Friday, March 28, 2014

Paris pt. 1

Originally Titled: Seine at night, Louvre, Notre Dame, Concierge and Museum of the Middle Ages

On the 26th we left you as we boarded the Eurostar at St. Pancras station in London. In a little over two hours we arrived at Gare du Nord. A hop, skip and a jump on the metro and we were at our hotel. Since I grew up in New York City it usually devolves to me to be the leader on the train. Bejing, NYC, London and now Paris have all been successfully navigated by subway.

After checking in we had a quick bite to eat at a nearby cafe. Then it was off to the Pont Neuf to get on a Seine River tour. It was quite beautiful at night but difficult to take pictures. I found myself envying those with the cheap point and shoot cameras as i tried everything I could think of to hold still. At some points I couldn't even find a point to focus on to take a picture.

The next day, the 27th, we headed off for the Louvre. Just fantastic, but a total pain to figure out how to get where you want to go. That and whole sections being closed made it incredibly difficult to get to the exhibits we had targeted.

First, just look at the size of that thing.

Detail of Napoleon's Coronation.

After lunch I made a quick dash to get  picture of the Code of Hammurabi, and stumbled upon some beautiful sculptures.

Hannibal and Julius Caeser.

I wish we had more time but there was a schedule to keep. We went back to Ile de la Cite and tried to go to St. Chapelle, but it was closed. So we went to Notre Dame.

You can take pictures inside, unlike Westminster Abbey, and it was truly grand.

After that we walked back to the Concierge and saw where they held Marie Antoinette before execution.

Then it was off to the Musee du Moyen Age. A lot of cool stuff there, I particularly liked the tapestries with the Unicorn. It reminded me a lot of the Cloisters on 181st in New York. I went there many times as a kid and we returned there with my kids when we last visited the Big Apple.

After a short rest and a beer,

we went for a walk down the street and went to the top of the Tour Montparnasse. We decided it would have been better at mid day.

Then stopped by Restaurant Kamelo on the way back and had some excellent Magret du Canard and Tartare.

The color of this photo is a lot darker than it actually looked.
With a glass of red wine it was delicious. After we returned to the hotel I felt I was duty bound to drink the other beer my wife had bought for me at the Monoprix earlier in the day.

Not French, but close.

So with that we went to bed to be off bright and early for Versailles. I'll tell you all about that at a later date as we have to get ready to meet some friends for dinner. I took over 500 pictures at Versailles, The Arc de Triomphe and the Musee de L'Armee. Hopefully some of them are decent.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yesterday British Museum, today Stonehenge

Hi all,

Yesterday was quite a slog. I think I was feeling jet lagged. First stop was the British Museum. We mostly looked at Greece and Rome, Egypt and Assyria and Bronze and Iron Age England.

Ashurbanipal hunting lions.

Sennacharib sacks a town in Judah.

Greek Hoplites.

Greek Cavalry.

Celtic Shield.

After the British Museum we went to Westminster, you can't take pictures inside so nothing to show. It was very impressive but I felt rushed through the tour.

Afterwards we backtracked and went to Churchill's War Room. Very impressive. Unfortunately for me I was pretty fried at this point so I didn't get to take it in as much as I would have liked. I did get this one picture of the Enigma machine though.

Before Westminster we went to Picadilly Circus and had Lunch at the 5th View restaurant in the Waterson's there. I had Fish Cakes and Fuller's London Pride.

Today we woke up early and took a bus out to Stonehenge. I was very happy as my dad wouldn't take me there back in 1979.

I always think of Spinal Tap.
 When we got back from the tour it was off to Covent Garden and the Jubilee Market. After shopping I convinced everyone we needed to stop in a pub. So we went to The Nags Head.

Nags Head Bitter

McMullen's IPA

Must have of the trip, Fish and Chips.
Yesterday I had bought an Osprey title (Men at Arms 350) "The US Army in WWII (3) and then today I cajoled a return to Watersons in Picadilly and bought (Campaign 233) "Boudicca's Rebellion". I almost bought more but realized the exchange rate was killing me in the book price. It was also very fortuitous that we went back. While I shopped my family went back to the restaurant for coffee and desert. The waiter handed us my son's glasses , which we had left there at lunch the previous day. I was so thankful I gave him a tip.

Tomorrow it's off to Paris.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Buckingham Palace, Tower of London and Real Ale.

Hi All,

  Some more sightseeing yesterday. I'll spare you the obligatory shots of Big Ben et al and keep it to vaguely militaria. I did take some pictures of the guard standing watch but i won't include those as that's fairly common. Also they were in grey overcoats,so not as flash.

I immediately thought of Michael Awdry.

I thought Horse Guards was a little more interesting.

A relatively pigeon free Admiral Nelson

General Haig along the walk from the palace to parliament.

For Monty and Monty.

I still don't know how to pronounce Boudica.

Trebuchet? At the Tower of London.

25 Lber at the Tower of London.

Now that's more like it. A lovely pint at The Plough on Coptic St.
I missed getting a shot of some Beef Eaters. The pizza was also pretty good at Pizza Express, also on Coptic St., within eyeshot of The Plough and the British Museum. (The Plough is actually on Museum St. Little Russell is the street that runs between Coptic and Museum that both establishments are on.)

Today is the British museum and some other stuff, tour master is cracking the whip. Got to go.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Harrod's Lager and Britains figures

Sort of gaming related.

We went down to Harrod's last night and ate there.

It was alright. Oxidized like Heineken.

Later we went up to the toy department.

I thought for sure my son would go for a Britains figure but he was distracted by all the other stuff.

And ever since we passed the Hammersmith stop on the tube I've been humming this.

Thames cruise, Tower of London etc today and Pizza Express to meet up with friends for dinner.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ruminations on the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge

Well my first time participating in Curt's illustrious event went about as well as could be expected. I experienced the gamut of emotions; excitement, despair, frustration and anxiety but overall it was a positive experience.

If you want to get the perspective of a champion, check out Loki's post mortem here.

Lessons learned:

1. Have a plan. I followed Andrew's lead and made a list and planned it all out. It quickly fell apart as I dawdled and had to scramble to get in my first themed entry. I never really recovered as I seemed to always be up against the next themed deadline.

2. Be flexible. I am a fairly dogmatic person, I like to do things in a certain order. Allow yourself to improvise and don't get locked into an idea that means not meeting the deadline. I probably could have had my last stand/ entry figures as one submission if I had just let go of my original last stand idea.

3. Work in batches. I think Andrew had it right when he said he worked on large projects 3 units at a time. I personally got bogged down in groups that were too big for me. At this point I think 4 or 5 figures is the sweet spot for me.

4. Get things prepped before the challenge. A lot of my themed entries were completely fresh/ on the sprue before I got to work on them during the challenge. Don't do that to yourself.

5. Don' be afraid to go for it. I held myself back quite a bit as  I was afraid of messing things up and thus not be able to submit them. In the interim I plan to try and improve and expand my technique so that it won't be so much flying blind in the future.

And that about sums it up.

Here's a few shots of the stuff I didn't finish that will be done in short order when I get back from my trip.

Just need the teeth painted , shields touched up and glued on. Then varnish and flocking.

My Cross of Iron themed entry figure group. Need to sculpt a tiny bit.

My aborted last stand theme project. I'm still going to try grayscale. It seemed original at the time.
This will be scheduled while I'm in flight.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This week in Talomir #8

Over at Talomir Tales we have the battle fought by Stygustan and Treyine on St. Lindorf's day. Any resemblance between St. Lindorf and St. Patrick is purely coincidental. You can read about it here.

Leaving for London tomorrow. I'm mostly packed and just have a few things left to sort out. I'm not sure if I'll have time to schedule some posts, or post on the fly. But I'll try.

I did the comic with Comic Life 3. In the past I have used GIMP. I think it was quicker and easier overall, but I still have a lot to learn and I think that some of the choices I made may not have been the best. Please let me know if you have any constructive criticism. One of the things I'm still trying to learn is when to take a picture that tells the story I want to tell.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Look at me, another entry for the challenge.

I'm increasing my output, finally, but it's too little too late to reach my goal. Any how here's what I wrote to Curt.

I present to you Lord De La Warre of Treyine and his men. To create some interest in my red and white theme I broke it up into solid red, half red and white and quartered red and white. I figured that this would represent each of the knights and their retinues. As with the previous entry these are a mixture of Zvezda English Infantry of the 100 Years War, Miniart German Knights, Airfix Robin Hood and Strelets Military Order Warriors. They are all 1/72 (20mm) scale plastics.

All the same painting techniques, but this time only Vallejo matte varnish at the end. I feel like it dulled the metal a tad too much and it almost looks like NMM. Still flailing around, but why change how I work now. I'm just glad to get another batch done. It only took me the whole competition to do it.

There is nothing particularly special about the two footmen, I just hid them on the work bench and found them after I'd photographed the main group.

You can see the entry and a few more pictures on Curt's blog here.

I've painted myself into a corner, in as much as I have a lot of figures left to do for the final themed round plus my entry figure. Better get started.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Welcomes, whining and Leia's Metal Bikini

Hi All,

  Last post I forgot to welcome two new followers to the blog:

ChicoDaSatanic of Oldhammer on a Budget. This is one of those blogs that you thought you were following but weren't and can't figure out why not. Very good stuff for Oldhammerers,  the recent Malal stuff is quite nice.

Zabadak of Zabadak's Zombie World. Lots of good zombie stuff, I especially like his terrain. I already follow him and thought he was already a follower. Nice to have you aboard.

Now for the whining. Bleh, I feel terrible. Last week my wife had some kind of flu which then turned into severe allergies and she lost her voice. I had one night of flu like symptoms but have not yet lost my voice, although I sound terrible and my throat hurts something awful. To top it off my wife is away on business so I'm solo with the kids. I'm keeping it together so far but it has been a challenge. I have a ton of painting to do but only managed a fraction since I was volunteering at the school today. My son is closing in on his 40th mile in the running program they have at school and I seem to be the only person willing to show up to help the kids log their efforts.

And lastly

While I absolutely hated Return of the Jedi, I do appreciate Leia's ensemble. For those who don't know there is a website called Leia's Metal Bikini, lots of pictures of Leia herself and the "Fans in costume" section is interesting.

Have a good one.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bowmen of Treyine

Woohoo, this weekend I entered my first regular entry into Curt's challenge. Here's what I wrote.

These 20 1/72 scale plastic figures are meant to represent a portion of the army of Treyine in the Talomir Tales campaign. Treyine is supposedly 100 years war England in flavor. This bunch comes from Zvezda English Infantry of the 100 Years War, Zvezda Medieval Peasant Army, Airfix Robin Hood and Strelets Military Order Warriors for the two footmen.

I have been futzing around with these figures for what seems like months. I have to say that painting the 28mm figures feels like a breeze compared to these. I cut out the final dry brush over the ink wash as I didn't feel it was going to add anything. I also experimented with both Burnt Umber and Sepia washes and I like the variety. The varnish step was a little more problematic and a couple of the figures came out ultra shiney. I was able to knock that down with some Vallejo Matte Varnish, excellent stuff. I will do a post on my blog with comparison shots when the figures are released to be put up there.

Same picture protocol, but it was 5:00pm here when I took them so the light is not as strong as it could be. I need to experiment more with lighting.

Oops, forgot to rotate the middle row on the left.

I hope you all enjoy my very first non themed entry. I'm hoping it will not be my last.

One thing I did learn with this bunch is that Vallejo matte varnish is truly matte. I used it to fix some figures that came out extra shiny.

All three of the above figures were varnished with the Liquitex matte varnish. The one on the left is acceptably shiny for me. The middle and the right were both equally shiny, due perhaps to over doing it with varnish that was not mixed enough. But in the picture you can see that the shine was knocked down successfully with an application of Vallejo Matte varnish over the shiny layer. I think it worked well. More to come soon.


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