Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shrubbery from Rubberised Horsehair

A while ago our fellow Dave presented an excellent tutorial about making hedgerows out of rubberised horshair. Actually it's a stuff from upholstery business but in the days of disposable low-budget furniture and synthetic padding it's pretty unusual. Due to this I foundered on acquiring this stuff until Dave kindly and generously sent me some of his clippings. Actually a pretty large amount of horsehair so I'll be able to tart my NWF collection up with enough shrubbery for a medium sized battlefield. Many thanks again, Dave!

Finally during those holiday weeks I managed to try working with the stuff and prepared a couple of test pieces myself. 

1.) Bases:

As most of us I have a pretty large amount of those green plastic bases which are supplied with the Perry plastics. Now I found a proper use for them and employed a couple of them as bases for my shubbery test pieces. For this I simply unsprued a couple of them and rounded the edges. Not perfect but sufficient for test pieces. For the real terrain pieces of course the shape should be much more irregular.

2.) Horsehair:
The I cut fitting strips of horsehair and glued them onto the bases with PVA white glue. To make it stick better to the surface I made some deep cuts into the green plastic. By the way I experienced that those horsehair mats are best cut with a pair of large scissors.

3.) Let the PVA glue set:
Since PVA glue needs some time to set I was afraid that the horsehair might be too light or might have not enough seating to be bond firmly enough. So I took a small weight to press it gently into the white glue.

4.) Major fault revealed:
Actually all went well. The PVA dried and the little bushes stick perfectly on top of the green bases. Unfortunately I underrated the transparency of the shrubbery. The green plastic clearly showed through the branches and I realised that I had no chance to bring sand and colours below them. Thus I decided to start a new test piece.

5.) Another attempt:
Having learned from my earlier attempt I took a larger piece of plastic and gave it a really irregular shape. Then I applied some sand and cork rocks and gave it an undercoat of Vallejo Model Color 'Green Brown' the standard base colour for my desert / sand bases.
On one part of the base I applied a small knob of rubberised horsehair. This time I used my trusted hot glue gun to stick the shrubbery onto the base and it worked even better as PVA glue. Just be careful not to use too much glue and - of course - don't touch the really, really hot glue with your fingers.

6.) Finishing touches:

As soon as the glue cooled down enough I drybrushed the sandy parts of the base with brighter colours. In this case I used Vallejo Model Colors 'Beige' and 'Pale Sand'. As last bits I added some tufts of static grass in a nice autumn colour.

After all I'm pretty satisfied with my first attempt. The base was finished in no time and overall the horsehair gives some really good looking pieces of shrubbery. Unfortunately the test pieces turned out slightly too low to function as a really useful piece of terrain. Next time I'll try to make it twice as high and much larger to have it provide a kind of light cover on the gaming table.

So that's it for now. During the next days I'll not be able to spend too much time at the painting desk because of some family business. But next week I'll have a look onto a WIP British gunboat and maybe a post featuring some conversion with Perry plastics I'm working on.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Back from holiday - Workbench snapshot

Ten days by the sea went by in a flash!
The family and me were in East Frisia since 11th August and spent a wonderful time of temporal deceleration there. The weather was rather fine and we enjoyed a couple of excellent day trips with the kids: Bicycle rides, a short cruise trip and a trip to the German shipping museum in Bremerhaven for example. About the last one I'll spread a couple of words here.

But now back to the workbench!
While we were on holiday my kit of a Hamilton gunboat by Laser Dreamworks arrived and I was very happy to find it on our doorstep just. So this MDF beauty will be one of the next pieces on my workbench. Nevertheless there is the next batch of NWF British to be finished before the ship:

As you see they are nearly finished but they need some highlights here and there and some finishing touches. Most probably I'll be able to present them later this week.

Until then enjoy your weekend !

Friday, August 12, 2016

66th for NWF - Perry British Infantry 1877 - 1885

Ten days gone since my last post. Holidays are really a hustle... Currently I'm having my yearly summer holiday and we spend part of it at home but part of it in East Frisia by the sea as well. Although I enjoy any time out and especially having time for the family things tend to go somehow stressful to hang around together all the time. Particularly when the girls are missing their common playfellows. However there'll be a couple of day trips to mention here...

During the last days my blog crawled over the 300,000 hits step nearly unnoticedly. Many thanks for your recurring interest in my humble pieces of work!
Be sure that I'll cover this step in a seperate post and I'll create a appropriate raffle for that. But I have to postpone this in the aftermath of our holiday.

But now in medias res. Actually this day's post was meant to introduce and review the rather new plastic set by Perry Miniatures. The spring after Salute the twin published a set I'd been waiting for since it was announced last year: British Infantry 1877 - 1885.

As you know the Great Game and the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War have been keeping my attention for a while. So I didn't wait too long until I assembled and prepare a couple of those figures. Finally the first five are finished and I wanted to take the chance to show you the set as a whole.
As most of you might know the plastics come as a box of 36 multi-part 28mm figures. Once again they come in a handy box with a tremendous artwork by Peter Dennis:
Within the box there are two command frames with three figures each and five frames with five common infantrymen each:
As usual for Michael's and Alan's work the figures are well detailed and full of live. All the figures share the P1870 Valise equipment, the puttees and the Martini Henry rifle. All iconic pieces shown in the British campaigns at the North West Frontier during the 1870s and early 80s as well as in the Sudan shortly afterwards. To suit both campaigns there are two sets heads included. One set with a puggree as worn in the Sudan and one set with a helmet cover as worn during the 2nd Anlgo-Afghan War. This makes the set rather useful for most colonial enthusiasts but makes them useless for the British campaign in Zulu land. However luckily Michael is working on another set of plastics for that theatre of war although there isn't a date of released announced yet.
Anyway Michael created an excellent set of sculpts and made some really wonderful models. Although there are a couple of companies who have 28mm figures for the NWF during the 1880s these are my favourites. They are really detailed although some of the bits and pieces could have been accentuate slightly deeper. Due to this you have to take some more time for the first few models to find the right path to paint them but then there whole richness of details unfolds.
As usual the twin deliver a booklet with painting advice, historical background and examplary sets of colours. Especially the latter are very useful since currently there's no company producing colours for these conflicts as far as I know.
So I'm really more than satisfied with the box and I couldn't wait to bring some of them alive. Thus I assembled half the box meaning 18 figures who were meant to serve as some of the brave men of the 66th Regiment of Foot during the Battle of Maiwand. During a two hour airbrush session I undercoated them and applied a thin coat of Vallejo Game Colour 'Khaki'.
After that it took a while until I found the time to finish them but last week the job was done. At least five of the boys are finished and after varnishing them I'll put some static grass or clump foliage onto their bases. Habitually I take pictures of the finished figures before applying varnish because even matt varnish tends to give them a shine which I don't like on photos.

Although I'm still working on some other pieces as well those plastics - and the corresponding metals - will become a constant guest on my workbench. They are a wonderful combination of rather plain uniforms without trumpery and the chance to put efforts and character in faces and such.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Zombicide: Black Plague - Lady Faye

The forth and for now last survivor for Zombicide: Black Plague (Z:BP) I painted recently is Lady Faye:
As well as the other figures I've painted for Z:BP so far Lady Faye was part of last year's extremely successful Kickstarter campaign by Cmon (Cool Mini or not). The giving backers unlocked her at total funds of ridiculous $2,650,000 and thus it came as part of the exclusive miniatures for all those subscribers. Do you recognise the character she's based on?
Somehow I didn't like Snow White and the Huntsman too much but Kirsten Steward's 30mm incarnation is one of my favourite survivors from Z:BP. The figure's pose and character are simply perfect and detail Cmon brought into it is really extraordinary for a plastic board game piece.
In the game Snow White is a nimble character starting with an extra free movement action. So at the beginning of the game she is performing quite like Nelly the baremaid. Thus made her to our daughter Viktoria's second favourite character. Hopefully my paintjob made her top choice but lately we didn't find the time to play Black Plague with her again.
Although the base isn't finished yet because I haven't varnished Lady Faye yet here's a view from above:
Once again I added cobblestone pieces made of greenstuff and honestly on her base they came out best in my humble opinion. As soon as one or two coats of varnish are protecting this armoured beauty I'll add some static grass and maybe some clump foliage. After that she should be ready to declaim against sinister zombies.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Zombicide: Black Plague - Xuxa

Let's proceed with the parade of survivors. After Brother James and Lucas here comes the third figure for Zombicide: Black Plague I painted recently: