Dio-Bolical Monday No: 57 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 35”

The last of the four knights whose mounts had Comparisons.  Although it is much slower to paint these figures I much prefer them to the plainer horses.  They feel more unique, which I guess they are, and as such the end result is more rewarding and personal.

I decided I’d go for red and black as a colour scheme and chose a large diamond pattern to paint.  Compared to the much smaller check pattern on a previous knight this was much more straight forward.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 56 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 34”

Another simple paint job this week and a return to the colour green.  More importantly though another knight down!

I confess it has been tempting at times to simply go with less knights in the diorama but then I started feeling guilty about being lazy and decided I had to finish what I started. It isn’t painting knights which is the problem, in fact once this project is complete I will almost certainly be painting some others, it’s more a case of wanting to see the project come to an end.  This one has been running for months and months now and I’m growing impatient to see it completed.  That said I’m equally conscious that the last 10% is where most mistakes happen so I need to remain focused.

Only a couple to go now and then I can have more fun doing base work.  Meanwhile images below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 55 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 33”

This week sees a return to my outstanding mounted knights.  The good news, for me at least, is I am on the downward slope and in a few weeks time they will all be done and work will begin on the final phase of this diorama.  Until then though it’s one knight at a time.

To be honest I can’t think of much to say about this one and will probably have even less to say as I paint and subsequently post details of the others.  Essentially it’s now just a case of picking a colour scheme, preferably something I haven’t done before, and then getting the job done.  On this occasion I went for two shades of blue.

Photo’s of my latest offering below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 54 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 32”

I thought I’d start with a recap of where I had got to with the Barn.  Basically the lean-to and its roof had been completed as had the bottom of the Barn, both on the inside and the outside.  The images of the state of play are below.

I should also point out that the foot knights which you will see in the background of some of the photo’s don’t relate to this diorama.

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The next step was to start painting the roof.  The roof comes in two parts and the images below are the of the lower section which is where I started.  The “construction” of the Barn roof is essentially all wood – planks, beams and tiles.  As paint jobs go it was pretty straight forward.  Plenty of browns and dry brushing with some inks thrown in along with some oil washes.

I added the wheel as an accessory for good measure and applied some moss texture to break up the colour repetition.

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The second section of the roof is essentially constructed in the same way so the colour scheme was essentially the same.  A feature of the upper section is a pully wheel which I decided to drill through so I could l add a rope and there was also a sign to be fixed into place and painted as well.

As you can see from the photo’s below the top section sits on top of the lower one and the fit, as is the case with all these Table Top World buildings, is perfect.

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Surprisingly this was a relatively quick paint job given the size of the areas involved.  I added a couple of lanterns which were also part of the kit but as yet the doors and various other bits have still to be done.  Put together the Barn is, in my opinion, a great looking building and I enjoyed painting it very much.  The images below show the Barn both with and without the lean-to.

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In due course the Barn will be fixed into place on the main base but that can’t be done until all the knights have been properly positioned first.  Eventually there will be plenty of accessories and scatter stuff added to the Barn but that too will have to wait for now.

The next priority is to get the remaining knights done.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 53 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 31”

Motivated by the idea that I would allow myself to get more work done on the Barn if I got one more mounted knight done I set about achieving that aim.

I wasn’t feeling the love for this figure which to some extent is reflected in the end result.  I got lazy with the heraldry and chose to go for simple lines.  I suspect I might do the same on a couple of the others.  In some ways it is more realistic anyway, not every knight or his entourage had detailed and flamboyant coats or arms.  Still, I’ll leave you to decide if you like him or not.  For my part he will fit in just fine and although he is predominantly white he will add appropriate contrast once the base mounting starts.

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Well, if you haven’t guessed already then the aim for next week is to get the Barn as near as possible completed.  Looking at where I’ve got to with it then I’m only left with the two sections which make the roof.  There are all other bits to do as well though, the doors which come seperate being a good example, but these can be done further down the line.  If all goes well you’ll have a more or less completed Barn to look at next week which, if nothing else, will make a change from looking at a mounted knight.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 52 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 30”

As pleased as I was last week at having completed another mounted knight I came down to earth when I realised it was only the fifth one and I still had seven more to do.  I’m more than happy painting them but with hindsight I should have mixed things up more along the way.  That would have provided greater variety for me as well as for you dear reader.  Still we live and learn and I am where I am as far as this project goes.  The bottom line is these knights have to be finished before I can do more base work or I’ll box myself in and give myself all sorts of problems.

On the positive side of things I told myself that two more mounted knights painted would see over half of them done which would be motivational so this week I dug in and got another one completed.  I also made the decision that no more work would be done on the Barn until I was over half way with the mounted knights.

This weeks offering is a simple affair.  As you may recall from previous posts only four of the mounted knights have Comparisons to paint and as I have now done three of those it should be quicker for me to do most of the rest.  You never know I might even get two done if I have a good week.  Alas this wasn’t a good week so you’ve only got one to look at!

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Nothing particulalry special about this one but he should fit in nicely with the others.  The good news is I’m now half way!

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 51 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 29”

As tempted as I was to do more work on the Barn I decided to knuckle down and get another mounted knight done.  I was in the right mood for something a little more detailed and fancied something a bit brighter on the colour scale too.  I settled on a green and white combination.  Not the brightest but far more vibrant than the colour pallette I have been using of late.  I also decided to go for a check pattern.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but proved to be very time consuming.  Having said that I was more than a little chuffed with the end result.

Some photo’s below starting with some work in progress shots.

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Getting this little chap completed left me feeling motivated to get some of the others done.  I think I will try to take advantage of my mood and look to get another mounted figure done in the coming week.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 50 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 28”

I decided I would work on the  base level of the Barn.  The main reason for this was wanting at some point to place it on the main base to visualise more accurately how things were coming along (or not as the case might be).  I should also add that I wasn’t really in the mood for doing more intricate painting.

Before I knew it I was fully absorbed in the task ahead, so much so that a) I forgot to take any work in progress pictures (they would have been dull anyway) and b) I suddenly realised that I hadn’t put together a blog post for publishing.  So, here I am at 21:30 hours on a Sunday night writing this post for publication tomorrow morning.

Now normally I am well organised but these days, and it’s been that way for a while, my mind is all over the place.  Why?  Age has almost certainly got something to do with it but I think I have identified a bigger problem.  Put simply I have, for now at least, lost interest in just about everything I once considered important to me.  I can think of lots of reasons why this might be but I’m digressing and I have a post to complete.

My laziness and lack of planning meant that once again my photos were taken quickly using my phone so apologise once again for the poor quality, I promise to do better in the future.

There isn’t much I can say about the Barn.  The painting style and paints used have been documented in past posts so I see little point repeating them again here (so lazy!).  The only thing that I did which wasn’t a smart move was using sawdust as the material for making the muck texture on the floor of the Barn.  Nothing wrong with the look of it but the sawdust mixed with watered down PVA simply took an absolute age to dry.  It tested my patience as far too many things seem to do these days but it was a  good lesson learnt and one I’ve put down to experience.

Images of the latest state of play on the Barn below.

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As far as the Barn goes the roof is the next section to be painted.  After that I have the doors and a few other bits and bobs to do but they can come later and after the ground work has been done once the base of the Barn has been stuck down.  That won’t be yet a while as the mounted figures have to be completed first and fixed into position.

Next week I might do more work on the Barn but I really ought to get another mounted figure done.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 49 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 27”

This week saw me on a bit of a role.  Make the most of it, I can’t promise to keep this up.  I’m not sure quite how I managed it, probably something to do with planet alignment, that or because I couldn’t be asked to do jobs in the garden.

First up we have another peasant.  I need to check but I think this is the last one I had to do.  The original figure didn’t come with an axe but with a hoe.  I didn’t think such a hard looking guy suited a hoe so I swaped it over.  It also means I can claim it as another conversion!  Images below.

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To my surprise I got this one painted and finished early in the week which left me time to start on something else.  I was tempted to do more work on the Barn but then I saw how many mounted knights I still had to do and decided I ought to crack on with another one.

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All in all a good weeks progress and although there is still much to do for the first time  I can see the light at the end of this particular tunnel.  Next week, work on the Barn or another mounted knight? 🤔

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 48 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 26”

This week saw more progress than I was expecting.  That’s not to say what I did was exciting but progress is progress right? The long Bank Holiday helped, not because I didn’t have to work (I’m retired after all) but because two of the days it rained and that got me out of doing anything in the garden.

So what did I get up to?  Well firstly I managed to get another figure done.  Nothing much to say about her but I think she will fit right in with the diorama and the village and peasant vibe I’m trying to create.  Some images below.  Not great photos but hopefully you get the idea.

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With time to spare I decided to take a break from figure painting and make a start on the third and final building, the Barn.

There are several parts to the Barn but essentially it breaks down to three main sections – the lower base level, the upper level and a lean to which fits at the back of the lower base level.  I decided to paint the lean to mainly because it’s the smaller section and I had a chance of getting it finished.  The end result can be seen in the images below.  I will resist listing painting details as these have all been covered before in the two previous builds.  That said, if there was a challenge here at all it was remembering just how I did paint the other two buildings!  I think I got there in the end and that should make life easier for the main Barn lower base section.

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That’s all for this week.  Plans for next week are variable.  It’s all well and good that it rained for two days this weekend which allowed me to get more modelling done but if the weather turns out better this week then I’ll be back out in the garden and painting will take a back seat.   Maybe you’ll see another figure, a mounted knight or more of the Barn.  I bet you can’t wait but please try to contain your excitement.  None of us are getting younger and the heart can only take so much excitement and anticipation!

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 47 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 25”

This week I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.  The main reason being She Who Must Be Obeyed and I managed to get Covid and it hit us quite hard.  Like a lot of people it started with a slight cough which neither of us thought anything of but then it hit us for six.  Our bodies ached and everything seemed to require a significant effort.  So much so we both spent a couple of days in bed doing the barest minimum.  Just how much the vaccinations helped I guess we will never know but I don’t think either of us would have liked to have been worse with it.  Even now, and after we had both tested negative, there is a lingering element to how we feel.  Fortunately I caught it first and was feeling much better by the time SWMBO hit the canvas so between us we managed to function and get every day stuff like walking the dog done.

As a consequence it wasn’t until late in the week that a finally managed to pick up a brush and when I did I decided to go for a quick and easy figure, one that if I cocked it up could be abandoned or at least positioned in the background of the diorama.  The figure I chose was the Beggar you can see below.  He turned out OK given the circumstances and I don’t feel the need to strip him down and start over.

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All being well I’ll get another figure done next week.  Having been layed up for several days I’m behind on numerous jobs and need to give them some attention.  I’ve also got golf matches (yes, I now play golf!) which need to be reorganised and played so tackling another mounted figure isn’t on the cards I don’t think.

One final thing for this weeks post.  For the first time I used an Artis Opus brush and to be honest I was rather disappointed with it as the point curled over very quickly despite the fact that I use brush soap after every painting session.  I have a few of their brushes so it might just be a rogue one, I’ll have a better idea further down the line and if I have a change of opinion I’ll let you know.  For now though I very much prefer my Winsor and Newton series 7 as these brushes have never given me any trouble.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 46 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 24”

This week I managed to get another figure off of the workbench, this time a nice little peasant figure from Other World Miniatures.  I’m not entirely sure where this chap will go on the diorama yet, probably somewhere adjacent to the Barn, but he has a well sculpted face so ideally I will look to have him facing forward if I can make that look right.

The original figure came with a pitch fork but I swapped that for a scythe which was included in the accessories pack which I purchased with the Barn building from Table Top World.  Hardly a conversion but I do think he looks better for the change.

No idea what I plan to do next week, I’ll see how the mood grabs me and how the time goes.  I have plenty of other figures to paint, including some animals as well but I’m keen to get started on the final building.  Perhaps I’ll push myself to get another couple of figures painted and use the idea of starting the Barn as a reward for getting them done.

Some images of the peasant below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 45 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 23”

My third mounted knight in as many weeks.  Although I still have another nine to do, as well as plenty of base work to be completed on all of them, I’m feeling a little more happy with the progress I’m making.  Yes, things are going slower than I’d like but if I can maintain this pace then I should get the diorama completed on time.

Looking at the images, which aren’t that great I must say, I think this one will need a fair bit of weathering before I’m completely happy with it.  That can come later but for now I’ll settle for how it is and move on.

Although I still have another building to do it is the figures which I am more concerned with getting done.  Many of the figures, the mounted knights in particular, need to be positioned and based before the third building can be put in situ.  Having said that I expect I’ll branch out and start painting the Barn shortly.  The idea of swapping from figures to building and back again will help me maintain my interest I think but for now I will aim to get a few more figures under my belt.  You can therefore expect to see another figure next week but probably a peasant rather than a Knight.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 44 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 22”

This week sees my second mounted knight done, well except for some weathering and the base which as explained last week will get done later on.

Once again the heraldry is based on nobody in particular, I’m far more interested in the aesthetic of the diorama than historical accuracy to be honest and I’m therefore keen to add colour variety where and when I can.

As with the previous knight, and as will be the case for the other ten figures when they follow, this is a miniature from Mirliton, an Italian based company.

Little else for me to say other than that some images appear below.

Next week, and while I’m in the mood, I shall crack on with another mounted figure.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 43 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 21”

After a short break I returned this week to working on my diorama.

A quick assessment of what needed to be done revealed the obvious, I needed to paint some figures.   There are a fair few to do, not least of all the dozen mounted knights so I thought I ought to make a start on them.

Of the twelve mounted figures their respective horses can be split between eight plain ones and four with Caparisons, which I believe is the name given to the fancy dress cloth thingies that were worn on the mounts of knights back in the day.  The four would clearly take longer to do but hopefully they would also prove to be the more enjoyable to paint.  I therefore decided to start with one of those.

Below are images of the first mounted knight, a figure from Italian company Mirliton.  He’s not based on anyone in particular, I just chose a colour scheme and heraldry that I liked.   I shall probably do the same with all the others.  The photo’s aren’t great, partly because I was to lazy to set up my light box.

As you can see the actual base hasn’t been done yet, that’s intentional.  Until all the mounted figures have been done, and possibly the other figures too, I won’t be able to determine their positioning on the main board.  Once that has been done I will work on the ground work with the aim of ensuring it is consistent from figure to figure so it all blends in.  I will also look then at the need for any weathering.  Well that’s the plan anyway.

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The figures themselves are OK but I prefer the Baron’s War range available from Footsore.  Unfortunately they do very few mounted figures which aren’t in combat poses which aren’t suitable for this diorama.  Nevertheless I quite enjoyed doing a knight again which is just as well as I have more to do.  My plan for next week, unless I get derailed is to get another one done.

TIM

The Hobo – Knuckleduster Miniatures

What, no Dio-Bolical Monday post this week?  Why?

Well when I was working on my Baron’s War army last year there were times when the project became a labour of love.  Some of the sage advice I received at that time was to do something different occasionally, a palette cleanser if you like.  Now whilst I’m very happy still working on my Death and Taxes diorama I thought it might be appropriate to take a brief sojourn even though I’m not sure I can afford the time out given the pace I have been going at.

As it has been a while since I did a Knuckleduster figure, and I still have a few in my pile to do, I thought I would tackle this little chap.  A simple enough figure to paint and one which wouldn’t bog me down for any length of time.  It made for a welcome change.

Not a conventional cowboy pose by any means but I rather liked the look of “The Hobo” and although I didn’t go to town on him I did try to give him a basic dusty bedraggled appearance.

Short break over it’s time to get back to the diorama.

Images below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 42 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 20”

For the first time in quite a while I set myself an objective and achieved it!

This last week I painted the other two Gripping Beasts peasants and managed to get three of them based and in situ.  The fourth figure although painted will be situated in or on the Barn.  Well that’s the plan anyway.

The first of the two figures below is the one which will join the other two as you will see shortly, the other is the one for the Barn later.  I also painted the figure for the Barn in slightly brighter colours, the aim being to ensure he stood out a bit and provided some colour contrast to what will be a lot of brown colour befitting a wooden structure.  Neither figure is brilliant but for what will be seen of them when the diorama is complete they will work just fine.

Once again all the photos aren’t great.  I was to lazy to get my camera out and so once again used my iPhone.

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With the three figures now painted it was time to get them onto the main base.  Some preparation was needed first using some Milliput which once dried was given a basic paint job just in case any of it could be seen after it was given its textured top coat.

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With that stage out of the way it was time to get each figure in position one at a time and complete the groundwork around each one done as I went.  Working in such a tight space is never easy so after laying down a bed of watered down PVA for the texture to stick to I found the best way to get the stuff where I wanted it, and to cover the bases the figures were on, was to use a drinking straw to blow it around.  Any stuff that got on the figures could be easily brushed off afterwards.  Progress and completed images below.

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Something else which I manged to get done was a couple of ducks.  I have three others to do but here are the first two painted as Mallards.

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Finally for this week I thought I’d provide you with an overview image of what the base is looking like at the moment.

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Not sure what I have in mind to do this coming week.  I thing I’ll I’ll do a few more animals if I can as they are small and fiddly and contrast that by starting work on the Barn maybe.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 41 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 19”

Not getting much done is now becoming the new norm, however, this week I managed to get two figures painted.  These weren’t figures I had originally earmarked to buy and paint for this diorama but I discovered them several months ago, thought they would fit in perfectly with what I had in mind and so I recently purchased them.  If I hadn’t bought them now then it would have been to late as the diorama would have moved on and I wouldn’t have been able place them where I wanted them to go.

The figures are a four piece peasant set and came from Gripping Beasts.  They were nicely sculpted and although they came with tools of their own I elected to use items which came with the Tabletop World accessories pack instead.

Not the best of photos I’m afraid as I used my iPhone to take them.  Now I know most people like their iPhones but alas I buck convention.  I hate mine with a vengeance and think it’s the biggest piece of shit going.  I’ll go further, I hate all Apple products too.  Needless to say my kids think I’m mad but I much prefer Samsung and just as soon as the contract I’m on ends I’ll be going back to them.

The figures need a little dry brushing but I’ll do that when yey are in situ and I don’t need to man handle them any more.

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The aim for the coming week is to paint the other two figures and if possible get them placed on the diorama.  Ordinarily that would be a formality but not these days.  I’ve also got to start painting some of the birds and animals I bought.  Like these figures, some of them need to be completed and placed on the diorama before I box myself in.  Looking further ahead at what needs doing I still have the Barn to be painted, 12 mounted knights and half a dozen or so other foot figures.  Not entirely sure if they will all fit in yet as space is starting to get tight but time will tell.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 40 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 18”

This was another slow week but progress is progress right?

At some point I’m going to have to sit down and see just where my time goes.  They say you slow down as you grow older but from a modelling and blogging perspective if I go much slower I’ll stop!

Having said that it looks like that decision might be taken out of my hands before to long anyway if WordPress have there way.  I’m no IT guy and don’t profess to understand all the ins and outs of the latest storage/viewing issues which has been doing the rounds but it certainly doesn’t sound like good news ro me.   I don’t get anything like 10,000 views a month, a thousand if I’m lucky, but my storage is at 95% and that would be a problem.  I don’t know how simple it would be but deleting the images from old posts would be one way forward perhaps.  Ironically, if the blog was to stop I’d find more time for my modelling!

I suspect I am not alone in that my ratio of followers to those who I actually exchange comments with is very low.  As I already have a TIM email account I’m wondering if the way forward is through email news letters?   Food for thought maybe but time to get back on track.

So what did happen this week on the diorama?

Well first up I took delivery of the order I placed for the chickens, rabbits, etc. that I placed last week.  Further more they have all been prepped and primed and waiting to be painted.  I thought I’d spare you a progress image.  Quite what I will do with them remains to be seen but in theory they will add a little more interest and detail.

What I did manage to get started and completed was another figure.  On this occasion the figure is a Merchant and was again purchased from Otherworld Miniatures.  As a Merchant I had him down as the Mill owner.  Here he is below.

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Having painted him the question then was where to place him?  With the overall image I have in mind for this diorama I settled on him being on the bridge.  From here I figured he could survey all that is (or will be eventually) going on.  So next we have a couple of photo’s of him in situ.

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As I said at the beginning of this post, progress is progress.  I’ve given up planning what I’ll do next because nothing I’ve tried to do just lately has gone according to plan.  Barely do I start before I get derailed.  What I get done next will be as much as a surprise to me as it will be to you.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 39 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 17”

Life’s juggling act continues unabated.  Keeping five balls in the air was challenge enough but then along came a sixth.  I gave up being a Parish Councillor along while ago but was asked by some very nice people if I could help them to try and win a very nasty battle they are having with the village c**t and his female henchman they’ve nicknamed Putin.  Now I could never hurt a living creature and have only ever truly hated one or two people in my life but these two people I could happily kill and sleep soundly afterwards.  Accordingly I couldn’t say no and with that I gained a 6th ball in the air and even less time than I already had to get any modelling done.

The good news is I did manage to get some work done in the form of another figure painted and put in situ.  Photo’s of the little chap, another figure from Otherworld Miniatures, are below.

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Progress is progress even though things are going much slower than I’d like right now.  No need to panic just yet though as I have until November to get this one completed.  Hopefully it will be done well before then but if I carry on at this pace it will be touch and go.

The only other thing I managed to do was order and take delivery of some more figures.  Four peasants to be precise along with some ducks, pigs, chickens, rats, rabbits and a badger.  No idea where they are all going to go or when they will get done but they are all important details to be added as far as I’m concerned.

Looking ahead I think another figure is on the cards for the coming week.  If I can get some additional prep work done I’ll be happy too.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 38 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 16”

This week was all about getting back into the hobby.  In fairness my motivation was relatively high, time to move on and all that was my rallying cry, unfortunately the amount of affordable time wasn’t great.  As I concluded last week, the aim such as I had one, was to get started on a figure.  From the 18 figures I’ve bought so far I decided to start with the Blacksmith.  The figure is from Otherworld Miniatures, their “Non-Playing Character’s” series.   Not much to say about the little chap so straight to some images …

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… and here he is outside his abode.

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As well as getting the first figure done I managed to get a little more ground work completed.  Not  much, just another bit of hedgerow and part of the ground work around the tree.  Just some basic filler with some texture added and a few tree roots.  I’ll complete the front once I’ve decided on some figure placements.

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The only other thing I managed to do this week was paint some Irish Wolfhounds.  They might need a little more work on them and I haven’t decided if I will use them yet.

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Next week looks like it will be tough on free time too.  Its that time of the year when winter has turned to spring and all of a sudden there are plenty of jobs to do outside.  To make matters worse the weather is looking promising so I’ll be hard pressed to make excuses to SWMBO for why I should be indoors.  Hopefully I’ll get another figure done once I settle on which one to do.  On a final note I just got a message from WordPress to say it was my 5 year blog anniversary.  Who’d have thought it?

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 37 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 15”

It’s impossible for me to start this post without providing you with some background on a personal event which unfolded over many months and weeks ago.  Please indulge me before I eventually move on to this weeks real blog narrative and the progress, or lack of, in respect of my Death and Taxes diorama.  All will hopefully become clear.

The personal event occurred on the 16th February when my father died at the age of 95.  He suffered a heart attack last August.  It was his second, the first coming some 35 years earlier when he was 60.  Unfortunately it was clear to see from his second one that his speed of recovery would be much harder given his age.  In reality he never did get back to where he was and slowly over many months he began to decline.  I recognised this and knowing that I would need to provide mum and dad with more support than had been previously necessary I made some personal life adjustments which included hitting the nail on the head of my Wednesday and Saturday blog posts.

All went well for a while but the day my daughter and her boyfriend left to go to Costa Rica for 5 weeks was the day things really took a turn for the worse.  I’ll spare you and myself the details but several trips in and out of A&E  over the next five weeks resulted in his last admission and the end of his life.

As previously stated dad died on the 16th February.  This was also the day that he and mum had been married for 70 years.  Not quite the celebration we had in mind but stragely poetic.  It was also the day my daughter flew back from Costs Rica.  Sometimes you can’t make these things up can you?  My mum and I were with him at the time but my brother, despite a valiant effort to arrive at the hospital after a three hour journey, missed him by 20 minutes.

At this point some of you might be wondering how I managed to put out Dioboloical Monday posts during this time.  The simple truth is I didn’t.  They were all produced weeks and weeks ago and scheduled.  All I’ve been doing is responding to your comments.  Why?  Well oddly both my brother and I increasingly had the feeling that something big in our lives was on the cards and we some how knew as far back as last year that our dad’s time was growing increasingly nearer.  For my part I threw myself into my diorama and made significant strides with it and produced blog posts along the way which I then scheduled in advance to appear week after week.  I knew the time would come when modelling would be halted for as significant period.  However, events have now caught up, I am now back “live” and the simple truth is the amount of progress I have made over the last 5 weeks pretty much amounts to the square root of fuck all.  In fact I haven’t picked up a brush in that time and I’m wondering if I can ever be bothered to do so again.

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Now the words you’ve just read above were all written at 07:30 on the 3rd March, the day of my dad’s Funeral.  An odd thing to do you might say but I needed to do something to kill the time and some how typing that seemed appropriate.  The time now as you continue to this read is 07:53 on the 6th March and I’ve just picked up on drafting this post once again.  It’s rather like “Back To The Future” this one isn’t it?

So what has happened since the 3rd and the 6th March?  In modelling terms nothing.  A post prepared way back will appear this coming Monday.  It’s all about the changes I made to the tree.  As you read this you will have already had an opportunity to see that post and possibly comment and had a reply from me!  Boy this is becoming increasingly weird isn’t it?

With the funeral now in the past it is time to move on and I am hoping to pick up on the diorama again once my mum is settled back home on her own after being with us for several weeks.  Between now and Monday week, that’ll be the 14th March I aim to get something done no matter how small just so I can get back into the saddle so to speak.

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Today is the 13th March and for the third time I am back drafting this post which will be published tomorrow.  Over the last week a lot has happened although very little of it in modelling terms.  On a personal level mum is now back home.  An emotional time for us all and there is a need for things to settle down a lot more as we adjust to a new normal.  We will get there for sure but I think the journey will be a long one.

On a more positive front I did manage to make some progress on the diorama.  Not a lot but enough to ignite my interest and, if time permits, get back into things once again.  Realistically progress is going to be slower for a while but it is what it is for now.

The first thing  I had to do was remind myself just where I had got to and how best to proceed next.  I did think I’d start painting some figures but as it has been a while since  I’ve picked up a brush I decided instead to do some basic ground work.  In the scheme of things I felt there was less chance of things going wrong!

The area which received my attention was around the Balcksmiths building.  Some filler was laid down which when dry has had some texture added to it and was then allowed to dry once again.  I used some more plaster board to create a small rock face, applied a few layers of paint and then added some static grass and vegetation.  I also set about making a piece of hedgerow which was the most creative element of the work I did.  Below are a few work in progress photo’s.

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For the hedgerow I used some artificial horse hair which I bought when I went to Telford last November, it looks like this.

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I cut a strip off of the main block and then started to pull it a part as it was far to thick in it’s current state to look natural.  Hedgerows in Devon where I live are far from regular in shape other than when the farmers are annually required to cut them, at which point they end up with a nice flat top of even height.  Left to grow naturally some of the plants such as Hawthorn grow tall and develop into trees.  I didn’t want to add another tree, not least of all because the hedgerow will be close to the “recently” made oak tree, but I didn’t want a neat uniformed hedgerow either.  To resolve this I took some natural plant roots and added them to the artificial horse hair.

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After dabbing a variety of paint colours to the horse hair and adding some static grass, flock and leaves I ended up with a hedgerow that I was pleased with and which I then fixed into place alongside the Blacksmiths building.

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As to the overall diorama the current state of play now looks like this.

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As mentioned earlier, not a lot has been done this week but on the positive side I’m up and running again, well sort of.  As part of my review of where I am I also made a very rough list of things I still have to do.  In no particular order the list looks like this.

  • Paint and construct the barn
  • Fix the oak tree in place and do relevant base work
  • Make one or two more hedgerows
  • Paint some of the 18 or so figures I have bought
  • Buy the half dozen or so figures I haven’t bought (or found yet!)
  • Check out suitable animals to buy and paint
  • What other accessories need to be bought?
  • Look at fitting out the inside of the buildings
  • Make a note of the bits which look finished but aren’t!

Plenty more to be done and I’m not sure what I’ll do next.  As I’m still working with various time constraints I think I might start work on painting some figures.  It’s been a while since I actually did any and I think it will be much easier to pick a figure up and put it down again if I can only snatch and hour or so at a time.

Until next week.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 36 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 14”

All the time I was painting the Blacksmiths building I had half an eye on the tree I had made.  I wasn’t happy with it and knew that I would need to do something about it or it would bug me forever and a day.  I decided to start over.

Out came the florist wire and I spent several hours bending and twisting the wire into shape until I came up  with a tree shape I liked.  The main branches on this one would not be so far apart and as such I would be able to produce a less sparse and leafy canopy.

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It was looking good and I was pleased and so next I put it on the base to get a feel for what it would look like in a mock up against the buildings.  I didn’t like what I saw.  It was a nice enough looking tree but it was to small.   Oak trees are bloody enormous and this one needs to look like a mature adult tree not one going through pubity.  It needed to look more like this one in the field opposite our house only in leaf.

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Here we go again!  Start over or …or … or…?

Then I had an idea!  A light bulb moment.

What if I could combine this tree with the other one?

Somethings you just have to give a go and I couldn’t shake off the idea so there was nothing for it but to strip down the first tree and see what could be achieved.  Either I would end up with one decent looking tree or two shit ones fit for the bin.

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A test fit followed and it looked to have serious possibilities so out came the glue followed by the Milliput followed by the filler and several hours later I got to this stage.

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Allowed to dry the next stage would, once again, be to get some paint on it.  This would hopefully start to make it look a little more like a proper tree.  Brown and black diluted oils along with some dry brushing got me to this stage, albeit with more paint work to be done.

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After some further painting I was ready to move to the next stage.  Now normally I would start adding Sea Foam for the smaller branches, however, on this occasion I decided to go with a different approach.  Although I like the look of Sea Foam it’s very delicate and becomes brittle.  Instead I went for a technique using wadding that SWMBO had.  The wadding was dyed and immersed in a mix of water, PVA and paint and then stretched out over the branches of the tree.  Bit by bit each piece was teased out and layered over the branches.  With so many more branches this time around I felt confident this technique would work.  This got me to this stage.

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Looks crap doesnt it?

But then it was time to apply some static grass and Noch leaves of various shades.  I started with a sample piece to make sure I was on track with the look I was after.  If I had to start over it would be easier to remove one section rather than the whole lot.

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I liked the look, in fact I was very pleased with it so it was time to boldly go …

No holding back and in a short matter of time the tree looked like this.

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I was more than a little chuffed with the result.  The next step was to do a little more dry brushing and reapply ivy to the trunk and some of the branches before eventually considering it complete.

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Looking ahead I need to think carefully about when I fix it permanently to the base.  That might not be for a while pending what access I need to allow myself but that will be determined all in good time.

In the meanwhile below is a before and after image of the tree.  The before image being the first tree that I wasn’t happy with, the second one being the adapted tree which I like.  Let me know what you think in the comments if you have time.

Next I think I will start work on the base work around the Blacksmiths building and think about how I intend to make some hedgerow.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 35 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 13”

This week unusually went to plan.  Well from a modelling perspective that is.  The aim was to get the outside of the Blacksmiths painted and that is what I managed to achieve.

As gar as colour schemes go I went with pretty much the same as I had done with the Mill with the brick and stone work and all the timber elements all painted in the some colours.  This wasn’t out of laziness but out of logic.  Although the buildings could have been built at different times and therefore weathered differently I figured the rock, stone and timbers would have all come from the same quarry and woodlands and therefore chose to maintain an element of uniformity.

As the painting methods, colours and paints used have all been referenced in earlier posts I am going to be bone idle and not repeat those details again here.  I’ll spare you more words this week and just move on to the images instead.

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With the Blacksmiths all but done it was time to fix it to the main base and start working on the surrounding base area.

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Well that’s as far as I got this week.  Not sure what I’ll do next week.  On throne hand I want to do more on the Blacksmiths base work, on the other I need to deal with that tree.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 34 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 12”

This week I finally got to start on the Blacksmiths building.

I began with the inner living area and used the same paint scheme I had used on the various sections of the Mill.  Not as intricate as the Mill to do but painting the windows and frames still took a little while to complete.

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Satisfied that the inner section looked OK I moved on to the forge area, the section of the building I was most looking forward to doing.  The walls were again painted grey, given a black oil wash and then dry brushed with a variety of mainly grey shades and a little sand and white.  The floor was done in much the same way but when it was dry I brushed on some weathering powders – Vallejo Pigment Desert Dust and Humbrol Earth and Rust.

Painting the various tools proved a little tricky.  They were difficult to access and required me to hold my brush much further up which was uncomfortable and afforded me less control.  Once I stopped wavering it around I managed to get somewhere!

Although not visible from the photo, I broke up a couple of burnt matches and placed them in the fire to add more texture and realism.  I nice touch but one which I suspect will go unnoticed for ever unless I mention it here!

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The unpainted section at the rear is where the tool rack I painted a week ago is situated.  The image below shows the rack and other accessories I painted followed by an image with the tool rack and bellows stuck in place.  You can just about make out the fire burning too.

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At this point I decided to spend some time on developing the ground work where the Blacksmiths would be positioned.  I figured I would return to painting the outside of the building while the ground work was drying.

I drew around the outside of the building to determine the boundary line and then set about laying down some filler.  The Dark grey you can see in the photo below is carved plaster board which I used to create rock facias to the left and right of some additional steps I carved.  The plaster board was then painted with the dark grey as the foundation colour.

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That’s as far as I got this week.  Next week I will move on to painting the outside of the Blacksmiths.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 33 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 11”

I’m not sure it was a plan as such but I ended last weeks post by saying I would start work on the Blacksmiths building.  That had very much been my intention but good intentions don’t always translate into good actions and that was very much the case here.  As seems to be the case these days life got in the way.  A series of major distractions, none of them of my making, meant I couldn’t get a clear run at some painting.

I’m sure we all have our different approaches to painting and mine is that when I start on something as sizeable as a building I like to have a good few hours at a time so I can really get absorbed into what I am doing and trying to achieve.  It became clear early in the week that this wasn’t going to happen.  Whatever chance I got for doing things was going to be very stop and start at best.  Realising this I decided to spend my time on one of the very boring but essential aspects of the hobby – preparation.

I hate doing the preparation of figures.  If they are multi-part I hate gluing and there is no pleasure to be had from removing mold lines and priming.  The more I think about it now the more I realise that this is has a large bearing in why conversions have never floated my boat.  Personally I think conversions are great.  The idea of creating a unique figure appeals to me greatly but they require cutting and gluing and that’s for me where it all goes wrong.  So, with a disruptive week very much on the cards I identified the current “hate” jobs I could work on a bit at a time given the constraints I was working under.

First up I decided to take a look at some of the figures I had already purchased, specifically the 12 mounted figures I bought from Mirliton in Italy.  The first thing I noticed was that I had a base problem.  The horses were all molded onto reasonably thick metal bases which when stuck to an MDF bases would make them stand taller than I wanted.  My plan, one I’ve used before, was to stick the horse to an MDF base so that I can better grip it for painting and then set the base into the ground work of whatever it is I’m doing.  The problem here was the ground work would have to be set much higher than I wanted given the work I’d already done and that didn’t sit well with me.  It just wouldn’t have looked right.

The solution I came up with was to cut out the shape of the metal base from the MDF and then set the horse into it.  To stop the horse from then passing through the MDF I then stuck some card underneath the MDF.  This then reduced the height to the level of the MDF which was just what I wanted.  Not a difficult job but and one I could pick up and do whenever I had a few moments to call my own.

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Horses done I then set about priming them and then took a look at the mounted figures themselves.  Now originally I had hoped to use mounted Footsore Baron’s War figures in this diorama but most of those they produce are in fighting mode and that wasn’t what I was looking for.  This left me with the need to search the Web which in turn led me to Mirliton.  Not a company I had used before but they had what I wanted so I took an expensive punt on them and made the purchase.  The figures themselves are fine.  They needed a little clean up but nothing much which for me is always a good sign.  The downside was they comprised of numerous parts.  The Footsore figures are almost entirely single castings although some figures such as the knights come with a separate shield.  The same cannot be said for the Mirliton figures.  Each figure comes with a seperate body, legs, head, sword, shield, strap, neck collar and in some cases helmet and lance.  Not a big deal I know but laid out in front of me they just yelled GLUE and I hate gluing!

Being the brave little soldier that I am I diligently set about the task in front of me and bit by bit the figures got assembled and primed.  I also had the presence of mind to number each horse and rider so they could be accurately paired once they had been painted.

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All in all this boring task got completed and in due course I can look forward to actually painting them, the fun part as far as I am concerned, further down the line.  This job done I did manage to get two other things done.  The first of which was priming and painting some of the accessories which will either get dotted around the diorama or will be attached to some of the buildings.

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My final task of the week was unplanned and came care of a comment from Dave Stone who commented “Which way is the river flowing ? Am I right in thinking it goes from the side with the wheel to the dock, if so is the boat the wrong way round?”.

An excellent observation to which I replied “That’s a very good point Dave and constructive ones are very welcome. To be completely honest I had not taken that into account so now you’ve got me thinking. Logically the boat couldn’t be rowed over the rapids and rough water. It could be rowed up stream but would have to be turned around to be rowed back down stream as and when. Further logic would suggest that the boat would be tied up parallel to the jetty but it’s to late for that now. If I was tieing the boat up I’d tie it to the front of the jetty as I have done and also to the back to keep it steady and from drifting off. However the boat looks like it’s a drift already and hasn’t been securely tied at the rear (because I never thought to do so!) so I think the best option is to attach another rope to the rear of the boat and the jetty and claim it’s got lose!”.

In response Dave came back with “That was the best solution that I came up with as well, and at least it’s an easy fix adding a rope, rather than trying to move the boat, as repouring resin can leave marks, and show where it’s been changed”.

Great minds think alike as they say so I set about the task or remedying my oversight.  For completeness here is a before and after image of the boat in the river as it now looks.

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Not an exciting post this week but progress is progress and like it or not the boring stuff has to get done as well.  Hopefully this coming week will settle down and I can make a start on the Blacksmiths building.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 32 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 10”

Last week I ended by saying I might work on the Blacksmiths building or make a tree.  I decided to make a tree.

Although the Mill is a tall building it is based to the left and I felt height and colour were needed to the right of the base for balance.  I figured the only way to determine this would be to make a tree and then take a view on things once the Blacksmiths and Barn buildings are in situ.  I figured the worst that could happen is I’d make a tree I either didn’t like or wouldn’t use.  The thing is I was in the mood to make one and the nice bit about dioramas is you can flit from one thing to another and still be making progress.

First up was making the wire aperture for which I used florist wire bought on eBay.  There are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to make trees and I’ve even done a blog post of my own on the subject way back so I won’t go into all the details on how to bend and twist the wire.  However, if anybody plans to make one of their own and wants links to relevant articles just drop me a comment and I will duly oblige.

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Having created the wire framework and shaped it into something I liked the look of I then set about covering the thicker branches and trunk in Milliput which, once dried I began to scratch up for texture.  Normally I would have wire tree roots too but on this occasion decided to just fix the tree to a very basic base for stability and add roots later when it is properly based.

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Next up was adding smaller branches for which I used Seafoam stuck to the various parts of the tree using superglue.  The joints were then hidden using filler which is the white you can see in the image below.

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Once dried I then began to get the base layer painting done for which I used Burnt Umber acrylic.  Apologise for the blurred image below but I’m sure you get the gist.

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Base layer paint applied it was then about applying washes, for which I once again turned to oil paints, followed by dry brushing.

The tree I am trying to recreate is an English Oak.  In colour terms they tend to lean towards grey rather than brown and they invariably have ivy all over the trunks into the branches.  I wanted to create that look and used teased out twine and flock to simulate that as best I could.  This was followed by applying flock to the Seafoam branches.

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The below images are where I am at the moment.  In truth I’m not sure if I am happy with it.  I need to think things through and might be able to make adjustments to the point where I am more satisfied.  Then again I might just start again and hopefully make a better one.  Worst case scenario I’ve wasted a weeks work but the thing with dioramas and modelling generally is, with or without experience, not everything goes quite according to plan at the first time of asking.

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For now I’ll give further thought to the tree and while I’m doing that I’ll start painting the Balcksmiths building.

TIM

TIM’s Baron’s War Army

Last Saturday I completed the two remaining foot figures which I had for my Footsore Baron’s War army.  As regular followers are aware I still have a number of mounted knights still to do.  I very much want to complete those and hopefully will make further progress on them throughout the year.  However, for now it is time for me to move on and concentrate on other things, specifically my “Earl’s Visit” diorama which, incidentally will feature a dozen or so mounted knights albeit not from Footsore range.  More on those in a future “Dio-Bolical Monday” post.

What I couldn’t do dear reader was leave you without a few photo’s of the army as it currently stands.  As you will see I haven’t gone to any great length to display the figures against a scenic background or on a diorama like base.  Maybe one day I’ll do something about that.  What you can see in the images is 90 figures, 10 short of the hundred I was aiming for but the difference is made up of the mounted knights I haven’t done yet.  I have not done much in the way of close up photo’s as everyone of the figures on display has at one time or another featured in a previous post.

One thing I have yet to decide on is what to do with the army.  For now I think I will keep it until I have done the remaining figures, after that I’m not so sure.  I love the knights but some of the other figures do little for me.  Nothing to do with the castings or quality of the figures but they aren’t anything special for display and as I’m not a gamer they will just sit around gathering dust or be hidden away in a box.  I might therefore look to sell them on eBay at some point.

As things currently stand this will be my last Saturday post for a while.  Along with my “Midweek Musings” I expect to return to a weekend post at some point in the not to distant future.  

Images of the army below.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 31 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 9”

Last week with the Mill building almost done, I started on the base section and the area surrounding the Mill which included the river section.  Having applied some more filler, added some additional slate chippings from the garden and applied further fine dirt and gravel it was time to start painting and thinking about the position of the next building, the Blacksmiths.

In the two images below you can see that I have added some MDF to add a little height.  I decided that the Blacksmiths building looked better in a slightly elevated position.  Decision made and MDF stuck down I pondered how to fill the gap between the two buildings.  I settled on the idea of a Marsh area and laid down some more slate chippings from the garden.  You can also see that I’ve added some Marsh Marigolds and a couple of grass tufts.  More would be added but I was keen to get a basic impression before I got to carried away.

The second image shows where I’ve filled the gap with more filler and chippings and started to paint.  The rocks were basic greys and various shades for dry brushing and I used inks for the appearance of moss and lichen.

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With more tufts, grass, Marrigolds and a splash of mud added the boggy marsh area looked like this.

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Next I decided to divert my attention to the back section of the river.

The Mill wheel won’t turn without moving water so there was a need to simulate this.  For this I used Woodland Scenics Water Effects which starts white and dries clear.  A little white paint was added though to achieve what I hope will be a better look.

At the same time I started to add Woodland Scenics Realistic Water onto the river bed.  This is essentially a pre-mixed clear acrylic which must be built up in thin layers.  It takes an age to do as it takes many hours for it to cure before you can move on.  I leave it over night each time before adding the next layer.

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Next I decided to paint up the little boat which came with the kit as this needed to be placed on the river before the final layers of realistic water were poured in.  At the same time I started adding some water lilies and more Marsh Marrigolds.

One of the things I should mention is that Realistic Water will find any gap and leak if areas aren’t properly sealed.  The area at the rear where the faster flowing water is was built up so didn’t present a problem.  The area at the front however needed to be dealt with.  As I wanted the end to appear clear I used a bottle of acrylic which I purchased from Green Stuff World.  It is a gel which hardens in a matter of seconds with a UV light from a torch.  This gave me a solid edge and prevented the liquid water from running out at the front.  Using some cotton for a thin rope I tied the boat to the wooden jetty.

img_1810 The final image for this week shows just where I am for now.

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I’m pleased with my progress so far and with the look of the base.  There is still more to be done in this area, not least of all adding a couple of figures in due course along with a few other bits and bobs.  I might also add more water yet too, I’ll see how it all fully dries out.

Next I think I’ll start work on the Blacksmiths, either the basing area or the building itself.  Then again I might make a tree!

TIM

Baron’s War – Project End … Almost!

As I’d hoped I managed to get the last two figures of my Footsore Baron’s War army completed in time for this Satruday’s post.  For now the project is complete.  Yes, I have some foot figures to do but these are all duplicates.  Yes, I have a dozen or so mounted knights to do and these will get done albeit later in the year.

So, with regards to this project what next and what did I think of doing it?

What next is easy, take some group photo’s and get them posted.  When that’s done and when my diorama is completed return to painting the mounted knights and any duplicate figures.  I’ll probably take a good look at what new figures have been issued too.

As far as the project itself goes I’d have to say that overall I enjoyed it.  The quality of the figures are excellent so no complaints there.  The peasants and surfs are nice figures but in truth I found these pretty dull to paint.  With hindsight I ought to have done more of these bit by bit rather than leaving them mainly to the end.

The foot knights on the other hand were great and I enjoyed painting everyone and trying to stretch myself further with my freehand.  The mounted knights were even better but I totally underestimated how long each one would take.  Of course I could have painted them quicker but I really wanted each one to be the best I could do them and still do which is why I will return to them in time.

At no point in this project have I ever had all the figures out together so I’m looking forward to doing that and seeing just what the massed ranks look like.  Hopefully I’ll get to see that either next week or the week after.  In any event the group shots will I suspect be my last Saturday post for a while.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 137)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is, disappointingly, only one of the three remaining Footsore Baron’s War figures I have left to do.  I’d hoped to have them all done but it wasn’t to be.  Life as always got in the way.  It happens.  The good news is I hope to have the final two done for Saturday.  Then I can aim to get a group shot or two done before then taking some time out to concentrate fully on my diorama.  What we have here is my final crossbowman.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Time For A  Break

As mentioned above I should finish my last two foot figures for my Baron’s War army project in time to post this Saturday.  Any duplicate figures and the remaining mounted knights (and any new stuff I might buy!) will get done throughout the year but as and when the mood takes me.  My time now will be spent exclusively on my diorama project which has quite literally taken over both in terms of space and hobby enjoyment.

Dealing with only one project, albeit a big one by my standards, will allow me to get a better hobby/life balance as right now I have to many other things jockeying for my time.  Doing this has, as I have mentioned before in a previous post, a knock on effect to blogging and as a consequence this will be my last Minatures & Musings post.  I see this as a temporary situation and not a permanent one.

To those of you who will miss these posts all I can say is sorry.  To those of you who are disappointed they will be returning all I can say is sorry!

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Give Me Five

As this is the last Miniatures and Musings post for a while I thought I would give you five Well It Made Me Laugh’s to keep you going.  In no particular order:

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meat Loaf.  I’m not the greatest Meat Loaf fan but I did enjoy much of his music and theatrics and with his recent passing it seemed an appropriate musical choice  for this week.  This is one of my favourite tracks.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Clarkson’s Farm” with Jeremy Clarkson.  Clarkson is one of those people who is often likened to Marmite, you either like him or hate him.  I love him and think he is a great narrator and I found this to be a great series to watch.

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Remember …

Always give a 100% unless you’re giving blood.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 30 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 8”

This week I started work on the river section that the Mill sits on.  This is a piece that will take quite a while.  Not so much due to the painting but more to do with the drying time when later in the process I add layers of Woodland Scenics Realistic Water.

The first job was to get the section primed and then to get the areas of brick work which are aligned to the base section of the Mill building painted to match what I had already done.  In the image below you can see that I have started by painting the brick work with the basic grey colour I had used before.

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For my next step I painted the river bed with some burnt Umber and applied some early dry brushed highlights.  The three unpainted areas in the image below are where the Mill and the Wheel Support will be positioned later.

You might also notice that I have two problems to overcome.  Firstly, the river section isn’t as wide as the base the diorama is going on. It was therefore necessary to create an additional river piece section at the back and this I made from some plaster board which was then carved to blend in.  You can see the additional piece in its basic form at the top of the image.   It will be a little higher than the river section because I want to create an image of some faster flowing water in due course as this is what would make the wheel turn.

The second problem is one of leveling the base section of the Mill.  When placed on the river section the base is raised a little.  I used some old plastic slotter bases, the sort that come with figures you buy, as these proved to be the ideal height.  You can also see that I’ve started playing around with some slate chippings from my garden.

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The next step was to lay down some Daz air drying clay and to fix the base section of the Mill in place.

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With the base level in situ and no longer wobbling it was time to start building up the area  around the front, back and sides of the Mill and getting more colours and dry brushing added to the river bed.  Due to the drying time for the Daz clay this was a slow process but I did manage to make a start and also managed to add some fine grit between the rocks too.

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Generally base work is something which I enjoy but it isn’t something which can be rushed due to the time for things to dry and cure.  In it’s present state it all looks rather scruffy but all being well that will change when I get to start painting and blending the base work to complement the painted finish on the Mill.  As you might have guessed this will be my work for the coming week.

TIM

Nearly There! – Baron’s War Army

With less and less space to work due to the size of my diorama project I decided to press on with getting the final few figures done on my Footsore Baron’s War army.  This week I got two archers done which by my calculations has left me with just three to do now.

In reality I do have about five or six other foot figures to do but these are all duplicates and will get done eventually but not for now.  I’ve put these with the mounted Knights I have to do and will aim to get these done throughout the year but only after my diorama is done.  Without wishing to say too much, as more will be revealed under my diorama posts, I have a dozen mounted figures to paint for that eventually along with numerous foot figures as well.

Not much to say on the archers other than images are below.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 136)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is another double bill as I’m pulling out the stops to complete my army now, well the foot figures that is.  The remaining mounted knights will be done over time.  Just a few more Baron’s War foot figures to go.  Once done I’ll aim to get them all on the table for a group shot.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Give Me Five

This week I decided to take a look at the films of Al Pacino.  It would have been easy to put the Godfather trilogy in for three of the five but instead I just went with the first one but take it that he is great in them all.  For my five I came up with this list which as usual is in no particular order.

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. Scent Of A Women (1992)
  3. Serpico (1973)
  4. Francie And Johnny (1991)
  5. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“A Hard Rain’s A – Gonna Fall” by Bryan Ferry.  Roxy Music are one of my very favourite bands and their front man  Ryan Ferry was a cool dude in his day.  He also had a couple of solo albums featuring some of his favourite tracks by other people, in this instance Bob Dylan.  A great track.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It?”.  A three part Channel 4 documentary based on the true case of Louise Woodward a British teenage nanny on trial in the USA.  I remember this case which happened 25 years ago but only have a vague memory of the details.  A compelling bit of TV as far as I am concerned and I guess everyone will have a view of whether or not she was or wasn’t guilty.  Not one to sit on the fence all I’ll say is the jury should have been shot for not paying proper attention to some of the details put before them.

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Remember …

Don’t take criticism from people you would never go to for advice.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 29 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 7″

In last weeks post I mentioned that there were some internal workings which needed to be painted along with the actual water mill wheel itself.  Basically the pile of included parts looked like this.

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The tier two front door canopy and the chimney which you can both see in the top centre of the image have already been painted and assembled on to the main building.  All the pieces which make the wheel are on the right and in the foreground are the bits and pieces which make up the internal workings of the mill wheel as it turns.  Also included is a bag of bits (top left) comprising of boxes and sacks and to the right a small rowing boat and a pillar section which supports the wheel externally.

I wasn’t interested in painting things like boxes and sacks just yet but I did want to get the wheel assembled and painted along with the internal mechanism.  If they weren’t a perfect fit then these pieces would give me a problem further down the line so now was the time get them put together, painted and put into place. 

The first piece to be painted and installed was the internal wheel which can be seen in the image below and is located on tier 1, the ground level of the building.  This internal wheel is driven by the external water wheel which is turned by running water in real life, although not in this case because it is not a working model!      

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On the next level up, tier 2, the actual Mill Stone is turned by the internal wheel below and a series of cogs.  The cogs are supported by a large wooden beam and a box with a chute feeds the grain to the Mill Stone for grinding.  Hopefully you can see all this in the image below.

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Next up was the assembly and painting of the main external wheel.  

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The external wheel is complete but I will not be attaching it until later.  To do so now will hinder my access to the river section which I intend to start on this coming week.  If all goes well I’ll begin some base work too.

As I have said before, the detail on these buildings, both inside and out, is incredible.  Sadly, despite the effort I’m putting in I suspect that the internal work will go largely unnoticed but the thought of not painting the inside just doesn’t sit well with me.  The thing with dioramas is it is hard to know what is and what isn’t visible until it is complete.  By then of course it can be to late so things have to be done now even if further down the line it is proven unnecessary. 

TIM

Sir Tobias Denning (28mm Baron’s War)

Continuing to plough through my Baron’s War figures I had a pleasant surprise in that I had a knight to paint which I had overlooked.  Although these figures take longer to do, which then meant less time spent on my diorama project, it was much more fun to paint.  I’ve got out of the rhythm of painting knights so I had to stop and remind myself, especially when it came to doing the freehand star on the shield.

In search of a name I once again delved into my family tree and came up with the name of Sir Tobias Denning.

TIM

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TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 135)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is a double bill. Two more Levy’s off the list as my Baron’s War foot figures near their end. I’m determined to get this phase complete and desperate to move on now but with eight figures to go I’m nearly there. In a few weeks time I aim to work exclusively on my diorama project while deciding just where I go from there.

Compared to other figures in the range these ar pretty basic and as such they received a paint job to match.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Give Me Five

This week I thought I’d take a look at the films of the late great Robin Williams.  Such a sad loss.  In no particular order I came up with this top five.

  1. Awakenings (1990)
  2. Good Mornjng Vietnam (1987)
  3. Good Will Hunting (1997)
  4. Dead Poets Society (1989)
  5. The Fisher King (1991)

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WordPress … Here We Go Again!

It seems I have finally been forced to install and use the WordPress App. I’m sure it’s not a big deal but at this moment in time for me it is. It’s an aggrevation which has arrived at a time when, as I mentioned in my post Welcome 2022?, I’ve started to get tired of posting. I’m keen to keep blogging but I feeI have become a slave to ensuring I get a post published every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Why? I have no answer to that question but I do know I don’t want to continue in this way going forward. A more random, post when I feel like it, approach is currently looking favourite.

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Sultans Of Swing” by Dire Straits.  It’s been a while since I sat down and listened to Dire Straits. Long overdue.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“The Outlaws” a six part BBC series starring among others Stephen Merchant, Eleanor Tomlinson and Christopher Walker.  One of those series which comes along where you know nothing about it and it turns out to be very enjoyable. Already looking forward to series two.

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Remember …

Saying to someone “Have a nice day” sounds friendly but saying “Enjoy your next 24 hours” sounds threatening.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 28 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 6”

This week saw the completion of the roof but not of the entire water mill itself.  There are some internal bits to be prepped and painted plus the actual water wheel itself.  All being well these will receive my attention next.

As to the roof itself this turned out to be more straight forward than I anticipated.  It is the size of these pieces that take a while along with drying time after oil washes have been applied.

There isn’t a great deal to say about what I have done this week as much, if not all, of it is just a continuation of the work I had done on the previous tiers of the building.  The basic roof colour, inside and outside, was Artiste Burnt Umber and once dried everything was given a Winsor and Newton Lamp Black oil wash. Thereafter it was all about various shades of dry brushing. Mostly lighter browns, a little sand and some white used sparingly.  The windows were painted in the same way as previously posted.

As far as the Mill building goes l would say it is about 90% done.  As mentioned above there are some internal workings to be done along with the wheel.  These will be done before I then start on more base work and begin the river section.  Further down the line a couple of figures will appear as well as bits and bobs like boxes, bags and sacks.

What I did manage to add was a canopy which sits over the front door of tier two of the building.  This was a seperate piece which needed to be glued into position but the painting of it was very much along the lines of the roof.

For now just a few images of the roof and the building as it currently looks overall.

TIM

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Welcome 2022?

Last week I reflected on the year that was 2021.  This week I have turned the spotlight on 2022 and what might be.

At the top of the list and by some distance is my hope and desire to see Covid kicked into touch.  Will it?  The optimist in me says yes, the pessimist says no and the realist which wins the day says we will just have to live with it.  With all the will in the world I cannot see Covid disappearing any time soon and the world cannot carry on doing the lockdown version of the Hokey Cokey.

When it comes to New Year resolutions I really don’t see the point in making them.

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I do see the point in making a realistic modelling “To Do List” though.  Whether it lasts for more than a week of course remains to be seen but having a starting point does have its merits in my book.  As lists go I’m sure mine will evolve naturally over the year just like I expect everyone else’s will.  Some items on the list I will complete, others I will not.  Am I bothered?  Not particulalry.

As things currently stand my modelling list reads as follows:

  • Complete the foot figures for my Footsore Baron’s War army. 

I’m getting bored with this project now but I only have a few to do and I really would like to complete them.  I still have quite a few mounted figures to do but I’m in no rush to get them done and think I will enjoy dipping into them as the mood grabs me

  • Drastically reduce my lead pile.

Like us all I have a pile of lead which needs to be dealt with.  I say dealt with because they are never going to get done.  The aim therefore is to clear stuff out.  I need a purge.  Whether I put stuff on Ebay, give it away or throw it away it has to go.  Just seeing it all is playing with my head and I feel the need for a clean slate.  Well cleaner!

  • Complete my current Dio-Bolical Monday diorama – The Earls Visit.

I’m loving everything about this project so far but it has highlighted a significant problem.  The size of the diorama and the amount of elements to it has completely taken over my modelling area to the point where doing anything else along side is almost impossible.  My aim is to soldier on for the next few weeks to try to get the Baron’s War foot figures done (see above) and one or two other figures I’ve started as well but then I plan to dedicate my time exclusively to the diorama.  The knock on effect is that at some point it will throw my blog posts out.

  • Review My Blog

For a while now I’ve not been happy with my blog.  I’m keen to keep it going but I have grown a little tired of it.  I think the answer is to freshen it, or me, up.  What does that mean?  I haven’t a clue.  Come the time when I concentrate more fully on my diorama my Wednesday and Saturday posts will probably go by the board.  Alternatively for a period there might be  Dio-Bolical Wednesday and a Dio-Bolical Saturday thing going on.  In any event I anticipate some sort of time out.  Come the end of that I’ll probably end up doing what I’m doing now!

  • Sort Out My Working Space

To some extent this will happen naturally when I complete my diorama and reduce my pile of lead.  Not that either will solve the whole problem but it will reduce the size of the task.

  • Model Shows

As things currently stand my aim is to attend Salute in April, my Plymouth Clubs show in June and Telford again in November.  Ideally, unless Covid puts a block on things I’ll attend some others too.

  • Decide Where I Go Next 

All I know for certain is I have no plans to give up painting and modelling.  What is of growing importance is to test myself.  There is so much I can’t do and haven’t tried.  I want to do more freehand for sure so if I can’t think of anything else I’ll start here.

For now that’s it. More modelling ideas will spring to mind for sure as the year begins to unfold.

As to non modelling resolutions I guess much depends on how the year progresses.  Last year wasn’t a great one, neither was the year before.  I’ll keep an open mind for 2022 but based on 2020 and 2021 this is looking favourite …

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TIM

TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 134)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is a simple Levy figure from the Baron’s War range and another one off of my list.  A quick count up and it looks like I only have 10 to do.  Hooray!

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Give Me Five

Having just recently watched Leonardo in “Don’t Look Up” (see below) I thought I would stick with him for my Give Me Five.  He’s actually been in more films that I realised but picking my top five was easy.  In no particular order:

  1. Titanic (1997)
  2. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)
  3. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  4. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)
  5. The Revenant (2015)

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” by The Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin.  Hard to know what’s politically correct these days.  Pro women or anti men or just a message?  Bound to offend someone but all I hear is a great track.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“Don’t Look Up” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.  A Netflix original released over Christmas and very watchable.  Done in a tongue in cheek way but but it’s hard to see government’s or the media acting any other way.  Some might argue they already are.

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Remember …

Women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the man who mentions it.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 27 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 5”

Unsurprisingly what time I had this week was spent painting the third tier of the water mill.  Only one element required any thought as the rest of the colour scheme had already been determined by tiers one and two.

I completed the inside first as it’s easier to hold and isn’t detrimental to any external painting.  The outside differed only in so much as the walls are rendered with some exposed stone work.  I decided on a colour scheme of Artiste Sand for the render with a Winsor and Newton Burnt Sienna oil wash applied over the top once dried.  When the wash was dry I applied a little dry brushing of Artiste Sand and Winsor and Newton Titanium White oil paint.

The images below show the inside and outside.  I’ve also included an image of the three tiers assembled on top of each other and a couple with the roof on which has still to be painted.  I’ll probably start on that next

TIM

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Year End Review 2021

Happy New Year!

For some of us modelling bloggers the start of the new year heralds a review of the year just gone.  I’m one of those bloggers so here is my brief review of 2021.  The year, like all those before it, comprised of some good things and some not so good things.  Such is life.

By far the biggest life positive was the Covid vaccine which enabled life to return to some sort of normality here in the UK.  Equally perhaps the biggest negative has been that Covid remains with us and a new variant is on the rise.  The impact of Covid did of course affect us all in different ways with even our beloved hobby not going unscathed.  As grateful as I was to have such a fantastic hobby to keep me occupied through the darker days of lockdown there were difficulties trying to replace consumables and for the majority of the year club meetings and shows we’re cancelled.  Overall, however, from a modelling perspective it proved to be a good one.  It might even be argued some of these positives were the direct result of the pandemic.

Although I didn’t, and never do, keep a tally of the number of figures and models I produce I can confidently say I got more painted in 2021 than any other year.  As the year progressed and restrictions eased somewhat so a sense of normality slowly returned.  The Plymouth Model Club once again opened its doors and saw its membership increase  with 10 new members, all of whom had returned to the hobby as a result of lockdown.  Shows also started a very slow return with IPMS Scale Model World taking place again in Telford after a years absence.

Returning to my personal perspective of the hobby year I thought I would, in keeping with my weekly Miniatures and Musings post, list in no particular order my top five highlights of the year.

1. Model exchange with Luke (IRO)

Towards the end of 2020 Luke, better known to most of us as IRO, had the idea that we should each do a surprise figure for each other and exchange them.  I had no hesitation in buying into his idea and in early January 2021 we both posted simultaneously on our blogs the figures we had done for each other.  Luke went for the Old West genre knowing it was a favourite era of mine and I painted for him a figure of Arnie in his role in the Predator movie.

It was agreat idea and one we both enjoyed.  Something to do again at somepoint for sure.

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2. Freehand Painting 

Something I had wanted to do for some time was more freehand painting.  A stretch goal if you like.  As someone who doesn’t convert figures I find myself painting figures that are not unique.  To overcome this it is nice where appropriate to add a freehand element in an effort to produce a figure which then becomes a one off.  Over the course of the year I managed to do a lot of freehand across various figure genres and was pleased with the results and progress I made.  The image below is one of the first figures I painted with additional freehand (Micky Mouse and combat trousers) and it remains one of my favourites.

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3.  The Wizard’s Tower

Unsurprisingly for those who regularly follow this blog it would be impossible for me to leave out my diorama project which I entitled The Wizard’s Tower.  The diorama contained a lot of firsts for me in terms of new skills learnt and applied and the end result was very pleasing.  Furthermore the model went on to be a competition success way beyond my expectations at IPMS Telford.

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4. IPMS Scale Model World, Telford 

Putting aside the competion and the success I enjoyed at Telford the main reason for mentioning it in my top five is because it signalled the return for many of us in the UK of modelling shows.  After such a difficult year it was great to get back out and meet and speak with old friends.  Although the show was slightly smaller with fewer than normal overseas visitors and clubs the event was still huge and the standard was as high as ever.  Whatever was lost in terms of overseas participation was more than offset by the increase in UK participation.  The direct result I suspect of having more people returning to the hobby and having even longer to produce modelling master pieces.

5.  Zoom Calls

Mark Morin, another blogger buddy with whom most of you are familiar, came up with the idea that Luke (IRO) and I should link up with him on Zoom.  The idea being to chat, share ideas and simply discuss the hobby in general along with anything else which took our fancy.  A great idea but across the three time zones of the UK, USA and Australia not always so simple to arrange.  Thanks to Mark we had a good number of chats throughout the year and will doubtless have more in 2022.  They proved great fun and it’s always nice to put names to faces and compare life across the globe.

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All in all 2021 was a good modelling year despite the difficulties brought about by Covid.  Away from modelling my year was far more mixed with only a few highs and more lows than I would have liked.  Hopefully 2022 will prove to be better for all of us but it is clear we will all face some initial difficulties as Covid refuses to go away.  Fingers crossed it doesn’t last or prevent us from doing the things we love and enjoy.

Having reflected on 2021 it’s now time to think about the year ahead.

TIM

TIM’s Miniatures & Musings (No: 133)

Welcome to this weeks Miniatures & Musings!

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This weeks miniature is another Crossbow Man and more importantly another step towards completing the foot figures for my Baron’s War army.  I’ve pretty much run out of things to say regarding this project but come the New Year I really must decide where I plan to go with it.  I certainly aim to finish the project but what to do with it after that is another matter altogether.

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Well It Made Me Laugh

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Christmas Is Over!

Hard to believe that Christmas is over already for another year.  Ours was another very quiet affair.  With SWMBO and I suffering very badly from either a bad cold or mild flu the decision was taken, along with further fears of a UK Covid Lockdown, to not share the festivities with my very elderly parents.  In addition my son and daughter spent most of their time with their respective girlfriends and boyfriends families which suited us just fine.

After a difficult year we were more than happy after walking the dog to light the log burner, open the wine and get slowly pissed as we over indulged on all the foodstuffs guaranteed not to improve your cholesterol!  After a successful dummy run I now feel fully prepared for the New Year although a bit more drinking practice wouldn’t go a miss.

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Give Me Five

As it is, or was, the season for Christmas Crackers I thought I would list five of the worst jokes I’ve found inside them.  Christmas Cracker jokes are about as bad as it gets but please feel free to contribute by adding more dire humour!  In no particular order, not least of all because they are all atrocious, I give you:

  1. What do you call blackbirds that stick together? – Vel-crows;
  2. What do you call a soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray? – A seasoned veteran;
  3. What do you call an M&M that went to college? – A smarty;
  4. What do you call a sad coffee? – Depresso;
  5. What do you call a horse that likes arts and crafts? – A hobby horse.

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This week TIM has been listening to …

“Stay With Me” by Lorraine Ellison.  Inspired by a classic moment from the film “The Boat That Rocked”, the relevant clip of which I have included too.  A great film and sound track.   If you’ve never seen it then it is well worth a watch in my opinion.

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This week TIM has been watching …

“News Of The World” starring Tom Hanks.  The Western genre is not one typically associated with Tom Hanks but this turned out to be a good watch.

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Remember …

When you see rich, snooty looking women at the supermarket, pretend you need something and say “excuse me, do you work here?” just to help keep things real.

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TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 26 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 4”

I ended last weeks post (Part 3) by targeting myself to get tier 2 of The Mill done.  No small order as it turned out given that it was the week before Christmas and included Christmas Day and Boxing Day in it.  As it turned out I had more free time on my hands than I could possibly have anticipated and I managed it with a minimum of fuss.  Knowing the colour schemes helped greatly.  I just needed to sit down, mix paints, put something on to watch or listen to and start painting.  Oh, and make sure the 2nd tier when put on top of the first blended well from a colour perspective.

As promised I don’t intend to bore you by repeating everything about the colours, technique or paints used as that was all covered in a previous post and there was nothing different on this level so we can just jump to the images.  The photo’s also include some of the second level on top of the base level.

You can see from the photo’s that the colour scheme is pretty dark.  This is deliberate for two reasons.  Firstly, the era is the Dark Ages and therefore it feels appropriate to reflect that.  Secondly, my hope is that when the figures are painted, especially the mounted knights, they will look all the more vibrant.  Of course only time will tell if any of this works but at least it’s a plan.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 25 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 3”

The main objective for this week was to get the external paint work done on the base section of the Mill.  Looking ahead there will be some refinements to what I have done as once the section is fixed into position it will need to be blended with the surrounding base work, more on that though further down the line.

As with the inside of this section I needed to make a note of how I painted the outside to stand a better chance of consistency when I paint the other three layers which make the completed building.

The base colours were all straight forward,  The wood work was Artiste “Brown Umber” and the brick and stone work was Artiste “Black” mixed with Artiste “Sand” to obtain a grey colour.  Once the base colours were laid down and dry they were given a Lamp Black oil wash.  The result is shown in the first two images below.

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After setting aside to dry it was time to start dry brushing.  The initial phase was to simply take the initial grey mix and brush over the top.  The initial mix then had some more “sand” colour added to lighten it and then this was dry brushed again.  Another couple of lighter mixes were added after that.  In the image below you can see that I also started brushing on some of the Vallejo pigment that I had used on the inside flooring.

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As well as the Vallejo pigment I also used some Humbrol Earth and Rust pigment to add colour variety.  On the lower sections where the Mill would attract the damp I added green and yellow inks to hopefully give the impression of lichen and moss.  These are areas witch will also be looked at again once the section has been properly based.  For now though the current end result can be seen in the images below.

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The windows were painted using Vallejo Model Color Iraqi Sand which was then given a wash of Citadel Reikland Fleshshade.  The lattice work was then painted using Vallejo Gun Metal and Silver.

With the internal and external painting methods determined and noted down they will be used again as applicable throughout the rest of this building.  The good news is I won’t need to repeat these methods in future posts where I have used them, I can just post photo’s.

This week I also received the orders I had placed with Other World Miniatures and Mirliton in Italy.  Both look good and I couldn’t believe just how quickly the Italian order came, less than 48 hours!  Incredible.  As to the figures themselves I’ll be introducing those to you bit by bit as they get painted.

Next step unsurprisingly is to work on the next tier starting with the inside once again.

TIM