Saturday, 25 June 2016

It's Clump

Taking a break from the fascinating political turn of events that has happened this week in the UK (i.e. Brexit), my thoughts have turned (naturally) to wargame scenery.  Actually, there's no link at all but it's been an odd week.  Anyway, basically, with a certain amount of economic turmoil likely to lie ahead, my idea was that it is always good to save the pennies and, needing some scenery material, I decided to make my own clump foliage.
This currently costs about £10 for a large bag but, with a small amount of effort, you can make it yourself much more cheaply.  My starting materials were a packet of kitchen sponges that I got for a pound (in the pound shop) and my plan was to use the method described in detail in the Shedwars Blog.
Billy Whizz
Therefore, the first thing I did was to cut up the sponges into small pieces with scissors and then whizz them up in an old blender, adding a little water to make it easier.  You can see what the product looks like in the bowl on the left
Like cake, only more so
This bowl has four sponges worth of bits in it, with most of the water squeezed out, to which was added some paint.  I happened to have some tubes of acylic paint lying around but anything water-based works fine.   I also added a little bit of white PVA glue to help it clump together.
And here's one I prepared earlier
Once mixed, the foliage was spread out over some tin foil on a tray to dry.  This can take quite a long time and in my case took about three days.  However, it turned out really well and I was very pleased with the result.  So I made some more with the 4 + 2 sponges I had left, producing some different shades of green this time.
Any colour you like as long as it's green
I reckon that all in all it cost me about £1.20 of materials, and a little time, to make £20 worth of clump foliage.  Well worth it.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Affordable Housing

The last wargame we had a few weeks ago was a brief 1/300 scale WW2 encounter on the western front.  Sadly it didn't work out too well and as my phone was full I couldn't take any photos anyway, so there is no AAR.
Back gardens - 1/300 BTR70 for scale
However, one thing that did come out of it was the realisation that we had a lack of suitable 1/300 buildings in our collection, so I've done something about it in that I've spent the last few weeks making some 20th century structures suitable for western Europe.
Of course when I embark on such projects I never do things by half and so my plan was to make a dozen buildings or thereabouts.
My materials of choice are (nearly) always cardboard and the thin polystyrene sheets that come with some brands of supermarket pizza (poor man's foam-board as I call it).  Everything was glued together with Evo-stick wood glue (normal PVA), which, if you make simple structures, can be remarkably sturdy.
For the factory shed roof I had some nice cardboard with narrow corrugations that had come from some sort of fancily bound document in my collection (Historic Scotland's Annual Accounts I think).
Inspiration came from various sources including my PC game of choice ARMA3.  Here is the model I made based on the building shown below.  In my mind's eye it is a perfect match with regard to the original.  What?  No?  Just me then...
I also made a couple of Ardennes style stone farm buildings (based on another WW2 PC game/mod called Darkest Hour).
So overall quite fun to do and, as I painted all the roofs red, a good match for other buildings I'd made previously (see the DBR AAR from a few months ago).

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Pretty in Pink

Like a lot of people I've always been a bit nervous about painting horses and therefore cavalry, but needs must and I actually enjoyed painting these 1/72 scale Napoleonic French dragoons by Italeri.  I decided to get these figures because previously the only plastic cavalry I had had were the original Airfix cuirassiers, which are really terrible figures.  Plus, I thought it would be nice to have dragoons instead for a change. 
The figures are excellent and the plastic is quite stiff and takes the paint fairly well.  There are 17 horsemen in the pack so I could therefore just about make six bases of three (on 60mm x 40mm bases as per WRG 1685-1845).  The box art has them depicted as one of the regiments with pink facings and so I thought 'you know, why not?' 
After the figures had been washed and glued together (with standard PVA) they were undercoated in black acrylic.  I painted the horses first, giving them a liberal coating of Tamiya Red Brown (XF-64), Hull Red (XF-9) or Linoleum Deck Brown (XF-79), apart from the trunpeter's horse which was base-coated in light grey. 
Thereafter, using a combination of dark washes and highlights the horses were finished.  Quite easy really.  Once the horses were done the riders were painted using my usual 2-stage technique, that is I block in the main areas with a shade coat and then just add one layer of highlighting - my eyesight and skills aren't good enough to do more than that (plus I've not got the time).
For the final base I was one figure short of the 18 that was needed, so instead I had two figures galloping past a destroyed cannon.  This was an old Airfix one from the 1970s that was still knocking about but had lost a wheel.  This was repainted and added to the base.
I quite like this little diorama because although actually the same figure, the riders look different because they are on different horses.  I also like the way they seem to be looking down at the gun as they ride by.