Sunday, 15 April 2018

Salute 2018

You will be mightily relieved to hear that this isn't going to be one of those 'oh so serious' reviews about the state of our hobby, using Salute as a barometer for the turning tide of interests in this most wholesome of hobbies - I shall leave that for those who actually know what they are talking about.  Instead the briefest of reflections from me this year, which rather mirrors my time spent at the show.

I was flying solo with my wingman, The Provost Marshal, unavoidably detained performing all manner of important duties at home.  This was, in no small part, down to my own inability to commit to the event.  A combination of it falling at the end of the holiday and not having very much pocket money to spend had me in a bit of a dither; if the sun had not shone on Saturday morning I probably wouldn't have gone!

Now whilst far from being a decrepit shell of my former self, the inevitable passing of years has taken its toll.  I certainly seem to get tired more quickly and with that more grumpy and so had decided that this was going to be a whistle stop affair.  The problem with that is that I forget that it takes me two and three quarter hours travelling just to cross the threshold of the event.  That said, I arrived just before eleven, in time to snaffle the rather disappointingly sparse goodie bag and walk straight in - I really don't think I could have coped with the queueing system!

My first thought was how gloomy it was and the ambient lighting did cause me difficulty when I wanted to buy or read anything.  I hadn't realised just how dependent I had become on my reading glasses.  If I wanted to stop and look at anything closely then I needed to swap glasses, an awful faff, particularly if you were were in one of those tight passages - a glasses string for next year perhaps?

That said, I felt comfortable for most of my time there.  The likes of 4Ground taking advantage of the cavernous space to allow customers to pass through their aisles more easily.  This has really annoyed me in the past, to the point where I would simply walk away.  Unfortunately it was the smaller companies, the ones that I would have been more interested in, that were were penned in together and subsequently made it difficult to see what they were actually about.  Still a minor quibble given the logistics of the show.

With no real shopping list as such, I spent much more time looking at the games.  These are always inspirational and this year was no different.  From the smaller demonstration games to the larger participation ones it was clear that a huge amount of effort had gone into them and quite frankly worth the entry fee alone.  That said, the rise of the undead and post apocalyptic popularity was undoubtedly to the detriment of the historical game, examples of which seemed to be down in number.  I perhaps, naively, expected to see more in the way of First World War games, given the theme of the show, but alas not to be.
The annual Bloggers' meet up was rescheduled to the earlier time of 12.30pm and to be honest, I had had enough by then so it was a lovely way to round off my day.  My incurable shyness got the better of me again and I really only managed to chat to those that I have known for a long time, but it was good to see some new faces so one can assume that the Blogging Community still has something to offer the hobby.

Having not bought very much at all, I then went and treated myself to some very expensive trees from 4Ground.  This rather loosened my grip on the wallet and before I knew what was happening yet another rule set was being purchased, this time Saga with the Age of Crusades supplement.  Who knows were this will lead?  
At one point during the day, I caught myself muttering that this might be my last Salute for a while.  On reflection this seems to have been a rash thought and certainly wasn't due to anything that the event itself had done.  Salute remains a spectacular show, which is constantly evolving to fulfil the needs of those that attend.  No, my issue was with my grumpy bag of old bones that just wanted to get home without having to sit on a train surrounded by objectionable children whose parents were seemingly oblivious to their offspring's decibel output, but that is another story!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Hakuna Matata!

No worries!
My apologies to those of you that now have the somewhat annoying tune from Disney's The Lion King rattling around your head*.  For some reason the phrase just popped into my brain whilst painting a couple of Warthogs from 'North Star Military Figures'.  Using the Congo rules, the exploration of the Dangerous Terrain runs the distinct possibility that your intrepid explorers might come across some local fauna and so I went in search of various likely candidates to represent them, if such an occurrence were to happen.  
*For those not yet aware of said ear worm, I have placed a link for your enjoyment at the bottom of the page.
Along with the Warthogs, I needed a Leopard and fortunately North Star came to my rescue again, with a particularly nice sculpt from their Africa range.  Looking at the photographs, I don't seem to have managed to get just the right colour for the skin, it appears a little grey.  Fortunately it does look a little brighter in the flesh and so I am more than happy to live with it for the time being.
Finally a great snake was required.  I had considered heading to Poundland again in the hope that they might have some cheap plastic toys that I could use, but I was reminded of the Great Snake that I had painted from 'Otherworld Miniatures'.  My first attempt had been painted to represent a South American Anaconda and so wasn't really appropriate for the jungles of the Congo.  
I couldn't bring myself to repaint the original version and so in the end I decided to treat myself to a new model, this time painted to represent the mighty Royal Python, a nonvenomous, constrictor of sub Saharan Africa.
It's behind you! 
All that remains is to leave you in the capable of hands of Timon and Pumbaa,
Hakuna Matata!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

A silly post this one, but every so often I come across a miniature and think, “I’ve seen this before somewhere?” More often than not, it is because I have forgotten that I had bought it in the first place and have the joy of discovering it all over again, but sometimes there is that realisation that I have actually seen the very same sculpt on the printed page. I can’t explain it, but I love discovering the original inspiration for the sculptor’s art. I have had quite a spate of these recently and all from the same book, so thought I would share them here for fun. The title in question is Osprey Publishing’s ELITE 21 – The Zulus, written by Ian Knight and illustrated by the prolific Angus McBride. Mine is a well thumbed edition and an important reference for my Anglo-Zulu War collection. The first colour plate is titled, The Youth of Shaka and shows the young warrior about to head of to war, being bid farewell by his mother Nandi. It just so happens that you can get your very own Nandi in the 'Dixon Miniatures' pack Zulu Girls and Udibi Boys.
Miniatures from the same pack can be seen a little further on in the book, Plate H - Warriors Muster 1870s.
Finally miniatures from the ‘Copplestone Castings’ Ngoni Chiefs and Witchdoctors pack seen alongside an ‘Empress Miniatures’ Sangoma bear an uncanny likeness to those seen in plate J - An Impi is Doctored for War 1870s.
I have often wondered if I were ever in a position to commission a set of miniatures what they might be or where the inspiration might come from?  From this Osprey title alone, one might be tempted by a group of Zulu warriors in full regalia dancing at The Court of Mpande (Plate I).  I wonder though, if money were no object, whether I might find myself seduced by the work of Lady Butler.  'Studio Miniatures' already produce a miniature that is clearly inspired by her painting, the Remnants of an Army and which I have documented here, but what about a small vignette of her earlier works, Balaclava?  Mr. Hicks if you are reading this, then count me in for a set!  Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Brevet Colonel Anthony Durnford

A very quick post today to showcase my completed Brevet Colonel Anthony Durnford.  This particularly fine sculpt is one of the ‘Giants in Miniature’ range from Wargames Illustrated and is unashamedly influenced by Burt Lancaster’s portrayal of the man in the 1979 film, Zulu Dawn.
This much maligned and impetuous officer has graced this humble weblog before when I tackled the ‘Empress Miniatures’ version here.  Still very much an enigma to this day, Colonel Durnford’s actions at Isandlwana on that fateful day in 1879 are still fiercely debated, but whatever the truth he died alongside the men in his command and thereby securing his place in history.

“Yes well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander."




Sunday, 1 April 2018

With All Good Wishers For Easter

As is the tradition, I was planning an April's Fool post this morning, but on reflection it doesn't  seem quite appropriate.  I shall simply take this opportunity to wish one and all, regardless of faith, creed or denomination,  a happy, healthy and reflective holiday.

Friday, 30 March 2018

A Wobble of Ostriches


These three fine, long, legged birds formed my entry to the opening bonus round of the recent 'VIII Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  The round, simple titled Flight, and subsequently retitled Flightless by yours truly,was an unashamed points grab, but in my defence what started out as a quick win developed into something much more involved as I wrestled with achieving the desired effect on the neck and legs.
One of my personal hobby highlights of last year was hosting a game of ‘Congo’ using the rules of the same name by Studio Tomahawk.  That encounter was set in the steaming jungles, but there are several scenarios set on the Savannah and what better way to start the preparations that with a…
...a flock of ostriches?  A pride of ostriches?  Apparently both are acceptable, but another favourite was a wobble of ostriches although I can’t help think that given the original bonus round theme a flight of ostriches would be best!
These splendid specimens are from North Star Miniature’s Africa range and are good solid one piece sculpts and I hope will look resplendent on the Savannah in due course.
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