Thursday, 26 January 2017

Pikemen at the ready!

Today sees the launch of the long awaited ‘Pikeman’s Lament’ a set of Pike and Shot wargaming rules by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck covering the 17th Century that allows you to recreate skirmishes and raids from conflicts such as the Thirty Years' War, the English Civil War and the Great Northern War.  I understand that the core mechanics of the rules will be familiar to those who have enjoyed Daniel’s ‘Lion Rampant’ ruleset, but with enough tweaks and new ideas to set it apart as a stand along game.
Page 24!
In the winter months of 2015, I received an email from Michael asking if I might consider taking some photographs of my English Civil War miniatures, in particular the Clubmen that I had painted for my ‘Witchfinder General’ project.  Although not able to make any promises, Michael hoped that they might be considered to be included in the new book.  Well this was wildly exciting and I certainly didn’t need to be asked twice.  I had been given some direction from Michael and set about creating a series of little vignettes that I thought might be what they were after.  A short email exchange later and my contribution was complete and it was just a case of waiting to see if any would make the final edit. 

Imagine how thrilled I was when I received a courtesy copy of the ‘Pikeman’s Lament’ last week with one of my photographs in it!  It was such a treat to be invited to contribute and to see my work alongside the likes of Michael and Alan Perry has given me a great hobby boost.  As for the rules themselves?  Well there will be much more knowledgeable chaps ready to give a full and frank review, but I will say that as with all ‘Osprey Publishing’ titles, there is a quality to the project and I am very much looking forward to giving the a good read in due course. 

I do hope the venture proves a great success for both Daniel and Michael and have been fascinated by the series of posts Michael has been running on his ‘Dalauppror’ blog demonstrating the make up of units and other considerations ahead of the title’s publication today.   As a last indulgence I have taken this opportunity to publish here some of the photographs that didn’t make the book, but were nonetheless great fun to set up and take. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Remnants of an Army

The second of the themed bonus rounds, ‘East’ has generated quite a bit of chatter due to its ambiguous, open ended nature.*   With no definite idea forming, I was considering skipping this round, thus affording one more time for the terrain build, ‘home’ due up in the following round, but as luck would have it I stumbled across what I thought to be the perfect solution.
*West is similarly causing me problems!

‘Studio Miniatures’, those fine purveyors of all things zombie, have a small, but growing, historical range; part of that range sees a tentative foray into the 1st Anglo Afghan War of 1839 – 1842.  This was probably one of the few Kickstarters that I didn’t back last year, but elements of that successful campaign are starting to filter on to their webstore; Assistant Surgeon William Brydon, been a case in point.
Dr. Brydon is, of course, renowned somewhat erroneously as being the last survivor of the 16,000 strong British garrison that departed Kabul in 1842, bound for Jalalabad.  Seriously wounded and riding a pony that was moments away from death, Assistant Surgeon Brydon is said to have uttered, in response to an enquiry as to the whereabouts of the rest of the force, ‘I am the Army.’
Immortalised in Lady Butler’s, ‘The Remnants of an Army’ painted in 1879 this remains the British Empire’s greatest military disaster of the 19th century.  I would suggest that it is Lady Butler’s painting that formed the inspiration from the miniature itself and what better solution to my dilemma, given that Jalalabad is ninety miles due East of Kabul.
Now I have to confess that I am a sucker for a character piece and this was always going to be added to the collection** but ultimately this one was a little disappointing form a sculpting point of view.  From what I can see this was one of the last stretch goals to be unlocked and I would suggest, possibly a tad uncharitably, that how it was to be sculpted wasn’t considered until quite late in the day.
Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with it, but you can see that it was sculpted on, or adapted from, an existing miniature with evidence of the previous saddlery still visible.  In my case there had been a miscast with the reigns, that I hadn’t initially noticed and didn’t repair due to time restraints and the pony itself feels a little ‘skinny’ for the rider atop.  Still all things considered, I am glad to have added it to the collection and will undoubtedly add more of the range to the ever growing lead hillock in due course.
**I had to have Flashman dressed as he is on the cover of ‘Flashman in the Great Game’ too.
So I present Dr. Brydon at the end of his ninety mile ride, bloodied and battered; an overwhelmingly striking image of endurance and survival at the very edges of the empire or an all too familiar damning indictment of another disastrous war in Afghanistan?
As always, if you can, do pay a visit to the main page and perhaps cast a vote for your favourites.  Just follow the link here.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

One and his dog.

Just the briefest of posts to showcase this new addition to the ‘Witchfinder General’ collection of villagers and non-combatants.  The shepherd, dog and sheep are all from ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ and retain that familiar, chunky feel that I have come to appreciate from their miniatures. 
I have to confess that I was initially underwhelmed by the set when I started to paint them, as my colour palette seemed a little obvious and bland, but was delighted to see the piece come ‘alive’ with the addition of a splash of paint to man’s best friend.  The dog is, in fact, sculpted to the shepherd’s base, but is a lovely addition and certainly increased my appreciation of the set.
The sheep, whilst anatomically a bit awkward, will also be used as forage tokens in one of the 'Witchfinder' scenarios as well as adding to the general look of the table.  Sadly though none of these can be counted towards my tally in the current ‘Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’ as they were started before the challenge began, but nonetheless it is good to see them posted here.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

One, Two... Five!

I should really begin by apologising to my fellow contributors of the ‘VII Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’ as I am rather stretching this topic out to a second post, but I have a few more photographs and there did seem like a justifiable break in proceedings.  So to compliment my brave Grail Knights* it seemed only fitting that they were given some mystical enlightenment to aid them on their quest.  To that end another ‘Studio Miniatures’ Medieval Mayhem character was dusted off and prepared.   Another cracking sculpt, ‘not’ Tim was a fairly straight forward paint job, with the palette lifted straight from the film, but all the while that I was painting him I was troubled by the Enchanter's immortal words, "Well, that's no ordinary rabbit, that's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!" 
*and those dastardly, taunting French!
Try as I might, I could dislodge the thought that I needed to represent the Beast of Caerbannog, but how do you create a rabbit that’s got a vicious streak a mile wide?  Fortunately the original Kickstarter exclusive miniature, awarded to all backers, was a set of three leaping rabbits, so with the initial idea set it was away to the bits box to track down the requisite paraphernalia required to complete the scene. 
Now I need, at this point, to give credit to Snitchy of 'Snitchy the Dog' fame whose original idea for a casualty counter has heavily inspired this reincarnation.  His wonderful blog even let slip where I was to find that most precious of ordnance and with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch ordered up from 'Zinge Industries' I threw all manner of ‘bits and bobs’ at a 'Warbases' MDF disc and et voilĂ !
This was, of course, a totally unnecessary addition, but hugely enjoyable fun to put together.  I still have designs for a shrubbery to contemplate, but these will have to wait for another time, in the interim I am trying to resist the temptation to order up a set of the new monks and perhaps a witch.

Armaments, chapter two, verses nine through twenty-one:

"O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

"I am Arthur, King of the Britons."

Never one to be tied down by convention or the obvious* I thought that I would stretch the interpretation of this year's 'Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' opening bonus round entry.  Armour had instantly conjured up squadrons of tanks and whilst I had been looking for an excuse to purchase 'Warlord Games' fabulous version of Oddball's Sherman, I resisted and went in search of a suitable alternative from the lead pile.
*who am I trying to kid, I was wracked with guilt every time I considered an alternative to a side parting, I still am and that is after the parting has long since departed!
Having given the matter a little more thought, I decided that Knights in Armour would work, but not any old knights, this called for Grail knights!  'Studio Miniatures' wonderful 'not' Monty Python homage proved another irresistible Kickstarter** and just the ticket for my opening gambit in the Challenge.  Having made all manner of protestations that I wouldn't get caught up with the Bonus Rounds this year it would appear that I have fallen at the first, becoming so focussed on this entry that I have singularly failed to complete anything else.
**Of which there have far too many of late.
Once again great sculpts from 'Studio Miniatures' that really were a joy to paint although I stopped short of depicting their respective heraldic devices on the surcoats, simply running out of time.  I did, however have a go at using some water slide transfers from 'Flags of War'.  These were going rather well until I rushed the final coat of varnish resulting in a crumpling effect, which I then exacerbated by trying to smooth them out, perhaps something that I will need to revisit in due course. 
With the Grail Knights completed, I turned my attention to the cavalry or at least one of them in the shape of trusty servant, Patsy.  Once again fabulous detail, but requiring a little filling here and there. It was at this point that I let things rather spiralled out of control and before I knew what was happening I succumbed to the foul taunting of the French Knights, this time mounted on some rather useful 'Sally 4th' MDF Flagstone bases.  Once completed a little voice in my head kept saying, "Now go away or I will taunt you a second time."  Try as I might I couldn't get off this rollercoaster of a ride and before I knew what was happening I was painting a tower for my Knights to shout down from.
Sadly there are no points for terrain pieces in the challenge, but this was one of those distractions that just needed to be done to complete the entry.  Of course the scene would not be complete without the infamous Trojan Rabbit.  Again part of the Kickstarter, I get the feeling that this was one of those additions that was added late on in the campaign without necessarily giving much thought as to how it would be constructed.  In the end it was a multi-part resin kit, but the body of which was so badly cast that I couldn't bring myself to do anything with it when it first arrived.  Now buoyed with the enthusiasm that came as a result of finishing the Knights, I revisited the project and set about the troublesome areas with filler.  A base coat and some liberal dry brushing and the piece was complete and  unlike the tower eligible for a few additional points.
As with last year the bonus rounds have really caught the imagination of my fellow challengers and I urge you, if you can, to pay a visit to the main page and perhaps cast a vote for your favourites.  Just follow the link here.
"I fart in your general direction!"

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016, a year in review...

...and new targets for 2017.
My inevitable reflection on 2016 as a hobby year is once again somewhat late and I do hope that the kind, gentle folk who take the time to peruse my inane drivel haven't tired of such reviews as I appreciate that there has been a veritable glut of these of late, but I do enjoy a review of the year and I promise that I will keep this brief.
  
Whilst the world seems to have released a collective sigh of relief at the passing of such a difficult year, I have to say that '28mm Victorian Warfare' rather enjoyed 2016.  Having stopped worrying about posting and only doing what I can, I have rejuvenated my love for Blogging.  I still try to get around and comment on the many Blogs that I follow, but sometimes this has proved just too much when work is at its most demanding.  I still have concerns that my reading list is not necessarily as up to date as I would like and if you are in any way concerned that I have not visited you then do drop me a comment to let me know.  

Once again, I participated in the hugely enjoyable theme months of 'Zomtober' and 'Dinovember' with 'Forgotten Heroes' being added in 2016.  These, along with the juggernaut that is the 'Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', rather dominate my hobby year and I have been mulling over whether or not to continue with all of them every year.  Whilst all help to generate some of my more creative work, I wonder if they have started to dictate what gets painted rather than allowing me to focus a specific project.

The lure of the crowd funding platform that is Kickstarter, saw me once again pledge far too much of my pocket money, but it remains something that I like to get involved in and I seem a little more measured in my approach to it.  An unexpected hobby avenue was the introduction of a Tabletop Gaming Club at school.  This has had a modest uptake, but it has meant that 2016 saw me play more games than in previous years with Bushido proving particularly popular. 

So on to the review of last year's targets:
1 Play more games! Target Met! Just as last year my gaming exploits were predominately board games, although 2016 saw Zombicide: Black Plague, Zombicide: Rue Morgue, Witchfinder General, Rum & Bones, Bushido and Space Cadets: Away Missions all played.

2 Maintain a credible level of posts throughout the course of the year.  I do not want to be prescriptive on this but will certainly look to maintain the interest in '28mm Victorian Warfare' by looking to post between 5 – 10 posts per month (a minimum of 60 posts for the year).  Target Met! 70 posts made in 2016 and again down on 2015, but I think this level of posting reflects a much more realistic and manageable target.

3 Attend at least one convention/exhibition/expo this year.  Target Met! Salute 2016, EuroMilitaire 2016 both attended this year and fabulous fun they were too.

4 I would like to try to curb the additional expenditure on miniatures this year, or at least try to bring it into line with output.  A simple tally score will suffice, hopefully something that will 'shame' me into being a little more restraint when it comes to all things hobby related.  Target Met! Painted 185 - 173 Bought = +12 in credit!  A credit score, but only just.  According to my tally counter the numbers are as follows*:

All miniatures are 28mm scale unless otherwise stated; tally for the year currently stands at:
Painted/constructed: 185
Bought: 173
Balance: +12
Detailed breakdown:
Foot: 110
Mounted: 1
Artillery: 1
Vehicles: 2
Buildings/Terrain pieces: 30
Livestock: 41

*All miniatures are 28mm scale unless otherwise stated

So to the future and what has 2017 in store for '28mm Victorian Warfare'? Well simply put, more of the same. That said there are a few possible distractions on the horizon.  With Bushido proving to be popular at school it seems inevitable that a small force of my own will need to be assembled and I have a hankering to build a mischievous Savage Wave faction.  I still feel that Post Apocalyptic gaming would be fun and having backed Across the Dead Earth and more recently received my pledge for This is Not a Test the genre has distinct possibilities and then of course there is Congo!  So time to reset that 'Tally Counter', take down the Christmas banner and present, in a roughly chronological order of creation, my efforts from 2016!


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