Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Fleet Troopers Star Wars Legion

From the beleaguered troops of Echo Base featured in the previous post, to the similarly ill fated Fleet Troopers of the opening scene of a New Hope, I offer up more plastic loveliness from Star Wars: Legion.  Painted some time ago, these hard pressed troops have already seen active service on the tabletop and prove to be a resilient bunch, able to hold up an Imperial advance just long enough for a heroic character to save the day.  
A relative quick paint job, the hardest decision was how to base them?  I have spoken about my dislike of the 'tall' Legion bases, but it also seemed somewhat incongruous to base these chaps on a scenic base with a carefully placed flower tuft or two.  Instead I opted for clear plastic so that they could go anywhere in the service of the Rebellion, confident of not fouling the immaculately polished decks of a CR90 Corvette!
I was an avid collector of the Star Wars action figures as a small boy, not an easy thing to be in a sleepy town in rural mid Wales, but every so often the shelves of the only toy shop would be restocked.  I always hoped to find a Fleet Trooper amidst the other shelfwarmers, such was their impact from that opening scene, but sadly it was not to be.  I understand that one is available now, and in a variety of scales, but back then it seemed such an injustice for their sacrifice.  All the more reason that I am happy to see them swelling the ranks of my collection today.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Rebel Veterans

Another month has flashed past and although I managed to get quite a bit of painting done during the Easter holiday the return to work has seen me struggle with time management again.  That said, I am determined to try to keep up with the 'post a month' schedule and so have dusted off this draft from October 2019.
I haven't played much 'Star Wars: Legion' of late, to be honest, I haven't played much of anything, but we did enjoy it when we had an outing and anything remotely connected to the Star Wars franchise is normally an easy win for me.  It's not surprising then, that I picked up this upgrade for my Rebel Troopers.  
Painted to represent the hard pressed veterans of Echo Base these were great fun to work on.  Keeping the colour pallete suitably subdued the unit came together quite quickly, although they could do with some snow on the bases.
The weapons were painted in a deep blue colour as a nod to the plastic blasters of the beloved action figures from my childhood.  I have a couple more Star Wars themed posts in the pipeline, so hoping to show a little more next month. 

Thursday, 31 March 2022

The cost of neglect

 It would be fair to say that things are not going as I had hoped.  All is well, relatively speaking, although Uncle Covid has visited both myself and the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' for a second time.  We seem to escape his visits unscathed, but it throws our respective day jobs into turmoil as we navigate the public health advice and that of our own respective institutions.  It is the day job, good reader, that is putting paid to my hobby time.  I suspect age and failing eyesight play their part, but I just don't seem to find the quality time to indulge in a spot of painting or model making as easily as I used to.

So it was that I found myself contemplating a photograph of an empty desk in a bid to make some sort of progress with my meagre task of a post a month.  As I was sitting there, gently dusting the surfaces of this forgotten refuge, I spied my latest eBay win, still securely packaged in its bubblewrap and decided to share this with you instead.

By way of context, I need to share something of a backstory with you, which goes as follows.  A cruel reminder of just how long it has been since I last painted anything, I noticed that the water in my trusty plastic water pot had completed evaporated.  As I marvelled at this phenomena, the bone dry receptacle in hand, I gave it a gentle squeeze, thinking that this might dislodge the dried film of what was once dirty water from its sides.  To my dismay there was a loud crack and the grim realisation dawned that I had done for my old friend.  We had been together since art school, this was a genuine tragedy, what was I to do?

Setting aside my grief for a moment, I gazed teary eyed around the table, the pitiful sight of long abandoned projects did little to lift my moral, but then my eyes fell on my couple of Denby Stoneware pieces, a small milk jug that I use for storing my brushes and a storage pot, resplendent with guardsmen transfers that holds my smaller tools.  I wonder, thought I as I stroked my bristled chin, could there be something in this range to replace my poor lost friend?  

As luck would have it, with a mere couple of minutes of web based research, a likely contender in the shape of a jam pot without lid, was unearthed.*   Enthusiastically placing my bid, the minimum required, I sat back and waited.  A couple of days later I was notified that I had won and gladly paid the monies required, although it irked somewhat that the postage and packing was going to be greater than the object itself!  My long serving water pot was replaced. 

*Made from the exact same clay too!

There is nothing hugely remarkable about Denby Stoneware.  These particular pieces are Denby Manor Green, which is perhaps one of the oldest ranges and one that is instantly recognisable as a classic Denby design. First issued in 1938, from a design by Donald Gilbert, the pieces were finished in a rich sage green glaze with a cream interior.  Production continued until the late 1970s and as such they have a certain charm that we now refer to as 'retro'.  For me they just feel familiar, items that despite their age just do their job, perhaps an allegory for this tired schoolmaster?  Regardless, I am determined to christen my new acquisition during the Easter holidays, although as to what gets painted is anyone's guess!

Monday, 14 February 2022

28mm US Marine Mortar Team

I'm not sure when it was that the day job became so demanding?  Just when I feel that I have a handle on things and start to post again then no sooner does another avalanche of pressing matters surge over the desk, smothering all in its path.  Much of my weekends are now given over to rest and repair, but having made it to the Spring half term break, I am determined to find some time for me!  In fairness to myself, I am still keeping up with my very meagre goal of one post a month, but it would be nice to capitalise on the time afforded me to push on a little more. 

So then, another 'Nam themed post this time showcasing some splendid  'Gringo 40s' miniatures.  From the outset, I have to confess that I am a big fan of the Gringo's miniatures.  They are beautifully sculpted, yet have a heft to them that reminds me of the Redoubt Miniatures range.  They appear accurate and yet don't have so much extraneous detail of say the Empress range.  This last factor has become more important to me of late as my failing eyesight finds the larger model more forgiving when applying paint.  

This rather splendid group is a US Marine Mortar Team in M1 Helmets and Flak Jackets firing the M1 81mm Medium Mortar.  With some lovely additional bits and pieces, I was able to base up a simple stand and enjoyed trying to get as much variety out of the seemingly limited green palette that was available to me.  As I had mentioned previously, my fledgling collection is at somewhat of a crossroads as I decide which company to favour with my pocket money.  In my naivety, I have previously claimed that I was untroubled by such trifling matters such as scale discrepancies between manufacturers, allowing me to just enjoy picking up whatever set caught my eye.  This approach could be seen to have some worth, especially when viewing the next image.  

Here we have an 'Empress Miniatures' combat photographer alongside the mortar team and you might, quite rightly ask, "what scale discrepancy do you speak of sir?"  And you would be right, what with careful positioning and the fact that the mortar team are slightly hunched over, one could be forgiven for thinking that they were, in fact, cast from the same stable.  It is on on closer inspection that we start to see the details like the giant feet and bulging biceps, but even then we could pass these off as just big men firing a big gun!  

"But if they are this close in scale, surely you could combine them?"  Again, looking at the comparison below* you would be absolutely right.  Although considerably taller in stature than his Empress counterpart, this N.V.A. officer might pass, unnoticed, into the rank and file of the collection.  They are mounted on the same size base and I have taken care to photograph them on the same line.

*My apologies for the dreadful photograph.

The problem comes when you see something like the discrepancy below.  Again based on identical bases and photographed toe to toe, so to speak, the result is laughable.  If I didn't know better I would say one was a 20mm miniature, but I can assure you that it isn't.

In conclusion, I am leaning towards the 'Empress Miniatures' range, simply because they are making more of the Special Forces units that my intended skirmish type games will use.  That said, looking at the 'Gringo 40s' range it may well be that I continue to add the odd pack here and there as they are just too nice to ignore completely, especially some of the diorama packs which make the table so much more interesting. 

So there we have it, the last 'Nam post for the time being at least.  I continue to root around the backlog of unpublished notes, but can't guarantee any semblance of structure at the moment, just the flailing of thoughts and images as I try to keep a tangible hold on this most wholesome of hobbies.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

"You're not hunting him... he's hunting you."

My flirtation with second the Indochina War was always going to be a lighthearted affair.  It was fuelled by the cinematic gems depicting the conflict rather than a desire to see history retold on the tabletop.  That's not to say that I intended to belittle the sacrifices made by all combatants in what was a complex and enduring campaign, the ongoing question about how soon is too soon with regards to gaming modern warfare is a debate for another time, I was simply looking for an entertaining period to explore in miniature.  With that in mind it was inevitable that a John Ramboesque miniature, or two as it happens, would be found.  

Rambo, First Blood had, initially, passed me by, I was only twelve when it received its cinematic release, but I remember Rambo, First Blood part II causing a bit of a stir amongst us pimply faced chaps at school.  Still a little too fresh faced to persuade the cinema intendant that I was old enough to witness the murderous intent of this one man army on the big screen, I had to resign myself to the book, which was a frightfully good page turner.  Now I'm not here to tell you it was a quality novel worthy of critical acclaim, but it did suffice until a well worn VHS copy of the film managed to make its way to the senior common room.  

All this is a painfully obtuse way of me saying that Rambo, as a character, was a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.  I couldn't be further removed from the muscle bound warrior of the silver screen and yet I could sit quite happily and root for him as bullets seemingly 'ping' off pectorals as he lays waste to great swathes of steaming jungle.  This butcher of bad guys whose dialogue was barely decipherable as he mutters through his lines was truly mesmerising to young Master Awdry.

So where did I find my miniature versions of this often maligned veteran?  Well in cinematic order, John of First Blood was from 'Studio Miniatures' where as John II is from 'The Assault Group'.  Both great fun to do, although I always struggle when painting acres of flesh as in the case of the, 'The Assault Group's' bare chested Rambo.  With belts of ammunition suitably slung and brandishing the now legendary M60* general purpose machine gun, you can almost hear the brass shell cases cascading on the ground as our hero sallies forth to save the day.  Hopefully one more 'Nam themed post to come, before a complete change as I unearth some long forgotten draft posts.

*Not to be confused with the Manchester Outer Ring Road.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Hollywood style N.V.A.

A quick win with this post insomuch as it was one of the drafts that I alluded to previously.  That said it certainly hasn't been 'quick' in the making as a cursory glance at the date stamp for this draft reveals that it was started on the 6th September 2020!  I had even penned some thoughts that I am going to include as they are a record of how I was thinking at the time...

My apologies one and all, real world issues have seen nearly all hobby time evaporate before my very eyes as we wrestle with the protocols and procedures of returning to school.  As I write this it is clear that the pandemic is going to have lasting implications on our institution, which may yet impact further.  That said, we are well and for that I am grateful.  I haven't picked up a paintbrush in two weeks, nor had the chance to write up a post or indeed catch up with the many splendid weblogs that I subscribe to.  The reality of this is that the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon and so I am faced with a dilemma.  Do I mothball, '28mm Victorian Warfare', shroud it in virtual dust sheets and wait for calmer waters or post intermittently with a reduced presence in and around our cosy corner of the blogosphere? 

Clearly I decided to mothball the blog and here we are, well over a year later, showcasing these lovely sculpts from 'Empress Miniatures'.  My 'In Country' project never really got started, although rule sets were investigated and some troops assembled.  At the time there were two growing collections of miniatures available, the aforementioned 'Empress Miniatures' and some amazing sculpts from 'Gringo 40s', the big decision was which way to go?  There were definite scale discrepancies and so I purchased packs from both companies with the intention to paint them up and see if they were compatible.  I had an inkling that I was going to come down on the side of 'Empress Miniatures', simply because they were producing more of the special forces units that were probably going to feature in my skirmish level games.  That said when you see the amazing game boards of Dave Docherty Esq., he of 'One Man and his Brushes' fame it's hard to resist the Gringo's miniatures - they just look superb!  For the time being, I shall put off making any decisions, returning instead to more familiar territory as I look towards a project to get on the table for the summer holidays.
Here then, painted in a Hollywood style, were my first attempts at assembling a force for the North Vietnamese Army.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Happy New Year 2022!


A very Happy New Year to all that pass by the pages of '28mm Victorian Warfare', here's to a fabulous 2022 and whatever it may bring you.  For yours truly, my immediate focus is to reconnect with a hobby that has brought me so much joy and fostered friendships around the world, yet has been sadly lacking in my life of late.  

2021 has not been a good year for many of us, but I am determined not to let the difficulties that it presented define who I am.  That said much has changed and so it is with a degree of caution that I launch into this latest foray of the most wholesome of hobbies.  Gone is the self congratulatory review of the year, simply because there has been very little to crow about, but I do hope to show a meagre increase in production over the coming months.

Changes to my role at work and difficulties with the infrastructure have caused an unprecedented level of frustration that has seen any joy stymied.  As a result, I withdrew in upon myself, not seeming capable of producing anything noteworthy to share.  That's not to say that 2021 was a completely devoid of hobby love and as I reacquaint myself with the intricacies of Blogger I see I have 46 draft posts!  Many of these are nothing more than titles or references to ideas that I wanted to try, but nonetheless they present a tangible resource to mine in the coming months. 

I am making no predictions, nor targets, just a tentative first step, back to a world of creativity that has been sadly devoid of late.  With that comes the tantalising prospect or re-connecting with a great many of you that I have become to know as friends.  Throughout my self imposed absence, I was truly buoyed by the many messages enquiring after my whereabouts, gestures that have inspired me to remove the virtual dust sheets from this tired old weblog.  Decisions as to whether one continues with Blogger can wait, for now let me, once again, wish you all a happy and prosperous start to the year.

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