Friday, 28 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Appears to Have Solved the Slotta Base Dilemma

Not a great deal of painting progress this week as I tried to complete tax forms but I did give some thought to the Slotta Base vs Fender Washer base debate.

Of my current collection of VSF figures, only four (out of nearly a dozen and a half) have slotta bases. I had thought I might buy extra slotta bases so that all my figures would have a similar basing style. Then it struck me that this was a case of the mountain coming to Mo when, in reality, it was actually easier for me to convert the slotta bases to fender washers.

The big plus for me in using fender washers for my figures is that I can store them in magnetic sheet-lined boxes which makes transportation and storage a lot simpler.

And so that was what I did last night. Snippity snip went the sidecutters, and I soon had four base-less figures. I plugged the holes in the fender washers with a bit of tape and then textured with pollyfilla. I tried for a smooth finish for the minions' bases, and then added some gibstopper's tape for the metal plate effect. For the Count and Mr O'Tipple, I tried to mark a cobblestone effect in the pollyfilla. As the pollyfilla was drying, I superglued the figures to their bases.

As of this morning, the joins seems quite strong, so I just need to repair some of my paint work which suffered a little during the slotta removal.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Makes Some Painting Progress

Sunday evening, and an opportunity to post an update on my painting progress. While not a huge amount done, I managed to get some fiddly bits completed, which was very satisfying. I also managed to make a start on some clean-up, as well.

The Minions are pretty much done - just need to go around and do a bit of tidy-up. I'm playing around with giving them steel-toed boots but Wikipedia tells me that this type of boot wasn't invented until after World War II.

I haven't got much further with my Okhrana Agent - Feodor Sonovavich - just small touches of colour to his webbing and kit. I need to clean up, and tone down, his moustache and mouth and tidy up the edges of his shoulder harness.

Avanak Efendi is, however, coming along nicely. I seem to have blocked in all the basic colours and I'm starting to get some fiddly bits done, as well.

Here's another angle on Avanak Efendi, this time with Mr O'Tipple. Mr O'Tipple now has a rather fetching green coat, grey trousers, and a dapper red necktie.

And here is a couple of shots of Colonel Count Otto von Horsentrappe. You can see the coloured seam on his jodhpurs, the buttons on his tunic, and his Iron Cross. He now needs a Babadab wash to bring up his eyes and detail on his face and he's pretty much done.

I have been debating slotta bases vs no slotta bases. I only have four figures with slotta bases so I am nerving myself to cutting them free of their slots and mounting all my figures on 30mm Fender washers. This is primarily for safe storage and transport, as I prefer magnetic sheet-lined boxes, but also because I think the company looks better on the same style of base.

Friday, 21 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Receives another Welcome Piece of Mail

A day off work today, and at home watching outliers of the nasty Southerly Storm pass on through with freezing showers and a biting wind. When the sun does come out, it's very nice to drag the laptop into the sun-drenched arm chair and poottle around the internet, while the dogs snore quietly on the couch and the cat dozes in a pool of sunlight.

The mailman braved the blustery breeze on his bicycle, this morning, to drop a couple of packages in the mailbox for me. The first consisted of 15mm Science Fiction figures from a Kickstarter project I supported earlier in the year, and the second contained my second order of Victorian Science Fiction figures - this time, from Brigade Games in the United States.

First up, I can't recommend Brigade Games highly enough. Stockists of a large number of ranges from different companies, it certainly makes shopping for those interesting bits and pieces much easier having them all on one site. I placed my order on 13th June, my order shipped Monday 17th June, and arrived in my mailbox on Friday 21st June.

Pictures of Loot:

The Rotton Row Drainers - a gang of thugs and toughs to provide a bit of muscle for my IHMN team. BG VA01 Irish Brawlers from Brigade Games' own Victorian Age range.

Some more personalities - from Left to Right: Dr Lacklove and Mr Cassidy (Parroom Victorian Science Fiction PSM-VEP005) and Captain Nemo and The Invisible Man (PSM-VEP003). The empty base, in front of the Invisible Man, shows him without his disguise on - there are a pair of human footprints moulded into the ground litter which is rather amusing.

And finally, Nestor Makhno and Fyodo Schuss, Russian Anarchists BG-SIER101, from Brigade Games' Storm in the East Russian Civil War/Pulp range. While technically post-dating our chosen Late Victorian period, their dress and equipment is still, I feel, within the spirit of the period, and they may very well become Okhrana agents.

And here's an update on the current painting projects - still very rough, and requiring tidying up. I'm amazed at what I can get away with when painting 15mm, that just isn't possible with 25/28mm.

The Minions are starting to come together. I need to trim their bases to neaten up the "metal plating" texture, and ensure that the slotta part of the base matches the rest.

I managed to find some good pictures of Prussian Officer uniforms and so Colonel Count Otto von Horsentrappe's uniform is coming along. Avanak Efendi (was Captain Nemo) is progressing. His yellow pantaloons need at least another coat of paint to get a more even finish.

And finally, my Okhrana agent is nearly done, while Mr O'Tipple still needs quite a bit of work. He may end up as the leader of the newly formed Rotton Row Drainers but, as he carries handguns while they're armed with clubs and fists, there is a bit of a mismatch in armements within the group. Or he may end up as the Executive Security Officer for either Captain Nemo or Dr Lacklove.

Next step, aside from painting, is to come up with a coherent story for my company.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Receives Some Welcome Mail

While I have managed only a little painting this week, I'm still trying to do a little each night - including finishing off bases.

Arriving home from work today, I discovered that my copy of In Her Majesty's Name - the Victorian Science Fiction Skirmish game from Osprey - has finally arrived. The package had got a little wet in all the rain we had today and there is a bit of wet paper ripple along one edge of the book. I have it sitting on the heater as I type this, in the hopes I can the worst of the damp out of it.

Well, I'm seriously thinking of taking this Friday off, and that will give me some time to crack on and finish my first group of figures.

Monday, 17 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Considers Some Intriguing Political Situations

While considering the gamut of Victorian Science Fiction, I began to wonder about was actually happening at the time, in real life, as often our real-world fears and concerns end up being reflected back to us through our popular culture.
The latter half of the Nineteenth Century was the zenith of the Colonial period, when various European Powers dominated vast swathes of the rest of the Earth. In England, in particular, there seemed to be a growing feeling of disquiet. While the most powerful naval power on the planet, with the most extensive empire, growing internal political divisions - between those who believed that England should rule with might, and those who believed England's dominance should be used to enhance the daily lives of all English subjects - contrasted with a growing external sense of unease at the the rapid unification of Germany and the rise of Prussia. By trickery, Belgium's King Leopold II had helped himself to the huge, and rich, Congo Basin, while Russian forces pressed ever south towards the Hindu Kush and England's resource-rich holdings in India. The sense that Britannia Ruled the Waves, and a plucky Englishman was worth 10 Johnny Foreigners, was a legend only held up by eternal vigilance on the part of agents of the Crown.

In some late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century novels - The War in the Air, The War of the Worlds, and The Thirty-nine Steps - we see England damaged, invaded, betrayed. Yet, while institutions might fail, the bravery and honesty of an average Englishman will often win through.

And then, we throw Science into the mix.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

In Which the Blogger starts Prepping Some Figures

I opened up my little 28mm order from Eureka Miniatures today, and began to do a bit of prep work on them.

Here's the entire order - Left to Right: Turkish Pirate Captain; WWI Turkish Officer; Seamus O'Toole; Otto von Tannanbaum - Prussian Spy; Front Row: two members of the Victorian Science Fiction Vehicle Crew. The slotta base on the red bottle cap, to right of frame, has had a bit of Plaster's tape glued to the top to texture the base. The idea is that once this is painted up, it will look like ribbed deck plating that a Vehicle Crewman will stand upon.

And after undercoating - the amount of detail begins to stand out.

Close up of the Prussian Spy and the Turkish Pirate Captain. The Prussian is a lovely, cadaverous figure - perfect for a political manipulator and Mastermind. The Pirate Captain will make an ideal Captain Nemo.

The Turkish officer is from Eureka's historical WWI range, and is probably closer to 25mm than 28mm. I intend mounting him on a slotta base to match my other figures, but I think I might pack the base a little to reduce the obvious height difference between him and the other figures. I intend to use the Turkish Officer as a Russian. Seamus O'Toole is actually a gunslinger - he has two pistols holstered at his hips. He will, I think, be an enforcer.

Friday, 14 June 2013

In Which the Blogger Tinkers with his Blog and hopes bits don't fall off.

A weee bit of reformatting and jiggery-pokery on the blog today - starting to populate the links and Blogs I Watch fields. Of course, things have changed since I last set up a blog and what was once straight forward, now involves a bit of headscratching.

I need to have a scan through my library for inspirational books and authors to talk about once things really get going, but without a decent foundation, you can't build anything of a lasting nature.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

In Which the Blogger considers the Nature of Victorian Science Fiction

Victorian Science Fiction, or Steampunk?

I saw a quote yesterday - "Steampunk is just Fantasy with cogwheels" and suddenly a number of ideas that have been flapping around in the recesses of my brain found roosting spots.

I'm about to "get into" skirmish gaming in a setting the encompasses the Victorian and Edwardian period up to the early 1900's. Gaming in this period is characterised as "Colonial Period" - and often seeks to recreate the various colonial wars waged by the Imperial powers of the period. Lately, however, we have seen games such as Warmachine, with steam-powered warjacks, gaining in popularity, and a cosplay movement that seems to believe that slapping some goggles and a frame brace on a duster somehow makes one a "Steampunk".

The science that excited writers such as Verne and H.G. Wells and which drove their Speculative Romances has been overshadowed by the excesses of Victorian Advertising and the Gothic or Heroic Romances of Shelley, Stoker and Dunsany, and rather than attempt even a feeble explanation of why something may work in a particular way, we see authors resorting to handwavium or other such forms of mystic deus ex machina to allow their narratives to leap nimbly over holes in their plots.

So, this Blog will look at various Victorian Science Fiction stories, and at games set within this period, and at modern novels that play "true to form". But like any good villain, I will have my secret escape hatch already set, to allow myself to flee into whimsey if I so wish.