Thursday 27 June 2013

Book Review#17. - Achtung Schweinehund!

As is my want, and having finally finished this latest spot of bedtime reading, it is  customary to pen a short review, but with this splendid tale of 'Imaginary Combat' by Harry Pearson I intend to break with tradition a tad and direct you to the reviews of others.  The first thing to acknowledge is that I own this book as a direct result of having read the positive reviews at both Paul's, 'The Man Cave' and Ben's, 'Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog'.  Both Gentlemen had written such glowing reports that I quickly scribbled down the title and added it to my Christmas wish list - yes, I really do that!  

On completion, I thought I would revisit their reviews and measure my own findings against their own and I have to confess that I found myself in total agreement with both, this really was a gem of a book and probably should be required reading for all that share an interest in this most wholesome of hobbies.  So good, in fact, are Paul's and Ben's reviews that it seems a little churlish of me to reinvent them here, so I shall just quote a little from both and encourage you to read them in their entirety by following the links to their respective blogs.

...the author goes on to make other wonderfully self mocking commentaries which apply to all of us gamers really.  For example, after recording the time it took to paint 28 20mm soldiers (43hrs, 27mins - a full working week with a bit of overtime) he observes 'I thought of all the figures I had painted in my life.How many years it had taken to paint them.  If I had put it into some sensible activity I might now be a lawyer, architect or neurosurgeon and you'd be reading a book by somebody sensible like John Grisham, Bernard Cornwell or Alain de Botton.'  Certainly a perspective most gamer wives would agree with, even if only from a financial perspective.  Nonetheless you can feel the love and enjoyment of modelling and gaming all the way through the book. 

from 'Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog':
This book is a rolled-gold, authentic, laugh-out-loud cack-fest that should be required reading for all historical wargamers. While I only took up this hobby 6 years ago, my childhood was so filled with toy soldiers and dreams of heroism and glory that the author's reminiscences struck a clear note of recognition in me. His descriptions of role-playing-games and their players had me laughing till I shed tears, and his descriptions of wargames conventions and the people who attend them was uncomfortably close to the truth! 

There will be no 'tie in' miniature to this title as in previous posts just the most sincerest recommendation and a strong four crown rating from yours truly - certainly worth every penny in my humble opinion.

Monday 24 June 2013

Why did the Chicken cross the road?

to get to the braaains!!!

If I am ever to achieve my target of playing a game this summer then I need to bolster the ranks of the undead - quite significantly if my understanding of the rules is correct.  The 'episode' in question calls for a zombie 'cast' of up to a 150 'ratings'; this being the language of '7ombieTV'.

With each cadaver worth only five ratings that would mean a horde of thirty!  Fortunately I can have some archetypal 'co-stars' that will help to reduce that number, but for the time being the grim necessity is more of the same!

These two grisly grotesques are from the wonderful 'Studio Miniatures' and I have to say I loved working on them.  The sculpts are wonderfully original and there is a great, if somewhat macabre, sense of humour about the range; I'm looking forward to completing the rest of the group in due course. 

Perhaps the petrifying flesh is a little too blue, but I'm hopeful that it won't scream out when these two are joined with the rest of the shambling horde.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Daphne & Velma...

...the return of the 'secret project'!

Miss Daphne Hudson, the spirited niece of Holmes' former housekeeper was privately educated  at Roedean  thanks, in no small measure, to the generous stipend that the consulting detective had set aside for her.  Always meticulous in her appearance, Daphne was due to take the social scene by storm, but tragedy struck when a ferocious bout Dengue fever claimed the lives of her parents whilst travelling abroad.   Grief stricken, Daphne missed her Debutantes' ball  and her opportunity to shine on the glittering social circuit.  With few options left open to her she has reluctantly chosen to follow her  'adopted'  uncle on his lecture tour of the United States armed only with her late father's umbrella.

'By Jinkies!'  Velma, Dr Watson's wayward ward, has a reputation for being a hellion.  Although awarded a place to read the relatively new social science of  anthropology at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, Velma quickly became frustrated by the inequality between the sexes at British educational establishments at the time.  As a result this wildcat has shunned academia for a chance to explore the grand old U.S. of A. enjoying the relative freedom from the restrains of polite society and the stifling dress code that goes with it.  A veteran of her father's grouse moor, Velma is an expert shot!

Now as departures go this one is a little left field, even by my standards.  The self indulgent folly that is the 'secret project' is simply an excuse that allows yours truly to meld together all manner of unholy combinations from mythology, folklore, popular culture and of course earlier episodes of 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!'

This ridiculous construct allows me to collect pretty much anything that grabs my fancy without ever having to worry about gaming it and today I'm proud to reveal the latest characters, Daphne and Velma erstwhile travelling companies of our heroes, S. Holmes Esq., Shaggy Watson and Baskerville.  This ludicrous piece of frippery has been sitting on the back burning for a while now, whilst suitable characters were tracked down, but it wasn't until 'Salute 2013' that inspiration struck.  My curiosity was piqued by the swarm of customers around the 'Black Scorpion' stand.  The release of their new cowgirls set was certainly causing quite a stir; nothing at all to do with the delightful young lady that was serving behind the counter!  It was from this new cowgirl set that Velma was born, the resin of the 'Black Scorpion' piece allowing for a simple head swop from a 'Hasslefree Miniatures', 'Louise' (what will I do with that body!) I did try to file the angular glasses frames to something more rounded, but conscious that one slip would result in an unplanned nose job, I bottled the job!  As for Daphne, she came from 'Black Scorpion's' Civilians 1 group, with both ladies adopting a colour palette inspired from the original Scooby Doo cartoon.

So there we have it, the travelling companions finally reunited and ready for more adventures, but sadly these will have to wait for the moment as the St. Trinians zombie hunters are calling!

Monday 17 June 2013

Rebasing the 42nd!

A quiet weekend here at 'Awdry Towers' saw very little done, hobby wise, apart from the rebasing of these hairy Highlanders!  The last unit that needed to be brought into line with regards to their base size and a surprisingly relaxing process, which proved just the tonic for the unnecessarily stressful cricket match where England narrowly squeaked past New Zealand in yet another rain affected match!

Once again these were from 'Mutineer Miniatures' and the original post detailing my thoughts behind making them a unit from the prestigious 42nd Royal Highlanders can be found here.

With the Highlanders safely housed in the 'Warbases' movement tray (yes, I must make these match the bases!) that should be it for the moment with regards to the rebasing as I can't bring myself to take on the Light Division just yet and anyway there is just far too much frippery awaiting in the painting queue!

Saturday 15 June 2013

Mutineer Rebasing

I suppose it was inevitable really!  Having recently completely the 'Badmash Militia' I put them along side my other, somewhat dusty, mutineers only to groan at the discrepancy in their bases.  The original chaps, again from 'Mutineer Miniatures' had been done when I was even less focussed as I am now, if that were possible, and when I had no real idea about what I would do with them when completed, they were simply a cathartic diversion. 

As a result, I treated each individual miniature as a little treasure or victory and felt that the lipped bases rather added to this; now perhaps a little wiser, and with the knowledge that there are some rather splendid skirmish rules out there, it seemed appropriate to have a more uniformed appearance.  

Although it has proved to have been a busy week at work and that I didn't feel suitably alert enough to do any painting in the evening, I've managed to get this little job off the table and jolly pleased I am too.  Reunited with the Militia, below, and safley housed in a 'Warbases' movement try.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Badmash Militia

These fearsome chaps were yet another planned entry for the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' that I sadly didn't manage to progress any further than their black undercoat!  Having reunited myself with them, I was hopeful that I might be able to get them off the table relatively quickly, but then I decided to do stripes!

These were from the wonderful 'Mutineer Miniatures' and besides my mutterings were actually a joy to paint.  Wonderfully animated and full of character they will add to the slowly growing mutineer force.  I now need to decide whether or not to rebase my earlier efforts! 

I also managed to finally get around to following up a lead that Andrew Saunders from 'Loki's Great Hall' had alerted me to that of 'Tajima Miniatures'.  Great product and service and as you can see a nice variety of scale with the tufts; certainly worth a look.

Monday 10 June 2013

Upholding the law... a lawless town.

It was no good they kept calling to me and so were rapidly promoted through the ranks of discarded lead to the point were I just had to paint them!  These then are my first efforts with the miniatures designed to accompany 'In Her Majesty's Name' and available through 'North Star Military Figures'. 

So why a Chief Inspector and Sergeant from the Scotland Yard Company?  Simply put 'Ripper Street', the BBC's crime drama set in Whitechapel in London's East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders and a breath of fresh air to the scheduling.  Certainly a favourite here at 'Awdry Towers' and clearly the inspiration behind these two fine sculpts.

Although pleased with the sculpts I have to report that there was a fair bit of flash and one or two prominent mould lines that needed to be dispensed with before painting could begin in earnest.  As for the palette, I was predictably drawn to the characters from the series, Inspector Edmund Reid and Sergeant Bennett Drake.  The costumes in the series were particularly good and there was plenty of reference available, but in the end it was greys and blues for the Inspector and more earthy hues for his trusty Sergeant. 

Great fun to do, but I'm afraid the rest will have to wait their turn for a little while longer, but an encouraging start nonetheless.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Devils in Skirts!

From the moment I first saw the wonderful Rude Highlanders created by those good people at 'Westfalia Miniatures',  I have been harbouring a desire to add yet one more character to my homage to 'Carry on up the Khyber'.

Those that may have missed the celluloid masterpiece that is 'Carry on up the Khyber' will sadly be unaware of the story of the beleaguered garrison of the Queen's Own 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment who tirelessly fight off the advances of the villainous Burpas who in turn threaten to invade the Jewel in the Crown through the strategically important Khyber pass.  

The regiment's motto, 'always ready for action' is gloriously illustrated by the insistence that the men wear nothing under their kilts, a custom that has earned them the epithet of the 'Devils in Skirts'.  This then becomes the subject for this latest piece of frippery. 

A head swap from a 'Perry Miniatures' highlander got the process underway and then all that remained was to file down some of the lovely detail around the cuffs and remove the large brass plate across his chest.  A little greenstuff was used to rebuild his collars and add a cap badge and generally tidy up the mess I had made with my file and that, as they say, was that.

Although some may wince at the inaccuracies of the equipment the overall effect seems to fit in nicely with the others!

"Company... kilts front... and raise!"

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Have you heard?

I must apologise in advance as I'm fairly sure that most of the lovely ladies and esteemed gentlefolk that peruse these pages are only too aware of 'Bloggers for Charity' and the great causes that it is looking to support.  For those of you that may have missed all the excitement, let me gently direct you to where all the fun is to be had!
The dedicated home for 'Bloggers for Charity', with information about the reasons behind its creation and the choice of battle can be found here.  The site will allow you to contribute directly to the cause, with all monies shared between 'Men Matter' and 'Help for Heroes'.  There is also the opportunity to get more phyically involved, for example I have offered to paint a few miniatures and if this is something that might appeal to you then I urge you to get in touch  here.
It takes a special kind of person to set about and organise something like this and I have nothing but the upmost admiration for those involved.  As many will remember I was persuaded to paint for charity last year by the wonderful 'Dark Templar' when he launched 'A Tale of Three Painters'; I was thrilled to have been invited but I also felt a huge amount satisfaction by taking on something that was out of my comfort zone, not to mention the delight in making a couple of new friends into the bargain.  That is why I am keen to offer my support here, even at this most modest of levels. 

Don't miss out get involved today, James, Andrew, Mike and Kev are waiting to here from you.


are supporting...

Sunday 2 June 2013

150,000 page views!

So here we are already six months into the year; my goodness where does the time go?  It would appear that earlier in the week this humble web log, known simply as '28mm Victorian Warfare' has notched up 150,000 page views, I feel that it is incumbent on me to offer my heartfelt thanks, especially to those that take the time to leave a comment or two, your support and encouragement is continually welcomed.  I'm afraid there is no exhaustive giveaway this time, this latest milestone coming so quickly after the second anniversary celebrations, but that is not to say we won't be fully embracing the concept in future months.

On the discussion of giveaways, and if free stuff is your bag, then I strongly advise you pop over to James Brewerton's, 'Exiles Wargames Painter',  which is celebrating its third anniversary later this month in an incredibly generous manner.

So what can you expect from '28mm Victorian Warfare' in the second half of 2013?  Well looking at the painting queue not an awful lot of Victorian Warfare, that said there are still one or two items that were prepped in readiness for the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' that I am desperate to finish, but the rest is looking decidedly off-topic!

As a Christmas present I treated myself to Crooked Dice's '7ombieTV' rules including the 'Ghouls and Colleges', supplement.  This looks like is a hugely entertaining take on the world of the undead and I'm having a lot of fun sourcing and converting miniatures to represent a 'St. Trinians' style group of survivors.  The intention is to play one of the scenarios, renamed 'The Battle of the Lower Hockey Pitch', sometime over the long summer holiday, but in order for this to happen a certain amount of terrain building will need to be completed first, the component parts of which have been winging their way to 'Awdry Towers' over this last week.

"What of 'In Her Majesty's Name'?", I hear you ask, well this seems to have been pushed back a little.  I've read through the rules and they do seem relatively straightforward, but one thing at a time, thinks I! There are a couple of the splendid miniatures that are calling to me form the periphery of the lead pile, so expect a guest appearance or two in the coming months.

The second half of the year would appear to be all about fun; fun in the most frivolous and non sequential manner, after all it's my hobby I can do what I want surely?  So once again a huge thank you to those that stop by and I hope that you will not be too thrown by the somewhat eclectic and quite possibly eccentric nature of what is to come!

"Did someone say Dinosaurs?"

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