Monday, 30 March 2009

Where do you paint?

This is not the first time that I have posted pictures of my workbench, in fact there is an earlier post on this very Blog showing my 'shed'. But as I have just tidied it and it doesn't stay clean and tidy for very long, I thought that a couple of pictures would be fun.

Photo One - The main painting desk with two daylight angle lamps, one to each side and the North facing window. The painting station is based on the GW model, but built by me from some scrap contiboard and 5mm plastic sheet. On the shelf in front of the window, you can see some of my huge range of acrylic paints.

Photo Two - A view from the corner of the room showing the general layout. I have a double electrical socket which gives power to the lights, the digital radio and work tools, which are stored to the left. The draws to the left and below the desk contain a host of useful and not so useful tools that I have built up over many, many years. In fact there are some that belonged to my Father and Uncle!

And finally - Photo Three - the shed at the bottom of the garden. Now ten years old. The white plastic and blue foam has been collected from many different sources and is regularly called upon by me, my son, my daughter and friends to build all sorts of different modelling or repair projects.


Friday, 27 March 2009

The Dwarf Sauerkraut Wars - the regiments part four

Regiment four - Bugman's Beer Wagon

Allegiance - Neutral, I would expect both sides in this bitter Civil War to see a beer cart as neutral. Or, maybe not if they were very thirsty!

It is common knowledge that a Dwarf army marches on its stomach - its something to do with their short legs! But Dwarves will crawl into battle for a stein of beer and absolutely the most famous brewer of all is Bugman, his three X brew being the standard by which all other beers are judged.

Following earlier posts I knew that I just had to have a beer wagon to support my Dwarf Sauerkraut Wars collection and a quick Google/E-Bay search brought up the old Games Workshop Bugmans Beer Cart. The prices fetched by this out-of-production metal model are quite staggering and as I was uncertain that the miniature would work with the larger Flintloque Dwarves I decided to build my own.

Photo One - Shows the completed vignette of wagon draft-boar and brewer.

Photos Two and Three - Show the same vignette from different angles.

Photo Four - Shows work-in-progress on the cart/wagon. The barrel being a resin casting, actually two barrels cut-and-shut to make one, as the barrels had detail on the tops only. The Cart and yolks are plastic card while the wheels came from my spares box - Games Workshop Snotling wagon, I think.

Photo Five - Most of the modelling has been completed, the AA boar has been bulked-out (it is fed on the very best brewers hops after all!) The wagon-master is the officer from the Landwehr artillery blister pack (52009).

Photo Six - In this photo you can see how I had tried to build a small vignette, however I later felt that the base was too large and the barrel too big. I removed the boar and re-based it on to a much smaller base, see below.

Photo Seven - The smaller base and barrel added to a thick plastic card base with the ground-work built up with DAS modelling clay.

Photo Eight - The cart/wagon was temporarily mounted on to a cocktail stick (a small hole was drilled in to the base of the axle) so I could more easily hold the model during painting. Once completed the cocktail stick was cut off flush and the exposed end painted Black, Dark Brown and washed.

The Wagon was painted Dark Brown over a Black basecoat, highlighted with Snakebite Brown and some White and washed with Games Workshop Washes, Black and Sepia. The detailing is painted either Black, Grey or Rust colour and the lettering hand painted, first with Pale Grey and later pure White.

Once finished I washed the whole model with 'watered down' GW Black Wash.

Photo Nine - I had once read that many wagon master during the Napoleonic Wars wore very bright and flamboyant uniforms, I painted this Dwarf in suitably bright colours. The boar was painted over a Black undercoat and the smaller barrel was painted in the same way as the wagon.

Photo Ten - The finished vignette.

I would hope that AA/Flintloque modellers will forgive the cross-over of AA and GW backgrounds, as I really could not bring myself to name this beer wagon anything other than Bugman's Beer Wagon!


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ravenor Returned by Dan Abnett

I have just finished this Warhammer 40,000, Black Library hardback - RAVENOR RETURNED by Dan Abnett. The book is the second in a series, I have not read the first novel - RAVENOR.

I found the book a great read, a cross-over novel that keeps to the Warhammer 40,000 background but has elements of Call of Cthulhu and Sherlock Holmes, it is written in a fast and flowing form that is so easy to read. The imagery is very gritty in the same way that The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis was and captures a very down-to-earth world with 'real characters'. I found myself reading the story and visualising it as an action movie.

In the past I have always read Black Library books and particularly books by Dan Abnett as easy reads, lots of action with shoot-them-up themes - 'Holiday reading'. This particular book moves forward with a great story, background and is very well written. Highly recommended.

The book was bought for me as a Christmas present, it took me some time to start the book as I have been reading other novels (see earlier posts), but once started it moved along very quickly.

The details are;
Ravenor Returned by Dan Abnett, a Black Library Publication ISBN: 1-84416 184 6


Monday, 23 March 2009

50th Birthday surprise

To coincide with Mothers Day 2009, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Presents included a Dremel 300, a new chair for my modelling room and a book called Constructing Space - a book about model space craft.

In addition we booked a narrow boat trip on the Tardebige canal and had a picnic with both my Mother and my Mother-in-Law, Yvonne and Flo. On returning to the house my Wife, Sue had booked an Alfa Romeo Spider for 24 hours, a fantastic surprise.

We have just returned home after a day driving around the Cotswolds in the Spider, stopping at Broadway, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-wold and Moreton in-Marsh. A fantastic day out - a really memorable birthday.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Here is a great Victorian Science Fiction or VSF source - Voyages Extraordinaries - Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age.

Check it out at;


Monday, 16 March 2009

Dwarf Camp Followers - 52017

These miniatures were painted in one session, while listening to football on Radio 5 last week. They are the four miniatures from the Flintloque Dwarf Camp Followers blister pack - code 52017.

Each figure is mounted on to a 2p coin and the base built up with Milliput, they have been painted over a black undercoat using a wide variety of paints from various manufacturers, the finished models have been varnished with polyurethane varnish and then artists acrylic matt varnish.


Friday, 13 March 2009

The Dwarf Sauerkraut Wars - the Regiments part three

Regiment Three - Lagerfilled's Krautian Guard

Allegiance - Krautian

The ale crazed Karl Lagerfilled and his 'rag-tagged' group of Krautian Musteteers take to the field on the side of the Krautians. Well that's the official line anyway! "Karl knows no moderation, just as in life there are never enough barrels of ale, in war there are never enough enemies to kill. Even the most loyal Krautian would prefer this particular character and regiment to their front, where they can see them and avoid them, rather to their sides."

Commanders must take care to keep these killers away from any kegs of lager or fortified wine. Inns and Tavern are a definite Nein, Nein and if there is a brewery within the vicinity, brewers beware! One final comment on this group. Dwarves think they can hold their beer, Ogres know they can, - a barrel under each arm.

"Come and have a drink if you think you're hard enough."

This group of eight Musketeers include Karl with stein (LE011), some modified Krautian infantry and a converted Krautian Ogre with Kannonderbuss.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Ragnarok - an Anarchist Aeronef

"I had planned on calling this post a Weekend Project, but this small modelling project has in fact taken six days!"

Earlier this year I picked up a batch of second-hand, back-issues of Ragnarok the in-house magazine of The Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction Wargamers or SFSFW. In issue 33, October 2001 there is an article by John Wilson entitled The Black Fleet, The Anarchist Scourge of the Skies. I was so taken with the illustration and article that I decided to model the Aeronef illustrated.

Photo One - The finished model, The Ragnarok

Photo Two - Here is a copy of the drawing that inspired the model. The illustration is by Steve Flanagan and reproduced with permission of the Rag's editor Steve Blease.

Photo Three - The model constructed, but still to be painted. The main hull is two giant colouring pencils, glued side-by-side and clad in plastic card. The 'R Matter' domes are clear plastic cocktail stirrer ends. The model was built directly from the above illustration, I did not even attempt to produce a plan.

Photo Four - the finished model, painted very dark grey with a teak deck and named Ragnarok in thanks to Steve Blease for allowing me to use the illustration. Thank you Steve, I hope that you approve.

The hull is 144mm long (from the tip of the nose to the back of the propellers) and 54mm wide (across the tail). The Anarchist 'A' is hand painted over a Dark Grey/Black basecoat. The model is built to the nominal scale of 1/600th, 1/700th to accompany the Luther Arkwight fleets. See earlier posts.

For anyone interested in joining the SFSFW, the details are;


Monday, 9 March 2009

WMMS Alumwell

On Sunday 8th March, I visited The West Midlands Military Show organised by the Alumwell Wargames Society at the Aldersley Leisure Villlage, Wolverhampton. The leaflet I have states that this is the 33rd such show and if this is correct, then I really must congratulate the organisers, past and present for all the hard work they have done over the years. Well done.

The venue is very good and with the one minor complaint about parking, I would say that it is one of the better wargame/military show venues in the Midlands. I arrived just after opening time, having driven up from Worcester and spent the first hour walking around the traders and stockists which are situated around the sides of the main hall. For me, the most eye catching was the WWII display of actual military equipment - the centre piece being a working Jeep and trailer and a display of Police cars modelled in 1/25th scale. Other displays of note (showing beautifully painted miniatures) were all of the modelling stands. The Black Scorpion display and the Westwinds Productions display cabinet are worth special note.

Later I browsed the wargame display tables and enjoyed entering in to conversation with some of the exhibitors. I had taken my camera, but once again completely forgot to take any pictures. Wargame displays that caught my attention were the Samurai game, small, but very well done and the huge WWII exhibit that was near the main entrance.

When it came to spending my pocket money - the main recipient was Mr Models, a retailer that is based on the west side of Birmingham and one that I regularly visit, however the show displays that this store puts on at exhibitions is quite special and tempted me with purchases of tools, Plastic card and rod, superglues, resin and (the for the first time ever) a Zuron cutter which was reduced to half price!

Other purchases were a box of 1/35th Tamiya Samurai from the Bring-and-Buy stand, this is a set that I had owned and built as a teenager, but just couldn't help taking a nostalgia trip and picking up again! I bought some second-hand Military Modeller and Practical Wargamer magazines, which I have already read from cover to cover.

I also picked up a 'bargain priced' and as new edition of Aeronef by Steve Blease for just £2.00. This is why I love these shows.

I spent some time speaking to Mark and Russel on the Parabellum stand. And just for Mark here is the picture of my Flintloque terrain set out on the pool table - over one hundred separate pieces of mainly scratch built terrain to support my ever growing Flintloque miniatures collection. Just 'click' on the photo for a better view.

In addition, the Blog that we talked about is Figoblogotheque, a huge and regularly updated collection of other people's Blogs, see;

I was disappointed to read on the TMP message boards that there had once again be thefts from the Bring-and-Buy stand, a negative story from an otherwise faultless show.


Friday, 6 March 2009

Flash Gordon - Mudmen part two

In the earlier post, I described how the Reaper Miniatures Earth Elemental was either modified or converted to produce three unique 40mm Flash Gordon Mudmen.

In this post I will detail how I painted them.

Photo One - Here you see the main painting completed. I used acrylic paints throughout, the base colour was a mix of three paints; Chaos Black from Games Workshop, Charcoal Black 34B from Foundry and Gunship Green from Model Color. Each of the miniatures was painted with a mix of these three colours, however each figure was painted with different proportions, one with more black, one with more grey and one with more green. This gave a variety to the colour and tone of each Mudman, but also kept a uniform theme running through all three.

The mid tone was added with a 'wetbrush' technique - think drybrushing, but with more paint on the brush using the same three base colours and a touch of Ivory from Model Color.

The highlights were added not with a brush but with small pieces of torn sponge (the same sponge material that is used in miniature packaging/blister packs). I used more Ivory and even some Skull White from Games Workshop to give a more stark highlight. The 'sponging' was done with the torn side of the sponge and in the same way as drybrushing, - very little paint on the sponge.

Once I was happy with the highlighting I washed the models with Games Workshop Washes - the Black and Sepia washes.

Photo Two - the same three miniatures, with the bases painted. You will also notice that I have added some dark brown splotches to the upper shoulders and forearms, this was to add some variation to the mainly grey colour scheme.

Using the 'stock' Earth Elemental miniature I have detailed below the varnishing and finishing techniques that I like to use.

Photo Three A - the painted miniature. I decided not to paint the eyes, keeping the recesses dark gives a more dramatic effect!

Photo Three B - the gloss varnishing.

Photo Three C - Matt Varnishing (a water based acrylic matt varnish).

Photo Three D - Varnished and flocked with static grass.

Photo Four - shows the three Mudmen finished. I couldn't resist adding some static grass to the upper shoulder areas of each of the three miniatures.

The miniatures are mounted on to 40mm round bases and stand 44mm tall (top of head to bottom of feet). The colour scheme was not ideal - I feel that more colour was needed, however as the painting progressed and the GW washes were added, I rather liked the dark and brooding colour. Maybe I should not have added the static grass to the shoulders, but once again, it just looks right (and there isn't that much). Flash Gordon cinema serial Mudmen, were able to blend into the surrounding rock and become invisible, they also spoke backwards (reversed magnetic tape recordings). My Mudmen are more mud elemental's, but fit nicely with the rest of the Flash Gordon collection. In the future I plan to add at least one more to the group.


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Shadows over Baker Street - new tales of horror

I have always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in particular the short stories. This book is an anthology of twenty short stories by different authors, all with a H. P. lovecraft theme. Edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan.

I can do no better than quote the description on the back page;
"What would happen if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's peerless detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his allies were to find themselves faced with Lovecraftian mysteries whose solutions lay not only beyond the grasp of logic, but beyond sanity itself? In this collection of original tales, twenty of today's cutting-edge writers provide answers to that burning question."

A real 10 out of 10 read. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Each story takes the traditional Sherlock Holmes characters or Allies and pits them against the horror of H. P. Lovecraft in very original stories. A great idea and very well executed.

The stories just cry out to be gamed or used as a basis of a role playing scenario. Read and be inspired.

The details are;
Shadows over Baker Street, New tales of Horror,
Published by Del Rey, Random House Books,
ISBN 0-345-45273-9


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Flash Gordon - Mudmen

My latest Flash Gordon modelling project is a group of three Mudmen. For some time I have been looking for a suitable base miniature!

Photo One - is a Reaper Miniatures - Earth Elemental reference number 02777 from the Dark Heaven Legends range. It took a while for me to pick up three similar miniatures, one from E-bay, one from Waylands Forge, Birmingham and the third from Spirit Games, Burton. (The service from Spirit Games was very good, the figure was ordered on the Thursday, late afternoon and arrived on the Saturday morning).

Photo Two - In the meantime I had also purchased two Crucible Miniatures Clay Golems, reference 91-905, from E-bay, but when they arrived in the post I was disappointed with the style of sculpting and the size. Here they are mounted on to 40mm round bases.

Photo Three - a converted Reaper Miniature, Earth Elemental with repositioned arms and hands taken from the Crucible Miniatures Clay Golem.

Photo Four - another Earth Elemental with a left arm replaced with one from the Clay Golem, the right arm repositioned and the right leg remodelled.

Photo Five - an almost 'stock' Earth Elemental, but with the body and head 'bulked out' with Milliput.

Photo Six - The three undercoated Mudmen on 40mm round bases. All joints were 'pinned' with small pieces of paperclips with the bodies strengthened and built up with 'Green Stuff' and a thin, diluted coat of Milliput.

Once the white paint was dry, I added some fine sand mixed with PVA glue and white acrylic paint to the upper shoulders and forearms of each of the miniatures. Although the three are all modelled from the same miniature, I believe that the modifications are enough to add a degree of individuality to the group.

My initial plan was to have five Mudmen, but out-of-stocks have meant that a trio will have to do for now.

In part two, I will detail the painting - but what colour should I paint my Mudmen?