Tuesday, 31 December 2013

401 - Day 11/14 - A Double Session and Goodbye to 2012

>>>EDIT: I HAVE NOW BEEN INFORMED THAT I'M A YEAR OUT IN THIS POST. THANKS!<<<

Hullo All,

Time to say 'Cheerio' to 2012. Ho-hum. My 'New Years' are in September anyway...

On the plus side, I got in a double session today: including a mammoth two hours earlier on. This morning I was able to finish off building my Matilda, and this evening I not only finished off (less the basing - TBC) my first ten of Zzzzzz's minions (hooray! - by the way, Zzzzzz: d'you have those decals perchance?) but I also started re-basing my FoW minis for 15mm Bolt Action...
...you can see the Mitilda II bottom right and the first of the infantry are with her. Closest, as it happens, is the Boys Anti-Tank peashooter:
And a close-up of the Matilda:
Happy New Year, everyone - here's to a great 2013 in life, in family, in work and in hobby!

- Drax.

Monday, 30 December 2013

400 - Day 10/14 - FOUR-HUNDREDTH POST!

Wow  - 400 posts eh?!

And yet, I suspect it'll pass without much celebration because:
  1. I'm in the middle of an ill-advised 14-post run;
  2. I've been travelling all evening and only got home an hour ago - I therefore now have fewer than seven minutes to get my daily post in;
  3. The content of today's post is really mundane;
  4. The picture won't even have grabbed anyone's attention, and
  5. It's New Year's Eve tomorrow: who's sitting at home reading blogs?!
Still, it feels kinds good. I'll celebrate properly when this forced fortnight is over.

Today's hobby time: assembling my Matilda!
Mrs. Drax stepped on it as she came in (I love that after 4 days away the accumulated parcels on our doorstep were utterly unstolen!) but the Matilda is fine and already being assembled: it's dry assembly too - no glue required! Go figure.

More pics tomorrow, as it was quite an effort to I had to fish the camera out of the car for this one I took 15 minutes ago...

Ta-ta for now,

- D.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

399 - Day 9/14 - It's True: Nazis Hated Wargamers

I managed to squeeze in another half-hour of clandestine itinerant painting today, but far more importantly (as I'm at home) I've been reading some quality literature:

I love Commando Comics. I bought about 400 of them for £50 in 1998 and I'm still slowly working through them all - a few more each visit. Not that it matters much as they all rely upon the same four-or-five narrative arcs...

ANYWAY,

Today I got to enjoy 'Eyes That See in the Dark' (No. 2096)
[all pics from cruddy phone - sorry!]

and within it, the cruel, fanatical Nazi decides to torture the peace-loving scientist by - yup - destroying his collection of tin soldiers for wargaming. Bafflingly this works. More bafflingly, it kind of becomes a plot point. Kind of. Here's the detail:

[Title: ANGERED BY THE PROFESSOR'S LACK OF CO-OPERATION, LUTCHEN TRIED A DIFFERENT APPROACH. SEIZING UP A SLEDGE-HAMMER HE'D BROUGHT WITH HIM, HE STRODE INTO THE NEXT ROOM.
Lutchen: FOR AN INTELLIGENT MAN YOU KNOW VERY LITTLE. CLEARLY I MUST CONVINCE YOU OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION.]
[Title: HE KNEW PRECISELY WHERE HIS VICTIM'S WEAK POINT LAY, SO HE SMASHED THE WAR-GAMES MODELS WITH SADISTIC PLEASURE.
Professor: NO! MY LITTLE TIN SOLDIERS!
Lutchen: YOU AND THAT ENGLISHMAN SPEND HOURS ON THESE . . . THESE CHILDREN'S PLAYTHINGS.]
[Title: LEAPING OVER THE GUARD'S UNCONSCIOUS FORM, HE RACED THROUGH THE HOUSE TO FIND KLEIBER AMID THE PITIFUL WRECKAGE OF HIS MODELS.
Kleiber: LOOK WHAT THOSE MONSTERS DID TO MY LITTLE TIN SOLDIERS . . .
Hero: WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE LUTCHEN COMES BACK.]

What would you do, eh?

Bastards.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

398 - Day 8/14 - Why I Hide My Hobby From My Dad.

I'm 33.

I've not lived at home for 15 years. I've been with my wife for 12 years. I have two kids of my own. I've been a high school teacher for ten years.

Why then do I hide my miniatures painting from my dad?

Here's why.

My dad - born at the end of West Malling airfield during a bombing raid in 1942 as it happens -  was in the Navy for 35 years. He made and painted ships and planes as a lad, and encouraged me to do the same with Airfix kits.

Then, when I was about 13 and into Epic (Space Marine) and 40k the first time round - like so many of you, I know - my brother showed me how I could at last draw money out of my building society account. There wasn't that much to start with, but it really didn't last too long after that.

As it happens, I didn't spend all my money on GW stuff - most of it went on a radio controlled plane I built and then broke before it could ever fly :( - but my brother blew a lot of his and soon enough my parents made the connection between our missing account books and our burgeoning miniature collections and with a decent bollicking and zero sympathy swiftly put the kybosh on our GW spending. My dad was understandably miffed that we'd blown the money he'd put away for us and has never let us forget it.

My financial nous since then has not much improved either: this is why I force myself to be so frugal these days with my hobby spending.

So that's why, yesterday and earlier today, I spent an hour on my dad's landing (the only space available upstairs) sitting on the floor painting Zzzzzz's chaotic minions.

Oh, I've not taken a pic today because my dad's neighbour very kindly lets us piggyback on his wifi, but the connection's pretty weird when it comes to uploading images. Also, Blogger's weird on Mrs. Drax's laptop, which doesn't help.

Another day ticked off. I'm getting there...

Cheers for sticking with me on this Odyssey,

- Drax

Friday, 27 December 2013

397 - Day 7/14 - Painting on the Move

Hullo All.

5 minutes left to post and I'm on Mrs. Drax's unfamiliar laptop.

I'm at my dad's house in Portsmouth.

Mrs. Drax is asleep in my room with No.2 Daughter.

No.1 Daughter is in my brother's room.

I daren't let my dad find out that I'm painting toy soldiers (for reasons I may go into tomorrow), so I'm painting on the landing, whilst he watches ludicrously loud 60s slapstick on Channel 5.

Have I sunk this low?

Still, true to my word, more progress on Zzzzzz'z chaotic minions:
Take care, All!

- D.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

396 - Day 6/14 - Boxing Day Progress...Easy Does It

Hullo All - or at least those of you still with me...

No pics today: Mrs Drax left the camera in the car and the weather is WAY too filthy for me to go out there and get it.

What's more, the internet connection is so very ropey at the moment that I suspect any pictures wouldn't upload anyway: yesterday's Matilda took almost 25 minues to get onto the blog. No BBC iplayer for Drax tonight.

Anyway, the good news is that the window in which I'm currently typing is open over Seires 1 of Battlestar Gallactica...which I'm watching whilst painting more of Zzzzzz's little men and trying to work out whether or not to brave the drive to Portsmouth tomorrow or leave it for a day.

The Drax household is at peace.

Keep well, guys!

- D.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

395 - Day 5/14 - New Directions (for better or worse)

Merry Christmas!

Today's been somewhat disrupted. Wonderful yes, but disrupted.

At around midday a sudden lightning strike hit (we're talking simultaneous donner und blitzen here) and blew the village's power supply. The electricity was down only for about half a minute but the phone's been down since, and the internet (the rural, not-technically-broadband version of broadband) hs been ropey ever since.

This combined with insanely variable weather today (our 'White Christmas' was a half-inch layer of hail which lasted hours) to dissuade us from our traditional afternoon walk, and all our timings went for a Burton as a result. The long and the short of it is that I realised quite early that I'd struggle to get meaningful hobby time in today, so I made another Executive Decision:

I've bought myself a 1/100 Zvezda Matilda II.

Just one. This is the box art:
It cost me about three-and-a-half quid including P&P, and it's the first model I've bought in ages.

But it's not for Flames of War.

Oh no - I couldn't do much with a single tank after all (and the 8th Army are on hold until I've earned them with glacial commission work)...this is for a potential (and SMALL) Bolt Action force.

I can't help it. Ages ago, Brian over at the Inner Geek very kindly donated to me a small Early War FoW British boxed set and I've been wondering how best to use it: Bolt Action in 15mm (popular locally) is absolutely perfect!

I've been rather smitten by the BA rules, you see. I know they're flawed and a bit silly in places, but I just love the refreshing structure of it. 28mm scares me though. Not just painting the models but the scenery required too - and it's an expense I simply cannot meet. Whereas with the cheap addition of a Matilda II and Brian's infantry I've got the beginnings of a rather useful little BEF in France 1940 force.

Doomed to valiant filure just how I like it.

Plus I love the look of the Matilda II and it's so rare that I allow myself to treat me to nice things...

So there.

Hobby work done today - even if it's simply by virtue of purchasing a new toy and starting yet another frivolous new idea.

Enjoy the rest of the day,

- Drax.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

394 - Day 4/14 - Undercoating and... Steve Jackson? Really?!

Hullo All!

Day 4 and all's well. There just happened to be a break in the weather today, so I got some spray undercoating done. Gosh, mine's an exciting life, isn't it?! Here's the proof:
Don't worry - the sides aren't both glued on yet!
And oddly, British readers may be amused to note the appearance on the BBC's Christmas University Challenge of Steve Jackson (appearing as a graduate of Keele): I must say I gave something of a double-take! Here's a link to the iplayer episode whilst it's up. It's a weird world, eh?

In the meantime, The hail's hammering down outside, the fire's burning away, and I've been tasked with tidying up down here before the offspring descend in the morning, so I've got to sign-off.

Take care, all - stay tuned for more mundane progress tomorrow...though I've got a couple of nice ideas up my sleeve...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

- Chris.

Monday, 23 December 2013

393 - Day 3/14 - Sweet Little Runaround

In today's offering, to give me a break from setting-up and packing-away my paltry paint set, some long-overdue modelling: a beautiful Forgeworld Centaur Artillery Tractor, courtesy of Zzzzzz's beneficence. It's an awfully long time since I last scrubbed release oil from resin, I can tell you:
I've a brace of these, to pull the guns one of which is on the left of the picture (also from Zzzzzz)... he intends for them to be used in the Anti-Tank role, which I love (two guns in the D/F pistol role - nice!) but Ill need to 40K them up a bit more first, I think. I don't yet know quite how.

The Centaur, however, is hands-down one of my favourite FW models ever. EVER. I'm very excited to be attacking one now, and though I don't expect to finish it any time soon I'm really looking forward to working out the crew and seeing what it'll look like with its gun limbered!

See you tomorrow, eh?!
 
   "Blow wind! Come wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back."

- Drax.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

392 - Day 2/14 - Know Your Enemy

And here's my enemy du jour - our pretty wee Christmas Tree:
Note that this both is my work desk and my hobby desk, and it's in the darkest corner of our cottage. In fact the only places darker where I could try to get some painting done...are in the 'middle' of the room.

Like the dining table.

Where I once more find myself painting since being ousted by my arborial foe:
Still, you'll note I've managed to find where Mrs Drax tidied my hobby stuff and get a little more paint onto some of the figures I'm painting up for Zzzzzz.

So it begins...

- D.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

391 From the Archive: Missing Flames of War Game!

Hullo All!

WAAAAY back in the summer, I managed against the odds to get a couple of Flames of War games in. The first one (which ran out of time) I was able to post about, but the second one was interrupted by Mrs Drax suddenly becoming horribly ill with a stomach bug. A pity really, because it was going rather well for me when I had to shoot off, actually!

My opponent was the same - a very helpful chap called Gary at the Plymouth Association of Wargamers - and we had more-or-less the same LW match up (my 11th Armoured Division Rifle Coy Vs his American Infantry), but this time the scenery was way cooler-looking and the game much more cinematic.

Sadly, I forgot my camera, but I've just rediscovered the photos Gary took and kindly sent me. The first one is my favourite, but I hope you enjoy them. Understandably they're mostly of Gary's minis, but I'll pop some captions on for clarity:
My 3RTR Shermans advance up through the village (buildings by 4ground) on my right flank.
A wider shot shows that two of them have already brewed up. Don't worry though - the revenge was swift and terrible!
The enemy's view of my right flank at deployment
My scratchbuilt Auster AOP takes its maiden flight - skirting my left flank before impregnably and unassailably hovering over the Americans' centre.
My left flank at deployment. Uncharacteristically for me, my infantry were quick to scoot forward and engage with the enemy. Behind them, woefully devoid of targets, lurk my 6pdr anti-tank guns.

My left flank after turn two, with my 6pdrs advancing. In the following turn I would've hitched them up to my other Sherman platoon and whizzed them forward!

The horrible, horrible machine guns facing me on my left flank. They've got those pesky US 60mm mortars lurking in there too. Nasty, sneaky things, those. Luckily my Shermans' machine guns made short work of them, having snuck around the walls to deny them their cover...
This is the American centre/right at deployment. All of Gary's infantry stands took a real pasting from my 25pdrs and 4.2" mortars - thank goodness!
Gary's lovely camouflaged Shermans. I can't remember if they were equipped with their AA machine guns, but either way I kept my AOP out of range!
As mentioned in my last post, there should be much more from me over the next fortnight, but for now, cheerio!

- Drax.

390 - The Magic of Christmas?

After yet another busy month with scarcely any hobby time I have made An Executive Decision:

I will undertake to make some hobby time AND write a post about it every bloody day over the next fortnight's holiday.

Promise.
Self-Build; Christmas Holidays 2008 (pre-parenthood)

First one's imminent.

Promise.

- drax.