Saturday, March 25, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: Trouble on the North-West Frontier




So, I am back doing a paint table Saturday after a week off. I had a very good paint table Saturday the week before last.  I got the four figures I needed to nearly finish my next unit of 70th Foot.  I just needed to varnish them, do the metalwork and finish the bases which I could do on the Sunday.  I varnished them with my usual Humbrol matt varnish (No 49) and then something horrible happened.  The varnish dried with a horrible white 'frosting' over everything.




I got another tin out and tried it on my first Franco-Prussian War Frenchman and the same thing happened. You can see it on the red trousers (I had repainted the jacket by this stage). I have never had this before,  Sometimes, at the beginning of a pot, if you don't stir it enough, it can dry with a silk finish but more stirring sorts this.  This however, was a disaster.  I had spent hours getting these nearly completed.  I searched online and about two years ago there seemed to be a problem with a particular batch (too much matting agent, it seems) and my two tins were from that batch.  Fortunately, I have found another tin but I must get to Addlestone Models and get some more, particularly as ModelZone in WH Smiths in Kingston has closed so you can't get Humbrol paint in Kingston any more.




The next day, looking at them in the daylight, I saw that the pale parts of the paint weren't effected, so I just needed to tidy up the dark trousers and black parts.  I repainted the trousers and then  re-did the black bits.  The problem was it was dark outside, I wan't concentrating and I accidentally painted the black bits dark blue. Unfortunately, I decided to start the black bits on the Sikhs too and also painted them dark blue. More work! 




I was so fed up with them by this stage that I decided to open a bottle of wine instead, listen to some Sibelius and read some of my backlog of wargames magazines.  This didn't help my mood much as I am getting really tired of the tiny type in these (and printing on non white backgrounds).  I can really only read them if the sun is out now, even with my glasses on.


Today's project


One figure I needed, to get on with the unit, was an NCO.  I ordered a pack of these, with some other items, from North Star a couple of days after my last order on 23rd February.  However, they didn't turn up for weeks and only arrived on Thursday.  I opened them up only to discover that the Sikh artillery crew were there but the mountain gun wasn't.  I rang up a very nice lady at North Star mail order who said that they had been having trouble with artillery generally (interestingly when I looked at their website again I noticed that both artillery packs had been removed from the listing) due to problems with resin casting.  She said the gun would follow in due course.  It's not like I don't have anything else to paint! 

I decided to get the one NCO (TMWWBK rules don't actually require them, although they are covered by some recent additional rules) painted with the repainted four infantry today. One thing I noticed is that the NCOs carry the correct Indian pattern leather water bottle which the infantry don't.  Another historical mistake corrected from the early releases.  This is one thing you don't have to worry about with Perry figures!  I haven't seen the Perry plastics for this period but am just assuming they won't be compatible with the Artizan figures, although the Afghan tribesmen are.  I might get a box at Salute (next month!) anyway.

Guy came home from university on the Thursday so we could do him a birthday lunch and so I didn't get any painting done last weekend as it was too busy, which was very annoying as the sun was out much of the day.  Also, I was so disheartened by my varnish disaster I didn't feel like painting anything anyway last week.

One intriguing bit of news this week is that the solicitor has done the probate form on my mother;s estate and we have found out that she had several bank accounts we didn't know about.  It means that there just might, if I am rash, be enough money to rebuild my study to make it big enough to take a wargames board.  Or I could buy an Aston Martin but, as the Old Bat said: "you are too old for a mid-life crisis!"  Heh, heh.




Speaking of which, I was in London a couple of times this week for meetings and had the opportunity to meet up with my lady friend, A, While waiting for her to arrive (punctuality is not one of her many other estimable qualities) I was looking at the new Miniature Wargames (Salute guide issue!) and saw one of those sets of figures which I just have to have, even though I have absolutely no reason to get them.  These are Crooked Dice's new female minions.  Girls in polo neck tops,  pleated miniskirts and boots.  Perfect.  They are all very In Like Flint/Matt Helm/Casino Royale (the David Niven one, of course!).  I already have their not Captain Scarlet range and there must be a skirmish in here somewhere!  I'm torn between the sixties hairdos and the berets, though!




Having been very disappointed with the Chosen Men rules I spotted these on Facebook, which appear to be much more what I am looking for; no stupid requirements to keep in close formation, for example.  They are going to the subject of a Kickstarter later in the year but unfortunately I can't remember where I saw them!  If anyone knows...




Today's music is a double bill of the soundtracks to Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967) by Jerry Goldsmith.  The cover of the CD features the groovy poster art for In Like Flint by Bob Peak, who was one of the most influential film poster designers of all time, producing posters for West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), Rollerball (1975), the first five Star Trek films, Superman (1978), Excalibur (1981), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and many others.  Apropos of the Crooked Dice figures, In Like Flint has an international feminist conspiracy aiming to replace the ruling American patriarchy with a feminist matriarchy.  Now who makes a 28mm sized Hilary Clinton?


In Like Flint.  When men were men and women were decoration


Goldsmith had already worked in the spy genre, having already produced the themes tune and early episode scores for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on TV. Both of these Flint scores are wonderful sixties confections of electro jazz, go-go dancing music, Henry Mancini type cocktail slink, big band, samba, Russian pastiche and pretty much everything else. Perfect, I would imagine, for painting figures in miniskirts and boots to.


Sleeping Bacchante (circa 1885)


Today's wallpaper distraction is by Hungarian painter Károly Lotz (1833-1904).  The Legatus first saw one of his sensual nudes in the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest and was so taken with it I bought a very nice reproduction of it, printed on canvas, which the Old Bat got framed for me when I returned.  Lotz studied in Vienna and did most of his nudes early in his career, before shifting focus to frescos.  Many of the major public buildings in Budapest, such as the parliament, the supreme court and the opera house have frescoes by him.  The depiction of Bacchantes always gave nineteenth century artists a good excuse to depict enticingly sprawled women under a classical cloak of acceptability.  This is one of a series of similar paintings he did in the mid eighteen eighties.

Right, the sun is out.  Time for painting!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Something for the Weekend: Saucy Pulp covers by Norman Saunders



Some saucy pulp covers for the weekend over on my adults only Legatus' Wargames Ladies blog.  They aren't really adults only (I would have loved them when I was eleven years old!) but that is how we have to classify them for repressed, puritan Blogger!  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: Thoughts on France and Egypt



I got up early today as the Old Bat has the builders coming around, as she wants a patio door put in so we can access the garden more easily.  Now, while I like looking at the garden from where I sit to type and paint I don't particularly like being in it.  This is largely because if I even venture into it it involves the Old Bat trying to make me do something awful, like lawn mowing or fixing the back fence (the horses in the field keep knocking fence rails out). Looking at the garden is like looking at a whole list of tedious jobs to do, especially pruning and cutting.  Having a garden is just grow your own rubbish, which then has to be taken to the dump (sorry, waste reclamation and transfer station) at regular intervals during the summer  It's all such a waste of time!  So increased access to the garden is not a high priority for me.  Charlotte wants us to put in a cat flap for Harry the cat from next door but that isn't going to happen, especially given the amount of scratching he has been doing on the Old Bat;s living room carpet. So I am not interested in which new radiator, windows, paint etc she wants.  She always asks me what I think and then always ignores it.  "Do what you want," I say. 

"You don't care about the house!" she wails.  I don't, actually. Whereas she spends hour watching house restoration and interior design programmes on TV.  Houses are just containers to hold my stuff.  I don't care what colour the paint is, what the furniture looks like and what the light fittings are.  I am the same on cars; they are just transport.  I don't care what make they are, what colour they are or anything else regarding perceived status.  It's a car.  It says nothing about your worth as a person, actually.  My father-in-law is always telling us off for not washing the car.  What's the point?  It just gets dirty again!  The Old Bat thinks she needs another car (not a new car - how on earth do people afford those? - all my money goes on those waste of time and money children) as lots of things keep going wrong on hers (I don't own a car, of course) so now than man next door (a car dealer, conveniently) keeps coming to the door with cars he has found.  "This one has alloy wheels!" he said yesterday.  Even the Old Bat said, "so what?".  Do these make the car more economical or more reliable?  No.  Pointless, therefore. I don't think people in other countries are as car obsessed as the British.  I wonder whether it is something to do with Britain's company car culture (although these are less prevalent than they used to be), where what model of car you had was indicative of your position in the company.  My uncle, who used to be Chairman of Ford Europe, said that they had to have many more different price banded models in the UK because of company car buyer requirements.




Anyway, while she bombards the builders with questions which I have already failed to answer (does that have a straight or corner valve?) I will get on with my NW Frontier figures.  Not really close to finishing any but it is shading on jackets and trousers today, although the light isn't brilliant again.  I have ordered some NCOs for the British from North Star but they haven't turned up, even though the figures I ordered the day before them arrived over a week ago.  I will have to decide at what point I will chase them.




Some more figures (I hate the way Americans call them 'minis') did arrive, though.  Just when I am focussing on a couple of projects I do something mad and start a whole new period.  The Franco-Prussian War is one of those conflicts where my primary interest is because of the uniforms rather than the history.  Actually, I think that is always the case.  I can't imagine buying figures for a period with ugly uniforms (Spanish Civil War, for example)!  I had high hopes that Footsore Miniatures would complete there range but, after a few (very nice) releases of French infantry, they stoppped dead.  Instead I have got some figures from the relatively new firm Eagles of Empire.  So far, there are two types of infantry for each side available in the range.  






They come in unit packs with a card of statistics for forthcoming rules but whether these are big battle Black Powder type or TMWWBK skirmish type I don't know.  They are of the Perry type, are anatomically correct (sculpted by Ebor (Bob Naismith?), I believe) and are at the top end of 28mm figures in height (if not bulk).  These are carrying a lot of kit and are not going to be quick to paint, especially as I don't have any reference books for the period.  I like them, however; there is something Old School about their proportions and they also look, well, nineteenth century!  More on these another time, although it does mean that I am now at a neutral point on the lead pile for this year.  I need to paint and sell more figures.  I opened one of the little drawers I keep my unpainted figures in the other day and had no idea what the figures were that were inside.  I really need to do a big audit and start selling!




One of the other colonial conflicts I have been interested in for some time is the Anglo-Egyptian war of 1882.  Although suitable Egyptian figures are available in the Perry Sudan range (and I have even painted some) suitable British were not.  Now, however, by combining the Perry plastic North West Frontier (heads) and forthcoming Zulu war (bodies) figures you will be able to make appropriate figures for this. 




I was thinking about this the other day, when looking at pictures of Mark Hannam's splendid Alexandria game.  I already have some British Naval Brigade painted plus some Egyptians and this would male a good TMWWBK game for the future.




It's not a popular conflict for wargaming because there was only one big battle, which was very one sided (the British lost more men to heatstroke than enemy fire). I first read about it in a novel by Richard Hough called Buller's Guns which features land actions in Alexandria as well as the bombardment, which saw much of the city burn to the ground.




The music I listened to while writing this post was the complete set of piano concerti by Saint-Saëns (1835-1921).  These days he is largely remembered for his organ symphony and the Carnival of the Animals but he composed a lot of really melodic music.  His Aquarium, from the Carnival of the Animals, was one of the first bits of classical music I fell in love with at the age of about nine, when it was played in school assembly one morning.  His second piano concerto is the best known and is a Classic FM favourite (not that that is necessarily a good thing).  I prefer his fifth piano concerto (the Egyptian), composed for his own  jubilee concert to celebrate his fiftieth anniversary as a performer (he was a child prodigy).  It was composed in Luxor in 1896 and is full of exotic Egyptian colour.  Perfect for nineteenth century adventures in Egypt.  Saint-Saëns served in the National Guard during the Franco Prussian War, it should be noted.


Sleeping Bather (1850)


Today's wallpaper is  by Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856) and is a remarkably frank nude portrait for the time. It was a body that the artist knew well, however, as she was his lover, Alice Ozy (1820-1893), born Julie Justine Pilloy, the daughter of a Parisian jeweller. Julie worked as an embroideress in Paris and then Lyon.  Returning to Paris, the sixteen year old Julie caught the eye of an actor at a dance hall in Montparnasse. He suggested she become an actress (he suggested several other things to her as well) and got her some small roles. She got her first real role in vaudeville at the age of seventeen and took the stage name Alice Ozy (based on her mother's maiden name). For the next five years her roles and acclaim increased until by 1845, she was one of the best regarded young actresses in Paris.With this fame came wealthy male admirers.  Like many actresses of the time she became a courtesan, being paid by wealthy men for ' companionship'. One of her lovers left her a large legacy when she was still young, which she invested wisely.  In 1843 she started a relationship with the novelist and poet Theophile Gautier and in short order also 'entertained' the writer Nestor Roqueplan, the Emperor Napoleon's son, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (the future Napoleon III of France) as well as Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, the son of the then King of France, Louis-Philippe. She was never short of suitors and later had an affair with Charles Hugo, the son of the novelist Victor Hugo.  Charles, fed up with Alice's other lovers asked his father what he should do about the situation, whereupon Victor bombarded her with erotic poems and took her as his (additional) mistress instead, much to his son's annoyance. All this ended in 1848, when she fled the revolution in Paris for London.


Portrait of Alice Ozy (1848) by Chassériau


When she returned to Paris, later in 1848, she started a two year, tempestuous relationship with the painter of this picture Théodore Chassériau.  Their relationship ended when she asked him for one of his paintings which he intended for his family. He refused but she insisted and eventually, in order to end the arguments, he agreed to give it to her (so to speak). It just happened that he was enjoying breakfast with Alice at her apartment when the painting arrived by carriage from his studio. In a fit of remorse at giving the painting to Alice, he slashed it to ribbons in front of her and walked out on her for good.  She retired from the stage in 1855 and reverted to her birth name of Julie Pilloy. using her friends in the banking world to increase her fortune. She bought a house outside Paris and kept a lavish apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann.


Time Slaying Love


Another lover of Ozy's was the artist Gustave Doré, who designed a special clock for Ozy's apartment in Paris, where it was displayed in the entrance hall. Called Time Slaying Love it shows Time slaying cherubs with his spear. The message from Ozy was that any relationship with her was going to be fleeting, as time is the enemy of love (how very true). Julie Justine Pilloy remained unmarried (although far from without male companionship) and died, a wealthy woman, in her apartment on March 3rd 1892, at the age of 72.  Chassériau died many years before this, at the age of 37 after years of ill health

Monday, March 06, 2017

A men's magazine location, some Roman ruins and an African steamboat



Yesterday I had to go over to my sister's house to sign some papers to do with selling a flat we had bought to provide income to pay for my mother's care home bills.  As it was, despite the typically gloomy BBC weather forecast, a nice afternoon we went over to Virginia Water which is part of Windsor Great Park.  We have both been going there for as long as we can remember (at least fifty years, we thought) and my sister runs there most weekends but I hadn't been there since the children were little.   




My favourite part when I was small was the waterfall (or cascade as they call it) which is a splendid but artificial structure.  It is at its best when, as yesterday, there has been a lot of rain. Originally built in 1750, it was washed away in a storm and was rebuilt into its current ten metre high form in 1788.




More than fifty years ago a pictorial and the cover shot were done here for the second issue of a brand new men's magazine.  Scottish girl Linda Richie, Penthouse's second Pet of the Month, was photographed by Bob Guccione, cavorting around the cascade in rather less clothes than she wears on the cover.  For an undressed, NSFW shot you will have to go over to Legatus' Wargames Ladies!  This issue, Volume 1 number 2, appeared for  April/May 1965. The two month issue was caused by having to find a new printer for issue 3, as the first two had sold so fast the numbers required had overwhelmed the original printer.




I took this picture last yesterday of the area where Miss Richie posed for the cover.  It's the top corner of the general view in the third picture up.  I am sure that the Crown Estate didn't give Penthouse (which was already notorious before it even launched - Guccione having been fined £600 for distributing flyers containing pictures of naked ladies in the post to advertise the magazine) permission to shoot here.  However, he later wrote of a shoot he did in Richmond Park (people forget Penthouse was originally launched in Britain and only went over to America in 1969, when Guccione found out he was outselling Playboy to US troops in Vietnam) where his model just wore a raincoat which she had to remove for photos and rapidly put on again if they heard people approaching.  No doubt Miss Richie had to do something similar!




Moving along the shore of the (equally artificial) lake from the cascade you come to an impressive set of Roman ruins.  Now, nearby Staines (or Staines-upon-Thames as it has now been pretentiously rechristened) is an old Roman town, originally called Pontes (and referred to as such in one of Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom books) as it was the site of the Romans first permanent ridge over the Thames.  In fact, it is also the Legatus' original home town (my sister still lives there - having previously lived in Sussex, Belgium, Toronto, Islington and Northern Ireland).   These ruins are not from the area's Roman past but were transplanted from the Roman city of Leptis Magna in Libya 




The columns and stones were organised as a gift to the Prince Regent by the British Consul General in Tripoli in 1816.  They spent some time in the British Museum before being transferred on gun carriages to their current site in Windsor Great Park in 1826. 




Since I was last there they have restored and opened to the public another small section of ruins the other side of the road which runs along the back of the site.  This section also includes some stones taken from Carlton House, the Prince Regent's residence in London.  When the Prince Regent came to the throne, as George IV, in 1820 he decided that Carlton House, which was on Pall Mall, was too small and so commissioned the expansion of Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace and the demolition of Carlton House.  The two expensive terraces of town houses put up on the site of Carlton House were sold and the proceeds used to help pay for Buckingham Palace.




I never went to Leptis Magna when I travelled to Libya, sadly, as it is some way from Tripoli and not something you can do in a spare afternoon.  It is very unlikely I will ever get to the country again, given the terrible state it is in.  I really liked the Libyans who, unlike most North Africans, didn't hassle westerners when visiting.  You could walk around the souk untroubled.  I did get out to another Roman City in Libya, Sabratha, nine years ago.  I went with some colleagues and the four of us had the city to ourselves.  The locals did see us coming, though, and upped the entrance fee to a rip-off 15 pence each.




The lake, which is Virginia Water itself, gives its name to the local town of the same name (Virginia Water, that is (although it does sound like the name of a suffragette) not Lake, which is in the Isle of Wight and features in their dreadful postcards of 'Seven Wonders of the Isle of Wight': 'needles you cannot thread, Cowes you cannot milk, Lake where you don't get your feet wet etc.  Dismal).  Virginia Water is almost entirely populated by golfers and along with Cobham (my local town) became the first towns outside London where the average price of a house is more than £1 million.  Originally there was a stream called the Virginia there but the Duke of Cumberland, when he was the Ranger of the Park, had an ornamental lake dug, reputedly by prisoners from the Jacobite rebellion who were imprisoned nearby.   The lake was much expended after the storm that destroyed the original cascade and is now about four and a half miles around the perimeter.  This makes a nice walk, as we did yesterday, or a good run as my sister does every week in the summer.  Three laps are excellent  training for a half marathon.  I have run the Windsor Great Park half marathon twice (a very long time ago, needless to say).




On location in Virginia Water


While we were walking along the shore my sister mentioned that she had seen a steamboat moored on the lake a couple of years ago when out for a run.  There are no boats on the lake, it was a film set.  Yes, Virginia Water was standing in for the Congo for the Legend of Tarzan back in the summer of 2014.  About a third of the way from the left, on the treeline in the top picture above, you can see the top of the obelisk which is a monument to the Duke of Cumberland.  "The butcher!"  I remember my mother telling me he was called.  "The only way to deal with the Scots," my father used to say.  


In the finished film


I thought that the steamboat was the best thing in The Legend of Tarzan and it made me want to get on and finish the model one I started to make years ago, based on a Gary Chalk design in Wargames Illustrated.




This was the first piece of wargames scenery I had tried to make since some papier mache hills in the early seventies and it says much for Mr Chalk's plans and instructions that it turned out looking reasonably boat like, especially as I changed his design to make my one longer.  It actually doesn't need very much work to finish it and I really should get on with it, as it has been lurking around in this unfinished state for at least ten years.  Basically I just need to do the canopy and dirty it down a bit.  Perfect for Congo!

Unfortunately, there is no place for paddle boats in the North West Frontier and that is what I will carry on focusing on for the next few weeks.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: back to the North West Frontier and a pizza incident


Sunshine!


Having finished my Union Cavalry last week I had intended to get on with my Confederate infantry but instead dug out some North West Frontier figures, encouraged by the small forces needed for The Men Who Would Be Kings rules, which I was looking at the other week.




I decided to keep the painting momentum up and carry on with the 2nd Afghan War and have Sikhs (Artizan), British (Artizan) and Afghans (Perry and Studio) to work on over the next few weeks.




One of the reasons I didn't get back to the ACW was that the Artizan Designs figures are much easier to paint than the smaller Perry ACW figures, especially in the bad light which, with the odd exception (such as this morning), continues.   The picture above shows the difference in size between a Perry Afghan and a Perry ACW figure. They are really almost different scales.  I suppose they are sculpted by different people, although I never register which twin does which but that is the fate of twins in many things.



One thing I might have been tempted by a few years ago, before my eyes went, is the new Perry Travel Battle which they are launching at Salute.  However, these are going to be 8 mm figures.   One thing they do show up is how poor the anatomy is on 10mm figures which is why I have never really considered them (or 15mm either, largely),fiddling size apart.






A few years ago I did paint some 10mm Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figures from their Battle of Five Armies Warmaster type game  (above) but wouldn't even attempt it now.  It's rubbish, getting old!






Actually, the shots of the Perry figures. moulds looked like what Charlotte was up to last night; making chocolate eggs and animals with her own new moulds.  She made a complete mess in the kitchen and then didn't tidy it up, needless to say.




Half way through this process we had a call from a Papa John's delivery man who said he was on the doorstep.  "Have you ordered a pizza?" asked the Old Bat, thinking I had been caught out.  The Old Bat loves to catch me out.  She rifles through carrier bags and the bin to look at receipts to see if she can find anything incriminating. "Breakfast at Sainsburys again" she squeals, with Stasi-like delight.  "Orc's Nest again!" she chortles and then asks for money for something we don't need (usually artificial flowers at £20 a time).




Now I would never order a pizza because I am not really allowed to eat them and I am too mean to pay £12 for one you can get in the shops for £3.  £12 is quite a few Artizan Designs figures (I tend to cost things I don't want to purchase by the number of figures I could buy instead).  £20 multiples are, of course, a box of Perry plastics etc.  Charlotte was supposed to spend £90 on the dentist last week but she fluttered her eyelashes, claimed to be a poor student and got him to put her through as an NHS patient.  The Old Bat payed the £20 NHS fee and then Charlotte spent three and a half boxes of Perry plastics on two CD's of Korean pop, coming from Seoul, with the money she saved.  For really big amounts you have to use Games Workshop prices, of course.  I see the new Thranduil mounted on a stag figure is going to be £75 so I can use that for things like the new patio doors the Old Bat wants.  What's the point, given you can hardly ever sit in the garden anyway?  Installing this will, no doubt, bring on a mini Ice Age in Surrey for the next ten years




Anyway, what is the point of paying £12 for a pizza to eat at home.  Fair enough if you are out, although the Old Bat doesn't agree with this. My father in law is always saying, when he comes around, "let's go to the pub in the village (Andy Murray's favourite) for lunch".  The Old Bat then talks him out of it, moaning about the cost (even though he would be paying).  She thinks eating out is a complete waste of money.  We have been married 25 years this summer (Why? I continually ask myself) and we haven't been out to dinner together once in that time, since the honeymoon).  "I would choke on my food, knowing the cost!" she says.  Anyway, it turns out that my son, Guy had ordered the pizza, in Oxford and the delivery man was outside his house in Oxford but the only phone number they had on the system (what a give away, that it is on the system at all) was ours.  I had sent Guy money that day as he was moaning he was short and he was spending it on pizza!  Get along to Tesco!   I didn't buy pizza when I was at Oxford because a pizza from Sweeney Todds was £1.40 and college dinner was 74p!


L to R: Artizan, Perry and Studio


So, back to what I am supposed to be writing about.  Apart from the Perry figures, the current batch of Afghans also includes four figures by Studio Miniatures, which are completely compatible with the Perry and the Artizan figures, to my surprise.  The Perry figures are also compatible with the Artizan Sikhs. This means that other figures in the Perry range will fit with the Artizan figures as well.  I am going to stick with Artizan for the British but might use some Perry for the Indian army and the British cavalry.  I am already planning bigger forces than I need for TMWWBK!




Earlier this week I finished six more Artizan British infantry, which I had started some time ago, bringing my painted total for 2017 to 50 figures.  The best start to the year I have had since 2011.   




I put all my painted British together and have now painted 17 figures.  This does not sound that impressive but you only need 36 for a starter British force for TMWWBK.  I am doing my usual thing, though, of painting packs not painting units (maybe, deep down,  I know I hardly ever finish a unit).  So now I need to buy some more figures to get the units looking, well, unified.  I have just started another four figures advancing with bayonets but need some more firing line figures for the other unit. I will include an officer (painted) and a NCO (ordered) in each unit so that leaves ten rank and file in each unit.  The figures, of course, come in packs of four so I am going to have some left overs, annoyingly.  However, I am thinking of doing some later, scruffier looking units too, for later in the war, so will be able to mix in the left overs with ones in poshteens. 


Sadly, only one of these characters is available as a wargames figure.  The peerless Valerie Leon third from left.


I did notice that the figures with bayonets don't have the helmet flashes on them, which the first firing line figures in the Artizan range did.  These were worn in the North West Frontier in the 1890s but not in this period.  Artizan, therefore, seem to have corrected an error (without acknowledging it).  Why I am that worried about historical accuracy I don't know, considering most of my research so far has been watching Carry on up the Khyber and, yes, I have ordered the Artizan figures for that!


The Nymphaeum (1878)


Today's, contemporaneous with the 2nd Afghan War, wallpaper offers us no less than thirteen ladies by French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905). Painted for the 1878 Universal Exposition in Paris it is really an exercise in Bouguereau showing off how well he can paint skin, as his nymphs cavort in a sunlit grove.  The painting hangs in a gallery in Stockton, California, just south of Sacramento and I was lucky enough to see it when I was visiting the Governor of California's office around ten years ago.




Today's music, L'Arlésienne by Bizet, dates from six years before Bouguereau's painting.  Written as incidental music for a play it was poorly received at the time and only later achieved success when Bizet rearranged some of the music into a suite later that year.  A second suite was arranged and published, after his death, in 1879, spot on for the 2nd Afghan War.