Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Collectors' Show Pics - Post 2 of 2

A couple of close-ups. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pics of the town, or the forest. I was too preoccupied with the castle (and my brain was still on vacation!)

The top picture is of my Russian general with his bodyguard outside the castle wall. The bottom pic shows the town militia, again outside the main gate, with the general behind urging them on.

On the walls you can just see a couple of archers hiding behind the parapets, and of course, the local ruler and sergeant of the gate in the tower above the gate watching goings-on.

Pics from the Collectors Show - Post 1 of 2

Everything went real well. We had a steady stream of people coming through all evening, so while the hall was never over-crowded, we still had a pretty decent turnout. There were 38 collectors with various items - last year, the number was around 32.

These first couple of pics (one from each end of the table) are of my overall display. The pics would have looked better if I could have taken out the background stuff (especially the trash can). I got a couple of really good close-ups though, which will be in the next post.
The top pic is taken from the village end, looking towards the castle, while the bottom pic is from behind the castle walls.

This is part of my early Russian army, prior to the Mongol Conquest. Oh, and in case you are wondering (one visitor did ask) I didn't do a "back wall" for the castle as I was trying to create an image of "depth". There would have been a town behind this wall, and the back wall further back, off the table).

(I've had a request - from one of the other collectors - for an early Polish army for next year, which will provide the excuse I need to get stuck into the Polish Winged Hussars I have waiting to be painted and also the rest of my Ottoman Turks and Russians, both of whom fought the Poles! He said the terrain in Poland is very similar to Wisconsin, so maybe I will have to visit up there to get some ideas for scenic layout.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last Minute Panic Before the Show

Just a little over 24 hours until show time.

I won't be doing a full scale siege as I didn't make as much progress as I had hoped with the equipment an attacking army would use, and when I started packing the major bits I did finish, it was pretty clear they wouldn't fare too well under the rigors of travel (even for just a short distance). Given I won't have long for set up and take down, I can't afford to be spending a lot of time on repairs, so I'm just going with the sturdier stuff.

I will still have a pretty cool looking castle scene, with the defenders hurrying to prepare for the arrival of an approaching enemy army.

I threw myself into a mini-panic Saturday when I realised that all my hills have a nice "grassy green" surface totally unsuitable for the steppes of Russia. I was tempted to change the scene to a 100 Years War battle between England and France, but I'm going to stick with Russia - if all I'm missing is a couple of hills, it won't be too bad.

I hope to see you at the show Monday evening!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Preparing for Monday's Collector's Show (Post #2)

The inner keep (with the king looking over proceedings from his battlements) and some other shots.
My medieval Russians will be defending the castle, and most early Russian towns and cities were built alongside a river, with rivers playing at least as big a role as roads in the transportation system. (My understanding is that rivers were used more than roads, but I stand to be corrected by someone more knowledgable. Certainly, the early Rus often transported their armies by boat, only disembarking for combat when they were near the scene of the attack).

The river was therefore a vital part of life, and a hub of commercial activity. In the third and fourth pictures, local peasants load their carts with goods from a riverboat docked at the town's jetty. (I LOVE the two houses in this picture - the easiest kitsets I've ever assembled and they look GREAT! I'll be getting a lot more of them for the future. Two different houses in the one kit, so it's very easy to make up a small village, and they fit for any European period from Medieval to late 1800s. I think they would also be okay for American rural settings too up to late 1800s).
I've moved the houses inside the castle for the last picture, which shows what I have built so far. To say I'm real happy with the way the castle is turning out would be an understatement.
Monday's final design will depend on how much table space they give me (the castle is modular, so I can easily change it around) but after the show I'm going to keep working on this and building it into a big "long term" display in my spare bedroom.
I hope you can make it to the show. (See the previous post for details).

Preparing For Monday's Collector's Show (Post #1)

Next Monday is the Wells County Historical Society's Collector's Show and once again (our second year) my soldiers and I will be making an appearance.

If I can get it finished, I'm going to show a siege of a medieval castle. Unfortnuately, while I thought of the idea almosta full year ago, I only started work on it last Sunday. Luckily, this is my week of vacation, so I am making some progress.
As you can see from the photos, I've been working on the castle.
I haven't settled on the full final design yet. A lot will depend on what I actually get finished. But this will give you some idea of what you will see at the show.
The three pics with this post focus on the gate house, which is the entry point to the castle, at least from this direction. The sergeant-of-the-gate (standing with one hand raised) will ask anyone approaching the gate to stop and explain their reason for entry, and maybe his assistant will search them. On the walls are archers ready to shoot anyone who tries to force their way in, and above the gate, two figures operate a pot of boiling oil, which they may also pour down on anyone trying to force entry - the burns inflicted when the oil touched skin usually killed! (Yes, two of the archers on the walls are women!)

Don't forget, if you are near Bluffton, Indiana between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Monday, we'll be at the elementary school on East Spring Street. Last year there were well over 30 different collectors with all sorts of hobbies, and this year should be similar. So even if your family members aren't into toy soldiers, they might be interested in some of the other displays.