Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Creepy Crawlies

I had enjoyed the humour that had crept into the creation of the ‘totems and tokens and traps’ and very much wanted to continue in this vein when looking for suitable models to represent the creepy crawlies that inhabit the jungles of the Congo. A visit to the local Poundland unearthed a wonderful pack of joke bugs for, well a £ naturally, and the first to be used was the large plastic spider. It was given a quick paint job and added to a themed base, but on reflection, I wonder if I should have used some sort of web effect!
The ants came in variety of colours, but I wanted mine to be fiery red and set about spraying them with the airbrush before adding a little sepia wash to bring out the different segments of the body.  Of course every self respecting ant needs a hill to protect and before long I was ordering up some of the ‘Warlord Games’ termite mounds that were originally created as part of the Sci-Fi game, Beyond the Gates of Antares.  
I had seen these on Lee Brady’s splendid weblog, ‘Harold’s Revenge’ and they proved just too tempting to resist.  Although perfect for the job and very easy to paint, I have to say I was a little disappointed when I finally got them in my hand; they felt a little rushed with the sculptor’s fingerprints still actually visible.  They certainly saved me some time, but again, I wonder if the same effect could have been achieved with some Milliput and a couple of MDF disks?
Finally, then the infamous Tsetse fly.  Young Master Awdry would often be found with his nose in an encyclopaedia greedily absorbing facts and figures and marvelling at pictures of animals from the far flung corners of the world.   Strangely the blood sucking carrier of sleeping sickness*, the Tsetse fly would always send a shiver down my spine, the thought of something so small having such a devastating effect clearly upset me.
*African trypanosomiasis
Looking at the remnants of my Poundland buy, I felt that the handful of houseflies that remained just didn’t look menacing enough, a drastic plan was called for!  In a feverish bout of madness, akin to a Victorian Lepidopterist or brattish schoolboy, I started to remove the clear plastic wings from the flies.  In a bid to represent the forward projecting, piercing, proboscis on the head, I drilled each one and inserted a small length of fuse wire.
Now attached by double sided tape, I sprayed them a base colour before adding a few details, here and there.  The wings were then carefully replaced and a dollop of fresh ‘blood’ added.  
In a bid to try and create a swarm effect, I stuck the individual beasties to a clear Perspex disk and attached a flight stand so they could swarm, annoyingly, at head height.  I always enjoy projects like this, where you just let your imagination run riot.  A hugely entertaining and rewarding process.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Happy Blogday '28mm Victorian Warfare'...

...7 today
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the creation of this humble weblog, something that I still find quite staggering given my complete inability to focus on anything for any given period of time.
Looking back at this time last year I was acknowledging the ever increasing series of avenues that this most wholesome of hobbies was opening up for me.  There seems, however, to have been somewhat of a watershed particularly given the success that was Congo.  Finally sitting down and planning a game, collecting and painting the miniatures and then inviting a couple of would be victims volunteers proved to be such a boon.  I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the adventure and still have a number of posts to make, logging the various components that went into making the day so successful.  It was as if a penny had finally dropped and I started to see the hobby for what it was.  I had always imagined that the collection would eventually lead to the tabletop, but I never envisaged that I would take so long.
What I did find though was that I was enjoying the thinking and planning about games just as much as I was the painting of the miniatures, this was the first time that there has been this discernible shift and it had a direct result on the status of the blog.  I think it would be fair to say that this has been a bit of a perfect storm as the epiphany has coincided with an incredibly busy upturn at work.  As I have mentioned before there is nothing sinister in this, just simply more to do and so less time for hobby related projects meant that some difficult choices had to be made.

So where does that leave this humble weblog and what thoughts are there for the future?  The joy of working towards a definitive outcome is clearly a goal that I would like to repeat and plans are afoot to host a similar day, but this time returning to the Witchfinder project.  Board games have played a huge part in my gaming development and it is unlikely that these will go away.  There is simply too much fun to be had with the likes of Zombicide:Black Plague.  In fact there are a number of avenues about to open up with the imminent arrival of Resident Evil, Smog and Green Horde.

Throw into the mix Imperial Assault and I have more plastic than I will ever paint and yet I have no doubt that something else will catch my eye over the coming months.  That said the continued collection of new titles is starting to trouble me.  As patient as the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' is there is a finite amount of space here at 'Awdry Towers' and questions are beginning to be asked!  This grim realisation that I don’t actually have to back everything will hopefully see a down turn on pledges and an increase in gaming.

I expect that there will continue to be the odd playful dalliance here and there, but I hope there will be less justification and a little more honesty in my approach.  “Yes, I am supposed to be painting lions, but that Tiger 101 was just far too tempting!”  So it is that I tentatively remove the dust sheets that have idled here at '28mm Victorian Warfare' for far too long and hope that I can find a way back to more regular posting habits.  Thank you for your patience. 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 a year in review ...

...and targets for 2018.
I do enjoy a review of the year; a spot of self indulgent retrospection never hurt anyone!  Mine, however, is going to start with an apology.  It would appear that I have rather fallen off the grid again, due to no more sinister reason than demands on my time.  These demands, and my involvement in the hobby juggernaut that is the 'VIII Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', have led me to the decision to 'mothball' 28mm Victorian Warfare for a couple of months.  The social interaction of Blogging has proved such an important part of my hobby, but I feel that this should be a reciprocal arrangement.  Posting my own progress without spending the time to see what is going on elsewhere, just feels rude.  I appreciate that this is a personal viewpoint, but not being able to comment. with any degree of regularity, on the much esteemed weblogs that I follow, has frustrated me and so I have decided to withdraw from our cozy corner of the Blogosphere until the balance of life is more favourably aligned.

Now don't think for one minute that this is due to a lack of interest; nothing could be further from the truth.  I have had a wonderful year, hobby wise, playing more games than ever before.  I have been fortunate to be supported in my endeavours by a good number of you, my gentle readers, and I thank you all!  I have been introduced to Bushido, which saw a dedicated table top gaming club set up at school.  Zombicide: Black Plague continued to bring excitement and hilarity, especially when played as Monty Python's Grail Knights.  I was indulged in my efforts to put on a game of Congo and guided, with exceptional kindness, through the possibilities of playing Imperial Assault as a solo venture.  Add to the mix the now firm favourites of Forgotten Heroes, Zomtober and Dinovember and it is easy to see how much fun I am having with the hobby at the moment.

The lure of the crowd funding platform that is Kickstarter continues to relieve me of my pocket money and as we start the year, I can looking forward to getting my hands on a veritable mountain of plastic that make up Zombicide: Green Horde, Smog and Resident Evil.  Whilst falling short of a bonafide addiction, I do get quite a buzz out of the process and enjoy being part of something from the start.  I doubt that I will every paint all that I have in my collection, but these types of games have introduced me to the delights of regular gaming as opposed to simple hoarding.  

So on to the review of last year's targets:
1 Play more games! Target Met! - Just as in previous years my gaming exploits were predominately board games, although 2017 did see the introduction of some new rules in the shape of Congo and Imperial Assault.  

2 Maintain a credible level of posts throughout the course of the year. I do not want to be prescriptive on this but will certainly look to maintain the interest in '28mm Victorian Warfare' by looking to post between 5 – 10 posts per month (a minimum of 60 posts for the year).   Target met! Only just though!  60 posts made in 2017 and a couple of those were fillers!  I think this downturn in posting reflects the increased demands on my time at work, but more positively the nature in which I am approaching the hobby.  I feel more engaged in what I am doing rather than just churning out an assortment of miniatures over the year.

3 Attend at least one convention/exhibition/expo this year. Target met! Salute 2017 and the newly titled Euro Miniature Expo continue to prove wonderful opportunities to inspire and delight. 

4 I would like to try to curb the additional expenditure on miniatures this year, or at least try to bring it into line with output. A simple tally score will suffice, hopefully something that will 'shame' me into being a little more restraint when it comes to all things hobby related. Target Met! Painted 174 - 157 Bought = +17 in credit! This seems on par with more recent years and I remain pleased with the level of consistency in my painting at present.   

According to my tally counter the numbers are as follows*:
Painted/constructed: 174
Bought: 157
Balance: +17
Detailed breakdown:
Foot: 85
Mounted: 1
Artillery: 3
Vehicles: 2
Buildings/Terrain pieces: 58
Livestock: 25
*All miniatures are 28mm scale unless otherwise stated

So what has 2018 in store for '28mm Victorian Warfare'? Well if I can match 2017 in terms of fun and achievements then I will be a very happy chap.  The actual targets will remain the same, one of my personal highlights was hosting a game and I would like to do something similar this year, perhaps taking the action to 17th Century England and the 'Witchfinder' world.  Imperial Assault will also be revisited, for no other reason than it makes me happy and I dare say that the arrival of a large box of zombie goblins and orks will see a call to arms to see off the Green Horde!  

There is a germ of an idea that might see a move into the realms of 'Survival Horror' and I look forward to seeing if Resident Evil will help with this.  Once again, my interest in Victorian Warfare seems to be woefully overlooked and I am acutely aware that this needs to be redressed. Rest assured, gentle reader, that there are no plans to rename the blog and that this will always remain a period that I will continue to return to.  

I would also like to keep my Instagram account a little more up to date, perhaps something I can continue to tinker with, whilst not blogging?

Just because I am not posting doesn't mean that I am not beavering away behind the scenes and if you feel that I can be of any help then do not hesitate to get in touch.  I wish you all well and hope to be removing the dust sheets sometime in the middle of March in time for 28mm Victorian Warfare's seventh Blogday!  There is just time enough to reset that 'Tally Counter' and present, in a roughly chronological order of creation, my efforts from 2017!

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