Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Forest...

... or at least a small copse!

If you are reading this then my scheduled post has successfully launched itself whilst we enjoy a restful break with the family; my apologies if my absence has been noted!

The impending '7ombieTV' scenario calls for a small wooded area and as I scratched around in the bits box it soon became apparent that I would need to buy or make some of my own; the onus being on making as these things tend to be rather expensive!  I had had a degree of success fashioning some Silver Birch trees in a previous post entitled, 'The Wood for the Trees', but felt I needed at least a couple of trees resplendent in their foliage to fit this bill.  Now as luck would have it at around the same time that I was considering the forestation of 'Awdry Towers', I came across a couple of posts by erstwhile bloggers that inspired what is to follow.

Phyllion at 'Diary of a Gaming Magpie' had discovered the incredible versatile '4 Ground' tree bases, these instantly appealed as I liked the idea of mixing and matching the terrain, whilst retaining a sense of stability and, of course, they were cheap!

Meanwhile, Andrew Saunders of 'Loki's Great Hall'  had been running a series of posts devolving some of his secrets regarding tree armatures and foliage.  Andrew really does know how to put together some fabulous terrain and I found myself following his guide almost word for word.

Unfamiliar items to me these days I'm afraid, but important to keep your foliage attached!

So it was that by using a combination of these two ideas and taking advantage of some half price armatures from Model Zone in Eastbourne I was able to fashion together some half decent trees.  Clearly a huge vote of thanks needs to be extended to both gentlemen whose inspirational ideas and discoveries led to my success - thank you Chaps!

"if you go down to the woods today..."

Purely as an aside, but one that at least pertains to the manufacturing of trees, Scott from 'Scott's Wargaming' has also been fashioning foliage only his involved the use of bottle brushes!

(Check out his results here.)

As luck would have it this post shares a title with one of my favourite cure songs, so enjoy a little holiday entertainment on me; hopefully back to the brushes earlier next week.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

"England expects...

... a husband to do his duty!

I have to confess that I am not fond of the craze that is referred to as D.I.Y.; nor, it would seem, am I particularly good at it, often losing interest part way through the project!  I default to prevarication when the topic is raised or fein a a serious sporting injury - paper cut or splinter, that sort of thing!  This summer, however, I have vowed to make this right; if I wanted some serious hobby time then it only seemed right and proper that I 'ticked off' some of those jobs that had eluded me for far too long.

The reward for a particularly strenuous bout of sanding, filling and painting was a day out at the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth with the prime intention of taking in the newly opened Mary Rose Museum.  This was a tremendous experience and the first time that I've set foot on Nelson's Flagship 'Victory' so a real treat all round.  The 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' was in charge of the camera so I present the following examples of her work as a record of our day.

I was conscious of just how low the ceilings were onboard Victory.

Nelson's quarters onboard Victory.

Boys will be boys!

My thoughts soon turned to food, the galley onboard Victory.

The ship's bell; Mary Rose.

The extent of the preservation is breathtaking; Mary Rose.

The ship's dog; Mary Rose.

Stunning combination of artefact and modern materials; Mary Rose.

A cracking bit of architecture, the Museum was good too!

"Somewhere around here is Nelson's Flagship" or,  "where is the nearest restaurant?"

The Mighty Warrior

Palatial interior of the Warrior.

The boiler room onboard Warrior.

Not, I understand, as a result of the Awdrys visiting!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Sixth Form

As the glorious English summer continues unabated and many of us, including it would appear the Australian cricket team, seem to be struggling with motivation there has been a notable slowing of productivity here at 'Awdry Towers'.  That said I'm pleased to reveal that the 'Sixth Form' has safely departed the painting table and are ready to do battle with the undead.

The senior members of the school have always had a reputation of getting what they want and a happy to use whatever skills they have at there disposal.  So in a bid to produce a unique group the three bodies used were all from 'Hasslefree Miniatures' with a couple of head swops, using one of 'Crooked Dice's' accessory packs; such is the limit of my conversion skills.  

Pleats were added to the skirt to tie them in to the rest of the group and in this case the pistol holster was removed as I wanted the girls to be armed only with what they could find in or around the school grounds.  

Again pleats were added and the sledgehammer removed, it would go to making Rose's improbable armament!  - the results of which can be seen here.

Now by my reckoning I should now have enough of these teenage tearaways to start the scenario, but I still seem to be lacking a zombie or two not to mention a considerable amount of terrain and of course a board to play it on - it would appear that there really is no rest for the wicked!  I understand  that we might see a break in the weather soon, which will certainly be welcomed by some of us but perhaps coming a smidgen too late for our visiting Antipodean athletes?

A group shot showing how the colour palette links throughout and helps to unify the team along with the patterned gymnasium floor.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

St. Trinians on tour...

...the School Bus!

Now those that visit here in the hope that there might actually be something pertaining to Victorian era warfare being posted, my sincerest apologies!  The war on the undead is going to continue for a little while longer, but rest assured normal service will be resumed shortly!


In preparation for my proposed game I have been considering the various terrain requirements for the scenario in question, now dubbed, 'The Battle of the Lower Hockey Pitch'.  Once such requirement was the School Bus that forms a substantial part of the barricade and so the madness begins.  A quick hunt of the usual places turned up a few potential possibilities, 'Ainsty Castings' doing a particularly impressive model, but alas the majority of what was available is based on the American model of what a school bus should look like - and this was supposed to be a peculiarly British episode!

In a bid to find something a little more homegrown eBay was enlisted and lo and behold there were a series of 'Oxford Commercials' die casts in 1/43 scale - surely too big you might think?  A bit of web based research suggested that this scale, depending on the model could in fact work nicely for 28mm miniatures, particularly if the miniatures in question were on larger bases, so although not as cheap as I would have liked I decided to give one a punt!

I have to say that I was absolutely thrilled with my London Transport Ford 400E Minibus; this was part of a wonderfully detailed range of models that could have gone straight to the motor pool as it was, however I had a few details of my own that I wanted to add first.  My concerns about the the scale issues soon evaporated as I set about stripping the model down, windows were masked and the whole model was sprayed black and it is at this point that I really should explain my thinking behind the conversion.

I knew that bus had to serve as part of the defences, but at the same time scream 'St Trinians'!  It had to be battered and beaten up, perhaps due to been driven by members of the 'Fourth Form' that could barely see over the wheel and I am eternally grateful to Elladan and his amazing website, that listed a variety of ideas that he employed on a series of die cast models that looked so good that I used them all on the school bus!  These included melting the tyre to represent a puncture, scratching the plastic windows for a smashed glass effect, making deep gouges in the paintwork as the 'Sixth Form' park by ear and the obligatory bullet holes - come the zombie apocalypse target practise will prove very important!

In addition to these I added some makeshift armour plating in the form of corrugated sheeting riveted to the side of the bus.  Weathered and distressed a gruesome tide of blood is evident where the relentless hoard of undead have been beating against its sides! Wire mesh was added to reinforce the windows and a finally a paint job that placed it well and truly in the early eighties!  Those that know of the original 'St Trinians' films will appreciate the anti-establishment themes, but there is something peculiarly British that prevails, and what could be more British than bunting?  

I would love to say that I fashioned this detail myself but I confess not, in fact the bunting comes from 'Jesse Bunting', where Jesse will craft you a ten centimetre string for a pound.  They really are wonderful, just what I was looking for and I shall certainly be looking to shoehorn my red, white and blue strings in somewhere in the months to come.  I can just see these festooned around a VBCW gaming table and understand that Jesse will consider bespoke requests too!

The final additions are those of the livestock, yes for a few hand fulls of corn you can have a fully functional zombie early warning system installed on this model.  Originally from 'Architects of War', I have absolutely no idea why I originally bought these, but obviously delighted with their inclusion here.

So there we have it, the School Bus complete and ready to take its place as part of the fortifications, now how about a cricket pavilion?

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