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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Preparing for an anniversary

In just over a week it will be 200 years since the USA declared war on Canada, and Britain, trying, once more, to force Canadians into the USA. But the Canadians - British, French and Native - yet again fought off their more numerous, aggressive and self-righteous neighbours, just as they had in 1775-6. The War of 1812 is unjustly neglected, and it boasts many interesting features, not least the role that US born Canadians played in defending their new homeland against the invaders, and the fighting spirit of French Canadians under the British flag. For the US, it was meant to be (as for many over-confident jingoists of all nations and all periods of history) merely a stroll in the woods. But that was far from the case.

Enough of the history, here are the toys:

These are the first flat figures I have painted since 1985, and it wasn't easy. In fact, it is a case of 'must try harder'. They are Berliner Zinnfiguren Peninsular War chaps painted as Lower Canada Select Embodied Militia, hence the dark blue trousers. Then, as now (in fact, definitely as now in the UK), the government thought that it could scrimp on support services, even when fighting a war. Plus ca change...

Thinking about why I found these chaps hard to paint, I realised that the fine detail is so fine that it quickly becomes obscured by even very thin layers of paint, making the detail hard to identify towards the end of the process. Further, that magic of the wash just doesn't work as it does on the fully round figure. Some people certainly know how to do these figures, see, for example, Corporal Trim, but I have much to learn.

Finally, after a smokeless week, I was pleased to find that the post lady had delivered a new smoke this morning. Aaaaaah.


  1. A splendid effort at the flats sir! Another step forward towards mastering these tricky fellows.I too am in awe of those who paint flats- an arcane yet wonderful science I think...

    1. My thanks! Yes, they are fiendishly difficult to get right. I am going to have to peer closely at flats done by experts.

  2. Not a period I know much about, so worth looking into. Good painting on the flats too.

    1. Well, a good-ish start. There is an Osprey Campaign on the War of 1812, and that doyenne of all things North American, Rene Chartrand, is worth looking out for.