Saturday 30 January 2016

Oldehammer - A New Project for 2016

Over the past twelve months I have been wanting to spend time on this new project - Oldehammer buildings or terrain. The idea was first mooted back at Alumwell last March and although I have been looking at suitable inspiration and even checking out some old Games Workshop card buildings, other projects have always taken priority or needed finishing for one deadline or another.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, I committed to getting some modelling done and I shall be detailing progress on this Blog from February 1st.

The image above shows a teaser - the first two Oldehammer style buildings very much inspired by the GW Bloodbath at Orcs Drift card buildings.

The style is purposely naive and harks back to a series of card buildings I built over twenty years ago. In fact the two buildings featured have been built by me three times. The first following similar techniques and painting styles back when I used to play Warhammer (1st and 2nd Edition), the second set was built to a different scale - to fit in with 15mm Orcs from Grenadier (now long OOP) and these - the third incarnation.

So what now?

Not sure, I have enjoyed building (and painting them), but feel my skills have moved on and I know that I am now able to produce much more detailed and accurate models, however there is a lot to be said for 'Going Olde Skool' so who knows, maybe I'll make them available as resin models.

Look out for the first update on Monday.


Tuesday 26 January 2016

Albion by Alan Moore

I am well aware that any work in the Shed-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden has been curtailed for most of this month, I had thought that I would be able to give it a good clean-out this week, but as anyone who follows the UK weather news will know - the ground is sodden and any attempts at working in the garden is just a no-no. We have the peculiar situation that the grass has grown very long (and actually needs cutting) - but the rain has made the ground so wet, that it is impossible to walk over it.

Yesterday, Sue and I thought it was about time we got back into walking - and we set off through the park and into the centre of Droitwich. It was great to get back into the habit as neither of us have been on a good walk since before Christmas. I found this graphic novel - Albion, a book I was aware of but had never read. I picked it up (the truth is that Sue picked it up) for £1.50 in a local charity shop.

Albion by Alan Moore, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Shane Oakley and George Freeman
Published by Titan Books
List price - £9.99
ISBN 1-84576-351-3

For anyone who wants to know more - here is a review from Good Reads.


Monday 25 January 2016

Miniature Wargames - 394

Issue 394 - February 2016 of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames has a very interesting terrain building article by Diane Sutherland based on a gateway/house in the French village of Honfleur. Some years ago, Sue and I visited Honfleur with the children and I spent some time sketching the architecture; so you never know this might be the basis of a future piece of scratch-built terrain.

The magazine also contains seven pages detailing the many local gaming clubs in the UK. There are quite a few. I have in the past been a member of a couple of Gaming Clubs, but through one reason or another these memberships have lapsed. This is a pity as I have nothing but fond memories of the evenings I spent playing wargames with like minded gamers.

Finally, I have been smitten by a single mounted figure of El Cid that features on the back page. The model is available from Gripping Beast (SAGA) for £7.00 and is sculpted by Angel Terol. It really is a beauty and a figure that could get me into yet another gaming period/genre.

Further details can be found here.


Friday 22 January 2016

Acrylic Paint Agitators

Just before Christmas I saw these stainless steel ball bearing for sale in The Cooks Shop, Worcester. They are use to clean decanters. You place the balls in the bottom of a decanter and swirl them around.

At the time they were being sold for £5.99 a pack, but this week the last pack was reduced and I thought they would be OK as agitators to add to my acrylic paint pots and bottles.

I have added two balls to each bottle and given them a shake. Initial results are promising, although there are times when the paint is just too thick (then you have to add some distilled water) or the balls get lodged in the bottle neck or dropper. Even so I think they will work.

The final image shows the full packaging. I would estimate the container holds about 100 ball bearings.

In the past I have tried using Meccano nuts and bolts - but these rusted and discoloured the paint. I also tried some Haematite beads, but these were too expensive and I only had a couple. My advice to all figure painters is to shake the bottle every time you use a paint. It helps to keep the paint from separating and keeps the consistency uniform.


Thursday 21 January 2016

"It's Cold Outside"

Not much to report. The freezing weather has meant that I have not ventured out to The-Shed-at-the-Bottom-of-the-Garden in over a week. I'm getting withdrawal symptoms.....

Hopefully things will change soon.


Monday 18 January 2016

Star Wars The Force Awakens

No Spoilers!

Earlier today, Sue and I went to the VUE Cinema in Redditch and we saw the new Star Wars film - The Force Awakens. This was the first time in over ten years (and maybe even longer) that Sue and I had visited a cinema! We felt that Star Wars just had to be seen on the BIG SCREEN.

Since the film was released, I  have purposely refrained from reading any reviews or listening to Mayo and Kermode on Radio 5. So the story was completely fresh to me.

The cinema was nearly empty - I estimate that there was less than 20 people in the (large) auditorium. And I had forgotten just how loud modern cinemas can be. I enjoyed the experience, but don't expect to be returning for some time.

It is hard to believe that Star Wars - the original is nearly 40 years old. In saying that I thought Chewbacca had aged well - the same cannot be said for some of the other actors.

Well worth seeing - particularly if like me you are old enough to have seen the original - first time around.


Saturday 16 January 2016

The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

No spoilers.....

The Shepherd's Crown is Terry Pratchett's latest and according to all reports last novel, although I do so hope that there are enough of his notes and scribbling to add to the Discworld pantheon. I read the book from cover-to-cover in less than a week, and although I wouldn't suggest it was my favourite; it was without doubt the most sombre and thoughtful.

Terry passed away last year and The Shepherd's Crown was published after his death. The book does however help to tie up a number of loose ends - most of which I will not mention here for the enjoyment of anyone who is still to read the book.

The Shepherd's Crown was a Discworld book that I felt was much less 'laugh-out-loud' funny than a number of his earlier books - more thoughtful as I felt Terry was saying goodbye to his fans (and his characters).

Many reviews (that I have read since finishing the book) highlight this thought, a thread that runs throughout the book and story. After reading the last page, I felt empty and very sad that an author that I had first been introduced to so many years ago has now departed - the world is a much less humorous place now that he has gone. Since The Colour of Magic, I have shared the delight of the latest Terry Pratchett book with my daughter and with the publication of this - the last of the books in a very long and successful series, I wonder if there will ever be another author who quite captures the essence of fun with such a serious and thoughtful undertone?

Rest in Peace Terry Pratchett and thank you for those hours of pure pleasure.


Tuesday 12 January 2016

Wargame Terrain as stand-alone diorama pieces - part two

I will start this post by confessing that I am yet to start any new terrain piece to illustrate this concept or project as I am attempting to finish off a test piece (or as I like to think of it - a proof-of-concept piece) that has been sitting on my workbench for some time. More details soon, very soon.

However I thought that a couple more ideas (and hopefully some more comments) would help to firm-up what my thinking is.

I'll start by admitting that I prefer my terrain mounted on bases and without removable roofs - there I've said it!

There is nothing wrong with free-standing terrain (in fact the project alluded to above has NO BASE), but in general I prefer bases. Comments posted on the earlier post have just as much weight and validity as any I can make, but I felt it right I make my case for terrain with bases and no removable roofs from the start.

I also believe that any terrain piece should be obvious. The first image in this post is part of an Ogre Shrine, hopefully the many offering show that this is a well liked or respected shrine and is looked after. The Vendee Windmill (at least to my eye) could only be a Vendee Windmill, - It is not Dutch or English or Spanish Windmill. I have decorated the base with a used or broken Mill Stone and a spilt bag of flour, this says that it is in use and not abandoned or run-down.

The image below is a scratch-built Ginger Bread Cottage and by definition can only be a fun element or a quirky model. It did however hatch a complete range of fantasy figures and a published scenario for the Fantasy-Napoleonic game Flintloque from Alternative Armies, so once again I believe that it has succeeded as a piece of 'believable' terrain.

Finally we have a Stone Built Storehouse. Another scratch-built model that has a run-down look to it, with broken roof tiles and a rough door and window. The small wooden barrel to the front shows that it is still in use and serviceable.

Each of these pieces of terrain (and the very many more that can be found on my Blog) help to tell a story, give the piece a sense of place. I think this is in part conveyed by the base, which adds to the 'total' structure and helps to set it in a particular place, time or genre. This is what I try to do with my terrain.

All have fixed roofs, no access to the interior and are still 'playable' pieces.

Can I do more?

As an experiment lets us imagine an Inn, not too big, not so well built, but looked after. If I add a base I can add some barrels, a table, some jugs of beer. All of which give it a sense of purpose. If I added a dray with a horse and more barrels being delivered to the side, this will portray that the Inn is being used, stocked-up with new liquid refreshments, but if the barrels are damaged or laid about in a rough heap, with the odd one broken. Is the Inn under attack?

What about a couple of marauding soldiers some the worst for wear, others trying to nick a barrel for drinking later on. I think you will agree that as well as a piece of scenery, this Inn now has a back story, a back story that may not fit in with your scenario but one that will add interest to the gaming table - a spectacle worth fighting over.

I think I prefer the Inn under attack, with broken barrels and spilt beer, believing it to be a more interesting piece of terrain - a Terrain Diorama. This is the concept that I am trying to imagineer with these posts

What do you think?


Monday 11 January 2016

More Wargame Terrain Book - supplies are running low

Reduced to £15.00 (plus postage)

I have less than a dozen copies of the Dampfpanzer Guide No.2 - More Wargame Terrain left and will be offering them for sale at the reduced price of just £15.00 (plus postage) until they are sold out.

If you are interested in purchasing this book please follow the link to the right or click on this link.

Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No.1 - Building Wargame Terrain is unfortunately SOLD OUT.

Thank you.


Saturday 9 January 2016

Military Modelling - January 2016

I picked up the latest issue of Military Modelling while out shopping yesterday. I browsed through the contents while in W H Smiths - Worcester before purchasing and was impressed by three articles;

Boudicca's Daughter - a bust painted by Adrian Hopwood (see cover illustration). What impressed me about this 1/9th scale painted bust and in particular the techniques used is the use of Games Workshop paints and Talarn Flesh as the basecoat. I thought that the in-depth article was worth the cover price alone.

Hilzingen 1525 - a beautiful 1/45th scale diorama showing the forcible removal of the church bell. I would have liked more in-progress shots but again a great article. I'm tempted to model one of the smaller buildings for my own terrain collection.

Hetzer Hardware - there are a three armour modelling articles in this magazine, but I thought the 1/35th scale Hetzer conversion was the best and most interesting of the three.

I have commented before on the high cover price of these magazines, believing that there might only be one (at best two) articles of interest to me. The January 2016 edition had three plus another two that I have really enjoyed reading.

Military Modelling - January 2016
Vol 46, No.1 2016
Published by mytimemedia

Highly recommended.


Thursday 7 January 2016

Wargame Terrain as stand-alone diorama pieces?

Earlier this week I picked up the Military Modelling Guide to Military Dioramas by Graham Dixey (see this post for details). It should come as no surprise that I have already read it from cover-to-cover.

It got me thinking.....

As you can see from these images, just some of my many scratch-built terrain pieces, I like to add what I call 'clutter' to my terrain bases. I think it adds character and interest to the pieces. This clutter comes from a wide range of sources - some shop bought others scratch-built or sculpted, but all added to the model or models to add interest.

The Guide to Military Dioramas talks about this as an art form - to try to tell a story and I believe I have done this with these (any many more) pieces of terrain.

What I intend to do in the future is to try and produce 'stand-alone' terrain pieces - scratch-built models that tell a story or terrain dioramas. What do you think?

So rather than just plain terrain - I don't think I have ever produced 'plain terrain' - I will attempt to model structures and then add to them, more clutter or just some fun - and try to produce Terrain Dioramas.

I wonder if it will work? I wonder if there are others who might like to join me and instead of just building a plain model the next time we are modelling some fresh terrain, we could think about how it could be improved as a diorama, Terrain Dioramas. Is this a new trend?

Please tell me what you think, is it something that you would be interested in or am I just trying to complicate things?

There are lots of question marks in this post! and now an exclamation mark!

Think of it as my New Years Resolution.

Happy New (modelling) Year.


Monday 4 January 2016

Christmas continues.....

With both work commitments and visitors taking up much of our free time Sue and I have not been able to have a day out since before Christmas. Today we had a day in Cheltenham.

I was able to pick up a new pair of jeans from M&S, using some of my Christmas gift vouchers, but it was the Oxfam Book Shop where I picked up these three books, spending my Christmas gift money. And the real treat was that they were all half price. Oxfam Cheltenham have a New Years sale and ALL books are half price.

Book one - The Military Modelling Guide to Dioramas by Graham Dixey - £1.50.

Book two - A Game Of Battleships by Toby Frost - £1.50. I look forward to reading this.

Book Three - Shakespeare His Work and His World by Micheal Rosen and Robert Ingpen - £1.25

Here are some of the many illustrations in the Shakespeare book.....


Saturday 2 January 2016

2015 - A Review.....

It is usual at this time of year to look back and review what happened in the previous twelve months. I though I would do the same.

Did I paint enough miniatures?
I'm not sure I did, yes I had a number of figures featured on the Blog, but I am never sure that I have painted enough. Maybe this is one of those Forth Road Bridge questions, can you ever paint enough?

Did I build enough terrain?
I think I am safe with this one and yes I did. New master models have appeared on this Blog through out the year, most have been for the new and up-coming game Panzerfauste or Frostgrave, but yes I am pleased with the amount of new terrain pieces.

Did I write enough?
As regular readers and followers will know, I took a year out from writing my third book. In fact I am currently thinking about producing it, but I think this will have to wait until later this month before I can make a comment.

In addition I have had articles printed in both Wargames Soldiers & Strategy and Miniature Wargames as well as five features on Orcs in the Webbe.

Did I play enough games?
I think the answer to this has to be no. I did not play one single wargame in 2015. I have played a number of board games, but the figures and terrain have remained in storage, except for the odd photographing session.

Did I enjoy my hobby?
Hell yes.

So I am looking forward to 2016 and what is has to offer.


Friday 1 January 2016

Let it Snow (again)

Earlier this this year, actually last year! I posted images of a section of scratch built walling with some snow covering, see this post for details. I wrote how the 'Magic Snow' had contracted when drying out and that I felt the test had been a mistake. However I did not give up and bought some Snow Powder off the internet.

The new Model Snow was bought from The London Model Soldier Bunker via e-bay. It is a very fine white powder produced from natural white stone. I applied the new Snow with some white acrylic paint, a touch of uPVA glue and very little water as I did not want any swelling of the initial Magic Snow.

The first image shows the new Snow.

While the second image shows the old Magic Snow.

Image three shows the original scratch-built section, further details can be found here.

Happy New Year.