Tuesday, 20 March 2018

From NoelW: Two sloops (155 Points)

(You might find this title funny, if you're an aficionado of Victoria Wood's comedy).

And now, the end is near
and so I face the final Curt Geld.
My desk is almost clear
as I put this final spurt on.
I've done what I had to do
(though in a rather RSI way)
to shrink the painting queue.
And did it my way.

Through tears and laughter too
I've plied my brushes, sprayed my varnish.
My language never blue, 
though occasionally Darn!-ish.
I've seen some detailed work,
some done in a sci-fi way,
some absolutely stunning
and some in "I wonder why?" way.
But every post I made
I did it my way.

Yes there were times, I'm sure you knew
when my paintbrush I would chew
but through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spat it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And painted my way

What is a gamer? What has he got?
Besides a brush and a paint pot?
He sees the points. He knows the score.
And if he paints, then he gets more.
The record shows, I took the blows
And did it my way.

My very final entry for Challenge number 8 is a pair of pirate ships, rigged as sloops. 

They're both the same toy, obtained from an everything-for-nearly-a-Pound Shop (is that Thrift Shop in the US?) where most things worth having are actually more like £10. I stripped them down, though I've left some rather out of scale features such as the wheel on the deck. I might replace them with more authentic scale items at some point.

I decided I'd paint them in rather different styles, as the whole thing is something of an experiment, and also keep the rigging as simple as I could so that it looked okay but didn't get in the way of the figures. Fortunately, an earlier post by Miles gave clear instructions on rigging as a sloop, and also suggested materials. In keeping with the idea of experiment, I tried using bell wire for part of the rigging on one ship - it works quite well, but looks a little angular. So I used shirring elastic for the rest - which I'd recommend, as long as you can tie knots in stretched material that leaps out of your hand. A detailed inspection of both ships will certainly show that the rigging is hardly ship-shape - but it's functional, and attractive enough at a distance.

I'm rather pleased with the results, even though they're a bit clumsy. I've learned quite a lot in doing this, and will probably invest in a couple more toys, when I find them, to treat in a similar way with my improved knowledge.

One thing you may notice is the slightly chunky crow's nest and flag arrangement. This is because the top of both masts is a tube, rather than a stick, which means I can mix and match flags, changing the identity of the ship, by slotting a different flag into the tube. The tubes are simply cut down biro casings, and the flags are mounted on dowel which slots into the tube.

You may also notice that the blue ship has a captain. Looking closer, you may even recognise him. He is my final entry for the Challenge, my Curtgeld. Now, please do not read anything into the fact that I've chosen a dictator, who ruled his little empire with a rod of iron and a series of rules and Marshals who made their poor subjects lives hell. No, I simply had this figure spare, and felt he might find a good home in Canada, where they speak French and have not yet built any Empires, so he may have some useful advice.

Thanks, Curt, for allowing me to take part in this brilliant community. I didn't quite make it to the top of the table - not even for a week - but I've painted something approaching 1000 figures, which is four or five times what I'd normally have done in the same period. I've also the best part of four armies there ready for play which I didn't have three months ago. And I've made some friends, I think, as well as had many encouraging remarks on my work. So I'm already looking forward to Challenge 9, if it happens, and if there's room for me. A wonderful three months that I'll be really keen to improve on next time round. 

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me, especially the Minions, and, of those, especially Sander and Byron. Maybe our physical paths will cross one day.

As for points, I believe the Curtgeld is 20? Is that right? For the ships I've no real idea. Miles's sloop was 85 points, I think, but it contained several cannon which would've upped the ante. My two ships are yet to receive any armament. They're a little larger than his, but only by an inch in each dimension. My rigging is simpler, too, though I had to work it out for myself, and maybe there's some credit for the flexible flag system? So I was thinking maybe something in the 60-70 point range for each ship? 

And that's it for this year. Kent has said that he'll carry on painting at the same rate even though the challenge has ended. I'm wondering if I might find myself doing the same thing...


That's a damn fine bit of songwriting Noel, but I suggest sticking to your brushes as you don't want to crowd out Taylor and Rihanna - they're just kids and need their time in the sun too. 

Wow, what an absolutely brilliant way to wrap up your Challenge Noel. These two sloops look just terrific. It's amazing what a well-executed repaint and a spot of rigging will do to some of these toys. Now you're ready for some backyard wargaming on the Spanish Main!

Thank you very much for the Napoleon figure (or I guess 'General Buonaparte' considering his long locks and trim waistline). I'll try not to let it get to my head but I can tell you right now I've been wanting a proper bicorne for years...

Lets go with your suggestion of 65 points per sloop and 25 points for Mssr B. 

Keep your brushes lashing Noel, and we'll catch up to you next December.



  1. Terrific work Noel! What shop did you get these in? I'm gonna try and get these myself.
    You've hit the nail on the head about the Challenge. I get almost 80% of my painted figures finished during the Challenge, we all push or drag each other along battling for a top 10 place. Its always well worth the effort.
    Nice one Noel.

  2. Nice work on the sloops and Boney :)

  3. Lovely looking pair of sloops! The Napoleon figure is great too!
    Best Iain

  4. Shear poetry Noel, both the actual poem as the figures/ boats. The honour is all mine I am sure and I would like to keep you up to your word and who knows we might actually meet one day. For now all the best and till next year!