Thursday 29 August 2013

Miniature Friday: Mechs!

It’s been over a month since my last Miniature Friday, and that one just showed off some of the bare metal I had bought at Historicon. Well, it’s back to painting this week, and showing off some of those Historicon purchases with paint.

Here we have a couple of mechs and a couple of heavy tank escorts. Normally, I talk about how much I enjoyed painting a figure, but in this case, I can’t. It’s not because there is anything wrong with the miniatures. I actually think they are all top notch. Instead, the problem is with me as a painter.

Although I’ve been painting miniatures for about twenty-five years, the vast majority of that painting has been of living creatures. As I once again discovered, painting something to look like real flesh or cloth is very different to painting something so that it is looks like it is painted. Do you follow?

Whereas something like a cloak has lots of subtle colour variation because of its numerous folds, big flat expanses of metal do not. I know there are lots of tricks and techniques for painting machines of war, but  I don’t really know most of them. Sure, I can do a bit of shading in the cracks and dry brushing, and I’m learning how to use metallic paint to (ironically) show edges where the paint has rubbed off, but my expertise when it comes to painting these machines is much less than when painting creatures, and that is frustrating.

All of that said, I’m not unhappy with the results that I have achieved on these figures. They are bright and colourful. While this doesn’t really make much sense on a battlefield, I think it is necessary to make these figures an enjoyable spectacle. I even managed to get a couple of BattleTech House Davion decals on them (decals being another technique in which I have little skill).

So I didn’t enjoy the process, but I like the results. Now, I just need to see if I can’t convince myself to paint a few more so that I can actually play a game.

For those interested, the larger mech is a Reaper Cav figure. The smaller mech and the two tanks are from Iron Wind Metals.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

The Death Train

Political cartoons used to be a lot edgier...

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Great-Grandad and John Dillinger’s Cuff Links

L-R: Col. Dave Dodenhoff, Col. Melvin Purvis, Lt. Col. James D. McCullough, and Maj. Plat Wimbaly
Recently, my aunt sent me a copy of a photograph of my great-grandfather, James McCullough. The photo was taken in Oran, Algeria, when Jim was serving as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the US Army Supply Corp.

Jim is the second from the right. The smaller man, on his right (second from the left) is Col. Melvin Purvis. Jim and Melvin had been friends since long before the war, when they both had attended Law School at the University of South Carolina (hence the newspaper in the photo).

After Law School, Melvin Purvis joined the FBI and was eventually placed in charge of the Chicago branch, at a time when Chicago seemed overrun with gangsters. It was Purvis who led the manhunts that eventually killed Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger.

According to a note attached to the back of the original photograph, Melvin Purvis game Jim the cuff-links that John Dillinger was wearing on the night he was gunned down. 

Monday 26 August 2013

The King of Rome

Last week, I was listening to a folk show on BBC Radio 2, when they played The King of Rome by Dave Sudbury. The presenter called it ‘a near perfect folk song’. Well, I’ve got to agree.

Apparently the song has achieved some fame from being covered by other artists, most notably June Tabor. I’ve listed to a few of them, but none seem to have quite the depth of emotion of Dave Sudbury’s original. It appears the only way to get this original version is to ordered it directly from Dave Sudbury himself. You can order it here. I have.


Throughout the softball season, I had problems with my feet. They would be fine during the game, but afterwards would get stiff and painful. This usually happened when I woke up the next morning, would last for an hour or two, and then go away. In truth, I thought it was just part of being a bit older and bit out of shape.

Well, after my last softball game of the season, the same thing happened, but the pain did not go away. Instead, I spent the next month and a half, limping around. Eventually, I went to the doctor. After a quick examination, including some painful poking, he announced with confidence that I had Plantar Pasciitis.

This not-uncommon injury is caused by a collection of small tears in the plantar facia, the ligament-like collection of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It is most common amongst athletes (or softball wannabes) and people with flat feet (which I have). If I was a professional athlete, the doctors would likely give me a cortisone injection; however, as this is painful and the results are uncertain, it is rarely given for every day suffers. Instead, there is little I can do except rest it, do some stretching exercises, and try to deal with the pain.

The good news is that I’m unlikely to damage my foot any further as long as I don’t sprint much, although I must be careful if walking long distances not to hurt other parts of my body by overcompensating. The bad news is that the injury can take up to a year to heal. Ironically, this means I should be just about ready to go by next softball season.

Thankfully, the injury doesn’t bother me cycling, so I can still get my exercise and get to work.