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WIP The Ambush.....1/30th vignette from Castle Miniatures

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by fogie, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. fogie A Fixture

    This one came my way recently..... It's Vladimir Danilov's
    superb vignette of the French and Indian Wars - or more
    accurately of Pontiac's War, as I intend it to represent an
    action that occurred in the densely forested Alleghenies
    near to a place called Bushy Run Station, after hostilities
    with the French had ended. It's a thrilling piece and might
    be interesting enough to feature here as this old duffer's
    attempt to bring it to life......I've been told my approach is
    a bit different.
    01.jpg 02.jpg
    The history which surrounds Pontiac's War reads like a
    movie script - full of heroism, hideous savagery, typically
    inept British arrogance, lots of shooting, even an attempt
    at early biological warfare. I actually like research - for me
    it's part of this whole figure painting thing - but we don't all
    think the same, so rather than give chapter and verse in
    one hit now, I'll add it in italics as we go along, so those
    who find such guff boring can skip over it.
    03.JPG 04.jpg
    Tempting though it is to pick up the brushes straight away
    and make a start on the painting, this one requires us to
    begin on the ground floor, with the two individual bases
    Vladimir supplies with his vignette. They have to be sorted
    first because I'm using them rather than creating a base
    of my own. I'm not being lazy here, let me add, it's simply
    too easy to get carried away with simulated groundwork,
    that unless we show restraint, an overworked base can
    unintentionally alter the entire character of the figure(s), or
    even, heaven forbid, wreck the sculptor's skilfully contrived
    compostion. The aim instead is to indulge the individual
    creativity Volodya's work always seems to inspire in us,
    while at the same time keeping a sharp eye on his original
    Another thing is, with it's strong narrative, this piece hardly
    needs a busy landscape. Texture is required more than
    distracting detail - after all, what we have here essentially is
    a luckless Highland Officer with the fear of God in him as he
    almost certainly draws his last breath on earth.....in the face
    of that, superfluous scenery surely misses the point. So after
    both bases were carefully drilled and firmly joined with metal
    pins (three of them) and Milliput had dealt with the gaps, just
    simple layers of simulated 'forest-floor', and 'tree-moss' were
    considered enough.
    05.jpg 06.jpg 07.jpg
    The 'forest-floor' came from plywood....when you cut the
    stuff, especially with a coarse-toothed rip saw (....don't
    forget to count your fingers afterwards) there's always a
    kind of fur of wood splinters on the underside of the cut.
    Scrape 'em off and they're just about right for 1/30th scale
    Allegheny Hemlock Tree debris - the moss is softwood
    sawdust. The base was coated thinly with bog standard
    PVA glue, and layered with the materials, and allowed to
    dry. Then everything was misted over with a 5 to1 dilution
    of H2O and PVA, in a cheap and cheerful atomiser, and
    again left to dry thoroughly. Misting is essential in fixing and
    sealing all the textures, so after a final coat of pre-painting
    primer, everything looks as if it's integral with the original
    casting and not a stuck-on afterthought.
    A quick check on the relative positions of the two figures, to
    make sure they still interact properly, and it's time to reach for
    the brushes .....but more of that next time.
    marco55, KenBoyle, MattMcK. and 17 others like this.
  2. Babelfish A Fixture

    Great subject, good start with the wood chips. Will follow this one.

    - Steve
    Oda and fogie like this.
  3. fogie A Fixture

    Are you getting all the images Steve ? I'm a bit of a techno idiot and
    haven't got 'em this end. I've consulted the oracle (Kev) so hopefully
    he'll tell me how to sort it

    Oda and Scotty like this.
  4. OldTaff PlanetFigure Supporter

    Looks to be a great start, Mike, although, as you say, no images as yet. I confess to being a duffer, too,...can't manage the tecchie stuff regarding posting pictures. I seem to post them everywhere on this Devil's dustbin but where I want them.

    Oda and fogie like this.
  5. fogie A Fixture

    A cup of coffee. a bit of swearing, and a lot of help from Kev, and all
    now seems OK.....on with the motley.

    Oda, Scotty, Babelfish and 1 other person like this.
  6. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    I admire Danilov's work - this one being typical of his excellent historical eye. Like you Mike, I do this modelling hobby as an extension of my love of history and technology. I shall therefore lurk quietly and read the italics too(y)

    Oda, Nap and fogie like this.
  7. Nap A Fixture


    Fear not alls good ..great start .........if anyone knows the winning lottery numbers ......my oracle system is down ....lol

    Following with interest

    Happy benchtine

    Always happy to help

    Oda and fogie like this.
  8. Banjer Well-Known Member

    This looks like a very interesting project.
    I'd be tempted myself but this scale is too small for my tired old eyes.
    Following with great antisipation.

    Oda and fogie like this.
  9. clrsgt A Fixture

    Great idea and start; will be following closely.
    fogie likes this.
  10. Oda A Fixture

    Well Mike,where do I start? First things first I consider Vladimir Danilov one of the top 5 sculptors in the world right now.His talent is unmatched and whatever comes out of his hands is nothing less than a masterpiece regardless of subject,historical era etc.Second I am one of those slightly damaged individuals who actually enjoy researching their modelling works as much as painting them if not even more.I often say that through the years I have spent more money on books than on paints and brushes and as you remarked that does not work for everyone but it does for me and it gives me great joy.
    Having cleared all this I will now comment on your work.It is simply excellent so far.You have done your research,you have planned ahead and you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve on all levels (presentation,atmosphere etc).This is bound to be interesting and I will certainly follow with great interest.

    Airkid, Nap, fogie and 1 other person like this.
  11. KenBoyle PlanetFigure Supporter

    Great project Mike and one of my favorite periods. Looking forward to more posts. :)(y)

    fogie likes this.
  12. fogie A Fixture

    Thanks Ken...me too .There's something highly appealing about that point
    in history. . The next post will follow soon...Storm 'Arwen' has rather taken
    my eye off the ball for a day or two (bloody great tree down in the garden.,
    some slates off the roof, and a twenty-seven hour power outage to boot !)
    As my old Grandpa used to say - Bugger!!! Back soon......

    Oda and KenBoyle like this.
  13. KenBoyle PlanetFigure Supporter

    I totally understand. Never a dull moment as a homeowner. Take care my friend!
    Oda likes this.
  14. Steve Ski A Fixture

    Got this bookmarked, gonna be good!
    Oda and fogie like this.
  15. fogie A Fixture

    Sorry about the wretched delay.....hoped to have this vignette
    done and dusted by now, but had to spend three solid weeks
    dealing with storm damage that proved more serious than we
    first thought - a major headache that forced an urgent change
    of priorities. Our scantle roof of Delabole slate and lime mortar
    - traditional for Cornwall but never an easy fix even for a roofing
    specialist - has been relieved of its tree (!!) and relaid so should
    now be good for another fifty years (and we also have enough
    properly sized, split and stacked logs to keep the wood stove
    alight forever). So yesterday I was at last able to get back to the

    I am first and last an 'oily' - W&N Artist grade by preference,
    who for years now has avoided strong and over-saturated
    colours like the plague. Instead, I like 'low-chroma' effects.
    with everything mixed and harmonised from a short palette
    of just five base colours. It's a technique that uses 'relative'
    rather than 'absolute' colour, and reproduces that nifty trick
    used in painting pictures called 'aerial perspective'. I also
    use 'glazing' layers here and there to give the paint a bit of
    a glow in places. To help me play about like this, my base
    colours have evolved over the years into Violet Ultramarine,
    Burnt Umber, Winsor Red, Indian Yellow, and Raw Sienna,
    with the bog standard 'neutrals' Titanium and Paynes for all
    the tints and shades. Sounds all rather arty-farty, I know, for
    sure it's a bit left field, but that's painting for you....it's always
    been a highly individual process where we all have our own
    ways and means.....right ?


    .........and this is how the groundwork is turning out Clearly
    it's not finished, but I was anxious to get something posted.
    The tree itself is superbly sculpted and even features tiny
    insect bore holes in the trunk.....no they're not air bubbles
    caused by bad casting, they're just a typical example of
    Volodya's faultless attention to detail. It's being painted as
    an Allegheny Hemlock, a species commonly found in west
    Pennsylvania, but could of course be any Conifer really - I'm
    just a hopelessly obessive nerd about these things as you've
    probably already guessed.
    Historical guff......

    In 1763 - just months after hostilities with the French had
    ended - egregious and vengeful policies imposed by the
    British on the indigenous tribes, aroused a confederation
    of them to the rebellion that became known after it's figure
    head as Pontiac's War. Forts and local settlements over
    a vast area were attacked - eight of them were destroyed,
    hundreds of vulnerable colonists were killed or captured,
    and far more forced to flee their homesteads. Fort Pitt, in
    the remote wilderness at the headwaters of the Ohio River
    ( the site of today's Pittsburgh ) with its 125 strong military
    garrison - swollen by more than four times that number
    of frontier refugees - found itself under siege.
    Contingents of 42nd and 77th Highlanders along with the
    60th Royal Americans, were mustered in Philadelphia as
    a relief force. After weeks on the march across the dense
    forests of the Allegheny mountains - and lifting two more
    sieges of other forts along their route - they were drawing
    near to their proposed night camp at Bushy Run Station
    when they were ambushed by a large combined force of
    Hurons, Delawares, Mingos, and Shawnees........

    The 42nd Highlanders lost 29 men killed in the fighting
    that afternoon, including our luckless officer here. Aside
    from details of his uniform and equipment, we have no
    idea what he personlly looked like, or indeed the precise
    nature of his death. Thanks to the commanding officer's
    surviving account of the action however we do know his
    name .........Lieutenant James Mackintosh, killed in the
    service of the King at Edge Hill near Bushy Run Station
    on the 5th of August 1763......and he's up next

    Babelfish, Hobbychick, Henk and 9 others like this.
  16. KenBoyle PlanetFigure Supporter

    The tree is looking fantastic Mike! And the historical info is marvelous and really helps set the scene. Well done sir!

    marco55, Oda and fogie like this.
  17. fogie A Fixture

    Thanks, Ken....after so long I had to remind myself which way up the brushes were meant to be

    Nap and Oda like this.
  18. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Fine work on the tree Mike. I thought you may have seen enough of trees for the time being!:eek: Looking forward to seeing Lt. Mackintosh come to life again.

    fogie likes this.
  19. fogie A Fixture

    Absolutely Phil.....bloody trees.... eh?:) Normally of course I would have started
    on the figures first and then moved on to the base, but on this one the painting
    sequence required the change.

  20. Cannonball A Fixture

    Great start on this project Mike. The tree is looking really good and looking forward to seeing some paint on the two combatants. Love the crisp sharp details on these figures.

    fogie likes this.

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