Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Pootling along... 2

Another week mostly spent doing other things. I have begun assembling a number of low crenelated wall sections from Hirst Arts blocks. They will serve a dual purpose, first as walls for small towns in Hetzenberg/The Margravate, and as a legation compound for my Daftest Africa set-up.
In the meantime, the Ottoman Empire is rattling its saber - or should that be tulwar? An invitation has gone out to the nations of Urope to send ambassadors, mainly, it seems, to decide how much land the Empire will be given. They seem to claim all of Urope! Grand Duke Karl of Hetzenberg will deliberate on the matter...

Friday, 21 March 2008

Pootling along... 1

It's a bank holiday here. In between working on a new novel, I've been spending some time casting new blocks from my molds for an upcoming Daftest Africa project and taking occasional glances at the delightful RSM95 figures on their website. Although I should be thinking in terms of getting some Spencer Smith figures to increase my Margravate army, I'm more than tempted by the current exchange rate to buy RSM instead. It'll finish off the first brigade of the Hetzenberg army, including the artillery component. I'll see next month.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Tower project - additions.

The main gateway.

A view along the street.
The main phase of construction is finished, with the addition of the mediaeval storehouse and boundary wall, built from Hirst Arts blocks and components. Painting was using simple household vinyl matt paint (in this case magnolia color ) shaded with a Vallejo brown ink wash. I made the lower parts of the walls especially muddy-looking to reflect passing traffic. All that remains now is the construction of the main gate itself and the yard between the tower and storehouse, plus some finishing touches to the tower itself.


At the moment progress on my ImagiNation armies is slow and will be for a while. A number of things have cropped up in real life that demand my attention and my priorities are naturally elsewhere. I hope to get another regiment of line, one of guards and an artillery battery from Spencer Smith for the Markgraaf's army sometime next month so I can at least field a reasonable small force to face my current Hetzenberg forces in battle.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Progress report - 16.

The basic shell of the storehouse.

...and with the roof being positioned ready for final gluing.


A little bit to report this week. I've finished basing the first regiment of the Markgraaf's army, but a printer software problem has delayed production of their regimental colors.
The Hirst Arts molds are turning out better-quality castings now I've switched from plaster of Paris to Herculite 2. The first building is nearly complete and is shown above. I've designed it to be a remnant of an earlier building, possibly part of a monastery, which has been converted to a storehouse. (As can be seen by the strange piebald effect, whilst my planning approach was meticulous, my painting was rather haphazard!) I used a mixture of spray-undercoated blocks and plain blocks in the construction, having dry-stacked everything to ensure a good fit. The roof will be attached once the interior has been painted. Groundwork - possibly a cobbled yard - will fill the space between the storehouse and the tower. A wall will be constructed to join the two whilst another bigger wall will run alongside the road in the foreground of the top picture. All in all, it was quick and easy to build, and I'll be working on a much larger building in the shape of a rathaus (council hall) in the near future.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Names and Faces - 1.

Brigadier-General Ulpius von Schramm, with dragoon escort.
Holger Eriksson figures.
Here I present a command vignette with the imposing figure of Brigadier-General Ulpius von Schramm, commander of the First Brigade, Hetzenberg army. Following the practise suggested by other gamers I made the base circular, the easier to pick out on the tabletop during action. The base material is a mixture of spackle and PVA adhesive, followed by a layer of watered-down PVA covered in scenic flock, touched up with acrylic paints here and there. The shattered tree stump is a twig from the garden.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Militia matters- pikes.

I was browsing the Holger Eriksson Great Northern War range of figures at the Spencer Smith website when I came across models 53E3 and 53E7 - Swedish infantry with pikes. I confess to a real lack of knowledge about the war itself but the photos of the pike-wielding figures did get me thinking! The Moscow militia of the Napoleonic Wars were armed with pikes: Why not so arm a unit or two of militia for my ImagiNations of Hetzenberg and Dunkeldorf-Pfühl?
I can see such a unit in my mind's eye. It's from a poor area, low down the scale of the military appropriations budget. It has obligations to meet but little money to spend, and even military-grade muskets may be in short supply. It has to equip itself somehow and opts for a mix of pikes and muskets in the style of English Civil War regiments. Do you have thoughts and opinions on this idea? Feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Hirst Arts molds - 3.

My first experiments with these were carried out using plaster of Paris (PoP). It's something I've done before to construct buildings for my 1/300th Imperial Roman wargames collection. The results this time were mixed as I got the hang of molding with plaster once more. The problem with PoP is it's soft - sometimes very soft if too much water is used. This makes it crumble very easily and it's hard to rectify - if at all. Even a good casting lacks crisp detail.
But there are other options. Yesterday, I was pleased to get a bag of Herculite 2 plaster from Special Plasters, Ltd. This is a very hard-setting plaster used in engineering to create models of metal components, as well as in architecture for decorative features. A large bag of this comes in under £10. A first run tonight (while watching Poirot on TV) saw excellent results. Each component came out crisp and clean, requiring only a little sanding here and there where I put too much mix into the spaces. Even the most difficult parts on the molds - the barred gate, the panelled door and two brackets - came out intact, which they failed to do with the PoP.
Overall I'm very pleased with the way these molds are shaping up. Once I have enough of the right components together I'll run a project to add a small building and walls to the base area of the tower I made some weeks ago.

Obituary - E. Gary Gygax.

No doubt many readers will recognize the name of Gary Gygax, main founder of the Dungeons & Dragons (TM) roleplaying system. Sadly, he died at his home in Lake Geneva, Milwaukee yesterday, aged 69. Click here for the news announcement.

Like many guys of my generation I began playing AD&D in my college years back in '83. I gained a great deal of enjoyment and even enhanced my education through playing the game. It was a time well-spent with like-minded folks over sodas and candy, and is rich with warm memories - and bad puns! Although my old group has long since broken up, some of us still have a gaming session with the funny-shaped dice now and then. So, say a prayer if you will, for a guy who brought great pleasure to millions.

RIP, Gary Gygax.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Update and a regret...

The First Regiment of the Margrave's army is now complete and in the first stage of basing. I've also reached the halfway point on a command base for the Hetzenberg army. I'll post a picture here when all is done.
I regret that due to two intrusions by spammers on this blog in the last couple of weeks, I shall now have to put the comments section on moderation.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: 1st Regiment.

The first regiment of the Margrave of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl is mostly finished. All I need do now is complete the command element and base the regiment. These Spencer Smith figures do require a different approach to painting. It's necessary to deliniate details with a fine black line in order for them to be seen. Even so, they were quick and pleasant to paint, and I shall be ordering some more when my lead mountain has been reduced a little. I plan to add another two or three line regiments to make up the First Brigade, a dragoon regiment and artillery battery.