Saturday 30 July 2016

Quasi-Scientific Endeavours

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! Witness the wonder of the modern age! Behold the incredible discoveries wrought in the name of Science!

Apologies to any real scientists reading this. I haven't a large enough sample pool, and my selection criteria are probably way off base. Anyway, I attempted two experiments lately, and wanted to share the results with you. First, I was inspired by Nicholas Lloyd, Lindybeige on Youtube, whose blog mentions coating 1/72 soft plastic figures in undiluted PVA (Elmer's glue a l'américaine) prior to painting, as it doesn't obscure detail too much, and stops the paint flaking off - especially from flimsy bits such as swords and bayonets. I have had some success with that. It's worked very well on British and French models, but less well on some Revell Prussians. I neglected to inspect them closely, so they may just have been less sharply defined in the first place.

Anyway, I wondered if that would work on bendy drinking straws. Years ago I tried to use these in club terrain projects, and the inevitable consequence was that they shed paint like it was going out of fashion. In short, it doesn't work. I took two such straws, covering one with undiluted PVA, and left it to dry. Once dry, I undercoated both with Halford's grey car primer, and then painted them with some GW metallics. Once they were both done I left them for a few days so they had a chance to set. Afterwards, I subjected them to a severe stress test: rolling them harshly in my palms. The glue didn't help at all. As you can see from the photograph, they were both rendered equally bald. A major difference between bendy drinking straws and soft plastic soldiers is that the former are hollow, so I may follow up this experiment. For now it's still a no to bendy drinking straws.

I conducted a second experiment over the past day, again inspired by Lindybeige and another Youtuber (apologies for forgetting who! If I remember or somebody lets me know, I'll edit the name in). I popped into Hobbycraft the other day, and picked up a packet of 80 of those giant lollipop sticks (tongue depressors, are they?) to use as bases for hedges (that was what the nameless Youtuber had done. Lindybeige comes in as one of his recommendations is to apply cheap UHU glue as a base to the top of cardboard to prevent warping.

Since I have eighty of the things, I thought I would actually bother performing a test for once. I took three sticks, coating one with UHU, a second with undiluted PVA, and a third with a diluted PVA mix (something like 50-50 PVA and water). After drying, I compared them with an untreated stick. The untreated stick was flat. The UHU stick was slightly warped, the diluted PVA stick slightly more, and the pure PVA one is noticeably concave (or convex if you flip it). I presume the explanation is that the UHU doesn't really penetrate the wood, while the PVA does. The deeper penetration or the weaker strength of the diluted PVA could both explain its lesser impact on the curve of the wood. Truth be told, while the curvature is noteworthy in person, it doesn't photograph at all well. Successful experiment says: use UHU like Lindybeige already said.

Anyway, have a few photos of my scientific foray.

Monday 18 July 2016

Warhammer Fantasy for Frostgrave: Part III

Next up in the queue is this bunch of blue-tinged adventurers. You can see here one of the Norse chaps, and one of the two Amethyst Imperial wizards. Both originally had scythes. Both soon lost them.

Saturday 16 July 2016

Warhammer Fantasy for Frostgrave: Part II

I've managed to get some of the models done up for Frostgrave. Some of them need some plain round shields, which I have somewhere or other. The painting is a simple affair, as I want to get these chaps done quickly en masse, and so involves base-coating several in the same shade, doing a spot of detailing, and calling it done. They will all get a spot of dark brown varnish eventually, and some matte sprayed over that.

Monday 11 July 2016

Warhammer Fantasy for Frostgrave

I'm having a get-together her at the end of August with some old friends from uni. One's promised to bring Frostgrave with him, and introduce us to it. So I've dug out some old Warhammer Fantasy models to whip into shape. There seem to be some wizards, High Elves (so I'm unsure how much use they'll be), Wood Elves (whose ears one cannot make out), Bretonnian archers, some Empire swordsmen, some Estalian swordsmen, and a few Norse (do GW do those any more?). The funniest little Norse chap with his ginormous axe and horned helmet still looks more realistic than the sorts of things one sees these days, and he just looks nuts!

Truthfully, two of the Norse look perfectly fine - to my inexperienced eye, admittedly - for historical use. As you can see, I'm nowhere close to finished with these chaps yet. These are just WIP shots. I'm aiming for a variety of colour across them all. Some groups will fit thematically better together than others, e.g. one could attach a couple of archers to any warband, but the Norse may look odd with others, and the distinct stylings of the Empire and Estalian troops strongly suggest they ought to stick together. Then again, the wizards of the College of Light and the Grand Theogonist Whatsisname don't really fit with the other chaps terribly well. Perhaps that's fine, though; a wealthy magician simply turns up and throws money at some hired muscle. Yes, that sounds about right.

Saturday 9 July 2016

Return to Napoleonics

Come the end of August, I have arranged for some old friends to visit for the weekend for a spot of gaming. As part of my preparations for that, I've been pulling miniatures long abandoned, and getting them ready for a battle or two. A load of Napoleonic troops are currently on the desk. Some of them received a very basic paintjob back in the day - and I don't even intend to try to get them repainted for the summer. I just mean to base them, pop a spot of protective varnish on, and then they should be good enough for gaming. Some infantrymen who never had any work done on them have had a coat of undiluted PVA, as I understand this should help them retain their paint. Wish them and me luck!

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Lost in the Jungle II: There's something out there...and it ain't no man.

This is a mammoth project, and not quite done. That said, it's largely complete, and I cannot resist showing you how much I've got done. Last time I showed you what was then the majority of my jungle. Since then I have added as much again in the form of barbecue skewer, ice lolly stick and toothpick bamboo canes. In a few days I hope to be able to set everything out and get a grand shot of the jungle. For now here is some of what I have just completed, and, as the title suggests, there's something in the trees.

Monday 4 July 2016

Happy Independence Day

To all my readers in the United States of America!

Sunday 3 July 2016

Farewell, Spot

For a long time now our little bunny, Spot, has been poorly. He has had a recurring problem with his back teeth, which grew into sharp spurs, which rendered it too painful for him to eat. He had to have that operated on several times. Sadly, he also developed a tumour. For a variety of reasons, an operation was impossible. My brother worked so hard to try to keep him going, but last night he passed away. He was a bright spark in our lives, full of playfulness and personality. He came to us when a cousin's friend's two rabbits had an unexpected litter. I remember he ran right up to me in the pen, and started investigating me, bolder than any of his siblings. When he was well, he had a passion for basil, and what began as an occasional treat became a daily one, as he went through our herbs faster than I did. He loved being allowed to explore the ground floor of the house, especially at Christmas, when he'd race behind all the furniture before flinging himself down extravagantly before the fire. He was a wonderful little fellow, and we all will miss him.

Friday 1 July 2016

The Battle of the Somme

A century ago the British Army under Haig launched the largest assault it had ever conducted, preceded by the most powerful artillery bombardment the Royal Artillery had ever made. The plan was that the sheer volume of shellfire would blast away the defences of the enemy, leaving them dead or too stunned to defend, and pulverising the barbed wire entanglements. This turned out not to be the case. The first day of fighting saw nearly 60,000 soldiers from Britain and her Empire killed. That figure excludes the losses of our French allies and our German opponents. The war would continue for more than another two years, by which time over 900,000 soldiers from Britain and her Empire were dead. Around 8.5 million soldiers died on both sides by the time the guns fell silent. Europe then paused for two decades before embarking on the rematch.
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