Sunday 30 March 2014

Paint Table Saturday#21

Once again, Saturday is upon us (yes I know it's Sunday, but I stared this yesterday- honest!) and I've managed to take a quick photograph of what is currently on the table this week - reassuringly little!  I say reassuringly, as in the concluding hours of the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', utter chaos seemed to ensue, with various units crashing onto the painting table and then just sitting there, as if trapped in some invisible quagmire, taunting me with regards to my lack of progress. 

The days before the end of the Challenge.

Some of those units have been finally completed, but some have been returned to barracks, perhaps not to be seen again until next year.  Instead, I felt the need for a change and have recently been inspired by the posts of 'the Legatus' and 'Terry Silverthorn's' that have showcased their recent work with 'In Her Majesty's Name' (IHMN).  I bought heavily into IHMN about this time last year, picking up a bucket load of miniatures at 'Salute 2013' and promptly did nothing with them!  I've decided to dig out some of these long forgotten members of the lead pile and give them a go; first up, the The Scotland Yard Company.

In other news, I have caved in and backed the 'Across the Dead Earth' kickstarter.  My will power wasn't helped by reading Simon's blog and my recent dalliance into the world of post apocalyptic fiction - still it looks like fun and as I type this there are only a few hours to go; £50 gets you 17 metal miniatures plus the softback rulebook!

Finally remember that you can see many more 'Paint Tables' by popping over to Sophie fabulous weblog here.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Book Review#20. - The Scavenger

Now here's something thing that caught my eye that I must share, Sean McLachlan's novelette, 'The Scavenger'.  Sean, a former archaeologist who worked for many years on excavations in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, is a writer who specialises in history and travel and runs the 'Civil War Horror' blog that I just happen to follow.  The following extract is directly lifted from his weblog, 

My next Toxic World story is out!  I've just released The Scavenger on Amazon. This 10,000-word story is set in the same Toxic World as Radio Hope and explores some more of the personalities and dangers of that world. I've priced it at 99 cents as a teaser for the series. Enjoy!

Well, I have to confess that my curiosity was piqued and within a couple of clicks, I found myself on the on Amazon reading the following, 

In a world shattered by war, pollution, and disease, a lone scavenger discovers a priceless relic from the Old Times. The problem is, it's stuck in the middle of the worst wasteland he knows--a contaminated city inhabited by insane chem addicts and vengeful villagers. Only his wits, his gun, and an unlikely ally can get him out alive.  Set in the Toxic World series introduced in the novel Radio Hope, this 10,000-word story explores more of the dangers and personalities that make up a post-apocalyptic world that's all too possible.

I have been struggling with my reading habits of late and was in desperate need of some inspiration to get me picking up a book again and so I'm delighted to report that within minutes of downloading this, I was hooked! 'The Scavenger' is a fast paced snapshot of the Toxic World created by Sean and certainly left me hungry for more. For those of us that enjoyed the 'Mad Max' movies of the eighties or find ourselves contemplating the plausibility of the 'what if' scenarios following a third world war, then 'The Scavenger' will seem reassuringly familiar. That is not to say that it is unoriginal, more a 're-imagining' of an established genre. Already, I am left wanting to know more about this mysterious lone figure and what adventures will befall him next and have downloaded the first Toxic World story, 'Radio Hope' in the search for answers.

It is important to reiterate that this is only a 10,000 word novelette and not a full blown narrative, but as I was reading it, I couldn't help but imagine it as a scenario for a game.  In fact the parallels between this story and the new 'Across the Dead Earth' rule set, currently funding on Kickstarter are uncanny.  What's worse, certainly for my bank account, is that having read Sean's work, I'm feeling the urge to dive into a bit of Post Apocalyptic gaming - when will this madness ever end?  For ninety nine cents read seventy seven pence, and at 77p you really can't go wrong.  An intriguing four crowns for sheer fun and value for money.

Friday 21 March 2014

My challenge 2014

That's it!  Gentlemen (and of course ladies) put your paintbrushes down and step away from the painting tables!  Spring has sprung, joy and laughter fill the air and the '4th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' is finally over, but my what challenge it has been this year.  Before showering myself in self-congratulatory nonsense, I need too say a huge thank to a certain Curtis Campbell Esq.  who is not only the brainchild behind the Challenge, but it is he who also tirelessly administers all the entries, maintains the leader board and generally keeps everything running, seemingly, without a hitch.  This is nothing short of a Herculaneum effort, particularly this year with no less than sixty one brave souls taking to the field of dreams - bravo Sir.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this year's challenge, but the addition of the bonus theme rounds were such an inspired inclusion that I have strayed a little from my game plan.  I had always intended returning to more historical fodder for the Challenge, particularly my beloved Victorian era, but somehow there were diversions via Ancient Rome, Celtic Britain and even outer space, but all in the name of fun you understand.

Having had a side challenge with Stefan that we would try and make a contribution to each of these bonus rounds they soon become my main focus, not least because they carried an additional fifty point tariff, and I soon realised that I had underscored my par target for this year.  Urged on by some gentle persuasion from young Campbell this target was soon raised to a thousand points and some serious unit painting had to be undertaken!  Fortunately for me these larger units of Victorian goodness were just what was required to keep me 'in touch' with yet another side challenge this time with Phil and Greg to see who could paint the most Victorian themed entries.

This year, I felt that the standard of entries from the other participants was simply outstanding.  In some cases it was the sheer scale of their output, or the imaginative responses to the theme rounds (let's not forget Spidergate!), but also the quality of what was being produced was often breathtakingly good; I was truly thrilled to be part of something so creative.

So over a thousand points to the good, a top twenty finish (by the skin of my teeth!) and a placing or two in the bonus rounds - I have to confess that I am feeling jolly pleased with myself, but that wasn't the end as I managed to snaffle a couple of bonus prizes as well.  The first, a fabulous miniature painted by the wonderfully talented 'Wargaming Girl', Tamsin.  This lighthearted jibe at the expense of fellow challenger Ray, was a giveaway to celebrate Tamsin's 2nd Blog Birthday and a great addition to my collection.

Finally, I was thrilled to hear that for bagging first spot in the 'Casualty' bonus round, I was to receive a £15 book token to spend in the virtual halls of Edwin's Diplomatist Book Shop. Well it didn't take long to spy a couple of titles that I fancied and in no time at all they were dispatched to 'Awdry Towers', but there was one final surprise... 

After all everything is better with dinosaurs!  

Well done to all that took part, what a wonderful way to spend the winter!

Tuesday 18 March 2014

The Last Stand!

Through the heat of battle, a lone figure emerges, a grim defiance in her eyes.  As the frenzied masses fling themselves towards the General we hear the now immortal words, "Say hello to one's little friend!"

The final bonus round is here and I'm delighted to say that I've completed my side challenge of entering something for each one!  As soon as I read the title "The Last Stand", I knew that I would finally have the impetus to paint up my 'Perry Miniatures' vignette representing the final moments of one of Britain's best loved heroes.

Based on the painting by George William Joy in 1893, this depiction of Gordon's final moments has been challenged by historians and eye witness accounts, yet it remains an iconic image.  I had intended to simply realise it as the painting would indicate, but a chance comment by 'Edwin King' got me thinking, what if this wasn't the end - who could come to his aid at such a time?

This of course was a job for her majesty; her majesty with a very big gun!  So we have four 28mm 'Perry miniatures' (one of them prone) and one 28mm 'West Wind Productions' Queen Victoria from the Empire of the Dead range making up a ridiculous alternative 'Last Stand'.

All very straightforward in essence, the addition of Vallejo red oxide paste to the staircase gave a little texture to the piece whilst affording a key for the paint.  The figures themselves painted as you would expect and will allow me to redistribute them at a later date if I chose to complete the vignette as it was intended.  

Rather than paint the miniatures that came with the original pack, I decided to add a little more drama by using these mortally wounded Mahdists, again from 'Perry Miniatures'.  This all seemed to work rather well, but I've just realised that I didn't include any weapons!  It would appear that Her Royal Highness has opened up un an unarmed contingent - all very embarrassing!

So for the last time in this challenge, I urge to visit Curt's wonderful blog and marvel at all the wonderful interpretations for 'The Last Stand', perhaps leave a comment, but certainly cast your vote before Thursday; just click here.

Friday 14 March 2014

Happy Birthday '28mm Victorian Warfare'...

... 3 today!

Well goodness me, doesn't time fly when you are having fun!  Today marks the third anniversary of 28mm Victorian Warfare's creation, a diversion that seems very hard to put down.  I just want to thank all that visit, particularly those that take the time to leave a comment - your support, enthusiasm and best wishes are truly inspirational.

I'm afraid that I've not been maintaining my usual presence around our cosy corner of the Blog-o-sphere of late, a combination of busy 'real life' matters and frantically trying to finish a couple more units for 'The Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', which is due to conclude next week, have put paid to my usual routine.

So what plans for the rest of the year?  Well there is some Blood Bowl to play as the 'South Coast Saurus'  look to break into a league, currently the preserve of Messrs 'Dark Templar' and 'Bullcher Feb' - I have no doubt that this will be a bruising encounter!  Then there is Mars Attacks! The miniatures Game is due for dispatch in the summer, perhaps fortunate timing given the somewhat shocking demise of England's Cricket team!

More recently, I have found reading about the Legatus' brushes with IHMN (something again that I invested in far too much) quite inspiring and feel the need to complete at least one company, before the end of the year.  I have a least started the 'Scotland Yard' company.

There is of course more zombie madness to be had as I dig out the 7ombieTV rules and finally get the St. Trinians girls into action  (that sentence could have been more carefully crafted!)  and lots more 'Zombicide' needs to be played.

Finally there is yet another 'secret project' on the cards!  This one has a more obvious outcome insomuch as there is a definite rule set in mind!  In fact much of my 'Salute' purchases this year will probably have something to do with this little idea - more to follow.

So once again a huge Thank You, and if I have erroneously overlooked your blog and not added it to my blog roll, then do please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Monday 10 March 2014

I am Gladiator!

   It's hard to believe that Ridley Scott's hugely impressive 'Gladiator', was released fourteen years ago.  It remains a wonderful achievement cinematically and a firm favourite of mine and so when deciding on a 'favourite character' for the penultimate bonus round in 'The Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', it wasn't long before Maximus became my first choice.  Fortunately for me 'Crusader Miniatures' produce a fine range of 28mm gladiators including some rather splendid 'not' characters and it is these that form the basis of the entry.  

In essence we have three 28mm gladiators (one prone) and a 28mm scale tigress (this was a DeeZee Miniature, available through North Star Military Figures.)  The idea was to try and recreate the scene when our hero, Maximus takes on the might of the Gaul, whilst trying to avoid the various livestock that are roaming around the Coliseum.

In order to set the scene, rather than just submit the miniatures, I press-ganged another blank CD into service.  A few bits and pieces from 'Ainsty Castings', some foam core and a piece of chain all helped to create a little piece of Rome on which to recreate my battle. 

Hugely enjoyable fun, but throughout the whole process I couldn't help but hear Russell Crowe growling his immortal line,

 "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."

Ultimately, I was pleased with the painting of the composite parts, but felt that the overall result lacked something of my previous entry.  I had intended there to be additional characters to fill some of the dead space, but simply ran out of time.  The voting is now over for this round, but if you haven't seen some of the other wonderful entries, I would strongly suggest that you follow the link Here.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Paint Table Saturday#18

Progress continues to be made, albeit painfully slowly.  All the composite parts for the final bonus round, aptly titled, 'Last Stand' are complete and whilst perhaps not as grand as I had hoped it will see me complete for of my personal targets of entering something for each of the these themed rounds.  The  2nd Punjab Cavalry have had their mounts painted, but still an awful lot of work to be done.  The Matabele warriors are still proving a bane insomuch as I just don't seem to be able to drum up the enthusiasm to get them finished.  

With 'The Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' entering its final fortnight, I have just realised, somewhat alarmingly, that I will lose a day's painting next Saturday due to work.  The plan, so that it is,  will be to try and complete all those units started, but just in case I have a purple patch of production, I have promoted some Imperial Infantry to the painting table.  

Thursday 6 March 2014

Beja on Camels

In many ways a companion piece to my earlier post in the week, 'Captured Krupp' these fine gentlemen astride their  splendid ships of the desert were another entry for 'The Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  Unmistakably, 'Perry Miniatures' in origin they lend a certain gravitas to the collection.

Still using the same palette that was trialled back with the earlier post, 'So what do you know about camels?'  (If it's not broke, don't fix fit, as the saying goes!)  With only days remaining until the end of the challenge, there is a palpable sense of urgency as I look at what still needs to be finished off before the deadline - and then there is trying to get my head around running a Lizardman Team!

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