A Modelling Miscellany

Here’s a few things I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks.

First up is a tower.

Actually, I did this earlier in the year. It’s made from two tubs of healthy snacks – cheeselets (the wider, shorter, tube) and a Pringle tube (smokey bacon flavour – lovely!). The stairway is made from balsa that was skinned with miliput and then scribed to make it look like stonework. Then a few barrels and sacks were added to make it looked lived in.

Next up are some wall bits. I bought these at Cavalier from Debris of War. I already had some walls, bought many moons ago, so I had to paint these to fit with what I already had. Either that or re-paint the whole lot. I’m not a big fan of stark grey stone. It looks artificial and most stone is actually a brown colour of one sort another. Certainly the stone someone builds a wall out of, anyway. Back when I did the first walls grey is all I knew. So these had to be done like that as well.

Another purchase at Cavalier (this time from Scotia/Grendel) was a dragon. I ummed and ahhed for quite a while about what colour to paint it – I prefer to steer clear of bright red or green fantasy dragons. My preference is for a more believable colour (given it’s a dragon). I already have a brown dragon so I couldn’t do that again. Instead, I decided to go with green but a more drab variety like you see in nature. Once done, though, it looked too green, so I decided to add some patternation to the scales – some brown stripes. I’m not entirely happy with the result, to be honest. I think it may get a re-paint at some point.

And yet another purchase at Cavalier, and another from Debris of War – a ruined…thing. Church? Building? Something.

The tiles were a print out of a medieval tile texture I found on the internet. This ruin is going with other ruin bits that can be put together to form a ruined church or abbey complex.

Last up is a scratch build. I’ve tentatively called it a ‘Templar Hostel’ because that’s what it was made for. I don’t know what they would have really looked like, so it’s quite speculative. It was built for this year’s Open Day (presuming that still goes ahead).

The Beasts of War

Andy reconnects with his inner animal.

A couple of years ago I got a druid figure free when I renewed my Wargames Illustrated subscription, you can see him, and how I painted him, here.

He’ll be a magic user in one of my Dragon Rampant armies, but he needs an escort, and what would be better for a druid than a collection of animals?

I picked up a pack of Reaper Bones “Companion Animals” at SELWG (I think), these comprise a bear, wolf, puma, wolverine and eagle.

These are made from a type of polymer, and there is a warning on the Reaper Bones website that they may not respond well to some spray undercoats, so these were undercoated with a couple of coats of brush on acrylic matt black.

The wolf was painted with London Grey and then dry brushed with Dark Grey. The other animals were painted with various shades of brown, part of the eagle’s feathers and the other animal’s muzzles were painted black. Teeth, where visible, were painted Pale Sand. They were then given a generous wash in Army Painter Soft Tone or Dark Tone washes.

The bear’s base had a few sections of stone so these were painted London Grey, dry brushed Light Grey and washed with Army Painter Dark Tone, the remainder of the bases were covered with Basetex and painted with a couple of shades of green.

In addition to the Reaper Bones animals I had a couple of others, a nominally 10mm Giant Ape from Magister Militum who stands around 33mm foot to top of head so fits in OK with 28mm figures and a small wolf, manufacturer unknown.

The wolf was painted in the same way as the Reaper Bones wolf, apart from the mane which was painted black and dry-brushed Black Grey.
I decided to try and paint the Giant Ape as a silverback, so he was given a second coat of matt black, and his lower back was then dry-brushed Black Grey and London Grey. Teeth were painted Pale Sand.

BPM 97 Scratchbuild

John Lambert shares his latest Zona Alfa projekt.

I’d bought into Zona Alfa intrigued by the period, the campaign system and the terrain building potential. One of the mission objectives in the rulebook scenarios involves a broken down APC. I wasn’t going to splash out £20.00 for a resin cast model so what could I do instead?. Scanning the ASDA shelves for Gaslands stuff I came across this for £3.00.

Could I use the bits from this as a basis for a model ?

I’d remembered that this brand was secured by screws and not rivets so opening it up took a matter of minutes. I was left with a cab, fuel tank, wheels and chassis. I could use the fuel tank, cab and upper chassis as extra terrain pieces later. What about the lower chassis and wheels?

I’d got this plan off the internet and hoped it would work

The wheels were the right diameter but the wheelbase was 1cm too long so I’d have to cut the chassis and join the pieces with 2 x 30 thou plastic card – my go to modelling material for 45 years!. The track was a bit wide 2mm but I could live with that. I’d sketched out templates for the sides and front of the body, cut them out from 20 thou plastic card and quickly had the basis of the bodywork, which warped overnight!.
I decided to build the front wheel arches from strips of 30 thou card to provide better rigidity and to ensure a square structure. Referring to internet photos I found the bonnet top would be quite complex to make. I used 2 pieces of 60 thou plastic card and sanded this down with wet and dry to get the right profile.
On to the detailing, I decided to be systematic. First I added access doors to the rear and roof hatches from 20 thou plastic card then side access doors from 10 thou plastic card. Cupolas above the driving positions were from 40 thou plasticard. Hinges were from plastic micro rod and I made catches from microstrip and micro rod in long sections that I could then cut to size. These WIP shots show the detailing in progress – there’s more than I thought when starting this project!

I painted the body in dark green, dry brushing with lighter green and using a section from the packaging for the windows. The chassis I painted black and dry brushed grey and light brown before fixing to the bodywork.

Overall I was pleased with the results – a good project for isolation. More episodes to follow!

Forward To The Thirteenth Century

Stephen goes time travelling.

I decided to update my medievals. Actually, down-date might be a better way to think of it.

When I started collecting medievals I decided to go with early 14th century. If I’m honest, I really wanted to do 13th century (think Baron’s War of Simon de Montfort), because that’s where my interests lay. But there were few miniatures available for that and the ones there were I didn’t really like.

So I chose early 14th century (think Crecy and Poitiers). However, I recently made the choice to go with my heart rather than mind.

I’ve taken out the later figures that wouldn’t look right in the 13th century and they’ve gone into the ‘fantasy human army’ box. And I replaced them with figures more suited to the 13th century.

I asked around the club if anyone had some of the Fireforge plastics to have a look at. Andy did. And he kindly let me have a sprue to have a play with. I thought the details were good and the style of armour, clothing and equipment is right for the period.

Problem is, every time I see how people have put them together (and this is a general fault I find with plastics) they always have that crouching need-a-sh*t pose, head at 90° to body, and arms doing a double fist-pump. They just look like child’s toys.

Since they were plastic I decided I’d give them a bit of a chop. I thought I may cut the legs off and re-pose them. In the end I didn’t. In fact, in the end the surgery was quite minor. Generally, I replaced the weapons with better-proportioned spares from the spares box. One or two arms I cut at elbow and wrist. I also cut some hands off at the wrist to have them at different angles (due to the casting process I find that the arms on plastics tend to be ‘flat’, and it looks more pronounced once the arm is stuck to the body).

I think the key to the Fireforge figures (and, again, plastics in general) is to think about the pose rather than just stick them together. Maybe even stand in front of a mirror and pose yourself to see how they should go together (make sure you don’t get seen by the family or they’ll think you’re and even bigger bell end). It means you will have to do a bit of cutting here and there to make the pose fluid and as if that the limbs and head belong on the body. But plastic is easy to cut and easy to glue, so it’s really not that difficult.

In the end, I was rather happy with what I came up with. It made me re-think my opinion on them. Just minor surgery, and thinking about the pose, makes a great deal of difference.

Now I have what I wanted in the first place – 13th century medieval.

Mexican Reinforcements

Andy goes south of the border.

The fifth batch of figures completed this year are a few additional figures and a cannon for my Mexican forces for the Maximillian adventure.

These are made up of half a dozen Wargames Foundry ACW Union Artillery crew in shell jackets, a cannon and half a dozen odd Mexican officers, infantry and dismounted cavalry.

I’ve had the ACW Union Artillery crew for a while, these will serve as Mexican Republican gunners (some American troops did go south at the end of the ACW, with ex-Confederates joining the Imperial forces and ex-Union troops joining the Republicans). I’m going to be a bit hazy as to whether these are actually Americans or Mexicans, but I wanted to be able to field some “Well Drilled” field guns for the Republicans in “The Men Who Would Be Kings” games, so I wanted some uniformed artillerymen.

The Mexicans and the gun were bought from Colonel Bill’s at Cavalier earlier this year, so having these figures finished in less than a month after purchase is something of a record for me!

After cleaning up any mould lines, giving the figures and gun a wash in hot soapy water to remove any mould release agent and letting them dry, everything was undercoated with Humbrol grey acrylic primer. Paints are Vallejo unless stated otherwise.

The gun was painted Prussian Blue, with an AP Blue Tone wash. Metal plates were painted black and bolts Gunmetal Grey.

The foot figures were all given a Dark Sand base coat on hands and faces, followed by a Dark Flesh top coat and an AP Skin tone wash.

The officers and artillery crew had Flat Blue jackets, trousers were either Flat Blue or White. Anything Blue was given a good wash with AP Blue Tone. Artillerymen’s epaulettes were piped Flat Red.
A couple of the artillery crew had unbuttoned jackets, so I painted their shirts Deck Tan. One officer received a Golden Yellow waistcoat. Officers buttons were painted Brass, and other ranks buttons Gunmetal Grey. One officer had his boots painted Saddle Brown, everyone else had black boots.

Belts, other boots and pouches were painted black, as was all hair. One artilleryman had a water bottle painted Red Leather with German Camouflage Beige straps, a second had a haversack, also painted German Camouflage Beige, and one a ramrod painted Beige Brown with Buff wad.

The two Infantrymen had the same basic paint scheme as the artillery crew. Musket woodwork was Beige Brown, metalwork was Gunmetal Grey.

The two dismounted cavalry men are irregulars, so had a less uniform paint job.

The one on the left had Light Grey shirt with White undershirt, Saddle Brown vest, Chocolate Brown trousers, Mahogany Brown hat and Black boots. A bit of a study in brown! The other figure has a white shirt, Blue scarf, Dark Grey jacket, Black trousers and Saddle Brown boots. Carbines are Beige Brown woodwork and Gunmetal Grey metalwork. All the figures bases were painted Army Painter Banshee Brown and then patches of flock were applied.

Next in the Maximillian painting queue will be a dozen French Foreign Legion mounted infantry. The end is almost in sight!

A Tents Moment

Andy proves that there are no depths to which his puns will not stoop.

I picked up a frame of Renedra Saxon Tents a couple of years ago, and finally got round to finishing them.

There’s very little assembly to do, the ends of the ridge pole are seperate pieces that needed a little filling once put together, and the open tents have an upright pole at one end.

These didn’t take too much effort, the tents were undercoated black, including the inside of the open tents; and then painted Vallejo Deck Tan, Light Grey or Dark Sand. The tents were the washed with Army Painter Green Tone or Soft Tone (for the Dark Sand tent) and the wooden poles and tent pegs painted Beige Brown.

A coat of matt varnish finished them off.

Now some of my Vikings have somewhere dry to sleep!

Barrels of Fun

Andy has us over a barrel…

I picked up a few packs of 28mm scenery from Frontline Wargaming last year; they’ve been sitting around gathering dust, so during one of the recent washed out weekends I sat down for a painting session.
There were a few pin holes that needed filling and filing before the brushes came out.

Paints used were Vallejo (V) or Army Painter (AP) acrylics.

I undercoated the scenery matt black, and then painted them a variety of shades of brown (V). Once thoroughly dry they were given a wash of soft or dark tone (AP), depending on the shade of brown paint, then varnished with matt varnish (V).

25WW6 – Water Troughs x3

The water surface on the horse troughs were Painted Dark Sea Grey and given a couple of coats of gloss varnish (AP). The pump was painted Gunmetal (V) and given a dark tone (AP) wash.

25MR2 – Table benches and chairs

25MR3 – Brewery / Vintner (4 vats,2 tubs, bottling table)

The metal bands on the vats / barrels was painted Gunmetal (V); the bottles in the crate were painted Luftwaffe Camouflage Green (V), and then given a coat of gloss varnish mixed with AP green shade. The water in the tubs on the table was painted the same way as the horse trough water. The contents of the large tubs were painted Dark Sand (V) and washed with AP soft tone wash.

Finally a pair of ladders, I’m not sure of the manufacturer, but they were bought at Rochester Games and Models. 28mm figure for scale.

A Small Start

Andy finds his painting mojo again…

First items finished this year are some reinforcements for my 6mm English Civil War forces.

We’ve played quite a few games of Sword and Spear recently, these are Ancient & Medieval rules, but on the publisher’s forum there were some discussions about adapting them for the Pike & Shot era, so I thought it might be interesting to try these out. To do this I needed to paint up some Commanded Shot, Firelocks and Camps.

My ECW forces are based for Polemos on 6cm wide by 3cm deep bases, either 24 foot (in varying proportions of pike and shot) or 9 or 10 horse to a base. I’ll be using these for the Sword and Spear try out, so needed to keep the same size bases.

The figures are from Heroics and Ros, painted with mostly Vallejo acrylics. Once painted they were stuck to the bases, labelled with unit description and flocked.

Commanded shot were detachments of musketeers taken from regiments of foot and attached to cavalry brigades to augment their firepower. Not always a successful idea, as the horse were slowed down by the foot, and if the horse routed or went off in pursuit the commanded shot were left on their own.

For the Commanded shot I decided to have 12 figures per base, painted as if they were from 2 or 3 different regiments (above).

Firelocks were foot equipped with early flintlock muskets rather than matchlocks and usually assigned to guard the train of artillery; lighted matches and gunpowder not being a good mix.
For the Firelocks I decided on 16 figures per base.

For the camps I bought some tents from Bacchus, and raided the spares box for various figures to add to the bases, some are from H&R and some from Irregular Miniatures. I built the camps on 6cm square bases.

I also had some carts and wagons, so did some baggage bases.

Finally some group shots, the Parliamentarian camp and troops.

And their Royalist opponents

Gael Force Norse

John Lambert gets his axe out.

I’d enjoyed using Norse Gaels in Saga Version 1 and was interested to know how they might fare under version 2 of the rules. I thought this faction was one that had changed the most under version 2 so decided on a new build based on the Footsore Irish and Viking ranges, taking advantage of the 3 for 2 offer they had running at the time. All figures painted using Artist’s acrylics.

Warlord – Hakon Maddadarson (The Hall Burner) – front pictured above

“Die bravely my slaves and I will take good care of your Dottirs!”

I mounted the Warlord on a piece of slate for a more imposing look. He has a rare and highly prized white Icelandic Gyr Falcon on his shield.

Daneaxe Heathguard

In version 1, there was an additional Saga ability bonus for taking Dane axes. This has gone in version 2 so only 1 point for this build.

Other Heathguard

I added 2 points of standard Heathguard. In version 1 Dane axe armed Warriors were the best option. In version 2 a powerful ability, Norse can only be used by Heathguard and Warlord so these appear to be a better option.

Gaed Gaedhil

These are fearsome mercenary warriors for which I used the Footsore Scots/Picts

Levy – Slaves

I used the Footsore Irish warrior range for these. Of limited use in Version 1 of Saga, they are a key part of my army in version 2. I painted 2 points of these.

The History of the Norse Gael Earls of Orkney is detailed in Orkneyinga Saga, an epic tale of bravery, treachery and Sainthood as rivals vie for the Earldom, raids in Russia, raids on Sicily, The First Crusade and an encounter with a Byzantine Dromon! How would the 28mm metal version fare on their debut?
The answer was rather well (see Jeremey’s battle report), despite misreading a SAGA ability and missing out on the chance to trap Andy’s Warlord, I really enjoyed the faction and the battleboard mechanics. Well worth a celebratory snifter or two of Highland Park ”Viking Honour”.

​Advertising Billboards

Stephen goes Mad Men

I was in the mood to make a few terrain pieces and since the more clutter the better for skirmish games, I thought I’d make some sci fi terrain. To help create an urban, post-apocalyptic, vibe I thought I’d make some advertising hoardings.

The first thing I did was a bit of Googling to find suitable images. I did struggle a bit to find futuristic looking adverts. Just typing in ‘sci fi adverts’ brought up a host of cinema billboards for films, but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. Nevertheless, after a bit of perseverance I find what I was looking for and printed them out.

Then to make the actual hoardings. I used a backing of thick plasticard. I cut this to the dimensions of the picture plus the edging I was going to add. This edging was also made from plasticard, and it was stuck around the…er…edge. I had some plain EM4 dice and I thought these would make an ideal control box on the rear. So that’s what that is. I also had quite a lot of box-section polystyrene extrusion from a previous project and I thought that would do for legs.

Since it would be quite a light model it was obvious it would need a hefty base to keep it anchored down, so it was all stuck on a 40mm diameter metal washer from Wilkos. I also sanded the edges to tidy it all up.

Painting was next. It was given an undercoat of Humbrol ‘Dark Earth’ spray.It was then dry-brushed a pale cream, and then a rough dry-brush of white (so it stayed looking dirty and grubby – this is post-apocalyptic, after all). I then gave it a bit of splotching with a terracotta colour for rust and dirt effects. I also thought I’d add a bit of graffiti on the back of some of them.

All that was left was to cut the advert out and glue it in place, and then flock the base.
There it is – an advertising hoarding all complete.