Sunday, 21 September 2014

African Autumn: "...and you bought HOW many Tirailleurs...?"

There are some days when I sit down at my painting table, pick up a paint brush and start painting almost straight away. There are other days when I sit down, stare at the half-painted jumble of figures  scattered haphazardly across the table - usually at what I like to call the "dull stage" of their painting - and start praying for inspiration.

And then there are the - thankfully fairly rare - days like today.  The day when some of the exciting feeling of a new project disappears like the early morning mist on the Veldt.  The day when you actually count up how many figures need painting...and converting.   The day when reality makes first contact with your dreams!

Oops.  That's the day you look at the little metal figures and shake your head.  Sometimes laughing in disbelief.  Sometimes softly, trying to convince yourself this was a good idea.  And you slowly recount the figures.  No, surely there can't have been that many.  I must have miscounted.  No...I counted right the first time.  Oooops.

Yes, mes braves, its time to show you The Box.


Well, they they are.  Les Tirailleurs Senegalais.  Oh, and there's another layer below them of more Tirailleurs and French Legion Entranger.  And some machine guns.  And some casualties.  And some other stuff I don't need to trouble you with right now.... And some spare heads....actually, rather a lot of spare heads.

I know what you're thinking.  That's quite a few figures to convert ... and that really is a lot of heads to swap....


...and you'd be right!

It's been a slightly subdued morning in the painting room after I realised how much I had to do and just how small those lovely Woodbine Design Company heads are.

But every journey starts with a first step.  I've selected the first nineteen figures for preparation, conversion and basing.  I've chosen figures which are similar enough to give me a feel for how to manage the conversions over a larger group, but varied enough so I don't get bored.  And, because I keep convincing myself I enjoy a challenge, I've included a company command base in the first batch as well (with some Forgotten & Glorious Tirailleur heads).

And yes, that is a lot of modelling putty in the photograph below.  Sadly, perhaps even depressingly, no enterprising figure manufacturer has yet cast anything I can use for a coupe-coupe machete to be glued onto the belt of the figures.  Ahh....so that's what the modelling putty is for...


All done by December?  What are the chances?  Ninety 28mm figures (including the Legion Etranger), in three months.  To be honest, there's maybe be a slim chance of that happening.  Which is just enough of a chance to go for it!

And, although books about the Tirailleur Senegalais are a little thin on the ground, I've plenty of inspiration for wargaming in Africa from other sources - some eminently respectable, some a little more eccentric!



So, wish me luck.  I better get moving.  Those Adrien helmets won't swap themselves!



35 comments:

  1. Good Luck, looks like a lot of work is about to cross your table but once you are well into the first batch I am sure you will be full of the joy, at least for awhile

    Ian

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    1. Ha !! That joy lasted for three hours last night until I could not feel my fingers! Still, the first conversions are done. On the plus side, they look OK. On the minus side, by my count, I still have 68 heads to swap!

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  2. LOL! You are describing the same feeling I had back in early July when I confronted the pile of metal figures, support units and tanks for my SCW Republican Army

    But as we say here "Valor y al toro" (that you can translate as "courage and go for the bull" or similar...), I manged to complete circa 50 figures in around 10 weeks. And if I were the Fuhrer, this will be me order: "I want to see those nice minis finished by December. Not a step back!!"

    Looks a very interesting project, not only for the painting but also for the historical research
    I have a bunch of WWI German in African uniform from when I started playing WWI and it was a front that captured my imagination. I will follow yours with a high interest indeed (I still have a few Askaris pending a coar of paint in a drawer)
    Will you be using Mud & Blood too?

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    1. "Valor y al toro" is a saying I must remember!

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    2. "Valor y al toro" - magnificent, Benito! That's the fighting spirit I love to hear!

      Although the Tirailleurs Senegalais are the West African troops of the L'Armee Coloniale, the whole of the Great War in Africa is something I'm enjoying finding out more about. How on earth did I miss this part of the conflict for so long?

      As for rules - yes, we'll be fielding the Tirailleurs Senegalais on the wargames table using "Through the Mud and the Blood". More to come in that regard here shortly!

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  3. Quite a massive force you're assembling! I played a Bolt Action WW1 game yesterday with a very modest amount of figures - the players had a great time - I think WW1 is a nice break from WW2 games. Best, Dean

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    1. Thanks Dean - and yes, I fully agree. Whether your chose rule-set is "Bolt Action", "Flames of War", "Price of Glory", "Through the Mud and the Blood", or whatever, the First World War has a huge amount to offer the wargamer across many different locations and theatres of the conflict. Great to hear you're getting a lot out of the period!

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  4. Good luck with that Sidney! It looks to be a mammoth task. Will keep an eye on how the project progresses :o)
    Cheerio
    Matt

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    1. Thanks Matt! Expect a distress flare rising into the Autumn night skies any time soon!!!

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  5. Wow thanks quite a lead pile. Makes me feel better about the SCW project at least.

    Best of luck with the convert-athon. You'll get there in no time once you get going.

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    1. Thanks Phil! Much appreciated! I'm hoping you're right!

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  6. You will do it Sid, keep posting your progress and we will certainly encourage you as much as you do us.

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    1. Phil, thanks so much, mate! I never doubted you guys for a second. Great to have you with me on the journey!

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  7. Well, I know exactly what you are going through. Getting started can be intimidating but I look forward to watching your progress on your mass of Senegalese tirailleurs.

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  8. Good luck, Mon Brave! We shall be behind all the way... Well, watching you from you blog anyway... :)

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    1. Haha! That's precisely the support which fits the period, Monsieur Mangin!!

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  9. I don't envy you one bit, good luck and keep taking the paracetamol!

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    1. Paracetamol and bandages for the fingers!!!! Cheers Ray!

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  10. There's a crazy mix of excitement and being overwhelmed that goes with kicking off a new project like this. It's like being in a car with dodgy brakes and you're just *barely* in control. I rather enjoy it. :-)

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    1. Thanks Millsy. A car without brakes is kind of exactly how I feel right now! Brilliant!

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  11. Good luck, you do it! I can't wait to see it.

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    1. Thanks Monty! Only 68 heads left to swap after last night. Oh dear, that does still sound rather insane, doesn't it.... :)

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  12. Buck up old chap! You've done many more than that already so up and at them! Seriously: this is precisely why I never count my unpainted mini's pile... so I do feel for you mate.

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    1. Thanks Sander! I'm going to take your advice in the future and never count hem again!!

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  13. Blimey, good luck with the lead pile. Don't forget it's a hobby (not THE hobby as GW insist on calling it) and it is supposed to be fun and something you enjoy.

    Now stop slacking and get cutting and painting! ;)

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    1. You're right, Matt. It's just a hobby. Not an obsession. OK...maybe a small obsession.... I'll get back to the hacksaw, mate!

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  14. You can do it! I wish you the best of luck!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher! I'll give it a good shot!

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  15. Ah, quit your winging, Roundwood, and put you back into it!

    Methinks you need a Challenge to help chivvy you along...

    (Seriously Sid, I very much look forward to seeing this project come to fruition. We spectators have a lot to look forward to!)

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    1. A welcome dose of inspiration thank you, Curt. Tough love indeed! I'm clearly lacking the lash of the Challenge to inspire me!

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  16. Mr. Roundwood it seems like you'll be pretty busy in the coming few months. Already said goodbye to your family and told them were to place the meals so you can take a little snack in between? I hope your painting chair is comfortable also if you should need a nap.
    I also suspect that anything you produce will be nothing less than spectacular as your other stuff. So fasten your seatbelt and let the journey begin.

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    1. My family would be delighted to exile me to the painting table or, better, still the garden shed!

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  17. That looks like an interesting new project. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

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  18. Wow, that's a lot of lead in that box. Looking forward to seeing the progress. I'll see if I have any books that might be of used to you, as you say books about the Tirailleur Senegalais aren't exactly commonplace - but I have a feeling I might have something hidden away somewhere.

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