Well, I was contemplating four days of painting when I ran out of white paint on Thursday. Never mind, I'm sure I would have some spare tins in my paint pile, built up from the time it looked like Humbrol were going bust and I bought ten pots of each of my favourite colours. (Does anyone else choose their lottery numbers by the numbers of their favourite Humbrol paints? Probably not.) But no! None at all! Disaster! So off I go to Addlestone Model Centre; the nearest place I can get Humbrol paints. Now I have been going to Addlestone Model Shop (as it used to be called) for years. In fact, I have been going there so long that I not only remember the previous building it was in but the one before that. I probably first went there in about 1970.
I get the impression that it mainly specialises in radio control planes and cars but they have Scalextric and Hornby, Games Workshop and lots of plastic kits including a very good selection of 20mm figures and vehicles including some of the more obscure ones. They really do manage to pack a lot into quite a small shop. Now I buy a lot of paints and other model supplies in there but occasionally (well, quite often) I go in there to buy a tube of model filler and end up with a 1/48th Hawker Hurricane, or some such. I have stopped this on the whole, partly because I can no longer remember which models I have bought. However, yesterday they had the newly reissued Airfix Dambusters Lancaster in there and I was wavering. I have never built a Lancaster and I was very impressed when one of my fellow lawyers at college built one in the law library once (he was slightly eccentric). It just looked so chunky! My daughter Charlotte has actually been in the cockpit of the one from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight and so she was encouraging me like mad. But then she is always encouraging me to buy model kits which she wants me to build for her room but I never do as I always feel I should be using hobby time to paint figures. Still, I thought, I did have four days over Easter. No, I resisted. Then I saw the Tamiya 1/48th one. "It's only £99!" says Charlotte, in little red Devil mode. "Yes but it's two feet across! Where will I put it? Mummy will have a wicket!" I resist. Again.
Then I go around the corner and they have a model kit that is so big it won't even go on the shelves. Forget your 1/350 Tamiya USS Enterprise, that is only 105cm long. This is Trumpeter's 1/200 Bismarck which measures in at 126cm. That's over four feet! And it's the Bismarck! The first model ship I built! "Daddy it's only £79 more than the Lancaster and you get a lot more kit for your money!" says the little Devil. No, I am not going to buy it. It's 1700 pieces for a start. You would need the sort of focus that is just not my strong point. I escape unscathed and vow not to buy another model kit until I finish my 1/48 Spitfire Mk1.
I did buy the Airfix Model World Scale Modelling supplement though, as my model making skills are still stuck in the seventies and it really does have some useful tips in it. I might have a look at my Spitfire again tomorrow, now I have actually located it under the pile of junk that was in the corner of my room. I have to say that the standard of finish top plastic model kit makers achieve now is just staggeringly awesome. I'm an OK figure painter (I would give myself 5/10 - 6/10 on a good day) but the level at which these model makers are working is just way beyond my wildest dreams; I'd be about 2/10 on that scale. Oh, well. I just want to have a couple of model planes hanging from my ceiling!
Today I've had my best day's painting today for months, if not years. The family were out and I started at nine and finished at about five thirty. It was helped a lot by the good light today. I got on really well with my latest Darkest Africa unit (it will be finished tomorrow!), I did a bit more on some of the Foundry Argonauts and I have based and undercoated some Romans. Speaking of which, I bought some Aventine Romans for the Marcomannic War and while looking at the selection of shield transfers by Little Big Men Studios I noticed that they had a shield for Legio II Augusta. Grr! If only they did those for the Warlord plastics I might overcome my distaste for their dwarfiness and actually build some units to take on my Ancient Britains. I wanted Leg II as that was the unit commanded by Vespasian as featured in the early (and best - I never felt the books were as good after they left Britain) Simon Scarrow novels. On the off chance, I dropped an email to Steve at LBMS. Would the Aventine transfers work on the Warlord shields? He came straight back and said that they would be far too big but would I like him to re-scale them to fit? A brief e-mail exchange followed and less than 24 hour later I had eight packs of EIR Legio II August transfers for my Warlord plastics - the only ones in the world! Well, probably not by now as no doubt he will put them up for sale shortly. This really was exceptional service from someone who has transformed the look of wargames figures more than anyone else. Except now I am starting to build two Roman armies at the same time!
Anyway, tomorrow, as Scarlett O'Hara said, is another day and hopefully a day with as much painting in it!.