A helmet, hunting and other oddities.

A whole season has passed since my last post and activity in the garden is naturally winding down; although there is always work to do.  The “reconquest” of the garden is virtually complete and only one small weedy spot remains to be conquered. The vegetable garden, where weeds once grew taller than my wife, again proved productive and largely fed us over the summer. My lovely wife has more than once pointed out that many of the skills involved in managing a garden are equally applicable to the playing of battle games. So I don’t feel guilty about not really doing anything related to toy soldiers and battle games. However, we have been playing some Dungeons & Dragons with friends. My gorgeous wife had not played D&D before, despite having played some other role playing games, and so wanted to experience it.

I have been given and acquired a few things in the months since my last post. Christmas proved particularly bountiful as John gave me some more splendidly painted toy soldiers of British camelry in the Sudan. He also passed on to me bunch of Wargames Factory plastic sprues of married and unmarried Zulus. I think there are enough for a couple regiments of each. I also received a few Zulu characters by Warlord and Redoubt, including one superb mounted Induna, and a small unit of dismounted Natal Mounted Police / Carbineers by Foundry for the colonial forces. As yet I’ve done nothing with them as I am still looking at what ranges of figures and manufacturers I can use to expand them into viable fighting forces. At the moment Rapier is in the lead as they are inexpensive and can be bought individually (I detest buying figures in variety blister packs). I also haven’t decided how to tackle painting and basing the figures.

Still in search of the Mahdi.

The preceding months have also seen me build a new stock of hobby paints, something that has not happened for all most fifteen years. I was so sufficiently impressed by the Citadel contrast paints my darling wife gave me back in September of last year that I slowly acquired all the colours that I felt would be most useful. I suppose it demonstrates that there is at least the intention to do something. As my “paint table” is not permanent (it also is used for many other purposes), and measures a measly 34 cm X 53 cm, I bought a Mig Jimenez Ammo “Mini Workbench Organizer”. I hope that will at least allow me to keep the stuff I am using to hand. The whole having to find everything you want, get it out and set up is a major disincentive to do any painting.

My grandest acquisition, a present to myself, was a combat ready helmet to add to my small armoury. It is practical piece of armour in the Late Roman style with brass decorative florets. I will need to either buy or make a helmet stand so I can display it properly. Alternatively, perhaps in the distant future I could acquire an armour stand. 

I am still working through all the colonial books I bought last year. I read in fits and starts but that doesn’t deter me from buying more books. Consequently, I have added “The Indian Army” by Boris Mollo to the colonial pile. Mind you, I also have piles of other books to read on subjects from gardening to blacksmithing and swordsmanship.

As a break from colonial wars I also bought and read “Dinosaur Hunter”. I’ve long wanted to do a “dino hunt” scenario and some time ago started to do a paint conversion of a 40mm home cast figure into a big game hunter but sadly didn’t get very far. I saw the book when it was first released by Osprey six or so years ago and intended to buy it then but promptly forgot about it until recently.

“Dinosaur Hunter” is set in alternative present where time travel is possible and affords the very rich the opportunity to hunt dinosaurs located in game reserves throughout the Mesozoic. It is set out as a guide for prospective hunters and outlines the type of animals, both big and small, likely to be encountered and the environments they inhabit. “Dinosaur Hunter” then offers stories of a number of hunts, most of which do not end well for the hunters, as a demonstration of the dangers of hunting dinosaurs.  The book is liberally illustrated with fine line drawings of the various “beasties”. It is inspirational source material for all those game scenarios involving dinosaur hunts and an entertaining read. So it may well be time to finish my own big game hunter.