Sunday, 29 March 2015

PTS 73 + Anzacs + Turks + Gallipoli WW100

Somewhere over the rainbow.
Edition #73 of Painting Table Saturday and it was the final week of painting 54mm Anzacs & Turks for (sculptured by the Perry twins) for the Gallipoli diorama that will feature in The Great War Exhibition, opening in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington, the week before Anzac Day.

I completed the new Anzac miniatures, the last of my Turks and some Anzac hats that will no doubt be scattered across the battlefield. I had some help but more about that later.

School visit.
During the week I also had an opportunity to take the Anzacs and Turks (that I finished last weekend) into Tamahere Model Country School to show Ella and Rylee's classes. Ella is in the senior syndicate and Rylee is a junior. It was interesting to see the different responses to the miniatures from the children. The dead Anzac miniatures had more of an impact on Ella's classmates. Rylee's class had children who knew of relations (great, great aunts and uncles) who came back from the war.

I also let the children hand around an Anzac miniature. One reloading without a bayonet, just to be safe. They could feel the weight of the miniature and I believe it was a good thing to let them know that they were holding a piece of history, that once installed will be 'untouchable'. If I wasn't teaching guitar that day I may have visited more classrooms.

Making sure Maori are represented among the Anzacs.
Part of the fun in painting the Anzacs was being able to have a variety of skin tones and hair colours to represent the different ethnic groups that made up the allied forces. Anzac soldiers came from a vast array of cultural backgrounds. For example, the Ceylon Planter’s Rifle Corps, a group of around 200 Ceylonese men, part of the 1st ANZAC Corps. Bugler HW Byrde was an Australian in this Corps and these men became known as General Birdwood’s bodyguard. 

As a kiwi, I wanted to paint some Maori who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, later serving (with Pacific islanders) on the Western Front as part of the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion. I also painted a redhead soldier in honour of my good friend Lewis, founder of the Tamahere Officers Club.

It was a week of last times. Last time cleaning. Last time spraying. Last time ringing around and making sure painters were on track. This brings me to the thanks and blessings. 

Firstly, thanks to Sir Peter Jackson, Andrew Taylor (Weta) and the historian Christopher Pugsley for making this a truly kiwi project. Roly Hermans for helping get the news out to people through the NZ Wargaming forum and his work on the website, Mustering The Troops.

Rhys Jones (the 'Armchair General'), wargamer and former Chief of the New Zealand Defence Forces, deserves a medal for leading this project. Without his mustering of the painters, we wouldn't have been painting at all. My humble thanks go out to him for giving me the role of coordinator for the Waikato region. It has had it's challenges and has been thoroughly rewarding.

Tamahere Officers Club.
The Tamahere Officers Club, in particular the volunteer painters Lewis Morgan and Dave Hunter have my thanks and beers. Also, Bobby Grindrod from the Cambridge Wargaming Club, who knocked out 50 miniatures in record time. Timothy Lind of Tronhammer was another prodigious painter. Lastly, Phillip Porter, a scholar and a gentleman, from the Hamilton Immortals Miniature Wargaming Club. Phil coordinated half a dozen painters with calm assurance.

Jade, Ella and Rylee, my beloved daughters came to the party and helped dad paint his soldiers. My beloved wife also gave her support and kindly didn't mention the small fortune spent on new paints!

My eternal gratitude goes to Heather, Kim and Lisa at the Tamahere Model Country School office. Or as they are now known, the Tamahere branch of Weta operations. Boxes of miniature troops have been dropped off and sent forth under their watchful eyes. God bless them.

The last spray.

Blu Tak Hat Rack.

Last of the charging Turks.

Anzac detail, including stubble, teeth and tongue.

The Gallipoli campaign is said to have played an important part in our national identity. As I write this, the Kiwis are battling the Aussies in the Cricket World Cup. We came out first to bat and didn't do as well as we hoped. Now the Australians are in to bat. Against anyone else, this would just be another game of cricket. However, this is the final and this is Australia. Would our rivalry be as fierce if not for the Anzacs? I very much doubt it!

Go the Black Caps!
God bless you and have a great week!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

PTS 72 + Painting Gallipoli Anzacs + WW100

Rylee (aged 5) painting a horse.
Welcome to Painting Table Saturday for edition 72. This week I began painting some 54mm Anzacs (sculptured by the Perry twins) for the Gallipoli diorama that has been making headlines recently. It was a day full of colour and wet brushes! 

After a quiet morning at the table painting with my children (Jade, Ella and Rylee), I visited my good friend Bob Grindrod from the Cambridge Wargaming Club. We enjoyed a peaceful Saturday afternoon painting and sharing wisdom.

Bob Grindrod with his grandfather's medals.
Bob and Kath were married in Gallipoli and he is the caretaker of his grandfather's WW1 medals. The Cambridge Edition will be interviewing Bobby this week about his hobby and the part he's playing in the WW100 programme, painting miniature Turks and Anzacs for Sir Peter Jackson's diorama of Chunuk Bair. 

The deadline to have all 4000 miniatures painted is approaching fast. The Great War Exhibition will open in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington, the week before Anzac Day. This means we have one more week (including next weekend) to have all the miniatures painted, packed and off to Rhys Jones in Wellington, so that Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop can install them in the 4m by 10m diorama!

The old Dominion Museum and National War Memorial, Wellington, NZ.

Here are my efforts for this week: 

One of a boxful of 70 Turks that headed down to Wellington earlier in the week.

My first Anzacs!

Anzacs reload!

Dead Anzacs.

New Anzacs.

My last Turks and Anzacs, undercoated and ready for the brush.

God bless you and have a great week!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

PTS 71 + Gallipoli Turks + WW100

Waikato Times Page 3.
Welcome to Painting Table Saturday #71. I was interviewed by the Waikato Times this week (with a video online at stuff) about painting miniatures for the Gallipoli diorama. I would like to thank the other painters around New Zealand for inspiring me with your work. I hope my humble words did you justice.

Rhys Jones graciously said of the error about his former title:
"I like my title in the written article as being a former Chief of “Defiance”. A few cabinet ministers probably thought that was true."

I would also like to thank Phil Porter from the Hamilton Immortals Miniature Wargaming Club for his help with herding the Waikato painters. We are now busy with our brushes, nearly a third of the way through painting a total of 320 troops. The last batch of miniatures received from the Perry twins includes some Anzacs in a variety of poses, our first chance to paint some kiwis and aussies. Among them are also wounded and fallen soldiers. 

This week I found myself painting while Gallipoli was on TV3. I haven't watched the series yet but took a screenshot during the last episode.
 Note the gun detail.

Dora helps keep the troops in line.

Today's front page. Tomorrow's fish & chip wrapper.

Dan, Phil and I, painting up a storm!

Coincidently, Phil Porter is the brother of Alistair Porter, a trombonist that has played in my band! You can hear him on Live at Hamilton Gardens, recorded back in 2006. A small world indeed!

God bless you and have a great week!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett + Rest In Peace

Sir Terry Pratchett has died, aged 66.
It feels like a favourite uncle has left me, even though I didn't know Terry Pratchett personally. Because he travelled extensively on his books tours, even to little far flung places like Aotearoa (New Zealand), Terry is one of the few literary giants I have met. Three times in fact. Like many kiwis, I loved his books and his well-spoken gentle manner, though I suspect he wasn't a nice guy. In the same way that Jesus wasn't nice. Neil Gaiman said his friend was fueled by fury and I may be inclined to agree.

I've written of my love of Terry Pratchett's fantastic books before. I am one of the millions of fans inspired by Discworld. I first read The Colour of Magic in my early teens soon after it's release. A fan of D&D and other RPGs, I devoured the Discworld series. They were fun-filled tales of adventure that took me to wonderful places and interesting times, often reminding me the importance of being human, making mistakes and being unique.

As a musician (Darcy Perry Band) I wrote a song inspired by one of his more memorable characters. Reaper Man was the seventh track on the Heavy Rain album.

The best life advice I ever heard from Sir Terry Pratchett was how he described himself as a writer, not because he had written a book but because he was currently writing his next one. His legacy of books (more than 70), humour and a wonderful way of putting words together that was often satirical but never sarcastic, will live on.

On my DiscWorld Mapp he wrote "To Darcy, Don't get lost!"

God bless you Terry, Rest In Peace.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

PTS 70 + Grenadier Scorpions + Giant Ninja + Gallipoli WW100

Grenadier Scorpions.
Welcome to Painting Table Saturday #70. This week more Turks arrived for the WW100 Gallipoli diorama. Alas I am out of Tamiya Dark Earth! I will visit Frankton models on Monday. In the mean time I completed some Grenadier scorpions and began repainting an old giant ninja gifted to me by my good friend Mark Vuletich. 

My daughter Rylee joined me at the table and painted a Lord of the Rings model she chose from my collection of unpainted lead.

I also assembled some of the Turks. This was a fiddly business and green stuff was required to fill the gaps.

Giant Ninja.

Rylee's knight!

Cleaned Turks.

Green stuff added to fill the gaps.
God bless you and have a great week!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Immortals Club + Monday Game Night

Immortals Club, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Monday game night at Immortals Club in Hamilton... and what a night it was! I went down to collect painted 54mm Perry miniatures for the epic Gallipoli diorama, part of The Great War Exhibition to be unveiled on Anzac day 2015. Dave brought his Star Wars miniatures along as well, so we ended up in a battle amongst the stars against the Empire (Daniel, an expert X-wing player from the club). There was plenty of other action on the other gaming tables also, including Lord of the Rings, Warmachine, Flames of War and Warhammer. It was good to see Marti, another Tamahere dad, playing Warhammer 40k too! A fun night out and a good bunch of folks!

More troops for the Gallipoli diorama.

Daniel the dangerously awesome.

Dave sends the cavalry in my direction.

Tie Fighter Swarm!

Daniel masterfully rams his own ships... again and again.

We gave as good as we got!

Alas, we were out matched.

The Empire Strikes Back!

Well done Daniel! I certainly enjoyed your wit and tactical advice. Well worth a return visit later in the year for a rematch.

For those in the Waikato, the Immortals meets at the Hamilton Sports Fishing & Power Boating club on Grantham Street from 6:30pm every Monday night (except the last Monday of each month and public holidays).