Saturday, March 04, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: back to the North West Frontier and a pizza incident


Having finished my Union Cavalry last week I had intended to get on with my Confederate infantry but instead dug out some North West Frontier figures, encouraged by the small forces needed for The Men Who Would Be Kings rules, which I was looking at the other week.

I decided to keep the painting momentum up and carry on with the 2nd Afghan War and have Sikhs (Artizan), British (Artizan) and Afghans (Perry and Studio) to work on over the next few weeks.

One of the reasons I didn't get back to the ACW was that the Artizan Designs figures are much easier to paint than the smaller Perry ACW figures, especially in the bad light which, with the odd exception (such as this morning), continues.   The picture above shows the difference in size between a Perry Afghan and a Perry ACW figure. They are really almost different scales.  I suppose they are sculpted by different people, although I never register which twin does which but that is the fate of twins in many things.

One thing I might have been tempted by a few years ago, before my eyes went, is the new Perry Travel Battle which they are launching at Salute.  However, these are going to be 8 mm figures.   One thing they do show up is how poor the anatomy is on 10mm figures which is why I have never really considered them (or 15mm either, largely),fiddling size apart.

A few years ago I did paint some 10mm Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figures from their Battle of Five Armies Warmaster type game  (above) but wouldn't even attempt it now.  It's rubbish, getting old!

Actually, the shots of the Perry figures. moulds looked like what Charlotte was up to last night; making chocolate eggs and animals with her own new moulds.  She made a complete mess in the kitchen and then didn't tidy it up, needless to say.

Half way through this process we had a call from a Papa John's delivery man who said he was on the doorstep.  "Have you ordered a pizza?" asked the Old Bat, thinking I had been caught out.  The Old Bat loves to catch me out.  She rifles through carrier bags and the bin to look at receipts to see if she can find anything incriminating. "Breakfast at Sainsburys again" she squeals, with Stasi-like delight.  "Orc's Nest again!" she chortles and then asks for money for something we don't need (usually artificial flowers at £20 a time).

Now I would never order a pizza because I am not really allowed to eat them and I am too mean to pay £12 for one you can get in the shops for £3.  £12 is quite a few Artizan Designs figures (I tend to cost things I don't want to purchase by the number of figures I could buy instead).  £20 multiples are, of course, a box of Perry plastics etc.  Charlotte was supposed to spend £90 on the dentist last week but she fluttered her eyelashes, claimed to be a poor student and got him to put her through as an NHS patient.  The Old Bat payed the £20 NHS fee and then Charlotte spent three and a half boxes of Perry plastics on two CD's of Korean pop, coming from Seoul, with the money she saved.  For really big amounts you have to use Games Workshop prices, of course.  I see the new Thranduil mounted on a stag figure is going to be £75 so I can use that for things like the new patio doors the Old Bat wants.  What's the point, given you can hardly ever sit in the garden anyway?  Installing this will, no doubt, bring on a mini Ice Age in Surrey for the next ten years

Anyway, what is the point of paying £12 for a pizza to eat at home.  Fair enough if you are out, although the Old Bat doesn't agree with this. My father in law is always saying, when he comes around, "let's go to the pub in the village (Andy Murray's favourite) for lunch".  The Old Bat then talks him out of it, moaning about the cost (even though he would be paying).  She thinks eating out is a complete waste of money.  We have been married 25 years this summer (Why? I continually ask myself) and we haven't been out to dinner together once in that time, since the honeymoon).  "I would choke on my food, knowing the cost!" she says.  Anyway, it turns out that my son, Guy had ordered the pizza, in Oxford and the delivery man was outside his house in Oxford but the only phone number they had on the system (what a give away, that it is on the system at all) was ours.  I had sent Guy money that day as he was moaning he was short and he was spending it on pizza!  Get along to Tesco!   I didn't buy pizza when I was at Oxford because a pizza from Sweeney Todds was £1.40 and college dinner was 74p!

L to R: Artizan, Perry and Studio

So, back to what I am supposed to be writing about.  Apart from the Perry figures, the current batch of Afghans also includes four figures by Studio Miniatures, which are completely compatible with the Perry and the Artizan figures, to my surprise.  The Perry figures are also compatible with the Artizan Sikhs. This means that other figures in the Perry range will fit with the Artizan figures as well.  I am going to stick with Artizan for the British but might use some Perry for the Indian army and the British cavalry.  I am already planning bigger forces than I need for TMWWBK!

Earlier this week I finished six more Artizan British infantry, which I had started some time ago, bringing my painted total for 2017 to 50 figures.  The best start to the year I have had since 2011.   

I put all my painted British together and have now painted 17 figures.  This does not sound that impressive but you only need 36 for a starter British force for TMWWBK.  I am doing my usual thing, though, of painting packs not painting units (maybe, deep down,  I know I hardly ever finish a unit).  So now I need to buy some more figures to get the units looking, well, unified.  I have just started another four figures advancing with bayonets but need some more firing line figures for the other unit. I will include an officer (painted) and a NCO (ordered) in each unit so that leaves ten rank and file in each unit.  The figures, of course, come in packs of four so I am going to have some left overs, annoyingly.  However, I am thinking of doing some later, scruffier looking units too, for later in the war, so will be able to mix in the left overs with ones in poshteens. 

Sadly, only one of these characters is available as a wargames figure.  The peerless Valerie Leon third from left.

I did notice that the figures with bayonets don't have the helmet flashes on them, which the first firing line figures in the Artizan range did.  These were worn in the North West Frontier in the 1890s but not in this period.  Artizan, therefore, seem to have corrected an error (without acknowledging it).  Why I am that worried about historical accuracy I don't know, considering most of my research so far has been watching Carry on up the Khyber and, yes, I have ordered the Artizan figures for that!

The Nymphaeum (1878)

Today's, contemporaneous with the 2nd Afghan War, wallpaper offers us no less than thirteen ladies by French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905). Painted for the 1878 Universal Exposition in Paris it is really an exercise in Bouguereau showing off how well he can paint skin, as his nymphs cavort in a sunlit grove.  The painting hangs in a gallery in Stockton, California, just south of Sacramento and I was lucky enough to see it when I was visiting the Governor of California's office around ten years ago.

Today's music, L'Arlésienne by Bizet, dates from six years before Bouguereau's painting.  Written as incidental music for a play it was poorly received at the time and only later achieved success when Bizet rearranged some of the music into a suite later that year.  A second suite was arranged and published, after his death, in 1879, spot on for the 2nd Afghan War.


  1. As always, an entertaining hodge-podge of activities from you!

  2. I doomed north Lancashire with my swish garden furniture.

  3. Funny I do the same kind of economic calculations in terms of models!

  4. Great painting, and a good read as always. I sometimes wonder what would happen if your wife ever read your blog!


  5. You have not been out to dinner with your wife for 25 years!

    1. She is not interested in food. Her usual meals are a Complan for breakfast, Cold baked beans and a tomato for lunch and a baked potato with peas for dinner. She thinks eating out is stupid. She doesn't drink alcohol and gets twitchy if she has to sit at a table for more than five minutes.