Saturday, May 19, 2018

Paint Table Saturday: Byzantines, tempting figures,models from the past and an art blog

So, it is another Royal Wedding today and, luckily, the Old Bat will be glued to the TV all day, enabling me to get a decent amount of painting done.  The Old Bat doesn't even like the couple; Harry is a 'dim, bush mush' and Markle is an 'American trailer trash golddigger' who is 'making the Royal Family a laughing stock'. It won't stop her watching everything, though! Mainly so she can insult guests fashion choices.

I hope to get on with my Byzantine Infantry, which I have done a bit on this week.  If I can get all the black and leather bits done this weekend I will be pleased.  I have also got the shields started and have got some transfers for them, although I am already getting stressed about how to deal with these.  I have bought some Micro Sol and some Micro Set but even with my glasses I can't read the instructions on the bottles.  The key question is: do I still need to paint them with gloss paint or gloss varnish before I put them on? Also the transfers have no hole for the boss so I have no idea how I am going to deal with that.  Stressful times ahead!  As my particular friend A says.  Isn't this supposed to be a relaxing hobby?

Why come to Israel?

To relax I am enjoying watching the Giro d'Italia at present (although possibly the accompanying regional selection of Italian wines is helping in this) , although they haven't had the best of weather. It was even cloudy in Israel.  Talking of Israel, during Eurosport's coverage we are getting the usual travel advertisements for Tel Aviv Jerusalem; two places I wouldn't dream of visiting, despite the (rather engagingly old fashioned) use of alluring girls in the commercials.  

Follow me!  Oh, alright then

Last year's advert (only people who work in TV call them commercials) had top Israeli model, Shir Elmaliach, filmed in a point of view way, leading a lucky man through carefully selected highlights of the two cities.  Linking them together as a destination is quite clever (the original advertisement won a lot of awards) given that Jerusalem is an interesting historic city and Tel-Aviv appears to be like Basingstoke on sea with added bus bombs.  It was one of those adverts that I actually used to stop fast forwarding through the advert break for, so as to better appreciate Shir's pert posterior in a variety of clingy outfits.

This year, although they have bought back Shir (sadly, largely filmed from the front - it was like when FHM did a pictorial on Jennifr Lopez and only photographed her from the front) they have teamed her with British presenter Sian Welby (no I have never heard of her either - perhaps she is on the Shopping Channel or some such).  The new advert dumps the disembodied man being led through the two cities' delights and just has the two girls taking selfies of each other and people taking selfies annoy me enormously. Instead of intimating at naughty fun in the sun for the male visitor, as in last year's advert, in this one the girls actually look like they would prefer naughty holiday fun with each other.  Using two girls is not necessarily more effective than one! Sian is quite annoying, gurning her way through the film, and is not a patch on Shir, even though the latter looks like she has patently never ridden a bike in her life as she wobbles through the scenery.  Epic fail, as my son would say. It is supposed to evoke an Instagram story, apparently,whatever that is.

It doesn't quite have the Marmite effect of another travel campaign, for Tui (originally Preußische Bergwerks-und Hütten-Aktiengesellschaft), shot in Turkey and featuring gap-toothed British model Bethany Slater.  This advert carpet bombed our screens from last October and started to drive me mad with its stupid dancing crabs and annoying, gets into your head, synthesizer riff. The simpering singer, murdering the Rufus and Chaka Khan hit Ain't nobody, makes you think the girl miming in the advert is an insipid simpering girl herself; probably called Alison who probably lives in an unfashionable part of North London somewhere and works in HR.  Sorry if you know someone called Alison but I once had a simpering, insipid girlfriend called Alison (very briefly) who lived in Belsize Park.  She didn't work in HR but was a nurse which should have been more exciting than it was.

The advert has Bethany as a rather tragic singleton whose life is transformed by flying to a Tui resort in Turkey on a Tui airliner (they probably have their own Tui tank division as well,  so at least they might be able to get you out of Turkey if there is another attempted coup), having her face painted green and dancing badly, to the extent that in the follow up advert she appears to have sex in the pool with some random man (hopefully she uses a Tui condom).  Well, that's the way it looks to me.  You too can have naughty fun on a cheap package holiday, although not as much fun as promised by Shir in Israel (I would imagine). One of my friends loves gap-toothed Bethany and watches it every time it comes on, although latterly Tui seem to be using other more normal looking people in their adverts now, disappointingly for my friend.  Maybe the concept of Bethany being a tragic singleton is just too unrealistic, given her leggy charms.

Plastic Victrix Vikings sketches

Anyway, these aren't the figures I was meant to be discussing. As is well known, I can'r resist a shiny new range of figures, so if I see thone I tend to make myself go away and calm down for a bit before ordering them.  Kickstarters are particularly bad, as I get carried away by them and end up buying stuff I don't want (like Mars Attacks).  One I saw recently was by eBor miniatures (who I get muddled up with eBob) for Seven Years War plastic French infantry,  Oh, plastic people with tricornes I thought, excitedly. Shiny!  But when I looked into them, despite the Kickstarter having launched, there is virtually no information about them and just a picture of one figure.  Given they are asking for a rather eye-watering £40,000 and have only raised about £2000 I think this one I can give a miss.  Maybe if they had started with British figures.... Likewise the new North Star and Fireforge fantasy ranges, while tempting at first, would seem pointless given the number of Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figures I have got.  If you are going to have elves and dwarves at least have them sculpted by the Perry twins. Much more interesting is the recent announcement by Victrix of plastic Vikings (first), Normans and Saxons.  The first Victrix figures I bought were their Napoleonics and I didn't like them at all but their recent ancients have been wonderful. I will definitely be getting these!

Fraxinus posted about the new Airfix Vintage Classics range, which they are bringing out shortly.  These feature many of the models from my past. Plastic models, that is, not the walking up and down on a catwalk (sorry, runway) ones I used to know when I was younger, when hanging out in Milan during Fashion Week. It was no coincidence that Lloyd's Italian brokers day was organised at the same time as Milan Fashion Week. No coincidence as I organised it, with my Italian colleague.  During one of these was the only time I literally saw grown women eating just lettuce for dinner, when I went to the birthday party of a Brazilian model and my Italian colleague entirely failed to chat up Carla Bruni. Should have aimed slightly lower down the model pecking order. Heh, heh.

The Vintage Classics line will use some of the old box art.  Models will include the Bismark, the first model ship I built (it sadly ended its life in the garden being riddled with .177 pellets from my air rifle) and the Panzer IV, which I must have made a fair number of in the past (did anyone ever make it with the tragic short barrelled cannon?). The Panzer IV was my favourite tank kit and I might just get one to put on my shelf somewhere.  I wonder whether you can get a 1/56 one?  But then it would need some Perry Afrika Korps and that wouldn't go well.  I was looking at the Airfix website recently and was amazed by the almost complete disappearance of their historic ships ranges but now, at least, some of these will return. I did build the Royal Sovereign model in the past and it sat in my mother's lounge for decades as I, amazingly, actually completed, painted and rigged it.

Under the sea

When I thought my eyesight had deteriorated too much to paint wargames figures I did think about going back to making model ships again but the question for me is where do ship modellers keep their finished models?  You can't really hang them from the ceiling like aircraft.  That said, I recall reading an AE Van Vogt short story, once, where an alien creature sat in a space craft under the sea but could not sense water, so passing ships appeared to be floating in the air above.  Could you hang your ship models at exactly the same height so that they appeared to be floating in invisible water? Like the Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai where I used to stay, sometimes.  It would be worse than trying to get pictures to hang  at the same height, though.

That said, I did dig my model of the RMS Mauretania out of the loft after visiting the ocean liners exhibition at the V&A,  Maybe I'll take it to Cowes this year.   I never made the HMS Belfast , either. and always wanted to, although back when I made model warships you didn't have to worry about the dazzle paint scheme!  That would be a nightmare!  Usually the biggest stress with ship models is getting the waterline stripe right. At least there would be more room on my workbench, now, for a ship under construction.  These old Airfix models are very crude compared with modern ones but that is part of their charm, really, as no doubt Airfix hope.   They are promising more than the initial release of 25 models (depending on how they sell, I suppose) but some are lost forever, the original moulds having being destroyed in the Second Iraq war (they had been sold by Heller to an Iraqi firm), supposedly).

Odalisque (1873)

Given it is the Giro I should have wallpaper by an Italian artist, so here is a Turkish-style odalisque (the lowest grade of girl in the harem) by Francesco Paolo Michetti (1851-1929). The orientalist subject matter is unusual for the artist who specialised in outdoor scenes.  Michetti originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy and after studying at the Academia in Naples moved to Paris to continue his studies, exhibiting at the 1872 Paris Salon.  In 1883 he bought an old convent building, back in Abruzzo, as his studio and home and took much of his inspiration from the local people and landscape.  He also exhibited in Milan, Naples, Berlin and at the first Venice Bienalle.  For the last twenty years of his life he lived as a virtual recluse and stopped exhibiting.

Given I haven't started a new blog for ages I have decided to do one which just features art from my Paint Table Saturday wallpaper, Art Friday on my Facebook Page, as well as a number of my other blogs.  Initially I have collected (and in some cases expanded) the pieces I have posted before.   You can find it here.  Expect lots of naked ladies and the occasional military, maritime and Baltic landscape painting.

Italian music too, with Giuseppe Sinopoli's tremendous Nabucco.  It's not my favourite Verdi Opera, that is Aida, but the first act charges along at a tremendous pace and is full of fantastic melodies.   I bought my copy in the legendary Farringdon Records in Cheapside, from the legendary Tony.  I got it when it came out in 1983, having bought the DG Aida the year before.  It is excellent music to cook Spaghetti Bolognese to!


  1. I would gloss varnish myself then follow this
    matt to finish.

  2. Not many bus bombs in Jerusalem/Israel these days and, from a military history point of view (and others), one of the most fascinating countries I've ever visited?

    1. Slightly biased against it as my father served in Palestine after the second world war. He didn't have anything good to say about either side.

  3. That was quite a ramble, interesting though. My airfix Graf Spee also ended up riddled with air rifle pellets, standing in as a substitute for the General Belgrano. I am happily less jingoistic these days, exemplified by a total lack of interest in all things Royal & nuptial.
    Regards HGA.

    1. I remember the Graf Spee as it was designed so you could make it as a waterline model too, which I did, although it made it quite flimsy.

  4. Excellent read...been some years (ahem, decades probably) since I built an Airfix kit so this was very interesting.

  5. Mauritania was one of my first builds, built a lot of those Airfix ships. I got the Victory for free after nearly destroying my left eye with Airfix glue while repairing the Belfast.

  6. Thanks for the mention ...I blew up my Tamiya Kingtiger with Fireworks (must have been feeling wealthy or had a rise in pocket money)we reserved the air rifle/pistol shooting for timpo figures in garden trenches! didnt know about the molds lost in Iraq, thought most existed apart from the known broken ones like the Sam Missile set& boy scout

  7. I love the diverse reach of your posts LH. Looking at your recent activity, it was nice to see you wrestling with painting space organisation (I recently built myself a paint rack for much the same reasons), sounding off about adverts (that Tui one featuring 'Alison' really is awful, you're spot on!). And yes, that one suggesting Israel/Tel Aviv was the place to go for shapely derrière action, that was fab! Thanks also for alerting me to the Airfix vintage classics development. I'll check the Fraxinus link.