He’s a dick, but he’s a local dick

To begin this week, the gladiator has now been finished, and you can see the pictures over on Putty and Paint. I also took a picture of him next to my last gladiator (painted around May this year), which I think shows a really nice progression. It’s good to be able to see improvement over a relatively short time.

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The plinths aren’t actually the same height, unfortunately; the murmillo’s plinth is basically wearing platforms.

Anyway, with that out of the way, it’s time to move on to my next project.

Last time, you may recall I said I was thinking of doing a Necromunda diorama with the new Escher models I picked up. Unfortunately, I started painting one of them and remembered why I:

a) Don’t paint 32mm any more; and
b) Don’t paint GW any more.

In brief, the details are all over the place, the muscles are just silly to work with, and I honestly can’t get my brush to work with most of the figure. When you’re used to painting models designed with painters rather than gamers in mind, you get a little spoiled.

Anyway, this brings me on to the actual next project: Cromwell. If you read my entries about the English Civil War chap I painted a few months ago, you’ll know I have a dim opinion of Cromwell. He was a right shit, after all.

On the other hand, he was a local shit. Sort of. Cromwell lived in Ely at one point, and that means that one of the two major tourist attractions in town is his house, which features delightfully ugly mannequin sort of things, which you can see in some of the pictures on the official website. Ely’s not a very big town, so we make do with what we have.

I picked up a new model of Cromwell from Dark Star Miniatures when I was over at SMC. Aside from the fact that there’s a local connection and that I quite like the costumes from that era, I was drawn to the figure because it was sculpted by Mike Blank, and I’d been interested in giving one of his figures a go. They’re all nice, simple pieces with a good sense of character and purpose. They’re also considerably larger than 32mm, which is a real bonus.

Anyway, I decided to set him in quite a famous moment, one that’s been captured in paintings before, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it in miniature: when Cromwell suspended the Rump Parliament.

In brief, Parliament had been due for elections but was saved by war breaking out with the Dutch, so the MPs got to keep their jobs for a little longer – much to Cromwell’s annoyance. Meanwhile, those same MPs were conspiring to preserve their jobs – Cromwell wanted elections (although it’s really unlikely they would have been free and fair elections) but the sitting Members all wanted to just rearrange the electorates and keep membership the same. This all came to a head when Cromwell sat in on Parliament one day, put up with a few speeches, then ordered his soldiers to clear the chamber, glared at the Speaker’s Mace (which is the symbol of parliamentary authority) and declared it a “fool’s bauble” and had his soldiers remove it, too.

As I say, there have been a few versions in art – a few samples:

As you can see, they follow a few staples: Cromwell, the mace on a table, and soldiers milling about with MPs. In the current climate, I’m sure a few people can sympathise with Cromwell, but you have to remember that he was a real dick.

I’m keeping the whole scene much simpler and focusing on Cromwell and the mace, and here’s where I’ve got to so far: some floorboards, a carpet and Cromwell. The table for the mace is a work in progress – I’m trying to make the one visible table leg interesting without being too much, and I’m contemplating not having a cloth over it because it’ll obscure too much of the figure. It’s horribly exciting work.

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