Tuesday, 20 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-nine

I have used a cheap sketch book (bought from The Works for just 99p) for the tar paper cladding. The paper is quite thick and takes PVA glue well. I have cut the paper into scale widths and torn the edges to simulate the wear and tear seen on the original (see earlier post). Once the paper was in place, I painted on another watered-down layer of PVA glue and acrylic texturing paste to ensure it would not peal off and add some additional surface texture.

The image below, shows this in greater detail.


Monday, 19 March 2018

West Midlands Military Show, Alumwell

Both Sue and I attended the West Midlands Military Show - Alumwell Wargamers show in Wolverhampton yesterday.

At the outset we were aware that there was an Amber Weather Warning and as we drove up the M5, I can confirm that we had our doubts as to whether we were doing the right thing and discussed turning around and heading back home a number of times. However once we were off the motorways and on the clearing A roads the traffic and conditions improved.

We arrived well in time for the opening to the sight of many volunteers clearing the snow from the main carparks. By opening time I had with the help of Ryan set up the display - actually taking an extra table as you can see from the image above.

As you would expect there were a number of exhibitors and trade stands that did not make it and the adverse weather had a similar effect on the number of visitors, but as usual, the Alumwell Wargames Group made everyone feel welcome and with the one condition that it did seem a little quiet I felt the show was a great success.

On the exit to the show, I took this image to show that even at 3.30 PM the weather was still having a negative effect.

The following (limited) images show some of the exhibitions and model displays that took my interest.

I would like to thank everyone who helped to get this show up and running and would hope that all of the visitors had a good time and got home safe. I'm sorry to say that I did not spend that much, coming away with only second-hand magazines and some modelling supplies, but I look forward to next year when I would hope the weather and numbers of visitors will be better.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

WMMS Alumwell

Both Sue and I have been watching the weather forecasts for tomorrow checking if the Amber Weather Warning will have any effect on our trip to The West Midlands Military Show, Alumwell. I can confirm that the car is packed and the majority of the food is bought, but there is still a doubt as to whether the planned Beast from the East will spread across to the Wolverhampton area. At this moment, I can confirm that it is trying to snow, the odd light flake passing across my computer room window.

See you there (hopefully).


Thursday, 15 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-eight

Following on from the earlier posts here you can see my initial blanking-in and first attempts at modelling the low-relief back scene building that is based on The Lion Works, Cheshire.

The black area are 3mm thick plastic card (ex-advertising material) or thick card while the wooden areas are scratch-built from balsawood, coffee stirrers or scrap wood which was first textured with the teeth of a razorsaw or by rubbing rough sandpaper along the grain.

In the image below you can also see one of my main modifications to the pizza foam brick wall. I have added a metal clad door which was build from plastic card. I felt the plain brick wall needed something to break up the uniformity of plain red bricks and in truth it was to hide the join in the pizza foam. The metal clad door was copied from an image I found on the Internet.

The small white marks on the impressed brick work are painted on acrylic texture medium used to clean up some of the impressed bricks and the areas on the corners of the building have been further defined with DAS modelling clay.

At this moment there is still a great deal of work to do on the surface texturing, but for now, I am happy with the progress. For larger images just 'click; on the main photos.


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-seven

This is an image of the effect that I am trying to model on the larger end-on, low relief building at the back of the layout. As you can see it is very run down.


Sunday, 11 March 2018

WMMS just one week to go

Just one week to go until the West Midlands Military Show, for full details see this link.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-six

Following on from the earlier post, I have completed the impressed brick wall. In these two images you can see the fully modelled wall. I have washed the bricks with a Vallejo Dark Wash as the plain white pizza foam does not show up too well when photographed. The metal Policeman stands 66mm tall.

I have purposely added damaged and crumbling bricks to the wall as I want this section to look run down. This was done by pressing a sculpting tool onto the foam or using a scalpel to remove sections of brick. In addition I have carried the brick courses around the corners to give a more realistic effect.

For larger views just 'click' on the images.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Airfix Beam Engine as featured in WS&S issue 95

Wargames Soldiers and Strategy issue 95 - April/May 2018 features another 'how-to' article written by me showing how I modelled and re-purposed a veteran Airfix Beam Engine into this piece of 28mm or 1/56th scale Steam Punk terrain. Far from being a straight-forward build the 51 year old kit fought with me all the way. However I am very pleased with the finished model and it gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see how I made a plastic kit look like aged and oily metal.

For more details of the contents of the magazine see this link.

I have included two additional images showing the finished Beam Engine on a scratch-built plastic card base.

The model was constructed with both normal plastic cement and superglue. The painting was done with brushes and sections of broken sponge and the weathering was carried out with washes and watercolour pencils.

The Airfix Beam Engine was originally sold as a working model and included a small electric motor and battery compartment which was used to turn the main fly wheel. This later kit does away with the engine but I can confirm that it is still a working model - the rocker arm, main fly wheel and piston all work as intended.


Monday, 5 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-five

I decided not to use individual brick slips (as seen in the earlier posts and when building the brick base for the salt pan). Instead I have used 3mm thick expanded foam (the foam base from a frozen pizza) which was glued in place with both PVA and superglue.

The brick shapes were pressed into the plain foam using a modified paintbrush bezel which I had re-shaped with a pair of modelling pliers. The brick sizes are slightly over scale being 8mm x 2.5mm. There are many tutorials on the internet showing similar techniques for examples see this link.

You can see the effect in the image above and the customised tool in the image below. I found it best to add a sharp cutting edge to the impressing tool - this was done by using a rat-tailed file.

Once you get used to the technique, you can produce an impressed brick wall in double-quick time, easier than adding individual brick slips and also allowing you to add damaged or imperfect bricks. I mistakenly started from the top of the wall. If you are looking to copy this technique I would suggest that you start at the bottom layer or in this case ground level.

More to follow.


An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-four

In this image, taken from the internet you can see the canal-side view of The Lion Salt Works, Cheshire. My small shelf layout uses these buildings as inspiration for the low relief structures that run along the back of the 1;27.7 or 11mm = 1 foot layout.

The brick based salt pan has already been built and now I am starting on the larger (end on) building shown to the right.

I have started by building a blank or core in cardboard. This was done by laminating layers of corrugated cardboard together with my hot glue gun and sealing the edges with brown wrapping paper applied over PVA glue. This technique produces strong but light structures onto which I can glue detail.

I have used this technique to build many pieces of wargame terrain and even a full gaming tile so I know it works.

The cardboard blank is 260mm wide x 240mm tall and 40mm deep.


Sunday, 4 March 2018

WMMS just two weeks to go

The West Midlands Military Show, Alumwell Wargames is now just two weeks away. For full details see this link.

I have been given a table to exhibit my scratch-built and resin cast model terrain, so if you are going to be there, come along and have a chat.



Friday, 2 March 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-three

The next step is to attempt the larger side-on building (marked with a Y). The building is closely based on The Lion Salt Works, Cheshire at a time before the end wall was renovated and the building was re-purposed as a modern salt museum. My plan is to build it as a low-profile, low-relief structure as seen in the image above.


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Tenth Anniversary of this Blog

It very nearly sneaked by, but today is the tenth anniversary of my very first Blog post. Normally I would have celebrated it a little more, but until sitting down to read my Blog posts earlier this evening the date had slipped by without registering.

Back in 2008 I posted those first few lines - "I've just started a Blog" - who would have believed that ten years on I would still be typing, certainly not my school English teachers!

So happy tenth anniversary and thank you to everyone who has supported this Blog.


Monday, 26 February 2018

Cold Weather - again

The recent Siberian linked cold snap has meant that I have not been able to visit the shed-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden. I have tried to keep Blog post numbers up, but with no modelling work being carried out everything has once again come to a complete standstill. I don't know if it is an age thing, but I am finding that this winter has effected my modelling output more than any I can remember.

Hopefully Spring will see some warmer weather and more visits to the shed.

I should point out that apart from updating the Blog, most of my modelling activity takes place in the shed at the bottom of the garden and with the current cold spell this has been most uncomfortable.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Dampfpanzerwagon Guides 1, 2 and 3

Regular readers and followers will of course know of my three self-published books Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers, Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 2 - More Wargame Terrain and Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 1 - Building Wargame Terrain, however not everyone will know the stories and inspiration behind these projects.

The original book or as I like to call them guides was produced as a direct result of comments on this Blog asking for more details concerning my scratch-built wargame terrain - examples of which can be found throughout the Blog. In an unashamed vanity project I decided one News Years day that my New Years Resolution was to produce a book detailing new and never before seen models and articles showing how I build my terrain models used in my wargames. Book one or Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 1 - Building Wargame Terrain was the result and all the models and the text was completed in under 12 months. The publishing of the book (using a UK based publisher) was an education one that caused a number of sleepless nights and was not without its problems. But I successfully produced what I thought would be the one and only book.

Sales proved to be a success and a second (and third) run was commissioned and again sold out. At the same time I found that my cottage industry of producing masters for casting in resin and writing magazine articles also flourished. So Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 2 - More Wargame Terrain was planned and produced. The title was a little obvious, but I think it portrays the content well.

Then I was asked, actually commissioned by Pen and Sword to write a series of books on building wargame terrain and structures and this would obviously become my main focus in 2017. However before starting, I set out to complete the trilogy and Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers was a spur of the moment decision to both include more tutorials and publish some articles that had been missed when different internet sites had closed down.

I can confirm that the three books have been commercial successes with profits from Guide No. 1 being used to produce Guide No. 2 and the advance from the Pen and Sword book being used to produce Guide No. 3. Yes I have to pay for the complete production runs up-front. (Quite a burden).

The main lessons learnt in planning, writing and producing these books is that there is an awful lot of planning and sitting at the computer writing, re-writing and spell checking and this work would not have been possible without the help and in-put of my daughter Holly who both edited and formatted the electronic layouts for all three books. Similarly my wife, Sue had to put up with me making the models, photographing the steps and then agreeing to allow me to use savings to pay for the production of book one.

As you can see this has been a labour of love and has taken many hours of work.

With the production of Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers I feel that I have passed on many of my tips and techniques that I use to model and paint my terrain pieces. I have already stated that the layout of the books owes much to The Airfix Guides that I read as a teenager and still enjoy browsing. Similarly the comments and responses to the books have been well above those that I had expected and as I have written before - thank you to all who have supported these publications and bought copies.

I do not expect a Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 4 but would not be surprised if one was to be squeezed out in the future. For now the Pen and Sword books and regular magazine articles are taking up most of my modelling time, although as regular followers will know the odd - scratch built 'master' does get produced on a regular basis. The first Pen and Sword Book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and should be published in September this year. See the Blog for regular updates.

My future plans have always included digital copies being produced and recent comments have been pushing me in that direction so keep and eye out for news, but not in the short term. Sorry.

I would like to once again thank everyone who has supported these books with comments and most importantly committing to purchasing copies as without this support none of these books would have made it into print. And finally, there are some (limited) copies of More Wargames Terrain and Models For Wargamers still available. For details see the links to the right.

Thank you.


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Wargames Terrain and Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars - update

A small update following this earlier post. Amazon have now confirmed a price - £17.77. For details see this link. Be aware that the book is due for release via Pen and Sword in September 2018.

I was pleasantly surprised with the retail price via Amazon as it shows that my self-published books (see links later on) were reasonably priced. As my books were limited edition, short runs and self-published I had always doubted if they were too expensive. Obviously not.

Should you wish to order a pre-release copy, use the link above. I will also point out that I have limited numbers of both Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers and Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 2 - More Wargame Terrain still available to buy via this Blog. For full details see this link or this link.

Thank you


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Hereford away-day

Sue and I had our first away-day of 2018 - a visit to Hereford where I was allowed to browse the charity book shops before going for a Thai meal. I was disappointed not to find anything that I wanted to purchase and with my birthday coming up next month Sue was searching for something to buy for me.

On the way back to Droitwich we stopped off in St Johns (a district of Worcester) and I saw a copy of the John Blanche and Ian Miller book Ratspike in the Daisychain charity book store (a book shop that has many second-hand bargain and is well worth a visit if you are in the area). At £30.00 it was a little too expensive (even for a birthday gift) but at least I got to look through the illustrations before making our way home after a great day out.

Hopefully there will be more successful away-days later in the year.


Daisychain Benevolent Fund Bookshop
37 - 39 St. Johns

Friday, 16 February 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-two

I have added some scribbled graffiti and more weathering to the concrete slab wall and here you see it placed on the layout but not yet glued in place.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars

Yesterday evening Sue found this on Amazon while searching for a birthday gift for our Grandson Finley. Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars by Tony Harwood is due for sale/release in September 2018 but is, as you can see now a reality.

The book will be part one of a series of books that I have been commissioned to write for Pen & Sword. The Napoleonic Wars being the first. The cover illustration is of a 28mm scratch-built Peninsular Wars house on a diorama style base.

Further details can be found by following this link.

At this moment I can not find any details on the Pen & Sword Web pages but will update the Blog when I have further details.

In the meantime copies of Models For Wargamers and More Wargame Terrain are available to buy from me. For details of how to order see the links to the right.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

WMMS 2018 - just one month to go

Just one month to go until the Alumwell Wargames Show or WMMS.

For full details see this link.

I plan on being there to show some of my latest scratch built models and sell the last copies of the Dampfpanzerwagon Guides. See this link for details of how you can order a copy of this limited edition book.


Friday, 9 February 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty-one

The concrete slab fence has been modelled from 1mm thick plastic card (ex-advertising material). I have modelled it with one slab missing - a common sight with older fencing while the uprights have been made from the same 1mm thick plastic card. I scribed the horizontal joins with the tip of a sharpened screwdriver and removed the burr with some fine sandpaper.

Additional surface texture was added with acrylic texturing medium which was applied with a thick stencilling brush. Prior to undercoating and painting, I have chamfered the tops of the posts and added a slight 'crown'.

I have used standard acrylic paint to give that aged concrete look, applying more colour with washes and tints. Final colour detailing was done with artists watercolur pencils which I sharpened to a very fine point before scribbling the colour on.

As you can see I have also added some damp patches to the lower edges of the base slabs.

My plan is to add this small section of concrete fencing to the left of the salt pan.


Saturday, 3 February 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part twenty

These first four images show a very well used pre-cast concrete slab fence found in a local park in Droitwich. I took these photos with my trusty Minolta Z1 and then some quick measurements before scaling up a simple sketch.

Below are my site notes - which give some idea of just how quick and simple they were!

Finally, I produced this scale drawing - scaled to 1;27.7 or 11mm = 1 foot.

I had some funny looks and a couple of comments when I was taking pictures of the fence and then measuring up a utilitarian slab fence in a park.....

The things we do for our hobby.


Thursday, 1 February 2018

An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - the layout part nineteen

With the salt pan completed, I am moving on to a smaller project - a section of concrete slab walling as seen in this image and marked with an X.

It is only a short section, but I have wanted to try and model this style of fencing for some time and I am sure it will add to the layout.

I will be posting details over the next couple of weeks.


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Models For Wargamers is still available

Another reminder.....

Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers is still available to purchase. For full details see this post.

In addition there are limited numbers of Dampfpanzerwagon Gude No 2 - More Wargame Terrain and once again for more information see this post.

I would expect supplies to be exhausted following WMMS, Alumwell in March.

Thank you.