Friday, 31 December 2010

Confessions of a Basing Nazi Part 4

This is a reprise of my (very very occasional) series on basing 28mm miniatures, and this post is about a trick I've come up with to speed up basing double-depth elements.

I find that double depth elements are very time consuming to base, because it is very hard to get the brush or palette knife into the space between the two ranks of figures.  Moreover, sometimes paint or gunk gets onto the finished figures which then need retouching.  Yet as the number of miniatures I own increases, I find that I want to base more and more miniatures this way, because they are quicker to deploy and move on the table.

Above are some of the splendid Foundry/Black Tree German figures that Nick has painted for me.  I've done very little too them aside from painting the bases to match the eventual colour of the earth that will surround them, and to varnish them.  I've arranged them on six 60x30 magnetic bases of my own manufacture.

In the above closeup, you can see that I like to position some of the bases so that the figures straddle both bases; this looks natural, and has practical value at a later stage.   I also like to use irregular numbers of miniatures, when possible.  The miniatures are stuck in place with wood glue, which dries relatively slowly and gives one time to move them around to get the most attractive arrangement.

Next, place the two bases next to each other on a magnetic surface, and cover each with your basing compound; I use a mix I've made up, that I call BigRedBatGunk (n.b. there is a square of tinplate under the bases in the photo).  Then  add a little extra gunk along the top of the seam  to disguise it.  It will then appear something like the above; the magnets hold the bases in place whilst the gunk dries like concrete.

And, once the gunk has dried, the two bases can be snapped apart, as above, leaving an irregular line along the break.   I then paint the two half-elements, separately. Once fully painted, the  two bases can be stuck back together along the edge with superglue, and this rough join is very much harder to see than a straight line would be; in fact virtually invisible.  Any figures straddling the join (as above) help to make it stronger.  I'll show the finished bases in a later post.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

On the Painting Table for Q1 2011

I’ve been planning what to do in the first quarter of the year, up to Salute.   After Salute, I hope to collaborate on a very big project for Salute 2012, which will take up much of my time.

Mini Marian Legion: I bought 30-odd painted minis on eBay, and Nick is going to paint up another 40-50, which will give me the 80 minis I need for another 80-man mini legion of 10 x 8 man cohorts.  This is the representative scale we used for the game with Simon MacDowell, and if I can get 7 or 8 such legions finished (and hopefully get friends like Nick and Dr Simon to muster  a couple more), then I could run a tidy little campaign using Simon’s rules to fight the battles.

Wagon Laager: This was a project that I started in January 2009, and which has been “resting” since then.  I need to finish prepping the 50-odd figures that will “man” the laager and send them off to Nick, who is superb at painting Celts and Germans.   I’ll then paint the wagons and base the minis into them.  I’ve not seen a big wagon laager in 28mm so this will hopefully be fairly unique. 

Indo China: I’m very keen to finish the above weapons company, which will give me a complete Viet Minh battalion, together with another company or two of French, and the rules I’m trying to write.  After this I’ve loads of tanks, trucks, guns and half tracks to do...  I like the 20mm stuff as one can fit a little bit of modelling into the odd spare half-hour.

Odds and Ends: I need to varnish and base the Germans on my painting table, and the EIR cavalry. Frustratingly, I realised last night that I’ve only painted 9 EIR cavalry, and need to paint 3 more command figures.  Still the 9 are coming on nicely.  They are actually really nice minis... some of the BTD stuff is really OK.

So that's me sorted for Q1 2011!  Plenty to do... I wonder whether I’ll be able to stick with my plan? 

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Xmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year!

I hope that you, and your family enjoy a fabulous Christmas and that everyone has received lots of lovely new toys!

Oddly, the advent of Christmas has started me obsessing about  painting some more Early Imperial Romans.   Must be something to do with all the Nativity stories.  ;-)

Cheers, Simon

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Snow Stops Play!

I know that living in Britain we are supposed to have a variety of interesting weather types, but recently it has been getting a bit daft; between the short days, cold, snow and rain I've not been able to spray varnish or prime  anything!  Unfinished projects are piling up all around me.  Here are just a few of the things I'm currently not finishing...

Above are my first 2 dozen Ancient Germans (mix of Foundry and Black Tree), beautifully painted for me by Nick Speller.  I am making a few tiny tweaks to them; for example, I've painted nipples on them.  You wouldn't think you'd miss nipps on a 28mm mini, but they really set them off.  I also paint the bases and put a highlight along the sword edges.  Once I get them lacquered, I can think about matt varnishing and basing.

Above are my third company of Viet Minh, awaiting a couple of coats matt spray varnish.  Just off camera behind them are the support company, awaiting spray primer.

Here are the cavalry figures to go with the horses I finished... back in September! 

I've also been assembling 1/72 plastic kits for the Indo China project.  Some of there are terribly time consuming, once you start to slap on stowage and suchlike.   I've not finished any yet, but have at least half-a-dozen on the go.

Finally, yesterday, whilst getting out the Xmas decorations, I stumbled across another long-forgotten box of unpainted Viet Minh and a whole lot of resin terrain, including bunkers; an early Xmas present!. And on that topic, if I don't get to post again before Xmas, I hope you all have a great one!  

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Broken Biscuits Repaired

I've finished a company of Viet Minh (mentioned in this earlier post), assembled from figures that were broken back in the late 1980s.  All the minis were cut off at the waist and dug into "foxholes" of greenstuff with greenstuff sandbags, and broken weapons were replaced. 

I'm really pleased with the way they came out!  At some stage I may buy more minis and do another company or two.  I'm now rather past half way towards being able to field my battalion; mostly just need to do the support weapons.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Not a Coventry Armoured Car

This is a Matchbox Humber II that I'm using as a proxy for the Coventry armoured cars, that the French  used in Indo China.  I've painted it as a vehicle of the 5eme Cuirassiers "Royal Pologne"; I struggled with the heraldry on the doors, but the number plates (second photo) are bang on!

It's very nice change to be learning how to paint vehicles, again.  I've bought an excellent book by Steven Zaloga, which is proving invaluable.  I don't need to paint to masterclass standards, just tabletop, but it is great to see how an expert does it!  He has a whole chapter on Olive Drab.  Last time I was painting tanks, everyone just used dark green!

In 1952 the Cuirassiers changed over to US M8 armoured cars, and I will certainly be painting some of those, in due course.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Broken Biscuit Battalion

I mentioned in a previous post how dropped and broke a fair sized army of Viet Minh back in the 1980's.  I've always felt sad about these poor crippled soldiers, and the time has finally come to restore them!  In the below photo, the figures broken off at the ankles have been planted in clumps of greenstuff "grass".   This gives each of them a pretty strong base.  I've mixed in a few new Miniatures brought from the ever efficient Tony at ERM.  When they are all painted, I'll disguise the clumps with Silflor.

Below are the "hard" cases; these broke off at the waist, and some lost their rifles.  I've dug them into slit trenches, and replaced missing weapons with wire.

These will be really convenient when I need to depict dug-in Viet Minh troops, and I'll paint them over the next week.