Saturday 25 June 2011

The Defence of Rorke's Drift - Jigsaw!

This delightful little distraction was given to me as a Christmas present and initially I stored it away not wanting to open it for fear of devaluing it; must be a collector thing!  Having finally come to my senses I was delighted to find it was one of those 'oh so fashionable' jigsaws where some of the pieces are actually carved to represent objects - wonderful.  Remembering the advice given to me as a small boy I put all the straight edges to one side first and made a separate pile for the sky (too much information?) All this fun and good for the planet too as it is laser cut from Medite, which is a forestry certified wood composite from sustainable sources no less.

Made in Great Britain

The Defense of Rorke's Drift by Alphonse de Neuville - 1880 


This wonderful painting was created by the French artist Alphonse de Neuville in 1880.  It was originally commissioned by the Fine art Society but was then purchased by the New South Wales Art Gallery in 1881. There is a fascinating lecture transcript produced by the gallery that likens the painting to Ridley Scott's 'Black Hawk Down'.  The artist was renowned for depicting moments of desperation and resolve amongst fighting men rather than the sweeping masses on the battlefield that would be more commonplace for a history painter.  In this case he has chosen the evacuation of the casualties from the burning hospital, but we can also see other notable characters including Surgeon Reynolds bandaging Commissary Dalton's wound in the centre.

Monday 20 June 2011

Tyger! Tyger! Burning Bright

I have been on the lookout for a tiger for the bamboo grove ever since 6MilPhil and I started playing around with this mystic grass! This proud looking 'puddy tat' is produced by DeeZee Miniatures available through NorthStar Military Figures. Unfortunately there was a nasty kink in his tail when he arrived and I knew it was only a matter of time before it came off all together.  Feeling more brave these days with the taming the ubiquitous 'Green Stuff', or 'putty pushing' as I recently heard it referred to, I decided to circumvent the inevitable and remove it altogether.  After what seemed like an eternity spent with a pin vice, paperclip and a ball of green stuff 'Tigger' finally had his tail back!

Having removed the tail at the base I carefully drilled a hole into the back of the tiger; not an expression one uses on a regular occasion and potentially very bad for your health.  Part of the paperclip, shrouded in Green Stuff, was then superglued into the hole; again fill in your own punchlines!  A little bit of modelling and you should be left with a passable tail.

The painting was not as difficult as I thought and was built up in layers using the following colours.  Games Workshop 'Vermin Brown' for the base with 'Vomit Brown' for the underbelly.  The second coat was a 50/50 mixture of Foundry 'Buff Leather Shade' with Games Workshop 'Fiery Orange'.  The underbelly was given a second coat of 'Buff Leather Light'.  Final highlights around the jaws and feet were done with Vallejo 'Silver Grey'.

With regards to his stripes, the final stage of the beastie, I opted to use black ink purely to allow a smooth application to the surface.  This seemed to work pretty well the only down side being that the ink does have a slight sheen but I'm hoping that can be reduced with a layer or two of matt varnish.
Back in his natural habitat 'Tigger' is looking pretty good, definitely not something you want to come up against whilst fighting your way through the steaming jungle.
Now just for those literary minded folks out there the title to this posting is taken from the opening line of William Blake's 'The Tyger' (from Songs of Experience) written in 1794.   You do not need to be an English Literature scholar to appreciate Blake's 'Tyger' but essentially you could say it represents the question many ask when faced with the horrors of the world, "why does this happen if there is a God?"  Unfortunately like these questions 'Tyger' remains unanswered.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Sunday 19 June 2011

Burmese Regular Army Command

More Pontoonier Miniatures representing the Regular Burmese Army, this time members of the command with a bugler and officer.  Hardly any discernible difference between the uniform of the officers and regular soldiers.  

On patrol with the rest of the unit

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Book Review#2. - Emperor, The Gates of Rome

Finally I got around to reading Conn Iggulden's first book in the Emperor series; why did I wait so long?

Loved it, wonderfully unashamed, sweeping historical drama for big boys!  I’m sure scholars or the period might have something to say about the historical accuracy of the piece but in this case, who cares.  Provided you approach this as light-hearted entertainment then you will not be disappointed. 

"From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that created an empire to the betrayals that almost tore it apart, the Emperor novels tell the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of the all: Julius Caesar."

Following Caesar as a young boy to his first, tentative steps into the Forum was absorbing and great fun, coloured as it was with such wonderful characters as Renius, the aging gladiator who is charged with his education in all things martial.  I have absolutely no doubt that the remaining books in the series will have to be purchased at some point, possibly for summer reading.  Definitely worth a look if you like intrigue, violence and a good old fashioned rip roaring story – four crowns!

Not to mention the inspiration for the this little piece!  

Sunday 12 June 2011

At my signal, unleash hell!

Now clearly this miniature has nothing to do with Victorian Warfare but I'd recently got around to reading Conn Iggulden's 'Gates of Rome', the opening story in the much acclaimed 'Emperor' series, and instantly wanted to paint a Roman figure.  When I came across this little gem by Warlord Games I just had to have it! Originally titled,
"Unleash Hell! - Roman General and Warhound"
 it is obviously based on the Russell Crowe's character, Maximus from Ridley Scott's superb 2000 masterpiece, 'Gladiator'.

I know very little about Roman Army uniforms, armour and the the like so I apologise for any glaring errors but this was an unashamed distraction from the project proper and great fun too.  Who knows where this might lead, perhaps there will be a 28mm Roman Warfare!  It did bring about a couple of firsts for me in the way of scenic effects and painting.  With regards to scenic effects this was the first time that i had tried to use snow  I have been desperate to try this having seen MiniMike's wonderful  'snow basing tutorial'  and Finnish troops here.  They really are wonderful and well worth a look.  I managed to pick up some Army Painter snow and whilst it did the job, ultimately I felt it lacked a little something.  The other first was attempting to represent stubble on the figure.  Again something I've seen other painter's do well so using a little watered down grey paint I tried to emulate Russell's five o'clock shadow.  Not unsatisfied with the result but as Gavin pointed out at the Gentlemens Wargames Parlour, I perhaps needed to go a little higher up the cheekbone. 

Saturday 11 June 2011

Book Review#1. - Britain's Forgotten Wars

Colonial Campaigns of the 19th Century by Ian Hernon

"The purpose of this book is not to ape, much less rival, the far more erudite and scholarly volumes published about the military adventures which helped to create and sustain the British Empire.  Rather it is to tell, I hope in the straightforward tone of a reporter, some of the astonishing stories largely forgotten outside academic, specialist and military circles."

Now technically this is actually three volumes republished as one including 'Massacre and Retribution', 'The Savage Empire' and 'Blood in the Sand' and does exactly what the quote from the acknowledgment above says.  I would suggest more of a book for dipping into from time to time or as a starting point for a larger project, that said an invaluable source book to have beside the bed.  Easy to read but ultimately leaves you wanting more; certainly worthy of a three crown rating.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

We are not amused

I've recently been mulling over the direction for 28mm Victorian Warfare, primarily it is a painting blog that has given me the opportunity to keep all my thoughts and research in one place whilst documenting the fledging development of my hobby.  The addition of the growing community that ultimately comes with such enterprises has been a welcomed factor and I have relished the opportunities to visit and even follow other blogs and sites.  It is whilst doing this that I often come across great ideas and one that I would particularly like to embrace is that of book or film reviews.  It is not my intention to write reams but I had envisaged some form of rating system.  Stars would be the obvious way to go but felt that I could come up with something a little more bespoke!  After far too long tinkering on the computer I have developed the 'five crown award system', a visual representation of one's reaction to whatever media one was engaged in, ranging from 'We are not amused' to 'Tickled pink'.  Just need to get on and read something now!


Saturday 4 June 2011

A Green Hill Far Away

On a recent shopping trip, mentioned in a previous post I was suddenly hit with the desire to pick up some gaming scenery at the local 'Games Workshop' store. The very helpful chap, and he was a helpful chap they are so often wrongfully maligned, informed me that this was indeed something that he could help me with but sadly they were out of stock! This was to become a somewhat fortuitous turn of events as having declined the very kind offer to wait until the delivery arrived I decided that I would give the build a go myself. 

A quick detour on the way home to ‘Wicks’ to pick up some insulating foam board for £5 (‘Space Board’ – 1200mm x 500mm x 52.5mm) I could have got this cheaper if I bought in bulk but the look on the good Mrs. Awdry’s face said, “Don’t even think about it!”  and I was ready to go. I had a basic design sketched out and wanted to create some simple terrain that could form a backdrop to future gaming requirements. In the end I went for a much larger design from two pieces but built in the option to link them together again. All in all I was pretty pleased with the results and by my reckoning saved myself £25!  

1.   Insulating foam board provides the basis for the build. (Still huge amounts left over, but we are not letting Mrs. Awdry know!)


Initial shape cut with a jigsaw and placed on plastcard
Off cuts & straight edges removed with the Dremel
Sand & stones added with filler for the gaps

Base coated with chocolate brown

Drybrushing for the sides

Flock & tufts added

Two for the price of one!

Just to give a sense of scale.

Gallery Private View

You are cordially invited to attend a private view of the work of Michael Awdry Esq. at the Royal Academy, London.  Well a boy can dream can't he?  This was created by a wonderfully fun piece of software that 'Nevermore' from the Grimsby Wargames Society put me on to.  The basic package is free to use and can be found at Dumpr. Hours of fun to be had by all.  Now back to my acceptance speech for the Turner Prize!

A little larger than 28mm now!

Dinosaurs in a tube!

Having had an incredibly busy month at work, painting and ‘posting’ has taken an inevitable hit so I was rather looking forward to a few days of ‘me’ time recently.  Imagine my horror as I was informed that we were heading into the Sunshine Coast’s mighty metropolis in search of a ball gown for the good lady wife!  As many of you know there are no winners on such a shopping adventure so took every opportunity to sneak off and pick up one or two things that were on my list.  So it was that I found myself in ‘Poundland’.  As the name would suggest this is a shop that sells everything at a pound and is quite frankly the strangest shop in town in so much as the clientele is as varied as the stock list.  I was hoping to pick up some household filler that comes in a handy 330g tube when I came across these. 
For some reason, unbeknownst to my inner child, I found myself heading to the counter with the prehistoric beasties under my arm, convinced that I was going to be able to something with them and I’m sure I will in the fullness of time, perhaps some form of objective marker in a Victorian based adventure game!  They seem to only have the Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus in stock, but what more would you want?  These were the only two dinosaurs I was interested in as a child.
The plastic is a little flimsy and they have been painted with a crackle glaze effect but perhaps a nice coat of varnish might sort them out, but then again what do you expect for a pound!

Just for scale the plucky Victorian lady adventurer is 28mm. 

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