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: 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