Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A belated Happy New Year and the Analogue Hobbies Painting Competition


It’s almost, but not quite, too late to wish everyone a happy new year. So….Happy New Year to all the readers of this Blog! 

If Christmas passed quickly, New Year was a complete blur. What with family and friends visiting, entertaining my kids on holiday and a blur of painting for Curt’s Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, I missed the chance of posting a traditional Happy New Year message on this Blog first of January.

But better late than never! I hope each and every one of you has enjoyed a wonderful start to the year, and that it continues long into the future!

So, with that message out of the way, how was my 2013 wargaming year? Very much the story of two halves, to be honest. Half of the year seemed to be filled with wargaming goodness: trips to wargames shows at Abingdon, Salute, Crisis in Antwerp, Blog-Con in Nottingham and Colours were very much the high points of my wargaming year, giving me the chance to catch up with people and try some new games. 



The other half of the year’s hobby plans were derailed by having the busiest working year for over five years. All good news in many ways, but definitely not great for wargaming.


As all of you will know, it’s difficult keeping a focus on hobbying when you’re very busy at work and family life is pretty hectic. There’s only so many hours in a day, after all. Now that’s not a complaint, although it can be a little frustrating sometimes. Part of the real pleasure of wargaming is planning, envisaging and (sometimes) day-dreaming about ideas and the next project. Not being able to embark on those projects can lead to a sense of frustration when there’s just not the time to start a project, or see it through to completion.

By the early autumn of 2013 I knew that almost all the targets I'd set for myself way back last January were not to going to be met. In a way that made the time I had hobbying, painting, gaming and convention-ing all the more precious, and I’m grateful for that. It also made me realise that instead of making any wild new year’s predictions for 2014, this January I'm just going to carry on where I left off last year before real life and work threw the wargaming train off the railroad.

I ‘m hoping to keep working steadily on the late Great War French project during this year. The Poilu are nearly done - just another 30 to do to make up the hundred I set out to paint at the start of last year. There's some support weapons to paint, then about 60 Tirailleurs Marocains and Tirailleurs Senegalais. And with half a dozen tanks, that's really about it for the French. 


Painting the last of the French figures is hopefully going to combine well with Curt's Painting Challenge. I've posted below the gas-masked Poilu which I finished around New Year’s Eve, and which I'd converted up way back in October. 







I'm now working on some veteran hardened infantry - the sort of grimy, rugged, indefatigable French infantry who utterly refused to be broken at Verdun. 

 
Aspirationally, I’d like to post more hand-outs and supplements on the Blog here. I've a slightly updated painting guide to the late war French as a result of experimenting over Christmas. I've also got a longer hand-out on French “Big Men” (using TooFatLardies' "Through the Mud and the Blood" rules) which I'll try and post here during next week.

One of my long term aims is also to post here a Verdun-related campaign background of the sort I prepared for some games at the St Albans Wargames Club in 2011 for re-fighting Passchendaele engagements. I've quite a bit of material for this, but it's a question of getting the time to put it together and play-test it. Hopefully this will be a post-Challenge project for the Spring of 2014. If that goes well, I'd love to follow that campaign background up with something similar for the Chemin des Dames campaign of April 1917, perhaps better known as the ill-fated “Nivelle Offensive”, taking the starting point the excellent “Prelude to Victory” by Sir Edward Spears. Thanks entirely to a very kind and generous gift from Blogger-Chum and all-round polymath, Jur de Jong (whose excellent blog I thoroughly recommend HERE) I have some superb material on the French tank forces of the Artillerie Speciale. The bravery of both sides in the Chemin des Dames campaign could do with a lot more coverage in English, and a number of the engagements make very game-able scenarios.


Reading the above, you might be puzzled at my earlier resolve not to make any predictions for the year......when I then proceed to set out some predictions and plans. Ah well, old habits die hard!

To finish up this time, I've also posted the pictures of the trio of war reporters that I painted for the first theme of Curt's Painting Challenge, being “non-combatants”. These were fun to do, and the Bicorne Miniatures range of war reporters in 28mm has a wonderful and unique charm. The middle reporter is a conversion from Melton Prior of the Boer War and Egypt, here translated to a French reporter covering front line action. I drew a complete blank trying to locate the names of any French reporters from the First World War who visited close to the front. If anyone has any details, or even ideas of where to look for more details of the French press generally in the Great War, I'd be really interested - feel very free to leave a comment below on this, or indeed any topic.




Next up, I'll post more images, including work-in-progress shots, from the Mata Hari figures which I posted this weekend for the second themed event in Curt’s Painting Challenge. Until then, keep well mes braves!



31 comments:

  1. Stunning work as always Sir!! the best plans are the ones you dont plan to make..

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    1. Absolutely, Andrew. "Best laid plans....." - well, they went astray this year, but possibly, just ossibly, that's what plans are for!

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  2. Just excellent. I can't wait to see what 2014 holds. Your painting is always inspiring.

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    1. Thanks Chris. I'm looking forward to the year ahead. I still need to review your most excellent ACW supplement here!

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  3. I lookk forward to seeing 2014 with you..

    The Mata Hari is brilliant

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    1. Dave, that's kind, thank you. personally, I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to a trip to Serenity at some point!

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  4. A very Happy New Year to you too! Well what a start to 2014, you've certainly produced some of my favourite entries in the challenge so far - Mata Hari was just sensational! I do hope that we can catch up again this year, possibly at Salute?

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    1. Michael, absolutely. A trip to Salute is firmly on my agenda. The Painting Challenge is lots of fun - there are many stunning examples on Curt's blog of top-notch painting. I'm happy just to get the entries in on time, to be honest!

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  5. Beautiful work as always Sidney and a good 2014 to you and yours!

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  6. Lovely brushwork, sir! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you AJ - and a Happy New Year to you also!

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  7. Fantastic work! And Happy new year!

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  8. Quite extraordinary brushwork! Looking forward to seeing what you craft in 2014.

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    1. Jonathan - Happy New Year! Thank you very much. I just hope (fingers crossed) I'm not a big disappointment!!

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  9. Great work all over, as ususal! Wish you a very happy 2014 and hope to see you more often in the blog

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    1. Benito - ¡Feliz año nuevo! I'm going to try hard to get here more often!

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  10. Happy New Year Sidney, good to see you back in the thick of it.

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  11. Phil - many thanks indeed, and Happy New Year to you also!

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  12. Lovely work all round. Happy new year, I look forward to what 2014 brings

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  13. Happy New Year!

    Looking forward to more Gallic flavour in 2014.

    ...love your basing too.

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    1. Thanks Jim. I'll be sure to add a couple of baguettes, some Haut-Medoc and a tin of cassoulet to the party...

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  14. Superb brushwork as always Sidney and a Happy New Year!

    Christopher

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  15. Happy New Year Sidney! Great work on these guys.

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    1. Many thanks and Happy New Year Rodger!

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  16. I have an elicit and probably highly illegal stockpile of tinned cassoulet...we should conspire!

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    1. I had a wonderful dinner of cassoulet at a restaurant in Toulouse in November when I visited my sister again. Elicit stockpiles of cassoulet are much to be encouraged, Sir!!

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  17. Lots of good looking men here! And gosh , that Mata Hari piece was stunning, my favorite so far in the Challenge. Look forward to see what you come up with in 2014 (British or Italian WWII Desert?) and hope to see you at Salute and/or Crisis. Cheers, Michael

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