Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - The Amber Shrine Board part eight

I had hoped that I would be able to finish this project over the Christmas break, but illness has seriously curtailed the progress. I am still confident that the gaming board will be finished - and soon, but a deadline of the Christmas and New Years holiday is now no longer realistic.

Photo One - shows a Chuthlu style alphabet which was used as the source of the runes. The eight panels spell - TONY & SUE (My wifes name is Sue, I know I'm just a romantic!)

Photo Two - shows the lit monolith, T and S showing.

Photo Three - shows the un-lit monolith, which will be painted grey - the black is just to hide light shining through and give some definition to the runes.


Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - The Amber Shrine Board part seven

Just a quick note to say that the whole project has been delayed over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I expect to be back on track very soon.


Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - The Amber Shine Board part six

Today I have included some preliminary sketches and ideas that have helped me with this project. In part one I commented how the construction article in No Quarter issue 21 was the main stepping-off point and the stone shrine area follows these dimensions. The main stone platform has a ground area of 9inches x 9inches, the upper step is 6inches x 6inches and the monolith has a base area of 3inches x 3inches. The height from base of the stone shrine to the top of the Amber Monolith is 8.5inches.

Photo One - shows the final designs sketch for the monolith shape and how it will fit onto the shrine. The basic shape owes a lot to illustrations in the Privateer Press magazines No Quarter.

Photo Two - shows how early designs were refined. The Elven Monolith taking a lot of ideas from the Forge World resin monolith. The second illustration was intended to be an amber coloured rock, but the edges of the 5mm Plexiglass would have been too prominent and without mitred corners (very difficult on Plexiglass, without specialised tools) the finish I wanted would have been impossible.

Photo Three - I have included this illustration of a gas fire to give an idea of the finish I was looking for.

Photo Four - the latest illustration of work-in-progress, with the top of the monolith constructed from plastic card covered in DAS. I have still not decided on the final designs of the runes or icons and have been searching the Internet for some inspiration.

More to follow...


Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - The Amber Shrine Board part five

Firstly, I have re-named the project The Amber Shrine as the orange Perspex reminds me of back-lit Amber!

Photo One - shows the tile, stone base and Perspex monolith in natural light.

Photo Two - shows the Perspex monolith and a set of 15 LED, battery operated 'snow drop' lights bought from British Home Stores for £3.00.

Photo Three - shows the lights (switched on) packed into the monolith.

Photo Four - as above but this photo is taken indoors and really shows the effect I am after, back-lit or glowing Amber. I like it.

More to follow...


Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - A Shrine Gaming Board part four

Yesterday and today I have been concentrating on sealing the edges of the 2 foot x 2 foot tile. and developing a brand new idea a tinted perspex monolith, lit from within - more details later.

I seal the edges of the foam board and exposed cardboard with strips of newspaper and PVA glue. I tear the paper into 3inch wide strips and apply over watered-down PVA glue, then more glue. Three separate layers of paper and four of glue - that's glue, paper, glue, paper, glue, paper and finally glue. The first layer of newspaper running from the top, down the sides and under the cardboard, the second across the joints from side-to-side and lastly top, side, bottom as the first layer. All sealed with another coat of watered-down PVA glue. Once the mix is fully dry I will apply some filler and sand smooth.

Photo One - the foam tile with edges sealed.

Photo Two - shows the 5mm thick clear-tinted Perspex (still with protective paper film and held together, temporarily with sellotape). Note; the additional step/layer on the top of the pyramid or Zigarat added yesterday and detailed with DAS modelling clay.

Photo Three - shows the Perspex monolith glued together with superglue and mounted on to the top of the shrine. I have started to add DAS modelling clay to the sides. My intention is to add a light or light effects into the tinted monolith with small icons carved into the DAS and back to the orange tinted acrylic sheet panels, hopefully giving an effect of glowing runes on a solid stone monolith!

In greater detail;
I picked up the 5mm Perspex acrylic sheet from the internet. I had wanted to use green tinted Perspex, but thought that the orange finish would give a 'warmer' feeling to the completed model. (I am also planning on using the Games Workshop orange wash to further tint the Orange Perspex). I bought 5mm thick sheets as I could use it for other projects if this idea fails.

I marked out the Perspex with a marker pen and cut the first couple of sides with a coping saw. The final two sides were scored and snapped, which gave a much better finish. The joint which cuts the monolith into two (top and base) was easy to reproduce, just 'cut and shut' with scrap Perspex. The inside surface was roughed up with sandpaper (the effect was tested by holding the panels against my modelling light). Construction was easy and I used superglue and accelerator. I sealed the joint between the top and bottom sections with sellotape before adding the DAS over a coat of PVA glue. The lid or top of the monolith will have a squat pyramid structure in card or plastic card, covered with DAS.

The lit monolith is a major new technique for me and one that I am still not convinced will work.

More to follow...


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - A Shrine Gaming Board part three

The first three photos show how after spending ages pressing texture into the blue foam, I have covered up at least half of the marks with DAS modelling clay!

Eagle-eyed followers will also see that I have removed the 'Bunny Ears' from the horses head statues, they just looked so wrong. In addition one of the heads has been partially destroyed by taking a hammer and chisel to it!

The following three photos show some of the initial work on the TSS flocked tile. I have added three layers of corrugated cardboard strips to the bottom four edges to give the base some strength and body. The photos show how the 3inch wide strips were glued to the edges and trimmed when dry. I will later add some newspaper/PVA glue to the edges and then filler as I have done with earlier gaming boards.

Photo One- the plain gaming tile.

Photo Two - the cardboard strips being added, I use PVA glue with a strip of double-sided sellotape down the centre to aid with positioning and secure the strip while the PVA glue sets.

Photo Three - the same tile with three strips of cardboard added.


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - A Shrine Gaming Board part two

This particular entry shows in greater detail how I work with Blue Foam. I have chosen a set of steps to illustrate my technique.

Photo One - shows the blue foam pieces loosely stacked on top of one another - I use small off-cuts from a 30mm thick sheet, sliced in to 10mm layers and sanded smooth.

Photo Two - shows the sections glued together (with PVA glue) and the first set of carving, which is carried out with a new blade in a Swan Morton scalpel. I have also started to 'round' the edges with a sanding stick. The small holes are where I have used dressmakers pins to hold the foam together while the glue sets. In some construction articles these pins are removed once the glue has set - I leave them in place.

Photo Three - more detailed carving with the scalpel and texture added by pressing the rough or broken edges of a broken roof tile into the foam. You can also run a pencil along the joints.

Photo Four - the finished steps set and glued in place.


Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas 2008 Project - A Shrine Gaming Board

With my desk full of part-finished modelling projects - I've started another one! My recent visit to Wargamer 2008, (the local wargames show, Perry Barr, Birmingham - Sunday 14th December) saw me walk away with two very influential purchases. The first was a plain 2 foot x 2 foot polystyrene terrain tile from Total System Scenics, bought for £6.50 and the second was the current issue of No Quarter (issue 21), which included an article entitled 'Building a Trollblood Krielstone Shrine' ( pages 86 - 90).

I was immediately 'hooked' and set about building a stone shrine model loosely based on the construction article. The main construction material is 'Blue Foam' with some spare 'Foam Board' and scrap card and four 'horses head' gaming pieces that I already had in my spares box, bought from Thailand last year and part of a Thai board game. I had wanted a more Oriental theme - in keeping with my Flash Gordon/Kang themed collection, but needs must and the horses heads were instantly available. Given more time I would have used Oriental chess pieces or Terracotta Warrior models.

I have differed from the No Quarter article by sloping the sides of the main structure, adding four sets of stairs, instead of one and building-up the base with foam board rather than mounting the whole thing on to a hill. The individual stones are carved with a scalpel and the texture is pressed into the foam with the rough edges of a broken roof tile (one of my favourite texturing tools). Further definition is obtained by running a pencil along the joints. The photos below show work-in-progress shots of the main shrine, the second photo shown on top of the TSS tile.

More to follow...


Saturday, 13 December 2008

American Civil war in 40mm

A brand new project. I have just bought some second-hand Wargames Foundry 40mm ACW miniatures off E-bay. These are the old Perry miniatures from the 90's. I intend painting them and mounting them as small dioramas rather than individual miniatures and will keep you updated as to the progress.

The American Civil War has always held and interest for me and I have modelled this conflict in 15mm, 20mm (plastic), 28mm and now 40mm.


Friday, 12 December 2008

John Carter of Mars

Regular followers of this Blog will know of the time and effort I have put in to my 40mm Flash Gordon collection. You may not be aware that I have also been following a separate thread of reading and hankering after some John Carter of Mars miniatures.

For general reading and comic book illustrations the Internet is a fine source, but I recently came across this link and felt that I should share it.

Maybe one day I will start a second collection of figures (scale unknown) of Barsoom figures!


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Painting (or lack of painting) this week

I paint with various acrylic paints in my shed at the bottom of the garden. See;
I do have lighting and heating, but the very cold weather has meant that the water in my water pot has ice floating on the top, which makes painting all but impossible!

Last year the freeze was so bad that the glass water pots (old cooking sauce or jam jars) actually cracked the glass, leaving water and ice all over my work surface.

I am hopeful that I can have some painting time before the end of the week when my plans are to visit the Wargamer show in Perry Barr near Birmingham, see;


Monday, 8 December 2008

Flash Gordon - Alien Figures part two

Here you see mid-point, work-in-progress shots of my latest Flash Gordon project - a group of four aliens.

The first figure was painted to test the colour and finish of the pale white or 'grey' alien look I was after. The miniature from Mithril is an Entling and stands just over 40mm tall. I have used Ghost grey from Vallejo as the base colour and built it up to pure white. I have yet to use any washes or varnish the figure. The miniature was painted over a white undercoat, rather than my more usual technique of a black undercoat.

It is mounted on to a 40mm round base which is modelled, in my usual manner with pieces of broken cork and fine sand.

I am pleased with the result, but feel the colour scheme is still a little too pale and 'washed-out'. This being the smallest figure in the group of four, has been painted much paler than the other three will be. I am still to decide if this finish is right.

Colour note;
I would say that the actual miniature colour (rather than the colour shown on the computer) is slightly bluer.


Thursday, 4 December 2008

Flash Gordon - Harpy Bats

I recently enquired of members of the Lead Adventure Forum if any reader could suggest a suitable miniature that I could use to model Harpy Bats from the Alex Raymond Flash Gordon comic strips to accompany my 40mm Flash Gordon figures.


It was suggested by Rhoderic, that Wyverns from Kallistra Ltd might, with a little re-modelling work. I purchased a set of three ORC FLYERS - code 110 from the Hordes & Heroes 10mm collection and with a small amount of modelling, some brute force (to bend the wings, necks and tails into different poses) and a couple of minutes painting, I had my Harpy Bats.

Each miniature is 45mm long and mounted on a 40mm round base with the clear section from a Games Workshop flying base. A very easy conversion and group of model to add to the Flash collection - thank you Rhoderik.

A colony of Harpy Bats!

My 200th post

My two hundredth post! And still going.

I have always been interested in making models, some of my first memories were my father building early Aurora plastic kits of airplanes and a grizzly bear diorama? Dad was an old school modeller and used to say that if a model was made from anything other than balsa and tissue – to was not a real model. However he also built ships in bottles and these were just fantastic little sculptures that I have never been able to copy or match. In addition my grandfather would make models, out of card, resin and wood. He also had a railway layout that filled a whole bedroom and I was allowed to run 'The Lord of the Isles' - a very special engine to me around the layout and ‘trouble shoot’ when engines or wagons stuck. That’s working with electricity and scalpels, all long before I was ten years of age.

I was born and brought up in Swansea, South Wales, where I regularly visited a now long gone model shop called REDANAS and later THE SWANSEA MODEL SHOP (which moved a number of times and is now also long gone). Later I built Airfix construction kits, tanks, planes and cars, as well as painting both the 1/72nd and 1/32nd scale plastic soldier sets – a box of 1/32nd Highlander Infantry being a very strong memory. Painting the tartan with Humbrol Enamels.

While still at school, I was fortunate to be introduced to a wargames club at Swansea University where American Civil War games were played on a regular basis. I still have a very strong and pleasant memory of students and lecturers allowing a spotty teenage boy to play with their precious Union regiments and even command a regiment or two during a large game! This was around the time of D&D coming to the UK and once again the same group would sometimes allow a teenager to take part. I collected highly modified (with placticine and PVA glue) 1/32nd fantasy models which I was very proud of.

So, from here I started to collect and paint very early Citadel figures which were painted with tube acrylic paint and although the finished article would be frowned upon today – I was still learning and enjoyed myself. Wargames and role playing was carried out at home, with a group of like-minded friends (which I still have and we often talk about those early days) and a wargame club that used to meet in an old church near the City centre on a Sunday afternoon. Great memories.

It was around this time that I started to collect White Dwarf (and still have issues dating back to issue 12 in the attic – something I doubt I will ever get rid of). An Uncle of mine, modelled airplanes and even had a railway layout (he still does) and allowed me to borrow books and magazines (he still does - the most recent 'borrow' is an anthology of Mechano Magazine articles).

As time went on I left school met a girl, Sue (now my wife) and had children, Holly my beautiful daughter and Gary my successful son. All through these years I have collected painted and played with model soldiers, planes and tanks. (My daughter stated quite recently that the smell of varnish - drying on model soldiers was the over-riding smell memory of her childhood). My interests are quite mixed and although this Blog shows many Victorian Science Fiction, and Space Modelling. I regularly model WW1 aircraft and build historical models both for myself and others. My main modelling interests at this time are; Flash Gordon, Flintloque, VSF (Victorian Science Fiction) and scratch building terrain. All of these subjects are featured on this Blog. Other interests are Warhammer Fantasy - the early rules and figures, of which I have loads and narrow gauge railways. One final point - I love reading about making or painting or wargaming with models and have a very large collection of books, magazines and articles that I regularly read, re-read and re-read again.

I have also built my own model railway layouts – narrow gauge layouts with scratch built engines, rolling stock and buildings which have featured a number of specialist modelling magazines. Some of the engines I still have and I am sure I will return to this modelling pastime at some stage as I still visit model railway shops and shows.

I have written before that I feel I am a modeller first – a painter second and a wargamer third. I do not believe that this has changed. Thank you to all who have discussed modelling and painting with me. Of special note are three people who are no longer with us – my Father Ken, my Grandfather David and Roy Disley, who used to run the BMSS (the British Model Soldier Society) in Worcester and allowed me to develop my modelling and painting skills under his tutelage.