Friday 28 February 2014

Whitechapel 1888… the build.

I must start by saying just how overwhelmed, but how very grateful I am at all the positive comments and feedback that I received for 'Whitechapel 1888'.  The vignette really was a labour of love, but serves very little purpose other than allowing me to experiment with painting and model making techniques - something that I particularly enjoy.   

Throughout the process I took a series of photographs to catalogue its development and thought that I would share them here as a form of 'how to', although it must be stressed that many of the ideas and details that are used have been 'reappropriated' from other more talented chaps out there.  The initial build is based on a humble CD and built up with foam core with a plastic window frame (available from Antenocitis Workshop) cut into it. 

Model railway preformed plasticard was used to represent the brickwork, with additional strips of plain plasticard employed to add further detail around the window.  Other details included the broken down pipe, which is a plastic tube affixed with some paper fasteners. Vallejo Oxide Paste is a great product, much finer than my usual basing medium it adds a fine texture to the surface of what you are painting whilst having the added advantage of sealing any gaps; the was liberally spread around the build to enhance the texture.

From quite early on, I had a notion that I wanted some form of simple gutter  that the blood would flow into, all very cinematic I know, but I couldn't shake it.  I managed to solve this by raising the pavement using simple Styrofoam sheet.  This had the added benefit of allowing me to 'drawn' into with a biro to achieve the flagstones.  The gutter was created by thinning the sheet and facing of the remaining edge with some miniature bricks.  

In a bid to save some time I thought I would use the same preformed plasticard for the base to represent cobbles and duly stuck it down only to find 24 hours later that something had disagreed with the plastic, buckling the floor - disaster!

 Fortunately it was at this point that I heard that we had all been granted an extension and set about using the time to rebuild my little piece of London town.  I was also mightily relieved to see that the bricks used for the wall had stayed in place, particularly as I had worked hard on my first attempt at Object Source Lighting created by the lamppost.

In order to give the illusion that this horrific crime was going on under the noses of the everyday people, I needed a device that could break up the scene, shielding Jack and his victim from sight.  I stumbled upon the idea of a clothes line and actually found an image of some actual Victorian   street clotheslines that were been sold at a reclamation yard and fashioned my own version from bits of plastic, wire and tissue paper.  It is also removable, allowing me to potentially reuse the street as a possible location for future photo-shoots!

The addition of a Reaper Boners Rat swarm and liberally sprayed water and blood effects complete the scene.  My plans for the next two bonus rounds may need to be reigned in a bit now, especially having given this one so much attention, but I am delighted with how it finally came together.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Whitechapel 1888

'An evil plexus of slums that hide human creeping things; where filthy men and women live on a penn'orths of gin, where collars and clean shirts are decencies unknown, where every citizen wears a black eye, and none ever combs his hair.'

Arthur Morrison: Tales of Mean Streets

I love the Painting Challenge; I always have.  I love the the flexibility that allows us to push for the greatest tally of points, slug it out painting a particular era or my own particular favourite goal - putting something together that really tests my painting and modelling skills.  

This then is my offering for the last category; in its simplest form this is an entry comprising of 4 x 28mm Foundry Victorian miniatures, one (the casualty) is prone whilst the fishmonger comes with his own market stall.   

Although I have been mulling over the concept for a good while now, the build itself started on the 21st January and has been quietly going on in the background, whilst I have tried to keep moving with other units.  This is a scratch built vignette, inspired by the horrific events that took place in Whitechapel, then a squalid district in the East End of London, during the year of 1888.  

The mystery of Jack the Ripper and the grisly murders that are attributed to the killer still hold the public's imagination even to this day.  That coupled with my love of all things 'Victorian' made this an obvious theme for the 'Casualty' round of the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  The quality of the entries has proved to be exceptionally high, not to mention thought provoking; if you haven't had the opportunity to visit then I would encourage you to do so and take the time to cast a vote or two for your favourites.   

'The ghoul-like creature who stalks through the streets of London… is simply drunk with blood, and he will have more.'
The Star newspaper, 8th September 1888

Whitechapel 1888… the build, follows shortly!

Monday 24 February 2014

A 28mm Bobcat

Just the briefest of posts this morning to showcase these photographs that I came across whilst tidying up at the weekend.  This was one of those impulse purchases during the summer months, when one's focus was on all things zombie related.  Sadly it is not eligible to be included in this year's painting challenge as it was started before the commencement date, but great to see it finally finished .

The ride on mower proved to be just that little too big to work comfortably with 28mm miniatures but the digger seemed to be just about spot on.  It was given a simple base with some terrain details added for effect; plenty or rocks, broken pipes and discarded bricks.

Once all had dried, it was given a black undercoat, before I set about painting it up in a more familiar yellow livery.  This is a lovely little model with a moveable bucket and arms and even after the repaint it has managed to retain this feature, giving it plenty of variety to the piece.

Finally a bit of weathering, branding and warning notices just to finish the model off before it was pressed into service by the girls of 'St. Trinians'; building barricades and ultimately proving an immovable force to hold back the shambling hordes. 

Saturday 22 February 2014

Paint Table Saturday#16

Saturday is with us again and sure enough, very little progress would appear to have been made!  This is not entirely my fault - we have been unwell.  In fact the most virulent 'cold' I have had for a good many years took hold on Saturday night and it wasn't to relinquish its feverish prey until Wednesday; and all this during half term - One was not impressed!  In fact if I hear the expression 'Manflu' just one more time I am likely to lose my legendary sunny disposition!

There is another reason why little seems to be occurring and that is that I have been working on a little something for the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  Due to be released on the public tomorrow I have included a little 'Work in Progress' shot to whet your appetites.  

So what's on the table this week?  The Matabele have been sent for an early bath until I feel a little more inclined to finnish them off, the 2nd Punjab Cavalry are still under starter's orders, but a little progress has been made on the Coliseum floor!  Yes, this week is all about Gladiators and all needs to be complete by this time next week - must get on! 

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Where have all the villains gone?

The '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' is now well underway and the second of the themed bonus rounds called for a villain or villains to be painted in order to bag the additional points on offer.  Given that I have managed to embroil myself in a friendly side challenge with Phil and Greg to see who can amass the most points painting 'Victorian' miniatures, I clearly looked to this era first - perhaps a Moriarty, Fagin or even the nefarious Jack the Ripper himself.  

Now having pledged that one would try to curb the expenditure on miniatures this year, or at least try to bring it into line with output*, I was left scrabbling around the lead pile when it suddenly dawned on me that I had just the very thing - these Victorian splendid Mexican bandits and Deputy Sheriff!

All from 'Black Scorpion', they seemed to fit the bill perfectly; the Mexicans miniatures were, in fact a give away prize from that most excellent of Bloggers, the 'Laughing Ferret' and were already prepped and primed in white.  I did rebase and pin them so that they fitted more closely with the rest of the characters from the 'secret project'.**

This was the first time that I have painted any miniatures with a white undercoat and on reflection, I still have mixed feelings about them; I enjoyed the way the colours seemed brighter and had more impact, but having become so reliant on a black undercoat to disguise any mistakes, I felt a little 'exposed' with these.  Sure enough I resorted to type with the sheriff, a resin miniature that was lovingly given my more favoured black undercoat!

Having assembled the requisite miniatures, I now needed to be clear as to their villainous context, after all we wouldn't want anyone accusing us of any point grabbing shenanigans!  So it was that I stumbled upon my muse, the gentlemen and scholar that is, Raymond Rousell Esq.  Ray has, of late, been the butt of some remorseless ridicule due, in part, to his own efforts to achieve the best possible score he is capable of in previous painting competitions.  (I understand that the term  'Sandbagging' - to deliberately underperform in a race or competition to gain an unfair advantage, is now more in use in the English language that at any other time since its creation!)  

Ray, is of course, a fine upstanding pillar of the community, but like a good many of us, prone to making the odd misguided decision or two, take for example this illustration of sartorial elegance!  Yes dear reader it was this photograph that helped me create the legend that is - El Tejón!

 Still curious as to the name?  Perhaps the hair colouring will give you a clue!
El Tejón, a self appointed maker of laws in the town of Moriarty, New Mexico*** was respected and feared in equal measure.  This villainous being has amassed a vast fortune by collecting protection money from the vulnerable townsfolk.  It is said that El Tejón would offer bags of sand in exchange for wealth, offering a scant physical defence from the marauding bandits; bandits that he in fact controlled!

*Guilt is a terrible thing!
**Something else that I need to resurrect!
***I kid you not, look it up in an atlas; I knew there was a Victorian link!

Sunday 16 February 2014

Paint Table Saturday#15

Yes, I know it's a day late, but the truth of the matter is I seem to have misplaced my painting mojo!  What with the recent school inspection and subsequent down time, it has been nearly three weeks since I wielded a paintbrush in anger; this calls for some drastic action!

The Matabele are still lingering on the periphery of the painting table, but in a bid to ring the changes, I have promoted this unit of Sikh cavalry to pole position - oh and upped my target tally in the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' to a 1,000 points from the meagre 600 that I started with. 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Gypsy Caravan

In a bid to try and make a submission for each of  the '4th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' bonus rounds, I offered up this splendid 'Victorian era' Gypsy caravan for the 'Vehicle' category.  From the outset, I think that it is important to stress that this is in fact a 'Sarrissa Precision' MDF model from their Gaslamp Alley, Victorian Science Fiction range, scaled to meet the needs of the 28mm scale gamer, and not some scandalous attempt to amass additional points to add to my other side challenge!

This is the first time that, I've done something like this and was initially quite daunted, after all how was this scorched piece of 2mm MDF going to transform into something even remotely resembling the accompanying diagram?

My fears regarding the construction soon evaporated as the pieces, once delicately prised from the sprue, slotted together perfectly requiring only the smallest amount of PVA glue.  When it came to the barrelled roof, I did use some elastic bands to hold it in place overnight, but everything else seemed to fit together rather well.

The painting was kept deliberately simple, although I did indulge in a little decorative work.  Most of the work went into the base that included the gypsy cat tormenting a hedgehog (both Reaper 'Familiars') at the rear of the caravan.

I have to say that I really enjoyed working on this, the quality of the design is just superb and even allows you to have the top lift off to place miniatures inside.  With removable steps and even a work front mechanism it is an absolute joy and makes a great terrain piece.  Possibly one day, I might get round to creating a Gypsy faction for 'In Her Majesty's Name'!

Sunday 9 February 2014

Paint Table Saturday#14

... a day late, but at least the inspection is over!

Well we made it and although we will not know officially for four weeks, the feeling is that all went well - in fact fact very well indeed!  Unfortunately no painting has taken place in the interim, in fact we may need to dust the work area - once of course I move on the livestock!  Looking forward to catching up with everyone's work over the next couple of days.

As nothing much (nothing at all really) has happened on the painting table, I thought I would share an insight into what is directly behind me when I paint.  The hobby centre of 'Awdry Towers' - courtesy of the Saintly Mrs. Awdry.

As a bit of added fun, what could be cooler than Cowboy dinosaurs?

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