Monday 28 April 2014

The Matabele!

These fearsome warriors were one of my last entries in the 'Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', but I was never really satisfied with them at the time and they have subsequently been tinkered with, which has seen some additional highlights and basing details added.  The miniatures themselves are 28mm metal sculpts from 'North Star's' Africa range and had caught my eye a while ago and so I added them to my 'Secret Santa' list and was delighted to find three packs of them under the tree on Christmas morning - thank you Santa!  

To quote directly from the 'North Star' web site,
The Matabele are an African tribe whose origins were in the mighty Zulu Nation. During the early 19th Century they rebelled and create an infamous name for themselves as they escaped North to settle in what is now Zimbabwe. The Matabele Kingdom was defeated in 1893 and 1896 by Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company.

Now technically speaking these additions would see me starting yet another conflict of the Victorian era, but I just simply can't justify that at the moment, as tempting as it may be, and so this will be but the briefest dalliance with the Matabele wars.  With regards to the miniatures, there were very pleasing to work with; little was needed in the way of cleaning up, although there were some awkward mould lines that needed to be removed.  Simple, but powerful poses meant that the units soon started to command a presence on the painting table and the addition of some lovely details meant that there was plenty to keep my brush busy.

The first set  of four  miniatures represent Matabele Amadoda Warriors. The Amadoda were the senior warriors, the veterans of Matabele society and only went to war in time of national need. 

Next up are Matabele Warriors in full Regalia, painted here to represent the elite Insuga regiment. 

Perhaps my favourite pack contained the leaders or Induna of the various Matabele amabutho.  I loved working on the head-dresses and leopard skins, which they wore as symbols of rank. 

Finally I picked up an additional four miniatures of Matabele Warriors firing muskets. These warriors are simply attired and so could be used as additional skirmishing units with muskets for my Zulu Wars collection.

I was surprised at just how long these chaps lingered around the painting table, mostly because I kept putting off finishing them, but was obviously delighted to see them finally polished off.  Of course by posting them now they provide a much needed boost to my painting tally for the year!

Saturday 26 April 2014

I may have bu***red Blogger!

To keep this brief, I've managed to delete the blog roll in my sidebar and can't replace it. This is problematic as I would use it as a way of keeping up with all the erstwhile weblogs that I follow. It was when adding another such splendid blog that I received a message informing me that I had reached the maximum allowed. I had remembered hearing of similar tales of woe and that the solution had been to simply add another blog roll and carry on. This is exactly what I did, although it proved to be a little more fiddly than I thought, I then went to save changes, but nothing happened. I tried again and again, loading up the blogs, clicking save, but still nothing! All very infuriating and so I've resorted to catching up by accessing the reading list in the dashboard.

I will try again when the red mist subsides, but if anyone knows of a quick fix then I will be very grateful.  Rant over let's see what's on the Paint Table this week...

The primary focus at the moment is to paint up some of the miniatures required for the 'Witchfinder General' rules that have rather caught my imagination.  To that end we have some rather splendid 'Heresy Miniatures' ghouls to represent the Noctelinger and the first of the witches and werewolves.  Also pictured is my shiny new wet palette, that I put together having read a post by that mischievous Loki over at his 'Great Hall'.  I have read many articles advocating the many qualities of such a palette, but hadn't got around to giving it a go myself.  Then during a fortuitous outing to the local grocery emporium, I spied this colourful creation for no more than a couple of pounds sterling.  Safely home, an appropriately sized sponge and sheets of greaseproof paper were cut to shape and 'Voila!'  I'm rather taken by it and already the amount of paint that I waste with it drying in the normal palette has reduced significantly - a worthy investment indeed.

Earlier this morning, I also managed to finish off the rebasing that I had started over the Easter break.  These had made up some of the vignettes that I had entered as part of the 'Fourth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' earlier in the year.  I have to confess that I had very mixed feeling about breaking them up, but ultimately they will prove more useful this way.

Finally, I had to say goodbye to an old friend this morning - yes my last post of 'Devlan Mud' has finally passed on.  This will be a bit of a wrench as it has proved to be an invaluable ingredient in much of what I do.  I understand that Army Painter, Quickshade - Strong Tone is a workable replacement, but have yet to give it a go.  So for now, farewell old friend...

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

Monday 21 April 2014

Hear me Rawr!

Jim: So Saturday has come and gone, the dust has settled and so it must be time to pay the Butcher's bill.
Bob: Absolutely Jim, there my have been one winner, but two teams came away with something to brag about.
Jim: Beginner's luck for the rookie coach's side, but he is going to need to toughen up if he is to survive in this league.
Bob: You're not wrong Jim, they call it 'Blood Bowl' for a reason and if there isn't any blood then the crowd gets nasty! 

What a day!  My first proper game of Blood Bowl saw my South Coast Saurus take on the 'Dark Templar's'  Plagueis Contagion - Lizardmen versus Nurgle!  Bull had arrived early and I took advantage of his considerable experience to clarify a couple of questions that had dawned on me whilst reading the rules in isolation.  In my naivety, I had assumed that we would all get a game, but a combination of chatter, indecision and unfamiliarity with the rules meant that only one match took place.  That said I can't thank both Gentlemen enough for their patience and encouragement throughout the day, although it must have felt to the Dark Templar that is was two against one at times!  Tradition would dictate that a report should be written, fortunately the Dark Templar has already posted a full and detailed match report and Bullcher Feb's observations are eloquently recorded here - this leaves me with the opportunity to reflect on the day in more abstract terms.

I have to confess that I was a tad concerned that Blood Bowl wouldn't be for me, I had been gifted such an exquisite set of bespoke Lizardmen courtesy of the mischievous 'Loki' and had witnessed firsthand the sheer enthusiasm with which my fellow league members took to the game, but I was struggling with the rules - they did seem awfully complicated, especially when reading out of context as I was.  This is where having a couple of splendid chaps who were literally prepared to hand hold me through the opening moves made such a difference - within in a couple of turns, Nuffle had me! 

Bruising first encounter! 

So what have I learnt?  Even before the game starts expect to be battered!  The first kick off saw a pitch invasion and before I knew it I was down by two Dinos - not the start I had planned.  I did, however fare slightly better in the first exchange of blows and the renowned strength of the Saurus saw gaps appear in the scrimmage line.  By slowly pushing the big guys through, the Nurgle team had to realign and plug the gaps allowing my play makers to exploit the flanks. 

Playmaker Kingki!

The second thing learnt - Skinks are so very cool!  Provided the big chaps can stay on their feet than the park is their playground.  Ridiculously quick, it seemed that nothing could catch them, I just had to be careful that they weren't left exposed.

Now if the Saurus can just knock down that Pestigor...
My first score, well done Redsnappah!
Carnage up the left flank, I love Blood Bowl!

So there it was, my first score brought about by the speed of the Skinks, a touchdown for Redsnappah, textbook some would say and I was immediately hooked!  Before long there was another run in, this time by Snaps, but looking back I was unsure how it happened, it was all over so quickly.  My naive enthusiasm, however, was soon put in check by what followed next.

Snaps scores the second! 

Sensing that the win was slipping away from him, the Dark Templar resorted to a new tactic, something in my naivety I didn't see coming until it was too late! From the kick off there was much pushing and shoving with some of my big chaps, including the mighty Kroxigor, Bloodmaw being knocked down. These were soon ringed by the rotting carcasses that Plagueis Contagion like to call players and then it happened - Foul! As the blood drained from my still grinning face, I realised what was happening, but all too late.  

The Butcher's bill.

I had foolishly thought winning was enough, the scoring of touchdowns the only real advancement necessary in our league - oh you poor naive boy, I hear you say. Suddenly my previously impenetrable defensive line had more holes in it than Swiss cheese - holes through which the plague invested Nurgle poured through - an inevitable touchdown for the opposition. Lesson number three, winning isn't everything - maiming, gauging and fouling are important too!

Route one for the Nurgle.

The turns were fast evaporating, but I couldn't just stand around and be beaten to a pulp.  I was already three players down and knew that to go toe to toe with my opponent might result in more of my beloved Dinos meeting the same fate; the strategy was to load one flank, force a gap and let the Skinks pour through.  Surely this couldn't work, could it?  The ball landed seemingly safe of the opposite side to where I had assembled my troops, but the wee fellows linked up to safely rescue it and drive down the protected flank - it couldn't have worked any better!  

All my eggs in one basket!

In seemingly no time at all Kingki was jumping around in the opposition end zone having just scored touchdown number three.  All that remained was to survive one last pummelling as I kicked to the Dark Templar for the last time, fortunately for the Saurus front line we survived.  Final score 3-1 to the South Coast Saurus and what a fabulous introduction to this hugely addictive game.  The match over there was the all important tally and it was clear that valuable points had been earned by both sides, but what to do next?  The obvious thing would be to make one of the scoring Skinks, Most Valuable Player (MVP) giving him enough points to be awarded an agility skill - but which one.  Then again, perhaps I should give the points to one of the Saurus in a bid to try and earn them an upgrade - oh decisions, decisions!

What I do know is that this is hugely entertaining fun and I can't wait until the next game, but until then I need to extend my thanks, once gain to Bullcher Feb and the Dark Templar for such a great day - thank you both!

Thursday 17 April 2014

Enter the dragons...

…Lizardmen on show!

Jim: So Saturday sees the much vaunted arrival of the South Coast Saurus to our little league.
Bob: Should be a show Jim, can't wait to see them on the pitch, but who will they be up against?
Jim: I understand that a Pro Elf team will be making the trip - let's hope they travel well.
Bob: But I thought this was a triple header?
Jim: It is Bob, but the Nurgle coach is worried that his team just won't be up to the job.
Bob: Running scarred already?
Jim: Yep!

Saturday will see 'Bullcher Feb' and the 'Dark Templar' travelling down to the home of the mighty South Coast Saurus and bravado aside it should be great fun; hopefully the rules will start to make more sense when I finally see them in context.  As for who will win?  Just remember, 

"Everything is better with Dinosaurs."

Sunday 13 April 2014

Salute 2014

I had hoped to post something truly unique and erudite to mark another successful venture to the United Kingdom's largest Wargaming event - Salute 2014.  Alas this would have involved me actually taking some decent photographs and sitting down promptly on one's return and taping away at a post, which I didn't.  Consequently there are already a good many erstwhile weblogs that have beaten me to the line and I would suggest you pay them a visit to actually see what this year's show was really like.

For the 'Provost Marshal' and myself, it proved to be an expensive day out.  I hadn't planned to have a list this year, but something, Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds (thank you for my blocking dice and Aetherium Miniature!) had said last year saw me jotting down a few prices of items that I might be interested in, the idea being that it might be better to save one's pocket money and order them up on the return to 'Awdry Towers'.  This sounds all well and good in practise, but what you end up with, is of course, a list!  

So what was I after?  Well sourcing miniatures for the new diversion, 'Witchfinder General' was the priority this year and I took advantage of 'Hersey Miniatures' generous offer on the day to pick up no end of unholy denizens of the night - namely hell hounds, werewolves and ghouls, although I notice a man bat got in under the radar as well.  It was impossible to resist the '4 Ground' timber framed houses and by this stage my shopping lust was in full rage and I was advance ordering a giant wicker man and a gibbet set without even breaking step - I was doomed.

The Bloggers' meet couldn't come quickly enough and I was determined this year to catch up with a couple more chaps that my naturally shy and reserved nature prevented me from doing so last year; my apologies again, however, if I missed you.  This really is a highlight for me as it is lovely to actually have a physical conversation with those that spend a good amount of time supporting, viewing and even commenting on each other's work in cyberspace.  There was much talk of the fact that it seemed quieter this year, but I'm not so sure myself, certainly the stalls that I was trying to get to were constantly busy throughout the day and if I'm honest I rather like a little space where you can just stop and think without been constantly jostled.  So I certainly enjoyed the day, but the old painting/buying tally counter has taken a hit!  As we left for the show yesterday, I had actually painted more than I had bought this year, that is most definitely no longer the case - whoops! 

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Covering Fire!

With only four more get ups to 'Salute 2014' and given this year's theme is D-Day, I thought that I would share some World War II related miniatures with you all.  I was sorting through the masses of photographs that I have taken over the last six months or so, when I came across these.  This was my contribution to the 'Santa Clause' an idea conceived by Ian, from 'The Blog With No Name' and magnificently organised by his lovely wife Cath.  Whilst Christmas has now passed it only seemed fair to check with the recipient that they were happy for me to display them and when I was given the OK, set about choosing the best images.

Once again great fun to do as I'm always looking for an excuse to paint something new and shiny and so when the first things I saw on my intended recipient's blog were the 8th Army it was too good an opportunity to miss.  This then is an 'Artizan Designs', British 8th Army Vickers MMG Team based on a 'Warbases' MDF disc.  Good clean sculpts and plenty of detail to get your teeth into without overcomplicated things.

Rest assured I'm not planning any more World War II diversions just at the moment, but with 'Salute' just days away the wallet is starting to look a little apprehensive.  I've no real shopping list this year, but I have jotted one or two things down that I might like to pick up if the price were right.  Of course one of the highlights will be catching up with fellow bloggers at lunchtime, so who am I looking out for this year?  

Sunday 6 April 2014

2nd Punjab Cavalry Command

Part two, as it were, of my 'Mutineer Miniatures' Punjab or Sikh Cavalry, this time the command group.    Those of you who have a copy of the 'Indian Mutiny' from the Osprey Men-at-Arms series will hopefully recognise the officer in the middle from its cover illustration, resplendent in his cold weather poshteen, which in turn rather dictated how the rest of the unit would evolve.  The choice of red for the alkaluk might be contentious as different colours were certainly worn by other ranks, but the red certainly gives them some presence so happy to ride the derision of the 'button counters' on this one.

Fighting with distinction at Delhi and Lucknow, the 2nd Punjab Cavalry were made up of Sikh cavalrymen that remained loyal to the crown during the mutiny.  The Sikh religion forbade the cutting of hair, including facial hair and many would sport wonderfully fierce beards so I was delighted to see that this detail was carried through into the sculpting of these miniatures.  Having failed to source the appropriate guidon, the standard bearer has been given a bamboo lance for the interim period.

2nd Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force, 1859

Nineteen officers and other ranks of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry received a total of twenty-three Order of Merit awards, including four advancements, for gallantry during the Indian Mutiny. The photograph, shown below, was published in the 'History of the Second Punjab Cavalry from 1849 to 1886' (London, 1888), and shows some of the recipients of that award.

Back Row: Dafadar Bishan Sing (3rd Class) & Jemadar Jeewun Sing (3rd Class)
Middle Row (seated): Ressaidar Hukdad Khan (3rd Class, advanced to 2nd Class) & Risaldar Bishun Sing (3rd Class, advanced to 2nd Class)
Front Row (seated): Jemadar Shere Sing (3rd Class, advanced to 2nd Class), Dafadar Punjaub Sing
(3rd Class) & Dafadar Sirmook Sing (3rd Class).

Saturday 5 April 2014

Paint Table Saturday#22

Now I wasn't going to submit anything this morning on the grounds that there wasn't much to see, what with the recently completely Punjab Cavalry awaiting their close ups at the Daguerreotype studio.  As you can see, however, there have been one or two developments!  With the completion of the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' the pressure to constantly produce something to raise one's tally has lifted; don't get me wrong, I love taking part in the challenge and the process was vital in keeping me on track with all things Victorian, but now, as they say, it is time for something completely different!

Regular readers may have heard mention in recent posts of yet another 'secret project', but rather than have it skulk in the shadows, I felt it was time to 'out' this latest diversion. From the outset it is important to apportion the blame for this dalliance at the door of my good friend the 'Provost Marshal', after all it couldn't be my fault!  You see some years ago, when I was taking my first tentative steps along the glorious bridleway of this most wholesome of hobbies, he managed to sneak into 'Awdry Towers' a veritable mountain of English Civil War lead!  

Now I ashamedly know very little about the English Civil War past my rudimentary schoolboy level and certainly had no desire to invest my precious time in it when I could be painting scarlet clad warriors armed with Martini Henry rifles, but guilt is a terrible thing!  Every so often I would hear them calling from afar until one day, I stumbled across 'Witchfinder General - Days of Revelation'.  This imaginative rule set from 'Dashing Dice Games' looks to combine 17th Century folklore with historical warfare at a skirmish level; Imagine all those Hammer Horror movies played out on the table top!

So as you can see the first stages of prepping have taken place as I have cherry picked through the vast assortment gifted to me.  Mostly from 'Redoubt Enterprises', I have added some 'Wargames Foundry' witches and plague doctors and intend to have a blast painting them.  I have absolutely no idea where this will lead or even if it will make to the table, I'm just glad to be finally doing something with what was a hugely generous gift.

"Move along there, nothing to see here!"

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

Friday 4 April 2014

2nd Punjab Cavalry

A very brief post this morning (with no fooling) to showcase the first of my Punjabi Cavalry, the command group should follow shortly.  Some gently ribbing from a few of my fellow bloggers (Thank you Pete and Millsy!) has seen these chaps push past the London Bobbies to get to the front of the paint queue.  They are from 'Mutineer Miniatures' and were lovely to work on with plenty of detail to snag my brush.  

Tuesday 1 April 2014

28mm Rustled Livestock!

I've been thoroughly enjoying Loki's posts regarding the recently released range of miniatures from 'Warbases'; this new menagerie of animals are just perfect for adding a bit of depth to any table and reminded me that I had recently picked up some exciting new additions for my own collection.  Yes those talented chaps over at 'Mysterious Minis', purveyors of the perplexing and enigmatic have done it again and released another must have box of miniatures. 

Sculpted by the mischievous Ffwl Ebrill, this set really is a delight to behold with the box containing all you need to give your cows or sheep that just rustled look.  With fencing, barbed wire and enough livestock to keep even the most fervent thief busy on a moonlight night, the magical ingredients have to be a couple of pre-sculpted base plates.  

The box contents.

Designed to provide the evidence of foul play, the two sculpted base plates give you a couple of options to depict either the tracks of a horse drawn cart of perhaps a more modern alternative by using the one with tyre tracks - ingenious! 

These were some of the most exquisitely detailed miniatures you could wish to find, provided of course that you could find them.  The fences and base plates aside, it was the livestock that really sets this set apart from the rest, but they are proving somewhat elusive - yes it would appear that some ne'er do wells have liberated my prize steeds and on the first day of April as well!   

The tyre base plate painted up.

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