Sunday, June 04, 2017

Paint Table Sunday: Wargames websites, Cycling and Ugly People

Well, it's Paint Table Sunday again (although I missed last week's) rather than Saturday.  I had a bit of an epiphany Saturday morning in that, as I hadn't even started my PTS post (I usually start it on Friday), I thought, why not actually do some painting rather than sit and write rubbish?  

This I did and, as a result, I only have a few stages left to do on my next six Artizan North West Frontier infantry.  The figures are even varnished now (I let the paint dry while I did my post on Molly Peters so I just have to shade the base, varnish that, do the metal work and the static grass. I also painted the faces on my Sikh gunner for the mountain gun, which will complete my TMWWBK force. Then it's back to some more Confederate infantry. 

I thought about progressing with my 1864 Danes as North Star have released some more Danish infantry variants.  I got out the ones I have started and then looked up some more uniform details and realised that I had painted them wrongly, again.  Initially I painted them dark blue and then realised that it needed to be a darker blue so repainted them again (base coat only, thank goodness). Now I have discovered that they are not wearing their (very dark blue) tunics (officers excepted) but greatcoats which were very, very, dark grey (almost black) so I will have to repaint them again.  This is down to paucity of uniform information but I found some on the Lead Adventures Forum. 

Since my little spat with The Miniatures Page I have been looking at the LAF more.  The problem is I find it quite dense.  One of the (few) things I liked about TMP was the news section on the front page and the fact that all new posts in the different sections appeared in chronological order there too.  This is not the case for the LAF so if you have a very wide selection of interests, as I do, you would have to look at every sub-section individually.  I don't have time for this.  The Wargames Website is better in that it does have new products on the front page but because each item has a picture you only get nine at a time.  I don't look at it often enough to keep clicking back pages to find things.  Yet again, the people on Frothers Unite (who wear their pig ignorance like a badge of honour) are joyfully predicting (as they have been for several years) the downfall of The Miniatures Page and, yet again, those on TMP are saying the same about Frothers Unite.  Somebody is wrong!  Fundamentally, the friction between the two is down to differences between US and British cultural attitudes, generally (or a less savoury sub-culture of parts of the two countries) and is irreconcilable, really.  Still, I'm not going to renew my TMP membership in January.

I actually bought some more figures this week. in that North Star announced that as their final stock of Muskets and Tomahawks rules were sold (imminently - they seemed to indicate that they haven't sold well - although obviously well enough to sell out) they would be withdrawing the corresponding figures from their range.  This is odd as you can use the figures in with other rules.  I bought a box of Highlanders (no doubt it was all a cunning marketing plan) as not many manufacturers have modern style ones for the French Indian Wars and one day...  I have to say that firms that withdraw ranges annoy me (I know that they have to make way for new ranges etc.)  North Star, for example sell a fraction of the range of 1866 Prussians that were originally in the Helion range. I also know (because I bought some) that they used to sell Spanish to go with their 1672 range (by a different manufacturer, but completely compatible) but these have now disappeared.  Grand Manner have been withdrawing lots of their resin buildings too and Copplestone's Arctic adventures range have largely gone too.  Trying to explain to the Old Bat that you sometime have to buy in case they disappear is not easy.  "More soldiers!  I need a garden umbrella!" she says before spending £120 on a dress. 

A rare smile from Qintana and a lovely display by the lady on the right

The Giro d'Italia finished last week and saw a great win by Tom Dumoulin, holding off a less than 100% Qintana and Nibali ("are your men on the right pills, perhaps you should execute their trainer").  I should have supported Qintana, really, as he is Colombian but he spends suspiciously long periods not racing on the circuit, holed up in the highlands of Colombia (he is from Boyaca, site of a famous battle in the Latin American Wars of Liberation between Simon Bolivar's Anglo-Colombian army and the Spanish) and also he looks weird.  He looks like a pre-Columbian statue and is about as expressive.

Our man in Ankara

My friend A says I am overly critical of really ugly people, which is true.  Now, people who know me may thinks this is rather indefensible (pot kettle etc.) but at least I used to be nice looking (decades ago, admittedly).  I just don't trust really ugly people in the same way I don't trust very short people.  'It's not their fault!', say my politically correct friends (well, I don't really have any politically correct friends, as if they were politically correct they wouldn't be my friends - I've been deleting more Facebook 'friends' for political nonsense again this last few weeks).  No, it's not their fault but it must effect their personality.  It's like the man from College (I have mentioned before) who thought I stole his girlfriend the summer after we graduated.  When I met him for work purposes decades later (he was a a senior figure in the FCO by then) he was still bitter about it. But then he looked like Plug from the Bash Street Kids, so of course he wasn't going to hang on to a lovely redhead for long.  He married a girl who looked like a tapir, which was still better than he deserved.  I am reminded of the old ITV comedy Brass, where mill owner Timothy West complains that he has to look out from his windows at the hovels of his workers while they get to look at his splendid stately home. 

I had dinner with my old girlfriend from College, K, last Friday week.  I hadn't seen her for twenty years but, basically she hadn't changed and looked very, very fit indeed (in every way).  She still looked great in jeans (the ones she wore at College looked sprayed on and my then girlfriend C had a thing about K's bottom - it all got a bit lipstick lesbian) and her arms were impossibly toned.  She was politely critical of the way I had gone to seed, so with that ringing in my ears ("so you'll listen to K and not me!" moaned the Old Bat) and the example of the Giro I have been going out on my bike most days. I even bought some new cycling gloves to replace my disintegrated ones from the nineties.  Of course three weeks of Italian food and wine while watching the Giro didn't help, really, and I have just bought some Beaujolais to go with the Critérium du Dauphiné, which is on at the moment. 

I have spent the last week catching up on all the TV I have missed while watching the cycling.  Versailles, actually featured a battle last week, although all the French were in blue and all the Dutch in red, which even with my limited knowledge of the period I know isn't right. There were no pikes, either.  However, in the same episode they also had Allegri's Miserere being sung in Louis XIV's chapel, despite it not being performed outside of the Sistine Chapel until a hundred years later, when Mozart transcribed it from memory.  Dodgy history, again. Still, this Friday we had Anna Brewster emerging naked from the bath, so the show is forgiven.

I have bought a lot of music this last week or so (The Rocketeer complete 2 CD soundtrack, The Man Who Would be King soundtrack, The Right Stuff soundtrack,  several CDs by Canadian/Russan jazz singer Sophie Milman and Marvel's Agent Carter soundtrack) but today I am listening to electro string quartet Bond, one of my guilty pleasures, even though they do  sound a bit like that dreadful K-tel Hooked on Classics LP from the early eighties.  When Bond appeared in 2000 they got into a spat with the people running the classical charts who removed their LP from the top as it was too poppy.  This engendered lots of comments from them about the snooty classical establishment stopping wider appreciation of classical music.  This would have been a good argument if they had actually listed the original composers of the works in their CD liner.  But they didn't, so it was hard to argue that you were spreading appreciation of classical music.  At their same time their record company banned them from using this shot of them on their album cover.  Really?  Their own record company banned them?  The picture, did however, appear on the cover of their single so the record company weren't that annoyed but by then the press around the so called banning had seen their sales jump.

Anyway, I was rather surprised to see them appear on quiz show, celebrity Eggheads this week, all looking, well, a bit middle aged.  So far the 'celebrities' on the twenty or so specials have been so unknown they make the cast of celebrity Big Brother look like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Basically, they have just been random people from BBC daytime shows no-one watches.  To make up the five the team requires they had bought along David Arnold, the James Bond, Independence Day, Sherlock and Stargate composer.  Good grief, people I have actually heard of, I thought.  Then they went and did what no other celebrity team had done in this run and won the show.  The people appearing on celebrity Eggheads have been, on the whole dismally ignorant,  It makes me despair for the next generation, it really does.  Unfortunately knowledge of popular 'culture' seems to have replaced real knowledge.  One of the contestants this week said he hadn't read a book since he was sixteen.

The Wave and the Pearl (1862)

Today's wallpaper is by French painter Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry (1828-1886) who is largely forgotten today but at the time this picture was regarded as one of the greatest nudes of the nineteenth century.  Most of his best known works were murals in Paris but he did a number of reclining nudes like this.  


  1. That was a GREAT victory for Dumoulin in the Giro! Probably one of my favorite Giros of all time. Even despite his digestive system malfunction, Dumoulin was the man to beat. A TTer than can climb is tough to beat in a stage race given two chances to snatch back wads of time from a pure climber and an all-rounder. Now, get out on your bike and put some miles into your legs!

    1. Given his team wasn't the strongest, he showed real character in the last week.

  2. Great post Sir and well done on the progress, they look splendid.

  3. I hear you the going to seed bit, think i need to get out a bit more... too much time at the paint table... i did do the garden yestetday...but i guess sitting on the ride on mower doesnt really help...and its got drinks holder...which a chilled beer fits in nicely....;)

    1. Riding on the mower with a beer -classic. I get the Old Bat to mow the lawn and watch her from my desk.

  4. An excellent read with my morning coffee as horizontal rain pelts the window.