of the hill and headed across the plain towards my cavalry and artillery. Meanwhile, our infantry forces stayed put, generally looking pretty in their uniforms and probably making rude gestures at one another…

Mike’s cavalry surging over the hill towards my lines.

My artillery attempted to disuade his cavalry from thundering towards them, but only managed to put one disruption on one of the four cavalry units. In response, Mike’s artillery missed my cavalry with their bombardment. During the process it became apparent that Mike’s advantage in cards at the start of the game was telling. Of course, it didn’t help that he was a touch jammy with his card draws, whereas I seemed to be exploring all of the value “4” cards in the deck!

It was about this time that I realised that (a) by placing a cavalry unit behind the other two it couldn’t really support them much in the impending melee, and (b) the two forward units were in line formation. The line formation was useful when it came to enduring the artillery bombardment (it stopped the +1 if they had been in a massed formation), but the increased frontage would be a disadvanatged when the units all crunched into one another.

My cavalry formation conundrum.

Seeing that I could be in trouble and that the artillery wasn’t being as effective as I’d hoped, I made a tough decision as CinC. Due to the time pressure of the cavalry coming in and a lack of appropriate cards, I played the “Retrograde” card on my cavalry, enabling them to make a full move backwards. This gave more time (and distance) to deal with the cavalry and also allowed me to readress my cavalry lines. Unfortunately, this meant sacrificing my artillery.

In short, Mike’s leftmost cavalry unit went right through two of the artillery units, taking only one disruption in the process. This was not ideal, but a sacrifice that had to be made. However, the rest of my army was evidently unnerved by the CinC’s apparent disregard of the artillery crewman, and morale plummeted (I rolled high and lost four morale points!). The Earl of Brent, who escaped unharmed from the massacare of the artillery, rode off to the rear of the lines in disgust at my callousness.

Mike’s cavalry continued their inexorable process to my now prepared cavalry. As I pondered what to do, Mike helped me out. We share a “Gentleman Gamer” playing style, and are happy to discuss tactical decisions, even if it is ultimately to our disadvantage! He knew that I had “The Heat of Battle” card, which would enable me to pull one of his four cavalry units out of the line and try and take it out piecemeal. But we worked out that even this might not be a good idea for me considering all of his force’s advantages. After he said “if only you had the ‘Attack Falters’ card (-2 combat modifier to attacker), as that would probably make it worth it”, I declared that I’d go for it, having only just picked-up that card!

Clever maneuvering of Mike’s forces on my part (thanks mainly to Mike’s advice!).

Seeing that luck, or good gamesmanship on his part, was smiling upon me, he chuckled and moved the unit in. Pulling the unit onto two of my own resulted in two disruptions for his cavalry and one for each of my cavalry. Not the best outcome for me, until he rolled two sixes for the Hazard test on his Notable! It would appear that the brave Augustus von Thiesing was so keen to get to grips with the Prussians that he forced his horse into a gallop in order to have the honour of the first blood. Although his unit surged forward to keep up with him and to protect him, he bit off a little more than he could chew.

The demise of Augustus von Thiesing.

Following this, Mike’s entire cavalry force crashed into the Prussian cavalry. Over a series of turns an attritional battle developed with his forces having the advantage in the combat itself, but my cavalry being able to recover from the disruptions caused more easily thanks to “Rally to the Colors” and the rousing words of Sir Theodore Creasey, who thankfully managed to stay out of halm’s way.


However, even though Mike’s cavalry was littered with disruptions, his National Advantages and the fact that his forces outnumbered mine started to take its toll. I was down to two cavalry units when night stopped play – literally! It was about 12:30 and we decided that we’d better call it a night!

All over except for the yelling?

We felt that now he had gotten my cavalry down to two units verses four, that flank would not take long to dissolve. By this point, my army was down to seven morale points whilst his was still at full strength. Although he would have had to take time to rally his cavalry and reposition them, and move his infantry across the board, it was clear that the battle was now heavily in his favour. My infantry would have been slightly favoured in the gruelling melee to come thanks to their National Advantages, but he would have captured the objective, outnumbered my forces significantly, and would not have to destroy too many units in order to break my army.

We both agreed that we really enjoyed playing the game, even if our experience of it was concentrated onto one flank! Although the core rules are quite simple, the National Advantages and Notables provide flavour and the use of Action Cards means careful planning is vital, and promotes a natural ebb-and-flow element.

Although we didn’t manage to fully finish the game, we started late and we anticipate that future games will run far more quickly. We’ve played quite a few rulesets between the two of us and these are one of the easiest sets to pick up and use. The use of clear examples throughout led to easy resolution of situations and we were stunned at how relatively easy the multiple combat between seven units was to resolve (a complex event for many rulesets).

We anticipate playing a lot more of this in the future. Now all I need to do is paint some more units!

AAR: German Panzergrenadiers vs. Allied Airborne

Here is a short After Action Report of a game we had on Friday.

We were playing Late War German Mechanised against Allied Airborne, mainly comprised of my new British Paras, but also some 82nd Airborne – all in 10mm (primarily from Pendraken). We were playing the No Retreat mission using the Flames of War rules, where the Allies had a limited force on the table to stave off the onslaught of the German advance. The Germans had to capture one of two possible objectives to win on any turn, and the allies had to throw back the Germans into their half of the table at the start of Turn 6 or later. This particular battle plays the lengthways of the table.

The Germans were evidently attacking an Airborne strongpoint after the airdrop on Normandy, and faced the Airborne guns that were on the table: a screen of 17 pdrs in cover in the centre, a full Battery of eight 75mm pack howitzers at the rear, and a platoon of 6 pdrs that were waiting in ambush (these could deploy anywhere in the Allied deployment area – our half of the table – 4″ away from enemy units if they were revealed in cover, or 16″ away in the open). These gun teams nervously waited for the German attack, hoping that infantry support would be arriving in time!

The Germans were well underway on the first turn, surging forward with a Tiger, a Stug platoon, and some panzergrenadiers in trucks in the centre, all using the cover of a hill and woods, and panzergrenadiers on their left flank taking a more cautious approach and dismounting before moving up and over a crest of a nearby hill alongside some artillery spotters. The 17 pdrs had no high explosive rounds (HE), and therefore there was no point in them opening fire on the only potential targets – the panzergrenadiers on the hill. However, the 75mm artillery had no such qualms and opened fire with a Stonk, saturating the hill with fire and leaving the infantry and spotters pinned down on the top.

The Germans then continued their cautious advance, with a HMG team moving up on their right flank to lend some heavy firepower to the attack. Superb tactical use of repeated smoke bombardments prevented the 17pdrs from seeing any of the advancing enemy and opening fire (in fact, they didn’t fire once during the game!). The advancing Tiger was able to take out one of the 17 pdrs which was not covered in the blanket of smoke.

British side of the battlefield, fairly early in the battle. The smoke covers the 17 pdrs. Note the gliders - these were not used in the game, but were used as scenery. I had taken the time to paint them and wanted them on the table!

However, in return the British artillery was now ranged in on the cowering infantry on the hill and were able to call in hefty 5.5″ support from Medium Artillery batteries some distance away (bit of a stretch this historically! We should have said that this was near Oosterbeek later on instead!). The resulting firestorm wiped out the infantry and spotters on the hill, with the survivors staggering to the rear of their lines heavily shaken. The Allies also managed to finally get some reserves, with an American platoon of the 82nd Airborne arriving and double-timing it onto the battlefield.

The German attack now began, with the German tanks and infantry in the centre preparing for the final assault to capture the forward rule-dump. Once again, clever use of smoke frustrated the 17 pdrs with another eliminated by gunfire. But the Allies were not finished yet, and the 6pdrs rolled forward into the foxholes that the 17 pdr had been blown out of. Using a combination of their high rate of fire and the howitzers, the Tiger was hit on the side, the Stugs were also hit, and the infantry were pinned. However, the Germans appeared to be invigorated at the prospect of attack and they shrugged all of this off (thanks to some excellent morale check passes!).

The German Stugs and Grilles now manoeuvred and poured fire into the ambushing 6 pdrs, but they kept their heads down and survived. Unnerved by this, these tanks attempted to withdraw out of the line of return fire into a wood. Unfortunately, one of the Stugs bogged-down and was shredded by the 6 pdrs, and the other two retreated into range of the howitzer battery, which then called down 5.5″ support and cracked them open and taking out most of the HMG platoon in the process! Meanwhile, the panzergrenadiers were able to assault and destroy all of the remaining 17pdrs and contest the fuel-dump objective while the Tiger attempted to hold back the advancing Americans with its machineguns. Flushed with their success, the panzergrenadiers didn’t see that the 6 pdrs hadn’t been suppressed or destroyed, and their 57mm shells started ripping through them from behind. The Americans then moved into assault and wiped them out, before moving into cover around the objective.

And that’s where we called it (at 2am)! It was effectively a draw, although we decided that it could be regarded as a Minor Victory for the Allies if you want to be generous. The Allies had secured the objectives with more reinforcements pouring through, but there were still German forces on the Allies side of the table. It was unlikely the Germans could now capture the objectives, but the cat-and-mouse game to try and kill the remaining Germans forces could have lasted the rest of the night and would have been very dull!

The state of the battlefield when we drew the game to a close. Note the Americans sat on the objective and a platoon of British Paras coming in on the right hand side of the picture. Most of the Germans in the centre were wiped out!

Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun! We certainly learnt a lot, and were able to focus more upon tactics and worry less about the rules. Some great tactics were used all round. The ambush rules can be nasty (which is the point!) and the Germans suffered from them. The German players used smoke to great effect, and there was a lot of debate about whether or not they should have smoked the 6 pdrs or shot them. It’s a difficult one to call. Personally, I probably would have shot them as they needed to be removed, but either approach is valid.

The Zombie Apocalypse

I am regularly concerned about the impending Zombie Apocalypse. However, I am reasonably sure that I will be able to survive for a modest amount of time before the raving hordes of brain-eaters finally get me. This isn’t necessarily due to any specialist skills or abilities that I have – my ample frame has evolved to fulfill the “cuddly” niche, not that of the runner. My confidence of a reasonable degree of survival is based upon two factors:

  • (a) I have a reasonable theoretical understanding on how to use a pump-action shotgun, and
  • (b) my girlfriend is willing to help me bury the bodies should the need arise.

Not only that, but I am very happy to say that she is also willing to chop my head off if I start shambling around saying “Muuuurrrggghhh” a lot [offer not valid in mornings, pre-caffeine]. We have been reliably informed that such an offer is tantamount to being married in certain cultures…

So, imagine my surprise and pleasure when I stumbled across Professor Andrew Gelman’s recently published (1st April) paper on methods of surveying the zombie menace. Building upon Lakeland’s (2010) earlier analysis of zombie dynamics and the readiness of the population to this threat, Gelman’s work will enable us to have a better understanding of how far this threat has spread.

Truly, we have never been better prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse!

"Chic": an element of style and sophistication. "Geek": a person with an unusual or odd personality