Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Going Loco...

More developments for the Old West boom town of "Serenity Flats", the Railroad is on the way. I have been doing a fair bit of digging into sourcing a model that i was happy with. I wanted the train to look the part and in the end I went with a proper railway modellers version (once upon a time I was a railway modeller ... I got better....). However the question of scale became key here. The more readily available "00" is too small for large 28's , so in the end I have gone for a gauge known as "ON30 or O narrow". Means the model is basically 1/48th - (a 28mm is 1/56th so it is slighly larger and really looks the part,  but it can run on "00" track. I have been watching ebay and fell lucky last week with this model picking it up for £32.00 (normal full retail is about £120). I sourced some lengths of proper On30 track as it has a larger gap in the sleepers than "00" - it just looks right to me.

It's A Mogul -2-6-0 made by Bachmann Spectrum
and yes it is capable of running! 
Now where exactly is my figure for Casey Jones?
It needs some proper weathering adding - won't take long , and a couple of carriages etc (more e-bay surfing) , but pleased at getting it - will make for a few good scenarios. Once done I will set up with figures so you can see how it looks next the station that is on order.

In addition I have been given a stagecoach from Doug Mason's spares box, needs a little TLC and few horses - but again will be a great addition - thanks Doug. Pretty sure this is the Dixon one.

Having painted 95% of the Old West stuff I picked up at Salute (50 figures) I have again added to the pile with a similar amount of kit , some real treats in store coming up.  Work has also commenced on rules (Rules with No Name and Dusty trails for starters) and scenario planning. Can any one else see that smoke in the hills - could be Injuns!

Sudan Forts

Blimey - it's been nearly two weeks since a post - day job is crazy at the moment. But there has been lots of logistical and economic activity going on - along with working on the AWI unit (it is blocked up and work is on with the "fun" of the tartan".

I have been sourcing some more bits for the Sudan. I picked up some rather fine forts from Paul Darnell in York (Touching History) as he is wrapping up doing wargame model making and off to persue new artistic avenues. Certainly a loss to model making.

So here we have a couple of forts for use by the Mahdists forces in the larger campaign game

It's coming along..

Monday 18 June 2012

Basic Soldering - adding bayonets

I have had a few people ask me to do a more detailed post on my conversion work and in particular soldering. If you are of a certain age and remember the wonderful covers of Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated that where adorned with fantastic creations of Napoleonic units made by Doug Mason  (which he has been showcasing on his own blog recently) this is what first inspired me to attempt it. Also chatting over the years with Doug and getting a masterclass direct from him was great.I already knew how to solder from youthful days as an apprentice it just needed the application of some tools and techniques to make it more practical to convert those precious figures

.As I am working on Doug C's (you did not think i got his Sudan collection for free did ya?) Old School American War of Independance 71st Highlanders that need some of this doing I have taken the opportunity to photograph things along the way

I will do a series of hint's n tips for this. So what do you need to do for something simple like add some nice sharp non bendy pin bayonets to your lads?

Low Wattage Iron, ordinary "cored "solder, helping hands tool, needle files and liquid flux - Bakers No3 
  This is the key ingredient!
Soldering irons are rated by power , I use 3 different irons from 12watt , 25watt , and 100watt.

The higher the power the greater the heat effect – and ability to melt to toys!

However the principle you are after is to be able to apply contact from the iron for the absolutely shortest period possible , yet still have enough heat to melt the metal and form the solder join. 

So using too small an iron means you don't get enough heat to thoroughly melt all the area to join, and it will fail and break . Applying heat for too long because you are asking it to melt too large an area can cause detail to melt. Use the right tool for the right job.

For this job I will be using the small iron which is made by Antex with a small “bit”

The other factor you need to cover is a little Health & Safety. and wear some wrap around eye shields as if you slip or burn yourself unexpectedly you may flick the iron and molten solder may fly off . I have not had a problem myself but it makes sense. Also always thoroughly wash your hands after handling solder and solder in a ventilated area.

So a before shot - you know the problem  - with those those wonky bendy bayonets
Well i am going to add a bayonet made from an ordinary household pin. The first thing to say is that they must be "mild steel". "Stainless steel" won't solder. How to tell the difference bend the pin with pliers to 90 degrees. Mild steel will bend, stainless steel will snap! (Top tip that from Gerry Elliott - ta)

 So first up - cut off the old bayonet but leave the little side attachment piece at the end of the musket. - Gulp - now you done it!
Cut a pin to the length you need and put a slight bend into the end you are going to solder onto the musket.

When soldering you must ensure that the areas you intend to join are clean and oxide free . So use a needle file to give the area a quick burnish to a shine and blow or brush off any filings.

Next I used the "helping hands" device to hold the pin and figure together. I do it myself now by just holding the pin in the crocodile clip and the figure in my hand , but using both clips on the "helping hands" is a good starter guide as it means you can just think about what you do with the iron. The slight bend on the end of the pin will allow it to melt into the musket end but still means the pin will form the bayonet slightly to the side - as it would be.

Brush (using an old brush) some liquid flux onto the tip of the iron - it will fizzle and coat the bit.

Brush on some soldering fluid flux to area to be joined.

Touch the bit of the iron onto the solder - the flux will help draw it and make it molten and liquid on the bit.

Touch for a fraction of a second the bit onto the area to be joined the flux will help to draw the solder from the iron and form a joint. This is the bit you need to practice !! (the old lead pile does come in useful occassionally you know) I would describe it as painting with molten metal . As you get used to handling it you can be more creative.

Any excess metal can be removed or shaped with a needle file or a mini power tool with suitable grinder attachment.

and hey presto - it's done - now repeat another 36 times!!

To wet the appetite , I have converted these basic figures into a piper and drummer with a little application of the iron

More on these lads next time

The Olympic Flame

Off topic for the blog I know - but as I am involved in some measure in the day job I had decided I wanted to see it.. It is also bit of unique history which we won't see again. The Olympic flame has been through the region I live in today. So I went down to see it through this morning. It was one of those beautiful sunny mornings that really lift the spirits. So fortified with a good fresh ground coffee and a bacon buttie I waited for the torch to make it's way through Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

There was a great atmosphere with the sunshine putting a smile on everyone's faces. The members of the local constabulary were enjoying themselves with a chance to have their sirens on setting the scene, and being involved in a duty that must have been pleasant to do for a change.

Despite all the media and corporate hype it is still about a lot of personal stories for torchbearers and the athletes.I have actually held the Gold medal won by Martin Cross for rowing in the coxed four at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with Steve Redgrave, Richard Budgett, Andy Holmes, and Adrian Ellison. Hearing about the sheer amount of training, and committment required was inspiring. It was all about fraction of a second improvements that make the difference between winning and losing. I would say good luck to those taking part - but it's about more than that - I think it was Gary Player the golfer who said "The more I practice the luckier I get" - maybe that should be a mantra for painting figures too eh.

There had been a large "Welcome to Saltburn" sign created in the sand on the beach at the bottom of the steep 1 in 4 bank the torch would have to come down on its way from the town to the "Ship Inn" down by the beach. It was preceded by the corporate sponsors with lots of smiling and waving.

Looking back up the bank to town

                                                    From the top of the bank looking to Huntcliffe.

Anyway a cheerfull start to the week

Monday 11 June 2012

It's getting crowded in town

I decided to push on with the last lots of Old West figures for a while, certainly I now have enough to be able to do a reasonable sized game.

So here we have some more of the good citizens of Serenity Flats.

Mainly from the Blue Moon Manufacturing Tombstone civilians. I love the Chinese character and will be on the look out for some more for the Chinese quarter and the railroad gangs. All the figures for the BMM civilians are very different and will give a good aesthetic appeal, just hope they don't catch too many bullets!

There are a good few cow hands and bad guys around

Black Scorpion Figures

Also rumours that Billy the Kid has been seen in town

Along with the crazy preacher , his girl and hanger one.

Well with all the trouble brewing there has been some hiring of lawmen to assist the town sheriff.

With Virgil and Wyatt Earp showing up again and Rooster has found a space in the livery for his horse.

There has even been a telegram sent to the Pinkertons

     Artizan Designs
I have done these to a simple game standard using a limited palette, with blocking, washing and a highlight. I was nice to get some extra colour on the ladies from the townsfolk.

Next up for the Old West is the Undertakers hearse waggon for the ride to Boot Hill..(it's going to be needed)

Also there are rumours of the Railroad in the distance, now just who will profit from that coming to town?

Back to more traditional Napoleonic and AWI for the next weeks.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Send for the U.S. Marshall

There is trouble brewing in town and the US Marshall is on his way. (Well strictly I think he is retired...)

 A rather fine figure by Crusader (thanks for the id Silver whiste) , also comes complete with "eyepatch" now I wonder who he could be...

It also comes with a dismounted version as well ,which is under way.

Enjoyed doing this one. One more batch of cowboys to paint up and ready for a game.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Return to the Sudan

It's been a little while since i visited this one. But there has been logistical work going on in the background. Almost all the figures required to do the game I want have now been sourced as per my project plan. Thanks to Doug C from "Unfashionably Shiny" a number of new additions to the collection have been made. Doug has been a long term follower and when he saw what I was intending to do offered to trade his own collection some of which was painted and based, some painted and the some in its original shiny state.Thanks again Doug really appreciated.

And some proper Old School lads we have too.If you are of certain age old enough to remember the spreads in Miniature Wargames of Peter Gilders collection in use at the Wargames Holiday Centre you will recognise some if these as Connoisseur models , but there are a range of various manufactures to share with you over the coming weeks.

So first up I took the mob of painted "Fuzzy Wuzzy" and have based them as per my previous  unit into 24 bases with a range of 4 - 6 per base. This allows for a rabble style unit and gives flexibility in rules sets.

. All figure painting and flags by Doug C. Basing is mine

I really like these lads sneaking through the elephant grass

 All work by Doug C

There was also this cracking little village set with Hovels buildings and Connoisseur set goat herd. I have just added some various height grass tufts.

 Plenty more to come from this lot. Thanks again Doug it's really helped to move things forward.