Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hussar problem solved

I mentioned that while I was up at the Wargames Holiday Centre I was hoping to make a few purchases. Well,I did indeed, and here are a few pics of some of them. Mike has been selling off quite a few units this year in order to "slim down" the collection (for example, having nearly 180 x 36 man French btns seemed a bit OTT), and I hoped to buy a few units I'd always really liked. High on the list were these 2 regts of Austrian Hussars, 1 of 36 men and another of 48 (Wish they were both 48's).
One of the problems I've always had with the Austrian army is the hussar uniform. Now I know they invented the things, but I've always thought the Austrian hussar uniform looked more at home in Billy Smart's Circus than on a battlefield. All that purulent bright green, stupid red trousers, and yellow plumes...Give them some long, floppy shoes rather than hussar boots and they would have looked better.
Subsequently I've never had any great desire to paint any. So from years ago when I first saw these rather more subdued paint jobs they always appealed. They are all wearing overalls and the green is (a more realistic) darker shade.  Despite this they are still suitably gaudy enough for hussars, with their red shabraques with yellow piping and either bright or dark blue dolmans.
They are (naturally) the Elite miniatures castings, painted and converted by Doug Mason. All the sabres are pins soldered into the hand and are very tough. Even after many years of service up in Scarborough I only had to replace 3 swords out of 84. Doug has done plenty of bends and twists to these figures. There are only 4 basic figures here, officer, trumpeter and 2 trooper figures, and he really has imparted an incredible sense of movement to the models which really look the part of hussars at full tilt

I just did a minimal amount of work on the bases to blend them with my standard basing. Just an oilwash and highlight then some grass clumps added. I also gave them a quick new coat of gloss. I had contemplated giving them a matt coat, but they look infinitely better in their original gloss glory. I'm developing a bit of a theory about gloss V matt: Gloss varnish isn't terribly fashionable these days which is actually a bit wierd. There is no debate about it bringing out the colour and establishing a visual contrast between the figure and its base, this is simply optical fact. Nonetheless, a lot of folk "prefer" matt these days. Anyway, my theory is, that gloss varnish makes well painted figures look even better and badly painted figures look even worse, while matt varnish just dulls everything down to a more median uniformity (no pun inteneded). So for Mr Average painter (like me, and most of you) we think our stuff looks better when we matt varnish it, because gloss just shows up all the cock-ups, while matt is more....forgiving.
Anyway, thats my theory.

These figures were painted by someone who really knew what he was doing, and it shows up even better in the flesh than through the lens of my rather inadequate camera.

These weren't the only figures I bought from Mike, there are more (I just kept peeling off the tenners until he said stop) but the rest will have to wait for another time.

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TonyD said...

Hi Chris
Tony Dillon here. The Austrian Hussars should be an excellent addition to your collection. My views regarding the uniforms is similar to your own which probably accounts for the fact that I don't have any hussars in my Austrain army but strangely 2 regiments of Uhlans!
Hope they fight as well as they look.

john de terre neuve said...


You should judge yourself very lucky to buy such great looking painted figures, and have a selection as well. I am quite envious.


Noel said...

Oddly enough I seem to have been having similar thoughts regarding gloss varnish of late and have just used gloss for the first time on a sample skirmish screen that I painted the other day. I'm still not certain about the result but I might also try it on the horse battery I'm painting at the moment.


Doc Smith said...

After seeing this lot Chris I can see why you've been able to resist the Perrys! What a collection. They're going to be a great addition to your fine Austrian army - we'll look forward to seeing them in action at the next garage stoush!

I know what you and Noel are getting at re gloss vs a matt finish. Just have a look at Phil Ollie's latest blog - his SYW-type figures look fantastic. Funnily enough the painter dip gives a glossy finish too which I'm sure you could leave rather than put a coat of matt varnish over it. I dunno - I think its a case of doing 'em all in one finish or the other - but gloss can look really effective, particularly with colourful uniforms.


Chris Cornwell said...

The Austrians will be getting their first proper outing this coming sunday up in Cambridge, so I will probably have a report next week. Looking forwards to it!

Peeler said...

That looks a really good & useful addition to your collection. Nice comments on the Gloss, heading the same way myself.

guy said...

Really like these figures. To create such good looking units out of a basic 4 figures shows the mans bottom line talent. How do they shape up to the Alban hussar figures which you mentioned previously.


warpaintjj said...

So what else did you buy in August 2010? Still keen to hear...