Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Holidays & a touch of Dutch.

Mrs. Kinch really did an excellent job didn't she?

On the 20th, I handed in my last two essays and began two weeks of glorious time off from school. I will be working over Christmas, but to be honest, only working one job is going to be a wonderful relief. All the better, on the 21st we had the annual gathering of friends of the Kinchs. Mrs. Kinch did a wonderful job making sure everything was ready and it was great to see everyone.  It was just a wonderful convivial time and the company were in such good spirits. It was the best. 

A picture stolen from the Internet. Much like my bicycle.

I indulged in some unmanly winging in my last blog post - something of which I am too often guilty, but I was well and truly browned off having had my debit card and my bicycle stolen.  I managed to cancel the card, though whoever ended up with it attempted to use it some hours later. Just goes to show that there is no harm in taking that sort of action quickly. 

I was particularly miffed about my bike, mainly as I'd had some work done on it the week before and had some parts replaced. But lo and behold, I was in the library the following day polishing off my Constitutional Law essay when I saw a young fellow pushing a bike down the street. I looked a second time and then realised that it was very familiar. 

I think he realised he was for it when I let out a roar of anger and he took to his heels, dropping the bike, I'm lucky he didn't mount it or he'd have smoked me completely. So one escaped miscreant, but I got my bicycle back which was a huge relief. Cost me the price of a new lock, but on the whole, I count myself very lucky. 

You may remember this fellow from 2012, when I warned Alan that he would progress with glacial slowness. I was not wrong it would appear. This is a 17th century Dutch musketeer and a very fine fellow he is.  I despaired of ever finishing him and when Krisztian offered the services of a friend of his with an interest in large scale figures, I jumped at the chance. 

I must say Krisztian's pal has done a bang up job, really fantastic and certainly miles better than I would have done. Harry Pearson in "Achtung Schwinehundt" makes an argument that toy soldier collectors are a different breed to wargamers and he is no doubt right.  I am definitely a wargamer, but every so often I have a hankering for a beautiful thing for it's own sake and this Dutchman is the fruits of the hankering. 

The builder, I'm ashamed to say I don't know his name, has altered the model somewhat, but I think it makes it all the better. The animation of the face and the naturalness of the pose are just breath taking. 

 It is a bit silly that a material thing can bring me so much pleasure, but that it does so is inarguable. I'm still debating where I shall put him when I finally take delivery, but he really is fine. His brother, a trooper of the Lifeguards, sits on my desk and is very pleasant to look at. 

I think he may live on my desk as well or possibly the mantle piece in the War Room, but we shall see. Though going back to my previous blog entry on him - I realise that I never did finish "With Pike and Dyke" by GA Henty.  I must go back to that. 

Just look at that face and the delicate blending on the fabric.  There's a character to give King Phillip a sleepness night or two and no mistake. 

One of having a little time with nothing more strenuous then some desultory Christmas shopping was I had the chance to do a spot of reading. This presented itself by chance more than anything and I really enjoyed it. Christie is really more Mrs. Kinch's thing than mine - but this is probably the least Christie-ish of her books that I've read. 

The novel is a short one, more of a collection of short stories really.  The protagonist is an Englishman called Satterthwaite who meets a mysterious character, named Quin, who inveigles him into solving mysteries and righting wrongs. The stories have a strange almost dreamlike quality to them. There is a good deal of contrivance, but the thrust of the storytelling carries the stories along without you wondering too much about it. 

In many ways, the stories are reminiscent of the best of GK Chesterton. They have a curious fairytale logic about them that I found quite enchanting.  I had not suspected that Christie would be able to carry off that sort of thing, but she did and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I shan't write more, so as not to spoil them, but they are well worth reading and quite short. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Getting there

Getting this home is one of the best jobs of the year

Mrs. Kinch and I were talking about the year in review last night and it appears that 2014 will not be one remembered with great fondness. I think in retrospect that view may have been somewhat coloured by the fact that yesterday did not go brilliantly, but every household has its own troubles. 

In light of recent events in Pakistan, our problems are shown to be so utterly trivial that allowing them to spoil things seems a shabby and unmanly thing to do. Work and school are stretching us, but alot of that pressure will be coming off on the 20th.  

In the mean time, I think we will focus on those many things that we have to be thankful for, not least the arrival of our magnificent Christmas tree. Mrs. Kinch did a cracking decorating job on it and also on the floor of the living room, now newly washed, stained and varnished. There's a rug coming for it, but that won't be until the New Year. 

I lack the words to describe how happy this makes me. It is the everything of home. 

A horde of dastardly Frenchers

In between wrestling with Constitutional Law essays, our finances and the logistics of Christmas, I had a chance to unpack some French infantry that I picked up from a chap that was selling a diorama. I based these last night and they look very fine. I'll be substituting some of my French line in great coats for these fellas and transfering the great coated men to my 1848 forces. 

Anyway this Criminal Law essay isn't going to write itself. More in a few days. 

A very Merry Christmas to you all. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Just a spot of unseemly gloating


This arrived this morning - which I am inordinately pleased with. Now as it happens, this is the fifth Command & Colours Napoleonic box I've bought from GMT games over the years.  

General Du Gourmand always orders the same stuff - sometimes later than I - and has always received his first. Not only that, but my box was on every occasion seized by Customs for extra taxes. 

But not this time. 

Artists impression of Kinch at this point. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finished Austrian Artillery

The Battery

I finished off the Austrian battery during a spare hour.  It's a simple paintjob, but it does the business.  The guns were painted by Krisztian Takacs. 
Look over there!

Now that these fellas are done, I only have to sort out the horse artillery to have the artillery arm completely finished. 

Gun crew number 1

If we're going to play some Overlord games, I may need to recruit some more.  But for the time being, these are plenty.  I have the remainder of the set laid away. The basing was done in the usual style and while it does put brown with brown, it looks rather better when placed with other figures. 

Class Photo

Because I use figures from a variety of sources,  I keep to one house style for basing which I find ties disparate figures together regardless of manufacturer or painting style. 

Class Photo Number Two

Things are pretty busy here between assignments due, work and Christmas, but Mrs. Kinch is doing her best Elizabeth Montgomery impression and things are firmly in hand. To be honest, I can't wait until the 19th when school closes for a glorious two weeks.  I have been able to take some leave for that period, so Mrs. Kinch and I should be work and school free for a couple of days. It's going to be heavenly

Mrs. Kinch's best helper - plum tuckered out after a hard evenings wrapping. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

HAT Austrian Artillery

HAT Austrian Artillery

Mrs. Kinch and I had a rare day off together today. We ate leftovers and sat on the couch and watched films and it was glorious. In between another project, I decided that I might do a job on some Austrian gunners as I thought that this might be a job that I could finish at a sitting.  

I found these images on the HAT website and they serve pretty well. I don't think I'll mess about too much with the detail of the cockade or the shoulder boards, but I managed to get the broad strokes done in a single sitting. I only need three gun crews for my Austrian army, so nine figures is plenty. 

Group shot

I sprayed these fellas with Army Painter brown spray and then threw a quick wash of Devlan mud over them. After that it was pretty much painting by numbers, the trick was just to make sure I was careful in applying my colour so I didn't have too many corrections to do. 

Man with stick

I have some 1848 Austrian gun crews that Krisztian did for me, based on Hat Swedish figures, but the uniform changes between 1815 and 1848, but I can use the guns interchangeably.   These fellows are almost done, needing I think one movies worth of time to finish them off. 

Man with other stick

None of these are going to win any beauty pageants, but they are perfectly workmanlike figures with a perfectly workmanlike paint job.  I wanted to pick something small as with another four  assignments due by the 14th, I won't have time to devote to anything more complicated. 

Man with yet another stick (aka a rammer)

I'll post pictures once I've finished them off as I've made a hole in another painting project that is slowly going ahead. And more on that anon.