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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Portable Wargame - Raising Forces

The Portable Wargame recently released by Bob Cordery has inspired me to look at how I manage my own wargames.

http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-portable-wargame-book-is-now.html

If you are new to wargaming and do not know quite how to proceed or maybe you are a grizzled veteran looking for a change in focus to get away from making significant efforts to get a game together.

I have decided to investigate the Portable Wargame and look for an entry strategy with minimal effort in an attempt to get started.

The first thing you might want to consider is troops.

OK, troops, tiny tin men, how many do I need and what size should they be? Will they be difficult to paint?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer here but I have made my choices and here they are.

I decided to go for the wars of Marlborough (famous General right?) and you get to take a poke at some French (traditional enemies right?) but mainly that uniforms in this period are relatively simple.

I bought a blister pack of Pendraken Marburlian French, £31 retail but £30 on the day at a show. This pack will give you 15 cavalry figures (maybe not enough), 150 infantry figures (probably too many) and a couple of guns with crew (probably OK).


I chose Pendraken as their figures are 10mm. Just a nice size to handle and paint, a bit of detail but not too much, remember we want to get up and going as soon as we can.

I could have gone for 6mm but many think they are just a bit too small. I think they are OK but not for this game.

I could have gone for 15mm but they will add a level of detail which we are trying to avoid at the moment.

OK back to the task in hand. I expect to have about 8 units per side in the Portable Wargame so I think that 6 units of infantry would be about right to start with.

I hope to have about 8 figures per unit so selected 48 figures from the pack, all the same pose with no officers etc.


I chose the shouldered arms marching pose just because I like it. The bases needed a little bit of a clean up otherwise they won't stand properly. This took but a few minutes.

Here is one of them in a close up.


I mounted all 48 figures on painting sticks with little blobs of blu-tac.


Now, this army is going to an imaginary army based on the French. I will call them 'les blancs' for the time being.

Using acrylic paint and a well worn number 3 brush paint the entire figure white except the top of the head and the base.


Switching to a number 1 brush paint the tricorn and the back of the head black. Don't go lower than the jacket collar.


Paint the base green (or whatever colour matches your tabletop). Paint carefully around the feet.


Paint the face a flesh colour.


Paint the jacket cuffs blue. This may overpaint the hands and the musket but that's alright.


Paint the shoulder strap a buff colour. Paint the haversack and scabbard too.


Paint the musket brown. This may overpaint the hands.


Paint the hands a flesh colour.


Now, if you are a painter like me go back and correct all the little mistakes that you made. Don't be too fussy.

Make up a solution of 1 part water and 1 part soft tone ink wash. Using your number 3 brush paint this over the entire figure.

Set aside to dry.

They should look like this.


I did all this painting in about 5 hours from start to finish so if you are time constrained you could nibble away at this, say one hour a day or maybe a bit quicker at 2-3 hours a day. In other words they won't take long to do.

This painting style cuts some corners, for several reasons. The tricorn is black and the hair is black saving a bit of time. There is no lace on the tricorn. This take times to get right and we don't have time.

The ink wash will enhance fine details on the casting, this is OK, it saves more time.

The next post will have a look at basing your figures and also what other figures will you need. Some cavalry and some guns, what about command, and, what about opponents.