Sunday, 23 December 2007

Hello and welcome to the last HELMET Blog of 2007. We ventured into our front garden this morning to take the photographs that you see here. It was, and still is, very cold and the fog has yet to lift properly. Sorry we failed to publish last week, other things took priority.
The first two pictures show my latest work for the War of 1812, a group of American Riflemen in hunting shirts. There are two from Barzo - American Militia, two from A Call to Arms and an old Accurate Confederate, all have their heads replaced with adapted HELMET products with plumes and cords added from greenstuff. I have also modelled various bits and bobs of equipment from greenstuff and two of them have had 19th Century style overalls added also from the same old greenstufff, and the Confederate has a new right arm, from the elbow anyway, pinned and glued in position. I have also turned the head on this figure through 90 degrees to make a fairly blend model slightly more useful. When we uploaded the pictures earlier, we noticed an interloper, namely the redcoat from an as yet unidentified unit who has managed to sneak into the line. We are sure he wasn't there when the photos were taken.
The next picture is a close-up of two of the Riflemen, both of these are adapted from the A Call to Arms Maryland Infantry, Revolutionary War period. I really like these somewhat strange uniforms which seem to combine 18th Century and Napoleonic military fashion into something unique but distinctly American.
Next we started to set up my representation of the 10th Regiment of Foot, also from the American Revolution, two things defeated our efforts, firstly the roof of my car couldn't accommodate all the figures and secondly, the cold really began to bite. I'll get some better pictures of the whole lot of them on a nice warm day next Spring, in the meantime however. these should give you some idea of how big this outfit is and hopefully inspire some of you to reproduce more of the glorious British Infantry of the period.
Thanks to all those who have taken the time and trouble to read through all this stuff and all I can do is promise more of the same for the future. Thanks to my son, Jonathan, who took all the photos for this and all the other Blogs, and finally I want to say something I've dreamt of writing for a long time:
and a great 2008 as well.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Hello and warm greetings from a dark, damp, and dank South of England. Not long till Christmas now, and I hope you have been good all year and get the presents you want, and therefore obviously deserve. I remember fondly the Christmases when boxes of Herald, Timpo and Crescent were waiting for me under the tree, there was always something about seeing them proud in their unchipped paint schemes that made them look, feel and dare I say it, smell, so special. Enough ramblings!
The first couple of photos today show the last of my Zulu War cavalry, two members of the Natal Native Horse and two mounted Boers. I was determined to include as many different contingents for the Imperial forces as possible, and will go back to them later and increase their numbers, well that's the plan anyway!. The mounted Boers are a Replicants Confederate with shotgun, pretty much unconverted, and a CTS Mexican cavalryman with a Replicants head and a couple of extra bits from greenstuff. I've used greenstuff to make the red scarves around their hats. The Natal Native Horse are an Italeri Confederate and a Cherilea remould with a BMC head, both on Hat horses. (If you re-read the last sentence only people like us would understand the strange collection of words that form it's contents.) The dismounted chaps are both from BMC Spanish American War figures with very little conversion. I know that the painted cord jackets and breeches are out of scale but I tried to "represent" the style of the cloth and not just produce a rather bland brown effect.
I guess the American War of Independence/ Revolution collection that I have accumulated is the second largest, I really like the British uniforms. As for infantry figures we are reasonably well served, with the Accurate sets for hat companies and the A Call to Arms grenadiers, however I must admit to being disappointed by their fairly recent issue of British light infantry. I do find the work of some of the American reenactment groups very useful and the recreated Royal Welch Fusiliers website is inspirational. We took these pictures about an hour ago and the green lake they are standing on is the roof of my car, still wet after a recent shower. I've included the colour party, and featured the regimental goat, from Irregular, and half the light company, that is 10 men plus a sergeant.
The conversions are pretty standard stuff for the colours and goat section, all are from A Call to Arms and Accurate. The ensigns are mounted on metal washers to counter balance the weight of the paper flags which once painted an glued are pretty heavy, for plastic figures at least. The light company platoon come from a number of sources and I admit are a bit of a pain to produce individually. I cut don jackets and add wings from greenstuff, but the real problem is the heads which are have a false from, turban, and crest all from putty, finally the white plume is more greenstuff built up around a pin driven into the left side of the poor man's head. However, the result when seen en mass is OK. At full strength the 2regiment should number 100 figures, so I've still got another 40 to paint for the 23rd, but I have one complete British regiment, the 10th - we all have to start somewhere.
That's enough for now. More later, feedback welcome.
Cheers and keep dry.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Well hello again, sensation seekers and welcome to another edition of the world famous HELMET Blog. As I sit and type this, the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, I hope you are all having better weather than we are here in the soft underbelly of South East England.
Yesterday we attended our first show, and it was a great learning experience for all of us, the current Mrs Kemp and our son and my daughter were in attendance giving help, advice and support, Although our stuff wasn't exactly flying off the shelf, we took some money and had a good, if exhausting time. Thanks are due also to Paul Morehead, Brian Carrick, Steve Weston and Mike Blake all of which came to chat, encourage and assist. Cheers Chaps, it means a lot.
What was interesting was the number of people who stopped to say that they remembered HELMET from when it first started out, one gentleman said he hadn't heard of "you" for so long, he thought "you" was dead! I admit I looked pretty terrible yesterday but I was eventually consoled by telling myself he was referring the products and not me personally. We sold a few kits but the spare parts provoked a lot of interest which bodes well for the converters out there.
This week, the pictures show the grenadiers we featured a few weeks ago, with a few of their hat company comrades. Mid 18th century uniforms are quite attractive, although those who actually wore them probably had a somewhat different perspective. There are the usual mix of Barzo, A Call to Arms and others, plus a few "metals" from Irregular, all bodged along with tons of greenstuff and a gloss paint job.
As I said last time about our attempt at the Zulu War is exemplified by the next few photos. I wanted to get away from the Zulus attacking a British defensive position, so we have only panted about 30 infantry and have started to concentrate on others, including cavalry and artillery. The results can be seen here, a couple of mounted infantry, mounted (of course) then duplicated on foot, a close-up of the Natal Carbineers shown last week and a Royal Artillery gun and detatchment. The gun is an Imex ACW piece with some seats constructed on the axles from scrap polystyrene, I was attempting to get the "look" of the thing rather than getting an accurate representation.
Lastly another pic of our new kit. K33, which is now up on the website and for sale.
Slightly shorter this week as we have to clear away the debris from the show.
Good luck to you all, and please comment or leave feedback, it shows someone out there is reading this.