Monday, February 03, 2014

The Servants of Ra: Part 1

Eight down, three to go

Well, Sofie's Paint Table Saturday is certainly focussing my efforts and I have just finished most of the Servants of Ra company for In Her Majesty's Name.  I have three more characters to finish but they are well on the way, so they will be next week's target.  I have made a conscious decision to just go for OK wargaming standard on these rather than try anything more polished.  As a result I have now painted as many figures in a month as I managed, on average, in three months last year.  

There will be more about these on my Victoriana blog in due course.  Although the statistics of the company will be as same as in the rules (I have had to order another copy as I have lost mine somewhere) the back story for them will be slightly different to fit into the world I am creating.  So our gentleman in the crimson coat is famous painter Sir Lawrence Swann, who has just returned from two years in Egypt.  Having just watched The Mummy again I am thinking of some chaos in Cairo type activity for these people, which is one of the reasons I went for the beige colour robes rather than red.

Today I am listening to Rachmaninov's piano concerto No 3 which has never been as popular as the more famous second, which is currently top of Classic FM's Hall of Fame.  In fact, calling their top 300 list a hall of fame totally misses the point of the concept which is to take something (usually a person) and add it to a list of worthies forever.  What Classic FM has is actually just a "most popular" list which varies from year to year; like the far more interesting FHM sexiest women list.  In a proper Hall of Fame once you are in, you are in.  It isn't an annual ranking.

Anyway, I prefer Rachmaninov's third piano concerto, however, and the recording I like is Ashkenazy's with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy, which is probably the best recording of the work there is.  Oddly, for the other concerti and the Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini I prefer Askenazy's Previn recordings.  Over the weekend I heard a bit of Yuja Wang's new live recording of the third with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra.  Much as I like Wang as a pianist she has come unstuck here, playing some passages much to fast and, unusually for her, as a  result, losing the precision, delicacy and sense of space in the third movement.  I'll stick with my version!


  1. They look splendid!


  2. Very nice work. Love Mr Swann - looks like he's trying to conjure something up!
    Must admit I used to enjoy Classic FM in the car while I was still in the UK...
    Superbowl.. what a blow out!

  3. Nice job on these - the cream robes certainly work well

  4. Very nice!

    Your "reducing the lead pile" strategy seems not dissimilar to my own. The shelves are groaning...

    1. I know! But taking delivery of 24 Perry Miniatures yesterday for a whole new army didn't help, though!

  5. Great painting, LH. Interesting comment on the new Wang recording. I read somewhere ("Gramophone" magazine perhaps) that this was the best recording of the work ever. I was very sceptical myself, as Ms Wang herself looks like another triumph of marketing over substance. I have the Ashkenazy/Previn recording as well as his first recording with Fistoulari - from the early 1960s, I think. That was one of the first CDs I bought. You can't beat Ashkenazy in this sort of repertoire (my mother, who was a professional pianist, had classes with him at the Royal Academy). My all time fave, though, is Horowitz with the NY Phil and Barbirolli live in 1941, from the days before Rachmaninov's concertos were (largely) turned into sugary mush.

  6. I think part of the problem lies with Dudamel who drives everything at his usual breakneck pace. Piano lessons from Ashkenazy? Impressive!

  7. Very nicely done. I do think they make a good generic cultist faction just by changing the characters leading them.