Just to confuse everyone (myself included), my first post of the year is not about what’s gonna be happening this year, it’s about what happened last year that I failed to post about!
Having managed to reach my target of 70 painted Paraguayan War figures, and even having got them into a game, the really sharp-eyed amongst you will have realised that I’ve failed to write anything up about my first two Allied infantry units! Of course, I realise that maybe the Christmas period is not necessarily associated with being sharp-eyed! If anyone thinks the photos look blurry, it’s because you’re still shaking off a New Year hangover, and not because I thought the light was good enough to not need flash!
Anyway, I now have my first two Allied infantry units, namely the Uruguayan “Florida” battalion (shown in the picture above) and a generic Allied battalion in white summer uniforms. The Uruguayans required a bit of artistic licence in the interpretation of their uniforms, but there are differences in the descriptions of them in three books I have (and two of those are by the same author)! The uniform I based the figures around was their full dress uniform, but I modified it in light of campaign dress worn later in the war. Initially they would have worn shakos, dark blue frock coats with fringed epaulettes, and crimson trousers with a green stripe down each side. I opted for the later, more comfortable, crimson kepi with a green band and no epaulettes, since the latter were very impractical on campaign. So it’s my interpretation, but working within what could have been worn! What this let me do was use some SHQ American Civil War infantry figures essentially unmodified, and they’re quite nice figures! They’re a little larger than either my other metal figures by Newline Design, or my plastic figures, but the longer coat lent itself to them being painted as Uruguayans. In all the (number deleted to prevent embarrassment) years I’ve been wargaming, this is my first Uruguayan unit!
The officer carrying the flag has a red (rather than crimson) kepi and the flag was hand painted (that’s probably obvious, since it could be better). I normally hand paint flags in shade colours, then fold them, stick them in place and then paint the lighter colours, but I think the contrast between the white and light grey shade is a bit too severe, so I might use sky grey next time for the shading.
As the war dragged on, most of the Allied armies adopted more practical field uniforms and white jackets, trousers and kepi covers became common (see above pic). I planned on painting one generic Allied infantry unit in the white uniform, with a strength of ten figures to represent an Argentine or Uruguayan battalion, adding an extra five figures to represent a Brazilian battalion (although, in theory, the black belts and equipment would be more correct for the smaller Brazilian light infantry battalions). Anyway, the first ten figures are finished and they were pretty easy to paint. I might paint a handful of specific nationality figures to mix in with them to give them a bit of colour, but probably later rather than sooner! Unfortunately, their uniforms are a bit too clean, but I just can’t get white uniforms to look realistically grubby without everything going wrong! A subtle wash is what’s probably needed, but I can’t do washes, let alone subtle!
As far as planning what’s getting painted this year, I’m expecting most of the figures will be for the Paraguayan War, with WW2 figures making up the rest. For WW2 I need to get some recce units done and make a long-overdue start on tank units! Since I started the Paraguayan War project last year, I’m not intending starting a new project this year. Having said that, I’ve got plenty of things I can “add” to existing armies/projects, it’s just a case of deciding which ones!