Friday, December 28, 2012

In The Crypt Of The Vampiress

I started this project just before the start date for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, so sadly it is not eligible. I've been looking for figures that would flesh out my Weird War Two project, and found some goodies sculpted by Reaper that will work nicely. I already have a Nazi SS vampire, who is bald and old and not a lot of fun, but what would be more fun than a young, beautiful lady vampire? Reaper's Crypt of the Vampiress set, a lovely piece of work by sculptor Bob Ridolfi, comes with some useful scenery, including a lovely two part sarcophagous (goodness, did I spell that right?), a candle stand, and a pile of loot.

It's exactly the sort of thing that intrepid Allied heroes should encounter while exploring the basement of some grim castle or chateau.

The treasure proves irresistible to Captain "Dicky" Byrd, S Commando's resident bon vivant.

Consternation when the crypt is opened and found to be empty. But Pte. Sam "Snuffy" Snape wonders, who placed that fresh rose on that unsullied satin pillow?

Suddenly our heroes are in trouble.

Padre Tristram Mercer steps forward.

So not a very serious contribution to the hobby, perhaps, but great fun to paint and a diversion from some more serious projects. The Reaper set brings back memories of all those Hammer films that scared me years ago and which now seem so wonderfully campy. Seeing as I've done some fluff pieces on my other Weird War characters, perhaps in my next post I'll offer a short bio of this dangerous lady.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Zee Tiny Leetle Guns of Zee Emperor

Stage 2 in finishing my initial order of 6mm French Napoleonic figures from Baccus is done with this four gun battery. I continue to like these castings very much. It took me about a day to paint this lot, which is incredibly fast for me. I am enjoying the discovery that a little bright paint and the suggestion of detail, like a white crossbelt, goes a long way.

I continue to be nervous about my lack of detailed knowledge about the uniforms of this period. My source for these chaps was a plate in Michael Head's book, French Bapoleonic Artillery, which I found online. Obe thing I am not sure about is how common the red shako cords and piping were. Alexis Cabaret's wonderful Cent Jours website, dedicated to the uniforms of Waterloo, show l'Artillerie a Pied wearing shakos without cords, the only adornments being the front plate and a red pompom. So I don't know whether the cords were dispensed with by 1815, or what. My learning curve continues. Any takers?

Thnese four stands represent my first entry in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Next up will be a group of 28mm Union infantry in Hardee Hats. I'd love to get them done before New Year's Eve.

Next posts: Commando heroes and a scantily clad lady vampire. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Card To All Mad Padre Wargames Readers

Depending on where you are in the world, dear reader, it may already be Christmas Eve, but for us here on the frozen Canadian prairie, there is a little time left in this day, the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Mrs. Padre and I observe a few traditions, including the lighting of Advent candles, Sunday by Sunday, and bringing home a real Christmas tree. Here you can see both glowing gently, and while it's frigid winter outside, here inside is warm and comfort. For that I'm grateful.

In another Christmas tradition, Mrs. Padre has commandeered the dining room table for her annual holiday jigsaw puzzle. Her mind is a subtle and precise thing, inclined to visual and word puzzles, whereas mine has all the patience of a Golden Retreiver with severe ADD. And yet she marvels that I have the patience to sit for hours with paints and miniatures. Somehow my mind can, as W.B. Yeats said, "like a long-legged fly upon the stream ... move upon silence". Today was a good painting day, finding the detail in big figures and getting the big picture in very small figures. Curt's Analogue Hobbies painting challenge has been a great incentive for me, and I am grateful for the creative aspects of our hobby.

I'm also grateful for the social aspects of this hobby. This year I travelled back to Ontario to game with dear and dearly missed friends in Ontario. I met a local circle of boardgamers in Medicine Hat and while I wish they were interested in miniatures gaming, they are good people. I've become close friends with a few people, via email and Facetime, that I've never met in person, and yet they are dear to me. I'm grateful for all of you from Madrid, Spain to Christ Church, NZ and everwhere in between, grateful for your interest in this blog, and grateful for what you offer in your blogs, for your creativity, inspiration, and good humour. Thanks for all your well wishes for my recent knee surgery, the offending limb is recovering nicely and I hope to be back to running before the New Year.

If you are secular, I wish you and yours a very happy holidays and all good things in the new year. If you are a person of faith, may God's blessing and peace be with you and those you love and pray for, now and ever more.

And now another tradition calls, the eggnog (light, low cal), which is really an excuse for a sharp shot of Lamb's Navy Rum (calories be damned). Cheers, Mike

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Brush Dreams of Ronin 28

So what will I paint for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge? Curt has asked each of his brush ronin to give themselves a par, a goal based on his points system.

I promised getting this to Curt yesterday but I underestimated my recovery time after a quick visit to Day Surgery yesterday to get my knee repaired, a little wear and tear from military training and running. Mrs. Padre took this yesterday when I came back from the operating theatre. That smile is no doubt me dreaming of all the great figures I'll get painted for the Challenge.

With apologies to fans of the movie Gettysburg: "General, I'm so damn stoned I can't see a thing. Are these good drugs, General?" "Yes, sir/ Mmmmmmmmmmmm ..... very good drugs."

So now a few days at home to recover and then I'm out the gate with my colleagues. Here is what I will be submitting to Curt, the sum total of what I would like to paint between now and when the contest closes at the end of March.

1) 6mm Napoleonics

Last week I posted some pics of the first results of my first batch of an order from Bacchus, my toe into the water of small scale Napoleonic wargaming. You readers were most most kind and encouraging. So here is the rest of that order, and my top priority goal for this challenge.

24x line infantry @ 1 pt ea = 24 points 4 x artillery @ 2 pts ea = 8 points 12 x artillery crew @ 1 pt ea = 12 points 24 x light infantry @ 1 pt ea = 24 points 4 x limbers @ 3 pts ea = 12 points Total = 80 points

2) 20mm World War Two

Two goals here. The first, and second highest priority project, is to finish this ten man section of late war German infantry from TQD castings, to furnish SS opponents for my French Canadian alter ego, Lt. Denis Audet. My goal is to paint most of them in SS peadot cammo, which is always a good test of painting skills.

10 x 20mm foot figures @ 4pts ea = 40 points

The second goal in this scale is to finish painting these two Armourfast Soviet SU152 SP Guns as a way to revisit my languishing Soviet collection. They will also be an opportunity to try the airbrush I bought recently, as well as experiment with these pigments I picked up while visiting the wonderful BC Shaver and Hobby Shop in Victoria, BC, last month.

2 x 20mm vehicles @12 pts ea = 24 pts

4)American Civil War 28mm

Not a big project here, but an old one. I bought these Wargames Foundry ACW lads in the ever-stylish Hardee Hat to finish an expansion to the the Iron Brigade, something I've been slowly adding to over the years. Besides these three figs there are two more casualty figures, which I am thinking of posing together around a shellburst. One of Curt's recent posts at Analogue Hobbies has some clever ideas as to accomplishing this.

5 x 28mm foot figures @ 5 pts each = 25 pts

3)World War Two 28mm

These are the "plastic Johnnies" that Lord Lovat was referring to in my last post, a box of 24 British commandoes for my Weird War Two project to give "Project S" the force it needs to strike at its sinister foes. A bit of a devil to put them all together, and I've been averaging 3-4 in an evening while watching a movie.

24 x 28mm foot figures @ 5 pts ea = 120 pts

4)Seven Years War in 28mm

Ages ago my gaming group in Ontario went through an SYW phase, using the Age of Reason rules, and I started working on a Russian army. I bought these Front Rank Prussian Hussars since no one at the time seemed to sculpt Russian hussars, and chaps tearing about in gaudy uniforms on fast horses all look the same, really, don't they? So my bonus goal for the challenge is to get them finished, and maybe revisit the whole SWY thing, perhaps using the Black Power or Maurice rules, I'm open to guidance on this subject.

12 x 28mm cavalry figures @ 10 pts ea = 240pts

Since I have to order a Samurai figure as the cost of entry into this Challenge, and have 12 Dixon Tartar light cavalry which I also ordered for the SYW, as light horse for my Turkish army (they seemed like fun opponents for my Russians). Oddly Dixon only shipped six appropriate horses for those figures, so this is my chance to buy another 6 and get that unit out of the lead mountain. However, at the risk of being called a sandbagger, I won't include that in my total for this project, since, frankly, I doubt I'll get to them.

80 points of 6mm Nappies 64 pts of 20mm WW2 25 pts of 28mm ACW 120 pts of 28mm WW2 240 pts of 28mm SYW

So if my arithmetic is correct, my personal par for the Challenge is 529. God speed all out brushes! Blessings, Mike, aka Ronin 28

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Am Ronin 28

On 20 December I will get busy with my brushes, along with 46 other folks, in this year's painting competition run by fellow Canuck and blogger Curt of Analogue Hobbies.

I've had mixed luck with other painting challenges in the last few years. Some have led to finished projects, others to frustration. But this one feels different. I had enormous fun watching the progress of last year's challenge, and I have tremendous ambition to Curt for putting so much effort into this task. The selling point for me is that I get to set the bar where I want. It's up to each participant to decide how many figures they want to paint and what kind, and then to do their best to reach that goal, while learning along the way from some talented brush ronin. So I'm in.

Next step, to determine what I am going to paint. The first rule is that nothing is eligible if it has already received anything more than primer. So these three chaps are out - they are from the Warlord Commandoes Character blister, and are intended to be part of my Weird War Two project.

"I say, sir, what a pity that the Padre has gone and started doing our faces. Now we're bloody well not eligible!" "Never mind, RSM, we'll be the first ones onto the objective ahead of all those plastic Johnnies. Piper! Play the Brushes of Bonnie Dundee!"

Also sadly ineligible is this young lass, a Reaper Miniatures Vampire, also intended for the Weird War project (my Padre figure needs some temptation), and a Renegade Confederate Officer for Terrible Sharp Sword.

Oh, Curt, dahlink, I am so sad to be left out of your competition. Isn't there anything I could do to make you reconsider?" "Why, nevah you mind that Yankee Curt, mah deah. The South has risen, if'n y'all get mah meaning."

Also ineligible, sadly, is scenery, so between now and the 20th I will try to finish off a project or two there, and use the figures featured here to practice my speed painting skills. So what is eligible? That will be revealed, gentle reader, in my next post. And to my fellow 46 ronin, may God speed our brushes!

Monday, December 10, 2012

One Very Small Step For Napoleonics

"Zee cassions, zey go rolling along, n'est-ce pas?"

A while back, I made noises here about starting a Napoleonic project in 6mm. In due course a small package of small chaps came from Bacchus. "Allons-y, mon brave!", I said to myself, "let's get these fellows done before Thanksgiving! Vites depeches-toi!"

Well, Canadian Thanksgiving came and went in October, followed by American Thanksgiving (we celebrate both at Casa Padre) and no tiny Frenchmen were finished. A big part of the problem was fear. A small part of that fear was painting in a very small scale, something I have limited experience with. A much bigger fear factor was that I very quickly realized that I was way out in deep waters, with no real knowledge of Napoleonic uniforms.

Fortunately the base library has a good stock of Ospreys with several titles on Napoleon's infantry, so I'm ok there, but nothing on the artillery. My limited book collection told me that the French Army created a specialized artillery train, vice the civilians used early on in the Revolutionary period, and I ransacked the internet for images, using the chaps found here as my model. If you know something about the uniforms of the artillery train and have any suggestions, pray leave a comment.

Here are the results.

I primed these fellows using a black spraypaint, which I think will be preferred technique in this scale from now on, even though I am using white for larger figures. The black undercoat allows a few shortcuts, such as having the shakos and boots already done and giving the impression of lining out on crossbelts, etc.

For horses and tack, the black undercoat has obvious advantages as well, especially for black horses. I suppose I could go back and give these nags some white socks and blazes, perhaps in future when I do some cavalry.

The artillery wagons were painting in Vallejo Yellow Olive tempered with some black, giving me a colour which seemed accurate based on my research. I did find that Foundry makes paint for French artillery limbers and gun carriages in three shades, but I think I'll pass on that for now.

The bases are handcut MDF, and show my unsteady efforts with a craft knife, but they are ok from a distance, methinks, and sized as per the Poleomos rules from Bacchus that I ordered with these figures. I am not sure if I really NEED a four stand artillery train, but after working for years in 28mm, where I had to question the purchases of limbers, cassions and limber teams as an expensive luxury, creating artillery supply assets in this scale is too easy.

There is a four gun battery with limbers, plus a whole brigade of French line infantry, plus some accompanying light infantry, ready to go next, but I won't start them until 20 December, for reasons to be outlined in my next post, reasons which I am sure some of you can guess at.

Before I go, I am quite thrilled that my blog, a fitful and irregular thing, has reached 95 followers. Among the more recent, I welcome James, a Napoleonic gamer and blogger and devoted family man from the great state of Tennessee, and Andrew called Loki. Welcome and thank you, gents.

Blessings to your brushes and die rolls! Mike+

Monday, December 3, 2012

Charlock The Hunter

If there is a theme to this blog, (and if there is a pattern to my meanderings I am not sure I have yet discerned it), then this figure may be a bit of a departure.

Who is that sinister figure with the unfeasibly large sword? No, that's not Michonne,the Samurai Girl from The Walking Dead. She's the figure from the Bloodflower Nymphs pack, sold by Wargames Foundry and part of their Fantasy Range. I ordered some of Foundry's excellent ACW figures recently and decided to add this pack to my order. Why was the good Padre tempted by a bunch of wild woodland nymphs, I hear you ask. Ummmm, errr, well ... lovely figures, ain't they?

I suppose the real answer is that I wanted a change from painting 100 ACW figures, which can get monotonous after a while. Also, some of the first miniatures I ever painted in high school were fantasy figures for Dungeons and Dragons, so it felt like returning to my roots. It's not often I focus on painting a single figure, and this one was a lot of fun to paint, a great break when I couldn't face another twenty musket and carbine barrels.

The paint scheme was unadventurous, a rather slavish copy of Simon Bradley's palette choice on the Foundry website. However, the leopard skin was great fun to paint, and took some experiments in mixing orange paint before I was happy with the result. It doesn't quite show to advantage in these iphone photos, but you get the idea.

A tisket, a tasket, what's that in the basket? Eeeeekk! How gruesome! Charlock has indeed been hunting.

For now Charlock graces my display cabinet,frowning at the Nazi werewolf nearby. I'm really not sure what to do with her. The Minor Projects part of my brain is thinking that she and some of her sisters might make a terrible surprise for some Uruk Hai warriors from my LOTR collection if they blunder into a particularly enchanted part of the forest. Nymphs and dryads aren't specifically mentioned in Tolkein, but they might be logical neighbours for elves and tree ents. I'm not going to make the leap to dark ages skirmish gaming, like most everyone else in the hobby, otherwise Charlock might migrate to an Alt Dark Ages game. And that head in the basket does look vaguely Celtic ...

Blog Archive