Thursday, August 27, 2015

The onward march of the Marshes

The next step for the marshes was to give each tile a quick blast of Army Painter brown.  This was the work of but a minute and I managed it while sticking things in the freezer. 

Once each tile had his coat of brown, they were left to dry. Then a biggish, stiff brush and quick dry brush of white over all the tiles. This always looks very odd to me, but it somehow looks better once the base is flocked and so forth. Funny old business, colour perception. 

Once the dry brushing was done, I dug around for something suitably gribbly in a green.  Vallejo Reflective Green was something I had a second bottle of and seemed about right. I mixed it 50/50 with water and then put a loose sloppy coat over all the water areas. This can make the water look very flat and uninteresting, so while the paint is still wet, quickly add some dabs of dark blue and mix it with the green to give the illusion of depth. 

Once that is done, add some dabs of PVA and garnish with static grass, clump foliage and lichen to taste. 

I not entirely sure why I took a picture of my hedgerow pieces, but here they are now that the coat of PVA added as sizing has dried. 

Of course, I managed to forget one of the last steps.  Take a pot of GW gloss varnish (by whatever jolly pirate nickname they are calling it now) mix with water and put a thin layer of varnish over the water.  Don't be precious, it looks better if the rocks and earth are slightly glossy. A good water mix helps avoid a textured finish (GW varnish can be quite thick) and it typically takes three to five thin coats to reach the desired finish. 

The (almost) finished product, though a poor photograph

This tile has had two coats of varnish and could do with some more, but we'll get there.  I have to go buy some more varnish. I must check if Vallejo do a gloss varnish. 

And go get weaving on those hedgerows. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marshes & Hedgerows

The sticky bit

The cat litter has been added to the marsh hexes and the latest step is to daub a goodly quantity of PVA over the litter in order to fix it in place.  This picture was taken about two hours after I added the PVA, so really lash it on.  This fixes the little rocks and so forth in place. 

I'm not absolutely certain about the next step, probably a quick spray of Armour Painter brown and a highlight. We shall see. I may try one test spray first. 

How's my topiary? 

With the marshes well on the way, it was time to get started on the hedgerows. These are my trusty MDF hexes again. I then roughly cut a  small piece of upholstery foam, added a notch in the middle and hot glued it to the hex. I will probably use a soldering iron to shape the foam, add some filler for texture to the hex and then hot glue some clump foliage to the foam.   If I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I may add a tree armature. We shall see.

Though as quick and dirty terrain goes, we're not doing too badly.  These, both the marshes and hedgerows, were done in two forty minute stints while getting myself together after work. 

The offending article

The library on the top floor is now mostly finished. It still needs a radiator and carpet and other things, but the book shelves are up and that's the main thing.  It occured to me while shelving that there are poor souls out there who cannot organise their shelves by conflict. 

How do they live? If it can be called living? 

At the ripe old age of thirty five, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that all change, no matter how small, is for the worse. Also those smallest changes are the worst. 

While I was shelving, I noticed some gaps, books that I've either lost, loaned or given away.  I have decided to slowly, but surely fill out these gaps. So I whipped out my phone and ordered three of the Flashman's I was missing. They arrived yesterday. 

And they've changed the bloody spine by God.  Hanging is too good for them!  It remains to be seen whether these wrecks of books remain readable after this appalling mutilation. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


The festering bog as a work in progress

Unexpectedly, I'm free this coming Saturday. This naturally brought to mind the prospect of getting a spot of wargaming in, so a cunning plan was hatched.  As it's rather short notice and there's every possibility that the lads won't be able to make it, I thought that I would try and organise something that required very little prep, but that we hadn't tried before. 

I fixed on the VE Day scenario pack released by Days of Wonder this year.  

Unfortunately, soon after I sent the email, I realised that I hadn't checked to make sure I had sufficient terrain.  Nothing stirs the creative juices like panicked last minute improvisation.

With that in mind, I find myself making some quick and dirty marsh tiles.

Add cat litter for texture

I needed to make something that was robust, didn't take up a lot of room and that looked nice or at least appropriately boggy. I banged the above together in about forty minutes.The bases are my trusty five inch MDF hexes from Jim at Products for wargamers. I have added a layer of pre mixed filler to represent boggy ground. The flat surface of the MDF will be painted as water. Once the filler had dried, I added some dabs of PVA and scattered some cat litter on it to add a bit of texture. 

I was going to add twigs and reeds and things, but what I'll probably do is stick to some static grass and a few dabs of lichen as I don't want to raise the profile of the hexes much as it will make it hard to stack them for storage. 

This is all a bit of improvisation, so we'll see how they turn out. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Strelets French Army Sledge Train 1 & 2

French Army Sledge Train 

My Russian army is nearly complete and I've been playing through the full set of Spanish Peninsula scenarios over the last few months.  This means of course, that before too long it will be time to set out for the frozen wastes of Russia as the Napoleon's Grande Armee marches towards nemesis.  There are a couple of scenarios from the retreat from Moscow in the Russian expansion. While I have acquired a snow mat and some fir trees with the firm intention of doing a snowy setup, I have no intention of adding another army of Frenchers wrapped in blankets to the figure collection. 

However, I was ordering some Zulu War British from Harfields the other day and wasn't really able to justify spending almost £5 on postage for a £5 box of figures. Now with the economic sense that has made me the millionaire I am today, I realised that if I ordered more figures, the postage wouldn't go up and if it did it wouldn't be by much. 

And that gentlemen, is how I talked myself into buying the two boxes above, reasoning that I don't need to buy a new army - I can just add a few figures here and there and the illusion is complete. 


The boys in the plastic

What you get for your money is two plastic sleds and a collection of grim looking Bonapartists, several of whom are missing limbs.  I was a bit dissappointed at first as the number of figures was quite low, but on mature reflection the only comparable offering is from Schilling and they are more expensive again. 

My plan is to base these up as little dioramas, with each stand representing a single infantry stand and a stand on it's own being a casualty.  This should give my 1812 Frenchers a more ragged look and for under a tenner. 

You can get a more in depth look at the figures individually here, but I think if you like Strelets usual output you'll like these.  Otherwise more expensive metal figures might be the way to go. 

In other news, my new neighbours have been doing rather well with the new arrivals. Poppa Swan is rather protective of their lawn. I think he's thinking of putting some planters down. 

A better view of the cygnets taking a well earned kip. They are getting so big.