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.
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.
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.
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.