Archive for June, 2009

You hum it and I’ll play along

June 25, 2009

DSCF1238=Ladies and Gentlemen I reveal to you the very latest development in scratch building lunacy, the world’s one, only and soon to be internationally famous 6mm Piano. Now this is revealled in it’s unfinished state, so no sarcastic comments about the lack of a decent wash nor how the pedals haven’t been painted yet please, as it’s a development of earth shattering importance. There will follow some more photos once it’s finally finished, hopefully not as blurred as this one which sorely tested the limits of my camera.

Before you flood me with a lot of cries of “Why?” let me explain just how and why it came to even be considered. Remember the scene in Saving Private Ryan where they come across a French family trapped on the first floor of a ruined building? There’s a piano in it isn’t there? Don’t feel the need to check, you can trust me on this simple detail. Well as you do when watching an old favourite, me and the boy Slug were discussing various points and he asked me “Why is there a piano in the street?“, “Well son,” I replied “when civilians flee from what’s an impending warzone they tend to try and save whatever’s important to them, but when the firing starts they tend to realise that saving Grannie’s beloved piano isn’t all that important.” – “Fair enough” thought he and that was the end of it, or so I thought.

Fast forward a few months and we’d been looking at all the outstanding reports on gaming conventions on the web, with their wealth of photos. After all the initial Ooooohs and Ahhhhs I started to bemoan the lack of seemingly pointless detail us 6mm devotees find ourselves subjected to. So while the heathen larger scales enjoy wheelbarrows, spare wheels, furniture and the like, we have almost zero to add that touch of humanity to our layouts. It was at this point Slug challenged me to make some, and even went so far as to demand I make a piano; “Like in Saving Private Ryan!” – so viola here it bleeding well is.

The moral of this story is, watch out what you wish for especially in front of your son.

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Double Dutch

June 25, 2009

DSCF1242=A delightful pair of Timecast buildings which I’ve spent quite a while getting right as they’re a couple of beauties. Firstly that penny isn’t part of it, it’s just I know some folk have trouble imagining the 6mm scale so for them here’s an idea, a penny and a cent are around the same size, and even one of those Euro coins is the same size although I’ve no idea which one. For the scale savvy that’s a GHQ jeep, and it shows how perfectly on scale the buildings are. DSCF1244= This pair are rather obviously the same model twice, based on the No14 Zwarteweg where General Urquhart hid in the attic at the invitation of the Derken family for some of Operation Market Garden. Every detail is pretty sharp, although a couple of windows have lost a little detail, and once I’d based them I also realised they sat with a slight slope to them. Now these are minor details which insane spods such as me, and very probably you dear reader, notice mainly because we spend hours working on these models. It’s not a problem and typically we expect such minor flaws, however I have to reiterate how minor they are, one to be fair to the fellow gamer but also because Timecast are similarily mad when it comes to their range and the quality of it. Once before on a forum I mentioned a couple of bubbles and a missing corner to one of their castings and within nano-seconds one of the Timecast team was there replying how if any model wasn’t up to the expected quality they’re gladly replace it, etc. Now marvelous as that kind of offer is, especially when it’s in addition to their excellent quality, it’s not needed. Timecast products remain top-notch, tiny flaws are easily addressed, so if you’re one of the Timecast quality control cavalry don’t feel my comment is anything other than a simple observation. DSCF1246=One thing I did want to do with this base was to make it urban, but passable hence the paving in the middle. I finally found a reasonable paving slab texture plasticard, so made use of that as you can see. Usually for fencing I like it rough and tend to hand plank the whole thing to get a nice rough and ready kind of fencing. Of course this isn’t really suitable for the tidy Dutch suburbs, so instead I’ve cut strips of plasticard and scored the planking effect to them. These have been painted green and superglued into place. However I left the rear fences until last, this allowed more room to put the lawns and the plants in. DSCF1248=The hardest part was the painting. Getting the colour scheme correct was important to me, so a brief look at A Bridge Too Far helped. There’s lots of white detailing which for some odd reason I always fine the most difficult to get right. I’m happy with the finished piece, just hope I never find my command pieces hiding there, although once photographed under two lamps and a flash it does reveal the occassional blemish, which I’ll blame on the Flemish.

A place in the country

June 25, 2009

DSCF1228=Another beauty from the Timecast range finally makes it to the usable in a game stage, but as per bleeding usual what looks to me a near perfect piece reveals my painting flaws only after having been photographed.

DSCF1231=This is a sizable building as the GHQ Panzer IV shows, sits on it’s own little hillock which is fine by me as I do like irregular surfaces on bases. Two sides have the not-very-good Javis hedging, which I’ve hacked to look more rural and reflocked. The other side has some of the excellent Irregular Miniatures metal fencing, while the front has a couple of those cheapo Chinese trees and well vegetated ditches using the offcuts from the Javis hedges.

DSCF1233=Until you notice it you can barely tell how large the front door to this is, it’s more 10mm than 6mm but works none-the-less for it.

DSCF1234=Here’s the reverse, with the delightful detail of three stone piles supporting the rear of the building. One thing I did notice is how this would make a great conversion for anyone seeking a watermill, the back wall seems to be almost screaming out for a scratch built water wheel.

Keep On Trucking

June 15, 2009

DSCF1207They’re not the most glamourous of vehicles but lorries and trucks are a vital part of every army, so even the usually tank obssessed gamer must have a few at least. Above is a truck towing an 88mm gun, each set on it’s own base. There’s a few different ways of basing towed guns, some prefer both parts on a single base, however I’m gone for setting the towing vehicle to the rear of the base and the gun being towed to the front. When set together it looks like a gun under tow.

DSCF1209Once the guns deployed the truck stays on the table and the gun tile is replaced by a deployed gun, I haven’t finished the deployed guns yet so you’ll have to use you imagination.

DSCF1210Here’s a GHQ 6 pounder being towed by a prime mover.

DSCF1212This blurry shot shows the angle you have to set the gun at, to make it looked towed rather than just static.

DSCF1213A few more tiles, again not the sexiest pieces I’ll ever own, but essential none the less.

A walk in the Park

June 3, 2009

DSCF1193Here’s a couple of terrain tiles I thought I’d share. Above is a small park for urban areas, very simple scored card for the paving, the four corners built up a little with some miliput, irregular metal trees, some plants around the borders. I did consider a fountain or small statue in the middle, but then a tile of miniatures wouldn’t fit and as it’s for wargaming that’s more important as I see it.

DSCF1196Here’s a small pond for more rural layouts with another irregular tree, as you can see the surface of the water isn’t as smooth as it could be. It sure isn’t as smooth and placid looking as the irregular oasis in an earlier post. Essentially this is a how-NOT-to-do-it.

DSCF1198This close up shows just how ugly the finished result is. Just how did I get it so wrong I hear you ask. Simple –  I rushed it. I tried to put far too much gloss varnish in the hole in one go. So when it dried it slightly cracked, you can see one of the dark brown cracks running from top to bottom. For the much better finished look, such as with the oasis linked to above, you really do need to just apply one coat at a time and allow each to fully dry. Although I’ll still use this, it’s not as good as it could be for static water. It probably would have worked for moving water, but let this be a warning to you all.

Field of dreams

June 1, 2009

DSCF1145

This project is all about building yourself a few fields, and like all these projects it starts off with a photo which looks so uninteresting it’s a wonder anyone reads these posts. But folk do read them so let’s start. You need something for the base, originally I was going to build three but in the end I decided on two. I’m using 2mm thick MDF, which has been cut to my standard sizes, sanded and primed with a green spray paint.

DSCF1146Next it’s time to work out whats field and what’s not with two tones of brown paint, all of these fields will have hedge or fencing, and on the larger borad I’m going for two fields, taking care to make sure the smaller one will be roomy enough for a base of miniatures. I’ve also made the smallest one slightly different in shape, as all rectangular fields might look too samey.

DSCF1163

Prior to adding the plants I’ve squiggle washed a dark brown over the whole board just to break it up a bit. Then it was the planting. The plants start with small lines or dollops of PVA glue, to which flock is added. Now you’re used very small amounts of glue so you have to do a few rows then flock, do a few more rows and then flock, etc. If you try to put all the glue on in one go by the time you come to flock you’ll find a lot of the glue has dried. Also if you want troops and vehicles to wander over your fields don’t pile the crops on too high, they’ll just get worn away and eventually fall off.

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Then I added the hedging, which is Javis flexible hedging for model railways. On the left one I’ve hacked it up a bit to look more like a rural hedgerow, while on the left I’ve used them as is. To my mind they look too fancy, a bit like the maze at Hampton Court Palace. I’ve also added a section of metal fence from Irregular as well as the last metal tree I had left from their metal tree pack. Mike over at Angel Barracks has a smart and cheaper way to make identical hedges, which I’ll use in future. It’s in the forum so go have a butchers.

DSCF1179I wasn’t happy with the finish of the Javis hedges, another reason to just do it the AB way, so I roughly reflocked them. Then flocked around the parts of the ground which would have grass, and added a bush.

DSCF1182Here’s a detail of the smaller field with the finished 88 base I was wittering about a couple of days ago.

DSCF1184Notice how the rougher cut hedging looks more like a country hedge.

DSCF1185A low shot showing the advantage of not making your crops too high. With a couple of coats of varnish, and perhaps even one of PVA, these low ones give the effect, but won’t wear away. Aside from the laying of the crops these two bases of fields were very quick and simple to do.