Dio-Bolical Monday No: 15 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 6

The first picture below shows where I got to with the base as of last week.  The Tower base had been fixed to the diorama base and additional rocks and sand had been added to extend the rocky outcrop.   DAS clay had also been applied with the outline of the waves having been formed.  Left to completely dry the next step was to set about painting all the rocks and sand to blend with those on the tower.  In theory this was straight forward but in practice it took a little longer than anticipated.  Even though all the new rocks had been primed with diluted matt white enamel, my usual priming method, the different materials and levels of absorbency meant additional coats were required here and there.

Photos two, three and four show the end result albeit that more dry brushing and weathering will be done at some point.

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With all that grey and brown going on I was in desperate need of adding some colour to my palette and decided to return to painting the wizard figure that I had started last week.  In truth I have no idea where on earth he is going to be positioned but I’ll worry about that much later.  I’m sure I’ll figure something out.  My level of detailed planning simply doesn’t go that far!

As to the little chap himself some photos below.  Where I could I tried to pimp him up a bit with some hoops on his hat and flames on his back.

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The little chap will now be set aside, it will be a while before he is needed again.

My aim for the coming week is to start painting the sea.

TIM

“Foster” – Taking the Mickey!

“Foster” is a 28mm Hasslefree figure which I feel certain is based on someone but not sure who.  My guess would be Kurt Russell but if I’m right then I am at a loss as to what film.  If anyone knows please tell me so I can then go “derrrrr!”  In any event it is a figure I like and in keeping with wanting to develop my freehand work felt this figure provided some opportunity.

T-Shirts and vests provide scope I think for all kinds of logos and images which is possibly the biggest reason why I like this figure.  The big question was what to do and how to do it?  Out of the blue I had a flash back moment and remembered my brother and I used to draw Mickey Mouse by drawing around old pennies for his head and half pennies for his ears.  Obviously that wasn’t going to work here but I was struck by the idea and determined to paint Mickey on his vest.  After checking on a few Google images I set about giving it a go.  A couple of progress photos are included below.

Once Mickey was done it was all about finishing the paint work.  In effort to try something different I settled upon another variant of camouflage trousers and was pretty pleased with how these turned out.  A few bricks and a splash of plant colour for the base and job done.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 90)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is from Hasslefree and goes by the name of “Earl”.  This is a figure I have done before and not that long ago either but for some reason I had bought him again.  Not entirely sure why but now that I have painted him again I suspect whatever idea I had for him will now come back to me and I will end up buying him yet again!  That’s the ageing process for you!

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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The Wednesday Whinge

I love my hobby like we all do but there is one thing which gets up my nose (there are probably others too) and that’s finding a miniature I like but only being able to purchase it as part of a set of figures.  I wouldn’t mind so much if the rest of the figure in the set were as equally good but all to often they are not and they end up in the unwanted lead pile.  It’s much the same when buying a pack of socks from Marks and Spencer, there’s always a couple of pairs that you know you will never wear.

I’m no marketing guy and I expect from a sales point of view packaging the figures in this way works well for the company.  To be fair they may even think their sets of figures are all excellent and compliment one another.  Personally I prefer being able to choose the figures I want even if I had to meet a minimum price or figure volume to complete the purchase but alas that option doesn’t exist.  Until it does if I like a figure that much I will just have to pay over the odds.

Such is life.

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Give Me Five

Lockdown continues to deny me and countless others simple indulgences such as having some friends round for dinner and spending the evening putting the world to rights.  Reminding myself of this got me thinking who who would be my top five people, now no longer with us (we might do living people next week), that I would most like to have at a dinner party and have a jolly good chat with.  I thought a nice mix of politics, music, film, comedy and sport would make for a very interesting evening.  In no particular order I came up with the following guests.

  1. Winston Churchill
  2. John Lennon
  3. Elizabeth Taylor
  4. Robin Williams
  5. Brian Clough

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Take it Easy” by the Eagles.  It will be 46 years this June that I saw the Eagles live at Wembley Stadium along with a 100,000 other people, the Beach Boys and Elton John who topped the bill on his Captain Fantastic tour.  That was 1975 and this track which was released in 1972 is as great now as it was then.  Well I think so.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Gangs of London” starring Joe Cole who can also be seen in Peaky Blinders.  This was a series recommended to me by IRO who described it as romantic comedy 😉.  I jest of course.  It is a pretty gritty and violent but extremely watchable.  Well IRO and  I think so.  Certain things didn’t turn out as I expected but a predictable drama would be less fun.  Now I just have to wait for the second series.

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Remember …

Nine times out of ten when your wife asks “Do you remember what today is?” she’s just trying to scare you.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 14 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 5

Another week and once again I managed to achieve my aims.  In truth I feel I could and perhaps should have done more.  My enthusiasm for the project is as high as as it has been from the start but I just don’t seem to be able to shrug off the level of sluggishness that I have developed.  I feel sure this has so much to do with lockdown and repetition to my daily life.  If it wasn’t for sticking with the blog and trying to hit my self imposed publication days I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you what day of the week it was.

So, how did I manage to get on?

The first image of the immediate three below is where the base was last week.  Once the PVA had dried out a few more stones were added to the front area I then I started to apply filler.  On this occasion I went for using DAS clay.  It dries quicker, not that I was in any rush, and for what I had in mind was easier to work with and shape.

In the third photo you can see that I have started to shape the waves.  A big thank you to those of you who were kind enough to share some tips and YouTube links.   I have now worked out what I plan to do and will go into more detail in a future post.  The shapes made so far are really only the foundations.  The important thing is they are reasonably spaced out and all travelling in the same direction.  I went for waves coming in from an angle as I thought it would look better on the eye.  Time will tell but of course but by then it will be to late!  You will also notice that in addition to the rocks some sand has also been added. Continue reading “Dio-Bolical Monday No: 14 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 5″

“Finn” – Zombie Killer

This 28mm Hasslefree figure goes by the name of Finn and is one I have done before.  The previous paint job was plain as was the base work.  Nothing wrong with that but I just felt after I had done it I could have made it a little more interesting.  Nothing over the top just a bit more personalised.

As I have started to get more and more into freehand I wanted to do something on this little chap but couldn’t think of anything appropriate.  Then my daughter walked in with an old hoodie on and that inspired me to add “Leaver 20” reflecting what the kids wear when they leave school.

For the base I wanted to go with a zombie feel while at the same time keeping to the 25mm square footprint.  Not sure what inspired the hands and head coming out of the ground but once I had the idea it became a must.

Pictures below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 89)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is a Hasslefree figure called “Tony” and is based on the character played by Nick Frost in the film Shaun of the Dead.  Having done the three “Shaun” character figures which Hasslefree have on offer it made sense to do this one.  I must take a closer look at the other figures to see if any of the others have been sculpted as I nearly missed this one.  It will also provide me with an excuse to watch the film again, not that I really need one!

The figure itself is pretty plain but when I looked at some on line images I noticed that “Tony” wore a T-Shirt with the wording “I Got Wood” written on it.  It wasn’t possible to replicate this in full due to the left arm being across the figures midriff.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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The Wednesday Whinge

When I was a kid we had very few TV channels to choose from, three to be precise.  The BBC never had adverts but ITV, our only independent station at the time, did.  A program on ITV would be shown and every 20 minutes or so there would be a break in the broadcast for adverts.  Back then the break would be captioned with “End of Part 1” followed afterwards by “Part 2” etc when the program returned.  More importantly the program, whatever it was, simply picked up where it left off.  Somewhere between that point and now things have changed a great deal of course.

These days going straight to the adverts and doing away with the announcement of a break, and the return thereafter, doesn’t bother me.  I can live with the fact that the Ad breaks are longer and more frequent too.  What does irritate me though, thanks no doubt to the increase in my TV viewing due to Covid lockdowns, is what happens when the program returns after the adverts.  For some reason it has become necessary to remind me of what happened in the previous 15 minutes of the program before they went to the advert break.  This doesn’t happen once it happens after every break in the bloody program.  More than that it seems to happen in almost every program I watch these days!

Just what is going on here?

Between the start of the program and the resumption of it after the break did a million new viewers suddenly join in?

Is there a need to pad out the 24 hour TV schedule by such repetition?

Or is it that the average UK television viewers memory retention is only slightly higher than that of a fucking goldfish?

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Give Me Five

I have no idea what inspired this weeks choice (probably my daughters choice of family TV viewing) but I decided to think about my top five animated films.  After some deliberation I came up with the following five.  In no particular order they are:

  1. Toy Story
  2. The Jungle Book
  3. The Lion King
  4. The Simpsons Movie
  5. Shrek

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin.  Fancied a bit of Led Zep this week and settled on a classic for this weeks post.  For those of us in the UK it will always be associated with Top of The Pops.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Le Mans 66” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  I didn’t know the true story of Le Mans 66 so this film came as a complete surprise and I loved every minute of it.  Will leave it a week or so before watching it again!

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Remember …

Taking a dog to the beach called Shark is a bad idea.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 13 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 4

Progress this week was slower than anticipated.  Looking back I can’t really account for why that was.  I didn’t lack for enthusiasm but a few bits and pieces domestically and a few model bits arriving in the post provided a degree of distraction.  Still, I’m not working to any sort of deadline so I don’t intend to beat myself up about it.  Looking back at the previous post my aim for this week was to start on the base section and the base itself.  As I managed both I guess my objective for the week was achieved.

The first image shows the base as it was last week with the stone work largely done but with the rocks still to be painted.  In the second photo the rocks have been painted, a little weathering has been done on the tower stone work and I have cut some rough pieces of plaster board to elevate the tower further.  You can also see the wooden base the tower will be fixed to as well.

I’m still going for an overall dark look but at the same time needed some contrast between the dark grey stone colour of the tower and the rocks so I settled on various shades of brown.

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The reason for elevating the tower further is because I want to have it set on a wider rock base with the sea lapping up against the rocks.  Well that’s the theory at least although I’m still not entirely sure how I am going to do the sea but I am more than happy with pressing on with the rock outcrop.  As usual I looked to the slate and granite chippings I have on my front garden path as the go to material to use.  I needed a few and although I can’t explain my selection process I some how instinctively know what shape and texture I’m looking for.  Washed and dried I then set bout trying to put them into position whilst ensuring they blend in with the rocks on the model itself.  Far easier said than done and far more time consuming than you might think.

The first image below shows another angle of the base sitting on the roughly cut plaster board pieces which have been stuck together and fixed to the main base using PVA.  The second and third photos show the plaster board having been carved out and shaped with the granite and slate chippings being positioned and held in place, again using PVA.  The last picture was a brief inspection one of how the base of the model and the base being built will line up.

img_0942img_0946img_0945img_0944 There are more stones and chippings to be added but for now these need to dry otherwise everything will slip and slide all over the place.  From a personal point of view I am happy with how this is coming along.  To others, a bit like my Fools Gold diorama, this stage looks like a complete mess but trust me it’s going to look OK in the end! 🤞

Where do we go from here?

Finish adding the stones and chippings and then I need to add filler of some sort to the base while I think about how I am going to do the waves.  That’s going to need a lot of thought and there will be some drying time needed as well but if I can get my head around the waves I will be pleased.  It might also be a good time to make a start on one of the figures too.

TIM

“Mo Joe” – 28mm Zombie Hunter

This figure is one I have had my eye on for a while but each time I went to order it along with some other Hasslefree figures it was out of stock.  Fortunately I finally managed to get my hands on him.  The figure actually goes by the name of “Joe” but I have chosen to call him “Mo Joe” on account of his Mohican haircut.

I decided to make Joe a Zombie Hunter and in order to convey the message decided to add a body to the base work.  I didn’t have room for a whole figure on the 25mm base so simply chopped him in half (a conversion!) and made some guts using cotton wool dipped in PVA which was then teased out a bit with tweezers.  A bit of blood around the head and on the bat and away you go.  Unfortunately the contrast in ground colours doesn’t seem to have come across quite so well in the photo’s as it does in the flesh so to speak.

As a patriotic Brit I elected to give Joe a Union Jack vest and was pleased with how the freehand came out.  Chuffed with that I set about trying to paint the upper part of a skull on the back of his jacket.  As a first attempt at a skull I was fairly pleased with that too but if I decide to do another at some point I’d like to think I might be able to do a little better.  To begin with I had no idea how to start painting it but after a little research managed to piece something together.  Certainly a lesson learnt for next time.  Finally I couldn’t resist the idea of a few colours for his barnet (that’s rhyming slang for hair for those of you outside the UK).

As I finish writing this I am looking at the photo’s on my very old laptop and the images don’t look that great.  Hopefully it is nothing more than the computer itself as the photo’s on my Samsung tablet looks absolutely fine, well to my blurry eyes at least.

Pictures of “Mo Joe” below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 88)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is from Reaper and the female figure goes by the name of Almah, Merchant Princess.   A lady not to be messed with and for inclusion in Alex’s Fembruary Challenge.  I went for a simple paint job but am now regretting that I didn’t take the opportunity to see what freehand work I could have considered doing.  Always next time.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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The Wednesday Whinge

I hadn’t intended to start with the subject of Racism but then two things happened.  Firstly IRO did a podcast on the subject and then I had an issue with eBay.

I’d never thought of Racism in the hobby but I thought IRO was good to bring the subject up and it did get me thinking about it.  I’m not intending to get into a great debate on the subject but before I get onto my whinge a couple of observations.  Firstly, having attended numerous models shows up and down the country I have rarely, if ever, seen many ethnic minorities in attendance.  I might be wrong but culturally within my sphere it appears they have little or no interest in the hobby.  Then again they may all be at home painting away.  Secondly, the military subjects which dominate from what I see tend to be “white” conflicts.  Of course there are plenty of ethnic campaigns too but the point is do they sell?  I remember a manufacture telling me that for every cowboy figure he sells he can sell 30 or more WW2 figures.  The bottom line is it’s about the bottom line.  Now on to my whinge.

My whinge is in two parts.  The first is very simple.  Now maybe it’s just me, and it probably is but it strikes me it is impossible to have a grown up conversation about racism without someone immediately calling you a racist.  Even IRO felt awkward talking about the subject.  Why?  To my mind if you cannot openly talk about the subject then you are more likely to create new racists.  Yes, black lives matter but so does every life.  I could go on and on about the subject but quite frankly I can’t be asked to address the inevitable abuse.

Now to the second part of my whinge.  Remember this little chap that I posted a few weeks ago?

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Well I decided I would put the little chap up for sale on eBay where he sat for a few days and then I received a message from eBay of which this is an extract.

Quote:

We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed.

What activity didn’t follow the policy

We removed your listing as it violates our Offensive Materials policy. eBay has made a decision to no longer permit Confederate flag listings and/or listings that feature the flag. We believe the image of the flag itself has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. This is not a reflection or judgement on anyone selling the item and we respect that there are a wide variety of opinions on this issue. Please note that even if the language is part of the official name or trademark of the item, it is not permitted to be used in your listing title or description. We do not permit these items. Please do not relist these items again. Failure to comply will result in further restrictions and a possible suspension of your account.

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Now of course everyone is free to draw their own conclusions.  Personally I fall into the camp which says history is history and we should learn from it and not pretend it didn’t happen.  I’m also of the opinion that anyone who is offend by an inch high figure is a sad fuck and is simply indicative of a sad world where political correctness has gone mad.

As someone who worked for a vast global company for 32 years I have worked with people of all races and from all over the world.  Truth be told I have found people generally fall into three categories.  Those I like, those I don’t and those I have no opinion on at all.  Colour of skin is immaterial, if your nice your nice if you’re a shit you’re a shit.

Simples.

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Give Me Five

Before I get abused for being insensitive and racists I thought I should keep the ethnic theme running by this week listing my top five ethnic actors/actresses.  In no particular order:

  1. Sidney Poitier
  2. Morgan Freeman
  3. Denzel Washington
  4. Rami Malek
  5. Thandie Newton

This week TIM has been listening to …

“When Tomorrow Comes” by the Eurythmics.  I do think Annie Lennox is a great singer and together with Dave Stewart they made some excellent music.  Will doubtless line up some more of their tracks in the future but today decided to go with this one.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Bulletproof” a TV series set in London.  This one passed me by but I have managed to watch the first series and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The good news is there is a second series of six parts, just like the first, and a third comprising of three episodes.  Now looking forward to watching those too.  Oh, and the two black actors, Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke, are very cool and no I’m not just saying that.

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Remember …

Don’t assume it is your people skills which are the problem, it is more likely to be your tolerance of idiots which needs working on.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 12 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 3

The plan for the last week was to get the turret done and begin work on the top section of  the tower.  Every section of this model is a painting marathon but so far I am loving every minute of it.  Yes I know an airbrush would have quickened things up but I’m a brush guy and am happily losing myself in  this project.  Although I consider the progress I am making to be very pleasing I’m conscious of the fact that from a blog posting point of view things might be a little dull.  Hopefully though the images towards the end of this post will provide some idea of scale and why it is a beast of a model.    

The first couple of photos today are of the outside of the turret.  There are five turret windows and each one takes a while to do but I love the way they look.  Not my idea as I have said before but thanks to the YouTube link I have previously posted.  The wooden shingles have all been painted using a combination of various earth coloured oils and most of the weathering has been done too.  The grain and texture engraved in the model is simply brilliant.  As you can see in the second image their is a top piece still to be painted.  I’m leaving that for now so I can pick the top up rather than manhandling the paint work so far done.

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With the turret largely out of the way it was time to move on to the stone section.  As with the rest of the model it is very highly detailed and getting into the various nooks and crannies to paint everything is time consuming and more than a little repetitive but with YouTube on I was happily zoned out.  No real secret to any of the painting here.  Just a couple of base colours, washes to get into the dark recessed areas and highlights and dry brushing on edges and where else I felt it was appropriate for weathering.  As with the all the tower painting so far done there is much more weathering to be done but that will come later.

In the third image below I have inserted the room which I got painted last week.  The fit is perfect and was easily glued into place.  

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With the room in place I added the turret.  Again the fit is perfect although there is only one way the turret can be positioned so I colour marked it for ease as it will not be glued down, that way it will be possible to see inside the room.  The colour marks aren’t visible when the turret is on.

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With the top section put together it was time for a motivational assembly of the main pieces.  It is nice to take time out and see how things are progressing.  So far so good and I am very pleased with things as they currently stand.  That said there is a long way to go.  

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Plenty more to paint on the tower.  The base hasn’t even been started and there are figures and other bits and bobs to be done.  A good many weeks work lay ahead.  Next week I will aim to get the rocks done on the base section.  Then I might start to think about how to go about getting the base done.

TIM

 

“Glory” – The Fembruary Challenge

In response to Alex’s annual Fembruary challenge I managed to pick up a couple of female figures from Hasslefree.  This is the first and goes by the name of “Glory”.  I might get the second one done as it’s early in the month but we’ll have to see.

I was conscious of the challenge brief so focused on females with attitude rather than the skyclad females which I have done in the past and which Hasslefree have on offer.  Miss Glory fits the bill of a no nonsense, mess with me at your peril, kind of women.  This is admirable in conflict situations and I for one would be more than happy to have some one like her watching my back although I suspect it would be me looking at hers as she takes the fight to the enemy.  Whether I would be happy to have a relationship with a women who is more hard nosed and intimidating than me or the the average guy is something  else entirely but it probably wouldn’t be my decision to make!

Images Below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 87)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is another Knuckleduster figure and my last one, well for now at least anyway.  This little chap goes by the name of “Valentine” and is based on the character Liberty Valance played by Lee Marvin in the film “Who Shot Liberty Valance” which also starred John Wayne and James Stewart.

The figure is the 4th of the six figures in the “Bad Guys” faction.  I will get around to doing the other two at some point but for now I feel the urge to paint something different.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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The Wednesday Whinge

I’m thinking of making this a new feature.  Bottled up indoors as we go through probably our longest and most dangerous lockdown in the UK I feel the need to vent my spleen on somethings which make my blood boil.  If I don’t get some of them off my chest I will simply explode.

Will you agree with the my rantings?  Possibly, possibly not but please bare the following in mind.  Firstly, my aim is to get things off of my chest, in other words this is therapy for me and not to be confused with rational behaviour.  Secondly, I am always willing to concede to a better argument or explanation as to why I might be wrong in my ranting.  Worst case scenario we can agree to disagree.  In any event we will kick off next week.

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Give Me Five

As we are in Fembruay I thought it only right an proper to consider the best 5 female movie characters having done the chaps a week or so ago.  In no particular order my top 5 are:

  1. Sarah Connor – Linda Hamilton, Terminator franchise
  2. Ellen Ripley – Sigourney Weaver, Alien franchise
  3. Clarice Starling – Jodie Foster, Silence of the Lambs
  4. Hermione Granger – Emma Watson, Harry Potter franchise
  5. Katniss Everdeen – Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games franchise

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Mama Weer All Crazee Now” by Slade.  I felt the need for a return to my teens and to clear my head with a good blast of loud music.  Classic BBC Top of the Pops recording with no speakers or anything plugged in!

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Serpent” starring Jenna Coleman.  Given my on/off love affair with Jenna Coleman (she’s not phoning me again at the moment!) I was always going to give this eight part mini series ago.  Based on a true story it is a little creepy at times and you do have to concentrate because it jumps backwards and forwards all over the place.  Nevertheless an excellent watch in my opinion

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Remember …

Every time you talk to your wife the conversation will be recorded for training and quality purposes.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 11 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 2

At the end of last week I managed to make a tiny start on the top section of the tower so I thought I would stick with that and see how much more I could get done.

The top piece comprises essentially of a circular room and the turret.  As with the rest of the model it is highly detailed both inside and out.  Unpainted but assembled the three main parts look like this.

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I started on the inner piece last week and managed to get both the inside and outside of it finished this week.  As you can see from the two photos below there is a lot of detail, particularly on the windows.  The leaded framework on the windows simply took an age to paint on the five windows inside and out and then there was the door to do and the walls as well.  It was painted mainly using acrylics and oil washed for the walls.  The windows were painted in the same way as referenced in part 1 last week.

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In situ this piece looks like this.  A lot of work for a piece that as you can see will be pretty concealed.  That said I will probably not glue the turret in place.  It fits perfectly and doesn’t need any filler of any sort and by leaving it that way it will be possible to then look inside.  It will also make transportation easier as well.

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I decided my next step would be to start on the turret.  So far I have managed to get some paint on the inside.  The thing with this model is it is huge and it takes a fair bit of time to paint each piece.  I should also mention I am a brush guy.  An airbrush would have speeded the process up but I don’t own one and for now at least have no plans to buy and use one.  

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That’s as much as I got done this week.  The aim for the next one is to get the turret finished and then make a start on the lower piece.  If I manage to get that done I might assemble the tower and get a rough idea of exactly where I am at that point.

As impressive as this tower is I am hoping the base work when I get to it will be the making of this diorama along with the couple of figures I have planned.  Before I get started on them though there is a great deal more to do on the tower.

TIM

“Halvdan” – A 28mm Hasslefree Figure

Lockdown in the UK continues and will do so for some considerable time, weeks if not months.  As with the previous ones I am reliant on the hobby to help see me through the dark days.  The blog and the miniatures will hopefully keep me busy enough to pass the time until it is my turn to receive a vaccination and the prospect thereafter of a new world.  So far this strategy is proving to be successful and this week saw me pick up another Hasslefree figure to sink my teeth into.  

This little chap is from the Hasslefree fantasy human range and goes by the name of Halvdan.  When it comes to figures I do like a nice simple standing pose and the key feature of this one for me is the angle of the head.  The tilt might be minor but is makes such a big difference in my opinion.  To me the guy looks like he is tired, either from walking, fighting or working and is in a reflective mood.  A great sculpt I think and a joy to paint.

As for the painting and the base work I don’t have a great deal to say.  I went for muted colours and simply chose green because I had done a lot of blue lately!  That’s about as deep as my thinking goes at times.

Images below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 86)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is another Knuckleduster one from the faction pack of six that I recently acquired.   The Knuckleduster website has this guy down as being called “Duvene”.  A lot of the Knuckleduster figures are based on film characters and this one appears to be a take on Boss Spearman played by Robert Duvall in the movie Open Range.  A great film by the way if you haven’t seen it and one I am now reminded to watch again.  The only oddity of this figure is that it appears in the Bad Guys faction pack and Boss Spearman was a good guy.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Back To The Future?

My recently finished diorama, “Fools Gold”, went as well as it could have done and unusually I can’t recall a single glitch along the way.  This last week though I have been trying a few base things out for some little diorama ideas that I have and for whatever reason I have abandoned every attempt.  Modelling it seems to me can be a bit like golf.  You play a few good holes and just when you think you have cracked it your game falls apart.  Frustration sets in and from there the only way is down.

In truth this is not the first time I have experienced this unwelcome phenonom.   In days gone by I would allow my frustration to get to me, my temper would rage and things would get broken to the point where whatever I was doing truly had to be adandoned.  These days I am more mature.  I stop before I break things!

In conclusion it is time for a time out by which I mean a return to simply painting figures and allowing my mind to forget all about base work for a while.  It isn’t a mojo thing, the enthusiasm is there along with the ideas but the solutions and execution aren’t.  Invariably a Back To The Future stance works, the mind relaxes, the fog clears and the solutions magically appear.  Hopefully it will happen again.

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Give Me Five

A couple of weeks back I posted my top five dinners and asked for meal idea so I could get She Who Must Be Obeyed to up her game and get off my back by continually asking what I would like to eat.  It says a lot about this blog that I probably had more comments on food than figures!  Perhaps I need to change hobbies?

Thanks to you guys I now have a much expanded dinner menu but now need to move on to puddings.  By all means give me you ideas on them but let me say straight up healthy options probably wont make my list.  Puddings even more than dinners are about over indulgence.  My five in no particular order are:

  1. New York Cheesecake
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Chocolate melt in the middle pudding with custard and cream
  4. Pears with toffee sauce and cream
  5. Eton Mess

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“I Predict A Riot” by the Kaiser  chiefs.  A great track with a title which may well come true at some point if the UK lockdown continues with no end in sight.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Three Amigos” starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short.  An old film with a great cast and one I had not seen in a long while.  Shows its age but still very amusing in places – “Sew like the wind!”

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Remember …

If you sit on the toilet at 11:59 and the clock strikes midnight it’s the same shit different day.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 10 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 1

This week sees the start of a whole new diorama.  Where I will be going after this one is something I need to give a lot of consideration to.  I love doing dioramas but space really is an issue now so I need to get my head around the problem in the weeks ahead.  A return to much smaller models will probably be the solution but will they warrant a Monday Dio-Bolical post?  Maybe, maybe not.  My blog needs a review so perhaps this will be something I need to consider changing at some point in the future.  In any event there is no rush for a good few weeks yet.  Anyway I digress, back to the Wizard’s Tower.

For those of you who did not catch the very first Dio-Bolical Monday post back on the 23rd November 2019 this is the Table Top World model I’ve just started on.

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This is a big tower and will stand at over two feet tall once I get the base work done further down the line.  The kit itself compromises of about 30 pieces, 6 large bits and several little bits which make up the roped hand rail going up the steps.  Essentially when assembled the tower has three very specific parts – a base, a middle section and a top piece.

The good news is I have a clear idea of how I want this diorama to end up looking, the bad news is I still have to decide how best to approach doing the base work.  With so much painting to be done on the tower there is plenty of time to work things out though.  It is with this in mind that I decided I would begin by starting to paint the base and middle section.  However, the first hing I had to do was prime everything!  As is my way this was done using matt white enamel diluted with white spirit and brushed on.  Yes, yes I know a spray primer would have been quicker but it’s not my way and I besides I didn’t have any, added to which I was to impatient to wait for a delayed lockdown delivery to arrive.  Put simply I just wanted to get started now. 

Once everything was primed and left to dry I began to paint the base and middle section.  I needed to work on both these pieces at roughly the same time to ensure I got the colour matching across them both, particularly where they join. 

The image I am looking for is a dark one.  I want the tower to look imposing and dramatic, not something which looks like it featured in a Disney animation.  This determined my base colour of a dark grey.  Given the size of this beast using Vallejo bottled paints was never going to happen.  From the moment the model arrived and was unpacked I knew this was going to be a job for oils.  The level of detail on the kit, along with all its nooks and crannies, meant I needed paint that could really flow into these areas and oils diluted with white spirit has always worked for me.  Having adopted the same approach on the Table Top World cottage in my Fools Gold diorama I was confident this would work out OK. 

After priming and laying down the base colour it was all about different shades of grey, a little brown, some white and a fair bit of dry brushing.  All of which got me to this point.  The image below shows the base section brick work well on the way.

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Now strictly speaking there are three parts to the middle section.  The main two can be clearly seen in the first of the images below.  The third if you scroll up to the black and white picture above shows that at the end of the elevated walkway there is a second but much smaller little round roof turret.  Unfortunately the one of the four resin wooden struts which supports the roof was broken when the kit arrived.  In fairness it could have been fixed very easily but after a great deal of inner debate where I lost an argument with myself I decided I preferred the look of the tower without out it.  A bit of a gamble but by carefully removing the three remaining struts I can always add it back later if I decide to change my mind.

You will also notice from the images below that the middle section also has two doors, an upper and a lower one, and windows.  The windows were painted the same way I painted the windows on the cottage in Fools Gold – Part 4 using yellow with a wash applied over them.  This idea came from a YouTube video presented by “Real Terrian Hobbies and Goobertown Hobbies” the link to which can be found back in my Fools Gold post.  In due course I will use their render technique between the bricks again too.  I’ve managed to make a start on the wood and both the doors are more or less finished as well.

The last two pictures show the middle section mounted on the base.  It hasn’t been glued yet and most likely wont be because if I decide I like the end result enough and think it is good enough for a show it will be easier to transport.  The fit as you can see is perfect too.

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That’s it for this week.  A lot of work for one week, well for me at least but thoroughly enjoyed it.  I can’t promise to make that much progress every week.  That’s the thing with dioramas they don’t just happen over night and at some point I know I will end up going backwards rather than forwards.  Nevertheless a new journey has begun.

Now I need to think where I go from here.  I’ll probably continue with the top piece as I have already made a very small start on that as you can just see in one of the images above..  The brick work needs more attention too as well as weathering.

TIM

Shalelu, Elf Ranger – Reaper

This last week has seen my mood lifted for no reason whatsoever that I can put my finger on.  I would like to report that the weather in blighty has been fantastic, that I have had a Covid-19 vacine and that naked women have thrown themselves at me (again!) demanding that I make them with child.  Alas however none of this is true, well except the last bit, there is a bit of truth in that.  OK there isn’t, I’m lying.  In any event my spirits have lifted somewhat and for that I am grateful.

Reinvigorated for reasons unknown I settled down and painted this little female elf ranger from Reaper, a 28mm figure who goes by the name of Shalelu.  I rather liked painting this one and decided there was a bit of an opportunity for some freehand work on the back of her cloak.  Just a few squiggles really but I felt they provided a bit of interest.

Images below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 85)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is the second one I have done from the Knuckleduster Bad Guys Faction which goes by the rather odd name of “Blue Duck”.  Of the six figures in the faction this one is probably my least favourite.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Hold Tight!

Some habits are hard to break and gripping figures to tightly when I am painting them is something I am finding impossible not to do.  Unfortunately it is now becoming a physical problem in my left hand.  For a while now I have started to find if I paint for too long my hand cramps badly and I can’t continue.

Unable to break the habit, something I have been trying to do for some time now, I have started to set the alarm on my phone to remind me to take a break after a certain amount of time.  So far, so good but the up shot is I have found myself painting less.  In itself that’s not a problem, in fact longer term it will help me with my ever growing storage issue.  The concern I do have is more with the blog.

Whether or not I can produce a figure for Wednesday’s and Saturday’s might become an issue.  I will continue as I am but if I have a bad week, and if things continue then I can see that happening from time to time, I might have to substitute a newly painted Miniature & Musings figure for one done some time ago adopting my Memory Monday concept.

Time will tell.

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Give Me Five

This week I thought I would consider my top 5 male film characters excluding Science Fiction and Fantasy as I will deal with the likes of them another time.  In no particular order I came up with the following:

  1. James Bond  – Various Actors but Daniel Craig is the best for me
  2. Vito Carleone – Marlon Brando, The Godfather
  3. Indiana Jones – Harrison Ford
  4. Hannibal Lecter – Anthony Hopkins, Silence of the Lambs
  5. Harry Callahan – Clint Eastwood and the Dirty Harry series

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“One Step Beyond” by Madness.  I do like Madness, they’ve produced some fun music and this particular track is one of my favourites.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” starring Steve Martin and John Candy.  John Hughes directed some great films and this one was one of the best.  Certain scenes still makes me cringe.

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Remember …

Practice your sarcasm because torturing people in your basement is frowned upon.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 9 – “Fools Gold” – Part 8 – Final

This week was mainly about getting the figure painted before making some very small and final additions (such as a few twigs and a skull) before taking photos of the finished diorama.  I do find it very satisfying that you can take a few bits of old crap and turn them into something else entirely.  I must give another shout out to Table Top World, the cottage truly is a stunning kit and I can’t wait to get started now on the Wizard Tower.

The central character to this diorama is a Reaper Chronoscope figure which goes by the name of Crazy Pete.  It’s a figure I have had an eye on for a while but hadn’t decided exactly what to do with him.  Then as things do an idea started to form and then as they say the rest is history.

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Holding a nugget and doing a jig gave rise to the title of the diorama.  Did Pete discover pure gold or fools gold?  Did he die a wealthy man in luxury or is he buried up in them there hills a broken sole?  Well I will leave that for you to decide.  Meanwhile images of the completed diorama, taken mostly outside for some natural light, appear below.

Thank you for your perseverance I hope you have enjoyed following the build.

Next week I will get started on the Wizard Tower.

TIM

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“Alain” – A 28mm Iconic Cavalier by Reaper (Final)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This week I managed to finish “Alain”, the 28mm Iconic Cavalier by Reaper which I had started painting the face on last week.  This represents my first figure for 2021 and therefore my entry into Ann’s challenge.

The figure provided an opportunity for a little free hand work on the shield, front and back, in the form of a couple of crosses.  As the figure had quite a lot going on and a fair bit of detail I decided to keep the base work simple.

Images below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 84)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks figure sees a return to Knuckleduster and a cowboy I very, very slowly painted between Christmas and the New Year.  I was very sluggish over the festive period and barley painted at all but bit by bit this one some how came together.  Nothing to do with the figure just down to me in a mood where between eating and drinking I simply could not be asked to pick up a brush, well not for long at any rate.

The figure goes by the name of “Big Bob” and is one of the six figures in the Bad Guys Faction pack.  Wherever I can I am trying to introduce some freehand painting on my miniatures.  Cowboys offer little opportunity to my equally limited imagination so striped trousers nearly always stand a chance of being done and so it was on this occasion too.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Fembruary challenge

Until IRO mentioned it recently I had forgotten about the Fembruary challenge run by Alex over at the leadbaloony.   I have participated the last couple of years and plan to do so again but having forgotten to put such a key event in my diary I am reminded of the need to purchase a figure.  Unfortunately I am at that age that if I don’t write it down I forget things.  The bigger problem is that I am also of the age that if I do remember to write things down I invariably forget what it was I intend to make a note of and, even more relevantly, where I put the note!

The ageing process is such fun.

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The Makings of a Plan?

Having made a slow start to the year I decided I ought to at least have the outline of a plan.  Nothing to rigid (what would be the point?), just enough to have some focus.  Dio-Bolical Monday takes care or itself at the moment and following that up with the Wizard Tower will keep me amused for a good many weeks.  I also have five more Knuckleduster cowboys to do from the “Bad Guys” faction for Christmas, although one of the figures is badly cast so I might not end up doing that one.

The other thing grabbing my attention right now is the apocalypse.  I really fancy doing more on that genre and I recently placed an order for a shed load of zombies.  More on that once the order arrives and I have had a chance to review what I have bought.  I also need to review the format or the blog.  No rush on that, not least of all because I have no alternative ideas just now but I need to consider my commitment to it in terms of three posts a week and how to breath more life into it for my benefit as much as anything.  Any ideas on that score would be greatly appreciated.

As plans go it’s a start but it’s pretty vague and very fluid.

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Give Me Five

I can cook but I don’t.   She Who Must Be Obeyed does the cooking in our house and the arrangement suits me just fine but for one minor thing.  Without fail she asks every few days what I would like for dinner in the days ahead so she can do the food shopping.  In itself that is not the problem.  The problem is she moans at cooking the same stuff week in week out.  To be fair the menu is not that repetitive but her moaning is.  So, this week I thought you could help me out.  Listed below are 5 of my favourite dinners.  Your job is to identify some of yours so that I can appear to be creative when she asks me later.  If that works then we might move on to puddings!

  1. Steak and chips (with mushrooms, peas and onion rings)
  2. Spaghetti Bolognese (with loads of Parmesan cheese and garlic bread)
  3. Homemade Pizza with loads of Chorizo
  4. Chicken Kiev
  5. Sunday Roast (Lamb, Beef or Pork)

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Common People” by Pulp.  I do love this song and its increase in tempo part way through.  Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics are pretty cool too.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Rhythm Section” starring Blake Lively and Jude Law.  One of those films where the trailer was better than the film.  Watchable but no classic.  I’ve also just realised there is no vowel in the word Rhythm.

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Remember …

If you’re sitting in public and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say ” Did you bring the money? “

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 8 – “Fools Gold” – Part 7

This week I fixed the cabin in place and set about getting the groundwork done around it and the tree.

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That was followed once it was dry by getting the groundwork painted and making sure it blended  in with what I had done already.

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A few more plants and leaves were added for colour and visual effect.  The pumpkin on the bench outside the cottage dictated autumn and so I went with leaves on the ground rather than just a few on my deadish looking tree.  I also started to paint the edge of the base to tidy things up a bit.

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The final touch for this week was adding a barrel, some rubble and planks.  Some more rubble needs to be painted and I have a couple of boxes to add on as well as a steers skull but these will be finishing touches for next week.

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All being well I will get the figure painted up for next week and that will complete the diorama.

TIM

“Alain” – A 28mm Iconic Cavalier by Reaper (WIP Post)

Before, during and after Christmas, as well as after the New Year, I have barely picked up a brush.  My routine such as I had one went out of the window and I simply got lazier and lazier.  I managed to maintain a slight grip on my “Fools Gold” diorama and to some extent the blog but that is as far as it went.  When I finally picked up a brush I realised I had ran out of time to get a figure done for this Saturday’s post.  Accordingly, and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I was confronted with a blog dilemma, do I not post at all or do I try and make a post out of what I have done to date? 

I decided against no post at all.  I could hear the cries of “thank goodness TIM hasn’t posted, we will get a few days respite!” and concluded that annoying you all was more important to me than I realised!

So, what I have I got for you?  Well let me start by saying this is not a tutorial, it is however a brief guide on how I paint faces.  As you will know I am sure, there a great many ways to paint faces and painters far better than I am have tutorials on YouTube that you can follow and replicate.    If this post is of any use then all well an good but other wise it is just a work in progress.  Next week I will hopefully have the figure completed.

As I have mentioned before I prime using White Matt Enamel paint, Humbrol or Revel, diluted a little using white spirit.  The face paints I use are from “Lifecolor” and the set of six I bought comprise of Flesh Base 1 & 2, Flesh Shadow 1 & 2 and Flesh Light 1 & 2.  The first image below shows Flesh Base 2 having been applied.  Please allow for the fact these images appear at 6 times or more bigger than the head of the real figure.

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Next using Black, Vallejo in this case, I block out the eyes and apply a thin line to the mouth.  I don’t concern myself if I have gone outside of the lines as that will be tidied up in due course.

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Next I paint the whites of the eyes.  Any white will do, I don’t get excited about an exact colour, perhaps I should but I don’t.  This white was again a Vallejo colour.

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Pupils come next and again I use black.  I try to take account of where the figure is looking and position the pupil accordingly.

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Time now to tidy up the black around the eyes using the base colour again and then, using the darker of the two shadow colours, outline the areas which need to be darker – around the eyes, hair line, neck, chin and nose.

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The next image is a little blurred but at this point I am using the lighter base colour to start the highlights – forehead, chin and cheeks.

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The next level of highlight is added to the same areas above.  

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Finally some near white to the nose, corner of the eyes and chin plus a little Old Rose Vallejo paint to the bottom lip.  

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Now the images on my Samsung Tablet show the head way larger than in reality (as mentioned above already), accordingly the end result looks far from great but in normal eyesight mode the exaggerated lines provide good definition.  Hopefully the finished model will demonstrate that next week but if not then I will go back and touch a couple of bits up.  That forehead is looking a bit to white as things currently stand.

Meanwhile I need to get my act together as this is not a great start to the New Year.  I have lots to paint and do and shrugging off the festivities and establishing some sort of routine is a must.  There are challenges on the horizon and my arse is not in gear for anything right now.

TIM 

TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 83)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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According to WordPress this is my 400th post and to celebrate this momentous occasion this weeks miniature has not been painted by me, it has been done by none other than my hobby son, IRO!  Let me explain.

Towards the back end of 2020, around about October as I recall, IRO had the idea that we should each paint a figure for the other and then exchange them.  Doing a collaboration when you you are 12,000 miles apart is nigh on impossible and so this seemed like a neat idea.  There were no rules to speak of and the options were relatively simple – do your own thing completely, try and do something which the other would like or try and step into the other persons world of modelling.  You get the idea I hope.  To see what I did for IRO you will need to take a look at his blog.

I didn’t know what to expect from IRO (who would?) but with impeccable timing a parcel arrived from Australia a couple of days before Christmas.  With a combination of excitement and trepidation I duly opened it.  I confess to being surprised but certainly not disappointed.

IRO knowing I have more than a keen interest in the Old West decided to go for a figure in a genre I love.  He also went for a 54mm figure of an iconic character, namely Lee Van Cleef from the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  The figure represented a major departure for IRO it seemed to me.  Firstly a step up in scale is not easy, the period is also something he is not typically associated with and, in order to be true to the film character, painting something in a single colour is, as I know myself, far from easy.

The composition of the figure is excellent, the rustic wooden base is very in keeping and the dry brushing has been done very well too and provides the necessary lift which is needed to break up the dominant black.   All in all I think IRO did a fantastic job but the biggest thing I take from this figure is that he stepped outside of his comfort zone to do something which he thought I would like.  I can report that I am delighted to say I am now the proud owner of a original IRO painted figure 🤗.

Hopefully this exchange of figures is something we will do again.   Not a competition but a very nice way of seeing up close someone else’s style and a neat way of some how making the world a smaller place and bringing the blogger community a little closer to hand.

I must point out this is not an exclusive exchange between IRO and myself.  If anyone else is interested in doing something similar just let me, or IRO, know.  If you want an original TIM or IRO figure in exchange for an original of your own just let either of us know and we will work something out.

Images of IRO’s figure, the original of which now resides in one of my display cases, are below.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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New year plans

I was planning to do a separate post on my plans for 2021 only to decide it wasn’t worth the bother.  Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of ideas and things I want to do but the reality is I have very little control over making them happen as proved last year!

The New Year will be eventful I am sure.  The family world of TIM has a lot going on this year but will any of it go to plan?  Being realistic I doubt it, the early signs are not great.  Take modelling for example, unless the date is put back, it is hard to see Salute taking place in April but maybe there is a chance that Telford might in November.

One way or another the family and I will muddle through in the best way we can much as we and everyone else did last year and whatever does take place, be it modelling or otherwise, will doubtless be revealed through this blog.  We will therefore play things by ear.

I did however set myself one key objective which if achieved will allow everything else to slot into place.  To live.

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Group Shot

Last week saw the completion of a small batch of American Civil War confederates but as rightly pointed out by Wudugast I omitted to include a group shot.

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Give Me Five

A very controversial one to kick off the New Year and one if you are interested in that will get you putting your thinking caps on.  I very much doubt we will get much agreement on this one.  In fact I even argued with myself knowing that I have cast aside so many fantastic music scores from so many great films.  I have barely scratched the surface with this topic and if the truth be told I’m not entirely sure how I came to these five.

  1. American Graffiti
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. Pretty in Pink
  5. Top Gun

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“California Man” by the Move.  Roy Wood and Jeff Lynn at their rocking best.  I just love that saxophone.  This track came out in 1971 when I was 14 and still at school.  I will always associate it with a school field trip to the English Lake District when some local lads made some unwelcome advances to some of the girls from our West London school.  To the annoyance of our teachers we boys had a word or two with the locals and thereafter we became the girls shinning knights.  The day culminated in a party atmosphere in the youth hostel where we were staying which had a jukebox in a cellar room and this track was played over and over again.  Happy days.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Amazing Spider-Man” – starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.  Was in the mood for a dip into the world of Marvel comics and Spider-Man is one of the best.

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Remember …

You know when you are getting old when one big fart can put your back out.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 7 – “Fools Gold” – Part 6

This week work began on the stream.

I have done water effects before several times but have always used products from Woodland Scenics.  This time I decided to try something different.  Thinking ahead to when I do the Wizard’s Tower I know the Woodland Scenics materials won’t work for what I am thinking of doing so after scrolling through YouTube I settled on using the materials demonstrated by Luke at Geek Gaming.

For this diorama I kept things simple.  I didn’t want a dramatic look so to some extent the effect is a little lost.  The important thing is the material works and I can tell already that this will be the stuff I use on the Wizard’s Tower base.  The white you see in the image below is Woodland Scenics water effects added on top to add a few ripples and to see if the products could be combined and work.  They do.

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Once the water effects dried it was time for a little white dry brush to bring out the ripples.  Once that was done I painted up the logs and fixed them in position.  Later they would get a dry brush too.

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Time now to think ground work and tree.  It always amazes me how much difference even a small amount of grass and a shrubs make.  Introducing some Green to all the shades of brown works nicely for me.

The wire aperture for the tree was put in place and bedded into some Milliput and then left to harden.

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Next step was to get the wire aperture covered in a PVA and filler mix.  This was then left to dry before painting.  Oils were used for painting the tree and further dry brushing will be applied in due course.  I’m not looking to add more in the way of branches to the tree.  A dead-ish looking appearance is what I am after and besides I want it to complement the mine and the cabin and not dominate the scene.

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That’s it for this week.  Too much else going on right now but for the next post I hope to have the Cabin in situ, ground work and debris added and some miscellaneous bits and bobs such as barrels, planks, boxes and rubble added.

TIM

TIM’s Review of 2020

As I welcome in the New Year of 2021 and the optimism of a vaccination and a return to some normality I thought it appropriate to reflect on the year that will forever be known to me (and others?) as “Fucking 2020”.  In summary, the best thing about the year 2020 by far is it is fucking over and I didn’t die.

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And so it’s goodbye to 2020! 

What else didn’t I do in 2020?  Well I didn’t go to any modelling shows, including Salute in April and Telford in November, both of which were inked in my diary as major events I was looking forward to enormously.   I didn’t go to France and I didn’t go to Norway on holiday.  My two trips to London were cancelled so I didn’t get to take my daughter to the Tutankhamen exhibition at the Satchi museum or to see a West End show and countless other things we had arranged.  In fact everything I had planned didn’t happen.

I did get to spend most of my time at home.  I did get to experience home delivery grocery shopping, queuing up, social distancing and pretending to be Batman while wearing a mask.  I did manage to spend lots of time claiming financial refunds for things I was looking forward to doing but which had to be cancelled and I did get a lot of jobs done around the house until I ran out of materials.

Unfortunately the pandemic is set to role into 2021 but with talk of vaccines in the pipe line there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel.  The New Year is a separate topic though so back to 2020 and the year that was or should that be wasn’t?

On the positive side of things there was never a better time to be a figure painter and modeller (once things settled down and the supply chains were properly working again).  Stuck in doors with nowhere to go the hobby took on whole new meaning, not just for me but for a great many others who got back into it for something to do.  I enjoyed the quiet roads and the greater freedom that provided for walking the dog and having the kids at home from work and school made for some great family time, particularly during the summer when we enjoyed some fantastic weather.

My biggest disappointed was learning that I shared this world with a far higher percentage of morons than I ever realised but the one big thing I will take from 2020 is “perspective”.  Life is far to short to worry about the trivial shit and in the blink of an eye you are old before you know it.  If you don’t relate to that yet then it is because you are to young but trust me when I say you will come to learn it is a truism in due course.  The point is I now have a different outlook on life and once things settle down again, as I am sure they inevitably will, then as long as I survive then the time for even greater life changes will have arrived.

Reflecting specifically on the hobby what do I consider my personal highlights to have been?  Well there haven’t been many to be honest but let’s start with a few of the things I did which provided the most pleasure.

First up is “Viharis Tenspire” a wizard that I painted for Ann’s Challenge back in March followed by a diorama I called “OMG!” which was intended for shows and Telford in particular but alas wasn’t meant to be.  In May I put together the ever topical “Covid-19: Lockdown Breakout” and during July I got into doing some knights, something I hadn’t done in a long time, concluding with a little vignette called “Knights Hospitaller“.  An odd choice I suspect in the eyes of many but my personal favourite was Zonkers: Killer Klown which I posted in November purely for the time it took me and the amount of freehand work I put into it.  There were plenty of other figures of course and aside from a few I wasn’t happy with I would have to say that in the main I enjoyed what I painted.  It could be argued that 2020 wasn’t a bad year in that respect.

Moving on from the painting side of things the Blog continued to be fun and not long ago I went down the route of acquiring my own domain.  As ever some of the banter was excellent and it remains the most important part of blogging for me and others too from what I have read and seen.  It was great to expand that group with some new followers and am delighted to be in contact with Roger, Dave Stone, Deturnation and Kuribo in addition to all the long standing reprobates from around the world.

Statistically this has been my best year since starting the blog although I do wonder how much that has been influenced by the Covid-19 imposed lockdown.  I don’t put to much store by them but I wont pretend seeing the views go up and gaining a few more followers isn’t rewarding.  My personal statistical favorite is when my blog gets viewed by someone in a country where I haven’t had a view before.  Currently my blog has been seen in 74 countries and of all the statistics available this one blows me away.

Finally I cannot conclude this post without making reference to my Hobby son, IRO.  My podcast interview with him whilst doubtless dull and boring to those who listened was a highlight of the year and one which can only be improved upon by a physical meet and copious amounts of alcohol.  Here’s to that day.

Happy New Year everyone and I will leave you with a few images of the models referenced above.

TIM

 

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 82)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings! and my last post for 2020.

Before moving on may I wish each each and everyone of you and your families a Happy New Year.  I will do a review of 2020 in due course but I don’t think I will be sticking my neck out to far by saying thank goodness 2020 is over.  The New Year provides optimism for us all and with much talk of vaccinations here’s to hoping we can all return to our individual normal’s as soon as possible.

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This weeks miniature is another double whammy and my last two 28mm American Civil War Confederates by Dixon’s, if not for ever than for this year at least.  Nothing I can say about these two which I haven’t said already about the others and that wasn’t a great deal either!  I can however confirm if you hadn’t worked it out already that the flag is not freehand.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Christmas

Well I hope that despite everything you all managed to have an enjoyable Christmas.  My own Christmas was more than a little strange.  For the first time in I don’t know how many years I didn’t get to the pub on Christmas day as it was closed this year.  As a consequence I was sober while eating Christmas Dinner and in the afternoon found myself still awake where normally I would have nodded off!  All in all a very surreal experience but as (hopefully) a one off it was actually OK.

Santa brought me a few things, a book I have been looking forward to getting and reading and of course several modelling bits and pieces.  Little in the way of figures this year (I really do need to work through my stash) but some much needed brushes, inks and paints which I am looking forward to using.  The main things on my list sadly did not materialise but then again it has been that kind of a year.

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Give Me Five

Christmas having passed for another year made me reflect on what I received but more significantly what I did not.  I end the year with the top five things on my Christmas list that nobody could be arsed to put themselves out to get me!  Maybe next year will prove more successful.  In priority order for a change, just so family and friends are left in no doubt what I want for 2021, I give you:

  1. A hot date with Jenna Coleman
  2. A hot date with Jennifer Lawrence
  3. An E Type Jaguar Convertible (for my hot dates)
  4. Three World Cruise tickets (for me, Jenna and Jennifer, never travel without a spare!)
  5. Socks

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Rehab” by Amy Winehouse.  For all of us who over indulged at Christmas and will do so again when we say “Fuck Off 2020”.  Drink problem?  I drink, I fall over, no problem!

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Last Christmas” starring Emilia Clarke.  A very enjoyable and seasonal family film.

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Remember …

If someone says you look familiar tell them you do porn.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 6 – “Fools Gold” – Part 5

Having finally taken delivery of the base and case from my mate Paul I was now in a position to continue the base work.

A visit to my dwindling plasterboard stash (I need to start knocking someone’s house down or make a visit to the DIY store) provided me with what I needed to build up the left hand side and bring forward the front of the mine so that the base was suitably covered.

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With the plasterboard in situ it was time to carve the plaster board and begin to shape the stream.  I figured the miner would need to ford the stream each day and wouldn’t want to get wet so I found a few wooden twigs to create a basic rustic bridge.

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Next up was getting a load on base debris stuck down.  I mainly used the plaster bits which were removed from the carving process along with a little fine sand and dirt and small gravel swept up from the road outside our house.  Oh, and a few stones from the front garden!  A pencil outline was drawn around the house to make sure I didn’t stray into that area.

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After being stuck down with watered down PVA and allowed to fully dry for 24 hours it was time to get some painting done.

I don’t own an airbrush and have no plans to get one, it is well beyond my patience level to learn how to use one.  I’ve always stuck with brushes and oil paints thinned with white spirit to paint ground work and I wasn’t about to change method now.

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Time to let things dry once again.  Next week the aim is to get the water effects done on the, stream, put the log bridge in place, lay down a little grass and a few plants and begin work on a tree.

TIM

TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 81)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This is my last post before Christmas so let me start by wishing everyone who reads this a very Merry Christmas.  This year has been difficult for us all and I will reflect more on that at year end, in the meanwhile I hope you and yours have a truly great time or at least as good as the circumstances allow.  I should also add that there will be no Saturday post from me this week as it is Boxing Day and I plan to sit down, eat, drink and watch back to back films!

As far as this weeks miniatures go all I have to offer is two more Dixon Confederates.  The good news is there are now only two more in my little pile to do.  As far as these two go they were just a run of the mill paint job and as Forrest Gump would say “That’s all I have to say about that”.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Christmas Past. Present and Future

I appreciate this will sound like Bah Humbug but Christmas Present for me leaves a great deal to be desired.  I love the food and drink and am happy to see family and friends and play a few games and watch the telly.  I really want to enjoy the occasion and to some extent I will but in truth Christmas Present isn’t that great.

My family is all grown up and this year Covid-19 has pretty much put a block on virtually all the things we would typically do in the lead up to the festive period.  Accordingly I am left with the fondest of memories of Christmas Past from when I was a kid to when my own kids were young.  Christmas is for kids after all and right now little children do not feature in my family.  Hopefully, and all in good time, Christmas Future will address this.

In the meanwhile my only option is to act like a big kid myself.  If Father Christmas does not bring me what I want I will throw a tantrum!

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Thunderbolt Mountain

A shout out to Mark A Morin to say a big thank you for two packs of Thunderbolt Mountain figures which he kindly sent me recently.  Not a manufacturer I had ever heard of but Mark provided the historic details and some amazing information on the sculptor (as only Mark can).  Having been bequeathed them himself but knowing he would never get round to doing them he kindly wondered if I might be interested and duly posted them to me all the way from the good old US of A.

The sculpts are quite different from what I normally do and the scale is a little smaller but I certainly aim to have a crack at one of the sets in the fullness of time.  Thanks again Mark, very kind of you.

If you want to see why Mark hasn’t got the time to do them himself then check out his blog by following the link above to see what he has been up to on his Aztec project.

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Give Me Five

I couldn’t ignore the time of year so this week I have gone for my 5 best Christmas films.  Not a huge list to choose from but I actually had to leave out a couple of films that I really like.  Decisions must however be made and as such here are my top five in no particular order.

  1. Love Actually
  2. Die Hard
  3. Home Alone
  4. It’s A Wonderful Life
  5. Last Christmas

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Happy Christmas War Is Over” by John Lennon.  Being Christmas I thought it appropriate to have a festive song this week and as December 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of his death outside the Dakota building in New York  I couldn’t think of a more appropriate song.  R.I.P. John Lennon.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Motherless Brooklyn” starring Edward Norton who also directed the film.  Not the greatest plot but not a bad film despite that.  Worth a watch in my opinion if only for some fantastic acting by Norton himself.

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Remember …

If your wife says you are a skeptic don’t believe a word she says.

—000—

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 5 – “Fools Gold” – Part 4

This week was all about painting the Table Top World cottage for my “Fools Gold” diorama.  I had primed it a couple of weeks ago so I just need to start painting it.  Things went well and I even made progress beyond getting it done.  So much so that I started to draft a subsequent post for early January which I scheduled knowing it would need amending.  In itself not a problem but WordPress defaulted to January 2020 and not 2021.  Aplogies to those of you who may have gained a sneak preview.

Meanwhile back to this weeks update.

I decided to start with the inside of the building and the inside of the roof and then move on to the outside.  It is at this point that I must highlight another major problem (it has been one of those weeks, again!).  With Work In Progress posts there is a need to take regular photo’s to show the progress being made.  So engrossed did I become in painting this building and pressing on that I completely forgot to do so!  What you have below is a number of images which show the cottage fully painted.  Starting with the inside of the building and the inside of the roof.

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Looking at the images which I have just inserted the building looks darker than it is but putting that to one side here are a few things to note in respect of the paint work.

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts these buildings are highly detailed, as you can see from the pumpkin, wall hanging corn, the axe, the rope the water trough, etc, etc.  The inside is much the same in respect of the cracking plaster walls.  I painted the walls using acrylics but went for Burnt Umber oil paint diluted with white spirit as a wash to both darken the base colour but more importantly to settle into the cracks to highlight them.  In my opinion nothing does this better than diluted oil paint.  A similar approach was taken with all the wood which features in the roof, on the floor and in the various supporting timbers.

You may have also noticed that the windows are yellow, with a wash applied over them and the render between the stones/bricks is light in colour and not dark.  Both these ideas were taken from a YouTube video presented by “Real Terrain Hobbies and Goobertown Hobbies”.  If you want to salivate over some cool Table Top World models and a diorama on an epic scale then check this video out.

I must also thank Dave Kay over at Scent of a Gamer who through his blog brought both these guys to my attention, cheers mate.

With the mine mostly done and the building now painted next week my attention will continue with more base work as I now have the main base from my mate Paul.  From here on in it is about bringing it all together on the main base and that is when the whole things becomes make or break.

TIM

Vodellis Winterhand – Reaper

As I have mentioned in previous posts I do like figures which for me have a bit of character and to my mind at least this 28mm Reaper figure, which goes by the name of Vodellis Winterhand, has just that.  If there was an opportunity to do some freehand I couldn’t see it so in many respects it was a straight forward paint job.  None the less I was pleased with how he turned out.

In truth given the lack of empty space on my painting desk at the moment I am surprised he got painted at all.  Generally my work space is neat and tidy and free of clutter  (She Who Must Be Obeyed would argue to the contrary) but I had forgotten how much space and stuff I need out when working on dioramas, not to mention the, mess that goes with it.

Adversity was overcome in the end and images of the little chap appear below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 4 – “Fools Gold” – Part 3

Last weeks post ended with the image below and I said that I would explain this week why the track over hung at the front and why the carved plaster board, bottom left, hadn’t been painted.

The depth of the base this diorama will eventually be fixed to is 20cm whereas the depth of the mine entrance just up to the over hanging track is a few centimeters shorter.  When I get to start fixing things in place on the base which comes with the perspex case the front will need to be built up and brought forward at which point the track will no longer over hang.

The unpainted plaster board on the bottom left will I hope become one side of a small stream.  Until I start fixing things into place this is something I cannot deal with properly yet and only when I can will I start to think about painting.

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On to this weeks progress.

As I am not working to any kind of schedule I can’t really claim to be behind but nevertheless I had hoped to have had more done.  In fairness I achieved what I hoped to do this time last week but because I got it done quicker than anticipated I hoped to kick on a bit more.  Alas life took over and it didn’t happen.  What I did manage was to get the mine completely painted along with the track and the mine cart.  I say completely painted but in due course it will need to be blended with with the rest of the diorama and have more dry brushing done.

The mine cart comes empty so I filled it with some cat litter which once dried was painted too.  I also got a barrel done and a few scatter wooden planks although these are not stuck down yet in case I decide to place them elsewhere.  A couple of plants were added to provide a modest amount of colour t break things up a little.  I expect I will add more debris and scatter later on but until more of the overall assembly has been completed it is hard to see at this stage what is needed.  More is less springs to mind at this point.

A few images below.

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Finished for now but certainly not complete.  More work on this bit to be done but it is well on its way.

I did receive a couple of suggestions about having the mine lit up inside.  A great idea but looking closely at the stage I was at I couldn’t get my head around how to do it given what I had built so far.  In reality the mine isn’t that deep and the track turns to the right to give the illusion of depth.  What I did take from the idea though was the thought of doing a diorama at some point which was inside a mine or a cave.  I liked the idea of a dark place lit up but need to give more thought to the theme and figures.  In any event one for the future as I have other things lined up.

Next week my aim is to start painting the cottage.

TIM

Oriana, Grey Maiden – Reaper

This weeks 28mm figure is from Reaper and goes by the name of Oriana, Grey Maiden.  Despite the colour in her title I went for green as the dominant colour and in so doing ended up with a figure I really do not like. 

In truth I did not like my colour choice right from the start and should have stripped it down and started over but, for no other reason than laziness, I couldn’t be arsed to do so.  Interestingly I feel the same way about another figure I have started that is sat on the side of my desk.  I’m not entirely sure why this is but I am very much inclined to blame it on Covid and the lockdown.  I’m not looking to make excuses but I have pretty much been nowhere and done nothing since early March and mentally I think it is now taking its toll.  I’m not concerned about going out just cannot be arsed to do so.  Where is there to go when everything is shut down anyway? 

More and more the least little thing is now becoming an effort and I am sorry to say that I fear the same can now be said for modelling and painting.  I’m loath to take a break from painting or from the blog as I worry I wont start up again if I do.  The thing is I usually do some research and look at images of other peoples work all of which helps to determine what I do.  This however requires effort that I am not putting in and the results as far as I am concerned speak for themselves.  Hopefully the forced break induced by Christmas and family in attendance will provide the opportunity to rekindle my enthusiasm, that and the dawning of 2021.

Apologies for the miserable post! 

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 3 – “Fools Gold” – Part 2

Now the good news is my Zealot order for a mine truck and a couple of pieces of track arrived quickly and safe and sound which meant this week I was able to spend time doing further work on the mine for my “Fools Gold” diorama.

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After checking that the track fitted into the entrance, and breathing a sigh of relief that it did, it was time to start carving the plaster board (see the left above versus the right above image).  With the cat litter covered inner walls now fully dried I could get some paint on them.  The emphasis being on the areas I would not be able to get to with a brush once the mine had been built up further.

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With the inside done as needed for now I was able to press on with the build as you can see from the above images.  The plaster board needed to be built up higher to effectively add a roof to the mine entrance and it also needed more carving and shaping.  Other bits of slate and stone were added here and there and then the finer texture was added as appropriate on top.  For this I used the plaster board dust and bits which were removed during the carving process. 

The key thing to note about plaster board is it is absorbent.  Why is this significant TIM?  Well when it comes to painting it once it’s dry the paint will soak in randomly and automatically create shading of its own.

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As you can see from the image above the painting process has begun and the track is in place too but for now that is another week over.  All being well next week will see the mine entrance fully painted for this stage (more will need to be done later when it needs to blend in when other ground work is done) and the track and truck completed too.

If you are wondering about the unpainted plaster board carving on the left of the above image and why the track over hangs at the front I will explain next week.

TIM 

 

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 2 – “Fools Gold” – Part 1

This last week I have begun work on my “Fools Gold” diorama.  As the Table Top World cottage building is the smaller and much cheaper of the two (the other being the Wizard’s Tower) it made sense to use this model as the experimental one.  As with much of my diorama work my starting point was the base.  Not the base I would build but the base I would build the diorama on.

Now unless I plan to box the completed diorama up and store it away I prefer to have it on display in such a way that it doesn’t get covered in dust.  My wall storage units are not deep enough for displaying larger dioramas so I lean towards individual display cases which I buy from my mate Paul at Just Bases.  I generally buy the larger perspex cases he sells which measure 35cm wide by 20cm deep and 13cm high.  This then governs the size of the diorama I am about to do.  Armed with a ruler and my large cutting mat I worked out that this size base would be just about right for what I had in mind and duly placed my order with Paul.

Now under normal circumstances I would meet up with Paul and collect my base from him within a week or so but as we all know these times aren’t normal.  Meeting up wasn’t the problem but getting perspex was.  With all the screens going up everywhere to deal with Covid-19 perspex is an in demand material meaning it has become a little harder to get and more expensive to buy.  Oh goodie!  Paul assured me all was not lost and in a few weeks he would be stocked up, things would just take a little longer is all and so for now I am waiting on the base.

The good news is that because the design for this diorama incorporates a small stream section the base needs to be built up.  The MDF base that comes with the perspex case cannot be dug into so if I want to achieve depth I have to build upwards.  Does this make sense?  Well it does to me and if it is confusing you then all will become clear in due course as the diorama develops.

While I am waiting to collect the base from Paul I figured there were three things I could work on 1) the mine opening, 2) the Reaper figure and 3) painting the Table Top World cottage.  I decided I would start working on the mine entrance.

Plaster board has very much become my material of choice these days for a great many things.  Having raided a skip for some thrown out board a long time ago I went to the garage to review my stash.  Some suitable bits  were found and using an old tile saw I set about cutting some basic shapes to get me started.

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Exciting pictures huh?  I cut out a few of these and then did a Google search for some reference material.  I settled on the image below for a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve.

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I liked the idea of the mining track and wagon, the hole in the side of the hill and the wooden lintel to add some contrast to just the earth and stone.  I hadn’t consider the mining wagon and track before but thought it would be a great improvement so I thought I would try and see what I could find to buy.  As luck would have it Zealot Miniatures came up trumps so I ordered a couple of bits from them which hopefully will arrive shortly.  Fortunately their website had measurements for the track so I was able to press on with more of the mine construction.

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Now whilst things might look like a mess at the moment you should know that I am delighted with how this is shaping up so far.  Essentially this is nothing more than the skeleton to which the flesh will be added.  The plaster board is building up the side nicely, the wooden supports and lintel are in and slate chippings have been added to show exposed rock from the digging and blasting which created the whole in the first place.  The thing is I can’t do much more on the mine now until I get the Zealot delivery because I need to fix the track in place and be able to get to it for painting before I can put a proper top on the mine entrance.

While the mine work done so far was set a side to dry I thought I would take a look at the Cottage.

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It really is a lovely and highly detailed two part model.  On the positive side of things I can’t screw it up with glue (I don’t get on well with glue, whatever I do it goes every bloody where).  On the slightly negative side it is going to be a challenge to paint the inside.  Brush angles to paint the fireplace and windows is going to be tight.

The kits say they don’t need to be washed but I did so anyway and after they air dried I began to prime the two parts.  For as long as I can remember I have always primed using Humbrol White Matt Enamel diluted with White Spirit.  Unorthodox?  Most probably but it works for me.  Time now for the cottage to dry too so for now that is it for this week.

Hopefully next week I will press on with the mine if the Zealot bits come, if not I’ll start painting the cottage.

TIM

TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 77)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is a 28mm figure from Reaper, a young lady who goes by the name of Kristianna and who lists her occupation as a Crusader Warlord.  I suspect she had no problem getting through passport control, assuming any of us can remember that term these days!  When you buy this figure it comes with a little lad too.  As far as I can see he is not named so I don’t know if he is a son or some sort of aide but it’s all irrelevant because I haven’t painted him yet, not even sure I will but I wont rule it out completely (I have).

Kristianna, Crusaders Warlord

As always with a single figure I am finding it harder and harder to say much about them these days.  The paint job was straight forward enough and I didn’t have it in me to do any freehand.  Perhaps I need to start making up some character blurb to go with it?  Not sure I have the imagination that others do for that sort of stuff but one to ponder perhaps.  Which is typically my way of saying I wont do it.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Covid-19 – Lockdown 2 The Sequel

Back in the days of the first lockdown it was as, far as I was concerned, a fun time.  The sun was shining, the roads were quiet and most people were scared shitless so we had no holiday makers to speak of in the South West.  All in all life was pretty good but for the threat of impending doom. 

Now the UK is part way through the second lockdown and so far I can’t say I am enjoying it much.  Don’t get me wrong I am playing my part once again and following all the rules but the weather is crap, the days are short and I spend most of the time trying to get my waterproof clothes dry in readiness for the next dog walk.  Oddly I am getting less modelling done too which quite frankly is bazaar.  

Sequels are all to often a disappointment and this one is no different.  On the positive side there is much talk of a vaccine.  I wont be top of the list to receive it when ever that is but my age shouldn’t put me at the bottom either.  In any event the time frame is some ways off so it looks very much like the sequel will in fact become a mini series.  Here’s hoping none of us find ourselves in the boxed set. 

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Give Me Five

This week I thought I would go for films with a war theme set earlier than WW2.  Go back as far as you like.  In no particular order I ended up with the list below.  Again I suspect age comes into this. 

  1. Zulu (1964)
  2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  3. All quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  4. Paths of Glory (1957)
  5. Ran (1985)

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“I Love It” by Icona Pop.  Even at my age I can bounce to this one.  Any record with the lyrics “I don’t Care”, “You’re from the 70’s but I’m a nineties bitch” and “I threw your shit in a bag and pushed it down the stairs” works for me. 

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This week TIM has been watching …

“TheGood Liar” starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.  I do like Helen Mirren in particular so this was a must watch film for me.  Very enjoyable.  A twist was expected from the very start which gives nothing away but the story line shoots off in an unexpected way.  I’ll say no more. 

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Remember …

Two can keep a secret if one is floating down the river.

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TIM