Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Voyage begins...

The story of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece has been told many times and, indeed, even the ancient sources conflict with one another; meaning that there is no definitive version.  Although much of what will follow will have been inspired by Charles H Schneer's film Jason and the Argonauts (1963), in fact I first came across the story in a book by Roger Lancelyn Green which I had as a child .  I had several of his books about greek myths and remember one in particular, Tales of the Greeks and Trojans, as it had some striking illustrations; particularly for the stories about Troy where Achilles led his turquoise-crested Myrmidons.  I still have a desire to paint any Myrmidon figures I might do turquoise as a result!

Lancelyn Green was one of the "inklings" at Oxford with JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis, who was his tutor at Merton College.  Indeed, it was Lancelyn Green who came up with the title: The Chronicles of Narnia, for Lewis' novels.

It was, however, a viewing of the Ray Harryhausen film on my uncle's colour television (at a time when hardly anyone had them) that got me really involved with the story.  I subsequently played out the scenes using Lego; including a Lego Argo and clashing rocks.  The Argonauts were Airfix Romans and Poseidon was played by Action Man.

A few years ago I bought the Hallmark TV miniseries which is not as bad as many of the reviews would have you believe (the art direction is particularly effective).  Next, I bought all the Foundry Argonaut figures but there were no suitable rules, although I did track down a variant based on Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings rules.  Now, however, Wargames Foundy have come out with their Tribes of Legend rules and some new Greek mythological figures so, given that I am looking for a skirmish project this year which doesn't involve too much painting, we shall see the Argo launched on its journey to seek out new life and new civilisations across the known and into the unknown world.

I have actually painted four Argonaut figures now and have two more well on the way.  The first two, Herakles and Atalanta I did some time ago but we shall look at each of the Argonauts in more detail in other posts.

I won't just be looking at the Jason quest as, for example, The Tribes of Legend rules have a section on how to recreate the labours of Herakles and I think I will want to pit Perseus against the Gorgons too!