“I’m not the messiah!”

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“Hello” to my new followers, or rather I should say “Hello” to my new random followers. I’ve visited your blogs. We have nothing in common.

I am a curmudgeonly old git with no social skills or graces. There are no pearls of wisdom to scatter before you. If you think that using someone elses quotes and random unattributed stock photos is going to set the blogosphere alight. well ….

Copyright Antonious Achilleos

Somehow I don’t see myself ever being an “influencer”. Already that word is starting to have negative connotations.

Copyright Getty Images

If you take the trouble to examine my site stats you can see that I barely have a handful of followers and lurkers, hello Ruth. I am certain that there are a couple of bots and one is a dog. Добро пожаловать мои верные товарищи-роботы! И собачий приятель.

I blog to keep sane.

I blog, badly, about a very dull niche topic.

I blog about nothing that would help you raise your blog profiles. In fact linking to my blog would probably kill your traffic.

Copyright Shutterstock

So please

copyright grumpyoldtin

Feel free to unfollow.

Images are Copyright their respective owners. Used without permission.

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.

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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.

Gathering moss for Salute

I’ve been thinking about this project for the last three months and the best way to present a table.

I had a table coutesy of Electric Love and I had the game, Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago.

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I wanted islands for the game. What was the best way to approach this? The initial thought was to create some irregular shapes and make the contours with foam. Although they would look realistic there was only one drawback, they would not fit together to create other shapes.

What to do?

I went back to the roots of gaming and thought about hexagons. Looking at how other people had made hex terrain I made a jig to cut the foam.

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Things would have been set, albeit with some hard work, to have a table ready for Salute. Then two things conspired against this.

My Wife’s Grandfather died last year. 93 with a full (SS on the Eastern Front, travels to Africa in a minibus, mountaineering, greatgrandchildren and good-health) life, before you ask. The family wanted to clear his house, including his workshop.

And at the same time we got a new neighbour who after moving in decided she didn’t like the wooden floor in her lounge. So it was ripped out and thrown in a skip. It was 20mm engineered, if that means anything to anyone, solid wood. Ever since doing the floor in the hobby room I’ve wanted a nice floor in the workshop. I’ve never had the money (can you hear those violins?) but now was my chance.

The optimum time to strip out the workshop, lay the floor ready for shelving and tools was now.

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Trimming wood with my new circular saw. I still have all my fingers BTW

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First iteration of furniture arrangement

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Possibly final arrangement

This obviously cut into the preparation time for Salute. Through previous Salutes and laser cutting I had met another gamer, Christoph. Previously of the Grune Horde and now the Tabletop Knights. He was also planning to run a table with GA. I proposed we join forces.

During this time I also started a couple of money making (success so far €4) projects. When I have time and unrestricted access to YouTube, not very often as The Clone Wars and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are wayyy popular, I have been watching Mel’s Terrain Tutors channel. One personal project this year is to make a large amount of hedgeing for Flames of War/Tanks. To do this I would need a large amount of clump foliage. Mel showed how to make it relatively cheaply.

The main expense was purchasing the foam and over half of this cost was postage.

Don’t get me started on postage!

clump0

My Mothers old Kenwood came in handy

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Mixing with PVA and Poundshop acrylic paint

A by-product of the manufacturing process was moss and litchen. Ground up even finer it was ideal for this.

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Different colours to be blended when dry

The second money making project was a flockbox. I was not very happy with the quality of the grass tufts I had been making. It was OK but I knew I could do better. Mel’s channel had a video showing how he made static grass tufts. In it he used a flockbox.

I considered buying one but I couldn’t justify the forty quid PLUS the postage.

Luckily YouTube came to the rescue.

So with the help of eBay and my genius neighbour I made one.

The results are great.

flockbox

Once all these jobs were done there was just about time to paint some scenery and paint my crew. See previous post.

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Planning how to display my stock

The day of Salute arrived. The car had been packed the night before so we could set off without any panic or hesitation. Austrian Salute was at a new location, in Germany. The previous venue was looking for new owners, I wonder why? Christoph arrived and we set up. My heart fell a little. Although his modular terrain was a good concept the execution was not as good. No win for the best table then.

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Walter giving his customary greeting speech

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My tiny display table

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Our gametable

The day went quickly although marred by another disasterous lunch. Why do culinary mishaps only happen to me?

On the plus side I did win second prize for the fantasy painting competition.

For the usual more eloquent description visit Sigur’s Battlebrush Studios site

http://www.battlebrushstudios.com/2018/03/show-report-austrian-salute-2018.html#more

I spent the next day wracked with a crisis of confidence. I make high quality products but nobody wants to buy.

Why bother?

Because I love doing it!

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.

Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago

gawinter
Winter is here
This really needs no introduction and a lot more eloquent people have written about this.
cover
Frostgrave looked very interesting, never played it but never mind, but the only drawback that I could see was that all your scenery had to be winter themed which could be quite restrictive.
Ghost Arcipelago is set in a more tropical environment so the scenery can be integrated into other games.
At my rather casual reading of the rulebook it appears that it can be a sandbox of a rule-set. You want pyrates, OK. Savages, no problem. Dinosaurs, why not? It seems it can be a lot of fun.
I’ve put out a request for players on my local gaming forum, but no takers as yet.
http://www.diefestung.com/forum/
Next year’s Austrian Salute is looming and I’d like to try and win best gaming table again. I’ve set a standard so I have to go one better and I’m up against Christoph from Grune Horde who does his own laser cutting. To win I have to have an oustanding table AND play the game.
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I have my gaming table, thankyou Electric Love. And I have started planning out a possible layout. I wanted my island system to be as interchangeable as possible so I could go from small islands to large conglomerations.
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You can see on the right the first iteration of the design process. Looks nice however the pieces don’t fit seemlessly, there would be a little gully between each cluster.
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This led me to laser cut this little device which means I can have perpendicular edges enabling everything to fit together unobtrusively. Hopefully.
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Laser cutting some islands.
Lush tropical islands need to be accessorised.
Here are some scatter plants. I need a lot more. Thank heavens for eBay and cheap chinese aquarium suppliers.
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Some scenery from my bitz box. Who knows what eldritch terrors this statue has witnessed.
On a final note. I’m having to squint to type this so apologies for any smelling mistooks. I had my eyes tested and my prescription has changed very slightly. Trying to be sensible and grown up and looking after my eyes I took the new lenses. After a week of squinting at the computer, I thought my eyes took time to adjust. Sitting a metre back from the screen hunched at a weird angle trying to reach the mouse I’d have enough and went back to the optician.
“You didn’t say you wanted to read as well.”
Using the interweb acronym FFS!

A laser cutter which is all mine

With my ill gotten gains from the summer I bought myself a laser cutter. It is a 30cm by 40cm machine from Shen Hui Laser Company based in China.
https://shenhuilaser.en.alibaba.com/
It was a bit of a performance getting it. First with the money transfer and then with TNT not communicating with itself.
But it arrived.
laser1
Unpacking revealed the quality of the components.


Not very good. There was great big screw in the middle of the work-bed which threw out any pretensions of a level work surface. And the airhose is of the cheapest material and finish one could imagine.
The provided software was unintuitive and useless.
Customer support is non-existent.
Thankfully there is the interweb. I found a piece of software called K40 Whisperer and some support groups dedicated to Chinese laser cutters.
It is slow and takes a couple of passes to cut through anything so it is only useful for prototyping ideas.
laser5
For the real work I’ll have to continue using Happylab in Salzburg.

My review of 2014

Overall I have achieved a fair amount of work this year, although I did peter out in November and December. I managed to hit most of my painting targets for last year. Still to finish are a unit of British Infantry and to finish the Albion Faeries and Ork Jets which I’d started. Purchasing wise I bought 76 figures and managed to paint about 202. So the lead mountain is slowly getting chipped away. Although I am getting to a very competent standard of painting there is always room for improvement.
I figured out how to make movement/display trays for my round based troops and the result looks good.
Over the year I have received a lot of support and encouragement from the blogging community. Special mentions go out to: DaggerandBrush, Skarach’s World, AmateurAirplanes and Sigur from Battlebrush Studios. And of course a big shout out to my old gaming buddy Mug’O’Dice.
This coming year I want to engage more in Social Meejah and promote my blog a bit more. This will mean embracing Goggle+, banner advertising and actually engaging with the Blogosphere. Something else I want to do more of this year is laser cutting. I used to have the services of a laser cutter at my last job which was so useful for making markers and tokens.
Plus I want to pluck up the courage to post my work on CoolMiniOrNot.
There are two products I would like to suggest for Product of the Year 2014.
The first is Vallejo’s Metal Medium. This adds a beautiful highlight to your metalwork and can be mixed with ordinary paints to produce any metallic shade you could wish for. I must recommend that every painter has this in their arsenal.
The second product is Baking Parchment. It’s uses are many and varied. Painting base edges where you’ll have a wet surface potentially sticking to the table-top. Making a non-stick surface when cutting out a spray mask. Applying washes to a row of shields. Etc. etc. etc.
I still want to paint a unit a month. If I knuckle down I could finish an army. However this would be really dull and repetitive. I prefer to have some variety. I would like to enter some models into the Massive Voodoo competition, which runs until April. I don’t stand a chance of winning, against Golden Demon winners, but it will push me to improve. This is what I propose to paint this year.
* A unit of Ratling Snipers and an empty scenic base.
* Napoleonic Artillery
* Albion Sword Maidens
* And if they arrive in time a unit of Raging Heroes Troopers
After I have dealt with the Massive Voodoo competition then it will be, in no particular order:
* Finish my Roman Army, this is not so bad as it sounds, one fortified base and one commander.
* A DKK squad
* Napoleonic cavalry
* DKK Death Riders
* A unit of Centaur cavalry for Albion
* Another squad of Home Guard and a squad of British Infantry
* A Squig Mangler for my Orc and Goblin Army
* Albion Skirmishers
Other options with I may slot in are:
* A Dreamforge Titan
* The deodorant speeder for Rouge Trader
* Some Titanforge Undead Goblins
* Some 4A Miniatures Kevin Adams Goblin Seafolk
* A squad of Fallschirmjäger as opponents for my Home Guard
This year will be about smaller units and treats, rather than batch painting which I’m finding a drag.
This could be academic if we do settle on a house because I’d like to focus on making it habitable. And of course making my “Man-Cave”.
I would like to to ask if anyone has experience of insuring their collection as I am increasingly looking at my collection as my Boy’s inheritance.
So without boring you further, I bid you a creative and motivated 2015, and to quote from the late great comedian Dave Allen, “May your god go with you.”