In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Painter

Pykaso was feeling pleased and enjoying himself immensely. The Royal Arts Festival at the Prince Albyrt Museum was going well. Free food and wine and the adoration of the Great and Good of Cryn'nt were always welcome. His portrait of Crown Princess Carlyt done in the new style was getting a lot of attention from all the quar who mattered, by which he meant quar with money to commission more paintings. If only one in ten of the inquiries actually came through with a commission, he'd have work for the next year or more. During interviews with the press he was able to to slide in some subtle barbs at his artistic rivals. Really, why is Tyrner painting so many clouds? If you want to look at clouds, just go outside! And Baru's portraits are alright, if you like that sort of thing.

Yes the evening was going swimmingly indeed.

He was nibbling on a baked grub and planning how to best approach Baron Cytinski. The Baron had a big country house with lots of walls to hang pictures on. He was so deep in thought about the Baron that he did not notice the small grey, unremarkable quar sidle up to him.

The grey quar coughed politely.

"Hmmm?" Pykaso turned and looked down his snout. This fellow in an unassuming grey suit didn't look like he'd be commissioning any paintings. "What is it?"

"If you could follow me, sir. The Minister would like a word."

The grey, unremarkable functionary turned and walked away, confident that the artist would follow. Well really! The cheek of it. But Pykaso wondered who this minister was and how much was on offer. Curiosity piqued, he had no choice but to follow before the small grey quar disappeared into the glittering crowds swirling thorough the gallery.

The crowds parted and the small quar lead him to a knot of richly brocaded uniforms and formal attire. The knot parted to reveal an obviously Very Important Quar. They all looked at him through plumes and lace and gold frippery.

"The artist Pykaso, sir." Said the grey quar before sliding silently to one side.

The Very Important Quar regarded him carefully. "Ah! The brush master! Well done! I like your pictures indeed!"

Pykaso knew when to grovel and removing his beret, bowed obsequiously. "You are very kind, sir!"

"You're the chap does the clouds?"

"Ummm... no,... sir. I painted Crown Princess Carlyt feeding the pykpyk."

"Ah quite. Odd that one."

"It's the New Style, sir. More about impressions and the artistic feeling."

"Ah quite. Well I feel an awfully lot better when our gun tractors don't get blown up. D'ya hear?"

"I suppose the crew inside feel better when that doesn't happen as well, sir."

A uniformed chap with a lot of gold on his shoulders and dripping down the front of his blue tunic interjected. "What the Minister is trying to say is that there's this new idea called 'camouflage,' you see? Help our tractors hide from Crusader gunners. Make them harder to spot, d'ya see?"

"That's fascinating, but where do I fit into this, sirs?" 

"You're a painter aren't you?"


Pykaso banged open the door to his studio and threw a brush across the room where it hit an empty turpentine can with a loud clang.

"Dahly! Dahly you drunken, no talent poser! Where are you?"

He passed Dahly's current canvas, Andwyn's Taming of the Baeliog. A ridiculously large piece, featuring a trio of semi naked females cavorting in a glade with a mythic beastie. You could always count on classical history to let you get some erotic nudity into a work.

And the patrons always appreciated it too.

He entered the back room where they sometimes slept. Amidst a scattering of clothing and emptied wine bottles, Dahly was snoring, entangled with two sleeping females.

"Dahly! You debauched embarrassment to your ancestors! Get up! We've got a commission!"

He dumped a half empty wine glass over the sleepers. They jumped up, squeaking and spluttering, trying to untangle themselves.  Pykaso thrust handfuls of feminine clothing at each naked model. "Off you go dearie! Yes, yes, don't mention it. Dahly and I have business to discuss. Away you go now!" He patted a naked rump and closed the door.

Dahly was sitting up bleary-eyed and inspecting bottles for any leftover alcohol. "Pykaso, you ancestorless pig! You've ruined a damned fine evening."

"We have a big job from the War Ministry that will keep us in wine and females for a year." He paused, regarding the door that the two naked models had just fled through squeaking in alarm. "Or maybe six months, given your excessive appetite."

"So, what is it? Inspiring patriotic mural in the public square? New war bond posters?"

"Not exactly."


"We've got to find a way to make them hide."

Dahly looked up at the big, blue, slab-sided gun tractor. "Hide? That? How?"

Pykaso tapped his snout with a paint brush. "Think about nature. How to make it blend in."

"Paint flowers and leaves all over maybe?"

Just then a beetle landed on the fender of the tractor, it's shell covered with multicolored zigzags. 

"We're going to need bigger brushes!"


The War Minister, Royal personages, and assorted General officers gathered curiously in front of the large tarpaulin covered war tractor. 

Pykaso reveled in the attention. He coughed politely and bowed.

"Ladies and gentlequar! May I present to you a New Style for our Crymuster's tractors. A style inspired by nature itself."

He nodded at Dahly and they pulled the tarpaulin off, the attempted flourish ruined by stumbling backwards and falling on his rump with a squeak.

The war tractor was revealed,  covered in multicolored zigzags and splashes.

The crowd muttered as they regarded the dazzle painted war machine, looking like an enormous slab-sided beetle.

"Interesting" said the War Minister. "This new style. What do you call it?"

Pykaso looked blank. "Well, sir, it's umm.... called.... er...." He looked at the big boxy war tractors around them, waiting to be painted. Boxes. Cubes.

"I call this new style 'Cubism'."


Another bit fictional whimsy to introduce the latest additions to my Royalist Tractor Corps. 

My social media feed thought I'd find a picture of a Fiat 2000 tank interesting, and I immediately thought of the Quar. Well within half an hour Don had found an .stl for the obscure interwar Italian tank.

"How many would you like?"

"One is fine."

"I've already got two printing."

A misprinted track is replaced with cardboard and superglue 

The new Draepkidl Assault Tractor. Just the thing an ambitious Caerten needs to punch through Crusader trenches.

Decals are from the Tiger tank model which was the basis for the Iron Keep

Many years ago, I went to Historicon and bought some colonial gunboat deck guns from Houston's Ships. Well, my desire to build a colonial gunboat has waned. And I had a Zulu War British field gun that didn't sell at Hotlead. 

Some mild violence and superglue later, I Frankensteined together a Quar field gun. The Coftyran RCO field guns come in several patterns, so wheels instead of the tracked carriage that Zombiesmith makes are OK, and canonical.

One of my plans for the incoming plastic Quar is to make some gunners to crew this, the big fortress gun, and the wheeled machine gun I painted last year. The wheeled HMG is a Boer War 1 pdr pom-pom, that I bought at the same time as the deck gun. I probably don't need Quar for all three, since I doubt I'd use all three models in the same game.

I also got Don to print me a couple of Komsomolets WW2 Soviet artillery tractors. I may still make an ammunition caisson from a 25mm RAFM ACW caisson I have in the bits box. It can be in between the tractor and the gun, like a 25 pdr and caisson being pulled by a Quad truck. 


  1. Excellent tale and modelling.
    Alan Tradgardland

  2. Good story Bro. Nice detailing on the tanks.