Home Forums Horse and Musket American Civil War Confessions of a butterfly…

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  • #4250
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    When I was a lad, I had lots… no, make that LOTS of Airfix union and Confederates, all nicely painted, which I stupidly sold cheaply when I went off to university. I used to use a ruleset that came in a little A5 pamphlet, 1mm=1yard, 1:33 figure:men ratio, and whilst most of it used some sort of calculation x men x y fire factor + DAv = casualties, it did have a canister cone and howitzer burst circle, IIRC. Does anyone else remember these? Can’t remember the name of them for the life of me, and sadly long lost. This would have been in the mid-1970s.

    Anyway, after a false start collecting Perrys (I realised that I’d never get them all painted, nor would they permit me to fight the size of battle I really wanted to) a couple of years ago I succumbed to the temptations of Pendraken 10mm and after amassing quite a lot of unpainted lead, I’m about to plunge into getting them painted and based.

    I’m aiming to do 1863, Eastern theatre as a starting point, so I was simply wondering what advice you might be able to give me about the best uniform/orbat references, and any quick painting tips you might have to enable me to crank out many hundreds of weeny Union and Confederate chaps. I’m looking to achieve a nice, ‘good gaming standard’ of finish, so they’ll be nice and photogenic for photo-shoots for the magazine, but I’m not entering any painting competitions (and I only have one life…) Do you have any tips, for example, for Confederate ‘butternut’, and how widespread would this look have been by mid-war? Also, do you have any favourite ‘wouldn’t be without them’ units?

    Thanks in advance for any tips. 🙂

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    #4377
    Iain FullerIain Fuller
    Participant

    I’m going to go down the 10mm route too when I start my ACW force too. I started wargaming with my dad using his Airfix Union army in the late ’70’s so there’s always that nostalgic pull for me – the rules we used sound a lot like the ones you are talking about, not sure but were they by the London Wargames Group or something similar?

    For painting tips have a look at the Bend Sinister/Redline Miniatures site, there’s a how to on there – I’ve a few Napoleonics in 10mm and they are a breeze to paint (especially if you aren’t going for every button etc.) so I’m thinking that the simpler ACW uniforms will be nice and quick too. When I’ve painted butternut before I’ve used differing shades of lightish to earthy brown (if that makes sense) even a greeny-grey might be ok – have some fun mixing them up!  I’d check the Nafziger Collection out for orbats etc.

    #4393
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    For painting tips have a look at the Bend Sinister/Redline Miniatures site, there’s a how to on there – I’ve a few Napoleonics in 10mm and they are a breeze to paint (especially if you aren’t going for every button etc.) so I’m thinking that the simpler ACW uniforms will be nice and quick too. When I’ve painted butternut before I’ve used differing shades of lightish to earthy brown (if that makes sense) even a greeny-grey might be ok – have some fun mixing them up! I’d check the Nafziger Collection out for orbats etc.

     

    Thanks for the tips — but have I missed something on the Redline site as I don’t seem to be able to find the ‘How to’…

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    #4437
    Iain FullerIain Fuller
    Participant

    Bugger, it did used to be there!

    Here’s a link to some on the Pendraken site: http://www.pendrakenforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=86.0

     

     

     

     

    #4450
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    Hi Henry:

    I have come really appreciate WarPaint’s Quickshade for my 10mm and 6mm, but most all inks will work.  It’s quick and easy [the important part], pulls out all the detail and if you want to dry brush highlight, looks even better.  Blue, Brown and Dark shade is really all you need.   So a medium blue for the coat, light blue for the pants, blue Quickshade, then the flesh and details. [The Quickshade will make the blues a bit darker]  Or medium gray and Dark Shade.  Simple with ACW.

    Brown for butternut and/or flesh.  It doesn’t take much work, much Quickshade or much talent to do it.  I like the looks of the figures.

    My first miniature armies were Airfix when I still in high school.  My boys and I were still using them when they were growing up… They finally were so dried out they became really brittle.

    Bill

     

    #4451
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    Hi Henry:

    I have come really appreciate WarPaint’s Quickshade for my 10mm and 6mm, but most all inks will work.  It’s quick and easy [the important part], pulls out all the detail and if you want to dry brush highlight, looks even better.  Blue, Brown and Dark shade is really all you need.   So a medium blue for the coat, light blue for the pants, blue Quickshade, then the flesh and details. [The Quickshade will make the blues a bit darker]  Or medium gray and Dark Shade.  Simple with ACW.

    Brown for butternut and/or flesh.  It doesn’t take much work, much Quickshade or much talent to do it.  I like the looks of the figures.

    My first miniature armies were Airfix when I still in high school.  My boys and I were still using them when they were growing up… They finally were so dried out they became really brittle.  Bodies everywhere with no feet.

    Bill

     

    #4454
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Thanks McLaddie – I can see your post was so good, it appeared twice!

    Iain – I followed the link to Pendraken and stumbled across this: http://www.pendrakenforum.co.uk/index.php/topic,8587.0.html

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    #4457
    Iain FullerIain Fuller
    Participant

    That’s a good one Henry – I think I have read that guys tips somewhere before, I use the white undercoat and dark inkwash trick now and since I started using reading glasses my painting has improved no end.

     

    #4504
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    Henry:

    Actually, it’s a digital stutter I’ve had since birth…

    #4550
    General SladeGeneral Slade
    Participant

    Hi Henry,

    I’m glad to hear there are other butterflies out there flitting around. Among my many ongoing – or, more truthfully, abandoned – projects is 10mm ACW.  Here’s a few tips I gleaned from my reading at the time (it was quite cursory so I certainly wouldn’t dignify it with the name of research):

    You need to use a bit of caution with the older uniform guides, since they tend to repeat the same mistakes.  I used Philip Haythornthwaite’s ‘Uniforms of the Civil War’  (Blandford) and so the first unit I painted was the Irish Brigade, complete with green collars and cuffs, which it turns out they never had.  The next one I went for was the Louisiana Tigers in their rather fetching brown jackets, which it turns out really should be blue.

    The current thinking also seems to be that the whole ‘ragged rebs’ and Confederates in butternut thing has been a bit overdone in the past and that the supply system in the South my not have been as bad as it was once thought. I think supply was also the responsibility of the individual states so there could be variation within the army with regiments from some states being better equipped than others.

    Finally your biggest challenge is finding the correct shade of blue for union uniform trousers. Sadly they are not the  sky blue of the Britain’s toy soldiers I had as a child. Finding the correct colour is a bit like trying to find Polish crimson for Napoleonic lancers, whatever shade you opt for it will not be quite right.

    Stephen

    #4555
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    I used Philip Haythornthwaite’s ‘Uniforms of the Civil War’ (Blandford) and so the first unit I painted was the Irish Brigade, complete with green collars and cuffs, which it turns out they never had. The next one I went for was the Louisiana Tigers in their rather fetching brown jackets, which it turns out really should be blue. The current thinking also seems to be that the whole ‘ragged rebs’ and Confederates in butternut thing has been a bit overdone in the past and that the supply system in the South my not have been as bad as it was once thought.

    Dagnabbit, and there was I with my Haythornthwaite poised!

    Finally your biggest challenge is finding the correct shade of blue for union uniform trousers. Sadly they are not the sky blue of the Britain’s toy soldiers I had as a child. Finding the correct colour is a bit like trying to find Polish crimson for Napoleonic lancers, whatever shade you opt for it will not be quite right. 

    Ah, to think of all those tins of Humbrol Sky Blue I got through as a young lad… Yes, even I’ve noticed that the shade of blue required doesn’t seem to come out of any paint pot I’ve seen. Time to do some old-fashioned mixing, perhaps. Does this mean I should throw away the Humbrol Polish Crimson as well…?  

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    #4564
    General SladeGeneral Slade
    Participant

    Does this mean I should throw away the Humbrol Polish Crimson as well…?

    No, guard it with your life.  That stuff is like gold dust.

     

    #4565
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Is there really a correct colour when it comes to uniforms, weather and wear took its toll on dyes. British scarlet could be reduced to pink and almost white after a lengthy service in  India. The last time I painted ACW trousers I  took the colour from the uniforms in Gettysburg. Disregarding the main actors uniforms I looked to the extras as these guys are re-enactors they wear their uniforms on a regular basis and they are subject to the stress of wear and tear as the originals. The last colours I tried were Citidel’s Fenris grey as a base with Alaitoc blue as mid tone, with varying amounts of white for the highlight dry brush.

    #4567
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    Cape Cod blue

    Here in the Colonies you can get a Delta acrylic ‘Cape Cod Blue’ in most craft and art stores in small bottles that is a perfect shade for trousers with the addition of a little white.

    http://www.amazon.com/Plaid-Delta-2133-Ceramcoat-Acrylic/dp/B001B2QZLY

     

    While all contractors were given the same color specifications for uniforms in the North, contracts always did go to the lowest bidder, so the stories of color fade, poor matches and materials that simply fell apart were common.  In the South it could be different by state, [or England] let alone by contractor.  Mass production can be a bitch. I noticed that uniform coats [regardless of style] at the beginning of the war had eight to twelve buttons up the front.  By 1863 they were down to four on the sack coat.

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by McLaddieMcLaddie.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by McLaddieMcLaddie.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by McLaddieMcLaddie.
    #6126
    bobmbobm
    Participant

    For Union trousers I use the Foundry Colour sold for Napoleonic Prussian gun carriages.  For my uniform sources I use Don Troiani’s art books….he’s more obsessive than any wargamer and the books are attractive additions to the bookshelf.  Mort Kunstler’s Gettysburg book is good too (even if his name is a pun).

    There's 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.....

    #6130
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Some great advice there, gents, thank you! 

    Tim, what are Fenris Grey and Alaitoc Blue in ‘old money’? (Don’t you just hate the way they keep changing paint names?) I still have quite a few old Citadel colours sitting around.

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    #6131
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    McLaddie – thanks for the swatch, that looks pretty good.

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    #7189
    armchairgeneralarmchairgeneral
    Participant

    Foundry actually do a colour called Union Trouser Blue. Can’t you just use that or is that too obvious?

    1863 Eastern Theatre mid period so your Order of Battle will be to Gettysburg? For the Union, the Iron Brigade is a must. I would be tempted to do work through the Union 1st Corps though if I was doing 10mm.

    #7222
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Foundry actually do a colour called Union Trouser Blue. Can’t you just use that or is that too obvious? 1863 Eastern Theatre mid period so your Order of Battle will be to Gettysburg? For the Union, the Iron Brigade is a must. I would be tempted to do work through the Union 1st Corps though if I was doing 10mm.

    Thanks is for the tips.   Hadn’t spotted the Foundry colour.

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    #7304
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    Just FYI. The Delta color is $5.00 for six ounces.

    #7756
    John YatesJohn Yates
    Participant

    Howard Hues do a Pants Blue which I use and quite  like…very grey blue, they also do a Butternut Brown which after a sepia ink wash looks just the job.

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    #21458
    Mark Strachan
    Participant

    Henry

    I think the rules you refer to in the first paragraph of the original post, were by the Confederate High Command, published by Skytrex in 1974. The authors were B. Chalkley, R.G. White and D.A. Chandler. I still have a copy. They were revolutionary at the time, but far too complicated for more than three or four regiments a side.

    Mark

    #21555
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Oooh, thank you Mark, I’ll look into that. Complicated or not, as a teenager, we played the most enormous battles with them, thirty units a side in the days when I liked my tables to be heaving with units! 

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    #21557
    Thaddeus BlanchetteThaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Dear Henry,

    Although the Confederacy suffered greatly from supply problems, in 1863 new uniforms were still getting through to troops, especially from the richer and more proximate states like Virginia and the Carolinas. There were also many Confederate troops using Union gear captured in 1862, particularly pants.

    What I do is the popsicle stick method.

    I line out a row of soldiers on each of a dozen popsicle sticks and paint all the figures in each stick identically, but each stick having a different paint scheme.

    So stick one will be regulation grey confederate uniforms with kepis. Sticks two and three regulation grey with slouch hats. Four through nine will be two sticks of kepis and four of slouch hats.  They will be base painted one shade of tan and then washed and dry-brushed differently to get varying shades of butternut. Stick ten are guys with slouch hats and red battle shirts (I sometimes throw a green or blue shirt in here as well). Stick eleven will be butternut with blue kepis. Stick twelve will be grey with blue kepis and maybe the occasional red kepi.

    Then the figs will all be based in a misture, although with some regiments getting more or less slouch hats/kepis or grey/butternut to make them stand out.

    Occasionally, I will do a picture-perfect regulation uniform regiment to represent newly raised or re-equipped troops.

    I do the same thing with Union troops, too, but with different blue washes and slouch hats, western hats and kepis at a ratio of 2:1:4. I paint more picture perfect regiments for the Union. Zouaves and special regiments are done seperately for both sides as a “treat” after mass painting the rank and file.

    The key here is to mix up you regiments and make them look ragged, without making them look completely ununiform.

    You can easily use this technique with miracle dip, which is what I’d do if going for mass, quickly. In this case, vary the base paint so that the dip creates different tones.

     

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    #21559
    Norm SNorm S
    Participant

    Inks can certainly change the tones of colours applied – and Union light blue trousers are no exception to darkening after the ink wash has gone on.

    Here is a `YouTube link to fast painting Pendraken 10mm ACW – LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFeVol586k

    that link is just for your interest as I follow a different path with mine (which are gamer standard only)

    Undercoat black, dry brush white, block paint, coat with satin varnish so the ink does not stick to the acrylic, apply ink all over, touch up with some highlights if the ink has been too heavy handed, coat with mat varnish and base. I think inks work better on bigger figures and that smaller figures probably need more thought given to having small areas of high contrast, so things pop. …… that’s the theory anyway, but mine just look OK rather than good, so all that may be just a load of tosh 🙂

    EDIT – here are some Kallistra ACW that have just come off my painting table LINK – http://commanders.simdif.com/video-links.html

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Norm SNorm S.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Norm SNorm S.
    #21626
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Brilliant – thanks Thaddeus and Norm! 🙂

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