Last August I had a dreadful wargaming/model soldier experience. I had engaged in an agreement for someone to produce some figures. It was fully funded and the figures (are) were awesome.

Then an unexpected change of fortune – and my family were left without a financial safety net. The only decision I could take was to let the other party down. I am deeply ashamed at that, even though it was the only course of action I could take.

The experience has left me quite shocked and discomforted and my partner in the venture did not deserve this (neither did I to be fair) and I have been through quite a bit of soul searching as to whether my hobby of more than 35 years was actually giving me anything any more.

I only picked up a paint brush again in April 2016.

With great irony, it was to paint some of those ubiquitous multi part plastic figures which I hate with a passion and World War Two, which I am not sure is a viable area for gaming, being both impossible ‘model’ as a tabletop experience and having two morally compromised opponents which need to be included in any game (three, I suppose, if you include the Russians) I wonder if anyone else struggles with the morality of it all?


Late war British –

I did a 30 infantry on single bases. but didn’t take photographs as they are quite dull. and some larger bases as below



Vickers MMG


Forward Artillery observer


Forward Air Controller



and yes he is in an allotment! there are cabbages and some onions in there which gave me an idea for an element on this base

Command stand






Notice the trooper holding ‘tea’. And the two Huns. I imagined the British officer holding them at gun point as having no concern at all about the rules of war.

There is an abandoned German lmg position on there as well.

Basing is from all sorts of sources  with etched brass trees.

And two Tanks

Churchill Croc

yewdall churchILL 4



yewdall churchILL 3

AND finally a Sherman Firefly






The burlap cammo was done using a gauze bandage soaked in old tea and coffee grounds to colour it. Then in a mixture of water, acrylic flow improver and white glue to give it a little bit of stiffness – don’t skip this step. it makes the modelling bit so much easier. then cut this into scale size strips portions (whats the biggest piece a crew of 28mm tankies could handle sort of approach). and fix strategically around the tank.

The cloth strips are, well…cloth strips. Its called bias binding and its available from all good haberdashers. I used three colours brown, green and a beige. Its fragile stuff and once again the old water /flow improver /glue mixture is brought into play to give it some stiffness and stop it disintegrating. This is the cut into tiny tiny strips and glued one at a time onto the netting. Start at the bottom and make clumps of same coloured binding leaving small gaps between clumps.work your way around the tank. When you have a ‘row’ paint the clumps of strips in the old glue mixture. Then using the colour of the binding as a guide paint the clumps. (I used chocolate brown, Russian uniform, and English uniform)

Then repeat for another ‘row’ once its all on. I gave a wash of burnt umbar oil paint and then (does the process never end?) painted a variety of differences in colour on individual strips. Finally I made some twiggy- foamy things to act as foliage and glued on here and there.

One problem that never occurred to me when I started though. Underneath all the netting and stuff I had carefully made quite a bit of track armour especially on the Firefly which is now covered over. When the model is in you hand , you can see it and you can see the detail behind the netting, but the extra detail is sort of lost in photographs.

I guess that all means I am back.

I am doing some more Berg Light Horse as a commission. and after that who knows?

In a few days I will post some pics of Jerries that just happened to be painted at the same time as the Brits.




Those nice men from Berg, and other stories.

Finally finished the Berg light horseIMG_8703_edited-1IMG_8692_edited-1IMG_8705_edited-1Once again technology has the better of me the photographs really are crap and really they are quite bright and breezy. They have turned out very nice. I think it is the combination of green and grey and then that pink that the French were so fond of.

They took some work. Originally they were Vistula Uhlans because the troopers and trumpeter had the sheepskin saddle coverings and the officer the Polish style shabraque. Which was a big tick. The lances were removed and replaced with brass wire and the end filed down to a point. They are depicted with their pennon covers on. All czapkas were covered, and all were given a blanket roll over the right shoulder. I only had to move the trumpeters riding arm slightly to accommodate this. A piece of fine wire was wrapped over the trumpeters roll depicting the trumpet cord. The officers shabraque was cut and modelled in the fashion apparently favoured by very many light horsemen. Presumeably this stopped the ends flapping about and annoying the horse. All additions were done with a Milliput/greenstuff mix.


I have started work on Austrian generals (when in fact I still have some Russians to finish!) and here are some test shots.IMG_8701_edited-1IMG_8699_edited-1IMG_8696_edited-1IMG_8694_edited-1IMG_8698_edited-1I seem to have misplaced some. They have some out slightly darker than they actually are. The plan is to do an ‘Archduke Charles at Aspern’ model with him rallying IR Zach. Then do a few others of 1809 vintage and then move on to 1813, but I am struggling for inspiration.

I picked up a load of Minifigs waggons recently. They have stood the test of time well and only really needed new whells for them to be brought up to 18mm standard which they now have. Currently they are having extra detail slapped on. I have a plan…

Here is a bright and breezy fellow indeedIMG_8700_edited-2

Some sort of drum major – not sure which regiment. The Emperor spoiled things with his Imperial livery. Apparently, I am getting some actual drummers to go with him. Apparently!

I have really struggled with the latest batch of ‘Explosions!’ They have taken an age, and to be honest really should not have. Somehow, I had a complete panic when I had nearly completed them, and ripped them apart (how appropriate). Now rebuilt they look fine and I don’t know what the fuss was.IMG_8799_edited-1IMG_8798_edited-1IMG_8797_edited-1

I am having a bad time with 28mm at the moment. I have been trying to do Front Rank’s General Lasalle. I know FR are popular and and cannot fault the cleanliness and crispness of the casting.


Everytime I picked the man up, I was disapointed at the the lack of detail. He was famous for his flamboyant dress and yet there are no distinctions of rank on the model – nothing on his sleeves, nothing on his legs. His shabraque is completely plain with no detail and his scabbard and sabretache are straight up and down as though the man was stood completely still and yet his horse is preactically flying and so is he! It is the same with his Adc – dynamic pose and horse, but from the waist down nothing. AND the arms have come off both the Adc and the accompanying cuirrassier officer (ditto comments about his scabbard)

I  cannot sculpt for toffee, but there is something really disappointing when an artist (Front Rank) sort of only does half a job. Had more imagination been put in to match the vision it would have been an utterly outstanding model. When I started I was determined to do a good job and I am dead pleased with my painting (having said that FR sculpting style does help very much) but have got to the stage wher I have to give up. Its ‘doing my head in’ as young people say. AND no matter what I do I am never going to get a seem -less join on the AdC’s sword arm. Bin or if anyone wants him pay postage and you vcan finish the model at your own leisure.

In this mood I picked up Perry’s General Uxbridge and his light dragoon escort. They have already been through the paintstripper process once. And I thought …No! life is too short.

And I have a dark ages general dude on my table. He is fine but I cannot get his shield right. And I aint paying for decals!

So I am not in a good place as far as my own 28mm figures are.

What I have retrieved from this debacle is this little dio. But I really had to work through some dark places to get it finished. I thought only writers suffered with block…IMG_8827_edited-1IMG_8792_edited-1IMG_8789_edited-1

Thanks for listening…

The tip of the (Nice) Berg

Sorry for the pun.

I have had it in mind to convert something AB into the Light Horse Lancers of Berg for quite a while and so I picked up half a dozen Polish Uhlans for that very job. The Lancers of the Guard would not work as the troopers all had pointed shabraques, whereas the Berg Light Horse rode with light horse saddlery the same as the line chasseurs and line lancers.

The officers may have had either.

Also none of ABs lancers are dressed in  campaign dress with rolled overcoats and pictures of the Berg regiment with blanket/overcoat rolls have always caught my eye.

So 4 Vistula Uhlans, a trumpeter and an officer.

All epaulettes and fancy lace and cords were removed from all the figures

All needed Czapzka covers. Off came all the detail and a thin film of milliput and/or greenstuf applied. I tried to ‘suggest’ the folds etc in the putty but it was a difficult job. Another problem was not to increase the size of the head gear which looks fine to me though painting might reveal a horror.

More putty was used for the blanket/overcoat rolls over the right shoulder and under the riding arm with the ends over the hilt of the sword. I think that these ‘roll’s were very much more substantial as to simply be flattened by the left arm, but there is really nothing I could do short of lifting up that arm from the body for it to rest on a ‘bulkier’ overcoat. This would have caused much buggeration (sounds a lot like a certain Russian General!) so was not done. I can live with the result.

Cast lances were removed hands and lance buckets drilled out and replaced with brass rod which had had lance points cut and filed. The pennants were enclosed in the little cover, and the lance grip modelled in putty.

The trumpeter got a new trumpet cord to go over his overcoat roll.

The Officers shabraque had its rear corners removed and remodelled with them folded as would have been the case in action.


In the photo you get the idea of the areas worked on. I may have to revisit the czapzka covers and the ends of the  rolls to make sure that they are straight.

I have had a number of enquiries about explosions both as commissions and as a ‘how to’ with photo’s. I will try to remember to do this.

I think I have nailed the process of doing ‘air-burst’ explosions and am in the process of modelling an exploding tree (!) – beloved of Hollywood I know, but confirmed in eye-witness accounts. Another explosions will also feature a fence or something along that line.



Bang!… and the fusiliers are gone! (but without Barry Scott!)

Here are three versions of the same of thing more or less. I had these boys knocking around for a while whilst the inner workings (of the part of my brain that actually works) did a bit of imagineering (huh?) about how to do the explosions.

Looking at paintings of troops in battle and to a lesser extent film of explosions its quite clear that when a Napoleonic howitzer shell explodes it caused a lot of noise a great deal of smoke full of bits of soil, grass and chunks of iron – most of which seemed to miss people, and really not much else. Casualties appear to be knocked down rather than blown up into the sky.

Scary – very much, a hazard to most, but deadly to only a few. The conundrum was to model something that could clearly cause death or serious injury to the soldiers on the base, but looked fleeting or ‘wil’o’the wisp’ like – soon dissipated.

I think I have got it just about right with the skills I have.

It starts as a small ball of milliput drilled to take some small pieces of white pipe cleaner. This assembly is painted yellow with bits of black and mid grey. Once stuck to the base, with the pipe cleaners pointing in various directions I took some wool. This particular wool is actually Harris Tweed wool picked up last year. It has some lovely colours in it browns blues greens and off whites. These were glues around the base of the blast and teased out until the threads were very open and you could just see the ‘yellow’ of the explosion. Above and around this I put some stuff called Kapok which is very fine open weave cotton (actually I am not actually sure it is woven as such) Its sort of like teddy bear stuffing but much less dense. It is white or off white so I coloured it greyish in patches.Once fixed in place it was further teased out.

White glue was dotted around all over and used dried tea leaves scattered liberally over. Some catch the glue others find themselves stuck in the fibres.I tried to glue some lumps of garden earth on it took but they didn’t take.

I glued scatter and flock to paper  painted brown, and cut very small bits off this and glued these on to the smoke to simulate disturbed clods.


The kicker is to work out how to do this in 18mm scale!!! and the pics together with some recently completed sacrifices to eBay.IMG_7791_edited-1IMG_7790_edited-1IMG_7788_edited-1IMG_7787_edited-1IMG_7786_edited-1IMG_7785_edited-2

Some French AdC’s IMG_7798_edited-1IMG_7795_edited-1IMG_7794_edited-1


Oh Happy days! – A blast from the past and its awesome!

A long time ago, in the early 80’s my wargaming life changed completely. At the time, I, along with most other gamers it seemed, was locked into WRG style rules. We were all masochists back then. We knew they were crap and badly written, the cause of arguments that could spoil a Sunday afternoon and they created an arms race every bit as financially draining as the Cold War.

Moreover, we could not stop inflicting these horrors on ourselves week after week.

Then at Sheffield Triples 1981, our poor sinner’s lives were illuminated by the golden rays of ‘Empire’ by Bowden and Getz.

I hadn’t taken too much notice of Napoleonic’s until that point. I had always been bowled over by the sight of Richard Lawrence’s immense Napoleonic collection, but trying to ‘game’ those wars didn’t work for me at all.

And then…

Suddenly I was in a gaming heaven. Stuff I had read about in Chandler or Petre or Lachouque could actually be reproduced with toy soldiers. Richard and I sold our souls, and our ancients and renaissance figures, and poured gold into 15mm Napoleonics.

Alongside of this was the requirement for more knowledge and at the forefront of this was a strange little magazine from the U.S. – Empires Eagles and Lions, written by the New Jersey Association of War gamers. Guys just like us!

These fellows didn’t use Empire, and perhaps didn’t even like it, but their little magazine was chock full of inspiration and information. Every other month or so we waited eagerly for EEL to come from the States (via Caliver Books?). It always had a good mix of information that we couldn’t just get hold of: – and these people were in New Jersey for Pete’s sake! It was full of humour, uniform information and genuinely entertaining battle game reports.

I think we were quite jealous that this small crew could produce so much. Our gaming group at the time consisted of three people who actually bought books on the period and half a dozen that were happy simply to turn up on a Sunday to have a laugh and a good game.

I used to daydream that one day everyone at our group would develop a deep interest in the period and contribute to our knowledge. Alas, this was not to be.

So why this little essay?

Well some generous soul has pdf’fed Empires Eagles and Lions and put them on line. I don’t know if it is Jean Lochet the old editor of EEL or what.

Whoever it is; thank you, thank you, thank you!

Go to http://www.zaotlichiye.net63.net/EEL/

I have downloaded them all just in case.

If you haven’t seen it before, a treat awaits you!

Look out! Here we come!…and its about time too!

With the Russians more or less out of the way it has been time to revisit the Landsknechts. So two command stands follow.

As usual flags are painted. Both are made up. I dont know what flags they may have carried. However, I am bored with some of the specimens often shown. The  Doppel Adler or whatever, and the usual few southern German city arms are fine, but I am not convinced that as mercenaries they would have carried these unless employed by  those places. It’s an arcane subject area. I don’t doubt that there are good descriptions/illustrations out there, its just that the wargaming community (and me!) haven’t found them yet

The one for the chaps in white was inspired by Durer’s Ship of Fools they have a flag with the head of a “Narr” on it. The other is from some coat of arms I have a picture of. Its sort of Imperial, without claiming too much authority. I am sure it’s German.

The drummer has glasses on. Almost without exception I have seen these painted as blue with highlights, as though reflecting the sea. These tend to have been painted by foundry fanbois.  They don’t look like this. Generally all you can see is an approximation of the wearers face – a smudge of pink. So this is how I have done mine. Wouldn’t look good on the front of a Magazine of course but I do try to keep things more or less accurate here at Atelier-Robin. (rant over)

I am both happy with and unhappy with the dudes in all white, perhaps the underclothing showing through the slits ought to have been lighter, or some sort of bluey- grey. I just happen to think that pale browns look fine.

The figures are from Pro Gloria and are rather nice. I am doing the vignette of the dice players at the moment.

The Company of fools

The Company of fools



Next up appears to be some miscellaneous  Napoleonic 28mm that I have had around for a while. It may be that they are straight to eBay releases rather than appearing here!


These two bases are for sale. I’d rather not do eBay so if they tickle your fancy contact me direct!

A new general, some close ups of banners and Moreau’s dog

I ended up with a spare general from ABs 1806 Prussian command. The others slotted nicely into Russian or Austrian command groups – with a bit of help from Messrs Milliput and Green Stuff.
However, this figure of a very dramatic Blucher did not fit with any plans I had. I gave him a ‘fore and aft’ bicorne and he suddenly became very French. Messrs Milliput and Green Stuff called again and he got a nice fur lining to his jacket and some badges of rank and became, in time a General of light horse. He could easily pass for Lassalle, but there were plenty of other blokes sporting fancy uniforms.
He is on a base with a senior officer and trumpeter of the Guard Chasseurs.
Our photographer has caught a particularly dramatic moment in the charge. A six pounder has struck the earth just in front of the general, and because luck and glory are on his side; the ball has bounced and will continue past him on its destructive path. It does have some ones name on it but I am guessing it will be the name of some unfortunate trooper.

its just a turd, boys. Pay it no heed

its just a turd, boys. Pay it no heed


You can clearly see said 'turd'. It does have someones name on it, but not these fellas!

You can clearly see said ‘turd’. It does have someones name on it, but not these fellas!

Pierre Bezhukov is based on Antony Hopkins (glasses) and Sergei Bondarchuck (top hat) One can never have enough dilletante Francophile spectators with your Russian Army.


This is Moreau’s dog. I dont know what sort of dog it was or what colour it was. So it is THIS dog and it is brown. Here he is having a good bark at a fleeing Russian!


I was very pleased with the way the religious banners came out. I had surrounded my painting table with postcards of Orthodox depictions of Jesus and Mary. I can take the all down now thank heaven!!



I am back on to the Landsknechts via Perry’s new General Washington  and then I’ve got some flats and Austrians to do!


Another success at White Rose – pleased with myself.

I took the Russians to White Rose M.M.S. today and was very gratified to get a bronze medal. To be honest I thought that there were plenty of models that should have been placed above me, but I got some amazingly positive feedback especially with regard to the banners and icons.

I find it fascinating that nearly all of them say that they would never touch something in such a small scale whereas I wouldn’t know where to start with a 54mm figure. I know its different techniques. I will have to have another go with flats, but you have to be so subtle and careful with colour to get the effect right.

The Gold Medal this time went to an awesome 75mm flat of a semi nude lady wearing (barely wearing I must emphasise) a silk thingy. The effect of the skin showing through the silk was simply superb. Silver went to a militia man of the AWI.

I am in awe of the talent on show here at this club. There is fellow who makes 1/76 scale vehicles from WW1 out of plastic card and the detail makes your jaw drop. Some of the flats are inspirational.

The camera battery is recharged so I will have another go at photographing the Russians. I will have another vignette completed this week and hopefully a 28mm George Washington completed. I am tempted to dig out the Landsknechts again too.

Unfortunately one of Barclay de Tolly’s mates broke yesterday. He was a conversion and I am not sure that I can fix him with out it looking really bad. He will probably get a replacement chum.


The  usual crappy photography notwithstanding I am very pleased with the latest lot of vignettes. Unfortunately the camera battery ran out before I could show every detail. I have also lost the ability to use focus and stuff. I really do not understand photography at all.

Anyhow here are some Russian generals 1812 through to 1813. Many are standard AB, many are converted AB and a few are Atelier Robin originals! They are not difficult to spot.

I did the kneeling Opolchenya and the Monks/priests carrying the banners and Icons.

I reshaped several quiffs, made lots of bicornes and a top hat -Yes! that dapper young man on Kutusov’s base is meant to be Pierre Bezukhov !

The Icons and banners are painted by me.

Terrain is the usual mixture of static grass, Silflor, ground foam and earth with three etched brass trees.

The Tsar and Kutuzov are detachable should one want to travel around the battlefield.

General Moreau’s loyal dog makes an appearance on the Tsars base, but that was one of the elements that failed to make it to the pictures.

Once the battery has recharged I will take some more pics and see if I can get some less fuzzy or stark images.

Bag1 copy

General Bagration pays his respect to God

Barclay de Tolly

Barclay de Tolly

general Kutuzov

general Kutuzov


Pierre Bezhukhov watches


Icon Procession detail

Icon Procession detail

another view

another view

His Imperial Majesty, God's Right Hand on Earth, Alexander, Tsar of all the Russias!

His Imperial Majesty, God’s Right Hand on Earth, Alexander, Tsar of all the Russias!

comfort for the wounded?

comfort for the wounded?


Can't remember who this general is...

Can’t remember who this general is…