“Hott?, More Like Luke Warm” (HOTT’ember)

So the plan, (my god you have a plan! I hear you cry), so the plan, was to paint up one or two individual troop types or “elements” each week, breaking the army down into manageable (I thought) pieces, then “Quickshade” and base the lot at the end, however I hadn’t realized just how unfit I had become over the “Lockdown” and therefore how bloody knackered I’d be by the time I got home from work. So here we are over two weeks in and I’ve just about got the first two “elements” up to the “Quickshade” stage, so that’s any chance of getting the whole army done by the end of the month down the toilet. I do have a revised plan but I’ll share that if and when that comes into effect.

Now the worst part of any figure painting in my opinion is the cleaning up of the casts and base coating them, so when I have a few figures to do like now I tend to do that part all at once to get it out of the way. As I stated last time I love Mark Copplestone’s figures and these are no exception, what I wasn’t quite so impressed with however was the casting on these figures, though the detail was pretty clear where was quite a lot of flash and visible mould lines in evidence that needed tidying up with a scalpel and needle file so a not so pleasant hour was spent cleaning the castings up before they were glued to various bases of lumps of wood ready for painting, that is except the cavalry figures, as I have a couple of issues with them that I’ll detail in a later post.

Anyway everything was then given a coat of matt black and tucked away in readiness for their days under the brush. I pulled out the command/hero base and the magician base first, each of these contains three figures, the Magic user, a drum player (to accompany her mystic chanting?) and a bodyguard on one, and Conan, Valeria and Red Sonja on the other (well that’s who I’m calling them!). Now looking at the large array of paint pots strewn across my table I have decided against going into the individual painting of each figure (as it would stretch to several pages!) and instead I’ll just outline some of the more interesting (well to me anyway) bits.

All the flesh was undercoated in either flesh tone 7 (dark flesh), European flesh, Eurasian flesh or a mix of these and highlighted with a lighter tonal mix of the former. Chocolate brown was as usual predominantly used on the wood and leather parts with leather brown and butternut used for the highlights. The non-chainmail metallic’s were copper highlighted with either bronze or shinning gold and my bodyguards trousers were coffee and cream with deep bronze green stripes. Everything else is pretty self-evident I think.

On an unrelated note, have you ever wondered what it would be like if an Australian were to talk to an idiot? Well wonder no more because as of Friday you will be able to find out as the conversation I had with the talented and charismatic “IRO” or Luke to his friends (so IRO to me!) last Sunday morning will be released (escaped more like) as the latest in his excellent (till now) “Imperial Rebel Ork Podcasts” (Episode 34 I think). If you don’t already listen to these, (and you should) they are the perfect accompaniment to a painting session and really did help me get through the “lockdown”. Lord knows what we said, I remember laughing a lot but whether anything makes any sense I really don’t know, I do know that I got the link to my blog wrong (I did say I wasn’t tech savvy!), but do please give it a listen he deserves the support (I do hope I haven’t done too much damage to his reputation). Anyway all the episodes are well worth a listen I think they are available on most music streaming formats just search for “Imperial Rebel Ork Podcast”.

Stay safe, and cheers Roger.

Posted in 15mm fantasy, fantasy, Hoards Of The Things | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

“HOTT’ember”

So another month and another challenge, this one was suggested by Simon “Blaxcleric” Moore and involves…you guessed it HOTT or “Hoards of the Things”. HOTT is a set of multiscale wargames rules published by the “Wargames Research Group” back at the start of the century (doesn’t that sound weird, when referring to twenty years ago!), the great thing about these rules is the fact that the armies involved are small and so relatively cheap (and as you all know I am cheap!!), this also means it should be perfectly possible to complete one of said armies in a month, and that is the challenge, complete one 24point (the standard starter army points cost) HOTT army in the month of September (or Hott’ember, clever eh? No? Well suit yourselves!).  In fact I have already painted two HOTT armies this year, taking about two weeks from start to finish on each. But that was in “Lockdown” when I had plenty of time to sit and paint, whereas now I’m back at work so I’m not quite as confident as I could be, but we’ll see.

Now the army I have chosen to paint up for this challenge is the “Generic Barbarian” consisting of…

Hero general                4AP x  1 (3 figures)

Magician                     4AP x  1 (3 figures)

Riders                          2AP x  1 (3 mounted figures)

Warbands                    2AP x  6 (18 figures)

Shooters                      2AP x  1 (4 figures)

The scale we’ve chosen is 15mm, as this seems to be the most popular scale for these rules, though if anyone else would like to join in you are more than welcome in whatever scale you prefer! (Please let Simon or myself know so we can link in to your Blog) The figures I’ve bought to make up my “Barbarian” hoard are from “Copplestone Castings” (as I’m sure regular readers will be aware Mark Copplestone is one of my all-time favorite sculptors) and have a very “Conan the Barbarian” feel to them, but I hear you ask why then are you not using the army list for the “Hyborian Northern Barbarians”, well this is simply because that list has a much less varied array of troop types (2 to be exact), and no Magicians, understandable when you consider Conan’s opinion of sorcerers! So not exactly canon, mine is a bit of homage to Conan rather than an exact depiction (and he had a magician friend in the films so I’m going with it!).

Please check out Simons excellent blog* to keep up with where he is up to with his army, and please remember to check up on my progress over the next few weeks.

Stay safe, and cheers Roger.

Posted in 15mm fantasy, fantasy, Hoards Of The Things | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

“Desecration of the Daleks”

So as this was to be my last week of (sort of) freedom before I return to work on Monday I was casting about looking for something relatively easy to do that I could complete before then, but what to do…. Inspiration struck in the form of this picture from Jez’s blog “Carrion Crows Buffet”*. These are apparently “Eternity Circle Daleks” taken from a Doctor Who novel called “Engines of War”.

I really liked this Dalek colour scheme and thought it would be fun to reproduce it, the only slight problem being that I don’t have any of the current series Daleks! I am in possession however of some of the magazine “giveaway toy” versions of the ever-unpopular iDaleks, that I never thought I would get any paint on, but as these are what I’ve got I had to alter the scheme slightly but have tried to keep the flavour. So first job was to dig my plastic freebie’s out of the box in the loft they have been languishing in since I got them, it turned out amongst the multitude of colours therein there were five blue ones, now it didn’t really matter what colour they were as they would be completely re-painted, but it seemed appropriate somehow, so those five were taken to be painted. Now being cheap children’s toys they were of course poorly constructed, there is a panel at the front of the skirt that doesn’t fit well and is loose, this seems to be caused by the poor assembly of the models, luckily by sliding a scalpel into the seam at the base of the model you can “crack” them open, re-position this panel glue the Dalek back together then secure this and fill the gaps around it by carefully running some superglue around the panel and immediately wiping away any excess. Other than that and tidying around the joints with a scalpel they were actually not that bad. I based mine onto tuppences with one piece of card as a spacer and a bit of Tetrion filler around the edges, just to give them a bit of weight (and because I couldn’t stand them not matching the rest of my figures to be honest!). I also used a touch more of the “Tetrion” filler to fill the strange gap between there “arms”. They then went out for a coat of matt black, and I have to say they looked a lot better already.

So on to the painting, and I began by undercoating the skirt and neck rings in navy blue before covering this with Tamiya metallic blue, then turning to the other areas, sensor balls, mid-section rear vent surround and head dome, I undercoated these in mid-grey and then, well I don’t exactly know what to call the technique I used here as I didn’t re-cover them, or dry-brush or highlight them either, probably the best way to describe it is I re-painted them “badly” in chainmail as I wanted a tiny amount of the grey to show here and there. This actually worked really well and I’m pleased with the end result here. Much touching up around the “balls” followed, as anyone who has ever painted Daleks will tell you that painting those things is a lesson in frustration if ever there was one!! I used chainmail as after checking on a spare piece of paper I discovered that this is slightly (only slightly) darker than silver, so Silver was then used on the gun, plunger and eye stalks and I added the two rings around the eye-stalk in bright blue. The “eye” on the picture above shows the “new” blue light version, but I still prefer the old “black and white” eyes from the originals so did mine that way. I did however do the dome lights in porcelain blue instead of orange (rebel that I am!). Then recesses between the neck rings had some black run into them, and the eye, plunger and base skirt were highlighted with some dark grey and they were finished.

I decided not to “Quickshade” these as I didn’t think it would suit them, so next I finished off the small amounts of their bases that were visible in my usual manner (I am considering rebasing all my Doctor Who stuff this way, but we’ll see). A quick spray with some matt varnish sealed the deal as it were.

These turned out a lot better than I had hoped and have swung my opinion of these surprisingly neat little models, do I still prefer the originals…of course I do! But I do have plans to add some more colour variations to this little Dalek force in the future now.

Stay safe, and cheers Roger.

Posted in 28mm sci-fi, Dr Who, sci-fi | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

“Shed Head”

Right back to the scenery front again this week as I thought it would be nice to get in one more scenic piece before I go back to work (BOO!), so to this end I bit the bullet and ordered some coffee stirrers off of Amazon (yes I actually PAID for something they give away for free in most café’s and restaurants). Anyway they arrived and though I have to say they are not of as good quality as some you can get at the “larger” branded coffee shops they would suffice for what I had in mind. But what I hear you shout did you have in mind? Well I have an idea for some “post-apocalyptic” buildings but thought I’d try out some of the techniques on a smaller scale first, plus I thought this would be a fun simple build…A shed!

Why a shed? I don’t really know, or for that matter what exactly I’m going to do with it once it’s finished, but a shed it is. So first job was to cut out the sides from stiff cardboard, Now if the average figure is 28/32mm and represents a man about 6 feet tall, then a 6 x 4ft shed should be 30mm x 20mm right? But if you stand a “heroic” 28mm figure next to this it looks tiny so after some thought I decided that a 45x30mm base and 30mm rising to 45mm at the apex height looked about right. Therefore a rectangle 30x30mm was drawn onto the card then another 45x30mm was drawn next to it, another 30×30 square and then a 44×30 rectangle (44, to allow for the thickness of the gluing tab) and then said tab was added, I then went back and added triangles of 30mm width by 15mm tall atop the two ends, and cut this all out. This was glued together and a couple of rectangles were glued onto the bottom to keep it all square in the corners. It was then glued down onto one of my 60x40mm m.d.f bases (picture A).

Next taking my legitimately obtained coffee stirrers I cut lengths 45mm long (well about, there was a little variation), and after smearing the side of my little cardboard box (it wasn’t really a shed yet!) with PVA wood glue, stuck them on, each one slightly overlapping the one below. I found it took eight lengths to cover the side. Then turning the piece around I took some matches and cutting small lengths fashioned a window frame with a cross in the middle made with more matchsticks shaved down to a thinner thickness. The “slats” were then added with smaller ones added either side of the window. This was then repeated on the back up to where the apex started, and at the front the same idea as the window was used (only bigger of course) to form the door. The door itself was three “stirrers” wide but I scored down the middle of each one and cut a bit off of to one side of each groove to give the impression of separate planks. A couple of cross planks finished the door. I also added a match stick at each corner to tidy these up. Lastly today I glued the roof on, this was cut 27x55mm (bear in mind that once clad in “stirrers” the shed’s dimensions had grown). Notice that the roof does not fit tight to the slopes of the apex due to this increase in width (picture B), that’s why the roof went on before the last slats were added.

That was the next job on the “to do” list, now each of these “tapered” slats had to be cut individually and “dry fitted before gluing down so much re-cutting and swearing took place before I was happy with the result. Once these were dry I mixed up a small amount of greenstuff  and fashioned a couple of wrought iron style hinges, and covering the curved stirrer end piece I’d attached to the other side of the door front pushed in a keyhole and made a “latch” style handle (picture C) I also “textured” the base around the shed with some “Tetrion” filler.

Painting could begin the next morning and as usual I began by painting everything (except the roof) black, I then made a mix of dark grey and chocolate brown and heavily dry-brushed it all in that, then another mix was made using scenic brown and mid grey and this was dry-brushed over that, then yet another mix (there was a lot of mixing!) of Butternut, coffee, chocolate and mid grey was (you guessed it!) dry-brushed over this, then butternut was lightly dry-brushed (at least it wasn’t a mix!) and finally more coffee was even more lightly dry-brushed over that. The windows, gaps above and below the door and the metalwork on the door were all painted black next, with the hinges and latch getting a dry-brush of chainmail. Turning to the roof next and I had a “cunning plan” in mind for this, I wanted a flat “felt” style roof so to this end I had found an old well used piece of sand paper (picture D) that was even the right colour as the they do roofing felt in this brown/red colour so I wouldn’t even have to paint it and I liked the scuffed appearance to it too. So two lengths the same as the length of my roof were cut out and after painting the roof with PVA glue they were stuck in place. To cover the ridge another length was cut and then cut again lengthwise to about 12mm wide, this was then glued and stuck down the middle.

It was at this point that I stupidly remembered that I forgotten to fit the “fascia” boards at the ends of the roof and would have to paint them up to match now, instead of doing them while I painted the rest of the shed! So taking another full length coffee stirrer, I painted it in the same manner as the shed (don’t worry I’m not going to go through all that again!!) and after cutting them to length superglued them in place and touched up the “raw” ends. That just left the base to be painted in my usual manner apart from the space in front of the door was heavily dry-brushed in butternut before the coffee instead of Khaki and I added a piece of rubberized moss by the door as a weed. After flocking with some hairy grass, it was given a final spray coat of matt varnish.

So there you go, my final entry for the Summer/Winter (dependent on which side of the world you are on!) Scenery Challenge. As I said at the start this was really just a chance to try out some techniques I hope to use on some more “useful” projects in the future. My wife however has taken a bit of a shine to my “cute” little shed so I have given it to her.

Stay safe, cheers Roger.

Posted in 28mm Pulp, A very British civil war, Scenery, Summer Scenery Challenge | Tagged , , | 16 Comments