Friday 31 August 2012

S.P.Q.ORC - Pax Bochemannica from Maveryc

This morning the first six miniatures arrived in the post from Dave Toone. The new figures are for the soon to be released game S.P.Q.ORC - Pax Brochemannica from Maveryc which is currently being playtested.

I have be conscripted to model some themed terrain for the official game release which is planned for early 2013. The game will be very familiar to Flintloque/Slaughterloo gamers coming from Mac Coxhead and pitting some Halflings against Norman/Roman Orcs. Obviously there is more to the background than this, but for now a quick update is all I have time for.

Photo One - A comparison shot of the Noman Orc alongside a Boche Halfling

Photo Two - The first three Noman infantry, very Romanesque.

Photo Three - The Boche Halflings, each clothed with braces!

Photo Four - The Orcs stand 36mm tall (toe to top of helmet) and are really very well sculpted for more details see this link from Rob Alderman.

Photo Five - This Boche Halfling is 24mm tall (head to toe) and further details can be found here and here.

Anyone lucky enough to have Harbinger Magazine issue 16 from February 2005 will be able to read about this long awaited release (pages 54, 55 and 56). My own involvement has come late to the party. I will be building a collection of scratch-built and themed terrain pieces for use alongside the game. It is possible that with the right persuasion these pieces may even be reproduced in resin.

Keep an eye on this link for details; Maveryc.


Thursday 30 August 2012

SOAPBOX - "When is Terrain Too Much Terrain?"

This evening while checking some forums I came across this Blog article "When is terrain too much terrain?"

I am a firm believer that there can never be too much quality terrain, in fact if you think about the area covered by Terrain Vs. the area covered by Figures (or vehicles) on any gaming table - surely the vast majority is terrain and not figures.

I say Quality Terrain as in this article I am not talking about an overturned Subbuteo cloth with some lichen and one or two card buildings. No I am referring to beautifully crafted and painted terrain as highlighted by these examples below.

How can you not be inspired and awe struck when you see such tables. I know that in America there are rules that a tournament army must be carried and displayed on themed and modelled terrain or army boards. I feel that a similar view should be taken with wargame display games. The board should meet a minimum requirement, after all if I was a paying member of the public who happened upon a Wargame Show and the bulk of the tables were just green cloths with the minimum of quality terrain - or worse still, identi-kits of shop bought terrain then I would be wondering what these 'grown men' were doing.

Recently I attended SALUTE 2012 and this is where the bulk of these images were taken. There were many superb gaming boards and all were enthusiastically manned with volunteers who espoused the virtues of the figures, the terrain and the rules.

"Take a breath" - However Salute is not all wargame shows.  And I have attended many where quite honestly I sometimes wonder why the club or group had bothered turning up!  ("I'm not going to make any friends with that statement, But I feel it is time it was said").

Last year I attended Games Expo in Birmingham and with my trusty camera I browsed the Privateer Press Warmachine Tournament looking to see if there was any inspiration I could take from the dozens of tournament tables and battles being conducted.

There was one!

This was a major tournament (50 plus gamers) and there was only one piece of terrain I felt worth taking a picture of. I then came home and built myself a BETTER version of it!

Maybe I am alone in this - but I feel that wargamers are loosing sight of one of the most important aspects (and in truth one of the most creative aspects) of the hobby - the construction of terrain or scenery.

Regular readers will know that I build masters for Grand Manner, something that I am very proud of. I am yet to come across a comment that derides these superb models - I am not blowing my own trumpet as the bulk of the models are in fact sculpted by Dave Bodley - the owner of Grand Manner and not me.

The comments I do see are Grand Manner is too expensive, the shipping rates are too much, I would love to own one of these but the ready painted models are just out of my price bracket.

All of these comments might be true (and in this economy there must be many in a situation where they just cannot afford the models). But At least realise that without this quality terrain the whole experience of gaming - particularly wargaming is lacking. Here is the truth of the situation; Resin is expensive, shipping costs are increasing and to paint a piece of terrain to this standard takes time - skilled time.

As I write, I know that there will be many saying Yes I agree, well at least I hope so. So where is the counter argument. Where is the argument for fielding a beautifully painted and based army - all bright colours and carefully researched uniform detail on a table that any 4 year old could replicate with sticky back plastic and a green bed sheet.

On the news this evening was a comment that the designer of the new Queen Mary was inspired to build the new ship after seeing a piece on Blue Peter about the original. Let's inspire the next generation to build better terrain by showing them what can be achieved.

This is a call to arms - except the arms are modelling material to make new, better and real quality terrain for your own table top games.

Look at what is currently available on e-bay and what is currently on show in the published (and electronic) press, surely you can do better.  I know you can.

I confess, I am a real 'terrain junkie' - going to shows to see what others have produced or painted. Please don't disappoint me.


Friday 24 August 2012

Birch Tree Cones for modelling

This is the month for collecting Birch Tree Catkins or Seed Pods.


Because they are ideal for modelling real leaves in either 28mm or 54mm scale - and they are free!

Try garden centres or public parks and look for the distinctive Silver Birch tree trunks. Collect up the Seed Pods or Catkins and you have a free resource great for modelling.

Photo One - These are the 'leaf-like' seeds after separating them.

Photo Two - These are the pods you should be looking for.

The seeds will naturally come in a variety of different colours, however should you want a unique or stronger colour - the seeds can be dyed with watered-down inks and/or paint.

Images taken from the internet and this link.


Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Wizards Tower

I recently read a post on one of the Wargaming Forums, asking for details of the largest piece of terrain you had made. This is not the largest but at over 48cms tall it is definitely the tallest.

The Wizards Tower. Built from DAS modelling clay over a cardboard tube (the sort that carpets are rolled around). Each stone block being first flattened then textured and then added over uPVA glue. I remember modelling about six small stone sections on to flat card to test the technique prior to adding any to the tower.

The stairs are cardboard, folded into steps while the roof tiles are DAS built up individually. The smaller roof tower is built around a toilet paper tube.

The model is well over 25 years old and rarely sees the light of day - being stored in the attic. I did touch up the white shield areas and re-flocked the base for this photo shoot as these two areas were showing their age.

As a modeller, I think there are many things I would have done differently on this model, but there is no doubt that it is sturdy having survived three house moves and being seriously neglected. DAS models do last!

My wife reminds me that during construction, I left the model on our new G - Plan sideboard, the DAS still being slightly soft - Many years later the sideboard (plus the white bloom mark) is long gone but I still get reminded of it every time she sees the Elephants Foot (her name for the tower).


Monday 20 August 2012

Farmhouse with Thatched Roof from Grand Manner

Another week and another new model from Grand Manner. This time a large Prussian or Napoleonic Europe Farmhouse, ideal for Napoleonic battles. The master for the main Farmhouse and the Gateway were built by me some time ago and have only recently been produced in resin. My original model has a thatched roof on the main Farmhouse and a tiled roof on the Gateway. Dave Bodley has produced a variant with a tiled and dormer roof, as well as a new Walled Garden. The two original models, although stand alone terrain pieces were always intended to be used together, as illustrated here.

For Full details go to this page and see all the variants. I look forward to seeing the first painted examples.

The original is based on a large Farmhouse/Gatehouse at Hessen Park, Germany and features the iconic 'Hessen Man', close studded timber framing of Eastern Germany. Both structures have full internal detailing and lift off roofs.


Friday 17 August 2012

Cyprus Trees - my latest Modelling Masterclass

Craig Andrews of Barking Irons Online has just uploaded the latest Modelling Masterclass, an article written by me showing how I modelled a set of three Cyprus Tree bases for my Flintloque-themed gaming terrain. For full details go to this link.

Photo One - Shows Bombardier Bedford pointing out some feature or other on the new piece of terrain and gives an impression of just how tall these Cyprus Trees are.

Photo Two - Shows the three terrain bases, four trees finished.

Another one of my 'simpler terrain Masterclasses' which were written in reply to a request by both Craig and Gavin Syme at Alternative Armies. I hope that you like it. Total cost just £1.50 for all three bases.

Regular readers will know that it is my intention to write a book on 'How to make Wargaming Terrrain' and I would welcome any comments relating to this article or any of the earlier ones I have done as to how they can be improved. Is there any information that I have left out that you - the reader would have liked included? All comments greatly appreciated.

I am hoping that the next Barking Irons Online post will include the final part of Headless Zombies. I know that Craig is currently testing out the game mechanics. Craig likes to play the scenario a couple of times before uploading the scenario.


Sunday 12 August 2012

Khmer War Galley and War Canoe for The Garden of Kama

Earlier today over on The Lead Adventure Forum, I spotted that both the War Galley and War Canoe have now been cast up.  The two models were built by me as 'blanks' for added prow and stern detailing to be added later and therefore offering a choice of originals. For full details go to this post.

Both images taken from the Lohwand Blog

I sculpted (or more accurately modelled) these boats some time ago and will be interested in seeing the sculpted dragon detail added to these sleek vessels.

The War Galley is 12 inches long while the War Canoe is 8 inches long.

Once I have more images I will post links.


Saturday 11 August 2012

London 2012 Olymics

With all the very best intentions, modelling and miniature painting has well and truly taken a back seat to watching the Olympics. I find that once I settle down in front the excellent coverage I am transfixed.

The good news is that there are only a couple more days to go before the closing ceremony, the bad news is that I expect the ParaOlympics will be just as engrossing.

I think my only criticism of the whole event is the sometimes negative commentary that I have experienced from some (a few) BBC commentators. This mainly the TV coverage while the radio commentators have actually had me in tears.

I expect I will once again be transfixed to the TV this evening. And counting how many medals Great Britain can get before the closing ceremony.


Thursday 9 August 2012

White Dwarf 384

Earlier today Sue and I drove down to Cheltenham. It was my revised day off and we had decided to make a day of it and visit the lovely town of Cheltenham in the glorious summer sunshine.

After a brief browse around our usual haunts, I peeled off to visit the Oxfam Book Store and see if there was anything there that took my interest.  There were a number of books in particular some Japanese language Studio Ghibli art books and a wide range of graphic novels but all too pricey for my wallet. Never-the-less I did pick up a second hand copy of White Dwarf 384 from December 2011 for 99p plus a small pamphlet on Folk Tales from Scotland.

Regular WD readers will know that for a period last year and earlier this year WD was not available from WHSmiths and for what ever reason I had not been interested in searching it out. Plus, and I am not being a Games Workshop knocker when I say that I believed I had well and truly out-grown it.

It is with some humble pie that I have to comment on how much I enjoyed this edition.

After a break of about a year, this was the first White Dwarf I had picked up and I really enjoyed it.

Of particular note was the article by John Blanche, an article that I found myself agreeing with 100%. In which John comments on how he has decided to not follow The Heavy Metal Style of painting miniatures but stick to his own tried and tested painting style/technique. Hear, Hear. (I suspect that I will return to this subject in a future Blog post).

Later there is a 6 page tutorial on painting GW Terrain kit Skullvane Manse which should provide a great deal of relevant hint and tips for some of my forthcoming terrain building and painting projects. The article as well as being very well illustrated offered some hints for all terrain painted.

Just a couple of pages later is a similar Modelling Workshop article detailing the painting of an Ogre Thundertusk which offered a very well written tutorial on painting this large monster - it also offered tips that could and should be of use to any miniature painting student.

I also enjoyed the short article on painting the Tau Piranha.

Finally, there was another article of interest to me, The 'Eavy Metal' pages that launched the Eavy Metal Masterclass book that I picked up late last year.

A number of the painting articles talked about the use of the old-style Citadel washes, one in particular about using them over a 'Block Painted' figure - similar to the style that I had attempted with Bange and Oafson the Trolkin Brothers (see earlier posts). The article was so well written and illustrated that I am tempted to re-try the test of Block Painting and Citadel Washes just to see if I had been a little too fast to condemn this style of 'simple miniature painting'..

So there you have it, a modeller that had well and truly turned his back on this iconic modelling magazine now writing about how much he enjoyed this particular issue and how so many articles held my attention completely. Something that I had not expected.

I suggest that if there are other who felt the same as me - this issue White Dwarf 384 from December last year might be worth a second look.

I noticed as I was writing this post that this issue of WD was printed in Poland. Was this the reason that WHS de-listed it?


Wednesday 8 August 2012

Prussian Church from Grand Manner

This week I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my models featured on The Miniatures Page and the Perry Miniatures site. The building - The Prussian Church is available from Grand Manner as a resin casting. The model in the first image was expertly painted by Dave Bodley at Grand Manner.

The model is a copy of a church rebuilt at the German out-door museum Hessen Park.

Image used with permission of Perry Miniatures

The master was constructed out of a wide variety of different materials and was a joy to make. I tried to copy the original as accurately as possible. The model features a complete and detailed interior and two varieties of tower domes. The original church was painted in a White plaster and almost Blood Red timber finish with a Blue/Grey tiled roof.

It has been some time since I have modelled a building that gave me so much satisfaction.


Tuesday 7 August 2012

Name the Miniature Competition from Alternative Armies

Alternative Armies have been running a Name the Miniature Competition on The Notables Yahoo Group site, for full details go to this link and to Gavin Syme's personal Web page, here.

This is the model, an unreleased Trolkin Colonel by the name of Skand Stoyne, a real brute of a miniature beautifully sculpted by Rob Alderman. A miniature that reminds me of the late Les Dawson.

Image taken from Gavin Syme's Web Page

My own entry (writing a backstory for this character model) is included below and although going over the allotted 200 words, I hope that it is successful.

For your entertainment here is my short story. I hope you enjoy it.


Colonel Skand Stoyne
The most famous Trolkin of Stoyne

The Troll-Mother had promised that she would take her two young Trolkin to see the new museum, a museum dedicated to that most famous son of Stoyne – Colonel Skand Stoyne of the Trolkin Militia.

The museum had only recently acquired the third of three artefact all generously donated by that fine rock of the community Skand Stoyne and Colonel in the Kyngs Own Rifles Militia.

The first exhibit was placed on a small velvet-covered plinth and had chiselled on a piece of slate;

Portion of the nose of Colonel Skand Stoyne.
During a sword duel Skand’s opponent had called a truce to say that Skand had a fly on his nose. His reply was; “You knock it off, you’re closer than I am.”

This is the shard taken off the nose during the duel.

The two Trolkin hollered with glee as they also tried to knock portions of noses off one another. The Troll-Mother moved them on to the second exhibit, a Brass door knocker;

Again chiselled into a much larger piece of slate was the following;

Nipple ring, ripped from Skand Stoyne during a boastful challenge with Mica Schist (a colleague of Skand).

While walking home after a night drinking strong ale and eating concrete hardened ground bread Skand and Mica argued about who was the stronger. Skand said that for two Krone he would throw Mica across the ice filled river and on to the other side. The challenge was taken up and Skand swung Mica around his head three times before launching him across the river.

Mica landed in the middle of the river and amongst the ice flows. “You missed!” was Mica’s response. To which Skand replied – “I dina say I’d do it first time!”

On the third attempt a dizzy Mica grabbed at Skand’s uniform pulling of his nipple ring, which due to Trolkin being larger than Orcs or Elves had been fashioned from the brass door knocker from the White Liar Tavern in Broomcoat.

After some embarrassing question about “Why did he have a brass door knocker nipple ring and do you have one?” The Troll-Mother was pleased to have a short rest as the curator took over and told the two youths about some of Skand’s military career.

As the olde Troll-Mother sat, she reminisced about her own youth and the times when she and Skand had searched the mountains for moss covered boulders. The right moss or algae could cause the Trolkins to hallucinate – get stoned. As she sat on a cold marble bench the second symptom of eating too many sharp mountain boulders in her youth began to trouble her. Her haemorrhoids –small pebbles which irritated and caused her discomfort began to throb. Had those hallucinations been worth it? Did Skand suffer in the same way?

As the two Trolkin youths began to play up. The Troll-Mother rose and made her way to the third exhibit. A new exhibit only recently acquired.

What has Skand donated this time?

As she peered at the latest display, one of her charges screeched. “Piles. Look - piles of pebbles!” The Troll-Mother quickly ushered away the children before they could read the third stone slab.


Colonel Skand Stoyne

Experienced Trolkin Officer mounted on a huge Muskox.

Armed with a huge stone club which Skand finds easier to use than a mere Marshals batten.

Skills and Bonuses.
Like Granite; (super strong skin) and able to fend off musket balls fired at any range longer than Medium as well as able to break swords that are not defined as Super quality.

Stand like a Rock; Acts as a banner to any Trolking within 12 inches.

Faults and Forfeits.
Terrible temper; (those piles can be painful).

Boulder Age; Due to his extreme age he is less mobile and moves (on foot) at half rate. Trolkin as they get older revert back to solid stone and eventually turn into boulders themselves.

Every game there is a chance that all that Algae will have some effect.
Roll a D6 at the start of Skand’s first encounter and if 1 turns up. Skand will hallucinate.

Roll D10 and see table;
1        Charge at nearest unit to his front
2        Start singing olde drinking songs (plus 1 to morale)
3        Go all tearful and start to suck his thumb
4        Fall off his Muskox and not be able to get up
5        Retreat (minus 1 to morale)
6        Turn to clay (actually just slump in the saddle)
7        Sleep for two turns and then have a splitting headache for the rest of the game
8        Drop his Club and want to dismount to pick it up (take two turns)
9        Granite constitution and any hits/wounds will just not count
10    Make up your own effect!


Sunday 5 August 2012

Thor-Modelling Blog

No pictures this time but instead, an inspirational link that I recently stumbles across.

I came across this Blog earlier in the week and have spent ages scanning through the images of finished models and fantastic scratch-built terrain. Once you get over the poor English translations (the Blog is written in Thai) the tutorials show some inspirational work-in-progress. Another plus are the list of links down the right hand side;
Artists Blogs, Artists Web sites - fantastic modelling sites.
Artists Historical and Military Figures.
Artists Miniature Wargames.
Thai Modelling Sites.
Reference walkarounds

If you have time check out this Blog and treat yourself to some stunning modelling.


Saturday 4 August 2012

St John-in-Bedwardine, Worcester

New followers may not know this, but I try to produce a watercolour painting two or three times a year. Most are auctioned for charity or given away as gifts. Earlier this year my daughter asked me if I could paint St John-in-Bedwardine Church, St Johns, Worcester for an ex-school colleague who was getting married there earlier today and so she could give it as a wedding gift. 

The sketch was based on a small photographic image of the church and drawn in fine pencil while the wash colouring was inspired by an article in this months Practical Artist/Practical Painter (the painting of a Windmill watercolour) that I saw at Droitwich library earlier this week.

I attempted to sketch the church from the graveyard side as accurately as possible, but it was the 'free-style' painting on wet watercolour paper with a large watercolour brush and broad strokes that I enjoyed most. A style that I believe suits my drawing style better than a more detailed and heavy or accurate painting style.

I have tried many painting styles over the years, none of which were as satisfying or as fast as this one.

The painting was simply framed in a plain mount and a gold coloured frame.

The actual church is constructed from red sandstone, almost blood red in places and it was fun to try and capture this colouring in the painting.

Sue and I regularly visit St Johns. There are a number of local shops that we like to shop at - one sells Pork Roll sandwiches (with stuffing and crackling)  just across from this church and when we buy our it is not unknown for us to sit in the church grounds eating ours.


Thursday 2 August 2012

Grand Manner

Over the last couple of days Dave at Grand Manner has uploaded a number of new resin models some of which were sculpted by me. For full details go to this link and check out the new releases.

Here are the masters for the new Haystacks (NAP 20) which are suitable for a wide range of scales and periods. Sorry but I had very few WIP shots of the other models.

I am expecting a number of new models sculpted by me to be released very soon. Once I have details I will post links.


Wednesday 1 August 2012

Citadel Nostalgia

Here's a little bit of Old Skool Nostalgia.  I was browsing the Internet earlier this Summer and came across a  Blog called The Citadel Collector, for more details go to this post.

Later in one of my rare expeditions up into the attic I picked out an old and battered boxfile with Games Workshop Info and Leaflets scratched across the spine.

Here are the contents - actually, here are some of the contents as there is still a lot more to sort through.

It is difficult to date some of the earlier and plain photo copied leaflets as there is no published date. But as a guide there are many from 1984, 1985 and 1986.  In this first photo there are a number of Citadel receipts none dated but all with scribbled notes. There are even some Marauder Miniatures leaflets and fliers.

Something for the slightly older collector, a little bit of gaming nostalgia when figures were 30p each!

An unusual post, but one that I hope you will agree is well worth including.