Wednesday 28 October 2009

Flash Gordon Orcus - part six

I had expected this on-line build to last longer, much longer if I'm honest, but this post (part six) takes the miniature from detail painting right through to varnished and flocked!

Photo One - Shows the miniature painted, additional highlighting to both the purple and blue/green skin tones, the teeth, tongue and eyes painted and a number of washes, the final one being a Flesh Wash to take away the stark pink tones.

Photo Two - The base painted in my 'house style' - black and scorched brown, highlighted with scorched brown and then snakebite leather/scorched brown. The stones picked out in black and grey with white highlights. Then all washed with a water-down black wash.

In my opinion finishing the base in a 'house style' (all miniature bases painted in the same style) can help to bring all the collection together, much more that what style you paint the actual miniature can.

Photo Three - As above but now varnished with Ronseal - 'it does exactly what it says on the tin' gloss varnish.

Photo Four - Matt varnished with a custom mix of Galeria Acrylic Matt Varnish and Tamiya Flat Base X-21. Two or three coats are sometimes needed.

These final photos show the figure based, painted, varnished and flocked with green static grass. The eight eyes and open mouth have been brush painted with Klear acrylic gloss varnish.

I've enjoyed recording the painting of this old Grenadier miniature much more than I thought I would. I initially started this On-line build after seeing a similar series of posts on a 1/32nd scale aircraft site and wondered if I could keep up the interest with a single figure. If nothing else it has been a fast paint-up, taking about a week from start to finish and maybe, painting one figure at a time and keeping an on-line record is the way forward for me.

The miniature is a Grenadier Miniatures Orcus - M36, bought second-hand on e-bay, it is mounted on to a 40mm round base and stands 60mm tall.


Tuesday 27 October 2009

Flash Gordon Orcus - part five

The colour scheme is evolving. I think I prefer this purple/grey more than the turquoise/purple! See the artwork below

The green skin has had blue added to it, with blue washes and a final drybrush of blue/green on the upper surfaces. I have also added black washes to the areas that will be purple, the heads and stomach. (It still looks very green in this photo).

The purple colour is mixed from Blood Red and Midnight Blue from Games Workshop (I don't have a ready mixed purple in my collection as this is not a colour I use that much). Adding touches of white to the mix as I highlight up to almost pink. I have then used the Citadel Purple wash to blend the highlighting and a purple/black wash to define the blue/green skin from the purple stomach and heads.

The other change is to paint the tentacles in the same purple colour - I had intended keeping these just blue/green (the same as the main skin colour). Yet another example of how my hap-hazard painting style can change the final overall scheme, sometimes without planning.

The initial colour scheme - green has changed quite considerably during the course of this on-line build, sorry paint and I am sure it will develop further before the final varnishing and flocking.

I'm pleased with progress so far - purple is not a common colour scheme for me and this is something very new in colour schemes for me to get to grips with. The purple has been the biggest challenge so far.

I can't help thinking of Rhubarb, when I look at this painted figure?


Monday 26 October 2009

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Over the last twenty years I have read all (nearly all) of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. It would be difficult to choose my favourite as all have some fond memories, however Monstrous Regiment has to one of my favourites. Then this weekend at the Toy Soldier Show, I was in discussion about books based on Black Powder fantasy and I found myself recommending this book. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE - Mark!

Monstrous Regiment - the 31st Discworld book and in my opinion one of his best. But as stated above, it is so difficult to choose a 'best' amongst so many greats. I also found my self reviewing the story - searching the Net for a suitable quote, but with this particular story it is so difficult to do without giving away main threads of the story. You will just have to take my work for it and go out and buy a copy!

Given the content of this Blog, I would be amazed if Pratchett was not known to my followers, however any one who is yet to discover the wonders of this author should go out now and buy a Discworld book - you will not be disappointed.


Sunday 25 October 2009

Toy Soldier Show - Birmingham

Earlier today I visited the 19th Birmingham Toy Soldier Show at the Clarendon Suite, off Hagley Road, Birmingham. The show is for model or toy soldiers rather than wargaming or modelling subjects, think old Airfix, Hat or the 54mm painted figures from Timpo, Britains or King & Country. There were thousands of toy soldiers - ranging in price from a couple of pence to hundreds of pounds each!

I felt that it was not as well attended or as many traders as last year, filling just the main hall and a bit. Overall, I was disappointed and apart from the entry fee I did not spend anything. The highlight for me was studying the beautiful models made by Allan Colclough from Small Wonder Models, which were on display in glass cabinets. Allan was kind enough to show me some additional photos and these and others are featured on his Web site;

The Gallery and Product sections show some truly fantastic 'scratch built' models, a real inspiration to me. In addition Allan was quite happy to talk about his modelling techniques, share his experience and give modelling hints and tips, a real gentleman thank you.

I also spent some time studying a huge 1/32nd (or 54mm scale) WWII German E-Boat. A very impressive 'full hull' model.

I am not convinced that I will be attending this show next year. We will have to see.


Flash Gordon Orcus - part four

More of an up-date to the last Orcus post rather than a brand new post. A single photo showing the acrylic paint, GW wash and materials used to paint the miniature so far.


Saturday 24 October 2009

Flash Gordon Orcus - part three

With the miniature undercoated, I started searching the Web for colour schemes. I had already decided to paint the figure green with a brown stomach (much like the Sebeki Crocodiles from Crocodile Games), but Google searches brought up these variations.....

Of the three, I prefer the bottom scheme, from the D&D Collectible Miniatures series. A dark blue/green body with purple/pink stomach and head.

I used GW Midnight Blue and an old pot of Warzone Centurion Green, mixed on a small palette to paint the main skin colour, drybrushing the scales which are sculpted on the creatures back with a mix that contained more green. Once dry I mixed up a watered down wash using KLEAR, Dayla-Rowney Flow Enhances, Distilled Water and the Asurmen Blue Wash from Citadel. The wash was applied in three or four light coats to build up the depth of colour and 'bring-out' the detail.

This photo shows how the dark blue/green has just tinted the miniatures skin and the washes have already highlighted the sculpted skin detail.

As I stated in the first post - this is a new departure for me in the way that I display my painted models, giving much more detail as to how I approach painting my miniatures. I would hope that the descriptions give more rather too little detail, but if any reader has any questions please use the COMMENTS function.


Now that I've seen the D&D miniature and my painted Orcus on the Blog, I think I might have to repaint it a much more blue green colour!

Friday 23 October 2009

Flash Gordon Orcus - part two

Continuing with the on-line build and painting of this Grenadier Orcus, I have undercoated the miniature with Games Workshop Chaos Black spray paint, touching up the bits missed with Vallejo Black acrylic paint.

In addition to the painting, I cleaned up the base prior to spray painting, scraping off some sand that had stuck to the miniatures feet and tail. I also added a small amount of 'green stuff' to the rear of the head to extend the mane of each of the heads. I am not sure this was really necessary, it extended the hair on the back of the neck about 3 or 4mm. The texture was scored-in with the end of a scalpel which had been dipped in water.

As I study the figure I see just how much very fine detail there is - for example check out the tongue on the right hand head, which is much finner than anything I could have modelled. I had thought about extending the crests on the top of the heads, but I believe that this miniature is so good, there is nothing you could do to better it, (other than a good paint job).

Not much more to add at this time - the black undercoat helps to bring out the sculpted detail and I am now looking to start painting. The plan is for a green figure, but as I research the monster this may change!


Thursday 22 October 2009

40mm AWI advert Wargames Illustrated - page 93

Wargames Illustrated, issue 265 - November 2009 is now on sale and on page 93 is yet another advert for Grand Manner featuring the 40mm AWI building - Guilford Courthouse.

The whole issue is themed around The American War of Independence with the majority of the articles featuring the AWI in some form or another. In general I would not normally recommend such a policy, however in this particular instance I feel it works well, very well.

The Guilford Courthouse featured in the advert was painted by me some weeks ago and will be the featured building in a forthcoming TMP Workbench article. Expect the article soon.

I also feel that congratulations are in order - Dave at Grand Manner is celebrating his 10 years anniversary as a professional model maker, well done and best wishes for the future. Thank you for the support you have given me over the last six months.

For more details, please check out;


Wednesday 21 October 2009

Flash Gordon Orcus

This is a 'straight off the press' photo of my latest E-bay purchase, a Grenadier Miniatures Orcus - M36. I know this particular miniature is rare, quite rare and I've been on the lookout for one for some time, after seeing one on a Grenadier miniatures site. It was purchased on an E-bay auction for just £2.99 (plus P&P). There are similar monsters sold in the plastic, D&D Miniatures range - check out Demogorgon or Aspect of Demogorgon.

I know that there are many Flash Gordon monsters with six limbs and although I am not sure this matches any of the Alex Raymond illustrations, I am still convinced that it fits well with the character or theme of Mongo monsters and creatures.

The miniature came painted - a dark green over a black undercoat. I have not stripped the figure but have mounted it on to a 40mm round base and built up the groundwork with pieces of broken cork, Milliput and sand.

The Orcus sculpt is very two-dimensional (moulded in one plane, I have already bent the lower, right tentacle forward to add some depth) but full of menace and will be a perfect addition to the Flash Gordon collection. The model stands just over 60mm tall (top of crest to foot).

I have a number of in-progress Flash Gordon Monsters, I usually don't post them on this Blog until they are finished, but with this fantastic sculpt, I thought I would make an exception and start a WIP thread. Expect regular updates.


Tuesday 20 October 2009

LAF's Build Something Competition - update

The rules of the Build Something Competition state that finished photos or images should not be included until the end of the competition. These photos show the model 95% finished but still awaiting a matt varnish coat and base mounted nameplate.

Photo One - The model nearly finished, mounted but still needing varnishing.

Photo Two - Painting started, a base coat of Stonewall Grey from Vallejo and Snakebite/Scorched Brown from GW.

Photo Three - As photo one, but from a different angle. At this stage the model has been given a Kleer wash with a touch of GW Black Wash added to pick out the surface detail. The tail mounted shield design was from a 1/48th scale WW2 German set.

The model was produced on the 'spur of the moment' - prompted by the LAF's competition. If I was to plan this particular model or rebuild it, I would not have used the existing resin casting, but have scratchbuilt a more 'barrel-shaped' hull, less streamlined and slightly shorter. I might also have modelled the rear sun shade as an inverted 'V' or tent-like shape.

I also feel that this design would be ideal to replicated in 15mm scale, maybe using a toy boat hull as the basis.

I'll add more photos and details when the Build Something Competition ends.


Monday 19 October 2009

Molemen for Flash Gordon - update

I have ordered a set of Wyrd Miniatures Molemen......

......and three Reaper Miniatures Garravank (3388).

My plan is to use the arms and hands from the Molemen and the body from Garravank the Ghoul King. All were ordered from America as I was not able to find them in the UK. Total cost less than £30.00, and all paid for from my PayPal account. Lets hope that there are no problems but at these costs I will be very careful. Look out for regular updates.

Thanks for the personal mails.


Sunday 18 October 2009

Molemen for Flash Gordon

A recent thread on The Lead Adventure (LAF) highlighted a set of three 28mm Malifaux Molemen by Wyrd Miniatures. See;

I have been wanting to model a group of Molemen for my 40mm Flash Gordon collection. Cliffhanger already have a group of four in 40mm scale, but I have never liked these figures, see;

My thought is to use the arms and possibly the heads from the beautifully sculpted Wyrd Miniatures Molemen and either 'scratchbuild' the bodies, or use existing 40mm scale or large 28mm scale miniatures to produce Molemen conversions. My problem is trying to find a suitable donor or group of donors figures to perform this surgery. (Please note, I'm working in 40mm - and can see these converted figures being anywhere between 36mm - 45mm!)

Has any reader suggestions as to which model or models I could use or have any further comments relating to this planned project? Comments and suggestions would be greatly welcome.

Thanks in advance, Tony

Saturday 17 October 2009

LAF's Build Something Competition

The Lead Adventure Forum (LAF), one of the modelling forums that I regularly visit and support are running a simple - Build Something Competition that I came across earlier this week. See; This afternoon, while listening to the football on Radio Five I thought I would produce an entry. This 1/300th scale model of a Rutledge Flier Mk II. based on a computer generated illustration by Mateen Greenway. See;

Photo One - Shows the finished model, well the modelling finished, but still awaiting paint. The model is 80mm long.

Photo Two - The rough sketch on which I based the model.

Photo Three - I used a resin cast hull that was left over from an earlier modelling project. The red hull is cast in cheap car repair resin.

Photo Four - The same resin casting, with a built-up hull. I used layers of 3mm thick plastic card, superglued together and than trimmed and sanded to shape.

Photo Five - As above, but showing the hull shape in greater detail. The wheel-house is situated to the side, again built from plastic card.

Photo Six - Shows the wheel-house in place and the beginnings of a boiler to the rear.

Photo Seven - The construction finished, plastic card and rod detailing, a plastic ladder strip and yellow sticky-back labels for hull and surface detail.

Overall the model has taken about three hours from start to finish. I will undercoat with spray paint and brush paint the detail. See part two - coming soon.


Friday 16 October 2009

Front Rank 40mm AWI Continentals

I have purchased five 40mm Continental soldiers from Front Rank, mainly to use as a scale comparison against the 40mm AWI buildings I have been working on. The first two were painted up some time ago as I wanted them to accompany trade show displays for Grand Manner. These two were sitting on my workbench, based and undercoated for some time before I picked out the paintbrush and painted them. They were finished and flocked last night.

These are absolutely beautiful sculpts with perfectly proportioned bodies and subtle but detailed uniforms, a real joy to paint.

The bulk of the range come with a separate head and headgear sprue, which allows you to vary the uniform and add some tilt or turn to each characters head. The face detail is very well done - as you can see. At COLOURS, Newbury, last month I saw a full cabinet of painted figures on the Front Rank stand, regiments of between 16 and 20 models mounted on to square bases and four figures to a base. These are the same figures that Dave (at Grand Manner) has used in his catalogue shots - see;

For the last ten years I have collected and painted a whole range of 40mm figures, Graven Images, Flashing Blades, S&S etc. I can honestly say that these are the best I have come across and have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them. For more details please go to;

I am looking to purchase another group of British 'Red Coats' and I'll comment on these once I have them.


Thursday 15 October 2009

Guilford Courthouse by John Hairr

In my quest to gather as much background information as possible of various American War of Independence battle sites, I saw this particular reference book of E-bay.

The 144 page, card-backed book is written by John Hairr and is part of the BATTLEGROUND AMERICA GUIDES published by Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword Books. A quick first glance gives the impression of being a very well researched and in-depth summary of this important battle. I will comment further once I have studied it in greater detail.

With a published price of £12.95, I feel I have had a real bargain via E-bay, paying just £2.99 plus postage!


TMP Workbench Article - Thor

The TMP Workbench article - Thor from Bronze Age Miniatures is now up and running. See;

The miniature was painted some months ago and now resides with my 40mm Flash Gordon collection. As you can read in the article, the figure was a real joy to paint, full of detail and character. A second Bronze Age Miniature - this time Odin is due to be featured in a Workbench article very soon.

The miniature is mounted on to a 40mm round base and stands 45mm tall (head to toe).


Wednesday 14 October 2009

Blog update

It's been a while coming but I have updated my Blog by adding my followers. Many thanks to all who have support my Blog, you are now immortalized as icons on my front page!

Web stats are claiming that the Blog gets over 100 hits a day. Not bad for my various ramblings!

I have a number of articles that are planned for publication and they should be up and running very soon, four are for TMP - various workbench articles, two or is it three? for Alternative Armies and a short comment for Wargames Illustrated, linked to the 40mm AWI/ACW range from Grand Manner. The 40mm range continues to take up a good part of my modelling time with further releases due before the end of the year. However you will be pleased to know that 'other' modelling projects (maybe even a new terrain board) are being planned.

I am not planning on attending SELWG, but am looking to visit CRISIS, Antwerp in November. This will be my first ever over-seas show with a walk across the Waterloo battlefield on the way back.

More news as it happens, once again thanks for all the support.


"I have just seen that this is my 333rd post - Halfway to Hell :)"

Sunday 11 October 2009

A Tale of Two Towers

Firstly this particular entry is very picture heavy!

As part of the 40mm AWI/ACW range I designed and Dave at Grand Manner has cast up, I have produced a 40mm Lexington Belfry or The Old Belfry at Lexington. (Code AMC-40-12).

The title, a Tale of Two Towers relates to the fact that I intend building two different versions of this particular model, firstly a modified casting to show the re-built, reproduction of the Belfry, as seen below and a later one showing the same casting built as the White Belfry would have looked in 1775.

Photo One - Shows the finished reproduction, based on a wooden plaque with modelling and historical notes.

Photo Two - Takes a step back in time and shows the original model during construction. The base is a 3mm plastic card box with lollipop stick weather boards.

Photo Three - The finished 'master' ready to be moulded and cast-up in resin.

Photo Four - The inspiration for the model - the battle of Lexington with the Lexington Belfry in the right background.

Photo Five - Yet another illustration, again showing the Belfry to the right.

Photo Six - A coloured postcard showing The Old Belfry, Lexington, MA. This is the illustration I used to build the modern reproduction.

Photo Seven - The first ever resin casting of the Grand Manner 40mm Lexington Belfry (AMC-40-12).

Photo Eight - The model is cast in three separate pieces, a main body, the roof section and the bell tower roof.

Photo Nine - The re-built Belfry, with a revised bell tower and a new diorama base built from sheets of broken cork, DAS modelling clay and stones from the garden.

Photo Ten - A close-up of the bell tower.

Photo Eleven - The main building painted over a black undercoat, using various acrylic paints and GW washes.

Photo Twelve - As above.

Photo Thirteen - Painting - halfway through. Note the white wooden plaque - a feature of the reproduction, which details the history of the original and reproduced tower.

Photo Fourteen - The bell tower nearly finished.

Photo Fifteen - The main building nearly finished. The figure is an O gauge figure from A C Stadden, a 1/43rd scale figure (40mm tall) of C B Collett. I wanted a contemporary figure rather than use a 40mm AWI Continental as I have done in the past. You can also see the beginnings of foliage on the base, made from ground foam and static grass.

Photo Sixteen - As above.

Photo Seventeen - A photo of the finished display piece that has been produced to be used at trade shows by Grand Manner.

Photo Eighteen - The finished diorama.

The plaque says;

The Old Belfry, Lexington, MA.

The Old Belfry in Lexington was built in 1762 and originally stood on a small hill adjacent to the village green. In 1768 it was moved to the common and between the hours of 1.00 am and 2.00 am on the morning of April 19th, 1775 the bell was rung to summon the local militia after Paul Revere and Willam Dawes had alerted the village.

In 1797, it was removed to the Parker Homestead in the south part of the town. In 1891 it was brought back to this hill by the Lexington Historical Society. Later it was destroyed by a gale in 1909 and rebuilt in 1910.

This particular model is a re-built and detailed model of the 40mm Lexington Belfry (AMC-40-12) model from Grand Manner. It is modelled and painted as it appeared in a colour postcard around 1919.