Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick tip: Brilliant budget shields

I have been looking around at the selection of shields available on the net, and have not really been very excited by the options.  Its on my list of Bederken must-do products (its a big list), but for now I have a bunch of minis needing something to cover up their ugly bumps.  I mean the ones on their wrists.  You know.   Where the shields are supposed to go.

Got a great solution today.  Thumb tacks plus copper washers.  Allow me to illustrate.

Shields.  5 bucks for frikkin hundreds
A dab of superglue, a quick snip and I have a perfect greek style shield just begging to be painted with funky retro iconography.  The nice thing about these is they automatically come complete with a pin to firmly attach them onto the shield boss.  All I need to do is drill a small hole and I have the most firmly attached shield you could possibly wish for!

Oh, and of course I have the means to make hundreds for a few bucks.

This works really well for my Macdeath Skirmish project as these shields exactly match the artwork for the Knights of Harkness shields!  Bingo.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tutorial: Making mini sculpting tools

My heat shrink came in the mail today, so I finished upgrading my sculpting tools to the level of 'reet propa like'.
Here are some snapparoonies for you to glare at.

Pokey things wot to poketh da putty wiv.

So here's what you need...

Ingredients:  Heat shrink, dowel, paperclips
Tools:  Saw, file, pin vice, superglue and sandpaper

First cut the dowel into a comfortable size.  Nick out a wedge where your thumb rests- this will help orient the tool in your hand- so you can 'feel' if your holding it in the right direction.  I hold my pencils weird- crossing my index finger over the top- have done since a child.  Weird, but comfortable for me.  That means everyone will find my set of tools a bit strange to hold.  Serves them right for nicking them in the first place.

Its also a good idea to whittle down the tips into a taper- the thickness of the dowel allows your hand to relax whilst holding the tool- but the thick end blocks viability somewhat.

Next drill a hold in each end to hold the paperclip.  As I use paperclips to pin minis, I had the exact size of bit (#69).  My tools are double tipped- saving digging around on the desk for the tool I want- if your prone to poking yourself in the eye, maybe go down the other route.

The paperclips are straightened, and I run a diamond file over the surface to be stuck to give the superglue a bit of purchase.  Once fixed in the hole, I set to work on the tips.

You can hammer out the ends if you want a wide tool- but I prefer to use jumbo paper clips, as they are much sturdier.  The galeforce 9 diamond files are excellent, and will make short work of the metal.  Finally, polish up the surface with extremely fine wet and dry paper.  Its important to get a totally smooth finish- any roughness at this stage will cause your tool to rip your putty.

The last step is to make the grips.  This is done with heat shrink- available from electrician supplies.  You need some a few mm wider than your dowel.  Simply slip the heat shrink over the dowel and wave over a heat source, such as a gas stove to make the sleeve fit.  A couple of layers will make a nice grip.  I grabbed a mixed pack with six colors- and color coded all my tools.

Now the paperclip metal is quite strong and will last a while.  You will have to keep sanding your tools to take off dried putty- so all tools will eventually wear out.  No problems- ten minutes and a fresh paperclip and your back in action.

When leaving your tools for a while, wrap the tips in an oil rag to prevent rusting.

The next step is to find some clear rubber hosepipe from an aquarium supply that fits the ends.  Cut this up to make protective sleeves for your tips- now your mobile baby!

I really love my new tools, and wish I had thought of doing this earlier.  Thanks to Victoria Lamb for showing me the tools she got from Gencon!

Strip show

I smell of Dettol. You know what that means? Fresh new (old) miniatures.
4 kilos of sparkly clean lead pile ready to bend to my evil will.
Bwa hahaha.
I have been rather slack lately, collecting figure stripping jars and leaving them months to stew in their Dettol dips, but on my quest for mental clarity through completion of backed up tasks I took a few hours out if my morning to scrub, scrub, scrub.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your outlook) I immediately refilled the jars with my stripping backlog.

Strip show day is like cristmas. You forget exactly what lurks in that filthy black morass, and this particular batch was exceptional. Most of my missing Citadel FA range appeared,along with a few judge Dredd perps(always fun), a Spawn of Naarglesh, FF bonesnapper, treeman mcklinty, Chaos girl/insect demon and many of you will be pleased to know, the remaining members of my c100 kill team Charlie!


Happy Leadmas!
Here is a pick for you to pick through and identify if such is your whim.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gameboard progress

Forget hearing the lamentations of your enemies women... now this is happiness.

Early Citadel Fantasy Adventurers FA19 female warrior tackles
a swarm of converted Citadel FF Red Orcs.

This morning I finished flocking and filling the first peice of my modular game board and had a bit of a game on it at lunch time.  I have never had a proper board before, and though I suspected it would make a huge difference having some top notch scenery to the verisimilitude (yeah I had to look it up) of the game, I am having trouble shifting the resulting grin from my chops.  It makes every difference!

So my cunning plan was to make small 4 boards rigid enough to lift up and shift about.  My flats small, and storage is limited, so having to pack down my game everytime I needed to eat got quite annoying.  Now I can go crazy, crazy on a campaign and simply lift the peices, dice, figures and all out of the way when space is needed.  The boards stack vertically, and the scenery fits into 2 storage tubs.

Blank game board, work in progress.
So I started with a sheet of MDF which I cut down to a portable size that had enough room to have a major feature on it and at least four tactical situations.  Plenty of flat room for modules to sit on (I use old cd's) too.  I am going to make chocks that clip to the side so all four peices can be stacked in the back of a car if needed.  Finally, a series of magets are countersunk to allow the board to snap and hold together.
Somewhere the teas getting cold.
Citadel Chaos Champion.  Reaper Lorna The Huntress.  Twinings Irish Breakfast.

The flock and static grass is held on with watered down PVA.  Once dry, I sprayed matt sealer initially from a height, so it wouldn't blow away the bits.  After a minute or two I lowered down the height of the aerosol and by the third pass I could put it a few inches away.  Cheap hair spray also works I am told.  I will try that on the next one.  Anyway, the fixative keeps all that scatter firmly in place.

I am yet to paint it properly, plus I need to put in flowers, mushrooms, animal burrows, roots and puddles yet... I want a really temperate, wet, damp environment.

Anyway, here are some shots of the game taken on my crappy iphone camera.

Ral Partha 'Harryhausen' Cyclops, Citadel barbarian,
Citadel Chaos Champions, Mike Broadbent Matakishi Cat (converted)

This shot shows the stone boards I created earlier in this blog... its in something like 'how to make indestructible scenery from expanded polystyrene'.  The effect looks really stoney right?  Thats Woodflex polyfilla stippled with sponge.  Brilliant stuff- great for mud, lava, stone and rock.

The battle for lunchtime rages on.  Using Skulldred beta 3.0 rules.

Kates Amazons rush to their doom for the first time.

Tonight Kate and I had a quick match after dinner.  Kate thinks that her low level Amazon should survive when she drops her guard, takes a direct hit in the head by a chaos champion's meat cleaver the size of her torso and falls back off a 6 meter cliff onto stone.  The jury is out.  Next month I am fitting spiked traps.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Matakishi cat, Runestaff Flana and my shelf of technicolor lead things

Great.  Insomnia again.  Fortunately I just found a whole list of Sulphite free food alternatives that I can try.  Did you know you can make your own Baileys at home?  Yay!  Sulphite free booze for me!

So my lovely wife took some photos of some of my collection yesterday, and I thought I would post up some pics since I have a few hours for my antihistamine to kick the butt of whatever is keeping me up and itchy.

First off, since the good doctor asked... is my conversion of Mike Broadbent's Matakishi cat for my wifes Skulldred warband.

  Converted Matakishi cat- available from Matakishi's tea house..

The 'mostly painted' shelf- Citadel, Eureka, Ral Partha and BeDerken figures in da house!

The 'mostly painted' shelf.  My sculpt of Flana Mikosevar for Eureka front and centre.

WIP of my Jes Goodwin's Nurgle Champion- shield sculpted by me.

So as you can see I nudged along my Nurgle warband a little by adding a shield.  This is scratch built using a 50:50 greenstuff/brownstuff mix.  Its also painted using the talc medium I spoke of in an earlier post- matte as matte can be.  I just got the teeth picked out in white- I will glaze those suckers down when I have the chance.
Its gotten me into the vibe of sculpting some 1980's style shields for my figure range.

Well I am actually yawning now.  Good night, leadaholics, and sweetly painted dreams...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Medium bliss

It work Folks! Adding talc and flow aid to Liquitex matte medium makes a killer medium that pales Vallejo by comparison. Flat and matte, flowing smoothly from the brush and leveling with a soft edge. A huge vat of it- perhaps all I can eat for a year for under twenty bucks.

This deserves a funky thumbs up.

Whilst I have my hipstamatic app open I took a shot of this...

My armory catalogue I have been checking figure off from for the past few months. Its a cruel master that forces me to look at ebay and spend my pocket money.
A heap of Fiend factory, space farer and fantasy adventurers await stripping and checking off... I have most of them now if I include broken ones.
I think the ones I am most excited about are doing up all the Space Farers ready for an old school Stardred game- I made up some digital floorplans last year for a starship rpg I ran and cannot wait to have the red redemption running about shooting lasers at eat other in them!
However I am Painfully aware of my project vows. Skulldred baggage raid first- kill team Charlie second- 15mm post apoc team after that...
Then weighing up night horrors /citadel gothic horror Cthulu temple, Judge Dredd/paranoia block war, FF /FA old school dungeon, Fantasy town, macdeath skirmish or Frazetta death dealer barbarians.

Any votes?

If anyone has a FF manticore wing set (the one that looks like a hood ornament) I would love to get them for the forlorn manti that appeared in a job lot this week- otherwise it's reaper wings for this fine fellow, and only half a crossing off from the list. Or perhaps he becomes a mount for a broken goblin.

Oh I almost forgot to post this- a first glimpse of my new mdf board mounted gaming table panels for the Skulldred baggage train raid. Now I can pick up my games, figures, dice and all when I need the table to do boring stuff like eat.

Nothing special yet, but the first board I have made yet. This is a photo of the look development corner.
I am trying a different approach with it from the usual instructions. It is entirely designed to not scratch figures!
If you think about it, gluing down sand is like making a huge sheet of sandpaper. Not good.
I am trying all soft options- the soil for example is made from used dried tea leaves, pva and acrylic paint. Its spongey to the touch, looks just like muddy soil and detritus and smells nice. Drinking 2 cups of tea covers an area the size of my hand.
Good thing I am English. Somewhere the teas getting cold... Literally. ;)

Cork for stones, foamcore for paving and woodflex for rocky structures. My only mistake was choosing citadel flock- now I have to fork out top dollar to match it. Anyone know a cheaper option for glade grass that's the same or close?

Ciao for now!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

fixing liquitex medium with talc

Morning folks- thanks for tuning in again to another brave, daring episode of Kings Minis- brought to you in spooky technicolor.  Last episode we left our hero hanging from a cliff pondering mediums... well, actually not, but lets pretend we did.  On with the show...

Now I have said that I find Vallejo matte medium to be the best for the crazy medium heavy blending techniques I use.  Well, thats all dandy, but it only comes in tiny little dropper bottles.  Handy, but expensive in the amounts I use.  I love the stuff.  If it was edible I would probably snack on it.

Enter Liquitex....
Now Liquitex products are pretty good- if you are a 2D artist you will swear by them as a graphic medium... however, as a miniature medium the Matte medium dries far too glossy to build up highlights and shadows- the light you paint with is reflected and it makes it hard to see whats going on.  I kept thinking this was a shame because you can buy it in 473ml bottles for about the same price as 2 Vallejo droppers.
Well heres the good news.  Talc.
I caught an offhand comment by Jen Haley the other day on youtube (  that festered in my mind last night.  Matte medium is just gloss medium with talc in it.  Well, if thats the case, perhaps Liquitex simply does not have enough talc in it.  Bingo.

Tried a quick test today using various mediums and mixes of industrial talc (non perfumed) that I had handy from resin casting.  Its true.  Adding talc kills shine on medium.


(*Thats me trying to capture the volume of the exclaimation issuing from my lips in the biggest font blogger will let me.  Kinda not quite got there IMHO).

It works.  It works well.  Cheap, truely matte medium in bulk volume.

Ta Ms. Haley.  You little brush goddess, you.

So I made up a master mix of 1:8 talc to liquitex and thinned with distilled water with liquitex flow aid (1:10 as per instructions).  I am going to test this out once I have some painty time.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy unbirthday to me!

Don't you just love it when eBay sellers go above and beyond? I got a package today from one seller that gift wrapped inside the box! Awww, thanks VP!
It felt like my birthday too- a lovely set of old school dwarfs including 'The Dwarf With No Name' and a Vorpal kitty no less!
Got to be happy with that...

It's a cool feeling when you know a seller is checking in to see their old figures painted and restored- kinda like visiting rights. Museum archive- just one of the services I provide here at Kingsminis.

I get Especially warm and gooey when the figures in question are old roleplaying figures- I like the idea of them having been on many adventures before they travel 12,000 miles to continue their adventure down under!

Other nice things that arrived recently are a bunch of spacefarer jetbikes- ff dark lord, nightmare dragon (boo) and a boxed set of game workshop cavern floor plans. I am going to mount those on stiff card to preserve them for more adventures.

I am looking forward to a break soon - my work is very intense and I just know there are jars of figures soaking in Dettol just staring at the back of my head whilst I work. I hate unfinished projects hovering about- at least when they are stripped and filed away they are not mid-task.

My addiction to early figures is getting worse- I am playing running flushes and full houses with the Fantasy adventurer and fiend factory at the moment. I am looking forward to posting a photo of the ENTIRE range painted. How utterly, (and I pretext this with meaning in nerdy context), how utterly, utterly cool would that be.

Of course, you then need the fantasy cavalry to match... That's another fifty odd rare figures... Then you start spilling into fantasy tribes... And flying spaghetti monster help me then...
I can only hope by that time my addiction wears off or I make a fortune and can be a man of leisure.

It could happen.

Next up on my hobby table, the raiding game continues with more pack mules, a bill the pony paint job and booty markers- plus I restore a bunch of old wolf models (a gift from another great eBay trader) ready to harass the baggage train!

Stay tuned!