Sunday 29 April 2012

Indian Hill Tribesmen

As this will probably be the last post for April in seems only right and proper to continue the Indian Mutiny theme to the end of the month.  These three are from 'Wargames Foundry's' Indian Hill Tribesmen range and were original bought as part of 'Flashman's Follies' all the way back in January.  

As with the previous miniatures from this range they really were rather well sculpted with bags of character and plenty of opportunities for creative use of colour, albeit heavily influenced from the usual source material and some period prints found on the infoweb.  What with the chap wearing the poshteen and loading his jezail, it would not be too much of a stretch to see them doubling up as Afghan Hillmen as well.  

It was also a great excuse to dig out the old 'Rocky Outcrop' and have them clamber all over it again!

The month of May promises to be a much more diverse month with regard to painting and modelling; although there are  so many ongoing projects to complete the 'Salute' purchases are proving to be far too tempting to resist  and have already muscled their way onto the paint queue!  It certainly promises to be interesting!

I've also just noticed that the counter at the bottom of the page has just ticked over 40,000 hits!  Wow, thank you all that pop by and read these inane ramblings, especially those that take the time to leave comments.  It makes all the difference.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Gurkha Command

Having finally tracked down these elusive warriors at the bottom of the lead pile, it seemed only right and proper that they jumped the queue to join the rest of their unit.

Painted up to represent the Sirmoor Battalion, these wonderful sculpts from 'Mutineer Miniatures' helped to get me back into the chair after the ‘lead fest’ that was Salute 2012.  I ended up relying very heavily on the Osprey Elite Series 49 - The Gurkhas,  to the extent where the British officer was given white cotton trousers and a white 'Havelock' cap cover.

I am a little cross at myself for not making a pre-order with the ‘Flag Dude’ to pick up at Salute, especially having seen his work up close as it were.  I appreciate they are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think the flags he produces really convey a sense of movement and I will certainly be putting in an order in the near future.  In the interim we will have to make do with a fairly generic Union Flag.

A final group shot with all the boys together.  As I have mentioned earlier they do lack a little in the ‘firing’ or ‘brandishing Kukri’ department, but I have spied some possible recruits over at ‘Wargames Foundry’ to compliment them and help bolster the ranks.  The only problem is that I will have to wait until they have another of their special offers as I find their post & packaging tariff a little hard to swallow!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Salute 2012

As I've finally managed to kick the dust of the mighty metropolis from my shoes it seems appropriate to reflect, albeit briefly, on the 'lead fest' that was Salute 2012!  I must apologise in advance for the lack of photographic evidence, there was a camera and tripod in the bag but not a single photograph was taken; so intent was I on spending my pocket money!

 Myself and the 'Provost Marshal' arrived just in time to see the last goody bag been handed out and I had to fight hard not to show my indignation at this disappointing start to the day; I thought that ordering your ticket in advance guaranteed that you got your grubby paws on the Salute miniature?  Obviously not!

Determined not to let this spoil the day we pressed on into the hall and within minutes the 'Provost Marshal' had bumped into someone he knew, a recurring theme throughout the afternoon.  Although there was a wish list of sorts we seemed to wander aimlessly through the myriad of traders until I eventually took the plunge and made my first purchase from the very helpful 'Hasslefree Miniatures'.  

The 'Swag'

One of the highlights of the day was to be the meeting of fellow bloggers; to actually put faces to names.  Due to our delayed arrival at the venue, the allotted time for the meeting was soon upon us and, not without a little trepidation, we took ourselves over to the meeting place.  Any fears that I may have had were soon vanquished by the genuinely warm welcome from the likes of Dave - 'One man and his brushes', Fran - 'The Angry Lurker',  Ray - 'Don't throw a one' and Lee - 'Big Lee's Miniature Adventures'.  This was a lovely addition to the day, initially mooted by the gregarious boys of 'Posties Rejects'; I do hope that this can becomes a regular feature. 

Back to shopping and I managed to pick up most things on the wish list that should help to bolster the ranks of ongoing projects, but 'Shinybloodyitis' well and truly struck and towards the end I found myself grazing down the aisles, picking up all manner of bizarre and wonderful new items, one of the strangest been this half eaten resin dinosaur!

Of course all such ventures need a debrief and we took the opportunity to take a little liquid refreshment at the same time; perhaps a little too much refreshment given the headache I seem to have woken up with this morning!  Still another wonderful event, well done the 'South London Warlords', even if I didn't get my goody bag!  Time to start saving from next year!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Book Review#11. - Royal Flash

‘Royal Flash’ is my second outing with that scoundrel Flashman and wonderfully entertaining it was too!   Although personally unfamiliar with the Revolutions of 1848, when the story is set, MacDonald Fraser knits together fact and fiction in such a way that you can’t help be swept along, no matter how implausible the storyline.   The start of the novel finds our man, Flashman, cooling his heels after the Afganistan campaign only to be swept up in a bizarre plot hatched by Bismarck and revolving around the Schleswig-Holstein question.  Those who have read the 'Prisoner of Zenda' by Anthony Hope will notice immediate parallels with that story; in fact Flashman explains that this is because the story was plagiarised from him by its author!

This, then, is another hugely entertaining romp and only misses out on four crowns do to my ignorance of the period in which it is set. That said it is more than worthy of three crowns.

My apologies for the brevity of this review and post but I must get back to my 'must have' list for 'Salute 2012'.  A recent estimate put the projected spend far too close to the current national debt;  a little trimming might be required!  Myself and the 'Provost Marshal' will be heading up from the 'Sunshine Coast' on the morning of the great event and I look forward to putting a few faces to names.  Should be a great day out.

Monday 16 April 2012

The 72nd Highlanders

Have you ever had one of those ideas that you really wished that you hadn't actually acted upon?

Well after an appeal for assistance in identifying the cameleers in the recent post, 'British Cameleers & a Thank You' it transpired that the chaps in question were most likely to be members of the 72nd, Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders.  After a little more research, I discovered that the 72nd Highlanders were one of the first of the 'de-kilted' regiments to readopt elements of Highland dress; in their case it was to be the rather splendid 'trews', in an entirely new tartan apparently designed on a sett worn by Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745.  'Eureka', thought I, what better regiment to base my 'Mutineer Miniatures', 'Scots in Doublets' on; oh poor simple soul that I am!

I should have realised that things were not going to go quite according to plan when, after base coating the 'wee lads', the resultant image led to a seemingly endless loop of Michael Jackson's classic, 'Thriller'. 

"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark"

I'm a big fan of the 'Mutineer Miniatures' work, but these have been my least enjoyable experience with them to date.  It's difficult to explain why but there was something about the pose and a few sculpting issues around the cuffs that left me bemoaning the whole task in hand.  When it finally came to the tartan itself, oh my goodness, what a effort this turned out to be!  Although I had reference in front of me, I was never entirely satisfied with the results.  I kept making some of the lines too thick, detracting from the overall effect I was looking for.

The descent into madness begins!

They are done now, and my thoughts?  Well seeing them photographed here, I'm not that disappointed with them, but will I pick up the command group on Saturday at 'Salute 2012'? We will have to see.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Naval Brigade Command

Flushed with the success of the previous post it seemed only appropriate that I had a stab at completing the Command Group for the Indian Mutiny Naval Brigade.  Once again these are from 'Mutineer Miniatures' and hugely enjoyable they were to work with.  The group is made up of two officers, one mounted, and two Boatswain's (or Bosun's) Mates, one with the ship's monkey perched on his shoulder!

I couldn't resist giving their lovely whites a little wear and tear, particularly at the base.  This was achieved by using Games Workshop's 'Devlan Mud'; do they still do this?  The secret, such as it is, is to do the first layer of 'mud' and when dry do a second nearer the base.  I like to think that this gives the illusion of the mud soaking up the leg of the trousers.

"We named the monkey jack"

I took a few liberties with the mounted officer, such as giving him civilian riding boots, thinking that, as a rule, riding boots would not normally be issued to Naval officers.

Finally a photograph of the unit together; it is terrifying to think that both sets were bought a 'Salute 2011'  and here we are counting our pocket money in readiness for 'Salute 2012'; oh well I guess I will just have to have the Naval Brigade Artillery Crew and maybe an elephant and .... Oh no 'Shinybloodyitis' has struck!

Monday 9 April 2012

In the Navy... can sail the seven seas!

With the 'Easter Bunny' well and truly banished for another year It's time to get back to painting.  Continuing the Indian Mutiny theme are more from the wonderful 'Mutineer Miniatures', this time the Naval Brigade.

Once again, good strong poses, that seem to take paint really well.  As much as I really like 'Mutineer Miniatures'  I am, again, found wanting a little more variety in the poses offered.  The addition of miniatures capable of recreating a firing line or firing from the kneeling position would be a relative boon for the unit.  These are petty complaints and don't detract from what is a truly superb range; looking forward to picking some more up at 'Salute' in a couple of weeks time!

Thursday 5 April 2012

British Cameleers & a 'Thank You'!

Indian Mutiny, British Cameleers; a curious contraption and great fun to do, but over the last couple of days I've started to have a wobble!  British Cameleers, India, really?  I'd 'won' this on fleabay, and sure enough it was listed as,


However when it arrived I noticed on the pack it simply said, general purpose; curiouser and curiouser.  I've been through my reference, which admittedly isn't vast, but to no avail, I've even trawled the infoweb, but I can find very little reference to British Cameleers.  I have found reference to Afghan Cameleers taking their camels over to Australia and some limited reference to them as part of Elphinstone's ill-fated army on their retreat from Kabul, but nothing of them been in general service.  I have to admit that I'm not hugely worried at this as mine will form part of a baggage train or support for artillery, but my curiosity has certainly been piqued!  If anyone does have a definitive guide to the use of camels during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 then please let me know, in the interim, 'Bhaji' (yes the Saintly Mrs. Awdry has named him already!) will be taking his place alongside the other Indian Mutiny miniatures. 

And the thank you...

A big THANK YOU to Dave D, whose blog, the wonderful 'One man and his brushes.', has recently celebrated its first birthday!  As part of the celebrations Dave organised a rather splendid 'giveaway' including all sorts of cracking titles.  I had expressed an interest for 'The Old Contemptibles' by Robin Neillands and was duly rewarded with a reassuring thump on the doormat when it arrived a couple of days ago.  This will of course mean that I shall be on the look out for some early war miniatures at 'Salute 2012'!  Anyway another 'thank you' to Dave and I strongly urge those haven't had a look at his blog, to go and do so.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

"Ayo Gorkhali!"

... the Gurkhas are here!

With 'Salute 2012' just around the corner and the need to clear some space before new acquisitions can be smuggled into 'Awdry Towers', I am hopeful that April will see the return of more historical miniatures to the painting table; I say hopeful, but I already know that there are a couple of dinosaur related posts in the offing! 

These fearsome warriors are by the wonderful 'Mutineer Miniatures' and I've painted them to represent the Sirmoor Battalion of Gurkhas.  I have long been aware of the reputation of the Gurkha as a formidable and ferocious soldier on the battlefield, but must confess that I knew little of the part they played in suppressing the rebellion of 1857.

The Sirmoor Battalion of Gurkhas, along with the 1st/60th Rifles and the Guides Infantry, fought off twenty six separate attacks on their position at Hindu Rao's House on the Delhi ridge.  They were constantly under fire for a period of three months and eight days, losing a total 327 of 490 men!  This action saw an inseparable bond formed between the men of the 1/60 Rifles and the Gurkhas, ultimately leading the Sirmoor Battalion becoming a rifle regiment after the mutiny.  

Returning to the miniatures themselves, the sculpts were of the usual high standard that I've come to expect from 'Mutineer Miniatures'; in fact the only complaint was that there was no pose with an unsheathed Kukri been brandished at the enemy!  I'm hoping that there will be more of these to come, but I've temporarily misplaced the command pack; probably lurking under a plastic dinosaur or the like!

Sunday 1 April 2012

The Thin 'Bread' Line!

For the first time in many years, war had broken out over the breakfast table at 'Awdry Towers'. The origins are lost in the mists of time, but as of late, a coalition of enemy forces have placed a severe strain on the forces of righteousness. With their backs against the condiments, only a hand-full of troops stood between them and utter destruction. These troops would go down in history as.... 'The Thin Bread Line'.

In these days of enforced austerity this most wholesome hobby of ours can prove a little restrictive on the old wallet.  It was this very thought that saw the 'Provost Marshal' and myself mull over some ideas for an inexpensive, yet versatile alternative to white metal; we share our findings today, of all days, and the solution was wonderfully simple... toast soldiers!

Provided that they are properly prepared, toast soldiers are very responsive to the brush.  

Although there are many different brands on the market, these are just a few that we found that gave a good, even covering.

It didn't take long before a fully assembled unit was ready for action...

a visit from the 'Big Cheese' boosted morale.

Before long our thoughts turned to gaming and in readiness an 'Objective Marker' was hastily constructed.

This was complimented by a 'Casualty Marker'. (raspberry jam & spaghetti)

So it was that we found ourselves joined in battle.  With the 'Provost Marshal' favouring all things Napoleonic it was perhaps not unsurprising that the 'Thin Bread Line's' first opponents were the French.  The line held firm after the initial bombardment from the French artillery, however...

the strength of their attack could only be described as "overwhelming".

Delighted with how versatile our new troops were proving to be we decided to employ them in other theatres of operation where they were to be more that a match for the Italians, who were beaten back by a bayonet charge leaving them well sliced up!

The 'Line' also stood firm against a very strong 'Army of Chilli'...

was resolute in the face of the advancing 'Mandarins' but ...

a final attack was launched by an enemy in overwhelming strength - there were literally 'Hundreds and Thousands' of them! 

The victory celebrations of the two allied commanders was shattered by the arrival of the Saintly Mrs. Awdry, whose broadcast to the relieved nation consisted of just five powerful words - "Stop playing with your food!".

So there we have it, the answer to all our financial woes, a 'Thin Bread Line!'  I should add a huge vote of thanks to my partner in crime, the 'Provost Marshal' and add also the observation that not only are toast soldiers wonderfully versatile, but they are also a joy to convert too!  So with a little 'bling' and a Vegemite mohawk I leave you with these parting words from the one and only, 'B.A. Baracus'...

“I Pity the April Fool!”

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