Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cult heroes...

... or Villains?

The 'VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' continues to rumble on, but as we head off down the final furlong I have become acutely aware that I have somewhat neglected a couple of my side duels.  One such battle royal was the 'Pulp Challenge' a challenge to see who can paint the most points in Pulp adventure figures over the three months of the event, Pulp being defined as being from 1850-1950.

In a bid to garner my first points towards this keenly fought duel, I present these fearsome Cultists, after all what could be more 'Pulp' than a cowl wearing, club wielding Cultist?  These were originally from the 'The Servants of Ra' box set, a faction for 'In Her Majesty's Name' ruleset released through  Osprey Publishing.
Available from 'North Star Military Figures', I'm afraid I struggled for an original take on these and plumped for the red as shown on the original box art.  Now what to use them for?

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Under the banners

Just a very quick post to showcase a couple more miniatures for the 'Witchfinder General' project; standard bearers using the downloadable artwork from the 'Dashing Dice Games' website.  The Courageous Witchfinders that battle against the many vile abominations that plague a once green and pleasant land are being pushed to the limit by the clandestine vampire factions, aided by their loyal Guardsmen  of Blind Obedience.

To reflect the constant struggle against the legions of evil, I attempted to show the battle worn standard of the Witchfinders by first sealing it with Testors Dullcote then picking at the edges.  Ink was then applied to try and hint at damage and folds, I'm not entirely happy with the effect, but it is certainly heading in the right direction. 
Meanwhile the Guardsmen of Blind Obedience are immaculate in their appearance, the benefits of being in the employ of the wealthy vampire factions.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Are you lonesome tonight?

It would appear to be my turn to have a liberal interpretation of the fortnightly bonus round themes in the 'VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'. This whole bizarre scenario came about through word association: L’amour* = love songs = Elvis Presley = Elvis loves fast food = Fast food is made from Braaains! Tenuous doesn’t really come in to it, but I invite you to sit back and enjoy some self indulgent nonsense.
*L'amour was the theme for this round with publication falling on St. Valentine's Day.
The stage door slammed shut, “Elvis has left the building!” Bubba never grew tired of saying that, but it certainly wasn’t getting any easier being a tribute act. There seemed to be a lack of connect with his audience, certainly a little less conversation, but did he really even understand young people today? There was a time when they just used to scream and occasionally adorn the stage with their underwear but tonight it looked as if there were actually eating each other – that must be burning love he thought.
Dismissing the disturbing thought to the back of his mind he pushed off into the inky black night to be greeted with a familiar smell that stimulated his olfactory glands, the sweet scent of fried onions, supper was served! Love me (a) tender steak, but there aint nothin’ like a hot dog (sic.), he grinned and as he slung he trusty guitar over his shoulder and went in search of nourishment.
Before his blue suede shoes had had a chance to turn onto to ‘You’llnever Walk’ alone he was sent spiralling as a blood soaked pole dancer, wearing little more than a length of dental floss, ricocheted off him as she chased down her quarry. As the dancer fell upon her prey a plume of blood arched against the nearby wall; these were definitely not kissin' cousins!
Bubba righted himself, glancing down just in time to see a dismembered body pulling itself towards him like a puppet on a string; what was going on? Sidestepping the living cadaver, Bubba made one last attempt for the hot dog stand it's now or never he thought, but his route was barred when a gigantic shape shuffled into sight, that's alright Mama, sighed the tribute act, all the time thinking that she had let herself go, “you’ve clearly got a case of the mean woman blues”.
Not known for his suspicious minds even Bubba was starting to grasp that something was very wrong in the Ghetto tonight and was relieved to feel the cold press of steel tucked inside his belt. The mother of pearl inlaid handles belying a calibre that would return to sender any assailant. Having suddenly lost his appetite and feeling decidedly all shook up Bubba whispered to himself, “I’ll do anything to be lonesome tonight!”
Keen eyed viewers will spot that my ‘Whitechapel’ base has been recycled, but with a few subtle alterations. The paving has been ripped up and fresh tarmac has been laid with the addition of double yellow lines and a fire hydrant. A stage door and lintel had to be added along with additional rusty iron security bars across the existing window frame. Finally the addition of a couple of suitably themed posters saw the set transformed ahead of the zombie apocalypse!
The star of the show, Bubba, is from ‘Hasslefree Miniatures’ as indeed is Zombie Suzi who is clearly channelling a St. Trinian’s vibe and both sculpted by Kev White. The exotic dancer and crawler zombie were part of the recent ‘Studio Miniatures’ Kickstarter with the Hot Dog stand coming from the Mars Attacks terrain kit and ably manned by a Zombicide VIP**. Finally we have Bonnie Muumuu zombie from ‘Reaper Miniatures’, a P. Muller creation painted with a nod to ‘The Simpsons’ - King-Size Homer 1995.
**VIP = Very Infected People 
I appreciate that this is not going to be to everyone’s tastes***, but hopefully it will raise a smile or two.  I must ,of course, remind you gentle reader that my entry is only one of many and if you are in the slightest bit curious as to how a group of wargamers and hobby painters interpret the theme 'L'amour' you need only go here; perhaps even cast a vote for your favourite?
“Thank you very much”
***my apologies for the dreadful pun

Sunday, 7 February 2016

An Oak Tree

When pootling around 'Salute 2015' I happened to spy that '4Ground' had started to expand their buildings range to include scenic elements such as trees.  All looked rather splendid, but came with a hefty price tag that saw me, quite unusually, be sensible and pass them by.  Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn't dislodge this discovery and during one particular late night shopping session* I succumbed, after all if you don't hand the money over in person it doesn't feel so painful! 
*Harveys Sussex Best Bitter has a lot to answer for.

I had opted for a rather splendid oak tree to add some gravitas to the forestry here at 'Awdry Towers', but at £19, I have to say that I was a little disappointed when it arrived.  Yes, it comes with a useful pre-painted MDF base, yes the additionally flocking on top of the clump foliage is a nice touch and yes the sturdy and well sculpted plastic trunk looked good, but was it worth the price tag?  I certainly didn't think so.  
Feeling the need to somehow justify the purchase to myself, I rooted around periphery of the lead pile until I discovered my quarry - 'Warbases' rabbits and pheasants; it's been a while since I returned with such a bountiful game bag, but I digress.  These tiny little additions of fur and feather were safely secured to sticks to aid the painting process and then liberally distributed around the base of the old oak tree.

With the addition of some pumice gel, a few stones and then the customary tuft or two, I was starting to feel a whole lot brighter about my purchase.
So have I learnt my lesson and will now refrain from buying things on a whim?  Obviously not, but I might be more inclined to go back to building my own using armatures; if I could get my hands on the one that '4Ground' use.  That said I they did have some splendid willows and then there were the poplars! 
Speaking of rabbits, as we were, I happened across a rather exciting section over at the 'Hasslefree Miniatures' site, where you can get your hands on some rather exotically flavoured jerky from 'Cowley's Fine Foods'.  Now I appreciate that the sight and taste of dried meat is not for everyone, but it has become a guilty pleasure of mine and find it just the sort of nourishment a chap needs when planing a long expedition to the painting table.  The  Rabbit Jerky, amusingly dubbed Watership Doom, is particularly tasty! 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

I have a cunning plan!

‘Defensive Terrain’, as soon as I read this all I could think of were the trench systems of the First World War where both sides ‘dug in’ to take cover and hold their ground. With a continuous line of trenches covering some 400 miles from Switzerland to the North Sea, positions were lost, retaken and lost again with seemingly no escape from the mud and the imminent threat of death. Like many, I have been fascinated and moved by the exploits and memoirs of those that lived through this particular hell on earth. So it was that this ‘Defensive Terrain’ was to become the subject of my submission with the emphasis on one dugout in particular.
As with previous builds, foam board, balsa wood and cooks’ matches were pressed into action to give the basic structure before the bits box was raided to ‘dress the set’. This, I have to confess, was great fun and before long the piece was growing as sandbags and barbed wire were added, hinting at what was beyond the comparative safety of the dugout. Each addition brought new challenges like scaling down the maps and posters or creating chin straps to hang the helmets to the wall – the whole process became totally absorbing.
Finally, then, to the miniatures themselves; after an exhaustive search my hand fell upon a delightfully whimsical pack of ‘Scarab Miniatures’, entitled, ‘British Captains, Generals and Characters’ and whilst I acknowledge the glaring historical inaccuracies of my build, I make so such apology for these miniatures. 
[discussing how the war began]
Private Baldrick: I heard it started when some fella called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cos he was hungry.
Captain Blackadder: I think you mean that it started when the Arch Duke of Austro-Hungary got shot.
Private Baldrick: No, there was definitely an ostrich involved.
A sheer delight to work on, requiring the minimal of preparation this character pack bears a striking resemblance to a certain Captain Blackadder and chums. They are almost caricature in appearance, and as such will not be to everyone’s taste, but I cannot remember enjoying painting a set of miniatures more. This may well have been because I kept replaying episodes of the tremendous ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’, for research purpose only you understand, whilst painting them and found myself chuckling throughout. In fact it seems incredulous that it is now over twenty five years since the final episode of the series was aired. A program that, in my humble opinion, managed to combine humour and pathos in just the right balance to create a truly uniquely British institution.
Captain Blackadder: How are you feeling, Darling?
Captain Darling: Ahm... not all that good, Blackadder. Rather hoped I'd get through the whole show. Go back to work at Pratt and Sons, keep wicket for the Croydon Gentlemen, marry Doris... Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says: "Bugger."
Once again, I have become totally sidetracked by yet another bonus round but I am I worried?  Not a bit of it, especially when the process was so much fun.   Of course my entry is only one of many and I would urge you to go and see the others here; perhaps vote for your favourite?

As a final aside, I need to thank Mark Hargreaves, of 'Over Open Sights' fame for sharing with me his WWI painting guide for 'Tommies'.  Not only a very talented painter and modeller, Mark is a Gentleman and a Scholar, thank you Sir. 
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