Wednesday, 1 January 2020

An Initial Sudan War Reading List for Wargamers

Battle of Abu Klea by William Barnes Wollen (1857-1936)

I am by no means an expert on the Anglo-Sudan, or Mahdist War. However, as a wargamer I have felt the siren's song of the conflict tugging at me gently over the years. What is more grand than the khaki and serge grey uniformed line of the Queen-Empress's finest arrayed against the white clad hordes of the Mahdi across a stark desert landscape? The conflict has its moments of consummate drama and excitement, and truly marks the end of an era of warfare. The Second Anglo-Boer war would drag the British Army, kicking and screaming, into the modern age.

An easy, enjoyable read, available for free from Amazon.

I have read several good books on the topic and have slowly been gathering a deeper and better understanding of the conflict over the years. I have found the following books to be invaluable as primers.First and foremost, I would recommend The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan by Winston Churchill. I found it to be a quick and easy read, largely thanks to Churchill's writing style. It is available for free on Amazon Kindle.

Another excellent read was Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899 by Dominic Green, which I listened to as an audiobook using Audible. It is available in print from Amazon. I listened to it whilst painting and found it more systematically and historically rigorous than the aforementioned Churchill work.

Specifically for Omdurman, Osprey provide a useful booklet Omdurman 1898: Kitchener's victory in the Sudan (Campaign) with a fantastic amount of photos, maps and drawings. Hardly surprising, since the author was none other than Donald Featherstone! Needless to say, it is a treasure trove for wargamers.

The last book is one that I am only just beginning myself, and that is Fire and Sword in the Sudan A Personal Narrative of Fighting and Serving the Dervishes 1879-1895 by Rudolf Carl Slatin. Slatin was an Austrian soldier and governor in the Sudan and is famous for having been a prisoner of the Mahdists, so he is likely to provide an interesting point-of-view.

A rather fanciful depiction from 1897. Source

That is all for now, as my own reading on the topic expands, I shall post those recommendations too. Needless to say, if you, gentle reader, have any recommendations, please do let me know in the comments. 

Monday, 23 December 2019

First Painted Miniatures of 2019

Apologies for the rather dreadful photo. Still, it is proof!
So, here we are: a week from the start of 2020 and I have finally finished painting three miniatures. An abysmal annual effort, but truly a reflection of how poorly engaged I have been with the hobby this year. In truth, it all ties in with the work and living situation here in California.

The reality is that I haven't had a space for the hobby. Our current place is rather small, and with space being at a premium, I cannot very well ask the wife to surrender some of that for little toy soldiers. So the bulk of my entertainment has come from playing video games and reading this year. On the topic of reading, might I heartily recommend Winston Churchill's "My Early Life: 1874-1904". I found the book a joy to read and a gateway to many a conflict. I know that I, for one, am keen to look further into the North-West Frontier and Sudan War thanks to this book. Read it.

An excellent book, very easy to read.

I might also mention that the heat and dryness here in the San Joaquin Valley makes for weather that is not particularly conducive to painting. When the sun is out and the hounds are keen to play, who am I to say otherwise? Only now that we have hit the rainy, cold season do I find myself in the mood to paint. That said, now that I have indeed put brush to miniature, I find myself inspired once more to get that "hour a day" in before bed. Hence the Germans above, and the Soviet Naval Infanteer lurking behind them.

One does not simply ignore these two.
In other news, I have been back to Britain twice this year, and have both times ferried quantities of miniatures and paints back with me. Having brought much lead over at the end of October, I had the makings of motivation, it just took a particularly miserable run of weather to convince me to build a rather nice little paint station my wife got me for my birthday back in June, and we were off to the races. I would highly recommend on of these handy little things to all my friends, it is very movable and surprisingly sturdy. Click on the picture to go to Amazon to see the GameCraft Miniatures Painting Station - 26mm V2, for Vallejo and Army Painter Style Dropper Bottles. Highly recommended.

Not all heroes wear capes...
Truly this paint station has been a lifesaver for me and has enabled me to get back to painting. I only hope that I can make a better effort in 2020 than I did this year. With that in mind, I look forward to creating more content for this website and the YouTube channel in the coming few weeks. However, until then, I wish all my dear readers a Merry Christmas, and I look forward to serving you better in 2020.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Painting Tutorial: Tabletop Workshop Stable 28mm

This is the latest video I have uploaded to YouTube, at the request of a subscriber, showing how I paint my medieval buildings. I hope that viewers might find it helpful.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Genestealer Done, Getting Back To Painting

My wife and I returned from our Highland adventure on Monday. It was a colossal drive from Inverness to Oxford, consuming most of our day just sitting in the car. Hardly how one chooses to spend a bank holiday, but frankly Scotland is worth it. While the West was celebrating Easter last Sunday, we were only on Palm Sunday, so this coming Sunday is our Pascha (Easter) and I cannot wait! It probably trumps Christmas as our family's biggest celebration of the year.

In the meantime, in the dark depths of the underhive, another wretched forerunner of Hive Fleet Leviathan stirs. I managed to knock out the genestealer below in a single evening, and I rather enjoyed it. I didn't spend an inordinate amount of time on this monster, but the results are pleasing. Sorry for the poor pictures, I just grabbed these on my camera when it was done. 

For my painting recipe I followed some of the YouTube videos from Warhammer TV, again, I cannot emphasise enough what a great resource that channel has been.

I've moved on to some other miniatures now, a couple of English Civil War test figures, a fighting Greek Priest from the Greek War of Independence, and the Primaris Ultramarines are on the table. I've recaptured my painting mojo recently, and am really enjoying being back, brush in hand.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Dreadball Marauder Jack Complete

The other night I finally completed another of these blighters. I am not going to sugar coat it, these miniatures are awful. The detail is poor and the pose is dreadful. 

So, it is no surprise that I haven't put the usual effort into this "playing piece," I simply didn't enjoy painting it.

Anyway, another miniature done, so there is at least some satisfaction. My wife and I are up in Scotland for the Easter weekend, so there will be no painting for me this weekend. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Space Hulk Blood Angel Terminator

As part of my painting meanderings, I decided to paint a Blood Angel terminator from the Space Hulk board game. I have yet to play the game, but my notion is that any miniature painted for the board game can be used in Warhammer 40,000 anyway. 

To that end, I will be basing these once I have done the lot. Having done a dry fit, I know that they will fit on 40mm terminator bases with a little minor surgery. I followed a handy painting tutorial from Warhammer TV for the power armour. 

The recess shading is something I am a big fan of. The rest of the miniature was painted using, with some minor adjustments, the older Blood Angel painting tutorial from Warhammer TV.

This YouTube channel is one of my absolute favourites, and I have added loads of handy tricks to my painting repertoire by just watching these videos. Most of the tutorials will teach you how to get the most out of a triad and wash combination, and the hosts are very good. So even if a video title isn't necessarily something you are interested in, go ahead and watch it any way, you might learn something useful.

I tried my hand at some freehand for the text on the scrolling, this marine is festooned with the word "IRA" Latin for wrath or anger. His greave scroll has "BAAL" on it, for the home planet of the Blood Angels, but I will likely need to fix this as I am not 100% happy with it at the moment. The surface isn't flat, so that complicates the freehand. I don't normally try and do freehand text, so this is new territory.

At the moment this terminator looks very bright, I think the addition of a base will really help tone it down by contrast. I'll be looking to do an industrial style basing with steel flooring of a sort. 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Primaris Ultramarine Test Figure

I have been getting a lot more painting done over the last few weeks, my Twitter account has been evidence of this. I suppose that the reason has been that I have simply painted what I have felt like painting. 

Several weeks ago my wife and I were enjoying a day out in Oxford when we dropped in to the Games Workshop store there. Now, as a rule I avoid Games Workshop stores. I find the sales manner of the staff off-putting, and knowing that I can buy the same products from my local gaming store for a small discount, leaves very little reason to shop there. Still, it was an opportunity to catch up on the changes to the ranges, as I haven't been keeping up on what has been happening in the Games Workshop-sphere.

I spotted a £25 starter kit called "First Strike" and had to have it. My wife/chancellor of the exchequer agreed I could splash out, since I haven't spent much on wargaming recently, and a few days later I stopped by an independent stockist and picked the box up for 15% less than the Games Workshop store. 

I will express my thoughts on the boxed set in another post/video, but I thought I would share the first completed Primaris Marine. Excellent miniature, and finally a Space Marine in "True Scale". Suffice to say, I am looking forward to painting the rest of the miniatures from the box. 

I decided to paint the Space Marines as Ultramarines because I figure that if I were ever to add to the Primaris Marines I would likely get Roboute Guilliman. It also gives me an opportunity to try a slightly different scheme from the one I have employed with my Horus Heresy Ultramarines. I want there to be a tonal difference between the 30th and 40th Millennia. 

As you can see from the side-by-side photos, the 40k Marine is darker in tone, whereas the 30k Marine is brighter. I like to think of the 30th Millennium as a more hopeful epoch, humanity is at its zenith after Ullanor, the Great Crusade is drawing to a close, the Imperium triumphant. By contrast, the grim-dark 40th Millennium is more desperate and humanity on the knife edge of extinction. These colours hopefully reflect that difference, or perhaps it is all in my mind. 

Oh, and I must add that of course the Primaries Marine is missing his transfers and basing. This will be done once I have done the lot and have decided on what sort of basing scheme I want to employ.