“Just You Dare!”

So I said I’d be back once I had something to show you lot, so here I am with two figures started from scratch and one of my “ladies” who just needed finishing, Now I have to start by saying that no they are not technically finished as they still need a coat of “Quickshade”, basing and finally a coat of matt varnish, but I think I’ll do that once I have a few finished up to this stage then have a “mass” session of completing stuff.

Now I did say that I’d share the information I gleaned from Ian at Irregular Miniatures about the Dan Dare figures, well it turns out that they were a commission by a collector who wanted them for himself, but Ian got him to allow them to go on general sale by reducing the cost for the sculpting. Anyway the character Dan Dare was originally going to be a “Space Vicar” (the Eagle was a Christian comic!)” and was set in Southport (where the Eagle comic was produced) as this is only about twenty five miles from my home, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the “Pilot of the future” and the truly phenomenally detailed artwork of Frank Hampton.

But on to the figures themselves, starting with my 42mm version of “Dan Dare” (or retro space pilot, no connection to the Eagle comic here!! No of course not!). I began by mounting him up on a “tuppence” and blending in his base with a little “Tetrion” filler and then after he was sprayed (and touched up) with some matt black I painted his overalls in a mix of dark red and bright red, I then highlighted these with more bright red. His face was next a dark flesh tone (7) was applied first and after his eyes were added I highlighted this with some European flesh, while I was at it I also added his gloves with some coffee highlighted with cream. I mixed some copper with some shinning gold to do the first coat on his helmet and then highlighted with some more shinning gold, and the light on front of his helmet, plus a couple of bits on his gun were then added with chainmail. Talking of his gun this too is red according to the reference pictures I’d found, but as I thought this would just blend into his overall if I did that, so I went for metallic red, I think it looks better to my eye. Finally his boots were added, I had a bit of a quandary with these as sometimes they are black sometimes red and sometimes gold…I went for black in the end highlighted with some dark grey.

The 25mm knight was relatively simple to do, I began by slightly sanding the front of his left arm, and then gluing on an old Games Workshop plastic shield, and then once he too was undercoated with matt black he was dry-brushed all over with some chainmail. Then his shield emblem was painted coffee with highlights of cream and then white. The shaft of his poleaxe was chocolate brown with a dry-brushing of butternut, his face was more dark flesh tone, with more of this again mixed with some European flesh and a couple of copper mixed with shinning gold (well I had to mix it for “Dan” above) spots here and there on his armour finished him off too.

Lastly in this trio, I completed my “Lady in Black”, or to use her official “Tin Man” website name “Jalara”. Now I can’t remember the order I painted her up but the colours I used were… Black (naturally!), chainmail, dark flesh, European flesh, dark red and bright red. To finish her off I just touched everything up again with the colours above, added copper and copper mixed with shinning gold (as I said above I had it mixed, seemed a shame to waste it!) on her sword hilts, oh it might be worth mentioning that she should have had two swords but the casting was bad on the one so I filed it down into a knife. Chestnut and orange were used on her hair and a touch of metallic red was used as jewels in the back of the sword/knife hilts. That just left to add highlights to all her black clothing with some dark grey and she too was finished.

Not really that productive a week (especially as I’m not at work!), but as I said last time “baby steps”.

So till next time, cheers Roger.

Posted in 28mm fantasy, 28mm sci-fi, 42mm sci/fi, fantasy, sci-fi | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

“Baby Steps”

OK so I’ll start by saying, I hope you are all well and safely ensconced in your domiciles around the world. Maybe it’s just me but every time they show deserted city centres around the country on the news I keep thinking “Wouldn’t it be a great time to film Dr Who invasion sequences”.

Anyway as I mentioned at the end of my last post I have been thinking of digging out some of my figures and paintbrushes to help alleviate the boredom (in the case of my camera I literally did have to dig it out from under the stairs!!), and so though I haven’t actually started painting anything yet I have chosen a few things to get me back on the horse so to speak…

Now I have been giving some thought as to coming back into the wargaming fold as it were and what I’d like to do if I did. Well this may come as a bit of surprise and possibly sacrilege for a few of you, but I think if I do start painting again on a regular basis then I will probably go predominantly 15 and 10mm scales mainly because it’s a) cheaper and b) you can get a lot more done in a shorter timeframe (less detail, hooray!). So it is to this end that I have decided to dig out my 42mm “Dan Dare” figures as a first project (what!!! No I don’t really understand it either!), they are by Irregular Miniatures though so not too heavily loaded down with detail.

I have also pulled three 25mm “Knights” by Mega Miniatures, these will be predominantly just dry-brushed silver, so again an easy-ish batch to get me back up and running.

Lastly I have these three 28mm ladies by Tin Man Miniatures, These I actually started eighteen months ago before I went AWOL, so I hope to be able to finish these off as well. I have no idea as to a time frame to get them done, it will be very much as and when, and I’ll post when I have something to show you, or something interesting to say (wouldn’t hold my breath on that last one, if I were you!).

You would not believe how nervous I am about this, as I haven’t touched a paint brush (not a little one anyway) for a year and a half! But hey if they turn out crap at least we can all have a laugh.

So till then, cheers Roger.

Posted in 28mm fantasy, 28mm sci-fi, 42mm sci/fi, fantasy, sci-fi | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

“Pushing Product?”

Well first off I have to say it feels rather strange writing a blog post as I haven’t done one for a while, and no this won’t be the start of a new weekly posting regime for me, but like so many of us around the world at the moment I have been sent home for at least the next two weeks due to this virus that is sweeping the world (this I hasten to add is preemptive on my companies part and not a case of self-isolation). So to help pass the time in-between working my way through all the terrible “B” movies available on “Amazon Prime” (and believe me there are a few!), I have also been working my way through a large pile of old issues of “Miniature Wargames”, Wargames Soldiers & Strategy” and “Wargames Illustrated” that a friend at work passed over to me during his last clear-out. Now I have to say that I have never been a big buyer of the wargames “Glossies” though I have bought the odd issue of all of them over the years (too blooming tight I guess) and to be brutally honest this playful skip down “back issue” lane has done little to prove to me that I’ve been wrong all these years. Though some issues have had some very good articles on various aspects of the hobby (painting, model building, period backgrounds, and reviews (I do love the reviews, always have) etc…) and some issues have five or six articles I’ve read, just as many have had nothing but a quick flick through the pretty pictures before being consigned to the bin with a “Glad I never paid for that one!”

Anyway ranting aside (though that is the title of this blog after all) what is it that has compelled me to put pen to paper (or rather finger to keyboard), well to be truthful, it was a couple of adverts, or to be more exact “adverts masquerading as information”. Now I don’t normally have a problem with these, as Mike Brooks the old owner of “Ainsty Miniatures” used to say to me back when I was doing the review columns in “Valkyrie” and “Ragnarok” “As long as you say nice things about my stuff, it’s cheaper for me to give you a load of samples than it is to pay for an advert!”. Likewise if you write a scenario for ACW that just happens to coincide with your new Unionist Cavalry going on sale, well more power too you I say, but these two “features” just seem to be so naïve and badly done that they had me laughingly shaking my head with thoughts of “what the hell were they thinking!!”. That I thought I’d have to share them with you lot.

The first one comes from way back (seems like only yesterday to an old fart like me!) in 1988, and issue No62 of “Miniature Wargames” which apparently only cost £1.15 (not really relevant but even so £1.15!!!). Anyway David and Geoffrey Lacey of “Fortress Models” had submitted a piece on “The Siege of Sebastopol” during the Crimean war, interesting enough stuff but turning to opposite page we are treated to the true reason for the piece as the two gentlemen in question appear to produce figures to re-enact said conflict, surprise surprise! I say appear as the tiny “blobs” that can be seen if the three photographs could just as easily be Napoleonic riflemen or even commuters waiting for a model train, this is not a swipe at the figures themselves but the pictures that seem to contain vast quantities of the (frankly) less than inspiring surrounding scrubland! Now I know the authors wanted to show what the battlefield was like, but if this is how many men fought it, battle is a bit of an exaggeration! (I’ve seem bigger battles for toilet rolls in supermarkets this week!). Now I have to applaud the chaps for not using these images as shameless chances to show off their own wares, but I think we could have forgiven them at least one close-up of the figures in question, as these wouldn’t have inspired me send for their catalogue (or probably lists back then), play out the scenario or even read the attached piece. Just a sadly missed opportunity. I have had a bit of a trawl of the net to see if “Fortress Models” is still going or not and though there a couple of companies with this or similar names none seem to match the address, so sadly I can’t check to see if they have improved their sales techniques of not.

The Second and in my opinion much less forgivable one comes from 2012 and the really “thick” 300th special edition of “Wargames Illustrated” (we are up to £6.00 by now by the way), and is by “Flames of War” and consists of ten (yes ten!) pages of fluff and pretty pictures promoting the (then) new “Open Fire!” edition of the game, as you can imagine all the paintings, maps and painted figures are all beautiful, but it is the photo on the ninth page that had me snorting my tea.

Here we were presented with what looks to my fifty something eyes as a mid-teenage “army” girl clutching said game to her naked chest (I guess she must have used her shirt for bandages), exactly which of the allied or axis forces used highly made up 14 year olds with lacey fingerless leather gloves I can’t tell as she seems to have also lost her cap badge! Now who this is supposed to appeal to I really can fathom, as a lot of the gamers I know actually have children older than this and so would have to be rather “creepy” to find this appealing, in fact I think most of us would breathe a sigh of relief at the legend “*Girl model not included”, as we’ve had more than enough teenagers at home to last us thanks! (As an aside she must also have extremely long thumbs or the box is only 20mm thick).

Perhaps the idea is young teenage boys would rush out to buy it in the hope that theirs will be the box from the advert (you know when they aren’t sniffing bicycle seats, sorry). I’m sorry but I really just don’t get it! If they had used a “grizzled” looking chap dressed in US marine or Wehrmacht fatigues, or even a “Helga” or “Michelle of the resistance” lookalike from “Allo Allo”, I would have understood (in the latter cases probably even chuckled), but something about this just seems wrong and to my mind cheapens the product. I would be interested to hear your opinions.

Anywhoo’ that will do for the moment, time to go and watch “Spawn of the Slithis” on Amazon, but you never know I might post again in the coming weeks (months?), and if I get really bored I might even get the paintbrushes out!

Till then, cheers Roger.

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“Schools Out”

I am a massive “Alice Cooper” fan and I’ve seen him in concert numerous times (if you ever get the chance do go see him, he is a fantastic showman, BTW) but I hear you ask where exactly are you going with this? well as with most musical acts these days he plays his concert and at the end scoots off stage with his band in tow, but you know he is going to come back to play his encore as he hasn’t sung “Schools Out” yet, it’s only after this that the concert is really at an end.

Well this is my “Schools Out”.

I’d like to begin by thanking all of you who have shown support for me (misplaced as you will soon discover) and for all the calls for me to continue with my blog. In a way all this support I have received would make it harder for me to reverse my decision, as I feel to do so would smack of gross cynicism on my part, the old “support this shop or lose it” attitude. This was never meant as a gimmick to drum up more followers or comments, but was a genuine feeling of need to bring this stage of my life to a natural end. I honestly just thought the few usual suspects (Simon, Dave, Bryan, Mark, IRO etc…), would see it and after a few “sorry to see you go” comments I would shuffle off into the wastelands, and everyone would carry on as before, soon to be forgotten.

Now there has been some vitriol aimed at Jez (Carrion Crow), as being the reason for my decision to quit blogging, well first off the opinions he stated in his post were not even his, but those of other bloggers that he felt he needed to bring to the attention of his followers. On top of which having now re-read Jez’s original post again…


(Something I should have done before my last posting!) it is all very tame and reasonable, the very fact that many of his posts are thought provoking is one of the things I most enjoy about his blog, and his opinions are always valid, he should never change that! Yet it would seem like a festering sore I have carried this idea around with me until it has grown out of all proportion, and all the inflammatory language I used is all mine and should not reflect upon Jez in any way….

“A while ago I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site informing the world of a cancer that was driving away real wargamers from the internet…”posers” who though claiming to be gamers were in fact nothing but shameless self-promoters, who like some sixteen year old girl posting endless “selfies” of themselves, merely used their blogs to showcase their latest figures and bask in the praise of other bloggers rather than posting “Batreps” of the games that they played.”

This is all me, if anyone has been “trolling” me it is myself, so please point all flaming torches and pitchforks in my direction. This brings me to the conclusion that a severe case of self-disappointment is what has attributed to me reaching this point, I have always referred to myself as a “gamer” but the brutal truth is I am not, I wish I were, but truth be told I’m just not that into actually playing “wargames” or any games really, I’ve never been a child of the computer game generation even though I had an Atari 2600 back in the day, but after only about eight months sold it on to the some of my parent’s friends for their grandchildren. I’ve never really played a computer game since, no matter how many times I’ve been told by friends “Oh you should play this, it’s right up you alley!”. I do love the idea of a beautifully set up table with lots of exquisite scenery and exciting adventures concerning heroes and armored warriors rushing into simulated battle, but the reality of actually rolling the dice and moving the figures about just leaves me somewhat cold (sorry). I do still play the occasional game with my sons (X wing, Zombiecide etc…) but this is more out loyalty and because it’s my kids, rather than the thrill of the game itself. A bit like the model railway I have always dreamed of building, though the idea of playing with the trains again seems like a bit of a waste of time.

But this is not the only reason I have decided to call it a day (it is a small part of it, but there are other considerations too). I’m just not enjoying it as much as I used too (or should), and I do want to try some different things in the very limited bits of spare time I seem to get these days. Much as I enjoy blogging it does have a bit of a monopolising effect on your time to get stuff done so as not to let down your readers, something Simon seems to be able to do with consummate ease turning out two or even three excellent well written and entertaining post a week! Whereas I always seemed to be struggling to hit my personally imposed weekend deadline. Now I know this is daft and I should post when I want, but that’s just how I am.

I started this blog with the aim of making me paint some of my pile of unpainted figures and in this respect I have done so (not all of them but as we all know when you’ve painted all your figures you die!). So I would like to consider my time blogging as well spent on the whole.

However since Christmas though I have been secretly hoping that something would rekindle my interest and enthusiasm on one of the blogs or the TMP, and kick-start me off painting again, nothing sadly has re-lit the spark, even though there has been lots of gorgeous stuff on show. I will of course still be around the blogs, commenting, I’m still interested in what you all get up to, so you haven’t got rid of me completely, I have made too many good friends here for that.

As for my sewing, some of you seem to have the idea that I plan on creating a new wardrobe for my “Action man” collection, no, no no!, I will not be doing this, likewise I WILL NOT be taking up cosplay, though I have no problem with others doing this, I, as a sad overweight fifty year old man have no desire for people to see me dressed as…well just about anything really, I’d much rather blend into the background at a comic con, happily buying my old comics. So far I have made three cases for my glasses, and a half finished cover for the back of my computer chair (the cats have scratched the heck out of the original!). Next up we plan on making some new curtains for the little bedroom, so hardly riveting blog-post content there!

Though at present I can’t see me coming back into the hobby any time soon, never say never. So….

“Schools out, thank you and goodnight” and he leaves the stage.

No amount of chanting “Alice” is going to bring him back, the house lights come on…

It’s time to go home.

Cheers Roger.

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