Thursday 24 December 2015

Happy Christmas one and all!

 It will not have escaped the attention of many that a certain science fiction franchise saw the launch of its most recent instalment this month, and although I've yet to persuade the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' that she really needs to see this, I can't help but be swept along by the excitement.  This excitement saw me root around in the loft until I found my collection of Star Wars toys, some of which have gathered here to wish you all a very Happy Christmas! 

In hobby news the  'VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' is well and truly underway and I am, once again, impressed at the diversity and quality of my fellow challengers.  For my own part, I seem to be acting a little like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a hobbying juggernaut, unable to decide which direction to leap.  Lots of things started, very little finished! 

Thursday 17 December 2015

General Tor

Every homicidal Martian invasion force needs a commander so allow me to present the evil General Tor! Moving away from the more conventional colour palate associated with this character, and heavily influenced by examples seen on the wonderful 'Nothing but Sixes' blog, I've used much of the same colour scheme employed with the Martian grunts.
This is a wonderfully dynamic pose, with the flowing cloak presenting an opportunity to let loose with the blending techniques, but I'm afraid that photographs don't really do the final effect justice.
It is still a matter of some embarrassment that I have not really done this game justice, but who knows, one day I'll dust of the core box and give it anther go, but in the interim, and by way of target practice, I couldn’t resist painting up the flaming cows to accompany the chaps.
Char-grilled steak on the hoof, this is actually a single piece of plastic, but fabulous fun and certainly better than the cardboard template that comes with the original game, now where did I put those big stompy robots?

Monday 14 December 2015

Ack, Ack, Ack!

With now just seven days until the start of this years challenge, I am keen to post the last of my entries for the previous year and so I’m thrilled to finally present them here for your approval. 'Mars Attacks, the miniatures game' was to be my first dalliance into the wonderful world of crowd funding and proved to be a rather expensive introduction. I was swept away with the excitement of it all and before I knew what I had done a large amount of plastic was winging its way towards ‘Awdry Towers’ where it has sat idly – until now!
These then are the Martian grunts and boast a wonderful array of weaponry, perfect for reducing the resistance of the human race to a smouldering pile of ashes. With regards to the miniatures themselves, they are a good match for most 28mm miniatures and certainly had enough detail to keep my brush interested whilst painting. What I didn’t enjoy, however. were the mould lines and although I did remove some they proved too numerous to remove altogether. Of course what they do have, to counter this mild irritation, are their own clear plastic helmets – what an inspired addition!
There are quite a few painting tutorials online and I managed to match many of the colours used to those in my own collection with only a couple of additions like monster brown and Hydra turquoise. One site that proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration was 'Keith's Wargaming/Painting Blog'. Keith also shared a way of dealing with the embarrassing bendy weapon syndrome that these models, made from soft plastic, occasionally suffer from; wonderful for shooting around corners, but they do rather take the sheen off your nicely painted miniature! A relatively simple procedure, but I mention it hear to alert you to a potential pitfall. The idea is that you drop wobbly, weapon, wielding, warrior into a glass of nearly boiling water, remove, reshape and plunge in a cold bath before the plastic memory has time to right itself. It really is that simple, but so transfixed was I by the shapes and colours that I left mine in for far too long and then initially forgot the cold bath - they were little Martian blancmanges!
Finally they were complete and I have to say that I'm rather pleased with them.  It was rather fun working on something so different and using colours that don't normally get a run out.  Still plenty more to do, but first I must pluck up the courage to stick the helmets down!

Ack, Ack, Ack!

Tuesday 8 December 2015

VI Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge ...

...The Preparation.
Yes, yet another post about plans for the forthcoming 'VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', now less than two weeks away! Having had a difficult year, I was determined to make more of a showing with this year's challenge by getting involved with the light hearted commentary and generous encouragement that is issued by so many of my fellow challengers. To that end, I thought that I would rely less heavily on the bonus rounds for my points and get stuck into painting some of the ever growing lead divot that is amassing here at 'Awdry Towers'.
As a result, I spent a good period of time during the summer holidays prepping and undercoating the best part of three 'Really Useful Boxes' full of splendid miniatures from the variety of Victorian conflicts that I have dabbled in. There were representatives from the Crimea, Indian Mutiny, New Zealand Wars, Anglo-Zulu wars and even the North West Frontier, but when I went and inspected this fine assortment of  the other day, I suddenly felt less than inspired!
With the exception of the thirty two unmarried Zulu Warriors*, I'm not sure that any of the others will see the light of day this year, but why you might ask? Rather than look to my own inability to focus on one topic for any length of time, I'm laying the blame squarely at the feet of the wonderfully ambiguously titled bonus rounds themes that have now been announced.
*Required for the 'Cetshwayo Challenge' my side duel with Martin Cooke.
Reinforcements have arrived!
It is no secret that I really enjoy creating little vignettes or scenic bases and Curt's challenge has given me a wonderful opportunity over the years to indulge in some frivolous flights of fancy. To that end the last couple of weeks have been spent scratching around looking for possible miniatures that, collectively, might fit the requirements. So far thoughts include the following:

January 3rd: Nostalgia - I'm thinking old war movies here, something that reminds me of sitting at home and watching television with my father, a copy of the Christmas Radio Times may be required for inspiration. 

January 17th: Epic Fail - This is causing me the most sleepless nights, where on earth did Curt dig this title up from?  The current idea involves the expenditure of a lot of ammunition, but I'm keeping things suitably vague in case I change my mind. 

January 31st : Defensive Terrain - This has to be the trenches of the Great War doesn't it? I've found some rather characterful sculpts, long forgotten, that will hopefully now see the light of day.

February 14th: L'amour - Bizarrely, when I first read this I thought of zombies, odd I grant you, but nevertheless expect some shuffling undead ladies for this one!

February 28th: Nautical - Ah-ha an opportunity to unleash the Cloctopus, probably best not to ask!

March 13th: Gambler/Risk-Taker - I haven't got a clue, but I do have so rather splendid Post-Apocalyptic survivors that might be shoehorned in here. 

So as we wait patiently for the starting pistol to signal the start of the madness that is the 'VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', I have found a new distraction to pass the time, another rather splendid 'Sarissa Precision' building, their Gate House from the newly released English Timber Frame series.

This very generous birthday gift from the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' has been slowly taking shape over the last couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to giving it a lick of paint when the academic term finally comes to an end. So all that remains for now is to dust off the Christmas decorations and wish all my fellow travelling companions on the good ship challenge, the very best of luck.
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