Saturday, 31 January 2015

Where did January go?

I can't believe we are almost in the second month of the year! I went back to work 2 and a half weeks ago, but took the last Thursday and Friday of the holidays off to head back to the beach. This week saw the students back in at school and next week we'll be back into it like the holidays had never happened.
Despite January's unreasonable swiftness, progress has been made on a number of wargames fronts. For a start, I now have all the figures for my Great Northern War and Samurai projects, and the majority of the figures for the Great Paraguayan War. I thought I'd do a review of some of these figures.
Mounted Samurai from Outpost Wargames Services. Very nicely detailed with separate swords to be glued on.
Foot Samurai from the same range. I think that the raised detail will make the otherwise daunting Samurai armour much easier to paint.
Overall, I'm really impressed with the Outpost Wargame Services figures. Nicely detailed but not overly so. The plan is that the DBA Samurai will be next on the painting tray.

Russian dragoon in kartuz hat for the Great Northern War. The Irregular figures are good solid wargames figures with a minimum of detail but clear areas to paint. 
A Swedish Dragoon officer in karpus.
A Swedish infantryman. There is very little definition to the face - this will have to be hinted at with the brushwork. Given that I plan to paint these with black line as I did the Crimean War project, it should be simple enough to create an impressionistic face.
Swedish infantry officer. Again, everything is there that needs to be there.
A Swedish pikeman.
I'm quite pleased with the Irregular Miniatures figures for the Great Northern War. After painting up the Crimean War figures that I had which were minimal in detail but were clearly defined, I quite enjoyed the effect of the massed armies using the black-lining technique. I am looking at doing the same with this project, although as there is a variation of quite bright colours I may use two tones here and there. The figures were generally quite easy to clean up, but every now and then there was a howler which was more flash than figure. To my relief I found it very easy to clean, and once removed the figure was fine - none of that problem where the two halves of the mold haven't aligned and your figure looks like Two Face from Batman.

I sold off my Napoleonics - yes that is now 8 times I have bought a Napoleonic army/armies and sold them without painting them, but who is counting - and reinvested the money into Paraguayan figures from QRF's Freikorps 15 range. Having done that I was left contemplating the $200 dollars I'd have to find to put together the Brazilians. Then I remembered that Paul at our club had a whole pile of unpainted Freikorps ACW figures. I went around to visit him, prepared to exchange some 28mm WWII for some 15mm figures if they were suitable. Well, they most certainly were. Amongst the figures he had a pile of infantry in gum blanket:
ACW08 Hat, Gum blanket, marching
A photo of the infantry in gum blanket from the QRF website.
I took one look and shouted 'ponchos'! I mixed them in with other figures in slouch hats for 5 battalions worth of Brazilians and also constructed 3 battalions of kepi-wearing infantry, 4 regiments of cavalry and 4 guns. Now all I need are command figures, artillery crew and a unit of gauchos - about $40, which will be much easier to find. To top it all off Paul said that I didn't need to swap - I could have them! Best priced project ever! Are they perfectly accurate? No, but at 15mm the inaccuracies will pretty much disappear beneath the brightly coloured ponchos!

I finished my fortified camp and today added a chevaux de frise from Irregular miniatures. Hopefully I'll finish that off this weekend.
I'll be using this in just about every period.
On other fronts, I have joined the Continental Wars Society and ordered the CD of back issues of the Foreign Correspondent newsletter from 1 through to 69. As I make my way through them I am consistently inspired to want to try new periods - like the Portuguese Civil War or Garibaldi in Naples, or the Hungarian uprising. The price is incredibly cheap - it cost me the princely sum of 25 NZ pesos to join for a year and order the CD. The expensive part is the constant 'ohhh shiny' moments I am now having. If you have an interest in the area I thoroughly recommend you email Ralph Weaver and join!

Marvel have the rights to the Star Wars universe again, and a new Star Wars series is available. The first issue was really good, and I feel it is worth continuing with. In order to subscribe I had to find the monthly money from somewhere, so I have sacrificed my subscription to Miniature Wargames with Battlegames. I've been contemplating this for sometime as I haven't been finding this magazine of much interest. There is maybe one, or in a good month two articles that I am eager to read, but all too often I find myself skipping through to the end and thinking 'is that it?' I used to love Miniature Wargames because it was the kind of magazine that seemed aimed at the ordinary wargamer (and I always enjoyed Gary Mitchell's columns), and I loved Battlegames because it had some very thoughtful articles (Dan Mersey's DBA campaign system from issue 2 is still a real highlight). But since the merger it feels like it has lost what was special about both.  I'm a bit sad about this, because Henry is a genuinely nice bloke (not that I've met him, apart from on a few forums) and because I would like to support the wargames press. In the end though, choices have to be made with the cash available, so MWwBG has joined Wargames Illustrated in the group of discarded subscriptions. This just leaves Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy which is, without doubt, my favourite magazine and delivers just what I want. The only downside being that it only delivers every two months!

Speaking of hard choices, I've been faced with the decision of whether or not to put my hand up to help out with Peter Jackson's Gallipoli diorama. My first impression on hearing the news was one of excitement, but then I thought about it realistically. How could I commit to paint forty 54mm figures in two months? And the painting guides use GW or Tamiya - but I'm strictly Vallejo. I have painting commission work for Geoff and I have my endless array of projects to work through. Oh yes, and I work and have a family. So in the end I haven't volunteered. I'm sure they will get plenty of other people willing to help out, but for me it just isn't practicable.

Maybe February will be a bit slower...



  1. Nate, like you I was reall enthused by the idea of painting some of the WWI 54mm figures - it is such an amazing project. But like you real life intrevened.

    1. Just really poor timing Mark. This is one of the busiest parts of the year as I try to get all of the NCEA internal assessments out of the way. A bit more lead time would have been nice.

  2. Nice assortment of figures Nate, should keep you out of trouble! The raised details on the Samurai will be a big help. I think the WW1 project sounds a bit hopeful. I do hope it gets completed, but it's a big ask on a tight deadline.

    1. I guess the logisitics make it difficult - I could commit to paint maybe a dozen, but I don't think anyone else in our club has the time to paint the rest at the moment either.

  3. Cool projects Nate. I have put my hand up to do a few of the WW1 fig's. I too just don't have the time to commit. They should have organised this thing last year!!

    1. Good on you for helping out Rodger. I think you guys are able to share the load a bit more down south - like some of the other bigger clubs and cities, but you are right, the call needed to go out in January 2014!