Friday 30 November 2012

Melton Prior...

embedded War  Artist!

Melton Prior was one of a group of extraordinary gentlemen artists prolific during the Victorian era. He began working for the Illustrated London News in the 1870s and covered numerous events around the world, but it was with the 'Savage Wars of Peace'  that he was to make his name.  First covering the war in Ashanti in 1873, he went on to cover conflicts in Egypt, Sudan, Somaliland, South Africa, Crete, Turkey, and Manchuria.

This rather wonderfully simple miniature is from the 'Bicorne Miniatures' War Artists range and depicts Mr. Prior at work in the Sudan; obviously thirsty work, given the wine bottle and glass by his side!  Although the quality of sculpt may not compare too favourably with the Perry brothers' version there is something quite endearing about this chap.  

Melton's greatest ability was to be able to sketch incredibly quickly.  These sketches would then be sent back to London, where they would be worked up in the offices of The Illustrated London News before being engraved on to wood blocks, ready to be printed.  

A Glimpse of the Enemy

The above sketch, 'A Glimpse of the Enemy' (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum collection) is undoubtedly an example of Prior's work that has been 'enhanced'.  The original pencil sketch has had a grey wash, highlighted with white and is believed to represent an episode from the Battle of Tamasi  in which, 1st Gordon Highlanders participated. 

And finally...

'28mm Victorian Warfare' was nominated for another two Liebsters!  The award that keeps on giving has been a phenomenal success in this corner of the blogosphere and it is lovely to see so many many superb blogs and bloggers being nominated.  With regards to myself, I continue to be incredibly embarrassed, but extremely flattered every time I'm nominated, particularly because of the outstanding blogs that have in turn nominated this collection of inane ramblings!

To that end I would like to formally thank, and in doing so actively promote, the following:

'The British Army At Waterloo', never ceases to amaze me with regards to the sheer scale of its undertaking.  The premise is simple,  "to have each British combatant at Waterloo represented in 28mm"; this, however, equates to 28,000 men!  Spare a thought for just how many tartan clad highlanders that would include, truly a must see endeavour. 

'Hurry Up And Wait!', is a "miniature wargame campaign to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict."  Like many children of the 70s the Falkland's War became the moment when warfare suddenly lept from the history books and was propelled to the domain of the headline news; I know that I found the whole experience very confusing at the time.  Rusty's informative blog is a tremendous and balanced 'tour de force', but don't take my word for it go and have a look yourself!

Thank you!

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Birthday treats!

 I'm still the sort of chap that gets a little giddy when that most important of anniversaries is reached on the calendar - yes it's my birthday again.  The only problem is that here we are, only at Tuesday with the weekend so far away; the promise of fine ale and a frighteningly hot curry, barely a dot on the horizon of frivolousness!    The Saintly Mrs. Awdry has tried, heroically, to nullify the time spent at work by lavishing gifts and cake in a hugely generous fashion and with the arrival of little packages of loveliness, ordered strategically in advance, it has been a rather splendid day.

Zombies, Dinosaurs & the Indian Mutiny; so very me!

It seems that the generosity of my beloved family has been replicated by those friends is this rather warm and fuzzy corner of the blogosphere, we like to call home.   Not one but two further 'Liebster Blog Awards!' These were nominated by two of the finest gentlemen bloggers, not to mention talented chaps around.  For those of you that haven't visited either Curt's, 'Analogue Hobbies' or Thanos' 'Miniatures & Terrain', then grab yourself a cup of tea and follow the above links, you will not be disappointed.  

While I am happy to fully endorse this awareness of one another's blogs, I am starting to getting a little concerned that we might all be caught in a forever repeating loop of congratulatory compliance, still what better Birthday treat - thank you all.

Monday 26 November 2012

Dismounted Camel Corps Command

Well half of it anyway!  More of the wonderful 'Perry Miniatures' Sudan range and whilst my observations, with regard to the amount of flash and tidying up haven't changed, the quality of the sculpts is undeniably good.  

Once they were finally on the painting table they really were a delight to paint and work with; these three were completed over the weekend.  I rather wish I'd prepared the full unit now; still, I have now managed to double my British forces in a week!

In other news '28mm Victorian Warfare' was awarded another Liebster award!  This virtual manifestation of all that is good in our little corner of the blogosphere continues to do the rounds, but I was genuinely flabbergasted when Roly, from 'Dressing the Lines' passed it on again!  Roly has a tremendous blog, which is often my first port of call when in need of research for all things relating to the New Zealand Wars; if you haven't visited already then I urge you to pay a visit.  Thank you Roly!

Friday 23 November 2012

The Gordons, Alive!

If truth be told I have no right starting yet another period, but with December just around the corner I have to confess that I have one eye well and truly fixed on the now, seemingly ridiculous, self imposed targets - mental note:  set more realistic and practical targets next year!  Mind you it does mean that I had to pick up one or two new shiny things, but before we get to them, I found these three 'Perry Miniatures', Highland Command lurking around the periphery of the lead pile; the other half of the group had been used for the 'Carry on up the Khyber' post back in June.  

Although known as the Gordon Highlanders, the Regiment was officially designated the 100th Regiment of foot later becoming the 92nd Regiment of foot in 1798.  The 1st battalion of the Gordons was sent to Sudan where it was issued grey wool jackets.  These were worn throughout the campaign at the Battles of El Teb, and Tamai in 1884.

Loved the characterful sculpts, but my goodness they were a pig to clean up and get ready.  Great to have a go at a different tartan too, which was essentially a Government tartan, with the addition of a thin yellow stripe.  (my attempt at a 'how to' can be found here.)  Now let us what's next?

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Hip, Hip, Polish Hussar!

This rather fine Polish Winged Hussar was another one of those very generous, but very curious little packages that the great and good, 'Provost Marshal' secretly deposits on my painting desk after a visit to 'Awdry Towers'.  Sometimes they can remain undetected for days until a coded warning is released; this then brings about a spate of frenetic tidying up of the work station to discover the offending article before the Saintly Mrs. Awdry gets wind of the fact that even more contraband has found its way over the threshold.  

A more cynically minded chap might start think that the fellow was in cahoots with good lady wife in a bid to keep the every spreading workstation contained!

Not entirely sure of the make, but there was certainly a feeling of quality to him, even if the sculpt lacks some of the dynamism that we have become used to today.  Anyway, a much needed distraction without the need to amass too many troops on the painting table at any one time!

Monday 19 November 2012

And the winner is...

'28mm Victorian Warfare' was created purely as a self indulgent distraction at I time when I desperately needed something to do with my hands!  It became intrinsically linked with the fledging development of this most wholesome of hobbies that we all share and it is now responsible for a good part of my waking day! 

So it goes without saying that when Anne O'Leary of 'Anne's Attic' left a post informing me that she was passing on a 'Liebster Blog Award' to me, I was absolutely thrilled - thank you so much Anne!  To be nominated by someone with a Blogosphere presence such as Anne, truly is a honour in itself and one that I am only too happy to pass on to fellow bloggers.   Now, I appreciate that it could be perceived as little more than a glorified chain letter, but when it is passed on with such good intentions then I think that there is still room for a little celebration in this often too cynical world.  

I thought I would do a bit of investigation as to the 'how and why' of the The Liebster Blog Award, but would you believe it the one time you need it, Wikipedia goes and lets you down.  After a little time trawling the infoweb I did manage to turn up that the 'Liebster', German for beloved, dearest or favourite, is awarded to relatively new bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I was unable to track down the exact origins of the 'Liebster', but did manage to get back to 2010, during which time there have been many variants, but I've decided to go with the following.  

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.

2. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!

The hardest part of all this has been try to narrow whittle down my choices, but without further ado and absolutely no obligation on their part, my five recipients for a 'Liebster' are:

Thursday 15 November 2012

Boxer Artillery

This final instalment for the Boxer Rebellion (at least for the time being anyway) sees the introduction of an artillery piece and crew.  As before, all are from ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ and have the same reassuring solidity to them.

I decided that I wanted to add a little ‘something extra’ to the base, perhaps to convey some form of defensive position, but also to hint at the urban setting of this conflict.  To that end a few ‘Ainsty Castings’ tea chests and a discarded piece of pottery (the pattern lovingly cribbed from a 19th Century Qing Dynasty vase – the infoweb is a wonderful thing!) were scattered about the front of the base.

I have to confess that I am rather pleased with the final result and thoroughly enjoyed tinkering around until I was happy with the base; perhaps I could have a month dedicated to artillery, but then again I could just try and stay on task!

Monday 12 November 2012

Mycroft Holmes

With the day job demanding much of my time and the prospect of very little 'let up' for the foreseeable future, many of the great plans have been scaled back at present. That said it is important to have an outlet and this chap proved to be just the tonic! Originally sculpted as part of the ‘Gentlemen’s Club Faction’ for the very tempting ‘Empire of the Dead’ rule set this characterful chap made his way to ‘Awdry Towers’ via Dave Docherty of ‘One Man and his brushes’ fame. Clearly destined for the annals of the ‘secret project’, it has taken until know to flesh out his character in both words and paint.

It was said that Mycroft Holmes’ deductive powers were even greater than those of his younger brother and although it was never clear as to what role he held in the Government of the day, Sherlock once spoke of his brother thus,

“Occasionally he is the British government... the most indispensable man in the country.” *

It would appear that Mycroft’s ability to take the merest sinew of an idea or the whisper of a secret from the far flung corners of the Empire and bind them together to form a clear narrative forged what we now take for granted as the work of the Intelligence Community. 

“The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.”*

The relationship between the two brothers was not always as harmonious as it is now with Mycroft spending most of his time at the Diogenes Club, which he co-founded and was perceived by many as been apathetic at best. In Sherlock’s own words,

“...he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. Again and again I have taken a problem to him, and have received an explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points...”**

However with retirement from the higher echelons of Public Office, Mycroft was left with an unquenchable desire to combat those forces of evil that were beyond explanation. Shunned by many as an unbalanced eccentric, Mycroft has become the world’s foremost expert of all things paranormal and supernatural; not surprising then that the term ‘Spook’ is now used to describe the very person that Mycroft helped to establish. When Sherlock was faced with a problem beyond all reasonable explanation then there was only one person he was going to call – Mycroft Holmes.

My first thoughts, when I started this miniature, were that it was a little on the slender side and overly intricate and ‘fussy’, but how wrong I was! This was a joy to paint and just what I wanted after working with the larger, more robust miniatures of ‘Redoubt Enterprises’. If the others in the series are the same then this might become a temptation too far! Regardless of whether or not I capitulate to ‘Empire of the Dead’ I must once again thank Dave for his generosity and encourage all to visit his rather splendid blog, ‘One Man and his brushes’.

* "The Bruce-Partington Plans" – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

** "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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