Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Miscellany.

Well known Ruritanian officer Kapitan Judas Monck Von Gruntfuttock, pictured here in the uniform he wore when facing the Viennese threat in the dark days of the 1740s. Austrian readers will no doubt have great difficulty identifying the facings and such, as their ancestors only ever saw him from the rear.

This handsome fellow is part of a very nice gift I received from my mother in law, the product of one of the two moulds she got for me at a toy soldier museum in Germany. The other chap is a grenadier in a firing pose. I've already considered the possibilities that headswaps present, but considering I only play Little Wars in 54mm and it would be a crime to fire a nerf dart at such an imaculately accoutred gentleman, I think his will be weak piping days of peace for the time being at least.

Our rather magnificent Christmas tree.

Christmas Day at work had been rough (who goes sight seeing on Christmas Day? Italians, it seems) and I was glad to get out. I collected Mrs. Kinch, headed up to my folks, brought Mrs. Kinch and the Pater & Mater to Mrs. Kinch's grandparents where four generations of that (now my family, I suppose) family chatted, ate, exhanged presents and had a great time. Pater & Mater enjoyed the brief flirtation with chaos and then beat a retreat to Christchurch where they settled down for a quiet and relaxing Christmas. We headed back to my maternal inlaws abode in Kingstown, where I took a nap in the afternoon (I had been up until 2 am Christmas Eve finishing presents for Mrs. Kinch's grandfather and great uncle, I only regret I did not have time to photograph the finished product) and rose to paint my officer.

Magnificent food was eaten and boardgames played and Mrs. Kinch (who hadn't yet recovered sadly, though she's fine now) and I retreated early to bed like the fun loving and happening young couple that we are, one Wii, many books and several excellent bottles of port the richer.

The rest of Christmas was spent in work for the most part, barring St. Stephen's day, though I've a few days off coming up now.

I've been thinking about where my wargaming is going at the moment and I think it's time for some state of the nation type thoughts so that I have a definate plan for where I'm going. My major goals are at present.

1. To paint less and play more or more precisely Umpire more, as off it's the role I most enjoy.
2. To get Little Wars off the ground.
3. To keep the Halberdiers a going concern at about one game a month.
4. To have sufficent painted figures to play Napoleonic and Ruritanian wargames.

With number four in mind I think my major issue at present is the lack of cavalry. Most scenarios require a few squadrons and at present I can muster 8 Light Dragoons and 17 Dragoons. Considering the amount of time that cavalry demands, I beginning to think that perhaps a painting service might not be a bad investment of my limited wargaming budget. The question of course remains whether figures that I haven't painted myself will actually ever be really mine.

I don't suppose there's any way to find out for sure without comissioning a regiment. I've heard good things of Fernando Enterprises in Sri Lanka, I might order some troops from my birthday.

French artillery from Zvesda, magnificent figures with a great deal of detail. The chaps on the left need to be flocked and varnished, while the others are mid way through the spray and pray process.
Click for a larger image.

These chaps are a few of the crew of some French guns that I've been experimenting with. I really like the elaborate uniforms of the Napoleonic period, but less so the time required to paint them. As a result I've tried spraying the figure with a base coat, perhaps with a wash to follow and then just picked out what detail I thought was necessary. The end result isn't too bad and looks well from a distance. What it lacks in precision it makes up in speed.


  1. I like the way in which you have painted your French artillery crew. I have recently tried to paint figures using a faster method that uses an ink wash to bring out the detail, although as I tend to paint WW2 figures the simpler uniforms and neutral colours do make life easier anyway.
    I have used painting services in the past (but not Fernando's) for some 15mm figures and have been happy with the results. I sometimes add a bit of detail myself to make them 'mine' and I always do my own basing. I would suggest sending one unit and seeing how they turn out; afterall, if you don't like the results you can always get some of your money back by selling them on ebay.

  2. Thanks for your very kind comments about the Frenchers. Who have you used in the UK? UK based services are looking very attractive at the moment, because of the favourable sterling rate.

  3. Happy New Year, sirrah!

    I'll echo Bob's comments on the artillery - very nice! Presumably you sprayed them the blue uniform colour so that you only had to paint details???

  4. Yup. It was the dark blue spray from Army Builder. Much the same tactic, though with far less care, that will be deployed to paint the Little Wars figures.

  5. Talk to us about Army Builder spray...
    In other news came across this post (may be useful for your early history of Ruritania)

  6. Interesting stuff. I have absolutely no intentions of writing any about Ruritania outside of the 19th century grand narrative/great man school of history with the 21st century reader reading between the lines as they see fit.

    I would say Ruritania underwent a largely unsuccessful wave of Alcuin style conversion and then a more successful stage of the Alcuin sort.

    Reviews of Army Builder sprays to follow.