Saturday, January 21, 2017

55 Days at Peking... The Boxers are ordered

Loads of reading has continued to keep me enthused and a couple of days ago I sorted out the first order from Redoubt Enterprises. This comprises the majority of the troops for the Boxer forces. Given this is the larger block of painting I wanted it out of the way first.

Screwing up my eyes and clicking Complete Order before I fainted at the postage (45GBP!!!) I purchased the sum of 113 Boxers in various incarnations. When organised into units they will give me the following:

6 x 12 man units with melee weapons
2 x 6 man units with firearms
2 x 6 man units of Kansu Braves
2 x 6 man units of Tigermen
1 x cannon and crew
1 x "demolition rickshaw" i.e. portable bomb

12 units plus a couple of artillery isn't really a lot given the nature of how things pan out on the table but that's fine. Units will "recycle" as they break (a lot!) or (less often) are destroyed.

I've also put in a big order for 25mm round bases and some assorted carts from the wonderful Martin and Diane at Warbases.

Off and running!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VII - Day 27, or Doomed to Repeat the Mistakes of the Past

Yes, it's that time of year again, when painters from the four corners of the circular globe gather together to honour their shadowy master, the Snowlord, who resides in his icy fastness in the Frozen North, awaiting the tribute of his followers. 

Translation; proud Canadian and all-round top bloke Curt Campbell of the Analogue Hobbies blog is once more running the annual Painting Challenge, and both Millsy and myself have thrown our hats into the ring. And naturally, my own output is languishing in the doldrums.

Well, no excuses; I'm on 28 points while others have already passed the 1K mark, so I'll just have to pick up the pace!

First out of his box was this handsome fellow;

This is Scibor Miniatures' Santa Snowman Slayer, a dwarven maniac in festive guise. He will fill the Barbarian slot in my Frostgrave warband led by Vaino the Enchanter (as seen here) and his well-meaning Apprentice Ilmar. So he also counts as a useful start in my Frostgrave Duel with Millsy, though I think I can expect a swift counterattack, since young Michael has never been one to let the grass grow under his feet...

Next up was this little vignette, Delenda Est...

My meditation on the human condition in the form of the ghosts of the past confronting the warriors of the modern age; the spirit of a departed Carthaginian soldier awoken by the tumult of war in 1943.

This was to have been my entry for the first Bonus Round, 'Armour', but exactly as happened last year, the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley. Oh well, live and learn (hopefully).

I've had a lot of encouraging comments on the piece, and as this is the first WWII tank I've painted in over three decades, I'm gratified at the response. I might have to rustle up some more down the track!

So that's the story so far - I've cleared the decks to try and remedy the options paralysis I've been experiencing, and hope that this will enable me to focus properly on the task at hand.

Stay tuned...


Saturday, January 7, 2017

55 Days at Peking... A beginning

One of Don Kingman's wonderful watercolour paintings from the opening credits of the 1963 classic film
produced by Samuel Bronston and starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven

Right then! I've finally made a decision about my big new project for 2017 - it will be a Boxer Rebellion theme and it will be centred around the Siege of the Legations in Peking in 1900.

After much consideration, wandering about the interwebs exercising my Google Foo and counting my shekels over and over I have decided to go with a 28mm large skirmish model. This will involve at least 130 Chinese troops and as many as half of that number in Great Powers troops spread across most of the various imperial protagonists.

Last night Russ, Cory and I played a test game using Matakishi's free skirmish rules The Natives Are Restless Tonight available from his own Boxer Rebellion project. They mostly suit my needs and with some tweaking will, at least for the time being, be the preferred rule set as they play fast and allow for plenty of on-the-fly silliness and heroics from both sides.

This morning I sat down and re-watched (for about the 100th time I think) the 2.5 hour cinematic epic 55 Days at Peking, one of my favourite all time history / war movies. I love everything about it from the story, to the scale, to the relatively accurate period colour. I'm not usually a Charlton Heston fan but in this instance I think he suited the role and alongside David Niven (who was magnificent IMHO) made the film quite watchable over and over, for me at least.

The sets from the film are one of the things that have always caught my eye and I'll be looking to try and recreate some of that flavour on the table when I start build the board. My intention is to build approximately 4-6 legations, plus a number of gardens, the canal, a large ornamental gate (thanks to Dave Docherty!) and plenty of other smaller items to add flavour. It will be a LOT of work and storage will be an issue but I've wanted to do this for some time and there's no point doing it by halves.

Over the last few weeks the lovely Mrs Millsy and my in-Laws have shelled out on some serious reading for my birthday this year to keep me fired up and interested. I've got both the Osprey Men-at-Arms Boxer Rebellion and Peking 1900 Campaign books in the post, along with an eBay find I have been after for some time...

Lastly there is some more serious reading for bedtime, a copy of The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China by David J. Silbey. I have read several good reviews about it and am very keen to get my head into it the minute it arrives...

So, plenty to keep me occupied for the next few weeks as I work out my requirements in terms of troops. They'll be predominantly from the Redoubt Miniatures Boxer Rebellion range which covers pretty much everything I require, although for some reason seems to lack personality figures despite these appearing in their other colonial ranges?!? Go figure...

Anyway, that's enough for starters...


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017...

Time once again for a What Was vs. What Might Be post. I quite enjoy reading other people's efforts in this regard and hopefully anyone who wanders past here today enjoys mine too...

So here's the obligatory annual round-up of:
  1. What I planned to do
  2. What I actually did
  3. What I didn't do
Just for once it seems parts 1 and 2 coincided. Hold on to your hats!

Finish the WFB Savage Orcs
Done and dusted! I managed to knock this one off quite early on in the piece, thanks in no small part to last year's Painting Challenge. I even managed to get an army gallery up on the blog as proof.

Finish the 40K Space Marines
Another one nailed! I added a couple of bits and pieces to the outstanding pile to boot including a bashed about Land Raider which took some repair work but now looks the business. These guys also received the army gallery treatment.

Finish the Epic Squats
Phew! I only just managed to squeeze this one in (i.e. two days ago!) but that still counts. The paint is barely dry on the last few miniatures and the army gallery will be along in the future as documentary evidence. It'll be a big one - I have nearly 9000 points worth! In the meantime here's the land train...

Finish ALL the remaining Flames of War
Done! The last couple of items have just been completed and submitted to the Challenge blog. That's the very definition of cutting it close but I made it! The biggest part of this was all the outstanding DAK infantry, support weapons and artillery.

Finish my extra Dystopian Wars Britannian ships
Another winner for dinner. Yet to get an navy gallery but finished none-the-less. I made a rod for my own back by picking up a load more of this stuff for a sing at CANCON but still managed to smash these out and finish off everything needing painting. I didn't much like the original aircraft carrier prior to painting but I'm a big fan now...

So that'a ALL FIVE major goals knocked off. I'm still pinching myself about that and wondering where on earth I found the time and focus to make it happen. If only every year was like that!

Side Projects
There was also a list of side projects in case I got bored with the above:
  • Orc Skirmish Warband
  • Frostgrave Warband
  • 40K Imperial Guard (Cadians)
  • Finish off the Necromunda collection (Delaque, Ratskins, Pit Slaves, Chaos Cultists, etc.)
  • 28mm French and Austrian Napoleonic skirmish
  • 15mm French Napoleonics
  • Runequest army for To the Strongest
  • Continue the Imagination project
Of all these only the Imagination project really got a guernsey which is hardly surprising considering. At least I did manage a good effort in that regard...

At least some of the other stuff is slated for this year's Painting Challenge so that'll put a further dent in the list.

Other work...
Lists aside, I managed to build and/or paint a fair bit of other stuff too when the "distractibility index" reached the high end of the scale.

Games & Peeps...
We had out first Antipodean Bloggers Meet-up which was great fun. If you can make it this year we'd love to see you there!

In between all the painting and modelling I happily managed to get in some cracking games with some wonderful mates. Pick of the pile was ECW with Paul and Alan...

Awwww..... Sad face!

...and Imaginations with Evan...

Awwww... Sad dice!

Plus there was plenty more with all the other C&G lads including some smashing WFB Sunday arvo games with Russ, fingernail chewing Flames of War with Cory, bloodthirsty SAGA with Nug and cracking 40K with Marcus. Thanks lads!

All up not a bad 2016. Hope yours was just a good...

Glorious Plan Millsy 2017

So what about 2017 then? This is a bit up in the air at the moment, largely because 2016 was such a raging success projects-wise. I hadn't anticipated being in a position where I have nothing major locked in. This isn't to say the lead pile is manageable (or even properly documented!) but it does leave me with options...

Warhammer Fantasy Empire
These guys have continued to amass through 2016 and I'm keen to make a start. Still thinking about colour schemes and snaffling up odd items so that might not happen but you never know.

Something new???
I've got 3-4 potential new projects rattling around in my head which have been on hold while I whipped myself to finish other ones. I might just let myself off the leash a bit this year and hook into one of these....
  • Bolt Action Kokoda Trail in 28mm
  • 55 Days at Peking in either 28mm or 15mm
  • 6mm or 2mm pike and musket, probably ECW

So that's it for another annual wrap. Before I go there's just time to wish you a Happy New Year from Evan, myself and all the C&G lads! Thanks for popping by. We'll see you in 2017.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Off and running in Painting Challenge VII

So with about a week of hols under my belt (to say nothing of my own body weight in Christmas munchies) I've made a modest start in this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

My first post was something of a pick-n-mix of stuff to round out various projects...

There's more pics and some background on the Challenge blog.

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