Thursday 30 June 2016

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy - The Decorative Mausoleum

The latest issue of Wargames, Soldiers & Stratgy, issue 85 has another terrain building article written by me - The Decorative Mausoleum is a two page article detailing how I scratch-built and painted this themed or decorative mausoleum. For full details pick up the magazine, while for a list of this months contents, see this link.

The model is based on an actual mausoleum in the Montmartre Cemetery, Paris and although not an exact replica, I believe it is a very good representation.

I have experimented with painting the concrete mausoleum using a 'wet water' and washes technique, more often used to paint military vehicles. I hope you like it.

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy issue 85, July/August 2016 is now available to buy at W H Smiths.

Look out for more terrain building articles in future issues and should you have any comments or critique, please contact me via this Blog as I am always trying to improve both my scratch-building techniques and my writing style.


Tuesday 28 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls - part six

At last the three Panzerfauste themed wall sections are finished. The originals were sculpted by me some time ago and feature small snail shells which in these images were painted using metallic paints to make them stand out from the grey walls.

For full details of the resin wall sections and how to order please see this link.

Since the last post the walls have been varnished with Galleria matt varnish and the bases have been flocked with railway scatter or dyed sawdust. I have added the odd section of static grass to decorate the models.

The three wall sections were purposely built to be used as themed pieces but also alongside 'standard' resin walls to add variety.

They were a lot of fun to model - "Where else could you find such unique models."


Sunday 26 June 2016

Away-Day haul

Sue and I have had another weekend away, this time a trip around the Cotswolds. We started out from Droitwich yesterday morning, then down the M5 and across to Cirencester. From there we drove down to Swindon via Lechlade where we spent the night. On Sunday morning it was a quick trip across to Swindon Village and then back north again via Lechlade on to Burford and then to Stow before making our way back to Worcestershire.

We had a great couple of days away and I took lots of photos of both buildings and stonework. Here you can see my model making haul. Rust coloured dusting powders, a Roman thimble (I thought I could use it as a cauldron), some not-Snakebite Leather acrylic paint, olde dice, drill bits and a scribbler.

Total spend less than £16.00.

I'll keep you informed of how I use them.


Saturday 25 June 2016

Reap what you sow

I'll start by stating that this is not and never has been a politically motivated Blog, however it would be tough to ignore the recent Brexit result.

I have always believed that the UK is better in the European Union, however comments and presentations by both sides in the debate have had their merits and at times had me thinking of voting both In and Out. But mainly it has been a 'mud slinging' exercise with both sides attempting to undermine any so called facts that have been presented by the opponents rather than trying to offer alternative counter arguments or real reasons to either stay or go. I think it has been a 'low point' in British politics and the only good point to come from the campaigns is that there has at least been a reasonable turnout.

In the end my decision to remain was a decision taken with my heart rather than my head as the facts were in the main missing from the debate/debates.

On Thursday evening I went to bed with the commentators predicting a win for the stay campaign and woke to news that the UK had voted to leave, a decision that if anything has further divided the public. Even within this extended family there are those who have voted for an exit and those that have voted to stay.

My point is that David Cameron called the referendum in an attempt to satisfy his own party and the result has in fact done more to separate the country.

With the majority of votes cast being for an exit strategy, I, as a firm believer in democracy will state that this is the decision that the New UK government should take and it would be wrong to ignore the majority, however I can at least mourn the day that we (the UK) decided to leave the European Union.

On Friday, the schools opened, the motorways were still busy, I was able to access my bank account (and buy a bottle of Gin) and the lights came on, I have not felt like crying into my beer or shouting foul, but I am a little pessimistic about the future for my 18 month old Grandson now that this decision has been made.

Good luck.


Wednesday 22 June 2016

Fathers Day 2016

A little late but much appreciated.

As well as chocolates, popcorn, sweets and a new poloshirt, I have received a W H Smiths voucher and this box of herbs.

I like to plant fresh herbs in the back garden (usually in pots rather in the ground) here we have mint (my favourite), Basil and Thyme all packed in a Hedges & Butler box. Many years ago I worked for Hedges & Butler as a salesman. It was H&B that prompted our move from South Wales to the Midlands, so the company and box has special meaning to me.

The real treat was having the day in the back garden with my Grandson - Finley.

Thank you for a great Fathers Day.


Monday 20 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls - part five

The bases or groundwork has been painted in my usual mix of Snakebite Leather highlighted with a Snakebite and white mix. I have tried to paint the snail shells in a slightly different colour with metallic effects to get them to stand out from the grey stone walls.

The groundwork has been 'washed' in the GW Sepia wash, while the walls have been 'washed' with various coloured washes to vary the grey.

Details of where to buy these Panzerfauste wall can be found here.


Saturday 18 June 2016

The Art of Lone Wolf by Gary Chalk

Regular readers of this Blog will know that for many, many years I have been an admirer of the illustrator Gary Chalk. I have seen his artwork in Games Workshop publications, various games and the Redwall books. Sometime during 2015 I became aware of a new project; Lone Wolf - the board game, for details see this link. As part of the Kickstarter there were plans for an illustrated book of Gary Chalk artwork and I decided to support the project. Unfortunately there have been some issues with fulfilling all of the stretch goals and the book has not yet been produced (insider information suggests that it will now not be produced, which is a real pity).

Not to be put off I saw this separate book - The Art of Lone Wolf again by Gary and thought it was worth checking out. I got my book from the publisher.

The book is produced by Greywood Publishing and includes most if not all of the original artwork from the Lone Wolf series. The 203 pages are packed full of black and white illustration, some just simple footnotes or page fillers, others fully detailed battle scenes, all in all a great walk down memory lane for someone who collected and played these Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and the earlier Fantasy Warlords wargame rules.

There were many illustrations that were known to me, but also some that were new. I've enjoyed browsing the illustrations. There are even a few that have got my scratch-building juices flowing - you never know this maybe just the push I was looking for.

I would recommend the book as a great piece of reference work, thank you Greywood Publishing for taking the risk to produce such a niche book. However I would have liked a bit of history, some context, maybe even a comment by the great man himself.

The book is 234mm x 155mm wide, slightly larger than the original Lone Wolf books.

The Art of Lone Wolf by Gary Chalk
Published by Greywood Publishing in 2015 and reprinted in 2016
203 pages of black and white illustrations
ISBN 978 1 326 43796 1
RRP £19.99 ($30.00)

Available via the internet, but prices do vary.


Wednesday 15 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls - part four

The painting continues.....

I have used metallic gold acrylic paint to highlight the snail shells. I think it works.

The groundwork has been painted in my usual Snakebite Leather, highlighted with Snakebite and white with odd stones picked out in grey and highlighted with more white added to the mix.

The next step is to varnish the pieces and then add some scatter to the bases.


Monday 13 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls - part three

The painting continues.....

I've drybrushed some light grey and painted the snail shells brown. The painting shows up the sculpting, but there is still some work to do before I can think about painting the bases.


Sunday 12 June 2016

One Month, Two Magazines and Two Articles written by me

Sue and I had the weekend away in Shrewsbury. I saw these two magazines sitting next to each other in W H Smiths. Two Magazines and Two Articles both written by me.

Saxon Church in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy and Eindecker in Miniature Wargames.

Now that's something very special.


Friday 10 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls - part two

The three based and textured wall sections have been undercoated with black spray paint. I have touched up any bits I missed with some acrylic black.


Wednesday 8 June 2016

Peter Howson by Robert Heller

Later this week, Sue and I are planning another trip to Shrewsbury. We visited this historic market town earlier this year and had a great time sampling the food and drink in some of the local restaurants. One of my favourite purchases was this book - Peter Howson written by Robert Heller which I picked up in a charity book shop for just £2.50.

I was immediately struck by the stark images and limited pallete, which is very similar to my own limited paint pallete that I use to paint my own miniatures. This pallete has developed over the years to include earth brown, Snakebite Leather (from Games Workshop), pale flesh and blood red. I use very little blue or yellow - all painted over a black or dark brown base or undercoat. When I find other artists or art work using the same colours I always try to study them for further inspiration.

The works shown in this book are rather disturbing, but the style and colours used have some interest to me. Here are a few examples.

The book was published in 2003 by Momentum
(Momentum, 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP.
240 pages with hundreds of illustrations.
ISBN 1902945115


Tuesday 7 June 2016

Gnome Farm Walls from Hysterical Games

My latest On-Line Build is this set of three cast resin walls from Hysterical Games for the game Panzerfauste for full details of all the scenery items that were initially built by me and now cast in resin and available to buy - go to this link.

As with all of my personal terrain/scenery, I have mounted the walls onto bases - in this case some 3mm thick plastic card that I picked up free-of-charge as ex-advertising or display boards. I have used superglue to stick the wall sections in place.

You can also see how I have placed a new Green Foam upright stone to the right hand edge.

In this image you can see all three wall sections in different stages of being based. The one in the foreground shows the plain resin casting, while the one to the left has DAS modelling clay groundwork added. The third and final wall section is further detailed with sieved stones and sand over uPVA glue.

It may not be obvious at first glance but each of these wall sections have garden snail shells built into them. This was a requirement of the initial brief, however I designed the walls to fit in with the old Games Workshop foam walls so they can be inter-spaced with these and with other 'plain' wall sections.

It is my intention to show both construction and painting of all of these Panzerfauste terrain pieces in Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3.

More to follow.


Sunday 5 June 2016

Games Expo 2016

I have just returned from this years UK Games Expo which was jointly held at the NEC and the Birmingham Hilton Hotel. This is the first time since 2013 that I have visited Games Expo as I wasn't sure that this event was for me.

I'll start with a complaint; The day entry cost to Games Expo at £12.00 is much more than other gaming shows I attend and because of this I was expecting more. The cost of carparking at the NEC is another £12.00 - so £24.00 plus the cost of travel to a Gaming Show!

I'm not sure that this is really value for money.

Once I had purchased my ticket (you are able to buy your ticket in advance and for one. two or three days) my first impression was WOW as the hall is huge and even at 10,00am, very well attended. I was later told that there had been 9000 visitors on Saturday. One other point that sets Games Expo apart from other gaming (or wargaming shows) is that there is a greater number of both women and youngsters attending the expo. I would estimate a 15% - 20% total of the fairer sex, many of them dressed in Cosplay fancy dress.

I started by walking in a clockwise direction around the whole hall and then back and forth across the central area. This really is a huge hall with hundreds of exhibitors. Mainly board games, but a fair amount of wargaming stands, book sellers and Cosplay stalls.

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at the amount of games and exhibitors that had something to interest me.

After having a snack lunch and another walk around the hall, I decided to walk across to the Hilton Hotel and see some of the other gaming halls. The image below shows the X Wing Tournament.

While these are taken in the main hall and show some of the displays that appealed to me.

I didn't purchase that much but was surprised to see that I had still spent over £40.00 on bits and pieces.

I am not sure that I will be attending next year, maybe missing it for a year or two. I would still recommend it as a good if a little expensive day out.


Friday 3 June 2016

Record Number of Page Views in May

The Blog numbers have reached record heights with Page Views for May 2016 being over 50% higher than normal. I usually see between 8000 - 10000 views per month, this has been steady for the last couple of years. In May these numbers jumped to over 16000 and the only change I can see is that I have been mentioned on Facebook!

Thank you Rob.


Wednesday 1 June 2016

Ma.K Hover Tank Ju87s - The Viper featured on ARC

The scratch-built Ma.K Hover Tank - The Viper has been featured on Aircraft Resource Centre (ARC), an on-line modelling magazine. For full details see this link and look for the daily update for May 31st 2016

Full details of the build can be found by searching the Ma.K label to the right or by browsing The Lead Adventure updates here.

As you can see the model now sits on a custom made scenic base which features various scratch-built and ready made castings, some from 1/43rd scale or O gauge suppliers, others from my 'spares box'.