Thursday, April 21, 2016

Parade continues...

So the parade continues with a bit more work done here on detailing the first buildings.

I figured I would give 2 different sizes a go.. starting with a smaller Town House, and then the larger Farm House as well.

Initial experiments with wood flooring coming from a single left over sheet of balsa wood from a project long since forgotten here. It already had the grooves lengthways on it, so just have to make the smaller cuts to represent it as layered wood slabs there. They did not quite fit, so I then stuck some more balsa wood beams and along the floor/wall sections.

Not sure how well it will look afterwards, but it is a start at least. I also plan to do some wallpaper for the walls once the majority of it is painted up. And possibly even do some plastic transparent sheets to represent the window glass.. but need to figure that out further I suspect.

Externally this is what we have for the first little town house. Having a brick base, and then a white stone work putty/plaster facade to go with it. While the putty was semi wet ( though it does not stay long ) I pressed the other cardboard cut outs into it. More secure than the white glue I used on the bricks!

I continued this on with the large Farm House as well.. but got a bit more elaborate with the brick work design.

Though I am a bit stumped as to what to do with the wooden panel that crosses over a section ( though at the moment it is not in the right spot! ).. any ideas are welcome!

Combined and lined up this is what we have ( with a few SAS checking out the digs.. ).. I think once paint is applied this could turn out really good. Just have to figure out the right colors for it to keep it dusty and old.

As for the roofs.. I have ordered a clay tile stamp. So I will line the roof with DAS clay, thinly, and then stamp it with the pattern. Hopefully this will work out for me, and create a good enough texture that will work nicely at this scale. As I am struggling a bit to find ones in the appropriate scale...

More to come.. though paint is a long ways off as yet. As I plan to batch paint them as much as possible, and do up the details one by one. Though now that I can see that the footprint of the houses is fixed, I can begin to plan out the full board a bit including some hill sections as well as the street pattern.

Should be fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Canadians Army on Parade project...

Right.. so I have begun the painting of this force.. and I have been working on designing an Army on Parade board since last years Scale Model Challange category went live!

And the missing of these 2 ideas I have come up with, and begun to work on, the creation of my Army on Parade board. Setting the Canadians in Sicily/Italy like setting in the mid/late war of WW2.

I am going to say this right now though.. as much as I would love for it to be as historically accurate as possible.. I am just not that good of a modeller or want to get into that level of details. I still want this project to be fun, first and foremost. Since it is my hobby before it is my profession.. just get that out of the way before people start poking at my design and spouting things about historical accuracy.

That being said, I will be referring to as many photos as I can, and am trying to make it look like something that might have happened near or closer to that timeline and location. Including what was part of the forces used by the Canadians ( which I have already been told a few times that this tank or that tank did not get used by the Canadians ).

In the end though this is what I have come up with for a board layout. After searching for at least something that could be used to represent the buildings a bit, this was the closest I could get to something for Italy. At least with some conversions on the front it should work, and if I can find tiles in the right scale then it really will work out nicely. I should have perhaps removed the chimneys but then it would be difficult to remove the roofs. So practicality came into play here as well.

As for the force to be put into the display.. well it is something that could actually be fielded in game properly. Be it as an extended tank platoon ( 4 troop slots instead of the 3 allowed but all in transports ) or as a combination of regular and tank platoons to make a single force. Either way, it is giving me a load of possibilities here.

The buildings are all coming from Sarissa at the moment. I have used 4ground in the past for my IJA forces, and they are nice considering that they come pre-painted. However they do not go together as easily as the Sarissa buildings, which do require some post construction work on them. Which for me is not a problem, as that was the plan anyways.

My only complaint on these over the 4ground buildings is the way in which the roofs go together. I had intended to shave down the angles a bit on the roofs to give it a more Mediterranean feel, especially once the tiles go on. These are more steeped and better for central Europe than anything else. So after seeing this design, I resigned myself to a more steeped roof pitch, and that I will just try to make it work overall.

Speaking of the buildings.. these are the ones that I built up to get an idea for the board ( plus another large shop building not shown ).. again all were fairly easy to put together, with the only problem being on the large farmhouse ones ( the last photo ). When putting the second level on to the first, the pegs do not line up, nor are there spaces wide enough to accomodate them. So as you can see the split wood on the right one, the left has the same on the other side.

Now originally I had thought of making these 2 farmhouses into a super building. However when looking at the construction of it, that was going to be one heck of a nightmare, and with the roofs section once more.. yeah.. I am not feeling that much of a conversion for this board.

The reason of course was so that I could make the archway between the 2 buildings even more integrated. But it was not meant to be.. oh well.. Still works OK with them both side by side, but shuts down the back doors a bit.. though no visible so no problems. I hope :)

Where you can see the etched in brickwork to the buildings, I will cover that with actual scale bricks, and then do some sort of stone work for the rest of the buildings. This is where the Sarissa buildings shine for me compared to the other makers is that there is a lip from the wall to the edge of the base. Probably not something you would want normally, but for me it allows me then to fill up the wall a bit with detailed, but still retain the majority of the same footprint there. Should be interesting when I get to that point and see how well it works out in reality compared to my theories :D

As for detailing, I have begun the first small townhouse here. Laying down some wooden flooring, and some pillars. Mostly because my balsa wood for the floor was not enough to cover both fully, so I improvised. This is how I do.. what can I say :D But I think it does add a bit to the buildings, and will be a right pain to paint up later on :D Though I am unsure if I should just paint the walls inside or attempt some sort of wallpaper for them.. will see when I get closer to that point..

Now aside from the buildings I have been doing some tests for the streets. Considering that we are trying for a more city scape, I though cobblestones would be the best thing to tackle. And after some searching I found some via a company called Amera Plastics. Which do vacuum formed designs for quite cheap actually! So I picked up several of their cobblestone sheets and got to work on some simple streets out of it to see how well they might do. And if I can get a good color scheme done for them as well.

1 sheet was cut up into 4 strips of about 9 inches long and about 2.5 or so inches wide. I then super glued them to a sheet of 1mm thick plasticard ( also picked up from Amera Plastic ) to give them a solid base to sit on. As they are quite thin plastic, and fragile on their own.

From here, and after seeing that I cut out some of the bricks along the sides of the roads, I placed different sizes of stones, and gravel. To give them a more board friendly edge to them and a definitive guide to the side of them as well. Plus give them a bit more texture to make them a have some areas to play with color.

I plan to do the same like this on the larger board between the buildings.. so this is a good test for me to understand how this will work..

Coloring was pretty simple, but complicated at the same time. I really played around with this, and am curious how it will work on the larger scale here though.

Starting with the black/white primer, but then moving on with some brown/yellow house paint to get a good base down. Then a combination of acrylic washes, oil washes, lots of drybrushing, and some picking out of rocks here and there within the gravel aspects.

But you can see that even though they are basic ( and very straight... I know.. ) they work nicely for a variety of vehicles on it, and aside from the lip on the bases, they are matching nicely to my gaming bases I have done previously.

So as a whole, I suspect that they will do just fine overall for a color scheme.. though now that I know what I am having them to look like.. I need to build up the board further to get to that point!

So let's crack on, and see what kind of progress we can make on this and other buildings I have in the pipeline these days. Though I am really going to do my best to get this board and army done for October's show. It sounds like a long ways off, but really it is just around the corner for a project like this!

Curious on everyone's thoughts, and if I am just super crazy for attempting this or not! And if I, once finished with this board, should continue on with a few more to build a full tables worth to play on! Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Salute 2016

So Salute has just passed, and I just want to say that it was a blast. Tiring, exhaustive, and quite time consuming ( both during but also before hand ).. but in the end worth it. Worth it for the people who we met, the conversations we had, the beers afterwards that were shared, but also for all that came to our booth to support us throughout the day! A huge thank you to you people!

This year was different from the past 2 years.. and we have seen quite the escalation on how I am now going to Salute. In 2014.. I came to Salute for the first time as a punter.. wide eyes, and with a massive hole in my wallet that all the vendors seemed to be able to notice! Many mistakes were made that day, but it was still such a great time.

In 2015.. I came to Salute again, but this time to help Alan out at ModelMates.

And was pretty chuffed to see some of my work blown up to massive proportions to show off what you could do from their products.

And it was amazing to chat to everyone about both my own works, but also to explain the way to use Alan's products at a figure painter level was fantastic!

So it was only natural that while chatting with Kris Toad over what our plans were for shows this year... Salute came up and the idea of a table for them also came up.. Well.. lucky for us, we got a space! And this is what it looked like!

Basic in all respects, but a place to start all the same. We did at least have quite a bit on display, and once I showed up we then put up the figures to display what we had along with a few more pieces for the rack there. We were not in the best location ( quite far from the entrance ) but in a space that had lots of space around it for the queues that happened to both stalls near us. Allowing people to see us still within the people, and come and check out our wares!

The sexy beasts that ran the stall.. Kris Toad on the left, Normski in the middle, and yours truly on the right there. Between the 3 of us we kept the stall manned throughout the day.. though Kris had a bit of difficulty with that at times due to not having a voice left to speak to anyone with! Made it a bit hard to explain the pieces to everyone!

I did get to sneak off for a bit to check out parts of the show.. one thing that I just made it in time for was the big Blogger meet up near the center section. Caused quite the commotion when we all tried to pile in for a photo.. can you spot the Canuck within the crowd? :D

While away from the booth for a bit, I had tried to find a few others that I knew had stalls.. such as Mat Hart from Guildball.. but damn if his booth was not jammed fully!

A huge expansion from last years 1 or 2 tables they had available to begin with. Great to see this, and wishing them all the best on their new kickstarter to come for their Dark Souls boardgame coming..

Not many selfies this year though as there were last.. mostly due to pure craziness that surrounded the table or the people that we were with.. but we did get one from Spud himself with Kris and I..

Handsome devils that we are... :)

I want to thank everyone who came by and chatted though. All that supported us while at the show. And to all those that joined us afterwards at the Fox@Excel pub around the corner for a pint and food later on that evening. I have to say that we will be back next year.. hopefully bigger and better than this year.. and that I am going to be working on not doing the full drive down the day of, and head home the night of.. but instead book and stay over the Friday/Saturday night to enjoy a bit more of the community aspect that this show is building up!

Hope to see you all next year... but for now.. we get back to building up for the next show in September.. Euro Militaire! See you there hopefully!
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