May’s workbench

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My Field of Glory Imperial Roman Army.
I need to add highlights to the armour, finish Scorpions and Auxilliaries.
The carry case, in the background, is handmade out of canvas and an old yoga mat. The ties are leather and the buttons made of briar wood.
The trays are laser cut with steel base.
Troops are based on laser cut bases engraved with my initials (just to sure as one lot of Romans looks much like another).
At the bottom are my playing aids.

FOG play aids

FOG play aids

Another brief basing interlude

I don’t know about you but I have been using basing sand since year dot. Then I spend ages painting and highlighting it to make it look like soil.

Is there another way?

I thought I’d try out something I saw in AK Interactive’s Weathering Magazine where one modeller used soil. That’s right soil!

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So I went out gathering, some dark forest soil (shown here), some fine pale river silt and a mid tone.

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This is the first test piece, I put some gloss varnish on one side to represent wet soil. I think that the “crumb” (blame programs like “The Great British Bake Off”) is too big. This is a result of the size of the sieve. The bits of root give it a slightly more random realistic look.

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Recently at a fleamarket I picked up a new addition to my painting tools. This should deal with the size of the crumbs.

 

 

Something new

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Something new

I am grateful to Sigur from Battlebrush Studios
http://www.battlebrushstudios.com
for giving me the tip about Vallejo Metal Medium. This gives a beautiful metallic sheen, just what my Romans needed to make them stand out more.
Originally they were painted in base colours and then dipped in Army Painter Strong Tone Dip. The end result was OK, but nothing special. The metal was rather dull and lifeless. Now with this I can put my army on the table without too much embarrasment.
I just need to learn how to win.

Salute

This year is the first time that I won’t be going to Salute. I’ve been attending for the last ten years; from when it was at Earls Court to its present incarnation at Excel in Docklands. Salute is an opportunity to see products in the flesh rather than on the web, an opportunity to see new manufacturers showcasing their new products and obviously to buy something that is just perfect to paint. One day.

There is however another Salute, in my adopted homeland of Austria. Smaller obviously, this will be it’s fourth year as opposed to the thirty four years of the English one. When I spoke to Walter Kraus, the organiser, he said the plan was to make it bigger and better each year. This Salute is being run by Silent Night Games, purportedly the biggest gaming club in Austria.
http://www.silent-night-games.at
I set off today for a few blissful child-free hours and arrived at Gasthaus Zur Bahn just after ten and was warmly greeted by Walter.

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There were thirteen tables covering a range of periods and rulesets, the majority in English.
Field of Glory, 15mm Battle of Bannockburn.
Flames of War, Arab Israeli War.
Maulifax
Freebooters Fate, this was the best looking table in my opinion.
Westwind’s Empire of the Dead.
Beneath the Lilly Banner.
Two Bolt Action tables covering modern Afghanistan and a WW2 USA v Japan.
Warmachine
An unknown air combat.
And a WW1 15mm Austria v Russia using the Piquet ruleset.
Traders were thin on the ground with only one almost stand of some lacklustre expensive laser cut scenery.
I had brought some painted work with me and I spent some time showing them to Georg from Battlebrush Studios.
http://www.battlebrushstudios.com
He revealed his secret for the final highlight on metal armour. Vallejo Metal Medium. I have put that on my wishlist.
What I did learn, if I am brave enough, is to be bolder with my highlights and the shading. Georg’s figures have the “Pop and Wow” factor that I am after.

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This version of Salute doesn’t compete with the original, yet. Some visiting traders might bring more gamers keen to look and stock up, which may in turn may bring more traders.
Onwards and upwards!
Here’s to the future success of this incarnation of Salute.

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?

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!

Packing up

Getting ready for the big move to Austria and have just about packed everything away. It took two days to pack away my glass cabinet!

Thirty five days to go. I had planned to finish a unit of Warlord’s Roman Auxiliaries for my Field of Glory Imperial Roman Army but I can’ t justify the time. A bit of a pity because it was the last unit to be painted on my list.