30 June 2014

The Man Cave shuffle (Part 1) !!

No not the latest title of some weird musical experiment, but a direct result from some planning and organisation that has been needed in the Great Hall for a while now. As I eluded too in a previous post here I was going to get the hall in better shape and more organised, especially as I am painting to earn my keep. I moved in here in a bit of a rush and did not have the luxury of time to sort out completely the best way to have everything. So having been in here 9 months I needed to lay it out much better. So stage 1 of the shuffle begins, which is concentrating on the workbench as that is without doubt the most important aspect.

Whilst I was organising I decided to go with Vallejo as my main paint of choice. I am happy I made this decision and did not stick with Foundry paints, even more so since the announced that they are having price rises across the board. For me Foundry figures and paints are at the ceiling of what I am willing to pay already so any increase or removal of discounts lost me as a customer from that point on. I digress though and back to the main point of this post.

To properly re organise meant that I had to sort the storage of paints out much better, my rack is great but not large enough to cope with the full range plus extras. I also wanted to use them effectively for the dropper bottles and make life very easy for myself going forward. So pencil was put to paper and I began the task of designing racks that would suit my purposes. I apologise for copy protecting the next two images, but I have also allowed these to be produced commercially.

The plans were completed and sent over to Martin and Diane at Warbases to have three of these racks cut for me. Hence one of the reasons for my trip to Scarborough this Saturday. So with the racks being designed all I had to do now was fill the gaps in the range of paints so I had the full set. This was achieved by contacting David Holland at Northumbrian Tin Soldier, a bit of negotiation and a deal was made for me to collect a batch of paint at Scarborough. Once again fantastic service from this new company ( I also parted with a purchase of more NightFolk more on that later).

I am rather annoyed as I had taken pictures of the racks before assembly but alas gremlins have eaten them so I can not show the Giant jigsaw puzzle of parts for the racks. However these were very easy to assemble, they should be after all I had designed them!

So after they were assembled the hard work really began as I knew how I wanted the racks to look exactly. I had prepared several items in readiness for this stage. I had designed labels for the front of the racks with a space to add a dash of the correct colour as well. Everything was laid out exactly as they are in the Vallejo racks so future purchase should be very easy too.
Oh the sheer pleasure of completing this task knowing that things should run a lot better from here on in.
All labelled up and paint applied for recognition ( Thats OCD for you).
A view of the back, the bottles go through the two layers and rest on the knuckle of the dropper at the back, thus a slight downward angle and the rear board holds the bottle tightly. Must remember to affix lids properly. The frame ensures the full rack is very stable and that the bottles are enclosed.

Now one big advantage of having almost the full range, yes I have a few missing ones as I cocked up most unusual but it happened. I designed a colour chart so as I was applying colour to the racks I also had a square ready for the correct colour to be put in, and now I don't have to rely on the wildly inaccurate printed one I had from Vallejo, that's the problem with printed versions they are not at all accurate in many cases and I have been shocked by the discrepancies before. I will make these charts available to view permanently once completed on a separate page.

So having got the racks filled and sorted the only thing left to do was put the workbench back into a very usable layout.

Now I have the computer sorted and on the left of the workbench, the mouse and keyboard can also be used from that position rather than where they are for this snap (I was not painting). Paint racks run across the back with my medication and music speakers on top. Lamp and brushes off to the right side giving me a large central zone to work in.

I have given rights for Warbases to reproduce these racks, and also to adapt to smaller sizes as required, mine hold 90 bottles each. The down side of this would have been postage costs not only because of the weight but the dimensions. So I am sure Martin will adapt the design for a smaller post friendly version.

Well good people that is part one of the shuffle completed, next I will be reorganising the shelving behind me for better storage and preparations. But before that I now intend to sort the new paints into triads and will present my findings for you all.


26 June 2014

Waffle, The 3rd New Jersey Regiment "Jersey Blues" 1776 & 1st Connecticut Regiment completed

Oh my it is a touch frenetic in the Great Hall at the moment, every thing is completely topsy turvy with fingers in many different pies all at the same time. Currently I am on with several commissions for Brigantes studio and the benefit of all this is my time management skills are dramatically improving. So is my ability to recognise how long a job is going to take, after severely underestimating the time a recent project would take to complete. What in my mind was two days became a full 36 hours work so I will know better next time. I have also been and still am having problems with the blogger blog roll which is annoying as I know I am missing posts which I doubt I will have the time to catch up on so I apologise if I have missed a few posts this last week or so.

Any way that's enough waffle from me when I left you all last, I had completed Sherburne's continentals (here) and had begun working on the last two units of Fife and Drum miniatures (here).
 The 3rd New Jersey Regiment "Jersey Blues"

 1st Connecticut Regiment

That leaves me with the artillery piece and 4 crew to complete the 28mm collection. In addition to these I had also started work on building my 15mm Black powder army for the same period in preparation for the new supplement book due out soon. More on these in the next post!


25 June 2014

Warbases Wednesday #17 - Gladiators are you going for the Jugular!

So you want to start training your own band of Gladiators to fight for glory! well there are a whole bunch of rule sets available for you to choose from from the old tried and tested Rudis to the new kid on the block Jugula!

What any aspiring gladiator needs though is an Arena to fight in and Warbases have two sizes of round arena for you to choose from.

Available in a 12" diameter one piece board or as shown above an 18" diameter arena in four easy to transport and fix together jigsaw sections. The hexes on the 12" are 28mm across flats and on the 18" are 26mm across flats.  They are priced at £7.50 (12") and £13.00 (18")  respectively. 

The square 8 x 8 arena designed to unofficially complement the Jugula game has also been designed and is due for imminent release. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to show you at present but I have seen the board and it is very nice indeed, it is also 18" wide and the expected price will be £13.00.

Of course if these designs are not suitable for your particular Gladiatorial combat game then email Warbases for a custom cut one to your requirements.

Now of course if you are playing the new game from Studio Tomahawk and Gripping Beast, chances are you might need some decent tokens and accessories.

So here is a popularity tracker for you priced at £4.00 for a twin pack.

A full set of 32 tokens can also be had for the sum of £3.50, required for the popular gladiator game Jugula.
Contains the following tokens: +1 attack (x4), +2 attack (x4), +1 defence (x4), +2 defence (x4), +1 movement (x4), +2 movement (x4), Skull tokens (x6) and Hindered tokens (x2)
In addition to these sets also released are a full set of gaming card tokens!
This set contains 54 tokens , that's one of each suit and 2 jokers for you to be able to use for a wide variety of gaming needs. Priced at £5.00 for the full set.

20 June 2014

I am truly Honoured by a fellow Blogger !!!

There are some great fellow bloggers that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the last three years. In fact a great many of them share the same level of passion for toy soldiers and are skilled in many different areas. I have been delighted to meet and speak to most of them while helping out at various shows across the country and of course attending the Blog con meets.

Today I want to publicly thank +Panzer Kaput  ( Pete ), one of the nicest eccentric chaps one is ever likely to meet, who besides a great passion for his toys is a gifted and very talented illustrator. I first met Pete online through the blog and have regularly enjoyed his blog, he also got involved and helped out with some wonderful artwork for Bloggers for charity, one piece of this art inspired me to paint a figure from the image for the auction. It was during these conversations that I rather cheekily asked about a personalised blog header. I admired his own individual header and fancied something truly unique for my own blog. Rather than brush me aside or dismiss the idea he was genuinely happy to be asked, so I left it at that.

Pete lost his mojo for a while but I never enquired about the header idea, after all it is really bad form to push people when they are being generous and donating there own time (a lesson many could do with learning sadly). A few weeks ago I met Pete at the Newark show and he was feeling very chipper and indeed his display game was right in front of the warbases stand so banter flowed all day between us. Then all of a sudden shortly after an image emerged on Facebook, Pete was back illustrating and I guessed almost straight away what he was working on, after an exchange of ideas on the background I was presented with several very nice options and today I unveil the new Logo for the Great Hall.

So I want to close this post with one final big THANK YOU to Pete, this is truly a great piece of work and I am very proud to have something unique for the blog.

Loki (Andrew)

18 June 2014

Warbases Wednesday #16 - A heads up for future ranges.

As you can imagine life is a little busy at times but plans for expansion are squarely on the horizon for many more releases this year from Warbases. Martin is currently adding to the range of carts and wagons and there are some very impressive additions being added more on those in another post. Kevin and I are both busy working on different aspects of these plans for Martin and Diane and the ranges that are currently available or due shortly. Whilst Kevin is busy adding new figures and accessories to the current ranges. His latest work has just been sent off for moulds to be made.

Yes he has added a driver and shotgun carrying co driver and a set of luggage to the current stage coach, in addition to this a new team of horses has been created specifically for you to be able to add more variety.
While I am currently juggling several hats as I continue to paint new animals for the miniature range displays, assembling the various carts and wagons ready for a lick of paint. I too am sculpting some nice new additions to the ranges, the cobbled bases have been a success especially as they are less than half the price of the Westwind versions. One of the projects we discussed in some detail earlier this year was adding road sections to the range in keeping with the bases. So I will give you a small heads up here as  to what will be coming soon.

The first section of the next release is under construction, a standard 28mm scale straight section, that will be approx 100mm wide and 150mm long. This is just the start of the range and junctions and curved sections will be added to this in the future.

That is all for this weeks edition good readers.


15 June 2014

Weekly round up 15/06/2014 - Taking stock of the situation and sorting things out properly

One of the failings I have is a rather obsessive compulsion when it comes to my paints. I like them all in neat little rows grouped together and colour coded or at least grouped similarly. However I have a vast amount of paints from many manufacturers, I have far more Vallejo paints though as I love the dropper bottle and working from a wet palette these are perfect. However most are in drawers as I don't have racks for them. I have also become somewhat disenchanted with a fair few of the Foundry Triads, some of them are so far apart on the colour spectrum to be useless together and some are so closely matched there is no discernible difference between the three shades, some have two that work well and the final shade does not and similarly with the coat D'arms triads. All these factors I have been thinking about over the last week and how would I resolve the issues.

First thing was to sort the racks out a bit more and take a full inventory of my paints. I then decided that as I work with Vallejo in the main part I would take on the task of colour matching my existing eclectic assortment of paints to the colour chart. So with equivalent charts and Google I sorted the colours and matched them to the Model colour chart. Once I had compiled all this I was quite pleased with the wide range I already had and I made a conscious decision to fill in the gaps as the months progress. One of the main factors in this came after I sent two of the flip pots flying again this week, resulting in major clean ups of work area and a lot of wasted paint, I am also getting more annoyed that all the lids break off as well.

Over the years I have always kept a note book of colour combinations that I have used for many different uniforms and projects, but because they are not always to hand or I have to go searching for them I thought I should tackle that issue as well. Then to make things even simpler make triad colour charts from the Vallejo model colour ranges that I use and have to hand. I can always expand them as I add more colours to my range. Eventually I will replace all the flip top pots and only use dropper bottles which for me will be a lot less hassle.

So I have made a start on the combinations of colours I use and have made a printable sheet that I can put the relevant information onto and paint a swatch of the actual colours as well. When I make triads I also think about the ability to blend more if I wish to make the steps between more gradual so in fact by mixing between the relevant shadow and mid tone and mid tone and high light I can turn it into a 5 colour combination if the situation requires it. I shall be working them in colour groups over the next few weeks this is going to be a fairly comprehensive list once completed. I will of course publish the colours I use and the finished sheets on here in the future for reference. From the picture above you can see I am currently working on Reds and Oranges all these sheets will eventually be stored safely in document wallets and placed in a ring binder that I can pull out to refer to when needed.

In other news I am still cleaning the Baker company figures, glad I never purchased these atrocities!!! On the painting front I have several units almost completed for the AWI project that should make an appearance on here next week. As will a battle report of the Viking vs Saxons Hail Caesar game played last week. I was at Phalanx show all day yesterday working away as usual, although I did stock up on another 10 paints and got handed a can of varnish to trial and report back on more on that in another post.

Now for anyone worrying about blog prizes not having arrived please dont I have them all here on the list of jobs to do this week. The same applies to those who have emailed in the last week that did not have an urgent enquiry. I now have a break for a few weeks from the frantic show circuit that sees me rushing from one deadline to the next without time to do anything else. I also should return to a more balanced schedule of posts as a result, at least until August when I start off again.

Well good people that's me done for the round up this week.


11 June 2014

Warbases Wednesday #15 - The New Scenic resin bases and how to paint them

The new range of Scenic resin bases and accessories has arrived at Warbases, the range is currently not extensive but will grow over the coming year.

Some of you will be aware that I have sculpted these additions to this range, there are now cobbled road and granite sett bases available in two sizes designed to be used with the range of carts and wagons. They come in 100mm x 50mm and 120mm x 50mm versions at the very reasonable price of £2.40 and £2.60 respectively.

So I thought I would give you a heads up on how easy these are to paint and finish from scratch. One of the major considerations I gave when sculpting these was the ability for anyone to finish them and get results similar to what I produced with the Hansom cab display above, so I spent extra time and gave a good degree of relief around the individual stones to make the finishing a lot easier.

I will begin with standard grey coloured granite setts. The example above is a very light granite but serves it purpose for the tutorial, just remember that you can go darker than this example.

I started with a good solid Black undercoat.
 Then Started by drybrushing the first dark grey shade quite heavily to get a good patchy coverage
 Gradually adding lighter greys into the drybrushing and becoming more random the lighter you go
 Again more of the same shade worked over in a random pattern to lighten areas unevenly
 Finally a very light dry brush in one direction of a very light grey to give some edge definition.
 The finished Article sealed with Matt Varnish.
This finish takes very little time to achieve due to the definition on the base to begin with.

Ok so now you want to be a little different and do your setts in a different colour in this case browns and reds, well thats no problem either. You can use exactly the same technique as I will demonstrate next for stone cobbles.

Again we start with our black undercoat but this time the first step is to give a wash of bleached bone diluted 75/25 paint to water and apply over the entire base.
 Your base should end up like this below, just ensure you have good coverage in the crevices.
 Begin by picking out random stones in any brown colour
 Keep adding extra tones alternately and completely randomly all over the base
 Add some lighter browns and beige to the base to pick out odd bits.
 You can leave a few just covered in the basic wash, just keep adding till you are happy with the randomness once happy leave to dry off for at least 20 minutes.
 The next step is to apply a wash of sepia shade diluted 50/50 with water over the entire base
 The base completely covered in the diluted wash, just leave it to dry.
Once dry give it a Matt Varnish and you end up with something like this.
you see how the wash has blended the many tones together and stained the gaps quite nicely.

The process for the Setts is exactly the same just using a different colour palette and you will achieve this look

Now for our final piece of stone work I will look at flint type cobbles

As you can see there is a range of colours from dark grey to off white and they look kind off powder dry.

We begin this exactly as we would for our brown cobbles with a wash of bleached bone.
 Once the wash is dry it already has an appearence close to that which we want as a final look.
 But we can improve this by adding a few light drybrushings of lighter greys over the raised surfaces
You can either stop at this point and varnish or for a different look break out the sepia wash and Varnish once that has dried and you get this finish.
Well good readers that is all I have for this weeks edition I hope some of the above information will prove useful in the future to you all should you purchase these great bases or have something similar to complete.

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