Sunday, April 26, 2015

9th Lead Painters' League Entry #2 - 1812 Retreat French and Germans

For my past week's entry to the LPL I decided to add a few more figures to my 1812 Retreat collection. Here is a group of French along with a few of their unfortunate German allies.

Westphalian Hussar, elite company.

French Carabiniere.

French voltigeur.

Wurttemberg infantryman.

...and a French line infantryman.

These five castings are all from the fabulous range of 28mm figures depicting the French retreat from Moscow from Perry Miniatures. Highly recommended.

As for this week's entry, I have a group of very old school 1970s era orcs and goblins from Ral Partha that I excavated from the Lead Shed. If you have the time please drop by the Lead Painters' League to see all the submissions from the participants of the League.

Have a great week folks!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The 9th Lead Painters' League Entry #1 - 'You want it? Come, pick it up.' Bosworth 1485

'You want it? Come, pick it up.'  Bosworth 1485
Now that my administrative duties for the Painting Challenge are more or less wrapped up I can get back to some of my neglected projects.

One event that helps me get back into gear is the Lead Painters' League, an annual event hosted over at The Lead Adventure Forum. As in previous years, this season will be made up of 10 matched submissions, one per week, with extra points being awarded for new work, specific themes, etc. The participants are paired off for duels utilizing a random draw. 

To be perfectly honest I have some issues with the format of the League (the single picture limit, the over-use of backgrounds which distract attention from the figures, the feeling that one's competing amongst a clique, etc.) but it always proves to be a nice distraction and gets me back in that saddle with my own work. 

Anyway, the opening theme of this year's League was 'armour' and so, as a nod to Richard III's recent reinterment, I decided to enter some Wars of the Roses figures as a Bosworth vignette

I chose to go with figures from the Perry's excellent Wars of the Roses plastic infantry set. I wanted to do something which depicted Richard after his all-or-nothing charge against Henry and his retainers, where he is ultimately unhorsed and has become surrounded by a tightening ring of Lancastrians. For inspiration, I drew upon Graham Turner's evocative illustrations which he did for the Osprey title on Bosworth.

The envisioned a scene where Richard has finally run his course, where he is separated from his retinue,  knowing all is lost, but he nonetheless fights on - choosing to go down fighting. As it turns out this theme continued through to the match results as these lads were soundly trounced when exhibited last week. Life indeed does follow 'art'.  ;)

I selected parts from the plastic set that, with a bit of cutting, repositioning and the strategic use of sculpting putty, would depict Richard pointing to his fallen crown (still attached to his sallet helm), challenging his enemies to come forward and take it.

In order to aid players in keeping track of who is who on the tabletop I've simply placed red or white roses on the bases, depending on the allegiance of the figure.  

Richard's heraldry is a bit impressionistic but serves well enough.

While these are my first attempts at some Wars of the Roses figures  I do have a few more waiting in the wings, namely some Welsh retinue archers. I also wanted to do a figure conversion of Richard's ill-fated banner bearer, Sir Percival Thirlwall, but the figure I wanted to use as a basis did not arrive in time so I was forced to submit without him. I'll do a follow-up of these figures in a later post.

This weeks round (the second of the 10-round series) is now up over at The Lead Painters' League. For my part, I've submitted some more figures for my 1812 Winter Retreat collection - it's somehow easier to work on these when it's not 20 below zero, go figure.

Please drop over to the League and check out the work by all the participants. I'll be keeping a weekly update on my progress through the League so come back to chart my march of folly.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Father and The Boy from Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'

As per tradition, I make sure to open and close each year’s Painting Challenge with my own entries. As rearguard this year I decided to post a small vignette based on one of my favourite books, Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. 

In McCarthy’s book an unnamed father and his young son journey across a grim post-apocalyptic landscape, several years after an unexplained apocalypse has destroyed civilization and most life on Earth.  While the story is framed in this horrific setting it is, at its core, a tender love story between a father and his son.

Much of the book is written in an abbreviated third person style, with references to "the father" and "the son" or to "the man" and "the boy."

Realizing that they cannot survive the oncoming winter, the father takes his boy south, along desolate roads, always towards the sea, carrying their meager possessions in their knapsacks. 

They have a pistol, but only two bullets. In a chilling passage in the book, the boy is reminded that he is to use the gun on himself, if necessary, to avoid falling into the hands of other survivors, as most have turned to cannibalism. 

The father struggles to protect his son from the constant threats of attack, exposure, and starvation. In the face of these obstacles, the man repeatedly reassures the boy that they are "the good guys" who are "carrying the fire". On their journey, the pair scrounge for food, evade roving bands, and contend with many horrors.  An old man they discover on the road acts as seer for them and says that the boy has a glow about him – inferring that he is blessed. As the story moves forward the father feels he has to do things that are insensitive if not inhumane in order to keep his son safe.  This progresses to the point where the reader is left with the impression that The Father is perhaps no longer ‘carrying the fire’. But one can only sympathize with his situation and we are forced to ask ourselves, ‘If the world ran down, and chaos reigned, how far would we go to keep the ones we love safe?’ 

The book is very powerful and I believe it ends the way it should (I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve not read it). If you haven’t picked it up it I heartily recommend you do so.

The figures of 'The Father' and 'The Boy' are from Lead Adventure and are modeled closely to the actors in the film. Beautiful castings. I did them in greyscale with only The Boy’s face being in colour, ‘carrying the fire’, as it were. I diverted somewhat from the original colour tones in the stills from the film, instead playing with the contrasting greys of their clothes to bring attention to both their faces and The Father's hands. I created the base to depict one of the many roads that they traveled on. The centerline is broken to foreshadow events in their journey.

Thanks for dropping in for a visit! Administrating the Challenge is both an honour and a pleasure, but I must say it's nice to be back to the old blog - its like putting on a much-loved, if worn and scuffed, pair of shoes.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

'Johnny Turquoise' - Little Havana Hitman

It seems I'm on a bit of a Pulp Adventure kick lately.  No idea why.  I'm just going to settle in and roll with it.

This is 'Johnny Turquoise', a Cuban-born hitman from Florida. Johnny fancies himself quite a snappy dresser and an even better shot. Even though he's seen here with a Thompson he actually prefers to work with a .45 pistol. He'll do pretty much any job given him as he's saving money to get his family into the States and setup in Little Havana. 

Lately he's been doing a bit of wetwork for a group out in the Everglades. They call themselves 'The Esoteric Order of Dagon'.  Johnny's a hard, hard man but these people are really starting to give him the creeps...  

28mm Figure by Copplestone Castings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yet more Whacky Pulp Adventurers and Ship Mat from Deep Cut Studios

I ran a Strange Aeons scenario for some of the Conscript lads last week. I based the game on a seemingly derelict whaling ship. The title of the adventure was: 

'The Mysterious Occurrences & Strange Events on the Whaling Ship Pequodrangle'

The fellas really got into the spirit of the game which goes a loooong way in scenarios like this and so we all had a great time. 

To make things a bit simpler, and to  get the game off the ground in short order, I decided to make up characters for each of the guys beforehand, playing to their personalities, backgrounds and sense of humour. For example, Manus 'Mug' MaEoghan, who I profiled last week, was created for Dallas who I suspected would enjoy 'Mug's' psychic abilities and his quirky IRA background. 

For Greg I decided to give him a manic guns 'n bombs team as I knew he'd appreciate the mayhem they could cause on the table. Here is short rundown on his group.

First up is the leader of the team, Major Sir Humphrey Birch aka 'Bark', Scots Guards, DSC and Bar, MC, ret. Sir Humphrey has been seconded to the League of Nations League to represent His Majesties' desire to have the United Kingdom play a leading role in the secret war against the Cthonic threat. 'Bark' has a long history of leading men in combat and is no shrinking violet when it comes to horrific missions. He is armed with his trusty Lewis Gun, 'Der Kaiser', which is always at his side and with which he is frighteningly proficient. Figure from Artizan Designs.

Sir Bark's batman is Fagan McBride aka 'McBoom' who is the team's demolitions 'expert'. 'McBoom' lost most of his face in a botched bomb disposal attempt and so often wears a gasmask to hide his horrific visage. We see him here hauling a jury-rigged fuel bomb to help 'confound and demolish' the enemy. 'Don't trip McBoom!' Figure from Musketeer's (now Footsore Miniatures) Inter-War range.

The third member of Sir Humphrey's team is James 'Jock' Campbell. A past member of the Scots Guards 'Jock' is a large, very dim-witted fellow (yes, it takes one to know one) but has one redeeming quality: he is quite proficient at using a wide variety of very large weapons, his current favourite being a Boys anti-tank rifle, which, as as a testament to his great strength, he can fire from the hip. Indeed, nothing ruins a Mi-Go's day like a wee .55 caliber anti-tank round through the brain-case. Casting from Pulp Figures.

The last figure is actually not from the game but a recent addition to the League. This is Christopher 'Crash' Higgins, big game hunter and private detective. We'll have to flesh the poor lad out before the next adventure. Miniature from Pulp Figures. 

Here are a few shots of the same scenario I ran previously for the guys at home. Please excuse the crap iPhone photos, but you can get an idea of the wonderful ship mats from Deep Cut Studios. Great stuff. 

The teams come aboard and go into overwatch (denoted by the yellow markers)

A team opens the door to the Captain's cabin and finds... a Formless Spawn. Note the red 'Oh Sh*t' exclamation mark...

Here you can see two of the decks on the table. There are three in total.
Zombies attempt to overwhelm and feed on one of the the adventurers. Nom, nom, nom...
Action in the middle deck. Blood spatters mark where previous action has occurred. The yellow 'WTF?' question mark denotes 'a place of mystery'. Very, very scary...