Sunday, January 31, 2016

'Defensive Terrain' from MichaelA - 'Blackadder Goes Forth'


‘Defensive Terrain’, as soon as I read this all I could think of were the trench systems of the First World War where both sides ‘dug in’ to take cover and hold their ground. With a continuous line of trenches covering some 400 miles from Switzerland to the North Sea, positions were lost, retaken and lost again with seemingly no escape from the mud and the imminent threat of death. Like many, I have been fascinated and moved by the exploits and memoirs of those that lived through this particular hell on earth. So it was that this ‘Defensive Terrain’ was to become the subject of my submission with the emphasis on one dugout in particular.



As with previous builds, foam board, balsa wood and cooks’ matches were pressed into action to give the basic structure before the bits box was raided to ‘dress the set’. This, I have to confess, was great fun and before long the piece was growing as sandbags and barbed wire were added, hinting at what was beyond the comparative safety of the dugout. Each addition brought new challenges like scaling down the maps and posters or creating chin straps to hang the helmets to the wall – the whole process became totally absorbing.



Finally, then, to the miniatures themselves; after an exhaustive search my hand fell upon a delightfully whimsical pack of ‘Scarab Miniatures’, entitled, ‘British Captains, Generals and Characters’ and whilst I acknowledge the glaring historical inaccuracies of my build, I make so such apology for these miniatures. A sheer delight to work on, requiring the minimal of preparation this character pack bears a striking resemblance to a certain Captain Blackadder and chums.



They are almost caricature in appearance, and as such will not be to everyone’s taste, but I cannot remember enjoying painting a set of miniatures more. This may well have been because I kept replaying episodes of the tremendous ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’, for research purpose only you understand, whilst painting them and found myself chuckling throughout. In fact it seems incredulous to me that it is now over twenty five years since the final episode of the series was aired. A program that, in my humble opinion, managed to combine humour and pathos in just the right balance to create a much loved and uniquely British institution.




Captain Blackadder: How are you feeling, Darling?
Captain Darling: Ahm... not all that good, Blackadder. Rather hoped I'd get through the whole show. Go back to work at Pratt and Sons, keep wicket for the Croydon Gentlemen, marry Doris... Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says: "Bugger."





The final submission, six 28mm miniatures and a scenic base representing a First World War dugout.


32 comments:

  1. Incredible work. Top job on this. thank you for doing it and photographing it so well. cheers

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  2. Excellent work Michael. I half expected someone to do something like this.

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  3. Astounding work, Michael! Makes me want to put a pair of underpants on my head and stick some pencils up my nose and claim to be mad.

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  4. Spectacular bit of diorama work there, sir!

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  5. ...a plan so cunning... well, you know the rest.

    Brilliant work Michael! It reminds me of the scene where Blackadder visits headquarters and finds Fry examining what looks like to be a scale model of the battlefield. In fact it turns out to be precisely what has been captured in the last offensive, 1:1 scale. So wonderfully grim.

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  6. Another cracker mate! I love your ability to add details that make your creations so engaging.

    What a terrible shame there will never be any more Flashy now that Rick has left us... :-(

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  7. This is incredible....

    Micheal - I still owe you a Sudan figure, do I not? Connect with me via Curt, and place your expected figure(s) - it's over due, and I should pony up...

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    1. Thank you Greg, as for the Sudan miniature, I am happy to call it honours even as I still haven't got over the shame of trying to shoehorn in 'Victorian Gypsies'! :D

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    2. Ha! I love it. Those gypsies will haunt you forever Mr. Awdry.

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  8. Astounding stuff, Sir Michael... and an order for these minis has immediately gone in!!

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    1. Dis you spot the downed pilot? A possible substitute for Squadron Commander Lord Flasheart?

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    2. Sadly not Michael. But I'm sure once I've painted these chaps up I'll be going back for more. Thanks :-)

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  9. Here you go again... ;-)

    Excellent work again Michael

    Ian

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  10. brilliant stuff, wonderfully evocative.

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  11. Top work as usual... I had you pegged for something like this

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    1. Oh Lord, I am becoming that predictable? ;)

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  12. "Oooh gosh I love History! Henry 8th with his 6 knives!" Bloody brilliant this is indeed!

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  13. gosh these all look familiar! Nurse Docherty and Curt in the back with Milsy e al in the front.
    I am sure this will be another winner. And good luck to you well deserved and all that. If it does not win the turnips will be on me!

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    1. Opps should be et al in the front!

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  14. Another belter and one of my favourite shows. I always ask for Rat au Vin in posh restaurants

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  15. Great work as always mate! Fantastic!

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  16. Quite a cunning plan you pulled off here. My favorite entry of this round, hands down.

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  17. Thank you all so much for such positive and kind feedback. This was another hugely enjoyable build and although not getting as much done in the challenge proper as I had hoped I am most definitely having fun!

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  18. Perfection! Captured the show and the trenches really well!

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  19. Fantastic work, Michael. This brought back t tone of memories from Blackadder Goes Forth! I particularly love the teapot and the books - brilliant little touches!

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  20. Wow Michael! Another lovely vignette crammed full of detail but also with a fantastic overall cohesion. Lovely work.

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  21. Wow Michael! Another lovely vignette crammed full of detail but also with a fantastic overall cohesion. Lovely work.

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