Sunday, 28 February 2016

Another Weekend Comes & Goes... And It's Been A Funny Old One,

It's been a good if strange weekend for me...

Friday saw me adding another N gauge loco to my stable in the form of a Dapol Class 122 'Bubblecar'.

Now, I love this model, because it's a great design and as it is a single car unit, it can be run realistically on any of my layouts, be they large or small. As you would expect for the era I am depicting, the paint scheme is BR Green with contrasting details, so it just looks damned fine.

I purchased this from 'Rails' of Sheffield, my local bricks and mortar store, who are in my opinion, one of the best places to shop. They have great stocks, very reasonable prices and the shop is bright and clean. Perfect!

I got it home (grinning all the way and chattering away to my brother like a 6 year-old high on 'Haribo') and fitted a standard Bachmann 2 function, 6-pin decoder, before programming it and setting it going on my layout.

Well, I was grinning all over again, because this is a really wonderful little loco unit and is quiet and very, very pleasing to the eye when run at a low speed along a decent distance. The directional lights are the icing on the cake!

As you can tell, I am a very happy little bunny, indeed!

On Friday, I took the decision to sell one of my John Blanche paintings to a fellow collector, because I simply don't have the wall space with the other items that I have, sitting around awaiting framing, and the idea of simply stacking artwork away, seems a bit heretical.

It was a bitter/sweet decision, but on reflection, the right one, and I know it's gone to a really good home where it will be cherished.

And here, the weekend took a strange turn...

Like many people I am a devotee of Facebook and belong to a number of groups related to my interests, including one or two dedicated to the older editions of Warhammer.

On Friday afternoon a guy posted to one of them, asking for a valuation of a model for a friend who wanted to sell a rare model. He was given a 3-figure valuation by a respected member, and I posted a comment that at that price, I would be interested in purchasing it, without a quibble, as did another member, shortly after.

The next thing I knew, my post had without warning, been deleted.

So, I posted a 'wanted' advert for a figure of the type, which was clearly within the rules and it was deleted.

And again...

And then I was kicked from the group without an explanation. I asked a moderator what gave, and was reinstated. So far so good...

Then, a little later I was once again kicked and blocked from the group - again without comment or explanation.

Yesterday, I contacted a moderator:

Me: "I am trying to find out why I was kicked and now it seems blocked from the trading group yesterday. Thanks."

Mod: "Morning Mark. We keep records of actions taken as an admin for all groups. They indicate you were banned for trying to buy an item in a price query post on more than one occasion. If you think the rules have gotten a bit convoluted and byzantine then I can only agree, as a team we are bound to keep the core members happy though."

Me: "No, I and another guy both said that we were interested. XXXXX gave a valuation and I said that I would pay that . Ithen posted a 'wanted' advert like many others do.

No warnings were given... Which is a little unfair given my record. As it happened, XXXXXX actually got me a line on a Giant last night.

Byzantine is one thing but a fascistic approach is another. kicking and then blocking afterwards is another admin adds me back is unfair when no reason or sanction is first issued."

Mod: "We are having this discussion within the team today as it happens, I'll let you know the outcome and if it will affect you."

"Me: Did the other guy also get kicked? Because if not then it is bang out of order.
Offering to meet the price that a respected member states is a fair price is not sharp practice, particularly when you are talking £***.

Let me know if things change please."

Anyway, the other guy did indeed get kicked, and thus, later in the day I followed this conversation up...

Apparently a couple of moderators  dug their heels in and both I and my brother (because hey, we share the same surname) got the same treatment.

Mod: "Not good news, two members have dug their heels in on a permanent ban. I'm not sure what the deal is to be honest, I haven't had a full answer to my question. I can only suggest you wait a 30 day period (that's the length of our temp ban and tempers may have cooled by then) before getting in touch with YYYYY personally. Sorry I haven't been able to bear better news.

 It's a bit unusual, not sure of the full story I'm sure, we don't normally hand out such strict punishments for minor rules breaches. I always vote to give people another chance but I don't have it all my way where decisions are concerned.

'll do what I can. We had a similar problem with Bruno who fell out with James. It took a while but he's back now. Hopefully we can work out something similar."

So as you can see, it's all a bit silly and sordid, leading an observer to point out:  "Well for fucks sake what a pile of cockwombles"

And another: "Well, if that sort of underhanded BS is going on, then all involved can eat an, as yet unspecified number of dicks."

Strong stuff, and personally, I will not comment, as I have a habit of frank speaking, but it seems to me that a group of six year olds have been given access to the interweb. Frankly, in the long term, it is of very little consequence, because all they have done is stopped a flow of cash and indeed old models to their membership base. Rest assured, I will be vary careful myself, not to deal with fellows of that stripe.

Anyway, I will bid you a very fond farewell as Sunday night is '80s movie night' here at the Tower and I have t be up bright and early in the morning because 500+ Skaven are being delivered and I want to get them all sorted out before I return to my desk and start on my March work flow on Tuesday.


PS: What is a 'cockwomble'?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Wargames Vermin

It's been a really nice day...

Yesterday, I completed the last of my February work flow and so this morning I had a lie-in until 6:24AM at which point I wandered into my studio with a coffee and proceeded to get all of the cleaning and preparing of the work for March out of the way.

My good lady wife was taking a day off by chance, having worked from home over the weekend on some government/education statistical tomfoolery and so we had a rather enjoyable pootle into the Derbyshire countryside, for a late lunch in Matlock and a relaxed drive homewards, in the golden-red afternoon sun, both well relaxed and feeling as if we were 'wagging school'.

And so, after another hour and a half at my desk, polishing a few little chores off, I am enjoying a rather pleasant glass of Shiraz and typing this epistle to the apostles of gaming before indulging in a little more wine and hot toasted muffin and an episode or two of 'Neverwhere' that rather fine surreal fantasy by Neil Gaiman thoughtfully serialised in the 90s by the BBC.

And so, I hear you exclaim 'What in the name of Frankie Howerd's toupee, has that got to do with vermin?'

Nothing at all, save to set the scene of serenity which infests the Dark Tower this evening.

You will note, that not a single F-bomb has been dropped? S-e-r-e-n-i-t-y...

And so to vermin.

I confess that my creative juices do not flow into the gravy boat of gaming these days, when it comes to painting. The reasons are well known by now. But that does not mean that I have no interest; on the contrary, I am just as big a fan of my gaming as the next 80s survivor. I just don't want to spend whatever time I have left, creating beautiful figures without being paid for it.

But I do want to game...

And so you will imagine my surprise and joy, when surfing that Bay of Evil yesterday whilst literally watching paint dry, to find a 500 piece Skaven army ( yes that's the vermin of which I speak) for £475.00.

The painting was generally, a neat block finish, in bold colours, and true, the characters and a few Rat Ogres need a repaint - after all they ARE characters - but, less than £1 per figure... I'd be mad not to.

And so, you can imagine what I did, given that I am not supporting the Triples show with my wallet again, this year, (nor indeed will I be entertaining any wargames show until the rather splendid Britcon in August) and that despite my best efforts at the Festival Of British Railway Modelling the other week, I am still very comfortable in the wallet.

Yes, I offered £375, and what is more my offered was accepted. This means that regardless of model size, I paid 75p per figure, plus there are assorted books and 3 carrying cases. OK, so I sacrificed the purchase price of a pair of DCC fitted Pacific class locos, but trust me, when I say that I have not flinched one jot, at that offering to the gods of gaming.

This is what the money got me:

Here are a few close-ups...

Now, I have spoken to other luminaries and trusted kinsmen, and it's been universally agreed that a spot of work on the bases and some Vallejo sepia wash (with a few overpaints of red weapon blades) will make all the difference, together with the aforementioned repainting of characters.

After all, quantity has a quality all of it's own as 'Big John' Holmes said... Or maybe it was a Russian fellah, I don't recall.

With properly painted characters and clean and neat ranks of cannon fodder, this should mean that I am on the path to the upper world in a few weeks, hacking and slashing at the pointy-eared tree huggers and fancy pants humans, generally causing much mayhem and plague as I do so.

Remember my rant the other day about 'what Oldhammer is'? Well, this is it... It's about doing yur own thing, having fun, and caring not whether you could win a painting competition. 

Look, I have won 22 of them in my time (more actually, as I went through a period of binning anything less than a first place), many of them seriously top drawer events. I've been on the the covers and in the pages of the best wargames magazines, and I have appeared on Model Town on The Discovery Channel, so what do I have to prove to anyone?

No sir (or madam), I am going to have me some fun. Plain old, simple FUN!

Right, if you will excuse me, the hour is late, and my wine glass is looking emptier than Santa's sack in a whore house.


Sunday, 21 February 2016


It's been one of those weeks...

I've been hard at work on assorted commissions as usual, but I've crammed in much more than usual for no good reason. My audiobook library which generally feeds my ears and mind as I work (yes, I need a distraction, because I work in a kind of automated way - it's a job, not a hobby these days) has been seriously strained to keep up with the hours I chalked up this week.

Anyway, I just purchased 'The Silk Roads' and 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' which at a combined 45 hours, should keep me busy in the week ahead.

Anyway, I've been thinking on lots of things related to my hobby too, and I have been asking myself what makes an Old School figure?

Now, remember, back in the day, no matter what these thirty-something self proclaimed fanboys will try to tell you CITADEL WAS NOT THE ONLY FUCKING COMPANY.

Excuse me for the outburst, but there's an over emphasis on the whole subject of old school armies consisting of Citadel models. Even White Dwarf (and if you don't believe me go back and actually READ those copies of White Dwarf that your generation has played no small part in making priceless artefacts, rather than what they are - massed produced commercial magazines) featured and suggested the use of non-GW models. We had Ral Partha, Metal Magic, Dixons, Essex, Minifigs, Q.T, Irregular and many, many more. True, the quality varied, but the sheer variety of models meant that your army could be unique.

I alway loved Ral Partha and Essex. Essex produced (and still do) some very nice models. The figures had a 'rounded' style which made them very nice to handle and paint. Their Goblins are redolent with the styling of the Goblins in 'Labyrinth', the elves have a parochial feel which actually harks to the Tolkienesque, the Orcs came in two types, a more bestial Orc and what were known in the day as 'Cuddly Lizardmen'. They may not have been everyones ideal Orc, but they had a charm of their own.

And thereby, in a single phrase, the ideal old school figure is captured...

'Not everyone's idea, but with a charm of their own'

I have decided that I will buy the figures I like, now. I'll not fall into that trap of having to have the same models as everyone else.... Don't like my choice? Then, fuck yourself! I mean that from the centre of my tiny black heart, because your slavish ways are taking away the magic from the fantasy wargame.

likewise, if you can only bear to look at bright green Orcs, I advise the same self-abuse, because that is a creation of GW. What? Orcs are all green? Introduce me to an Orc and I'll ask them. Otherwise - SHUT UP!

If I want, I'll paint them blue, green, orange or 'flesh'. I have done, over the years and they look great. I remember an army, painted by that real old school painter Pete 'Greblord' Armstrong for Kev Fisher of Sheffield Runelords and Sheffield Wargames Society, which was composed of Citadel Gnolls / Great Goblins from the FTG codes. It had blues, and oranges, and I tell you, it blew me away. Alas, Kev sold it as I found out when I offered him serious money for it about 20 years back. Look on the back of the Ian Livingstone book 'Dicing With Dragons' (original UK edition of course) and you'll see a Gnoll / Goblin  in one of those hues. Grand stuff...

That was a unique army and it will stick in my mind way longer than any of the cookie cutter 'Goblin Gree' forces which proliferate/. Goblin Green - Gandalf on a bike, there was no such colour when I started playing Warhammer. We had to learn about colours and then mix them!

I am also sure that you should not employ the non-metallic metals approach on old school models. Metal is metal... paint it as such! Non-metallic is non-old school.

Anyway, I could rant on, but I won't...

I've been thinking of what my next project should be, and so the old catalogues are out, and I am scouring the Forces Of Fantasy lists for ideas. Hobgoblins are scoring highly and Alternative Armies have some very nice models. That old chestnut, Orc & Goblin is an eternal choice, and I am drawn to the old Asgard range, which had Orcs and Goblins of all sizes which were stooped, bandy and well-muscled rather than comic proto-apes.

Splintered Light Miniatures, have the range of Giants which were originally made by Metal Magic. At $15 each and being very much 'the real thing' when it comes o old school gaming, the temptation to recreate the 'Glune's Trek' army from the 'Book Of Battalions' is very strong indeed.

We shall see...

On the railway front, I have had a very stressful last three days indeed. On Friday at 5:30PM I went into my studio to test the trains I'd bought on the layout I paid £1200 for...

That was the start of a weekend that I have lost forever.

I've had to spend almost 2 days, trying to get my first layout to work, there being an issue with one set of points throwing locos and not aligning correctly, as well as several points and areas of rail, not carrying the power.

I have re-shaped a point blade and got it functioning, and then taken a needle file, sandpaper and scalpels to the track, to be sure it's all clear of ballast and paint which may prevent the current from reaching the pick-ups (bearing in mind that to me, electricity may as well be magic). I have started for two days at 4AM because the thought that £1200 was wasted, kept me awake for fear that Arkwright, the patron god of Yorkshiremen, may seek retribution on me for profligate ways.

Anyway, I was so shattered, that I awoke at 6AM today, walked the dogs and then went back to bed until 11AM, which is so unlike me, that I reckon my wife will have seen this type of behaviour maybe 6 times in our 28 years together. It did me and my arthritis a lot of good and may have actually been a deciding factor in whether I triggered a serious 'flare' due to being run down.

After rising and partaking in a bowl of decent mushroom soup with croutons and freshly grated Gran Padarno cheese, I tentatively ran the Duchess Of Hamilton a massive and I would have thought tetchy  beast more liable for jumping a dodgy rail, and she ran flawlessly apart from showing me a small area I missed.

As I said earlier, it's been a lost weekend, that I can never get back!

Right, it's time for me to join my wife for some roast chicken and salad filled tortilla, a glass of decent red wine and a jolly fun 80s movie, before tearing into the week ahead.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

What A Thoroughly Enjoyable Day!

I am, as most of my acquaintances now, a truly cynical bastard, of the old cut. But, today I am bright, cheerful and full of love and kindness for my fellow man/woman/hamster.

I've just spent one of the most enjoyable hobby days in the last couple of decades, taking in the magnificent spectacle of the 'Festival Of British Railway Modelling' at Doncaster race course.

We were in the car at 8:55 and by 9:25 we were parked up, 100 yards from the main doors...

 ...and by 9:30, despite a considerable queue of a couple of hundred folk of all ages and both sexe,s we were inside enjoying the pleasure of having a 30 minute start on the 'pay on the door' crowd.

I confess, that I had forgotten just how large the venue is. Few wargames shows use this much space, nor fill them with as much eye and wallet candy. What's more the aisles were very generous, so that you didn't have people knocking you sideways with rucksacks etc.

I really do wish that wargames show organisers would get off their arses and go and take a look at how a railway show is run. AND LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE.

Rant over...

Now, as the name of the show suggests, this is a British themed exhibition, and whilst there was a stunning array of layouts, I was there for the N gauge stuff, which was very well represented indeed. I confess, that having realised that I had left my varifocals at home, I was not able to spend as much time as I might have liked, just broswing. I did however get some nice little snaps such as these:

The traders were friendly, even when faced with my glaringly neophyte questions, and I only came across one miserable bastard, who I will allow the joy on anonymity, but after I heard how he responded to a question from a potential customer who made a very polite query, I simply turned around and walked away without even looking at his stock. For a moment it was like being at the Derby or Sheffield wargames shows, but a few yards away from the scene, the air cleared and reality reinstated itself once more.

It always amazes me just how different the atmosphere is between the two hobbies, despite both being about people playing with miniature worlds in one way or another.

Anyway, we were given a practical demonstration of a cyanoacrylate which is NOT a superglue, at the HAFIXS stand, and were so impressed that we spent £30 on two 50g bottles. If stored in the fridge, these glues will last 5 years! BONZA!

Breakfast for two people was £11... 2 large and fresh coffees and two VERY good breakfast sandwiches which in my cases, had twice as much sausage (of wonderfully high quality) as one would normally get in many venues.

Thence we made our way to the BRM magazine stand, where it was advertised that if you signed up for a 12 month subscription at £12.95 per quarter, you got a £40 voucher to spend at the Gaugemaster stand. No strings attached, it seemed.

Bloody hell, it was a genuine offer!

So, I signed up and then indeed, received a £40 voucher, there and then. Thus I was off to Gaugemaster where I purchased a selection of essentials, a few telegraph poles, a tunnel mouth and a decoder, and only having to stump up £7.95 of my own cash.

Next I purchased a Graham Farish, Coronation Class

Then, it was over to P & D Marsh for a few white metal bits...

Followed by a round of Mk1 purchasing at 3 traders...

Whilst Kayte took a breather, I then wobbled off to purchase a Farish Class 4 MT and a rather pretty 'Lyddle End' water tower...

Before rounding out my day of Mammonite frenzy with a few bags of static grass...

Grand total for the day £408.00 (plus £40 of freebies from Gaugemaster).

I really cannot emphasise enough, how enjoyable the day was. The show is a credit to the organisers and the traders are everything that you could ask for, in terms of stock, knowledge, helpfulness and mood.

A day that I am already planning to repeat this year.

And to round out the day, on the way home, my wife bought me a new hamster by the name of 'Lem' after the recent passing of my last hamster 'Vienna' who chalked up over 3 years, before checking into the big cage in the corner of Valhalla.



Friday, 12 February 2016

Festival Of British Railway Modelling - This Weekend!

The Festival of British Railway Modelling

The Festival of British Railway Modelling is a model railway exhibition, which takes place in Doncaster, the spiritual home of railways. Visitors can admire the layouts on display in a range of gauges, watch free modelling tutorials and browse through the exhibitors selling products for all aspects of the hobby including hard to find specialist items.

Over 30 layouts and 80+ Exhibitors

  • 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society

  • A1 Models

  • All Components Ltd

  • Anoraks Anonymous

  • Aspire Gifts & Models

  • Belmond (UK) Ltd

  • Bill Hudson Transport Books

  • Book Law/Santona Publications

  • Ceynix

  • Cheltenham Model Centre

  • Craftlights

  • DC Kits - D & E Videos

  • DCC Trains Automation

  • Deltic Preservation Society

  • DEMU

  • Digitrains Ltd

  • Doncaster Model Railway Club

  • Doncaster P2 Cock O'The North Trust

  • Doon Valley Models

  • DoubleO Scenics

  • Eileens Emporium

  • Elaines Trains

  • Fawn Electronics

  • Footplate/Flangeway

  • Gaugemaster Controls Ltd

  • Gemini Storage Solutions

  • Goodlands Lighting

  • Gramodels

  • Great Northern Railway Society

  • Green Scene

  • Hafixs Industrial Products

  • Harrison Brown Models

  • Hobby Holidays

  • International Railway Master Index

  • Invicta Model Rail Ltd

  • Keen Systems

  • Kitmasters Collectors Club

  • Kytes Lights

  • Layouts4U

  • M&J Taylor T/A Going Loco

  • Mad About Trains

  • Megapoint Controllers

  • Model Railway Developments

  • Modelmania

  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway

  • Online Models Ltd

  • OO Live Steam Road Show

  • Organise My Car

  • P & D Marsh Models

  • Parkside Dundas

  • Petite Properties

  • Replica Railways

  • Roundhouse Engineering Co. Ltd

  • Severn Models

  • Shawplan Model Products

  • Skytrex Model Railways

  • Steve Currinn Books & G Gauge Models

  • Sweets of Yesteryear

  • Ten Commandments

  • The 2mm Scale Association

  • The E.M Gauge Society Limited (Doncaster)

  • The Gauge O Guild

  • The Hereford Model Centre

  • The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Soc.

  • The Model Centre (TMC)

  • The P2 Steam Locomotive Society

  • The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd

  • Tonys Trains at Barby Model Rail

  • Tools 2000

  • Train-Tech

  • Triple X Trading

  • TTC

  • W M Collectables

  • Wealistic Models

  • Wizard Models

Thursday, 11 February 2016


Well, I have managed to get another couple of hours in, on my layout, now tentatively named the Redmire Valley and I am making progress which is more noticeable every time.

Today, I fitted the stone retaining walls, gave them a good sooting, and likewise weathered the tunnel mouths.

A little tip to those of you who may be thinking of using plaster walls. Don't use sandpaper to thin or clean the surface. Use a good quality steel ruler, the edge of which will give a smooth and clean finish which is far superior to sandpaper.

My walls were about 12-14mm thick and in a few minutes I knocked them down by about 4mm.

Once I had the walls in place, I then added a frame of gorse bushes on the edges. From here I will expand the gorse out onto the hillside in small and large clumps, but by starting with a fairly angular and defined 'frame', it allows me to blend in the new features and provides a focal point for the addition of future foliage.

I had to remove the original mounting board wall in the yard to get a bit of clearance for stock, but as the hillside above was Modroc and Celotex board, it was a simple job with a scalpel.

Next, I will add some turf at the point where the walls meet the ground, to break up and soften the angles.

It's my hope to one day be skilful enough to produce a scenic layout, good enough to exhibit, but until then, I'm enjoying myself immensely.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Season Opens

It was with excitement and I confess, some trepidation, that we packed into the troop transport and made our way up the M1 then A1 to York, in a blinding sunrise, headed for the first major show of the season, 'Vapnartak'.

The trepidation was unfounded as, despite the ravages of winter, the massing throngs with long beards and girths that would cause a Brown bear to tip it's hat at the fine post-hibernation figures, were moving purposefully through the doors of the Knavesmire Stand at 9:30.

It seemed that despite the ravages of the recent weather, enough wargamers had survived to repopulate the hobby and this fine show, for the 2016 season.

We were so thrilled to see this, that we immediately did two laps of the table top sale and thence to the bar for a large hot coffee and blackcurrant cordial chaser.

As expected the clan turned out in force from Sheffield, Hull and Rotherham, along with our Manchester and North East, cadre so that we were 9 strong by about 10:30, and chatting amicably, catching up on wargames and family news, and giving your correspondent some serious stick about model railways.

Only member of my old Sheffield club was spotted, which was a low turnout, but I think that they may have stopped the traditional weekend piss-up with Vapnartak as a 'chaser'.

There was much discussion on the viability of a large show in Sheffield, and it was agreed that the funding and venues are all available. For my part, I would like to do a little more research into this and that, but I have to say that it does seem to be financially viable. Of course, the secret is not to create the show we want to see, but rather one that others will enjoy attending. Traders that were approached seemed quite enthusiastic too. Let's see where we can go with this, subject to a few more things being in order.

I spent very little today.

2 x boxes Perry '100 Years War English'  £35
Combined Arms rules by GDW  £2
Tub of foliage  £1.95
5 x N gauge allotments in resin (yes I managed to get model railway stuff at Vapnartak)  £2

Grand total  £40.95

The English will be added to when the new box sets come out on the 22nd, as I am planning a Free Company to WRG 6th - Book 3.

Now, I will admit that I also picked up about 500 Renaissance Dwarves from The Assault Group, but I'd paid the £400 for them (a right royal bargain, saving me about £600 ) at Christmas.

The displays were the usual high standard, and trade was brisk. Lots of bulging carrier bags and rucksacks bore testament to the Mammon worship taking place. By 2:30 we were all ready for the homeward journey the transports filled with the purchases of figures, boardgames, books and scenic knick knacks and everyone very pleased and satisfied with the day.

Hats of to York Wargames Society for another great show!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

More Progress In N Scale...

Well, I've had 3 hours on the layout this afternoon... 

Starting from a bare surface of Modroc, applied on Thursday, I have firstly sealed and stained it with earth brown acrylic, PVA and flow improver, then after about an hour, that all got a coat of Winsor And Newton 'Galleria' burnt sienna acrylic, then about half an hour after that, it took 20 minutes to apply a stone brown coat over that. If I am lucky, I'll then be able to finish the four stages with a wash of Vallejo sepia shade, wash.

The 1st coat seals and adds a stain to the plaster, so you can easily see any areas missed. The 2nd coat is still dark, but darker than the first so that you build up a warm undershade, and so that you can see where you miss. The 3rd coat is the 'real' colour and again because you can see where it's going, you don't miss anywhere. Finally, the 4th stage tones the main colour.

The next stage will be to drybrush the vertical faces and paths with the main stone colour and add static grass on the flat areas.

The backdrop will also get done next. I had it lowered at a local DIY place today for about £1 from 11 to 7 inches all in. This is because when MrReading recovers his sanity from this one, I'd like him to build me a 13 foot by 9 inch branch line to sit over my other two layouts.

I'm hoping the stone cast walls I ordered last week, get here in the next few days as I really want to get them painted and installed.

This really is a relaxing hobby for me, and it's great to have that knife-edge uncertainty that comes when you have to try to master a new discipline.


And whilst I was writing the above, I managed to get some shading on using a Montana Gold acrylic spray, and then 10 minutes later the Vallejo sepia wash. 5 coats in 4 hours, and ready for the drybrush stage in 24 hours.

Now, I have to go and pack £3500 of work for a client, ready for delivery to Vapnartak on the morrow.

I'm also drooling over the notion of the new Perry Miniatures 'Agincourt' plastics... But more of that in a future post. For now, just think Free Company, and try not to get a stiffy...


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Layout Progress...

Well, it's been 11 days since Ollie delivered my layout, and I have now put 14 hours into it.
On Sunday I added static grass, weathered the tracks, base coated the rock face adjacent to the tunnel, resurfaced the 'yard' area with Noch ballast and then blended the ash and ballasted areas into it. Today, I took a big step, having never used Celotex insulating board, and in 3 hours measured, cut, fitted, shaped, sanded and then filled the area forming the ridge and scenic pathway, which runs the length of the layout (8 feet).

I'm really happy at how it's shaping up and once I add the texture of the rock faces and the pathway, and get the grass all finished it will look pretty darned fine. Thence, I will add a wooden fence along the whole length of the path, and another to the front of the tracks. A few judiciously placed dry stone walls will break up the countryside as will a few hundred trees.
The brick retaining wall is going to be replaced with a fully 3D polystone retaining wall in a stone finish with bricked up arches . I have realised that because I spend my life working with miniature buildings and figures, I really prefer the 3D effect over 2D printed.
Here's where I got to on Sunday...

Today, 8 rolls of Modroc were delivered, and so as I had a really good day work-wise, I decided at 2:45PM to try a small piece out, having only ever used it once before.
Well, after an hour and a quarter, I've covered the entire Celotex framework and the blending into the rest of the groundwork is pretty damn good in my opinion...

All in all, I am really, REALLY enjoying the whole model railway process. Now, I just need the 3 metres of retaining wall to finally show up.


Vapnartak Opens The 2016 Wargaming Campaign Season


Sunday 7th February 2016

Knavesmire Stand York Racecourse

Christmas is out of the way, the waistlines expanded as the troops emerge from Winter quarters and what is arguably the best show in the North of England, 'Vapnartak' is upon us.

Who would have thought, during those sometimes freezing days of the Merchant Adventurer's Hall that the then humble little show would grow to eclipse and outshine the larger shows which followed a couple of months later.

True, a winter show can be risky, but personally, I have only missed one Vapnartak due to weather, whilst I and my merry band of so-called 'cheque book wargamers' don't even make the effort with some of the other shows in the region that have faded into the West like world weary Hobbits.

The Knavesmire stand is a great venue (I also go there for the Your Model Railway Show which is even larger) and my only grouse to be honest is that they should use more of the venue space and the restaurant upstairs.

Whereas I use to make my first purchases in March/April at local shows, by first big spend of the year, goes down at York.

This year my planned spend is as follows:

1200 piece painted 15mm Renaissance army

500 piece 28mm Dwarf Army from The Assault Group

200 piece Perry Miniatures 28mm 100 Years War army

My supply of static grass for the year ahead.

There are other things I would consider, but as I am at the Festival Of British Railway Modelling in Doncaster on the 14th, and am looking to cut a deal on 12 N scale DCC locos, I must be a little more restrained than I might wish.

That's £1800 of business that will go to traders at Vapnartak, because it's a great place to go and shop, meet up with friends and grab a bargain on the tabletop sale, which over the last few years, I have really grown to love, even if it can be a bit of a squeeze when it's busy.

So, if you can make it to York this Sunday, do so, for a great wargaming day out!

York Wargames Society Logo

(18 - 59)  £5.00ADULTS
(12 - 17)  £2.00CHILDREN