Saturday, 23 August 2008

Some exciting developments here at Chez Stavka.

"Move over Sharpie, I'll take the adventures of this guy any day!"

1) Positive reinforcement...

We all need a reward for success, and this will be mine! I came across this on, and one "click" and a week's delivery time later, it's at my doorstep.

I have long been a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Brigadier Gerard short stories. I first come across Brigadier Gerard and his regiment, the Hussars de Conflans, in my school library when I was in Grade 8, and ever since I have been hooked on the tales of this flamboyant- and totally immodest- light cavalryman serving in Napoleon's Grand Armee.

I have only read the stories either individually as selections in other books, or more recently as selected uploads on the Internet. I had never been able to find them in print as a complete collection anywhere; although there are more versions of Sir Arthur's Sherlock Holmes stories available than you can shake a sabre at, his other works have not nearly been so widely available. It is the detective in the deerstalker who rakes in the money!

Imagine my excitement, therefore, when quite by accident I came across the book you can see here. Not merely just a collection of all eighteen of the Brigadier Gerard short stories, but one that is in hardcover, fully annotated, and which includes the illustrations that accompanied the stories when they first appeared in Strand magazine back in the 1890's.

As writers go, I'll take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over Bernard Cornwell any day of the week. He created Brigadier Gerard as a result of having become bored with his Sherlock Holmes character, and these stories are in quite a different vein- lots more humour for a start. While granted that they are short stories rather than novels, the Brigadier Gerard stories have a literary flair about them that I find missing in the Sharpe novels.

At my own request, my wife has "custody" of the book for now. Once I get the pictures of the finished and based figures I've been working on up on this website, she will then hand over the book to me, and then I'll settle immediately into my armchair with a glass of cognac and immerse myself in the tales of the Good Soldier. No doubt I'll find some inspiration within its pages for a few Sharpe Practice scenarios!

Inspiration indeed for persuading me to slave away like a madman at the painting table.

2) Bases on the way!

More good news. I checked my email this morning to find a message from Litko telling me that my order for bases has been shipped. Past experience tells me that they should be here by next Friday or Saturday at the latest, and once they arrive out will come the glue and sand for some mass basing.

This means that the 28e legere will make its pictorial debut way past the original deadline, but it cannot be helped given my change of course on base sizes. It will have been worth the wait, I'm sure.

3) Napoleonic decals? Yes!!

Alban Miniatures
out of England produce a very nice range of British riflemen for the Peninsular War designed by Richard Ansell. They also intend on doing French, starting with light infantry. Unfortunately while the figures seem to be very nice and well-proportioned, they don't really suit my painting style and what is even more important, are absolutely incompatible with my collection of Front Rank miniatures.

However, Alban caught my attention big-time recently as they have announced a range of decals for Napoleonics. Created by Dom Skelton, these are to be used for things like regimental backpack numbers and canteen markings. So far these are just for the British, but they plan on introducing decals for French light and line infantry as well.

I think this is really exciting news, as it should speed up the painting time and also allow for much nicer looking touches such as markings for the French covered shakos, company markings on the cartridge cases, and hopefully at some point in the future we will see shabraque and portmanteau markings for French cavalry, all of which can be a pain to do freehand (as I am discovering...).

I look forward to these new releases from Alban, and even if I cannot use their miniatures I will definitely be springing for the decals.

Wonderful stuff. With all the new and innovative releases coming out these days from a number of manufacturers, this is a simply a great time to be a wargamer with any interest in 28mm Napoleonics.

4) Finally: "Hey, man, WAY cool!"

Literally. The weather in Tokyo this summer has been really unpredictable. It has been so hot and humid these past two weeks- 35 C. give or take a degree or two- with a lot of thunderstorms. This has made painting a real chore. Not only was it physically uncomfortable working in my upstairs room under a hot light- I had to take a break every twenty minutes or so-, but my acrylic paints were drying out on the palette far too quickly- a real hassle when trying to work on faces and horses when I needed to blend colours.

But today the temperature has really dropped down, to 23 C. While for Tokyo this is really unseasonable weather for late August, at a time of year which is usually pretty much unbearably hot until the middle of September, it does make my painting progress much faster. Which is lucky, as I'm really running out of time for those chasseurs!

1 comment:

Iannick said...

No fair! It's hot as hell in Montreal! I wan't cool temperature :)

Seriously, love that idea with the wife and the book, who knew your wife could be of use in your wargaming projects :)

The decals also caught my attentions; I would love to see some for not only french cavalry, but also Austrian. As you said, shabraque would be *so* useful. I must admit that painting small letters and symbols is my "talon d'achille"; most of the time, after one or two try, I abandon and just do not put them on the figure :(

It just doesn't stop in 28mm, hey? I'm amazed at what happenned just in the last year; Perry plastics, Victrix plastics, Sharpe's practice, even Foundry coming with new Naps.

These are special times my friend for us 28mm aficionado :)