Sunday 29 December 2013

Thank you!

It has been a lovely Christmas, this year spent with the Saintly Mrs. Awdry's family and as I take stock of the festivities, I do feel the need to publicly thank my 'Secret Santa' and 'Santa Claus'; both events were conceived by Ian of 'The Blog with no name' fame and very efficiently organised by his lovely wife Cath.  

My secret Santa, scored a perfect result with these splendid Matabele warriors from the North Star Africa range; hopefully they will form part of a future entry for the  '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' in the New Year.  What was particularly lovely was the chaps at 'North Star' entered into the spirit of the event with the addition of this illustration on the box.  

This curious cracker shaped parcel has been under our tree far a while now and I was thrilled when, on Christmas morning, I opened it to reveal these delightful examples from 'Black Tree Designs'.  The Heliograph team and Chaplain George Smith are very welcome additions to my collection; I shall certainly look to have them based up as a priority! 

So to you both, thank you very much indeed, it has been great fun to be part of and if Ian and Cath are willing then I would certainly consider taking part in one or other again next year.

I have to confess that I have been very fortunate indeed this year, with plenty of hobby related gifts including some rather lovely additions to the lead pile that I shall keep secret for another day!  It would appear, however, that my nearest and dearest have taken note of my interest in all things prehistoric and included in my stocking were these splendid gifts; after all everything is better with dinosaurs!  

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas one and all!

Just the briefest of posts to wish all visitors to '28mm victorian Warfare' a very Happy Christmas.  I must thank all of you that have visited and followed but in particular a huge thank you to those of you that take the the time to leave comments.  The encouragement  this engenders is immeasurable and not only maintains the enjoyment but helps to build the sense of community that has been an unexpected, but wonderful, by-product of 'blogging'.

Happy Christmas

Sunday 22 December 2013

Blood Bowl...

…a new distraction?

Having only just submitted my first entry to the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' is was time to dry off the brushes and avail myself of an incredibly generous offer to to join 'The Dark Templar' and 'Bullcher Feb' for a day of Blood Bowl action!  

Now it has to be said from the outset that I have very little experience of this game other than what I have picked up from ogling the outstanding creations on David's 'Laughing Ferret Lab' and catching up on Paul of 'The Man Cave' and Right Stuff's outings Down Under - that, I'm afraid to say, may have to change! 

Having braved lashing rain and howling gusts on the journey up to Bull's (the last time I went it snowed - is it me or are the dice Gods trying to warn me away from the Dark Side?), I fell into the usual manly trap of convincing myself that I knew exactly where I was going, promptly heading off in the wrong direction, only to arrive later than planned and soaked through - great start Michael! 

It is not my place to comment on the games in this post, I will leave that to the Gentlemen in question, but would most certainly encourage you to visit their respective weblogs, but I do need to say that more convivial surroundings, one couldn't have wished for - vitals and laughter abounding as I witnessed, what can only be described, as some of the direst dice rolling ever - six ones and two double skulls in a row! 

When it came to my turn to run the undead team for a half, I was already hooked and so you can imagine my excitement when in turn two I launched the ball towards an unmarked Ghoul only inches from the end zone only to see him fumble the ball - no doubt too busy picking the rotting flesh from his teeth, resulting in Bull's Goblin, 'Yakstick Sticky Hand', running the length of the pitch to score at the other end - this I understand, encompasses the vagaries of the game and what made it huge entertaining to me.

And so it is that I must thank both Gentlemen for allowing me, once again, to gatecrash their day's gaming and equally curse them both for the seed that they have planted in my already distracted mind!  Clearly I need a team to call my own, but what would it be?  I have already spent an evening looking at the varied options open to a chap, but would happily entertain suggestions - a Victorian Gentlemen's eleven perhaps?

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Under Canvas!

Now, being a relatively slow painter and one that's prone to changing his mind as often as the humming bird flaps its wings, I am here to report that chaos has ensued at the beloved homestead!  I was hoping to take advantage of a couple of days of relative calm to notch up my first entry for the 'The 4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' and all was going well until a bout of the aforementioned indecision struck!

Having foolhardily asserted that I would enter a miniature for each of the bonus rounds, I assiduously started to prep these and this is where the problem started.  Within a matter of hours, I had such a wonderful assortment of shiny, (oh so very shiny miniatures!) on the table that I was transfixed, rabbit like, to what lay before me.  

Fear naught, dear reader, there would be no close encounter with a Michelin tyre for this bunny, in fact I have to confess that this is all a rather wonderful experience.  I have long claimed that my primary factor for indulging in this most wholesome of hobbies is to have fun and fun I am having.  Yes, I may have wandered from the prescribed path, starting miniatures that are for entries planned early in the New Year, but I do so with a smile (or was that a maniacal grin?) on my face.

In many ways this was inevitable and foreseen, which brings me, albeit tortuously, to the subject of this post - the tents!  Some simple terrain pieces for the St Trinian's board, that originally starting out as 'Renedra Plastics' Dog Tents, with a copy of added patches and a lurid paint job.  I imagined them left, unloved and quietly gathering mildew at the back of the 'Duke of Edinburgh' stores, offered here by way of a filler until I actually finish something for the challenge!  

Sunday 15 December 2013

The Challenge Begins...

As of six o'clock this morning we were 'good to go' for the challenge here at 'Awdry Towers', there has been much prepping, priming and posturing in preparation for the challenge, but now, my friends, it has begun!  Yesterday saw me clearing down my little corner of the dining room table in readiness for what I hope will be a productive first week before the Christmas festivities take over.

It was always my intention that the winter challenge would see a return to all things historic, particularly after a long summer of zombie and dinosaur related posts, but then Curt went an threw a curveball with the themed rounds this year.  These are the sort of distractions that I find so very difficult to resist and while I had hoped to resist the temptation to buy any new miniatures for the challenge, I just felt that I had to have one or two late additions - purely for variety you understand.

The challenge itself is a hugely enjoyable and rewarding event to participate in, the added theme rounds bring an additional element that should enhance the experience further, but if that wasn't enough we also have the addition of side challenges and duels.  It would seem that I have managed to get myself embroiled in two such battles, the first to make an entry for all the themed rounds that include,

December 22: Non Combatant(s) 
January 5: Villain(s) 
January 19: Vehicle
February 2: Hero or Heroic Group 
February 16: Casualty / Casualties 
March 2: Favourite Character 
March 16: Last Stand

As for content in these rounds, I am afraid that will have to remain a closely guarded secret for no other reason than to prevent me the embarrassment of failure if one doesn't submit as planned - so see it is all about fun with me.  

The second to battle it out against PhilH and GregB to see who can accumulate the most points in painting Victorian-themed entries.  As luck would have it most of the preparation has been based around this very theme, but as the crack from the starter's pistol reverberates around the quiet, grey streets of our little village, I am shocked at just how much there is still to do!  So here is wishing my fellow contributors the very best of luck and please feel free to follow the fun by clicking the button at the top of the right hand side-bar.  So without further ado…

'Let's Go...'

Thursday 12 December 2013

Tengu Miniatures Kelly & Hal

As we edge ever closer to the start of the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', there is just time to for these two 'Tengu Miniatures' to shuffle of the painting table.  Not finished in time for 'Zomtober' and as not eligible to qualify for the 'Challenge' as they already had paint on them it seemed like a good opportunity to get them cleared away before the madness ensues.  

Tengu Miniatures really are tremendous sculpts to work with and these two are no exception.   Great fun to do, but it's back to prepping and priming for me!

Monday 9 December 2013

A 'short' Knight's Tale

A quick bonus post to publicly thank Andrew 'Loki' Saunders of 'Loki's Great Hall' fame for this rather splendid addition to my collection.  I have long admired Andrew's brushwork and so was thrilled when I heard that I had scooped this fine miniature as part of his 75,000 page view giveaway.

Even better in the flesh, as it were, I decided that this brave little chap needed an adventure all of his own and set about creating a silly story using the 'Comic Life' software that I invested in last month.  

I would like to point out that no Dragons, or for that matter brave Knights were injured in the making of this comic strip; in fact the Dragon was abled played by 'Spiny' the Spinosauras, a new arrival to 'Awdry Towers' - another splendid birthday gift from the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry'!

Friday 6 December 2013

28mm African Big Game

Just a bit of fun to mark the completion of 'Biggles Hunts Gig Game', some of my very own big game!  Discovered, lurking at the bottom of the lead pile, the lion and crocodile are from 'Steve Barber Models', whilst I think the Water Buffalo is from 'North Star Military Figures'.  

A quick size comparison shot with a 'Copplestone Castings' armed Archeologist, who was last seen fleeing the edge of the table closely followed by the snarling lion!  

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Book Review#19. - Biggles Hunts Big Game

Every so often, one finds oneself reflecting on times gone by, reminiscing perhaps on days when the innocence of youth was blissfully unaware of the responsibilities of adult life.  I have many fond memories of this time, but perhaps one of the most endearing is that of my father reading to me at bedtime.  'Just William', 'Stalky & Co,', even Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' were all dutifully read to the young, Master Awdry, but the favourites were always the rip snorting adventures of Biggles - Air Detective!

So it was that I caught myself perusing the pages of 'Fleabay' searching for copies of the fabled exploits, written by Captain W. E. Johns when I came across, 'Biggles Hunts Big Game'.  Before long a reassuringly tatty edition found itself on the doormat of 'Awdry Towers'.  The story sees our hero investigating some high quality counterfeit stamps and currency.  When an attempt to bribe him fails the villains have little choice but to try and kill him. Avoiding their clutches, the Team track down the counterfeiting operation to an exclusive hunting lodge in Africa.  There are twists and turns a plenty, with much derring-do and a spectacular comeuppance in the closing pages.

Although originally aimed at younger boys the story still holds some of its charm today and I have to confess that I thoroughly enjoyed been transported back to those halcyon days of childhood.  I have no doubt that a couple more editions might find their way onto the bookshelf before too long, but this story receives a favourably three crowns from me.

Sunday 1 December 2013

The Boer War in 3D!

This post sees the creation of yet another new page here at ‘28mm Victorian Warfare’ entitled, “The Boer War in 3D” and is the direct result of an impulsive bid on an online auction; the win, a rather splendid Stereoscope, which was then very kindly presented to me by my father.

This peculiarly, Victorian source of entertainment allows the viewer to gaze in wonderment as the characters from the Scriptures, fairy tales or even the news of the day miraculously come to live before their very eyes.  Viewing two identical images that are placed side by side through a lens ‘tricks’ the eye into seeing the images in three dimensions.  

Although my viewer came with a variety of slides it was the volume imaginatively entitled ‘The South African War Through the Stereoscope' that piqued my curiosity.  Here were thirty-six slides depicting events in the Boer War and published by Underwood & Underwood.  It is clear that there is an element of sensationalism to the images, many of which will have been reconstructed for the benefit of the camera, but they do provide an invaluable resource from the point of view of uniforms, equipment and even tactics of the British Army at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Those that have witnessed a stereoscopic image first hand, or perhaps its more modern incarnation, the 'Viewfinder', will appreciate that there is indeed a magical quality to it, not unlike the phenomenon of 3D cinema or television we have today.  It was whilst reviewing the slides that I was struck with the idea of trying to recreate them on this most humble of weblogs.  These days, if you are prepared to trawl for long enough, the World Wide Web will eventually deliver a solution as it wasn’t too long before I stumbled upon a various ‘fixes’ for my problem, the most common being to animate the stereoscopic slides as a 'GIF' (Graphics Interchange Format) and so that is exactly what I set about doing.  The process involved scanning both images, cropping as required and then creating an animation at the highest speed possible.  The results are not perfect by any means, with many of the images becoming difficult to view due to the jerky nature of the animation, but at their best, one or two actually start to give the illusion of depth!  

One of the original slides

Once an animated slide is ‘clicked’ on the page it can be viewed in more detail in the normal way.  It is also probably worth mentioning, purely as a disclaimer, that every effort has been taken to faithfully reproduce the text accompanying each slide at that any inaccuracies were as they would have been presented to the general public at the time.

Friday 29 November 2013

A 28mm Glyptodon!

So as Dinovember comes to a close there is just enough time for one last prehistoric beastie to shuffle off the painting table.  Not technically a dinosaur, the Glyptodon was a large, 'armoured' mammal, not dissimilar to an armadillo that lived during the Pleistocene period.   

This lump of resiny goodness is a DeeZee Miniature purchased through the consistently reliable 'Arcane Scenery & Models', a company that never fails to deliver top quality service.  It comes with a substantially moulded base with rocks and vegetation and in the end I opted to keep it as it was, with just the addition of a few tufts.

He is quite a chunk of resin as you can see from the above picture, especially in comparison to Lofty Earnshaw, a 'Copplestone Castings' Dinosaur hunter.  Unsure how to paint him, I opted for a 'beaver' look for the head and then built the 'armour' up with a succession of dry brushed layers.

So as we usher in December it is time for me to head up to the loft to dig out the Christmas decorations, but before I do, I can enjoy one last look at the fun that was Dinovember.  Not a bad little haul and although a piece of self indulgent nonsense it did prove a wonderful opportunity to clear away some bits and pieces, that had for far too long, been cluttering up the painting table.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Birthday time again!

Although we may have stopped counting the actual amount of years that have elapsed, yours truly still gets excited by the prospect of another birthday, particularly if it involves pressies!  More often of late I have found myself embracing the concept of 'wish lists' and this year I have been spoilt rotten by the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry'.  Imagine my delight when these two marvellous boxes arrived at 'Awdry Towers'.

Wonderful and shiny, but not lead this time!  Since my first couple of games with Mike, 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds, I was absolutely hooked on the X-wing miniatures game.  So much so that I have been quietly amassing a sizeable fleet of star fighters and this seemed like a wonderful excuse to add a 'KR Multicase' to the wish list, complete with pre cut foam trays.  

With the addition of an accessories case, I am able to pack my miniatures away safely and I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled, now I just have to find someone to play with!  With the birthday celebrations due to continue at the weekend, there is no denying that I've been a very lucky boy indeed and before long it will be Christmas! 

Saturday 23 November 2013

Keeping the wolf from the door.

I have mixed emotions as I post this, as on the one hand it is lovely to share with you a gift that I have recently completed to commemorate my good friend, the ‘Provost Marshal's’, substantial anniversary* but at the same time I’m somewhat embarrassed as not only is it considerably belated, but this will be the first time that the good chap gets to see it!

*he is now officially old, so this still has a prehistoric connection as we continue, unabated with Dinovember!

That aside given his passion for the Napoleonic era, and more precisely the French forces therein, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to order up some of the lovely new ‘Perry Miniatures’ retreat from Russia range to compliment my cantieree, an incredibly generous giveaway prize from the wonderful ‘Westfalia Miniatures’.  

Although I hate to admit it they were all great fun to do, probably because all that unnecessary frippery that normally adorns the uniforms of the time is safely covered by the mass of the greatcoats and sheepskin; needless to say there are no immediate plans to, yet again, switch gaming period – regardless as to how hard the ‘Provost Marshal’ tries to persuade me!

So with the final fluttering of fake snow, I am finally able to say, “Happy Birthday old friend”.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Dino Kill!

Continuing with the Dinovember theme, this wonderful piece of resin was picked up a couple of years ago at a Salute in one of those impulse buys that always begs the question, "why?" Well it just looked so very cool!  An 'Acheson Creations' dead Sauropod from their Primaeval Designs it practically called out to me from the 'Magister Militum' stand and before I knew it we were homeward bound.

A simple base colour followed by layers of dry brushing got the skin to where you see it now, which just left the gore to deal with!  The flesh was a simple red shade, but the rib cage and digestive tract, or certainly that which remains, were picked out in different colours before lashings of Tamiya clear red was added.  The secret, such that it is, is to apply the clear red in varying tones, I find some mixed with a diluted black wash helps to give a fresh, aerated look.

The wonderful thing about the blogosphere, particularly the warm, fuzzy little corner that '28mm Victorian Warfare' inhabits, is that there is so much to be inspired by and the following comes as a direct response to the wonderful battle reports that are published on 'Chris' Gaming Journal'.  The software is called 'Comic Life', but I warn you it is wonderfully addictive!

Do click on the pictures to get a bigger version, if you dare! 

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