Monday, 30 June 2008

My Daughter is now a Teacher - official

This week, after a year of training and three years at Cardiff University - Holly became a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) and will take up her permanent position in September.


Love from Mum & Dad

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Waylands Forge - Birmingham

I was lucky enough to have time this week to visit Waylands Forge, Birmingham. I usually find that if I am in Birmingham I will be working and have very little time to browse the blisters of miniatures.

I spent time searching through the Reaper Dark Heaven Legends blister packs and picked up a selection of miniatures to be used with my 40mm Flash Gordon collection.

The first is - GARRAVANK THE GHOUL KING - 02718 (£4.65). My intention was to paint him as a Mudman and growing out of the ground, however the base needed to be cut back quite a bit to mount the model on the 40mm base and once I had done this I modelled and painted the figure as stock. This is quite a heavy miniature and very top heavy! In my Flash Gordon collection the miniature will be used as a Mudman.

The second is the STONE GOLEM - 02751 (£4.65). This particular figure was bought to paint as a muscle bound henchman, but once again the figure is so beautifully sculpted that I ended up basing and painting as stock. The miniature will be used as a Stoneman or Rockman. The metal elements (helmet, wristbands and belt buckle) were first painted dark brown, then bronze, copper and finally gold metalic, before being washed with an antique copper wash of dark blue/green which I have had for some time but this is the first time that I have used it. The finish is a matte verdegris that works very well.

Both miniatures are mounted on 40mm round bases - the Ghoul King is 42mm tall and the Stone Golem is 50mm tall.

In addition both miniatures used the new Games Workshop Washes. Black and Brown. They are very easy to use and I can imagine that they will become a regularly used product on my painting table. The washes were used straight from the pot and watered down.


PS. Even more 'Grey Miniatures' - I was tempted to paint them in different colours, but I think both look great in grey.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Flintloque - Highland Rats

I have stated that some of my favourite Alternative Armies/Flintloque miniatures are these Highland Rats, they are just full of character and were a real joy to paint.


Dr. Frankenstein and his creation

Firstly - sorry for the poor photo. The doctor figure is from AA, while the monster is from West Winds - the Horror Series. Very little conversion work, just tidying up prior to basing and painting.

Both figures are mounted on 2p pieces with the terrain built up from Milliput. The Greek windmill in the background is seen in much greater detail in this photo.


Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Flintloque Undead

Here I have a couple of Undead miniature experiments. The first are witchlands ghosts, standard Witchland troops painted white over light grey, inspired by the GW Lord of the Rings Undead and the images on the front of the Deadlands box set. For anyone interested, these are very easy to paint and a quick way of getting a unit on to the table. I know that GW also wash their ghosts with a green wash, which I might try out on a later batch. For me it was a very quick way of getting my Undead painted and based and out of the spares box!

Above is a modified Cossack standard bearer again painted as a ghost, rising from the spirit world on a metal spiral, painted as smoke! Again it was a way of getting miniatures out of the spares box and on to the gaming table.

The model building in the background is a Greek inspired water-drawing windmill, modelled with balsawood and card, on a DAS base with bamboo skewer supports for the sails. The sails were not modelled, however I do plan on building a Spanish Windwill model at some stage.


Flintloque Christmas Vignette

Some years ago Alternative Armies produced a Limited Edition Christmas Vignette which is very rarely seen. Here you can see my painted examples but without the large metal base.

A skeleton Santa and three evil snowmen each mounted on a 2p piece and with the bases modelled with Milliput.

An earlier post show some Evil Snowmen from Mark Copplestone, which have been modified to remain in keeping with these examples. I look forward to the day when AA produce similar Limited Edition sets of miniatures with this amount of character and fun.


Flintloque - Ruin

Here you see a based and painted ruined tower bought at a wargame show a couple of years ago. It is a vacuum formed white plastic model that cost less that £5.00 when purchased.

My intention was to use it to cast a Plaster-of-Paris model using it as a mould, then carve additional detail to it, as seen on some Rackham owned terrain. I tried it and the plaster casting was a failure - too much water I thnk! So I mounted the flimsy white plastic on to an off-cut of MDF and glued and nailed it down. The terrain was built up with DAS and the whole thing textured with PVA glue and fine sand.

I have added a small tree to one side in an attempt to make it look better, judge for yourself if I have been successful.

I was very dissapointed with the finish - it looks too toy like, however I will more-than-likely keep it. The figures are Dog Soldiers, painted and based as the uniform guidelines in Austrian uniform books.


Flintloque - Warning Beacon

Here I have posted a photo of a model of a warning tower or beacon that I built last year, this will be the first time that images would have been posted anywhere.

The inspiration came from a similar model featured in a GW Lord of the Rings monthly magazine - the sort that build in to a complete game after about 100 issues! The model construction followed the GW article very closely, with a foam board core on an MDF base.

The stonework is bult from small bricks, larger sections of plastic card and DAS modelling clay. The steps are small tiles given away free with a 'build your own dolls house' publication and the wood on the pyre is balsawood painted and stained before being glued down. Other decorative detail is restricted to small features and bits from my spares box, for example the barrel.

Painted with acrylics and flocked with green 'sawdust' flock to match in with my skirmish board.


Flintloque - Portuguese Town House

Many months ago I saw an illustration in a travel brochure of a modern Portuguese house. I decided that I would model it as close to the original as possible and paint it in the same colours - a bright yellow with slate slabs around the base and terra cotta tiles.

The first and second photos show the finished building with a Flintloque figure added for scale and posed on my Flintloque Skirmish board which is textured and covered with various green flock. The third and fourth photos show work-in-progress - built and undercoated.

The building is constructed from a core of foamboard with the edges covered in paper and PVA glue. The slate slabs are card, as are the door and window surrounds.

The roof is thin card covered with small toy beads or tubes from the manufacturer Hama, they are cut in half, length ways and at a slight angle before being glued down one-by-one with PVA glue. The whole roof is then painted with PVA glue to seal it and when dry re-coated with a mix of PVA glue and filler.

The walls are coated with DAS modelling clay to give a rough texture and character. The doors are balsawood, first textured and then cut to size before being glued in place. Other detail is plastic sprue and bits from my spares box.

The base is 6mm thick MDF board, built up with DAS and textures with small stones and coarse sand.

The model was painted with acrylics (each roof tile paint individually) and washed with a thin wash of black/brown before being sealed with matte varnish. Later green flock was added to the base. The final thing was some touching up of the paint work and adding the tall grasses, which are bristles from an old broom.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

One Hundred Not Out!

The 100th Blog entry is a landmark for me and I have been thinking what to include in this special entry - more Flash Gordon, more Space 1889/Aeronef or even a new PULP airplane I am working on? Even more Flintoque (I still have loads to up-load). But no - I have included a link to the Online Portfolio of my son, who is just about to finish at the University of Cumbria.

I hope that you enjoy browsing the work he has just finished. I think the electronic art that he does is very special.


Flintloque Miniature Gallery

Over the last ten years I have been building a huge collection of Flintloque miniatures some modified or converted, however I also have a lot of non - Alternative Armies figures that I have painted in the Flintloque style.

This particular gallery of figures show some of those conversions and non Alternative Armies figures. I hope that you like them.

Most of the Alternative Armies figures should be obvious, but can you identify the 'stand in or non - AA miniatures?'


Monday, 9 June 2008

Flash Gordon - Horned Beast

It is a well known fact that the early Alex Raymond comic strips of Flash Gordon from King Syndicates would always contain a horned beast. There were apes with horns, horses with horns and even a gorilla (see earlier posts)!

This is a Blue Stormlizard from D&D miniatures (30/60 LE39) bought for £2.00 from Games Expo 2008, Birmingham last month. It has been cleaned, filled (around the neck and ears) and based before being painted with acrylic paints.

I had wanted to call it a Blue Horned Lizard, but the horn isn't blue - so Horned Beast it is. The colour scheme is the same as the original - just a re-paint, however the small studded growths you see on the hide have been painted in to add a touch of difference.

A perfect beast for Flash to battle with and its got a horn, what more could I ask for? The model is 80mm long and is mounted on a 50mm round base.


NB. The miniature is not quite as 'blue' in real life - it must have been the light!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

The Red Knight of Vienna

What follows is a short story of how I became the very proud owner of this original painting, The Red Knight of Vienna. But first a short history lesson. Back in the 1950's the American plastic kit manufacturer Aurora launched a range of 1/8th scale plastic kits, the first of which were a group of knights. I think The Red Night was the second. Later the same company launched the very successful Horror Range with Dracula, The Mummy and Frankenstien.

The illustration above shows the second box art design for The Red Night - the original of which is one of my most prized possessions.

Some years ago while working in near Dis in Norwich I visited a small local pub where this painting was on display behind the main bar. I commented to the owner that I recognised the painting and I was able to correctly identify it as The Red Knight. The conversation soon got around to his wife who had painted the original while an art student in America.

There was more to come the artist was the daughter of the American figure manufacturer Risley, who you can still find advertising in American modelling magazine to this day. I was shown some original pen sketches and finished art work, but as I was working I had to leave.

Some months later I had a phone call from the pub owner and his wife who were leaving the pub and the painting was up for sale. I commented that I would ask around if anyone would like to purchase it, but was not sure I would be able to find anyone. After speaking to my wife she said that if I wanted to place a bid for the painting I could and within a couple of days the painting was mine.

As well as the original painting I was given a partially completed kit and another original pen and ink drawing by her father - Sherlock Homes and the Baker Street Boys.

The original frame was very badly damaged and the first thing I did was to have it cleaned and re-framed as you see it in the top photo.

The picture is displayed above the stairwell of my home and is commonly referred to as The Red Knight! The frame size is about 40 inches by 18 inches.


Friday, 6 June 2008

Flash Gordon - Arborean Forest Guardian

Here we have a very old Citadel or more correctly Marauder Treeman. The model had remained based and undercoated for some years (maybe more than fifteen years), until one day through a freak accident the model was damaged and removed from the square base I had attached it to.

As I was thinking about scraping the metal beast I thought about adding it to the ever growing Flash Gordon collection and so it was re-based on to 50mm round base and the groundwork re-modelled with DAS.

In addition to the repairs that were carried out on this model after the accident I used a different technique for pinning the two large arms to the main body. I first glued the arms in place with super glue and then drilled and pinned them, covering up the hole and joint with 'green stuff'. I have read recently of others using this process on Privateer Press Miniatures (Warmachine and Hordes) with great success.

The painting which was done with acrylics was very simple and quick, drybrushing over black with a couple of washes and picking out the ivy with green, the birch bark with grey and the knots and detail with light brown and cream.

The model was varnished and a couple of clumps of static grass added to the base.

As Prince Barin is a Forrester, an Arborean or in some books a Treeman, I felt that 'Arborean Forest Guardian' was a better name for this particular animated monster.

The model stands over 80mm tall, foot to top of claw and is based on a 50mm round base.

The miniature was not bought, but given to me by John Stallard, Managing Director of Games Workshop after I visited the old GW offices in Lenton, Nottingham many years ago. I had been asked to attend a form of interview, and took along some scratch built Warhammer buildings and terrain as well as painted figures. After the meeting which seamed to go on for hours, I was taken on a guided tour of the production plant and given a cardboard box to fill with lead miniatures. Here is one of those miniatures, based and painted!

It is a memory that will stay with me for a very long time and one of the reasons why after all these years I can never quite bring myself to be really negative about Games Workshop.


Flash Gordon - Leader of the Stone Men

"Sorry - but yet another grey miniature! This time a resin figure from Fenryll, a stone or rock elemental."

The figure was slightly modified by having the base re-sculpted and additional rocks added before the groundwork was built up with DAS.

The figure stands 55mm tall and is mounted on a 40mm round base. Painting was very simple, a black undercoat with grey dry-brushing and an earth wash before the final detail was picked out. This is beautiful sculpt and one that I would recommend to anyone. I can envisage painting another one at some time in the future.


Flash Gordon - Space Monster

This latest photo shows a painted and based Space Monster or Umber Hulk from Grim Reaper Castings and bought from Spirit Games Burton on Trent. I am not sure if this particular miniature is still available. The model comes with separate mandibles which were cleaned up and glued with super glue..

The model was painted blue/grey with bone coloured claws and red eyes. The body of the monster was gloss varnished for effect. This is quite a bulky or weighty figure, which does not come across in this photo, the model stands 55mm tall and mounted on a 50mm round base.

Even though intended as a Fantasy Monster, the Umber Hulk is an ideal Space Opera Monster in this scale (40mm) - as it is easy to imagine an actor in a monster suit chasing Buster Crabbe across a cardboard movie set!


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Flash Gordon - Thing!

This is a D&D Miniature called the 'Caller in Darkness' 49/60 U from the Unhallowed set. It is cast in smoke coloured clear resin and was re-based on to a 40mm round base and the base textured with DAS and a little 'green stuff'. The only painting was the base and some highlighting around the faces, other than that the miniature is stock!

"Now that I have seen the miniature on the computer - I think I might paint the tongues on some of the faces."

I have no idea what to call it or how I will use it, I just thought it was a really great sculpt and after less that one hour the miniature was based, painted and varnished.

The miniature was bought at Games Expo, Birmingham for £2.00 and stands just over 70mm tall. It is a very striking addition to the Flash Gordon collection.

The D&D Miniature Game offers a great deal of ready painted miniatures that you can regularly purchase from e-bay for very little money. The range offers a whole host of models that fit in with my choosen scale of 40mm, but are just as much at home with 28mm, or even 15mm figures. Check out;

Go to D&D Miniatures for a gallery of all the sets.


Flash Gordon - Snakeman

This particular Snakeman miniature is a modified Stygian Guardian from Chronopia or Heartbreaker Miniatures (No. 2811). I bought the miniature from Spirit Games, Burton on Trent some years ago and it has been languishing in my miniature box just waiting for me to re-model and paint it.

The original miniature had four arms, the top two holding cutting blades (see the spear tops from my Rockmen, in an earlier post) and the bottom two holding a spear/axe. The first thing I did was cut up the solid metal base so I could mount it on my usual 40mm round, plastic base - this took some time as there is quite a bit of metal on the original base!

Next I attached the head and then re-modelled the rear neck and upper back with 'green stuff'. The spear was replaced with a length of wire and the axe and spear head modelled and attached. Both hands were re-modelled with 'green stuff' and the base was textured with DAS and sand.

Painting started with the blue skin and after some washes of dark blue the armour was first painted with dark brown, then bronze and later bronze/gold before being given a brown wash and highlighted with silver.

The skull plates and belly scales are Spearshaft Brown highlighted with Spearshaft Brown and White.

The body of the Snakeman and the metal plates were varnished with gloss varnish, while the base was matt varnished.

The model stands 50mm tall and is mounted on a 40mm round base.


Monday, 2 June 2008

Mordian Guard Steam Tank

For some months I have been thinking about modelling a steam powered tank to support a Games Workshop Praetorian Guard squad. I like the idea of producing a Victorian Science Fiction based steam tank to support this group of obviously Victorian era based sculpts.

I would envisage this as a light or infantry support tank rather than a huge assault tank.

The only problem is that GW Praetorian Guard miniatures are either very rare or very expensive. This weekend I settled on a compromise and picked up two second-hand Mordian Guard miniatures from Games Expo, Birmingham for £2.00 each and the project was begun.

Before I start this project I want to be clear that this is not a top priority project and it might never be finished! However I hope that the tutorial helps readers to understand my thought pattern when starting such a modelling project and the unusual materials I use.

The starting point is a 'transformer' toy bought for 99p in a cheap pound shop.

Then a LEGO hull.

Next the LEGO was clad with plastic card, a section of clear plastic tube, sliced to size and then cut in half length ways was added to the front. More LEGO bricks were clad to add interest to the rear and act as a base for the steam engine, which is an Action Man toy then a plastic ring from a Star Wars game was added as the base of the turret. The white section just below the gold ring is in fact a section of under-arm deodorant bottle.

This photo show the turret top - a section of under-arm deodorant bottle top and plastic card, plus the second-hand Mordian Guard figure to show scale.

As above.

I thought that the model was too small and needed to be a little longer, but the size of the tracks was fixed by the 'Transformer' toy, I added a steering trolley to the rear as seen on some early WW1 tanks.

Another photo showing the steering trolley.

The steering trolley uses LEGO wheels and a frame made from a plastic chop-stick plus plastic card.

As above.

I am not sure how this particular tank will turn out - I do see lots of rivets and more steam pipes, but as the model is just developing, who knows what it will eventually turn out like! I did not try to sketch a layout - but just played with the LEGO bricks to build the main hull and when I found a section of plastic tube/pipe, the curved hull front just came to me.

Other material used so far are - a coin, the tops of two felt tip pens and a section of spacecraft! Without it sounding like a plea, any comments would be very well received, maybe it could be a 'group built' with Blog readers commenting on how I should proceed?


Sunday, 1 June 2008

UK Games Expo, Birmingham

I visited the second UK Games Expo on Saturday, 31st May, 2008 at the Clarendon Suite, Birmingham. I arrived just before the official opening time of 10.00am and was one of the lucky ones, securing a parking spot.

I visited the first Expo last year and was very impressed with the venue and show, this year I felt that the whole show was not quite as good as last year, however I spent over twice the amount of cash I did on my first visit - so there must have been more here to tempt me.

The organisation of the whole event is very good - one of the best gaming shows I have ever attended in this respect and I would hope that this continues in future shows.

On entering I was presented with a full colour A4 booklet showing details of the event, the exhibitors and adverts, a commemorative dice (a nice touch) and a whole host of leaflets and fliers. The first hall I visited was already packed and full of exhibitors and visitors, I enjoyed the walk around and glanced at some of the exhibition or participation games. My only criticism was that this hall was poorly lit and the hundreds of blisters on display were difficult to see, later on a return visit the lighting seamed better, maybe I had just got used to it.

The main entrance opens on to a very impressive stairwell where Dr Who and Star Wars re-enactors were entertaining the public. (I realise that there are many who do not like this aspect of the hobby, but there is no doubt that families and members of the general public love these displays). Upstairs there are a whole host of smaller exhibition and gaming areas, which I thought added to the day, as you would enter a smaller hall and be confronted by a completely different game or tournament. I would also add that the building and decoration is very impressive having hundreds of Masonic or Freemason items that I also enjoyed looking at.

The main up stair halls were also filling up by this time and I took the opportunity to sit and eat, before exploring the bring-and-buy stand, which I felt was less well supported that last year. My major purchases were miniatures and terrain pieces with a couple of new paints.

All in all, a fantastic day out and well worth the £5.00 entry charge, well done to everyone concerned.