Dragon Rampant down payment

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Mithril Rohirrim, painted and finally seeing the light of day after about two decades of darkness. Nice to get them done.

March is always a slow month for me.  Actually the middle of February to the middle of April is difficult because so much is going on at school  The newspaper usually has a deadline week.  There is loads of preparation for the national convention in April.  With the addition of the yearbook there are more deadlines.  Students need letters of recommendation.  It’s just busy.

And at home it’s not much better.  Sunday is the first day of spring.  I haven’t mowed my back yard yet and there is tons of stuff to do.  Gah!

So, I know I’m behind in my posts and I haven’t painted as much as I’d like to.

However, I have finished my first Rohan unit.  As promised, I finished my old unit of riders, and they are by Mithril figures.  I pried these out of their boxes about 20 years ago, and chopped away their leg supports and they are now quite fragile.  I really enjoyed painting the horses, but the miniatures, though they too are pretty nice are a bit fiddly and I painted the riders after mounting them on their horses.  Some of the detail was super hard to get at, so I may need to reassess this.

Even so, that’s the first of about eight or nine units I’ll paint of the Rohirrim. I have them all, mostly plastic, I just need to buckle down and paint ’em up.

On the painting table

I have a couple of things I’m working on.  The first is ten civilians for the Irish Civil War by Musketeer/Footsore Miniatures.  I bought two sets and they are pretty nice.  They really come from their Very British Civil War range, and as such look a bit more from the 30’s than 20’s, but I don’t think anyone will notice.  They are nearly done, which will leave about 30 figures more to paint for the project. I will have some vehicles to paint–a beautiful Lancia armored truck no longer available from Musketeer, and a pair of Crosley transports by Company B.  We’ll see how good I am at this vehicle business.

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A nice variety of civilians by Musketeer/Footsore miniatures. They were designed for the Very British Civil War range, so they look a little more 30’s than 20’s.

I also have a pair of Thoroughbred Passaic class monitors primed and ready to go.  I’ll be offering them as potential Union naval forces for the Pensacola game.  I have a third that is painted that needs to be remounted from its original balsa base, and I’ll probably do that over Spring Break, which starts next week. I’ve already decided to paint the two new ships as the Lehigh and the Nahant with its black and green coloring respectively.

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Three Passaic class monitors by Thoroughbred Figures.  I’m going to repaint my older ship so they’ll all fit together.

Less is More. 

March has not been a smart month for NOT buying miniatures.  I haven’t gone absolutely nuts, but I’m really interested in building Conquistadors and Aztecs for Lion Rampant.  David Sullivan and I have both dabbled in rules and have similar ideas.  David has also been buying figures. In any case, I sent off an order for a dozen figures from Eureka and when I was at Panzer Depot, I bought another dozen.  I’ll be painting some Spanish arquebusiers.  In any case, let’s just say my net positive has taken a hit.  I started with 25 figures + the 6 Rohirrim= 30-24 =6.  That’s not so good, though I’m nearly done with the ten ICW civilians, and should be done with the monitors before the break is over.

Music to Paint By

Metallica

I’m not a heavy metal music fan.  It just doesn’t appeal to me as a genre or subgenre. But I love “Enter Sandman” and “The Unforgiven” by Metallica.  There’s just not getting around the lure of great songs. Though I could see adding the band’s 1991 eponymously titled record to my collection, the problem was it falls into the vinyl “sweet spot” as the industry was ending production of records and stepping up the production of compact discs.  With only one LP pressing, the starting value of Metallica is about $175.00.  So when I was trolling the new records at my local shop and there was a bright, shiny new copy, I snapped it up.  I was not disappointed.  If you like these songs on the radio or MP3, you’ll really like them on vinyl.  I paid about $27.00 to support my local record store.  You’ll pay about $25 on Amazon. Worth every penny.

 

Henry V’s Navy: Review

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This is one of the naval history books I snagged a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and I confess a certain degree of initial disappointment at the book’s slim profile.  There are only 157 pages of text.  But my initial sorrow was quickly set aside once I began reading.

Ian Friel’s study of King Harry’s fleet focuses on the Royal Navy, those ships built, purchased, or captured for the king. Like many historians of this period, Friel struggles a bit to share what can be known and what must be surmised based on the evidence.

But what Friel is able to share is extremely valuable to understanding the importance of controlling the sea lanes to projecting  English power into France during the Hundred Years War

Friel does a great job of helping the reader understand, creating a common language to use when discussing the naval war between England and France in the early 15th century.  He limits his discussion largely to the Royal Navy, the king’s navy, or those ships purchased, built or captured and a part of Henry’s fleet as opposed to the many vessels and crews, privately owned, “arrested” and put into service as fighting vessels or transports for the king’s army.  He also carefully explains the classes of ships: great ships or carracks, ships such as cogs, and then oared vessels, barges and ballingers that all had important roles in King Henry’s navy. Friel goes on to explain further amount typical crews and likely armament for many ships.

Only after the reader has reached an understanding of Henry’s Navy, does Friel attempt to report the important naval combats accompanying the invasion of 1415 that led to the siege of Harfleur, and subsequently the battle at Agincourt.  He also recounts the Normandy campaign of 1417, the Battle of La Chef De Caux, off the Seine estuary.  Friel emphasizes the importance of the navy in its seakeeping role-ensuring the sea lanes were free of French ships, and just as importantly those belonging to their allies, the Castilians and Genoese. Finally, he includes the role of the navy in the siege of Rouen.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  The navy, a costly arm of royal power went in to decline as ships could not be maintained, rotted and simply sank in port. In most respects the story of Henry V’s navy is a mirror of the Hundred Years War, enjoying great success, but always costing more than England can afford, and silenced when resources became scarce.

My chief revelation from Henry V’s Navy is the important role oared vessels played in the royal fleet. Though these vessels were small with relatively small numbers of armed men, they played an important role in scouting and seakeeping. I had always believed oared vessels to chiefly a feature of Castilian and Genoese fleets, but clearly I was mistaken.  Gonna need to add some oared vessels to my cog fleets.

This is a very enjoyable, highly accessible book, and if you have an interest in the Hundred Years War and hope to understand the important naval aspect of Henry V’s campaigns, it is well worth your time and money.

What’s on my painting table. 

Well, this is pitiful.  I haven’t finished anything recently.  I’ve been stuck at school a lot.  But I did start working on the Miss Rock KISW hydroplane from 1983.Nearly done, need a bit more yellow trim on the numerals, some touch-up and varnishing. A simple color scheme, but I really like it.

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I’ve made slight progress on my Riders of Rohan, but it is something.  The riders are now mounted on their horses, and I’ve made some progress on the two bowmen.

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Music to paint by

I’ve written about my love of Blue Oyster Cult.  I went to see them for the second time at the Emerald Queen Casino on Saturday night with some friends from work.  I wrote a review of the show here.  BOC comes to EQC fairly regularly, and I can’t recommend their show highly enough.  Though Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser are the sole remaining original members, the band is incredibly talented, and play with passion and professionalism.  Bloom is a great frontman, and Buck is simply the greatest guitarist I’ve ever seen.  The tickets are cheap for a show these days (we paid $25 for view seats), and even though a concert at the Emerald Queen is liking watching a show in a large high school gym, it was still wonderful.