Well a little later than usual (quite a bit later to be honest) Simon has asked me to share with you, his dear readers, what were in my humble opinion the “Top Ten” miniatures he painted way back in 2017. Now I know this has already been more than ably done by “Undercoat”, who stepped into the breach when I was indisposed at the tail end of last year, but Simon has been kind enough to allow me the chance to continue the fine tradition of “sticking my oar in” and inflicting my opinions upon you as well (I think he just likes getting the compliments to be honest!).
So as I sit here with my list of twenty three possible inclusions I’ll try and whittle it down to my final ten. Some may be the same as “Undercoats”, many I think will not, though it will be interesting to compare the two come the end of my list. Before I start I firstly have to congratulate Simon on his very impressive output, his work is quite simply sublime, and though we always say this it really does get harder to pick just ten every year.
Napoleonic’s are really a staple of wargaming. To the uninitiated they are probably the image that is most conjured up in the mind of what our hobby is all about - vast armies of brightly coloured figures advancing in lines across tables of green. As we all know the modern take on the hobby is very rarely like that, but that is where I started many years ago albeit with Marlborough’s wars rather than “Nappies”. Along with his Gallic chums, this figure took me right back to those heady days in a friend's back room pushing lines of troops to their black powder smoked doom, though his were nowhere as well painted as Simon's figures. Great painting skills were on show here with real character in every figure, this chap just stood out to me, I think it’s his face with his jaunty moustache.
Another great characterful figure at number nine, this little undead cowboy is just about as “gosh tooting cute, as a horse fly on a prairie dog!”. Perhaps “cute” is the wrong word to use to describe a member of the living dead, but there is something terribly appealing about the oversized Stetson and baggy “chaps” this chap is sporting. All of Simon’s “Wild west zombies” were great but this is my definite favourite.
It seems I always end up with a big gold animal somewhere in my list. Last time it was a “Foo dog” and this time a very impressive “Bull” construct. Standing a massive 90mm long, not including his tail, it was the painting that really drew me to this nasty looking beastie. The brass colour and oxidised highlights on this “Bones” plastic creature give it a truly realistic look that is highly impressive. Oh and it’s by Bob Olley, and that’s a good thing too!
We stay in September for the figure at number seven. Now I’m not adverse to the odd “toy” based figure myself so my interest was definitely raised when I saw this smashing figure of one of the stalwarts of the “G.I. Joe” range of “Action figures”. Sadly not commercially available, Simon was lucky enough to receive this from a private collection. The wonderful paint-job Simon has given him just makes me covet him even more. I especially love the parrot perched on his shoulder.
This was one of those “I’d never of thought of that” ideas which I fully intend to steal shamelessly at some point in the future. I’d seen the “drinks can machines” over on Dave “WTW” site and though they are very nice, they weren’t something I’d thought of adding to my “Wish List”. That is until Simon set to work turning them into rusted out pieces of set dressing brilliance! Instead of the shiny new machines gracing a corridor or “mall”, they now looked like they had been sat out in the desert for a hundred years! Perfect on any post-apocalyptic shop front or forecourt! I’ve got to get me some of these, after all what’s the worst that could happen!
When Jez, of “Carrion Crows Buffet” fame first came up with the idea that became “Forgotten Heroes” month, we thought that maybe a couple of other bloggers might join in, so we were both shocked by the number of participants we did get and by the sheer quality of the entries too. Simon, joined in of course (like he had a choice), and his entries were up to his usual high standard, even if they did take him a little longer to finish than some of the other competitors! This conversion of a footless "Heroclix" figure into the alien member of the “Howling Commando’s” was a “kit-bashing” masterclass. Add to this the deep shimmering paintwork on his skin, and you can see why he was my pick of the bunch.
The first of two “Doctor Who” related figures comes from Jon Pertwee’s tenure in the role. These highly detailed miniatures of the water born versions of the ancient Silurians have been beautifully and faithfully rendered by Simon, and are really a joy to behold. The colours are absolutely bang-on, and they could have just walked out of the sea! (Maybe that’s why they are still shiny ;-) ). Beautiful figures, beautiful painting, just a shame they are 38mm tall.
This was another of those out of the blue, “that’s brilliant” figures. It is well known that I am not the biggest fan of “Nu Who”, but when I first saw this unfortunate little “Pepperpot” on Simon’s blog, I was struck by what a simple yet effective piece it was. To think that it was only created because the miniature would not go together properly and so was irrevocably damaged. Yet rather than throw it out, he recycled it into this wonderful objective maker. You can tell I really like this piece as I really want to do something similar myself at some point.
He had to get in to my top ten and very, very nearly made the top spot. Adam West’s portrayal of the caped crusader may not of been completely true to the original, and is a million miles away from the dark brooding hero we’ve come to know today. But is there really anyone out there who doesn’t have a soft spot for these “camp”, “psychedelic” exploits from our youth. Simon's figure is a fitting tribute to the great mister West, who we sadly lost that year, with colour choices that are as always spot on, and a deftness of touch that brings the wonderful likeness to life.
So if Batman is only in second spot, who made it to the top of the pile? Well it’s not a who but a what. When Simon first put forward his idea of using a world war one armoured car as the purveyance of choice of mister Max Rockatansky, I have to admit to being a little doubtful (actually I thought “Ok, this time he’s gone too far!”). But I was completely wrong on this, as the finished article just works so well! Though the painting is as good as ever with the black (he does black so well), and rust application being seamless, (it does look like it’s been out in the desert for years), the thing that pushed this to the top spot for me was the concept and vision behind this piece. I absolutely love the way Simon drags items from different settings and makes them work in his post-apocalyptic world. Great work all round!
So that was my Top Ten for 2017, as usual mentions have to be given to the “almost” boys who made the short list but didn’t quite make the final ten, so “nod’s” have to be given to… The Fisher King, Karanak, Slambo, Zygons and Torquemada to name just a few. There are of course many others...
I’ll have to start work on this year’s offerings soon as Simon is a rather prolific poster there are always plenty to work back through. It just leaves me to thank Simon for once again allowing me free rain upon his excellent blog (even if I am late doing this), please keep reading it as the content will return to the normally high level you are used to, as soon as Simon starts writing it himself again.
Many thanks for reading, cheers Roger.