Monday 28 February 2011

Three years of Blogging!

Today is the three years anniversary of the day I started this Blog. Back then I was not sure I would have enough to keep the Blog going, but here I am still typing and uploading!

In May 2010 I added a stats counter to the Blog to monitor both number of hits as well as who was reading my posts, the counter has meant that I have a much better idea of who follows my ramblings.

I regularly have over 7000 hits per month with the highest being 9226 in November 2010. The bulk of the visits come from either America or the United Kingdom with over half of all hits coming from just these two countries.

What I found surprising was that the post with the highest hits count was comment about Blogging and Web based magazines rather than pure modelling? See this link

I now have a following of 192, most of whom I try to keep in touch with through their own Blogs, I'm sorry if I haven't been as regular a contributor to either this or your Blog over the last month as work commitments have meant that if I have been modelling, it has been for inclusion in an article. I have a number that are due to be uploaded or published in the next couple of months.

In addition I feel that I have a circle of modelling friends who I regularly correspond with and not just with modelling or gaming comments.

Finally my professional modelling business, Dampfwerks - building masters for various companies, sculpting miniatures and writing articles has been a great boost to my confidence. Thank you to all for your help and support. See this link

I really must get back to modelling! Maybe I'll have some time this month - see you at Alumwell on the 13th, I'll be wearing my Red Jacket!


Friday 25 February 2011

Building to a tight deadline

Over the last couple of days I've been helping build a large gaming board to a very tight deadline. I am sorry but I am not able to give details at this time, but once I am given the all clear I will post with photos and links.

Earlier today I reported for duty, stating that I have a couple of hours free and what should I be working on. After a couple of false starts I was given the target of producing a 28mm waterline boat in two hours!

With only the materials to hand I had great fun constructing a boat/barge. With layer upon layer of still wet glue the model developed into a very good representation of the photographic inspiration and all within the two hour deadline. It really was a matter of modelling against the clock. But something I would recommend to others for a 'quick fix'.

As stated, once I have clearance I will post with more details and a link to the finished board.


Tuesday 22 February 2011

Bier & Bones for Flintloque

The Bier & Bones game book arrived yesterday. It is the fourth book in the Flintloque the Skirmish 3rd Edition upgrade and in my opinion the most humorous. I have already commented on book one War in Catalucia and book two Death in the Snow on this Blog and so will do no more than point the non-Flintloque gamer to this link

Bier & Bones covers my favourite race - The Dwarves and as such has been eagerly awaited. The 96 page, card covered book is full of suitably irreverent black and white sketches that show characters and races in the usual Flintloque comic style.

Other races featured are the Dogmen, the Ogres and the relatively new Rabbits of Burrovia a new race that I am yet to come to terms with. I think they are very much an acquired taste and will I am no doubt appeal to many, but as stated, they have little appeal for me.

Regular readers will know of my fondness for both the Flintloque background and the unusual miniatures. It will come as no surprise therefore to know that I am full of praise for this latest game book and background.

In fact I can do no more than point the reader to this very insightful comment by Sumatran Rat Monkey over on TMP, see this link praising both Flintloque/Slaughterloo and Alternative Armies on the varied and fun releases which have been coming out of Girvan this year. Well done, Gavin. I think these comments mirror my own love for this Black Powder or Napoleonique game system.

You will have to wait for a more detailed review as I am still to read ALL of the text. My only disappointment is that Gavin has decided not to include that most heroic of Dwarf escapades - The (Great) Dwarf Sauerkraut War. Maybe Gavin is holding back, for yet another supplement? I do hope so.

For full details go to this link
Bier & Bones 5028 from Alternative Armies
ISBN 978-1-873997-10-9
Price - £15.00 plus p&p


Saturday 19 February 2011

The I-Spy Book of Model Trees (part one)

Over the years I have built up a wide variety of different wargame terrain, most have featured here on this Blog.

In my attempts to catalogue these models I thought it would be fun to show some of my generic terrain pieces, starting with some of my model trees.

Photo One - A large bottle-brush type tree. This particular specimen of the sub-species stands over 150mm tall and is covered in fine 'railway modelling flock'. It was bought from a 'Bring and Buy' stall some years ago and is mounted onto a MDF oval. The trunk was further detailed with Milliput. For many years this was the standard model tree format.

This particular example regularly drops its foliage!

Photo Two - A pair of foam covered bottle-brush trees. A more textured variety of the earlier 'plain' bottle-brush species, this time covered in small green polystyrene beads which I have first trimmed with a pair of fine nail scissors and later 'cooked' in the oven. The cooking causes the beads to contract and form smaller clumps of foliage. In this example the larger tree is 250mm tall and the smaller 120mm tall. I have touched-up the green foliage with acrylic paint before mounting with thin wire and sculpting the trunk from Milliput.

It is worthwhile mounting the trees on different lengths of wire (or plastic tubing), making the trunks longer or shorter to add some variety.

Photo Three - A pair of coloured sawdust/wood chippings trees. I have had these examples many years, re-basing most of my collection at least once. The tallest is 140mm high. I am afraid I cannot remember where (or when) I purchased this collection. I will confirm that they are very hard wearing and if I ever saw more I would buy them without any hesitation.

As with the earlier examples, the trunks and roots have been first extendeded with wire and then sculpted with Milliput.

The bases on these terrain pieces are modelled in my usual way - first an oval of MDF is cut to shape, the edges chamfered with coarse sandpaper. I then attach the trees by bending out the wire trunks and supergluing them to the base. The base groundwork is built up with DAS modelling clay and then textured with sieved sand and some small gravel. The bases are painted in various tones of Snakebite Leather and Skull White from Games Workshop. In some examples I add larger stones or wood chips which are then painted grey.

All of my terrain pieces are 'flocked' with green coloured dyed sawdust - the sort used by model railway enthusiasts. My gaming board is covered in the same material and so the model trees 'blend-in'. One of the great benefits of this technique is that it is easy to refresh, first painting on some dilute uPVA glue and then sprinkling on some more dyed sawdust.


Wednesday 16 February 2011

Grand Manner Buildings featured on LAF

Late last night Dave from Grand Manner phoned to inform me that there were a number of Grand Manner building being featured on The Lead Adventure Forum (LAF). Most (not all) of the buildings featured in these links are from GM, the masters for which were originally modelled by me. I have no direct connection with FUGAZI and would not like to 'steal' his images. I have therefore used this Night-Watchman's Cottage photo to illustrate this post.

For full details and some quite splendid 'eye-candy', please go to these links;

I still find it very special when I see models that I sculpted painted-up and set in 'real' gaming situation as when I am working on the blank 'masters' they are usually just plain white sculptures. Terrain painting of this superb quality really brings them to life. I hope you agree.

For full details of the ranges available from Grand Manner, go to this link


Tuesday 15 February 2011

New Von Rotte Dwarves for Flintloque

Alternative Armies have recently released a collection of new sculpts for Flintloque/Slaughterloo. Von Rotte's Command and Von Rotte's Line. I know that I'm biased, but these are some of the most characterful Dwarves I have seen for some time. They remind me of the old Marauder Empire Dwarves.

I particularly like the style of painting on this little set.

For more information you can go here or here

There are also postings detailing the release on TMP, see this link

As a dedicated Flintloque Dwarf collector, I will be ordering a couple of packs to flesh-out my huge Dwarf collection and to add some impetus and colour to my Dwarf Sauerkraut Wars regiments.


Monday 14 February 2011

Model Making Books

I was recently asked if I could recommend any modelling books for someone new to the hobby. I am not sure I can. I have had a long and varied model making history, from my Father who built balsawood gliders and was a master of the fantastic hobby of building boats in bottles, to my Grandfather who built a huge model railway layout in his spare bedroom and onto my Uncle who was building fantastic 1/72nd scale jets back in the early 70's. Later as a member of the Worcester branch of the British Model Soldier Society (BMSS) I met John and Ron, who showed me that there are some quite fantastic modellers out there and that this is a hobby - so have fun.

I progressed through Airfix, Matchbox and Revel models as a young boy, the sort that you built in a couple of hours and apply the transfers (decals) the same day, even if the glue was still wet! Through to wargaming and onto painting miniature figures. On the way I have dabbled with narrow gauge railways, fantasy wargaming, WW1 aircraft and figure sculpting, but still come back to my core hobby, building models.

Regular readers will know how diverse my interests are and how 'butterfly like' I am in my subject matter. Still, I repeat - I am a modeller first, a figure painter second and a gamer third. This has not changed for some considerable time.

Back to the core question; Can I recommend one book for a beginner? I have to say No. Not one, 10, 20 or even 30 just maybe, but where to start! I have included this illustration of some PSL or Patrick Stephens Ltd books which I would suggest are a good starting point for many different modelling genres, particularly The Airfix Magazine Annuals of which I have every one. This company and its publications is greatly missed.

In addition I found the Harry Woodman book, Scale Model Aircraft to be a real eye-opener. Offering loads of scratch building skills and hint to modellers of any scale, or subject matter. In addition my time modelling narrow gauge railway engines, wagons and terrain helped me with my own scratch building skills and I would expect to one day return to this hobby. Also the Ian Weekly books and magazine articles gave me the confidence to model terrain and buildings.

As I write this post and am becoming a little 'rose-tinted glasses' in my memories and yearning for those long-gone days when you would pick up an Airfix Magazine and see how some enterprising modeller had turned a Sopwith Pup, some plastic card and balsa into a Batplane! Oh, those were the days! (I'm again using too many exclamation marks - always a bad sign).

Has the Web, ruined the attempts of these early modellers, by giving huge amounts of information (not always correct) and the ability to buy off e-bay almost any model, resin conversion kit, paint colour or replacement transfer?

I was recently talking to a friend about some of the home-repairs that my Grandfather would attempt. Resin casting replacement parts for his lawnmower or replacing worn out loops for electric motors and even electric fires. Today any of these items would have been scraped, deemed not worth repairing or even attempting to repair in this 'throw away culture' we now seem to find ourselves inhabiting.

I know there are many modellers who regularly scratch built huge and intricate models from what others would think of as scrap, so how do we pass of this knowledge and skill to new modellers? Is there a book I can recommend or must I say - Sorry it will came with age and experience.

How would you answer the question; Can I recommend one book for a beginner? I would love to hear your advice.


In the very near future I will attempt to compile a list of my top ten books, maybe not beginners books, just my top ten - my 'Desert Island Disc' modelling books, you may want to do the same.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Alumwell Wargames Show

I plan on visiting the West Midlands Military Show which is organised by the Alumwell Wargames Group on Sunday 13th March. This is my local show and one that I enjoy visiting due to the friendly atmosphere. It is my opportunity to catch up with friends and fellow wargamers.

For more information go to this link

This will be the fifth or sixth time I have attended this show in a row, and can even remember having days out when it was held at the high school just of the M6 junction, near Walsall.

I can be identified by my greying hair, glasses and backpack. Wait a minute that's a description that would be common to about 50% of the visitors! OK, I'll be wearing my red jacket.

If you see me, or even think you've seen me - make yourself known.


Please Note;
Alumwell Show, is the 13th of March and not February as I initially posted.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

F104 Starfighter - a sketch

This particular illustration was completed back in 1984 and has remained hidden up in the attic for most of this time. Earlier this year I submitted this drawing to Aircraft Resources Center or ARC, see; this link

The Lockhead F104 (G) Starfighter has appeared as a feature article on the ARC for Wednesday, Feb 9th 2011.

The original drawing was based on a photograph given to me by my Uncle who had attended an airshow where this aircraft was on display. I have used a technique of 'dots' drawn with a technical drawing pen to reproduce the photo.

I should mention that it was this illustration that caused me to give-up this technique as working so close and with a repeating dot action caused some giddiness and eye-strain.

The drawing was produced on artists quality tracing paper after a technique shown to me by an art student who was attending Swansea University.


Tuesday 8 February 2011

Foul Mouth Freddy - a Novella

Over the past couple of months I have spoken often about my plans to write a Foul Mouth Freddy story. As regular readers will know this anti-hero was 'imagineered' some time ago and has now appeared in three short stories and gaming scenarios for the Black Powder Skirmish Game - Flintloque (details below) as well as a yet to be published forth story.

The 16,000 word short story or Novella has been completed and proof read. I am now awaiting confirmation that it will be published. As soon as I have more details I will post the information here.

The character of Foul Mouth Freddy who is based on a family friend - Uncle Fred has appeared in;
Foul Mouth Freddy Spikes the ****in Gun! Link

Foul Mouth Freddy Saves the ****ing Sheep. Link

Foul Mouth Freddy Fools the ****ing Ferach. Link

I hope that you enjoy these stories and wait in anticipation for more adventures from our 'potty mouthed' Orc Sargent!


PS. This is also the main reason why I am so far behind in painting miniatures and updating this Blog.

Sunday 6 February 2011

The Cemetery Gate - a piece of terrain

The Cemetery Gate is one of my favourite pieces of Flintloque themed terrain. It has appeared in many of my photos as a backdrop, but I feel it deserves more.

The inspiration came from a pair of resin pen barrels which were bought for me many years ago at the Disney Store in Paris. For some time I was not sure how I was going to use the Gargoyle topped pens, but eventually settles on cutting of the lower pen barrels and mounting them on to balsawood/plastic card gate posts and into a small, plain cemetery wall.

The walls are pieces of 6mm MDF and the additional detail, more thick plastic card and some Citadel skulls and spikes. the green painted gates are plastic card and the 'clutter' a resin barrel and a metal wagon wheel. The Ferach (French) flag is modelled from Milliput.

This pair of photos show some work-in-progress shots.

A very atmospheric piece of terrain that goes well with both Witchlands and Catalucian campaigns. It was very easy to construct, taking just a couple of evenings.

I keep meaning to add more pieces of themed terrain to this Blog, however I have very few work-in-progress shots to show the development.


Thursday 3 February 2011

Pappa Sabatto and Velvet

It has been some time since I painted this little vignette, Pappa Sabatto, The Dark Pope and his High Priestess Velvet Louisa Dominico from the 40mm Disturbia range from Jim Bowen. For more information go to this link

The two miniatures needed some considerable 'cleaning-up' with Pappa Sabatto's robes needing filling with watered-down Milliput to get rid of some pitting.

Both figures were painted with Acrylic paints over a black basecoat and mounted onto this impressive wooden base which was picked up at the IPMS Show at Telford. The base is a little work of art - being smooth on three sides and rough, almost rotten wood on the forth or front. I built up the groundwork with Milliput and sprinkled rough sand over uPVA glue to add texture. The green shrubs were modelled from ground-up foam and the yellow flowers are painted on.

The headstone was a piece of 6mm plastic card, cut and sanded to shape and the resin bowls were from my spares box.

I am particularly pleased with the red robes and the skull motif.