Saturday 31 July 2010

A Frankfurt Experience

This week I had two days in Germany, visiting Frankfurt. The visit had been planned for some time and I was able to visit Hessenpark, a huge open air building and lifestyle museum just North-East of Frankfurt. The museum has over 80 open air building, all fully kitted-out with authentic equipment and exhibits. A great day out, a real 10 out of 10 for just an entry cost of 6 Euros. On day two, prior to the journey back home, I visited the Roman Fort at Saalburg again a great day out, following the 'LIMES', a fortified series of Roman forts, castles and towers.

Photo One - Shows the main square at Hessen Park, each of the buildings is a retail store, a toy shop, a tourist information shop, a flower show or a bakery etc. etc.

Photo Two - This is just one of the many, many exhibits, I hope that this gives a 'feel' for just how well maintained these buildings are.

Photo Three - Later we had time to explore the Romer District of Frankfurt and ate Wiener Schnitzel and drank Stoffsche, the local 'Blonde' Beer, here are some examples of the local architecture.

Photo Four - The reconstructed Roman Fort at Saalburg, a complete and beautifully restored Roman Fort, including four gates, hundreds of metres of walls and ditch, a stone Granary, wooden barracks, a main hall and official buildings. A truly fantastic experience, another 10 out of 10. This is a photo of one of the minor gates.

Prior to leaving the UK, I had updated my measly 128MB camera memory card to 2GB. I have taken 500 photographs over two days!

For anyone who is looking for more information the links are;



Wednesday 28 July 2010

In praise of Limited Edition Miniatures

Regular followers of this Blog will be well aware of my collection of Flintloque figures, a collection that I have been adding to for many, many years. In addition to the Box Set and Blisters I also have quite a few of the Limited Edition releases (either 500 or 1000 castings) and even a couple of the Very Limited Edition (250 castings). I believe that they add 'colour' and character to my collection and where ever possible, I base and paint them, rather than keeping them as investments - some of the early LE blisters fetch huge amounts on e-bay.

I was therefore surprised to read adverse comments relating to companies who release LE editions or special sets and this got me thinking. I know that Games Workshop, Alternative Armies and Privateer Press produce limited edition miniatures, as do many more. The numbers range from hundreds to thousands of castings per release so there MUST BE a market for these figures.

As stated above, not only do I regularly purchase these miniatures, I base and paint them (and when ever possible play with them - it is rare nowadays!)

I posted a query on the Yahoo Notables board asking for comments and one member stated that he found it a shame that ANY mould/mold was destroyed. This is a statement that I found myself agreeing with and now I'm confused. I know that I enjoy collecting LE's but also agree that the destroying of any miniature mold is such a shame!

In summary, I believe that the release of LE's is a good thing and I will continue to collect them to add it my collection, but would like to hear other views.


Tuesday 27 July 2010

Loughor Castle

These are a series of photographs of Loughor Castle, which is situated between Swansea and Llanelli alongside the A484. In truth there is very little which remains, but for me the main point of interest was the stonework, which contrary to Hollywood is not beautifully cut and shaped blocks, but a real mis-mash of small and uneven rocks! Even so the building has a real charm.

Photo One - Shows the complete ruin, the remains of a tower and a fallen stairwell (front left). For more information (and photos) check out;

I found the exercise of studying and photographing old stonework has helped with my modelling. It is very easy to fall into a 'picture perfect' rendition of castle stonework, but evidence like Loughor proves that the truth is often much more interesting than the 'fairy tale' constructions so often seen on the wargaming table.

I do not envisage building a model of Loughor, however these images may help me to become a better modeller.


Saturday 24 July 2010

1st Moldsk Guard for Flintloque

I am very proud of this latest release from Alternative Armies - the 1st Moldsk Guard, which were sculpted by me some time ago. The set of sixteen Undead Bog Orcs are available as a Limited Edition Unit for £36.00, see;

These two images were copied from the Alternative Armies Barking Irons Blog, see;

Full details of the miniatures, their gaming stats for Flintloque/Slaughterloo and painting notes are available from the AA web pages. In addition there is a game scenario featuring this unit printed in the latest game supplement Grapeshotte.

This photo shows my very own set. I have had them for some time but am still to get around to basing and painting them. Maybe now that they have been (officially) released and I have seen a set painted up, I will get around to finishing my own unit!

The original 'master' miniatures are a mix of converted and modified Orcs and Bog Orcs, and based on illustrations from a feature called - Russian Napoleonic Infantry and Foot Artillery Uniforms 1812 - 1815, on page 48 of The Foundry Compendium. I had great fun modelling the Grenadier plumes!

This Limited Edition box set is limited to just 100 sets. If you are tempted, I would suggest that you act fast, very fast - the first Limited Edition Unit, 3o Bella Manicotti - a group of 16 Todoroni sold out very quickly.


Friday 23 July 2010

Cool Mini or Not Annual 2008

I have just received my copy of the Cool Mini or Not Annual 2008. I already have the first annual, the 2003 edition (which was bought for me by my daughter) and had no hesitations in ordering this second edition.

I would add that the book was delivered within the week, from ordering to delivery in the UK. very good service, thank you!

At over £32.00 (inc. postage from the US), it is an expensive purchase, but one that I know I will enjoy. The 134 full colour pages are just jam packed with images of superbly painted figures, true Eye-Candy. For more details and some examples of the illustrations go to;

The hard back book is beautifully made, a true limited edition and crafted book, from the gloss/matt covers to the high quality art-quality paper, it is a beautiful possession. The contents are split into five main sections, they are;
Fantasy Miniatures, the largest section,
Science Fiction Miniatures,
Scratchbuilt & Terrain,
Busts & Historical Miniatures

I think my favourite sections are Fantasy and Scratchbuilt & Terrain, although there are just so many great illustrations that it would be difficult to put forward a real argument for any one section as the painted miniatures are just so well done. So far I have really only browsed the pages, but I am sure there will be more for me to study and as a book of inspiration, I know I will use it and enjoy it.

I have noticed that since I started collecting modelling/figure painting books, the style of painting has changed quite considerably, for the better I may add. The early Heavy Metal style, bright colours and almost cartoon style, via the Dallimore - layering techniques, to what I would currently describe as more realistic, more artistic or European Style, the contents of the Cool Mini or Not site seem to illustrate this better than words. I would add that I enjoy ALL styles of miniature painting, but enjoy the slightly 'brighter' style, as demonstrated by examples in recent White Dwarf magazines, more than the grey or 'earthier' style, seen on some recent examples of painted miniatures.

Full details are;
ISBN 978-0-9845295-0-6
Published and available from Cool Mini or Not at;

I don't think I have anything negative to say, £30.00 very well spent and I would highly recommend it to others.


Tuesday 20 July 2010

The Rocketeer

It's been a while since I up-loaded any articles related to modelling figures for my Flash Gordon collection, this figure, The Rocketeer, is a much modified 40mm Graven Image casting which has sat on my desk for some considerable time. I decided this weekend that it was about time he was painted and finished. I re-based him on to a 40mm round base and built up the base with DAS modelling clay, the helmet fin was re-modelled as the original conversion had been damaged and I painted him as the Classic Rocketeer character.

The rocket pack was scratch built and the leather jacket re-modelled with Green Stuff. The original helmet had 'goggle-type' lenses, but I filed these off (at a very late stage), preferring the 'sun glasses' style instead.

I have no idea how he will be used in my Flash background, but at least he is now painted, although I think I could have done better with the gold helmet - I do like the stance.


Sunday 18 July 2010

Web based magazines and forums and blogging

I try to up-load new material to my Blog at least every other day, giving me a total of between 15 - 20 posts per month. If I have more than one articles worth of material, I prefer posting one, one day and another the day after. There are no firm plans or rules, just the way I post on my Blog.

In addition I regularly follow two on-line magazines, The Miniatures Page or TMP, see;

and The Lead Adventure Forum, see;

I also follow two more, Miniature Wargaming and Tabletop Gaming News, but less frequently, possibly once or twice a week. See;


In the distant past I also check up on Frothers, but I personally find Frothers a bit 'aggressive' and don't enjoy the posting style or comments, for completeness, Frothers can be found here;

I regularly read and post on TMP and LAF's, for example I posted a comment about the newly released Foul Mouth Freddy miniature from Alternative Armies only this week, (I didn't post a comment about this figure on LAF's, as I am never sure where to post Flintloque/Deadloque threads on LAF's!) The AA posts giving details of this very limited edition miniature (just 250 models are being produced) is then taken up by many other Blogs, Forums and on-line gaming magazines or Web pages, it always surprises me just how quickly and how thoroughly this style of Chinese Whispers posting takes over, maybe it is just an age thing! As when I first started modelling/collecting the only ways to get information were gaming or military magazines, sending away for a printed catalogue (usually involving postal orders) or visits to wargame shows.

Recently a thread on LAF's has got me thinking. For completeness here is a link to the thread;

Tabletop Gaming News have launched Tabletop Gaming News Blog Network, a central point for the more established wargaming , gaming or miniature based Blogs. I was very much in favour of this, thinking it was a great idea, however others have commented that why launch another 'Blog of gaming Blogs?' - as there are already two 'major' Blogs that do essentially the same - La Figoblogotheque and Blogs of War from Steve Blease, see;


I, however believe that there is more than enough room on the Web, to have more than two such Blogs of Blogs and actually look forward to seeing how the Tabletop Gaming News Blog Network develops. I was so taken with their aims, that I decided to add Dampf's Modelling Page to the list of proposed Blogs, only to find that I had already been included within the list. A pleasant surprise.

My own view is that these three lists are different enough to warrant them being allowed to exist alongside one another, La Figoblogotheque tends to concentrate on European Blogs (running alongside English speaking and American Blogs) , the inclusion of non-English speaking modelling Blogs adds to the number of Blogs I would normally view and therefore I am all in favour of the inclusion - some of the Spanish figure modelling Blogs are just fantastic, I really enjoy checking out the pictures, as I don't speak Spanish.

Blogs of War is a list that I check back on at least once a week, it gives me a one-stop-shop to see what is new, what others are doing and I never fail to see at least one fantastic new Blog or article that has something to interest me.

Tabletop Gaming News and their new Blog Network, is more focused and because of the different format gives another options, the list of Blogs has a short section of text, giving a feel for what the Blog includes and the option of a detailed search, something that I am not aware the other two have. See;

In conclusion I am looking forward to reading all three of these Blogs of Blogs and believe that I will enjoy and take something from each of them, without feeling that they repeat one another. I would suggest that anyone not familiar with these three Blogs, check them out and see just how active the world of gaming Blogs is. Long may it remain so.

I have possibly gone on a little too far, sorry, but I felt this had to be said.


Saturday 17 July 2010

Flash Gordon Comic Book Archive to be released soon

I came across a Blog post giving details of a Flash Gordon archival collection of 'Classic Age' Flash Gordon illustrated stories. Flash Gordon - King of the Space Wars by Dark Horse, due August 2010. Full details can be found here;

I already have quite a collection of Flash material but look forward to seeing a full review of this new hard cover book. I am sure that it will re-kindle my interest and give me loads of new modelling inspiration, - additions to my 40mm Flash Gordon collection have been slow of late!


Friday 16 July 2010

Blakes 7

I was recently made aware of the BBC Radio 7 audio plays based on the early years of the Blake 7 characters. they were transmitted between Monday 31st May - Friday 4th June and were very good, fleshing out each of the main characters, their life, how they became involved with the resistance and giving some great background. They were very well produced.

This 1979 Blakes 7 Annual was picked up in a charity book shop last week, and although quite 'cheesy' brought back some very fond memories of this iconic BBC Sci-Fi series.

Crystal Gazing - the first of the stories offers an interesting gaming scenario;

The crew realise that their multi-directional Mauxite crystal has a hair-line fracture, the crystal is needed to operate the navigational computer and without it the ship would be lost in space. It is rare but not unheard of to damage a Mauxite crystal, but the crew must now find a replacement and fast.

The nearest suitable planet is Gamma Nine, which not only has a reserve of Mauxite but a breathable atmosphere. The spaceship accelerates to full speed and heads for Gamma Nine.

Unfortunately the crystal has now shattered and there is no option but to acquire a new one.

Upon landing they find that the planet is inhabited by a race of human-like beings who believe the crystals to be sacred, they will be very hostile to any intruders and if caught will probably kill you. On the plus side they are technically backward and are armed with spears and hand weapons, be aware there are too many for you to attack with force, no matter how well armed you are.

Once within range of the main settlement and crystal mine, the crew decide to split up and reconnoiter the area. At least one group are captured and they are taken by the inhabitants to a central arena where they are placed on a pile of wooden faggots, they are to be burned at the stake.

The priest or holy leader is dressed in an elaborate gown which is decorated with Mauxite crystals. The scenario calls on the remainder of the crew to save their colleagues and acquire at least one crystal before returning to the ship and proceeding on their way.

I would not expect there to be a fire-fight, the crew would see this as too aggressive and would prefer a more thought-through outcome.

In the Blakes 7 story Cally saves the day by sneaking up behind the four bound captives, loosening their bonds and returning their teleport bracelets, Vila steals a crystal and they return to The Liberator safely.

I am sure that there are other options, but I found the story just screamed Fantastic Worlds Scenario at me. The Crystals could be the scenario objective, throw in a couple of 'red herring', for example a crystal may be easily found, but also flawed and therefore useless, similarly Mauxite crystals are very valuable and picking up more than one, could prove beneficial in future scenarios.

If anyone tries it out - please report back.


Thursday 15 July 2010

The Cross Keys - Swansea

Armed with my digital camera, I went in search of examples of suitably 'old' architecture in and around Swansea. The Cross Keys is reputed to be one of the oldest buildings in Swansea City Centre, in fact one source has it as the second oldest building! But I was disappointed, as the building had been added to and renovated so much that there was little to betray it's origins. In addition the stonework is rather dull.

Now living near Worcester, I think I am spoilt for choice when it comes to old architecture and sources of inspiration.

The pub is situated just off Wind Street, the main nightclub and drinking area and below the remains of Swansea Castle. I had hoped that there might be something worth modelling, but with the exception of the stone mullioned windows (see below) there was very little inspiration.

I have included this link, an official link from The Cross Keys, for anyone interested in reading about the buildings history;

During the same trip, I took a number of photos of Swansea Castle, a ruin that is situated just East of Castle Square and would have overlooked the Tawe River when built and Loughor Castle, another ruin situated on the road from Swansea to Llanelli. I will post photos in subsequent entries.

These photos and others are being used to build up a photo library of different building, stonework and features to help me with my modelling projects.


Tuesday 13 July 2010

Foul Mouth Freddy from Alternative Armies

Following on from my previous post, I felt so embarrassed at not painting my own Foul Mouth Freddy, that I immediately set about painting and finishing this example...........

Photo Two - Shows the VLE Foul Mouth Freddy from Alternative Armies, number 28 of 250. I sculpted or more accurately modified a couple of existing AA miniatures to produce this master. AA then moulded and cast the miniature and have released it as a Very Limited Edition release, just 250 castings before the mould is destroyed.

Photo Three - The bare casting. You will note that the plume on the top of the Shako has been miss cast.

Photo Four - The based and repaired casting. I used Milliput for the groundwork and repaired plume, with sieved sand for the base texture. The miniature is based, not on the square, plastic base but on a 2p coin (as are all of my Flintloque miniatures).

Photo Five - The miniature, part way through painting. I had intended using this miniature as yet another On-Line Build. But as stated above I just felt that I needed to get this figure painted and photographed as soon as possible.

Photo Six - More painting.

Photos Seven and Eight - Show the finished Foul Mouth Freddy, based, painted and varnished. I think it has come out OK (considering the speed and haste that I painted him).

My earlier posts already give links to the Orcs in the Hills (OITH) articles/scenarios and links to the AA site, so I will not repeat them here. But please check them out. I will be putting together yet another FMF story and scenario very soon.

Tony - a less embarrassed and chastened Tony

Monday 12 July 2010

Foul Mouth Freddy - a study in pewter

Foul Mouth Freddy is now available to purchase from the Alternative Armies web pages, see;

This illustration is taken from the Rambling Corner, a 'spiffing' Blog by Rob Alderman, see;

The miniature portrays that fine Albion Orc Sergeant Freddy, whose adventures are now chronicled on the Orcs in the Webbe web pages, see;


The miniature was sculpted by me - well converted by me and cast by AA as a Very Limited Edition miniature of just 250. If you want one - you had better act fast! I am still to paint my copy and have used Rob's illustration as I feel he has captured in paint, this character better than I ever could. Thank you Rob.

I am sure further adventures will follow, but for now it is great to see the painted miniature. Full details are; Foul Mouth Freddy - VLE 09 £3.50. A Flintloque profile is available here;

On a personal note - it has been some time since I first wrote on my own Foul Mouth Freddy, Flintloque conversion. Comment here on this Blog led me to reproduce the conversion and AA were kind enough to mold and cast it. Maybe one day it will become as famous as the very rare LE 01 Obidiah! We can but hope.

Freddy is loosely based on an old family friend, who is sadly no longer with us. I wonder what Uncle Fred would think about being immortalised as a VLE Flintloque miniature? I am sure the answer would not be printable!

Finally - thank you to all for the encouragement, now that the miniature is (officially) available, I can talk about it openly.


Saturday 10 July 2010

Suburban Knights by E F Kitchen

I regularly correspond with Bob Lock, an author from Swansea. for further details see;

Earlier this week Bob was telling me that he had been asked to write a review of a new book - Suburban Knights - a return to the Middle Ages by E F Kitchen. The book is a photographic record of the Society for Creative Anachronism or SCA, historical re-enactors to you and I. The book is full of illustrations of enthusiasts dressed and armed with their medieval equipment and as such must be of use to modellers and wargamers.

More details can be found at;

Check out the LOOK INSIDE feature as well as checking out the short video. My only criticism, and it is a very small one - is that the photos look too crisp, it may have been better to have had some 'out-of-focus' effect to instill age.

I hope you enjoy the link.


Monday 5 July 2010

The Aeronef Le Fee Verte

These images show the finished and painted Aeronef Le Fee Verte (The Green Fairy), previously the highly modified French experimental Aeronef Balaclava. Full details of construction and painting can be found in the On-Line Magazine The Ancible issue 04. For further information on how to download see;

The nine page, step-by-step article gives full details of how I built this Marcus L. Rowland (Forgotten Futures) inspired Aeronef and how she was painted, finished and based. The article also gives gaming stats for the game Aeronef by Matthew Hartley and Steve Blease.

Hopefully, the first of a series of similar 'how I built it' articles that will appear in The Ancible. At just £1.50 per download issue and 80 plus pages of gaming and miniature news - I feel this represents fantastic value for money.


Sunday 4 July 2010

Vulcan 607 by Rowland White

I know that I have written about this particular book - Vulcan 607 previously, but a chance conversation last month brought back to me just how special this book is. For anyone not familiar with the story, this book details the Vulcan Bomber attacks on the Falkland, the background, the build up and the actual operation, even writing this post - the hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. A bit like an article in The Eagle Comic or Commando, mixed with true life drama and typical British 'stiff-upper lip'.

It is a book I have no hesitations in recommending one that will 'blow your socks off'.

Jeremy Clarkson's comment - "I more than enjoyed it, it could have been written specially for me." Is one that I would mirror. 10 out of 10. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

A fuller review can be found here;

Saturday 3 July 2010

Grand Manner Buildings painted by Simon Chick

Last month I attended Partizan, the wargame show at Newark and while helping on the Grand Manner stand I met with Simon Chick who purchased a GM Church and Gatehouse. I can remember speaking to Simon and discussing how he was looking to combine the two kits to produce a Walled Priory/Abbey. Earlier this week, Simon was kind enough to send me an e-mail with some photos and details of his painted models. Full details can be found on his Blog at;

I have used one of the images (with permission) to illustrate this post. De La Pre Abbey was painted by Simon - and I think the finished effect is quite fantastic. I particularly like the 'honey' coloured stone and the way that he has combined elements to produce a very natural display and setting. Very well done.

I would hope that I will be able to include many other illustrations of the GM buildings I have sculpted on this Blog. If any readers/followers have any painted examples, please contact me, I will be pleased to include them.

When building the 'masters', I usually have a particular colour scheme or setting in mind, for example, I had previously only seen the Church painted dark grey and the Gatehouse as part of the Medieval Street set-up so this use of the two buildings is completely new to me!

Finally, I wish Simon every success with his own modelling project and would recommend that you check out his Blog.


Thursday 1 July 2010

June 2010 update

At the end on June, the number of followers jumped from 90 odd up to 106, welcome to all..... I do sometimes wonder how many regularly follow the posts? In addition I am now very close to my 500th post and am beginning to realise that a Blog may not be the best way to store and retrieve so many posts! However, there is still much to come and I thought a short review and list of forthcoming articles might be of interest. It also keeps me on my toes.

I have an article on the building and painting of a VSF Aeronef due out in issue four of The Ancible. Once I have seen the printed article, I will post more details, however there has already been some talk about it on The Lead Adventure Forum.

Barking Irons, issue 2 from Alternative Armies is also going to carry (at least one) article by me. The magazine release has been delayed.

In addition AA have one set of Flintloque miniatures, sculpted by me, that they have still to release 'Officially' and a Very Limited Edition Miniature of Foul Mouth Freddy, which although seen on the Web, is still to be included in the AA web pages.

Work continues on commissions for Grand Manner and as the pieces are released, I will add comments and photos. Dave has been very understanding in allowing me to build a number of Greek buildings and terrain pieces, but now I have to start following his briefs. There are plans for a number of new pieces to be launched in time for Colours, but as stated, I will add details later.

Bill at TMP still has a couple of Workbench articles, but these have been 'stacked-up' for some time and I'm not sure they will see the light of day.

I have also written an additional VSF modelling and painting article which should be published on the Internet very soon, in fact there are a number of VSF articles and projects in the pipeline and I should be able to give details soon, these new project do drag on.

In addition to the above, I am still painting the odd Watercolour, I find the preparation a little tiring, but once I have started the paintings, I enjoy it.

Should anyone need any articles - you should be able to get a feel for my writing style from this Blog, please get in touch. I look forward to the 500th post and continuing with this Blog Diary, I hope you still enjoy the ramblings.