Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Crate Expectations

Y'know, sometimes I wonder if I'm posting stuff just as an excuse to make mild puns out of the title...

Ahem, enough introspection. I've painted the last bits from my order from Fenris Games, namely these crates and/or wooden boxes. I haven't based these or glued any together, so that they can be used for scatter, barricades or whatever.

They're very nice pieces of resin, and the woodwork really shows through my indifferent painting (as usual I'm not 100% happy with how these came out, and they look better in these photos than they do in real life).

The eagle eyed among you may have spotted a British police box lurking among the trees in my last post - another bit from my Fenris stuff (the decals were found on the net and printed onto a label by the way).

Speaking of police boxes, I had a cracking time at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff the other day - well worth a visit!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Fake Plastic Trees

No, I’m not starting a Stereophonics tribute act.

As mentioned in a previous post, my modest collection of scenery was terribly lacking in trees. Luckily ‘Eric the Shed’ had blogged about a very nice orchard he had produced using some cheap trees from an eBay seller in China.

I thought I’d give them a try and ordered some packs, which duly arrived a couple of months ago after a very short wait.

Finally getting around to taking them out of their Jiffy bag the other day, my first impression was that, while they looked very nice, the foliage seems to be falling off quite readily. Cue several coats of hairspray to firm things up a bit.

I decided on the whole to base them individually and, after using up my small supply of mini CDs and coasters, helped Giles to bulk up an order he was making with some round 80mm plastic bases from Hurlbat.

Basing the trees was easy. The trunks are soft plastic, and the bottoms were easily flattened, before drilling a small hole into each one. I then glued a drawing pin onto each base and, once set, dripped a little glue on the pins and poked them up the bottom of the trunks (oo-er). The trunks were then washed with shade.

This contrivance was then covered/strengthened with putty and the base painted, covered with scatter and liberally hairsprayed. I also glued on the odd bush, pile of boulders (dried offcuts of putty) or larger stone slab (drybrushed bark chips).

While not massive, the trees scale up rather well with 28mm figures and so my need for woodland is sated!

Ooh, I've just noticed that this is my 200th post on this blog - go me!

“When we looked back again, that dark thing was not to be seen…”

An ancient and jagged stone stands deep in an old English wood. Steeped in legend and dark warnings, the place is shunned by all right-thinking locals, for it is said to be haunted…

Just who is the mysterious figure lurking on the periphery? Has Canon Albrecht returned to reclaim his scrapbook? Do the remains of Abbot Thomas still guard his treasure? Has Professor Parkins blown that whistle again?

Recently I’ve been re-reading the works of one of my favourite authors, M.R. James – in my opinion Britain’s foremost writer of ghost stories.

This set me in the mood to do something different, and so taking a break from my terrain-fest, I dug out a figure from Blind Beggar Miniatures’ Dark Clergy set – kindly sent to me as a freebie (thanks Mason!)

The trees you will read about in my next post, the standing stone is a piece of bark, the boulders just bits of left-over putty and the figure a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave (or possibly some silly blighter poncing around in a bed-sheet.)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Hedging My Bets

With the next Big Game looming ever closer, I needed to crack on with some more hedges, as despite Giles' prodigious output and willingness to part with ready cash (unlike stingy old me), we never seem to have enough hedging to dress the three huge tables that we require to accommodate so many players.

Although nowhere near as good a scenery guy as Giles (or for that matter Roo - he of the enormous hill), I thought I'd do my bit. Being not particularly happy with my last lot of hedges, I thought I'd experiment with a few different techniques. Off to my local supermarket then, to purchase some packs of suitably green scouring pads!

The first and most time-consuming method was to roughly tear some of the pads into strips, some wider than the others. These strips were then scoured, pinched and generally distressed, and then a narrow strip was stuck on either side of a wider one.

Once dried these were roughed up a bit more, drybrushed along the bottom with brown paint and then stuck to bases. A scattering of greenery and a coat or two of hairspray finished the job.

Not bad, but a messy, frustrating (I had to hold some of the strips in place with double-sided carpet tape while I glued) and drawn-out process which put quite a strain on my supply of scouring pads.

Wanting something quicker and more painless, I decided to cut the rest of the pads into strips of roughly similar width, drybrush them (brown at the bottom, light green and a smattering of yellow along the top) and simply glue them singly onto bases, thus representing a more trimmed garden hedge as opposed to the thick, unkempt specimens above.

Once again a scattering of basing greenery was applied and the whole lot given a voluminous, long lasting hold with the hairspray.

I was now left with some offcuts of plasticard, and these were pressed into service by simply sticking on bits of modelling foliage (a bag of which had kindly been donated by Giles a while back). Flock and spray as standard, then serve on the tabletop to admiring guests.

None of these will win any awards, but they'll at least help to alleviate the great hedge shortage and keep me stocked up with scenery.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Going to the Wall

Last year I treated myself to some goodies from Fenris Games, including a rather nice drystone wall set, which recently found itself at the head of the painting queue.

Well, I say painting...

The pieces came in a greenish-grey colour, which I thought looked quite stony, so I simply applied a shade over the bare resin, and then drybrushed on various greys, browns and greens to weather them. I then lightly drybrushed the more prominent edges with white.

Then they were glued to some bases and had a little greenery scatter stuck on, and there you have it - bish bash bosh! (Much better than my own scratchbuilt ones).

Hopefully they will provide someone with some vital cover during the next Big Game (March 14th), which is being planned at the moment...

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Pining For Something

Ah January... That magical time of year when Wargamers of all ages take to the supermarkets, garden centres and sundry shops in search of half price Christmas decorations that they can turn to their own nefarious purpose.

Whilst running a few errands I spotted some packs of snowy pine trees going cheap at my local Wyevale and, as my motley collection of scenery is currently lacking in things arboreal, decided to buy a few.

Luckily I have a can of green spray paint courtesy of B&Q, so applied a couple of strafing runs over my new pine forest to reduce the wintery coating.

The trees are on lumpy plastic bases, which can be easily removed. However, seeing as I'm running low on plasticard (and what I do have I want to keep for making more hedges), I decided to keep them on and coat them in basing greenery scatter. The bases are reasonably heavy, and the trees quite light, so hopefully they'll stay standing on the tabletop.

Not a bad investment!