Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Modular Vehicles I

Wow. I've actually made something! Well, I've started. But everything starts with a starting right?

I've been inspired by this:

Its a British BvS 10 Armoured All Terrain Vehicle, comprising an articulated cab and trailer arrangement with both elements providing steering and motive power.

I liked the idea of this and had been looking for a way to make my Grymn Mechanised force more modular. Allowing the same figures to stand in for convoy protection, forward recon, Mobile hospital, mechanics etc.

I first mentioned it some time ago towards the bottom of this post.

So I bought the lower hull, chassis and wheels of 4 of these Old Crow Scout Outrider Vehicles, and decided to scratchbuild a number of alternate 'Upper Hulls' which could be interchangeable.

It may not look like much but this is the initial shape of the trailer I've devised. Its deliberately boxy as I want it to match with the notched plate simplicity of the Old Crow vehicles. This picture is taken before any gap filling and sanding.

There will be different sizes and shapes of Upper Hull but I wanted to start out with something straight forwards - I think this hull is going to be a field Ambulance.

So that all of the models are interchangeable I have used rare earth magnets to locate the upper hull and chassis structures.  I made up a simple jig to locate the holes accurately, and these are just 4mm magnets glued into 4.2mm holes.


This may seem like a lot of effort for not much progress, but I am looking to make a number of them and by sorting out the jig and the basic dimensions for the simple box structure it means I can make a number of them quite simply and quickly. I've also been chatting to a couple of people about having the pieces laser cut meaning that I could provide simple conversion kits for others if I come up with something people like.

The trailer was going to be pulled by the Trojan Light APC shown below, but it obscures the rear infantry door.

So I think the three lightly armoured Provider Transports might be better. Having made this decision I am also going to make some modular elements for the back of the transport to mount on the flatbed area. Again more simple scratch build structures and magnets.

Well, they aren't tracked or as short and stumpy as the BvS10 ATV shown at the top of the blog but they will do the job for me.

For gaming they probably don't need to be connected as long as the trailer and the cab unit remain close together and one follows the other. However for aesthetic reasons I think I may connect them using some kind of hydraulic piping arrangement again attached with magnets.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Well, finally on Christmas Eve it snowed and I got to spend a little time modeling whilst listening to Christmas Carols and drinking Green Ginger Wine*.

I only managed to spend an hour or so, but this is what I came up with.

Snowman Bob and Elf helper.

Its a while since I did anything like this so its not my best work. I thought the figure on the left came out quite well - especially as I always have trouble with white - but the character on the right doesn't really show its true demon-like nature, in fact in this shot the camera seems to have made it somewhat angelic looking.

Perhaps that's just the true Christmas Spirit?

Merry Christmas to you All.

* To the uninitiated Green Ginger Wine is pure Christmas in a bottle. The best comes from Crabbe or Stones and is warming, cheering, merry restful and dynamite all in one glass. For enhanced effects mix with cheap whiskey for a "Whiskey Mac" - Highly recommended.!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Customer Service - How not to do it by MINIATURE HEROES

I've just had my wife in tears through frustration because she'd been trying to buy my surprise Christmas present for the past week and has finally given up.

She's not a gamer and does little more than ooh if I ask her what she thinks of this figure or that paint job. However, because she is a wonderful woman, she'd sneakily gone out of her way to find out what figures I needed to complete one of my armies and had discovered a UK distributor offering a 20% Christmas discount.

I still don't know precisely what she'd tried to buy, as she’s upset enough that her plans have fallen through, and the point was she had wanted it to be a surprise!

That’s always the best sort of present isn’t it? Unwrapping something and immediately knowing that the giver has spent their time to get something YOU want even though they know nothing about the subject matter.

Who has got her this frustrated and upset by the way they treat their customers?


That's who.

About 10 days ago my wife ordered on-line and received a confirmation email for the transaction, only then to get a refund notice with NO reason given.

Absolutely NO COMMENT... no apology, no explanation, no offer to fix the problem.



This has happened with both paypal and credit card orders. The website said they had stock and the check out process worked fine.

Despite contacting them directly via their web form on THREE occasions, NO reply has been forthcoming. There is no direct email address listed on their website. (Which I believe is a legal requirement in the UK by the way) and I've only just found their phone number buried at the bottom of their terms of use pages accessed from a tiny link.

Having looked on the website since she says that they now have no stock showing! So I'm guessing that their stock control is poor to non-existent and not reflected accurately on their website and that despite offering a sale they actually had very little stock at these prices.

I can only assume that this company had no intent of honouring orders placed during their sale at their sale prices once their very limited stock had been exhausted. Particularly galling as their Christmas sale was advertised on sites such as TMP.

All I can suggest is AVOID Miniature Heroes at http://www.miniature-heroes.co.uk/

Thanks to them my wife is upset that it looks like I wont have her surprise present to open on Christmas day, and she had been so pleased with herself, and they dont care enough to actually respond to her messages.

Is this rant a reasonable and balanced response to a company has had a problem with an order? After all it’s not as though we lost any money, refunds were given and we are not out of pocket?

Maybe it isn't.

But I would argue that there is no other recourse available to us from a company that doesn’t fulfil orders made with to it in good faith, provides no explanation for cancelled orders, does not respond to queries sent to them via the web form it promotes for communications!

Clearly communicating with its customers is not important to this company. So I have taken the step of communicating publicly here – I don’t think there is anything else left open to me. Besides if their customer service is this bad I'd rather conduct this conversation in a more public forum where other potential customers of theirs can see how the company responds.

So, TIM FITCH of MINIATURE HEROES. If you want to try and rectify this situation you can try filling the order you were sent in good faith, or responding to my wife’s messages or at the very least if you give a damn about customer satisfaction at all, leave comments here.

I’ll happily repost here any positive steps you want to take to rectify the situation.

EDIT: 22/12/2009 2149 GMT - Following the comments to this post I have changed the setting on my blog to not allow anonymous posters. Not for any clandestine reasons - just I'd rather know who I is posting and who I am responding to.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Now thats what I call a lizard rider!

I picked up a couple of these on ebay recently.

No Idea why really, as I had told myself I was limiting my Orc army to just Grenadier Fantasy Warrior figures (well, plus a few Chronicle ones thrown in, but then they're by the same sculptor - Nick Lund - so no one would spot them would they???).

Actually I do know why... because they LOOK LIKE BIG BIRD!!!.

It's a properly awkward, gangly, long-legged riding lizard. It just looks as though it's meant to be striding about the waste lands and galloping away from predators (or the cookie monster)! Far better than the "not-hot" lizards produced by other companies I thought.

Clearly these aren't the shock troops of an army but highly mobile advanced scouting parties and mounted skirmish troopers. Who wouldn't want a unit of these on their Orc Flank?

Anyway a bit of scouting about on the web lead me to the Ral Partha Europe website (which is always a little treasure trove of miniatures you think are gone forever) and hey presto (or abaracadabara, or izzy wizzy lets get busy - or whatever your magical innvocation of choice is...) they are still available! They come as archer (3 variants) , spears (shown), commander and standard bearer, all unfortunately on the same pose of mount known as a Death Jaw.

Now I had bought them to complement the Grenadier Lizard riders I had picked up, but as you can see they're clearly a different species and unless you have a very broad multi-cultural diversity policy in your units they simply wont mix.

Both of these figures are shown on 40mm square bases. At £5.75 the Ral Partha lizards are pretty good value; they stand almost 80mm to the top of the head! The bodies come in three sections; left leg and lower body + right leg and lower body + head, neck upper body and tail. It goes together OK, but needs a thick superglue to fill the joint and some poxy filler.

I'm not too enamoured of the style of the riders, and they are quite large, but I can easily swap these for say Orc wolf riders from the Grenadier or Chronicle range.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

My New Hobby

At first it was a bit of a shock. I didn't actually know I had a new hobby until the realisation hit me. I've always thought of myself as a War Gamer that doesn't game as I very rarely get to push figures round on a war gaming table. Then when I came to terms with the lack of dice rolling I started to think of myself as a Modeler and Painter - all be it one that rarely picks up glue or a paint brush.

So I had kind of compromised on the idea that I was an Army Collector. I dont think of myself as a figure collector as I do only collect things I can put in armies (although i also have this nasty habit of also buying things to build new armies around) and I like drawing up the force lists (don't say codices codexes?) for all the mythical, never-to-be-played-out battles that they will fight.

I had also thought I might just be a Figure Buyer. Which has some truth, but is entirely Ebay's fault.

But then over the last couple of days I have been sorting through some of the collection and organising storage etc. And it hit me.


There is something deeply satisfying about being able to fit your collection into just the right number of movement trays or an even number of boxes, or having just the right storage system to keep the dwarfs away from the orcs. Not that I have achieved any of these states of Nirvana yet, but I can feel the need to do so growing.

I've also been asked a couple of times about what I am working on now, and despite the poll a couple of months ago I haven't touched the Grymn Drop ship project in months. (oh come on you KNEW I was going to ignore the results... you MUST have known!)

But I do have a nice newly cleared painting area with ranks upon ranks of newly based and organised troops to work through... so i have no excuse for not painting now (or at least no excuse my hopelessly lethargic and inventively procrastinatory brain can yet come up with).

A few pictures:

The first 2 are of my shelving unit in full view 2 feet from my chair right next to the computer keyboard and my painting desk. So its impossible for me NOT to see what I need to paint and draw inspiration and enthusiasm from all their excited little faces.

The left side of this holds about 900 figures. These are the Old Grenadier Fantasy Warriors Dwarfs and Orc/Goblin armies I've posted about before.

Is it wrong to have 2 armies with 60+ movement trays/units?

The right hand side of the shelving contains on the lower shelf, more orcs and goblins, above that my VOR growler collection, and above that various RPG figures along with dice, Rogue Trooper forces and ABC warrior team. Oh, and my embryonic Hasslefree Sci-fi human contingent. The top has ogres and bat + bear riders.

Ah, but I hear all of you people that know me from the FOD (and believe me I use the term 'people' in its most lax taxonomicological* sense), where are all the grym he keeps going on about?

They're here... right on the windowsill in front of my desk - again where i cannot now ignore them. They're all based and in squad movement trays thanks to Fenris Games.

So there you go - thats plenty to keep me going right? and lots to paint. No excuses now.

Except... well there's this shoe box of confrontation figures and blisters sat on the desk and no room for them. And I can't get the Old Crow vehicles out that go with the grymn as there's no room, and my lizardman collection is still boxed and so are my dragons.

Hmmm.... I think I should go and make some more shelves for this cupboard, then I can be properly organised. THEN I'll be rady to paint something...


PS I am reliably informed that the word should be 'taxonomical' but I like 'taxonomicological' better.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Do you think he'll notice ... ? - Results!

Well the results of the Forum of Doom Diorama of Doom 2009 competition (snappy title!) are now in!

And guess what?

Bob and Dave have managed to snaffle themselves SECOND Prize!
(or as I like to think of it Alternate First!)

Yay! now I'm "An Award Winning Painter!"

Thanks to all those on the FOD that organised and judged the competition... I'll be back next year... in fact I already have all the mini's and the diorama sketched out...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Do you think he'll notice..? FINAL PICTURES

Brandlin's Entry (c) 2009

"Do you think he'll notice..?"

Click the pic for a much bigger view.

Click the pic for a much bigger view

Our scene here shows Bob and Dave from Bob and Dave line Marking Limited, discussing the latest cock-up of the younger partner Dave and wondering just how long it might be before the 'copter pilot notices the newly applied yellow line over the nose of his prized flying machine.

Luck it seems, is on Bob and Dave's side for a while as Squadron Leader Gaffer seems to be somewhat distracted at the moment. Having paid his £10 he is idling away a relaxing few minutes with his cup of char while watching an employee of the Megan Fox hand car wash emporium going about her business!



After several tens of hours of work, trial and tribulation, many packages arriving in the Royal Mail (when it was still moving) placing several hundred glass beads with tweezers, cleaning, recleaning and cleaning my airbrush again and again, cutting and applying tiny decals, painting and repainting, falling down stairs and rebuilding the copter, then lighting and relighting the diorama, and finally taking pics and putting them together in piantshop - I AM FINISHED.

This has been a labour of love and hate. There have been times when this diorama was close to going out of the window and times when I've looked it and thought "wow thats better than I could have expected. Its also the first time I've done a diorama, and the first painting competition I have entered!

The large 100mm Base is from Fenris games as is the barricade which is laser cut acrylic painted and then with home made decals applied.

The raised pavement is green-stuff and plasticard, with the copter undercarriage fashioned from pasticard and paper clips, the line painting machne is made from wheels from a 1/72 WW2 german Kettenkrad kit from Hasengawa with the body made from plasticard and the handle from a bent paperclip.

Bob and Dave are Scifi Customs Inspectors from Heresy Miniatures.  Squadron Leader Gaffer is the Grymn Pilot from Hasslefree Miniatures, and his vehicle is the soon to be released Grymn attack craft from the same company. My version is turned into a copter with the addition of lift fans from Evil Mushroom Games.

The car wash girl is a simple conversion of Summer the Cheerleader again from Hasslefree Miniatures. Her pom poms cut down and smoothed to resemble big sponges and her left arm cut off and repositioned with pins and greenstuff above her head.

The bucket comes from a Tamiya 1/48 WW2 diorama pack and the decals were home-made using paper from Antenociti's Workshop. Paints from Foundry and varnish from Testors. Finally tiny tiny glass beads from Blockhead Stamps in America - yes i had to import them as this was the only place I could find multiple sizes under 2mm diameter.

Right I think thats all of the name checks for companies. I should especially mention Kev and Sally White from Hasslefree Games who provided the Attack flyer and Grymn Pilot to me ahead of their formal release as i am such a nice guy (and good at begging) so i could get this diorama finished in time. Thanks guys - you're the best!

The soap was by far the hardest element of this diorama as I had to figure out how to do it from scratch. A lot of people on the FoD, and on CMoN and TMP have offered some elements of advice, THANK YOU all for putting up with what might have seemed silly questions at the time. Subsequently a few people asked for the steps on how I did the soap, so here is the method I developed. 

After a lot of tests it became quite simple:
  1. Watered down PVA glue applied in small patches
  2. 2mm glass beads applied sparingly with tweezers in small clumps or 'smears'
  3. 1mm glass beads applied around the edge of the 2mm beads
  4. 0.5mm beads applied more generously arounf the 1mm beads. Allow to dry.
  5. Wash with watered down white ink (with a tiny tiny amount of blue to give that daylight sparkle!) with future floor polish mixed in. This makes the wash draw deeply into the areas around the bubbles making the bubbles themselves translucent but the suds around them seem more opaque.
  6. seal with PVA.
  7. Gloss Varnish
  8. Matt varnish the whole diorama
  9. Re-gloss varnish the bubbles with 2 further coats to make sure it 'gleams'.

The area of the copter which is covered in Soap is deliberately lighter than the rest of the grubby vehicle to try and show that its getting cleaner. The copter was airbushed with Foundry grey/blue shades and then washed in black and brown ink to grubby it up a bit. The ink wash was simply not applied over the area to be soapy.

Anyway judging starts on 1st November ...wish me luck!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Creating a Grymn Force XV

Yes, yes, I know I said I was going to concentrate on the drop ship after it won in the recent poll, but I can't get any enthusiasm right now, but I have been working on my Grymn, and they were second choice!!

And as its been a while this is a long rambling post on what I'm aiming for with my Grymn.

I've sorted out an OOB (Order of Battle or as Inso politely informs me it should be a TOE - Table of Equipment) which is shown below. There are a few gaps which I have on order from Hasslefree to fill as soon as the postal workers go back to delivering (no comment - no politics here please.)

All squads are 10 Grymn squads organised in 2 x 5 grymn sections.

Each 5 man section is based on a movement Tray from Fenris Games and are highly commended. As with my other fantasy units these trays have flexible steel paper from Tiny Tin Troops cut and applied in the recesses and small magnets from First 4 Magnets glued to the underside of the slotta bases. This means I can almost literally throw the bases around on the tabletop with no risk of them coming off the tray - it really speeds up squad movement. Eventually these trays will be decorated to match the troop bases.

MY Grymn TOE
(or OOB - you choose)

Each squad shown with the Old Crow vehicle I'm equipping them with.

Head Quarters
yet to be finalised
Likely to be command and deputy, 2 comms officers (Hasslefree WIP)
plus Medics and 2 Snipers and LI troopers (only snipers shown)
with Comms turret.

Heavy Infantry (10)
full environment suit, plasma carbines, 2 HW plasmas

Light Infantry (10)
smg, 2 Missile launchers

Light Infantry (10)
smg, 2 'gattling' style machine guns

Support Squad (10)
4 HMG teams plus spotters.
(Note I have models for these sections both on the move and with their 2 man HMGs deployed)

Scout Infantry (10)
smg, 2 grenade launchers
x 3

Close Combat section (5)
with jump packs and twin pistols.

That's 70 Grymn models and about as big as I want it to get right now.

I just love these heavier vehicles from Old Crow, So i'm likely to add some armoured might to this mechanised infantry division!

In addition (you knew that wouldn't be the whole plan right!)

I have three of these "Provider Transports"

Which perform multiple duties as general trucks and convoys to be protected and such like. I also have four of these "Outrider Scout Vehicles"

Or rather I have one of these to include somehow, and a further three chassis. These Old Crow vehicles are designed to be modular, with a single chassis being used with multiple tops/hulls to create different vehicles. So I'm going to make some hulls for each of these Outrider chassis to be used either as independent vehicles like ambulances or as trailers for the trucks and APCs, and I'll buil "top" sections for the Provider Transports.

Ideas for new vehicles/trailers so far include:
  • Ambulance / mobile surgical unit
  • Flyer trailer (to carry this when it goes on release)
  • Dedicated communications unit
  • General ammunition trailer
  • Flamethower armed mini-tank
  • Territorial Gyrmn display unit for parking at village fairs and church fetes!
  • Trailer for carrying the Grymn Motorcycle display team (and if you know my views on sci-fi motorcycles on the battle field you'll know this wont be top of the list!)
Suggestions welcomed!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Do you think he'll notice..? XI

Well, I FINALLY finished my first competition entry. This is my submission for the Forum of Doom Diorama of Doom entry.

Now the competition rules state that I can't put up final pictures of the model but teaser pictures are encouraged... so here's a collage of bits and pieces from the full model.

Vote Brandlin - X

I have been careful not to include elements of the diorama that give away the 'story' or the 'joke'. So i hope this will still be a surprise of sorts when it is shown on the Forum of Doom.

There are some fabulous painters on the FoD and some of them are waaaaaayyy out of my league, however the DoD is judged by the owners of Hasslefree Miniatures, Heresy Miniatures, Black Scorpion Miniatures and Eolith Miniatures not just on painting but on the dioramam composition, and how it tells a story. So I am hopeful of not coming last!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice ... ? X


Having ruined the painting of the copter for my diorama I've taken a break from that and I've been playing about with the soap effect I need to complete my Diorama of Doom entry. I've tried half a dozen different methods, some very unsuccessful. Photographs of the best two are below. Click on the pictures for a bigger image which better shows the detail.

These samples are VERY difficult to photograph well as the light bounces off both the white of the ink and the shiny bubbles as well as the glossy sheen of the PVA seal over the top leading to overexposure. I'll get better photographs on the finished diorama when I get diffused light through my light tent.

The right hand side of the sample shows a test 'pool' of soapy water, and the 'strokes' on the left show how this soap might be washed onto a surface.

I prefer the second as it has a murky quality with more depth than the first. The sample is not as bright white as it appears in the picture. Its a little cartoony, as the bubbles to scale would be up to 4" diameter, but I think it's clear what is being represented and its not grotesquely caricatured.

It's made by coating the area to be soapy with PVA glue, then strategically placing tiny glass micro beads (used like glitter in card making) one at a time with tweezers. The location of the beads is not something to do randomly - I start with the 2mm beads placing just a few in small groups, then build up round them with the 1mm beads and then finally a scattering of the 0.5mm beads leaving plenty of clear bubble-free space in the centre of the big pools of soapy water.

Then once dry I mix white Daler Rowney Ink with water in 10:1 ratio. I'm not sure what base the ink has, but it doesn't fully mix with the water leaving the slightly oily separation effect you see. This is then flooded on and allowed to settle around the beads. Once dry a final coat of PVA is applied to seal the whole thing.

I think this has worked pretty well, and am looking forwards to applying the effect... wish me luck!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice ... ? IX


I got my airbrush running and undercoated and then painted the urban/snowy waste camouflage pattern that I've previously used on my vehicles, and I blocked in black the areas of the vehicle that needed to be painted differently.

All was going well, and then it came to washing the vehicle to highlight the panels and such like. Now i used to do this by thinning GW ink a lot and then running it through my airbrush and letting it dry.

SO I loaded up my airbrush with GW wash (Devlan Mud mixed with Badab Black) spray it and then the phone rings. When I get back I have this...

I think I forgot to thin the wash!!! And clearly the wash settles and dries very differently to the old inks. It has completely obliterated the camouflage pattern!


I don't want to try and strip this so i'm going to try and re-paint over it... wish me luck... and the clock is ticking!

On a better note, these arrived in the post today!

So I now have everything i need to complete this project (except the time and enthusiasm...sigh!)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice ... ? VIII

Meet the GAFFER... Grymn Pilot of the VTOL craft parked in front of Bob and Dave in my Diorama of Doom entry.

As can be seen from his helmet and shoulder stripes The GAFFER (Grymn Air Force FlyER) is a member of Red Squadron - and that colouring will be evident on the flyer itself. The flight suit webbing and life-vest are painted to match my other painted Grymn.

We see him here relaxing with a strong brew and watching something closely, somewhat distracted from the antics of Bob and Dave...

I'd drooled over this figure ever since Kev White of Hasslefree Miniatures had show it on his WIP web site over 6 months ago. He was kind enough to send me a master copy of the figure, and the detail on it is incredible. The front of the life vest (i assume thats what it is?) is amazingly detailed and a real challenge to paint accurately. The figure is just 23.5mm to the top of his helmet. I hope Kev thinks I have done this justice!

In addition I've also completed the base. Well, I say 'completed' what I mean is painted, there is still a lotto be done to this the figures need to be mounted and then I have a LOT of detailing to do...

There are 12 separate colours used on this base, not including any i mixed myself. Trying to get the stippled grey of the tarmac surface was a bit of trial and error, hope it works. Tarmac is not black!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice ...? VII

Meet Bob and Dave ...

Two of the principle characters from my Diorama of Doom IV WIP.

This is Bob, the older supervisor of the 'crew' complete with polystyrene cup of tea and a nonchalant 'seen it all' world-weary look, surveying the latest mishap of his more junior colleague Dave. He thought he'd seen it all, he keeps his tea hot and his gloves clean as he tries to keep his young enthusiastic, energetic staff out of trouble. He ignores the health and safety regulations and refuses to wear his hi-vis jacket.

And this is Young Dave, otherwise known as "Dave down the pub", the guy who waxes lyrical on all manner of subjects but has no common sense. Nothing is EVER Dave's fault! He wears his high vis jacket with pride as Bob told him it was a chick magnet but he's cut the sleeves off his company coverall to avoid looking like a gimp in a suit (like Bob).

In the Diorama Dave and Bob are discussing Dave's latest 'incident' and surveying the consequences.

It is Dave questioning his boss Bob with the line after which this diorama is named. "Do you think he'll notice?"

Great Heresy sculpts and highly recommended. a joy to paint. The high vis jacket is a challenge - its actually painted with fluorescent yellow paint and shaded with GW Thakka Green wash. I'm not entirely sure it works, but it is bright!

I still have a few details to paint - Bob's hair, Dave's wrist strap and both their ear pieces. Plus a bit of touch up here and there. Better pictures will be taken when they are complete.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

I've ranted a few times here and on forums I frequent such as the FoD about the silliness of futuristic walking robots - don't worry I'm not going to go over the long list of compelling and cogently argued technical and economic reasons why such things will not come to pass...

Anyway it was my son's 9th Birthday the other week and he got some cash to buy what he wanted. Now, being a sensible sort of child he decided he'd like lego. In my (not so) humble opinion the best toy ever invented. No argument.

So we go get our shots and venture into the local Toys R Us. (Don't get me started on TRU and the way their banal lowest common denominator product selection policies have bankrupted every other toy shop in town without actually stocking anything like as good a range as the shops they replaced.) Now TRU doesn't have the best range of lego to look at, but its either there or Argos, and call me old fashioned but I'd like to look at what I'm buying before parting with cash, and do not gain any kind of thrill at seeing my product hurled down a small conveyor at the back of the warehouse where marking something "fragile" seems to mean "Only thrown underarm!"

So, we're stood in front of a rack of lego and my son decides he likes the look of the Power Miners range. Well, he's only 9, so i decided it was a little churlish of me to point out that pointed mole drills are useless means of mining in anything other than soft earth, or that the so called "rock monsters" seem to be the innocent party defending their home against the invading and clearly imperialistic power miners who are intent on pillaging the rock monster's domain for crystals.

"Ok," I say, "so what do you want?" knowing that he had enough money for a large set and perhaps a small one too. Well off he goes and adds up the prices and such like and comes back with a Rock Crusher kit - nice and big and suitably WOW to a 9 year old i think. Good choice!

Except in his other hand he had another small model which he presented to me with a huge grin on his face.

"I can afford this too Daddy!"

"Oh." I replied somewhat crestfallen. "Why that one?"

"Well Daddy, Its a walker robot and they are sooooooooooo cool!"


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice VI

A little progress. Composition finalised, slotta-tabs removed and figures pinned temporarily in place. Road barrier completed and undercarriage design finalised.

However I had a real light bulb moment and have ordered an additional figure from Hasslefree... no i wont tell you which one, you'll ahve to wait for the finished piece.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Do you think he'll notice V

Look what arrived at the weekend!

The Grymn Air Force FlyER (or GAFFER as I am calling him) is the soon to be released Grymn Pilot figure from Hasslefree miniatures. My enormous thanks to Sally, Kev and Kate of Hasslefree for sending me this present ahead of its release date.

It is also the last remaining figure I needed for my 2009 Diorama of Doom entry. Now i have no excuse not to finish this project ahead of the 31st October Deadline.

Now i'm not normally a starwars fan, but I can't help looking at this figures flight suit and thinking - Ooh! that would look smart in orange!

Poll results - Go Go Dropship!

Well the poll results were in a few days ago but its taken me a while to get round to posting.

I can't say I was surprised by the winner. I guess the Grymn Dropship has been something of a signature project for this blog so I suppose its only to be expected that it got most votes.

So I've bought a shed load of new plasticard and have rubber and resin on order.

The Grymn army came in second, again perhaps unsurprisingly as so many pictures of this have been posted already on this blog.

So my plan is to complete these two projects by Christmas. So if you see me doing anything else... then make sure you shout at me!

I was a little surprised that Rogue Trooper and the ABC warriors came in 3rd and 4th. I guess there are more 2000AD fans out there than I realised.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

If you are very observant, you may have noticed that I have a habit of starting a project and not finishing it (some of you will be surprised by this statement as I hide it so well.)

Well I was just perusing some of my favourite retail therapy websites and saying things like "Wow, I never realised just how cool Chem-suit clad Neo-Soviet troops riding Bears and toting buttercups are. I have to get me a bunch of them!" When it struck me that I really should damned-well finish something.

But what?

I'm now unable to decide because (just like mobile phones) there is too much bleeding choice.

So I thought I'd open the question up to you guys. That way when I'm painting something i hate at 2am I can vent my spleen by blaming you rather than getting distracted by that dwarf pirate fyling roman galley complete with motorised propellor and oars that I've had sitting around for years, (no, seriously!)

So, there's a poll over there on the right for you to vote and pick one, and I've listed and described the projects below. All projects are for 28mm sized miniatures unless otherwise stated.

DROPSHIP - complete the dropship project, remodel the main hull so its hollow and detailed, complete the molds and make a squadron of 3.

GRYMN - Base and paint my 58 Grymn to the same standard as the squad I have already completed. Including themed snow movement trays and completed support vehicles from Old Crow.

FANTASY DWARF ARMY - Base and paint all 500+ of my Fantasy Warrior Grenadier Miniatures Dwarf Army to the same standard as the one unit already painted, including movement trays.

FANTASY ORC ARMY - Base and paint all 300+ of my Fantasy Warrior Grenadier Miniatures Orc and Goblin Army including the Goblin War Giant.

BOHKIN SQUADS - Bohkin are Hasslefree Miniatures version of Space Goblins. Paint and base my 16 Bohkin and Drusch-converted-to-orcs space force.

GROWLERS - Finish conversions and painting of the 40+ FASA Growlers into Yellow Fungus monsters to the same standard as those I've completed. These were started as monsters for an RPG/skirmish game i used to play - now defunct.

KOLVYR - Along with the Growlers above I have about 80 Rackham metal miniatures from the Griffin and Alahan Factions which were also to be used in the same game. Base and paint all these models, including movement trays.

ROGUE TROOPER - Base and paint the 15 Rogue Trooper figures I have from Citadel, Bronze Age Miniatures and Foundry. Note this doesn't include Nort and Souther troops as I never got round to choosing or buying any!

ABC WARRIORS - Paint and base the ABC Warriors figures I have from Foundry, including completing conversions for Happy Shrapnel and Mongrel.

LIZARDMEN ARMY (Inc. DRAGONS) - Well, I say army, the plan was to build a lizardman army from non GW figures (i dont like any GW lizard figures since the tom meir lizadmen and troglodytes boxed sets back in the 1980's) So far I have about 30 Grenadier flying Dragonmen to act as aerial support

DWARF FLYING ARMY - Originally intended as support to a dwarf land army this consists of the flying roman galley/dwarf pirate ship supported by around a dozen gyrocopters and other flying machines and Grenadier Dwarfs on Giant Bats. Finish the modelling and conversion of all machines and paint and base.

ALTERNATE DWARF UNITS - I have around 50 Dwarf figures from manufacturers that I like (Asgard, Hasslefree, Heresy, Black Scorpion). These figures don't mix well with either GW or Grenadier so I always imagined them to be either dioramas or supporting units to the main armies. These all need assembling, basing and painting.

I think that's about it!

The poll is over there on the right so please cast a vote. Thank You.

On top of this I committed to finish a Diorama of Doom for the Forum of Doom competition, and I have some maps to do for Twilight.

Oh, and I need to sort through my old citadel dwarfs and get them on Ebay - I took the plunge NEVER to finish that project!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Twilight Maps II

The roads, rivers and settlements are completed and I've added the various decoraive elements including Cartouche and Mantle.

There are a few hundred things that need naming now, but I'm leaving that to Mike the creator of Twilight as he has a particular style.

We haven't agreed on a font yet, and I need to place a diffused background behind each text item to get it to show up on the various backgrounds properly.

Click on the map for a larger version.

I like the Sepia version of this map too:

There's also the issue of how to show the various political boundaries (all 39 of them) without losing the detail of the geography.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Twilight Maps I

I have done something silly.

I have offered my services as a map-maker to Mike Thorpe, the creator of the game Twilight, with figures by my favourite company HassleFree Miniatures, following this discussion on The Forum of Doom.

Never having tried to work to someone elses ideas this could be a catastrophe, but I'm glad to see Mike is a great guy, and so far no problems.

Well, this was what I got to work with.

And this is what I've come up with so far.

Click to get a MUCH larger picture you can scroll around to your hearts content.

Still a lot to do, like making the text readable and putting in all the political borders, cartouche, compass rose etc... And Mike has a Gazillion names to come up with...

As always comments criticism and suggestions gratefully received.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Do you think he'll notice - IV

Here the base has been filled and sanded. I use apoxy sculpt putty for my main filler (that's the blue stuff) which has a texture somewhat like green stuff and roughly the same hardness as plastic-card so they sand similarly. I then use squadron green filler for a much smoother finish and to fill smaller gaps/holes. I also find that the difference in colour is very helpful when sanding as you can see where dips and hollows are.

In the above picture you can also see the holes in the base where the legs of the copter undercarriage go though the skids and into the base. This was the best way I could think of for making the copter secure on the base but it is fiddly to construct.

I need to turn the copter a little to its left. The skids need to extend over the edge of the pavement a little more for composition reasons, and I'm also not happy that the skids follow the lines of the pavement - it looks too contrived - so I'll have to drill another pair of leg holes and fill the existing ones.