Friday, December 27, 2013

Victor Nelson's

There are two toy shops in Oamaru which dominated my life when I was a kid. In the days when I collected 1/32 Airfix both of these shops stocked them. This was way back in the 1970 when one box cost a princely sum of $3.15. That sort of cash was far out of my league in those days so I had to wait for birthdays or Christmas before I could hope to get a box. It didn't stop me looking though. I can remember that every time we needed to head up to Oamaru (usually for Christmas provisions because we had a crib (bach for you NIers) in Hampden) I had to make a visit to both shops just to stare at the bounty which was out of my economic reach. Victor Nelson's especially used to have about 2 stacks of Airfic boxes behind the counter so that children without the cash had to stare and drool without being allowed to contact the boxes with their grubby hands.

Just this week I was back in Oamaru again, picking up Christmas provisions for my family and on a whim I ducked in to Victor Nelson's again.  It was like stepping back in time.  Bikes lined the aisles and there was a smell of new bike tyres and oil. Toys of all shapes and sizes lines the walls and off to the side was a sizable collection of  ----- model soldiers! I wandered over and found that they had obviously not been top sellers.  The sunlight had faded the front of them and the declining prices that they had been offered for sale dotted the boxes.  They had initially ranged from $50 for the 1/32 boxes and $17 for the 1//72 (unfortunately they were Italieri not Airfix!!!) Now they were all $5. I wondered what the 6 year old me would have thought if he had walked in to the shop and seen such a treasure.  Of course even at that price I would not have been able to buy any of them. Well, in memory of the little version of myself I bought his entire stock. I now have a piece of Victor Nelson's sitting up in Hampden at the crib probably never to be opened but stacked up just as they were when I was a poppet. I guess a lot of my motivation in life comes from actual and percieved deficits I had as a child but no matter what Freud would have said for me this was a victory at Christmas.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Arrival of the Del Prado Collection

Waiting for me at home when I got back from the office was my Christmas present! The courier company had performed wonders and had got my massive and gravitationally challenged box all the way from Whangarei (across the straight even with the Aratere out from the loss of a propeller!!) and down to Dunedin in the space of a day.

I do give myself a little credit for being a bit of a bargain spotter when it comes to auctions and I certainly wasn't disappointed by my latest purchase. The Del Prado Napoleon at War collection was 99.99% mint with only one figure missing part of a sabre.  Apparently, it had belonged to a Napoleonic enthusiast in Britain who had died and bequeathed it to the seller who was not such an enthusiast but had paid for it to be shipped to NZ. It had languished in this chap's house for years until his wife gave the order for it to be sold. Luckily for me he listed it on Trademe under a category which probably wouldn't have attracted the most views so I ended up being the only bidder.

So here I am with a lighter wallet yet a very heavy box full of figures and books. I thought I would photograph all of the figures but it seems someone has already done the job for me. Also in the box there were a few figures from the Napoleonic Cavalry range (something that I had not expected) I will now be on the lookout for this collection as well - although it is 120 figures and nearly double the price of the non-mounted range. I can wait for these. Half the fun of fishing is the wait!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Del Prado Napoleonic Figures

Well since I haven't been blogging for a while I thought I should announce that I am due to get a few Del Prado figures of the Napoleon at War series (Actually I bought the whole Series). When they arrive in a few weeks I'll blog about them. I think there are about 100 books coming with the series as well. I think these are based on the Osprey Men at Arms series so I should be able to give some comparisons as well..

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Prussian Hussars and Fathers Day

I don't have a Napoleonic Prussian army at the moment and I have no plans at the moment to paint one. However after a hiatus of about 5 months I decided to open my paint tins and have a go at a set of late war Prussian hussars. Prussian troops of the late Napoleonic period are not exactly the most exciting to paint and hussars are even worse than the infantry. So in this case with much trepidation I picked up the paint brush and proceeded to paint a squadron. The end result? Not too bad actually. The cavalry figures actually look pretty nice as a group. Although unfinished here is the pic. The finished product won't prompt me to paint a Napoleonic Prussian army anytime soon but at least I enjoyed being back at the painting table again.

I keep psyching myself up to paint a Spanish army when Hat releases them around Christmas time so hopefully the pleasing Prussians might spur me on to actually do it.

On another note, it is Fathers Day and I am going to have 삼겹살 (pork slices) for dinner. I don't know what that will do to my cholesterol or my blood pressure (I've been on medication for both - since about 2 weeks ago) but already I am sick of being a good boy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hobby dead in the water? Well not quite...

The strange thing about the hobby is that it never completely dies. Just when I thought that my boxes of Napoleonic battalions would never see the light of day again... there they go (or at least one anyway). I pulled it out of storage on a whim and before I knew it I had bought three Osprey books to add to my collection. I can't say I am back in painting mode yet though - perhaps that is a little too much to hope for. But I can say I do feel rumblings in the magma chamber. In the meantime here are some pics.

Old Guard


New Vanguard titles- make a change from uniformology of the Napoleonic Wars

An interesting book on the Irish military diaspora - of which I knew nothing about.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A very slack blogger...

I apologise for my slack blogging. To be honest I haven't done any of my hobby for the last 6 months. A very sad confession to make. Life is just too busy at the moment! I have bought some more Osprey books which I shall write about later next week. The weather is starting to pick up a bit and the days are certainly starting to lengthen. Perhaps the increased sunlight will bring more vigour to my painting hobby?

Friday, July 26, 2013


7YW Prussians for Christmas?

800 Figures
150 Cavalry
8 Cannon

Mmmmmm......The house of Hohenzollern shall rise again in Southern New Zealand!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can't believe the snow!

OK so at this stage of the year we do not expect rhis when we wake up in the morning...
From the dining room window

The lonely house next door which someone is starting to renovate

The project

of sculptures of the Williamson family

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A new project...

I have been mulling this over for a while. How about a 600 foot figure Prussian 7YW army with 5 Cav and 8-12 Artillery? I could follow this up with an Austrian and French and Russian army?

According to the Hat site there is going to be a bunch of figures due out in the next release...
8280 7YW Prussian Infantry Marching

In queue for release E23
Test shot
Painted test figs
8281 7YW Prussian Infantry Action

In queue for release E23
Test shot
8282 7YW Prussian Infantry Command

So I will probably go for a marching army this time.  Lots of identical figures marching their way across Silesia...

Ok then.... 10 boxes of marching = 500 figures Two boxes of action = 100 and 2 command puts some flags on the bases.

18 figs to a battalion - 30 Battalions.

But then I am going to have to get some Zvezda Hussars as a couple of boxes of Zvezda Prussian grenadiers.....

Mmmmm. I think I am going to have to be nice to Santa over the coming months. This should be a cool project at least until the Peninsular British get some heavy and light cavalry to take on those pesky frogs.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Want a Man Cave

Things that I want to have:

1) A large war-games table.
2) glass display cabinets
3) Shelving for books
4) Computer space
5) Sofa
6) my own bathroom
7) Stereo
8) Fridge
9) Workbench/painting table
10) Time to enjoy the above items

Is that too much to ask? I am really a simple soul .

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Airfix - with photos to come later because I don't have my iPhone cable.

I had a bit if nostalgia for the days of my youth a couple of nights ago so a decided to delve into a closet and find my old 1/32 Airfix Napoleonic figures.  They were the mainstay of my battles as a kid from when I was 7. I guess they got a bit of a thrashing because there was seldom a day when they weren't fighting Waterloo or left to rot after a battle only to get half sucked up the vacuum cleaner or stood on by the rest of the family. They are a little rough now with many missing their barrels to their muskets or even their bases.  So I set them up and here is the photo. Still looking ready to welcome Napoleon back from Elba any day!

I also had a little bit of research into those Medieval figures that I picked up in that auction of Deetail figures a few weeks back. Here are the photos.  It turns out that they were from a 1978 box of Airfix Medieval Foot Soldiers.  Back in the day I was into Napoleonic so I wouldn't have thought of wasting my precious Christmas money on these figures.  Many decades later, although I am still not interested in the Medieval period, I am eager to get hold of the original box for these figures.  It looks like I will have to buy from an overseas site like E-Bay (rather than Trademe) is I am ever going to have a hope of getting the box.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Slow Painting

With stress at work and being 45, I haven't really felt like painting too much lately. Tonight I felt a little more motivated and got to work on my long overlooked 1/35 sets of  Russian Napoleonic Command by HaT Industrie.  The set is pretty and the idea of gluing the backpacks/drums and arms of the officer and flagbearer strike me as really adding class to the final look of the figures. Not ready for photos yet - maybe in the weekend. With those finished, I can move on to my set of 1/72 Napoleonic Allied Command. This set consists of a Prussian, Russian, Spanish and British commander on horseback. They are soooo fiddly after painting the hulking great 1/35 figures!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Forgive me for I have sinned...

So I went to the auction and was outbid on 7 of the 10 items. I could have bought more (and I spent under half my budget) but the bidding was pretty intense. The whole lot sold for just over $4500 which is still a steal based on the prices which are realised on line for these figures. Actually I have no
Knights and Saracens and some British Guards (complete with cool plastic guard house! Tucked away in there are a few Napoleonic figures.

Yanks,Japs and Brits and Krauts - all WW2.

Foot soldiers  and knights jousting - coupled with some Napoleonic French and British.

The odd ones out. These are Super Deetail and they are more expensive than the older Deetail figures on most internet figure websites.
particular interest in Britain's Deetail figures. I was more of an Airfix man myself. On the bright side the figures are pretty neat so I probably won't sell them on. They were nice enough for Victoria to ask if she could have them so that she could  sell them to pay for her university fees!!

So here I am with my bank account several (many) hundreds of dollars lighter but I still have a sense of satisfaction. Will this tempt me to become a Deetail collector? No - but at least in future I will look more closely at this area of collecting.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pray for me....

On Wednesday I am bidding on a nearly complete set of Britain's Deetail 1971 soldiers... The lot...2000 figures- all vintage and ranging from moderately to highly collectable. May Allah, Krishna, Buddha and the great cheese monster in the sky look favourably upon their humble servant. May my wife forgive the shattering of the bank balance...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter in Hampden

Nothing much on the painting from to report. I did make a couple of pretty cool rough 'n ready bow and arrows for the girls. Old eel lines for the string and willow for the bow. Pretty powerful too.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wurtemburg Jager zu Pferd

Well here they are, I have based these straight off the box and I reckon they look pretty cool. I discovered during my painting that I don't have an Osprey about Wurtemberg or Baden. I have all of the titles of Napoleon's German allies though... Strange because I was pretty sure Wurtemburg was part of the Coalition of the Rhine... Anyway the painting is finished and I am now on to my late war Prussian Hussars. Again I don't have the Opsrey for these dudes. I have the first title but not the second.
Still needing a bit is a touch up but the basic parts finished. I have a few Wurtemburg Grenadiers and line somewhere but I need to get hold of some artillery. I haven't really put any effort into Austrians or Confederation troops and they aren't on the horizon either. I am aiming mainly at the Peninsular War.

Here are some Russians which I found in a box with British Command and my Wurtemburgers in the background.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Additions to the British Army

New book to my collection. Just after I bought this one I discovered that Osprey had put out a two volume study of the KGL. The interesting thing is that any of the battalions that I have painted could double for KGL. The uniforms are almost identical to British line.

Here are my finished artillery. A little bit smaller in scale than the Escis that I painted about 30 years ago. Still - they make an interesting and pretty bunch.

Next project... Wurtemburg cavalry.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Listening to Bowie's new album on a wireless headset while painting British Artillery on a Monday night. Kids all doing homework, wife in another room. Sounds beautiful enough to be a haiku really.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Painting

Sunday and I am back in the painting mode again. Yesterday I based my British Command after finishing my fatherly jobs which involve driving children around the city to various sporting and musical events. The figures look ok but they are not my best efforts. I think I need to invest in some better brushes. Lately I have been pretty busy at work and the household has been pretty busy as well so I haven't really had the mental space to psych myself up for painting. This evening however, I have jumped in and painted the base coats of my IMEX British artillery (Blue and White) although I am not too happy with the colour of the blue. I also did a mega painting on my 1/32 Russian Command figures which I bought accidentally (thinking that they were 1/72) some months ago. I still have some Wurtemburg and Nassau Cavalry to paint.

Since my birthday is coming up I may arrange for a completely new set of brushes....and some more paints.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

An Ecclectic Set

A parade of "toffs" leading my Peninsular British army. Nothing beats the British uniform in massed ranks. (Although the Imperial Guard can look pretty cool)

The horribly under worked-on Russians. These guys deserve at least a few weekends of undivided attention.

OK the colour looks a little off here. I used an acrylic just as a test. I am not sure as to the real colour of the drummers but I assume is will a lot darker than these colours.
Here are a few shots of what is happening on my painting table... Not a lot happening really - the weekend has been a little too busy. I did get a few colours onto my Napoleonic British Command and dabbled around with a really old 1/32 Airfix figure that has been lying around in a box since I was about 8. DComparing this figure with the Hat Russian flag-bearer he does look a little effeminate!  I really love the Airfix range from the 1970s because I played so many cool battles on the windowsill and the lounge during the summers up in Hampden. Many a time the evil Frenchies tried to storm Waterloo Farm and were held back by the thin red line. It really was a thin red line because I only ever owned two boxes of British infantry - as opposed to four boxes of French (Guard and Infantry).

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am shogun.

Now I can resume painting after defeating the computer on hard. Shogun Total War can now gracefully exit stage left from my evenings.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finding time to do a physical hobby

OK I have to admit that Napoleonics has fallen by the wayside over the course of the last few months.  The culprit for this has been my addiction to Shogun Total War 2. Ever since I pimped my PC, I have been fighting my way through Medieval Japan. STW2 is  gobsmackingly beautiful in terms of graphics and fiendish in terms of AI. I admit that I am a pretty poor player but the AI is really nasty. I have been playing so much recently that my wife has had to lay down the law a little to stop me spending all of my waking moments attatched to the pc. I promise to stop playing once I get to be Shogun. Actually, I have downloaded a few faction packs so maybe after all of the factions get a chance to be shogun I'll stop. I am going to be a camp-dad on Victoria's intermediate camp soon, so that may give me the opportunity to wean myself off ambushing samurai armies. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waitangi Day

The weather was supposed to be great for Waitangi Day but as I write the clouds are covering the sky as far as the eye can see and the city is basking in a balmy 11 degrees. Today's holiday jobs are going to be 1) Organising the basing of my British Command and finishing the first two of eight command figures. 2) Mowing the lawns. 3) Taking back my books to the university library. Althought he university library is a great source of material on my hobby, as an ex-student I only get limited borrowing time. Since I am generally busy, this means that the books that I borrow often lie unopened before I have to take them back. So it is goodbye to Mr Chandler's History of Napoleon's Campaigns and Mr Esdale's The Peninsular War.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday work

On Friday the girls and I went up to my mum's house to cut the hedge and mow the lawns. The weather over the last few has been nothing short of amazing. We spent an really busy  day hacking, chopping and cutting. The end reult - a reasonably tidied up house. As I am typing, it is 8.30 and the sun is beginning to set. The garden smells delightful and the kids are glued to a rerun of Doctor Who. I have a book about the Peninsular War upstairs waiting for me and the whole evening to enjoy it. Life is truly good!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trying to turn over a new leaf

Not that I actually do a lot of research but these books from my uniform library all have great illustrations of staff figures.

A mottley bunch of British in their basic coats. The 1/35 flag bearer is to the left with only five colours applied so far.

My unexpected 1/35 purchase. Unfortunately Hat did not model the mount for the officer!
With both of the girls back at school, we are making a push to have our evenings on homework and music practice. To that end the TV has gone west as has my PC (which has a new password that the kids don't know).

Now that I am not watching TV in the evenings and Black OPs 2 has become a little boring, I am back at the kitchen table painting.

Here is the situation as it stands now...

British Command - first 2 of 8 sprues started. I have decided to paint 2 sprues at one time from start to finish rather then follow my production line method.

Not quite sure how I will base there figures but I will try to make Wellington plus a few other generals. One horse fig plus two hangers-on next to the horse.

Russian 1/35 Command- hardly stated. I am painting the flag bearer but I am taking my time. I haven't painted 1/35 for years and I had forgotten the joy of using the medium sized paintbrush!

All up, this year I will take my time with the sundry sets which I have picked up. In 2014 I will hit the Spanish armies (if all goes well).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On the Eve of Work

Shirts ironed, new black shoes. Time to get back to work. Got to build a bunny run for my oldest daughter tomorrow. Bang goes the back lawn.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Time to Resume Normality

Off to Dunedin today. ALthough I technically have another week off, I will probably be at the school on Monday. Lots of planning to do and a large influx of Indian nurses to get past the IELTS hurdle. On the bright side, I am optimistic that my Christmas presents will have arrived from Australia. I have a strange urge to start with the Wurtemburg cavalry first. I have generally stayed away from the continental armies ( apart from the Frnech and the Russians) because of the plethora of uniform changes between the different coalitions. I really couldn't be buggered painting a pre-1806 Prussian and then a Confederation of the Rhine Prussian and then a 1813-5 Prussian army.  My French are a hodge podge of Post Bardin reform and 1809 and I really don't mind.

Anyway - the van is packed and the children are organised. The only thing we need to do now is head off to Oamaru to watch my wife's concert group perform and then we will all head back.