Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Follow the Adventure.

It has to be said that I have not been social media's greatest advocate.  The day job throws up too many instances of how in the hands of brutal, callous and quite frankly stupid people it can be such a destructive force.  That said the cosy corner of the Blogosphere that '28mm Victorian Warfare' inhabits has been nothing but a joy.  My hobby has flourished with the support of its followers and I have made genuine friendships along the way.  This has prompted me to explore other avenues, but as is always the way I seem to lack the impetus to maintain the initial enthusiasm and so they have fallen into disuse, gradually buried under a shroud of virtual dust.

As a result, I have decided to use the summer holiday as an opportunity to explore and experiment with a couple of different platforms, whilst dusting off some existing ones.  Now I used to have a Facebook profile, but decided that this wasn't for me.  I am, at heart, a very private person and so while I am happy to share my hobby progress or hobby related visits, I wasn't sure the world was ready for my extended wisdom, extolling the virtues of the J. D. Wetherspoon's traditional breakfast whilst waiting for one's dry cleaners to open. 
Similarly I had already set up a Twitter account, although I am ashamed to say three years ago now, so have dusted this off.  Twitter is a curious thing that I have to confess that I don't fully understand, but I have subsequently followed a couple of the companies that I use and can instantly see how product updates and customer galleries could prove enriching.  Fear not, good reader, as I am not about to hang on every tweet of @POTUS or start engaging in the politically biased banter* that seems to proliferate today's society.  That said, I can see a genuine benefit to my hobbying world so happy to give it another go over the summer.
*A word that makes me cringe overtime I hear it used as an excuse for shameful humiliation of others.
Pinterest has always intrigued me and will be another platform that I intend to investigate in more detail.  I use a lot of web based research when it comes to painting my miniatures and more often than not save these to 'my photos' on my computer to use at a later date.  Of course this means that I have no end of random images interspersed with holiday snaps making locating them, when needed, often time consuming.  The idea of dedicated 'pin' boards to relevant subjects makes perfect sense, especially when we consider that they also credit and link to the original hosting.
More recently, I was taken with the way that some of my pupils were using Instagram as a creative tool to log progress with their ongoing projects and this has inspired me to give it a go myself.  I like the idea that progress can be shown through a trail of individual images, forming chapters in a project's development, that and it has some rather fun filters to play with!  

Now, let's be clear this is not some great conversion to the instant gratification of social media and I certainly don't envisage a raft of posts, tweets or pins documenting my every move or paint stroke, but I will certainly look to explore, over the coming month, whether or not these 'tools', as I like to think of them, will further benefit my enjoyment of this most wholesome of hobbies.

The first tentative steps along the road to media enlightenment have seen me redesign the appropriate icons to something more befitting the dusty halls of '28mm Victorian Warfare'.  These, in turn, have been linked, after a considerable amount of research and the occasional blue word, to their respective site and our now safely located on the right sidebar of this humble weblog, do feel free to follow the adventure.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


In a bid to even up the sides, I have been beavering away on my Forest Tribes column.  Deep in the jungle our fearless adventurer has discovered an old and mysterious race of Pygmies led by their eccentric and demonstrative King.  
These are, of course, from the 'Wargames Foundry' Darkest Africa range and comprise of the Pygmy Chief Mbuti and his Pygmy Bodyguard.  I have selected my favourite six sculpts for our encounter along with the freebie spearman that was being given away at 'Salute'.*
*He is the chap with the fixed spear and a rather splendid pair of earrings. 
Although not immediately apparent, I have based them on slightly smaller 20mm metal washers to help convey their diminutive scale.  What they lack in stature these fearsome warriors will make up for in fortitude, particularly with the addition of the King whose addition to the group sees their Bravery Stat rise from a D8 to a D10.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Trained Askari

Work continues apace here at Awdry Towers with regards to the assembly of forces required for our forthcoming game of 'Congo'.  The latest troops off the production line are the Askaris and mine have come from 'Copplestone Castings', now available through 'North Star Military Figures'.
These have wonderfully characterful faces and the rest of the sculpts are refreshingly simple with just the right amount of detail to work with.  Mine will make up the ranks of a White Man Expedition force, which has a particularly British feel to it at present and I thought that the khaki uniform might help to further unify them.  
There is an option to either field Trained Askari, armed with rifles or regular Askari, with muskets.  Clearly there is a difference in value and range of weapon and I shall need to think about the balance of the column before I decide which variant I will use.  Not  sure that there is any historical accuracy in the red caps, but they stir fond memories of all those adventure films I remember from my youth. 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Bear with me.

Now I was hoping that with the start of the summer holidays that I would find myself with hour upon hour of precious hobby time, sadly this has proved not to be the case!  The ubiquitous 'things to do' list seemed to grow exponentially, not unlike the weeds in our garden, and as the academic year came crashing to an end, I just stopped.  Now feeling a little more rested I have started to build a routine that will hopefully allow me to return to Blogging with more vim and vigour.
As I mentioned in my previous post the hobby focus for this summer is to host a game of 'Congo' and with a couple of dates in mind it has been all steam ahead!  Now I had thought that I had assembled and prepped all the miniatures required for the scenario that I have in mind, but only the other day I found myself making yet another order to 'North Star Miniatures' for something that I just couldn't live without - it would appear that you can never have enough Ruga Ruga!
Anyway, I digress, but let me assure you, good reader, that miniatures are being painted and jungle is steadily amassing and so to keep up with progress, I thought that I would share these four 'Wargames Foundry' Bearers.  Essential to any expedition, Bearers in 'Congo' are a relatively cheap addition to the column and whilst don't add anything to the group's firepower or melee potential they do allow the group to ignore the effect of a movement stress token*, hopefully giving the intrepid explorers an slight advantage as they race to capture the sacred objectives.
*The token still counts as a stress token though.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Welcome to the Jungle!

The end of another busy academic year looms into sight and whilst there seems to be no end of little jobs that must be completed before our charges head off for their summer holidays, I have managed to find some time to start to plan my own summer project.
Now before I go any further, I need to say a big Thank You to 'Wargames Foundry', as having picked up a copy of the Congo rules along with the Adventure Pack at 'Salute' earlier in the year, I discovered that one of my bearers had a touch of metal fatigue! This appeared more than just a break, possibly something amiss with the casting? Although not the end of the world, as the rest of the box were fine, I felt that I should make the company aware of a potential problem.
Perhaps more frustrating though was that one of the scenarios or bulletins, editions 3 & 4 as it happens, were printed in French. This was a tad problematic as young Master Awdry struggled to grasp any languages whilst at school and as a result my very poor schoolboy French was simply not up to the job of translating the document. Well I am delighted to report that 'Wargames Foundry' could not have been more apologetic and helpful with replacements for both concerns immediately dispatched. With such good customer service, it will come as no surprise to hear that I have subsequently added a couple more packs of their splendid miniatures to the every growing lead mountain.
I have always had a hankering to explore darkest Africa in 28mm and when I went in search of miniatures that might be suitable for the adventures to come, I wasn't surprised to find that I had a good many units painted or primed and a good many more eagerly awaiting to be liberated from their plastic prisons.  Progress is definitely being made and having decided on a scenario and with a date in mind for the first encounter it is full steam ahead! 
There is certainly plenty to do with just the miniatures alone, but the biggest hurdle is going to be the terrain build.  I have been putting off making jungle terrain for far too long, but now it simply needs to be done.  Fortunately I have stumbled across a couple of great tutorials on other blogs and have started amassing the bits and pieces required.  All I need now are for the school gates to close for summer and this will be one of the first jobs tackled.  
Of course I couldn't resist getting all the toys out and having a look at what could be used in the future as well as treating myself to a couple of new additions in the shape of some plastic counters and MDF measuring sticks from 'Blotz' and a rather splendid faux leopard skin dice bag ordered through 'Glenbrook Games'.
So expect more updates through July as the adventurers are assembled ahead of their expedition into the dark and sweltering jungle of the Congo where cannibal tribes and Pygmies await.   

Monday, 26 June 2017

In Full Bloom!

Some with the end of June fast approaching I am delighted to present for your delight and delectation my completed ‘Audrey II’.  This has been, without doubt, one of my most ridiculous undertakings to date, but one that has proved to be a truly delightful distraction.
When it came to the painting, I slowly, but surely, started to build up the layers of green around the base and neck leaving only the mouth to contend with.  This has been my greatest worry throughout the build, but in the end I used the musical version of ‘Audrey II’ as a point of reference and enjoyed the added splash of colour the mouth and lips brought to the piece.
Whilst I knew that I wanted to pay homage to the intergalactic, carnivorous plant star of the 1986 musical film, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, I could not have envisaged the way the project developed and led to all sorts of wonderful diversions.   
Even with the addition of cast members and companion pieces, my addled brain continues to dream up additional accessories and scenarios.  Already plans are afoot for a more permanent home for 'Audrey II' and this in turn might call for a return to my 'Paranormal Exterminators' project, perhaps even calling in assistance from 'Mystery Inc.'
All that remains is to thank all my fellow contributors that have helped make this another great year of madcap modelling, sculpting, cutting and converting, but a special thanks must go to Roger Webb who has tirelessly reposted all our entries on to the ‘Forgotten Heroes’ site.  I leave with one final shot as 'Audrey II' makes an exciting discovery in the lost lands of 'Awdry Towers'!
I've given you sunlight
I've given you rain
Looks like you're not happy
'Less I open a vein

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

An Ensemble Cast

Audrey: I don't believe it.
Audrey II: Believe it, baby. It talks.
Audrey: Am I dreaming this?
Audrey II: No, and you ain't in Kansas, neither.
Throughout the build it has been important to keep an idea of scale and whilst I accept that there is a little leeway when it comes to an accurate portrayal of an intergalactic carnivorous plant, hell bent on world domination, the constant presence of Seymour Krelboined* has help keep the project on an even keel.   Now admittedly my Seymour, actually an ‘Artizan Designs’ Dr. Bell, reminds me a little more of the Florist’s owner Mr. Mushnik, but nevertheless his unwavering commitment to the project has seen him bumped up the painting queue.
*Changed to Krelborn in the musical.
It was whilst I was putting the final touches to Seymour’s tatty jacket that I started to wonder if I had any other suitable miniatures that could pass as members of the cast?  As luck would have it my latest ‘Studio Miniatures’ Horror Characters Kickstarter threw up a potential dentist in the shape of a Peter Cushing inspired sculpt – a truly terrifying prospect, but what about the luckless Audrey?
This proved a tad more problematically as it appears that I have a shortage of sorrowful looking, female sculpts, but as luck would have it I spotted a potential plant food wannabe on the ‘Crooked Dice’ website, simply known as the Duchess and decided to treat myself – all in the name of completion you understand.
So cast assembled it is time to return to the task in hand.
Paint me!  Paint me now!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

An Amuse-bouche.

Seymour: It's true! I chopped him up. But I didn't kill him!
I used to worry about my inability to focus, but more recently I have decided to embrace it, to see where it takes me.  More often than not these flights of fancy lead to dead ends, but occasionally one takes hold and really lifts off.  So it was with this project as when I was assembling ‘Audrey II’, I found myself imagining different uses for all the redundant bits and pieces that I had collected during the build.  Before long a couple of little companion pieces were assembled, which I present for you here.
The first, ‘Audrey Jnr.’ started life as a simple bud, found amongst the assorted broken silk flowers and leaves that I had stashed away. It just seemed to cry out to me, “Feed me, Seymour!” and so before long I was looking for something suitable to plant him in. This flowerpot was made from a slender cardboard tube, with a simple cardboard lip. Using an off cut of the identical resin flagstone that had formed the base for the main build things were soon underway.
A couple of planting trays from ‘Supreme Littleness’ and some small dolls house terracotta flowerpots started to give the impression of a forgotten corner of Mushnik’s Florist. It still needed something extra though and by chance I unearthed the final element, a ‘S & D models’ metal watering can.
The other piece is a little darker and simply known as the ‘feeding station’.  For some reason I found myself wondering how Seymour would be able to feed the plant as it started to dwarf him? By climbing up his step ladder of course!  The floor is once again the now familiar resin flagstones with the rest of the elements predominately made up from various ‘S &D models’*, all originally bought a while ago as part of a now long forgotten greenhouse project.  The final addition of a couple of bags of miracle grow and some serious gore saw this particular flight of fancy exhausted.
*Available through Forty-Third Limited
Back to the build proper and 'Audrey II' has had an undercoat and a couple of passes with the trusty airbrush and I have to say that I am rather pleased with the results.  Everything is still holding and the green has had the unifying effect that I had hoped for!
Finally then, just a reminder that all the posts for this year's 'Forgotten Heroes' event have been dutifully reposted by the ever efficient 'Roger Webb' and can be viewed as a collective over at the official site 'here'.
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