Saturday, March 25, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: Trouble on the North-West Frontier

So, I am back doing a paint table Saturday after a week off. I had a very good paint table Saturday the week before last.  I got the four figures I needed to nearly finish my next unit of 70th Foot.  I just needed to varnish them, do the metalwork and finish the bases which I could do on the Sunday.  I varnished them with my usual Humbrol matt varnish (No 49) and then something horrible happened.  The varnish dried with a horrible white 'frosting' over everything.

I got another tin out and tried it on my first Franco-Prussian War Frenchman and the same thing happened. You can see it on the red trousers (I had repainted the jacket by this stage). I have never had this before,  Sometimes, at the beginning of a pot, if you don't stir it enough, it can dry with a silk finish but more stirring sorts this.  This however, was a disaster.  I had spent hours getting these nearly completed.  I searched online and about two years ago there seemed to be a problem with a particular batch (too much matting agent, it seems) and my two tins were from that batch.  Fortunately, I have found another tin but I must get to Addlestone Models and get some more, particularly as ModelZone in WH Smiths in Kingston has closed so you can't get Humbrol paint in Kingston any more.

The next day, looking at them in the daylight, I saw that the pale parts of the paint weren't effected, so I just needed to tidy up the dark trousers and black parts.  I repainted the trousers and then  re-did the black bits.  The problem was it was dark outside, I wan't concentrating and I accidentally painted the black bits dark blue. Unfortunately, I decided to start the black bits on the Sikhs too and also painted them dark blue. More work! 

I was so fed up with them by this stage that I decided to open a bottle of wine instead, listen to some Sibelius and read some of my backlog of wargames magazines.  This didn't help my mood much as I am getting really tired of the tiny type in these (and printing on non white backgrounds).  I can really only read them if the sun is out now, even with my glasses on.

Today's project

One figure I needed, to get on with the unit, was an NCO.  I ordered a pack of these, with some other items, from North Star a couple of days after my last order on 23rd February.  However, they didn't turn up for weeks and only arrived on Thursday.  I opened them up only to discover that the Sikh artillery crew were there but the mountain gun wasn't.  I rang up a very nice lady at North Star mail order who said that they had been having trouble with artillery generally (interestingly when I looked at their website again I noticed that both artillery packs had been removed from the listing) due to problems with resin casting.  She said the gun would follow in due course.  It's not like I don't have anything else to paint! 

I decided to get the one NCO (TMWWBK rules don't actually require them, although they are covered by some recent additional rules) painted with the repainted four infantry today. One thing I noticed is that the NCOs carry the correct Indian pattern leather water bottle which the infantry don't.  Another historical mistake corrected from the early releases.  This is one thing you don't have to worry about with Perry figures!  I haven't seen the Perry plastics for this period but am just assuming they won't be compatible with the Artizan figures, although the Afghan tribesmen are.  I might get a box at Salute (next month!) anyway.

Guy came home from university on the Thursday so we could do him a birthday lunch and so I didn't get any painting done last weekend as it was too busy, which was very annoying as the sun was out much of the day.  Also, I was so disheartened by my varnish disaster I didn't feel like painting anything anyway last week.

One intriguing bit of news this week is that the solicitor has done the probate form on my mother;s estate and we have found out that she had several bank accounts we didn't know about.  It means that there just might, if I am rash, be enough money to rebuild my study to make it big enough to take a wargames board.  Or I could buy an Aston Martin but, as the Old Bat said: "you are too old for a mid-life crisis!"  Heh, heh.

Speaking of which, I was in London a couple of times this week for meetings and had the opportunity to meet up with my lady friend, A, While waiting for her to arrive (punctuality is not one of her many other estimable qualities) I was looking at the new Miniature Wargames (Salute guide issue!) and saw one of those sets of figures which I just have to have, even though I have absolutely no reason to get them.  These are Crooked Dice's new female minions.  Girls in polo neck tops,  pleated miniskirts and boots.  Perfect.  They are all very In Like Flint/Matt Helm/Casino Royale (the David Niven one, of course!).  I already have their not Captain Scarlet range and there must be a skirmish in here somewhere!  I'm torn between the sixties hairdos and the berets, though!

Having been very disappointed with the Chosen Men rules I spotted these on Facebook, which appear to be much more what I am looking for; no stupid requirements to keep in close formation, for example.  They are going to the subject of a Kickstarter later in the year but unfortunately I can't remember where I saw them!  If anyone knows...

Today's music is a double bill of the soundtracks to Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967) by Jerry Goldsmith.  The cover of the CD features the groovy poster art for In Like Flint by Bob Peak, who was one of the most influential film poster designers of all time, producing posters for West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), Rollerball (1975), the first five Star Trek films, Superman (1978), Excalibur (1981), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and many others.  Apropos of the Crooked Dice figures, In Like Flint has an international feminist conspiracy aiming to replace the ruling American patriarchy with a feminist matriarchy.  Now who makes a 28mm sized Hilary Clinton?

In Like Flint.  When men were men and women were decoration

Goldsmith had already worked in the spy genre, having already produced the themes tune and early episode scores for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on TV. Both of these Flint scores are wonderful sixties confections of electro jazz, go-go dancing music, Henry Mancini type cocktail slink, big band, samba, Russian pastiche and pretty much everything else. Perfect, I would imagine, for painting figures in miniskirts and boots to.

Sleeping Bacchante (circa 1885)

Today's wallpaper distraction is by Hungarian painter Károly Lotz (1833-1904).  The Legatus first saw one of his sensual nudes in the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest and was so taken with it I bought a very nice reproduction of it, printed on canvas, which the Old Bat got framed for me when I returned.  Lotz studied in Vienna and did most of his nudes early in his career, before shifting focus to frescos.  Many of the major public buildings in Budapest, such as the parliament, the supreme court and the opera house have frescoes by him.  The depiction of Bacchantes always gave nineteenth century artists a good excuse to depict enticingly sprawled women under a classical cloak of acceptability.  This is one of a series of similar paintings he did in the mid eighteen eighties.

Right, the sun is out.  Time for painting!


  1. Sorry to hear about your problems with the varnish.

    A couple of answers to your questions:

    Forager - probably Loki's Greathall if you saw it on Facebook

    28mm Hillary - I think Hasslefree did one
    just checked - it's "Dr Evelyn Hill" and is a resin master

  2. I am sooooooo very much looking forward to those Female Minions from Crooked Dice I have so many different ideas to use them with!

  3. Forager sounds interesting...I'll have to keep an eye out for those.

  4. Forager was on my feed Legatus, and now on the Stand To Games page on Facebook. It is in the final stages of play testing at present and should be in print late June.

  5. I have found that if you recoat a model with gloss varnish, it can dissolve and get rid of the white matting agent from the matt varnish. Maybe worth a try.

  6. Legatus have you ever tried the dreaded dip? I went over to it when my eyesight started playing up. A simple pallet of block colours followed by brushing on some dip. I prefer Coat d'arms. Then some highlights if you fell like it then a Matt varnish. Am know knocking out units in the time it would have previously taken to do a couple of figures. And to be honest the figures look OK.

    1. I haven't tried it. I always think it is cheating! Perhaps it is time to try!

  7. As regards varnish frosting : I have found that, on paper flags at least, a light brushing of olive oil cures the problem entirely. Haven't yet tried this on a figure, but it might be worth a try?