Tuesday, 31 March 2015

More on British tunics

Michael Perry has asked that if any of you are painting the three running British figures shown here, they should also be wearing 'sand' coloured tunics (not shirts). 

Please pass this info on if you know anyone who is still painting any of these three particular figures, just in case they don't visit this blog.

The fact they're wearing tunics might well have been easier to see  on these running figures than on the British casualties mentioned by Alan Perry the other day, but Michael has included a picture of the originals anyway.

Tony's Fernleafs on the South Canterbury Museum FaceBook page

An album of photos of the painting work by Tony Rippin has been put up on the South Canterbury Museum's FaceBook page. Here are some of the pics.

This picture provides some perspective. A running 54mm Fernleaf on the left. A WWII Charles De Gaulle figure (centre) is the size of the largest figure Tony normally paints (28mm), with a 15mm high French Volitiguer officer on the right.

A wounded Fernleaf. Tony remarks that painting casualties caused some discussion and introspection amongst a number of the painters involved across the country.

Here we see 39 of the Fernleafs that Tony has painted. What's that in the background? Well that's the basis of a topographical model of Gallipoli that Tony has also been building - this time for the South Canterbury Museum's upcoming exhibit "Into Hell Itself".

Maoris, reserves and trench-diggers

Well, that's me done (unless there are any last minute tasks). I've painted 58 figures all up. The last were these New Zealanders.

Firstly, the Maori Contingent. These are the same ones I previewed a day or so ago, but they now have their faces highlighted and their shoes dusted up. I love these figures. They're my favourites of the whole project so far.

Secondly, some resting/reserve men, including a couple of very tired looking Auckland Mounted Rifles, recognisable by their brown leather bandoliers.

Finally, some infantry desperately digging a trench. I really like the bearded guy at the front left, and am pleased with how his blonde hair came out.

Overall, this has been a fantastic project. Besides the honour of painting these commemorative figures that will likely well out-live me, I have found it humbling to read the stories of the real Anzacs and Turks, of whom I knew very little about before this project. Brave, brave men on both sides.  

I've loved painting these 54mm figures, and think I might even find it hard going back to 28mm again! I found they painted very easily, and really came up well with the dry-brushing and wash technique I like to use.

And of course the Perrys' sculpture and animation are absolutely exquisite. In fact, most of their figures are, in my view, much better than the life-size war memorial statues you see around the country.  

Monday, 30 March 2015

New Turkish secret weapon

An appropriate cartoon appeared in the New Zealand Herald today.

Some of the Maori Contingent

I've been working on some Maori Contingent figures.  Here's a progress shot.  I still have to highlight the flesh-tones, and add some dust to the shoes.  

I must say these are some of the most beautifully sculpted figures I've had to paint for this diorama. The faces are definitely Maori - especially the chap on the right wielding his rifle as if it is a taiaha.  

Three Fernleafs face the charging Turks

Looking slightly outnumbered, Timothy Lind's three lonely Fernleafs await the charging masses of Turks.  

These pictures are from Timothy's Tronhammer blog (from you know where, by the blog name!) in which he explains his thoughts on being part of this project. 

Timothy plans to head down to Wellington to see The Great War Exhibition when it opens, and help celebrate and remember this important moment in New Zealand's history.

Another 'final' blog post for this project

Joining the list of painter doing their 'final' posts on their blogs, Darcy Perry has written a wonderful posting about his experience of this project on his Hits To Kill blog.

In particular, I enjoyed his story about taking the figures into a school class for the children to be able to hold in their hands what will become glassed-in history.

Darcy also spoke about painting Maori soldiers.

And, of course, there are loads of lovely pics of his figures and the Waikato painting crew.

Important note re British casualties

Alan Perry advises that he was just looking at this site, and noticed that some British casualties have unfortunately been painted with shirts, when they should all be in tunics.

"Our fault," Alan admits, "We should have made it clear when we sent them. There are four British casualty types, which I've attached a pic of.  People might need to know are all in tunics, not shirts. You know, us British always overdressed for battle!"

If you have any of these four poses, please make sure you paint (or re-paint!) them in tunics.  If you've already sent them back, no worries, just let us know.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Vicky's Auckland Mounted Rifles and others

Vicky Bleaken has sent in these pics of her contribution. There are 25 figures here, but she has 40 in total. Most are finished and others need some final detailing.

The standing men at the back with the brown leather bandoliers (instead of the webbing that most other New Zealand figures are wearing) are the Auckland Mounted Rifles, which is appropriate as that is where Vicky hails from..

Vicky commented, "What an honour it has been to be selected to paint our history and experience ‘those’ moments when empathy was so strong I had to stop painting."

On painting casualties

After what he termed 'a rather sorrowful weekend of painting', Mark Ottley has done a very thought-provoking piece about painting casualties on his Chasseur blog.

As Mark says, "This is only one casualty pose of many sculpted and sobering to realise New Zealand suffered 400 times this many casualties in the entire Gallipoli campaign, and even worse in later World War One battles. The impact of so many dead and wounded must have been overwhelming for society to try and fathom and respond to."

Read Mark's entire posting here.  

Article in Taranaki Daily News

Alistair Mundell from New Plymouth featured recently in an article about our project in the Taranaki Daily News.

Click on the picture to read the article.  

Personality figures for Chunuk Bair

Russell Briant was given the job of painting the personality figures.  As you can see here, he has done a magnificent job with them.

Lt-Colonel William Malone and a signaller  

Malone led his Wellington Battalion in the seizure of the Apex on Rhododendron Ridge, but refused to follow up a disastrous attack by the Auckland Battalion on Chunuk Bair, insisting that he would not send his men ‘over to commit suicide’.

The next morning, 8 August, the Wellington Battalion captured the summit with little difficulty. Throughout the day, they threw back fierce Ottoman counter-attacks in fighting that left most of the battalion dead or wounded (the subject of our diorama).

Malone excelled in this desperate situation, leading his men in driving the enemy back until he was killed by artillery fire, probably from a New Zealand howitzer, around 5 p.m.

Corporal Cyril Bassett VC

Citation for Victoria Cross: 'No. 4/515 Corporal Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett, New Zealand Divisional Signal Company. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the Chunuk Bair ridge in the Gallipoli Peninsula on 7th (sic) August, 1915.

After the New Zealand Infantry Brigade had attacked and established itself on the ridge, Corporal Bassett, in full daylight and under a continuous and heavy fire, succeeded in laying a telephone line from the old position to the new one on Chunuk Bair.

He has subsequently been brought to notice for further excellent and most gallant work connected with the repair of telephone lines by day and night under heavy fire.'
—The London Gazette, No. 29238, 15 October 1915

Sergeant-Major Wagner and Captain Jesse Wallingford 

Wagner was with the 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, who manned the captured trench on Chunuk Bair alongside the Wellington Battalion.

Wallingford was a British Olympic medal-winning shooter. He was brought to New Zealand in 1911 direct from the School of Musketry, Hythe, England, to act as instructor to the New Zealand territorial forces. At Chunuk Bair he was officer in charge of the machine guns.

Valleyboy signs off ...

Valleyboy from Tauranga has just added a great posting on his blog, as he readies his troops for despatch to Wellington:
I must confess to feeling a little sad yesterday when the troops left.
There were however, no tears from sweethearts and family or cheers from supportive crowds as my contingent left for the front. No waving arms or hats were thrown into the air and the band band music was conspicuously absent as there wasn't a bandsman to be seen anywhere. No loud blasts from steam train whistles or ships horns were heard by the throng that had come to see them off from the quay as would have been the case then. No troops crammed in large numbers in small cabins and not one of them elbowed another or stood on his mate’s toes in  an effort to get in a last wave to those on the shore
No it was all bubble wrap and a box as my wife and I carefully wrapped each figure for its journey to Wellington with fingers crossed that too many rifles don’t get bent, paint doesn't rub off helmets or boots  and that arms fixed with Araldite prove to be strong enough ...  read the remainder of this posting
Well done, that man!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

'Nelson Mail' article on our project

About a week ago, the Nelson Mail ran this article on Warwick Young, one of our South island painters.
Painting every intricate detail on a 54mm tall figurine is no simple task, but Nelson man Warwick Young makes it look easy.
He is painting 40 pewter models accurately depicting Turkish troops, right down to the bristled moustache.
He is one of around 100 artists across New Zealand who together will contribute 4000 tiny pewter models representing New Zealand and Turkish troops who fought in World War I. They will be displayed as a diorama for the coming Great War Exhibition in Wellington.  read more ...
Let me know if your local paper does an article on this project, so we can re-post it here on the blog.  

A busy painting day in Kapiti

I joined Sam Campbell's painting group in Paraparaumu today.  To the background of movies like The Light Horsemen, with lots of yummy cookies on hand (no Anzac biscuits, though), and lots of talk about wargaming, WW1 tactics, painting techniques, online gaming and much more, the time sped by.

Having never taken part in a painting group, I was surprised how having company increased my normal rate of progress, so that I made a really good in-road into the group of Maori Contingent figures that were my task for the afternoon.

Mine host, Sam Campbell, obviously happy in his role as the Kapiti painting team's coordinator, and looking not even a tiny bit frazzled by the impending deadline.

Timon Lykles did a lot of the prep work for us, which he enjoys doing (fortunate for the others of us for whom this isn't the most enjoyable task).

Dave Oemcke showing what use can be put to an old TV dining tray.  

Fern Campbell engrossed in the task of painting loads of Nurgling Green webbing.

 Bruce Menzies showing you don't even need a desk for painting.

Yours truly (Roly). Also not the most ergonomic painting position, but nevertheless I sure did achieve results. 

There are yet more figs left to paint, so tomorrow will be another busy day for the Kapiti crew. 

Jono's last ten

"That one, second left in the front," says Jono. "He's number 53...my last one. That's why he didn't have time to shave!"

"Had a mate take a look at these. He's ex-army, old school, been around a while, knows a bit. Gave them a nod, then told me that back then they used put Brasso on the brass bits on the webbing then burnt it black...so it didn't shine. I guess mine are all non-smokers, so didn't have access to flame!"

"And for the record, all the painting has been done from this desk. Now, time to clear the MySky planner and get the surfboard back in the water. Bye from Tauranga!" 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mass painting weekend in Kapiti

The Kapiti crew are continuing work on their Anzacs and Turks this weekend, It looks like a full weekend painting amongst three or four of them. They're into the home stretch, and will post up more pics as they go this weekend.

Fernleafs from Timaru

"Well, that's me done," says Kent from Timaru. "I've completed the last batch of Anzacs.  I can't wait to see them in the diorama."

Last Turks from Bowman Towers

"Painting continues apace Bowman Towers," says Scott Bowman from Paraparaumu. "My last batch of Turks finished tonight... I got these done in just under a week... that's pretty damned quick for me, but I don't feel my butt has left the painting table... other than to sleep, and go to work!"

Scott has again gone with that 'on-campaign' mix of shades and tones.

That's 40 figures he has managed to get done so far now.  He now just needs to finish the ten New Zealand casualties he has left to do, and hopes to finish those over the weekend.

Scott is now taking a break for rest of tonight.  He has hired The Hobbit - Battle of Five Armies on DVD for an evening's family viewing and a return trip to his beloved Middle-Earth:)

A (new) call for volunteers

If the impending end of your volunteering to paint figures for The Great War Exhibition leaves you disappointed, here's an opportunity to volunteer for something else to help out this amazing commemorative event.

Click on the above picture for more details, or go to The Great War Exhibition's FaceBook page.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Colour of machine guns

For those of you painting machine guns, this is the reference you need. It's the Maxim that Gordon Harper used at the Apex and bought home, complete with original paint.

There are letters and diaries from machine gunners describing how Wallingford issued paint and brushes to the crews in Egypt, to paint their own guns. As you can see, it's a light yellow olive, or jungle green.

Leith's final batch

Leith from Hawkes Bay sent us this picture of  his 27 Turks, all ready to go. For this atmospheric picture, he's arranged the figures on what appears to be his back-lawn!

This is his last batch of figures, totalling 54.   A sterling effort.

Leith finished with this comment: "Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in something so epic!"