Thursday, June 09, 2011

Workbench and a Dunkirk little ship

The workbench today

I haven't had a chance to post for over a month due to various things taking my time (working on the company website, hiring some staff in Argentina, getting a report done for a new Russian client etc). In addition I have foolishly entered not only a 25 mile off-road charity bike ride this month but a 5km running race in September, so felt I ought to do some training! I managed a 17.5 mile bike ride over the bank holiday and one 20 minute run: but the latter is the furthest I have run for about five years. The days when I ran the Westminster City Mile in four minutes 50 seconds seem like a very, very long time ago (as, indeed, they are).  I've also had some problems with Blogger caused by moving onto a new version of Internet Explorer but these have at last been remedied thanks to changing my compatability settings.

Charlotte with the pinnace MB 278

My father in law ran another Rolls-Royce rally in support of the Dunkirk Little Ships and we got half a dozen of them to the river at Runnymede. This one, MB 278, was originally a steam powered naval pinnace built in 1914 by William White & Sons of Cowes, coincidentally. Cowes was a good sized naval shipbuilding establishment for many years. The MB 278 was used by HMS Sir John Moore, HMS Raglan, HMS Iron Duke, HMS Barham, HMS Resolution, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Erebus from whom she sailed to pick up troops at Dunkirk.

HMS Erebus in 1944

HMS Erebus was a 15" gun monitor built at Harland & Wolf in 1915. Later she was stationed with US ships to bombard Utah beach before the D-Day landings. During her pick-ups from Dunkirk MB 278 was machine gunned. Although she has recently been re-fitted the new owner left an unrestored panel inside to show where the bullet holes had been filled.

Filled bullet holes in the cabin

I have started a little painting again over the last week.  Having painted my British Darkest Africa force and my first unit of Wangwana Arabs I needed a break from Darkest Africa so decided to finish off a unit of Zulus I started ages ago (OK, not much of a break from Africa!). These are mostly Empress Miniatures figures and they are horrible to paint due to their awful anatomy - the British are so lovely in comparison. I like the look of the new Warlord Empress plastics, however, so won't be buying any more Empress metals, although I still have a couple of dozen more to paint.

I have started a couple more Arab units for the Zambezi campaign: more Wangwana and a cannon and crew but it will be about a month until these are finished.  Also on the workbench are my (or technically Guy's) first Warhammer 40,000 figures: some Imperial guard.  These are very easy to paint so I may finish these sooner rather than later.  I am also building a Warhammer tank!  I am still working on a few Black Scorpion lady pirates and a couple more ladies for Darkest Africa.  Somehow a female Argonaut (must be Atalanta) has crept in there too from my "to finish" pile.

Finally, I picked up the Hail, Caesar rules from Orc's Nest last week and was inspired by one of the scenarios to paint a few more Ancient Greeks, so have started on a mixture of Immortal Miniatures plastics and Gorgon Studios (ex Artizan) Spartans.  I usually find Greeks fairly quick to paint (unlike Zulus!) so hope these will get finished in the next few weeks.  All I have to do is avoid the looming foreign trip at the end of the month.

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