Thursday 31 December 2020

2020 Review Time


 Well here we are again for the annual review.

 It's been a pretty involving one; the Dixon Confederate army has taken up a large percentage of this years' efforts, kicking off last January but not actually blogging anything until February; the second infantry unit and an artillery base.

 March and April saw more of the same with some Confederate cavalry, General Longstreet and a third infantry unit before I decided on giving the ACW a bit of a well earned break.

I wouldn't blog again until the July as I spent time trying out bits and pieces, planning a Tilean Mercenary army which took a bit of time. I did manage a few random empire figures but didn't end up blogging any of them.

 So by July I had organised enough and made a significant start on the Tileans with work on a mercenary halberdier unit and also a number of pikemen.

 It was all coming along nicely until I began to struggle with finding uniform colour schemes that I was happy with and wasted about a month trying things with unsatisfactory results. Enough was enough and I needed to put the brakes on the whole idea for now until I was able to find some colours that I was going to be happy with (however long that was going to take!).

 So the last three months were spent back with the Confederates with another artillery piece, a fourth infantry unit and two more command bases of Generals John Bell Hood and Robert E. Lee.

 I did manage to sneak in a Slaanesh Champion for the Scale Creep Champsgiving challenge....

....before rounding things off with a group shot on my Confederate army. 

 I had planned quite a bit over the Christmas holidays but illness totally put paid to that. So regarding 2021, I've no plans as yet, I think it's time for another break from the ACW. I'd like to think this coming year has a diorama or vignette in the offering - let's face it, one of them from me is overdue.

Thursday 24 December 2020

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - Confederate Army group shot


 After getting to a substantial stage with my Dixon Confederate army, I thought it was high time to post up a group shot so here it is so far.


  To be honest, I had never planned for anything this size. Initially I bought about 10 figures on a whim just to have a mess around with. Little did I know I'd end up becoming obsessed with this somewhat quirky range of miniatures. Despite not being to everyone's taste, they are brimming with character and authenticity. I just love the little guys!

General Robert E. Lee

I had to carry out about half a dozen head swaps to avoid duplication thus making every man in the army different. There are another six infantry units still to come and at least one more artillery base and a limber team but it's cavalry that I certainly need to build on next.

General James Longstreet 

General John Bell Hood 

2nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
8th Virginia Infantry 

3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment

28th North Carolina Infantry

JEB Stuart's Cavalry 

10 Pound Parrot Rifle & Napoleon Gun

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - General Robert E. Lee

 So I've finally got around to finishing off what will be the centrepiece of my Confederate army, the command base of General Robert E. Lee. I had initially started it back around May or sometime around then before having a break from the whole Civil War thing.

 The figure of Lee from the Dixon range has a great deal of charm and was nice to paint up. There are a number of nice officer figures by Dixon which were well suited to what I wanted to achieve here. I think this is probably the first grey horse I can recall painting actually, which is Traveller of course. 

General Robert E. Lee with staff. Second from left is aide Walter H. Taylor. 

 Ever loyal to his beloved Virginia, it goes without saying that Lee was one of history's greatest military commanders. 

 A top graduate from West Point, Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia from June 1862 following the wounding of General Joseph E. Johnston up until the war's end three years later. He was successful in repelling the Army of the Potomac away from Richmond during the Battles of the Seven Days followed by success at Second Manassas.

 Lee's two most notable victories were at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, overcoming enormous odds against superior numbers with tactical mastery. After another invasion of the north, Lee was decisively beaten at Gettysburg, coming under fierce criticism for the doomed frontal assault on the Union centre, Pickett's Charge. 

 The following year there were inconclusive battles for Lee at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania before the siege of Petersburg. By the time of the capture of Richmond in 1865, Lee's army was a shadow of its former self and surrender was inevitable. 

 After the war, Lee became President of Washington College in Virginia before passing in 1870.

 I've a couple of infantry to round an 18 man unit up to 20 and then I shall organise a group shot of the army so far which I'll aim to post up at the weekend.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - General John Bell Hood


 So up next, as planned, is the command base for my Texan Brigade, featuring its commander General John Bell Hood. I had to sculpt the extra long beard with green stuff as the model was sporting fairly modest facial hair that was insufficient to replicate Hood's. Dixon Miniatures feature a couple of nice models waving hats/kepi which I've put to good use here, cheering on their beloved commander.

 Arguably one of the best brigade and division commanders in the Confederacy, John Bell Hood was renowned for his bravery and aggression but was prone to recklessness. He was assigned to the Texan Brigade in February 1862, being promoted to Brigadier General the following month. He and his brigade performed well during the 7 Days Battles and featured prominently at Antietam later on in the year.

 The following year at Gettysburg, his arm was severely injured as the result of an exploding artillery shell overhead. Avoiding amputation, it was though, rendered permanently useless. Severely wounded again, this time at the Battle of Chickamauga, Hood suffered a fractured femur resulting in his leg being amputated four inches below the hip(!). The surgeon sent the severed leg with Hood in the ambulance assuming he'd want to be buried with it. Against all odds, Hood survived.

 Now needing to be strapped to his horse, Hood's reputation was marred during the latter period of the war with notable disasters such as the Battle of Franklin. Working as a cotton broker in Louisiana after the war, he died of yellow fever at the age of 48 in the epidemic of New Orleans in 1879.

 So the plan is to continue with the Texan Brigade (most likely the 5th Texas infantry) and mix it up with getting my Genreal Lee command base finished which has been half done and left on the desk for some months. Getting Hood's base wrapped up has given me the momentum to follow suit with the main man's.

Sunday 1 November 2020

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - 3rd Arkansas Infantry

 I've been continuing with my Confederate army and the plan is to create an infantry unit from each of the regiments that made up The Texan Brigade under the command of General John Bell Hood. Up first is the 3rd Arkansas. 

 This was the most celebrated regiment from Arkansas, being the only one from the state to feature in the entire war in the Eastern Theatre. Initially commanded by Colonel Albert Rust and then later by Colonel Van H Manning who had co formed the regiment, the 3rd would go onto be one of the most distinguished and respected Confederate regiments of the war. In November 1862 they were assigned to Hood's Texan Brigade joining the 1st, 4th and 5th Texas infantry regiments. 

 Their most notable action was arguably at Gettysburg, at the Devil's Den where they sustained heavy casualties due to being placed in the front of Hood's assault.


 After the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on the 9th of April 1865, of the 1,353 mustered into the regiment back in 1861, only 144 men remained. 


I was glad to finally wrap these guys up having taken me just over a month from start to finish. With every trooper body being the same (save for the knapsack worn by some), it was getting a little monotonous. At least all my other regiments on the to do list will show more variation. 

 Up next will be John Bell Hood's command base which I aim to have done in a couple of weeks so keep an eye out for that.

Monday 14 September 2020

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - Confederate 12 Pound Napoleon Gun


 Well it's been slow going with the Tilean mercenaries over the last few weeks and while I'm trying to pick away at the halberdiers, I've struggled with the other units due to unsuccessful uniform colour schemes resulting in several figures being abandoned or stripped. So I've taken some time out for the sake of my sanity.

 Meantime I've decided to tackle some more of my Confederate army and have produced a second cannon base, this time a 12 pound Napoleon gun, using Dixon Miniatures as usual.

 Named after Napoleon III of France, it was the most popular smoothbore cannon used in the Civil War, widely admired for its safety and reliability. Union gun crews were the first to use the Napoleon but the Confederates soon replicated its versatile design for their own use and had around 600 in total throughout.

 Due to the gun's effectiveness, General Lee had nearly all 6 pounders from the Army of Northern Virginia sent to the Tredegar Ironworks in to be melted down and recast as 12 pounders.

The Napoleon lined up alongside a Parrot Rifle

 Copper became increasingly scarce for the Confederacy, due to the Ducktown copper mines near Chattanooga, Tennessee being siezed by federal troops, thus causing the casting of bronze to cease. Therefore, Tredegar would cast later models of the Napoleon in iron.

 I've also painted a couple of infantry to round my original unit off to twenty.


 I've plans for another infantry unit plus one or two other bits and pieces. Sorry if you were expecting more Tilean Mercenary updates; they will appear, it'll just have to wait till I'm good and ready.