Sunday, 17 September 2017

10K !!!!

(if you're only 1 inch tall)

I am absolutely astounded that I have reached the blogging milestone of 10,000 page visits, though without the weird Russian thing a while back I think I'd only really be at about 9k but I'm going to take it.  

The numbers were slowly building despite my efforts to take many months between posts but there has been a real rush of late all thanks to your love of Pound shops, this has been my most popular post by a very long way with more than double the number of visits compared to anything else I've done, and it's nearly hit a thousand views on its own.

By way of celebrating this achievement and as a thank you I've decided to do a little give away.  You to could be the owner of a golden Buddha statue from the pound shop.  "Ooooooo" I hear you all cry.  All you need to do is comment on this post with something complimentary, or even constructive criticism, by midnight (GMT) on Saturday September 30th and I will randomly pick from the comments and then be in touch with the lucky winner to arrange getting it to you.

This could be yours, or one very like it anyway

Good Luck & Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Opening Tins of Gold

Well not actual tins of gold, but Golden Virginia tins which contain (hopefully) much plastic soldier goodness.
It has been pointed out to me that whilst there was some interesting stuff in GR III - The Final Shelf of Discovery - Part 2 there wasn't very much about the little guys themselves.  So, in an effort to redress that oversight, let's have a delve in to the tins and boxes of my childhood obsession with 1:72/1:76/HO/OO toy soldiers, or fine scale military miniatures as we now like to call them.

Boxing Clever

So let's start with the original boxes, at least we have an idea what's going to be in them.

The Hills Are Alive

Not a singing nun in sight, but maybe the odd bit of edelweiss.  I think this might be classed as 'mint in box' as it is all in perfect condition as if you had just brought it home from the toy shop military miniature emporium.  More details of this set can be found here.

Green Devils

Fallschirmjager on the sprue and with less flash than the ones reviewed here by PSR. Another MIB set which may have been worth something before Airfix reissued lots of sets.



I didn't have any recollection of these but I must have bought them some time in the early 1980s.  Nice sculpting but some odd poses and quite a few of each.  The maxims a really nice.  More details from our friends at PSR here.

Our Friends Across The Channel


PSR don't rate this very highly for it's accuracy but WWII French troops are pretty thin on the ground, in fact these were pretty much it until recently.  More details here.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

A bit of a mixed bag here, all US troops but a mix of Matchbox Infantry and Airfix Marines.  Here's what PSR has to say about the two sets here and here.

G'Day Ya Pommy B@$*#&*

The first tin of gold and a display of my childhood lack of knowledge of actual military organisation, they all had machine guns ok so that made them a machine gun platoon in my naive eyes.  No a mix of Airfix and Matchbox once again, but not a huge number either.  Lets hope the rest of the tins hold more than this otherwise I'm going to be more than a little disappointed.

PSR's thoughts here and here.

By jingo somebody has had a bash at painting these Aussie bad boys

So that's enough excitement for one post, keep your eyes open for the next gripping instalment of plastic soldier goodness as I open more boxes and tins to see what we have in this garage time capsule.

* Thanks to the guys at for all their great work keeping us up to date with everything tiny plastic men related.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Afghan/North African Compound - Part 2

Somewhere I promised a comparison shot of my scratch built compound and the 3D printed building I've been given.  So here it is...

I think they scale reasonably well tbh, yes the door and windows are bigger on the 3D print, but the level of the protruding beams is roughly the same o I think we can get away with it.

Having given the 3D stuff a coat or two of paint the scratch built effort looked extremely stark in it's pure brilliant white, so it also got a quick slap of cheap house paint to make it blend with the rest of the evolving village.

Short and sweet post this time I know, but hopefully the next part will see a bit more colour depth added and the courtyard given a bit more attention.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

God I love the Pound Shop

We all have them, be them £1 shops, $1 Stores or €1 markets, and they are a fantastic source of bits of rubbish for our gaming minds, a positive gold mine of crap.

Well the one good side of my office move (will I ever stop moaning about it) is that I now have very good access to not one but two of the different British £1 chains, PoundLand and PoundWorld, as well as that other fantastic source of gaming junk - Wilkos, in fact the only one missing is the slightly undercutting 99p Store.  So I was perusing the aisles the other day to get a sieve and some plastic boxes (more of that later) when I stumbled upon everyone's favourite South East Asian god like statue - Buddha.  
Now I've been looking for a Thai style Buddha that would scale as a large statue with 1/72 for quite some time and not wanting to spend more than perhaps £5, in fact I nearly bought one whilst on holiday for about €4 (which these days is pretty much the same as £4 - thanks Brexit) but it was a bit on the small side and I would have had to explain it to SWMBO and I really couldn't be arsed with that so didn't bother.  Now these £1 finds are a good size standing at about 5" and came in four poses, but only two really fitted my minds eye image.

The plan is to build a kind of temple which will be draped with vines and vegetation to look like some lost jungle shrine in Burma or the like.  I might even gently break one of them to make it seem like the ravages of time have done their worst.  
First job, hit them with a blast of undercoat and think about how I'll finish them off to look like old stone.

Looking more stone like already

Now I wonder if this stuff would work and give me the effect I want. But considering this is a bit of a budget project shelling out £7.99 on a can of spray which may well be a disaster seems a stretch.

It may well take me several years to get around to doing this, god knows it's taken more than a few to actually buy the bloody statues, but at least I've made a start.

So with these clasped in my sweaty little mitts it was off to the kitchen zone to pick up a sieve and some of those plastic take away boxes, all for just a pound a piece (apart from the take away boxes where you get 8 for your £1).  

I know this seems a bit of an odd purchase, especially the smaller tea strainer sieve (which actually had to come from Amazon as an add-on order), but I have a large bag of sharp sand from a building project some time ago and it's quite good for sprinkling on the bases of my desert buildings I discovered the other week.  but some of it is a bit course for the effect I want.  So...

Sieve the stuff into different grades and store it ready for use.  Should make my life a little easier.

And on a related note to that, one of the stops on our holidays this year was a visit to the volcanic island of La Palma in the Canary Islands which has black sand beaches.  

Honestly it looked much blacker in person

Now it would be rude not to gather some of this sand for future investigation/projects, wouldn't it.

And a few holiday snaps just to bore you all

An old cannon at the fort
The walls of the old fort

Home in the distance

The family, doesn't Nobby look happy to be on holiday

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Nice Little Extra - Part 2

For a change I have not been progressing at my usual glacial pace and have actually got somewhere with my 3D printed gifts.  I've based everything on card and built up the ruined buildings a little more to offer some differentiation and to fill in the holes the printing process leaves when it is interrupted mid print.

I've also started to create some generic rubble which will be stuck around the collapsed walls.

Normal house filler applied to the walls and the half printed stairs

A blast of undercoat and the filler merges in to the rest of the walls quite nicely
After a liberal undercoat to the complete adobe house I've slapped on a quick coat of emulsion house paint, in this case Natural Twine from Wilkos.  For a quid it should see this project out.  A single coat doesn't seem to cover very well so it'll have to have a second after the one pictured below.

3D print next to homespun scratch build.  They don't size too badly next to each other
So with a second coat and 24 hours drying it's looking a lot better, so it can come back in to the house to have some details and aging/weathering applied.  Plans include nice tiled floor and window shutters made form coffee stirrers, the 3D pinted ones looked a bit rubbish so have been broken up and added to the rubble box.

All ready to be brought back in to the house
First coat of paint and they're looking good.  Rubble should give then each their own character

I've always enjoyed playing with fire a bit too much so making burnt beams for the rubble piles was a perfect opportunity to indulge my pyromaniac tendencies, all be it in a very controlled and limited way.

Look out for part 3 coming soon as the pressure rises to have something to show Mr M who kindly did the printing.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Afghan/North African Compound - Part 1

I hinted some time ago about turning an old phone headset box in to an Afghan/North Africa/Mexican adobe compound (link) and I promised a more detailed entry about how I made it.  So here it is.

Inspired by the work of the chaps over at Irrational Number Line Games who posted their exploits on TMP I recognised the box as one I'd seen lying around in the old office before it was closed down.  So with the box recovered I had the basis for my own adobe complex.  So whilst SWMBO was watching her soaps or drooling over Poldark I was cutting and sticking on a little table in the lounge, that way I was being sociable by being in the same room (even if she was roll her eyes at my antics).

Top of the box cut away with a flap left to tuck in to form a thicker compound wall

Foamcore inserts for the front and back walls of the house

Internal supports added for the roof, bit OTT really
The roof in place along with the door and windows cut out

A couple of views of the rear 'windows', these were a bit of a challenge to cut out as I had stupidly fixed the wall in place already, doh!
Adding the little details of the roof struts.  I spent far too long doing these really, trying to shape each one to have a nice angle at the end - uneccessary.

A quick bit of slap on it all.  Filler paint (the sort that will cover hairline cracks in your walls) and sand mixture, but I think the sand was a bit coarse for this though it looks okay in the pictures it's quite pronounce in the flesh.

Next up in Part 2 some toning down of the brilliant white to make it look a little more lived in, adding the tiled floor, the door, windows and gates and some stables.
Oh, and a comparison with the 3D printed house.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

A Nice Little Extra

So there was an interesting news article the other day over on TMP for a range of Arabic buildings to print yourself from Terrain4Print (article here).  Now the file is only $10 and the instructions looked pretty interesting, only problem is... I don't have a 3D printer.  Nor do I know anything about 3D printers, how they work, how much they cost or cost to run, etc etc.  But I do have a colleague who's into all that sort of stuff.

So started to bend the ear of Mr M at work and he pointed me to a very interesting site called Thingiverse and what a revelation it was, all these free to use 3D print files.  Mr M offered to print me a test if I could find something like the building I was describing to him.  So I had a poke about and stumbled upon a free sample of the very files I had seen on TMP (here), Bingo.

So a couple of days later I get the call that I have a present waiting for me...  A lovely little adobe building in sturdy ABS, minus a roof, doors or windows/shutters but they should be with me on Monday, apparently this 3D printing lark takes quite some time.  Now the scaling is a little out, we went for 80%, but perhaps 66% would be closer to 1/72 now I've had chance to measure things properly.

A quick base and a sprinkle of sand and it's ready to hit with some undercoat

Now Mr M is a bit of a perfectionist and wasn't happy with the first attempt as it hadn't adhered to the print bed in one corner, the second attempt there was a power problem and it stopped and there was another issue with the third.  But rather than just bin them all I sense a ruined hamlet coming on...

So a massive thank you to Mr M and watch this space for progress on this quick little project.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

GR III - The Final Shelf of Discovery - Part 2

So we left our hero wading through his booty from the Final Shelf of Discovery in his nice and tidy garage.  He had reached the final box, the box which he hoped would hold all the treasures he thought.

Goodies a plenty

I would certainly hope I could make a better job of painting this up now a days

Airfix poly tanks on the right, not sure what make the kit on the left is

More Airfix poly goodness with a mix of other bits and pieces.  The cannons we used to fire matchsticks from and that was our to hits rather than rolling dice

Technically labelled a ferry but it always doubled up as a beach assault craft in our childhood games

Beer mat basing from the days before laser cut mdf.  Mostly Citadel from the early/mid 80s
A real mix of fantasy figures including Citadels first generation of Lord of The Rings figures (Gandalf riding Shadowfax, Ithilian Rangers and wood elves), Lone Wolf fighting fantasy novel figures and assorted warriors and such.

I spy with my little eye boxes of figures and other goodies.  Packed really well as you can see, but looking complete the Airfix Coastal Defence set along with some spare bits (from somewhere) and I think the landing craft is from a Matchbox set, Beach Assault maybe.

Already hording figures at that early stage, still on sprue Germans are a beautiful sight
Airfix and Matchbox mix of US Infantry, there might even be some marines in there

Plastic Allsorts.  Think these might have come from a friend many many years ago.  I can spot Airfix NATO ground crew for sure and some gloss enamelled German infantry, plus various others

The final box of our odyssey, is this the one that would this hold the fabled motherload of figures?  Well judging by the scrawl in the corner (in my Mum's writing I think), YES!

Ooooo what mystery posters are these????

Well that helps date all this a little more

Barely a single day of peace since the end of WWII, and that was back in the mid eighties, hasn't improved much since either!

Gnasher badge complete with googlie eyes

Well this really is a blast from the past, my Beano - Dennis The Menace Fan Club membership card and badges (and my elder sisters as well I think), wonder if they are still valid?

Here we go, just look at that wonderful box art Matchbox had
My dad used to save old tobacco tins for me and my sister and fill them with coppers (1p & 2p coins) when he used to be away for weeks and months with work.  They certainly came in handy for me after the cash was spent

Didn't think I had so many plastic Napoleonics
Shame they aren't the RHA sets

No recollection of ever even having WWII French

A snapshot of my childhood

So there we go, my figures all found, the garage horde all sorted and a mammoth painting project born.  I guess I will have to catalogue them all in more detail at some point and perhaps decide what I am going to do with them all.  For instance I'm not too interested in Nappies so the boxes of them might go on evil bay at some point.