Wednesday 29 January 2014

Victorian Gypsies

With the addition of the bonus rounds to this year's '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' I found myself in a bit of a spin - in a good way I should add!  These are the sorts of distractions that seem to punctuate my hobby, that bring the variety to the painting table and I am determined to try and get an entry into all seven of them, starting with these 'Victorian Gypsies', entered in the non-combatant round!

  This trio of lovely ladies are made up of a mixture of makes with a metal 'Westwind' tambourine player, a 'Reaper' metal in the flowing orange dress and a 'Reaper Bones' with an alluring digit!  This was my first experience of the 'bones' material and I have to confess that I am a little unsure of it.  I had read that giving them a good wash and prime was essential, but the painting experience was a little odd given the subtle movement of the plastic. That said the detail is ok, but obviously not as crisp as the metal counterpart and the final result is of a par with the other two so I may yet try a couple more pieces.

There were one or two raised eyebrows over at the challenge regarding my the blatant labelling of them  as 'Victorian', some ne'er-do-wells even suggesting that birth certificates be produced in support of my historic claims - of course being a Gentlemen I couldn't possibly do that to them, but to my mind they were obviously Victorian characters.

Often romanticised in literature, the Romani people have brought mystery, intrigue and colour to some of the Victorian era's most influential texts.  Think of the English Romanies that visit Thornfield Hall as fortune tellers in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Stoker's Dracula  features a group of Romanies working for the Count and then there are the demonised Gypsies accused of the murder in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, a Sherlock Holmes mystery by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  These just a flavour of what I was thinking when referring to them as 'Victorian'.

Painting wise they were great fun to do and this time I tried to be a little more even with my brush strokes to give a softer look to the skin - the finished result is better than I had managed with 'Hildy', but there is still more to learn when it comes to the painting of the fairer sex.  The palettes are fairly generic, although Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame should be credited as the inspiration for Esmeralda's purple dress with green corset. 

Saturday 25 January 2014

Paint Table Saturday#12

Another weekend and so the first job of the day, after making the tea and bringing in the milk, is to photograph the working area for 'Paint Table Saturday'.  This delightfully simple idea has seen me try to ensure that at least something has happened over the week to save the embarrassment of submitting the same photograph for two weeks running - the shame of it!

So this week the Celtic War band is all but complete and so have been disguised until they have been entered in the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', a requirement of the rules, although you can see the Celtic cross, from 'Ainsty Castings', which was also done during the week to enhance the entry.  My focus for this weekend will be the Matabele warriors, which have already received their undercoat and some base colour.  I have picked up some more in the 'North Star Miniatures' sale, which obviously need prepping.  Finally there is some terrain building that I have to make a start on if I can get some peace and quiet from my Brachiosaurus - fortunately the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' has attached a bell so at least I can hear him coming and move any delicate items to the side.

Don'y forget to see what others are up to this weekend by visiting 'Sofie's Paint Blog'.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Random acts of kindness

Spoiler Alert! -  the following post contains passages of unrestrained emotional drivel!

In relative terms, I have come to this most wholesome of hobbies quite late in life, initially looking for something to occupy my hands as I battled, successfully I might add, to rid my system of the evil nicotine.   Later on the decision to surround myself with lead and cyanoacrylate proved a good one as the hobby became a welcome distraction during what proved to be a particularly difficult time at work; in fact my only regret, hobby wise, is not having started sooner!  Working predominately in isolation, although always encouraged by my good friend the ‘Provost Marshal’, I felt I needed some form of outlet for my meagre efforts and so, as a by-product of the hobby, ‘28mm Victorian Warfare’ was born.

The keeping of the blog has encouraged me to take a fresh outlook on life and I have been quite astounded by the sense of community and goodwill that prevails in our corner of the hobby world.  I had had a jaded view of social media often seeing, first hand, just how destructive it can be particularly to young people, but here I am surrounded, by examples of pure generosity and I can honestly say it makes me happy.  “But what are these examples of generosity?” I hear you cry.  Well, it all started a week or so ago with a seemingly innocuous comment on one of my posts by the irrepressible ‘Bullcher Feb’,

"Very nice work sir, on the downside you may find that the postman will be delivering you a 'distraction'. We wouldn't want 2014 to start in a straight forward fashion - lol."

All very cryptic thinks I, until a small package is duly delivered by said Postman, containing a Blood Bowl team!  Yes a Human Team complete with star player, Griff Oberwald!  The only caveat in taking ownership of this team was, "to have fun!"   I ask you, how amazing is this?

The Human Team

Well it certainly brightened my day that is for sure, but the story doesn’t end here though, because twenty four hours later I receive an email from the mischievous Loki,

"Your surprise has been sent Special delivery today should be with you by 1pm Tuesday at the latest."

On this occasion the Postmen left one of those little red cards, much beloved by wargamers as they often signify something shiny and new is waiting for collection, so on Saturday morning, I pootled off to the Post Office depot clutching my little card expecting to pick up a little envelope of French and Indian Wars miniatures only to come away with a huge box; I could barely contain my excitement for the ten minute walk back to Awdry Towers!  Imagine my surprise when I unpacked it to find a menagerie of prehistoric goodness!  I was speechless!

The Big Boys


After a flurry of emails it transpired that this was no ordinary collection of dinosaurs but in fact a fully, custom made Lizardman Blood Bowl team that Loki had lovingly created. I was now in the proud possession of a selection of miniatures that represented all allowable players from Skinks, through to Sauruses and even a Kroxigor!  This really was too much, but the great man insisted that as Loki, he was prone to indulge in all manner of mischievous so once in a while  a generous act helps to balance  out his naughty side! 

I really seem to have been truly blessed that week, being the recipient of two random acts of kindness,  scooping the lottery was clearly a step too far though!  Once again, I must reiterate my heartfelt thanks to the two esteemed gentlemen in question - your actions have been so very gratefully received.  Hopefully 2014 will see some Blood Bowl action as I start to get to grips with my new teams, I suppose naming them would be a start - any suggestions? 

Sunday 19 January 2014

250,000 Page Views!

It has been a most productive weekend on the hobby front with real progress made on the various projects cluttering the painting queue.  Sadly, as a result, I have only managed the most fleeting of visits to the many blogs that I follow and for this I am truly sorry.

During a brief respite on Saturday afternoon though, I noticed that '28mm Victorian Warfare' had managed to a reach a significant milestone - 250,000 page views!  I would like to tell you all that the numbers don't interest me, but the truth is that this recent achievement has made me quite giddy; a quarter of a million hits - wow!  I just want to thank all that peruse these pages and especially those that leave a comment, I really do appreciate it and it is exactly this sort of encouragement that keeps me going. 

Thank You

Just as an aside, if you do follow this humble weblog and I have yet to find your own blog, then do please let me know in the comments section below.  I would be more that happy to visit an reciprocate the honour.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Paint Table Saturday#11

Just the briefest of posts from 'Awdry Towers' as I'm planning a productive morning on the brushes, as I understand the expression goes!  I had to remove some pieces before this photograph was taken as they have yet to feature in '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', but we can see some 'Heroic' looking Celts and a smattering of Matabele tribesmen - a taste of what's planned for the next couple of  weeks.

Photobomded by a Spinosaurus - whatever next?

Wednesday 15 January 2014


Those who regularly frequent this humble weblog will know that I am currently competing in the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' ; a splendid event that allows us to set personal goals as we look to deplete the lead mountain through the cold, winter months.   As part of the challenge we have to offer up an themed entry fee to Master Campbell and this year's tariff was to be inspired by the work of Sam Peckinpah; 2014 being the 45th anniversary of one of Curt's favourite films - 'The Wild Bunch'.  What could be simpler than painting up a 28mm cowboy and sending it to Curt, saying inspired by Sam Peckinpah?  But then I started having a closer look at the great man's oeuvre and came across the lesser known masterpiece that is 'The Ballad of Cable Hogue'.  Now as luck would have it, I still had a couple of those rather scantily clad cowgirls from the 'Black Scorpion' range and thought - perfect, Stella Stevens immortalized in resin!
No conversion necessary, just a bit of fun with the palette to ape Hildy's costume, such that it is, from the film, complete with embroidered 'Daisy Dukes'!
It's funny, but while I was painting her, I had really taken on board just how over sized her guns where - real hand cannons these!
Whist hugely entertaining to work on, I have to confess that I do find painting female miniatures difficult.  My na├»ve, Impressionistic style of painting faces seems to work reasonably well on rough, tough British Infantrymen and the like, but sadly is not so forgiving when employed on representing the complexion of the fairer sex.  Still on the whole she seemed well received and so all that remains is to get her passport in order before the flight to Canada -
farewell Hildy!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Elephant Towing Carriage

Having only just extolled the virtues of 'Mutineer Miniatures' in the previous post it may seem a tad unsporting that this post, regarding their elephant towing carriage, sees a quite moan from your truly.  This powerful pachyderm was certainly quite a chunk of metal, but was not as well sculpted as the resin version I had previously done, with the two halves of the body needing a fair bit of filling with the ubiquitous green stuff.

That said once I had finally completed the preparation stage it proved to be an enjoyable project, combined with an additional 18/24lb siege gun to give the forces an additional punch.   

The return to work after the festivities has been incredibly busy and as a result I seem to have struggled in keeping up to date with the many erstwhile weblogs that I enjoy following. In fact today has been nearly entirely spent furiously painting artillerymen in readiness for another entry to count towards my tally in the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.

Hopefully normal service will return shortly! 

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Naval Brigade Artillery

Having had the good fortune and foresight to have had the school holidays coincide with the start date of the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', I found myself blessed with a couple of days of dedicated painting time, once of course a substantial amount of family and festive related duties were completed first! This invaluable time was just what I needed to get my challenge off and running and what better choice of subject matter than a return to the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and the always enjoyable 'Mutineer Miniatures'.

 Having had some success with the Naval Brigade, back in 2012 (was it really that long ago? See 'In the Navy' & 'Naval Brigade Command') it seemed about time that my jolly Jack Tars were given some much needed support in the shape of this 18/24lb siege gun and crew.

There is a reassuring quality to all that 'Mutineer Miniatures' produce and these fine sculpts are no exception; they were certainly a joy to work with having very little flash and good strong poses.  It has also been a refreshing change to return to the Victorian era and a more historically bias; frighteningly it was August when I last posted any such miniatures that could fit these parameters!  

Saturday 4 January 2014

2013, a year in review...

… and new targets for 2014

One had hoped to have this post ready for the start of the year, but a combination of procrastination on my behalf and the continuation of the holiday period has conspired against me.  Finally then, if I may beg your indulgence, I shall briefly review the self-imposed targets for the year.

1. Play some games!  Success!  Finally, and in no small measure due to the kindness and generosity of the 'The Dark Templar', this has finally been achieved.  X-Wing Miniatures was a revelation and has subsequently gone on to prove an expensive distraction.  Perhaps more legitimately was 'The Dark Crucible' Mike's own 'coffee table' game that allows players to enjoy skirmish level forays into a mystical yet historic setting.  I really enjoyed this and have set about creating my own war band that I hope to have finished as part of the  '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  Other gaming introductions have included 'Blood Bowl', which may see me go off on yet another tangent and more recently 'Zombicide', fabulous fun that I have even managed to persuade the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' to partake in.

2. Maintain a credible level of posts throughout the course of the year.  Success!  102 posts for the year, down slightly on 2012, but well within the parameters of between five to ten posts per month.

3. Attend at least one convention/exhibition/expo this year.  Success!  The 'Provost Marshal' and I managed 'Euro Militaire' in September and 'Salute 2013' in April.  Salute, of course comes with the additional benefit of meeting up with like minded souls and once again it was lovely to be able to say hello to so many fellow Bloggers.

4. Investigate the possibility of a dedicated hobby space, here at 'Awdry Towers'.  Success, albeit tentatively claimed!  We have had a minor reorganisation that has seen the boxes of hobby related paraphernalia removed from the dining room floor and given their own shelf space.  With the addition of a 'portable gaming board' we are edging closer to where I would like to be, but little chance of my very own 'Man Cave', I'm afraid! 

5. Setting up the 'Command Stand', a bespoke painting service, initially conceived by my good friend the 'Provost Marshal'.  Partly resolved in that we did produce two 'Command Stands' one for the 'Provost Marshal', the other for 'Dave D'.  Both hugely enjoyable to do and so a step in the right direction, but perhaps so more formalisation of the idea required this year.

6. 'Operation Otter'.  Fail!  This was to have been an off-shoot of the 'secret project' - but has not got off the ground in any shape whatsoever!  It is possible that it might yet make an appearance, but unlikely given the multitude of other projects jostling for attention - a real slow burner.  

On reflection a positive year, but what about targets for 2014? As last year, I hope to reach my par score (600 points) in the challenge, and once again this will involve me been relatively focussed until March! After that I have decided to have very few actual prescriptive targets; I suspect that I will try to maintain the same first three as last year, but no longer feel the need to write these down; they are, or should be, a given. What I would like to do is to try to curb the addition expenditure on miniatures this year, or at least try to bring it into line with output. I have a good many fabulous miniatures that are lying unattended and forlorn in the lead pile and with the addition of the 'Mars Attacks' Kickstarter, due in August there will be a positive deluge of plastic come the summer. A simple tally score will suffice, no different to that found on a good many of the blogs I follow, but hopefully something that will 'shame' me into being a little more restraint when it comes to all things hobby related.

Finally then a huge Thank You to all that continue to support, particularly those kind hearted souls that leave a comment on two - your enthusiasm and encouragement are invaluable and your reward will be an unashamed reposting of some of my personal highlights from 2013, after all every post needs a picture!

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