Dio-Bolical Monday No: 21 – “News Update No: 2”

Several weeks ago in “News Update No: 1” I mentioned that I had placed an order for some more Table Top World buildings for a diorama that I aim to start building later in the year.  The plan for the diorama is far from detailed at the moment and, as I previously mentioned, I also have a significant storage issue to address first.  The purpose of this brief post is just to say the Table Top World buildings have now arrived all the way from Croatia and I thought I’d share with you what I bought.  Before that though two other things worthy of mention.

Firstly, the packing of these models was fantastic.  Inside the big box, pictured below, was three smaller cardboard boxes each containing a share of the kits which were in turn all wrapped in newspaper with even more packing around them.  No chance whatsoever that these would be damaged in transit unless the box was literally crushed.  I mention this only in case any of you ever decide to buy any of these kits.  If you do then you can, based on my experience, buy with confidence.

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Secondly, having paid for the order online I was expecting to pay additional costs due to Brexit.  I had anticipated paying the best part of £80.00 or more in respect of VAT, Customs Duty and Courier costs.  My experience in the UK is you get notified you have a parcel and if you want it you can only have it when you stump up the costs.  I was therefore taken by surprise when the parcel just turned up.  Nothing more to pay!  Yipee!  Did I just get lucky or was I wrong to expect additional costs in the first place?  In truth I neither know nor care!

So, what models did I buy?

Well I bought a Cottage, a Blacksmith’s Forge, a Watermill and a Stable.

The following images are all care of the Table Top World website.

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Watermill

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The quality of these kits is simply amazing and I am looking forward to painting them later on in the year as I really want this to be a project that will see me through the winter months.  I’m also going to need plenty of time to work out just what I plan to do.  As things currently stand I have a few ideas but they will evolve, or not as the case me be, when I start playing around with them.  I also need to decide if I will use all four building in the one diroma or only two or three.  Thinking about it all and doing more research will be fun but before I can get to carried away I now need to concentrate on my storage problem.  More on that in a future post.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 20 – “News Update No: 1”

After I completed my Wizard’s Tower diorama I announced that it was time for a break.  I think I also mentioned that I have a major storage headache to resolve before I can even consider undertaking anything new.  Well things have changed and I thought I would post an update on recent events which have led to this.

The first event of significance was the annual Table Top World Competition.  In all honesty I did not know they ran one, I only discovered this when l browsed their website yet again to drool over their exquisite buildings only to be hit by their home page advert.  After a little inner debate with myself I decided to take the plunge and enter the Wizard Tower.  Fortunately I never took the trouble to look at past competition entries before I did.  Had I done so I would never have entered.  Some of the dioramas which people have submitted to this annual competition are simply stunning but with a top prize of 500 euros to be won and spent in their shop it is hardly surprising the standard is so high.  Feeling somewhat embarrassed that I had now entered and not exactly put myself out to take better photos I decided to forget all about it.

Having done such a good job of forgetting about the competition it then came as quite a surprise to receive the following email from Ivan at Table Top World (the company is based in Croatia if you weren’t aware).

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Hello David,

we have chosen your work as one of the few that we decided to grant a  30% voucher this year, since you where very close to entering the top 3!

Keep up the great work!

Here is your 30% coupon for our webshop.

Kind regards,
Ivan
Tabletop World

—000—

Now the cynic in me immediately concluded that probably everyone who entered most likely got a similar email but then I decided to accept things on face value if for no other reason than it made me feel better.  More importantly, given how expensive their buildings are (and even more expensive now due to import duty having to be added now the UK has left the EU), there was no way I wasn’t going to use the voucher!  

Highly motivated to build a very large diorama (very large for me that is) I was determined to solve my storage problem, something which had been bugging me for some time.  I’ve known for  a while that our double garage held the key but it is well fitted out already and extremely tidy too so a quick win was never on the cards.  Then I had a light bulb moment!

My car and the family estate are both kept in the garage but She Who Must Be Obeyed keeps her car parked on the drive.  She does this because she drives our daughter to school on a daily basis (had it not been for lockdown my daughter would have passed her driving test and driven herself) and it is easier than opening the garage (yes you’re right, she is a lazy women!).  The thing is her little car is much shorter than the family one.  Short enough to enable me to buy and install a meter wide six foot high office style filing cupboard giving at least 5 meters of shelf space!

My daughter finishes school shortly and then has a four month break before hopefully heading off to university.   The thing is she wont need driving to school any more and therefore SWMBO can “keep her precious car” (that’s the selling line) in the garage instead of the estate! 

Brimming with confidence that I can sell this to SWMBO I have now placed an order for four Table Top World buildings and a few accessories that they do as well.  I suspect it will be several weeks before they arrive and I need to wait for my daughter to finish school before I can buy and install the filing cupboard, therefore nothing to do for now but wait.

I’ll issue further news updates in the weeks ahead but all being well a new diorama and an accompanying Dio-Bolical Monday series will start later in the year.  A series which will run far longer than anything previously so consider yourself warned. 🙂

TIM

PS – Although she doesn’t read my blog, which is just as well, Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter who is 18 today!

 

 

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 19 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 12 – Final

This week brings an end to the Wizard Tower diorama and the timing could not be more perfect.  Not only does today signal the end of this diorama but it is also the end of the end of lockdown and my 39th wedding anniversary.  It is also the end of Dio-Bolical Monday for the foreseeable future.  This diorama, and Fools Gold which preceded it, have both been great fun but as well as the need for a break I need to create space before I can even contemplate doing another.  Until that time does arrive I intend to replace Dio-Bolical Monday with Diorama Lite.  The first post should be next week but we will have to see.  Meanwhile back to this one.

As at last week I was left with a few things to do.  The dragon needed to be finished and was.  It was duly tidied up and whilst I can say I hated every minute I spent painting it the end result was OK.  It was then just a matter of positioning it and the second figure.  I decided to pin the dragon in such away that it can be removed if necessary.  I have also kept the tower in its sections rather than gluing it all together.  The fit is so good you cannot see the joins and it will also make transporting it that much easier too.  Picking up on several comments I also tried to inject some movement into the banner but having already stuck the banner down and put it in situ the scope to do anything was very restricted and I wasn’t about to start again.  But hey, that’s why I am The Imperfect Modeller!  So, a final few touch ups here and there and that was job done.

On to some photo’s.  The first four images show the positioning of the second figure before the dragon was added and then with the dragon in situ.  The photo’s thereafter after show the complete diorama along with various close up images.  As it was a nice day I decided to take the tower a part and go outside to take the Photo’s  Not the ideal backdrop to be fair but then again I don’t have an ocean in my back garden and I don’t have a light box the size of a marque either.  The final image is a photo of the diorama in its display case.  All in all not an easy thing to photograph, well for me at least, but hopefully you can get a feel for the finished piece.

Well folks I hope you like the end result.  Personally I have had a blast doing it.  The tower itself is an awesome piece of kit and I would recommend Table Top World buildings to anyone, they’re worth every penny.  Obviously it’s the favorite bit of the whole thing but I’d also like to give a shout out to the sea effects.  Not my idea as pointed out in earlier posts but it is simple and so cool.  Something I’d really like to do again at some point but until then that’s it.

TIM

 

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 19 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 11

This time last week I thought there would be two more posts before this diorama was complete but it is looking now like this will be the penultimate post.

Before I started on this diorama I knew I wanted to have a bit more drama going on rather than just the tower, some waves and a wizard prancing about.  The question of course was what?  In keeping with a mystical theme I decided to have the tower under attack from a dragon if I could find the right figure.  After a fair bit of research I settled on the Narthrax dragon produced by Reaper.  There was only one problem though, the dragon was only available in the Reaper Bones range.

From what I have been able to gather Reaper Bones has very mixed reviews.  Now I am no fan of plastic but at the same time I needed to be able to bend this figure about a bit in order to position it how I wanted.  I decided I had little choice but to take a punt on it.  All I can say is I fully understand the mixed reviews.  The figure was well boxed and looked superb but the touch of it was something else.  Right from the start I knew this was something I didn’t want to paint and I can say with 100% confidence I will never do another bones figure again.  I know some of you like them and have produced great results so I am happy for this to go down as my aversion to plastic and bones models in particular.

First up I needed to assemble the thing and remove the plastic pins which slotted into the base which came with the model as I wouldn’t be using that.  Then I had to play around with some hot water to bend various body parts to get the position I required.  This took several attempts because the plastic had a life its own and wanted to spring back into its original shape.  Perseverance paid off in the end and I finally felt confident that it would remain in shape and I could start painting.

Already in the wrong frame of mind my mood wasn’t helped any when after priming the figure I learnt that you didn’t need to prime this bones figure!  Nevertheless I continued to soldier on and for the first time ever I used contrast paints.  I didn’t know quite what to expect but I found them to be pretty good and for something like this they were ideal.  I’m not sure I will use them that often but I certainly have nothing against them and can see why people would use them if they are looking for very effective and quick results.

Now the store images for the Nathrax dragon show it painted in blue.  I discussed with my inner self what colour I should go with and decided blue was probably the way to go.  Against the tower it would offer a nice contrast and with the sea and waves it somehow felt like the right habitat for a dragon of this colour.  Regrettably I didn’t take that many photo’s of the painting process.  I think I feared that if I put it down I wouldn’t want to pick it up again!  Despite everything I pretty much managed to get there with it and a few images are below.

The dragon isn’t fully finished and the uncompromising and magnified images show that it is scruffy in places.  It clearly needs some tidying up, quite a bit actually, and more dry brushing but I don’t think any of that will make for a lot of work or for an interesting post so next week we will skip straight to the finished diorama.  Well that’s the plan anyway.

TIM

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Dio-Bolical Monday No: 19 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 10

I have mentioned previously that I had to resolve a couple of problems.  Neither were major but they were unplanned. 

The first relates to the second turret which you can see in the image below.  The turret itself fixes to four wooden resin posts but unfortunately one of them was broken on arrival.  It was easy enough to fix but I had been contemplating removing the turret anyway because the wizard figure which I had planned to position there would not have been easily seen.  I took this as a sign and set about removing all four wooden posts and after a few minor adjustments you would never know they were meant to be there. 

All was fine until I then had the presence of mind to try the wizard figure out in position only to discover that it didn’t work!  The problem being that the height of the wall and the angle the wizard would be positioned at didn’t look right for what I had planned.  So now I had no turret and the need to determine where the wizard was going to go.

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Knowing that the wizard would be positioned elsewhere I decided there needed to be some visual interest given no wizard and no turret.  Initially I had know idea what to do but later had the idea of a banner so I set about making one.   Using some Japanese writing paper and a couple of pieces of steel rod I got started.  The issue of design was also a problem.  I wanted something that felt medieval but also wizard like.  I settled on the idea of the star sign symbols, Leo, Libra, etc.  These only covered part of the banner so I then added a star at the bottom and then added a flag too.  Some photos below. 

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The wizard has now been positioned down below on the rocks.  It will make more sense when you see the finished diorama but for now this is the only image you are getting! 

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The plan this week was also to get the ballistrade added and painted.  I also wanted to get some more weathering done.  Mission accomplished.  

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Now where do I go from here?

Time to work on the final figure.  Probably a couple of weeks work and then a final post of the completed diorama.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 18 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 9

This week my time was entirely spent on painting the second figure for this diorama, images of which appear below. 

The figure in question is from the Reaper Pathfinder range and goes by the name “Valeros, Iconic Male Human Fighter” and the composition of the figure is perfect for what I have in mind to do with him.  There is very little to say on the paint job itself but some of you following the progress of this diorama my well be asking at this point “so what is going on here then?”.  You’re not asking?  Well that’s OK then because in any event I have no intention of telling you exactly what is going on for at least another couple of weeks.

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Now where do I go from here?  Well next week I have four aims.  Firstly to explain two minor problems I encountered and how I have hopefully resolved them.  Do some more weathering and ground work and add the wooded posts and rope ballistrade which goes up alongside the steps.  This last step involves glue and I hate glue so I am not looking forward to that bit very much.  If I get all that done I will move on to the final piece of this diorama jigsaw.  That should take a couple of weeks I reckon balancing it alongside the fact that it is now spring in the UK and I have loads of jobs to do outside in the garden.  If that goes well then I will be ready for the final post which essentially will be images of the end result.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 17 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 8

The plan for this last week was to get the waves done and that is what I managed to do.

There are plenty of techniques out there, several of which some of you were kind enough to bring to my attention.  In the end I went for a combination.  The sea painting that I done last week was almost entirely based on this video.  This video then goes on to use the wave technique and materials suggested by Luke over at Luke’ APS.

Here is the link to the Luke’s APS video.

Last week I ended the sea painting at the point of the first image below. The rest of the images show the build up of the waves.

I haven’t gone into to much detail on the technique as it is is explained much better in the video but will add a few comments of my own.  Firstly, the waves were done over a few days.  Although the Clear Fix and Isoproponal Alcohol 99.9% mix does dry pretty quickly I decided to leave it for an extended period between each layering stage.  I saw no need to rush things and having come this far had no desire to cock things up due to impatience. Secondly, I added no ink or colouring to the mix until the very final layer was applied.  Here I added some white ink and added the mixture sparingly over the top of the waves until I felt it looked OK.

Personally I’m pleased with how it turned out and a little bit of wadding from She Who Must Be Obeyed’s sewing stuff provided a little sea mist.  I’ll let you judge for yourselves how it looks.  What I would also add is it is a very clean process which for someone who works in the mess I do at times was a little bonus.

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There you have it, the waves are finally done and overall the base it looking pretty good.  A little more work to be done in terms of weathering but almost there for sure.

Next week I will start on the second figure and think about how to resolve a little problem I have created for myself.

TIM

Dio-Bolical Monday No: 16 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 7

This week was simply about painting the sea and adding much needed colour to the base rocks.  The first picture in the sequence below is where I finished last week.

The green on the rocks will be dry brushed further and toned down a little bit but the sea painting in the final image sequence is as good as there.  Just how much of the sea colour will be seen once the waves have been added remains to be seen but the colour cannot be added afterwards so there is no choice but to play safe.  

I wasn’t about to use up loads of my Vallejo paints given the reasonably large expanse so I bought some new acrylic paints off of Ebay.   The paints were “Artiste” acrylic paints which came in 59ml bottles and at about £2.00 a bottle represented very good value for money.  More importantly they turned out to be good paints and I wont hesitate to buy more as and when I feel the need to.

I bought half a dozen colours and starting with black and dark blue I worked my way up to lighter shades of blue and finally on to green.  Blending the colours took time and might end up proving an unnecessary step but as previously stated I’ll only know that later.   

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Next week I aim to tackle the waves.  I’ve done a couple of dry runs and am feeling good about what needs to be done and how to do them and it all seems pretty straight forward.  I also have a couple of figures which need to be painted and a decision to be made in respect of the tower but that can all wait for now.  The waves comes first.

TIM

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIM

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

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

So, how did I manage to get on?

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

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