Sunday, 19 November 2017

A Tacky Tyrannosaur

Hot on the heels of last week’s 'Mighty Megalosaurus', I present, for your delectation, the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex!
This most wholesome of hobbies is blessed with a community of hugely generous souls.  One such person is Roger Webb, who last year, quite inexplicably, packaged up a Christmas gift and sent it on its way to Awdry Towers.  Well I am delighted to report that, ‘Junior’, as he has been named by the ‘Saintly Mrs. Awdry', has finally been completed and is ready to take centre stage in all manner of prehistoric pulpiness.
Unlike the hard plastic of the Megalosaurus, the Tyrannosaur is made from a substance with a little more give to it, more akin to the ‘Reaper Bones’ material.  That said it seemed to take the undercoat reasonably enough and was then given the now standard application of a couple of varying tones of green using Vallejo Model Air.
The sculpt is particularly fearsome and really nicely done, not dissimilar to my beloved 'Schleich' Rexie, not dissimilar apart from, of course, his stature!  Given their uncanny resemblance it seemed to me that Junior should be painted in such a way that he could be the offspring of the towering 'Scheich' version.
Again as with the previous post the initial base layers were added to with some dry brushing followed by picking out the details with a fine brush.  All went swimmingly well until it came to the varnishing stage.  My preferred matt lacquer has reacted in an odd way with the plastic leaving me a slightly ‘tacky’ dinosaur.  Interestingly it has dried as normal around the feet, but the upper body is strangely sticky.  I would like to say that the stickiness is abating, but I am not entirely convinced and I shall have to continue to pat down my tacky Tyrannosaur for the time being.  Unnerving texture aside, which I should clarify is all my fault, I am rather pleased with how Junior turned out and must, once again, thank Roger for his very generous gift.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Mighty Megalosaurus

This latest addition to the Dinosaur pens here at Awdry Towers is the companion piece to last year’s ‘Steggie’.  The proud beastie was kindly donated by that most generous purveyor of plastic Jeremy ‘Jez’ Winstanley Esq. of the 'Carrion Crow's Buffet'.  I had rather foolhardily described the creature, in the earlier post, as an Iguanodon, but Jez very delicately pointed out my erroneous categorisation reminding me that it is actually a Megalosaurus.
This splendid, hard plastic specimen was produced by Invicta Plastics of Leicestershire from 1974 and in conjunction with Natural History Museum.  Given that they are now out of production, you could argue that it should be seen as a collector’s piece, but the thought of it languishing in a forgotten drawer seemed a great shame and so out came the trusty airbrush.
Using last year’s efforts as a template, I once again affixed the beast on a 'Warbases' MDF pill shaped base.  A couple of passes with different shades of green provided me with a suitable base on which to work and all that remained was some subtle dry brushing to achieve the highlights and hint at stripes across its back.
As with ‘Steggie’, I was thrilled with how quickly the Megalosaurus came together and delighted to see the two finally reunited, enjoying a playful frolic in the jungle.  All that remains is to thank Jez for his generous gift.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Farewell Dippy!

The Natural History Museum, London has always held a special place in my heart, it being one of the first places* where young Master Awdry came face to face with what had previously only be consigned to reference books, I refer of course to the wonders of the prehistoric age and in particular dinosaurs. 
 *The first place being the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  
This magnificent building, a striking example of Romanesque architecture, is a gem in its own right and never ceases to impress me when I visit.  The picture above, courtesy of the Natural History Museum's website and taken in 1979, is how I first remember the majesty of the building, the iconic specimens standing proud in the Hintze Hall.  It had been a good while since I last resisted the museum, but when I heard the news that the plaster cast of their Diplodocus, affectionately named Dippy** was going to replaced with the skeletal remains of a Blue Whale myself and the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' decided that would we would travel to the mighty metropolis to say our fond farewells.  
**Although I have to confess that I don't ever remember calling her that.

What follows is simply a collection of items that caught my eye during our most recent visit, the summer before last, finally posted here; a somewhat tenuous link to 'Dinovember'.  As in previous years I hope to dedicate this month to all things pulp and prehistoric, but I'm a tad wary of making any bold promises of forthcoming content, particularly given my poor showing during 'Zomtober'.

But what, I hear you cry, has happened to Dippy?  The much loved skeleton is going on tour, all 292 bones!  Full details of her planned itinerary can be found on the museum's website - here.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween!

I'm not sure when I first became aware of John Carpenter's Halloween, I certainly didn't see it at the cinema - I'm far too young for that!  I do however remember sitting down in a darkened room with friends to watch it on a video cassette player* with a picture so bad that you could barely discern what was happening save for the flash of light on Michael Myers’ blade.  Yet something of that time still fascinates me, perhaps it was Carpenter's own eerie, electronic keyboard soundtrack or the unsettling and disorientating movement of the camera, but a good horror story can be a winning formula and I certainly enjoy a celluloid scare!
*remember those?
I mention this here as it has bearing on a couple of matters, firstly this being All Hallows’ Eve and to make up for my woeful output during ‘Zomtober’, I thought I would mark the occasion with a couple more of the ‘Studio Miniatures’ horror characters range.   It somehow seemed appropriate to paint up this knife wielding pair as none other than Michael Myers himself.
Michael senior was not the most taxing of paint jobs, given that he is in a boiler suit, but his younger version more than made up for it with the clown costume and the addition of a carved pumpkin for the base.  
When it comes to this most wholesome of hobbies, I have always enjoyed a film or television tie in and it didn’t take make much persuasion to back this series of miniatures when they were launched as a Kickstarter, but what do you do with them?  
The short answer is that I am still not sure, but a chance comment by the ever creative Jeremy ‘Jez’ Winstanley has me thinking, albeit very long term, about a Survival Horror game possibly involving a haunted house, or mansion, and an intrepid crew of young investigators and their dog!
This has no real direction at present, more a collection of loose ideas that allows me to paint up some rather splendid miniatures once in a while, but it does allow me to hoist up another side banner to collect them under.  
Speaking of Survival Horror games, now might be an appropriate moment to confess that I have fallen foul of yet another horde of crowd funded plastic!  ‘Resident Evil 2: The Board Game’ launched by ‘Steamforged Games’ and produced under licence from Capcom really caught my eye, probably as a result of many a long hour scaring myself stupid with the original game nearly twenty years ago!  
So as darkness falls this evening, I need to keep a wary eye out for spooks and ghouls as the village children will come trick-or-treating.  This has, of course, been a wonderful excuse for me to buy far too many sweets and chocolate that I will inevitably have to finish off myself!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Dead Funny

 Zomtober 2017 - post #2
Now I would like to tell you that I am getting back into the swing of things and that normal service is once again resumed here at '28mm Victorian Warfare', but having seen the list of things to do and the fact that we are back to the grindstone after the weekend, I am reluctant to make any promises that might prove difficult to keep.
That said, I delighted to add another shambling sack of sorrow to the undead horde, this time in the shape of a Jester.  This is a plastic Notorious Plagued Character form the Zombicide: Black Plague game.  Given that these are just simple plastic miniatures, I am always impressed at just how well they paint up.  Just enough detail to hold your attention, but not too much to put you off starting in the first place.  Rather unimaginatively, I have simply copied the game's box art, but added lashings of gore to the piece to give him some more undead character.  
Back in April Messrs. Feb and Templar were invited round to Awdry Towers for a day of Zombicide: Black Plague, but with a twist!  The twist was that I wanted to use my recently painted 'Studio Miniatures' Grail Knights, along with Tim the Enchanter, for a Monty Python themed day of gaming.  Given that none of us had prepared any sort of strategy for the characters in question much hilarity ensued with the inevitable phrase 'run away!' heard at every possible juncture.
Both gentlemen have posted their thoughts of the day on the splendid weblogs, Bull's is here, whilst Mike's account of the day can be found here.  Sadly, and once again, I seem to have conspired to produce absolutely no evidence whatsoever of the day, the not so brave Knights' adventures  seemingly becoming the stuff of myth and legend.  Fortunately for me, I was able to steal a couple of photographs form the chaps' accounts, reproduced here by kind permission, and in a bid to honour that fateful day I resurrected the Knights and introduced them to Jester - 
                                                                             Run Away!
                                                                Run Away!

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

We are all Negan

"It’s gonna be pee-pee pants city here real soon.”
It seems strange to report that I have not painted anything for a couple of months. Looking back to the now long distant summer holidays the big push to complete all the miniatures and terrain required for my Congo game rather sapped my hobby mojo leaving little more than a husk of gamer, but one that was able to sit back and bask in the warming glow of a job well done.

The middle of August saw the demands of the day job kick in again and as a treat to mark the end of the holiday I bought into Fantasy Flight Games' 'Imperial Assault'*. Guided by the incredibly generous Steve of the 'Game Cupboard' fame, I have been enjoying tinkering with the skirmish game and running a series of solo games.  It would appear that the lure of the Dark Side was just too much with the Dark Templar and Bullcher Feb both falling under the game's spell providing us with a wonderful day of Star Wars fun in September.
*bought into in a big way!

With the return to work proper I have found little time to sit quietly and paint, which has aggrieved me greatly, particularly as this aspect of the hobby, perhaps more than any other, is the one that helps to keep my word in equilibrium.  At times like these sometimes all a chap needs is a gentle nudge to reignite his love of all things hobby and I can’t thank enough the timely intervention of ‘Zombtober 2017’.  With the month almost at a close, I am not going to be able to get as many miniatures done as in previous years, but I am hoping to ease myself back into the hobby by painting at least one survivor and a shambling sack of sorrow!

So without any further ado let me present to you my 'Studio Miniatures' not Negan.  Dean, to give hm his listed name, actually comes with the option of weapons, bat or pistol, but given the now iconic status of the barbed wire wrapped baseball bat, the choice was only ever going to be Lucille. 
It was difficult to imagine how a character so larger than life in the comic books was ever going to transfer to the small screen, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan's portrayal of the psychotic, yet charismatic, leader of the Saviours has proved to be a revelation. As a result when it came to painting this rather nice piece, albeit not the most natural of poses, it was an easy decision to replicate the character's costume from the 'The Walking Dead'.
Just as an aside, a group of friends have taken to hosting the start and end of each 'Walking Dead' season, with Awdry Towers being the venue for the Season 7 finale.  A simple supper followed by the episode was planned, but I decided to try and make something a little different for pudding - Lucille herself!  This was a chocolate covered, Rice Krispie and marshmallow bat, wrapped with strawberry lace barbed wire and served with lashings of brainlike fruit compote.  Great fun, but nearly six months later and I am still trying to get the red food colouring out of my chopping board! 
So with the 'Walking Dead' returning to Blighty's small screens on the 23rd October we have our invite to the opening episode and thoroughly looking forward to the new season, I just need to think of a new show stopper?
“Lucille is thirsty. She is a vampire bat!”




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