Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Happy New Year!

I hope 2021 is going to be better than this one now heading out the door with the collective boot-prints of humanity on its backside!

It was a less than stellar year for my corner of the hobby. I did get some games in, but far fewer than I hoped. I made a few models, which is all to the good. I even got into a new period - the First Barons War of 1215-17 - for which I'll use Lion Rampant rules. A recent buy of Medieval Warfare Vol VIII 2 on the war, and WSS 13 on the Crusades will help research. 

Plans for next year... Develop the Lion Rampant retinues, and get some games in. Revisit the Dux Britanniarum campaign, and develop the Pre-Dreadnought set-up for a solo campaign. Nothing too ambitious, and within my current resources. So, as the final hours of this dreadful year tick away, I wish you all a much better, peaceful and prosperous 2021.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Shake shake shake that... bottle.

I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas? My wife and I spent it at home since the weather turned too nasty to venture out. I did make some progress on the First Barons War Lion Rampant collection. Here's the mounted men-at-arms of the Earl of Norfolk's retinue under way. A huddle of archers stand behind them, and foot men-at-arms stand to the right.

There's not a great deal to do on these now. The Lion Rampant rules are geared to units of six or twelve figures, with four or five units to a retinue. I find dealing with small batches of smaller scale figures is about all I can cope with lately. Such feelings seem to be common in our hobby these Covid-ridden days. 

One issue I did solve quite handily and that's the problem of settled paints. I rigged up a contraption to adapt my electric saw for the job. The components are three screws, a washer, a section of plywood, a dowel, a large pill bottle with child-proof cap, and the handyman's secret weapon - duct tape! Legal caveat - Don't try this at home!

The paint pot is slipped inside the pill bottle and the cap secured. A ten second burst of this device mixes the most settled of paints. I need a lot of yellow and red for the Earl's retinue colours, and they're always the most difficult pigments to keep mixed well. Even yellow had to give way to this. It'll do away with having to pitch paint pots because they're solidified.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Merry Christmas!


I'm taking a break over the next day or so to enjoy the holiday with my loved ones. I'll probably slip in a painting session on my 15mm medieval figures now and then. Next post should be the unveiling of my useful, effective (and possibly dangerous) method of mixing model paints. So, to all my readers and followers, have a Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas Shiny Metal

My box of shiny medieval heavy metal arrived from Noble Knight Games yesterday. The company mailed it within 24 hours of ordering. It then took nineteen days from the order being mailed to its delivery. I do NOT blame the USPS one bit for the delay. It has to deal with staff going sick and even dying of Covid-19, political shenanigans, and a marked increase in holiday mailing as people reach out to family and friends on a more personal level in these troubling times. The PO does well to get mail through. Kudos to them.

Anyway, now I have my camera back, here are a couple of photos. First shows Essex Miniatures crossbowmen on the left, Blue Moon (Old Glory) mounted serjeants on the right.

And unpacked.

The mounted figures come in three pieces - horse and bottom part of rider, top half of rider, and kite shield. The hand is open to take a weapon, which I'm pleased about because it'll allow me to fit wire lances. The crossbowmen have separate weapons.

Size-wise they're a little larger than Minifigs so really not compatible, but the serjeants will be in two distinct and separate units of six so it won't be a factor. As for the crossbowmen, at this stage of the game I've had enough trouble with this project so I choose to mix 'em up and ignore the difference. 

Next up will be to clean what little flash and mold lines there are then plunge them into a detergent wash for a day or so. 

One small nuisance is the fact my paints have settled out over time due to little use. I'm working on a gadget to shake the bottles up without incurring repetitive strain injury, so watch this space - providing it works.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Gettin' into the painting groove

A dull and snowy day here. The galleys for my next book are about done. The cover artist is busily at work, so I decided to take time off to slap some pigment on the 15mm medieval figures so recently stripped of their old paint. What a chore! The Simple Green worked in the end, but I found the figures have to still be wet from their immersion for the old paint to come away under the scrubbing of an old toothbrush. If they dry up even a little the softening effect of the chemical wears off. I really don't think I shall bother doing anything of the kind again. No photos I'm afraid, as I don't have anything to take them with at the moment.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Once more unto the bleach...

Thanks for all the comments on the attempt to strip paint off the old figures, and suggestions for alternatives. I appreciate them. 

A closer examination of the figures once they'd dried off revealed the Simple Green had some effect on the old paint. It took most of the shine off the awful gloss the previous owner had used, and in some places the bare metal showed through. So, after a bit of thought I decided to pitch the lot back into another batch of the green stuff for another 48-72 hours to see what would happen. Watch this space...

Monday, December 7, 2020

A disappointing result

The experiment of using Simple Green as a paint stripper failed. Although the container has a healthy number of warning labels to the effect that it's corrosive, etc. etc, it hasn't done a thing to remove the ancient enamel paint on the figures after 72 hours soaking. Even a more recent attempt at painting over the figures with modern acrylics was left untouched.

Not a pretty sight.

At this stage of the proceedings I'm inclined to give up the whole paint removal idea as a bad job and simply move on to painting over the existing paint. The figures are back in water to remove the last traces of Simple Green. Once that's done they'll get dried off and onto the painting block.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Acting on an Anonymous tip-off...

It makes me sound like the late Shaw 'Keep 'em peeled' Taylor of Police 5 fame, but no. My previous post on stripping old paint off figures drew an excellent suggestion that I use Simple Green instead of isopropyl alcohol for the purpose as it's much more effective, so I toddled forth yesterday to buy some. 

The 15mm First Barons War figures are now in a pot full of Simple Green to soak for 24 hours. In the meantime according to the tracking number my order for crossbowmen and mounted serjeants was mailed by Noble Knight Games in excellent time, but has languished at a sorting office in Madison, WI for the past four days. Presumably this has something to do with Covid handling practices. It's a bit frustrating, but I'll use the waiting time to get on with the stuff I already have.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Ramping up for Rampant.

So, I got hold of the rules for Lion Rampant - good start. Now I can see what's required, and the answer is = not much beyond what I already have - also good. I placed an order for some crossbowmen and mounted serjeants (correct spelling) to round out the retinues and give a more flexible choice of troop types. My Dux Brit forces can double up where necessary, particularly the civilian figures, and there's not that much difference between a a Romano-British hovel and a later medieval one, so my Dux Brit scenery will be useful too.

At the moment I'm waiting until we have enough items to get from the shops before buying a bottle of isopropyl alcohol to strip the old paint from most of the figures. In these mad, bad Covid times it pays not to expose yourself unduly to infection.


home page uniques