25 November 2014

Wargames Fashion Police A.K.A. you need to get a life buddy! ( RANT WARNING )

Right I know this is going to cause a bit of a do but I have had it with this type of wandering goon.

Last night I completed a couple of fellas I had been working on for some good friends in the Blogging community. I took some snaps and sent them direct to the manufacturer and he was over the moon with the images so much so that he immediately asked if they could be used. I had no objections in fact quite the opposite (See I am learning to accept praise and credit). However it went completely 'Pete Tong' for me about half an hour later when one of these fashion police types came on and said "The skins didn't wear a belgic Shako at Waterloo" well strike me down with a feather another idiot on a social network is there no feckin escape.

The first thoughts into my mind were un-printable as I don't paint from my imagination unless I am doing a fantasy piece and then anything goes. I have spent most of my life researching the whole Napoleonic period and have a reference library to back that up along with images and god knows what stored on various electronic storage devices. But with a mind like mine doubt creeps in and so off I went to double check my sources just in case I made a mistake.

Guess what? I had not made an error and had located enough information and uniform plates etc to back this up. I was buggered if I was not going to defend my self though, as another new gamer was painting the same unit in Belgic Shako and became concerned he had the wrong uniform as well. (You see how these numpty's cause issues). I gave the information to prove my point, and to his credit numpty apologised stating  "I always get these two units mixed up". I wanted to reply " Its feckin twats like you that open your gobs without checking stuff that are the worlds biggest pain in the arse" or words to that effect, but I don't do the whole flame war, Internet troll thing and besides I was right.

Now this is not just a one off event it regularly features at shows, and myself and Kev often discuss these types of people in fact I am sure I have a complete twat radar built in. More often than not they are less than hygienic and can be smelt from a good hundred paces far less if the wind is in the wrong direction. This is the full on frontal assault, and is designed to catch you off guard, as you baulk from the fumes. They then open with a verbal barrage as they cogitate and tell you exactly what mistake you have made and they have found a rare manuscript written in some unread ancient text that proves their point. Telling you that to get the correct shade of scarlet for your British line you needed the juice of three extinct lava beetles, the anus of newt and to mix that with 5% pixie dust and you would have got it bamg on right! That is not the only tactic these so called experts have though. They have a far more sneaky tactic and that is the KAMKAZE RUCKSACK. Approaching like Kung FU Panda they blunder about knocking items off displays, smacking people in the face and walking in a care free attitude reminding you, that the rucksack and lack of bath are a fatal combination and should be avoided. That is their sole intention it is their space maker and they want you to get out of the way. So they make a beeline to the display and rip holes in the smallest of incorrect details in an effort to make them feel more important and deride your efforts.

I remember one incident very well several years ago after having painted lots of Dutch and Belgian troops for a display game, and this rather offensive character walked up to the display and started picking my figures up and sticking them as close to his nasal cavity as possible, to inspect them before randomly re assigning them to the table. He did this several times having broken two figures in the process. Finally I did the unthinkable I asked if he was alright " Yeah just checking the paint job" came the reply. I remained polite but was part of a team demonstrating so had to then he quipped " Your Orange is a bit bright" I lost it at that point and almost retorted "well if you continue to pick my figures up by the bayonets and slap em down like that you're going to need some dental work." Thank fully my buddies pulled me away and said idiot was dispatched in short order. The point here is they are toys and they get played with, we paint them to what we have available regardless of it being the exact shade etc. Why Oh Why do these people not just get a life and find another hobby!!!

So to every member of the anally retentive collective A.K.A the " Wargames Fashion Police" I Salute You

These wonderful miniatures are from the Westfalia miniatures range and are labelled as a couple of Brits holidaying in Belgium. I choose to paint these as soldiers of the 27th Inniskilling regiment, and the strawberry blond is just right.


22 November 2014

Napoleonic Peacocks, Popinjays and Dandies (part 5) The finished vignette

For those that have not been following this through the week, if you want to see the individual figures before they got to this stage please see the previous posts this week. click the page tab at the bottom of this post.

Right onto the finished vignette, I wont say anything about this as I have covered that during this past week and hopefully the images will convey the theme.

This will be listed on Ebay tomorrow at around 7pm for anyone interested, hopefully it will generate me some funds to allow me to purchase some shiney new 15's for my own collections. Of course if anyone reading this wants to jump the queue before it goes to ebay, then contact me directly through the blog.


21 November 2014

Taking the rough with the smooth

Well good readers I can confirm that I am definitely on my way back up, the black dog has for now apparently finished hungrily dining on my mind. instead it is more of light snacks, which are much easier to deal with. Until next time of course, but that is life, it cycles and so we must also learn to deal with all the challenges presented and find our own way of dealing with them.

This time the journey has been a long one, but I have rowed hard against the current and have reached calmer waters at long last. Sure things are not all plain sailing from here on in, but I am at last feeling happier and wanting to paint and get on with daily life again.

This week has been a great help. I decided that I would do some of the items that were always going to be pieces that just looked pretty on the table. They will end up being sold, as my move back to 15mm means these are surplus to my needs and any cash raised will buy me some shiney new lead which is always welcomed. That does not mean I have rushed them, indeed the opposite these have taken me as long to complete as a full battalion of rank and file figures would and I shall reveal the completed Vignette tomorrow, things are still drying.

It has been a bit of a revelation for me whilst working on these pieces this week. I can damned well paint you know!!!! I have always doubted my abilities, but over this last week something has engaged in my confused mind and although I am not one of the great figure painters in my opinion, I certainly am not bad with a brush. This thought pattern has come from all the comments you have left for me and it dawned on me that you see my work in a different light to me. While I focus on the attention to detail and striving for perfection, you see what I clearly forget and that is the finished figures. Yes I will come out and say it here and now like a lot of people I am probably my own worst critic, sometimes that is good as it drives the desire to get better, but failing to see you are getting better and produce good work is counter productive. So from me personally to each and every one of you Thank you. Now thats enough of the sentimental stuff I have the reputation of a stoic Viking to maintain and talk like that could get me ridiculed.

So what am I left working on at the moment.

Well from left to right, we have a Perry mounted officer, Part of the Perry Young Guard command in relaxed poses, this will be another vignette, and a couple of very nice Westfalia miniatures giving Boney a warm welcome in traditional British Fashion.

Yesterday as the vignette was receiving multiple coats of varnish and in the beginning stage of being based I decided to work on another odd figure in the lead mountain.

Once again this figure was inspired by a plate from the Knotel series and is an Adjutant of the French 1st Hussars. The sabretache is a bit of freehand.

That is my offering for today folks I am off to get the vignette base completed.


20 November 2014

Napoleonic Peacocks, Popinjays and Dandies (part 4)

Today I present the last two figures that are ready to join the vignette.

First up is a Neapolitan ADC, sourced from the information in one of my new PDF's from the History bookman. Link on the right.

I apologise for the picture quality, it seems the blue of the figure is interrupting things with the background for my camera.

Last but not least is an ADC based on this plate:
I have used a little of my own artistic licence but not too much.

Thats all the figures completed, now they are off for a nice bath in some gloss varnish and then a couple of coats of Matt varnish to finish them off before basing.

Hopefully in the next and final installment we will see the completed vignette.

19 November 2014

Napoleonic Peacocks, Popinjays and Dandies (part 3)

Well if you are going to slap colour into a vignette as I have been doing you also need a balancing factor to give it so cohesiveness. This means that part of the base has to be subtle, but still detailed enough to give you a focal point and set the scene.

Fortunately this set contains some figures and a table that will do just that job rather well, for a start adjutants wore a regulation uniform and despite looking for variations they pretty much stuck to then rigidly. I think that may be as well, or who knows what other colours would get added to this scene.

So today I present the Adjutants and the order writing table.

The chap on the left is a two part piece hence the separate coat.

These should calm things down a little and really set the backbone of the vignette nicely.

Even the table is full of nice details, an order in process, two ink pots, a book, blotter and some writing paper. one Adutants bicorn even appears resting against a table leg.

The set is coming along nicely now and there are just two more ADC's left to paint before I can work on the base.


18 November 2014

Napoleonic Peacocks, Popinjays and Dandies (part 2)

So yesterday saw me continue working on the vignette, but before I show the next figure I thought it might be a good idea to show the image that inspired the first figure in the vignette.

As you will see I had to use a little artistic license on my own rendition mainly due to the trousers, but overall I think I have managed to capture the essence of the period and uniform.

Today is the turn of possible the most dandy of all the figures that I have chosen to work on, coming again from another knotel print in my collection, this time it is inspired by an ADC of Marshall Murat.

Sadly my camera is not catching the colour of the uniform quite right here, but the plate also informs us the uniform is Amaranth, a personal favourite colour of the Murat's. Amaranth is neither red nor purple or pink and described as a reddish purple hue or anything in between. Fortunately I have been messing around with my vallejo paints and got a triad I like to use to represent this colour, having had some google fu the best examples of the variety of colours that can be represented are found HERE.

As you can see I have opted for an Amaranth colour that encompasses the darker side of the choices, but set against the white and gold this works quite nicely.
He will certainly cut a dash in the finished Vignette, my intention is to try to make each ADC unique so they stand out as individuals as well as work together in the display.


17 November 2014

Napoleonic Peacocks, Popinjays and Dandies (part 1)

Well I am progressing nicely and almost feel back to my old self in most aspects of life so I have been continuing with my clearout of all the unpainted 28mm Napoleonic figures I have. Painting them up and selling them to raise funds for my new 15mm collections. Though a small spanner has caused the pile to increase somewhat but I can never resist a trade so have now added about 150 Front Rank 28mm figures to the lead pile in exchange for a whole bunch of 15mm Russians I bought far too many.

Anyway I digress. This week I have decided to have a somewhat relaxed week as I have multiple shrink and doctor visits that will interrupt me. So what better than to work on a couple of set pieces. The first of these really allows me to be creative with the colours, not too wild though but they will be bright and gaudy as they should be. I acquired a very nice Perry Miniatures ADC set from my good buddy Kevin and these are going to get some Loki treatment this week.

So here is the set almost in the raw, comprising of two adjutants writing and handing out orders, to four French ADC's, now the real beauty of this set is the uniforms do not place it firmly in any set part of the wars and as such they can be used to represent a whole host of flamboyant extravagance these fops were renowned for.

The first one I have decided to work based on a Knotel plate of an ADC to Marshal Soult.
He is not quite finished as I have a few little touches to add to complete this fine fellow. The combination of sky blue and yellow is certainly going to get this guy noticed.

He is still attached to his temporary painting base for now until I have decided exactly how I want to compose the Vignette.
I am happy with the start I have made on this, it is a nice change to the ranks of uniformed troops. Of course I shall keep you all updated with this project as we go through the week.


16 November 2014

Warbases Weekend #2

This week I get to reveal to you the finished product that will shortly be available for purchase from Warbases.

If you go back through the warbases posts you will have seen me working away on some new scenery master models for cobbled roads to complement the existing bases.

Today I am pleased to unveil the fruits of my labours:
These are the new cobbled road sections, the section above is 150mm long x 100mm wide and has a few potholes to add character to your street scene.
The section above has the same dimensions as the previous section and contains a manhole. both sections feature quoined edges and have drains in place.
The final piece enables you to create a dead end and is 100mm wide x 20mm deep. the sections have all been sculpted so they match perfectly using either end. These will be on the workbench shortly as I need to paint these up for display but for now they have just been given a brown wash so you can see the detail easier.

They will be supplied with all three sections in a pack and are cast in grey resin, currently they do not have a retail price as Martin is awaiting more stock before making them widely available. I will update you all with the prices when I have them.


14 November 2014

Maybe a little controversial but !

I will come right out and state that I mean no offence to anyone regardless of their skill set with this post, it is just an opinion that I have been discussing with my good friend Kevin and wondered if we were alone in this train of thought.

The whole debate centers around E Bay, yes that in itself is like Marmite for a lot of people, but I use it and am happy to continue to do so. You see being a wargamer and full time figure painter, there are great world wide opportunities to add figures to our collections using the mechanics of E Bay. Of course you need to avoid the Chinese / Hong Kong sellers who cast their own fake figures denying the real manufacturer of his income unless you have no issue regarding copyrights, slave labour, etc (but that is another debate entirely).

During our conversation, we discussed the PRO Painted tag you see slapped on pretty much everything. This made the debate much livelier as we shared the same sort of theory on this. You see what does pro painted actually mean. To me it is nothing, it means the person is trying to cash in using a tag to highlight the auction, it carries no guarantee of skill or quality. All it means is the person is either trying to paint full time to earn an income, or part time to earn extra cash and nothing more.

Now I may have this perception because I do paint for a living and find it hard to make a purchase of figures that I find wanting in many ways. That is possibly the perfectionist in me or is it the fact the word Pro which as we all know means professional or a bit of both. For me its a bit of both you see I can paint to a reasonable standard and if I am painting something to sell then I try to make it look the best I can, after all I do it to earn a living. So why do I see sellers using the Pro painted tag differently, well one scout through Ebay and it becomes obvious, battalions of 28mm figures all with distinctly Marty Feldman eyes, Horses that look as if they have just had an unexpected enema due to having human eyes painted on. Badly block painted figures that have clearly been shown a 4 inch decorators brush and based with a pile of flourescent green sawdust need I go on!!

What this actually does is make the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff much harder as there are many genuine hard working full time painters, whose work is lumped in with the I think I can paint auctions. Obviously there is no quick fix to this issue and I am merely venting a thought here. But why paint eyes if you cant do them, it only negates the figure and devalues it in my opinion. If you are proud of your work and it is of a good standard why no decent pictures, using the hubble telescope to take a picture from 30 feet away on a 15mm mini is not going to get me buying. I want to see the figures.

I have never used the tag Pro Painted in anything I have sold, simply because of the aforementioned issues and fortunately I sell most of my figures offered up for sale and they go world wide, so do people in general avoid anything that is Pro painted or are they like me and Kevin who spend a lot of time sorting good from acceptable to down right bad when they use E Bay.

Of course you could also argue that our standards are to high and we view it with an artists eye, rather than a gamers eye. This is highly possible I know I am a bit of a perfectionist, and living with a twisted head it could possibly be an issue that relates solely to me. Now in closing I dont mind people using the tag at all and could not stop people anyway. I just thought it would create some healthy debate on here.

Now because every post needs a little bit of eye candy here is my latest Napoleonic unit that is currently on E Bay.

Well now I have stirred up a hornets nest I will leave you all in peace


10 November 2014

Rediscovering a lost Treasure and finding more - The revised works of W J Rawkins reviewed

Back in the mists of time when I was a younger incarnation of what I am today. Just starting out on my lifelong journey of playing with toy soldiers, I used to collect all manner of reference books as money permitted at the time. Those I could not afford were loaned from the library ( yes they used to exist in almost every town). I still have many tombs that I purchased at the beginning of this adventure with me today, some are showing signs of a lot of wear but books are for reading not to be just stuck on a shelf and looked at.

My biggest area of interest has always and undoubtedly will remain the Napoleonic Era. There is something quite magical about the whole period that as a painter always draws me back like a moth to a flame. I like so many in this hobby get consumed by the history of a period and over the years have been consumed by several historical eras. The creative side of me though always enjoys painting figures from the flamboyant period of the Napoleonic wars a golden age where uniforms were more about the dash and dandy, as they were for the day to day practicalities of combat.

One purchase I made in those early days happened to be a black and white pamphlet on the Saxon Army, I have always liked this army from the first read of said publication by W J Rawkins. So I went to fetch it from the collection for yet another read to inspire me for painting a 28mm unit. Sadly time and over use has got to this and it was not readable any more. These things happen, but I really want to replace it as for me it was invaluable. Then I had one of those moments remembering an earlier blog post about my search for the correct Baden hussar uniform and another of Mr Rawkins Pamphlets I wanted to add to my collection. In that very post there was a reply from the man himself, informing me that sadly the book was no longer in print but he had been revising all the volumes and some were available again in PDF format.

So having been out of the loop for a while now I set about obtaining some of these books for my collection. My initial purchase has been for three volumes of the new editions which are priced at £3.99 each with free postage in the UK, postage worldwide is available for a small fee. I began with three volumes that I took a distinct liking too, one I had been looking to acquire in pamphlet form earlier. I chose the volumes on the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, Duchy of Warsaw and Kingdom of Naples as my initial foray. Purchasing these could not have been simpler as I placed them into the basket and clicked to make payment all handles via Paypal. All I had to do was be patient as I needed the Royal mail to do their part as they were dispatched the same day now that is great service.

In due course the Great Halls letter box clunked as a neat and well packed, padded envelope arrived. So I cracked the whip and got the thralls running on the water wheel and fired some life into the computer. Those damned thralls better keep running or there was gong to be trouble. I placed the first disk into the pc and I was off on my journey of rediscovery and adventures new.
I have to say these are a major improvement on the original versions fully expanded and containing a lot more information and plenty of colour plates, as a painter this is just the sort of thing that I consider a must have in my library. So much so that I am inspired to paint an several units from an army that until now I held little information on as it has rarely been documented so extensively.

What I like is the authors complete honesty regarding colours and in some cases he has used common logic to deduce what it was likely to be, and makes that very clear.

If you have an interest in this period then I would heartily recommend a visit to the History Book Man website (click the image below or in the right sidebar) and purchase a copy of what is currently available, Superbly priced at £3.99 a volume these really are true value for money. There are more on the way Saxons early next year I am reliably informed, with the Kingdom of Italy due for imminent release as well.

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