What’s on April’s workbench?

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What's on April's workbench?

What’s on April’s workbench?
There is a small squad of Albionican Empire troops from Warploque Miniatures. This is for my “Not-Empire” army.
Some heroes for my Albion Army, miniatures from Studio McVey, Hasslefree, Celtos and Privateer. These just need a little touching up and basing to match the Halflings.
Finally, if time allows, a necromancer babe from Reaper.
This month is a relaxing one as I found the unit of 95th Rifles a bit of a slog.

Ten Books

These are the ten books I would recommend for a bookshelf. Bear in mind that this is my choice and that it isn’t to everybody’s taste. I would welcome any suggestions as there is always something new to learn regarding our magnificent obsession.

So here they are in no particular order.

Editing is an arse on WordPress. I want my text aligned left and the bugger centers it!

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FAQ 2 by Mig Jemenez.
It was a toss up between this or the excellent Tank Art by Michael Rinaldi. This won by a gnats as it covers so many techniques. Military modelling is leading miniature figure painting and these techniques can feed into miniatures.
As an aside, I am really surprised there is no brass etch after market for GW/Forgeworld vehicles. I suppose I could just look out for 1:48th scale accessories.
You are going to see these techniques more and more often so it doesn’t hurt to be ahead of the curve. Don’t be surprised if GW bring out some form of chipping medium in the near future.
In the also rans is Forgeworld’s Model Masterclass Volume Two

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Art of War published by Battlefront.
This is a bit of a cheat as it is two magazines. Sadly Battlefront haven’t followed up on these. This has proved to be inspirational showing it is possible to paint 15mm figures to the standard of 28s rather than the blobs of paint that I see so often.

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These are great for seeing the uniforms of the armies I am painting “in the flesh”.

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British Napoleonic Uniforms by C.E. Franklin.
A bit dry but a useful reference. The only things missing were Aide des Camp (?) and artillery which is covered in another volume.

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Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide by Kevin Dallimore.
The three colour paint style popularised by Kevin and supported by Foundry’s paint system is a bit cartoony, but when you apply the “Three foot rule” (ie you look at the figures on the tabletop, not in your hand) it works very well. I want to perfect this technique. My figures look quite good close up, OK not competition standard, but tend to be indistinct at a distance. I have a friend whose armies (he has quite a few) really Pop on the tabletop but are a little disappointing close up. My aim is for Pop and Wow.
This book is full of examples and step by step guides. Starting with One Colour models, tournament basic standard, then Two Colour and finally Three Colour painting. Helpfully the guides use the same model so you can compare and contrast.
If I had to pick one book from this list of ten, it would be this one. The techniques can be applied can be applied to any manufacturers paint system. Or a mix’n’match as I do.

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Warhammer Fantasy Battle Rules Third Edition and Warhammer Armies. A bit of a cheat again again having a two in one. There is a joy in these rules. A game can be fun. I do miss the humour of the Fluff from the eighties. This is what got me into gaming when I was reading my friends White Dwarfs. I think I’ll stick to these rules rather than spend another fifty odd quid on yet another humourless set of rules and army book. Rumoured for later this year.
There is a growing community of gamers going back to Third Edition rules with a friendly forum to exchange ideas.
Oldhammer
http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk
Saying that I’ll probably get some of the new Orc figures when they come out. It would be nice to see some new Orcs, Goblins, Wolfriders and Chariots.

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Cool Mini Or Not Annual. Sometimes the photography is a bit iffy. But it is so inspirational to see figures from manufacturers you’ve never heard of painted to really high standards. I’ve bought figures on the basis of what I’ve seen. Reaper I name and shame you!
I haven’t yet dared to enter any figures on the site, but nothing ventured etc. I’ll post when I have.

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This one is a toss up depending on your tastes. Sadly Rackham are no more, so unless you have won the lottery their figures are out of reach of us mere (skint) mortals. So this is just meditation material. Gaze with amazement at the figures you’ll never be able to paint.
The GW catalogue is also another dreamers book. I would love to have pictures of the individual sprues next to the models. Sadly GW no longer do parts, just imagine the kit bashing opportunities?

Next on the workbench

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Next on the workbench

This is the next job on the workbench, or rather the kitchen table. A unit of the 95th Rifles for my Black Powder British Peninsular Napoleonic Army. Most are by Foundry (thanks CSM) and there are a couple of Perry plastics in the mix as well.
Everytime I finish something now I put away the paints, clean brushes, new paper towels, basically a clean slate.
I’ll post a picture of the command group that has just been finished later this month.

Time Rich Money Poor Part Deux

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So here is the next thrilling instalment.

I marked out the wood using the templates and carefully drilled, making sure that I had a piece of spare wood underneath. Have a vacuum cleaner ready as this generates a surprising amount of sawdust.

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You can see that there is a slight raised profile around each hole. This is easily removed by a bit of sanding.

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The acid test, does a two pence piece fit?

Yes.

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A bit of PVA and then clamped until dry.

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Here it is dry.

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Now for a spot of detailing.

Time rich, money poor

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Time rich, money poor

My plan is to have every unit in my collection kitted out with a movement tray. This has been easy for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Black Powder and Field of glory. I spent the last few months at my last job, when I knew I was being made redundant, making stuff in the workshops. Three aluminium/brass carry cases and more movement trays than you can shake a stick at. They’re easy: a rectangle of plastic cut to the right size, a border strip made of six mil plastic and a thin sheet of mild steel cut to the unit’s size. Glue together, Dremmel sides, superglue some sand on and undercoat. Job done, ready to be painted up when the unit is ready so that the bases match the movement tray.
Now with 40K and Bolt Action there are round bases. Not so easy. 40K uses, for the main, twenty five mil circular bases. Bolt Action uses two pence coins. Foreign readers may question why so many English wargamers use money to base there figures on. Are we extravagant? No, the answer is that the two pence piece is more enough worthless. Plastic bases cost more to buy. Plus, if you get the older coins, they are attracted to magnets. Another love of mine is magnetised units, I have seen plenty of instances where an opponent has placed a unit on a hill only to see them slide away. Not me, I’ve magnetised more or less everything.
Anyway back to the circular based movement trays. 40K has twenty five mil bases and Bolt Action has twenty six mil bases. So what is one millimetre between friends? I don’t think anyone will notice a slight gap on my 40K units between base and movement tray.
OK. Time rich money poor. That’s me, plus I’m a tight bastard. I have seen some laser cut trays on Fleabay for between two and three pounds each, plus postage. I’ll probably need thirty odd. So the money mounts up. So what does one of these fancy laser cut movement trays consist of? Two sheets of MDF. The bottom one is plain and the top one has holes cut in it.
What am I not capable of doing?
I drew up some templates in Indesign, just to work out the size of the base. A ten man movement tray worked out to be ninety five mil by one hundred and thirty mil. Wouldn’t mind some five man movement trays and some twenties. Bauhaus has one square metre of three mil not-quite-MDF for four Euro something. From this I can get thirty nine movement trays. Went to Bauhaus on Monday morning armed with cake to bribe the wood cutter. Got the wood cut and purchased a twenty six mil hole cutting attachment for my drill. In all it came to twenty one euros on the nose.
All that is left is to drill the holes for the bases, stick them together and finish as appropriate for the unit.
The biggest chunk of that was the drill bit at Fourteen something Euro. But I have that now, so any time I want more movement trays it’s just the cost of the wood, which is minimal.
Result!

Black Powder Command Group

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Black Powder Command Group

Next project on the workbench. A command group for my British Peninsular Napoleonic army. I have been prevaricating about starting this project as Napoleonic wargamers have a reputation of being very picky about accuracy.
If I can do my Napoleonics well and get some praise for them I reckon that I can consider myself an OK painter.

One down, how many to go?

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Here is the first unit finished in Austria. A unit of Halflings, made by Battleforge, for my Albion army. The sculpting isn’t amazing, but they are so full of character and fun that I’d rather have these than a unit of dull but amazingly sculpted figures.

I had a lot of angst about finishing this unit. I had started painting them before I left Blighty and I had promised myself that when I got my stuff this was to be the first unit I’d paint. When I unpacked them I did a double take. The quality of the painting was so much higher than I thought I could do. Could I match it? I wasn’t sure and spent a while prevaricating before sitting down and starting.

The end result is good, but still not up to the standard I set.

I used a couple of new techniques that I have mentioned previously.

Microplaned sponge, I’m fairly pleased with the result, though you have to make sure that the particles are really fine.

Tester pots for the basing, this works well and I am pleased with the result.

I have started cataloguing and photographing, more work needed on the model photography. When the website is live I’ll post the address.Image

So here is unit WHFB/A/1/numbers 1 to 30.

Predictions for 2014

I’ll put my money where my mouth is and offer a glass of decent red wine if this doesn’t happen.

This is based on me taking a small interest in Military Modelling and observing how that particular branch of the hobby is advancing painting techniques.

GW will introduce two, at least, weathering products. One will be a spray of chipping medium, Hairspray to you and me. And the other will be a Dust Wash or a Mud in a jar.

Just my ten pence worth.