Sunday, 19 May 2013

Last But Not Least (for the moment at least)

The final gang for your attention is the good old Cowboys, seven of the most saddle-sore, bow-legged, baked bean-eating horse fondlers this side of the Pacific.

I hope to have my first game of "Dead Man's Hand" this coming Thursday so, given my usual memory loss when it comes to remembering rules, I had better give the rulebook another couple of read-throughs in the hope something sticks.

I had better get back to some more normal subjects now, though some Wild West buildings would not go amiss.....


"We left them thar cattle here somewheres..."

Big Jim Cooley?

"Pretty Boy" Pete. His right thumb is obviously of special note.....

"Them buffalo won't shoot 'emselves." Luther Kirk Jr.

Manny Kurtz is a former Ohio man, via a stint in the Prussian army.

Frank Coote.

Zachary "Don't tell him your name" Pike. I should really have painted the scarf dark red and with stripes.

Brad Johnson.

Number 3 of 4

Continuing the Western theme that has diverted my attention away from my Bannockburn project these past few weeks, I present here the third of the gangs I have painted for "Dead Man's Hand", the Outlaws.

And I won't even quote Genesis lyrics whilst I introduce them (cheers at the back?).

Those of you who have followed my progress on the blog will know I tend to gloss varnish my figures, but I wanted a matt finish for these four gangs to emphasise the dusty, natural feel of their environment. I think I need a few more coats of matt, however, as it has not yet covered the gloss I used as a protection as a first coat!


The Gang of Seven known as ....... I will think of something, probably along the lines of "The Poor Shots", "The Die In Droves", "The Food For Crows" or similar.

Bossman Joe James - rancher, gunrunner, bank robber, extortionist and all round bad boy.

"Zouave Zeke", who still wears his red sash from his ACW days.

"Bad Boy" Billy Bones, the sartorially-challenged nephew of Boss Joe James.

"Hedgerow" Jim Harris, who will open the zoo that is his beard when his outlaw days are over.

Billy the Goat (he's too old to be a kid).

Mad John O'Hare was too naughty for his New York gangmates, so left to find employment somewhere his talents for torture. mayhem and mischief would be better valued.

The Man With No Soap.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Still diverted

"In the saloon one evening,
Big took a bet,
With a rancher, whose name I forget.
He wanted a herd taking over the plain
And he called Jim yellow
He'll never do that again.

Big got mad.
Big Jim got mad."

More Genesis lyrics as I wend my merry way further into" Dead Man's Hand" with some Lawmen, Marshal Cole S. Law and his men to be precise. As with the other three gangs released so far, this one too comes in a fat DVD-style box with some cover art showing the painted miniatures. Apart from the obligatory seven figures of whatever type you have chosen, you get seven pre-cut, round MDF bases (with free burnt wood smell.....), a special rules card for that gang and a bubble-wrap pouch holding the castings, which gives a worthy couple of minutes of frantic popping action before you get down to the nitty-gritty of examining your new figures.

Clean up was simple, though possibly a little worse than the best metal castings I have bought recently, poses are not too eccentric and anatomy, etc very passable.

"..the trouble didn't start until the men were in bed.
A-whooping and a-hollerin', and flashing their knives,
Big and his men were jumped by an all-star Indian tribe.

Big was scared.
Big Jim was scared."

I am now 90% of the way through the remaining two gangs, Outlaws and Cowboys, which I will post soon, and I should have a game under my belt in a week or so, which I will again post on. I hope it goes well after all my expectation.......

",,,but he died like all good cowboys,
With his boots on, next to his men.

Big Jim - he still won't lie down.
For him - the bet is still on.
Some say he rides there,
Cursing still.
Some say they've seem him."

("The Ballad of Big" from "And Then There Were Three" by Genesis, 1978).


Law's Posse.

"This is Marshal Law! This is Cole's law!" (To be spoken in a Sam Waterston style gruff, American accent)

Byron "Bear Cub" Smith

"Old Man" McGarry makes up for failing eyesight with a 12 gauge.....

Some say he's a Pinkerton. Some say he's just plain odd. But, like his brother Nathaniel, I sure hope he's deadly when he gets on the table for his first scenario! Meet Joshua Greene.

Everyone needs some artillery. William "Smiling Bill" Higgs provides some bang for Law's buck. 

Cole's cousin, Seville Law, helps his kin out in a fight.

Nathaniel Greene, possibly another Pinkerton...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Another diversion

"Big Jim Cooley commanded respect,
Whatever he wanted he could get,
The badge on his waistcoat shone in the sun,
It ain't no lie, Big Jim was feared by everyone."

Any other fans of Genesis out there? The song lyrics are a big clue to my latest diversion, having very temporarily tired of Welsh archers et al. Yes, I clocked the new "Dead Man's Hand" rules in various publications, saw the odd write up and the article in the latest WI mag, and promptly bought all four gangs, a rulebook and a Perry General Store to get me started!

So, a week after I started, I now have two painted gangs, one of which appears here. This one is first because it is that quite rare thing for me nowadays, a commission (of sorts - see below) painted for someone else.

I have long had a copy of the Warhammer Old West rules and the odd supplement, yet have no figures for this genre nor indeed played a game for a while, yet the Dead Man's Hand project reeled me in. Why? I think (and hope to prove once I get a few games in) that the alleged dynamism of the rules is the key. How many times have we all played a skirmish game where each player cogitates and digests his/ her next move for an aeon or two? How realistic is that in the cut and thrust of such a real life situation. Exactly - totally NOT real! So, I was impressed by what I felt was an attempt to get away from this and give a fast and furious action-based game. Time will tell.

Why only a sort of commission? Well, Nephew Paul gave me a fair number of Peter Pig Africans a while back, for which I was yet to pay. I phoned him and offered him a gang and he leapt at the option. I was not supposed to paint them for him, but it seemed pointless painting just one, so I did his Desperadoes too, alongside my lawmen. The Cowboys and Outlaws will follows shortly.

So, as I took some photos before I gave them away, and as I will only see them in anger from now on, I present for you Nephew Paul's Desperadoes, with brushwork and silly names courtesy of me.

The Africans, by the way, will not be joining my "AK47 Republic" forces by the way (the Marxist Union of the Popular Parties for the Enhancement of Tanga [M.U.P.P.E.T], led by the enigmatic Kermit Ngongi), but will form the basis of some "Force on Force" units in due course. I may even photograph the AK47 stuff at some point.


Each gang starts with 7 members.

Muerte the Apache. Meaner than a rattlesnake with a sore rattle and twice as likely to bite someone.

Colonel Ezekiel Crane, who just cannot get over the South's defeat in the Civil War. I envisage him robbing banks, stages, old ladies and anything else with a dime in its pocket to try to buy arms to fund and fuel a second attempt at a southern win.

Sergeant Nathaniel Butts, late of the Confederate cavalry and loyal bar none to his old Colonel.

Toro Fernandes cannot hit a barn door with a banjo it is said....

Seamus O'Shaughnessy and his double-barrelled shillelagh.

El Vaca, so called because he smells like a herd of cattle.

Ace McGurk, so called because he always has one (or four) up his sleeve during any card game.