Saturday, 28 February 2015

Burnaby & Fiends! (sic.)


Firstly, I must make yet another apology!  I am afraid that life here at 'Awdry Towers' has been turned upside down of late!  We are all well, but having made the decision to have some much needed decorating done a rather alarming structural fault has been discovered!  Subsequently the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' and myself have been confined to the back room, surrounded by many of our possessions, now boxed, with everything else that we own covered in a film of plaster dust!


I had hoped to try and find a way through to the painting table this morning, but alas no.  Due to the unexpected discovery earlier in the week, I am now joined, on this somewhat grey and damp Saturday morning, by a couple of plasterers keen to push the job on.  All of this upheaval has meant that I am woefully behind on my correspondence, my apologies.  


That said, I did manage to post my first entry in the Challenge proper on Thursday!  For someone who rarely plays a game, I seem to be amassing a decent collection of skirmish rules and so when 'Warlord Games' released 'Blood On The Nile', a Sudan Black Powder supplement, I just had to have a copy.  To sweeten the pill somewhat this splendid edition came with a rather wonderful free miniature representing that quintessential Victorian hero, Frederick Gustavus Burnaby.  The Colonel, perhaps not unsurprisingly, has been mentioned in dispatches here at '28mm Victorian Warfare' before - The Man, the Legend, the Title Banner!  A splendid chap in many ways and a fellow Old Oswestrian, but alas the  similarities end here.


Having painted the man himself it seemed only right and proper to give him something to scare with that shotgun of his and so five 'Perry Miniatures' plastic Mahdists were hurriedly assembled and painted.  For those of you following the progress David Docherty Esq. in the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' will understand why I was somewhat embarrassed to submit such a paltry few,  but they were part of an entry that I’m pleased to see finally posted.


Just from a technical point of view this was the first time that I had painted 28mm troops on a stick, often working on all three at once.  I appreciate that this is nothing new, but was quite a revelation for me, especially when I compare this latest stand of five with the previous efforts and of course from an arm's length there was no disc enable difference in quality!


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Somebody give that man a hand!


The penultimate bonus theme round of the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' saw me scrabbling around the lead hillock for something vaguely 'Comedic'.  Bag after bag of shiny loveliness was rediscovered and just as quickly dismissed - why have I got a set of roller-skate wearing waitresses?  After a couple of abortive ideas my mind turned to those halcyon days of summer when, with the release of 'Osprey Publishing's' On the Seven Seas, it seemed that all the hobby community chatter was of a piratical nature.


Not really looking to start yet another period, I did, briefly, dip my toe into the salty brine of the seven seas and plundered a box of Captain Hood's crew, for no other reason than they bore a striking resemblance to famous pirates of literature and stage.  The miniatures duly docked at 'Awdry Towers', but have since laid abandoned - until now!


What could be more comedic then a grown man, a pirate captain at that, being relentlessly pursued by a crocodile, whilst his first mate, a man so wonderful kind and yet completely incompetent looks idly on?  Yes, Disney's vision of Captain Hook was to create an archenemy for our ever youthful hero, Peter Pan that had the potential for menace, but ultimately, the inability to scare the children!  This, then, was to become my inspiration for the 'Comedic' round - an encounter between Captain Hook and he is nemesis, the crocodile.  Taking  a 'Warbases' 120mm MDF disc as a starting point, I set about trying to conjure up a possible scenario for my players to act out.  I have to confess that I really enjoy this process and in the back of my mind I am always considering that the area itself should go on to form a piece of terrain or become a 'set' for future painted miniatures*


*Given that I backed the 'Rum & Bones' Kickstarter this is likely to become a real possibility!

So to the build, I was channeling shoreline meets hideaway and combined some stone slabs with my usual pumice gel and some miniature seashells to get me underway.  To this a rather splendid set piece, in the form of a 'Reaper Miniatures' Dead Man's Chest sculpted by Kevin Williams, was added along with other bits of flotsam and jetsam to create some depth.  


The rest of the miniatures were all from 'North Star Military Figures' with the 'not' Hook and Smee from the aforementioned 'Captain Hood's Crew' and a the crocodile from their African range.  Working on miniatures of this quality is a joy, the sculpts and casting just make the whole process thoroughly good fun and I hope that this sense of fun is apparent in the final creation.


So in numbers the entry consists of four 28mm miniatures, two very much prone, a ship's cannon and a crocodile!  


Just as an aside, was Captain Hook's lot always to be be the comedic interlude to Peter Pan's adventures in the Neverlands?  Apparently not, J. M. Barrie's creation didn't appear in the early drafts of the play, but was added as a front-cloth scene depicting the children's journey home.  This was later expanded with Gerald du Maurier, already playing George Darling, taking the role.  With the character now established, Barrie was able to flesh out his creation a little more stating that, "Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze."  


An Old Etonian, James Hook is described as "cadaverous" and "blackavised", with blue eyes and long dark curls resembling "black candles".  Known as the "boatswain to Blackbeard", his two principal fears were the sight of his own blood and the crocodile who relentlessly pursued him after eating the hand cut off by Peter.  A callous and bloodthirsty pirate, Barrie makes it clear that these qualities are "not wholly unheroic", but are a far cry from the cowardly and comedic traits that the Disney animated film of 1953 imposed on our luckless seafarer - "Bad Form".


Do take the opportunity to see the latest submissions, perhaps even vote for your favourites entries, by visiting  the bonus theme round page here; once again there are some stunning entries, and certainly worth a look.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Paint Table Saturday#68


Sadly no painting today as domestic chores beckon, but I thought I would just take stock of where my 'Challenge' is at the moment.  With the bonus theme rounds all but done, what remains on the table are the miniatures required to reach my target of a 1000 points!  This doesn't look good, with only twenty something days remaining it is now highly unlikely that I'm going to achieve that, but not to worry.  'The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' remains a wonderful incentive to get things done over the winter months and although I toyed with the idea of a 'Plan B' in order to amass quick points this has been subsequently dismissed on the grounds that it doesn't seem in the spirit of the event - I'm happy to pootle along and see just how close I get.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Jailer's Van


Having made it to another half term break, I have trawling through some of the splendid weblogs that I enjoy to follow.  Just in the small time that I have had away there has been a massive amount of work done and I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with all the hobby progress, furiously scribbling down some new ideas to try and projects to investigate - top of that list seems to be some shiny new Batman toys!  


I was just reviewing what I have managed to achieve to date this year and noticed that I had not posted my Jailer's Van that accompanied my 'Victorian' themed entry to the 'Annologue Hobbies Painting Challenge', and so to complete the entry, have included it here.  This then, a ‘Warbases’ Jailer’s Van, was one of those silly impulse buys that seemed to have inadvertently jumped into my virtual shopping trolley when last  picking up some MDF discs.  A relatively simple kit to put together* this Jailer's Van is a truly versatile kit, based on 'Warbases' original horse drawn van it could work equally well in the Wild West, stirring fond memories of my 'Timpo Jail Wagon'.  The website also suggests that it might prove just the ticket as an appropriate transport for that most wonderfully camp villain, the Child Catcher, played by Robert Helpmann in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.**


*Which is fortunate as there were no instructions.
**Now there's an idea for a project!

Deciding against the more traditional colour scheme for the 'Black Maria'*** I opted for a dark blue colour.  With a touch of weathering, some rust on the bars and a suitable base, this little MDF model soon sprang to life and I have to confess, I pretty pleased with it.  The theme rounds have been a wonderful distraction for me this year and allowed me some sort of continued presence in the challenge whilst I struggle to make an impact on my target points tally - still plenty of time to go yet!


***Well this is supposed to be a painting contest!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Get thee behind me Satan


I'm posting this here more as proof of life than anything else as 'real life' continues to demand so much of my time.  This was my entry for the latest bonus theme round, ‘Hot’ – after all what could be hotter than Hell?  This then is a ‘Heresy Miniatures’ Azaroth the Fallen One, another stunning sculpt from the very talented Andy Foster.  I think that it is fair to say that I have a problem with Heresy Miniatures, they are just far too tempting!  This particular purchase was justified, albeit tenuously, as a possible representation of Lucifer himself in my ‘Witchfinder General’ scenarios – that and it was in the sale, what was I to do?


Just as the ‘Jabberwocky’ in the previous post this large piece of metal required a substantial amount of pinning and filling just to get the basic body assembled and then there were the wings!  These was a real concern, with their span considerably greater than the model’s height, I was starting to worry that my ‘Warbases’ 50mm MDF disc was going to be too small.  Fortunately the design of the sculpt is so well proportioned and balanced that it stands comfortably and whilst not the most stable model in my collection it certainly won’t be blown over either.


Once assembled, the now familiar form of the shiny new airbrush again graced my corner of the dining room table and several progressively brighter coats of colour were added to give me a base to work on.  Once completed additional highlights and details were applied until I was happy that I had done justice to this fine model.


It was at this point that a curious thought entered my mind, perhaps ‘Old Nick’ was paying a visit on someone, but who could it be?  A quick rummage around the lead hillock saw me discover a hitherto unopened bag of Benedictine Monks from ‘Conquest Games’. My eyes immediately fell upon the chap with his head in a book; perhaps oblivious to what was behind him?


The monk, not providing me with the most taxing of decisions when it came to colour palette, gave me the opportunity to link the two together with the deliberate decision to paint the cover of his great tome red, but what was he reading?


Initially I thought that he might be reading some form of arcane incantation to protect himself from the Dark Lord behind him, but what if it were something more illicit? Perhaps a rediscovered digest of forbidden images?  Suddenly I had it, three saucy Succubi!  Yes another order to ‘Heresy Miniatures’ and vision was complete.


These lovely ‘ladies’ were give a similar paint job to our cloven hoofed one and with the addition of a ‘floating’ base that matched that of Lucifer's, I was able to create some form of narrative to this latest theme round, entry to the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.   Although my own production and posting rate has dropped off recently do please take the time to have a look, and of course vote for your favourite entries, here.


Just remember, someone is always watching you!


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”


I have to confess that I will not be sorry to see the back of January, difficulty at work and the incessant rain have conspired to produce a gloom that has lingered for far too long over ‘Awdry Towers’ and whilst I have managed to submit miniatures for each of the themed bonus rounds thus far, I am still awaiting to score my first points in the challenge proper.  That said it could be worse, far worse and so without further ado and lashings of self congratulatory nonsense allow me to present the Jabberwocky!


First seen in Lewis Carroll’s, ‘Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There’, published in 1872, the Jabberwocky is, in essence, a nonsense poem, but one with a rhythm and suggestiveness that owes much to ancient Anglo-Saxon poetry.  What starts as a father’s warning to his son of a mythical beast that prowls over the land ultimately becomes a fierce battle before the boy returns, triumphant, to his father and all is returned to normality.


For me the works of the illustrator Sir John Tenniel are synonymous with Lewis Carroll’s writing and it is his depiction of the Jabberwocky, lumbering out of a dark forest to attack its latest victim, that have stayed with me into adult life.  Imagine, then, how thrilled I was then to find this 'Reaper Pathfinder Miniature', sculpted by Jason Weibe; a clear homage to those splendid Victorian Gentlemen.


Now it is worth mentioning at this point that this sculpt was a beast in itself to put together!  By no means a small model there was quite a lot of cleaning up to do; I guess the moulds are not in the first flush of youth?  Once prepared there was substantial pinning and filling required and the decision not to use the metal ‘slotta’ base provided in favour of a ‘Warbases’ 70mm MDF disc, brought with it some concerns regarding structurally integrity and balance.  These were duly overcome with the carefully positioning of small pebbles, a modicum of luck and the occasional harsh word!


Once primed it was time to fire up the shiny new airbrush and set about the base layers, affording me an opportunity to experiment with the blending of colours in a bid to achieve a leathery, almost prehistoric look to the creature’s wings.  The rest of the painting involved steadily building up the layers and picking out the relevant details.  


When it came to the basing, I was planning to have a fairly standard woodland base, but a chance comment from the ‘Provost Marshal’ saw me adding evidence of previous victims in the shape of various skulls and bones – a chilling reminder of the ferociousness of the Jabberwocky!


Finally then, to complete the scene, I put together a suitably na├»ve and youthful looking squire from the ‘Perry Miniatures’ War of the Roses Command Sprue to represent the hero of the piece.  My ‘Challenge’ may have been derailed somewhat by the pressures of ‘real life’, but through the bonus rounds and I am finding plenty of new challenges in both modeling and painting that give me that perfect escape.  That and the continued sense of community, good will and mutual support that pervade in this cosy corner of the blog-o-sphere are truly cherished – I thank you all.


If you can spare a moment or two then do go and look at all the other fabulous entries for this bonus round, perhaps even cast a vote or two for your favourites?  Just click on the link here.

Jabberwocky
BY LEWIS CARROLL

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Stop...

…in the name of the law!


The ‘Victorian’ round of the 'Analogue Hobbies Paining Challenge' has proved the perfect opportunity for me to finally complete my Scotland Yard Company for the ‘In Her Majesty’s Name’ ruleset.  Once again, I felt a pang of guilt at not having painted these miniatures sooner, particularly as they are such joy to work with.




 The sculpts, which have plenty of detail to them, are most forgiving and I am delighted to see them finally done.  Eagled eyed visitors to this most humble of weblogs will have spotted the 'Whitechapel' set from last year's challenge providing a suitable backdrop for this crew. Included in this group of six, 28mm miniatures, is a steampunk Fagin, a bonus figure for pre-ordering the miniatures back in the mists of time.  I've included him here as an informer to the company, somebody whose connections with the crime underworld of the mighty Metropolis proves invaluable to the boys of the Yard.


I couldn't resist collecting the company together for a final group shot and seeing them like this makes me want to dig out the rules and have another read, especially having just enjoyed Season 3 of 'Ripper Street', over on Amazon Prime -  it was certainly worth signing that on-line petition!  Just when I start to think that I'm getting into my stride, painting wise, the standard in the challenge seems to have risen again; if you get a chance do pop over and cast a vote for your favourites, just click the link here. 


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