Saturday 27 October 2018

Wargames Terrain & Buildings - update

The latest news out of Pen & Sword is that this book Wargames, Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars written by me will be available for early 2019. It is listed at £14.99 but is currently available as a pre-order for the discounted price of just £11.99. For full details see this link. I am looking forward to seeing hard copies.

Wargames, Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars by Tony Harwood
Published by Pen & Sword
List price £14.99
ISBN 9781526716392
Note due soon (updated 29.01.19)

I can also confirm that book two in the series; Wargame, Terrain & Buildings - North Africa is currently with the editor and we should be seeing details soon.

I will keep the Blog updated as details are confirmed.


Pen & Sword update
Meeples and Miniatures post
Amazon update
TMP link

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Broadsword calling Danny Boy, Broadsword calling Danny Boy

'Broadsword calling Danny Boy'
by Geoff Dyer
Where Eagles Dare - a guilty pleasure

I was intrigued to read a book review published in this weekends edition of The Mail on Sunday. 'Broadsword calling Danny Boy' by Geoff Dyer is a book detailing how the motion picture Where Eagles Dare is a guilty pleasure of so many serious film critics and men of a certain age.....

50 Years on - my guilty pleasure

As I read the review I was instantly thinking how much this particular film has the same effect on me. Whenever it is on TV I can't help but tune in and start watching it. My wife believes that I could act each of the parts and truthfully, I could!

The review goes on to list the many critics who take to the sofa whenever the classic Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood film is aired. The novelist, literary critic and jazz aficionado Geoff Dyer tells of how he first saw the film over 50 years ago and that even today it has a profound effect on him. He makes it clear that the film is anachronistic, asinine and absurd but it is still so much better than so many more modern (and better made) films. The reviewer goes on to state that reading Broadsword calling Danny Boy is a bit like watching a post-pub screening of Where Eagles Dare with a wise-cracking mate. Wow, what more could you ask for?

I'll bet this will get you smiling - you tube link.

I'll also wager that just the sentence "Broadsword calling Danny Boy" is enough to make certain readers of this Blog smile, as they know exactly what that one short sentence refers to.

'Broadsword calling Danny Boy' by Geoff Dyer
Published by Penguin
ISBN 9780141987620
List price £7.99

It got me thinking.....

What other films have the same effect?

Here are a couple of suggestion;

The Guns of Navarone.

And Kelly's Heroes.

What films could you add to this list?


Monday 22 October 2018

How to Build a Small Witchlands Tomb - another 'lost' article from 2012

The Small Witchlands Tomb 

First published on Barking Irons Online back in 2012.

Another Masterclass tutorial that was 'lost' when Barking Irons Online closed down. This model was constructed at the same time as the large Tomb (see below - which also features in Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models For Wargamers) and was intended as an addition to my existing graveyard scenery collection. 

For details of how to order a copy of Models For Wargamers please see this link.


The smaller square tomb uses the same materials (scraps of blue foam), glued into a cube shape and then sanded square similar to the larger one shown above.  The door is made from textured lollipop sticks stuck to thin card before being glued into the doorway with a hot glue gun.

The first step was to carve and texture the stonework.  I first cut shallow horizontal lines around the building. I varied the height to give same interest then cut small vertical cuts with a scalpel to simulate the rough stone blocks.

The cuts were opened-up with the point of a sharp pencil, first the horizontal and then the vertical cuts.

To texture the blocks, I used a broken stone from the garden to press random groves and indents into the blue foam.  Then with a piece of thick plastic card I pressed into the foam to vary the depth or height of some stones.

More detail

I also added a simple triangular roof cut from blue foam over a square of plastic card and further textured the walls by vigorously brushing the foam with a stiff brush.  Prior to this photo being taken, I have added odd stone blocks from DAS modelling clay and given the whole structure a coat of thinned-down ready-mixed filler and PVA glue.

The wooden door was modelled from cut down and coloured lollipop sticks then glue in place with my hot glue gun.

Note;  There are many and varied techniques for texturing blue foam, you can use sandpaper, stiff brushes and even wire brushes to distress the foam.

Cutting down on the height

Between the last image and this one, I have removed 8mm from the base of the tomb as I thought it looked too tall.

I mounted the tomb onto an oval of 3mm thick plastic card with my hot glue gun and chamfered the edges before adding a blue foam step to the doorway and building up the groundwork with DAS.


The base or groundwork was textured with sieved stones and fine sand added over PVA glue. While later the whole tomb was coated with a custom mix of ready-mixed filler, PVA glue and some white acrylic paint.

The door has been detailed with slivers of plastic rod glued in place with superglue and the walls have been painted a very nice shade of Mint Green – Oh no they haven’t!  In a further attempt to add even more surface texture to the stonework I have mixed up some PVA glue and very fine sand the sort that is used to make children’s sand pictures and comes in a wide variety of colours, in this case green!  When painted on to the tomb, the fine sand adds surface detail but also turned the model pale green.


The painting was done in the same way as the previous tomb.  I used a mix of very dark brown and black to basecoat the model.

The first highlight was a red-brown tube acrylic paint which I ‘scrubbed’ on. A second and lighter drybrush of Snakebite Leather was added to the roof and corners of the building to add further highlights.

The second highlight was a grey mix and again ‘scrubbed’ on.

Note;  By ‘scrubbed’ I mean that I have used a stiff brush and little paint to vigorously scrub the stonework – a bit like drybrushing but with a stiff brush and with more force.

The third or light grey highlight was drybrushed on with a large brush.

I decided to paint the door of the tomb green, as I wanted to add some colour to the ‘grey’ stonework.  I used a Dark Angels Green base, highlighted with Forest Green from Foundry and then further highlighted with some Forest Green/Snakebite Leather.

The door studs were painted Black, Bestial Brown and then selectively highlighted with small touches of Hot Orange from Vallejo.

Finishing of

Next came the groundwork.  Regular readers will not be surprised that I have started with Snakebite Leather from Games Workshop. (What would I do without this paint pot?)  A number of lighter drybrushes later and the odd stone picked out in grey – painting finished.

Prior to adding the dyed sawdust base, I gave the whole building a very light drybrush of Skull White as I felt it looked too grey and needed highlighting.

The base was treated to a layer of dyed sawdust and some static grass which was applied over PVA glue and the model tomb is now ready for my gaming table. The simple tomb is ideal as a starter model or for use on a Frostgrave themed table.

This is another of the 'lost' tutorials that were written for Barking Irons Online. It is my intention to post all of these tutorials on my Blog over the next couple of months.


Thursday 18 October 2018

How (not) to run a modelling club


Earlier this year I was invited to visit a local model making club, for the purposes of this post, I will keep some of the details hidden not to embarrass anyone.

My experience

Having packed the car with a number of examples of my work and driven quite some distance, I arrived at the hall with time to spare and not sure how to proceed, I left all of the models in the car and walked in. There were a number of tables set up as either displays or bring-and-buy stalls and about twenty people milling about in small groups.

I strolled around the hall looking to see if there was anyone in charge.

I saw a small hand written sign on one of the tables - PLEASE PAY YOUR FEE HERE, So I did and placed my money in a bowl and added my name to the list of attendees.

I had now been in the hall for ten minutes and as others entered I had still not found anyone who looked to be in charge, so I made eye contact with some modellers browsed the displays and later sat next to a teenage boy who was also alone. We got chatting about his hobby and he told me that this was his second time at the club.

Fifteen minutes after I had arrived the numbers had grown to about thirty visitors and there was a definite feeling of many different groups all in small tight gangs.

I had still not spoken to or been approached by anyone other than the young boy.

I thought about leaving, but having driven so far and taken the time to attend, I thought I would try one more time to see if I could get anyone to speak to me. Fifteen minutes later - I couldn't.

So I left.

Will I be going back?

After this experience and having been invited to attend I know one thing for certain. I will not be going again.

I believe that I am quite an out-going character and do not think of myself  as shy or retiring. In fact I would describe myself as the opposite, after all I regularly put on displays of my models at gaming and wargaming shows and in the past I actually ran a model making club. But in this environment I felt like an outsider and very much unwanted. This was the first time in some years that I had visited a club and the whole experience was quite depressing for a number of reasons.

Having been invited, I felt that I would have been acknowledged - I wasn't.

Modelling clubs have had years of poor publicity - I thought that they would have improved or learnt how to make new members feel welcome.

To survive, the lifeblood of clubs is to attract new members. To attract new member - well I think you get the picture.....

I just didn't feel welcome - I felt like an outsider.

I would be interested in your experiences.


Monday 15 October 2018

Graveyard Headstones - A Flintloque Terrain Masterclass from 2012

Graveyard Headstones

First published in 2012

Another Terrain Masterclass from the old Barking Irons Online web pages which were lost when the BIO site closed down. It is reproduced here in full.


In previous Masterclasses I have detailed how I built and painted various pieces of ‘scratch-built’ terrain. This weekend after a busy couple of days in work, I just wanted some fun. A simple modelling project that was not going to tax me. Searching through my ‘bits box’ I came across some white metal castings of headstones that I had purchased last year. The models were sold with plastic bases and cost no more that £2.00 for the whole set. I had bought them to build a larger graveyard, maybe even a themed terrain board, but as with many modelling projects – the impedes had disappeared and the models were now doomed to be scrap metal. That is until I decided to base and paint them.


Originally there were thirteen pieces (plus bases) but I had already cannibalised one model and the others were destined for the same fate.

I cut six simple ovals of plastic card, some 3mm thick and others 5mm thick. Then chamfered the edges by trimming with a knife and sanding with a sanding stick.

With nothing more than superglue I stuck down ten of the thirteen metal headstones. As you can see there are three single headstone bases, two pairs of headstones and one base of three headstones.

The groundwork was built up with DAS modelling clay laid over a layer of PVA glue. The bases were only roughly textures as there would be further layers added later on.


The texturing was simply sieved sand and fine grit over PVA glue. Where the glue looked weak, I have added some thin superglue.


The basic groundwork colour was Snakebite Leather from GW with various greys for the headstones. I have tried for some slight variation in the colour of headstones by mixing-in blue, black and grey.

Drybrushing and washes

Drybrushing has brought out all the base textures and I have also picked out some of the larger stones with a mix of Chaos Black and Skull White.

I have ‘washed’ both the headstones and the area around the base of the headstones with black and sepia washes from GW.

A close up shot of the three headstone base.

Finishing off

The six bases (ten headstones) taken in glorious sunshine, showing the basing finished. I have used my usual dyed sawdust with the occasional spot of static grass to add texture and 'colour'.

Yet another close up.

This image shows the new headstone bases mixed-in with some of my older ‘scratch-built’ plastic headstones. There is a difference of over three years between these two sets, but the older models have held up well during this time. Following this shot, I re-flocked the bases of the earlier headstones to refresh the dyed sawdust basing.

Finally Chastity (a Flintloque character model from Alternative Armies) and two of the headstone bases. 

From start to finish these six simple models have taken me about four hours work and cost less than £2.00. I am certain these headstones (and the older sets) will be seeing action in both Catalucia and The Witchland over the next year. 

My thoughts 

Finally, I thought it would be worth stating why I had decided to mount some of these headstones on multiple bases rather than singly.

I had in the past always based these simple models singly, however experience has shown that a mix of single and multiple bases is the better course of action, allowing small single bases when needed and multiple basing when larger full table coverage is necessary.  I have no real preference as to which is better; I just think a mix of the two styles makes more sense.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t have a similar collection of headstones – as there are now plastic sets available for just a few pounds and there is always the option of ‘scratch-building’ a set. Plus a graveyard in Flintloque or Deadloque is almost a pre-requisite as far as themed terrain pieces are concerned.

Happy modelling.


Thursday 11 October 2018

Scale Model World 2018 - just one month to go

The International Plastic Modelling Society (IPMS) annual show - Scale Model World is just one month away.

What is this?

Scale Model World is one of the largest model making shows in the world with three huge halls crammed full of model displays, competitions and trade stands exhibiting and selling everything a plastic modeller could ever wish for. It is held at The International Centre, Telford and is a show that is well worth visiting.

For more details of the IPMS see this link.

Images of last years show

For images of the show see these links linklinklinklink.

Full details of this years show can be found here.

As usual I will be attending on the Sunday. Sunday 11th November 2018

Details of where to go

Scale Model World - IPMS
The International Centre
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 2018


Tuesday 9 October 2018

Used Sanding Discs - a very welcome gift

Earlier today I was given some slightly used sanding discs and just wanted to say thank you. Thank you Alex.

The details

The 10 Velcro backed discs are superfine abrasive pads used for polishing acrylic worktops. They range from P 320 to P 1200 grade and should prove perfect for model making.

Not keeping your hobby a secret

I am a keen believer that you should not keep your hobby a secret. In the past I have been presented with a 1.24th scale motor torpedo boat, model railway scatter material and boxes of model soldiers, all this in addition to lipstick containers, plastic sheeting and even a De Villbiss airbrush. All because I regularly talk about my hobby to family and friends.

These sanding discs are a perfect example of what can happen when you talk to friends about your hobby.

Free gifts

Earlier this year my Brother-in-Law sent me a box of 1:100th scale die-cast aeroplanes, some narrow gauge railway books and a box full of HO-OO plastic buildings. While last Christmas I received a huge block of balsawood from the Father-in-Law of my other Brother-in-Law who lives in Hastings.

You could be missing out

Are you making the most of your family connections?


Sunday 7 October 2018

A Recent Charity Shop Find - what should I do?

I recently picked up this beautifully illustrated, soft-bound book at a local charity store for just £1.00. My intention was to use the coloured images as enamel signs on my 1:27.7 scale, narrow gauge railway layout but after doing some research I'm now wondering if I should keep the book intact.


Regular readers will know that I have been working on a narrow gauge railway layout - a shelf layout featuring scratch-built buildings and structures constructed to the rather unusual scale of 1:27.7 or 11mm = 1 foot. For more information check out this label.

The maths

Normal HO-OO model railway track has a gauge (the distance between the tracks) of 16.5mm. Divide this by 18 inches (a recognised although rare gauge for industrial and military railways) and you get 11mm to the foot or 1:27.7 scale. In this scale (11mm to the foot) a normal height man would be between 63mm and 65mm tall. Not a common scale - hence all the scratch building.

Enamel signs for decoration

The book has many colour (and some black and white) illustrations that would be ideal for use on the layout. Using techniques championed by Emmanuel Nouaillier my plan was to superglue the paper images onto plastic card and then mount these scale signs on the layout.

The dilemma

I enjoyed looking at the images so much that I had a 'cunning plan'. I thought that I would search e-bay to see if there was a second copy of the book available - use the first for cutting up and making signs, while the second could be kept for reference. A good plan - so I thought.

Then I saw just how rare this book is. And just how high the second-hand prices are! Particularly in America.

What should I do?

These two images show just a couple of pages from the book, showing the huge amount of historical enamel signs or as they call it in the book Street Jewellery.

The TIZER illustration to the bottom left of the image above shows just what I mean - It would not take much to turn this illustration into a scale enamel sign for the layout, but as stated above. Should I keep the book intact?

Details of the book

Enamelled Street Signs (previously published as Street Jewellery) by Christopher Baglee and Andrew Morley
Published by New Cavendish Books, London for Everest House Publishing, New York in 1978
ISBN; 0 89696 055 2
Page size; 285mm x 215mm
88 pages mainly black and white with full colour cover and 16 colour pages (see above)
List price $7.95


Friday 5 October 2018

Building The Knights' Tomb a Masterclass Article from 2012

The Knights' Tomb by Tony Harwood

First Published in 2012

Originally published on Barking Irons Online back in July 2012, this article had been lost when BIO was shut down but I have included it here in full.


Following on from the earlier Modelling Masterclass, I was thinking about how I could model some more graveyard structures and came across some coarse, semi-flat 30mm/35mm metal castings that were given to me some years ago. The souvenir or Toy Figurines come from Prague and are of a mounted knight on horseback and two duelling knights on foot. I decided to build a simple box tomb and place the two fighting soldiers on top.


The main structure is built up from a couple of wooden blocks and clad with cardboard. I cut the card panels with a new scalpel blade and used PVA glue to attach them to the wooden block. The technique is quite easy – if time consuming.  I cut out a number of simple rectangular shapes, each overlapping the earlier one and with a slightly larger aperture in the sides, the effect when multiplied can give stunning effects.  In total I used five layers, but you can decide to increase or decrease this.

Further detailing

The top and bottom of each side is further modelled with yet another layer of card. It is a very easy technique, just take your time.

In the initial plan I was going to use the two foot soldiers and these can be seen placed on top of the card-clad tomb. The recess in the top was designed to hide the figures bases.

Change of direction

For the final model I decided to use the mounted figure and have attached the metal horse to the tomb lid with superglue. The lid is 3mm thick plastic card with a rough rectangle removed from the centre.  When the horse was fitted, I filled the spaces with Milliput Fine White and smoothed out the join. Additional detailing to the tomb sides was done with either cardboard or plastic rod sliced into thin discs.

Modelling the base

I have mounted the card-clad tomb onto a lower level of 3mm plastic card and further attached this to an oval base made from even more 3mm thick plastic card. Keen-eyed readers will see that between the tomb base and the groundwork I have added a piece of tile-textured wallpaper and built up the groundwork with DAS modelling clay.

In an attempt to blend the tomb into the groundwork, I have used PVA glue applied with a stiff brush and 'stippled' onto the groundwork and tomb.

I am planning on using the two foot soldiers in a future modelling project.

The next step was to add the rider.  This was done with superglue and the small gaps filled with ‘green stuff’. I have also textured the base by adding sieved sand and small stones over dilute PVA glue.


The painting was carried out in my usual manner, a very dark undercoat of black and dark brown which was roughly painted on with a large brush. I added some fine sand to the paint and brushed this over the tomb and base but not over the horse and rider.

At this stage of the build, I thought the tomb sides looked a little bare and have added some small card squares to the upper sides. Once the glue had set fully, I painted them in the same dark brown basecoat.

The first highlight was 'scrubbed-on' dark brown, black with a little cream coloured acrylic paint added to the mix.

The second highlight was the same as the previous, but with a little more cream added.

Final highlight

The third highlight was as before but with some Skull White added and applied with a drybrushing action, just picking out the upper edges and the fine detail.

A subtle palette 

Throughout the painting of the tomb and statue I have tried to keep the colours subtle and avoid a stark or pure white highlight.

Snakebite Leather - where would I be without it?

The groundwork was painted with Snakebite Leather from GW and highlighted with touches of Skull White added to the mix. Individual stones have been picked out in grey – blended from Chaos Black and Skull White and then highlighted with a little Skull White.

Varnishing and flocking

After varnishing with Galleria Matt Varnish I have added coloured sawdust or flock which I add to all my terrain pieces so that they blend in with my gaming table.

This is the third of my Modelling Masterclasses to feature graveyard terrain pieces, but as all three articles employ slightly different techniques, I would hope they are of use and act as inspiration. If nothing else – we all have a couple of figures that can easily be employed as statues. So why not try producing a similar model yourself.


06.10.18 now using sub-headings