Sunday, 9 June 2019

Pencil Palisades


Recently, in a effort to create a wooden Palisade fort and after a couple of ideas that didn´t really work, I came up with this method.
Simply cut old pencils to the desired length, re-model the Surface with a pair of pliers,  which works fine on all different types of pencils, round, 6 sided, even 3 sided and stick them together with PVA.
After one attempt with sticking them whilst layed on a flat Surface led to a slightly slanted result I came up with a holder...an old Cassette case.
The pliers have serrations which marks  the pencils Surface with a sort of bark type pattern simply by squeezing. Don´t squeeze too hard as some pencils are a bit brittle but don´t be too soft either.

2B or not 2B? That is the question.* No, they can all be used, HB, 2HB, 3B,,,all of em. 
Ok, I´m going to have to aquire a lot of old pencils to create what I have in mind but I discovered the lot above after a quick rummage through cupboards and drawers..
Also,  DIY Shops and a certain Furniture shop whose Name begins with I and ends with A give pencils away for free.
Ok..I´m not going to run off with the whole box on offer but one or two might end up as palisades after a visit. I mean, you put one in your pocket and then Forget which pocket so it´s easier just to take another and then Forget where that one went and so on...or?

*I know, Not that great a gag but it´s bloody hot here :-)

Just heard some very sad News. Leonardo Torricini   (Phersu miniatures) the creator of some exceptional bods and extras has passed away :-(

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Zvezda - English Medieval Ship Thomas

Another "it´s gonna take more than a couple of days" Project finished
This one completes the Collection of the Revell/Zvezda Cogs
24 Crew from Valdemar, Caesar, Airfix and LW (the hooded priest)
I added some Holding rings to the aft Castle for the tent. Tent on a ship? I suppose it has a stable thicker wooden Frame inside instead of a couple of tent Posts otherwise it would keep blowing over.
I also added a rope ladder. Two threads and bits of stretched sprue for the rungs. Took feckin ages to make!!! but how else would they get up there. At least the crusader Version has some sort of pulley System that theoretically would  allow someone to be hoisted aloft.
The kit come with Transfers for the sail but they were;
A. too shiny. I know, there´s all those new fangled matting agents but I´m a model builder not a scientist :-)
B. Fell to bits as I tried applying them. Even if they hadn´t fallen to bits, they wouldn´t have fitted to the curvature of the sail...so I binned them and handpainted the Emblems.
The entire fleet.

Rant time...I apologise for any bad language used
HERMES is SH*TE!
I ordered this model from a dealer in Holland..just over 200 k´s away. I noticed on the Tracker that my address had been Computer generated and was slightly wrong so immediately contacted the carrier per E-Mail and telephone...did this have any effect? None.
Only the Road Name was wrong and not by much..everything else was ok, Name, Post Code, house number,  town..
A Monkey with Basic reading skills could have worked out where it was supposed to go. The post Code shrinks the area down massively then a quick guess at the address would have been possible and then the Name and number on the door would have confirmed it. I tried tipping the incorrect address into a Navi and what came up? My feckin address!!!
Their so called customer Service is, IMHO, a load of bollocks!! It took them over 24 days to eventually realise the error and deliver it. Even  after the address was corrected and on thier advice,  I made a specific delivery day,  it turned up when I wasn´t at home. Tossers! Useless feckin tossers!!

I had to send at least 6 E-mails, phoned 3 times. One actually read my correct address back to me and another ignorant git on the other end hung up! I complained on thier blog and applied to a lawyer (of which I notified Hermes of) put up three Reviews of thier toss Service on various sites  (which in one E-Mail I linked back to them) before the useless A-Holes actually reacted.

200 k´s! It would have been faster if I had literally crawled there and back. Crawled whilst pulling a hay cart behind me and being excessively drunk. I know that since the digital expansion the post is refered to as snail mail but they don´t have to take the saying   literally. Or, Maybe they are so thick,  they do.

Hermes was the Greek god of trade, Heraldry, Merchants etc. .This lot using the Name for thier Dis-Service is an Insult to the Name. Mind you, he was also the god of thieves and trickery so Maybe that´s what they are referring to.
Still theyéd be better of with the Name of the Greek god Ouranos,  the latinised Version that is,  Uranus but they could write it  Ur-Anus.
Basically, it´s easier to  swop the M for a P of thier present Name.  The result is an STD which transmits way faster than they do and is a lot more efficient.
No wonder that  thier ex logistic executive is taking the Ur-Anus´s to court for fraud etc (Link in German but it Shows how scheming they are)
https://hermessubunternehmer.wordpress.com/category/frank-rausch/

Anyone selling anything, even if I really wanted it and thier carrier is Hermes,  then they can keep it. Hopefully Herpes,sorry, Hermes  will end up going bust.

This guy probably got promoted for initiative.


Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The "Silk Dress Balloon" Gazelle

Unlike the US, the Confederacy had no Access to a lot of White silk so used Coloured silk from a Dress maker supplier. Silk because it´s light and they then covered it with varnish to make it gas tight. 
History
Link to a pic of the fabric used to make the Gazelle. I went for a Overall colour as it´s a model, not an historical Repro.

How to
High density foam..the type used for cladding houses. Cut it into 2 blocks. Make sure the blocks are a lot bigger than the size of Balloon intended. Stick the 2 blocks together using toothpicks. 
The Basic shape is created with a sharp carpet knife. Basically hack away, removing Corners first until you´ve got the desired shape.
Always cut away from yourself as occasionally you´ll hit a toothpick which, with a bit of pressure, will cut through but  when it gives,  the blade slices through the foam behind it at Speed. Not good if any part of your anatomy is in Close proximity to the blade. 

Take both halves apart, remove the toothpicks  and hollow out the inside. This reduces the weight, not by much but better than leaving it solid. Leave about 1cm aorund the sides ..too thin and it makes it difficult to fit together
When that´s finished, glue with PVA. I used  toothpicks shoved into the sides to pin it tightly together Fill any holes with wall filler and when dry use sanddpaper to smooth any edges.
Jam something up the vent end as  holder for painting and later modelling stages. I used a thin rounded metal file..being a file it has a better grip on the styrofoam than say a pen or paintrush handle

Next bit, after the paint has dried..adding the ropes. Basically, I don´t try to  over think it. 4 Need to be roughly evenly spaced at 90° to each other for attaching to the basket  but the rest are basically added "more or less"
I´m sure that they could be added so they create an even finish but it´s for wargaming and not a Display Piece so the General effect is what´s wanted...well, at least in my case.
Looks horrible eh? The PVA dries clear and adds a bit of a "it´s been painted with varnish to make it gas tight" effect.
The basket.
How big? I´ve made mine so that it´s 1.5 cm´s high and each side is 2 cm´s across. It Looks comparitvely bigger than how the baskets look in the photos but I have to consider the bod´s base.
Basically thin Card marked out, folded and glued into shape. Acrylic paints for the design...which btw,  I´ve made up but kept it similar to the Union Version.
When painted flrist wire (0.8mm) can be added. Just lie the basket on it´s side, add two rods to the bottom two Corners using a thick sausage of PVA.
When totally dry, turn the other side face down and repeat. The two previous rods Need supporting but to do that, just push a Piece of blue foam that´s been cut to size under them.
When totally dry, I left them overnight,  bend the rods, at about 3 cm´s or so just above the basket slightly outwards. Then bend the top ends, again at about 3cm´s, at more or less a Right angle inwards. Stick the ends into the ballon at equal (or nearabouts) spacing between the hanging ropes,  into the balloon. They won´t need glueing unless they were bent too far outwards. 
Turn the balloon upside down and place it in the pot. Using florist wire, create a square and attach it where the wires bend slightly outwards (Just above the Basket)
Glue with cyonate and leave to dry before attaching the hanging ropes.
The stand. Mine is made using a cork Coaster. After creating the winding gear using a bit of sprue and some basic triangles cut from a CD case, add 3 lengths of florist wire at equal spaces...for those who want to be exact......….120° apart.
Bend 1cm  of the top of each wire  so they end up horizontal. On top of them glue a square of thin Card that´s the same size as the Bottom of the Basket.
Paint all the wires as rope.. A mix of mid Brown, black , White and yellow seems to come close to looking like rope. You Need to Experiment with the mix but who cares wether it´s too White or Brown or whatever? 


Sunday, 5 May 2019

Rubber Ducks - A Warning!!

There they are, bobbing in the bathtub or sitting next to the soapdish, wearing, similar to you,  nothing but a smile. Nearly everyone and that´s the clue, nearly everyone has one somewhere in thier living space. Big ones...small ones...ones that squeek when squeezed. Mainly yellow but they come in a wide range of colours and guises, Santa Ducks, Cowboy ducks etc. All cutsie but....do not be decieved. When there´s enough of them, when there´s one duck for each Person on the planet, this friendly Little chap...
....will turn into this ! A hunchbacked Horror!!!! A belly hook and three claws per arm for gouging and tearing! This Thing will hunt out your soft areas for burrowing into to form a nest with ensuite larder.
Be advised...The day will come so don´t Keep them in your bathroom,especially in or  near the  foot end of the bath!!
A happy day out Floating your ducks? Yeah right! Think again..it´s an Invasion!!!!
Photo by Andreas Schwarzkopf

Saturday, 27 April 2019

American Civil War Observation Balloon (pt2)

So, the Bamboo stick worked but wasn´t quite what I had in mind, it didn´t have that air of feasabilty so....
Using three Strands of  Florist wire.
The winch was made with bits of CD casing, a thick bit of sprue and Florist wire for the handles.
The strand of Florist wire going to the basket is attached to the winch with a hole in the sprue. 
The other two wires are attached directly to holes in the base  next to the Posts. The tied off rope created with bits of Florist wire. 
The balloon sits a bit lower than with the Bamboo stick but, even though it´s not accurate in the way the actual Balloons were let up and pulled down,  the end effect is slightly more believable. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

American Civil War Observation Balloon

Historical innacuracies aside..it turned out alright
Close ups of the balloon.
Nope, I didn´t paint the lettering etc..they are print outs.
 The Pilot


I tried using a Party balloon covered with paper mache =  Fail!
Then a lightbulb covered with paper mache = Fail!
Solution = hardfoam shaped with a stanley knife, rubbed down with sandpaper,  then cut in half, hollowed out to reduce weight, then glued back together. 
The weight still remains an issue. I tried a couple of things to "suspend" the balloon but the only thing that worked was a thinned down bamboo skewer. Still a bit thicker than I´d planned. 
"What, there was a plan ?? !" .....I hear myself say 
I´ll hunt about to find something ..or some other way* to suspend it but for now,  it´ll do. 
Thaddeus Lowes Hydrogen Generators ,
To give him his full Name, Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe. The above link leads to the page on his Generators but the whole site is dedicated to the man. Worth a read IMHO.
Made from a hardfoam core with Card planking, copper wire and the corresponding insulating plastic for the pipe work. Vents on the tops made with  screws, Wheels from the bits box.
The wagons etc are a bit chunkier and bigger than they would have been. I could have spent a bit more time measuring things up  but it was a quick "do this Project or Forget it" Job.
I´ve had it in mind to make an Observation ballon for a while now and any fiddling with exactness would have burst the bubble of enthusiasm.

Basic info on Ballooning during the ACW.

*Even as I wrote the above I thought of a way to suspend the balloon with thinner and  closer to scale  material. :-)

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Body Strippers - Valdemar

A set of bods (VA174) showing what happened after and in a lot of cases, during, a medieval battle.
"Frank! This one´s a wriggler ! Give him the chop!"
The "Total Body" Strip
Mixed in with previous "Battlefield casualty" bases. The Background doesn´t fit that well to the foreground but it´s a Change from my usual black backdrop.


A brilliant Diorama by a brilliant Diorama creator...look HERE for the "Sound of Silence" The video has to be watched to get the titel of the Piece.

@ Hightower. If you see this, I´ve tried recently to comment on your blog but it Comes up "only admin can post comments" Something to do with the Settings?

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Medieval Lifeboat - Zvezda

It actually comes as part of the Zvezda Crusader Cog, shown, as per instructions, placed upright on the deck with the oars etc inside but IMHO, it looks a bit too modern (17th century?) to be a medieval rowing boat let alone a "lifeboat". There´s a few contemporary Images about of medieval boats. like THESE, which. although not a definitive list, Shows much simpler versions than the model
Also, life being cheap, would Medieval ships actually carry lifeboats anyway ? I can´t find any mention of them anywhere.
I could have added it upside down and hide any of the "modern" Details  but I thought that would be a waste so it can go towards the Bodstonian * world.
The rigging was made up, I found several different rigging versions so went for my own.  The  pulley is from a 1/100 scale ship set.


*I know I know...it´s been bloody ages since anything happened there.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Crusader Cog - Zvezda

Well, I waited for a few years and then two turn up within a month.
The Zvezda Cog is basically the same as the Revell cog except it has a different stern,  prow (prowsprit) and has the addition of a crows nest.
The crows nest made adding the rigging a bit more difficult than the Revell Version but after a lot of cussing I got it done.
The cross Comes as a Transfer but I painted it on
"At Sea" pics
Crew (21 Bods ) is made up using  bods from Valdemar, Ceaser, Airfix and Pegasus

Tom Tiddler
Both ships together "the start of your very own fleet mate"
The Revell Cog has a new Crew member
There´s one or two Errors in the instructions.
Adding the prowsprit means the Forecastle cannot be fitted until the hole in it´s deck has been slightly widened. The prowsprit could be fitted alongside Fitting the Forecastle but painting it afterwards would have been more difficult.
There´s no instruction on rigging the odd winch type thing attached to the crows nest. The holes for the hoop attaching the rope from the "odd winch Thing"  to the deck are missing on the actual model but shown in the instructions. No probs to drill a couple of holes but still odd as you have to guesstimate where to put the hoop.
The ladder for accessing the Forecastle is way to wide to fit the hole and had to be drastically trimmed down.

Still, like the Revell Version, it´s a nice kit...so now the hunt is on to increase the fleet....maybe :-)