Uh Oh! New Project (17)!

My lack of blog posts over the last few months doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!  I’ve done quite a bit of Paraguayan War stuff, but haven’t had the chance to post anything about it.  Since my first proper game is planned for next week, I’m now having to try and get things finished sharpish!


Now getting stuff varnished outdoors in the UK at this time of year is a nightmare – it’s either 1) cold, 2) windy, 3) raining, or 4) all of the above.  So figures have been sitting round waiting to get varnished but it’s crunch time!  By a stroke of luck, She-Who-Doesn’t-Allow-Varnish-To-Be-Sprayed-In-The-House had a hairdresser’s appointment, so now was the time to strike (of course, if I was finishing my figures off with hairspray that would be allowed and I would have a wide variety of hairsprays to choose from – apparently they don’t just come in matt and gloss).  In my experience, statistically based on previous hairdresser’s appointments, I’d have a good half a day to get stuff prepared, varnished and tidied away as if nothing had happened!


So, there was a lot to do.  Since I’m using movement trays for the rules I’ll use to game the Paraguayan War, these needed a coat of varnish to make them a bit more durable.  Over the past few weeks I’ve got 12 infantry trays, two cavalry trays and three artillery trays stuck together and painted (see here for the trial run) and that’s enough for the troops I’ve got finished.  I also wanted some base strength and casualty markers to put on the bases and that’s what the 20mm wooden discs are in the picture above that I’m in the process of painting marks on.


I’ve also got three infantry units, a cavalry unit and two HQs painted.  Shown above are two Argentine National Guard infantry battalions, the one at the front being the Legion Militar, its soldiers wearing Zouave-style uniforms.  I painted the Argentine HQ shown on the right because the plastic ACW officer in the slouch hat is dead ringer for the Argentine President Bartolome Mitre, the man who commanded the forces of the Triple Alliance (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) in the early stages of the war against Paraguay.


The cavalry unit was also Argentine, in dark blue uniforms and red-trimmed shakos. I think these were Early War Miniatures WW1 Chasseurs d’Afrique, the uniforms being fairly close to what I needed.  To the left of the cavalry in the photo above is a Brazilian HQ, with the officer and drummer in the campaign uniform of blue jackets and white trousers and kepi covers.  The last group of figures, standing at the front of the picture, are a mixed bunch of Paraguayan infantry to distribute amongst my other units (which is why there are two flag bearers – one other unit didn’t get one).  Since firearms were not always available in the numbers required, I’ve included some spearmen amongst them (these are Newline Designs ACW infantry flag bearers).

My original plan for this project called for 170 figures to be finished by the end of this year (I started them in April/May last year).  I recognised that I might not get that many, so I decided to try and finish units I needed for a game and that’s come in at 157 figures and four guns, so I’m not too far away.  I’m still going to add more units but at a more leisurely pace from now on, mixing them in with other stuff.  Since I’ve got this far, this is now probably the last time I’ll refer to this project as a new project!

So, time to tidy away varnished figures, bases and dust sheets and wash some dishes so it looks like I’ve been usefully employing my time while my wife’s been out!


  1. A great paint job on the figures, they look great. I once emptied a halls of residence when I sprayed some minis in a room (no-one told me it had a carbon monoxide alarm in it).. hopefully the same didn’t happen to you 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Really good John! but this bit about the wife being absent when you want to use the hairspray has me a little concerned ,maybe it’s Dave’s worry about SHMBOB that’s affecting your choice of hairsprays! HAH If only I had some hair to use it on ! Quick one mate , what do you mount your figures on .pennies or some similar lead product ,One of my friends said it might be wooden discs .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Pat! Rest assured, even though I have hair I’ve never used hairspray – would probbly just make me look like a hedgehog! I mount infantry on UK 1p coins (20mm diameter), with magnetic rubber on the bottom to keep them in place on the steel paper I use to line my storage boxes (that maybe makes the bases look that bit thicker). The two-figure HQs are mounted on UK 2p coins (25mm diameter) and I also use them for most of my cavalry.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Great mate ! I have heaps of the old copper coins I could use ,now mate I have been asked to stick 1/72 Pegasus farm animals onto these what do you recommend I use as they are going to be moved about on a board ?.It may sound a silly question but I have never had to do this ! .

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have a dual approach to this, depending on whether a figure has an integral base or not, but I usually use super glue gel regardless. If the figure’s got a base, I super glue the unpainted figure to an unpainted coin and then either cover the base/coin with Milliput for texture, or prime the coin with an oil-based paint (like Humbrol) if I’m using a water-based texturing material. If the figure hasn’t got a base e.g. just legs/feet, I’ll add the texturing material to the coin first, press in the figure to leave dents for the feet, remove the figure, let the texturing dry thoroughly and then super glue the figure in place. Figures with integral bases stick well, but the joint won’t be as strong for figures without them (should still be reasonable if figures are moved by handling bases and you wipe a bit extra glue round the feet)! I always prime coins with an oil-based paint before adding water-based texture since I have noticed coins turn greenish on occasion if unprimed. Some plastics don’t super glue well, but I’ve never had problems.
          Hope this makes sense – sorry it’s a bit long-winded!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Truly lovely pics of stunningly beautiful figures. I know this has been a labor of love for you and it’s nice to see them all game eligible. Combined with the historical research you have done, this project is one that you should be rightfully proud of JNV. I can relate on the varnish smell risk (which is of course toxic propellant) and the negative spousal reaction. My wife now never complains, but of course I’m now using an airbrush and a compressor with a spray booth. New England weather is also less amenable to rattlecan use. Now I can’t conceive of how I painted before! Great, stunning stuff dude!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mark, those are very kind comments and much appreciated! I am pleased with what I’ve got done, and you guys out there have been a part of it as well! To be fair to my wife, she puts up with me and I only have to resort to varnishing indoors very occasionally (OK, as far as she know)!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks IRO! The hairspray references are meant to be tongue in cheek! Given that we’ve no doubt all had that “Why the fxxx has my varnish just dried white” moment, I can’t see hairspray being any better! Just picture it ; “Why’s your hair gone white dear? I thought it looked really nice before you tried the hairspray!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks mate makes sense to me and much appreciated ,will let you know how I went when I get around to doing some ,I don’t know wether it’s just me but I feel some super glues work better than others . I have just tried one called gorilla glue that Mark mentioned and it seems pretty good ,What I have found is that some plastic will and some plastics won’t (,sounds a bit like a Racey song from the eighties) stick to the plastic figures I use .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Azazel! Since I realised I’d probably not get to 170 figures, I finished what I wanted for a game and thought that’d be it for the year. Adding in the four guns takes it to 161, so I thought if I can do another five Brazilians that’ll finish a weak infantry battalion. That leaves four to do, so they’ll be rocket launcher crew, but they’ll need rocket launchers, so they need scratchbuilding (they’re simple, but fiddly)! That sounds do-able, so I started on Friday night and we’ll see how far I get!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha, so varnish spray always smells like hairspray to me. I use Dullcote mainly, and I’ve often wondered if it isn’t just hairspray in a smaller, more expensive can. Luckily I can spray in the garage without any arguments.

    Liked by 1 person

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