Lying astride the mighty Mekong is Savannakhet, Lao’s second largest city and the birthplace of Kaysone Phomvihane, the bullnecked éminence rouge of the Pathet Lao. A good embodiment of what Martin Windrow calls “the ultimate Buddhist languor of Laos” (a rather orientalist comment I know), Savannakhet has a wonderfully atmospheric old quarter graced with colonial mansions and shophouses. Sadly the chief reason for their existence is poverty and not conservation, and apart from a few beautifully restored ones it’s unlikely they’ll see out the decade.
Apart from the bread bag I’m quite pleased with how he turned out, and shall be doing the rest of the unit this weekend.
In other news I’ve got a few more Thai tanks lined up, as well as a couple of infantry guns. Here’s hoping nothing upsets my weekend plans.
Housed in a magnificent printing house built in 1899, the recently-opened Kuala Lumpur City Gallery offers an impressive diorama showing what the city centre would have looked like back in the day.
Two “Type 66″ (Browning M1917) teams from the wargaming world’s first ever range of WWII Thais. It was my intention to do up the battalion heavy weapons company in one go, but the late arrival of SHQ’s 37mm Bofors meant that these were done first.*
These were originally slated for completion on the heels of the staff officers, but an avalanche of work resulted in their being left to languish in a semi-finished state on the workbench for ages.
Don’t like the basing? Well neither do I! Not only was adding the tufts and clump foliage a right utter pain in the backside, but they ended up ruining the overall look. Basing is definitely a talent all on its own, and I shall henceforth stick to my static grass (I should also point out that some of the greats – Steve Dean, Andrew Taylor, and Kevin Dallimore – similarly eschew such extravagance).
One more reason I’m not too particularly chuffed with these is the fact that whilst Matt is a highly talented sculptor, the machine gunner is light years away from his usual (i.e. high) standards.
Note the unseemly short legs (the deformed shoes on the right figure is a miscast I noticed too late) . But as is the case with the Adrian helmet, when viewed from the side the defect is less glaring.
Well there you have it. Next up are a pair of battalion guns, to be followed by a bunch of tanks and the rest of the infantry. I’m saving the heavy artillery and trucks for last.
*While the Shell Hole Scenics version I first received is a beautiful little kit, I wanted a more curved gun shield and so ended up ordering another from SHQ.
Elhiem’s Thai higher-ups are absolutely stunning sculpts that effectively capture the debonair hauteur inherent to staff officers the world over.
The wargaming world’s first ever release of WWII Thais in any scale (yay!). Alas, my skills as a painter are far too inadequate to do Matt’s sculpting justice! You’ll note that in my haste to get these photographed I paid scant attention to the lighting.
Now I’ve always been a believer in the phrase “credit where credit’s due” and as such would like to mention those who’ve inspired me throughout the years: thanks to Matthew Hingley of Elhiem fame I discovered the 3-layer method of painting way before the “Kevin Dallimore” system became in vogue, while Steve over at the SOGG alerted me to the existence of ‘Cayman Green’ in the Vallejo Game Colour range, thereby putting an end to my extended hunt for a suitable green. The webbing was shamelessly copied from Dominic Goh‘s site. Finally there’s the insanely talented Chevalier de la Tierre, whose incredible painting guides not only taught me about the Non-Metallic Metal way of painting, er, metal, but also showed me the usefulness of VMC US Olive Drab, a colour I had hitherto ignored.
So that’s one company (in RF! terms, that is) done! Countless more to do! Stay tuned for more additions to the force.
A short tram ride away from Istanbul’s hectic centre is the stunning Panorama 1453, a small underground museum dedicated to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. While it’s let down by a distinct lack of English language captions and some decidedly boring displays, the central panorama featuring the sort of artwork you’d expect from an Osprey book (and Peter Dennis in particular) is nothing short of spectacular.
As we didn’t go for the English audio guides I can’t comment on the official narrative’s balance and accuracy. Not too sure about the portrayals of the Byzantine defenders either; one fellow even looks like a Roman legionnaire from the 1st Century!