Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting some painting done but travel looms...

The Waldorf Caledonian hotel has a good view of the castle

I am seriously attempting to travel less for work; not least because I am terrified of flying but also because I find the stress of packing (I always forget something) airports, timetables and different time zones increasingly tiresome.  I think I have got my travel down to a reasonable amount now.  Certainly better than the 120 days I did out of the country in 2009 anyway.

This week I have been in Exeter and on Friday I fly to Edinburgh for a bit.  Not to do with work this time but mainly getting my daughter to interviews at various Universities.  She has applied to Edinburgh and has already had an offer from St Andrews (her one eighth Scottish blood is coming through).  So on Friday we are off to Edinburgh to visit the physics department and then the next day we have to travel on to St Andrews which is another hour and ten minutes on the train and a bus ride.  Frankfurt is actually nearer to where we live than St Andrews!   As compensation I have decided that we will stay in the Waldorf Caledonian Hotel for a couple of days.  The only think which takes away the stress of travelling is a nice hotel.  

The Royal Albert Museum Exeter

While in Exeter I nipped into the Royal Albert Museum which has an eclectic mixture of exhibits, to say the least, but had a nice Corinthian Greek helmet and some Zulu weapons. It won the museum of the year award last year and is certainly fun in the manner of a very large cabinet of curiosities like Victorian gentlemen used to keep.  It reminded me of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford but has been beautifully modernised inside recently without losing any of its period character.  Worth a look if you are in Exeter.  We drove down on the A303 which is one of the most scenic drives in the South of England; taking you past Stonehenge and Cadbury Hill.  I always feel when travelling to the West Country that it's all a bit closer to history down there and that's not just because it was the route, thirty years ago, down to see my ex girlfriend J in Somerset   who was always ready with a delicious dinner, Sloe Gin and a companionable hot bath.  It is (appropriately) a sort of concatenation of factors: Ley lines, Bronze Age man, Time Team, the ECW, Glastonbury, Stonhenge, and the distinctive countryside that does it.  Surrey is so wooded (the most heavily wooded county in Britain) that long views are unusual where I live but up on the A303 you can see rolling hills and valleys for miles.  Added to which we were driving down in beautiful weather with clear skies, mist in the valleys and the sun going down most artistically.

I am also due to go to Istanbul and Ankara in the next six weeks or so and Poznan in Poland too.  The worst news, however, is that I am going to have to go to Colombia for a month so will miss Salute!  It's not the first time I have had to miss the show due to travel but it is slightly annoying.

Anyway, I have made a bit of progress on the painting.  The Hobbit dwarves are ready for varnishing and then it is just the armour to do (I can't understand those people who matt varnish after they have painted metallic colours).  I say "just the armour" but, of course, on these figures that is most of the area!  I have done some more on my ACW Federal regulars and am not quite half way there but have moved them on quite a bit.  I have also started another Back of Beyond cavalry unit and have painted four horses out of nine.  I also have four various individual figures on the go (I always have a few characters to hand when I am painting units) and all of these could be finished given a good day's painting.  I just need more painting time!  

On my two main contemplative projects Mike Lewis of Black Hat Miniatures brought some of his North Star French Indian Wars figures in to our Wars of the Roses game the other weekend and it is clear that they will match with the Galloping Major figures but not the Conquest/Warlord ones. So I feel happy about finishing some of my Galloping Major FIW French which I started some time ago.

The good news is that the In Her Majesty's Name Victorian steampunk project has achieved its initial start up goal meaning that they will be working on a force of policemen next.  I somehow doubt they will even meet the next goal (£18,000) as they are only on £8,000 at present but am hoping there will be enough extra interest when the figures are released to produce some more forces.  The really good news is that North Star are working with 4Ground to make some laser MDF Victorian London houses.  This really is excellent news and will solve my big worry about scenery!  I am already thinking about mummies on the loose, escaped dinosaurs brought back from a South American plateau, and nasty things in the sewers.  A few years ago I bought a set of the Ainsty castings sewers so these might be just the job for something!

So, all I need is a bit more time!  Maybe on Sunday!


  1. There had to be an "ex" in there somewhere! Like the Federals-I look forward to the finished unit. Good luck with the University Challenge!

  2. Thanks for the heads up on the victorian buildings.

    I have been in touch with Sarissa Precision, as, whilst I liked the look of their city block range , I didnt like the flat roofs. Turns out they are busy designed some pitched roofed building for the range! Can't wait.

  3. Wow Legatus you really do travel! The buildings sound interesting as they are probably the main component in a Victorian suburban game.

  4. You sound busy - nice work on the troops so far. I don't like travelling anymore myself - did a lot when I was younger - used to move around every 2-3 years when I was in the service. At least, most of that was before 9/11 and the tight travel restrictions. Best, Dean

  5. IHMN has stirred up some interest locally as well. I've managed to dodge the initial bullet, but if it takes off, may be able to rustle up a few figures to that end. Best of luck on your daughter's expeditions, though I seem to recall she's done well enough to more or less have her pick?