Saturday, March 11, 2017

'La!' - The Duellists

A favourite movie in our household is Ridley Scott's debut film 'The Duellists', which was based on a Joseph Conrad short story and starred Kieth Carradine and Harvey Keitel. 

To those who've not had the pleasure of seeing the film, it charts the quarrel and careers of two French cavalry officers, Gabriel Feraud and Armand d'Huber, serving in Napoleon's Grande Armee. The two men fight a long succession of duels that span almost two decades, ending in 1816 with the return of the Bourbon monarchy. 'The Duellists' is beautifully filmed, elegantly written and well acted - a real treat to any historical movie buff. We love the film so much that during a past trip to France, Sarah and I purposefully detoured to stay in beautiful Sarlat-la-Canéda, to visit many of the locations which were used in the film (along with its great food and wine!).

Keith Carradin (d'Hubert), Harvey Keitel (Feraud) and film director Ridley Scott on set in Sarlat, France.
The film (and Conrad's short story) are actually based on true events which are more incredible than its adaptations. The characters of d'Hubert and Feraud's were actually Dupont and Fournier-Sarlovèze, whom Conrad disguised slightly, but otherwise the overall story follows the sketch of actual events.

François Fournier-Sarlovèze the true inspiration of Keitel's 'Feraud'
 In 'The Encyclopedia of the Sword', Nick Evangelista wrote:
As a young officer in Napoleon's Army, Dupont was ordered to deliver a disagreeable message to a fellow officer, Fournier, a rabid duellist. Fournier, taking out his subsequent rage on the messenger, challenged Dupont to a duel. This sparked a succession of encounters, waged with sword and pistol, that spanned decades. The contest was eventually resolved when Dupont was able to overcome Fournier in a pistol duel, forcing him to promise never to bother him again.
They fought their first duel in 1794 from which Fournier demanded a rematch. This rematch resulted in at least another 30 duels over the next 19 years, in which the two officers fought mounted, on foot, with swords, rapiers and sabres.

This 28mm set is from Brigade Games. I've painted them in the colours of the d'Huber's 3rd Hussars and Feraud's 7th. For those who are familiar with the film we can place the figures in the 1801 Augsburg duel (fought in a vaulted cellar) due to the men's junior rank, style of hair (their braided cadenettes are awesome) and the comportment of their uniforms.

Thanks for dropping in!


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Italian Wars Spanish Rodeleros/Escudados

I've been working on these figures off-and-on since the start of the Painting Challenge. I was hoping to get them done last Friday (Feb 24th) for the anniversary of the Battle of Pavia, but it just wasn't in the cards.  Nonetheless, I'm still happy to see them off the table and awaiting orders in the display cabinet.

These are Spanish Rodeleros or Escudados Translated as 'shield bearers', or simply shield-and-buckler men, they were an interesting troop type which saw brief prominence during the late 15th and early 16th century. 

The rodeleros usefulness was being able to break the deadlock between contesting blocks of pike (and in this respect they were very similar to the halberdiers of the Landsknetches and Swiss). Once the rodeleros maneuvered past the hedge of pikes, and got in tight with their foes, their half-plate armour, long swords and small shields made them superior to the lightly protected pikemen.

Nevertheless, the rodeleros, like most classes of infantry, were particularly vulnerable to cavalry, especially light cavalry and so had to be cautiously employed and judiciously commanded. 

Though they had a short time of glory in Italy, Cortes' campaigns in the New World was largely made possible by having a host of rodeleros at his back.

This unit is made up of an assortment of 28mm figures from The Assault Group (TAG), Foundry and Eureka Miniatures. I really like the Spanish/Portugues conquistadors from Eureka. They have a great sense of spirit and animation - the commander exhorting his men, seen below in the center, is from the Eureka range. 

The TAG castings were somewhat smaller than the rest, so I made a small rise for them running along the center of the base to serve as a crest, to help mask their slight statures.

I often try to put a boulder or stump at the rear of my large bases so players have something to grip on to when moving them on the table. For this base I've used a 3D printed stump that I scaled down to a useful size (this same design was used for my Francis command stand).

Historically, these bravos probably wouldn't be carrying their own banner, but I like my units to have flags, so they've been gifted one from Pete's Flags to hoist in the breeze.

There you go! Thanks for visiting folks, I hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

40K Inquisitorial Retinue (Part II) Adeptus Arbites Hunter/Seeker Team - Kane Corso and 'Daisy'

This past week I returned to the hobby-desk to expand my 40K Inquisitorial retinue.

This is Kane Corso and 'Daisy'. They are an Arbitrator K9C Hunter/Seeker team originally part of the Adeptus Abites police force (think of a grittier, more nihilistic version of Judge Dredd and you pretty much have it), but are now valued members of Inquisitor Rochel-Perez's retinue of espionage operatives, detectives and combat specialists.

This set of miniatures was released (I believe) as part of a Forge World special event several years ago. As can be imagined, they are quite hard to come by these days unless you know the right, ahem, contacts. In this case the source is a company named, quite appropriately, Black Market Miniatures. Anyway, I made a cautiously small order and was pleasantly surprised to receive my figures promptly, wonderfully packaged and beautifully cast in near-faultless resin.

I've painted Kane in dark green half armour, carrying a stun baton and a K9C sensory readout that is wirelessly linked to to his Cyber-Mastiff 'Daisy'.

He is festooned with purity seals indicating that he's been anointed by a priest of the Imperial cult, marking him as a man who has seen, or is about to see, some nasty, nasty things.

'Daisy' is a heavily augmented Mastiff. I was going to suggest she may be a Cane Corso (an Italian dog breed), but thought that would make a better name for her handler. :)  She's obviously seen better days, what with all her roughly installed battle augmetics and heavy burn scaring along her flanks

A good portion of her skeleton and musculature has been replaced with a reinforced chassis, various cybernetics and a bunch of neural injectors for pain-suppression, heightened senses and adrenaline boosting. 

Yes, it seems that the SPCA is sadly absent in the 41st millennium.

She's seen here going 'walkies' with her owner. I wonder if Kane cares about 'Imperial On-Leash Ordinances', or the fact that he's neglected to bring along any poo-bags? 

Somehow I suspect not.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Home of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru

I was flipping through a book on famous movie sets the other day and came across a section on the Tunisian film location for Luke Skywalker's home on Tatooine. I immediately felt nostalgic on seeing the iconic domed habitat, the moisture vapourators and Luke's battered landspeeder. So I thought I'd create a small vignette depicting the home of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, seen during quieter times, before galactic events changed everything.

I found these models as 3D files on Thingiverse and adapted them to my purposes. They were originally much larger designs, but I wanted something compact, so I scaled them down to something approximating a 10mm scale. 

Luke's landspeeder has been fiddled with a bit to make it thinner, elongated and somewhat stylized. I tried to keep to the salmon coloured paint scheme seen in the film.  

A few have asked why I didn't put in Luke or perhaps 3PO and R2D2. To be honest I've always liked set-piece scenes where the characters are not seen. Sometimes the absence of things says more than having them there. It gives the impression that something is happening out of sight, and so your mind naturally starts to question and provide a plausible narrative. Maybe Luke has just come home from checking on the farm's distant moisture condensers? Or maybe he's just said farewell to his friend Biggs and is now home for supper, trying to convince his aunt and uncle to let him join the academy. For me, the absence of characters makes the scene more compelling and interesting.  

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Kablooey! Exploding 'Star Wars' Rebel Starships - 7th Submission to AHPC VII

Ever since seeing 'Rogue One' over the holiday break I've been having a wonderful renaissance delving into all things 'Star Wars'. I feel like I'm eleven all over again (if only my hair follicles would follow suit)!

This resurgent interest made me dig-up my copy of 'Star Wars: Armada' by Fantasy Flight Games. For those who are not familiar with the game, 'Armada' is a fleet-level miniatures game, where players get to control the huge starships and fighter squadrons that are so iconic in the films. Rebel Blockade Runners, Star Destroyers, Mon Calamari 'Pickle Ships', swarms of TIE fighters, you got it, they're all a part of the game. It's super fun.

Our group is just about to start a campaign using the new 'Corellian Conflict' expansion that came out a few weeks ago. The guys are busy creating their fleets and so I thought I'd add some colour to the tabletop with some bits and bobs. What we have here is a pair of critically damaged ships for set dressing. With these models, victorious admirals will have the satisfaction of seeing their crippled adversaries drift across the table instead of the original models simply being removed from play.

The Rebel frigate is hit amidships and begins to break apart.
These two ships are from the Rebel Alliance. One is the famous Rebel Blockade Runner, or CR90 Corvette, that was seen carrying Princess Leia in 'A New Hope', and the other is a Nebulon-B Escort Frigate which was first glimpsed in 'The Empire Strikes Back'.

Both of these models were downloaded from Thingiverse (thanks Danesgift!), tweaked/re-scaled, printed off on my 3D printer and mercilessly bashed-up for effect. The stands are prints as well.

Below are a couple raw prints, with all the supports still needing to be removed and sanded down. Yes, they are SUPER orange when they first come off the printer.

The explosions are 3D fractal models, designed by Aeron203. 

I re-scaled and sliced the fractal models to make varying sizes and textures of explosions. I added some blown-out debris from thin plasticard, and for the Nebulon-B I gave it a turbo laser hit (with a bit of painted steel rod) for a bit of drama.

The raw 3D models above provides you a hint of the upcoming Imperial ships which will be getting the same treatment - but that will be for another post.