Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Last of the Gauls

And so the last of the Gauls are done. I don't know if people have ever experienced an antipathy build up over a period of time towards a particular sculpt in an army you are painting, but, in this army, it did. There were two particular sculpts - and four others not far behind - that I grew to absolutely hate. It made painting this army a pretty bad experience, and is a large part of why these last few units have taken so long to do. By the end I just didn't care very much (and it shows) - it was simply a matter of gritting teeth, slapping paint on and getting them finished.

But they are done, and that's that.

You may notice the singly-based figures at the rear. I was planning to throw the dominant sculpt you see there out, but decided in the end that I would condemn it to eternal markerhood. But that might change if I could ever bring myself to paint another 50 Gauls to replace them all. I would get a lot of pleasure out of stamping on them....

But that's 300 infantry and 50 cavalry in total now, so enough for my Lost Battles needs.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Xyston phalangites

Phew, the latest batch - Xyston phalangites - is done, and there is now enough pike to cope with Paraitakene for Battle Day 2018.

Oops, looks like a couple of the sarissa need a wee touch up...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

W.I.P and other happenings.

I'd been planning on doing a solo game over the weekend, but it didn't happen. Instead, I've been beavering away on a batch of Xyston 15mm pike.

They're almost done, but are proving to be quite a lot of work. It's actually the first batch of phalangites I've painted myself: the first bunch of 200 was done by Fernando in Sri Lanka. I think I'll appreciate this lot more having painted them myself, and I'll also be forever grateful to Fernando now knowing how much work must've gone into the other batch!

So this is why I used a painting company first time around!
Just for my own records, this is the painting process (please feel free to skip to the next section!):

1) Prep, drill out hands, attach shields, undercoat in light grey.
2) Wash metal bits with dark brown ink wash or Tamiya smoke.
3) Block in flesh and do bases green.
4) Undercoat linen armour in Turner Acryl Gouache Grayish Green.
5) Do tunics in Turner Light Blue.
6) Do back of shields, belts, scabbards in Turner Burnt Umber.
7) Do waist band with Turner Crimson
8) Do shields in Steel.
9) Highlight linen armour with Turner White.
10) Do helmet feathers for officers in Crimson or Mixing Purple.
11) Highlight Crimson with Permanent Red.
12) Do metal areas in Turner Antique Bronze.
13) Wash flesh and metal with my brown dip.
14) Nervously attach pikes (previously undercoated and sprayed brown).
15) Highlight shields and spear tips with silver, helmets with gold.
16) Give a gloss / semi-gloss spray varnish.
17) Klear / Future wash.
18) Matte varnish.

Other things I've been doing include finishing off an overdue book review for Slingshot and doing the odd turn for a couple of ongoing play-by-email games using Vassal.

The games are the Age of Sail game Flying Colors by GMT, which I'm playing with my Italian mate Andrea, and the WWI Tannenberg game A Victory Complete by MMP, with my mate up in Kobe, Pat.

I don't really know a great deal in depth about either period, but am certainly learning a bit more through the games.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A few more figures finished

And some more painted up from the leftovers box. This time a mix of Tin Soldier and Xyston 15mm Gauls (with one Old Glory figure in there as well, I believe). These are from a long-stalled project. Still five more units to paint, and it's hard work, because, a) I don't like painting Gauls b) my painting style has changed a bit since I did the first eighteen or so units of these and this latest batch is an unhappy compromise between the old and the new and c) I'm becoming less and less of a fan of the Tin Soldier figures.

Oh well, only a few more units to go. I wonder if I can get through them!

I think the thing might be to do a Caesar in Gaul game and see if that can't motivate me for the last stretch.

Monday, August 28, 2017

More grist to the Dux Bellorum mill

I am very happy to report a new batch of figures done. These are in fact the first figures I've managed to get painted all year, which is pretty poor, even by my generally miserable standards!

They are a mix of Essex 15mm Dark Age cavalry and Frankish cavalry and were the last lot to do for my Normans/Saxons/Vikings Dux Bellorum project. I say Dux Bellorum, but they can be used for any 'unit-based' rules-sets, such as the Neil Thomas rules, Impetus, or whatever.

They had been sitting in a box for quite a while. I don't know if you've ever had that feeling after you've made a big push to get most of a project done that the bits and pieces - the non-essentials - can be quite a bit of a mental hurdle. It's not so bad if it's twelve generic foot or something, but when it's 30 cavalry it's a little more than just a night's work! Anyway, I couldn't face doing so many leftovers in one go after having maxed out on Normans, Vikings and Saxons, so into a box they went.

But they've been done in the end. For this project I've been using a simple dip method: block colours in, give a darker wash for horse tails etc, then give everything my acrylic dip treatment. I may then highlight a very select few things (the odd cloak, a leader's helmet, but that's it), base on 60x40, and hit the varnish. It really does help get troops on the table.

Anyway, here they are. Still needing their matt varnish and flock, but aside from that, done. Phew! The year is still young - could even get a few more batches done...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Project Management

I've finally picked up the paintbrush again this week and am back thinking about how much painting there is left for me to get through.

When I first started wargaming my ambition was to be able to field Romans and Carthaginians. After I met Luke Ueda-Sarson and was introduced to his magnificent Naismith Macedonian army, it became apparent that I needed Macedonians as well. But from such modest beginnings, as we all well know, ambitions just tend to expand.

Looking at all of my unpainted or half-painted stuff, I've been trying to think what I would be satisfied with. By satisfied, I mean feeling that I would never need to paint another thing again, except perhaps to replace something that broke, or to get an extra unit of something here or there for a particular occasion.

Anyway, this is what I've come up with. If I had all these done, I could officially retire the paintbrushes.

Ancients (15mm):
Mid-Republican Romans; late Republican Romans (x2); Carthaginians; Iberians; Gauls; Greeks (x2); Macedonians/Successors (x2); Persians.

Dark Ages (15mm):
Saxons; 'Arthurians'; late Romans (East and West); Vikings; Normans; Bretons.

Medieval (15mm):
Crusaders; Saracens; 100 Years War English; 100 Years War French; Burgundian allies.

Age of Rifles (1:72):
Union; Confederates.

20th Century (1:300):
WWII Commonwealth; WWII US; WWII Germans; '70s-'80s US; '70s-'80s Russians; '70-'80s British

Naval (1:3000):
Japanese, US, British & German fleets for WWII actions.

Air (1:600):
British, German, US & Japanese for WWII actions

Fantasy (28mm):
Dwarves; Orcs and Goblins

I would dearly love Wars of the Roses, English Civil War, 7 Years War and Napoleonic armies as well, but I think that would be just getting ridiculous.

So how am I looking in terms of completion? Well, I'm about a third of the way to where I'd like to be. Chances are therefore that I'll never reach the 'fully satisfied' stage!

It would be interesting to hear from other wargamers how close to 'fully satisfied' they might be.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Colin Meads, 1936-2017

In very sad news back home, one of the great New Zealanders passed away this morning. Colin Earl Meads was a rugby union superstar of the late 50s through the early 70s who ever after epitomised the game in New Zealand and, along with Sir Edmund Hillary, represented the post-war New Zealander in excelsius.

Meads, nicknamed Pinetree, was a giant of the amateur era who brought speed, ball skills and a toughness to his rugby which the New Zealand game has been trying to live up to ever since.

Until rugby turned professional, Meads was the most-capped All Black, and as well as being a mythic figure in his own right, his partnership with his brother Stan, who also played lock forward, was a legendary combination for King Country and All Black rugby.

Modest and unaffected, Colin Meads was inspirational for those around him. In an era when violence was an essential part of the game, he was the man who would never give an inch. It seems brutal now, but in those days you needed men in your team who would give as much as they received and would never back down from a physical confrontation.

There are many stories about Meads the rugby player - playing South Africans with a broken arm; exacting revenge upon a Frenchman who opening up his head with a boot only to find at game end he'd been wreaking vengeance upon the wrong player - but one of my favourites is that told by Wilson Whineray, the great All Black captain, during the Colin Meads episode of the TV show This is Your Life (12 mins in for the segment).

As Whineray tells it, during the fourth test against the Springboks in 1965 (this of course being before replacement players were allowed in rugby), brother Stan had taken a heavy knock to the head and was receiving medical attention.

Whineray went over to him and said something like "Stan, we'll manage. Take a minute. Half-time's coming up; get yourself right."

Then Colin Meads walked over and took charge.

"How are you feeling, Stan?" he asked.

"Not too good, Pinetree," was the reply.

"Well," said Colin, "you'd better get good in a hurry. We've got to lock a scrum for New Zealand in a few minutes. We've never gone backwards before, and we're not going to start now."

Brother Stan got back to his feet, joined his brother in the scrum, and the All Blacks went on to win the match and the series.

After his rugby career Meads remained a well-known personality in his home town and in New Zealand as a whole. He belonged to the same small rugby club all his life, would have a beer after the game in the clubrooms just like anybody else, and would sign autographs or chat with admirers any time.

He did not make any money from playing rugby, instead earning his living on the family farm. In later years he got the chance to do some television commercials, but until times got hard for him he would donate the money to charity, particularly the IHC. Not only did he quietly donate his own TV fees to these charities, but he would personally go door-to-door gathering donations and selling raffle tickets in the evenings to raise further funds for them.

It was estimated in 1988 that he had raised several hundred thousand dollars for IHC on his own.

There were inevitably disappointments in his life, and there were some incidents of foul play committed on the field which he apparently later regretted. Famously, he was the first (and until about two months ago) the only New Zealander to be sent off in a rugby test match, and he thenceforth exchanged yearly postcards with the referee who did so, which is perhaps a measure of the man. Hard on the field, but held no grudges off it. He made no complaints, and earned the respect of team-mates and opponents around the world.

When New Zealand was in the running to hold the Rugby World Cup of 2011, and the International Rugby Board negotiations were in the balance, it was Colin Meads who was brought in to undertake some last-gasp bar-room diplomacy with his old rivals.

Needless to say, it worked, and New Zealand won the right to host the cup.

Rest well, Pinetree. No more scrums to lock, games to win, speeches to give or raffle tickets to sell, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest his country has produced.

Photo sourced here.

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