Sunday, 30 December 2012

Public Service Announcement

I was browsing through the blogs earlier today when I came across an old man who wouldn't say his prayers. Er, sorry, mixed up with a nursery rhyme! I came across a blogger who was appealing for those of us with dark backgrounds to our blogs to opt for black on white text because he was getting on in years and found the more exotic colour schemes taxing. My immediate reaction was one of 'bugger off, it's my blog', but on second thoughts I wondered how people who have genuine sight problems do manage with some of the stranger blog designs. I had a word with HRH who's a social worker (mental health, so seemed appropriate) and had a look on the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) site for a few ideas and you can now evaluate the result.

There are surprisingly few templates which fit the bill and aren't too boring, but I opted for this look with a large font and a pretty open text. The hard fact is that these blog templates aren't particularly consumer orientated. However, I've changed the last couple of entries to conform to the new look and I'd like your opinion

I might be insensitive, but I'm not convinced visually impaired people are likely to flock to blogs about painting figures and wargaming, but that's not to say some do and I think we owe it to them to try to make it more user friendly for them. On the other hand, if you're a silly old sod like me and you're having difficulty reading the blogs, delete the porn sites and up the zoom on the page in question.

So there you go. 

I've added a few piccies salvaged from the depths of the memory to brighten up this entry for those who really can't read the text . . . .







And a Happy New Year to you all, wishing you a better than average 2013.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Still here!



Well, three months have shot past like thirteen weeks passing very quickly.  This isn’t an end of the year address, but it will contain my usual quota of perspicacity and wisdom. The real world invaded my little bailiwick of delusion too frequently for comfort, which can be tedious, but I managed to avoid total immersion in the humdrum and get some painting and basing (ugh!) done.  Anyway,  as the world didn’t actually end today (yet?) I thought I might as well crack on with this.


I also thought I’d post a couple of photos of bases from Warner’s Additional which I found skulking on a USB stick. These are all from the Perry range:



The plod to get some 15mm Napoleonics finished and to progress the 15mm ACW stuff has been challenging, mostly because it only involved painting figures in a bit of a rush to top up existing units. All my own fault because I decided to change the figures scale, but couldn’t face increasing the size of the original units. Some of this was achieved by amalgamating battalions, but there was still a good deal of painting to be done. So,  I’ve included a few shots below; a couple for interest and one to give a bit of a review. First two are French dragoons of the 14th (could be 17th!) regiment. These figures are so old they’re from the original Battle Honours range when Battle Honours really was Battle Honours back in about ‘87. The poor lads haven’t been in production for a while, which I think is a shame because the new generation figure isn’t a patch on this one for movement and a dynamic pose. I’ve put up two to show the original horses (not that different from the new AB sculpts). They’re done in the usual block painting and wash finish, but with a bit of inking in to match with the rest of the original unit (my new organisation standardises on  4 figure squadrons so, where possible, all the extant cavalry regiments have to be beefed up).  That’s a way of proving that I used this method years ago! ;O)























The next couple of figures are just to show examples of the Warmodelling range. They’re stocked in the UK by Mike Oliver’s Warmodelling UK (http://www.warmodelling.co.uk/) . I ordered several packs of this range to increase the size of the French battalions and I’ve got mixed feelings about them. Overall the quality is fine and the poses are pretty good, but, to be honest, I don’t rate the mounted figures and, although the infantry and artillery figures are generally good, you do come across some oddities.  Also, the metal used is particularly hard, which makes cleaning up the castings a bit of a pain. However, they’re pretty good value despite this. I’d rate them as better than most of the Old Glory range, but not as good as battle Honours, AB or Blue Moon. Haven’t counted in Minifigs because they’re a totally different style and I don’t think they mix well with the other ranges. That’s not a reflection on their social skills, just the difference in sculpting. I’ve included a photo of two mounted officers to give you a good idea of the figures and the standard of the horses.


 

Now to the 28’s. The first two photos are of figures from the first batch of Sherbourne’s, possibly the most colourful American unit of the war and probably in just about everyone’s collection. They’re from the original Foundry range, sculpted by the Perry twins, and certainly one of Foundry’s better ranges. Unsurprisingly, given their pedigree, they mix well with the Perry Miniatures  AWI figures and in some cases I think they’re better sculpts. However, I think we’re in for another pulse of energy into this period when the Perry Plastic British infantry are released which will match both ranges. Prediction: they’ll be launched at or in time for Salute – betcha!




Next are two bases from Warner’s Additional Regiment which have been hiding on a memory stick they’re only posted to show the difference (if any) between the newer and older generation of Perry figures:






Now, while I’ve got your attention, I’d like you to have a look at the list of blogs in the column to the left. This is obviously  a  matter of personal preference, but in amongst them are blogs packed with information, tutorials, stunning pictures (yes, I know, not like mine!) and just plain fun. There’s nothing wrong with plundering links, it’s a noble browsing skill, so, if you haven’t already done so, have a shufty; that’s what they’re there for. I’m not going to make any special mention, but you’ll already have some of them and others will be familiar from the ‘magazine’ websites and forums.


A month or so ago I finally got my pre-ordered copy of “British Army Uniforms from 1751-1783: Including the Seven Year's War and the American War of Independence” by Carl Franklin (Pen & Sword). I’d almost given up hope of it ever being published (almost a year late), but finally for it for £32. I haven’t read it properly yet (does anyone actually read a book like that?), but it look very good and is a really nicely finished book. Naturally I’m expecting somebody to spot a mistake here and there, but what the hell? For information, you can now get this book for £25.60 from Amazon UK – bugger!


O.K., that’s about it for now and probably this year if I’m honest. I’ve no plans as such for 2013 as things stand. I’ve enough to do with the projects already in hand, but there are so many temptations out there I think it’s going to be difficult to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m really tempted by Stefan Gruber’s Landsknechts. They’re superb little sculpts by Paul Hicks with bags of character. This isn’t helped by a continuing unhealthy interest in the late medieval period which is continually fueled by inconsiderate gamers who post photos of exceptionally well painted Perry Wars of the Roses figures on their blogs in a variety of disguises. I like the history, but I’m actually not over-keen on gaming the period unless it includes a quite involved campaign which would be able to reflect the effects the personalities on the period had on events. You’d be on to a winner if you’re able to build in mechanisms to handle sub plots and secret agendas such as Percy’s ambitions and to bring in characters like the Duke of York (who really did know what he wanted?) and the poor Duke of Clarence “false, fleeting, perjured Clarence” who made more bad decisions in a lunchtime than most people make in a lifetime. So, unfortunately for me, there’s plenty of food for thought. Iron Ivan Games, Impetus, Foundry medieval rules the potential is very interesting . . . .