Sunday, 24 March 2013

Older and Bolder

This is one from a while back of some plastic Perry Prussians. In the flesh they looked pretty good (in my view) and I was happy with them. However I was recently struck by how 'stripey' they look. The sleeves, trousers and blanket rolls are all in the now classic three layer style and it shows. It got me thinking as I was doing soem figures the other day about how relatively unskillful the whole process is. As long as you can get the paint in roughly the right area it does not appear to require any particular artistic ability. I suppose we should all be glad of this as it means we get a good looking figure for relatively little effort. I watched a You Tube video on how to do blending properly and could not even contemplate going to that level of patience and time commitment even for a very special figure.

Someone on the Steve Dean website recently made the point that there is such a thing as 'too close'  when it comes to photographing 28mm figures and they are right. Three layers is I guess a trompe l'oiel effect and does not bear really close scrutiny. Well, it doesn't in my case. So, if you have any thoughts on making figures look better without going all the way up to blending then I would be interested to hear them.

A Russian recce platoon from Flames of War. I just like the photo!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

On the table

I'm working on some Perry WotR plastics at the moment. A small unit of archers which should find themselves onto eBay in the next 2-3 days. Work in progress shot below:

I did however have one of those painting calamity moments which I report as agrim warning to you all. Anyone who works with Vallejo paints will know that they frequently suffer from a blocked nozzle as the small hole seals from dried paint. Usually either a needle or sharp pointed instrument is sufficient to clear this but as often as not a bit of judicious squeezing allows the obstruction to be pushed through. No doubt there as those who say that if I had shaken the paint properly in the first place what comes next would never have happened. To them I offer a weary and resigned acknowledgement.

Anyway I was squeezing out some flesh colour onto my pallette and it was blocked. I added a little more pressure and nothing was moving. I should have reached for the needle but no, I simply squeezed harder. And harder. And harder.....until finally the inevitable happened. There is no good target area when an uncontrolled splatter of flesh coloured grapeshot comes your way but in this case a handfull of nearly completed figures took the brunt of it. There was little I could do and the stuff found its way everywhere. So be warned.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Old and Bold

I'm on a bit of an enforced break at the moment where sitting all day slumped over a painting table is not the best of ideas. So I'm doing a number of those 'always meant to do' jobs but its astonishing how quickly hoovering (or vacuuming, take your pick) becomes boring. Today's task has therefore been to edit some of my old picture files. I thought I'd post up some of the better examples from over the years - actually all of them are from the 21st century so perhaps they are not that old or bold.

I was very pleased with these Normans from Crusader Miniatures. Nice chunky figures with good detail and at the time I had an urge to build up a shieldwall collection. Enthusiasm ran out so I ended up trying to sell them on eBay where I was on the end of a really infuriating sting. Essentially I got nothing for them so if you should ever see them on a bring & buy or wargames table near you just poke the owner in the eye from me and call him a thief. Yes, it still rankles.

My first Flames of War effort. I found this in a model shop in Vienna and had never heard of Battlefront but the models looked great. And still do I must add. I've never taken to gaming with these figures as the BF style of solid lines of armour engaging at point blank range offends my purist eye. I much prefer a bit of distance between figure stands where the terrain is more empty than full. To each his own. The model shop was something else too. Figures were a sideline - they mostly went in for RPG costumes and associated literature and props. It was rather wierd and in a hobby full of wierdos the fantasy lot are the wierdest. I was once at Salute and overheard two 'types' arguing over the merits of an invisibility blanket one purported to be wearing. Harmless fun I hope.

A giveaway from Wargames Illustrated when they did that sort of thing. Stapleford Cotton apparently, British cavalry commander under Wellington. I put this in as an homage to Kevin Dallimore as I shamelessly copied his colour shceme for the sample figure shown in the magazine. Back in the day his innovative style took figure painting to a new level and I felt (rather self importantly) that the result was pretty good. Whilst I am name dropping I once met KD at a wargames show. I was admiring some Napoleonic Rifles that were on the Front Rank stand and asked the owner how he got such a fantastic matt finish on the figures.'You can ask the painter' he said and pointed to a long haired chap who patiently took the time to explain the technique and then offered to send me a copy of an article he had written for Practical Wargamer (I think) and later on in the week it duly arrived by post. I always meant to write and offer my thanks but shamefully never did. It was a great gesture from a very kind man and I have always remembered it. If its any consolation I did buy his Foundry painting book a few years later so I hope the royalties helped. Kevin, if you should ever read this then many sincere belated thanks 


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

You've never had it so good

I was looking the other day at some of my son's Airfix figures. He has the Waterloo set and my mind rolled back the years to when I was more or less his age and the first box of Highlanders was produced. It is difficult to understand these days just how much of a leap forward these represented at that time as the low cost alternative to Minifigs and their drainpipe bayonets then selling at the outlandish rate of 6.5p per figure. No matter how crude they may look now Airfix's contribution to wargaming can never be overstated. I remember avidly collecting the marching French infantryman in the artillery set to create a Battalion of line infantry. The release of a pack of French infantry was simply too much - I scoured the streets of Southampton to find this new holy grail. If you simply look at Airfix and see them as small lumps of cheap plastic then you are too young to understand what I am talking about or you weren't there, man.

You talking about me?
With this in mind I saw the latest Perry 'Retreat from Moscow' figures today. If you haven't had the chance then check out their website. No superlative can be too super for this astonishing ensemble. And then I see that they are bringing out a box of 8th Army in plastic. Can there be anything apart from some obscure Principality that today's Napoleonic modeller or wargamer cannot access immediately at very high quality? How lucky we have become with a range of manufacturers in all periods and scales? But, and there's always a but, I bet nothing compares to the frisson of excitement I felt when those Airifx Napoleonics first marched out of their boxes.


I've reached the point where I have realised that I am actually not going to do anything with my ECW collection beyond look at it. Reward enough, I hear you cry, but it seems a waste. I've decided to put them up for sale so if you are interested then drop me a line. Regiments are 32 strong for foot and 12 for cavalry. Price per foot figure will be around £6.50 and they are worth it! A few photos below to give you the idea - more individual photos on request. There are other units as well - red, white, yellow,cuirassier.


Friday, 8 March 2013

Fort Nelson

For those who live within driving distance, can I recommend a visit to Fort Nelson on the hills surrounding Portsmouth. Built in the 1860's it is one of the Palmerston Forts and has been turned into a visitor centre with the added attraction of an artillery museum. Its been recently refurbished and is an excellent half day out. There's a lot going on - we went on a wet January morning so the crowds weren't great - and you get a very good idea of what life in one of these forts must have been like. Very cold, probably.

Worth a thought if you ever find yourself in that part of the world for HMS Victory or the RM museum at Eastney.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Is Anyone There?

I haven't been on the blog since the middle of last year. Apologies but I have been busy at work. I'd rather thought that I would come back and have to start all over again but no. Astonishingly I have had a constant stream of hits - not a huge number it must be said but enough to make me wonder who these visitors are. I'm guessing that some of these must be automatic searches but what do I know. If you have been a loyal visitor then many thanks. Please write and tell me who you are.

I haven't had the chance to paint much. Just a few bits and pieces but I did finally finish Brookes ECW regiment (the ones in purple). An unposed photo below - I'll aim for something more artistic shortly


You'll see lurking in the background the latest Regiment. In this case I am using them to represent the Blue Regiment (or Blew if you prefer) of the Trained Bands. I gather that just because a regiment had the name of a colour it does not mean that they wore that colour uniform. Maybe, but I'm not going to quibble. I put in a fair sprinkling of brown and grey in every unit. On a side note note I was glad to see that Bicorne have put out some new command packs. I've yet to see them but will give it a go despite their substantial price.

Talking of which I so wanted the new Empress miniatures Pike and Shot figures to be good. They aren't bad but stylistically they are a world away (unless you tell me otherwise) from the Renegade and Bicorne troopers. Its a shame and at their price I am unlikely to take a chance.

I finished off my Claymore castings. Great figures from a great company.