Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Leather Belt

Sunday evening saw a bit of work on the crusader's belt. Now I am much happier with the results and feel it represents worn leather to a better standard now.  

 I started some very diluted black which was gently brushed on to the centre of the belt to add a touch of depth. Once the black had dried I very carefully stippled the top and bottom edges of the belt with beige.

 The paint was diluted around 4:1 with water.  To finish it all off a wash of  cavalry brown was added bringing the separate elements together and give the whole belt a leather sheen.  

Hope you like the progress. 

The next job is to do a bit of work on the red crosses  and get them looking less painted. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Mucky Hems

So where was I, Oh yeah, engrained dirt. The process of working dirt into the tabbard continued      with very diluted mixes of chocolate brown and khaki, about a eight to one mix which was figuremethodically painted around the hem of the crusaders tabbard each coat slowly built up the dirt with slightly different tones. Interspersed in the brown and khaki coats were the occasional coat of ivory which was feathered up into the off-white of the fabric. It is a slow but pleasant process and it seems to be producing results.

Currently I am not totally happy with the leather belt. It needs a little more work to get a the worn look just right...

Okay maybe I will just ruin it and have to start again.  Watch this space !

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lest We Forget

On a corner of the perimeter wall of Heathfield School in Ascot sits a memorial to the only son of its former bursar, Flying Officer Henry (Harry) Beaucourt Skyrme of the Royal Air Force, who went missing on the night of 16 January 1941. Skyrme was listed  missing in The Times on 7 February 1941.

Henry “Harry” Beaucourt Skyrme was born on 8 October 1917 in Bexhill-on-Sea, the only child of Major Theophilus Garfield Skyrme. His middle-name refers to Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre on the Somme, where his father was wounded during the First World War, subsequently losing his leg.

Harry attended Radley College, Abingdon 1931-35. In the school newspaper,  The Radleian  a short obituary of Harry, which describes him as a loyal Radleian although not known for eminence. Skyrme’s service record lists his interests as ‘rugger and rowing’ and The Radleian also mentions him crewing a coxed IV for his house in inter-school competitions.

Skyrme was a salesman for Stratstone Ltd in Pall Mall before volunteering for the RAF on 4 October 1938. He scraped through his flight exams at the second attempt and was authorized to wear the coveted RAF cloth pilot’s wings. On 23 September 1939 he married Georgina Alexandra Bellanti from Gozo Malta . On 25 October 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer and on 1 November 1940 he joined No.10 Bomber Squadron under the command of Group Captain W.E. ‘King Kong’ Staton.

On 16 January 1941 at 18:32 Skyrme and four comrades (Sergeants Rowlett, Sandland, Polkinghorne and Brookman) took off from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire as part of an 81 aircraft raid on Wilhelmshaven following up a successful raid the previous night. During the night of the 16th fewer crews found their targets and Wilhelmshaven reported only light damage with two people killed. 

Five aircraft did not return from that raid including the Whitley Mk V bomber T4220 ZA-S piloted by Skyrme on operational mission. The last report of his aircraft was timed at 21:15: they were going to drop altitude to try to find warmer air because the flaps were icing up. The aircraft and crew were presumed lost in the North Sea.

On 10 September 1941, Harry Skyrme’s daughter Jacqueline was born. The following day, The Times listed him in the roll of honour: “previously reported missing now presumed killed in action”.   He is commemorated by name on three memorials:

Heathfield School, Ascot (Pictured)

The Ascot War Memorial

The RAF Memorial, Runnymede (Panel 30)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Yellow Scarf

Last night more  progress was  made on the yellow scarf  around the crusader's waist. Firstly I went over all the upper surfaces of the scarf with a light sand highlight. Once this dried a went over the entire scarf with an opaque covering of lemon yellow.  Once this was complete a mix of some off-white was added to the yellow and the added a further light coat over the high-light areas once again. 
After a couple more coats progressively lighting the yellow until I was happy with the highlight. 
It was not to be too light but defined enough to show the texture and the folds off to their best. 

For the recesses and folds in the fabric a tiny spot of chocolate brown was mixed in with the yellow. This too was watered down in to an opaque consistency and gently added into the low- lights. The final stage was to paint over a final top coat to bring together the different shades and tones into one element encompassing light and dark. 

Finally the next part to deal with will be to start working on the bottom of the crusader's surcoat. Ideally we want to achieve an ingrained dirt look resulted  from months or possibly years of campaigning ...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Boots and Gloves

Recently some of the readers suggested that I should focus efforts on finishing up this crusader. So over the next few free evenings I am attempting to add the finishing touches to him. And attempt to get a nice uniform tonality on to the fabrics.

So far I am very pleased with the boots and gloves, both of which I imagine were made from un-dyed hide.

Currently I am working on the yellow waist scarf. This represents a piece of looted fabric from an enemy warrior. I hope to achieve an extra level of refinement on this item to contrast with the earthy tones against off white.   

Sunday, 29 September 2013


If you listen very carefully you can hear the clatter of tiny hooves on plywood. This sound heralds the long awaited five bases of French WWI Cuirassier cavalry. 

They make a splendid edition to the three and a bit companies of poileu and the battery of Artillery  who I am close to completing. I am looking forward to getting these guys finished. This project has been going on far to long. 
It is to be hoped that by the end of the week we can get them all done and dusted with a big reveal in the form off a blog post.    

Friday, 27 September 2013

Imperial Romans come up against Galatians

Right lets give you guys a battle report. It has been a while since I wrote up a report from one of my games for the blog. On Thursday night I fielded my early Imperial Romans against Alan's Galatians. I won the terrain and optioned for hilly. Nevertheless, in the set up I isolated my light troops by placing them to far over on the flank in an effort to protect a poorly placed camp. This was clear at the end of the game having lost a battle group of light foot and my fortified camp.  

My basic strategy was to attempt to keep the attention of the enemy with a battle line of superior legionnaires accompanied by a couple of battle groups of  cavalry who can pile in  at the appropriate moment to cause mayhem on the enemy's right flank. This was fifty percent successful with the Contonii lancers making short work of one warband  which allowed then to come in to the right flank  of his main battle line. The plan was very close to coming off. However, on reflection while my cavalry left me slightly flat footed. Despite being a little disconnected I felt I could prevail. 

When it came down to it was a game of nip and tuck. Alan killed one of my commanders and then in the following round I kill one of his. I dropped a cohesion level at one end of the melee while Alan dropped a level at the other end. I break a unit of his in the impact phase, he breaks a unit of mine in the melee round. 

At the end of the game I was sure I could edge it with a charge to the rear of the end of his battle line. Alias my brave legions charged in carrying a disrupted marker and lost the impact and double dropped to broken and ran away giving Alan a well deserved victory nine points against four.   


Friday, 20 September 2013

Hunnic Camp

Over the summer months I have managed to fit in a good bit of wargaming. Back in May I took part in my first wargames competition which was Campaign in Milton Keynes. I really enjoyed this first experience of competition gaming it was good fun. CLWC had a big contingent and we all went off for a curry on the Saturday night. For my first competition I was very impressed by Milton Keynes Wargaming Club’s organisation of the Show, which hosted the local shopping centre outside a branch of John Lewis it provide a spaciious and bright environment for gaming.  I look forward to going again next year and defend my last place.   

I have managed to have a few games back in CLWC mainly concentrating on Field of Glory and in recent weeks I’ve even won a couple games conclusively, by more than by a couple of points. This I assume, is a sign I am improving. 

Another effect of this flurry of Field of Glory activity was that I bought myself an other army which I am currently working on to the detriment of all other projects. I opted for an Hunnic army made up predominantly of Light Horse backed up by shooty cavalry which provides me with different challenges to the Early Imperial Romans and their steamrolling legions. Tim, over on the Madaxeman has a good article on running a Light Horse Army.   

I opted for Lurkio figures. on the bases that they provide ready made armies ad their figures look absolutely fantastic.  But more about these guys in later posts.  Today I wanted to introduce you to the newly created army camp.  I opted to use six individual 40x40mm bases to give a touch of flexibility to the camp.  I hope you enjoy seeing the project developing. I hope it continues to developing!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

World War 1 Early French

In the build up to the centenary of World War I, I am painting up a French army to recreate some of the early battles on the table top. I opted to go with 10mm scale because it seems a good compromise between scale and cost. These guys are Pendraken figures and they offer really good value with a starter army costing around twenty quid.  

In the usual fashion they have been painted with acrylics with a dry-brush over the top and a touch of oil paint.

So far I have managed to paint up three companies of infantry and three batteries artillery. I'll keep slogging  along!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Templar Kit

In an effort to keep the momentum of posts up here are a couple of shots of the weaponry with will adorn the crusader figure.

They were a real joy to paint. To finish it off it could do with a little bit of weathering to give it a a slightly more worn look.  

I suspect it might be easier to do that once the various pieces are mounted on to. As usual they has been painted with acrylics with oil washes. 


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

By Popular Demand

Please allow me to introduce another project, this has been languishing on my work bench for far too long.  Over the last few years I have been working this figure on and off. Nevertheless, I am determent to put the finishing touches to this figure before the winter sets in.  In an effort to inspire on to yet greater exploits with the paint brush I have taken some progress pictures.

The figure is from the Romeo 90mm range and is cast completely lead. He has been painted  with acrylics with exception of the face which was done with oils. With the complexion I have been attempting to represent a northern European face which has been weather beaten a sunburned in the harsh climes of the Holy Land.  The face should convey a mixture of discomfort and zealotry in keeping with a Knight Templar and his environment.  In terms of inspiration for the characterisation of the figure I used Brendan Gleason’s performance of Raynald of Châtillon in the film Kingdom of Heaven. 

The clothing and equipment has all been done in acrylics with a very light oil wash on some of the leather items in an attempt to give them a sight sheen.  The most challenging part getting  the white right.  Naturally when you paint something white you never use white.  Starting with a black primer I slowly built upwash after wash of off-white and ivory for the iconic Tunic.  

               Opting for bright yellow to paint the scarf tied around the figure’s waist, serves a couple of purposes, firstly to break up the monotone mix of whites, browns and reds. It is also representative of a looted item from an enemy. The bright colour is to indicate the comparative cultural superiority of the Muslim society of the time. This concept is also to ties in with the head garb the crusader is wearing, which imitates the local keffiyeh. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Inventory of Sloth

Well it's been a while since I have written for this blog consistently and I could bore you with various excuses about work, holidays, new phones, sloth and lack of inspiration, new computers.

Nevertheless, it is possibly time to give a little up date on the world of half done things I have previously mentioned on this blog. 

If you like it is an inventory of sloth:

The first offender is my North Irish Horse Sherman this is so close to being completed it is almost criminal to leave in this state. 

Next is my duelist Malatesta who was an diverting holiday project back at Easter I suspect progress will  have to wait until next Easter's getaway.

 In addition this crusader has been hanging around on the nearly finished shelf for years now...

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Company at Last

Well its been a while since I wrote a blog. So here is one to blow the dust the Miniature Inspiration while I am waiting for my orange cake to bake. (Thats a cake with orange zest in it rather than a cake which is the colour Orange.) 

In any case I have been busy is over the past months  with an number of projects.  The most interesting of which for the readership of this blog is most likely the early World War One French army in 10mm I am currently working on in anticipation of the centenary next year. So far I have completed just over one company.

These figures are from the Pendraken range and to be honest a bit to small for me to do them proper justice with a paint brush. Nevertheless they are really delightful figures in a great scale. I am now a convert to 10mm and have big plans involving acquiring more lead than I will ever be able to paint in one life time in ten mil. 

In any case here are some shots of some of the “poileux” I have based up to date. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

One More Wake Up Until Salute

Image credit : South London Warlords: http://www.salute.co.uk/
We're off to Salute tomorrow morning, this year I don't really have a shopping list. I am pleased to say most of last year’s purchases have been painted and deployed in some sense or other.

The reason I am informing you of this is to allow myself guilt free purchases tomorrow in the knowledge I have a minimal wargames painting back log.  I want to pick up some rules and some gaming aids this year. Nevertheless, no doubt I'll be bemoaning my impulse buys by Sunday. Thankfully my friend Phil* and my daughter will be accompanying me and they are both immensely more sensible than I.
*I don't think Phil has even started to work on his purchases from last year's show!