Sunday, 30 September 2012

Pax Bochemannica - a stalled project

There is no other way of putting it - I've failed! No update on the S.P.Q.ORC - Pax Bochemannica figures since the 9th of September.

Other projects have had to take priority and a couple of days off work with a cold have meant that these figures have remained in their black undercoat for over three weeks.

I will attempt to get them painted in October with regular updates here on this Blog.

Once again - Sorry.


Friday, 28 September 2012

White Dwarf October 2012

Over the last couple of days - there has been much written about the new layout White Dwarf from Games Workshop. Given the relaunch issue, I was sure that I would pick up a copy, just to see for myself how the revised layout and content worked.

Earlier today I had the opportunity to pick up a copy from WHSmiths. Most readers/followers will know of my Love-Hate relationship with this in-house magazine. I have collected White Dwarf for well over twenty years and still have a cherished collection of nearly every edition stored in box files in the attic. They are a testament to a life-long interest in wargaming, painting miniatures and model making. I doubt I will ever get rid of them (although I have come close on a number of occasions). However in recent years I have not been buying it. There are always opportunities to pick up second-hand editions at knock-down prices should the urge grab me.

When I read about this re-vamp I was intrigued and read a number of short reviews to see what others thought, knowing that I would find it very hard to miss out on this issue.

Presentation 8/10
I thought the New cover and presentation was OK, but I am not sure that it is enough to award a 10/10. WD readers will know that this issue is packed in a clear plastic bag with a Free Poster - The Horus Heresy. the bagged format does not allow for a quick browse prior to purchase.

I reserve judgement on the new design/layout until I have seen a couple of different versions or editions to judge if the new design is better.

Internally the paper is of very high quality and every page just screams quality, there are some that are saying this is a direct result of WD going Digital and now available as an e-magazine to be read on Tablet and I-phones.

Content 6/10
Don't get me wrong, here, there is loads of content - just little that I found engrossing. Any gamer interested in Chaos (I'm not and never have been) will find this edition crammed full of cool new models. Unfortunately there just wasn't enough to keep me interested. In fact I may have been too generous with a 6!

Layout 9/10
OK - I admit it the layout is clear and easy to follow, the illustrations are as good if not better than previous issues. there is still an awful lot of adverts - GW adverts and the usual lists of stores that now take up 20 pages!

Value for Money 6/10
At a whopping £5.50 for 150 pages. I think it it a little overpriced, not much but definitely over-priced.

As a lapsed buyer of WD - there was little to tempt me to purchase another issue or subscribe, however as I have stated in previous WD reviews. I am obviously NOT their target audience.

I am pleased that I have this first edition of the new layout, but am not convinced that I would have bought it if I had been given the opportunity to browse the content prior to purchasing - in this case the bagged magazine format has worked for GW.

My major complaint is the small text - No I am not a moaning old fart! and I regularly read both paper magazines and on-line publications with no problem. This magazine taxed my eyesight to the limit and some of the white text on coloured background were almost impossible to read clearly.

Overall 7/10
Could do better. I am not convinced that the re-launch will tempt me back but as stated above. I am pleased I have such an iconic edition in my collection.

I hope that this review helps others who are thinking of picking up this issue.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Green Dragon Inn

Yesterday, I spent some time taking photographs of finished terrain pieces as the light was so good. While I was up the attic fetching down some trees (see them in the background) I thought I would take some images of this monster. The Green Dragon Inn is over twenty-five years old and is one of the first large pieces of terrain I ever built (at the same time as the Elephants Foot - or  Wizards Tower - which featured in an earlier post).

Most of this earlier terrain, has been sold, given away or just dumped.

The model was inspired by an illustration by Gary Chalk in a very early White Dwarf and is built from DAS modelling clay over a corrugated cardboard core.

The model has seen some use in its lifetime being a centre piece for many Warhammer Fantasy games before being consigned to the dark attic of ignorance.

I still enjoy looking through Gary Chalk's illustrations and when I do I usually want to build another Lone Wolf or Redwall inspired piece of terrain. In recent times he has drawn a number of new images for Rackhams, these are well worth searching out.

I have thought about repairing this model, re-building it and adding another layer of paint, but strangely I also feel that it is a testimony to some very early modelling and painting skills which I prefer to keep as a record of how I have developed.

The Green Dragon has appeared in Celtos games, some English Civil War games and many Flintloque encounters, but it is Warhammer Fantasy Battles (First and Second edition) that give me the fondest memories.

The tower stands well over 360mm tall and with very few exception is all scratch-built from DAS. I thought you might like to see it, It deserves to be featured somewhere.

Finally; the photographs feature my own gaming board - Railway Modellers green flock (or dyed sawdust) over polystyrene which although cheap to construct and fragile has lasted me many many years. The background is a tourism poster picked up at a clearance sale, while the model trees are either scratch-built or modified shop-bought.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Designers Gouache for painting miniatures?

I was recently presented with this box of 10 Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache and was wondering if they can be used for painting miniatures?

Designers Gouache is opaque water colour, so called because it is used by Designers. The notes say that it has exceptional tinting strength and dries to a matt finish.

The box contains 10 tubes, each 14ml or 0.47 US fl. oz.

Are there any readers who use Gouache for painting their minis? I would like to know if they can work, particularly if you can varnish over them without the colour lifting.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Wargames Illustrated 300

For some time there have been various comments posted on wargaming Forums about the publication of the 300th Wargames Illustrated. The Internet has been boiling over with rumours and hints at how big this issues was going to be; over 300 pages, colour images on each page and a 'retro cover' harking back to issue 1.

Over on the Wargames Illustrated site, the news has officially been released, see this link for more details

I knew that I had to have one (what ever the cost) and although I would have liked the retro cover, I was willing to compromise and have the 'normal' cover with Custer looking back over his shoulder. I even spoke to my Wife about it and in an attempt to pre-empt any arguments "What another magazine - don't you have enough?" I was planning on picking one up from the local WHSmiths this weekend.

Can you imagine my surprise when I was given a copy, the retro cover edition as a gift for some work I have been doing. And yes I can confirm that this is a fantastic magazine with all 300 plus pages cram packed of eye-candy and it truly has something for everyone.

It is difficult to think of this as a magazine as with so many pages and at 12mm thick, it is more like a book.  I have only had time to browse through the pages so far but 'Oh Boy!' this certainly raises the bar in terms of presentation, content and sheer size. The editors notes (there are two editors) states that this will be a prized possession, and I have to agree.

Rather than talk about each article, I thought an overview would be in order;
The retro cover looks awesome, well done to WI for taking this step. The weight and presentation is very professional with beautifully laid-out pages and mouth-watering photos.

I have so far just browsed a couple of the articles and without exception - they really are very well written and with a wide subject base, they should have something for everyone. In truth it is more like a compendium or WI Annual than a magazine.

There is  a general theme going through all the pages - a 300 or Last Stands Against the Odds theme and this works well in melding each of the separate articles together. There are also look-back and review articles on both WI and the hobby in general and I similarly look forward to reading each and every one of them.

Finally for this short review, It is worth making two notes. The first is that there has obviously been a concerted effort on the part of all advertisers to up their game and each of the adverts feature some stunning images, once again adding to the eye-candy featuring through out this copy. Secondly, Congratulation to Wargames Illustrated in producing a special issue that has a very wide subject scale and genre appeal. I see this 300th edition being a reference source for many gamers and military collectors for years to come.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Static Model Manual from Auriga Publishing

It was some time ago that I first saw this book for sale at the Ian Allen bookstore in Birmingham. At £20.00 plus I thought that it was a little too expensive for me and so I left it on the shelf. However as time went on and I was talking to my Wife and Mother about the books that I had seen Sue said "why don't I buy it as a wedding anniversary present and use up some of your Paypal reserve and purchase it direct from Auriga Publishing International, Italy".

This I did and the book arrived very well packaged Static Model Manual Volume 4 Building - 101 tips.

Frankly; the book does exactly what it says on the cover. 101 modelling tips from how to remove plastic components from the moulding sprue to how to make moulds and cast in resin. On its 113 full colour pages it really does cover every model making hint and tip you could possibly want and although (obviously) targeted at the Military Modeller (1/35th scale Armour and 1/72nd and 1/48th Aircraft) there is lots of useful advice for modellers of any scale and genre. 

This is the fourth book in the series. The others are; Volume One - Military Dioramas, Volume Two - Modern Fighters, Volume Three - Painting and Weathering and Volume Four - Building. I choice the Building volume as the only other one of interest to me was Military Dioramas and the subject matter - 1/35th scale armour was too specialised for me.

As a modelling manual it is very similar to others that have been produced, particularly as specialised books from Fine Scale Modeler, Kalmbach Publishing and given that a number of hints and tips are repeated you could be excused for thinking that it is not really needed. In truth this is the case, but as a great read and a beautifully put together book it is a great addition to any modellers bookshelf.

In reviewing the book I have just two issues, Firstly a minor one and one that does not in my opinion detract from the book. All the text is in Italian/English. This is not such a great issue, but worth pointing out as some may not like this. The translations are very good and unlike some other dual language modelling books I had no trouble following the text or feeling that the English had been miss translated.

The second issue was the length of time that delivery took. Almost a whole month which in these times of instant turnaround of e-bay orders was a little annoying. I had previously read about horror stories concerning the Italian postal service but was not prepared for this delay.

The book costs 22.50 Euros. (£25.00 UK Pounds after exchange and delivery). the ISBN code is;

Overall I would give this manual a firm thumbs up, but find it difficult to award it a 10 out of 10. I am therefore going to declare a 8.5 or 9 out of 10, due to the issues stated above.

Finally, although targeted at the Military modeller, the tips are just as relevant to model railway modellers and model boat builders and should have something for anyone who builds plastic kits - what ever the scale or subject matter.

The next time I am in Ian Allen's bookstore, Birmingham I will check out the other three volumes and see if they are worth the cover price.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Grand Manner Building Review

Christian Templin at Cianty's Tabletop Wargame Blog has included a review of  some Grand Manner resin buildings. For full details go to this link and this link.

The building masters were sculpted by me some time ago and have featured on this Blog with an earlier post, however I was pleased to read this review and include it here.

I found some of the comments got me thinking. I regularly build terrain pieces for myself (see Blog) and when I do I tend to over-exaggerate the surface detail and make the doors and windows larger or increase the scale. When I sculpt for Grand Manner I have to make allowances for this as I am in effect copying Dave Bodley's Building Style; The Grand Manner House Style. In summary more subtle surface detail and loads of it (I think this building is a fine example of the Grand Manner House Style and what I mean with sculpted surface detail across the whole model).

The question is SIZE! Historical wargame collectors/gamers require (I thinks this is the right term) a slightly smaller building footprint than the equivalent Fantasy gamer and Christian's comment about Grand Manner buildings looking small alongside other manufacturers got me thinking.....

.....Do other gamers think the same? or is this a myth?

I am currently working on a couple of GM commissions and the age old question about scaling and model footprint once again raises its head!  While my Flintloque themed buildings are certainly oversized when compared to the GM 28mm resin buildings. I also know that Historical Gamers - where four miniature figures can represent up to 100 actual soldiers might find a 'true scale' model building too large for their games.

I say true scale - knowing that there are still heated discussions across many forums as to what the 'True Scale' actually is!

I suppose that it all comes down to personal choice but I would be interested in seeing/reading comments.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Headless Zombies - part three (the last part)

Huzzah! Part three of the linked Flintloque/Deadloque gaming scenario Getting Ahead has finally been posted over on Barking Irons Online.

The story thread pits an ex Lyonesse Commissariat against the latest abomination of the Star Wraith; Headless Zombies. For full details of "Just get the Hell out of here", go to this link.

The link will give full details of part one and part two stories and scenarios as well as an earlier miniature modelling article that shows how I modified the standard Flintloque miniatures into my own Headless Zombies.

Regular readers will know that the original story was first published back in October 2011 (a Halloween Special) with promises of more to come. Work commitments, other business and a general excuse of "that's life" has delayed the publication of part three by some months. A big thank you to Craig Andrews of BIO who knocked my scribbled notes into a great story thread and three fantastic gaming scenarios - very well done and thanks.

I would hope that the delay has just wetted your appetite for the finale.

As stated earlier full details can be found here. Enjoy.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Grapeshotte from Alternative Armies.

I have just received Grapeshotte, the Flintloque expansion book from Alternative Armies. This now means that I have all four books for Flintloque 3rd Edition; War in Catalucia, Death in the Snow, Bier & Bones and Grapeshotte. For further details go to this site.

The Grapeshotte Expansion book is more than a list of artillery pieces and their effects, it gives additional racial characteristics and background as well as nine pages of appendices; The Stirling Appendices giving details of The Londinum Coach, The use of Vehicles, Exploring Officers and Faith in Flintloque. As such it is a real expansion and required reading for all Flintloque/Slaughterloo fans.

The book was sent to me by Gavin at Alternative Armies. I was pleased to receive it with some of the new (brand new) Ferach Females which I intend painting up over the next couple of weeks.

Spread throughout the beautifully illustrated 92 pages were a number of references to The Moldsk Guard a regiment that I sculpted and which is now out-of-stock having been limited to just 100 boxed sets.

The new book follows a tried and tested format starting with an introduction, gives general rules on Artillery, moves on through The Queen of Battle, then lists the many types of weapons available to the Flintloque player.This section is sub-divided into Ferach Empire and its Allies, The Grand Alliance, The Undead and finally The Otharman Empire. The above mentioned Sterling Appendices comes next and finally some interesting Designers Notes. There are also some pull-out sections which give shotte and effect templates.

My own Flintloque miniature collection covers all three of the main theatres of war in Valon, Catalucia, The Witchlans and (my personal favourite) The Dwarf and Ostrian Empires. Therefore I had thought I would already have all of the reference material needed, however this expansion book adds to both the background mythology and gives a huge range of new weaponry.

Gavin has done a great job in compiling this book and Edward Jackson has once again excelled with the great illustrations. Well done to all.

Please note that Grapeshotte is an expansion book and as such you will need one of the Flintloque Game Books (for example War in Catalucia) to make use of this expansion and play a game of Flintloque.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

My Workbench - September 2012

Having had a quiet and relaxing August, September has come in with a bang and various projects are backing-up. Stick with me and I am sure normal service will be resumed very soon.

My main commission work has landed two fantastic new modelling project, including a model that I have wanted to build for over two years. I'll post details once I have clearance.

Craig at Barking Irons Online has a number of finished articles which should keep him supplied until after Christmas. Craig is also working on the new S.P.Q.ORC Pax Bochemannica game and there should be either images or even a couple of modelling articles to support the game. Things are a little fluid at the moment with a launch date of December 2012 looming quickly.

On top of these modelling projects Craig will be asking for written contributions for the Orcs in the Webbe Advent Calendar 2012 and I have promised a Foul Mouth Freddy story. Quite a long story this time.

I can also report that four separate modelling projects have been written for inclusion in traditionally published paper magazines.  The lead times on these can be quite long and therefore I am not able to give too much detail here. Again, once I have more info. I will post links.

My plans to have a 'How to build Wargame Terrain' E-Book continues with the first test pieces already written. It is still my hope to have a finished E-Book ready for sale in early 2013.  The format follows the Masterclass Articles/Tutorials available on Barking Irons Online. We (Craig Andrews is helping with the layout and proofreading) are looking at ways to have it published. All of the featured articles will be completely new builds - not seen anywhere else and will develop from small, simple pieces to at least one huge and completely original scratch-built model.

So, a busy month - as well as work and family life helping to compress the free time I have to model and write, September looks like being a blur.

Stick with me.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pax Bochemannica - The Black Undercoat

"Nothing to see here - move along." Seriously - very little to write about. I have added some fine sand to the 2p/1p bases (applied over uPVA glue) and then spray painted the miniatures with a can of cheap black paint. I have touched up the bare metal areas with Chaos Black from Games Workshop.

For some reason there is a slight satin finish to the black? No idea why.

I have already commented that the quality of these figures is really very good, very smooth sculpts just brim-full of character.  Rob Alderman pointed out on one of his You Tube videos that the Noman Orcs are sculpted in a stance that has them looking down while the Halfling Boche have slightly upturned heads - a real touch of brilliance that will add to the figure appeal.

The On-Line Build is moving slowly, but nothing to worry about at this moment. More to follow.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Pax Bochemannica - The Groundwork

I have used Milliput Extra Fine White to build up the groundwork on top of the 2p and 1p coins. The small stones are just pressed into the still wet Milliput and then the epoxy is left to set. The stones are from some coarse sand which I have sieved - the stones being kept in one container and the sand in another.

I intend adding some fine sand before undercoating with Chaos Black. More to follow and very soon.

My intention is to paint these in a style similar to that which Rob Alderman has used, for further details see this link. Rob uses the New Games Workshop Paints and Washes. A technique that I have tried to replicate on at least two occasions, so far without success. Never-the-less I am determined to master it.

Yesterday I called into the Worcester Games Workshop store and asked for more details as to how to paint with the new paints.  I was given loads of advice, but still need the practical lesson to be truly confident.

I also picked up an A4 paint conversion chart - showing the old paints and the new names. This should prove very helpful, for this project and others.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

My Way by Henri Lion

Earlier today while visiting Worcester I picked up this little gem from the Oxfam Book Store. First published in 1977 by The Soldier Centre, Massachusetts the 80 page booklet gives details of how to prepare and paint model soldiers.

My Way is written by Henri Lion and Valentine Bean and is crammed with text and cartoon drawings. The inside covers include colour images of  Napoleonic and American Indian subjects.

The booklet is in superb condition, with only the odd mark or scuff on the front cover and spine. It is unusual in that there is no ISBN number.

The contents include;
Foreword by Arthur W. Etchelle III
Preparing a figure
Painting a figure
Painting a Horse
Colour and Colour Mixing
and suggestions for research material.

Although obviously targeted at the historical figure modeller/painter, I look forward to reading it and adding it to my collection of modelling and figure painting books.



For a simple booklet published in 1977 it would be reasonable to expect that there would be little of interest or use to me. How wrong could I be!

I found some of the notes on Henri's home-brew paint mixes quite enlightening and although I am not sure if I will use them on Wargame Figures, I am certain they will be used on my 40mm and larger figures. In fact if it was not for the fact that my workbench is so full of on-going projects I am sure that I would be starting another display figure just to try out the techniques described.

Henri also uses sawdust for adding texture to helmet plumes and in building up his groundwork or bases. I realise that I have access to both fine and coarse sawdust through my work and will be experimenting with this waste product once I have picked up a sample.

All in all a fine little book and one that I am sure will be referred to on a regular basis.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Pax Bochemannica - The Pledge for September

My Pledge for September 2012 is this group of six pre-production miniatures for the soon to be released game S.P.Q.ORC - Pax Bochemannica from Maveryc

Photo One - Shows the three Nomans based on 2p coins. There was very little cleaning up needed on these fantastic figures however I have left off the large Roman shields while I glued the Pilum with superglue in three places - The hand, the shoulder and the side of the helmet.

Photo two - The three Halfling Boche, this time based on 1p coins. Once again very little cleaning up.

For more information, see earlier post here.

I allowed myself a little holiday last month as there was no Pledge for August. This group should prove easy to complete in a month, although I do have quite a bit of outstanding work on the bench!