Friday, 27 November 2009

Wargames Illustrated - December 2009

Issue 266 of Wargames Illustrated has just arrived at WHS and there is yet another set of photos featuring the 40mm terrain and buildings from Grand Manner. In particular pages 56 and 57 have a two page spread by Dave Bodley showing The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, with the British advancing from Hoskin's Farm, towards the first line of American Militia. All of the building are from my personal collection, where the 'masters' were sculpted by me for the 40mm AWI/ACW range from Grand Manner. The additional terrain is from Dave while the miniatures were lent by Front Rank (some of their 40mm AWI display miniatures that you can normally see on their stand at trade shows).

I know that as a collector and painter of model soldiers rather than a true wargamer, illustrations or 'eye-candy' such as these photos are true features and great gaming or demo. inspiration. I must also congratulate Dave on the fantastic photos.

In reviewing the contents of the magazine - I felt that this Vietnam themed issue was not quite as interesting as the previous AWI themed issue, although I can complement the publishers on once again putting together a beautifully illustrated and very colourful magazine.

My favourite articles (so far as I am still to read all of the contents) are;
Warning - this hobby may contain nuts, a tongue-in-cheek review of various characters that inhabit this hobby! Great fun.

The Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-36, a subject matter that is completely new to me and was very well written.

Finally in my attempt to paint up some 40mm AWI miniatures (one at a time), here is the latest. Once again a 40mm Front Rank figure painted as a minuteman. The paint scheme was built up over a dark brown base, painted with mainly GW and Vallejo colours and washed with black and dark brown GW washes.

The model is mounted on to a round metal washer and I have used some Grass Clumps (see earlier review) rather than static grass.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

HELLBOY - On-line painting article part seven

The story of this particular build has gone on a little longer than I had planned, but Hellboy is now finished!

Photo One - Shows the painting completed. Since the last post the base has been tidied up (I have also sponged on some very dark brown to break up the stark plain black) and the detail painting has been finalised. I am very pleased with the Lego base, both the modelling of and the ash grey colour. I also think that the coat has worked well.

Photo Two - The model varnished, flocked and finished. The shrub work is ground-up foam which has been mixed with uPVA glue, some water and flow improver, then 'scooped' on to the groundwork with a couple of small cocktail stirrers. Once fully dry this mix is very strong.

Photos Three to Six - Show the finished miniature from different angles. I personally think that the 'straight-on' view shows the figure best.

Photo Seven - A final close up.

Varnishing was done with Ronseal Gloss Varnish, then water-based mat acrylic varnish/medium, before the ground foam was added.

The bulk of the painting was carried out with one of the new Games Workshop standard brushes. I have nothing but praise for these, they perform very well and are sturdy enough to take some quite rough treatment.

The finished model was recently shown to my son - my toughest critic. He wanted to know why I had not painted in the models eyes as they are just white? I said that in the comic books Hellboy had glowing white eyes. Gary said that the model would look better with the eyes painted in! So far I have left them as pure white.

The Hellboy model is 45mm tall or 80mm tall, base of plinth to top of head.


Monday, 23 November 2009

STONEHENGE - an alternative theory

I have recently unearthed a collection of notes and illustration from the Victorian eccentric A. J. Copperthwaite who although ridiculed in his day has put forward a number of interesting and quite controversial theories and proposals, one of which is included below.

Stonehenge - a true description of the monuments original form and purpose dated 1858. (Click on image to super-size).

A further associated paper suggested using a much modified Stonehenge as the centre piece of a nation-wide early warning system in the event of an invasion. The Early Warning System was 'mothballed', much to the disgust of Professor, who did build a miniature version of the system on his Yorkshire estate, where marbles were shot in place of cannon balls and the 'enemy' was invading rabbits!

For anyone interested in seeing additional papers by Professor Copperthwaite, a selection of some of his works are available in a Scrapbook. Full details are;
The Secret Scrapbook of Professor A. J. Copperthwaite, The lost genius of English Architecture, edited by Alan Robertson and Michael Taylor and published by Grafton Books. ISBN 0-586-07043-5

I would hope that readers would find this illustrated paper of interest and maybe use these ideas in gaming scenarios or modelling projects.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Warfare 2009 - Reading

I attended Warfare 2009, Reading on Saturday, spending most of the day at the show. On Friday night Dave at Grand Manner phoned to ask if I was planning on going down to the show. I said yes as it had always been my plan to visit. Dave asked if I could help him out with the layout of the stand and so at 6.00am on Saturday morning I left Droitwich, headed up on to the M42, and down the M40, through Oxford on the A34 and across country to Reading, arriving just before 8.00am. Even so Dave had already unloaded the van and the 30 or so plastic cases and even more cardboard boxest then needed either unpacking or stacking behind the stand.

At 10.00am, the show opened and we were still arranging items on the display shelves and table!

For most of the morning I helped out on the stand, I say helped, but really just entered into conversation, long chats and general modelling talk with visitors, then when they wanted to order I passed them on to Dave who is so much quicker than me at knowing either the price or finding the item (there are loads of storage cases, all containing wrapped and bare resin casting of the Grand Manner buildings).

Around 1.00pm I had my first walk around the show, mainly browsing in the main hall but also checking out the Bring-and-Buy stand which was in a second hall, it was very well organised and had a regular turnover of items, see below.

Even though I took my camera, there was very little I photographed. The photo below shows one of the more impressive games, a Marlborough Battle that had a huge amount of painted miniatures and some great terrain crammed on to the table.

The Third hall, for demonstration and participation games was always busy and full of activity and so although I enjoyed browsing I did not take any photos, it was just too busy. From memory the WWW2 game featuring a ME262 was the only one that I now wish I had taken a photo of!

Back to the main hall and after stopping for a quick packed lunch of sandwiches, a pork pie and crisps, I had a second walk around the main hall and trade stands. Even though I bought figures (new and second-hand), paints and magazines and thought the show was exceptionally busy, lots of traders, loads of punters and what seamed to be a brisk trade in items. I was ultimately disappointed with the number and level of trade stands and came back with a huge amount of cash unspent! There was just something about the show that I felt was either missing or not right. I know from conversation I had with visitors and demonstrators that this view was not universal, with many talking of this being the Main Show of the year for them, and again many visitors from Europe coming across for this show and spending for Christmas, but for me I was ultimately disappointed.

One photo that I am pleased to share is this Japanese Aeronef, scratch built and on display on the Oshiro stand. I am aware that there are some commercial pieces used, but this was just beautiful and so well painted. Very well done, Sir. I can see another 1/300th scale Space 1889/Aeronef scratch-build coming.

For the bulk of the afternoon I once again helped out on the GM stand, giving Dave a chance to go off and have a toilet break and something to eat. I also met with Brendan Morrissey an author of some note when it comes to the American War of Independence/American Revolution and someone who had supplied photographs and reference material to Grand Manner prior to me modelling the range of 40mm AWI buildings. We spoke at length about the buildings and the period, exchanged details with promises to keep in touch and search out even more reference photos for future 40mm (and 28mm) modelling projects.

I left the show before 4.00pm, exhausted and tired. The journey back via the M4, through Cirencester and up the M5 flashed by as I listened to the England - New Zealand and Wales - Argentina rugby matches and although the weather deteriorated quite badly I was still home in good time.


Friday, 20 November 2009

Creating Space by Mat Irvine

For my birthday, my Brother-in-law and family bought me this book - Creating Space by Mat Irvine. A soft bound book full of colour illustrations and lists of space kits and space kit manufacturers.

A journey through the history of the Space Age up to the present and beyond. 352 pages and more than 170 illustrations in full colour, 500 photographs and listings for over 250 modelling subjects and kit manufacturers.

Full details are; Creating Space, The Story of the Space Age Told Through Models, by Mat Irvine and published by APOGEE - ISBN 1-896522-86-6, with a published price of £24.95.

In reviewing the book, I am full of praise both for the content and the layout, to me this is a perfect present, one that A - I was not aware of, and B - a book that I might not have bought myself, however I have had great fun, delving in to this reference work, searching out plastic kits that I either owned or 'longed for' as a young boy.

The beautifully illustrated full-colour photos of old and modern kits is like stepping back into an Aladdin's Cave of Sci-Fi modelling kits, all the more interesting for the reference material, detailing the actual kit, its history and the relevance of the source material. As stated earlier, for me a great read and one that I have no issue in fully recommending.

Then the bonus - during the IPMS Model Show at Telford, earlier this month Mat Irvine was attending and I was able to meet him and congratulate him, in person for this book and the fantastic and original model display, see below.

There are many references to Mat on the Internet, but I would direct anyone interested in his work to start with his own site - Smallspace;


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Flintloque Buildings Set - proposal

My intention is to build a group of three generic Flintloque scale buildings that can either be used as separate pieces or combined to make one larger or feature building as seen in these drawings.

The buildings will be built to accommodate the slightly larger Flintloque figures (approx 36mm - 40mm tall) and have a definite Spanish or Portuguese feel. Over the last couple of months I have been busy building 'masters' for a collection of 40mm AWI/ACW buildings that are now available from Grand Manner. However this series will be specifically designed and build with Flintloque in mind, although I would assume that they could be used for other 40mm historical games.

There will be three buildings;

Building A - 16cms x 10cms, the main building, with a large door to one end and at least one other door. The roof will be removable and there will be a simple interior. I am also planning at least one buttress, see illustration and a couple of simple window openings.

Building B - 6cms x 6cms, a two story tower about 13cms tall, with a door on the ground floor and four windows on the first floor. I intend having a lift-off roof with access to the first floor only.

Building C - 6cms x 6cms, a simple lean-too building with one door and a lift-off roof.

Each of the buildings will be modelled with a well-worn stucco finish and large stone blocks to the corners, the roof will feature half-round clay tiles. The drawing below features a Flintloque figure shown for scale.

I intend working on these buildings alongside other projects, but will keep updating the Blog as to progress. I also intend having them cast in resin, (limited editions - exact number still to be decided) however this will only happen if there are enough pre-orders to warrant the investment in the rubber and resin. In the future I would also expect to build a windmill and some stone walls.

Any comments would be much appreciated.

Finally these building are totally unofficial and have no connection with Alternative Armies/Flintloque/Slaughterloo. It is an independent project that I am taking on as comments on this Blog, Flintloque based Blogs and private e-mails lead me to believe that there is a market for such buildings.

You now have notice of my intentions, estimated time to castings for sale - February 2010.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Dwarf called Napoleon

I picked this resin miniature up from a company called Scibor, see;

The figure is a 28mm Dwarf Napoleon, SF28.14 and comes with a beautifully cast resin base. I chose to mount him on to a UK 2p coin (as are the bulk of my Flintloque collection). I first superglued a piece of plastic card to the coin, then superglued the miniature to the plastic card and built up the base with Milliput which was further detailed with fine sand.

I needed to do some repair work to the bicorne, which had either been broken in transit or had an air bubble in the cast resin. This was done with 'green stuff' and smoothed out with some water and a sculpting tool.

The figure was painted over a black/dark brown base colour with the face being the first thing I detailed. The colour scheme is copied from a 54mm model of Napoleon I saw in the modelling magazine - Military Modelling.

The bare resin casting, without base. The miniature stands 28mm tall (top of bicorne to feet).

The final photo shows the Scibor Napoleon alongside a Flintloque or Alternative Armies Dwarf. There is very little difference in height, although I feel the Scibor sculpt is a little less 'cartoon-like' than the Flintloque sculpt. In fact I feel the Scibor sculpt is more like the HEVC Halflings than a Dwarf.

I have no idea how I'll end up using this miniature, but who cares - I still loved painting it and would recommend this particular sculpt to other Flintloque collectors looking for some variety.

I have also picked up one of the Manfred Von Leftoffen miniatures (SF28.08) and although advertised as 28mm, stands nearer to 54mm tall! I intend building this as a display piece and my idea is to re-build the gun to a flintlock pistol, but not straight away, I have too many projects on the go.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Posting comments on Blogs!!!!

A bit of a rant.

I've been having problems posting comments on a number of Blogs over the last couple of months. The accessing of the Blog isn't the problem, the issue occurs when I try to post a comment. I usually compose a fantastic and flowing response, full of prose and witty remarks, only to have a report stating that the page you are looking for is broken or doesn't exist! The initial post being lost and all enthusiasm for re-writing it is lost.

It is becoming a regular occurrence and is very frustrating. I am now wondering if any of my followers have the same problems? And is there a way of overcoming it?

I enjoy writing for my own Blog and regularly check up on a whole load of favourite Blogs. I also want to contribute, but this inability to post comments is now really getting to me, so much so, that I've posted on this subject on TMP and now on my own Blog.

I would hope that this could be sorted soon.


HELLBOY - On-line painting article part six

With the coat finished and in my now usual haphazard way I decided to paint the groundwork next! Not so silly as once the grey colour was painted I was able to detail the black feet or boots and then use GW black wash to define the sculpted details and help to add shadows around the feet, something that I try to do on all my models.

In this second photo you can see that I have done some detail painting, the left hand glove, the patch on the right shoulder etc.

I wanted the groundwork on this model to be different to my normal base colours of brown or dark brown. I think the ash waste colour and finish is a good contrast to the red of Hellboy.

I should have all the painting finished soon - it is just detail painting and tidying up, then on to varnishing and flocking.

I have even started to base Abe in the same way - using Lego building bricks, but a full report will have to wait.


It is strange that with the groundwork painted (even though the base sides still have to be tidied up) , the complete figure and base does not look as 'finished' as earlier posts!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dr Who

There can only be one story or post today and as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may have missed todays episode of Dr Who - The Waters of Mars, I'll have to keep quiet!

I'm not sure it was the scariest ever Dr Who, but it was close.

David Tennant - I'll miss you as the Doctor, but we still have the Christmas special.


Saturday, 14 November 2009

Green Line grass clump - review

I have recently purchased a pack of grass clumps from Green Line, see photo (if you 'click' on the third photo you can see the individual clumps). The pack contains 120 small clumps of medium/long static grass, which are then glued to miniature bases to give a little variation to plain static grass, for example the static grass sold by Games Workshop.

These first two photos show a modified 40mm Front Rank AWI figure, a British Officer miniature painted as a French Officer based on an illustration seen on page 100 of Wargames Illustrated, issue 265. The base has one clump of the Green Line (Fredericus Rex) GL-009 Wildgrasbuschel mix Hellgrun or grass clumps light green - mixed.

The pack was purchased via E-bay from KIRTLES, Darlington for £4.50. I have also seen adverts for similar products in WI.

The first application, just one clump on this 40mm figure looks very good. However, I would recommend that anyone wanting to use these clumps studies the different colours available. On my test figure the clump and static grass colour are almost the same, I would suggest that a variation, light clump against dark green static grass for example may have worked better and looked more impact full.

The French Officer colour scheme was great fun to paint. I am particularly pleased with the red trews and waistcoat, which was GW Blood Red over GW Red Gore and a black/dark brown undercoat.


I forgot to add that I used uPVA glue to attach the clump, pressing the clump into the glue. The instruction state that you should use UHU glue. My first impressions are that this is a great (new) product and I would expect to use it on future miniatures and maybe even add clumps to my existing collection. At £4.50 these may look expensive, but with over 120 clumps to a pack, I think they are OK. I would give them a 8 out of 10 and have no hesitations in recommending them.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

November Update

It's been a busy month so far with work progressing on a commission to build some 28mm buildings which are now nearing completion. In researching different techniques I came across illustrations by Emmanuel Nouaillier, who produces some fantastic examples of French 1940's - 1950's style buildings, for more information GOOGLE Emmanuel Nouaillier or try this link to Military Modelling;

I have just received this Dwarf Napoleon miniature from Scibor Miniatures, see;

I intend adding it to my Flintloque Dwarf collection. The miniature is 28mm tall (foot to top of bicorne) and came with a very well cast resin base, but I plan on mounting it on to a 2p coin, I'll keep the Blog updated as to progress and other activity


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

HELLBOY - On-line painting article part five

Part Five is all about painting the coat! A base colour of watered-down Games Workshop Snakebite Leather, then layered up through pure Snakebite Leather and highlights of Snakebite Leather and White - all understated and no washes. The collar was painted GW Scorched Brown and Bestial Brown. In the words of the great Mike Mignola "Hellboy looks better with a coat".


Monday, 9 November 2009

The Rarest Tin

I have uploaded an additional photo of my Karl Lagerfilled (LE011) miniature.

The figure is 'stock' with no modifications and is mounted on to a UK 2p coin (as are nearly all of my Flintloque miniatures). The uniform colours are dark, bottle green with black facings and white detailing. I painted the beer stein in the same colours as one that my Mother-in-Law has, with foaming beer spilling out of the top.

Karl is the leader of a similarly uniformed group of seven Dwarf revelers from my Flintloque collection.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

IPMS Model Show, Telford

I have just returned from the IPMS Model Show at the International Conference Centre, Telford. A two day exhibition and without doubt the very best model exhibition in the UK (possibly in the world - yes it is that good!) This is the fourth year I have attended, but the first time for a Sunday visit, I usually attend on the first day - a Saturday.

Photo One - Shows the second exhibition hall.

Photo Two and Three - The first or main exhibition hall, photographed from the centre showing both views to the right and left.

Photo Four - The competition area, held in a separate hall.

Photo Five and Six - A Belgium exhibition showing true 'scratch building'.

Photo Seven - A Victorian Science Fiction flying machine with a fully modelled interior.

Photo Eight - A beautifully modelled and painted piece, showing a battle in the ice.

Photo Nine - Included because I am just in awe of the level of detail in this model, just breathtaking.

Photo Ten - The winning entry in the Fantasy painting competition. A 54mm Woodland Sprite or Dryad.

Photo Eleven - A bust of Banastre Tarleton.

Photo Twelve - The new 54mm Victrix British.

Photo Thirteen - A HUGE Spectrum Angel Interceptor - it must be over three feet long, the models in the background are 1/72nd.

Photo Fourteen - Warhammer 40K diorama.

Photo Fifteen - A 1/72nd scale Ironclad, included for inspiration.

Photo Sixteen - A resin War of the Worlds Martian Walker.

Photo Seventeen - A scratch built 1/35th scale Sci Fi Anime tank diorama.

Photo Eighteen - There were a lot of 'what if' or Special Interest groups, I particularly liked this subject and colour scheme.

Photo Nineteen - A 1/120th scale Moon Landing, modelled from a V2 rocket on a fantastic display base.

Photo Twenty - Another 'what if' subject - there were loads of these, but this gives a feel for what was modelled.

Photo Twenty-one - included just for the size of this huge Russian jet and display - it really was huge and dominated the display!

Photo Twenty-two - There were hundreds of such display pieces, this one was one of the better painted.

Photo Twenty-three - another display piece that caught my eye.

Having remembered to take my digital camera and take photos, here are just a tiny fraction of the thousands of exhibits, but these few were some that I found of interest, I hope you do too.

If you can visit this particular show, I would recommend that you go next year - a really great day out and a show full of bargains. My own purchases included, magazines, terrain pieces, paints, blades and some new superglue from Filla-Glu, based in Cardiff, see;

Finally on Remembrance Sunday, I can proudly report that the two minute silence was fully observed and when finished, there was a spontaneous round of applause.