The 'secret project' has Characters!
In 1903 S. Holmes Esq. retires to a small farm on the Sussex Downs just outside Eastbourne. Here he takes up a new hobby, that of Beekeeping! Perhaps what is less well known is that prior to the publication of a "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen", Holmes embarked on a lecture tour of the United States of America. Is it a coincidence that the once great detective, a naturally inquisitive soul and a man with family connections at the highest level of the British government finds himself travelling across the 'Land of the Free' just at the time that it starts to flex its economic muscle as a leading global industrial power?
The Holmes character was part of the wonderful set from 'Mutton Chop Miniatures' creatively named 'Sheer Luck Basil and Bruce, London Super Sleuths!' Holmes was given a simple, but 'sharp' suit in a relatively conservative colour. That said I couldn't resist a touch of tweed for the deerstalker.
A veteran of Victoria's Wars in Afghanistan as part of the Army Medical Department and long suffering companion of Holmes, Dr. Watson has become something of an emotional wreck. After the sad passing of his first wife, Mary, he was hardly expecting his second wife to run off to become a suffragette! 'Shaggy' Watson, so called because of his propensity for growing his hair longer than was normally considered acceptable for a gentlemen has been seeking solace in his latest research, that of the hallucinogens most commonly used in shamanic rituals!
Once again this miniature started life as the companion piece of the 'Sheer Luck Basil', sculpted by the masterful Paul Hicks. In order to give him his 'Shaggy' look a quick head swop had to be performed using a spare from a long neglected sprue of Games Workshop's 'Empire Knightly Orders'. Colour wise I've used a palette that I hope reflects the character's more traditional garb whist hinting at the legacy of the 'Wild West'.
Baskerville, Holmes's Great Dane is fiercely protective of his master but paradoxically a coward at heart. Perpetually hungry his insatiable search for snacks often inadvertently leads the team into danger. Rescued from Battersea Dogs' Home little is known of Baskerville's early life, but it is assumed that he originally hailed from the East End of London.
Baskerville is from 'Hasslefree Miniatures' where he is better known as Hamlet. A thinly disguised Scoobert "Scooby" Doo, his paint job was deliberately done to reflect the much loved character from the original Hanna-Barbera series, 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!' The bright blue collar, again a nod to the original series is repeated in 'Shaggy' Watson's headband and Holme's tie. The colour becoming a sort of motif for the team.
Clearly the 'secret project' is self-indulgent nonsense but the idea is that our intrepid team of friends find themselves in a bizarre series of scenarios that revolve around a fictional part of North America at the turn of the 20th Century. The scenarios themselves will be influenced by mythology, folklore, popular culture and of course earlier episodes of 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!'
Plans have started to be drawn up regarding the 'local area' and I was wondering what, if any, map making programs people use? Any advice would be great fully received. The 'secret project', remains an innocent distraction where I can indulge my desire to create models and terrain, but I still intend to continue with the historical wing of the hobby; it is just that some itches have to be scratched!