Monday, December 31, 2007

Blog Hit Parade: Year End

I started the hit parade on the 11th of the month but I am going to do 2008 by calendar months.
Year end totals are as follows. I didn't put the counters on until the end of August so for those in existence before this these are only four month totals.

1 19th Century Sudan Armies (August 2006) 4,796
2 Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis (October 2006) 4,361
3 Legatus' Wargames Armies (January 2007) 2,505
4 Spartan WAB (November 2005) 1,870
5 Dark Ages WAB (August 2006) 871
6 Byzantine WAB (November 2005) 800
7 Punic War WAB (November 2006) 736
8 Pulp Warriors (June 2007) 399
9 Return to Darkest Africa (June 2007) 387
10 Great Northern War (December 2007) 169
11 3rd Century Roman WAB (October 2007) 141
12 Swashbucklers (September 2007) 66
13 Lord of the Rings (December 2007) 1

The Sudan is the most popular but the one that is close to overtaking it is Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis which is now getting over 150 hits a day! I wonder why?

Painted Figures for December and 2007

Greeks for Cynoscephalae: If I paint some pikemen I've got a Macedonian Army!

Well, my first year of logging my painted figures is over so now it's time to analyse it.

Firstly, though, the figures for December are as follows:

Sudan British RMLI 3
Cowboy 1
GnW Swedish 9
LotR Gondor archers 4
LotR Uruk hai beserker 1
LotR Dwarves 2
Dutch Napoleonic Jaegers 4
Total 24

This means that I have painted 312 figures this year which is, amazingly, exactly 6 a week, so I have achieved my target!

For 2008 I am going to aim to do 7 figures a week! Whether I achieve this or not will depend on how much travelling I have to do. Last year I was abroad on business 60 days, so in reality I actually painted 7 figures a week when I was at home, so it should be acheivable. Let's see how many I can do in my last week of holiday.

Next I need to look at my real problem: not being able to concentrate on any one army. With 300 figures I could have done two complete WAB armies if I was able to focus!

Actually, when I look at what I painted it could be worse:

Sudan 105
Ancient Greeks 104
Punic Romans 29
Middle Imperial Roman 15
Dark Ages 15
Great Northern War 14
Lord of the Rings 12
Darkest Africa 11
Napoleonic 4
Pulp 2
Old West 1

Other than the Sudan, my main period, it was mostly Greeks for Cynoscephalae. For 2008 I expect Great Northern Wars to be up there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mountain Men

For some reason I bought both Foundry Mountain men deals a few years ago. This is far more mountain men than you would ever need but, sad to say, I am a completist so thought I might as well get them all.

Actually, they are great fun to paint and I got these out today, tidied some of them up a bit and put them in their own file box with my Sharon Stone figure.

Again, a skirmish game wouldn't take too many figures and I bought the legends of the Old West Alamo supplement as it has statistics for mountain men in.

Lord of the Rings: Gondor Archers

I am planning a game of LotR or two over the holiday with my little boy and am going to try to paint a Gondor Battle company in the next few days.

I need two archers, three swordsmen and two spearmen. I have just finished four archers as an experiment. They look OK but I am not that keen on the plastic figures. I got three metal Citadel Guard figures for Christmas and they are not only much more detailed but, annoyingly, much bigger as well.
I've painted the armour in quite a dark colour (Games Workshop's Bolt Gun Metal) as I always think that GW paint their figures too brightly. The uniforms from the films used a very muted palette.

Dutch 27th Jaegers 1815

For a long time I have wanted to get back to painting some Napoleonic figures. I've wanted to do the Peninsula, largely because of Sharpe, but I haven't really found any figures I like, except the Anthony Barton 15mm ones which are too small for what I want to do which is large skirmishes. However, another possibility was Quatre Bras because the battle could, in many ways be broken down into a group of skirmishes. When the Perry twins came out with their 1815 French I knew I had to paint a few units. Like all Napoleonics they are very slow to paint but I have finished my first four Dutch flanquers from the 27th Jaegers. They were the first allied troops engaged on 16th June and held up a much larger force of French when the battle proper started.

The Napoleonic rules I have are Charles Grant's which are very old school and use battalions of 48 or 36 for light infantry. JC in his excellent, if intermittant, Quatre Bras blog reccommends General de Brigade which uses a 1/20 scale. This is pretty scary but the two rule sets would give similar sized units so I am going to go for 1/20 which would mean 40 figures for this unit. If I can finish two more this holiday that would at least be a company!

Perry Miniatures figures, of course.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Lunch with Giles Allison and 2008 preview

I inflicted Ortega, the tapas bar (otherwise known as my alternate office), on Giles yesterday but he coped pretty well with the low-fat, healthy food. I was talking to one of the (very attractive) waitresses the other day and she said that she has put on ten pounds since starting, as they eat all their meals there. Fortunately, it's all gone on her bottom which looks even better than it did before!

Giles, who is very focussed in his approach to painting, asked the killer question about what projects I would be working on in 2008. Of course, I hadn't even thought about it but next year I am not, for the first time for a couple of years, participating in the Guildford effort for the Society of Ancients Battle Day. This is because they are doing Poitiers next year (in 20mm plastic, I believe). Whilst I like the concept of the Hundred Years War the thought of all that heraldry put me off. If they had gone for Agincourt in 28mm I might have been in trouble, however!

So, I don't have a big project looming over me for the first four months of the year. I can, therefore, do what I want; probably not a good thing. I have given some initial thoughts below, however. It will be interesting to see how many of these I achieve!

Most of these pictures below are from my "partially completed units" shelf. I organise" my painting as follows.

The Lead pile

The lead pile is in six of those little drawer units you get in DIY shops for holding screws. There are fifteen drawers in each and I reckon an average of 30 figures in each ( a lot more in some!). So that's pushing 3000 figures, or ten years painting. On top of that I have six file boxes of Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings figures.

Who knows what's in there?

The next storage is for figures I have filed and based but not painted or part painted figures I have put to one side to finish later. I have twelve file boxes of these. Thay include some figures which are finished but I need to re-base with static grass etc (like most of my Ancient Germans).

The ones at the front get done first: in theory!

Once I have taken figures from the lead pile and based them or retrieved old figures from the filing boxes for completion they go onto my desk. I usually have about 100 figures on my desk in varying stages of completion and keep about 20 at the front which are the ones I intend to finish next.

Once a figure is completed he goes up onto the shelf where, hopefully a unit is being put together (although sometimes this can take months or even years).

Once the unit is finished they go away into the white file boxes.

So what will be finding its way onto my desk in 2008?


I will definitely carry on with this and am hoping to finish my next British Regiment, the Royal Marines Light Infantry, this weekend. I do need to get a lot more Beja done though. I have finished over half of the camel troops that I need so that may be a good initial target.

Great Northern War

Although this is a very recent project the fact that someone else is doing it at Guildford has spurred me on. Another 35 Musketeer Miniatures figures arrived yesterday so I plan to get a lot of these on the go in the next few weeks.

Early Saxons with some Artizan Vikings and some Greeks and Pulp figures in the foreground.

Early Saxons/Arthurian

The Dark Ages is probably my favourite period and I will continue to paint the Musketeer figures. Five more and I will have finished a unit. The new Gripping Beast ones look nice too and Musketeer are promising more figures by Paul Hicks next year. I am currently reading an enjoyable novel called The Skystone, by Jack Whyte, the beginning of a seven book series set around the time of Arthur. I may even try to build my long-planned late Roman villa but, as Giles said yesterday, time doing scenery is time when you aren't doing figures. I am also going to try and paint another Grand Manner Dark Ages house over Christmas, but my children can help with that!

Spartans and some Dark Ages.

Greeks and Spartans

I will carry on doing these and hope that Artizan get their musician done so I can finish the first unit of Spartans.

Punic War

Crusader are releasing a host of great new figures and I have bought a lot of their Spanish. I might try to get some of these done to oppose my two painted Roman legions. there are a lot of articles about the Roman wars in spain in this month's Ancient Warfare magazine.

These will be my main five projects for the beginning of the year and I would expect to have something from at least one of these five in the "immediately pending" section on my desk at all times. There are also some subsidiary things I'd like to move along too, though.


I want to get enough figures painted to try out the .45 rules. Ihave half a dozen of two "teams" from Artizan and they shouldn't take too long to do.

Some Chinese cavalry sneak up on the Swedes

Back of Beyond

I have a Chinese Warlord Army but I have some more infantry and some cavalry to paint. These are nice and quick to do.

Needs a blog!

Lord of the Rings

I have literally hundreds of figures to paint and I am working on some Gondor archers at the moment. I may paint enough for a Battle Companies force so I can try to beat my little boy at least once as Rohan are rubbish.

Needs a blog!

WW1 East Africa

I recently based some figures for this and, like the BoB figures, they are pretty quick to paint.

Napoleonic Quatre Bras

I have four Dutch Jaegers nearly done (this weekend, definitely!) and will do the odd figure (they take ages) as I see fit.

3rd Century Romans and Palmyrans
I've got some Palmyran Cataphracts to do (and Queen Zenobia) so will continue to do some of these.

A whole Caesarean unit ready to paint!
Caesarian Romans

I have based a unit of Caesarian legionaries and will try to get these done soon too. I actually have reasonable Celtic and Ancient German armies finished so these would be useful.

Needs a blog!

Wars of the Roses

One unit of heavy cavalry will pretty much complete my army. That will be a first!
I may trawl through my boxes and look for figures that are started and well on the way which I could finish quickly (lots of Lord of the Rings and some ECW too).

That is quite enough I think. I'm not planning any new periods at present, although I will be keeping a close eye on the Perry plastic ACW figures due in March (Danger! Danger!). I seem to have kept pretty solidly to my average of six figures a week but I was out the country sixty days this year. Hopefully there will be a few less trips and a lot more painting in 2008!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Celtic Chariot

How do you do the harnesses on a Celtic chariot?

This is mine. I based it on the Angus McBride illustration. The reins are made from foil from a tube of tomato puree. Technically you should have two straps from each horse rather than the one I have.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blog Hit Parade

Jennifer Connelly: two reasons that the Pulp blog is over 1000% up on hits this month.

Another month, another blog. This time, the new one covers the Great Northern War.
Given that the idea of starting a blog was to create discipline in my painting it has obviously failed but I enjoy doing them and when it's too dark to paint then I can happily ramble away instead.

This time I am going to rank them by hits per month (last month's ranking in brackets).

1 (1) 19th Century Sudan Armies 1617 (up 409 on last month).
2 (6) Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis 1099 (up 816)
3 (2) Legatus' Wargames Armies 631 (down 38)
4 (3) Spartan WAB 593 (up 96)
5 (5) Dark Ages WAB 222 (down 223)
6 (7) Byzantine WAB 221 (up 34)
7 (11) Pulp Warriors 183 (16)
8 (5) Punic War WAB 179 (down 163)
9 (8) Return to Darkest Africa 130 (up 75)
10 (9) 3rd Century Roman WAB 55 (up 18)
11 (11) Swashbucklers 20 (up 3)
12 (-) Great Northern War 17

A record number for the Sudan blog this month. I've noticed that when searching images on Google it's often coming up on page one now.

The biggest climber is Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis. Can't think why. I think that it is what's referred to as a "crossover hit".

The biggest increase percentage-wise is Pulp warriors. Nothing to do with me putting pictures of Jennifer Connelly and Penelope Ann Miller on it I am sure.

Dark Ages and Punic War have plummeted
so I need to get some more figures done for those over the next few months.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Artizan Cowgirl: Eliza Stone

Something a bit different for this week is this new Artizan Thrilling Tales figure which they call Eliza Stone but is obviously Sharon Stone playing Ellen from the 1995 Sam Raimi film, The Quick and the Dead. Sadly, Guildford has a big Wild West game next Monday but I'm going to be in Brussels. Grr! Sharon will have to fight another day.

I've always enjoyed this film and picked it up on DVD recently, just before the figure came out! I had been hoping someone would make a figure of this character and I think Mike Owen has done a great job.

He has combined several outfits she wore in the film but I managed to track down pictures of most of them in order to get an "authentic" look.

Hat and scarf: Sharon Stone, of course, has a scar on her neck caused by an accident as a child so often wears something around her neck in her films. She starts the film wearing a battered brown hat before acquiring this natty black one with a silver band.

Blouse and waistcoat: Both her blouse and her waistcoat are an off-white colour (although in the picture of my model it looks pure white, because of the flash. Annoying, after studying this picture so carefully.)


Trousers: These are dark reddish brown leather, worn over boots not with boots over the top as in the model. I couldn't find any pictures of Sharon in her leather trousers on the net. Probably just as well.

Gunbelt and pistol: Reddish leather with ivory handled single action 1873 Colt Army Peacemaker with 4.75 inch barrel. The film's replicas were made by EMF Hartford.

Coat: She wears two coats in the film. This brown one is her raincoat for the frequent rainy scenes (although, amazingly, the street is always bone dry immediately afterwards).

In my previous job we had one of these ridiculous management courses where we had to make things from Lego and such like. I got in trouble for answering the question, "who would you like to play you in a film about your life?" with "Sharon Stone". I still think she would be a good choice, despite Basic Instinct 2.

Peow! Peow!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Painted Figures for November

This month's Darkest Africa character: makes a change from near-naked Beja.

I needed to paint 34 figures this month and just made it!

The yearly total is 288 in 48 weeks which is exactly six figures per week!

Sudan British 15
Sudan Beja 6
Sudan Egyptian 1
Darkest Africa 1
Great Northern War Swedes 3
Spartan Hoplites 3
WW1 German Askari 5

I missed the whole of this week as I was in Los Angeles (and Phoenix and Atlanta and Tallahassee and Miami!) but may still get a few finished tomorrow to start off December. This month's target is 24 to reach my six figures a week goal. I have a few days in Brussels the week after next and hope to get to the Military Museum there as they have some good Napoleonic and Belgian Colonial stuff.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Off to America and no TMP at the airport!

I'm in the British Airways lounge about to fly off to Los Angeles and I tried to log on to The Miniatures Page but, no, British Airways has made it a prohibited site! Good grief. For what reason, I wonder?
It's the first of December so I should be putting my November painting totals up but all the details are back home so I will have to do it when I get home on Friday. I have two weeks off at Christmas so am hoping to finish the year with a big burst to beat my target!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Great Northern War: More Swedes

I finished three more Swedish Musketeers this week. John, at Guildford, has been muttering about painting some and adapting the 1644 rules for them. This has given me an incentive to get on with some more. This means I am really going to have to wade through the book I have on their uniforms and decide which period/regiment they are. It's starting to look like another blog!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More from East Africa in WW1

Here are my Brigade Games German Schutztruppe figures for East Africa. All the coloured cords on the helmets were a fiddle to paint but they look OK, considering I did them a few years ago. I saw an episode of Ray Mears' Survival where he went and lived out with the tribes who inhabited the area of the conflict. There was quite a bit about the war in the programme but the interesting thing was the terrain. Just grass (quite green), scrub and small trees. Pretty easy to model I would have thought, even for me. I have used a slightly redder base shade than usual to reflect the colour of the local earth.

These are German African Schutztruppen. These are not Brigade Games but Copplestone Castings. I chose these as Brigade Games themselves admitted that on the early figures they failed to sculpt them as Negros: a rather fundamental mistake I would have thought! They are a little taller than the Brigade Games figures but even I don't mind as the look and bulk is so similar. The Brigade Games Schutztruppen they did later (from the later period with the floppy hats) are much better.

These are quick figures to paint and I based up the rest I had the other night, including some Sikhs. I may get some more done to up my painting totals. Of course if I do a lot I'll have to start another blog!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ankara Visit

I've been in Ankara all week and, yet again, I didn't get a chance to visit the Museum of Anatolian History with it's great Hittite collection. Oh well, it looks like I will be back in three weeks so maybe then!

I did get forty minutes between meetings and my driver took me to Antikabir, the mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk. I didn't have time to get round the museum but at a later meeting someone gave me a print of a picture in the museum.
This shows Atatürk commanding the defence at Gallipoli, or Canakkale, as they call the Dardanelles campaign.

This has got me all keen on doing Palestine WW1 again. The Gallipoli Campaign isn't much fun as a wargaming period as it was not only trench warfare but trench warfare on a very steep hill (very difficult to model scenery for). Palestine has a bit more sweep to it.
Brigade Games British by Mike Owen
I have already painted some British in hot climate uniform for East Africa so I am quite tempted to get a few Turks. The trouble is that although both Copplestone and Brigade Games do Turks they only do infantry and a machine gun. No artillery or cavalry. The Turks used Krupp guns which the Perries now make for the Sudan and you could probably convert a crew from the machine gunners but cavalry would be trickier.

Adding to this pressure is the fact that they have just released the first two box sets of Young Indiana Jones in the US. I always liked this series and could never understand why the BBC buried it in the middle of Sunday afternoons. There were quite a few World War 1 episodes set in Palestine, the Western Front, East Africa and even the Italian Alps. I have just got my East Africa troops out to have a look at and may try to get some more done between now and Christmas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blog List: Hit Parade

It's a month since I did a blog hit count so I thought I'd do another one to see if the hits are consistent subject to subject. Total views first and then the total (in brackets) for the month.

1 19th Century Sudan Armies 2340 (1208)
2 Legatus' Wargames Armies 1203 (669)
3 Spartan WAB 884 (497)
4 Dark Ages WAB 546 (445)
5 Byzantine WAB 469 (187)
6 Punic War WAB 443 (342)
7 Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis 428 (283)
8 Return to Darkest Africa 136 (55)
9 Pulp Warriors 54 (16)
10 3rd Century Roman WAB 37 (37)

11 Swashbucklers has had 27 (17)

The top three remain the same but Dark Ages WAB has moved from number 7 up to number 4, the highest climber this month! I have managed to update everything except the Byzantine blog in the last month.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Painted Figures for October

Early Saxons: 11 this month

A much better month despite a week in the US and a couple of days in Prague.

The score was 43 this month which is my second best of the year. The yearly total is 254 in 43 weeks or 5.90 figures per week. So I am now only four figures behind schedule! November will be a five week month as I only count whole weeks but I have to go to Ankara for five days so that will slow things down. So I need to paint 34 figures to get back on par. Difficult but not impossible.

Musketeer Miniatures Early Saxons: 11
Musketeer Miniatures Great North Wars Russian: 1
Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Rohan Captain: 1
A&A Miniatures Middle Imperial Roman ARchers: 15
Crusader Miniatures Dark Ages irish: 1
Foundry Darkest Africa character: 1
Perry Miniatures Sudan KRRC: 12
Foundry Spartan General: 1

It's an all Perry week: Sudan British and Beja, Dutch Jaegers and a cuirassier!

Next up are a few more Beja, the final batch of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and a few Perry Napolenics which are well on their way. It may be pushing it a bit as I am out quite a lot this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

3rd century Romans: Another Blog!

It's my TMP icon!

I have had a couple of days off sick with a nasty bug and while I haven't been well enough to paint much (that's how my wife knew I was really ill) I have had time to set up another blog. Having enjoyed painting my 3rd Century Archers I have decided to get back to work on my 3rd Century Roman Army and also start collecting some Palmyran troops as opposition.

It will all unfold, very slowly, here:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Middle Imperial Roman Archers

I finished seven A&A MIR archers today, so with the one I have already painted I have almost a viable unit. These figures represent the troops in the mid third century who fought against the Persians and Palmyrans. A&A already make Palymyran cataphracts and are promising more troops so I will continue to build this Eastern Roman force. Hopefully, I can get another eight done this week.

Friday, October 19, 2007

World War 1 British infantry

Renegade on the left. Great War Miniatures on the right.

I have just had my first delivery from Great War Miniatures.
A couple of years ago, when they first came out, I ordered quite a lot of the Renegade Miniatures World War 1 figures. I wasn't very interested in the late war, with all that tedious trench warfare, but the early period with rapid manoeuvre and fighting retreats apppealed to me, especially as my Grandfather was in the KRRC in the BEF.

So I was very attracted to the new Great War Miniatures early war figures, even though I had been warned that they were not compatible with the Renegade figures.

Not so! I am very fussy about different scales but these seem fine to me! I am now hoping that they will produce all the figures I want from an early WW1 range, such as French Cuirassiers and German Uhlans.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Workbench Plan

Well, I have no chance of being disciplined about concentrating on a particular army but I have come to a sort of rationalisation. I will only have figures on the workbench from a limited selection of periods where I am building units, but I can't have two armies from the same period on the go at the same time.

So, there will be some Ancients figures, some Dark Ages, some Renaissance/pike and shot, some Nineteenth Century and some fantasy. So that's five periods. If I want to add another then one of the other periods has to go away. At the moment I have Musketeer GNW Swedes (another lot arrived today), Perry Sudan, Musketeer Early Saxons and Artizan Pulp. I have a couple of odd darkest Africa and a Perry French Cuirassier as well but they don't count as I have already started them.

So now I realise that I need to get some Ancients on the go! I have done a few Spartans lately and could do with a change. I fancy doing some more Romans so the choice is between some Italian allies for my Punic Army, some more EIR, some 3rd Century Romans or some Caesarean. I've actually started some Italian allies, Caesarean and some 3rd century ones so they wouldn't take so long to finish as starting another unit of EIR.

I just looked in the Roman box and found 15 A&A Middle Imperial Roman armoured archers. These have several advantages as a project: they have no shields or spears and I have got the base colours down on most of them already. I finished one last year and it was pretty straightforward so I reckon I could turn out quite a few in a reasonably short space of time and try to get my average back up again.
Let's see if that works!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Archduke match Crisis!

The Archduke is the winebar I have been occasionally known to retire to after work before catching the train home from Waterloo station. Well when I say "occasionally" I mean at least once a week. And I have been going there for some time. In fact, next May I will have been going there for twenty-five years, mainly with my long suffering friend Bill, my equally long suffering sister (who also both go home from Waterloo) and an even longer list of former girlfriends (and some ex-girlfriends -including the ones my wife doesn't like me to still see!). In fact I go so often I have been offered a discount and nowdays the cute barmaid from Shanghai gets anxious if I haven't been in for a week or so.

So what has all this got to do with painting soldiers?

Archduke matches! They are the perfect length for stirring pots of Humbrol paint; just slightly longer than standard matches. But now with no smoking in winebars (hooray!) there are also no matches and the last time I went (last week) the basket of matches had GONE! What shall I do? I only have about twenty boxes left. I may have to find out who made them and actually buy some! Match makers must be having a thin time of it so they might be grateful for an order!

Did a little bit of painting tonight but even with a daylight bulb it's quite hard on the eyes so I have decided to get base colours down during the week and do shading at the weekends.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A better week..

Well, I finished eight figures this week, which is the same as my entire total for September. I have four more almost done and they should be finished tomorrow.

The Rohan captain is for my Lord of the Rings Battle Companies unit; a game I play with my little boy quite often. As you win (or lose, in my case) games you can win or buy extra troops, so you often need to paint one or two for the next game. I also have a mounted version which I may do now as well.
Coming up for the next two weeks are, therefore, Sudan British Riflemen, a few more Spartans, some more Early Saxons and some more GNW Swedish.