Saturday, 19 November 2016

Interlude: a Secret Santa out of time

I'm not inventing the wheel if I say that one of the many rewarding things about the hobby is building a community and having the chance to meet some wonderful people. Well, I don't think I even need to write about that. Many of you have already done it, way much better than I ever could. But let me tell you about my latest experience.
A group of my regular local partners in crime decided to set up a Secret Santa. Yeah, it was like August, but we can make Santa come whenever we decide :D. This week we all had received our respective mini, so we can go public at last.

Rules were easy. Just pick any infantry-size mini you have at home lost in oblivion. Paint it and send it (but in the return address we all agreed to use the name of the organizing pal, so the real sender would be kept anonymous).

Let me tell you first about what I did. The guy I was supposed to give the mini away is a huge fan of Napoleonics. His main (almost only) target minis are Napoleonics or maybe ACW. Ouch. I don't own any of those. I fear the day I truly make my way into historical games.
But I remembered I had something I could certainly use for the challenge. A mini of old that could at least shorten the gap between my regular stuff and Waterloo.

Spanish XIX Century soldier. Painted about twenty something years ago
OK. So many things were wrong about this paintjob, and at so many levels, that I wouldn't know where to start. So I stripped it and begun all over.

I tried to source the mini, as I honestly didn't remember where it came from. Unfortunately my only clue was under the base.

Armed Forces Day. Burgos, 1983
So apparently this was a special limited release for the occasion. No trace of manufacturer and all my Google attempts have failed so far. Anyway, about the soldier itself, the base states 'Batallones de Cazadores 1848', so 'Chasseurs Battalions' (light infantry, essentially riflemen; short story long, originally designed to operate in a more independent way than the rigid XVIII Century formations, hence the term Cazador/Chasseur/Jaeger -i.e., 'hunter').

Well, OK. When I first painted it, looong time ago, I had little idea of uniforms of the era. I painted the guy in a much later fashion. For this time, now that the internet had been invented, research was much easier. I used the prints from the works of the Count of Clonard, so these were the proper uniforms:

Going to war in a fashion
OK, let's go then! Black priming and then first thing I usually paint is the face:

I've been wanting to pee for hours now. Still two hours for shift change
Then the uniform:

Trying to find the correct tones of blue
I had to improvise some greenstuff work. The plume and the backpack, as I never got them in the original mini.

Should I leave it green?
So I finally came to this result:

So this is it, a grenadier from a Batallón de Cazadores by 1848. Unfortunately I cannot be more precise about the Regiment/Battalion of origin. Anyway, I enjoyed pretty much painting such a different mini. Different scale, different style, different ambientation... I was taken out of my comfort zone... just to discover that I felt quite comfortable actually! Exhilarating experience by itself.
But of course this isn't all. The point here is sharing and bringing geeks together :D As far as I know my pal is happy with the mini, so that's quite rewarding too :)

Let's see what I got from my Secret Santa! No less than...

Ragnar Blackmane in all his oldschool glory
I love the mini, for so many reasons! Besides, Ragnar Blackmane is a real must in any collection and I didn't have him. So I'm really pleased, my Secret Santa made a 100% accurate decision on the mini and the paintjob. Thanks, man! :)
The only setback is that... I (still) don't have any Space Wolves! I foresee some space Vikings in my future... (ahhh) :P

Here you can see the rest of the minis involved. A little bit of everything!

You can see it's all very eclectic! Within the group there are some master painters and some people who have taken a brush for the first time in their lives (quite meritory performance!). The experience has been great, I think we all as a group are really satisfied, so I guess we will be repeating the experience sometime in the future...


  1. Replies
    1. A fun challenge with a lot of different interests and techniques. I love it!

  2. Some great stuff there. Love Elsa and the snowman! A great idea too!

    1. The Ice Golem is pure genius. The not-Frozen minis beling to my pal Keyan Sark (who sometimes makes a guest star appearance here :P). Here you can have a look at Elsa and anna:

  3. A very impressive group that you are a member of, not just for their skill, but for their passion to want to wow the person they are gifting their model to. Thanks for sharing this story and pics!

    1. It's been kinda moving seeing how everyone has put so much here. People who had never touched a brush before trying to adapt themselves, and everyone looking for something to please each other. Really nice experience!

  4. That's quite a nice idea.
    When I started reading I expected to see at least a 50% GW models.

    1. Hehe, I guess the participants here conform an eclectic group :D

  5. Some lovely miniatures. Love the Frozen figures would be awesome in Frostgrave.

    1. Haha, just said that very thing in the previous comment :D :D
      I can see that, my pal has the two basic wizards, one Ice Golem... thet's the start of a band!!

  6. Augustus Santa Clausius, the roman emperor of gift giving ... ;) ... a great idea as it's never a bad time to give. And you did a great paint job with yours too!

    1. Any excuse is good enough for a celebration :D
      If some giveaway gifts are part of the deal too, then nothing can go wrong! :D