Sunday 29 December 2019

2019 - Review Time!

 Well call it a six month review - or there abouts. It started with great momentum and at one stage was looking like it would be a personal record breaking year for painting input but less than halfway through the year it all dried up.

 A combination of things such as work related exhaustion and some personal issues at home were mainly to blame which thankfully has been resolved and capped off with a move to a lovely house.

 Anyway, I won't bore you with all that. Going back to January, the first project I embarked on was an Oriental Heroes warband consisting of some classics from that range including a Wu Jen and a samurai riding temple dog.

 It was highly fulfilling to finally get the temple dog model done after it had been unpainted in my pile for many years.

 I have to say the Wu Jen was my personal favourite though; a figure I'd been tracking down for a fair old while. Had a lot of fun painting him up.

 For the following three months I worked on, initially a Realm of Chaos Khorne warband and then, sticking with the theme I worked on a unit of chaos knights.

 The warband leader was a conversion job, using two different Jes Goodwin champions accompanied by an unreleased chaos hound. I'd have to say he's probably the highlight of my painting year.

 The knights were a lengthy time consuming process, each one having a little bit of customisation here and there. I've always found painting horses/mounts a bit overwhelming and these giant brutes were no exception.

 It's always been an ambition to have a unit of classic realm of chaos knights painted up. There were so many scheduled models to add to this growing Khorne force and then it all just fell away.

 I would barely look at another model for about another four months. The resurgence came from an unlikely source - the American civil war range from Dixon Miniatures.

I've had no end of fun painting these characterful little guys and have been impressed how many variations there are in the range. I've enough to field a small force of Union and Confederates with every man being different.

 I was aiming to post another unit of Confederates before the year was out but I'm five short of completion.

 So despite five months of painting zilch, I did manage to get quite a bit done over 2019. It was a little disappointing not to manage a diorama or large scale model this year which I have managed to do so for about the last five years running. Hopefully 2020 will see the return of that. The early part of the coming year will most likely consist of more American civil war but I do hope that I can feel the desire to return to painting classic Citadel figures again before too long.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - J.E.B. Stuart with Guidon Bearer

 The next installment to my latest ongoing project is that of legendary Confederate cavalry general James Ewell Brown J.E.B Stuart.

 All three figures are Dixon sculpts again of course which I really cannot champion enough. Another thing that amazes me here is the fact Dixon seem to vary their character figures as the previous Jeb figure I've seen online is looking straight ahead whereas my version is as you can see, is looking at an angle.

 Charismatic and flamboyant, the cologne wearing Stuart was a master of reconnaissance and Robert E. Lee's eyes and ears. Stuart met his demise in 1864 at The Battle of Yellow Tavern, mortally wounded by a dismounted Union cavalryman.

 The cavalry guidon is from the Redoubt Enterprises flag range. I'm going to resume with some more infantry for now and fit another couple of cavalry figures as and when. 

 There is also a plan of a diorama of Pickett's charge (or at least a small part of it!) over the coming weeks. Well more than just a plan as I've ordered all the models and purchased a base so that'll be something to occupy me into the new year.

Saturday 9 November 2019

Dixon Miniatures American Civil War - 28th North Carolina & the dawn of a new obsession

 Well I'm hoping this will be the beginning of a fruitful relationship.  It's been six months since I last blogged anything; prior to this, I was rolling along at a good pace, regularly painting up pieces for an ever increasing Khorne warband and then I suddenly hit a brick wall.

 This was the first case of a proper lost mojo in about seven years. I've had the odd week or two when I can't get into a project but not like this. It was probably down to a mixture of a work schedule over the summer that rapidly escalated out of control and one or two personal issues that I won't bore you with.
 So a couple of months back, I decided to watch Ken Burns' Civil War masterpiece again. I'd first seen this with the old man back when it was first aired in the UK in 1991 when I was about 15. He was massively into the civil war and made me sit down and take it all in. I watched it again a couple of years ago but on seeing it again recently, it had an effect on me that I was not expecting. Total obsession! I've watched it about ten times in the past two months and don't feel like letting up yet either. I could go on all day about this documentary but this blog is about toy soldiers. The urge to paint returned and I looked around various civil war ranges and found that Dixon Miniatures were by far and above, the most characterful I'd seen. I'll go into them more in a sec but I thought I'd show a pic of what I've done first.

28th North Carolina

 I've decided to tackle the Confederates first and have enjoyed using the varied grey palette. I'm managing about one figure a fault which is pretty good for me. What I'm particularly pleased with is that I've managed to paint every figure from my initial order. The plan was to not buy too many too soon and overwhelm myself but I threw caution to the wind and ordered a load more.

 I have to say, I've totally fallen in love with this range. They are an absolute joy to paint and so full of character. I'm so impressed with the extensive detail to them with all the various heads that are available. I've managed to amass a small force of Confederates with every man being different. Plus there are about 400 different poses in the range. There are some really cool character models available too. The flag is from Redoubt Enterprises.

 I'm still in my infancy when it comes to learning about the civil war and I know the rebs generally wore shell jackets over sack coats and I do have a mixture of both in this first unit but I'm not too bothered by all that.

I've found a lot of inspiration and guidance from other historical blogs out there, in particular Tales From GHQ

 Hopefully this will be a project I can stick with for some foreseeable time. The desire is burning brightly and I'm already making a start on some Confederate cavalry which I'm hoping to post up in a couple of weeks. Bye for now!

Saturday 11 May 2019

Citadel Realm of Chaos Knight unit - Complete

 Well that last one was a real struggle! I think I'm in need of a break from the Khorne models. It's all beginning to feel like some kind of an accidental army challenge.

 Anyway, the main thing is that I've managed to get the knight unit finished, although it should be eight man strong really!

 No tail conversion on this one but there has been one or two alterations. I've gone for a demon crest which I've taken from Sir Brut from the heroic fighters box set. The impaled head is from the goblin chariot box that I'd removed about 25 years ago, rather stupidly I'll confess, but at least it's found a purpose at last. <EDIT> Hang on, what am I on about?? The head from the goblin chariot is on the other one (first from left). This is the head from a dwarf berserker, which my mate had knifed up when we were kids.

 So that will do for now with the Khorne force. I think I deserve a break for a while. I need to clear the lead pile on the desk as well, or at least reduce some of it. It'll be refreshing starting something completely different; the most likely idea will be a small vignette.

Friday 26 April 2019

Citadel Realm of Chaos Knight #4

 With the latest installment in the unit of chaos knights, I've gone for a makeover on one I painted about five years ago. Basically it's an 80% (ish) repaint.

 I did consider stripping it and starting over but there were enough aspects that complimented the other three. I've gone for the same steed as knight three. After a little harsh criticism in the last post, I've come round to it somewhat.

 The only conversion work on this one, bar the reins is the tail. This time I've gone for the tail of a Slaanesh champion. The figure was a little worn around some of the key areas so I didn't feel any resentment to cutting it off.

 This is perhaps my favourite rider of the range and definitely the first one I ever bought; circa 1996 I'd say.

 So with one to go, I may have a blast on something else next as I am waiting for the last steed to arrive. It'll definitely be Khorne related though.

Monday 22 April 2019

Citadel Realm of Chaos Knight #3

 So the unit grows with the third instalment for my five planned chaos knights. This one took a little longer than the previous. This particular steed seems to be slightly more time consuming.

 If I'm honest, it's my least favourite steed model of the three. I feel you get less freedom with painting it. I've never really been a fan of some of its detail; the weird head dress thingy or the cloth over the face. Come to think of it, I'm not a great lover of the bone detail either. I just think with the other two steeds, that you have a little more option to paint them just how you want to, if that makes sense.

 But hey, I can't really knock it too much. It's still a quality, imposing model (which is obviously what you want from a chaos steed) plus it keeps the variation going.

 There have been a couple of tweaks on this one; I've used the tail (or two thirds of it) of the original Lord of the Rings Balrog - don't worry folks! It was a spare. Also I've fixed a bow and quiver from the Khorne juggernaut/chaos chariot accessories plus another length of chain for the reins.

 It's really satisfying to being well on the way to a full unit of these guys. I definitely have Nico and Roberth Breseus to thank for all the inspiration with their spectacular takes on this range.

 Hopefully I'll be posting again at the tail end of this week with number four. Thanks for looking!