Saturday, December 26, 2015

River ford

Another Christmas Day has come and gone. I hope everyone had a good time and got lots of nice gaming stuff. Boxing Day saw me noodling with a ford for the river sections.

As usual I began with a piece of clear acrylic. It's wider than a standard river section and I cut the corners off to meet the straight pieces, since I want to make it appear as a broader and shallower area of river where a ford might be found. The width would allow for slopes down from the road to the ford. (The trio of carol singers in the background are an ornament based on the gargoyles from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame movie. One of them lost a hand, which I glued back. I've spent a lot of time repairing small breakages in ornaments this year for some reason.)

For the next stage I glued strips of wood to stiffen the plastic and raise the level of the banks-to-be. I used ordinary epoxy adhesive for this, a dab of which went to fix the ornament's fist. The stretch of shallows that will mark the ford is sand sprinkled on Aleene's tacky glue mixed with a little water and spread over the plastic. Ordinarily this wouldn't stick to the plastic that well, but it's easy to work with and in this case it'll be sealed beneath the layer of Envirotex Lite varnish.

Next up, I applied spackle to the banks and spread it out and down to form the slopes to the fordable area.

A bit of ordinary acrylic craft paint for grass and mud. I usually do this painting stage after sealing the banks with Pledge mixed with a little brown paint, but since the fordable stretch would go under the varnish, I needed to do this now.

Final stage - the Envirotex Lite is poured on then spread to cover the river and fordable stretch. It's still wet right now, and the ford is more visible than the photo suggests. Once everything's dry, I'll remove the strips of tape from the ends and the ford'll be open for business.

This is really intended for 10mm figures, but will work just as well for larger scales. Next up I'll work on an N-scale bridge. I was thinking of making one that would fit on any stretch of river, but on further thought I'll make one with its own length of river. It'll look better that way. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I'm off to make lunch then it'll be on to a spot of Christmas baking. A Merry Christmas to one and all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

River sections - third stage

With Christmas Day fast approaching I put on a spurt of modelling activity and finished the third stage of the river sections today. The last coat of Envirotex Lite varnish has been poured and the sections put aside to set.

Once all is dry it's on to the fourth and last stage - painting and flocking the banks. I plan to make a fordable section and a bridge, something like Hays Bridge in north Oxfordshire, which featured in the Battle of Cropredy Bridge.

There are still plenty of bridges like it still in service in the UK, so it'll do just fine for AVBCW too. I also have a couple of large-ish sheets of clear acrylic, which will make good ponds or small lakes, depending on scale.

At the moment I'm thinking it's high time I got a game or two on over the holiday week. The Barsetshire Regiment is still making its way through G'Wandaland, and I have the penultimate battle - probably - of the VBCW campaignette to CoC rules. We'll see what I can fit in, between baking Christmas goodies. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bolle's Royalist Regiment of Foot

Another weekend, and another regiment added to the ECW collection. This is the Royalist Bolle's Regiment.

I arranged them with the same frontage as my Parliamentary foot, but with fewer numbers to reflect the poor recruiting and equipage of the Royalists in the earlier war. Since I've been painting and basing figures in singles and pairs for some time for the VBCW collection, I'd forgotten what a pain in the fundament basing close-order figures is!

Currently, I have Royalist cavalry on the painting block. A look over the remaining ECW lead pile shows a typical problem with buying multi-figure packs: I don't have enough of some infantry figure poses, and a few too many others. There are enough for another regiment of Royalist foot, but not enough for another Parliamentary regiment. I think I'll need as many packs again to make up a reasonable size force. Ho hum.

Progress with the river sections is slow but steady. I hope to finish them before the month is out. I'm impressed with the Envirotex Lite. It's relatively easy to work with, and the drying time isn't too long. The pack I have is a few years old, and it sat unused in storage in a freezing-cold garage for months, yet it's still perfectly fine. It's a bit expensive, but I think it's worth it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Edward Montagu's Regiment of Foot

The first of my ECW regiments is now based and finished - Edward Montagu's Regiment of Foot for the Eastern Association Army of Parliament.

Some of my new thistle teasel trees stand in the background.

In spite of my best efforts I've had a spot of trouble with the card bases warping, so I'll revert to using plastic card in future.

The next unit is on the painting block in the shape of the Royalist Bolle's (later Sir George Lisle's) Regiment of Foot. Described as having the blue uniforms typical of the King's Oxford army, it's a moot point as to which shade of blue they wore. Their modern Sealed Knot descendants wear slate-blue, so I'm going with that and slightly lighter blue breeches and montero hats for contrast.

A nice find came my way yesterday at our local Habitat for Humanity store in the shape of three two-inch-thick slabs of pink insulation foam. They cost me a buck, and the money goes to a good cause.

Most if not all of this stuff will go to making rugged upland terrain for my Colonial/VSF gaming. I've got some scraps of wood and bark which will do nicely for rocks and rocky outcrops to break up the regular outline of the slabs. For a look at what a master can do with such items, check out The Mad Guru's Maiwand Day blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

River sections - Envirotex Lite

Okay, so... The experiment with Envirotex Lite was a qualified success. It took around four hours to cure in a rather cold man cave, and there were issues with the masking tape used to seal the ends. Even so, the result isn't too bad.

I put a drop each of yellow and blue acrylic ink into the mix whilst stirring. It did look too green at first, but I think it's about the right hue now, especially with the colours of the green or beige cloth underneath. About an hour before it cured altogether I managed to create a few streaks in the varnish to give the impression of flowing water. The darker green patches are where the masking tape acted more like a full-on dam than a restraint. I think using a little less varnish in the next pours should do the trick.

I'm going to experiment with Pledge varnish with green ink next to see if that will give a comparable result. If so, I'll probably go with that method since it'll be easier, cheaper and far less messy.

Friday, December 4, 2015

River sections - work in progress

Yesterday turned into a real cluster-wotsit, with us having to report a raft of nuisance phone calls that have increased in frequency over the past month. All have been from credit and debt-collection agencies seeking the person who had our phone number previous to us. One call late Wednesday night claiming to be from the local police was the last straw. Since the number is one we use for business it'll be too inconvenient to change it. Hopefully the steps we took with various authorities including the FCC will knock those nuisance calls on the head.

It did mean my planned day of work on my next novel went out the window, but instead I managed to do the base-work for Montagu's Regiment of Foot and make a lot of progress with the river sections I've had under way for a couple of months.

I painted the bare wood showing on the inner side of the banks with a mix of brown craft paint and Pledge floor polish. Hopefully this'll seal the banks so the next step, an application of Envirotex Lite epoxy varnish won't leak out. It also gives the effect of shallowing water near the banks. The ends of each section will be sealed with masking tape while I pour the varnish. Check out the videos by maestro Bruce Hirst - they have lots of great tips which are useful for anyone making terrain, including uses for Envirotex Lite.

At the moment I'm thinking of dying the varnish with green acrylic ink and making the layers fairly thin, streaking it with a cocktail stick while it dries so it'll give the impression of flowing water. All being well, I'll finish these over the weekend, then crack on with painting the first Royalist regiment of foot.Watch this space...


home page uniques