Sunday, October 23, 2011

Parsley, sage, flock and time

Some folk just cannot seem to understand the joy of miniatures. For them painting little figures is just so repetitive and boring.
Last night I found myself using a diamond file to sharpen thirty odd spokes in a parsley shredder. Why? To shred foam and sawdust to make fine flock scatter, of course! It's surreal moments like these you often catch yourself in whilst engaged in this hobby that the aforementioned folk miss. Some hobbyists too- if you find yourself blindly laying down cash to solve problems without looking closely at what your buying and trying to come up with cheaper ways to solve the problem.

Hence my parsley mill, now adapted with all the glee of Gomez Addams sharpening his fence, solves the problem of nil resistance my budget coffee grinder foliage maker cannot overcome- once your chunks get to a certain size, they no longer shred because there is nothing to stop them moving out of the blades path. The chunks are perfect of tree foliage and bushes but for basing you need that extra find grind to turn it to flock.

The parsley shredder came to my attention in Canberra during the 1990's when my friends introduced it as the 'Mull-o-matic'. Though the herb they where shredding was not destined for scenery, it struck me as a nifty tool. I filed it in the back of my mind.

Teenage mutant ninja turtles!

 I grabbed one this week for ten bucks. Unfortunately the blades are more like lumps if steel- so it is no good for tough materials like foam, it jammed instead if sliced unless you put in more effort than I could care for.
Not any more.
Bwa ha ha.

Diamond files.  Fun for all the family.
After a hood hour of filing and contemplating the unusual nature of my hobby the blades where Dexter approved sharp and the foams resistance proved futile. In a few minutes I had a Chinese take out container full of grade A fine flock.
My timing is bad though- today is big object garbage collection day so all those thrown out backpackers couches will have been collected by the government to recycle into some other generations problem.

So foam shreds into perfect flock.  Leaves, too, shred nicely- though remove the stalks or you will wreck your shredder.  The funny thing about scale is that the resulting leaf scatter, which is made from real leaf scatter, does not look rich enough.  I look out my window and see the fallen leaves that I gathered the material from, but on the base it looks nothing like it.  So, I put a few drops of sepia ink and a squidge of glycerine (to help preserve the leaves) into a shaker pot and shook up a perfect batch of forest floor scatter in no time.


The AD&D battlesystem skirmish book from last episode has me all excited about terrain again.  All my feverish need for mounds of flock will be revealed in the Skulldred project, by the way.

Speaking of which, I fished through my collection and was pleased to find the Ral Partha stone giant and the rare Marid where in my possession. These both appear in the book and are lovely figures. I was tempted to sell the Marid, because it gets upwards of 50 pounds on eBay, but damn it's charming.
Strangely this sent me on a bit of a d&d spin. I was looking at some of the larger preprinted plastic minis by wotc last night for a good basis to repaint and convert some big classic monsters. The forums seem to think stripping them is nightmarish. May have to experiment. Some of them would be great if only they released them unpainted.
Strange business model. All the power of hasbro behind it and rather than look at the successful GW business model, they choose the prepainted plastic pokemon model and cut away a massive chunk of their market.
Imagine if they turned to making unpainted themed hard styrene dungeon packs instead? First level box of Kobolds, treasure, doors, skeletons, orcs and bugbears with swappable parts, scenario booklet and floor plans?
Instead you have to hunt down enough kobolds to... Oh wait, no... It's a githyanki... Damn, won't be able to play that scenario this week.... Hmmm, reaper do packs of five...Otherworld whole warbands...



  1. Having painted a handful of WOTC's pre-painted minis I can tell you that you don't need to strip them (it does seem like it would be nightmarish) but you also don't really need to prime them. You can just paint right over them. If you care, here's one I painted:
    and this guy, Runelord, has painted a ton of them:

  2. Nice super smooth work on that hook horror red- funnily enough that's the very figure I was looking at most of all, reminds me of the old LJN Hook Horror action figure I had as a nipper!

    Sounds like its worth giving it a go then :)

  3. Thanks, man. Good luck, if you do give it a go.

  4. If you buy one of the new D&D boardgames, you get a bunch of themed, unpainted, miniatures.

  5. Yay. And the guy at the shop says random packs are out and open packaged sets are in!

    Just ordered a batch and will have a crack at repainting!