Sunday, April 28, 2013

Entry #3 to the Lead Painters' League: 28mm Mordheim Warband

Well, I'm having a great time participating in the Lead Painters League. It's prompted me to drag out a bunch of my unpainted figures (and purchase some more) in an attempt to provide a more varied selection of subjects and periods to submit. This week's group of figures is a good case-in-point. Though I had painted a few in the past, I've had these untouched Mordheim castings for probably twelve years, and without the impetus of the League they  probably would've sat untouched for another dozen more.

I particularly like these two-pistol wielding figures. I already had a set done from a few years ago, but found I had another couple raw castings so I was happy to work on them again.

I've kept the majority of this lot in the same blue and yellow 'livery' as my existing Mordheim collection.

These are beautiful GW sculpts - some of their best in my opinion. They have a fabulous, whimsical, quasi-renaissance air about them. I really like their puff and slash sleeves, half-armour and jaunty feathered caps. I entered the five shown at the top for the League, but I've added the two below which I've recently finished.

Again, I invite you to visit the League to view this Round's entries and place your votes (this one is going to be another close one on my part). The variety and scope of subjects is great fun to follow.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Entry #2 to the Lead Painters League: Greyscale French Poilu and Officer

I managed to pip a victory in the first round of the Lead Painters League with my Napoleonic  French battalion command stand (many thanks to all those who took time to vote) and today we head into the second match.

For this entry I've put forward a small squad of WWI French 'Poilu' dressed in their early-war uniforms. They are being led by a grizzled one-armed colonial veteran who is attended by his loyal trumpeter.

The infantry are from Great War Miniatures whereas the officer is from Artizan Design. I'm not sure how this entry will resonate with the voters as I realize my greyscale stuff is a bit esoteric and is probably a little narrow in its appeal. Nonetheless, it's nice to get another squad of Gauloises-smoking 'hairy ones' done and in the cabinet.

Again, please check out the League's 2nd round over at the Lead Painters Forum and place your votes for your favourites of the wide variety of subjects on display.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Some Modern Day Country Music Honouring the Cavalry - Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans

The Canadian music awards, The Junos, are being hosted here in Regina this weekend and one of the many performers who will be playing will be our very own 'thinking man's' cowboy, Corb Lund and his Hurtin' Albertans. 

Mr. Lund is up for a Juno for his latest album, 'Cabin Fever', so we're eager to see how he does.

If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing Corb Lund before here are two excellent songs that may appeal to the Horse & Musket fans amongst you.

'I Wanna Be in the Cavalry'

'Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier'

Pretty cool, eh?

On a totally unrelated note, in a few days the second match of the Lead Painters League will begin. As last week I will post up a few pictures and a description of what I've entered for this upcoming bout.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My First Entry to the 7th Lead Painters League: Command Stand for the 18e d'Regiment de Ligne, 'Les Braves'

I got wind of the Lead Painters League painting competition a few weeks ago and thought I'd give it a whirl as incentive to keep some of my projects moving along. I'm not expecting too much success from my efforts as there are some pretty talented folk involved. (I would describe my painting 'style' as being similar to kabuki theatre makeup: certainly serviceable at a distance but not too flattering up close.) Nonetheless, I thought it would be fun to participate in something in which I'm more or less just along for the ride.

From what I understand there's about thirty hobbyists participating in the League. The way that the competition works is that for each week, for the next ten weeks, the participants are paired off to compete against one another in a series of matches. Every painter provides an entry of at least 5 figures for each match. Points are given to both the winner and loser of each match (30 and 10 points respectively) which I think is a great approach as you alway have some sense of progress in the standings. In addition, there are bonus points given for a variety of things such as number of votes received, submitting newly painted figures, and for conforming to the theme chosen for that particular match. For example, the bonus theme for this first match was to paint a 'Headquarters Unit'. 

Accordingly, I've submitted a 28mm napoleonic command stand which portrays the colour party of the first battalion, 18e d'regiment de ligne - a unit which became known as 'Les Braves'. It's seen here in the midst of taking canister fire at the battle of Aspern-Essling, 1809. These are primarily Perry castings with the addition of a few Foundry casualty figures put in for variation. I also did a light conversion on the falling officer, replacing his sword with the colour standard and tilting him a bit more. I'll ultimately be building upon this stand with another 24 figures to flesh-out the unit.

So I urge you all to please check out the competition as there are many talented painters displaying their mad, mad skills. I'm not sure if you have to be a member of the Lead Adventure Forum to vote, but if you have the time I suggest you join up and participate in the fun. My entry can be found hereIf any of my work strikes your fancy please pass along your vote to help salve my pride and ensure that I'm not too badly shamed over the course of the League.  ;)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Awards for the 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

A period print of The 47 Ronin.
First I apologize for the delay in getting up this award announcement but we had the pleasure of hosting the Mad Padre (MikeP) for a wonderful weekend visit to which I blissfully ignored my blogging responsibilities in favour of fine food, great drink and excellent company.

So, now that I've emerged from my geek hangover I'm delighted to be able to announce the awards for the 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

First up is the Challengers' Choice. I had a tremendous amount of fun reading everyone's comments regarding their selections. Many mentioned how difficult it was to select just one entry (a sentiment to which I can very much sympathize) and I was frequently given a long list of favourites. Popular choices were:

Tamsin's Swiss Pikemen, 

Greg's Sudan collection, 

Millsy's Ronin, 

and Seb's Gladiators. 

Nevertheless, it was Michael's Cannibal Cooking Pot that was the most voted-for favourite amongst the Challengers. 

It possesses such great storytelling, flawless composition and seemingly effortless execution. Very well done Michael and thank you for treating us with this imaginative bit of fun!

Nothing brings a family together like an evening cook-out.

Sarah spent a good portion of the weekend reviewing EVERY entry, not only to be thorough but also to take some time to enjoy the Challenge as a whole. She tells me that the task took a little more time than she anticipated as she found herself being drawn off to read comments and follow links to others' blogs - mission accomplished, I say!

From Sarah:
I have found it hard to pick a Sarah's Choice Award, particularly since my own criteria was a little "vague". I mean, what does non-military figure or vignette really mean in the context of this Painting Challenge? The superb soldiers of both the Tratavian world and our friend John Bertolini's hand cast and painted Demi-ronde figures beggar the question are these "military figures" or "Toy Soldiers"? Certainly these figs can be gamed with, but are vastly different in feeling compared to for example Greg B's modern Afghan figures 
Then we come to the vignettes and units presented. The Chinese Chariots of Seb's were so lovely, (fabulous shade of blue by the way) and Kawe's French Dragoon and Sleigh evokes the despair of the never-ending winter we are enduring here on the prairies of Saskatchewan (more snow today, yuck). One of my particular favourite vignettes was Michael A's Colonial Heliograph Station. I am a romantic at heart and these great Victorian era colonial expeditions capture a spirit of adventure which I admire. 
So as is evident, I was scattered with what I was looking for, other than something out of the ordinary. In order to narrow my choices, I decided to focus  again on the under-represented female figures.
So here are my four runner ups:
Mike P's Fräulein Barmaid
The Mad Padre was our house guest this past weekend and brought along a stellar bottle of Scotch, while this can easily be construed as a bribe, he was merely exhibiting good manners (no really)! Mike's Fräulein has quite a lot of sass and her back story (not her badadonkadonk, Curt!) is quite unique. Just imagine a samurai trained Octoberfest Barmaid.... There would be no bad behaviour in the beer tents she was serving!
Greg B's Austrian Sutleress
A number of years ago, Curt made me read RF Delderfield's 'Seven Men From Gascony' (a brilliant book as it turned out), one of the characters was a young woman making her living as an ambitious cantoniere. Also, a movie which is watched annually in the Hanks-Campbell household is 'The Duelists' ... Diana Quick  played the camp follower. It is always interesting to see how war affects women and how they cope within that dangerous, alien world of armies and men.
Dave D's badass Female Gunslinger
A determined gal not relying on anyone but herself, and making her own way in the world. Awesome! Let's pair her up with Mike's fräulein and see the two of them kick some butt!
Dave's Geisha
Such beautiful paint and color choices. There is a real elegance and even serenity about her. Love it!
All of the above exhibit brilliant work that I deeply admire, but a choice had to be made! So, driven to a decision, the winner of the 2nd Sarah's Choice is Phil H's 'Lonely Lady'
This figurine could have so many stories woven about her, as Phil said she could be a sailor's widow looking out to sea, a ghost from a Wilkie Collins novel, a damsel in distress.....
Bravo to Phil for such lovely work!

Same as last year I received a surprising amount of comments from the People's Choice Award. In addition to many of those mentioned above, those who followed the Challenge very much enjoyed:

The Hawkins brothers (Ian & Phil) with their various Pulp adventure entries,

Ian's Maharaja Fella
Phil's 'The Swede'
Iannick's Canaanites,

Christopher's Successor Pikemen,

and Andrew's Napoleonic Neuchatel battalion, 'The Canaries'.

The overall favourite for the People's Choice Award was, once again, our talented Mr. Awdry with his amazing Greyscale Seven Samurai!

Congratulations Michael! Thank you again for joining (and vindicating) me in my monochrome madness!

And finally the Judge's Choice Award. As you can well imagine this was a tough one for me. I had the great pleasure of posting each and every entry for the Challenge and so had loads of time to ruminate and ponder on which would be my favourite. Of course it didn't help a bit. I've been paralyzed with indecision for weeks as there are so many brilliant pieces of work to choose from, as you can well see above. 

In the end I've decided to go with my emotions instead of thinking about it too much. 

As Sarah mentioned previously, one of our favourite films is Ridley Scott's 'The Duelists'. Within that film is an amazing scene set during the French retreat from Moscow. Being Canadian prairie folk, with a long experience of harsh winters, we've always thought that Scott did an admirable job in capturing the striking, bleak beauty of a winter landscape. So I was deeply impressed when I saw Kawe's abandoned snow-covered French ammunition caisson as it elegantly conveys that great sense of sadness and waste - a vainglorious Imperial dream shattered by nature's elements.

I found it especially striking as there is not a man or beast in this scene. An effect which seems to underline its haunting isolation, its sense of despair and desolation. I know, grim stuff, but also very powerful.

Superb work Kawe - I'll draw great inspiration from this vignette if I decide to attempt something similar in the future (but it will be on a hot day in July to be sure). 

So there you have it. Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you for treating us with your great imagination and skill. All of your work provides us wonderful entertainment and a source of inspiration.

I will be in touch with each of you with details regarding your prizes. 

And finally I want to thank, once again, all the Challengers for joining me in this fun bit of  distraction. I thank you for your industry, your great sportsmanship and most of all for your warm camaraderie over the past three months. Bravo to you all and I look forward to crossing brushes with you in the next Challenge!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hounds of Love: Challenge Donations & New K-9 Additions to the Family

The lovely, lovely Kate.
For this year's Challenge I happily committed to donate $5 for each ronin submitted to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).  After a little thinking Sarah and I decided to donate half to the SPCA and the other half to a local 'no-kill' dog shelter as they are always chronically under-funded and in need of help. 

Addendum: Last September we had to put down our beloved old hound 'Caleb' (hardest thing I've ever done, let me tell you) and we knew we would not get a new dog until we had time to properly mourn him. Well, with spring in the air and our hearts now in the right place we decided to expand our family once again and adopt not just one dog but two puppies from the local dog shelter. So I introduce to you Felix and Oscar (Be Warned: Cute Puppy Madness Ensues):

(Felix is the little guy with the patch over his eye while Oscar is the strapping brown-spotted lad.)

Don't let this calm scene fool you - these lads are hellions!
As you can see from the video they are pretty rambunctious and seem pleased as punch to have the run of Schloss Campbell-Hanks. 

Let the indiscriminate peeing and pooping begin! Woo-Hoo!!