Monday, 31 December 2012

End of 2012.....


.....And the beginning of 2013 beckons. I've had a relatively good year after losing my wargaming mojo completely. Setting up the blog has been instrumental in this. Photographing and writing up the projects has given me new impetus as well as an insight into the thinking of others' via their own blogs.

I've enjoyed building my two 54mm FLW armies, especially since the Anahuacan one started life as a Villista army for a Mexican Revolution project. My favourite is the Tarbooshian Army with all its contradictions and impossibilities. All made possible by the fantastic nature of FLW.

On other fronts I've re-activated two 28mm projects. One based around the movie Underworld and the other around 1970s Cops & Robbers. I've enjoyed the detailing of these figures after so much, equally enjoyable, toy-soldier style paint jobs.

I want to play more games and visit more wargames events in 2013. I've managed one game only this year: a 1/72 scale Crossfire one and that simply will not do!

This is also the first anniversary of me starting swing-dancing. I wish I'd done it sooner but I didn't. That said it remains the best fun you can have with your kit on. I get to dress smartly in a 1940s style and dance with the most amazingly beautiful and stylish ladies too.

And there was cake.

To conclude. Thank you for your support, advice and guidance since late August 2012 and I wish you all a happy 2013 and a bright future too!

All the best

Friday, 28 December 2012

Bienvenidos a mi blog!

To newest blog follower: Virginia.

She's lovely, goes dancing with me and obviously loves boys toys. Outstanding!


Steve whose own blog is well worth a look!

Un abrazo!

Get Your Trousers On! You're......etc etc

Back on the backlog clearance trail and I've opened a box of figures & rules for Geezers! Shut It! Yet another project that's been languishing in development hell for, oooo, ages. I do remember sub-contracting some of the figure painting out to a girlfriend of mine. We split up not long after but I don't think this had anything to do with it. She did quite a nice job considering she'd never painted 28mm figures before. Their time spent in storage porridge had left them knocked about. So I was forced to tidy up the blaggers she'd done. I also painted up two armed coppers; one chap with a Sterling SMG; two women, sorry birds. One of whom looks like she's on her way to a Lambs Navy Rum photo-shoot via a Hai-Karate advert. The Lynx of its day. The other bird is best left undescribed........

I've been watching 'The Sweeney' & 'Life On Mars' DVD box sets over Christmas. For entertainment value but also for, vibrant, background colour. Especially for the clothes of that decade. The clothes.............

The toys are painted in what I believe are authentic renderings of 1970s fashion, colours and taste. Whether that is good or bad I leave to you, Dear Reader. Any migraines or flashbacks induced by the images posted below I apologise for.

I also have a collection of vehicles and buildings for the game but more of them later. I've also left out the pic of one female figure who would be described by my Mother as 'A Right One'.

Theresa Thruppnees
Local Bird, likes eating at Berni Inns

Nostrils Newman with his trademark sawn-off.
I originally painted his balaclava in the style of the ski-masks sported by the villains in Chalk & Cheese. The toy looked like he was sporting a tea-cosy and was the laughing stock of the gang. 

Soft Terry says No shootahs! 
This chap is wearing one of his trouble's stockings. Hence his slightly flayed alive look.

Jimmy the Git
Just gimme the moolah and no-one gets 'urt. Right?

Pump-Action Paul
'E was wearing ox-blood Doctor Martin's, officer

Copper, Special Branch or Insane Villain?

Flying Squad Skipper
Drop it!

Flying Squad Guv'nor 
You're nicked!

They just need their bases doing in an urban style, bit of high-lighting and then varnishing. 'Andsome!

As always comments are very welcome.

All the best!

Christmas Take 2

Today has been a wonderful day. After spending 25th on my own in a completely planned day it was wonderful to have my kids visit me today. The gifts that had been under the tree for an extra two days were dished out. I cooked a lovely dinner and they set the table and cleared away for me afterwards. Board games were followed by more food and two thirds of LOTR. I think we all passed out around the time of the Helm's Deep battle. They've not long gone home and have left me with even more food than I started the day with: tough job but I can hack it.

They gave me some wonderful gifts but my absolute fave is this swing-dance tie. Original, hand-painted on heavy red silk. Tis a thing of beauty:

All the best!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Dorset Apple Cake

I made a Dorset Apple Cake this afternoon. It's not bad but hasn't risen as much as I'd expected, more baking powder next time I think. Anyways it tastes fine and that's all that matters!

Seconds out of the oven

Cooled and ready for a taste test

Time for a cup of tea and a slice of cakey with clotted cream.


You Did Load With Silver Bullets, Didn't You?

I hope that you all had a smashing Christmas and had fun whether you were alone or with family and/or friends. I spent Christmas Day alone; worry not, it was all planned that way and I had a really good day. DVD heaven in the form of 'The Sweeney', 'Life on Mars' & 'The Pacific', whiskey and soda and a delicious dinner. My children are coming to stay tomorrow so it's Christmas take 2 and time to open the presents that still adorn the tree - YAY!!

I finished off the Lycan toys late yesterday. I've decided that dead Lycans can be re-cycled back into play to reflect the seemingly limitless numbers of dog-soldiers in the movie. I have also decided to buy one more 'Street Violence' pack from Foundry to beef up the Vampires in the face of the Lycan hordes-u-like menace.

Here's some shots of the Lycans in their lair:

I've also built some terrain features for the Lycans' lair from salvaged bits from a a broken telly. The boards are from the 'Dungeons and Dragons' boxed game set.

I must get around to writing some rules soon. Thank dog I bought a copy of Featherstone's 'Skirmish Wargaming' off  John Curry in October!

All the best!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Beware The Moon.......

Actually the werewolves/lycans in Underworld are able to transform from human to werewolf by simply removing their jacket and pushing their face out. No lunar involvement necessary. This is a neat trick but it has a flaw. In human form they can use guns; as werewolves they can't. So they have to get in close to their vamp-vic or it's the dead-dog-ditch for them if the vamp's armed. If not, well it's vienna-slice time for the vamp.

I've taken some pix of the werewolves at the start of their paint journeys. Four of them are from the Dr Who toy figures released a while ago. One I remember buying at Derby a million years ago but don't know the maker. The three in human form are, I think, Perry in origin. I sliced off and re-positioned the arms on some of the lycans to make them more individual. And frankly scary. Imagine one of them jumping on you while you make your way through their dark lair?

Rover, Towzer, Jimbo, Mr.Pickles

Terrifying, eh?

Dog Soldiers

The Chuckle Brothers

All the best!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

My Chr*stmas Tree

I've been out dancing tonight at the Christmas Swing Dance in Kings Heath, Brum. It was toptastic!

This afternoon I decide to put up my festive tree. Here's some pics of it loitering in the living room:

Friday, 14 December 2012

Why Are You Looking At My Throat?

Vampiric progress has been slow this week. The chilly weather and the fact that I seem to be permanently cold are the main factors. Last night was dreadful and deciding that if I couldn't sleep I might as well do get up and get painting. So, fortified with tea, toast and Test Match Special I got on with it.

Of the original seven vampires 5 are nearing completion; the other two should catch up by Sunday. I'm going to a swing-dance tomorrow night so that will delay production but in a totally dancetastic cause.

I used a limited palette to paint these toys: white, reds & black for their clothing. Gun metal & black for the weaponry. Fleshtones are pale and interesting and that includes the two black vamps.

Erika, Andreas, Julia

Erika, Julia

Castor, Andreas, Xavier

More when I have it!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Is There A Doctor In The House?

No. But there is: Nursing Sister Tweedy!

Following the demise of her chicken business Tweedy was at something of a loose end. Reading a copy of The Daily Bias she chanced upon an advertisement asking for suitably qualified medical personnel to sign on with The Army of Tarbooshia. Thinking that her experience of chicken breeding and the possession of a first aid certificate made her over-qualified she gave it a punt anyway. A day later a party of be-fezzed gentlemen called upon her. They immediately offered her the job of 2 i/c of The Tarbooshian Medical Service plus a salary of 50 Tarbies per month, generous pension plan, free uniforms, including thick grey stockings, food and laundry. Naturally she said yes.

Now well ensconced in a tent of her own design as the Senior Nursing Officer of The Army of Tarbooshia. She enjoys a fearsome reputation among those who have the temerity to report sick or be wounded. Her icy stare has been known to sew up wounds and revive even those already pronounced dead.

Her prescription for all injuries is: 'Pull yourself together, take two aspirin and get back in your trench!' She has a loyal assistant in Kasim the Grubby whose main medical skill is fetching coffee from the kitchen of his brother Filthy Abdul.

Tweedy's Treatment Tent 1

Tweedy's Treatment Tent 2

Tweedy's Treatment Tent 3

Sister Tweedy Welcomes The Sick

The Team

The Surgeon General

The tent and motorised supply carrier, Tarbooshian-Schlepper Mk I, are adorned generously with the symbol of help for the sick and injured. They also make excellent aiming marks for unscrupulous swine such as Etrucians and Anahuacans. Sister Tweedy remains undaunted, certain that her own brutality is more than a match for theirs.

The tent was made from a couple of small boxes. Panelling from strips of paper soaked in tea to get that pleasing effect. The guy-ropes are linen thread and the tent pegs are cut-down cocktail sticks. Kasim is a converted from a 54mm ACW artillery figure. The motorised wagon was originally a horse-drawn job; steering wheel is a button on a cocktail stick. The crates were made from balsa with wooden strips glued on. Red cross symbols copied and printed from images on the web. Sister Tweedy converted from a 54mm Mrs Tweedy figure from the movie Chicken Run. About the last good thing Mr Gibson did before turning into what he turned into.  

PS Hello to new blog follower Moss Trooper. He runs a couple of very interesting blogs. I particularly enjoyed his figure painting process tutorial.

Is That Blood On Your Chin?

I can still remember the first time I saw Underworld and how brilliant and thrilling the movie was and is. The sequels are variable to say the least but the original film is a classic. Vampires with guns! Werewolves with guns! Kate Beckinsale in spray on latex! Michael Sheen & Bill Nighty chewing the scenery (literally)! Silver bullets! Bullets with liquid day-light! It's film noirness and insistent music score are just the ticket.

The film has many highlights but the climactic battle is a standout. The sense of menace and fear is palpable for the vampires when they invade the lycans' lair. That's something you rarely see in films of that type: bloodsuckers cacking themselves.

So I decided that battle, or something like it, just cried out for a table-topping and pronto. I'd bought some, I think, Perry 28mm toys a while ago that fitted the bill. Long coats, smartly dressed and heavily armed these toys said Death Dealers to me.

Here's the magnificent seven at the prep stage:

The Lycans are behind us aren't they?

I've also got a Lycan force but can't remember where they are just now. Time to ransack another cupboard methinks.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Tea Dance

Tea dance, well, going by this definition what I'm going to is not strictly a tea dance. The time's wrong for a start: 2pm - 6pm (but not by much). There's a big band playing and a comedian too. Mrs Barbara Nice? People tell me she's funny but I have no direct evidence or experience of her work. I am hopeful. The big band will be big with a bigger sound.

What is most accurate is the tea and cake. All the baked goods are home-made and, going by September's tea dance, plentiful and delicious. They even cater for minority interest groups like vegetarians and the gluten intolerant. (That was a joke, a poor one but a joke nonetheless). 

What is also accurate is the dancing. All kinds of swing dance: charleston, lindy, jitterbug, balboa, shim-sham plus the odd bit of foxtrot and two-step.

I'm taking my camera. IF I remember I'll get some shots. I may forget: all those lovely 1940s styled ladies and the fresh cakes are such a distraction.


I remembered:

One of the two tables groaning under the weight of delicious home-baked treats

The Tom Dunnet Big Band laying down a swingin' beat

What a well organised, friendly and all round brilliant afternoon! We started with an hour's worth of Collegiate Shagno sniggering at the back! Followed by two sessions of top tunes from the Tom Dunnet Big Band and a funny if slightly crazy turn from Mrs Barbara Nice. I scored loads of dances and made some new friends too; a great afternoon.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Thank you!

Yeah, baby!

This blog's been going three months and already we're up to 3000 views! That's brilliant and thank you all for your support!

In other news I've updated The Nutcracker with clearer photos and an even mardier bear.

This just in! Saludos y abrazos to my old comrade-in-arms Al Front. If you like a slice of dialectic with your wargaming he's your man :-)

All the best!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Household Brigade

What would His Serene Highness The Grand Tarboosh be without His Household? An Anahuacan probably.

The Tarbooshian Guard is the élite of the army. Its order of battle is:

  • The Guards Armoured 
  • The Guard Grand Band
  • The Guard Artillery
  • The Guard Transport Corps

Its primary function is to the protect and preserve the person of The Grand Tarboosh Himself. But, on the battlefield, it is often used to administer the coup de grace to an already well slotted enemy. Second to none and never defeated!

54mm figures all sourced at the recent Birmingham Toy Soldier Fair. The Tarboosh's driver started life as a cowboy and has gone up in the world since then. His mother is said to be delighted. The gunners are former ACW but a head swap gave them a well deserved promotion. The flag is TVAG but repainted by me.

Post photo shoot HSH The Grand Tarboosh was served mint tea with honey and nut sweetmeats by this fellow:


All the best!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More Buildings......

.....what I'd forgot I'd done. Cleaning out long neglected cupboards is recommended for the treaure they can reveal. I made these for a long dormant plan to use toys to play a 'Stalingrad' type game. As usual the intial burst of feverish enthusiasm, collection and painting of toys, research and development was followed by a slide into torpor and eventual evaporation of the will to continue. At least this time I didn't either bin or charity shop them. Phew!

All buildings are impressions and are scaled to 1/72 (20mm) but you could use 15mm or smaller scales to be honest. The buildings are made from plastic card, foam core & coffee strirrers. The brick rubble is budgie grit and foam-core chunks glued and sealed with pva and then painted. The fallen beams are either coffee stirrers or match-sticks I split in random fashion and then set on fire to produce the charred ends. The mesh in the windows is that aluminium car repair mesh from Halfords. The girders are plastic ones from a model shop.The broken pipes are drinking straws. I made the shell strikes in the walls by digging them out of the foam-core with a craft knife and a heated-needle-in-a-cork device. The buildings' walls were coated with pva and sanded prior to painting in a uniform grey. I went for grey to reflect the utter misery of the Stalingrad battle for those involved.

A GUM Department Store

A Volgograd Tractor Factory

A Barrikady Factory

I can recommend Anthony Beevor's book Stalingrad as an excellent history of the battle. My favourite quote is of the Soviet Officer bellowing at German POWs as they marched into captivity:

You see this? You see this! This is what Berlin's going to look like!

Apparently he made it to Berlin and survived the war.