Saturday, 28 February 2015

My first Turks underway

There were no new submissions of painting pics from around the regions today, so I guess it's up to me this time!

After completing my first batch of Fernleafs (New Zealanders), yesterday I received two batches of Turks to paint - half living and half as casualties.

Assembly this time was a cinch, with the very well-designed square pegs attaching the arms positively and securely.

The bodies were cast in resin.  What was interesting was that someone had already done a repair job in GreenStuff on the left hand of every single figure. I presume something must have gone wrong with the casting process, and so the hands were replaced by hand-made hands!

I'm now at my favourite stage in the painting process, with the two Tamiya spray-coats completed, and awaiting the first proper brush-painting.

My mate Scott Bowman and myself are going to get together tomorrow at his place here in Paraparaumu to do some painting together (he has exactly the same batch as as I do).

Roly / 'Arteis'


Friday, 27 February 2015

Our Armchair General and the Governor-General

Here's Rhys, our Armchair General (right), chatting with New Zealand's Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae (left) at Sir Peter Jackson's vintage aircraft facility in Wellington.

This photo was taken during a presentation earlier this month to outline the exciting plans for The Great War Exhibition (which of course includes our diorama).  

Also tantalising for us wargamers are the glimpses of the WW1 (and WW2) vehicles and militaria in the background.

A couple more pics of this event can be seen on the Governor-General's FaceBook page.


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Otago joins in with Turks

Graham Johnston sends us the first picture from Otago. His Turk really conveys the look of an Anatolian villager turned soldier.

As Les Carlyon says in his book Gallipoli, the Turkish soldiers "didn't expect much from life; they were used to being misused by corrupt leaders.  But in defence, they knew how to hang on, to endure, to swallow bad food and go barefoot, to baffle and frustrate the enemy with their perversity and their serenity in the face of pain and death." 

And carrying on with our theme of somewhat unusual helpers, Graham goes on to say: "Here is my messy work site with assistant painter. She is pretty good on a quick lick of paint, then the mean dry brush. Unfortunately the fine details have taken some time extra."

Photos of what's coming in Batch 5

Alan and Michael Perry advise that Batch 5 is on it's way, consisting of a box of 501 figures.  The majority are Kiwis, but there are some Turks too.

This batch will include 35 resins too, which might be best done by more experienced painters because there are no arm pins to fit the arms in the right pose. These figures will also need a 20mm brass or steel pin in one of their feet.

By our reckoning, with this batch (and the one currently held in the POW camp of Customs) we should have 2,695 Turks, 1,032 Kiwis and 140 British. As Alan and Michael say, "We think we're getting there..."

Painting Turkish officers

Batch 4 includes Turkish officers, so here's some painting instructions for them sent to us by the Perrys.  This information is taken from Chris Flaherty's Ottoman Imperial Army book and the Osprey title. 

The tunics and trousers should mainly be in the various shades of the other ranks already painted, with ranks of lieutenant and above having all dark-green collars. 

It seems like shoulder boards were sometimes taken off in battle so could be filed off the model.

It also seems as if the occasional officer could be painted in a white or dirty-white tunic with white collar, although officers wearing would be a bit of a target! 

If volunteers need more info have a look at the two books mentioned above, but bear in mind there won't be any high ranking officers present.

There are also some British in this batch, who would be in various pale sand/stone shades (tunic and breeches should vary) like the Kiwis and with the same webbing/equipment.

The above information will also be added shortly to the Painting Guides page.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

'Chunuk Bair' (1992) movie trailer

This is a fan trailer of the 1992 movie Chunuk Bair, which may help to give you some personality to the figures we're painting.

Chunuk Bair tells of the Wellington Battalion, who on 8 August 1915 briefly seized Chunuk Bair, a pivotal peak overlooking the Dardanelles; they suffered huge losses.

New Zealand On Screen says this film pitches the attack as a formative New Zealand nationhood moment, with Kiwi guts and resilience countered by inept, careless British generals, as much as their Turkish foes.

The movie was filmed on an Avalon set and on the Wainuiomata coast.  It was based on the play Once on Chunuk Bair (1982) by Maurice Shadbolt.

Our youngest painter?

Rylee (5) from Hamilton helps her dad by adding a flesh wash to that soldier.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

No rest for the wicked

This project is evidently keeping the Perry twins really, really busy.  Even when they visited the Tactica convention in Hamburg recently, they were still feverishly sculpting for this project.

Batch 4 has arrived ... batch 3 is still AWOL

Hi everyone.

Good news: batch 4 has arrived.  This group comprises mainly New Zealanders and some of the specialty poses such as the hand-to hand fighting vignettes, the Turkish officers with arm variations and a lot of Turkish casualties.

It also has the first of the resin figures, so it will be interesting to see how they compare to the pewter figures.

Strangely batch 3 is still held up in customs.  Last week I responded to the questions they had, but the boxes have still not been released.  I'll keep trying but will not wait for the batch 3 figures before I dispatch the figures from batch 4, so they will be out this week.

With my son, the Armchair Captain, now at University in Palmerston North, I have had to call for reinforcements.  The Supreme Commander, in the form of the Armchair Field Martial herself, has responded and is helping me sort through the figures for posting. Thanks Ma'am.

Armchair General

Turks from Upper Hutt

Paul Reynolds has painted these Turks really well, even though painting 54mm figures is unfamiliar to him.

As Paul says, "They are certainly different to paint, in some ways it feels like I am painting vehicles; the areas, particularly on the jackets, are so vast.  Until recently I was a 6mm painter and the largest I have painted before is 15mm. Using a size 3 brush certainly contrasts with my more usual 000."

Monday, 23 February 2015

Our deadline draws closer!

There was a big announcement today about the Anzac Week commemorations, including mention of The Great War Exhibition that our diorama is part of.

Seeing it written in black-and-white like that shows we're definitely drawing ever closer ...

Here's the excerpt from the above announcement about the The Great War Exhibition in particular: 

Saturday, April 18, also marks the opening of two landmark exhibitions in Wellington. The Great War Exhibition at the historic Dominion Museum behind the National War Memorial, and Gallipoli – The scale of our war, at Te Papa. The two exhibitions draw on the exceptional talents of Sir Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films, and Sir Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop respectively. 
The Great War Exhibition commemorates the significant part that New Zealand played in the First World War. Visitors will see how the war progressed and the challenge between technology and the human spirit. 

There's also more information about the Great War Exhibtion here in an older news release.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Two Turks and a Fernleaf

Leith from Napier has sent in this picture of two Turks and a Fernleaf*.  Really nice work on these.

And here's a picture of Leith hard at work on these figures.

*I've just found out that New Zealanders weren't known as Kiwis at Gallipoli.  Instead, they were nicknamed 'Fernleaves'. [Roly/Arteis]

Another ten Turks

Here is Russell Briant's third batch of diorama figures, and his first Turks.

He is really impressed with the sculpts. Noble looking faces.

Russell says he is starting to get the hang of this wash then highlight technique that Aly has laid out. It certainly works at this scale and is proving a quick method that also gives very satisfactory results. He will be trying this technique for his smaller scale painting to see if it translates.

Here's a photo of Russell's living room painting set up in Wellington. It's not unusual to paint while watching (well mostly listening) TV, and he is enjoying all the cricket and rugby on at the moment.

These days he needs very good light to paint. There is a large adjacent window that gives good natural light during the day, six downlights in the roof above, and a magnifier light with a natural light bulb. He is yet to master the magnifying glass option, but guesses there will come a day he'll have to.

Turks on Chunuk Bair

Olivier from Taranaki finished his first batch of Turks today.  And because it's a lazy Sunday, and he had found this great panorama viewer of Chunuk Bair, he dropped a couple of his guys into the scene.

The paint station shot ...starting a new trend in mini painter 'selfies'? 

Another reminder to send in photos of painters at work

As well as taking great pictures of the finished products, could I please remind you again to not forget to take 'human interest' photos of people doing the painting.

It doesn't matter if you are working as a group, or if you are painting solo, as in the above picture of myself at my very tidy (!) paint station.

You can post your photos onto the regional forums (note that you have to be logged into the forum to be able to post pics, though).

Or you can email your photos direct to me:



Saturday, 21 February 2015

Four more Turks from Wellington

Alix from Wellington has posted these photos of his latest four Turks.  

He says: "Bit more variation in this lot. Slight changes to some bits of clothing, usually just by adding an extra one, two, or three wash coats. You can see the different trouser colours as an example. For some reason I just can't bring myself to change the shirts, but trousers, puttees, hats and water bottles are all variable. Bit heavier on the weathering on the boots and knees with this four, too."

Friday, 20 February 2015

Fifty shades of grey - and a bit of blue

Having been distracted setting up and maintaining this blog, I thought it was about time I dragged myself away from the computer and did my bit in painting figures for the diorama. So here they are, my Kiwis.

I found the whole process very enjoyable.  The larger size makes painting details so much easier, yet they are still sculpted in a style that suits my normal ink and dry-brush techniques that I use on my 28mm figures.

I've taken Peter Jackson's advice to heart, and painted the shirts various shades of grey (not 50, though!) and blue.

And I've also followed my own advice and taken a shot of me at work on these figures.


Delay in Third Batch of Figures

Hi everyone,

Bad news, unfortunately, in that the third batch of figures that I have been expecting to arrive all this week is still held up in customs.  They should be released today (Friday), but then will only be delivered to Wellington over the weekend, and then to me on Monday.  I know that news is really disappointing for everyone.  I am sorry.

The fourth batch will probably arrive only a day or so afterwards, so the next batch going out will be a big one, and will include both Turks and NZers.  I will fire them out from here as fast as I can.

Armchair General

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Gallipoli: Weta's 'most important' work

Whilst this TV3 news clip is from late last year, and is about the Anzac exhibition that is being constructed for Te Papa, rather than the one we're involved with at the old Dominion Museum, it describes Weta Workshop's role, and how important they consider this project.

It also explains why the details of even our own diorama project are being kept deliberately sparse.

Weta are also producing the groundwork for our diorama.  We can only guess how spectacular this is going to look like in its 10-metre long display, as well as how frightening its portrayal will be of the intensely rugged terrain the Kiwis and Turks fought over at Chunuk Bair.

"I'll have you longshanks!"

Olivier from Taranaki has posted the above ... er ... unusual photo.

Here are the Taranaki boys, hard at work: Brynn and Olivier, helped by Derek in the background, and Al hiding behind the camera.

Of course, the troops are happier with some form of drink bottle and contents to help ease the work ... 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Other WW100 projects and events

This, of course, isn't the only WW100 project by any means.  To get an overview of what else is going on, check out the WW100 website:
WW100 is a shared identity for New Zealand First World War centenary projects and activities, from official state ceremonies and legacy projects to community initiatives and personal projects.
The WW100 programme offers every New Zealander the chance to consider the impact of the First World War — whether you reflect on the nature of war, remember family members who served, visit a memorial, or think about how your community was affected by events long ago.
WW100 is an opportunity to better understand our past and how it still shapes us today. For recent immigrants it is a chance to find out more about your new home and its history.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Wanted - photos of painters in action

For the historical record of this project, it is important we get some photos of the people who are involved.

In one hundred years, when the 200th anniversary rolls round, historians will be just as interested in the wargamers who volunteered for this commemorative event, as in the figures we produced.

You'll see from previous postings that we have some good photos of our sculptors at work.  But we need a lot more of painters doing their thing.

So whether you're part of a group, or working on your lonesome, try to submit a photo of the painter(s) in action, to accompany pics of the figures themselves.

If you do send such photos, also please let us know if you're OK  with us using it for publicity.

Turks from Paraparaumu

Here are some superbly painted Turks from Scott Bowman in Paraparaumu.

One figure was missing a finger end, and it was too small to fix, so Scott thought about putting a blob of 'blood' on severed end...?

Scott's main motivation for taking part in this project is as an indirect thank you to Peter Jackson, and the Perrys (who have commissioned and produced these figures respectively) for their prior efforts in bringing Tolkien's world of Lord of the Rings to life.  If it hadn't been for Peter's movie trilogy, and the Perrys' sculpting of the range of GW figures, Scott says he would probably still be living in the UK! Nor would he have been able to enjoy playing LOTR SBG for all these years now.  So thank you Peter and the Perrys!

Preview of latest figures from the Perrys

Here is the fourth batch which the Perrys will send to New Zealand on Monday (click on the picture to enlarge it).  They are starting to get into the really dynamic poses now!

The next figures that Armchair General will send out for the painters are the Turks from the last batch.  So you can look forward to the figures in these pictures in the batch after that, in another couple of weeks.

And, as you can see below, the Perrys appear to have hired some help for packing the consignment!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

What does this project mean to you?

I really liked this comment by Brian Smaller (well-known for his wargaming woolshed near Whanganui) in a posting on another forum:

I for one cannot build a monument on my own – I have neither the skill nor resources to do so, but I can take part in something like this. This piece of model work will outlive us all. My grandkid's children will look at this diorama and know that it was made by ordinary Kiwis, just like the guys it is commemorating were – ordinary Kiwis.

Brian's comment really struck a chord with me.  I feel this project is the pinnacle of my wargaming career, as I have no doubt these figures will long outlast my other wargaming armies a few generations on.

And, even more so, this project means so much more than my other wargaming figures, as it is specifically intended to commemorate those who went before us, both Kiwi and Turk.

OK, so my ancestors didn't even fight in WW1 (they were Dutch, and so were neutral).  But New Zealand is my home country, and this is its history, so I'm proud to have had this opportunity to join so many of my fellow Kiwis in this cooperative effort to commemorate those brave and tragic men on both sides at the battle of Chunuk Bair.

What does this project mean to you?  

Kiwi trench diggers

Here's Russell Briant's second batch finished (with black boots this time!).

Having in the past painted hundreds of figures with firearms, Russell found it a nice change to paint a set with entrenching gear.  Figures with shirts off are also not all that common.

He is now on to painting his first Turks.

A message from Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson has sent us all the following message:
I want to thank all the wargamers who have volunteered to help with this massive diorama project. You’ve answered your country’s call for sure!  Your work and skill is very much appreciated by all involved in the WW1 exhibition we’re putting together.
Chunuk Bair is a battle more and more New Zealanders are becoming aware of, but few really understand what it was, and fewer still can visualise it. In a museum, there are very few ways to depict the scale of the battle, with over 1000 New Zealand and British troops under attack by thousands of Turks, across a 400 yard long crest - but we thought a miniature was the perfect way.
The diorama itself will be huge - over 10m long - with the terrain accurately re-created from a digital scan of Chunuk Bair itself. High resolution scans of aerial photos taken in October 1915, reveal the remains of the New Zealand trenches, so those will be positioned exactly as they were in August. Thanks to your efforts, we’ll be able to create an accurate and lasting impression of the struggle Kiwi soldiers found themselves in, mid-morning on August 8th, 1915.
I’ve been looking at your work as it’s been posted on this blog, and it’s terrific! My only suggestion would be to vary the colours of the New Zealand shirts a little more. There are no photographs of the Wellington Battalion on Chunuk Bair, but we know the attack orders from General Godley specified “shirt-sleeves only”.
In Gallipoli by August, most sense of military correctness had been thrown out the window. Far from stepping off the parade ground, by August the Anzacs were known as “The Scarecrow Army”. Soldiers were receiving parcels from home, and new shirts from Mum were often included.  So despite the painting guide instructions, I would encourage future New Zealand figure painters to give yourselves permission to mix it up a bit. Grubby white shirts, olive green, dark blue, light grey - all would be fine, and it will give the diorama an accurate look.
The photos below will give you a sense of the wide variety of shirt colours.
Thanks for supporting this project!
Peter Jackson 


Suppliers offering discounts on paints

There are a few more suppliers kindly offering discounts on our Resources page.

Please let us know if your local hobby shop wants to do the same, and we'll add them to this list (and thus to the historical record of this project!). 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

A Turk from Robert Curry

From the Hutt/Tawa crew, here's Robert Curry's first totally finished Turk, just waiting on a restock of Steel Legion Drab at the GW store.

The second batch in the background is already underway: tunics and half of their trousers done, and now on to the 'dreaded' puttees.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Timaru checks in

Kent from Timaru has sent in these photos, finished after twelve hours of painting!

Kent, also known as 'Galpy' runs the 15mm Paint Shack blog - I wonder how he found painting figures 29mm higher than normal for him?!

Before anyone comments, note that he repainted the boots black after these photos were taken.

Volunteer numbers have been reached

A message from the Armchair General:
Wow, thanks everyone for your enthusiasm to participate in this great project.  We now have a full quota of painters signed up, so Roly and I will be closing the registration of new painters.
We know that some of you have already joined the club groups, but haven't signed in. We still want to add your names so that we have the full record of who helped.
For those who have missed out, who knows, we may be able to persuade Peter Jackson to do a trench diorama from the Western Front for 2016 or 2017?  Let's cross our fingers.
With all you painters ready, waiting and eager, it's up to the Perrys and me to keep feeding you the figures. With the second batch, almost everyone will have some figures to paint.  The few who remain should be able to get some when the third batch arrives after the weekend.
Another milestone for the project is that the first painted figures are on their way back to me.  I'm really keen to see them and to show Peter Jackson the results of your work. Start sending them back when you are ready.  We'd love to see them.
I hope that you are all enjoying the painting and that this proves to be a great venture that raises our profile around New Zealand and the world, and that also creates a few more contacts for those wargamers who have not been connected before.
Thanks again everyone.

Armchair General

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Some amazing figures to come from the Perrys

Here's the latest news from Alan Perry:

I sent the third batch off today, 1057, mostly Turks I'm afraid. Obviously there will be quite a few more Kiwis now to follow.
The Turks are wearing an assortment of headgear, quite a few skull caps which would either be drab or grey (as shown on one of the mannequin pictures sent earlier).
There is an odd figure with a fez, taller than the skull caps, which would be red.
I've also attached pics for what's in the three boxes coming your way. There are some one-off's and a few of the resins, of which more will follow.
Cheers, Alan

There are more photos on the Perry Miniatures FaceBook page.