Friday, April 04, 2014

Quarterly review: 1 January-March 2014

Ra! Ra! Ra!

Well, I am not quite sure where the first three months of this year went.  Much of my weekends were taken up with flood related stuff for my parents in law, filling out endless planning application stuff for the extension, taking Guy to and from rowing and doing rather too much work at the weekend, due to a complication regarding my job which hopefully will settle down in the next couple of months.

At least I started the year with an actual wargame, thanks to Alastair who put on a very enjoyable game of In Her Majesty's Name for me.

It is amazing that I got any painting done at all, but the fact that I did and enjoyed it is almost completely down to the estimable Sofie and her Paint Table Saturday. Even the Old Bat now realises that on Saturday afternoon I am going to do some painting.  Perhaps her newly discovered equanimity is due to the thousands of pounds I keep shelling out for planning applications, building regulations, structural engineers, architects and loads of other parasites for what is a very small extension indeed.  This week she has found a "really nice carpet" - at £500 a square metre.  Stop going shopping in trendy shops in Cobham, Esher and Weybridge!  Go to Carpetright like everyone else!  Anyway, it all makes me a lot happier about having recently ordered the most expensive scenic item I have ever bought (and I have the Forge World Weathertop).  More on that when it arrives!

I'm actually well on the way with the second lot of oars now

I have actually painted 37 figures this quarter and have about 25 pretty close to completion.  Fairly dismal by most people's standards but I am very happy with it. I might have got my next batch of Mexicans finished this weekend but it is all hands to the oars to attempt to finish the Roman Galley for Big Red Bat's epic game at Salute next week (argh!).  I meant to do a lot in the evenings this week but I have been busy writing strategy papers for the Colombian government so have got nothing done since Sunday.  So, my painting for the first quarter has been as follows:

Victorian  Naval Brigade - 12
The Hobbit - 12
In Her Majesty's Name - 10
Empire of the Dead  - 2
Darkest Africa - 1

This is, for me, an incredibly focussed result!  I certainly plan to do more IHMN figures, with Scotland Yard next and then the new Prince of Wales' Extraordinary Company after that.  For The Hobbit it will probably be the Mirkwood Rangers next but only after I have watched the Desolation of Smaug which, hopefully, I should get from Amazon on Monday, as I still haven't seen it.  Charlotte is returning from Edinburgh for Easter tomorrow, though, so I expect she will grab it and do her usual thing of watching it so many times in a row that she knows all the dialogue off by heart (she can actually recite the whole script of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).  

 Charlotte and the Old Bat are on the far left

I can't believe that Charlotte will be nineteen in a month's time.  This week one of the Old Bat's friends sent me this picture of her ante-natal group taken in 1995.  She was just like a little dolly and now she is studying astrophysics, eating industrial quantities of Tunnocks Caramel Wafers and is a proud member of the Edinburgh University Pole Dancing Society (she's always wanted to be either a pole dancer or an astronaut - this way she can keep both options open, I suppose).

Here she is now, about to attend her first toga party.  She couldn't wear a sheet like everyone else, of course, but got the Old Bat to make her an outfit and headdress which we had to post to her at great expense (we are always posting things at great expense up to Edinburgh - shoes mostly).

Anyway, back to painting and progress is good on the Boot Hill Mexicans, the Perry Confederation of the Rhine and the Orinoco Miniatures British Legion. If I can finish one batch of these a month I will be very happy, bearing in mind I completed nothing from May to October last year.  I ordered quite a few more Mexicans (they really are a joy to paint) so I can complete the Matamoros regiment at about 1/10 ratio.  These three companies of four, added to the six figures  I have already painted and the 14 figures nearly finished will complete the regiment.

¿Dónde está, Juan?

I was searching through one of my boxes and found a whole batch of 20 Boot Hill Mexicans I had completely forgotten about. They will form the beginning of the Tres Villas Activo regiment.  I also bought some of those splendid red clad lancers the Mexicans had, to form the Dolores cavalry regiment, although I seem to have lost one rider.  Hopefully the incredibly helpful Nick at Boot Hill can help me out with a replacement.  These are going to look spectacular painted!  I have also been buying some more books on the Texan War of Indpendence to keep me inspired.  I'm even contemplating another blog for my Americas projects!

Buy us, infidel!

Looking forward, it's Salute next weekend and I have manged to avoid going to Medellin at the same time but I will now probably have to go back to Colombia at the end of next month, although I have a cunning plan to add a historic side trip onto this visit.  I'm  really, really going to try to be good and not buy lots of figures as I have bought 270 in three months.  That said, the new Artizan Afghans look superb and they have just released seven packs this week.   But then there are the Empress Miniatures Jazz Age Colonials too.

Steve Saleh has just launched a new firm, Lucid Eye, for his sculpts and the most interesting for me are his Neanderthals.  Now I have someone to pitch against my Copplestone Cavemen!  Cavegirl raiding in prospect!

Those are proper BEF figures, those are

With the World War 1 anniversary this year I have been looking for some good BEF figures and Paul Hicks has just released his first batch of British and Germans for his Mutton Chop Miniatures.  I have a lot (well, forty) of painted Renegade Germans so needed something that would work with them (I didn't like the Renegade British as they got the hats completely wrong and the Great War Miniatures figures were variable).  I ordered a pack and they arrived this week.  They are taller than the lovely but small ones he did for Musketeer Miniatures and even better detailed.  I can now start on my British force!

A recent trip to Orc's Nest saw me pick up a box of the new Warlord US Marines.  I bet they sell bucket loads of these, especially to old Airfixy people like me!  The only disappointment with them is that all the helmets are either covered or have netting on them which is not really right for early battles like Guadalcanal.  Someone on one of the forums suggested I pick up some West Wind spare heads with plain helmets and it looks like these may well be an exact match size wise, much to my surprise.

I may, however, have to give a few tomato puree tube helmet straps for that authentic Airfix box cover look.  To be fair, the Warlord ones have some like this!

Talking of Airfix memories, the excellent Wargames News and Terrain site (which always trumps TMP on new releases, despite the latter's horde of Filipina editors) had this up today; the first result of the Warlord/Italaeri partnership.  Bet they sell bucket loads of these too.  I am going to get one even though I don't know what for yet (later Pacific I suppose). 1/56th Sherman!  Yum! Yum!

They need arms and scabbards attaching

Finally, on the new buy front (and there were other figures I haven't mentioned) I picked up half a dozen of Warfare Miniatures new Great Northern War Swedish Cavalry.  I have quite a few of Musketeer Miniatures infantry but found their Swedish infantry a bit disappointing as they were very static, not something I associate with Swedish cavalry of the period.  These are depicted at full tilt, however, and although a little bit smaller than the Musketeer ones hopefully won't look too odd with the infantry when painted.

So, let's hope I can get a good solid weekend done on the galley and then back to figure painting again!

The Music for this post was from Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson's new album Catch Me If You Can.  This features a work by John Williams, a saxophone concerto by another American film music composer, Michael Kamen, and some arrangements of some of Mark Knopfler's music for one of my  favourite eighties films, Local Hero.

Worth putting up with despite the yakking

I saw the latter at the cinema with my then girlfriend, the extraordinarily passionate V, whose cousin appeared in the film, as she continuously mentioned all through the showing.  So the Local Hero music always reminds me of her, which is a good thing because when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was very, very bad indeed!


  1. What a great read and a very productive 1st quarter long may it continue

  2. I have to say, I'm rather impressed by your output, just tallying my own for the same period and you trump me hands down Sir. Just saw those Neanderthals myself and though "mmmm, Lost World".

    1. Indeed! These are probably calling out to me more than anythng else at present!

  3. A wonderful summary, and fun read as always!
    Forgeworld Weathertop? I look forward to seeing that!

    1. I haven't put it together yet because we used to use the individual components as random ruins but I recently picked up the complete set of 9 Nazgul so now maybe is the time!

    2. Excellent - looking forward to it!

  4. When she was bad she was better? ;)

    Kudos on the productivity, Legatus, you've far outstripped me over the last few months.


  5. Wow you have got a lot planned. I have to admit seeing those recent release from Northstar has me searching down the back of the sofa for cash. The cavemen are excellent!