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...