Saturday, March 29, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - re-located!

Paint Table Saturday comes from the kitchen table rather than my desk this week, as I work on Grand Manner's massive Roman Galley.

This, the most stressful modelling project I have ever undertaken, is for Big Red Bat's invasion of Britain game at Salute in two weeks!  At this point I must thank BRB's associate Mark who has been kindly sending me pictures of his magnificent version of the galley with some very helpful hints.  Even my wife has been assisting on this project this morning!  I think she finds boats more interesting than soldiers!

Right!  Back to work!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Time for a sort out...and a new show.

What is in here?  And do I really want it?

Scott, in Middle Earth, is a wargamer whose painting ability, focus and scenery skills I much admire.  He has just done a brave thing and rationalised his wargames collection; disposing of things he is never going to do.

It has got to the stage where I really need to do something similar.  With the best intentions, I put an element on my blog which would show how I would reduce the lead pile this year.  Sadly, in three months I have now bought 222 new figures.   I have 17 more on order too.  Given I only painted 82 last year this is patently insane.  And Salute is on the Horizon.  What I need to do is really look at the figures I have and get rid of those I am not going to paint.  As my daughter said, if you haven't painted many of them yet you obviously "don't like them that much".  

My big problem is one of space.  I do not, actually, feel stressed by the amount of figures I have to paint (somewhere in the region of 6000, I think) but I have, quite simply, run out of storage room.   It's not just the figures, though, it's all the books I have bought to go with them.  For example, I have one box of Warlord Games Crimean British infantry and about ten books on the Crimean War.  I haven't painted any figures (so I obviously "don't like them that much") but picked them after reading a Garry Douglas Kilworth novel.  Given I have figures for the Sikh Wars and the Indian Mutiny from the same period then I think the Crimean War has to go.

I now have to employ this process on all my figures but first I need to sort them out.  I have 24 A4 file boxes of based but unpainted (or part painted) figures but they are mostly all dumped in there in a random order.  The first thing to do, therefore, is see what I have got and put, for example, all the Dark Ages figures together.  

This is not going to be a quick job but it really has to be done!   The problem is that it will eat into painting time! 

The venue for Military in Miniature in the dodgy end of Guildford

At least I didn't buy any more figures when I visited the new Military in Miniature show in Guildford last weekend.  This was the smallest hobby show I had been to but felt that I should support it even if a lot of it was about larger scale figures.  There were a number of wargames there but notably absent was Guildford Wargames Club who had agreed to put on a game but couldn't get enough people to sign up.  I watched the agonised emails flying via the club system as the organiser of the game desperately tried to recruit people to help.  "What are all you people doing on Saturday?" he exclaimed in frustration.  Well, the answer is, for my part, that I have to take my son to rowing at 9.30 and then collect him at 12.00 and then do the shopping.  I recently had to miss a big game organised by the Guildford club for the same reason.  On Sunday I have to take my wife to and from work and more rowing for Guy.  A whole day free at the weekend?  You must be joking!  If I get a couple of hours to paint I can count myself very lucky. I am obviously not the only one.  

I just can't get my head around the Flames of War approach to gaming.  Mass not driblets indeed!

In the end the organisers of the event got a Flames of War game set up instead.  I did get some paint I needed but only two pots so that must be my smallest show spend ever.  From my point of view there wasn't much to buy of interest.  Oddly, given the lovely large scale figures on show by members of the British Model Soldier Society I would have been very tempted if there had been a stall selling large scale (54mm plus) figures.  But there wasn't.  A lot of flats (old school but not my thing) and plastic kits (got quite enough of those) and some resin scenery which was largely SF or modern.  Mike of Black Hat Miniatures was there and he had covered the cost of his stand in the first half hour so hope it was worth while for him. 

Running any event, let alone a new one, is a thankless task and I gather that they had 120 visitors during the day which at £2 entrance fee is not going to generate a lot of income.  Next year (and I will go again) they will be putting on more display games although for me I want to see traders not games and traders aren't going to come if the numbers of visitors aren't there.  Also, if you want to attract new people to the hobby the opportunity to pick up some of the stuff you have been looking at is important.

The rather cosy venue

Chatting with Mike is always entertaining (he recruited me into Guildford Wargames Club) but it was great to meet up with Eric the Shed, who lives not far from me up the A3.  He kindly offered to host me for a game in his famous shed and I may very well take him up on that as his scenic layout is superb.  

I did get a good session of painting done on Saturday afternoon working on the Boot Hill Miniatures Mexicans.  I now have this picture of the first batch I painted up in the gallery on their website.  A first for me I think!  Anyway the next batch of Matamoros regiment is moving along quite well.  So I ordered some more.  Oh dear!  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paint Shako Saturday

Inspired by my actually finishing a unit of figures last week I have been making slow but steady progress on two early nineteenth century units in shakos (how old school!).

I managed a bit more on my Confederation of the Rhine Infantry first company which are well over half way done now.  For no reason I can quite explain I also dug out some of Boot Hill Miniatures splendid 1836 Mexicans which I started some time ago but then lost in the lead pile.  These are an absolute pleasure to paint (compared with the extremely fiddly Perry figures) and I am enjoying painting them so much I ordered some more this week so I can finish my Matamoros regiment at roughly 1/10 ratio.  

I have no chance of finishing them this weekend as I have a lot to do on them still but will see how I get on.  I'm off to a small local model soldier show in Guildford today and hope to meet up with Eric the Shed but I'm going to try to get a good hour's painting done first.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It was all going so well...

Lots and lots of Sikh Wars Miniatures

So, I had painted 37 figures in three months, pretty good considering I only managed 82 for the whole of 2013.  I had, optimistically, started a lead reduction counter on the blog (now on the left).  It was all going very well!  Today, however, a whopping great parcel arrived from Studio Miniatures containing my Sikh Wars Kickstarter figures - all 133 of them!  I hadn't realised that I had ordered quite so many figures!  Such is the peril of Kickstarters!  Worse yet I still have my Mars Attacks, Harem Miniatures (I may not have mentioned those before!) and War and Empire 15mm ancients to come.  I saw yesterday that North Star are launching a "Nickstarter" pre-order for their gorgeous looking pirates soon as well.  Oh dear!

I really am hopeless and just can't concentrate on any one (or even any dozen) periods.  I have decided I need a big sort out as I have run out of lead pile storage space.  Recently, I was looking for some Mexican infantry I had started and having looked through 17 A4 file boxes of based but unpainted figures I couldn't find them anywhere.  It was only while digging around at the back of my plastics pile that I found six more boxes of started but incomplete figures and there were the Mexicans.    I have put them on the workbench but they are, essentially Napoleonic style figures and I already have 36 Confederation of the Rhine and 20 British Legion figures from the Latin American Wars of Independence under way. Let alone three companies for IHMN, Empire of the Dead figures, Mirkwood Rangers from The Hobbit and all sorts of other odd bits.  

I will embark on a rationalisation forthwith!  First thing to do is sell off my Foundry Ancient Egyptians.  That should help the lead pile!  Then I can buy the new North Star ones!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Royal Naval Brigade: Paint Table Saturday results!

I finished this unit of Copplestone Castings Naval Brigade figures yesterday, in comparatively quick time.  The ratings arrived from Copplestone (always very rapid service) about ten days ago and I bought the officers in Orc's Nest the following day.  I got most of the painting done last weekend and finished them in two sessions this weekend.

The idea behind these is that they will form part of a joint services task force based on the Prince of Wales Extraordinary company (my figures for which arrived from North Star late last week).  I only painted two out of the five officers but I may paint the others in due course.

Painting Naval Brigade figures involves a strange mixture of straightforward painting of a simple uniform and then the fiddling annoyance of painting stripes on their collars. Ten ratings means ninety stripes!

This is the third set of Naval Brigade figures I have painted.  The first were for my Sudan British Force and were Perry Miniatures.  I did these back in 2007.

I also did some for my Zambezi campaign back in early 2011.  These are the same Copplestone figures as the one's I have just done accept they are in their sennett hats and white, tropical uniforms.

You'd think that would be quite enough Naval Brigade but I will be getting some Mutineer Miniatures for the Indian Mutiny.  I was very inspired by a diorama at the Portsmouth Dockyard museum of the Naval Brigade in action during the Mutiny.

Confederation of the Rhine next.

There's only one piece I could possibly listen to while writing this post: Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs, which he produced in 1905 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.  It's a disgrace that the BBC has cut this from the last night of the Proms lately as, according to them, it only contains English music.  Wood could have called it a Fantasia on English Sea Songs but he didn't!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - the bigger picture

I've decided to take a different approach with Paint Table Saturday this week and provide a wide screen view of the chaos that is the Legatus' paint table.  I have got almost nothing done this week but did get on well with my Naval Brigade last weekend and hope to finish them this weekend.  Just varnishing, metallic work and grass to do on these which is pretty good for me as I only based them about nine days ago.  However, I did actually play a wargame this week so am pleased with myself for that!

As you can see, I'm not short of stuff to paint at present and am contemplating getting on with my first company of Perry Confederation of the Rhine figures which are about half completed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In Her Majesty's Name - my first game!

I had my first game of In Her Majesty's Name last night at Guildford Wargames Club.  You can read about it on my Victoriana blog here.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Paint Table Saturday - Paint it black

I've got two things together which I haven't had for a some time: good light and a free day.  The sun is shining and my wife and son have gone out for the whole day so no getting dragged into sorting out the garden for the new shed etc. They are going to Brooklands Museum for a car auction with my father in law as he has his eye on: 1 another Bentley and 2 The Queen's old Landrover which are both up for sale.  

Normally I would have gone with them but last week I picked up figures for a small unit of Royal Navy naval brigade from Copplestone Castings.  I want some of these for an IHMN force but decided to paint the whole pack as I am sure they will come in useful for something else.  I started them yesterday and got on so well with them that I have decided to put the 18mm fantasy figures to one side (I did a bit on them this week too - The lighter early mornings are a bonus) and see how far I can get with them this weekend. 

The only problem is that I have reached the stage in the figures I hate the most: painting the black bits.  Whether it's straps, boots and pouches or the undercoat for what will eventually be metallic items I hate this stage.  Slow and a fiddle.  Never mind, seven down and five to go.  I have decided I won't let myself have lunch (Heston Blumenthal's Laspsang Souchong tea smoked salmon and caviar given to me by a Russian business visitor this week) until I've done the other five!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Shabaka the Nubian and paint table update

We have got a bit of sunshine this morning so I managed to finish this figure for The Servants of Ra company.  Although not represented in the North Star set the official company in IHMN gives you the option to field a Nubian with a khopesh and a shotgun.  I had this Foundry Darkest Africa figure on the workbench due for repainting.  Given his impressive demeanour I replaced his machete with a khopesh from an old Foundry Ancient Egyptian.  

He hasn't got a shotgun but a rifle but I will either just look at the points of rifle versus shotgun to see if any adjustment needs to be made or I could just say he has a shotgun but I prefer my models to be actually equipped with what they are sculpted as carrying.  He is the bodyguard of Zairah, who appreciates a man with a big chopper.

I made some progress on my 18mm barbarians this week too.  Someone asked if they were 15mm or 18mm and this week Mark Copplestone said that he sees the range as 15mm but the barbarians are 18mm because they are physically bigger.  The long-promised fantasy Romans to oppose them will be actual 15mm.  Just as long as their heads are the same size and its not some scale shrinkage!

Paint table Thursday: RN sailors and 18mm fantasy - all by Copplestone Castings

My lead pile reduction is not going well.  This week I bought a pack of Copplestone Victorian Royal Navy figures for an IHMN company I am working on.  I don't need all ten figures in the pack but will paint them up anyway.  You can never have enough RN landing party figures. I have based them  already and will fast-track them.  I also started work on a Lord of the Rings figure I picked up on eBay.  Hope to finish that one this weekend.  


I have also done some more work on the first company for my Confederation of the Rhine 6th Regiment, second battalion.  These are actually moving along quite well now.  The good news is that this week the Perry brothers released figures for Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt; contingents from which made up the first battalion of the 6th Regiment.  The Schwarzburgers had an attractive green uniform with red facings and black leather equipment.  They will be the next Napoleonic unit I do.  Probably in about 2021.

Today I am listening to the City of Prague Philharmonic's wonderful recording of the complete score to Basil Poledouris' Conan the Barbarian. A relatively new recording which is actually considerably better then the original soundtrack issue, as that was re-recorded, as was often the way, with a much smaller orchestra that didn't have the heft the score needed

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Paint Table Saturday: 18mm Fantasy

Having finished my final figures for the Servants of Ra this week I fancied something a bit different this weekend and having seen Copplestone Castings announcement of some new figures for their 18mm fantasy range I dug out some I have had sitting around for ages.   I've painted a number of these before and they are fun to do and a rare venture into non-Lord of the Rings fantasy for me.

I managed a bit on them today but won't finish them this weekend. I hope to get more painting done tomorrow.