EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A White Elephant


Somewhere back around 2003, I bought a Germania Macedonian Elephant kit on Ebay even though I had no intention of ever building Classical Ancient armies in 40mm. Why?  Well, it was pretty and how often do you run in to a 40mm resin elephant? You'll notice that it still hasn't been painted. I thought about allowing my 19thC Indian Rajah to ride it but in truth, even if/when I get to such an army, its a little wild and aggressive for a Rajah's command post. 

Once I started acquiring Prince Valiant figures, I considered ways to integrate it and eventually came up with a scheme for turning it into a Sassinid War Elephant and making up a scenario requiring Val to venture into the East. The idea got no further but is still my best shot at fitting it into my existing collections.

Today I had a further silly but useful thought.Over the last 5 or 6 years, I have been able to collect a handful of Elastolin Turks> There arent't enough for a Rough Wooing army and they are too small and slight of build to fit well with Irregular's output or the Meisterzin figures that make up all of Rob's forces as well as a chunk of my own. I plan on sculpting my own homecast metal Turks but it doesn't make sense to do so in a different size/style than 90% of the Christians that they will be asked to fight. Now Hal Foster's Prince Valiant strips were exciting and inspirational but they were rather free with stereotypes and mixing historical periods. Vikings, Huns, Romans, 12thC knights, Arabs and what not are all jumbled  in together as the suits the story in hand. Sooooooo, somehow, including Turks in turbans to stand in for Saracens, doesn't seem like such an unlikely stretch as it did at first glimmer. I should be able to do one or 2 armoured Persian knights on barded horses using some extra Normans and some Merton horses as a base. The rest of the cavalry can be mercenary Huns. My handful of Turks can then be pressed into service as Turkish infanrty and Howdah crew. I might go as far as to convert some of the unpainted  kits to give them the typical felt bubble hat but since I would prefer to leave the factory painted ones alone, maybe I'll leave the kits be for consistency sake, After all, we're emulating a comic strip here.

The leading scenario option so far would be based on the Ambush Table Top Teaser with a Roman Princess being escorted back to Persia and Prince Michael along with his friend, the princess's betrothed, and their followers preparing to rescue her. The convoy would of course include an elephant amongst the Persian guards. Given my current painting rates, I'd better schedule this one for late next winter but I'll shoot for New Year's Eve and see what happens. Maybe it'll provide an amusing distraction from the confusion of the 19thC for a little while. In any event, I just added some special rules for elephants to my variant of Medieval Mayhem. (For some reason, even those these skirmish rules were written for the 100 Years War, elephants weren't included :-)  ).  

Meanwhile, here is one of the Elastolin kits I picked up last month. He had crept out of the box and onto my painting table, assembled himself while I wasn't paying attention and slipped into the painting queue in between the 25mm Turks and some figures I'm painting on commission. These Elastolin kits are a pleasure to work with and to paint. I find a simple, easy paint job with a bit of a wash satisfies me though I'm sure they would respond well to more precise work, . 

They just don't make kid's toys like this any more.

6 comments:

  1. I would say "sacralidge!!You´ve painted an elastolin fig!!!" but he looks so good I´ll let you off :-D The ele is a nice model...not bad at all.
    Cheers
    paul

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  2. I've painted a few dozen of them but so far, only the ones that came as unpainted kits and broken ones that I've fixed up.Once I run out of those sources? Welllll then we'll see about the handful of collectible factory paints. :)

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  3. Interestingly enough yesterday the mail brought a DVD of the movie "Prince Valiant".

    The Viking helms were absolutely ridiculous with their exaggerated horns . . . comic opera stuff.


    -- Jeff

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  4. The Viking helms were absolutely ridiculous with their exaggerated horns . . . comic opera stuff.
    Of course -but Hal Foster's Prince Valiant was like Tony Bath's Hyboria: set in an 'Imagi-Nary' world. There, minis copied on late 19th C. reconstructions known nowadays as totally fanciful are those best fitting: such popular illustrations were the inspiration of Foster and Howard alike.

    Elastolin... I had a lot of 70mm when... well, SO long ago. Their 'inking' made them look far less 'toy-like' than other medieval toys (French Starlux, mainly), and later gave me the idea to 'dip' may painted 25mm Amazons in a *colored* ('light oak') protective varnish to get the same kind of 'visual improvement'. Nostalgia...

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  5. Elastolin kits/unpainted...tell me more!

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  6. Back in the 70's my armies included 2 converted Britains elephants. One was painted white, the other pink. I tended to be careful who I fielded them against - some people didn't appreciate it!

    Rob

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