29 November 2013

Facebook Banter, Devilry and Tips - Analogue Hobbies Challenge

Well it as we all know +James Brewerton is prone to having some good ideas, and this time he has decided to create an open group on Facebook for banter, sledging and exchanging of tips etc  between the various challengers.

The group can be found here : Winter Challenge Facebook Group

Now the group was set up with the title of being a place to generally chat and sledge your fellow competitors, and swap tips etc, and being 'Loki' how could I resist a bit of sledging after all +Ray Rousell has been the target of my badger hunting, and taken the devilry in great spirits, I must admit I am ably assisted in this endeavour by nearly every other challenger!!

James "the Bear" Brewerton however must have forgotten the medium of sledging that he set the group up for, and he made an opening that just could not be resisted and for those of you who haven't had the fortune to join in the banter I believe it is only proper and fitting to share it with you. Its also good to give someone a good lampooning when they deserve it!

So after the Bear had placed a picture of his latest preparation work with the following comment!!!

"Afghan Tribesmen all prepped. Black undercoat with brown over spray from above. Have a couple of mounted unit to do. I may add a few modern Afghans to them later so can play modern squad action."

As you can imagine this left him wide open for a barrage of banter and calls of foul play. You can check that by following the link above to get the full picture. After all nothing wrong with coloured primers, but in most peoples mind a primed figure has a single colour applied, regardless of whether the second colour is called primer on the tin.

However I was intrigued in the new method of priming and searched the files of Amazon for the book he informed me he had used in a chat we had later that evening and this is what I found.
Yes he has compiled a book based on that best selling erotic novel " a clever marketing ploy". Being of literary persuasion I had to get an electronic copy and fast so I downloaded it and have spent the day reading what can only be described as an eye opener!!

Normally I have only ever under-coated a figure in a single colour, be that black, white or grey or one of these new fangled coloured primer spray cans.

However with the new two coat method I could gain an instant shade effect when spraying overhead thus eliminating the need to paint 75% of the figure. The book goes much further than this though and the real eye opener came in the revelation that you can infinitely mix primary colours with black and white primers to create new primer colours. I had to try this out before the challenge started as this could give me a winning recipe I desperately needed.

This new mixing method is superb, I believe now a very thinned wash or dip should suffice before a good matt varnish and some flock and tufts to finish.

I urge you all to click the link and come and join the fun and follow both the challenge, and join the banter on the facebook group. There will be plenty to see and comment on as we run up to the opening of the event and for its duration. But every painter should rush out and buy a copy of this book its an eye opener!!!!

28 November 2013

National Elf Warning (part 1) - The 1920's

You will need to have flash player installed to see the following post:

BE WARNED if you are on Santa's Naughty list the following elves will be visiting you

26 November 2013

Possibly a little controversial but at least it's honest!!

Occasionally the blogger medium throws up some interesting questions when others comment. I think it's these points that make our blogs interesting and open up for some healthy debate at times. During my recent bout of insomnia I took the opportunity to review several of my posts and one comment stuck in my mind. Now I am aware that the following may open up a whole can of worms and some will say you should not go there, well that's not me at all. I am not known for my tact,diplomacy or any such feelings, what I am known for is being direct and blunt but to the point! I will point out that this post is entirely about the battle I had inside my own head about the question posed and is not meant to be derogatory to anyone. If you are easily offended then DO NOT READ any further. If you want a trip inside the mind of a fool then read on!!

So what was the comment? well here it is...

 "As for the "block paint" debate, well I game to paint, not the other way around! To me gaming is just a fun bonus, but my real interest is in the researching, planning and especially painting aspect of the hobby. So my figures are actually meant as artwork first (although I certainly don't see them as useless!). I love painting, and I love getting better at it with each unit I paint."

Now this caused me to stop and think about my own involvement with the hobby and what painting meant to me on a personal level. Also taking in the wider hobby aspect and its relative importance to me. I like to play games, in fact as this blog will prove I do this regularly on a Thursday evening with a group of friends. So are the games more important than the painting? Is the painting the most important aspect to me and if so why?

So I drew some conclusions and firstly I will deal with the gaming being more important. If I wanted troops quick I could just pay someone else to paint the figures for me, after all the Malaysians and Chinese do a cracking line in sweat shops that can crank figures out at an astonishing rate at an affordable price!! There are also a plethora of UK based painters offering similar services, but this does not tempt me one bit. Why well I have been a regular user of Ebay and have sampled several of these items in the past and they have never remained in my collection for very long, they dont fit in very well.

I also don't consider it to be money well spent when either a) I can do it better, b) I can paint to the same standard for less cost. This has a lot to do with my constant battle to strive for some level of perfection. Within us all is ourselves and even though we try not too, we all make our own judgements based on our own levels of perception. Therefore if you perceive yourself to be less talented than X, you strive to reach that level yourself, gaining the knowledge and skills needed over time, or you accept that you cant reach X and make compromises. In my head I am the former searching for X so compromise is rarely and option.

So this all leads to the matter of time consumption. Yes that's right time, the one factor that affects us all, none of us ever have enough of it, to do everything we want too. So to the time precious, it often means they will pay more for their hobby to be able to play a game. Nothing wrong with that at all and in fact would make life a lot easier at times. I just cant justify that to myself, let alone try to convince the wife that it would be worth it!!

So does this mean that time robs me of opportunities to play more games, possibly but that would only apply if I wanted to spend more of my free time playing games. The fact is my time is taking by painting and research more than my game playing. Yes the periods I can currently play are restricted but that has more to do with the wargames butterfly over the years, than anything else. In other words some of my time has been poorly managed or dare I say it wasted in the past! Yet we are all human and all of us make these mistakes from time to time, that is how we learn.

The most important aspect for me is my desire to paint figures for playing with. So primarily I paint because I enjoy that element more than the playing, I don't pay for anyone to do it because it would deprive me of the main reason for my involvement and total absorption into this hobby and I would never improve my painting skills. Naturally my projects will take longer to complete and armies may take months before they are finished. This is because I too view my figures as miniature pieces of artwork that I can play with. Yes I do play with them when they are done after all that is what toys are for!! and these games are often the source of much fun and relaxation.

Like any artist I like to see the progression of my skills with a brush and don't regard my work as totally rubbish nor do I see it as high quality, but it is my work and I am improving continually, this is some thing that I can draw a sense of pride and achievement from and I am sure that sentiment is shared by many in this hobby, regardless of whether they paint Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Historical figures. But I would have none of this if I did not give it my best shot each and every time.

This leads me to conclude that the painting is more important to me than the playing. Yet, it is not just the painting as I have just alluded to the fact I spend a lot of time doing research. I really do like the wider aspects of the hobby, the fact that I have to research my subjects and source the uniform plates in order to paint the armies expanding my knowledge of different periods in history into the bargain. Reading blogs created by other like minded individuals also enriches the experience greatly, something I get great pleasure from is the passion other bloggers devote to the hobby. Like the eternal circle this drives me forward and keeps me motivated to paint more.

Sorry folks I realise being inside the brain of a thick bugger is not where anyone wants to be but I had to get this out!!


24 November 2013

Weekly round up 24-11-2013

Firstly I would like to welcome all the new followers that have climbed aboard in the last couple of weeks, I have returned the compliment where able too, but several of you don't appear to have a blog. If you cant see my icon please post me a link in the comments section so I can return the favour.

The week did not start to brilliantly as my latest trip to sort the eye issue resulted in being told I had the eyesight of a 70 year old as far as my short vision range was concerned, the up side of this was being told I had excellent long vision.. I now need my arms to grow about another 7 feet and I will be able to see what I am painting without a pair of bottle top lenses.

I have a completely clear painting desk now, everything that I can prepare for the challenge has been done, even though this new room is larger, I still don't have all the storage sorted out. This means I do have a couple of items that are not prepared but as space becomes available during the challenge I will complete the outstanding items.

In preparation for the challenge I had to hit ebay for some outstanding items and inevitably this led to some unintended purchases but that nothing unusual for me. Ever the optimist they will get painted at a later date, after all without a lead mountain or plastic pile you are "doomed to die" right?

The full list of all 60 challengers, with click able links to the appropriate blogs where available. So you can keep track of the goings out and maybe follow a few more blogs into the bargain.

Myself and +kevatthecabin have been doing a lot of talking lately about our gaming and this has resulted in some rather nice developments, as well as the odd sleepless night as my mind would not switch off. We have been enjoying our games of Hail Caesar and it has made us want to expand our armies and time periods for this game. We are both kicking ourselves about this as we sold off all our ancient armies a few years ago and now we have to start over with them. However with Kev's table being best suited to 15mm or 20mm figures this opens up some new areas and possibilities. We have agreed to take a period each and complete some armies for them for Kevin that will see some being done during the challenge. I however wont be starting until next year as my targets for the challenge have been set and I want to get my French Napoleonic army to a decent level.

Kevin is tackling the Dark age period, with Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans and possibly the Welsh or Irish. For my part I have decided to go all Biblical and will be doing Nubian's, Sea Peoples and both Old and New Kingdom Egyptians. After these are completed I will look at expanding and painting other armies for the period.

Well folks that just about wraps this post up for the week, I am going to be a little infrequent for the next couple of weeks as I take some time for myself to charge my batteries up ready for the 3 months hard painting ahead.


21 November 2013

Vive L'Empereur - The Little corporal - Boney

Boney was a warrior

Away, a - yah!
A warrior and a terrier
Jean Francois!

Normally I would not have bought this figure, nor would I have ever painted him if it had not been for the generosity of a staff member at Wargames Foundry. During one of my Blog con purchases he popped out the back and came back with a spare figure and said he was free and put him in my bag for me!

I did not look until I got home on the Sunday evening and discovered Napoleon. So with this generosity I set about the task of trying to do such a character justice with my brushes.

Napoleon has to be counted as one of the greatest military leaders in history, having successfully conquered much of Europe and becoming the Emperor of France.

Born in Corsica on 15th August 1769, to a family of gentry, he was educated at military school, gaining rapid promotion until 1796 when he was made commander of the French army in Italy. Here he forced Austria and its allies to capitulate and make peace. In 1798 Napoleon conquered the Ottoman ruled Egypt in an attempt to break British Trade with India, though this was not a success and he was stranded when his fleet was destroyed in the Battle of the Nile.

France faced a new coalition of Austria and Russia who had allied to Britain. On  his return to France the government was in crisis and in November 1799 a coup d'etat he became first consul. In 1802 this position was extended for life. Two years later however he became Emperor. He oversaw the creation of centralised government, the Bank of France, and law reforms were introduced with the code Napoleon.

In 1800, Austria was defeated at Marengo, he then negotiated a European peace treaty which established French power on the continent. In 1803 Britain declared war on France, later joined by Russia and Austria. Britain inflicted a major naval defeat on the French at Trafalgar in 1805 so the planned invasion of England was abandoned. He turned his attention to Austria and Russia beating them at Austerlitz later in the same year. He annexed Prussian lands which gave him control over Europe and dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, creating Westphalia and Holland. Over the next 5 years he installed leaders from his family and loyalists in Holland, Westphalia Italy, Naples, Spain and Sweden.

The Peninsular war began in 1808, and many costly defeats drained France of military resources. In 1812 the attack on Russia proved disastrous. The tide of favour was now in the allies hands, culminating in the fall of Paris in 1814. After a brief exile to Elba from which he escaped in 1815 and marched on the French capital. This saw the start of a brief 2nd reign however this was ended a short while after the British, Prussian and allied armies beat his Army at Waterloo. He was then exiled to St Helena where he either died or was murdered on 5th May 1821.
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