Monday 28 September 2009

Flash Gordon Annual

A cheap carboot sale find, this Sunday, a Flash Gordon Annual for just 50p. I think it is from 1980, but there are no obvious publishing dates.

The illustrations below, show the quality of the drawings. The comic strip is called Flash Gordon and the Elders Deathtrap.


Sunday 27 September 2009

Aeronef - The Papal States

In earlier posts I have detailed how my latest Aeronef project is developing. An Aeronef alternative background where the Knights of St John and the Holy Roman Empire battle for control of the Mediterranean against the Ottoman Empire. Details of the Knights and one Ottoman Cruiser have already been posted. This post gives details of the latest set of models to be finished a group of four Papal States Aeronefs.

Photo One - shows the completed group of three Galleys and one Galleas.

Photo Two through Five - the finished fleet, yet to be named, each showing a separate tail badge, noting the state that commissioned and manned the vessel.

Photo Six and Seven show the completed models before being painted. The hulls are modelled from marker pen barrels and the superstructure is made from plastic card, knitting needles and cocktail sticks. The models are between 95mm - 110mm long.

Photo Eight - shows the models undercoated with grey spray paint.

It's been quite a while since I up-dated this project, but am pleased to see the fleets growing. I must get around to modelling and painting some more Ottoman/Turkish Nefs soon.


Wednesday 23 September 2009

Crashed Rocketship Terrain Board part three

The board was built up with sheets and off-cuts of sound proofing fibreboard which was glued and nailed in place. The main landscaping was modelled by eye rather than working to a strict plan. By tearing the fibreboard, rather than cutting it, I was able to obtain a more natural and organic effect.

To seal the surface I used strips of torn newspaper built up in layers of PVA glue - newspaper - PVA glue - newspaper etc. etc. This gives a very strong surface, helps to fill gaps and seals the fibreboard.

In areas that needed more sculpting I used Das modelling clay or ready-mixed filler, check out the rocket engine trough.

To add interest I have used small pieces of dried bark, again glued and nailed in place and then smoothed with Das and filler.

In one of the built-up corners, I superglued a Grendel resin monolith, once again modelled on and in to the terrain with Das.

In part three, I will get around to showing how I built up the terrain around the crashed rocketship.


Monday 21 September 2009

Crashed Rocketship Terrain Board part two

This latest post details the basic board construction. I picked up an off-cut of 18mm fibreboard (Sundeala) 24 inches x 24 inches for a couple of pounds and the wooden battening is scrap or rough wood picked up from a shed repair project free of charge. The battens were first cut then glued and nailed into place (ensure that the nail heads are hammered below the surface of the wood with a nail punch). The corners were further strengthened with 2 inch nails. This is a very strong and very heavy terrain board, the heaviest that I have ever come across! I have joked that you could stand on it, but I haven’t tried!

The upper surface is sound-proofing fibre board that was left over from a project to insulate the garage. The material is soft, easily broken and torn into natural and organic shapes. The sheets are about 8mm thick and have been glued and nailed into place with one inch nails and large headed tacks. The photos show how the layers were firstly added and built-up, again glued and nailed for strength.

The finished rocketship will be positioned almost centrally but at a slight angle and more layers of fibreboard will be added to build up the terrain and sculpt the contours. (I am particularly pleased with the trough caused by the rocket ploughing into the surface. One point of discussion was firstly how much of a wake the nose would cause and how this would build-up. Secondly and this time a little more anal, would the trough flow like the wake of a ship sailing at sea, or be pushed forward as if punching sand! In the end I choose a wake, which I think, may not be a perfect representation of a crash, but looks right!)

The second and third layers of fibreboard are made up of off-cuts and the first layer was cut into with a snap-off bladed knife so the finished rocketship would snuggle-down and in to the terrain rather than rest on top.

In part three, I will show how the terrain and wake was built up.


Thursday 17 September 2009

Crashed Rocketship Terrain Board part one

It has been over a year since I finished this particular skirmish terrain board. I had intended submitting the whole article for publication in a magazine. However nearly a year on and it is still to see print! Rather than keep it to myself, I have reproduced the whole article as a series here on my Blog. I hope that you like it.

Flash Gordon – Crashed Rocketship

For some time I have been wanting to build a skirmish terrain board that features a crashed rocketship. By skirmish I mean a small, 2foot x 2foot highly detailed gaming board come diorama to show off my 40mm Flash Gordon miniatures. The idea was further defined when I saw a crashed rocket board at a local Games Workshop store in Dudley, West Midlands, the rocket to the centre and gently rising terrain in each of the corners. The rocketship had to be from my favourite period, Flash Gordon the Alex Raymond comic strip years. Later I was further pushed in to progressing this project by the release of Fantastic Worlds by Rattrap Productions. See Peril of the Mystery Ship, pages 93 – 98 of the rule book.

I studied web and comic book illustrations for the traditional ‘bullet with wings’ rocketship designs and sketched out a number of possible options, then when visiting a local ASDA supermarket I saw the perfect ingredients; firstly a plastic wine glass, then a small blue thermos flask and finally a Barbie doll plastic beaker. The wine glass had the stem removed and the base of the goblet re-shaped with filler, the thermos had the handle removed and the top cut off, while the Barbie doll beaker had the base removed. A bit of sanding and loads of superglue later and we have the nose, body and rocket engine section, an afternoon’s work and total cost so far of less than £4.00, a real bargain and a simple project.

The wings are 3mm thick white plastic card, firstly drawn free-hand then cut, copied and sanded to shape. More superglue and a couple of strengthening pins and the ‘flying bullet’ was ready for take-off! You will see from the accompanying photos how I added detail to the basic shape and design, sticky labels, plastic rod, plastic card, sliced biro pen barrels and dozens of thinly sliced plastic rod rivets. The sensor/weapon above the nose section was cut from a spinning top toy given away free with a breakfast cereal, then pinned and glued in place.

The photos do not show the detail to the rear of the rocket, eight biro pen barrels and a cap from a washing-up liquid bottle, superglued to the inside of the Barbie beaker.

Before starting painting I washed the model with warm water and washing-up liquid and then sprayed the whole thing with ‘makes paint stick’ an aerosol product designed to undercoat plastic garden furniture prior to painting. This was the first time that I had used this product, so far it has performed perfectly.

Painting was carried out with acrylic paints, the red being spray painted via an airbrush – a Paasche single-action H model (my old stand-by) and the yellow hand painted over a cream under-coat. At this stage I was copying a design that I had seen on the Internet. The rocket motor section was painted dark grey/black and the ‘sun design’ on the nose was hand painted, following a pencil line guide. When dry the rocketship was ‘washed’ with various red and yellow inks.

One of the most striking and controversial parts of the painting are the damaged sections, painted to represent chipped paint on a crashed rocket, the shape was roughly painted with mid grey acrylic paint and then further over-painted with a white/silver colour. Later a wash of blue and black ink/water was added and finally the nose-cone windows were painted black, then dark blue, mid blue and light blue before a small pure white highlight was added to the top corner of each window.

Panel lines were added by placing ‘post-it’ notes over the panels and drybrushing contrasting colours in the direction of flight, similar effects were added to the rocket engine areas, this time with metallic colours.

The finished and varnished rocketship then sat on the shelf for over two years! During this time, I have had to repair the wing and tail sections a number of times.

This photo, shows a Graven Images 40mm miniature of Flash Gordon alongside the painted rocketship and shown for scale.

Part two will feature construction of the terrain board.


Flash Gordon audio cassette

Last Christmas my Mother-in-law bought me a Sony Walkman and a set of cassette story tapes. They are great fun while modelling in the shed. I picked up this Flash story book on e-bay, last week and although short it helped to pass the time.

The story is by Alex Raymond and recounts the first meeting of Flash, Dale and Zarkov with Thun the Lionman.


Wednesday 16 September 2009

'Springheeled Jack' A victorian superhero?

I recently came across this illustration advertising a lecture by Dr. Chris Upton (see below) and was immediate struck by the modelling potential. A quick GOOGLE search brought up some interesting history on Jack, see;

Due to other commitments I am not able to attend the lecture, but have included details and the Wiki link in the hope that others will also find this character of interest.


How to cast resin parts - update

The following photo shows the home-cast resin windows fitted in to a partially built 'weather board' house. In the left hand window casting you can see an air bubble, however the bubble is in the back of the casting and to add some depth to the finished casting I have backed it with 1mm thick plastic card so the bubble is not a problem.

The structure is built over 3mm plastic card with sliced lollipop sticks (or coloured craft sticks) super glued in place. When the whole building is cast in resin, I will include another photo, but for now I hope that this simple technique will inspire others to try resin casting.


Sunday 13 September 2009

How to cast resin parts

My latest modelling project meant that I needed a set of sash windows, at least three of each size to produce a 40mm AWI building. Rather than build six fiddly window pieces I decided to build one of each size, make a mould and cast them up in resin. I am sure that I will use the mould again and so I spent some time producing a good master.

Photo one - shows the sequence in pictures, The white plastic/plastic card master, the mould and two finished castings.

Photo two - the Lego moulding box and finished mould which was made from two part SILIGUM, available from craft shops in the UK (try Hobbycraft if you have any difficulty), you mix two equal parts of blue and white material and then press the pale blue putty in to the mould box with the master at the bottom. The putty will go off in about ten minutes, producing a silicone-like soft rubber mould, which is ideal for simple projects like this.

I use a piece of plastic card to press the putty on to the master and get a good copy. this should also get rid of any air bubbles in the mould or around the master.

Photo three - no expensive resin products here! The Fastglas resin and hardener are available from Halfords. I mix the two parts together (usually too much and also more hardener than recommended) in a plastic cup, before pouring in to the mould.

Photo four - the resin poured in to the mould. I do not use a release agent and once the resin begins to jelly, I place a piece of plastic card over the top of the mould and press down, forcing the resin in to the mould which also produces a flat back.

Photo five - as photo one, showing the technique in stages. The whole process; producing the master, the mould and two finished castings took less than 2 hours.


Colours 2009 - update

Following on from the earlier post, here are some better photos of the newest editions to the 40mm AWI/ACW range from Grand Manner.

Photo one - Lexington Belfry.

Photo two - Neilson's Farm detail.

Photo three - Guilford Log Cabin detail.

Photo four - Guilford Log Cabin.

Photo five - Neilson's Farm.

The figures are a selection of Front Rank 40mm Continentals or Foundry/Perry 40mm ACW.


Saturday 12 September 2009

Colours 2009 Newbury Racecourse

I have just returned from spending most of the day at Colours - the Newbury & Reading Wargames Society show at Newbury Racecourse. This rather dark photo shows the 40mm AWI/ACW buildings occupying the Grand Manner counter. Of special note are five brand new castings, not yet fully available but cast up just in time for the show. They are;
  • a Valley Forge Workshop building,
  • a Guilford Log Cabin,
  • Neilson Farmhouse,
  • the Lexington Belfry and
  • a Large Gabbion Earthworks.
All buildings feature lift-off roofs and internal detail. Full details should be posted on the Grand Manner website soon.

I enjoyed the show, a show spread across three floors of the main grandstand by didn't spend much. It was pleasing to meet with gamers and modellers and discuss the games, as well as taking so much inspiration back home with me.


Friday 11 September 2009

40mm ACW Miniatures from Perry

The two miniatures featured below are just two of about a dozen figures I picked up on e-bay some time ago. They are from the now discontinued range of 40mm American Civil War castings from Wargames Foundry and sculpted by the Perry brothers.

The figures have been mounted on to 25mm metal washers and painted over a dark brown/chocolate base.

The figures were first stripped of paint by soaking them in Dettol and then washing in warm water and washing-up liquid. I mounted them on to the metal washers some time ago, but have been forced to painting them as the 40mm terrain I have been building needed some miniatures to display alongside for COLOURS, the Newbury show this weekend.

My intention is to paint these and some Front Rank 40mm AWI figures for displaying with the painted terrain examples seen in earlier posts.

The only slight criticism that I have with these figures, is that the guns are so fragile. Correctly sculpted and moulded, but so easily damaged, especially for wargame figures, that and they are so rare, I regularly check e-bay for more figures, but they are very rare!