Friday, November 26, 2010

A little late, but -

A Happy Thanksgiving to all.
On the modelling front, I'm hoping to start work on a steamboat or two, plus I have a project in mind for an aerial gunboat, in the shape of the Aphid-class from Space: 1889. Gaming-wise, I may even be able to clear my table of clutter and try out the Sharp Practice rules, recently purchased from those fine chaps at Too Fat Lardies.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Whispering grass

Fall being upon us with a vengeance, I'm turning the season to advantage by using some of Nature's bounty. I decided to experiment with making a batch of elephant grass to fill up the terrain for Africa Station. The strands of grass are the tough needles from a species of pine that grows around here. As the season advances these can be gathered up by the bushel.

A clump of the grass, with some new bases to the fore awaiting spackling.

These hunters are wary as they approach the dense cover.

The foliage is treated to a long soak in Pledge/Future/Klear polish and allowed to dry. It's then stuck to card bases using a hot glue gun, before the bases are covered with thinned down spackle with a bit of PVA mixed in. I'd prefer to use something like 1/8th inch MDF or mounting board, but this is by way of a trial run. While the mix is wet, I scatter sand over the lot and leave to stand. Once all is dry, I use a plant mister to spray the lot with thinned PVA containing some yellow acrylic paint mixed into the water to get that dry look. This helps fix the sand scatter in place and further toughens the needles.

It's surprising how few of these stands are needed to block lines of sight on the table and break up the emptiness in general.

Those green plants beyond the hunters are from a plastic plant found in dollar stores. As interior decor they're pretty naff, but pull the separate plastic stems from the main trunk and you get a nice bunch of usable foliage. I follow the same method for the grass by fixing them to the bases using hot glue before layering on the spackle and so on.

The lone tree in the middle is another experiment, this time using a suitable shaped twig and some medium green Woodland Scenics tree material. I found the stuff to be crumbly and difficult to work with, so resorted to using a rough oval section of mesh cut from a used fabric softener sheet used in tumble dryers. Attaching the mesh to the top using hot glue, I covered it with thinned PVA and applied the tree material a bit at a time. It took a while to do and was rather fiddly. Eventually I got a reasonable result, but I'm not sure I want to try making many more like it.
I see from the counter that the number of visits to this blog has reached over 2,500. My thanks to all who stop by, and I hope you find something useful here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Marching in, travel-worn but alive.

A sizable percentage of my Darkest Africa collection made it across the Pond this week. These lads were well-packed and, apart from a few abrasions, arrived sound in wind and limb.

The Colonel looks on with interest from the veranda as the troops parade.

The exception - and Murphy's Law says there has to be one - is the African warriors. Barely one shield and spear in two survived still attached to its bearer (the picture below shows the sorry pile alongside the tribesmen) and a couple of bases were broken. Easily fixed.

Azande tribal warriors to the fore, German Seebattalion to rear left and Stalwart British Tommies to rear right. Colonial house and terrain scratch-built - and not entirely finished.

Okay, I hold up my hand and say I used cyanoacrylic/ superglue for the sake of quickness, but I'm loathe to spend too much of my time holding a shield and spear together until the glue decides to set. Superglue has its uses, but doesn't make for a strong bond. I am open to an alternative, and hear good things about epoxy adhesives. Would anyone care to give a recommendation?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our new video catalog!

Hey! We just made our first video catalog! Check it out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The village

After the successful trial of the new thatching method used on the colonial house I decided to try it out on the African huts. I think the result is worthwhile.

Chief Bubbalazi & Entourage

An overview of the village

A wash of Vallejo sepia ink is applied to the thatch once the basic yellowish paint job is dry. I borrowed a technique from model railroad builders and diluted the ink in alcohol - the rubbing variety found in dollar stores, that is. Use a ratio of around 30 drops alcohol to one of ink. It gives an even coat and the alcohol evaporates completely leaving no residue but the ink. A word of advice - work in a ventilated area and leave no naked flames or other sources of combustion around when doing this!

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