Saturday, 25 July 2015

Paint Table Saturday - Bows and trees

Last week I found the time to go back to the Perry plastics for the Wars of the Roses era. In addition I returned to my ever too small collection of terrain stuff and worked on some trees. Actually pretty simple trees but at least rather cheap ones and the battlefield they'll do the job I presume. Until now I've glued them onto 40mm bases with hot glue and smoothened the bases with filler. So it's time to paint the bases and the trunks now:

The bowmen got there liverees. Although most of the WotR figures will be used for the Burgundian siege of Neuss there isn't too much need for bowmen. So I decided to give them Yorkish red and blue. Because of my limited skill I decided not to paint badges. At least there now appropriate for any of the York brothers and they could serve for Eduard IV as well as for Clarence or their brother Richard. They're mostly finished except of the bases:

I hope you like my humble progress. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Dark Knight rises

This week weather was unpleasant again. Once again more than 30 °C with only two 'cooler' days in between. Honestly that kind of summer I really don't need. Anyway besides the progress with the gladiators I spent some time with Batman and finally finished him:
The Dark Knight is by Knight Models who make a really alluring range of 35mm miniatues. The figures are mostly inspired by the recent video games from the 'Arkham Asylum' series and by the recent movies by Christopher Nolan. 35mm makes them rather unique in size and more or less uncombinable with other ranges. Actually that doesn't hurt because the range is stylewise very extraordinary and I doubt whether there are other manufacturers making suitable models.

Anyway the quality of the figure is excellent. The proportions and the dynamic of its body language is captured excellently and full of expression. Especially the cape looks wonderfully vivid. Usually he comes with a 30mm slotted base but I didn't like its thickness. Thus I replaced it with a 25mm Renedra plastic base and added some greenstuff and plastic card to create an idea of banged up pavement. Not my best work but at least it doesn't spoil the miniature.
Only disadvantage of the figure is it's price. About £11 / 16 € is a lot for a single miniature. Nevertheless I don't regret the purchase. It granted me a couple of entertaining hours when I painted it and I enjoyed it very much to plunge into the DC universe. Honestly cinema tickets for the same time - meaning for two or three movies - would have been more expensive. I'm not sure whether this figure will be my first step into the Batman Miniature Game since I'm lacking like-minded wargaming fellow here but at least it lead me back to a story cycle I enjoyed very much during my younger days.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Trip to the past...

Thirty-eight years ago on this very day the humble host of this blog came into this world in Germany's wonderful Rhine Area. Although I don't give too much on celebrating myself I always enjoy this day because it's a nice chance to meet the family and do something unusual. Since both of our children are ill we decided to have dinner at home. My parents will join us and we'll have salmon on herbs, Mediterranean salad and some Riesling from the Palatinate.

But the first highlight of this day was the present dear Mrs Monty gave to me. Literally a trip to the past since I owned more or less the same game about three decades ago:
It's a Stiga table hockey game probably well-known to my Scandinavian and North American readers but in Germany it's a real niche product. But during my younger days I was proud owner of one of those games and spent a many hours with battling friends on this field of honour. Viktoria and me tried it already this morning and I presume I'll need some practise...

Monday, 13 July 2015

Painting cheek by jowl... Gladiators

Last Sunday I had a very pleasant painting session because our elder daughter Viktoria joined me. Overall she's an artistic character. She doesn't play on her own too much but prefers to paint or tinker things. Thus she has a bunch of colouring books and has been fascinated by daddy's figures for a long time. During the last year she started with some old GW archers but always wanted to have "those iron ones". Finally this weekend we unwraped a set of four gladiators by Crusader miniatures that I grapped from a second hand table on Crisis 2014 and started painting them:
So we has three murmillos and one crupellasrius to paint. A perfect topic for her since gladiators are her hobbyhorse since we visited some at Xanten 2014. Maybe unusual for a (nearly) five year old girl but those ancient warriors are still fascinating for her. She's even able to differentiate most of them.

Anyway enough fatherly pride (for now). Here's what we did:
I'm really excited about her results. Upon my word I didn't help her much. Actually I gave her hints where to paint which colour and checked the small gaps and niches afterwards. But by far most of the work was hers. Alas she didn't dare to drybrush the armour because she was afraid of painting over everything. But far most important I enjoyed to spend time with Viktoria. I don't know whether she'll keep the interest in painting miniatures or spending time with me and my miniatures but as long as she does I'll enjoy it. Honestly I will not try to force her into my hobby but at least now she's keen on walking me to our gaming gatherings when she's older...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Painting Table Saturday - The Dark Knight WIP

During the last months a friend of mine has been working working on his first figures for the Batman miniatures game. No need to say that his wonderful work inspired me. It lead me to the literary place Gotham City. A place I left about twenty-five years ago. Not that I lost sympathy for Bob Kane's sinister avenger but somehow I lost touch to comic books. Anyway during the ht weeks I plunged into Christopher Nolan's excellent movie triology once more, played the Arkham Origins video game and read a couple of the newer Batman graphic novel. They're rather different from my older 80s comic books: Darker, more serious, somehow adult. But without any doubt worth a try in case that you like superheroe stories. Many thanks to the well-known Michael Awdry esq.

Finally I wasn't able to withstand Knight Models's interesting range of 35mm miniatures and bought one of Batman's incarnations:
It's a very nice miniature that entertained me during the last week. A wonderful piece of lead but I added another base because I don't like those rather thick slotta bases. Of course the colour palette for the Dark Knight is very limited but I decided to paint the cape, boots, gloves etc. blueish. To my mind more interesting than black and grey only. Hopefully I'll finish him next week.

Anyway I'm not sure whether this will grow to a larger project but besides there price there's nothing bad to say about those miniatures. Honestly in my mind's view there are the dark allies of Gotham appearing and Penguin, Joker and other villains lurking...

Enjoy the weekend !

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Walk through medieval Neuss

Last week sweltering heat kept me away from the workbench. Although I tried some brushstrokes on the hussars I'm working on nothing presentable came together. Over 34 °C was simply too much for me.

Anyway last weekend was dominated by another event which a dear club fellow of mine prepared weeks ago. Under Kalle's guidance we took a walk on the scent of medieval Neuss. Neuss is a city on the west bank of the river Rhine opposite of the Renish pearl Düsseldorf with about 150.000 inhabitants. It's mentioned in sources from more than 2.000 years ago and therefore holds the title of 'Germany's oldest city' alongside the city of Trier
For us the medieval part of its history became interesting when a couple of THS fellows applied their attention to the Burgundian Wars. As part of the Charles the Bold besieged Neuss for ten months from 1474 to 1475 but lost against the brave and persistent Rhinelanders. Employing the wonderful 28mm ranges available for the Wars of the Roses (e. g. Perry Miniatures excellent plastic sets) we're going to present a part of this siege sooner or later and thus we tried to get an idea of the old city wall.

Thus we started our tour at Saint Quirinius Minster right in the middle of 15th century Neuss. It's one of the most important late romanesque churche in the Lower Rhine region and has been watching Neuss's history for more than thousand years. It was one of the sanctuaries of the citizens during the siege of 1474/75 and  source of hope during those painful months.
Picture from Wikipedia
Then we walked to the city hall. It's a lot younger than the minster but around it the city festival 'Zeitsprünge' (time leaps) took place. A couple of reenactors presented some steps of Neuss's history from the stone age to the 20th century there. Small but very nice.
Volunteers that fought Napoleon

A fellow from Lützow Free Corps
After this little detour we picked up the scent of the Middle Ages again. And found one of the oldest houses in Neuss's old town. Although it's younger than 1475 it gives an idea of the timber framed architecture of the 15th and 16th century:
From 1586
During the next two hours we followed the city walls and found a couple of remains. Especially the Obertor (upper gate) is worth a visit. It's preserved in more or less the same shape that it had six hundred years ago. Only at the frontage you see the imprints of early 20th century restoration work. A pity on the one hand but on the other hand it saved this imposing structure.
Along the old city wall there are a couple of bronze sculptures. They show the look of the old city gates and explaine their fate. For example the Hamtor (Ham-gate):
Historical 'Hamtor'
Thus we had a wonderful walk through Neuss and got an idea of its medieval size. Unfortunately there's nothing left of the old battlefield because Neuss grew over it's historical boundaries long ago. Funily we met a well known Corsican who was up to mischief in early 19th century Neuss:
But the climax of the day was our visit of the Clemens Sels Museum. It's inhabiting a large number of exhibits from Stone Age and Roman artifacts right up to a decent number of modern paintings. The latter are not my cup of tea but the medieval exhibits are simply excellent. It covers the medieval part of Neuss's history and explains its importance at that time. They have a lot of finds from the siege of Neuss which are presented one of the turrets of the Obertor:
Heads of crossbow bolts.

Spurs found on the battelfield

A 16th century Bartman jug

A 15th century stone canon ball
Most eye-catching pieces of the exhibition are three dioramas covering scenes from the siege of Neuss. They are made of excellently painted flat figures and provide a lot of wonderful little scenes. One of them shows Charles's headquarter while the other two recreate the bombardment of the city as well as a brave foray of the defenders. Here are some impressions:
The bombardment

Burgundian mercenaries

The Burgundian headquarter

The English detachment among the Burgundians

Bungundian nobles gathering.

One of the smaller Burgundian guns.

Camp life

Neuss daring one of its many forays

Crossbowmen from Neuss

Men at arms attacking one of the Burgundian camps

A Burgundian knight somehow puzzled.
So after about three and a half hours our tour ended with coffee and ice cream at our fellow Axel's house. Really the crowning moment of a wonderful day. We all enjoyed the walk very much and even eagar Mrs Monty was impressed by her humble husband's hobby this time. Finally she took a picture of the three gentlemen she spent the day with:
left to right: The humble author, Axel our later host and Kalle our well-read guide
In case that you're intrested in the history of Neuss then have a look here (German only):

Especially how a small city brought the mighty Duke of Burgundy about his downfall is a very interesting one. Really worth a wargaming coverage which a wargaming friend from our club is preparing for one of the years to come.