30 September 2013

Not Derby ends in a wet T shirt Contest!!

I have had a rather busy weekend at Donnington Park which is in Leicestershire and not Derbyshire however this is the new location for the Derby world wargames show. In its 2nd year at the new location I had hoped the experience would have been an improvement on the 1st year however, the events dire location, and quite possibly its timing this year really did impact on the experience. It is not within easy reach for many and to be honest this year was very lack lustre and bloody cold inside the main hall. Combine that with holding such an event the weekend before most of the UK populous obtain their monthly salaries. The constant drone of high performance cars thundering down the straight and braking heavily on the curve where the venue is located and booming exhausts as they then floor the accelerators upon exit, while in between that jets on the nearby runway fire up their engines as they are about to take off and you have a tinnitus sufferers delight.  So In my opinion all these things combine to become an issue.

Saturday saw a steady flow of customers, but certainly did not make me break into a sweat trying to cope with demand. More like a dripping tap, customers came along in a fairly consistent pattern. The bonus to this is I had plenty of time to pick up supplies and have a peruse at the show in general. I rarely get time to visit any part of the shows I help out at ordinarily. I did have time to have a chat to Tamsin (Wargaming Girl), having missed the opportunity earlier this year at Salute so I was glad that I could put a face to the blog at last, and hope to see her at Blog con. While on one of my missions to source a miniature I bumped into Ian (Blog with no name) thanks to his eagle eyes he was able to point me rather vaguely in the direction of a miniature he had seen earlier based on our conversation, and after about 15 minutes I stumbled upon the perfect figure for a future project. The next blogger I had the pleasure to meet was Pete (Panzerkaput) and had plenty of time for a very good chat and of course to persuade this fine gentleman to use his excellent art skills to produce something for Bloggers For Charity and I didn't even have to get me axe out from behind the counter to aid the persuasion.

On the subject of Bloggers For Charity I did of course spend a fair chunk of time on both days with Andrew at AW Miniatures. Handing over the newly painted displays for him to use at shows and of course to discuss the sculpting requirements for the charity game and collection of the majority of the lead for the painters to be able to make a start. Anyone wanting Indians will have to wait a while longer as Andrew is having a new set of moulds made for these figures due to a major problem with the original moulds. While this is an issue, it is an understandable one. Currently the figures require hours of work to get them into a position that you can apply undercoat to them. Further to this we need companies Franches de la Marine which also need to be sculpted so again currently not available.

Sunday, I picked Kevin up just after 7am for the return to the venue after a rather poor nights sleep, and my fellow traders feeling the same it was a groggy start for us all. However we had a rather far too relaxed day, the type of day that you really don't want if you are running a business. We were not alone in this with many traders having had a disappointing weekends trading. Things were that bad that at 1pm discussions were being had about packing the van and heading home. Bearing in mind there were still 3 hours before the show closed and you can understand the problem.  We held on for another hour but at 2pm many of the traders had decided to call it a day and therefore started to shut up shop. We had packed the entire stand away by just after 3pm and headed off home.

The trip home proved to be quiet eventful as both myself and Kevin had a mouth as dry as Gandhi's flip flops so decided to stop at McDonald's for a coffee. Having handed over the money, Kev began stuffing his face with a quick bag of fries, while I was handed two scolding hot cups of coffee. The coffee was so hot I hadn't noticed the flimsy condition of the paper containers and applied rather too much pressure to them ejecting boiling coffee all over me, the counter and floor. I made quite a bloody mess and was completely drenched and had burnt both arms into the bargain. Still they replaced the coffees and soon started the clean up. I had to remove my shirt not a pretty site but I had a spare one to save embarrassment.

27 September 2013

Phew made it at the 11th hour !

Well it has been flat out here at the Great Hall since Tuesday. I had to take a couple of days off normal work this week to get it all done though. I finally managed to get all 52 figures based and flocked by close of play Thursday night. Today then saw me having to construct a couple of display stands for them all. This was no small effort as things require drying time, so I had to speed up drying times on the paintwork with use of the hairdryer.  The displays are basic but will do the job as the figures are meant to be the stars of the show.

+James Brewerton  painted up the Indian warband (AW Miniatures)
 Still a bit of space at the back for future expansion of the ranges
 +kevatthecabin painted up the Rangers force with native indian allies (AW Miniatures) front two rows
On the back rank light Infantry painted by +kevatthecabin and Coureur des Bois painted by +Andrew Saunders (AW Miniatures)

Right thats me done for a few days as I will be off to NOT DERBY for a weekend of work with Martin at Warbases and some BFC related matters.

26 September 2013

The Conversion of Evil Ray !!!!

Soundly asleep having quaffed down several tankards of mead during his hearty meal, he was unaware of his impending peril. Silently a lid was being unscrewed from a vessel containing the Holy water that was going to deliver a cleansing of the evil ones spirit. Stealthily the Pope traversed the numerous obstacles of gluttony strewn throughout the room, mainly pizza boxes and empty Bacon and Egg McMuffin wrappers.

His eyes remained firmly fixed on his victim as he emptied the Holy water container. Howls could be heard and expletives were expelled at an alarming rate. "What the **** are you doing?" screamed Ray now drenched in Holy water. " I am cleansing your evil soul my Son" replied Pope Francis. "My soul was bloody fine, were it was you T*** " replied Ray. "You need to reach deep within your soul and purify your mind, your recent luck can only be attributed to a great evil. " said Pope Francis " I'll give you evil, you over sized Idiot" retorted a disgruntled Ray. However this was all to be in vain as the transformation had already begun. "What have you done, to me!!" came the last words from the old Ray.

Pope Francis had succeeded and the conversion of all that was unholy had been completed. " You need to serve penance for rigging all the blog give aways, and as recompense I think you should now go forward and promote good deeds" uttered the Pope.

I present you Ray "The Pious" Rousell.

25 September 2013

It is taking me a while but I am getting there !!

Welcome to the latest followers of my inane drivel and ramblings. I have followed those of you that have a followers gadget installed but one or two dont have this installed and therefore as I am over the maximum allowed I cant add you to my blog roll. There is a solution and a handy post can be found HERE that helps tired old Vikings out.

Finally something has rolled off of my painting table and it should please Ev at the least to see the Scot's warlord completed. Way back in early September I posted the fact that it would be a busy month ahead and painting time would be lacking. I have at least managed to make a few posts though to keep track of my progress.

So here he is on a custom made base. He will probably be dispatched to Ebay as I have no plans to build a Scots warband for Saga.

I also completed the community currency deal I had with +James Brewerton and he now has his nice new table to play on after I met him at Wargames Foundry yesterday as we had a pre Blog Con discussion. In case you missed the table build you can view it HERE and HERE.

Now as Derby rapidly approaches and everyone has dropped the painted lead on me for basing up for Andrew's Display at AW Miniatures in time for Saturday delivery, I will be swamped until Monday now.
 Kev's on the left and James contributions on the right.
I have at least got all the basing compound on the 52 figures as a result of a session last night. I really do have my back to the wall getting this lot finished in time.

In other +Chris Stoesen is having a nice give away, in order too celebrate his recent milestone achievements.
So please pop on over to his excellent blog and take a look HERE. A little bit of something to keep any gamer happy here.

Anyone going to Derby could well find me on Saturday helping out at Warbases. I will be back on here once I have those figures based.

24 September 2013

Not a snowball's chance in hell !!

I have put my hat into the ring for a superb give away being hosted by Anne over at O'Leary miniatures. The competition is also sponsored in part by author Patrick Hatt. You can find Mr Hatt's Amazon Writers page at http://www.amazon.com/Pat-Hatt/e/B00AGFMYVC.

You don't want to miss this one folks YOU REALLY DON'T as ANNE is giving away some truly spectacular prizes, either that or she's clearing the house in preparation for moving. Either way this is one fantastic competition, but follow the rules that have been nonchalantly interspersed in the post.

Now as to the snowball's chance, well that's because that that prolific blogger and prize winner that is +Ray Rousell has entered this one and with more luck than a loaded D6, he is likely to win anything he enters lately. So in an effort to reduce his chances we need to join together and enter this fine give away en masse. Just to prove that someone else can win or prove that he is indeed the luckiest blogger. So please pop on over and join in this fine blog competition you never know one day the Gods may smile and you get lucky.

23 September 2013

Auctions for Bloggers for Charity

+Gary Amos has rather generously agreed to donate some marvellous painted lead surplus to his requirements. The principal is simple and these figures are going to be auctioned off in a blind auction and the proceeds donated to the BFC charity fund.

So in finest Loki speak what are you still hanging around here for folks, if you have not taken the time to visit this project then it is about time you clicked HERE and went to see what is going on. Of course I also want you to part with some money, and join in the fun.

20 September 2013

Bloggers Community Currency table build ( Part 2 )

Grab another cuppa as we take the project to its completion.

Step eight: This sees work commence on the water feature.
This has to be done while the paint is still wet so you have to work fairly quickly although the acrylic base does aid in the matter and the paint does not dry too quickly. The first colour is applied generously to the perimeter and then thinned and applied over the fording sections.
it is then a matter of working with progressively darker shades blending the wet edges each time to give a perspective of depth. Taking care at the table joints to match the water up.
 Next we have to start adding some detailing before adding the water effects. So I start to add reeds in clumps of varying colour.
Now we start to pour the water effects after making a plasticard dam at each end and ensuring everything is clamped level and firmly to avoid leaking. I will be making 2 pours firstly a thin 1 to 2 mm pour which will dry in 24 hours then a full 3 mm pour to finish which will take 48 to 72 hours to fully dry.
Ok so you come back 72 hours later and it has not dried properly, yes shit happens even to those of us that use these things regularly. At this point its not to major as I had planned another step for the water in order to represent some movement.
So after some hair dryer treatment and scraping away of undried materials I then applied the denser water effect, this holds its shape and is good for sculpting small ripples and waves in the water surface. However it does not dry to a full gloss shine. You can see from the picture above how it distorts the water pattern below the surface, softening the harder edges. this will be further worked on in the next step.

Step nine: Still working with the water I now take the lightest shade of paint and thin 75 water to 25 paint and was over the entire surface, to this wet covering I then add a small amount of the mid tone and dark tone in random patches and blow it about with a hair dryer to further soften the water. Once this is dry I then apply a dry brush of off white to the rippled surface to highlight the patterning before application of several coats of gloss varnish to give a shine to it all.

Now the water has the look I was hoping to achieve with a realistic and partly turbulent flow characteristic.

Step nine: Working with the Keep It Simple Stupid principle this stage sees the table get its grass flocking.

So firstly a good coat of neat PVA ensuring the edges are well covered.
Cover the glued area with your desired flock.
Leave the flock on for ten minutes, then knock of the excess.
Then apply the above to the other half of the board. The thing here is not to rush this stage and ensure you have given the flock chance to adhere. Once you have the boards flocked leave them alone for a good few hours to allow the PVA to fully dry. Once fully dry you can brush off the excess.

Step ten: Table proofing the underside, Many of us don't have gaming rooms and plonk it straight on the dinner table. Not the wisest move if you have a good table and want to keep SWMBO happy.
 Take a large lump of good quality felt.
 Coat the back of the board with a generous amount of PVA
Stick the felt to the back of the board and trim to fit.

Step eleven: Now still working on the KISS principal we want to tart the table up without impacting on the playability.
 The addition of bushes using clump foliage along the river banks.
 Then some brightening up of the rock and scree areas.
Clump foliage, tufts and some flowers soon enhance the boards.

That is it the boards are completed.

They work with two hills creating a valley and in the second image as one larger hill with a river at its base. I am hopeful James will produce some pictures of his table in the future as my skills witht he camera in the workshop are not briliant.

This whole project is a working example of Community currency in action, For my part I utilised +James Brewerton's skill with the paint brush to produce me a Irish Saga warband, which you can view HERE. I was very pleased with this force especially as he included Thor in the wolf pack for me.
In return I built this table for him to use for his gaming needs. No money was exchanged and the deal was a happy negotiation between both parties. I just hope he likes the results as this will be the first time he has seen it.
 So you too can join in with the community currency scheme very easily, If you have something to offer in exchange for other items or use of your skills the contact James and join the scheme. Of course if anyone wants something terrain related they can always contact me directly and negotiate a trade.

19 September 2013

Bloggers Community Currency table build ( Part 1 )

Before we begin  go and make a brew and grab some biscuits this is should be a good read.

So as you may be aware myself an James 'GI' Brewerton did a deal using the community currency idea so we would both benefit. I received a very nice Irish war band for Saga, which would also work for some Dux B as well so doubly happy.

James requested I build him a 4 Ft x 4 Ft table, that was composed of two 4 Ft x 2 Ft sections. His only stipulation was he did not want a billiard table. So here is how it was constructed and the end result.

Step one: Sketch out a rough design so you can see what you want to achieve, I have enough experience to do this directly onto the boards I am using. For a first time builder I would recommend paper and pencil as the design gets buried under the work in progress.
Now in the sketching phase I wanted the boards to work on both long edges with each other thus giving James two layouts from his boards. I also wanted there to be some features to the design, which in turn impacts on the build process and you have to make sure the boards will work how you need them to refining measurements as needed

Step two: Using some 28 mm x 18 mm battens I began the process of framing the boards.
 Using glue and clamps as well as a nailer I affixed all the battens to create the outer frame.
Once the initial perimeter was built it was time to increase the perimeter height at certain points to allow me to build up the terrain features. Again Clamps, Glue and screws are used to fix these in place.
After 4 hours of cutting, drilling, and fine tuning (that's what the hammer is for). The assembly was left overnight for all the glue to dry fully before I started to build up the terrain.

Step three: This is were the terrain really starts to come to life, Firstly the frames are infilled with styrene and built to the basic shape required. then all the featured are cut and sanded to their final shapes.

The features are then given a nice plaster overcoat that is approx 3mm thick, the main points to check are the board alignments. In the case of these boards its the river and lower faces of the hills. So after another 4 hours again we have to take a break overnight for the plaster to dry out.
The river is coated in acrylic paste and smoothed to a semi finish.

Step four: Lots of work with both an electric sander and hand sanding to get the plaster surface fairly smooth in order to apply the texturing.

The coarse textures are added first then the finer sand spread over the top, working as quickly as possible but without rushing.

So thats the boards textured, you will notice the river is texture free, that comes later and the white patches on the slopes are rock features. This all needs a good few hours to dry so I normally leave this overnight.

Step 5: Base coating the boards. Taking a very dark brown I now cover the previously applied texture. I can hear you ask why I dont use sandtex paint the answer is simple, for my taste it is not as good as putting in the hard work to achieve a better finished result.
I also put a base coat on the rock features and set the boards aside to dry, in good weather 4 hours is normal in this case it took 12 hours for it to fully dry.

Step 6: Dry brush the boards up, using two progressively lighter shades of brown.

Step seven: Tedious to say the least but it has to be done.

Start picking out the large stones and working them up to the finished state by dry brushing several lighter shades. This does take an age but worth it in the end.

That is it for part 1 as you can see a lot of work has to be put into things you will never see again to get everything to look right when finished. I hope to have Part 2 ready for tomorrow or Saturday evening.

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