I’m not very good at writing end-of-year or start-of-year posts. I can’t remember what I had for me tea yesterday, let alone painted last year and I’m more than likely never going to stick to any plan for the forthcoming year. But I have at least finished my first figures for 2020, although they have that distinction only because they failed to become the last figures finished in 2019!
When I planned on painting my Brazilian Zouave unit at the end of last year, my intention was always to paint a Paraguayan unit along with it to keep some sort of balance between my Paraguayan War forces. Somewhat surprisingly, I decided to paint a Paraguayan cavalry unit (have I ever mentioned how much I hate painting horses? Oh, I have!) to at least give my Paraguayan army an advantage in cavalry. At the start of the war, the Paraguayans tended to have both more and better quality cavalry, although their numbers declined as the war dragged on (not least because the supply situation meant horses had to be eaten).
So, falling back on Newline Designs 20mm American Civil War cavalry in kepis, I started painting this unit over Christmas but only got it finished last weekend (the wind dropped sufficiently enough on Sunday to get them varnished, but I had to wait until today to be able to take photos in daylight). As usual, the troopers’ kepis were converted to shakos with a plastic disc and greenstuff but I also painted two colour bearers carrying smallish flags (I’d like to have painted these as lances with pennons, but had to shorten them to fit the height of the boxes I store them in).
The idea is to mix these figures up with my previous unit (wearing straw hats and all shown together above) so that each unit gets a flag. I’ve also made a conscious effort to paint horses in different colours with this unit. Aside from the officer on a black horse and three troopers on bays/chestnuts, one of the other troopers is on a dun and the bugler is on a speckled white horse – it’s based on a colour plate in an Osprey book, and is most likely an Appaloosa (I have a kids book on horse breeds that is a good reference guide).
Overall, I’m pleased with how these turned out, and that I’ve added another cavalry unit to my armies. Despite not having strict painting plans in place for this year, I’ll probably slow up a bit on finishing figures in the short term, since I’m dropping back onto preparing figures to finish over the coming months. Apologies if that sounds a bit too much like a plan!