Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tsar Wars - The Emperor Strikes Back

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As you will no doubt know, on the first day of March in the year of our lord 1881, Tsar Aleksandr II, Emperor and Autocrat of all Russias, King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland, was assassinated in plain sight by an anarchist dynamiter.

Only, this is not entirely true, as I did not die.

And though I did not wake for many months, by the power of science my vital spark was preserved, and in time my wounds healed.

Such a creature could of course never be fit to be king, and rightly fearing that I be left a vegetable, my fellows declared me dead, and appointed my successor.

They imprisoned me out of political necessity. Stripped of the power's of my birthright, and left the grotesque caricature of a lunatic's nightmare by my injuries, I found myself, though alive, unable to live, and was consumed by a deep and terrible melancholy.

This held me for many, many years, more than most men should be forced to endure. For you see, though that Mesmerism and Galvanism that had saved my life, I ceased to grow old as all other men grow old. For, though my years advanced, they took no toll, and no illness could take hold of me.

Perhaps the most privileged prisoner in all the world, I set about a life of quiet luxury, devoting myself to reading and to study and to the hundred other pleasurable trivialities that a man may enjoy about his home. But nothing could lift the veil of sadness that besieged my heart.

That was, until a new philosophy dawned upon me. 

It came from no single place, nor at one time, nor did it come with any sense of metanoia, but in some far corner deep within my skull a this thought manifested; relieved of my worldly duties and responsibilities by death, I could do more than I could have ever done while living.

For a lifetime and more I had observed the many evils of the world; the political game, the eternal suffering of the common man, the rise of godlessness, the folly of Empires. I had hated it, and bound by my position as one of the greatest men on all the Earth, I had been helpless to intervene.

I knew well the minutiae of politics and kingsmanship, that delicate interplay of cause and effect. How actions planned with perfect scrutiny could send ripples across the world. With my reach and influence there was perhaps no better man in all the world to set about this endeavour. From the anonymity of the grave I could guide Russia, no, all of humanity, into a better tomorrow.

Galvanised with new resolution, I set about this design. Calling to those that served me well in my previous life I gathered about me a company of good men, and by our actions the world has been changed forever.


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Hey All,

I do present the leader of my first 'In Her Majesty's Name' Company - The Ghost Tsar!

My Company has rolled quite naturally off the back of my Russian Colonial project - all I've done is added a few characters.

The model is a lightly converted 'Captain Leon' by FreeBooTer Miniatures. Its a really nice model with tons of detail and character, and is both sculpted and cast wonderfully.

Tsar has been about 90% done for ages, so all that I've done recently is touch up the dodgy bits, re-base him and give a good coat of matt varnish.

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^ Leading a platoon of Storm Soldiers into battle

Here are the Statisitics that I've put together for him. I'm yet to actually play a game yet, so any opinions would be warmly received;

The Ghost Tsar
Statistics: Pluck: 2+, Fighting: +3, Shooting: +2, Speed: +0, Cost: 88
Talents: Duellist (Sabre), Numb, Fearless
Equipment: Plate Armour, All-Electric Limb Prosthesis, Blunderbuss, Pistol, Sabre 


The Lead Tally - 2014

Acquired: +58       Painted: +36          Total: -23

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Armoured Riders From Out East...

Hey All, 

Got these two guys done over the weekend.

A friend had some 'middle eastern' heavy cavalry going spare and threw them my way. I've no idea who made them or exactly what they are supposed to be, but they look okay to me. 

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Cataphract 1.

It was nice to do some bright colours. Should get some more done before too long. Might try some in pink, some in yellow and some in purple.

My Colonial / Back and Beyond Arab forces have long been in need of some cavalry, and although these are perhaps a little too olde timey for the period, they will fill out the ranks nicely.

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Cataphract 2.

Who really cares if the cavalry charging the steam  tanks are wearing a little too much armour, eh?


The Lead Tally - 2014

Acquired: +55       Painted: +25          Total: -30

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

1:1 Scale Garden Furniture

Hey All,

So this week I've got some 1:1 Scale Garden Furniture Set painted up.

I've done it as a favour for my Dad, who's knees arn't the best.

Although they were assembled, they were in a fairly rough state, so I did a full repaint rather than try and touch up the bad spots.

I always strip figures before re-painting, but as these are only terrain I made an exception and just went over the old surface after rubbing them down with some cleaner.

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I painted them up with oils rather than my usual acrylics. I used DIY store stuff rather than hobby paints, but it gave a very realistic 'wood furniture' effect. I did not do much in the way of highlighting as it's mostly flat surfaces. Perhaps it could do with a lighter drybrush to bring the details out?

The terrain pieces themselves are not great quality. Every surface has a horrible grain to it, even worse than Shapeways 3D printed stuff, but on the plus side though, they must be superbly cast as I could not see even a single mould line.

In all, must have spent about 6 hours doing it all. It was fun in a way, but I don't really fancy moving into 1:1 scale any time soon. I just find the figures so expensive that anything more than a small skirmish would cost the earth.

Like them?


Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Black Elephant [1]

The Black Elephant

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Of all the endeavours of the Russian Empire, few can match the history of the 'Black Elephant' in their folly or queerness.

Her history began in those difficult days that were the late 1870's. With the Great Game in full swing, the Bear looked in all directions for something to overcome the Lion's advantageous position. More-so than any other departure, they turned to recent advances in the science of warfare in an effort to level the playing field.

In complete secrecy, dozens of projects were commenced, of which only a handful come to fruition. Among these was the 'Black Elephant'; a self-propelled gun carriage.

Powered by a compact double-expansion engine and running a pair of 'endless tracks' she was able to travel at up to five miles-per-hour without assistance, and without need for a railway or even a paved road.

Her armament consisted of a 6” breech-loading naval rifle with enough shells and charges stowed aboard for it to be fired a dozen times. This was housed within an ironclad shell of a thickness quite able to protect the crew from all manners of musketry, as well as the fragments of explosive shells.

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Furthermore, for protection against roving cavalry and sappers the machine was armed with a Gorlov machine-gun, housed within a rotating turret of the kind seen on a warship.

By design, the 'Black Elephant' was a machine that represented the very state-of-the-art of warlike science in its time. A prototype was construed and underwent extensive clandestine trials in the autumn of 1879. And by the end of these the machine had left a greatly positive impression, winning a her designers a contract for the construction of fourteen additional armoured gun carriages, for a total of fifteen machines.

Despite substantial delays, construction was completed by early 1882. Twelve of the machines were deployed in defence of major cities and military installations in Russia's western provinces; but a far more devious plan was hatched for final three.


Continue to Part 2... (Coming Soon)

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The Lead Tally - 2014

Acquired: +55       Painted: +23          Total: -32

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Vicky Heads East

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Goodmorning Internet,

Today I present the third incarnation of one of the favourite models in my collection, 'Little Vicky'. She's a 28mm/1:56th Scale Vickers Independent, produced by Copplestone Castings.

Since the last time that I showed her off, she's had a good going over with Modelmates Weathering Fluids. I cannot praise this fine liquids any higher. A review and 'how to' of them will appear on here before too long, so I wont go into all that now - but it suffices to say that they are my new favourite way to get a tank 'looking real'.

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Since I was very young I have visited The Tank Museum (in Bovington, England) on a worryingly annual basis. If you have not been there, go. It is perhaps the finest collection of armoured fighting vehicles you will ever come across.

For as long as I can remember, my favourite war-machine in their vast assemblage was this five-turreted, rivet freckled, prototype monstrosity. When Copplestone brought out a model a few years ago, I bought it without any hesitation – however this was rather foolish as all of my 20th century stuff is in 15mm. However, it was bound to only be a matter of time before she took centre stage.

Recently, the colourful history of the Russian Civil War, particularly those parts of it that took place in Central Asia and the Far-East, have taken over my bed-time reading. Inevitably, I now feel the compulsion to war-game the period.

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The Independent never got beyond the prototype stage: but perhaps that's just what 'they' want you to think.

Perhaps, just perhaps, some weapons and advisers made their way East.

Perhaps 'Little Vicky' will make the Bolos pay.

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Mr. Marx.

The Lead Tally - 2014

Acquired: +39       Painted: +22          Total: -20

LAF: Colonial Painting Expedition [1]

Hey All,

I thought I'd join in with the Lead Adventure Forum's 'Colonial Painting Expedition'.

Simple concept - paint up and post a photograph of any solo colonial figure.

Anyway, I entered this guy;

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Perry Miniatures Zouave.

Inspired by the Painting Expedition I thrashed out a few more generic Central Asian types this week;

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 This motley group are a mix of Old Glory Egyptians and Perry Miniatures Zouaves. Paper banner by the Grimsby Wargames Society

During my last 'episode' of colonial wargaming I painted up a small force of 1870s Russians, with the intention to expand the collection so that I could put on games based around the Russian colonial expansion into central Asia, and 'what if' scenarios based around The Great Game in India. The 'Arab' contingent of this project never got started, but now their time has come....


The Lead Tally - 2014

Acquired: +38       Painted: +21          Total: -20