Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Big Rubble in Little China!

Some of my readers may remember that I have more than a passing interest in the Pulp genre.
I recently purchased the Pulp Alley Rule Book and Fortune and Solo Card Decks.
Now that I had the mechanism and the tools to play Pulp Alley Solo I needed a surface upon which to play on.

I came across these pop out foam core buildings on the internet recently.
They are made in China by a company called Cubic Fun.
The range is not limited to Asian style buildings.   They have Italian, Wild West and English amongst others.   I selected the Chinese style as I could use them not only for Pulp Alley but also if I ever stage a Boxer Rebellion game.

 They consist of 4 double sided sheets of pre-printed, pre-punched foam core.   Just pop out and assemble.
The only draw back is they are scaled to be about suitable for 28mm figures.
To get around this I scanned the 4 sheets, front and back for a total of 8 sheets per building and then resized them to twice their size. 
These were then taken to our local Stationery Supply outlet and printed up on A3 size paper.

The following are notes I prepared whilst making up the first of the buildings.
Note some of the photos are of different buildings.

1.       I used three types of board, 5mm foam core, picture framing board(PFB) and a slightly thinner cardstock (STC).   The picture framing board can be picked up (usually cheaply) at picture framers.    They often have a bin of offcuts.

2.       Glues - I used Selleys Kwik Grip Contact adhesive spray for large flat surfaces i.e. walls/ rooves etc.    Elmers GlueAll thinly brushed on for the smaller pieces.   The Elmers does not seem to wrinkle the paper such as PVA woodworking glue does.

3.       Paints – For touch-ups I used Vallejo Goblin Green, Dk Prussian Blue and Neutral Grey.   I also used Sharpies and Whiteboard Markers to colour exposed card edges.

4.       I started on the 4 main walls first.   You’ll note that there are black numbered pieces and blue numbered pieces.   Cut out the black numbers first and glue to foamcore.   These are the outer surfaces.    I did not bother with a lot of the tabs as I used butt joints.   Make sure you measure twice and then cut once.  

There was a slight problem with the building being square if the front wall was not trimmed down.   Refer to the instruction manually constantly.   Measure, measure, measure!

5. It’s a good idea to keep the offcuts with for trimming/concealing etc.   Failing that, I just printed up sections of the resized scan using Irfan View to crop and print original (size from DPI).   I used this technique to cover exposed foam core edges/blank brickwork etc.

6.   I made up a number of the small sub assemblies first so I could get a feel for the medium and perfect my techniques and methods.

7. I trimmed off the tabs as I wasn't going to use them.   Exposed edges of the foam core were covered with either leftover printed sheet or thins strips of card later painted to match.

8. When cutting rooves etc.,  I made the blue numbered piece the “Master” and trimmed that to final size and glued it to the cardstock.   I then cut the black numbered piece to its coloured extremity.   This allowed an overlap so when glued to the rear of the blue numbered piece I could fold over the edges thus covering the exposed edges.

9.   The circle windows were glued to PFB and once totally dry the circle was cut out using a circle cutting compass.

10. As I mentioned before, I used three types of board.   PFB as it does not readily warp due to its laminated construction, Foam Core for parts that need strength and thickness and a STC slightly thinner than the PFB.   When laminating paper to card try to achieve three laminations.    This will reduce the chance of warping.   The STC was often glued to itself thus making 4 laminations i.e. paper/card/card/paper.   It’s just a matter of what looks correct for the situation.   You don’t want the sign hanging on the side of the building to be made with foam core!

Whatever you use make sure your hobby knife is really sharp and the glue is dry when you go to cut/trim.

11. With regard to the main roof I used PFB for the base and the front and back paper laminations.   I did however also glue some icy pole sticks across the interior of the roof as a just in case precaution against warping.

12. The interior first floor I just used a piece of PFB.   You don’t see it so I didn’t go to the trouble of laminating.

13. One thing I did notice was that the printed slots on some of the smaller pieces were not registered correctly i.e. they were off centre.   Just bear in mind when cutting out, things are not always as they should be.

14. I replaced some of the printed pieces with constructs made from icy pole and craft sticks.   Window surrounds were also enhanced with frames, surrounds etc. made from matchsticks and card pieces.

15.   After I had made the first building solid I was asked by a fellow modeller about the possibility of making them like a flat pack for easier storage. Trust Les to make life difficult for me! 

I came up with the idea of using 1 x 2 Lego pieces to make connectors.   I modified the male half by gluing two strips of 30 thou square strip to the outer edges.   The female piece was left unaltered.   The male and female pieces were then glued to their respective walls making sure they were aligned correctly.   The strips of plastic allow the building walls to still be joined quite firmly but the resulting slot allows the insertion of a screw driver blade to twist apart the pieces with minimal force.

The result of all this construction (and subsequent lack of posts the last month or so!)
is my 6' x 3' Chinatown board.   It is nowhere near finished and probably wont be for a while yet but I am very pleased with the overall effect so far.

Overall view of the table.   Second artificial turf mat to be purchased for the far end.   Blank MDF road sections will be cobblestoned.

Closeup of the completed buildings so far.   The building to the left is a scratchbuilt one and is the "The Death to Foreigners Mutual Benefit Society" meeting hall.
More to come!

Friday, 6 January 2017

It's All About that Base!

And Pulp and Palm Trees....

Firstly, A Very Happy New Year to Everyone.

Not wishing to start anything major in the lead up to Christmas,
I decided to rebase my small collection of Pulp Figures.
You may remember some of these figures from this post

The bases I used were sourced from Hasslefree Miniatures and were the 30 and 40 mm lipped.
Discs of the correct diameter were cut from 20 thou plastic sheet using a circle cutting compass.
Various textures were then applied.

I experimented with some texture paste and Glitter Snow paste to see which one would be most suitable for a snow effect.   Not surprisingly, the Glitter Snow paste won the day.   The Texture paste came up well as rough earth once painted and drybrushed.   The little dinosaur is based on the Texture Paste whilst the two Eskimos are based on the Glitter Snow.

Fine sand and Kitty Litter was used for the desert bases and and this was applied on a coating of Elmer's Glue All and once the excess was shaken off, sealed with a dilution of Elmer's, water and a drop or two of detergent applied with a dropper.   The Kitty Litter rocks and Woodland Scenics grass foam was applied with straight Elmer's and then sealed with the aforementioned dilution.

Wood planks were represented by styrene strips, suitably distressed with a razor saw and heavier wood grain inscribed with a scrawker.
The Pavement bases used styrene strip and sheet to represent the pavers and edging with fine sandpaper for the road surface.
One of the bases represents a crazy paved floor with a trapdoor set into them.   The woodwork and trapdoor was applied first to the plastic disc which was then was covered with a thin layer of Spackle (jointing compound) and once dry, the stone paving was inscribed using a re-purposed dental probe.   

I took the opportunity to make some moulds up of some of the bases and took a couple of castings.
These have been primed with grey primer.


The two female members of the Darkmore Gang, Mona Darkmore (L) and her Grandmother, Ayda Darkmore, prepare to leave their suburban hideout under the watchful eye of a Darkmore thug.
The two women are Preiser 1/32 Passengers.   Thug is an Airfix multi pose conversion.

A Work in Progress of the head of the Darkmore gang, Tommy Darkmore.   A Preiser 1/32 passenger figure with Airfix arm and Thompson MG.

Two Eskimos, tired of saving the whales (for lunch) try to catch and eat something older.
Timpo Eskimos, Schleich Mini Dinosaur.

Indy in a spot of bother again.   These ne'er-do-wells have just jumped out of the burgundy 1932 Ford coupe.

Mona Darkmore.   I used a wet palette for the first time to paint her face and whilst not perfect, I'm very happy with the result.

Just the photographic set up.

Palm Trees.

I have had this artificial fern frond for so many years now, I cannot remember from where it originated.   Anyway, it is made from a printed fabric for the blades with a plasticised wire stalk and plastic axis to support the blades.

The blades were separated from the stalk and axis'  and a small piece of florist's wire was superglued to the underside.
I also took a casting of a Preiser Palm Tree Trunk and cast a few of them.

The completed trunks with a smaller bush trunk made up from Pro Create 2 part epoxy putty.

The tops of the trunks had a number of small holes drilled in with a pin vice.   Approximately 12 to 14 holes per trunk.   The blades were then superglued to the trunks.

Now I just have to scour the shops for similar artificial fern fronds!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Orcs, Pirates, Ships and a Book!

A bit of a mixed bag this post, as I will cover a number of different items.

Firstly, a set of 10 Tehnolog Orcs.   These were a lot of fun to paint and I used the method described in this tutorial from the
 "Tale of Painters" forum, Painting Orc Skin

I converted one of the Orcs (with Mace) into a Standard Bearer.   
The image was taken from a GW/Citadel book?  "Heroes for Wargames".  
 Described these days as a vintage wargame book, it was published back in the 80s and whilst some of the photos are a bit dark,
 it was a good source of inspiration.
  The bases are from Black Cat Bases and are resin.   These are the 25 x 50 mm ones and whilst designed for the smaller wargaming scales they are still suitable for larger figures.   The ones used were the Ruined Temple base.  
 Decals on the shields and pauldrons were sourced from Veni Vidi Vici transfers.

Next, a set of Tehnolog Pirates.   Again I really enjoyed painting these scurvy dogs, even though they have the "Wild eyed boy from Freecloud" 
look about them, I'm very happy with the way they turned out.   Bases are from DSG.

Lastly, in the line of Tehnolog figures is this set of Gladiators.
From my limited research, they appear to be fairly accurate, with the exception of the Retiarius.   
Wearing a helmet, which was something they did not do.   
Of course there is probably other inaccuracies but on the whole they make up a nice set of figures.
Bases again were from Black Cat Bases,  Desert Sand (complete with the odd skull!) were used. 
  I did replace two of the swords with scratchbuilt versions as the originals were a bit flimsy.   The lions are from Britains Zoo Range.

And now for something completely different.
I have managed to pick up a few boxes of Airfix 1:600 scale warships, which are quite scarce these days.  
 I really wish Airfix would re-release their range of 1:600 ships again, as they were good value for money, a good size to display and easily super detailed.
Any way, first up is the Falklands Warships set.  
 This consists of a Leander class frigate, a County class destroyer, HMS Devonshire and a Type 21 frigate, HMS Amazon.
I was particularly pleased to get this set as it has the Leander class in it.   I am hoping to do some conversion work to make at least two Royal Australian Navy River class Destroyer Escorts, specifically , HMAS Swan and HMAS Derwent.   
These ships used the Leander hull with Swan (and her sister ship Torrens) being almost identical to the British ships 
while Derwent  (and her sister Stuart) were more like modified Rothesay class frigates.

In order to carry out these conversions, I'm going to need more Leander hulls.
I made up some simple casting moulds and below are the results.
The left hand hull is the completed version and the right hand is two hull halves ready to be cleaned up and assembled. 
 A missing fairlead or two but otherwise very good results.
Next up is moulding and casting the weatherdeck!

HMS Suffolk.   A WW2 County Class Heavy Cruiser of the Kent sub class,
 I intend to convert her to HMAS Australia which was of the same class.   Minor differences in stack height and armament so it should be comparatively easy.   I have another Suffolk kit so she will probably be made stock.

HMS Iron Duke.
A WW1 era Dreadnought, I built her many years ago when I wore a younger man's clothes.
To me she was the epitome of a proper battleship, powerful, aggresive and good lines.
Looking forward to making her up.

Not pictured as they are still in the mail is the Airfix Naval Destroyers of WW2 set.
This set contains 4 destroyers, 3 British and one German.   
The British destroyers being respectively, HMS Cossack, HMS Hotspur and HMS Campbeltown (ex USS Buchanan).
The German destroyer is a Narvik class.
Again, a fairly rare set these days I will make these ships up as stock.  
 I have an Aeroplast 1:600 HMS Cossack so that will be converted to either HMAS Arunta or Warramunga.

Lastly, my Good Lady Wife picked this up for me on a recent trip to Brisbane. 
After alighting from her bus in the inner city, waiting in front of her in the bargain bin of a book shop was this, Trains to the Trenches.   
All for the princely sum of $5.00!
Written by Andrew Roden, it consists of ten chapters of 255 pages. 
It covers both standard and narrow gauge railways used by the armies of both sides, both in Europe and the Middle East.   
A potted history of the war provides a background to the history of the railways, men and machines.   
Rail Guns and Ambulance trains are among the many subjects covered.
A good read for anyone with even a smattering of interest in WW1.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Views from the Workbench!

I have been a bit slow with the blog posts of late.    This post will deal with a miscellany of items I have recently acquired.    I have also made a start on the pile of plastic (and metal) that I have accumulated lately.

I have been painting some of the Tehnolog sets, first off is this little band of Vikings.
The Tehnolog figures, love them or hate them, are a joy to paint.   The detail, for the most part, is very well defined and flash is minimal.  As is my want, I rebased them on the DSG Britains plastic bases. Not a winged Helmet to be seen either!

Next up is the Tehnolog Romans.

I used Vallejo Transparent Red as the topcoat over Flat Red for the tunics and Scuta and was very pleased with the result.   Again the detail was good which made dry brushing the mail very easy.   The guy on the left had his right arm re positioned as I felt the original pose was bit awkward.   Now he is either about to punch someone or he is working some sort of siege machinery.

I recently purchased a number of sets of the Retro Raygun figures from Hydra Miniatures.
These are not painted yet so I won't put them up but here is a couple of photos from the website in case you don't know of them.

Valkeeri Rocket Sled - with Valkeeri warrioress onboard.

Queen Mechanika - Queen of the Robots

Zenithians - Evil Aliens from across another Dimension!

These figures are 30mm.   More information from the website: Retro Raygun

I also picked up a tin toy Rocket ship to use as a scenery item, quite cheaply.   These can be found on the internet quite readily, so shop around.

It's the kind that you push along the floor and when the probe hits a wall, cat or small child, it flips up and a ladder extends revealing the astronaut inside.   I don't think I will be using this feature!

I have made a start on some scenery items for the Retro Raygun figures, the first of which is a Control Tower sort of thing.   It is not finished yet but you can get an idea of how it will turn out.

The main part of the tower is an old water filter housing and the rest is plastic sheet, cardboard, press studs and other bits of plastic odds and ends.   The decorative brackets underneath are made from die cuts made on a Big Shot Die Cutting machine.   This earlier post illustrates the use of the Big Shot
There will eventually be three compartments on the ring around the top of tower.

One of the best things I bought recently was a Back2Basix Paint Rack.   This particular model holds 53 paints (Vallejo) and is made from acrylic in a number of colour combinations which you can choose.   I went for a black chassis and clear shelves.   I liked it so much I bought two more!   They are beautifully cut, assemble very easily with the screws and washers provided and make the job of selecting paint colours so much easier.   Whilst this particular rack was designed for Vallejo, it quite happily accepts Reaper, Army Painter etc.

I actually bought these from the Back2Basix ebay shop.   They were on sale with free postage but this may have changed by now.   All in all, they are a very good product.

Lastly, two more painting projects on the bench.

Tehnolog "Lizard People" from the Citadel Fear set.   They have been undercoated with Rustoleum 2X Flat Grey Primer.   This works really well with plastics and adhesion is great and does not flake (even with bendy weapons etc.)
I also made up some painting blocks which have made painting a great deal easier.   The actual figures have single strand copper wire inserted into pre drilled holes in their feet.   The copper wire is good as you can drill into the meatiest part of the foot/leg, even if it's on an angle (as a lot of the Tehnolog figures are!) and the copper wire can then be bent easily to the vertical.

And finally, Tehnolog Orcs.   These started off green already, so I undercoated them with Rustoleum 2X Flat Clear.   These little guys have actually been finished (you can see them in one of the Paint Rack photos above) but I am waiting on some decals from VenVidiVici Wargames so I can apply them to the shield and shoulder armour on two of them

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Britains Knights and Turks - Part 2

In this post I will cover the mounted Knights and Turks and the Turk Foot figures.

Mounted Knights

The mounted Knights were introduced in 1973.  Colour variations were minimal, the main differences being the caparisons and lance colours.   The lances which sometimes broke or went missing, could be replaced by resin ones  from a manufacturer called Lunar Tick Miniatures, but unfortunately he is no longer in business.   At a pinch, the Timpo lance can be made to fit but is slightly longer.
The front three figures are China Production, with better/more detailed paint schemes.

Turk Foot

Again, this series was introduced in 1973, the same remarks regarding colour schemes apply here as well.   The first row of figures are China Production.   As an aside, the figure on the right (708) had the sword hand modified early in production so as to have the sword at right angles to the body rather than running alongside it. 

Mounted Turks

As before, this series was introduced in 1973.   Same remarks regarding caparisons and lances as mentioned earlier apply here as well.

Robin Hood

Well, he came back from the Crusades, so I guess he fits in here.

The Robin Hood set was introduced in 1996 and was China Production.
They are nice figures, Friar Tuck being especially good.   Robin really needs more archers and some Sheriff's Men to oppose him.   Replicants do a set of Sheriff's Men, so that might be worth checking out.

The Castle

Of course, every Knight needs something to call his Castle so a few years I scratchbuilt this one.    It was designed to be modular, so I could make it smaller if required and for ease of storage.

The structure's modules were made from Foamcore and 3 mm MDF where strength was a requirement i.e at joining sections etc.   The joining sections were simply Rawl plugs that plugged into holes on their opposite numbers.   These pieces were all jig drilled to ensure uniformity.

The corners of the towers had quoins made up from card and some random stonework for a bit of texture was applied to the various walls.

The castle was then given a coat or two of Grey Stone Fleck Paint.   Unfortunately, this made the applied stonework a bit hard to see!   Details such as doors and arrow slits were picked out.

Finally some pictures of various bits of siege equipment that I have pieced together over the years
The Battering Ram, Mantlet, Scaling Ladders and Gabions were built over twenty years ago.
The Siege Tower needs finishing as do the Timpo Tents.   The catapults actually use tensioned twine and are quite effective.

The information for the release dates etc of the Deetails series was taken from that most excellent publication "Suspended Animation" by Peter Cole.