Friday, 23 March 2018

Special Guest Post: From StefanK - Dr. John H. Watson 'A Study in Scarlet'

L to R: Curt, Christopher, Nick, Stefan and Sid.
In late 2017 I had the great pleasure to meet Curt, the diligent host of the Painting Challenge, in person in Antwerp at the 'Crisis' wargaming show. He was there with a couple of other honourable members of this challenge and I was lucky enough to spent a most enjoyable our with those fellows have a pint of Leffe and a really good chat. During this Curt and I discussed the upcoming painting challenge and I had to renew my unpleasant decision to skip the challenge this time. Anyway he asked me whether I’d like to contribute a guest entry out of the valuation and I agreed happily. So with no more ado to a well known physician. Maybe the best known doctor in British literature…

Let me quote his very own words to describe him:

“In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. […] I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Khandahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties. […] II was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery.”

I stumbled over this introduction a couple of years ago and somehow I kept it in the back of my mind. Last year then when I started with the preparation of my Northwest Frontier project it pushed forward and I was not able to resist the the seduction to bring this noble fellow to the battlefield. You recognized him, didn’t you? It’s Dr John H. Watson, the loyal friend, assistant and chronicler of the famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes. The lines gives above are part of his own introduction at the beginning of “A Study in Scarlet”.

Since I’ve already added a detachment of the 66th Regiment of Foot (the unlucky Berkshire regiment) it was a no-brainer that I had to add the honourable doctor as well as soon as I discovered that the hospital set from Perry Miniatures Sudan Range could be useful for the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War as well. Obviously the vignette shows him treating a wounded comrade before receiving a bullet himself. After consulting a couple of reference books and an interesting conversation with sculptor Micheal Perry who is very studied regarding the mentioned conflict I realized that the only real hindrance might be the helmets and the characteristic puggree. Luckily in the NWF plastic set there is an officer’s head with a cap bearing a 66 (for the 66th Regiment) which I put on Watson’s body after removing the given pit helmet. Although the neck looks a bit strange I’m rather satisfied with my humble conversion work.

After this piece of work painting the figures was kind of business as usual. I employed mostly Vallejo Model colours as well as the splendid set of skin colours Wargames Foundry is offering. Finally I added a coat of matt varnish and a couple of grass tufts and a couple of pieces of clump foliage

Well that’s it then. I hope you like this humble piece of work and the story behind it. It was a great pleasure and honour to me to be able to present it as a guest entry here amongst this outstanding collection of pieces of art. Although I didn’t take part I followed this year’s challenge again with greatest pleasure and was fascinated again which power our hobby is able to unfold. It’s truly beyond comparison how much eye candy you participants produced during the last three months. Kudos, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Best regards



From Curt:

Stefan, it was terrific chatting with you in Antwerp and I'm delighted that you took up the offer of submitting a guest post here as a small consolation for your noted absence this season.

Your Watson vignette is brilliant. It's a wonderfully creative and unique glimpse to the background of one of English literature's most beloved characters. The shading on the uniforms, the varied skintones and the subtle use of a head-swap for the good Doctor has been masterfully handled. Bravo Stefan!

I hope that your busy schedule (and that of your hockey powerhouse daughter) will allow you to join us for next year's edition. In fact I'm going to hold you to it. :)

Thanks for sharing some of your recent work with us Stefan.


  1. wonderful to have you along Stefan - that is a great piece - I am sure he would like a visit to the Soudan!

    1. Thanks a lot Dave.
      I'm sure the good doctor would go wherever he's needed... ;-)

  2. Thanks a lot for posting my humble contribution, Curt!

    Frankly I cannot agree more to what you said about our chat in Antwerp. It was truly awesome to meet you fellows there in person and since November it was crystal clear to my that I should follow your invitation. My apologies that it came together that lately...

    Next winter... We'll see. I'm afraid that our winter schedule will be full again but I'll try to figure out a strategy with easier figures that might provide enough points to justify a participation.


  3. Next time at Crisis, drop by to say hi, I`m there all weekend as a TSA (board)member :-)

  4. Lovely stuff, Stefan! I enjoy a literary tie-in.

  5. That's a truly magnificent looking vignette Stefan! It was a pleasure to meet you at Crisis again.

  6. I knew there was someone missing.great way to end with some brilliant painting

  7. This is such a treat Stefan and I thrilled that you have managed to join along. I hope we might persuade you next year, even with the most humble of targets - it's not the same without you.

  8. Great painting and conversions!
    Best Iain

  9. Brilliant work on this very special entry

  10. Fabulous, what a wonderful vignette of a much-loved character - impeccably executes.

    I find the challenge is as more about camaraderie than quantity - you should join us next time around, and feel no embarrassment at inching though the points.

  11. There you are my friend! Your ramblings have been sorely missed this Challenge! As was your superb paintwork, great little vignette. Next year: no excuses you must participate it'd elementary dear Stefan ;-)