Saturday 30 August 2014

See you soon!

A fifth saturday in August; some will tell you this is an incredibly rare occurrence, but for me it simply signals the end of another fabulous summer holiday.  Yes, tomorrow will be spent polishing an apple and packing the satchel as we look to start a new academic year.  This is always an incredibly busy, exciting and demanding time of year and so, with some trepidation, I have decided to repeat last year's decision of taking a break from Blogging. 

At this time of year, I always struggle to maintain a viable presence not only with my own blog, but in the visiting of those that I follow.   I find this frustrating as '28mm Victorian Warfare' has become intrinsically linked to my hobby enjoyment.   Rest assured that this is only a temporary glitch, I'm hoping to keep painting as an escape at the weekends and it is very much my intention to return refreshed and raring to go at the end of the month.  


The summer, although productive hobby wise, didn't yield as much as I had hoped for.  One disappointment was not playing some of the 'Witchfinder General' scenarios that I had earmarked for the holiday.  There was a frantic bout of terrain building, but the planned development of the spare room to accommodate a gaming table, sadly didn't materialise and so things are once again on hold.  There was, however, a significant milestone reached in regards to pageviews - 400,000 no less!  I can't tell you how thrilled I am at this and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all that visit and especially those that leave a comment; your continued support is always gratefully received.

So what can we look forward to on my return?  Well there is of course 'Zomtober 2014' to look forward to, a wonderful opportunity to add to the shambling hoard as well as doing something completely different.  I shall also be resurrecting 'Dinovember' just because I can!  This is little more than self indulgent nonsense, but something that I find hugely entertaining.  There is the possibility that one day it might all lead to a game or two, but I wouldn't hold your breath!  Finally of course there is the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge', although nothing official has been mentioned as to whether or not this great event will be happening this winter, it is around this time that thoughts start to turn to what might realistically get painted, which in turn might lead to the possibility of a few additions the lead pile.

So farewell for now and do hope to find many of you on my return in October - always a concern when planning a self imposed exile that everyone might decide to up sticks and go!   Finally, just a quick shot of what has made it to the painting table in preparation for later in the year.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Timber Framed Shop

Well it was a truly awful Bank Holiday Monday down here on the Sunshine Coast and so I was blesses with some time to put together this latest purchase from '4Ground'.  By far the largest building that I've done to date, this model comes with staircase and three floors.

Another well designed and considered kit, this epitomises the quality that I have come to expect from the company.  I appreciate that they are not to everyone's tastes and would benefit from a bit of weathering, but for pre-painted MDF structures they are hard to beat.

A final comparison shot and a couple of miniatures for scale.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Paint Table Saturday#42

Another busy week, dominated again but the publication of examination results, has put paid to any great progress on the painting table.  I tinkered with a hay cart and pondered a plague doctor,* but sadly they have come to naught.  What I have noticed, however, is that in these periods of inactivity, I become more susceptible to the dangers of UXB - Unexpected Buying!  

*not a statement you would want to say out loud too often!

£2.90 on the left and £5.10 on the right!
Having 'flocked' my 'Dark Wood' base with the remnants of my static grass, I found myself in need of a resupply.  Now being inherently lazy the thought of catching the train into the Sunshine Coast's mighty Metropolis was about as appealing as root canal treatment and so a spot of web based research was called for.  Before long, I stumbled upon the fact that '4Ground', those purveyors of fine MDF buildings, were now selling the very basing material I was after, and at a fraction of the price that our local 'Workshop of Games' was charging - superb news! 

Not knowing what the best match for my grass of choice was,** I plumped for a tub of Winter and a Tub of Autumn.***
** again something you should probably not say aloud too often
***I can now reveal that these are pretty much identical, with the Winter having a hint more brown to it!

It was at this point that the inevitable happened; having been robbed of precious hobby time for a couple of weeks now, surely I was entitled to a little treat? Well Before I knew it a timber framed shop was in the basket, hidden beneath a verdant covering of fresh grass, here it remained undetected and sailed through the checkout unmolested. Beware the curse of UXB, still at least I have something to do on what promises to be a damp Bank Holiday.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

The Dark Woods

It's funny even without playing a single game, 'Witchfinder General' has captured my imagination.  The combination of Folklore, Hammer Horror style scenarios and a smattering of historical fact has proved too difficult for yours truly to resist and I seem to have got sidetracked with how the game will look rather than concentrating on its actual dynamics.  One such element that I have stubbled to dislodge is a forbidden forest.  From the offset I imagined a place where only a few dared to tread, a place steeped in folklore, a place where death stalks at night; this place exists, deep in the woods beyond the village.  

Dead or evil looking trees seemed like a simple idea to make, but I just couldn't get myself organised enough to bring together branches, florists' wire and Milliput all in the same place for long enough and then, by happenchance, I stumbled across these at my local 'Games Workshop' shop, a forest in a box - just what I was looking for.  As soon as I got them home, I stated to realise that my quick fix wasn't going to be a quick as I had hoped and spot of assembling was required.    Not a problem, thinks I, after all I enjoyed slathering glue to plastic aeroplane models as a boy, surely I could cope with a couple of gnarly trees?

Well they went together alright, but a combination of my eagerness and their moulding revealed some rather unsightly cracks.  Still before long these were filled with liquid green stuff and Vallejo plastic putty and I was revelling in the wonderfully details that are a feature of this terrain piece.

Although given a black undercoat to begin with, I remembered that I had some brown spray paint hidden around the place and this was then applied to the trees as a sort of base coat, it certainly had the effect of speeding things up too.  The base, itself, was painted using the same colours and style that I had been doing with the individually based miniatures, the only difference being that I used cheaper tubes of acrylic paint, bought from 'The Works'* to mix the colours rather than deplete my stock of priceless Vallejo Model Colour.

*The Works, is a discount hobby and craft shop in the UK that sells all manner of goodies!

The detailed base is great fun, although possibly not to everyone's tastes, with the addition of tree roots and human skulls liberally deposited.  As far as I was concerned these fitted perfectly with the idea that this was a scary part of the land, so they were definitely to be kept!   As a final touch to the base, I did add a little green dry brushing to some of the slate slabs before a delicate mud wash, which just seemed to locate them more convincingly in the soil.  

Following the same 'recipe' for the rocks and stones, the tree sections were then painted up, but I was still faced with the problem of the unsightly gaps.  Although filled they were still annoying me, until I remembered that I had some 'Army Painter' poison ivy - perfect! 

Finishing touches were a few random tufts and some static grass - what could be simpler?

I have to confess that I am delighted with the way that they turned out, they are just what I wanted; if there is a drawback then it is cost.  In my addled brain I imagine a ring of these around a witch's hovel or ruined monastery, but to do that I would need another three packs and that then seems like an awful lot of money to fork out for plastic trees.  I would cleanly be interested to hear of any homegrown solutions for spooky trees, but for the time being, I leave you with these. 

Saturday 16 August 2014

Paint Table Pirates!

Perhaps not surprisingly at this time of year the day job has demanded exclusive rights to my time as the  release of the public examination results sees an unprecedented scramble for university places.  Consequently, I have fallen behind on my planned production for the month and missed a great many posts from the many erstwhile weblogs that I enjoy reading - I must make amends over the weekend!

That said, I have been tinkering around with some more terrain and have dug out these plastic trees by 'Games Workshop' that I bought to represent the darker side of the forest!   Base coat and blocking is as far we have got at the moment, but hopefully we should push them on in the next couple of days.

Earlier in the week*,  My copy of 'On the Seven Seas' sailed through the letterbox, here at 'Awdry Towers'.  Now for a chap that rarely plays any games, I do seem to be amassing a fair collection of rule sets and these look a particularly fine set!  

Packed with splendid photographs of wonderfully painted miniatures, my resistance has been at breaking point as I poured over the pages; several times I have caught myself with my finger hovering furtively above the 'add to basket' button of various piratical deals over at the 'North Star Military Figures' website, but each time I have resisted - at least so far!
*or was it the week before?

I knew that boat would come in handy!

Anyway, as I squirrelled away the evidence of my recent purchase, before the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' could raise that quizzical eyebrow that says, "What have you bought now?"  I noticed a tiny piece of bubble wrap stuck to the underside of the cardboard.  Further investigation revealed a pirate monkey, my freebie for pre-ordering the rules; just the distraction that was required, thought I and before long he was based and painted.  My little paint monkey* now sits atop the paint rack, taunting me as I work; a constant reminder of all those shiny models that are only a click away - resistance is futile! 
*not to be confused with fellow Bloggers of a similar name 

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Crumbling Walls

You wait an age for some dry stone walling then suddenly three lots come along at once!  Yes more terrain pieces as I look to tidy up the cluttered shelves behind my painting station here at 'Awdry Towers'.  I had first seen these rather splendid creations over at Phil's wonderful 'Diary of a Gaming Magpie' - a superb blog and one if you have not already visited, I strongly suggest you do!   As I am in the habit of doing, I duly jotted down the details and promptly forgot all about them until this most recent bout of terrain building.   Whilst waiting for 'Warlord Games' to discover where they had put their own stock of dry stone walls something pricked the recess of my memory and before I could stop myself I had 'won' these over at eBay.

Bought through 'Tiny Worlds Wargaming's' online shop, you get eight pieces of resin loveliness for the bargain price of £12.49, which includes postage and packing.  They have a more ramshackle look to them than my previous buys, with certain sections completely destroyed.  Scale wise they are not as tall as the 'Warlord Games' counterparts, but this is probably as a result of them not having so much unsightly resin on their base.

In the interest of fairness to the much maligned, 'Warlord Games' I should point out that these sections from 'Tiny Worlds' are riddled with air bubbles, but they are not as instantly noticeable due to the style of sculpting, the more rugged look masking any imperfections.   Painted using the same palette and based in the same manner as my previous attempts, they will add a bit of character to the board, when I'm finally allowed to have it set up! 

Saturday 9 August 2014

Announcing Wargame Bloggers Quarterly

The Wargame Bloggers Quarterly (WBQ) is a FREE community driven electronic magazine (PDF e-Zine) composed of the best wargames and miniature painting content from the collective blogosphere.

The purpose of the WBQ is to help promote wargaming and miniature painting and ensure that the best material generated by participants in the hobby is available to the wider community in the long term.

Any individual is free to submit content to WBQ for publication. Submissions may not have been published in any other e-Zine, printed magazine or other publication to prevent copyright infringement (with the exception of the author’s own personal blog). All content remains the copyright of the author at all times and will be fully credited upon publication.

If you want to know more about WBQ you can read our charter here or you can contact the current Editor-in-Chief via email on

Important: WBQ is specially designed for tablet and/or PC viewing and contains high-resolution images and other content that look great when zoomed in or viewed full page. Make sure you download your copy rather than view it online to get the very best experience!

Issue List
It has been my absolute pleasure to have been involved in this project celebrating, as it does, all that I have come to love and enjoy about this most wholesome of hobbies and the hugely supportive community that  encompasses it.  I would encourage all to get involved by identifying possible content and contacting the Editor-in-Chief directly.  Finally a huge congratulations should go to Michael 'Millsy' Mills who managed to galvanise a group of charming, but disparate Gentlemen into producing something we all hope will continue to flourish, well done Sir! 

Thursday 7 August 2014

Damaged Wall Sections

More about recording progress than a bona fide post, I am happy to announce that not only have the missing, damaged dry stone wall sections be rediscovered, but they have also been completed!  They are the companion pieces to the other sections that were showcased here and are once again from 'Warlord Games'.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that they hailed from the shortcut emporium that is 'Warlord Games' they were not the best of casts, but any air bubbles were easily filled and of course they are a perfect match for the other sections; this been the case it was a simple task to replicate the paint scene and foliage used.

Regardless of what I might think about their production standards, 'Warlord Games' do produce some lovely toys and these are no exception.  As with the previous sections they come with identical corner sections, which allow me some flexibility when setting up on the table*, although as I write this I have just realised that there is no gate section! 

*fat chance of that happening any time soon! 

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Raise a glass

Progress on playing my first 'Witchfinder General' scenario has taken a bit of a hit of late with a lack of space been cited as the issue.  Space has always been an issue here at 'Awdry Towers' and recent events have meant that yours truly has been faced with packing away all, but the very things that are currently on the painting table in order to accommodate the wishes of the lady of the house.  I should stress that this is by mutual consent, it is simply an inconvenience that, coupled with an increase in workload from the day job, has put paid to any large scale plans that I may have had for the immediate future.  

It was inevitable, then that I was going to be distracted by something a bit different and these burly Scotsmen were just what was required to lighten the mood.  Both are from the 'Warlord Games' Highlander Arrant Scum pack and caught my eye at Salute earlier this year.  I love the idea that they might be 'muscle for hire' lured down from the Highlands with the promise of drink to bolster the ranks of the Clubmen.  Yes, they were fiddly and yes there was an awful lot of flash to clean up, but they are such wonderfully characterful sculpts that all was forgiven when I started to paint them. 

As the Scotts neared completion, I remembered that I had also picked up a couple of suitable companions from 'Hasslefree Miniatures' at the same time and decided to give them a lick of paint too.  By comparison they 'Bar Wench' and 'Village Idiot' hardly needed to be shown a file and they were ready for some paint, although looking at these photographs, I see that the young lady has been liberally applying the face powder again! 

Ultimately all very satisfying to paint, but I am having to use every ounce of restraint that I possess to stop myself from building a tavern for them all - the 'Slaughtered Lamb' springs to mind!

Saturday 2 August 2014

A few more trees.

Not a huge amount to crow about this morning, but I have managed to finish off a few more trees - three to be exact.  They were done using the same technique that I had followed previously, a technique that was generously shared by the mischievous Loki of 'Loki's Great Hall' fame.

Slow, but steady progress and good to see the forest taking shape; the previous efforts, including a quick 'how to', can be found here.

Progress on the painting table has also been slow, but the newly rediscovered damaged stone walls have received a base coat - still a lot more to do there before they're finished.

In other news, I recently read a rather elegant post on the splendid 'Legatus' Wargames Armies' weblog, which amongst other things, referred to DVD storage.  Now this is a problem that we share here at 'Awdry Towers'; due to my habitual spending, yours truly has amassed quite a collection over the years,  

From this...
…to this!
sadly though they have been consigned to dusty cupboards and inaccessible shelves where a penchant for archaeology is required just to unearth a feature film for one's viewing pleasure.  An investment in some rather splendid storage cases was made and the first one filled with great gusto only to discover another tantalising problem - what do I do with the empty cases?  Am I really considering storing empty cases in boxes in the loft or do I simply discard them?  I may need to give this some more thought, but having decided to just randomly throw the DVDs into their new home, the decision to sort by title, genre or rating proving too much for my tired and addled brain at this point, I spied some wonderfully bizarre combinations that could provide an entertaining distraction, take for example this combination…

Finally to round off this morning's seemingly unrelated ramblings, I am delighted to say that I took procession of Tony Harwood's new terrain book this week, the unpretentiously titled, 'More Wargame Terrain'.  Although, I have only managed a cursory look, I can tell you that it is presented in a similar format to Book 1, with plenty of wonderfully clear photographs detailing the construction of a myriad of useful terrain pieces ranging in difficulty and size - invaluable reference material and lots of ideas for future distractions, thank you Tony!

Tony's book is available via his blog, 'DAMPF'S MODELLING PAGE'.

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