Monday, 15 October 2018

Graveyard Headstones - A Flintloque Terrain Masterclass from 2012

Graveyard Headstones

First published in 2012

Another Terrain Masterclass from the old Barking Irons Online web pages which were lost when the BIO site closed down. It is reproduced here in full.


In previous Masterclasses I have detailed how I built and painted various pieces of ‘scratch-built’ terrain. This weekend after a busy couple of days in work, I just wanted some fun. A simple modelling project that was't going to tax me. Searching through my ‘bits box’ I came across some white metal castings of headstones that I had purchased last year. The models were sold with plastic bases and cost no more that £2.00 for the whole set. I had bought them to build a larger graveyard, maybe even a themed terrain board, but as with many modelling projects – the impedes had disappeared and the models were now doomed to be scrap metal. That is until I decided to base and paint them.


Originally there were thirteen pieces (plus bases) but I have already cannibalised one model and the others were destined for the same fate.

I cut six simple ovals of plastic card, some 3mm thick and others 5mm thick. Then chamfered the edges by trimming with a knife and sanding with a sanding stick.

With nothing more than superglue I stuck down ten of the thirteen metal headstones. As you can see there are three single headstone bases, two pairs of headstones and even one base of three headstones.

The groundwork was built up with DAS modelling clay laid over a layer of PVA glue. The bases were only roughly textures as there would be further layers added later on.


The texturing was simply sieved sand and fine grit over PVA glue. Where the glue looked weak, I have added some thin superglue.


The basic groundwork colour was Snakebite Leather from GW with various greys for the headstones. I have tried for some slight variation in the colour of headstones by mixing-in blue, black and grey.

Drybrushing and washes

Drybrushing has brought out all the base textures and I have also picked out some of the larger stones with a mix of Chaos Black and Skull White.

I have ‘washed’ both the headstones and the area around the base of the headstones with black and sepia washes from GW.

A close up shot of the three headstone base.

Finishing off

The six bases (ten headstones) taken in glorious sunshine, showing the basing finished. I have used my usual dyed sawdust with the occasional spot of static grass to add texture and 'colour'.

Yet another close up.

This image shows the new headstone bases mixed-in with some of my older ‘scratch-built’ plastic headstones. There is a difference of over three years between these two sets, but the older models have held up well during this time. Following this shot, I re-flocked the bases of the older headstones to refresh the dyed sawdust basing.

Finally Chastity (a Flintloque character model from Alternative Armies) and two of the headstone bases. 

From start to finish these six simple models have taken me about four hours work and cost less than £2.00. I am certain these headstones (and the older sets) will be seeing action in both Catalucia and The Witchland over the next year. 

My thoughts 

Finally, I thought it would be worth stating why I had decided to mount some of these headstones on multiple bases rather than singly.

I had in the past always bases these simple models singly, however experience has shown that a mix of single and multiple bases is the better course, allowing small single bases when needed and multiple basing when larger full table coverage is necessary.  I have no real preference as to which is better; I just think a mix of the two styles makes more sense.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t have a similar collection of headstones – as there are now plastic sets available for just a few pounds and there is always the option of ‘scratch-building’ a set. Plus a graveyard in Flintloque/Deadloque is almost a pre-requisite as far as themed terrain pieces are concerned.

Happy modelling.


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Scale Model World 2018 - just one month to go

The International Plastic Modelling Society (IPMS) annual show - Scale Model World is just one month away.

What is this?

Scale Model World is one of the largest model making shows in the world with three huge halls crammed full of model displays, competitions and trade stands exhibiting and selling everything a plastic modeller could ever wish for. It is held at The International Centre, Telford and is a show that is well worth visiting.

For more details of the IPMS see this link.

Images of last years show

For images of the show see these links linklinklinklink.

Full details of this years show can be found here.

As usual I will be attending on the Sunday. Sunday 11th November 2018

Details of where to go

Scale Model World - IPMS
The International Centre
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2018


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Used Sanding Discs - a very welcome gift

Earlier today I was given some slightly used sanding discs and just wanted to say thank you. Thank you Alex.

The details

The 10 Velcro backed discs are superfine abrasive pads used for polishing acrylic worktops. They range from P 320 to P 1200 grade and should prove perfect for model making.

Not keeping your hobby a secret

I am a keen believer that you should not keep your hobby a secret. In the past I have been presented with a 1.24th scale motor torpedo boat, model railway scatter material and boxes of model soldiers, all this in addition to lipstick containers, plastic sheeting and even a De Villbiss airbrush. All because I regularly talk about my hobby to family and friends.

These sanding discs are a perfect example of what can happen when you talk to friends about your hobby.

Free gifts

Earlier this year my Brother-in-Law sent me a box of 1:100th scale die-cast aeroplanes, some narrow gauge railway books and a box full of HO-OO plastic buildings. While last Christmas I received a huge block of balsawood from the Father-in-Law of my other Brother-in-Law who lives in Hastings.

You could be missing out

Are you making the most of your family connections?


Sunday, 7 October 2018

A Recent Charity Shop Find - what should I do?

I recently picked up this beautifully illustrated, soft-bound book at a local charity store for just £1.00. My intention was to use the coloured images as enamel signs on my 1:27.7 scale, narrow gauge railway layout but after doing some research I'm now wondering if I should keep the book intact.


Regular readers will know that I have been working on a narrow gauge railway layout - a shelf layout featuring scratch-built buildings and structures constructed to the rather unusual scale of 1:27.7 or 11mm = 1 foot. For more information check out this label.

The maths

Normal HO-OO model railway track has a gauge (the distance between the tracks) of 16.5mm. Divide this by 18 inches (a recognised although rare gauge for industrial and military railways) and you get 11mm to the foot or 1:27.7 scale. In this scale (11mm to the foot) a normal height man would be between 63mm and 65mm tall. Not a common scale - hence all the scratch building.

Enamel signs for decoration

The book has many colour (and some black and white) illustrations that would be ideal for use on the layout. Using techniques championed by Emmanuel Nouaillier my plan was to superglue the paper images onto plastic card and then mount these scale signs on the layout.

The dilemma

I enjoyed looking at the images so much that I had a 'cunning plan'. I thought that I would search e-bay to see if there was a second copy of the book available - use the first for cutting up and making signs, while the second could be kept for reference. A good plan - so I thought.

Then I saw just how rare this book is. And just how high the second-hand prices are! Particularly in America.

What should I do?

These two images show just a couple of pages from the book, showing the huge amount of historical enamel signs or as they call it in the book Street Jewellery.

The TIZER illustration to the bottom left of the image above shows just what I mean - It would not take much to turn this illustration into a scale enamel sign for the layout, but as stated above. Should I keep the book intact?

Details of the book

Enamelled Street Signs (previously published as Street Jewellery) by Christopher Baglee and Andrew Morley
Published by New Cavendish Books, London for Everest House Publishing, New York in 1978
ISBN; 0 89696 055 2
Page size; 285mm x 215mm
88 pages mainly black and white with full colour cover and 16 colour pages (see above)
List price $7.95


Friday, 5 October 2018

Building The Knights' Tomb a Masterclass Article from 2012

The Knights' Tomb by Tony Harwood

First Published in 2012

Originally published on Barking Irons Online back in July 2012, this article had been lost when BIO was shut down but I have included it here in full.


Following on from the earlier Modelling Masterclass, I was thinking about how I could model some more graveyard structures and came across some coarse, semi-flat 30mm/35mm metal castings that were given to me some years ago. The souvenir or Toy Figurines come from Prague and are of a mounted knight on horseback and two duelling knights on foot. I decided to build a simple box tomb and place the two fighting soldiers on top.


The main structure is built up from a couple of wooden blocks and clad with cardboard. I cut the card panels with a new scalpel blade and used PVA glue to attach them to the wooden block. The technique is quite easy – if time consuming.  I cut out a number of simple rectangular shapes, each overlapping the earlier one and with a slightly larger aperture in the sides, the effect when multiplied can give stunning effects.  In total I used five layers, but you can decide to increase or decrease this.

Further detailing

The top and bottom of each side is further modelled with yet another layer of card. It is a very easy technique, just take your time.

In the initial plan I was going to use the two foot soldiers and these can be seen placed on top of the card-clad tomb. The recess in the top was designed to hide the figures bases.

Change of direction

For the final model I decided to use the mounted figure and have attached the metal horse to the tomb lid with superglue. The lid is 3mm thick plastic card with a rough rectangle removed from the centre.  When the horse was fitted, I filled the spaces with Milliput Fine White and smoothed out the join. Additional detailing to the tomb sides was done with either cardboard or plastic rod sliced into thin discs.

Modelling the base

I have mounted the card-clad tomb onto a lower level of 3mm plastic card and further attached this to an oval base made from even more 3mm thick plastic card. Keen-eyed readers will see that between the tomb base and the groundwork I have added a piece of tile-textured wallpaper and built up the groundwork with DAS modelling clay.

In an attempt to blend the tomb into the groundwork, I have used PVA glue applied with a stiff brush and 'stippled' onto the groundwork and tomb.

I am planning on using the two foot soldiers in a future modelling project.

The next step was to add the rider.  This was done with superglue and the small gaps filled with ‘green stuff’. I have also textured the base by adding sieved sand and small stones over dilute PVA glue.


The painting was carried out in my usual manner, a very dark undercoat of black and dark brown which was roughly painted on with a large brush. I added some fine sand to the paint and brushed this over the tomb and base but not over the horse and rider.

At this stage of the build, I thought the tomb sides looked a little bare and have added some small card squares to the upper sides. Once the glue had set fully, I painted them in the same dark brown basecoat.

The first highlight was 'scrubbed-on' dark brown, black with a little cream coloured acrylic paint added to the mix.

The second highlight was the same as the previous, but with a little more cream added.

Final highlight

The third highlight was as before but with some Skull White added and applied with a drybrushing action, just picking out the upper edges and the fine detail.

A subtle palette 

Throughout the painting of the tomb and statue I have tried to keep the colours subtle and avoid a stark or pure white highlight.

Snakebite Leather - where would I be without it?

The groundwork was painted with Snakebite Leather from GW and highlighted with touches of Skull White added to the mix. Individual stones have been picked out in grey – blended from Chaos Black and Skull White and then highlighted with a little Skull White.

Varnishing and flocking

After varnishing with Galleria Matt Varnish I have added coloured sawdust or flock which I add to all my terrain pieces so that they blend in with my gaming table.

This is the third of my Modelling Masterclasses to feature graveyard terrain pieces, but as all three articles employ slightly different techniques, I would hope they are of use and act as inspiration. If nothing else – we all have a couple of figures that can easily be employed as statues. So why not try producing a similar model yourself.


06.10.18 now using sub-headings

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Iberian Windmill - update

This is not the first time that I have featured this particular model on the blog. For details of the earlier post see this link. However I have recently repaired the sails and thought it was worth adding these images.

The model was built some years ago from DAS covered corrugated cardboard, card and balsawood with the sails modelled from skewers. I had damaged the sails and the cotton rigging after attending the West Midlands Military Show, Alumwell in March this year and thought it was time that I repaired them.

The simple model is one of my all-time favourite scratch-built terrain models, one that I am very proud of. It was inspired by an image I had found in a Portuguese tourism guide picked up at a local travel agents and although simple in design and construction I think the model is just perfect for showing how I build and paint my terrain pieces.

Unfortunately, I do not have any work-in-progress shots to show how it was built and painted.


Monday, 1 October 2018

More Wargame Terrain Book - SOLD OUT

Earlier this week my son bought a copy of Models For Wargamers and the very last copy of More Wargame Terrain as a gift for a work colleague.

After the initial print run and one additional re-print, all copies of More Wargame Terrain have now been sold. Thank you to everyone who has supported this limited edition, self published book.


Please note there are still copies of Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers available and at the reduced price of just £12.50 (plus postage). For details of how to order see this post.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Henry's Cafe and Bookstore Upton-upon-Severn

Earlier this month, Sue and I visited Upton-upon-Severn, a quaint river-side town in South Worcester. The town has always had a thriving second-hand book culture, but now we have Henry's.

Henry's is one of the new style Cafe bars with a thriving antiques and second-hand book store integrated into the cafe. The military book section, situated on the first floor is very well stocked and (when I visited) had many modern information booklets for under £6.00 in addition to a well stocked second-hand military and history section.

I know that the store is closed on a Monday. For more details check out their own web page here and in particular the short sections about and photos which offer some interesting background and a couple of images of the stocked book shelves.

Henry's Cafe and Bookstore
22 High Street

I would recommend Upton and Henry's as a great day out, there is lots to see in Upton and the many second-hand and antique shops make it a great hunting ground. 4 bookworms out of 5.


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy issue 98

Issue 98 of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy includes an article written by me showing how I turned a simple toy train into a 1/56th scale, American Civil War steam engine inspired by the Andreas Miniatures 1/32nd scale locomotive (SG-S10 54mm).

The tutorial in the October/November issue shows over two pages how I modified the plastic train then painted and weathered it. As can be seen in the image below.

While here you can see the boxed train set before I started work on it.

For full details of this latest issue please see this link or visit WH Smiths.


Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor - RST, Stratford-upon-Avon

Last night Holly and I saw the latest Royal Shakespeare Theatre production - The Merry Wives of Windsor. A truly laugh-out-loud romp that combined Elizabethan England with classic TV references from The Only Way Is Essex, Eastenders, Only Fools and Horses and Allo Allo.

This was the first time I had ever seen this play and although the synopsis was a little complicated, the superb performance made it an easy story to follow with fun and humour from the very start. In fact within minutes of the lights going down, I turned to Holly and said "I'm going to enjoy this." And I did. Possibly one of the best nights out for a very long time with more laughs and humour than a Live at the Apollo set. Very well worth seeing and the good news is that although the Stratford performances are finished, the cast is moving on to the Barbican in London  from December - I think we may have to have a visit to the Capitol to enjoy this play again.

For more details see this link.

Tony (and Holly)

Friday, 21 September 2018

Charlie Grey - RIP

Earlier this week I was told of the passing of a long-term family friend. Charles or as I have always known him Charlie. Some time ago I wrote a Flintloque inspired short-story called 'The Legend of Charlie Grey'. I think it is fitting to include the link here to honour a real character.

Lots of love to all the family, particularly Tony, John and Michelle.


The story can be found here.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Painting Rust Tutorial

As promised, today I will show how I paint rust effects on plastic. 

Step One
I chose a couple of plain plastic pieces. The white plastic bracket is from a small paint pot tester rack that I picked up from a scrap resources centre in Worceter for free. While the yellow/grey roller is a spare part from a label printer that had just been replaced and was going to be thrown away.

Step Two
Both pieces have been cleaned up and in the case of the white moulding, I have added a couple of plastic tube brackets or hole extensions which were glued in place with superglue.

I have roughed up the plastic with some sanding sticks prior to applying paint.

Step Three
I produced this colour chart to show the main colours used. They are;
1 - Charred Brown 72.045 Vallejo Game Color
2 - 50/50 mix Charred Brown/ Orange Fire
3 - Orange Fire 72.008 (Note - I usually use Hot Orange 72.009 but on this occasion I had run out)
4 - Rusty Patina a textured craft paint that I have been experimenting with. I find that the texturing is a little to much for smaller models, but can be used on my 1:27.7 scale structures.
5 - Rusty Patina mixed with Charred Brown
6 - Rusty Patina mixed with Orange Fire

Rusty Patina bought from a craft store in Evesham for £7.00

Step Four
I have basecoated the pieces with a Charred Brown to which I have added a tiny drop of black. The black was used around the banding and to add some shadows.

The paint was applied in two thin coats to which I have added some very fine powder which will act as texturing for the rust surface.

Step Five
The first highlight. I have mixed some Orange Fire to the Charred Brown and started to stipple on the rust colour. I use a really old and very damaged brush for this, think dead spider and you are getting close to what the bristles look like!

Step Six
A second highlight using more Orange Fire and the same damaged brush to add more rust effect.

Step Seven
The test pieces have been varnished with Galleria water based, Matt Varnish to which I have added some black (Nuhl) wash, notice how the pieces are now looking matt, but also how the rust texturing has been highlighted with the wash.

Step Eight
I then used an oil based Light Rust Wash, a rust wash from Soilworks to further highlight the shadows around the banding and accentuate surface detail and texturing.

Step Nine
Finally, I have used a rust coloured weathering powder from Humbrol which was dusted on to the pieces with a fan shaped brush, a brush I keep just for adding weathering powders,

And there you have it - How I Paint Rust Effects on Plastic. I hope it is of use to others who paint models and terrain.