Thursday 25 December 2014

Merry Xmas 2014

Hope you all had a good one!


Sunday 21 December 2014

Benefits of an Attic Clear-out Come my Way: Space Crusade and Battle of Britain

My brother's attic received a pre-Xmas clear out (as in "What are things that are not Xmas decorations doing in this pile?") and I was the lucky beneficiary of two old, old games dating back to the late 1980's/early 1990's (see below):

Space Crusade is missing a few parts (notably a Dreadnought model and lots of counters) but the Battle of Britain is in pretty much mint condition (I remember playing it once). A detailed "unboxing" will come later. However I am torn between keeping Space Crusade as a "Collectors edition" for future episodes of "Antique Roadshow" in 2100. I think it is pretty much as given that I will "devalue it" and paint the 'dodgy' miniatures ;)

The notion of using my small collection GW miniatures as fill-ins and extras also makes common sense to me!

Thursday 18 December 2014

I Didn't Mean To Do All This Sci-Fi Stuff (Honest): Star Wars Republic Attack Shuttle

It sort of just happened! Honest! Like a bolt of lightning from the blue. See this kit was innocently lurking around in the loft minding its own business gathering dust until I strayed across it. Then an "urge" simply took hold of me "Gotta make it". The Star Wars Republic Attack Shuttle in 1:120 scale so it is almost, as in good enough for me, the correct scale for my 15mm Star Gruntz figures (see below):

I think it is pretty cool as the front opens up giving a landing bay. A bit of a mix between a Huey and a landing craft, although not in shot you can imagine teh 15mm Yaeter troopers poring out (see below)

Although it comes pre-painted, the act of cutting the parts off the sprues invariably chips and flakes some of the paint away. I am not too bothered as I want to "own it" in the modelling sense, so I was planning to add my own weathering affects to it. More so as my eldest son has taken rather a shine to it, introducing other bits of battle damage (aka drops) to it. Whether it even makes it to a wargame table is 50:50.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

X-Wings: The Coolest of the Cool ('Red 2' and 'Red 5')

So I got myself another X-Wing fighter and finally put it together. I can now field 'Red 2' and 'Red 5' twin section (see below):

This is (yet) another Revell purchase from their "pocket money" series, but rather than pay full price (which seemed an awful lot of pocket money) I waited for a Hobbycraft sale last year. I'll be doing the same in January 2015 for other items, including perhaps another X-Wing, in the series.

Note: I never have seen a normal TIE fighter yet (although I do possess a model of Darth Vader's advanced fighter). The intention is to get three X-Wings (I need 'Red 3') and Darth's plus two TIE's for the 'Trench Battle' scene [shades of "633 Squadron"] as shown in the original Star Wars. May have to pay some attention to candidate rules soon!

Monday 15 December 2014

Star Wars: Jedi Star Fighters

In the beginning (as in the Star Wars prequels, Epsodes I, II and III ) there were the 'original' Jedi Star Fighters: Obi-Wan_Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. I already had Anakin's but recently acquired Obi-Wan's (see below):

Small nippy little things, very good at blowing up the baddies. Same design for each Jedi but different colour schemes, which means if I see another couple in the bargain shops I could legitimately buy them for re-paint jobs. The snap together kits are speed-builds with decent detail, but I am always tempted to re-paint them.

Saturday 13 December 2014

The Cutty Sark .. Er, well why not?

The next 'fun' project is another ship. Nothing less than the "Cutty Sark" from the ubiquitous Airfix 'small ship' Starter Kits (see below, primed grey):

The subtle twist to this one is that this is not a "school project" but a reaction to the last set of school projects, in that my youngest son was too young for a Tudor Ship. Seeing as he was so distressed I promised to get him one, to which brought a smile to his little face.

He then stipulated he wanted to paint it all gold .. which will be er, interesting!

Friday 12 December 2014

Are they doing this just to confuse me?

My old friend Airfix seem to be throwing me something of a curve ball. Are they testing my sanity? (see below, two very similar tins [yes/no] delete as applicable, so how do you open them):

But behold, the one on the left "screws off" (if you pardon my expression) from the top, despite having a 'fake' lid on it, while the one on the right "pops off" with a flip off lid (see below, which has totally confused me):

No, but wait for it the one on right also "screws off" but from the bottom (see below, dual action):

What the?

Life is hard enough without this additional taxing mental strain while I am trying to relax! Oh, and despite the new one despite being taller, it only contains 12ml, that's 2ml less paint than the shorter/wider one on the left (which had a capacity of 14ml)


And I thought model instructions could sometimes be hard to understand!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Gruntz meets Star Wars

I found that when I inspected the "mountain of miscellaneous plastic" in the loft, I actually had more than the three Star Wars Republic Gunships than I expected for my "Yaeter" science fiction Gruntz project (see below):

Side on and close up Republic Gunships look quite impressive, troop lift capacity and close support rolled into one, but probably light on the armour side of things, er, we've all seen the films and theer is always a gunship or two that goes down (see below):

The click together models are impressively simple but still rather effective and fetching IMHO (see the "Diamond Dog" formation below):

I think the basic "Gruntz Squad" lift capacity is now fully covered (40 infantry figures), although I will keep an eye open for "something special" in the heavy weapons department


Saturday 6 December 2014

Battleship Row (Part Three) Second Mary Rose Sails Away

The second Mary Rose has now sailed away to a berth in a 'Tudor-themed' classroom. My eldest son's ship was constructed in much the same manner as my daughter's except it benefited from the additional use of Humbrol "Decalfix" in an attempt to keep the blessed things in place once they have dried out and avoid the dreaded 'flaking effect'. Interestingly the instructions imply you immerse the decal in the "Decalfix"liquid to, in order to help it release from the attached paper (rather than the traditional water) as well as coating the 'target' surface prior to decal application and then again in the 'smoothing down' post-application tidy up (see below):

Meanwhile the holding the detail of the stern of HMS Victory are fixed in place. Although I have heard people complain about this, I think it works well. Also note, for once I did follow the Airfix forum advice and gloss varnished the target area beforehand (something I didn't do for the Mary Rose which perhaps in hindsight I should have done to make a smoother surface) and again used my newly acquired "Decalfix". The stern went smoothly, perhaps too smoothly. I got myself in a bit of a fix when I tried to slide off the simple "HMS Victory" name plaque on to the stand and I got myself into a right old tangle. I was a second away from a perfect slip on but botched it and spent a good ten minutes in 'panic recovery' mode, but I think I saved it (see below):  

I carried on with Tudor Rose number three and applied a watered down Vellojo "Black Wash" over the hull planking joints and grills that adorn the ship (see below):

By no means finished, but it did have an immediate positive effect that I liked. Yes I will have to go back and highlight, perhaps re-wash with the Vallejo "Brown Wash" and stain the sails with wash and ink, but it's there simply to be experimented on (see below):

I must admit I had much more fun than I expected to with these old Airfix kits. I will have to wait around and hope Airfix releases the Santa Maria again and build up a Spanish Fleet!

Friday 5 December 2014

Gruntz Force "The Terra Legion"

The Gruntz army of 40 figures (troopers), safely out of the reach of small children and animals on a bathroom glass shelf, which seemed a suitably Sci-Fi storage setting (see below):

Though Gruntz is mainly an infantry combat game a force still requires specialist elements. I have chosen an air element, as in  a "borrowed" Revell Star Wars (Attack of the Clones) kit. I am thinking of repainting it to s more bland dirtied Satin White scheme with plenty of weathering and washes (see below, I have another one to make up, one per wing of the force):

The basic Gruntz infantry close-up, the 40 figures are very nice "en masse" with sufficient variant poses to make two blocks/formations of troops 20 unique poses, which seems about right (see below):

In amongst the cool new 15mm kit from GZG is a more retro Airfix Apollo lander that I have deemed a "Command and Control" module, again weathering and washes are required  (see below):

Plenty of painting ahead in December, kind of a simple fun holiday task when Xmas TV gets too boring ;)

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Is it just me ... but a useful thing about Xmas is ...

The availability of "goodly proportioned" biscuit tins (see below):

This one is just tall enough for 28mm cavalry provided their lances are not raised or halberd wielding infantrymen.