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Friday, 9 November 2012

Why, Why, Why, De Ila...?



So, Dear Reader, what strange sequence of events makes an otherwise normal, everyday, out of work chef with a penchant for sausage sandwiches, Woman's Hour and tea suddenly decide to embark on painting 96 pointy haired African tribesmen? the answer is Love... Read on.

I am very new to wargaming/modelling but settled quite quickly on the subject of Darkest Africa having enjoyed the stories of Livingstone and Stanley when I was knee high to a pygmy. I had already bought a couple of packs of Ila from North Star and was quite happy with my early painting attempts My wife was too and was pleasantly surprised at the Ila figures as she comes from their neck of the woods. As any fule kno the Ila [...] are a cattle-herding tribe inhabiting the valley of the Kafue River, a northern tribitutary of the Zambezi, in what is now Zambia. My wife had studied them at school in her history lessons and on the basis of this connection she sort of gave me permission to spend a few bob on my first army. A little unsure about basing etc I fired off an electronic missive to the chief of North Star, Mr Nick Eyre, mentioning Mrs Zulu Dalek's Zambian origins.
    When Nick replied it transpired that he grew up not just in Zambia but in the town my wife comes from! Nick and his family lived there in the 70's. The youthful Mr Eyre attended the school where my wife eventually worked as a secretary. He even trod the boards on the stage at the Arts Theatre where my wife and I held our wedding reception!



 When Nick grew up  he remembered the Ila from his schooldays and from a magazine called Orbit in which they appeared in a cartoon strip. He eventually got together with a gentleman called Chris Peers who is an expert on African tribal warfare and the North Star Ila figures were born. With so much serendipity going on how could I not build an Ila army.

   There in a nutshell is how all this came about. I think it is a cracking little story;  Nick created the Ila figures because of his childhood and I am involved because of my lovely wife's childhood. Splendid!

If anyone wants to read a bit more about the Ila before my next post go to this page. It shows Nick's figures and has a link to Chris Peers' notes on the Ila:

http://northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=87&cat=208&page=1





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

My Indoor Downstairs Shed...

Everyone needs their little bit of space and this is mine...


My wife and I live in an upside down flat in that the bedrooms and bathroom are downstairs and the living-room and kitchen etc are upstairs. This is a corner of our spare room, the rest being taken up with the ironing board and washing baskets, bits of relegated furniture and a collapsible greenhouse. It is indeed my Indoor Downstairs Shed.

All the guys that write books and articles about modelling tell us how important this space is in helping to achieve results that are pleasing to the eye. I just like it because I can immerse my self in my own little world and listen to Radio 4. However it is also quite functional..a brief tour...

In the foreground is my extractor unit and Iwata HP Plus airbrush. The compressor is underneath on what is an old computer table. Further into the IDS  on the left is my magazine rack/bookshelf/drying table. In the corner is my workbench/desk/coffee table...


This is pretty standard stuff I suppose. I have a bright daylight overhead lamp but use the angle poise halogen lamp for close up work and helping dry items quickly when doing fine detail. The shelves on the left contain more reference books, glues and sprays, basing and diorama bits and pieces and DVD's.  The other shelf is pretty much dedicated to paints. Blades, chisels, sculpting tool etc are tucked away in drawers in the desk....


All in all not a bad work space. I have to sort of climb in but it's fine when once seated as long as I remember to nip to the toilet before settling down. The chair in the pix is a temporary affair due to the sad demise of its predecessor which sadly lost its swivel. The pictures on the wall are mainly from magazine and printouts but two deserve special mention. The picture bottom right is a print of York Minster painted by my good friend Mr Paul Foster. The African village scene is by a Zambian street artist called Sylvester. Cheers guys....

Into the Heart of Darkest Harrogate...

I am working on a couple of projects which will be vaguely connected at a later date. The first is a sort of Explorer-Cannibal-Riverboat diorama; the second is an Ila Army based for Chris Peers' Death in the Dark Continent rules. This is my first attempt at a "proper" project having passed the time doodling with this and that.

This post is really just a quick intro to what will be a more in depth Blog. I will be explaining what I am doing and why. The where and when will follow in good time. For a taster here's a pic of the scrubbed and mounted Ilas...



For painting purposes I have based them on some cheap poker chips I had in my IDS. I thought that putting the different types of warrior on different coloured bases would help me when it came to arranging units etc.
It works something along the lines of:

White...............Ordinary Warriors
Red..................Elite Warriors
Yellow.............King/Bodyguards (8)
Yellow.............Matabele/Barotse Refugee Unit (16)

All the above figures are from Nick Eyre's splendid North Star range.

There are also 8 figures from Foundry based on blue. These are Bollock Naked Warriors which I am going to convert to Ila warriors...more of which later.

The other project is based around a little river scenario. After searching high and low for a suitable riverboat I found the Frontline African Princess. It's a bit of a curate's egg kit wise. Most of it is nice but some bits are horrid. It comes with a slightly clunky roof and sides which I dispensed with. The engine is alright. The hull is nicely detailed. These are the bits I kept with basic first coat and rough detail undercoated in...


You can see two of my favourite reference books tucked behind it. This is what it looks like at the present stage...

I still have some bits to tidy up and I am putting a removable roof on made of chamois leather. I am quite pleased with it so far.

So there you have a couple of tasters of what's to follow. My next post will be a quick tour of my I.D.S....