Sunday, January 4, 2009

Painting Plans for 2009

Minden Miniatures SYW Prussian Artillery and Berlin Zinnfigure 12-pounder painted by Ioannis. There will be a fair number of these figures joining my army in 2009.

Happy New Year everyone - I am looking forward to a fresh, new and exciting 2009. As befits the beginning of a year, one's thoughts turn to the various wargaming projects that are on the table. So this is a good time to start planning for the new forces that will get painted over the next twelve months.

But before I get started, I want to mention how terrific the Minden Miniatures Prussian artillery crew is, as shown in the picture above. Thanks to Ioannis for allowing me to borrow some of his pictures to use on this site. You can find a link to the Leuthen Journal in my list of favorite links, on the left hand side of this page. I also like the bold blue colors that Ioannis uses on his Prussian artillery carriages. It really makes the model stand out on the table. I will have borrow this concept when I paint my own gun models. (you ought to see the Austrian gun carriages that Ioannis has painted, as shown on his web site - excellent stuff!)

Based on last year's painting production of approximately 800 figures, I can probably plan on being able to paint, on average, one battalion of 60 infantry figures or four squadrons of 12 cavalry figures in any given month. Some months will be higher and some will be lower, no doubt, but experience tells me that 60I/48C is fairly accurate for planning purposes.

Drawing Up A Plan
The first order of business is to get a pad of paper and a pen and start writing down the names and types of the units that you want to paint in 2009. This provides one with a sort of inventory of wargame units that you have backed up on the docket. For example, I would sort the units by historical period and country, so I would make a list of all of the SYW Austrians that I would like to add to my army for the year. Then I do the same thing for the Prussians, British, Jacobites and the new Hesse Seewald army that I have planned. I also do the same thing for my 1806 French and Prussians.

My total SYW "wants" list tallies 1,210 figures while my Napoleonic "wants" list tallies 590 figures, for a grand total of 1,800 figures. A little bit of simple math tells me that if I paint 60 figures per month, that I am looking at a backlog of 30 months worth of painting projects to work on. Or to put it another way, that is two-and-a-half years of painting on the horizon! Clearly this will not all be accomplished during 2009. It also does not take into account any distractions into new historical periods (Sudan or NW Frontier figures) or any other figures that might strike my fancy.

A Workable Monthly Plan
The list of 1,800 figures to paint is daunting, but at the same time, it provides me with a lot of variety to choose from with a nice mix of infantry, cavalry, SYW and Napoleonics. Unless I am painting Prussians, of which I never tire of painting, I can do some SYW Austrian infantry one month, then cavalry the next month, then switch over to some Napoleonics, then back to SYW, and so forth.

Since my highest priority is to build up my SYW Austrian army, those units will go to the top of the que beginning this month. So January 2009 is Austrian Month.

January Plan

2 sqds of 12 Esterhazy Hussars (Austrian) - Crusader Figures
1 btn of 60 Austrian infantry regiment Andlau - Minden Miniatures

(remember, I am trying to be realistic here - I had a head start on the hussars and nearly have a squadron painted, but they don't count in the final tally until the month they are completed)

February Plan
1 sqd of 12 Austrian Horse Grenadiers - Crusader Figures
1 sqd of 12 Austrian de Ligne Dragoons - Crusader Figures
1 btn of 60 Austrian infantry regiment Luzan - Minden Miniatures

(this phase of the Austrian buildup will now be over, having added 2 btns of infantry and 4 sqds of cavalry since the first of the year. I will be ready to try something different now)

March Plan
1806 Project: French 1er regt de Chasseurs a Cheval - "old" Elite Miniatures (34 figures)

(note that I am not planning any other units for this month, because I know that preparation for the SYW Association convention and Spring Break will consume much of my time)

April Plan
OK, I know that I will be dying to start on my Minden Miniatures Hesse Seewald army, with the Prussian figures. In fact, it is likely that I might slip a 50 figure regiment into the painting que earlier than April, but this is only a plan and things can change.

1 btn of Hesse Seewald Infantry (50 figures) - Minden Prussians
4 sections of artillery for HS (20 figures) - Minden Prussians

May Plan
1 x 72 btn of 1806 French line infantry

(it is time to get the 1806 project going again)

June Plan
1 x 60 Prussian 1806 btn - Elite Miniatures

or 1 x 48 1806 Bayreuth Dragoons - Imperialist Miniatures

(I'm not going to present plans for the second half of the year just yet. I want to see how the first half turns out; however, the above list demonstrates how I plan things out)
I think that you get the general idea of how the planning process works. It starts by making a realistic assumption of what you think that you can paint in any given month. There is no point in me planning on 120 infantry in a month when history tells me that this is far above my average production. You can change your plans from month to month, and you probably will too. The point is, that the planning process gives you a realistic idea of what you can expect to add to your army lists for 2009.

Austrian Update
I am currently working on some Crusader Austrian hussars for the SYW. I have to say that I do not enjoy painting these figures due to the excrutiating amount of lace and detail that is sculpted onto the figure. If the detail is there, I sort of feel an obligation to paint it. I am almost done with the first squadron of 12 figures and expect to post pictures by the end of the week. Concurrently, I am working on a batch of thirty Minden Austrians. When the hussars demoralize me, then I switch over to the infantry for awhile for a nice change of pace. In general though, I do not enjoy painting Austrian infantry. I find the mass of white a bit boring and I'm never satisfied with the way that they turn out. I leave too much of the black undercoating showing through. This is something that I need to work on.


  1. Jim, thanks for highlighting my painting through the pages of your exquisite blog!

    I find the best way to get done with the braid of the hussars, any hussars, is to dry-brush it and then wash over it to hide the harsh dry-brush treatment. You have to do this before painting the rest of the figure so that you can then overpaint any ovelaps!

    As for Austrian white, you're right, in that a black undercoat makes the finished figure look wrong. I have found that starting with a medium gray as a primer, the finished product looks smoother and much cleaner. Also, when you mix your gray, make sure it is just white and black, without any brown. Some ready-made grays contain brown to soften the effect, but this gives a dirty outlook to white-coated infantry...I would start with a 50:50 white/black mix for my shade and then adding another 50% white to the mix with the final layer being pure white...

  2. Jim
    I am awe struck by your organised plans for 09. I look forward to accompanying you upon the journey...
    best wishes

  3. Jim,

    One of my favorite quotes comes from a yacht racing friend:

    "A plan gives you something to deviate from."

    I know that Frank is planning on having his mounted Minden figures available soon (Richard's schedule allowing) . . . and those might well dictate some deviation . . . expecially from the Nappies.

    Have a great New Year!

    -- Jeff

  4. I second whole heartedly what you say about painting hussars. My batch have taken me ages although now I am nearing the end all the hours spent really are coming together. The effort has been worthwhile. I have 2 squadrons each of the 5th and the 7th in their rich yellow jackets and for the Austrians I have 2 squadrons of the Esterhazy and two of Baranyay. Regretfully it is back to the office tomorrow so progress will slow down again.

    Once they are finished for a change I am returning to the Peninsula where I have a regiment of British light dragoons waiting with their splendid tarleton helmets. These have been in my lead pile for some years and deserve to see the light of day.

    Can't plan beyond that!


  5. For years now I have kept a combined stock list and painting schedule as an excel spreadsheet and it has been invaluable for forward planning. In addition it's easy to change when my mood shift. However it does flag up the size of my backlog by period/army.

    The important thing is that painting is part of the hobby and no plan or schedule should take away the pleasure of painting or act as a disincentive.

    Good luck with your 2009 plans, I'm looking forward to seeing the results


  6. Nice entry, I will have to start a plan for 2009. I manage projects for a living, never thought of brining in those skills to the hobby. thanks again for the idea.

  7. Nice to hear other people also suffer from the winter impulse to plan ahead and/or take on other projects simultaneously.

  8. That artillery will look stunning. I have been thinking about trying the Berliner cannon, or possibly using the Calpe cannon to stand in for SYW Prussian light pieces.
    I look forwards to seeing your army grow. -- Luke

  9. Nice to see someone so organised with a paiting/puchase plan. I have more of an outline scheme which is a tick box list of proposed units for all my wargame periods.

    I use a mid-grey for undercoating white uniformed troops - this seems to avoid too much 'shadow' from darker undercoats.

    -- Allan

  10. I can almost hear the roar of shot leaving the mouth of the gun! EEEEHAH!


  11. I would really like to know how you produce so many good figures so quickly. My life and job only allows me to produce about 24 infantry or 16 cavalry a month (not helped by enforced absences of six months at a time). How many do you paint at a time and what method do you prefer? (I'm a black undercoating two-toner.)

  12. Jim,

    Wonderful stuff as usual. I would endorse Ioannis's plan of using a grey undercoat for the Austrians.

    I in fact use the Foundry Granite Light as an undercoat for mine and it works very well and doesn't entail having to mix black and white.

    As usual I will be following your blog agin this year and look forward to seeing all the forcoming painting that I know you will do.

    I only wish I was as organised as you are, but I'm not, so I'll have to live with it :-)

    With some new Prussian and Austrian Curassiers coming out this month, I will test your resolve not to deviate I hope :-)

    All the best as always,