Monday 31 May 2010

Partizan MMX - Newark

Yesterday I spent all day at Partizan MMX. I had originally planned on missing this show and going to Games Expo, Birmingham next week, but at the last minute, Dave at Grand Manner asked if I was free to help him. We had an early start from Bromsgrove but were lucky enough to find an ideal parking space and the unloading was simplified because of this.

It was my first visit to Kelham Hall, Newark, which is quite an impressive building especially the main hall which is built of arched Golden flecked red brick and painted ceilings. The event itself was very well organised with exhibits across the ground floor and spread through various rooms, which gave the whole show a more friendly and intimate feel.

For the opening three/four hours, I was surprised at just how busy the GM stand was and both Dave and I were inundated with requests for information on the huge range of new items which were released this year. The show was the first outing for the 28mm/40mm Greek Temple model which was being sold at the very reasonable price of £60.00, (which includes one damaged statue and an altar). I was pleased to see that the whole stock of these temples were sold out prior to the show finishing.

The Medieval Town and Village sets were also well received and I was able to discuss the buildings with many gamers and purchasers. It was also the first time I has seen a complete Hartwell Tavern, as the castings I had seen up to now had all been part castings, there are over twenty individual pieces to this limited edition set.

By mid afternoon, I was able to wander off and study some of the display games and stalls, but mainly due to how busy we were and the fact that I was getting a real buzz from speaking to gamers, I found that I was not really able to study either the displays or in fact purchase that much!

The images below are just a couple of the items I was particularly taken with.

Photo One - The Perry Twins display game, which throughout the day was very busy and well attended. I would say that from what I saw, it was very much a demonstration game, giving examples of how specific actions and rules effect outcomes.

Photo Two and Three - a Greek or Spartan game which showed inspired use of Sudan Buildings as rural Greek outhouses. Very well done.

Photo Four - I was impressed with these Sci-Fi or Pulp electrical items, and took the picture as inspiration for my Flash Gordon laboratory board.

Photo Five - I apologise for the poor quality, I had inadvertently adjusted the setting on the camera! (Which is also the reason why there are so few photos reproduced on this post).

Photo Six - another poor quality photo which I have included for the superb terrain.

It took some considerable time to load the van following the end of the show, but we had decided not to rush and instead to stop on the journey home for a meal. My total purchases came to a couple of magazines, a Golgo Island miniature of The Apha Zorgl (GGL2), a miniature of a man in a gorilla outfit with a diving-bell helmet by Bob Olley! Some additional Spartan Games 40mm Spartans and Skeletons (the Greek Project continues to grow - if only in terms of the amount of lead) and off course the free limited edition miniature of The Belgian Detective, a special edition miniature given to the exhibitors and the first 500 visitors.

I think the highlight of the show was the number of friends who I was able to talk to over the course of the day, I enjoyed meeting you all and thank you for taking an interest in the new models - and suggesting new future projects.

I already know that others will supply a greater selection of show photos, I hope this post gives an idea as to the atmosphere of the show.


Saturday 29 May 2010

May update

Earlier this week I picked up this Graphic Novel from a remainder book stall in Birmingham city centre. Devlin Waugh by John Smith and Sean Phillips from the 2000AD comic books. For those who are new to this character (as I was) Devlin is, or was the Vatican's finest supernatural investigator, an aesthete, an athlete, wit.... and Vampire!

At just £1.00, reduced from £15.99, it is proving to be a great read, full of humour but I do sometimes wonder as to what the authors were taking when they thought up some of the story lines.

After a busy month and a change of plan, I'll be visiting Partizan 2010 this weekend. It's all been a rush with the final decision only taken on Thursday this week. This will be my first even visit to Partizan and I am looking forward to browsing the games and taking some photos.

There is also a second-hand bookfair being held in Droitwich Town Centre later today in aid of The Acorns Appeal (the same charity that Aston Villa support). If it stops raining I'll be off to check it out.

The number of Blog Followers continues to rise, currently at 90. I should be thinking about another competition but commissions are taking up most of my modelling time so this may have to wait. In recent days I have picked up some fantastic Followers from Spain and their Blogs are full of beautifully modelled and painted miniatures. I am truly in awe of the skill of these modellers.

There are a number of on-going or even finished articles and projects that due to one reason or another I am not able to post details of at this moment, but as soon as I have clearance, I will update you all with photos and a brief write-up.


Acorn Trust Book fair - five books for a pound, five Warhammer/Black Library fiction, Hardback Warhammer 40K, Hardback latest edition LOTR, Eagle Annual Number 3, an illustrated book of Greek Mythology and finally a book on Early Architecture. Total cost just £2.00.

Friday 28 May 2010

Talos the Bronze Robot - part five

I've had great fun in painting this characterful miniature, picking out the small and colourful details which add so much to this fantastic figure.

In terms of what has been painted and how - I think the pictures give a better impression than any words! I also think that without the young woman and the large metal base that came with this Salute 2010 Limited Edition set, the individual bronze man is much less threatening.

The next stage/stages - painting the base, varnishing and adding grass flock will be finished very soon, but even now I am pleased with the result. In the next set of photos, I will try to add a 40mm Graven Images figure to give a better idea of the size of this miniature.


Tuesday 25 May 2010

Talos the Bronze Robot - part four

Since the last up-date, I have painted all the non-bronze areas GW Chaos Black, the flexible left arm , waist, neck and hip control box have also been further detailed with Dark Grey and GW washes. The bronze areas have been further washed with an 'antiquing finish' called Bronze Verdigris which is intended for use on antiques. I have had this paint some time and the bottle needed a though shake prior to use. The effect is subtle, but does add to the bronze finish by giving a slight matte green to the shadows. The left pincer has also been painted Boltgun Metal, the only silver feature on the model.

As with earlier On-Line Builds, I find myself tidying up the Black areas more than normal. I have found the miniature has 'grown on me', now that the Bronze areas have been completed. I would have thought there would be some additional highlighting of the Bronze before I finish.


Monday 24 May 2010

Bendy Hair Shapers - for modellers

No - this is not some sort of weird cross-posting but an example of how products intended for one use can be a source of inspiration for modellers and in this case a great help.

Photo One - Shows the Bendy Hair Shapers from Poundland, bough for just £1.00!

Photo Two - The curler taken apart, the foam rubber tubing, flexible wire and two plastic stoppers. Once cut into sections the foam rubber tubing can be cut to size to fit over paintbrushes, sculpting tools and files.

Photo Three - Three tools with their foam handles attached.

Photo Four - The Citadel Standard Brush fitted with a foam handle.

I have found that the stainless steel sculpting tools in particular were uncomfortable when used for extended periods and the foam tubing helps to relive this discomfort. At 50 years of age, I know that my fingers are not as flexible as they used to be and anything that helps must be a benefit.

I am sure there are other uses and one of the bonuses, is that the flexible wire can be used for so many modelling projects, at just one pound, there is no excuse for trying this little helper, provided you don't mind picking up curlers from Poundland!


Sunday 23 May 2010

Recent Charity Shop Finds

These three comics/graphic novels were picked up in Worcester this weekend, just £1.00 each. The Jason and Perseus books are 48 page graphic novels with card covers and full of inspirational illustrations which should help if I ever get around to finishing my Ancient Greek or Typhon project. The Flash Gordon comic is a more traditional paper comic format and although following Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkov is a far cry from the Buster Crabb or Raymond comic strips. I'm not sure I like it!

All three were picked up from The Shaw Charity Bookshop in the Reindeer Court, Worcester. In addition to these there were literally hundreds of others including 2000AD comics all being sold for 60p, £1.00 or £1.20 each.


Saturday 22 May 2010

Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves

Here is my latest Games Workshop Space Marine model, Logan Grimnar, leader of the Space Wolf chapter. I purchased the miniature some time ago from e-bay and after stripping the paint he has patiently waited in the 'to do' box until I finally got around to painting him.

Of special interest is the fact that I painted the model over a Black/White undercoat, spraying the whole figure with Games Workshop Chaos Black and when dry, spraying from above with Skull White to produce a model that was already shaded, white highlights to the top and black shadows below. The Space Wolf Blue/Grey was custom mixed as I do not like the blue of the GW Space Wolves Grey.

In addition I have highlighted a little more than I would normally - GW call it Extreme Highlights!

The model is mounted on to a metal rock base that I picked up in a second hand bin some time ago and further mounted on to a round wooden base that was originally used as the base of an ornament. The snow effect is Icing Sugar, uPVA Glue and a touch of (tube acrylic) White Paint, mixed with a little water to produce a paste and applied with a brush in three separate layers. The 'snow' takes some time to dry fully and I would not recommend it for gaming pieces being a little too fragile to be regularly handled.

The miniature is 'stock' with no added details or conversions, just a little 'green stuff' around the join of the left arm to the body. My intention is to give it to my son and a desk ornament at his work, he already has one of my Space Marines on his desk, this will offer a little variety.


I would suggest that this is one of the very best Games Workshop sculpts, full of character and a dynamic pose.

Friday 21 May 2010

Talos the Bronze Robot - part three

Photo One - Shows the undercoated robot miniatures. I have given the model a wash of Black and Sepia from Games Workshop. This ensures that all areas of the miniature are covered, no silver bits showing through and helps to 'blend-in' the Black and Brown spray paints used in the initial undercoating.

Photos Two and Three - Detail of the first colour being applied, layers of metallic paints from GW. The first layer is a mix of Dwarf Bronze (mixed with a touch of Scorched Brown), the second is Dwarf Bronze with Shining Gold. The third is Shining Gold and when dry a wash of Sepia is applied.

At this stage of painting, the colours are roughly applied with a 'loose' drybrushing and medium brush concentrating the lighter metallic paint colours to the upper surfaces and a little more paint than a true drybrush.


Thursday 20 May 2010

Talos the Bronze Robot - part two

Over the years I have developed a particular style of miniature painting, one that owes a lot to the Games Workshop/White Dwarf or Heavy Metal style and the layering techniques pioneered by Kevin Dallimore and Steve Dean, called the Foundry method. In summary I use a couple of general painting techniques depending on the style of miniature I am painting. For example;

Flintloque; I use a black undercoat and very bright or stark primary colours with quite a bit of the black showing through and the primary colours having few highlights.

Flash Gordon; I tend to paint the miniatures from a (very) dark brown basecoat, which I find is less stark than just using pure black and the topcoat colours or highlights are blended and washed.

Others; I also use a white undercoat, for miniatures that I want to have a bright colour scheme, particularly 54mm or display minatures.

With this robot figure I am experimenting with a new, actually a revised undercoating technique which I have experimented with in the past, but comments and articles on the Net have led me to re-visit. In summary I am going to use a two colour base, or undercoat, in the case of the robot a black and brown undercoat.

I first spray painted the miniature with Chaos Black from GW, then when the paint was still wet I used a brown spray from Tamiya to lightly dust the top of the miniature (only spraying from directly above the figure), if you spray too much - just go back over it with the Black, spraying from below the miniature and aiming upwards. The finish you get is a dark basecoat with brown highlights on the upper surfaces as if sunlight was highlighting the figure in brown. I think these three photos show the effect better than words!

In the past I have used a similar technique to paint this Space Wolf Logan Grimnar. The miniature was first spray painted Chaos Black and then when dry the figure was spray painted Skull White from directly above the figure, 'the hallo effect', which leaves the miniature with ready made shadow and highlighting effects. When you paint the miniature the highlighted areas show brighter and the black areas are already in shadow. Once again I would hope the figure would show the technique better than words - maybe a photo tutorial would be better!

The same technique is being used on this building, Black on the bottom or shade areas, Brown on the walls and even some White on the highlighted roof areas - all lightly 'dusted' on.

In model aircraft forums or articles the technique is called 'Pre-Shading'. I will continue the robot On-Line build with a simple Black/Brown Wash, see next Blog entry.

The technique of Spray-Highlighted Base Coat (sorry - but I cannot think of a better term) has two effects, the speed at which the model takes on an obvious highlight - shadow, making painting easier and also a less stark base colour. I would hope that others would try this technique.


Wednesday 19 May 2010

Talos the Bronze Robot

My latest On-Line Build, is the robot from the Salute 2010 limited edition gift pack. My intention is to mount and paint just the robot and use it with my 40mm Flash Gordon miniature collection. To begin with, the miniature was purchased via e-bay and arrived earlier today. (I did not get around to visiting Salute 2010 earlier this year).

This On-Line Build, will detail how I modified this robot casting, mounted it and then painted it.

Photo Two - Shows the bare casting. As you can see the miniature stands just over 40mm tall.

Photo Three - The modified model robot, I cut the lower legs apart and lengthened the shins with a section of paperclip, superglued the pieces together and then the join was smoothed over with some 'Greenstuff'. Other changes include the finned helmet and re-modelled visor or right eye piece.

Photos Four and Five - The modified and based Robot. The model has additional sprue slices added to the knee joints and helmet ear pieces. The model is then superglued on to a 40mm round base which has had a small piece of sliced cork modelled in to the base with DAS modelling clay, further detailed with sieved sand and grit.

I intend painting the robot in a dark Bronze colour and calling it Talos (the bronze robot) in homage to the great Harry Harryhausen's stop-motion film, Jason and the Argonauts. More to follow.


Saturday 15 May 2010

Dr Who - Venetian Vampires

No Spoilers

Last weekend I watched the Dr Who episode, Venetian Vampires, Series 5, Episode 6 and was immediately struck with the fantastic production values of the programe. Firstly the new doctor, Matt Smith is growing on me and even though I was sure I would not like him, after David Tennant. I am finding that I am enjoying his characterisation, it is a refreshing change.

The main reason for this post is that the filming and set choice (it was actually shot on location in Venice) is just fantastic and must have inspired other gamers to wonder if a Venice/Vampire based gaming scenario or setting might work as a wargame or skirmish roleplay game?

I watched the episode for a second time when repeated on the following Monday and with sketchbook in hand was furiously making sketches and notes with the view of (one day) producing a Venitian themed terrain piece.

My preferred option would either be the courtyard (seen in the background of this shot) or the pier and wall set with the city guard. For mixed themes, I have also thought about a Captain Alatriste and Vampire theme - again based in the Venice setting!

I can but dream.


Friday 14 May 2010

Yahoo Groups - a personal view

For sometime, I have been a regular follower of a number of Yahoo Groups, I currently belong to ten separate wargame or modelling sites. I still check back on all ten on a regular basis, at least once a week, sometimes more often. I have found during this period that I jump in and out of membership, browsing new groups and culling those that I have become bored with or have moved on from.

This image is copied from the Jim Bowens Disturbia Group, one of the groups that I have been a member of for ages, but due to low traffic, I am now thinking about leaving.

I find that in general Yahoo Group Sites are a great way for discussing games, models or modelling and can be a great medium for manufacturers to keep in touch with their customers, asking questions about new releases or planned changes. A good example of this is the Flintloque group - The Notables, where Alternative Armies update a group with over 300 members discussing a range of games from Alternative Armies. Other Groups have promised a lot and which although starting well, never really fulfill their potential.

For anyone who has yet to test out this medium, I would suggest checking out a dozen and joining two or three to check how they work, the principals and how others use the sites, there is no one set of rules to cover all Yahoo Groups, but in general most are friendly and helpful. It is also worth checking on how many members the group has and how often the group is added to or how much new activity there has been in the last seven days.

As stated above, I regularly check back over my Yahoo Group Favorites, joining new and leaving others on a six month or yearly review program. If you are not careful you can find yourself being members of hundreds of groups. My current list of favorites are;

40mm Wargaming Collecting (a forum for miniature collectors who model and paint figures in 40mm/1/48th scale) - see;

Flintloque (An older group of Flintloque gamers, now overtaken by The Notables, see below) - see;

Jim Bowens Disturbia Group (for followers of the Disturbia, Cliffhanger and other miniatures fro Jim modelled in 40mm scale, now very poorly supported) - see;

The Notables (an official Flintloque site managed by Alternative Armies and very active) - see;

S1889 (for followers of the Space 1889 game) - see;

Sash and Sabre Military Miniatures ('does exactly what it says on the tin') - see;

SGOM or Sky Galleons of Mars (another Space 1889 gaming group) - see;

The Sea of Claws (an enthusiastic site for followers of the old Games Workshop game Man O'War and very well supported) - see;

WG Pulp (a group set up by Steve Blease from Wessex Games, concentrating on Pulp Sci Fi, which is now very quiet which is a pity) - see;

WG VSF (another Wessex Games group covering Aeronef, Aquanef and Land Ironclads, very well supported and always full of active discussion) - see;

It is coming to that time when I will be checking out new or other Yahoo groups, do you have any suggestions? I am also planning on cutting back on those groups that have gone quiet, I like to keep my group membership to around ten, otherwise I find I am checking too many sites.

In conclusion, I enjoy the groups and the open discussion and would recommend these Yahoo Groups to my followers, for information check out this site, an official site from Yahoo which should have something to interest you;


Thursday 13 May 2010

Mitre FFFFast by Ever Build

I have written in earlier blog entries how I use Superglue and Accelerator to build models and attach miniatures. In the past I have used a dual pack of Superglue and accelerator from Howdens (a builders merchants in the UK), however for the last year I have been using Mitre FFFFast from Ever Build, which is also a two part glue and accelerator (see below) which I feel works better.

The Glue which is a Cyanoacrylate is not labeled as Superglue, but acts in exactly the same way as other Superglues (or SG's) I have used and can be used with or without the the aerosol activator to form very strong and complete bonds. The activator will work with other SG's. I tend to buy lots of small bottles of cheap SG at £1.00 a bottle and use the more expensive SG's for special or specific jobs.

The instructions are very comprehensive and with a 500g bottle of SG and a 200ml can of activator this pack will last for some time.

I have no hesitations at all in recommending this product for model makers. It is pretty obvious from the photo - but for completeness, the pack cost £8.99.

The labeling states that Mitre FFFFast will bond MDF, Wood, Chipboard, Rubber, Metals, Most Plastics, Perspex, ceramics and much more. For more information;
Everbuild Building Products Ltd, Site 41, Knowsthorpe Way, Green Cross Industrial Est. Leeds LS9 0SW.

I would also point out that the same product is available from e-bay sellers at a wide variety of prices!


Tuesday 11 May 2010

RIP Frank Frazetta

Like many other followers of fantasy, I have just heard of the passing of Frank Frazetta. In my opinion the father of popular fantasy art. He will be greatly missed.


Monday 10 May 2010

Salute 2010 LE Robot Miniature

Regular followers will know that I did not attend Salute 2010, however I was very keen on picking up the 2010 Limited Edition Vignette - a young Lady being menaced by a huge robot. Earlier today I was successful in winning an auction over on e-bay for this particular set.

My plan is to paint up the robot and use it as part of my 40mm Flash Gordon collection. I am not sure what I will do with the young woman or the base!

This image was taken (without permission) from The South London Warlords official site - for more details see;

I will keep you informed as to how this project progresses, maybe another On-Line Build?


Thursday 6 May 2010

Moulding paste/putties

For some considerable time I have been using Gedeo's Siligum (see below) to reproduce parts in resin, for more information check out earlier posts. Siligum is a two part putty or paste that when mixed produces a soft plasticine type material that will set in about 5 minutes, producing some very detailed and flexible moulds, in to which I usually cast copies in resin. The Siligum is easy to use and produces very fine detail, the set material is extremely flexible and can be twisted and folded to remove quite intricate castings. I would have no hesitation in recommending it, however there is one drawback! It is very expensive, the small pack shown below is now on sale for £9.99 from Hobbycraft and The Range.

In an attempt to cut costs (I use the Siligum quite a bit, mainly to reproduce small repetitive castings or details like these roof tiles or the window castings seen above), I purchased this alternative two part casting putty from e-bay for £19.50. The putty works in the same way - you mix equal parts of both putties and have a working time of about 5 minutes. The big difference between the two products is that while the Siligum is flexible, the Hard Rubber Putty is (as it says on the tin) hard! Very inflexible and even 'biscuity or crumbly'. There is no way that you can 'flex' this set material - it would just crack. The hard rubber putty is available from Restoration Supplies.

There may be the possibility of mixing both products, to produce a cheaper mould, but also one that does not crumble. However the costs of the raw material make this too expensive to risk loosing a whole mould.

In conclusion, the Siligum, is much easier to use and in the long run more economical as the mould lasts so much longer and without damage. There are other similar products that can be used to make simple 'drop moulds', particularly for resin casting, however these also tend to deteriorate quickly and are not suitable for multiple casts.

I would hope that followers who are tempted to produce their own moulds find this review of use.


Wednesday 5 May 2010

Billy (the) Piper - finished

Billy was finished this Bank Holiday weekend, the final painting, varnishing and basing all completed. The Metallic areas have been highlighted in the same way as solid colours, the varnishing was a single coat of Ronseal Hard Glaze, and three coats of Galleria acrylic mat varnish, while the static grass is a mix of both 'normal' grass and and one grass tuft.

Photo One - Shows the finished and based miniature.

Photos Two, Three, Four and Five - Show the same finished Piper from different angles.

While the rest of these images show the different stages of painting.

On Monday afternoon, I asked my daughter (it was after all her idea, to run this comp.) to randomly choose a Blog Follower to receive the finished Billy (the) Piper miniature. I am very pleased to say that the winner is Rob Alderman, a fellow Flintloque sculptor and miniature painter. I will be contacting Rob direct to arrange delivery.

To recap, the Highland Rat Piper was purchased at the Alumwell Show back in March for just £1.00. I have enjoyed the On-Line build and look forward to others, but as this was the first Dampf's Modelling Page competition/prize draw I am satisfied that Billy will be going to someone who will enjoy it.