Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Death of Leonidas

The climatic end to the legendary Battle of Thermopylae surely rates as one the greatest ‘last stands’ in history.  The fate of the ‘300’ has been continuously immortalised through popular culture, perhaps no more graphically, if not entirely accurately, as in the celluloid adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic work – certainly one of my favourites, but then I have never claimed to be a student of the classics!

Following on from the previous post of 'Spartan Hoplites' I am delighted to have finally completed this generously donated vignette depicting ‘the Death of Leonidas’ again from ‘Wargames Foundry’.

As previously mentioned this was originally destined to be part of my entry to the ‘Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’, but failed to meet the deadline!  Now having completed a couple of test miniatures, I managed to resolve the painting in a relatively short period of time, by my standards anyway, with many of the pitfalls deftly avoided.  Once again, however my Achilles' heel would prove to be the shield decals that I still managed to fudge annoyingly!

The rest of the terrain was the usual pumice paste, small stones and tufts; the only additional extras being the arrows.  It is said that on hearing that there were so many Persian archers that the sky would grow dark with their arrows, Dieneces replied laconically, 
"So much the better, we shall fight them in the shade.”

Now I appreciate that there are not nearly enough arrows on display to have blotted out the sun, but the truth of the matter is that I was somewhat anxious that my arrow supply would lead me into a spot of bother!  To explain; I had stumbled across and article about using the nylon bristles from a household brush as arrows, one end of the bristle flattened with a pair of pliers to represent the flights.  This was all well and good and actually worked rather well, but I was conscious that if I kept harvesting homemade arrows then the 'Saintly Mrs Awdry’s' dustpan was in danger of needing a new brush!

Before & after

All in all a most enjoyable distraction, but not a subject I plane to revisit in any real depth – at least for the time being anyway!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

It's all looking a bit Spartan!

Part of one of those little bundles of joy the ‘Provost Marshal’ happily deposits on his visits to ‘Awdry Towers’, these Spartan Hoplites from ‘Wargames Foundry’ proved an interesting distraction from the norm.  They were originally destined to be part of my entry to the ‘Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’, but as the deadline elapsed there they stood just on the periphery of the painting table, with only the shroud of black primer as evidence of any industry on my behalf.  Rather than banish them to the ‘Dark Side’ of the lead pile, I’ve decided to get them painted up as a test miniatures for a little vignette I hope to have completed shortly.

They were actually relatively simple to do, being all bronze and white leather, but my confidence was dented when it came to the iconic lambda, emblazoned on the shield.  I had previously spied some rather splendid examples of adhesive decals from ‘Little Big Men Studios’ complete with battle damage no less!

Once safely arrived at the homestead, I noticed that they were designed to fit a shield a tad larger than the one with which my fellows were equipped and I had to resort to trimming the edges a little; not a problem per se, but as a result they didn’t lie as well as I had hoped – I should stress that this is down to my ham-fistedness as opposed to any design flaw with the decal!

Still on the whole a pleasing result and they have certainly given me the confidence to finish of the others lying around despondently. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

We come in pieces!

A nonsense post in many ways, but I just couldn’t resist!  This little chap was an added bonus thrown into my order from those very kind people over at 'Tengu Miniatures'.

Part of their ‘Grey Rot’ series this diminutive, zombified grey was quite possibly the smallest individual miniature that I’ve painted to date; how you chaps that prefer the ‘6mm’ scale manage to produce the quality that you do always amazes me!  Again a rather predictable palette, borrowed extensively from the company’s own web site, but it seemed appropriate to me so, I embraced it wholeheartedly.

Although there are no immediate plans to head off into the realms of Science Fiction with regards to this most wholesome of hobbies, (I have to say that '28mm Inter-Galactic Warfare' does have a ring to it though!) I do like the idea that the zombie apocalypse has been placed, well and truly, at the feet of some other poor unfortunate species, after all it couldn’t be mankind’s doing!

…out of the Arizona desert came the twisted and shambling remains of what would become mankind’s first contact with a sentient being from another world; bringing with it a plague that would destroy our dreams forever. 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

250 Followers and ...

 ... a plea!

With this latest milestone comes a small matter of housekeeping that I’ve been meaning to address for some time now,  that of my reciprocation to those most important of beings – followers!

Many of us follow blogs that deal with similar themes or are maintained by likeminded souls and I have to confess that much of my enjoyment taken from this most wholesome of  hobbies is the mutual support and encouragement that permeates through our cosy corner of the blogosphere. 

I am always thrilled every time the follower tally rises by one as it is such a boon to think that what one posts is being enjoyed by others, but with this comes my dilemma.  Where possible, I always like to reciprocate the honour, seeking out the latest follower’s blog and in turn following them.  These  are then visible on the side pane of the current page from where I like to keep abreast of what people are up to.

This is all well and in practice, but sometimes I can't find you!  Take for example 'Battleground Hobbies' the newest member to join the ranks - welcome Sir, but when I click on your avatar there is no link back to your blog, if indeed you have one.  I have noticed that when a new follower leaves a comment this will then allow me to see their blog and I have eventually caught up with some of you this way and so to the point of all this drivel - the plea! 

Thank you all for your continued support, particularly those that take the time to leave comments, but if you feel that I have missed you of my blogroll then please leave some form of breadcrumb trail in the comments section below and I will be thrilled to add you in due course.


Speaking of mutual support and encouragement Tamsin, the 'Wargaming Girl' is having an incredibly generous giveaway spree to commemorate the passing of 100,000 page views of her blog - I notice that with all this shameless 'pimping' she is now pilling on the hits and justly so, go and see for yourself and in doing so earn me some more chances of winning!  

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Wargaming Girl's 100k page view giveaway!

Evening one and all, just the briefest of posts to alert any that may have not already heard that Tamsin the 'Wargaming Girl' is celebrating her wonderful blog achieving the 100,000 page view mark - a tremendous achievement indeed.  As a result she is having a spate of giveaways, pop along here to see what she is giving away today. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Who let the dogs out?

When ordering up the wonderfully grotesque additions to the ever expanding zombie hoard from 'Tengu Miniatures' (see 'Everyday, I'm shuffling') my eyes fell upon these additions to their range.

 Entitled ‘Hell Hounds’ they include ‘Scube’ a Great Dane, ‘Toby’ the Rottweiler and ‘Zeus’ the Bull Terrier; I have absolute no idea why, but for some inexplicable reason my mouse hovered for far too long over the ‘add to basket’ button and in a moment of insanity/weakness they were in! 

All very Charlie's Angels!
Great sculpts in all their goriness and quite satisfying to paint up. Once again I went for a fairly predictable colour palette with the possible exception of the Great Dane who just had to be painted up as the rotting alter ego to ‘Baskerville’ from the ‘secret project’ collection.


Sunday, 12 May 2013

28mm 'not' Daryl Dixon

I have very little ‘must watch’ television scheduled into my daily life, but every once in a while a series will capture my imagination and The Walking Dead, an American horror television drama series  spawned from a comic book series of the same name, is certainly one of those.  The series has had many awards lavished upon it, but for me its strength is its character driven storyline and the relationships and group dynamics that are forged by the survivors as their fate unfolds.

Not surprising then that some of the characters have become immortalised in lead and this wonderful two part character piece comes from 'Studio Miniatures'.  Daryl Dixon has to be one of my favourite characters from the immensely watchable ‘Walking Dead’ and this wonderfully detailed sculpt was a joy to paint up, albeit in a rather predictable palette; the fun being picking out items like the squirrel, Bowie knife and necklace of ears!

Although a relatively new devotee to this tale of life after the zombie apocalypse it strikes me as a tad ironic that Daryl is one of the few people who actually finds himself with more friends since the dead stared walking!  A loner by choice who can deny the importance of a crossbow wielding, 'good ol’ boy' on your side when trying to stay one shambling step in front of the walkers.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

"We're going to need a bigger truck"

I was just clearing away some photographs the other day when I realised that I hadn't really give this little aside its just deserts, here at '28mm Victorian Warfare'.  Another one of those projects that was dreamt up an eon ago but never got anywhere until the incentive that was the 'The 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' came to pass.  I 'won' this Matchbox Models of Yesteryear  Y41 - 1932 Mercedes Benz L5 - Howaldtswerke Kiel truck on eBay at the same time that I was looking for suitable vehicles for my 'Conundrum Carriage'; a real bargain for a couple of pounds, but it was then banished to a little visited corner of the lead pile, often referred to as 'the forgotten project zone'.

I envisaged this being used for the dinosaur hunting scenarios that have still to be played and its base included some 'Copplestone Castings' fossils to reinforce that idea; I quite like the idea of the bumbling Palaeontologist parking up exactly on top of the very objects that he was hoping to find!

I really enjoy working on these vehicles as they are such a wonderful opportunity to let the imagination run riot and try out all sorts of modelling techniques.  This particular experience was relatively straightforward, the bizarre engine block was removed along with the transfers and the whole thing given a black undercoat.

Optional extras included a spade, attached with tiny strips of paper, a tarpaulin crafted from a kitchen cloth and bits of string, a chain winch added to the front and an 'Ainsty Castings' packing crate to suggest supplies in the back leaving enough room to place a miniature if needed. 

As for painting, the colour scheme was based heavily on the Mercedes trucks used in the wonderful chase scene in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', suitably distressed and liberal application of 'Modelmates' rust effect.  

"We're going to need a bigger truck"

Monday, 6 May 2013

Captain William Morris...

…The Pocket Hercules.

So named because of his short stature, forty three inch chest and immense strength, Captain Morris completes the triumvirate of the Charge of the Light Brigade Characters from ‘Great War Miniatures’ distributed in the United Kingdom through ‘North Star Military Figures’.  This is a cracking little miniature and perhaps my favourite of the three.  Again a one piece sculpt, nicely proportioned and dynamic in its portrayal of the man who led the 17th Lancers into the ‘Valley of Death’ astride his favourite charger, ‘Old Trumpeter’.

Morris was one of those rare creatures in that he was a professional and experienced soldier having attended the Royal Military College and saw service in India during the Sikh Wars winning medals for gallantry at Sobraon and Aliwal, but this active service saw him looked down upon by those with wealth and social standing who referred to men like Morris as 'Indian' officers.  

Captain Morris would be one of the first to reach the Russian guns and survived the charge only to endure an untimely death from dysentery in Poona during the Indian Mutiny.

Friday, 3 May 2013

'There is your enemy! There are your guns!'

Captain Nolan, the second miniature in the Charge of the Light Brigade Character Pack from ‘Great War Miniatures’ distributed in the United Kingdom through ‘North Star Military Figures’.  A one piece cast that I have to say, I was less than enamoured with.  The sculpt of the horse was superb with particular attention given to the saddlery, my issue, however, was with the face that just seemed to be badly misshapen; not the end of the world really but a little disappointing given that this was a ‘character’ pack.  That said Captain Nolan is displayed nonchalantly waving the written order in the direction of the Russian guns – the prelude to what would become one of the most disastrous cavalry engagements in history.

Much has been written about the charge and who was to blame, certainly reading contemporary reports the dashing and enthusiastic Nolan finds much of the responsibility placed at his feet.  Perhaps not the time to debate the matter here, suffice to say that this chap’s opinion is that the whole catastrophic event was the result of a series of disastrous decisions and interpretations that, combined, led to the finest Brigade of Light Cavalry ever to leave the shores of England smashed by the force of the Russian guns.

Did Captain Nolan deliberately misinterpret the order or even embellish Lord Raglan’s verbal command?  We shall never know, but what is not disputed is that he was the first casualty of the charge; an exploding shell sending shrapnel through the young office’s heart.  The infamous hand written order can be seen below.

‘Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy & try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop Horse Artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate. R. Airey.’
Perhaps the last words on the whole disastrous event should be those of the French Marshal, Pierre Bosquet, who having witnessed the charge is reputed to have said,

"C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.")

Marshal Pierre Bosquet

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