Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Dolmen Done


Work on the dolmen progressed this week, actually helped by the sweltering heat plaguing NW Ohio for the past two weeks. Paint dried quickly, glue set in record time, flock stuck first go. Marvelous!

First off, after the black undercoat had dried I painted the stones successively lighter shades of grey then applied a layer of vinyl adhesive followed up with flock.


Once the flock was stuck firmly I dripped green ink onto it using an eye-dropper, following up by wet brushing it in successively lighter shades of green. The stones also got some green ink treatment in areas which, in real life would be shaded by the rocks to represent moss.


So here it is, the Dolmen is complete and ready to take its place on the wargames table.

Romano-British war leader Gaius Menusius and his entourage contemplate the ancient stones.

Perhaps appealing the ancestors would help rid the land of the Saxon invaders?


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Down Among the Dolmen


Dolmen are found all across Northwestern Europe. Composed of a flat slab of stone set tabletop-fashion on two or more upright stones or megaliths, they're what's left of late Mezolithic/Early Neolithic burials. Once, earth covered the stones to a considerable height to form tumuli, or burial mounds. Time, erosion and ploughing wore down the earth until the stones were exposed once more. They stand as spooky reminders of our prehistoric past.

Like the stone circle/henge I made earlier, I thought a dolmen would liven up the wargaming landscape and be suitable for any period.

First step - the base. One metal cap from an orange juice carton, glued to a roughly-cut card circle. The basic shape of the dolmen rests alongside. The capstone is a flat oval-shaped wood chip glued to three other round pieces cut to length. Top left is an isolated megalith made of another piece of wood chip glued to a fender washer.


Some flocking, again of the trusty dried tea leaves. The dolmen shows another side.


More flocking, this time after the dolmen was glued to the centre of the base using vinyl tile adhesive. I began to apply flocking to the megalith base.


The next step once the adhesive's dry will be a black undercoat.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Henge and Bracken


I finished this henge model a couple of days ago, but due to technical issues have only been able to post the results now. So, with the vegetation in place, here it is...


The vegetation is made up of pieces of Spanish moss, mostly painted a dark green-brown, along with a couple of clumps of foam and coffee grounds painted a lighter green and dotted with magenta to represent flowering bushes. A little wet brush stipple work created the dandelion patches.

As Fitz-Badger commented, you have to get the scale right. This model works for 10mm and 15mm figures. Anything larger would find it a bit of a squeeze.


Hadafix the Druid gets down and funky in a private ceremony accompanied by his pet adder, Abernathy, a monstrous snake with a sweet disposition.


Watched admiringly by his wife, Sharon, Hadafix's descendant Father Unctuus blesses the pagan sacrificial stone to remove all that primitive ancestral magic rubbish.

Next up will be another scenery project from the Neolithic Era. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Flocking on the Henge


More progress on the henge terrain piece...

I currently use a carpet and sheet vinyl adhesive to fix flock to models. PVA would work just as well, but since the adhesive's a leftover pot from another job it's what I'm using. I began at the middle of the terrain piece around the sacrificial slab and spread the gunk outwards using a coffee stirrer, making sure the stuff lapped up to the base of the stones and not on to them.


Once the whole base was covered I gave it a good deep dosing of dried used tea leaves. The adhesive is really tacky, but it pays to press the flocking/tea leaves gently down into it to ensure it all sticks. I left it overnight then shook off the excess material. Here's what it looked like at this stage. The tea leaf brown will add depth and the impression of soil beneath the grass. 


The next step is to get some greenery down.


A light wet brush of 'parakeet green' applied whilst the flock is still damp picks out the grass.


The next step will be to apply a little dark green to the stones and dot some larger vegetation about.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I see a Wood Henge and I wanna paint it...


...grey.

(With apologies to the Rolling Stones)

The undercoat is all dry, so now it's on to the next stage - dry brushing in successively lighter shades of grey.




I'm concentrating on the 'stones' since the ground around them will be covered by flock. You can see how the brushwork brings out the grain in the wood, making it look like weathered stone. I think at this point I'll stop dry brushing since the stones are light enough. The next step will be the ground work, specifically the grass and vegetation growing up in and around the stones.I'll probably add splotches of green in various shades to the stones to represent lichen, moss, etc.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Zen and the Art of Henge Building


One thing I discovered from my terrain making projects for the tabletop is how wood chip looks very much like stone in the smaller scales. My wife and I recently had a ton of wood chip delivered to use in our garden, so I selected a few likely small pieces from the heap for my next modelling project - a henge for the Dux Britanniarum tabletop.

Henges date from the Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, and are dotted throughout the British Isles. Technically from the archaeological point of view a henge is a space located within a ditch which is itself enclosed by an earthen bank. Stone circles - even mighty Stonehenge - are a different beast, but the term has stuck, so...

As a gaming terrain piece they can therefore appear on any tabletop battlefield set in Britain during any era from the Neolithic on. My aim is to make a small-ish site like those of Arbor Low Henge in Derbyshire or Scorhill on Dartmoor in Devon. I'm in two minds whether to make the outer ditch and bank as the piece will then have a larger footprint on the tabletop. We'll see.

I started with this handful of suspicious-looking brown objects...


Using a mitre box and razor saw I cut them in half, before making the base for the henge. The core of the base is an old CD which I sandwiched between two layers of cereal card, bending the card down around the edges to make a low mound. The cut pieces of wood stand in the background.


Once the card was glued tight on the CD I arranged the wood pieces in a suitable henge configuration and fixed them in place. I decided not to make any trilithon ('table') pieces for the sake of simplicity and robustness. They tend not to feature in the smaller henge sites anyway. The shadows the pieces cast already make them look like the upright stones and sacrificial slab of a small stone henge. I'm on the right track...


The next step was to spread a little spackle around the base and 'stones,' leaving some patches bare. These will be areas of lower ground within the circle when the top layer is done.


Suitably spackled, the piece awaits the undercoat. More to follow...

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Kaiser class completed


Finally, the quintet of Kaiser class battleships is complete. The last wash is on, the wakes are done, and the name tags are in place.

Wakes and washes done.


From left to right, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Friedrich III, Kaiser Karl der Grosse, Kaiser Barbarossa.


Bringing up the rear, the three merchantmen. I deliberately left them unnamed so they can work for all nationalities.

I'm generally pleased with the way these turned out. Technically the Kaisers are a little higher out the water than they would've been in their heyday. Ironically from 1906 onwards - the period I'm gaming - the class underwent an extensive refit which saw the removal of a number of secondary weapons, a great deal of superstructure, and the replacement of the distinctive tubular masts with more conventional pole masts. The reduction in weight left them riding higher in the water, resulting in their armoured belt being too high to be effective. The class was then relegated to second line use then barracks or training ships during WW1 before being scrapped. I'm hoping they'll see plenty of action in this incarnation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Kaiser-class: Battleship row


For one reason and another I haven't had much time to spare lately, but I did get some paint on the new 1/2400 Kaiser-class pre-Dreadnoughts and the trio of merchant ships.

Five little battleships, all in a row. The orange object in the background is part of an upcoming project.

It doesn't show so much in the light, but the battleships have had a wash of black paint. Next step will be to put them on transparent bases and add name tags. After that they'll join the fleet.

The merchant ships will follow. Why do civilian trading vessels have such boring hull colours? It's probably due to costs, but they do look drab. I'll see what I can do with funnel colours, and maybe a cheeky band of bright colour around their scuppers.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Kaisers ~ getting there


Here's a photo showing a little more progress I've made on the five Kaiser-class German pre-Dreadnought battleships. I almost forgot the distinctive boat cranes these vessels had, but a few snipped-down staples and Superglue did the trick. A good coat of black on the battleships and the three generic merchantmen followed. Now they all await the next stage of painting.


Once these are off to join the fleet, I'll make four British armoured cruisers, and probably a few more British battleships - possibly the three Irresistable-class - to maintain the Royal Navy's numerical superiority.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Kaiser-class progress.


For some technical reason a photo I took of work-in-progress on these 1/2400 battleship models vanished into the ether, never to return. I uploaded another and it seems to have stayed around. Things have moved on a bit since this was taken. Apart from a bit of fiddly work to the foremasts construction is finished and it'll be on to the paintwork.


 

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