Sunday 29 November 2015

Birthday Weekend.

Now I wasn't planning on doing a birthday post this year, what with the big day having fallen on the Friday of what felt like a very long week.  The most that I was expecting was a fearsomely hot take away Indian curry and an evening in front on the television, sherry in hand.*

*Oh how I live!
This is pretty much much how the day went, but certain things conspired to make me take stock and realise just how lucky I am.  I can't tell you exactly what it was, it might have been the Birthday wishes email that greeted me from Millsy of 'Canister and Grape' or the particularly splendid rendition of 'Happy Birthday' sung my beloved Sixth Form as they loitered around the, yet to decorated, Christmas tree.  
Then there were rather lovely gifts from the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry', family and friends.  The arrival of my Kickstarter pledge from Integrated Wargame Buildings.  This, by the way, looks complicated not to mention exciting, but after a brief inspection has been put away until after Christmas with thoughts of Post Apocalyptic worlds or a possible return to the Batman Miniatures game.
Perhaps it was the surprise package left by our postman, that had travelled all the way from Germany, my good friend Stefan making sure that there was some new lead in the house to commemorate my Birthday.  Conrad Kinch** of 'Joy and Forgetfulness' fame has just written a rather splendid post about the 'Freemasonry of the hobby', something that I wholeheartedly subscribe to, the camaraderie and selfless sharing of ideas or even items considerably more tangible has been such an unexpected side product of this most wholesome of hobbies.  
**Welcome aboard Sir
Dinovember 2015
Whatever the reason for my buoyed mindset, I would just like to thank you all!

Thursday 26 November 2015

One of our Dinosaurs is missing!

Another ‘Dinovember’ comes to a close, but not before I unveil my final entry – a homage to the Disney Classic, ‘One of our dinosaurs is missing’.  This 1975 relic of my childhood sees a group of nannies outwit a Chinese spy ring in order to come to the aid of their former charge, Lord Southmere.  Of its time, the film is perhaps best remembered for the theft of a Dinosaur skeleton from the National History Museum and the subsequent chase around the English Countryside as the nannies try to evade capture. 
Although not the same make as portrayed in the film, I managed to track down an Atkinson 'D' Type Steam Lorry from the Matchbox 'Models of Yesteryear' range* - all I needed now was a dinosaur skeleton!  My web based research wasn’t proving particularly fruitful, but I did stumble across a pack of plastic dinosaur skeletons, one of which looked as though it might be able to represent the Brontosaurus, unfortunately I hadn’t checked the dimensions!
*The Atkinson was able to travel up to 30 miles at 12m.p.h. on one tankful (170 gallons) of water.
Clearly not up for the job my new purchase, and the twelve others that came in the pack, were consigned to the terrain box** as I scratched my head, pondering a solution.  I knew that I had a couple of ‘Dinosaurs in a tube’, another terrain project that has yet to see the light of day, but neither skeleton quite fitted the bill. As I stared at the cretaceous carcasses littering my paint table, inspiration finally struck!  By using the tail sections of both prehistoric beasties, I was able to fashion the, almost swan like, creation I was after, after all what was in the middle didn’t matter as it was going to be covered by a tarpaulin! 
**A mass of interesting odds and ends collected or purchased off the back of a convoluted plan, now long forgotten.
Now for the skull; again a rummage through the terrain box unearthed a couple of possibilities and although perhaps not an exact match for an Apatosaurus, I felt that the one chosen had a certain charm that I was looking for.
 Having already let my trusty Dremel loose on the existing decals out came the airbrush and the larger areas were blasted with an appropriate colour.  Once dried it was just a case of tidying everything up, building up the layers and adding some rust spots and smears.  The skeleton was simply give a base and then highlights added with a dry brush.
 All that remained was to base my creation.   At this point I need to draw your attention to the ‘The Lazy Forger’, a terrain builder and sculptor of superior skill who, fortunately for me, had an astonishing ‘Paved Road Tutorial’ on his blog.  I shan’t go into much detail here as the link will take to the tutorial proper, but it really was wonderfully simple.  An etched ‘Warbases’ MDF base is given a basecoat, before more sponged colours are applied.  Finally some road makings are added and the job is complete.***

***I have great plans to do some larger versions of these, none of which will see the light of day!

There are seemingly no ends to my self indulgent frippery, but as with all flights of fancy they are hugely enjoyable to put together and this, after all, is what matters.  With December almost upon us, my thoughts will be turning to the ‘VI Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’, with preparation and basing aplenty to see me through the winter months, but I’m hopeful to post a final few pieces from last year’s challenge before the end of the year.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Wild Beast Shipping Crates

After a very busy, but productive week with the day job, I seem to be falling behind with my planned schedule for 'Dinovember', so just the briefest of posts this morning. Perhaps more akin to a product review than an actual progress post, I thought I would shoehorn my thoughts about this latest purchase into this month's theme, '4Ground's' Wild Beast Shipping Crates.
Having made a number of '4Ground' buildings, I was fairly confident that these would be of a standard, but my word they are clever. Given the scale of these things their design really is sensational, yes they are fiddly* but the results are worth it.
*plenty of blue words and pieces stuck to fingers!

In order to hide the joins and to give a feeling of depth, the construction is, in effect, a box on a box. The material, appears to be a heavy card stock, rather than MDF that has been painted so once completed they are ready to go, perfect for inherently lazy modellers like myself. They are not cheap though, retailing at £12 you get a total of 12 boxes, but as I have said in the past I'm rather fond of putting them together and combined with the fact that they are pre-painted I can just about square away the expenditure.
Of course for me, the fact that you can actually see through the grilled openings was a clincher - seriously cool and yes, I know that I need to get out more! I have been remiss in my previous postings as I should have mentioned that Bill of 'Dice, Doubloons and Random Musings' fame, is also joining in the fun this month, so if you get a chance do pop over to see what he is up to.
We're going to need a bigger crate! 


Finally then, it will not escape the attention of many that Curt Campbell Esq. has launched the 'VI Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.  A highlight of my hobby year, I have once again thrown my hat into the ring.  Plenty of thought now needed with regards to bonus rounds and the like, but that will have to wait until next month.  Register now if you are interested as this is a hugely popular event, made so by the tireless work of its host, and places are limited.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Run for cover.

Finally some dinosaurs for 'Dinovember'!  Fast and wily, Compsognathus was a small, bipedal, carnivorous dinosaur likely to have grown to the size of a large chicken during the Jurassic period.  Devouring insects and small lizards on a daily basis, Compsognathus would sometimes scavenge, given the opportunity, hoovering up the meagre leftover pickings of larger predators.
In fact, I first used a pack of these on my 'Scavengers!' project last year.  Now there were, as usual, convoluted and unrealistic plans to do a number of these terrain pieces and so I had ordered up a couple of packs of our pint sized predators from the 'The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company', but never got around to using them.  As I was scrabbling around for ideas for this year’s 'Dinovember' I suddenly came across the remaining miniatures and remembering a post by Mike C of 'Mike’s Random Wargame Meanderings' fame, I decided to make a series of simple stands basing the Compsognathus up in multiples of two or four.  
Having given the beasties the simplest of paint jobs it was time for basing and before I knew what was happening small patches of jungle were appearing before my eyes!  Added to the now customary static grass and multi-coloured tufts were fish tank planks and some 'Pegasus Hobbies' banana trees* all giving some much needed ground cover for my new additions.

*another impulse buy that was not quite as I had hoped, being a tad small for my liking.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Intrepid Dinosaur Hunter#2

Now I had hoped to share this newest addition to the collection earlier in the week, but it would seem that the day job is conspiring against my best laid plans. Even this morning, I find myself sitting at my desk at work rather than the painting table at home, but worry not good reader as I have managed just enough time to sneak a post in.

So then, meet the perfect foil to our previous, portly explorer, Annalise a Lucid Eye Lost Explorer, purchased through the ever reliable 'Arcane Scenery & Models'. This is the first time that I have painted a miniature from the Lucid Eye range, but having seen plenty of examples on the many splendid weblogs that I enjoy following, it wasn't long before the already straining willpower crumbled and the order was completed.

What I can tell you is that this is a wonderful, crisp sculpt with very little work required in order to have the miniature prepped for painting. Wanting them to form an unlikely double act, I simply replicated many of the greens used earlier; the use of a matching blue for her neckerchief and bedroll completing the partnership. Now for the dinosaurs!

Sunday 8 November 2015

Intrepid Dinosaur Hunter#1

Dinovember is off and and running and I am happy to finally post a new miniature loosely connected to the theme. This intrepid explorer is from the the 'North Star Military Figures' Africa range of Wazungu. To quote directly from the company's webstore, "Wazungu being a Swahili word to describe white explorers in the 19th Century. It wasn't a word related to their skin colour, but meant something strange and frightening, testifying to the impression explorers gave with their bizarre appearance and terrifying weapons."
There was something about this chap's character that made him a perfect choice for a Dinosaur Hunter. An air of determination coupled with a hint of naivety, perfect traits for successfully navigating the dangers of the Lost world, after all what more do you need than a stiff upper lip when facing off a Tyrannosaurus Rex?
A lovely clean sculpt, this was a joy to paint up with a splash of colour to compliment his hunting attire. I'm not sure when the other three in the pack will be done, probably this time next year, but I am hoping to have a companion for this gentlemen completed shortly.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Dinovember begins...

...28mm Adèle Blanc-Sec
For the uninitiated, 'Dinovember' is a spot of self indulgent frippery that allows yours truly to enjoy in another month of themed nonsense, this time all things Prehistoric!  If all goes to plan, we should have new dinosaurs, some intrepid explorers, museum visits and a steam lorry. 
This was perhaps my most bizarre entry to the 'Vth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and was pure self-indulgent nonsense.  It was something that I had been thinking about for some time and, as I have discovered with this most wholesome of hobbies, if you have an itch then scratch it!  

Inspired, once again, by the work of Luc Besson, this bizarre assemblage is my homage to the unlikely gem that is ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec’.  Based on the French comics by artist Jacques Tardi, I had completely missed the original theatrical release of this ridiculous adventure only discovering it by chance by scanning the television schedule prior to the Christmas break.  Billed as Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones I can safely say that my curiosity was piqued!  Consigned to the flawed masterpiece drum of any celluloid collection, ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec’ is a triumph of style over content, but I have to confess that I enjoy Monsieur Besson’s style, pure escapism rarely looked so good.   Of course the highlight for me is when our eponymous heroine flies over the streets of Paris on the back of a Pterodactyl – I kid you not!

For the record then, the composite parts are as follows: Pterodactyl – The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit’s Pteranodon.  Adèle is made up from a Wargames Foundry Victorian Lady, a plastic Rider of Rohan from Games Workshop and an arm from the Perry Miniatures ACW Zouave command sprue all held together with superglue and lashings of Greenstuff.  As for the base this was a combination of bits and pieces from the ever reliable Fenris Games.
Perhaps a little like the film, this piece didn't quite live up to my expectations and although thrilled to have scooped the award for 'Sarah Choice', I always felt that it lacked a little something.  In my defence this formed one of my last entries to the challenge and came at a time when I was desperately trying to make up for a slow start and, as a consequence, may have missed out on a modicum of the tender loving care that I had shown some of my earlier entries.  Still it remains a fun piece of kit bashing and was hugely enjoyable to do; who knows perhaps one day Adèle Blanc-Sec will ride again.
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