Saturday, February 17, 2018

Paint Table Saturday: Olympics, Dark Ages Kickstarter, Elephants, Wargods of Olympus and Zulus

Having finished my elephants last week, the next parts of the Victrix models to complete are the howdahs.  These will also need quivers for the javelins attaching and shields.  I haven't tried using Little Big Men transfers on domed shields before.  It is not going to be easy, I suspect!

I have started the base coat on the Zulus and put together another two to make a unit of 12 for The Men Who Would be King rules. I assembled these in front of the TV and looking at them, as I paint them, I should have done them in good light at my desk, as some of the arms don't look right.  Hopefully, this will not be too apparent when the shields are on.  Although it is a lovely, bright morning I'm not going to get much done today as it is my father-in-law's 90th birthday party.

Let's hope they don't all say 'Hoo! Hah!" before they charge into unrealistic man to man combat with swords.  The lady needs a few kebabs, I think

I have started some of the Wargods of Olympus figures and have found a Foundry Argonaut I am going to try to finish at the same time.  I am looking forward to the new BBC Troy drama, although political correctness has struck again, with a black Achilles. The costumes, as ever, have seen a costume designer go mad, once more, and ignore any historical evidence..  We know what Bronze Age (no iron spears either!) Mediterranean people wore; there  are plenty of paintings and pictures on pottery.  Stop making it look like an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.

I have always enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics more than the summer games, although I was disappointed in the choice of (stops typing to look up how to spell it) PyeongChang as host city.  Deep down, part of me thinks that the winter Olympics should be held in Europe (or North America at a pinch) not some weird place in Asia. It looks wrong and feels wrong.  However, having said that, the scenery in Korea (apart from a tragic lack of snow) is, in fact, not too bad. The drone Olympic rings at the opening ceremony were the second most impressive thing I have seen on TV this year after the  Falcon Heavy synchronised booster landing.   Beijing, where the 2022 games will be held is just wrong. I have been to Beijing and it just doesn't have that authentic alpine/nordic feel about it, just as there wasn't in Sochi.  Also, when are we going to have a winter Olympics in somewhere that doesn't need artificial snow?  It's a shame Oslo withdrew their bid, as that would have been perfect.

Being involved in infrastructure finance I occasionally get called in to provide some advice on Olympics: Beijing, and Vancouver spring to mind.  A few years ago, the Norwegians asked me in to help on a Winter Olympics bid for Tromso for 2014.  It never went anywhere but at least I did go up there for a bit, saw the Northern lights,  had a beer from the world's most northerly brewery, ate some whale (not by choice - we went to a wine bar and everything on the menus seemed to be unavailable except whale.  Suspicious that.  I also did not buy a sealskin tie)  and got given a 'games that never was' badge!  It's like my Toronto 2008 Olympic mountain biking venue tee shirt!

The BBC coverage in the first week unfortunately, seemed to be fixated on the tedious freestyle skiing and snowboarding events, which were introduced into the Winter Olympics to give Americans something to win.  They really are dull (apart from the pinball-like cross racing, where they knock each other over all the time), despite all the ghastly American style whooping and hollering, yet the BBC (they have ruined Ski Sunday by including all this millennial rubbish too). is showing hours of it.  This is  all because the Olympic authorities are desperate to try to get Americans to be even vaguely interested in the Winter Olympics, as they need their TV revenue.  I can't help think, too, that sports which require judges marks fly in the face of the citius, altius, fortius motto of the games.  Its not faster, higher, stronger and more twiddly.  Sorry, Torvill and Dean.  I enjoy watching ski-jumping but it should just be about how far you go not how elegant you look in flight. 

The other thing the coverage is stuffed with is curling, as we (or, rather, the Scots) have done quite well at this in the recent past but to say the pace is glacial is an understatement.  It was only worth watching when the luminous Anastasia Bryzgalova was on.  Anastasia competes under the Olympic flag, in this games, for the 'Russian athletes who haven't yet been caught taking drugs' team. Everyone is still calling them the Russian team though.  I see a Japanese has been caught taking a banned substance which is embarrassing for the hosts of the next summer Olympics,  No doubt someone will provide him with a tantō sword so that he does the right thing.  If not the Koreans will happily do it for him, I am sure.  I have been to Korea a number of times and they just hate the Japanese.  Maybe they spiked his drink.

I always stayed in the Westin Chosun in Seoul, as it had an Irish pub in the basement where you could get a Guinness for £10 and a pizza for £30.  It was worth it so that you didn't have to eat Korean food,which is quite the most disgusting cuisine I have ever encountered in 70 countries.  I once went to the food hall of the department store next door to the hotel and everything there looked and smelled like it had died at sea and been washed ashore three weeks later.  You couldn't even tell if it was animal, vegetable or fish.  Rancid, is the word for most Korean food, Don't even get me on Bosintang (dog soup), which you can really smell on those Koreans who eat it.

I need to unwrap it this weekend!

I had a big box from Grand Manner this week, as I ordered some African buildings to beat their annoying deadline (since passed) after which they will only sell ready painted items at twice the price of what they sold the bare resin for.  The shop is closed for everything at present.  I do like their stuff but I enjoy painting it, so, price apart, I don't want it painted by someone else in weird acrylic paint.  This is because I am a painter not a gamer! 

After banging on about how I can't paint 18mm any more, I bought into the War and Empire Dark Ages Kickstarter.  Has my new magic optivisor thingy given me ideas above my paint station?  It's all about the Battle of Hastings,of course. Although they have ludicrously big weapons they are lovely figures.  We shall see (literally) whether I can actually paint them!

Finally, after major Shed refurbishments, I am hoping I can get over to Eric the Shed's for an actual wargame next month.  I haven't played a game since our epic Zulu war games last January.  I always feel slightly embarrassed turning up with real wargamers as I can never remember the rules but that is largely because my limited brain capacity is full of other rubbish, like the workings of Export Credit Agencies at present and the El Salvador national infrastructure plan..  There is a trip to Nigeria lurking about at work at the moment but it has been postponed twice so I hope it goes away!

Les Filles d'Atlas

Today's wallpaper is this splendid painting by the French painter Paul Alexandre Alfred Le Roy (1860-1942).  Brought up in Russia, Le Roy moved to Paris when he was seventeen.  Like many orientalist painters of the time, he travelled to North Africa and Turkey and collected items for use in his paintings.  The title of the painting has two meanings, in that these huntresses are depicted in the Atlas mountains, which Le Roy painted on many occasions but they are also supposed to represent some of the Pleiades, the seven daughters of the titan Atlas, who were eventually transformed into stars by Zeus, to keep their father company as he supported the heavens on his shoulders.  He has depicted them in locally inspired North African tribal cloth rather than the more usual classical approach.

Today's music also has a North African aspect to it, in that it is Michael Nyman's The Upside Down Violin which features musicians from the Moroccan group Orquesta Andaluzi de Tetouan.  This appeared on his CD Michael Nyman Live in 1992.  I have over 12 hours worth of Nyman on my iTunes and my favourites include The Draughtsman's Contract, Water Dances and, especially, the propulsive MGV.


  1. Get yourself some Micro Sol for putting the transfers on domed shields. It softens the carrying material (so I understand) and makes it much easier to shape them to non flat surfaces.
    I got some when the boy wanted Maltese cross transfers on the curvy shoulder pads of his Space Marines - works wonders.

  2. Agree entirely on Korean food although I did enjoy the little, local, Johnny Dumplings eatery.

  3. I didn't think Troy was too bad. Also had a pleasing amount if nudity.

    1. It was 'BBC nudity' which appeared to show more than it actually did. I liked the depiction of the cities, the costumes were annoying but the dialogue was dreadful.