Friday, 26 December 2014

Republican Roman Italian Allies. Progress at last.

Firstly, Merry Christmas one & all. I'm not a great fan of the festive season myself, but after a very tough year at work I was actually ready for a few days of enforced inactivity this time round. Christmas eve was spent drinking ill advised cocktails; yesterday was much the same but with the addition of a vast beef dinner & today has been spent drinking Welsh gin & tonic whilst painting miniatures. All in all a fine few days that I have really enjoyed. Its back to work tomorrow to catch up on paperwork, though I can see this going by the by & spending the day instead driving round dropping invoices off & drinking tea with customers instead. The joys of running your own company!

Anyway, I digress. Pictured below is the current state of progress with the Roman project:

These are the hastati/ princeps from the Victrix boxed set, the velites are already under way with the Triarii to follow soon, at this rate I will have a viable army by Christmas 2016 & maybe even get to game with it within the next decade.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Second Roman Cohort. Scant Progress.

Don't ask me where the last month has gone because I don't know. Wherever it has gone, it has left me with very little time to pursue anything vaguely war-game based. I did think I might get a bit done when I had a week working down in Devon, but after 12-14 hour days working alone the local pub 200 yards down the road proved a greater draw than sitting in a cold farmhouse trying to paint miniatures in inadequate light.

A lovely spot, not as lovely as The Ashill Inn round the corner though.
I did get some painting done, but it was mostly windowsills & doors. The rest of my week consisted of carpentry work & cutting back what my temporary neighbour described as, Le Jardin Sauvage! He wasn't kidding either, it was quite frankly, a jungle. I spent one entire afternoon balls deep in the pond cutting out bullrush with a billhook. Still took my mind off the fact it was pissing with rain!
The rest of November has been similarly busy despite the shortening hours of daylight, just means I have less excuse to ignore the burgeoning stack of paperwork on my desk.

Anyhoo, here are a couple of shots of the latest recruits:

As I say, scant progress; a situation unlikely to change this side of new year. Back down to Devon at the end of next week & then helping out re-furbishing a kitchen over the festive period, at least I have plenty of variety in my work.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Finished off the test figure for the second maniple of Italian Allies yesterday evening. Decided to go for a lighter palette this time round:

Lots of Vallejo Panzer Colour being used on these figures. The base for the tunic & shield are Canvas, with white added for the highlights; the red feathers are a base coat of Tail light with Carmine Red highlights.
Its early days, but I think I may have finally conquered my ( irrational) dislike of Republican Romans with these figures!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Reports of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.

Hi all, its been a while. The reasons for my lack of posting since September have been variously & in no particular order, work, work, more work, surfing holiday in Portugal, more work, lung infection & doing paddle duties for a mate who was up shit creek; think that about covers it.
Therefore progress on the Italian Allies has been patchy to say the least, but here are things as they stand:

Three views of the first maniple of hastati/ princeps.
 Very pleased with them so far, only slight reservation is the slightly " Osprey" stance of the Signifer.

and A couple of work in progress shots of cornificer & velite.
Hoping to get a bit more done over the weekend but I fear paddling duties & painting the bathroom at HGA Towers may take precedence.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

More Italian Allies.

Plodding quietly through these chaps; four down, 56 to go.

Need to come up with some suitable designs for the shields, plain red is a bit flat.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

First Ever Eye'talian.

It's happened again I'm afraid. I've been distracted from finishing a current, well relatively speaking project by something new & shiny. Though in mitigation I have finished a small Theban command vignette:

On reflection it looks more like idle chit-chat than command, but that's what happens when blokes congregate. At least it does with my 'blokes' & I suspect human nature hasn't changed greatly over the millennia.
The current new & shiny is this, courtesy of Victrix Miniatures:

Of course I could have bought either of the two Roman sets also released,  but true to form the most obscure boxed set of the three was my purchase of choice. Below is the first ever Ancient Italian miniature I have ever painted:

Have to say, seriously impressed with the quality of this set. Slightly smaller ( about 2mm to eyeline) than the hoplite figures but the facial features and general anatomy are much more refined. Fit of parts very good & mould lines acceptable; but will need a very fresh scalpel blade to remove satisfactorily, otherwise plastic seems to pick up under the edge - though a dab of liquid poly' will cure this.
Take into account as well that for £ 30 you get 60 figures.
Only minor criticisms: feathers on helmets quite fragile, though this could equally apply to white metal figures & removing hilt from scabbarded gladius takes a fine touch so as not to destroy armour detail ( see above miniature).
Overall impression 9 out of 10.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Back to the paint bench & a short discourse on archery.

After a fairly lengthy lay-off from doing anything related to miniature gaming the shortening days have forced me indoors of an evening & back to the painting desk. Firstly managed to complete the desert dwelling featured last time:

Thanks to Dean M for suggesting a white dry brush, really helped what was previously a very uniform finish.
Currently on the painting desk are the remaining Victrix hoplites from the box of Thebans, well actually hoplites with boetian helmets:

Not actually seen any evidence that hoplites even wore boetian helmets, but I'm sure someone could point out a source for me. Personally I would think this particular style of helmet to be fairly comfortable & practical, certainly less restrictive than the corinthian & chalcidian styles more commonly seen. Once these guys are done it will be onto Victrix Romans & Italian allies.

On a slightly different subject I finally got round to test firing my home made bow this week.

Home made bow on home made tiller.
I made this a couple of years back from a piece of unusually knot free yew that I found in the middle of a very over grown hedge. I think the conditions restricted the amount of side growth that makes the timber very knotty & hard to work with, so this seemed too good an opportunity to miss. The bow is a shade under 6ft long with a draw weight of approximately 45lbs and will throw a heavy bodkin point around 125 yards.
Its been a interesting project & it was good to actually test the bow out in the field, but compared to firing my laminated Scythian bow a somewhat disappointing experience, the same arrow fired from this bow with a very similar draw weight travels a good 40 yds further. This is likely a testimony to my poor bow making skills, but it did make me wonder if yew as a bow making material is inherently inefficient, is this why the classic medieval longbows required the massive ( 100lb plus) draw weights to achieve their purported killing power. Time to do some research before lunch I think.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Renedra Desert Building.

Picked this up a couple of weeks ago from my local games retailer, Questing Knight Games in Wellington. Local is very much a relative term here as from doorstep to doorstep its a good 20 miles, but as I was working just round the corner it seemed rude not to pop in & have a browse.

The injection moulded parts came on three sprues & went together fairly easily with liquid poly' adhesive, the fit of the parts wasn't great but 5 minutes work with some car body filler soon sorted that out followed by a quick rub down with some emery paper to finish.

The basic finish has been achieved using this:
found whilst wandering round our local DIY store in search of more prosaic items. I have no idea why it is desert "bisque" it bears no resemblance in either taste or smell to delicious soup made from sea food!
It does however produce a rather good facsimile of rough plaster render ideal for the subject matter.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Painting Drought.

I've had a very slow June in the painting department due to a number of factors, but mostly due to being exceptionally busy doing other things. Firstly work has been very hectic which has impinged significantly on my leisure time, which is restricted at best & what little remained has been taken up carrying out some much needed repairs at HGA Towers.
Its very pleasant living in an Edwardian house with good natural light & high ceilings but the downside is the constant need for small maintenance work, two years ago it was re-pointing one gable end; this year its replacing & repairing the original window sills. I could have employed a carpenter to do this for me but I wanted them done in good, durable timber & most of the chippies I come across only want to work with white wood which wouldn't last 5 minutes in our wet micro climate. To be honest its been a real arse of a job, particularly cutting out the old sills but they should see out the rest of my tenure on earth.
Other than the above which is reason enough I've experienced what can only be described as a 'painting funk' in that I've been unable to find anything to even remotely interest me in this department. My output is slow at the best of times even when enthused by some project or other but I just plod on & get there sooner or later. Faced with having nothing to engage my interest I just stopped painting. This has happened once or twice before & then something comes along that gets the creative juices flowing again, this time its the soon to be released Republican Roman plastics from Victrix. So in order to get my eye in again I've made a start on a few Renegade Miniatures velites that have been hanging around since my last attempt at a Roman Army:

Don't know how well these will scale to the Victrix figures as Renegades Romans were notoriously huge, but it shouldn't matter in limited numbers.
In addition to these I finally made some progress on these Thracian cavalry that were abandoned 18 months ago:

Not 100% happy with the colour scheme on the shields, but they do stand out.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tidying Up Some Loose Ends.

Still casting about for a new project to get stuck into so filling my rare hours of leisure by painting a few odds & ends that have lain neglected in storage:

A brace of Parthian horse archers, courtesy of A&A Miniatures.

Palmyrene General, previously painted but treated to a re-base.
Still unsure as to what the next project will be. Very tempted to expand my smallish Parthian army, but equally tempted by the Steve Saleh Persians just (re) released by Foundry. Some days it would be nice to have deeper pockets & more free time.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Thermopylae II. A Large Scale work in Progress.

Another departure from my usual painting output this evening, though subjectively more on track.

This is a Rosedale Figurines hoplite sculpted by Al Charles ( c. late 1970's I think) in 54mm foot to eye scale which I picked up on eBay a couple of years back for 99p. Always thought he would come in handy as a filler subject when suffering from a lack of current project to complete syndrome; it turns out that time is now.

Given the title of the figure is Thermopylae II, a lambda on the hoplon would perhaps be more appropriate; but at such large scale it seemed a shame not to pimp things a little!

Still a way to go with project, painting larger figures is a challenge I haven't tried before & there are a lot of lessons to be learned.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Female Warrior. Armour by Jean Paul Gautier.

More or less finished this last night. I humbly offer it here as the best I can achieve on a 32mm figure using 45year old eyes & hands thickened by a lifetime of manual labour:

Tried a few different back ground combinations this evening to try to make things 'pop' a little more. Certainly helps the contrast, if not the photographer.

 Come to think of it the J.P. Gautier reference in the title might not be so far of the mark. This is just the sort of European soft porn thing that he & his co presenter Antoine de Caunes would have smirked about on the late, lamented "EuroTrash".

Monday, 12 May 2014

More Random Miniature Painting. Partially Nude Female Warrior WIP.

Another random entry with no possible practical wargaming use. This time an Enigma Miniatures fantasy female in the ubiquitous useless armour:

I don't as a rule go in for this type of thing but I do occasionally stray onto the Coolminiornot site to view some of the painting on display there ( frankly some of it is astounding) & decided to try & push my brush work out of my usual comfort zone of using simple shading & citadel washes. So far this represents about 10 hours painting time, most of which was spent trying to get the skin tones right by building up very light layers of paint. This leads me to three revelations:

1. Painting realistic skin tones is very, very difficult. And time consuming.

2. Photographing miniatures with very delicate shading without washing out the colour is even more difficult.

3. I need to find another wargaming project to work on before both my sanity & eyesight fail. Bit devoid of inspiration at the moment though.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Random Viking.

Received this miniature as a freebie in my last order from Wargames Foundry, a bizarre choice given that the order was for Seven Years War Freikorps.

He was fun to paint but not sure what to do with him as I have no intention of ever starting dark ages gaming.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Somewhat Predictably- More Successor Command.

Another twelve hour day today, but hoorah taking the sabbath this week. To celebrate this momentous event here are some more Hellenistic commanders finished under the influence last night.

Foundry Macedonian General, nice figure, unconvincing sword skills.

The man himself, or more likely one of the Diadochi masquerading as him.

Foundry phalangite characters haranguing a Polemarch officer

Having fun doing these, just a couple more to do & then its back to finishing up the Crusader Thracians. After that the world is again my oyster, watch this space.