Saturday 31 January 2015

London Flusher

A 'flusher' in London is one of the people hired to unblock London sewer systems by, um, descending into the depths.

This wonderful photo apparently shows the gear used by a flusher in the Twentieth Century. Eat your heart out, steampunkers.

Friday 30 January 2015

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Mwaaaaakk, The Batman

The Penguin from Knight. Not the easiest model I have ever put together but end results are good.

Monday 26 January 2015

Into the Maelstrom - Drake & Lambshead

The eARC is out for my forthcoming novel with David Drake at Baen, for those who collect eARCs. The novel will be out in hardback in March.

There is a review out for the book in the January edition of Publishers Weekly. I have reprinted it below.

Into The Maelstrom is the second novel in The Citizen series.

The way we do these books, if anyone would like to know the mechanics of how two writers work on a novel, is that David writes a very comprehensive plot outline of 20,000 words which detail all the key characters and events which must go in and I then flesh it out and expand it. When I have a draft it goes back to Dave for checking, I rewrite any sections that need changing, and then on to the publisher.


Into the Maelstrom
David Drake and John Lambshead. Baen, $25
(448p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8028-3

Writing from an outline by Drake,
Lambshead neatly adapts real history to a
science fiction framework in the second
novel of the Citizen trilogy (after Into the
Hinterlands). Among the far-flung colonial
planets of the Cutter Stream, frustration
with home rule verges on revolution.
Allen Allenson takes on the role of captain-
general and leads a squabbling
group of disjointed militias to war. If this
sounds familiar, it is because Drake and
Lambshead are telling the story of George
Washington as a space opera. The
authors’ adept contrivance of the
Continuum, a troublesome energy field
that allows interstellar travel but only via
light vehicles, allows for ingenious renditions:
a battering trip along the
Continuum stands in for the crossing of
the Delaware, and problematic marsh
gases force the army to substitute catapults
and knives for pulse rifles during
the recreation of the siege of Boston.
Surprises are scant, but knowing that Allenson will triumph in Cambridge and
subsequently be defeated in Port Trent in
no way detracts from the enjoyment provided
by this ingeniously structured
retelling. (Mar.)

Batman, Batman da da dah dah

I feel a new project coming on - another one.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

IHMN Warhammer Venus Swamp Beast with Sun-God Cannon

Another Warhammer skink model for my Venusian native newt army.

This one is another semi-domesticated beast  with a giant god crystal capable of firing beams of stored sunlight that can fry a steam tank.

It's pretty good at close combat as well.

Monday 19 January 2015

IHMN - Rural England Revolutionaries

I have added another couple of figures to my In Her Majesty's Name firm, revolutionary rural England - a sort of steampunk 'Greens'.

From Artisan, the Crow Man and from West Wind's Empire of the Dead, a Death of Crows Avatar.

This firm is just about finished.

Must work out the stats now.

Watch this space.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Photographing Toy Soldiers

I have finally got fed up with trying to photograph toy soldiers in North European winter sunlight with flash guns, light through the windows, etc etc.

So I girded my loins and bought a couple of photographic lights on eBay. They cost me the princely sum of £35 intotal including delivery. Why the hell didn't I do this before?

'Cause I'm stoopoid, duh.

Friday 16 January 2015

Herr Arnold Toht of the Gestapo

This group of figures is sold by Artizan under the title Enemy Agents.

It is of course Herr Toht of the SS Ahnenerbe, who memorably clashed with Indiana Jones in the hunt for the Lost Arc.

Herr Toht was of course the mentor Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo, godson of Heinrich Himmler.

The first model I received from North Star was very deformed. Right before Xmas, in what must be their busiest time of the year, Nick at North Star arranged for a replacement to be delivered immediately.

First Class customer service, North Star!

Thursday 15 January 2015

A London Milestone

A rather unpleasant rhinovirus, or similar, has laid me out, hence the absence of my blog. But I have started painting again and new stuff should be up soon.

Meanwhile, something significant happened.

The population of the zone known as Greater London topped 8.641m this January, beating the 1939 record and hence creating the largest population the zone has ever known.

Greater London is an artificial area that most people would think of as central London, as opposed to Central London or The City of London. I worked nearly all my adult life in Central West London but always lived outside Greater London even when I lived in London before I moved to the outer suburb ring in the Home Counties.

Not sure what the population of London & the Home Counties complex now is but given that GL is up by almost a third we may be looking at around 28 or even 30m.

That's a lot of people, a lot of money, and a lot of power.

The Emperor Clausius knew not what he started when he built a bridge for his legions to march across the Thames.

   "She looked out over the blaze of light that was London. Streams of cars flowed down the radial roads into the city’s heart like blood cells along arteries. London was still alive, thanks to her and her friends. What was a Shternberg compared to the greatest city in the world?

   Jameson followed her eyes and guessed at her thoughts. “London’s beautiful from the sky at night when she’s all lit up in her finery. She’s a raddled old wrinkled tart of a town, a bit past her best and a little tatty at the edges, but she still scrubs up well,” he said. He raised a hand in salute. “Here’s to your next two thousand years,” he said to the city."

Wolf in Shadow

Thursday 8 January 2015

Global Precipitation Changes

One of the key indicators on environmental change and civilisation is the water cycle so changes in precipitation with global warming will be critical.

Looking at current projections, it looks like there will be big changes in global power. Europe and the USA are going to be hit hard.

The south will be devastated, notably equatorial Africa, Brasil, S. Africa and Australia.

Unless there is some sort of game changer in the next couple of decades we are going to see the biggest political upset since the Fall of Rome and Persia.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Andy Singleton's Bolt Action Featured

My friend Andy Singleton is one of the best Bolt Action professional painters I know so if you are in the market for some BA paint jobs give him a try.

Warlord have featured his work again on their website. The above photo of a Puma is just a taste.

Monday 5 January 2015

Excitement at Southampton

I have a Visiting Chair at Southampton University.

There has been a little bit of a woopsy out in the solent.

Picture shamelessly nicked from Andrew-Mark Thompson.

Sunday 4 January 2015

IHMN, Life on Venus - Newt Warband

The warband is led by a chief with a native 'sabre' and a witchdoctor with a 'god crystal' - a magic stone that absorbs sunlight and releases it as pulses of intense light and heat . How the witchdoctor controls this is unknown but is assumed to be sorcerous.

The chief has a bodyguard of newt warriors with flint-tipped spears and lizard-hide shields.

The rest of the band consists of natives with blowpipes firing poison-laced darts and native 'knives'.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Homage to Catalonia by Artizan

This wonderful Artizan (North Star) figure features Eric Arthur Blair, better known by the pen-name George Orwell, who fought in the Spanish Civil War for the POUM Militia.

POUM were an anarcho-syndicalist political group  which was attacked by the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. Blair got out of Catalonia one jump ahead of Stalin's thugs of the NKVD.

He recorded his experiences in Homage to Catalonia, one of the greatest novels in the English language.

The Anarcho-Syndicalist flag.

Eric Blair

Friday 2 January 2015

Bolt Action - Went The Day Well

It's spring, 1941.

The Bramley Home Guard Platoon are alerted by HQ and told that a German Fallschirmjaeger landing has been reported in their area. Major Cad (played by Terry Thomas), accompanied by Nurse Pilchard who looks after his ration card (played by Joyce Grenfell) is ordered to secure Bramley village and, in particular the important communications centre in the village - to whit, the public phone box.

Our brave lads take up their positions in the churchyard and by the Post Office. The chap with a sixpenny bit is detailed to man the telephone.

None of the villagers will let them inside the houses on account of their muddy boots.

The Bramley Boys are joined by the Eastgate Platoon commanded by Captain Square.

Major Cad orders them to guard the wheatfields on the right flank, remarking to Nurse Pilchard, "Can't trust that Eastgate lot; a complete shower, what? what?"

Private Pinkle cunningly hides on an island in the commemoration duckpond.

Fallschirmjager are spotted advancing each side of the road. Frantic calls for reinforcement, using up all of the sixpence, alert a nearby airfield who send a Rolls Royce armoured car to investigate. It runs straight into smoke fired by the cunning Hun.

A better view of the defences - I use the word in its loosest sense.

A section of crack Home Guard motorised, well mobile, infantry mounted on bicycles follows the armoured car. Unfortunately they got a bit confused in the smoke and cycled right into the German line.

Alas the mobile unit is taken out by a flamethrower - overkill or what?

Gadzooks! the cunning Boche ran a section or paras around the flank of Our Brave Lads and crashed in through the graveyard in a close assault.

"A typical Hunnish trick," Major Cad remarked to Nurse Pilchard.

Astonishingly, a stupid boy with a Thompson cut down half the attackers with a burst when he tripped over his shoelaces and the survivors broke and ran.

The Home Guard victory was short lived unfortunately as a second Fallschirmjaeger section bayoneted the lot of them while they were having a joint hug.

Major Cad took one look at the German paras coming over the ridge and legged it, outpacing Nurse Pilchard who the uncouth Nazis promptly shot.

Cad thought that a damn shame but consoled himself with the thought that the nursing home was full of potential replacements.

The game ended with lone survivors Major Cad and Captain Square standing back to back by the telephone box surrounded by a rather nasty looking bunch of Fallschirmjaege.

Square (Simon E) and I claimed a draw - no really, we did!

 Incidentally, 'Went the Day Well' is a 1942  film about a German invasion of an English village which, unusually for a propaganda piece, is still worth a look.

This was my last game of 2014 before a deadly attack of viryons did for me.

Pip, pip.