Wednesday 29 April 2009

Flintloque in fifteen minutes (almost)

I was recently tempted to purchase a group of five Flintloque zombies from E-Bay. The group of painted and based figures cost me £2.99 (plus postage) and I decided to have another go at painting Ghosts (see earlier posts) and to see how quickly this group could be finished.

Photo One - Shows the group of six finished miniatures (I had an axe wielding zombie in my spares box - as you do!)

Photo Two - The rebased figures on 2p coins built up with Milliput. Note the use of 'green stuff' to add height to the plumes and thickness to the trousers.

Photo Three - Undercoated with cheap grey car undercoat bought from Poundland. Any missed spots were painted with Vallejo Game Color, Stonewall Grey mixed with Games Workshop Chaos Black.

Photo Four - The first highlight, straight Stonewall Grey, wetbrushed (like drybrushing, but with more paint on the brush).

Photo Five - The second highlight was Stonewall Grey mixed with Reeves Titanium White (tube acrylic paint) and the final highlight was pure Reeves Titanium White, which I find is much easier to drybrush with.

I have tried to layer the highlights, darker grey to the bottom and pure white to the top.

Photo Six - Painting finished. The bases were painted GW Snakebite Leather, highlighted with Snakebite Leather mixed with Vallejo White and finally 'washed' with one of the new Citadel Washes - Gryphonne Sepia.

Photo Seven - After the miniatures were gloss varnished, I added some diluted GW Thraka Green wash, adding more to the top of the figures than the bottom and concentrating on the faces (or skulls).

The miniatures were then matt varnished (see earlier posts for details of my matt varnish recipe) and finally flocked with green static grass.

I estimate that, not counting the time I was waiting for the Milliput to harden, the paint to dry or the varnish to set - the actual painting time was less than fifteen minutes. In fact typing and preparing this post has taken longer.

Games Workshop Paths of the Dead miniatures have their beards painted a pale straw colour and some of the equipment or metal highlighted. I was tempted to do the same, but then this group of Ghosts would not have fitted-in with the earlier miniatures. "So there you have it a group painted in so little time, but still acceptable for the gaming table."


Matt Varnish - my latest recipe

To protect my miniatures I either use Clear Polyurethane Gloss Varnish or Acrylic Gloss Varnish (for plastic figures) and then apply a coat of Matt Varnish. The choice of Matt Varnish is a hot topic of debate and for some years I have used Galeria Acrylic Medium Matt Varnish (see below), which if bought from The Range (a group of discounter style superstores in the UK) is quite cheap. Please note that I am aware that Galeria have just changed the packaging on this range of paints and mediums.

Some time ago I read in Fine Scale Modeller that it is possible to add Tamiya Flat Base X-21 to Future or Kleer and produce a Matt coat. At the same time I noticed that my half-full bottle of Galeria Matt Varnish was not giving a totally matt finish, more satin, due in part to me, forgetting to shake the bottle before use! I therefore thought that I would see if adding Tamiya X-21 to the Galeria Matt would give a better matt finish.

I used about half a bottle (5ml) of Tamiya Flat Base to about half a bottle of Galeria Matt and proceeded to shake the contents. I was originally horrified to see that the Tamiya Base was floating on top of the Galeria and I thought that I had ruined a good (half) bottle of varnish. Later I realised that it wasn't the Tamiya floating on the top it was a layer of very fine bubbles, which quickly dispersed.

I tried the new mix on a couple of scrap miniatures and awaited the results. The new mix Matt Varnish is definitely more matt that just the Galeria on its own and one month on there has been no separation of the two varnishes or any problems with the painted miniatures and models.

I hope that this helps others who are looking for the perfect Matt Varnish.


Aerofauna part four

The latest addition to my collection of Aerofauna is this small group of three Canal Drakes. The miniatures are Flying Dragons (AC4) from the Hordes & Heroes range by Kallistra, see;

The models needed quite a bit of cleaning-up, removing joint lines and flash before being animated (brute force to twist the necks and tails).

The Drakes were painted with a range of acrylic paints, varnished and then mounted in the same manner as the rest of the collection.

This photo, shows one of the Drakes shadowing the German Heavy Gunboat, SMS Hannover.

I am pleased with the way these small miniatures work alongside the 1/300th scale Aeronefs and considering they were bought to make up the minimum order value required by Kallistra when ordering by post, I think they have worked out well.


Friday 24 April 2009

Aeronef - The Knights of St John

My latest Aeronef project, a group of six scratch-built Aeronefs. The models portray part of the huge fleet of Aeronefs sent by the Holy League to defend the Mediterranean against the Nefs of the Ottoman Empire at the Third Battle of Lepanto in 1898. In particular The Knights of St John contingent.

Photo One - The full fleet, prior to ship name plates being added to their bases.

Photo Two - The construction process. From left to right; The hull master carved and modelled from layers of plastic card, the first three hulls, cast in car-repair resin (bought from Halfords) and the mould, which as you can see is badly damaged. The damage happened when the mould was made - I added too little mould material, not enough to fully cover the hull. In the end I managed to get six OK castings.

Photo Three - The first three hulls, in this case the three Galleas Models with the tails added.

Photo Four - The six cast hulls, three are as above, two have sections cut from the middle to make them smaller (Galley's) and the final model is two hulls cut and glued together to make the Galleon or Flagship. You can also see where I have used filler to re-model the section of the hull that was mis-cast due to the mould being damaged.

Photo Five - Work-in-progess shot, the tails and the out-riggers for the hull turrets have been added, these are made from sections of knitting needle, sawn in to thin discs, then cut in half and super glued to the hull sides, easy to do, just time consuming.

The larger hull has an additional layer of 1mm plastic card added to the deck to build up the size of the hull, while the white circle and small dots are more filler added to bubbles in the resin casting.

For scale purposes, each of the small squares is 1cm x 1cm.

Photo Six - As above, but now with the main deck structures in place made from 3mm thick plastic card. Most of the construction is done with medium super glue and accelerator.

Photo Seven - A group photo showing most of the construction completed.

Photo Eight - The main Galleon or Flagship Real or Reale.

Photos Nine and Ten - The Three Galleases, first a single Aeronef shot, then as a group of three.

Photos Eleven and Twelve - The smaller Galley's, less well armed, but faster and more maneuverable. As you can see I have tried to keep a 'family resemblance' to all six aeronefs, while adding some variety.

Materials used include more plastic card, plastic rod, more knitting needles, sections of sprue, cocktail sticks and sticky labels.

Photo Thirteen - the models undercoated in grey primer.

Photos Fourteen and Fifteen - The finished Galleon or Flagship Real, please note that the flagship is flying the standard of the Holy League or Estandarte Liga Santa and not the more usual cross of Malta.

Photo Sixteen to Nineteen - The three Galleases.

Photos Twenty,Twenty One and Twenty Two - Show the finished Galleys.

Photo Twenty Three - Another group photo of the completed fleet of Aeronefs, The grand fleet of the order of St John, Malta.

The models have been great fun to build and paint, they have taken about three weeks work (on and off) from start to finish, however the idea has been 'brewing' for some years. I am pleased that I have finally realised this idea and now look forward to a break, or maybe building a sister fleet of Aeronefs from The Papal States to support them. But then I will just have to build an Ottoman fleet to game against!

The mishap with the initial mould was a bit negative, but the project still went ahead and the damage to the hulls, through the hole in the mould, had very little effect on the models. The colour scheme is not an original idea, but is in fact copied from a similar Knights of St John Aeronef model by Vanvlak and seen over on the Wessex Games Victorian Science Fiction Yahoo Group. The hull colour is a mix of Games Workshop Scab Red and Blood Red, the first time I have used Scab Red and I am very pleased with the result - sort of Plum Red.

Future plans include checking-out clear plastic, hexagonal bases, rather than the round ones.


Tuesday 21 April 2009

Flintloque by Games Workshop!

My latest Flintloque miniature is in fact a converted Games Workshop/Marauder Miniatures Ogre.

Photo One - The completed Ogre, with a uniform based on a Saxon Light Infantryman, illustrated in Practical Wargamer. The model stands 43mm tall (base of feet to top of shako) or 55mm tall to top of feather and is mounted on to a 2p coin.

Photo Two - The second-hand Ogre, bought from E-Bay for £4.54. I believe the figure was part of the Marauder Empire Ogre range.

Photo Three - The same figure after 24 hours in a bath of Dettol. The paint comes away from the metal in a film or skin and is best removed with a tweezers or scrubbed with an old toothbrush.

Photos Four, Five and Six - Show the conversion, using 'green stuff' and Milliput.

Photo Seven - Part way through the painting process.

Photos Eight, Nine and Ten - The finished miniature.

The idea is not original, I first saw this particular miniature converted for Flintloque, some years ago at the Comix Shoppe, in Swansea. The owner/manager had done a similar conversion and painted his as a member of the Rifle Brigade.

The project has been great fun to complete, although very time consuming, waiting for each level of 'green stuff' to harden before going on to the next. The embedded cannon-ball is the head of a steel dressmakers pin, trimmed and pressed in to the soft Milliput, a feature that I have seen on a number of 54mm figurines and something that I have been wanting to try for some time. It seems to work well with this model.


Saturday 18 April 2009

Aeronef - a new project

As an appetiser, I have up-loaded these photos of a new Aeronef model, a test piece for The Knights of St John fleet, which will re-enact the third battle of Lepanto against the Muslim Ottoman Nef's.

Full details and a construction article will appear later, but I wanted to produce one completed model as a prototype to check how they look and test the colour scheme. I have six similar models, all scratch-built to the same design and 1/600th scale.

More to follow.......


Monday 13 April 2009

The Dwarf Sauerktaut Wars - the regiments part seven

Regiment seven - The Beervarian Line

Allegiance - Finklestein

This regiment of Beervarian Line infantry are armed with the MkII Dwarf musket and dressed in the traditional bright blue coatees and boiled leather helmets, which invariably contain the soldiers most precious items, like clay pipes, beer steins and sauerkraut forks!

The regiment was previously led by Willy Hugzod, an Ogre of some standing, but following his death, is now relegated to a standard line infantry regiment - one of many such regiments commanded by the Kronprinz Earwig of Beervaria and part of the Finklestein Confederation.

The miniatures are a mix of 1er Legion De Nain (52004), 1er Legion De Nain Command ( 52005) and a solitary Ogre. The mounted dwarf has been re-mounted on to a boar (LE009), the standard bearer given a musket and the Ogre converted from one of the Hun Ogres of Finklestein (56004) with the helmet built up from 'green stuff'. One final point is that the 'hammer' motif on the helmets has been re-modelled in to a cross.

The building in the back ground is a scratch built covered well, inspired by a 20mm/28mm Hovels building and constructed from carved blue foam.


Thursday 9 April 2009

Aeronef - Holiday Box

The plan this Easter is to visit family in Swansea. I'll be packing this box of goodies to take down with me in the hope of a game of Aeronef. As well as the scratch built (Luther Arkwright) Aeronef models, there is a spare rule book (picked up earlier this year), a bag of dice, blank forms and a 300mm range stick.

If it all goes to plan I'll write a gaming report when we return.

Happy Easter.


Wednesday 8 April 2009

Flintloque - Movement Trays

Flintloque is a skirmish wargame that mixes Fantasy and Napoleonic backgrounds, Orcs as British, Elves as French, Undead as Russians etc. As a skirmish game, I have always mounted my Flintloque miniatures on to 2p coins.

Over the last couple of months I have been playing with the idea of using the Flintloque figures to wargame a Dwarven Civil War - The Dwarf Sauerkraut Wars, see earlier posts. In addition I have now seen the new multiple bases that Games Workshop have launched for Lord of the Rings. The thought struck me that a multiple figure movement tray may be the answer for the Sauerkraut Wars - see below.

Photo One - The finished 'test' movement tray, this one holding eight Undead Ghosts, each mounted on to a 2p coin.

Photo Two - Some of the tools involved in this project. The drill bit will cut a hole 26mm across, which is just larger than the UK 2p coin. The drawing was done in some detail, making sure that the holes were equal distance apart and 'square'. The holes are spaces 5mm apart. The modified dart is a modelling tool that my father used to build model ships in bottles. I am proud to say, that well over thirty years later, I still use this very useful tool.

Photo Three - Instead of producing detailed drawings for each base (I intend making many more) I used the dart to 'prick' through on to 3mm thick plastic card. I then used a 1.5mm drill bit to make a pilot hole for the larger hole cutter.

Photo Four - The electric drill made the job of cutting the 26mm holes very easy (and messy). I used a scrap piece of MDF under the plastic card.

Photo Five - The eight holes drilled and cleaned up and a couple of 2p coins test fitted. The whole base was made over-size and was later trimmed back. I smoothed the 26mm holes with some fine sandpaper wrapped around a short piece of dowel.

Photo Six - The 3mm thick plastic card (with the holes) was superglued on to the 2mm thick plastic card (without holes).

Photo Seven - Once the glue had set, I checked for squareness of the base and trimmed it to size. The base is 130mm wide by 67mm deep.

Photo Eight - As above.

Photo Nine - As with the Games Workshop movement trays, I chamfered the edges, by cutting with a 'snap-off' bladed knife, held at a 45' angle and later sanded the edges smooth. This was the most difficult part of the operation and needed to be done with some care.

The figure I have used is a very large model of an Ostarian Dog called Digby. It was one of the largest Flintloque miniatures I had to hand and I thought that if this miniature works, then the smaller Dwarves would fit easily!

Photo Ten - uPVA glue was spread on the top of the movement tray.

Photo Eleven - Sharp sand and small pieces of grit were added.

Photo Twelve - The movement tray was first painted black.

Photo Thirteen - As above.

Photo Fourteen - Then painted Snakebite Leather.

Photo Fifteen - Then drybrushed with Snakebite Leather and Skull White.

Photo Sixteen - Individual stones were picked out in grey and the whole base washed with brown, sepia and black washes.

Photo Seventeen - Once dry the whole base was varnished and small patches of static grass were added. I painted the frame of the movement tray in a darker brown colour to add some contrast.

Photo Eighteen - As above, the finished movement tray.

Photo Nineteen - With Digby, the test miniature.

Photo Twenty and Twenty One - With a regiment of eight miniatures, six Dwarves and two Dogs.

Photo Twenty Two and Twenty Three - A regiment of eight un-dead Ghosts.

The movement tray has worked. One lesson I have learnt is that although a 2p coin will fit comfortably in to the 26mm hole, later movement trays will have slightly larger holes, so that the painted and varnished coins will fit a little more easily. I will use the same cutter, but sand the holes to make them larger.

Secondly, I am still not sure that the dark brown framing works, and may re-paint it black.


PS. The cost of this project: The plastic card sheets were free, either picked up from tradeshows or at the side of the road (I am always on the lookout for scrap plastic), the hole cutter was bought in Ross-on-Wye earlier this week for just over £2,00. The whole test piece has taken less than a day to produce.