There's been a bit of a break in my work since the end of January.
I had to pop into hospital at the end of the month for major surgery, and at the moment I am one month into the recovery stage, with another two months to go. I had hoped that this would leave me plenty of time to get on with my Bearded Meanies, but that's not been the case.
Because I cannot sit down. More than a few minutes normally seated at my desk is agony. Most of the time I am propped up in bed, and that means that although I can paint a bit, anything more than rough base coating is not on the cards. Without support for my forearms and wrists, I find I cannot paint with any accuracy.
But I do what I can.
When I found the concentration levels and strength to start on the project again, I took my project box from the shelf to get back into the swing of it. But on opening the box which I had carefully placed my part-finished Assyrians in, I was perturbed to find that several of the cavalrymen's spears had broken. Also broken was the yoke of the part-painted chariot.
How? I had not dropped them and there had been nothing heavy in the box, only a dozen or two part-painted HaT figures. I managed to save the chariot yoke with a blob of glue, but what the hell is it with this HaT plastic? It manages to combine, against all logic, being soft with being very, very brittle. Now the Assyrian Infantry and Allies are a very soft grey plastic which is bendy but still strong. However, the Chariots and Cavalry are a cream plastic which is slightly firmer than the grey stuff (although still softer than most other figure makes out there), but which snaps far too easily.
Ok, it's annoying. :Luckily I had some spare spears from the Infantry that I can use to replace the damaged cavalry ones. The chariot yoke should hold, once it is in place over the four horses. But by gosh, it is going to be a very fragile little model.
Which brings me onto another issue. I now have three boxes of Assyrian chariots, one of which I am part way through making. But frankly I am sick of them. Oh, they are nice little models, but thanks to the rubbish plastic they are right pigs to build, and I predict a lifetime of fixing the little sods once they are used in anger on the tabletop. The body of the first one was not too bad, but the second has been a nightmare to glue, and I've chucked it across the room a number of times in frustration at trying to get the bending panels to stay together long enough for the glue to harden. Four times I have had to strip it back down because one side or other has warped under gentle finger pressure and the butt-joint betwixt the sides and the floor has opened. HaT use hard plastic for their modern guns and wagons, so why can't they do the same for these bloody chariots? It's not rocket science! I like HaT stuff as a rule, but....
So I might just finish off the three I have stared, and sell the other two complete boxes on eBay. Irregular Miniatures do some 20mm Assyrian chariots in metal, and they look okay. Although they are three times the price of each HaT one, I feel sure they will be easier to make and paint, and will be a lot sturdier.