Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fan Mail and a Dilemma

I've told you the story of my nephew's Christmas present.  We received the following:-

Nice, eh?

Given that the soldiers were such a success, The Wife 'suggested' that we give him some more for his birthday (15th Jan :roll:).

Accordingly, this morning I got a parcel:-

Now, this leaves me with what might be termed a First World Problem...

The Wife has asked me why my 58mm figures painted in what has been charitably called an 'old skool' fashion score twice as much in the painting challenge as the carefully and skillfully crafted 28mm figures other contestants have submitted.  I can argue that the challenge isn't a test of painting skills (though there are side prizes for skilled brushwork), but a question of setting targets and meeting them: painting is being done to 'table standard' not 'competition standard'.  But this rings hollow, and I agree that it seems unfair (especially as my target is only 500 points).

This leaves me with the following options:-

  1. Don't submit Johnny's figures to the challenge
  2. Submit them, but privately subtract them from my tally towards 500 points (rather as the Rejects are doing with their side challenge)
  3. When Curt allows, increase my target
  4. Pull myself together, suck it up and worry about something more important instead (in my mind I call this the 'Amos solution')

At the moment, I'm inclined to go with Options 2 and 3, but what do you think?  As Mrs Merton used to say "Let's have a heated debate!"

2014: Year of the Moustache

Among the many splendid presents The Wife gave me for Christmas was a book, The Gentleman's Guide to Beard and Moustache Management, which she bundled together with a pair of scissors, a moustache comb and a tin of 'Bounder' Extra Firm Moustache Wax.

The latter includes a leaflet with the following notice.

You have been warned!

It seems that The Wife is not the only one feeling the vibe.  This afternoon I read of the new £2.00 coin

And for the lighthouse fans and Marlburians out there, there are others celebrating the 500th anniversary of Trinity House and the 300th anniversary of the death of Queen Anne.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

This Week's Interesting Obits

Sir Christopher Curwen (d. 18 Dec 2013)
Head of MI6 - 'M'
Daily Telegraph 23 Dec 2013
Times 27 Dec 2013
Independent 28 Dec 2013

Lt-Gen Mikhail Kalashnikov (d. 23 Dec 2013)
Weapons designer
Daily Telegraph 24 Dec 2013
Independent 24 Dec 2013
Times, 24 Dec 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

Post Christmas Catch-Up #2

The second (of two) posts about what I've submitted to the Analogue Painting Challenge over the holidays.

First up is a seasonal one: Santa himself.

This lovely figure was a joy to paint.  He's got great character and looks ready to battle Martians or sky pirates.

He's the December freebie from North Star.  I mentioned on the Challenge FB page the other week, saying what a nice entry he would make for the civilian round.  James promptly offered to send me one.  I then fell foul to shiny-madness and ended up with my own free figure.

In a 'pass it on' spirit, the spare Santa will feature in a post-Christmas giveaway once I figure one out.

The second submission was some 54mm plastic D-Day figures from Steve Weston (possibly the worse website I've seen in a long time).  I'd painted these up for The Wife nephew's Christmas gift, so was aiming for a look somewhere between old school Britains and Britains/Deetail (I knew he had some of the latter).

I wasn't too happy with these while painting them, but they came out surprisingly well.  Both Johnny and his father were really pleased with them and impressed that they were by my fair had.  A huge credit of family brownie points.

This morning The Wife told me it was Johnny's birthday on 15 January and wouldn't it be nice to give him some Zulu War figures...

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Post Christmas Catch-Up #1

Well, Santa's been and gone, so a little time to play catch-up.

I managed to get an entry in for last week-end non-combatant bonus round to the Analogue Painting Challenge.  By pure coincidence my choice of a druid and his Christian nemesis proved apt for the Solstice (though I hadn't twigged the link until that morning).  These are two from a large hoard of figures Gary Amos generously sent me to add to the a chieftain I won in the Canister & Grape give-away

Here they are:-

I wasn't too sure of the colour scheme for the druid.  The Wife didn't think green appropriate and suggested white and ivory, but I thought that too Eisteddfod.  Green seems right to me for a earth-connected faith and to act as a reminder of Spring during the Winter.  Then up popped the highly authentic Arthur Pendragon on the news complaining about the new Stonghendge visitors' centre...

I'm not sure if the stuff at the top of the figure's staff is supposed to be greenery, but I chose to make it Welsh gold (neither this or his brooch has come out well in the photos).

As for the bishop, the purple was dictated by custom.  I spent a long time dithering over his cloak before slapping on some grey and adding a fur trim.  I'm not entirely happy about it.

Interestingly for me, another member of the challenge also chose to submit the druid figure (who I learn is Merlin from Gripping Beast).  Here, for comparison, is the version done by Mark of The Wilde Goose

I have two more submission to the Challenge to catch-up with: Santa and the D-Day troops.  My point total currently stands at 187, which I think is a reasonable chunk of my 500 target.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Christmas Season

Well, despite the weather disruptions here in the UK, we made it to the Mother-in-Law's.  We'll be ensconced here for a few days dispensing seasonal joy.

Those of you taking part in the Analogue Challenge may be interested to know that I managed to finished the nephew's presents (which I'll submit later in the week) and another, smaller, item (which I've submitted already).  The number and level of entries for the civilian bonus round were very high - inspiring stuff!

I shall try to update the blog while we're here , but I may be overtaken by events.  If I don't add anything to before Wednesday, I'd like to take the occasion to wish you all - regular or casual readers - a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

In Which Loki Saves My Bacon and I Break My Duck

Well, it's the end of the first week of this year's Analogue Painting Challenge, and already some top quality material has been submitted - it really is good to see other people's work gathered together.  I must admit to feeling a little out-classed though: some people seem to be able to knock out whole armies of figures very quickly.

I'm reassuring myself with the thought that among those who haven't as yet submitted must be some plodders like myself.  We shall see!  I imagine this weekend's bonus round will see a lot of new work.  How Curt's going to manage with 60 entries all at once (each with at least three photos), I don't know!

So what's the title about?  Well, I managed to submit my civilians last night (only two figures, but what the hey).  I'd deleted the e-mail with the submission guidelines, so I had to send a quick message to the Challenge Facebook Group asking when the deadline was and about photo sizes.  Then I found the e-mail and did a quick-and-dirty calculation that I had until 6pm tonight.  Loki proved a star by pointing out that it was 6am this morning!  Some quick flocking before bedtime ensued.  Thanks are also due to Sean for giving me the info about picture sizes.

More about my submitted figures when Rule 9 allows.

This is how my worktable looks at the moment.

The eagle-eyed among you will see that it hasn't changed much since my last update (I'm going have to find a more imaginative way of photo-ing the desk).

I have to finish the nephew's 54mm troops by the morning (I should be on track there).  The Santa is finished, but I decided against submitting him last night.  I've got four civilian figures that are part-painted, a couple of whom I might hold over until the 'favorite' bonus round.  There's another figure that might do for either the 'villians' or 'vehicles' rounds (prob the latter, as I haven't got so many options for the former.  I've also lined up (ie, stuck to bottle-tops!) the next figures (who will be alright for 'villians').  After that?  Well, that'll be in the New Year.

We're going away for Christmas tomorrow.  I shall smuggle my laptop along, so will update you, but won't take any painting.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

This Week's Interesting Obits

Kenneth Eager (d. 22 Sep 2013)
Daily Telegraph obit 16 Dec 2013

W/Cdr Jimmy Flint DFC, GM, DFM, AE (d. 16 Dec 2013)
RAF pilot awarded the George Medal
Nottingham Post obit 17 Dec 2013
Daily Telegraph obit 20 Dec 2013
Times obit 20 Dec 2013 (no link available)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wednesday Welcome

A warm welcome to new follower Legion Games - I have a feeling that I should know of a website for you, but I don't.  If you do have one, let me know and it'll get a name-check.

Secondly, I'm enjoying the Analogue Challenge (it's early days yet!).  Looking at other peoples' blogs everyone seems to be hard a work - best luck to all!  I suspect someone will reach my target of 500pts before the end of the month!

Here's a morning picture of my desk.  I might actually get some painting done in daylight today if I manage to please the Household Gods.

I have to concentrate *not* to save these pictures as 'anal.jpg'

Remember, today is the last day of the 2nd Class Post for Christmas in the UK!  
(Don't encourage the bastards by buying 1st Class stamps!)

Monday, 16 December 2013

Analogue Challenge Day 2

Well it's the end of work (probably) for me on Day 2 of the Analogue Painting Challenge and it's very clear that many of the participants will outclass me in both productivity and skill (click here to see what's been submitted so far - some really splendid stuff).

This isn't a surprise to me or a problem: one of the reasons I feel comfortable in the Challenge is that it's a challenge rather than a competition (this is not a criticism of those who are choosing to have competitions on the side).  I have set myself a target and I will go for that, while sitting by and enjoying the fun of those who are dueling.  As a novice, I thinks that's the right thing to do and well within the spirit of the Challenge.

So what have I been up to?

Day 2
Now I could pretend that the photo is so blurry because I'm adhering strictly to Rule 9 or for reasons of keeping tricks up my sleeve, but the truth is that I'm to idle to go and retake it (you see why I've knocked off!).


  • 54mm plastic D-Day figures - which are a Christmas present for a nephew, so have to be done and wrapped by Sunday (fortunately, there are now half the number of these than originally planned)
  • Various civilian figures for the first bonus round (those at least one of these might be submitted to the Favorite Character bonus)
More updates soon...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Saturday WIP #3

It's time for the weekly workbench picture inspired by Sofie's Paint Blog (she's up to No 6, I'm lingering at No 3).

'Twas the night before the Challenge, and all though the house not a creature
was stirring
For those of you who have read about the woodpile on Facebook, that's part of it under the blue tarp.

I've cleared away the unfinished items that won't contribute to the Challenge score.  The figures I received yesterday have been flashed, based and primed and are in the shed drying along with figures for The Wife's nephew.  I've got a plan for all of the bonus rounds, and I'm clear what needs to be done before we go away for Christmas.

Nos qui pingere salutant te!

The Danes Do It in Style. And 300 Up!

Long-term readers of the blog may remember my surprise at spotting a member of the British Diplomatic Service in court dress at at Pope Francis' inauguration, well it seems that the Danes do it in style..

By the way, this is my 300th post!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Reinforcements Arrive

Last week I was feeling a little miserable, so engaged in a spot of retail therapy.

When we came home this afternoon we found that the postman had hidden a parcel in the woodpile...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Clearing the Decks

In advance of the Analogue Challenge I'm trying to finish off all the half-done work on the painting table.  Hopefully between now and Sunday, I'll be able to share several completed groups.

So I present:-

Men in fezes
These were intended as my Cairo Police Special Investigations Division, but to me they don't look official or 1930s enough (I'm sorry, but when I see those flares and the facial hair I can only thing of Jason King and bad Roger Moore films).  I might go back to the original idea of adapting the Perrys' 1882 Egyptian Army figures.

In any case, I can submit them to the LAF Fezember Challenge.

Fish- or Lizard-men

Generic monsters of the men-in-rubber-suits variety.

Just for Ev!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Wednesday Welcome and Jiffy Bag Dance

Welcome to new follower Remco de Groot of Remco's Miniatures.  I hope you find stuff of interest here.

This morning I received a couple of parcels that demonstrate the generosity in the wargaming blogosphere.

The other week Dave over at One Man and His Brushes marked 100,000 hits and 150 followers with as give-away.  I was lucky enough to be one of the eight winners to get a prize.  In my case it was To The Last Round, an account of the British stand on the Imjin River during the Korean War.  I am assured it's a good read; I'm looking forward to it.

Earlier this week, I happened to mention on Facebook that Northstar Miniatures' December freebie would make a nice entry for the Analogue Challenge's non-combatant bonus round.  Almost by return, James of Exiles Wargames Painter offered to send me one, putting it in the post the next day.  A very nice gesture of the kind those who know James become used to...

I'm going to enjoy painting this one...

Thank you to you both.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Book Sale and Gift Promo

As some of you know, one of my side-lines is selling second-hand books.  I'm pleased to announce this year's December sale - there will be 10% off on all orders received during December (excluding postage).

So go across to my list of books for sale.  Currently you'll find a 19-page pdf of military and naval books.  All things being equal, I'll be adding the long-promised list of books on Exploration and Archaeology & History to 1000 AD later this week.  These will also be included in the December sale.

The image above is the logo of the Give Books Campaign, which aims to share the love of reading, support local booksellers and promote literacy.  For every #GiveBooks tweet, pin and online pledge to give someone a book 'for the holidays' they will donate a book to a child in need.  This seems a good thing to me.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Books and Stuff

A regular round-up of my book news.

What I've read this month...

Cressida Cowell, How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel
Paul Vallely, Pope Francis: Untying the Knots

What I've bought this month....

John Carnell (ed), SF-2: New Writings in SF-2 - 50p
Arthur C Clarke, The Deep Range - 50p
H L Gold (ed), The Fourth Galaxy Reader - 50p

Journal of the Life Saving Awards Society, No 78
Alan Gallop, The Martians are Coming!  The true story of Orson Welles' 1938 Panic Broadcast - £3.99
Arthur Ponsonby, Henry Ponsonby: Queen Victoria's Private Secretary - £1.50
Graham Sleight, The Doctor's Monsters: Meanings of the Monstrous in Doctor Who - £3.99
Tom Steel, The Life and Death of St Kilda - 50p

Friday, 29 November 2013

An End to Dinovember

Well I promised a big reveal on the mystery object from yesterday's post.  Here it is.

It got the 'dinovember' label because I see it as a form of transportation to a Lost World which may or may not be At The Centre of the Earth.

I'm a little surprised that no-one spotted it after Michael identified it as a cone.  It just goes to show that no-one read this post...


OK, I've done some playing about...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Welcomes

A warm Wednesday welcome to two new followers:-

Welcome Bruno and Dan!

In other news, I've now based as many figures as I can be bothered to do in advance of the painting challenge and I've also put some non-coms at the front of the queue for the first bonus round.  (I've still got to prime them...)

It's still Dinovember and I'm going to have to find some time for it in the next few days.  Perhaps
there'll be some news for my Saturday WIP round-up.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Saturday WIP #2

First, a welcome to peter.bonami of Peter's Cave, who has just signed up as a follower.

I'm really going to have to stop using Dastardly Belgians as villains...

Secondly, it's time for the weekly workbench picture (inspired by Sofie's Paint Blog).

Most of the hobby time this week has gone into having a look through my lead pile as, after signing up for the painting challenge I had the dreadful feeling that I hadn't got enough figures and would have to get some in.  I also had to consider how I could tell The Wife that I wouldn't start painting her nephew's Christmas pressie until 15 Dec!

I needed have worried as I'd forgotten that I bought a job lot as 'expendables' for honing my painting skills on (which is how I'm intending to use the challenge).  I might have to buy more khaki and German grey paint though!

The whole point was to work out what points target to set myself.  After a couple of day's vacillation I decided against going bat-shit crazy and have plumped for...

500 points

Before the challenge I've got to finish off my Sihks, the big game hunters and my Cairo SID unit.  They're all there in the picture, in the same state as I left them last week.

Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy the Dr Who Anniversary!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Another Welcome and a Giveaway

A welcome to new follower sebastofig of Back to the Minis.

One Man and His Brushes is marking 100,000+ hits and 150 followers with some fine books as prizes - go and check it out.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently - I try to do something about it over the weekend.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wednesday Welcome

A big Wednesday Welcome to new follower Monty Luhmann of the Twin Cities Gamer - a very talented painter with a minimalist approach to lead mountains.

Hello Monty!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

Well, I've signed up for the Painting Challenge.

As a newbie, I'm not quite sure what I've let myself in for, but it seems quite a fun way of setting goals for oneself and getting constructive feedback from people who know what they're talking about.  I'm not going to aim to set any records or win prizes, but hopefully by the end of the challenge my painting will have improved.

This Week's Interesting Obits

Mavis Batey (d. 11 Nov 2013)
Bletchley Park Code-Breaker
Daily Telegraph obit 14 Nov 2013

Albert Taylor (d. 1 Sep 2013)
Daily Telegraph obit 14 Nov 2013

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Saturday WIP

I had thought to post some photos of the painting table/workdesk as a Saturday regular, as suggested by Sofie's Painting Blog but I've been rather disheartened by this week's progress.  Despite my declaration to spend November on things Dinosaur, I thought to finish my Cairo SID members.  So far, these are far from successful (white suits anyone?), so I haven't done anything since Tues.

I had done some work on one of the big-game hunters though, so I suppose that's a nod in the direction of Dinovember.  Another is that I've taken advantage of Fat Dragon Games' 30% off sale (ends on Monday) to get a cardstock Mole (suitable for getting to Lost Worlds at the Centre of the Earth) for $4.19.  They also have a nice aerial steam carriage for the same price.  If you do go to rpgnow to check these out, make sure you also have a look at the free stuff!  I got some more of the Dave Graffam free building kits.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fruit of the Kickstarter #2

Some of you might remember in that back in July I pledged on Studio Miniature's kickstarter for a Sikh Wars range.  It was over 400% funded and, as I pledged at one of the simpler levels mine was one of the earliest to be dispatched: it arrived earlier this week.

They're three rather nice Sikh officers -

The rest of the range is equally nice, but it's not my period.  I though these officers might fit in a Pulp setting as Mad Maharajahs!

In writing this post, I find they can now be ordered from their website for less than my pledge.  Obviously I hadn't got the point that kickstarter bargains only happen at the higher pledge levels or if you want to buy the add-ons...

One of the free figures at those levels was a Flashman.  I don't know if they'll eventually sell him for Mr Awdry to buy, but here he is -

The other Kickstarter I have outstanding was Oathsworn Miniatures Heroes.  They are proving to be models of good communication, sending us messages at every stage of the process.  Anyone interested in the process of designing and producing miniatures should  have a look at their updates for a masterclass.

I went a bit larger on this one.  Hopefully I'll have an update in February!
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