Off to London

 

Spoiler alert, this doesn’t contain much about SELWG.

It is a beautiful sunny morning here in Austria and it is hard to take in while I do my walk to the farm to get milk and gazing at hazy mountains that in less than five hours I’ll be in London.

The main purpose of this visit was to attend SELWG. The South East Wargames Group annual show held at Crystal Palace. The show is far smaller than the London Salute but much bigger than the Austrian Salute. I’d looked at the list of traders and there were a few of interest. I then went to each trader’s website and made a note of anything that interested me. Then I downloaded a plan of the venue and highlighted anything of interest.

selwgplanAs the show is so small I plan to walk around first and then decide what I want to spend my money on. I did a couple of jobs recently where cash was “in hand” and this was to be my spending money. So I have a plan and a budget.

I’d packed a few bits and pieces as gifts for people I was seeing. One, a jar of mustard, was not allowed. I had mistakenly misunderstood that Ryanair would take my hand luggage at check-in, not after security. Luckily my Wife was on the other side of the barriers and was able to retrieve it from security. While I was waiting for boarding I spotted a bag with an Electric Love lanyard. I got chatting with the owner, Chris, and found out that he worked in the media side of the festival. He was going to London to see Chelsea play. The first thing he had planned to do when he hit London was have a pint.

The plane was late and we arrived after an unevenful flight forty five minutes behind schedule. I met Chris again as we waited almost an hour for our luggage. The coach into London was clean, such a relief after my last trip. There was a beautiful autumnal light shining through golden leafed trees and it made me quite homesick. Of course being behind schedule I didn’t have the time to eat at C&R Cafe which I had been looking forwards to.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/15/c-and-r-restaurant-review

I managed to get issue 2 of Warhammer Conquest magazine at Warhammer. Sadly no copies of issue 1. They evaporated the minute they hit the shelves, mostly to scalpers. No wonder, for £1.99 you got three space marines, three full pots of paint, a brush and a magazine. I had hoped to pick up a couple of copies for the Boys. Warhammer was pleasant, no hard sell and a chatty Red Shirt. A nice change from a couple of years back when it was sell, sell, sell.

I swung by 4D Models to pick up a few things that I couldn’t get cheaply in Austria. Then I hit Poundland for superglue and epoxy glue.  Something I found was a halloween bird skeleton which might come in handy for scenery.

Then on to my old house where I spent a pleasant hour or so chatting to Simon, the new owner.

https://shop.2000ad.com/catalogue/XB639

https://forktail.bandcamp.com/music

Finally off to spend the first night of my trip with an ex-student and her architect husband. Their garden was full of concrete castings for the house they were building.

We ate at Vijay’s Chawalla

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/21/this-weeks-best-food-and-drink

and it was as good as I remembered.

pluralMy friends good news was that she had got Arts Council funding so she could work on her graphic novel.

Saturday was a bit of a panic as the cashpoint ate my card. Aaaargh! Another full day of running about and meeting my Daughter. Forbidden Planet for the final book (no it isn’t!) of the Expanse series and a look around. The London Graphic Centre, a traditional sweet shop and something I had been looking forwards to for a very long time, traditional fish and chips.

https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/fryers-delight

Gorgeous.

This will be concluded in Part Deux. I’ve jost got a phonecall asking if I want to spend a week in Vienna working on an eGames event. Starting in a couple of hours.

https://www.redbull.com/at-de/events/planet-one?utm_source=Revolution+Event+Jobb%C3%B6rse&utm_campaign=e0742d0c21-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_11_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ddd37678af-e0742d0c21-297104985&mc_cid=e0742d0c21&mc_eid=c274541db7

SELWG 2018

I really do have stacks to talk about, but the prevarication beats me. And of course the longer you leave it the worse it gets.
Anyway, I’m flying off to jolly ‘Ol Blighty tomorrow to attend this show.

I’m hoping this will be a better trip than when I last visited the UK. Sadly my gaming buddy Seb, https://mugodice.wordpress.com/ can’t visit with me due to work commitments.
Lots of photos and news when I return on monday.

A quickie

Cut and screw. Repeat cut about a thousand times. Repeat screw about eight thousand times.
I have managed to paint something, but it is for a friend’s birthday.

And a small picture to accompany.

He never reads my blog so I think I won’t be spoiling the surprise.
Check out his band here
https://forktail.bandcamp.com/releases

Closed for the Summer

closedI got a phone call asking if I wanted to work some extra weeks at Electric Love.

https://www.electriclove.at/en

Well I jumped at the chance of getting some extra readies. My shopping list this Summer is quite long, topping up sundries and materials and the biggie a 3D printer. I want to escape the rather angular forms of laser cutting and start producing more organic forms with the help of the 3D Printer and a Vac Former. I found an interesting tutorial on YouTube, which after the success of my Clump Maker, I think I’ll give it a go.

There will be sporadic updates but as I am going to be hitting twelve or fourteen hour days nearer the festival I might not have the energy.

Time to dig out my rusty steed and burn off some of that winter fat.

image

My rusty steed

Tempus Fug It!

mountWell so much for my plan to be adding content everyday to this blog. I haven’t quite grasped how time has flown by. Last week I didn’t get round to BuJo-ing and so was very disorganised.

Here is the landscaping I did last year and how it is now.

I have revamped my blog, some of you may have noticed the changes. I had to do this as the theme I had been using was “Retired” so I could not get any techical support for it. I added the Shoppe which has involved a lot of work. Firstly cataloguing all my work. I had to get all my designs organised, they were in a folder marked “Laser” but not properly organised. I didn’t realise how many designs I had made. Then I had to photograph them. This involved recutting many designs as I had painted examples, but not the bare MDF designs. Where am I going to store them all? Then to edit the photos so they were of a consistant size and style. And finally put them on-line. Still more to go!

Regular readers may remember that I made a cunning plan and produced some replacement doors for the Mighty Fortress. These have been very popular and requests have been made for additional parts.

I have about six more designs to make and then I’m done with this project. The cutting is a pain though. Because I’ve made everything to my quality standard each piece takes an hour and a half to cut, that’s on the big Happylab laser. On my little one it would take three or four hours each.

It’s not all been fun and games though……

lakeThere has been time to visit the lake.

The joys of the countryside

Altough it is very pretty where I live, if you don’t have a car you’re buggered. To put it politely. I had to go to the post office to post some orders.

Mighty Fortress doors


I have actually made something that people want to buy!
Usually my Wife drives me around. This week however she is off skiing with the children.
Geographically the post office is just under five kilometres away. Very manageable on the flat. We live just over two hundred metres higher and the most direct route is cross-country. Joy.
Add to this, Eugendorf is not designed for cyclists. It is a shopping nexus on a main road with an autobahn junction.
I won’t be doing this again in a hurry.

Reflections on 2017

I’m somewhat late on this one as I’ve been laid low with a rather unpleasant flu-like lurgy.
A quick catch-up on a couple of pieces from my last post.
barbarian
Here is the Barbarian from the OS Miniatures Company. This was a challenge that I undertook to have him painted before Christmas. Nobody else took up the challenge which was a pity.
santa
This was from Warmonger Miniatures, again painted up for Christmas.
There is one more figure which was supposed to be my last figure of 2017, but the lurgy stopped that. I’ll post when it is finished.
Old age seems to have telescoped the year. Blink and I’ll miss it.
The first three months were taken up with making the Rogue Stars display board. April/May I did some landscaping in the garden converting a be-shrubbed steep slope into a flat grassy terrace.
June/July/August were at Electric Love. I had a great time and it gave me enough money to buy my own small laser cutter.
The rest of the year seemed to evaporate, lttle jobs around the house and making bits with my loot from the summer.
2017
Here is a group shot of what I finished painting. There is a lot more half finished and the 2018 goal is to finish all the half started jobs from the past few years, the Heresy Dragon being the main target, get all that out of the way so I have a clean slate. Then one project at a time, start it and finish it.
Yeah right!
Product of the Year 2017
On reflection it has to be the laser cutter. It’s small and slow but it has enabled me to prototype ideas and to make stuff on the fly. Christmas cards, party invites, party bag goodies, cake icing molds and gift tags just to name a few bits and bobs.
Heroes and Zeroes
Firstly the Heroes.
At the top of the list are the Facebook friends; EvH, DW, SR, ME and CF. They have been a constant source (sauce?) of inspiration, advice and encouragement. I might actually meet some of them in RL oneday.
Then comes the figure manufacturers who have gifted me with lovely toys this last year.
Ramshackle Games
http://shop.ramshacklegames.co.uk/index.php
The OS Miniatures Company
https://www.facebook.com/OldSchoolMinis1985/
Avatars of War
http://www.avatars-of-war.com/eng/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=51
Warmonger Miniatures
https://www.warmongerminiatures.com/
Finally Revolution Events
https://www.revolutionevent.com/
For fun, education and loot.
Now to the Zeroes
Wayland Games for lengthy delays, poor communication and their unwillingness (or inability) to combine orders.
TNT for their lack of customer service and making life just that little bit harder.
Games Workshop for tantalising me with the new rules for 40K, promises of fewer books and then conveniently forgetting about all that.
The new plastics are beautiful though.

The tyranny of Bullet Journaling

Blame my Daughter.
I am disorganised.
I am untidy.
I am lazy.
In my ideal world I would sit at my desk and paint, all day and everyday.
However in RL there are jobs to be done, kids to be fed, laundry, chickens etc. etc. etc.
I’d never heard of Bullet Journaling before. Go and Goggle it. There are about twelve million results, I just looked. So it must be fairly popular.
My Daughter visited in the summer and spent some time hunched over a notebook. I didn’t really pay any attention.
She came back last month and on a shopping/sightseeing trip (Salzburg is very picturesque if you didn’t know) had wanted to spend a small fortune on rubber stamps for her journal. My Wife told her to talk to me first.
I had some rubber sheet especially for laser cutting and knocked off a set of the stamps she was after. She was delighted and pointed me in the direction of stencils for journaling.
I erm “copied” a stencil sheet that she wanted. Basically traced the image in Illustrator, quite roughly and cut it on my laser.
She was delighted, again, and gave me a shopping list of designs that she wanted. There are a number of stencils on the market, but I want to do better.
The material I used was Kraftplex.
Kraftplex specifications
It’s a softwood pulp pressed into sheets and I had been given some samples to try from Happylab.
Back to the original topic.
I make myself “To Do” lists on the back of envelopes etc, which I proceed to lose or are “tidied” up.
So I considered buying myself a Bullet Journal and start organising myself. I took a peek at Leuchtturm1917 on Amazon which my Daughter stated was the absolute gold standard in Bullet Journals. Not excessively expensive, however it was the size issue. A5. I have a little Man-Bag and I carry around an A6 (ish) book from Tiger (their webshite is excessively annoying). So why not just use what I have and adapt.
jour1
Using my own bastardised version I have started making my own daily task lists. In reality this means I am always busy and tasks seem to overflow to the next day, but rarely to the next week.


Here are some date stamps in the production queue.
invites
Birthday party invites for Number Two Son produced on the laser cutter.
Maybe time for a zero task day soon?

Stuff wot I made

Warning: Picture heavy!
This is a collection of photos of bits and bobs I made over the summer. I “operate in the autism spectrum” to give it it’s official designation, diagnosis seven years ago. So it has been comparatively recently that I have found out why I act or behave the way I do. It has been a revelation because I can see why I approach things in a certain way or why I just don’t really “get” people. One of the things that I have discovered about myself is that I like things to be tidy and organised. The state of my environment reflects my mental state and vice versa. I am more likely to be happy in an organised environment.
This collection of images shows my growing obsession with tidy/organised, and it helps bring stuff together that I had spread over several boxes in different locations.


This is a spray booth I have made from plastic mounting board (from Electric Love, a running theme throughout this post), LED strips from a flohmarkt and a bathroom extractor fan. At the moment the extractor hose doesn’t connect to anything as yet. In all this cost me just under fifteen Euros.

A box to store my various Dremel bits in. Made from an old Sacher Torte box where I engraved the lid.
http://www.sacher.com
make3
A set of drawers, from the recycle centre, which had cracked plastic drawer fronts. I replaced them with some lasercut wood. I’m using them to store my glass working tools and my spare Dremel.
make21
I have another Dremel with a flexible drive which I’ve mounted on a curtain rail above my workdesk.
make4
My work chair has been acquired by Number 2 Son for his desk in his bedroom, so I needed something to sit on. This came from recycling and I added a bit of timber (Electric Love) for height and some wheels from Hofer. I works well and I’m using it to store electrical cabling which once filled a box on my workshop shelves.

More bits from Electric Love. I have been storing my lasercut stock in shoe boxes, but it didn’t look very professional when I went to shows. The grey boxes were thrown out because they had had holes drilled in the bottom and were deemed unfit for further use. They were ideal for me. I cleaned them up, they had been used as storage boxes on the site quads, so very quite dusty. I used more of the plastic mounting board to make dividers. Next job is to work through my computer files and organise properly. This links to my next post. Watch this space. I also got an empty champagne box with no lid. Quick trip to Bauhaus and Happylab and voila! a new lid.
make5
These shelves, again chucked out from Electric Love, are ideal for storing my basing supplies.
make20
While working on site we would lug around big tool crates filled with everything we would need. Clearing up at the end of the festival each tool crate had handfulls of loose screws. Logistics got some under-employed jungs to sort them out by size into empty beer glasses. Once all the shelves had been restocked there was a crate of sorted screws left over. They were going to be binned so I grabbed them and took them home. I made these screw boxes with some leftover MDF.
make8
Hot glue-gun holder, instructions from
http://www.instructables.com

A box for my hot-wire foam cutter. An eBay purchase. Sadly the vendor failed to supply the correct plug. However, my super talented neighbour wired in the correct cable.

This is my self-made clump maker. You can see my first attempts at making clumps. Not too bad, but not perfect.
I have now taken advice from this site
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTerrainTutor
and ordered better materials.
Progress report to follow.

This links in to my clump maker. Flower tufts. I’m using sawdust from work which has been dyed with cheap acryllic paints from my local pound store. More details to follow.

Boys hard at work in the workshop and the finished blasters.

Well I’ve been meaning to update. Honest!

It’s one of those things, if you don’t do it immediately you tend to put it off. And I have now, for about five weeks, and there is so much I want to share. But until I do this post I can’t.
Regular readers may remember that last year I worked at the Electric Love festival.
https://www.electriclove.at/en/media
This year I did the same, except I didn’t work as a runner (exhausting and a short contract) but as part of the Production Team making stuff for the festival. This was a seven week contract which has given me enough to buy a small laser cutter.
What was nice was the lack of “Health and Safety”, not that it was dangerous but that the responsibility was on me. The equipment was maintained and it was up to me to ask if I did not know how to do something. If it felt unsafe I was expected to stop and check that everything was operating correctly. Very different from the UK where there is a blame culture.
This was a lot of fun and I will definitely do it again next year if they’ll let me.
Again it has been working with people young enough to be my grandchildren and in high temperatures (or torrential rain) but I think I did fairly well.
I did come to the conclusion that:
1) I need to be a bit fitter and more supple.
2) My body needs to be a bit more buff. Everyone seems to have been working out, mine sags in the middle.
3) My tan is a builders tan, neck to knees all white.
4) I’m not shaved enough, all the young guys were carefully shaved, chest, pits the lot. Well I can’t comment on everywhere as I wasn’t THAT well acquainted with my fellow workers.
5) I don’t have enough tattoos.
6) I’m not a devotee to Hardstyle, a bastard offspring of trance and techno, only harder and faster.
Without further ado here are my random selection of images from my time there.

My pet snail Hubert

Never got to see this guy perform

It took weeks to scrub this red paint off

It rained and rained and rained at times. Sometimes it rained some more for good measure.

Two early adopters.

There was one day in the set-up where we had to wait for some equipment to be delivered. The young lads I was working with chose to sit in a marquee and twiddle with their mobiles. I went out and enjoyed the glorious scenery.

Some of the extraordinary wildlife.

Burnt offering. The food this year was pretty dire.

Chaos at work

Obligatory selfie at Q-Dance

Mini Maker Faire Salzburg

As usual life keeps me busy so this is a late posting. I haven’t even had time to paint, that’s how busy it’s been.
Today (not really) I’m sat at the Mini Maker Faire in Salzburg, the first one at this location.

New Home


I feel a little out of place as everything is tech orientated and hands-on whereas my display is quite static.
mf3
Just across from me is a packed Lego Robotics table.
I’ve produced some bits and pieces to sell, very different from my usual stuff, made mostly from off-cuts of wood found at Happylab.
mf2
The event was really well organised and very friendly.
A lot of people stopped by to admire my stuff and ask questions about what I had made. Many children were fascinated by the little waterway in my display board and kept touching it to see if it was real water.
I met a few people who have been using Happylab and it was nice to be complimented on my finished work as they had only seen random unfinished bits.
Number One Son greatly enjoyed working on the electronics and made, with instruction, a singing pencil.
mf1
I can’t see things like this happening in England, children with knives and soldering irons. Another reason why it was good to move. Number One Son would like to do more electronics. So I think a crash course for me might be in order as I cannot read a wiring diagram.

Star Cops in action!

Star Cops on patrol


Here are some more photographs of the event.

Impressionen der Mini Maker Faire Salzburg

Sometimes I wonder why I bother

I really cannot for the life of me understand why people are prepared to pay me double the amount I pay myself laser-cutting for a few hours work pulling up weeds in their gardens.
Is there no value to creativity?
On the plus side though, it means I can afford to get a few tools for the workshop.

2016 Been there, done it

This was started on New Year’s Day and then it got put down and buried under stuff.

I am sat here feeling slightly obfuscated, mostly due to schnapps, brandy and presecco seeing out the old year.
2016 was a year that a lot of interesting and clever people shuffled of this mortal coil. The way East/West politics are moving 2017 could be the year that everyone dies.
I didn’t paint much, far less than I wanted to. The Dragon was prevaricated on. It seemed that every time I picked it up I was asked for help with something else so there was no “Zone” achieved.
But there shouldn’t be too much beating myself up. My workshop is set up and I can airbrush to my hearts content. One project for this year is to make a spray booth with PC cooling fans (from the recycling center) to extract spray. The hobby room is done, bar one small speaker shelf. So I have my space for painting and gaming. And I have been working on the garden making a path and building a wall. This involves going to the farm with a wheelbarrow and taking a rock and wheeling it back, so quite time consuming.

Financially the laser cutting has not been a success this year. Etsy resulted in zero sales. Handing out my business card at Salute resulted in a huge spike in blog views the following day, but zero sales.
What I find frustrating in my target audience is that they will happily fork out thirty or forty quid for one figure they owned as a teenager but will balk at paying twenty for scenery to grace their collection. There was a thread I was following where collectors were boasting about the prices they had paid for a metal Thunderhawk Gunship. It was jaw dropping.

I am going to continue with making laser cut scenery, if only for myself. But getting some money for it would be nice. The last year has seen a readjustment in family finances. I have gone from having a huge disposable income a couple of years ago to having none. My Wife stopped working at the beginning of last year and despite having no income we’ve lived comfortably. Having no rent or mortgage helps tremendously and visiting fleamarkets for clothes and entertainment makes what we do have go along way.
I have backed a few Kickstarters this year, not as many as I would have liked. Ten Minute Heist and Dwarves in Trouble are two board games that look like fun to play with the Boys. Then came the addiction, miniatures. Space Raiders, scifi orcs sculpted by Kevin Adams. Greenskin Wars, goblins sculpted by Kevin Adams. Goblins and Sea Demons, sea goblins sculpted by Kevin Adams. Return to Colony 87, scifi civilians. Kev White does Matt Dixon, female fantasy miniatures. And finally Ramshackle Games’s Jetbikes.

The product of the year for me has been Foundrys Sable Mix General Detail Brush. I was going to replace it at the beginning of the year but it kept on going for “one more paint job”. In fact it is still going strong, so I might not replace it just yet.

Although I’m not very good with my predictions I’m going to say that 2017 will be the year of NMMs. Non Metallic Metallics, where you paint something to look shiny and metallic without using any metallic paint. For those of you who don’t quite get what I’m on about, think about a photograph of a shiny teapot. You don’t have metallic inks when you print a photograph. What you see are whites, greys and whatever background colours are being reflected. So the object is to try and replicate this without metallic paint. G’Dub is already putting painting guides out with this technique with some of their new products.

Talking about G’Dub, I have liked watching their Warhammer TV on Youtube. It has been very instructive and has kept my Boys entertained. Just remember kids, always thin your paints.

Something I got as a Christmas present was a copy of Osprey’s Rogue Stars ruleset. It is a bit dry, mostly tables of equipment, physical traits and very little fluff. From reading of reviews apparently one gets the hang of it very easily. The advantage, as I see it, of having very little fluff is that you can create your own universe in the flavour you want. Magrathea anyone?
I’d like to make a go of this and try and run a demo game at the Austrian Salute this year.
The game is figure light, four to six figures a side and the playspace is three foot by three foot.
So I have approximately ten weeks to learn the rules. I’ve taken the step of joining the Austrian gaming forum, diefestung, to find opponents. Then painting the figures and making a terrain board which will showcase my laser cut work.
Oh, and make sure I have enough stock to sell.
Speaking of stock I must really extract my digit and design more big objects. The ideal solution would be one big thing a month.

This year I must be more focused on my painting. First jobs are to finish off any jobs that haven’t been completed. Then I need to decide which army to concentrate on and finish it. A prime candidate would be my Roman army, just a fortified camp and two commanders.