Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I am 47 this year and after a life time of drawing and painting for a living, my eyes are really starting to fail me big time. I recently bought some Old Glory AWI figures and was horrified to find that even with my painting glasses on I was struggling to see the detail. The results were disappointing  and have lead me to buying Front Rank miniatures which are a delight to paint with nice big details.

However, one stroke of luck was the discovery of this light with a magnifier glass inside. It really helps see the detail and after a while I am getting used to painting under it. It can be a little tricky but I think I am getting there. Painting is slower which is annoying but the results are better.

In the old days I would take pictures on my i phone and blog them, only then seeing them close up would notice mistakes and go back and fix them.

Another eye test is on the cards too I think, joy!

American ground cover flock for basing ACW / AWI

Above is my old flock with various leaf scatter added for a bit of extra colour and pop to the base.

 Lately I have been making some tweaks to my American ground cover. Those of you have seen my basing ACW post will remember to save time I just flock my bases with various colours to save time with basing. The Blended Turf colour of 'earth blend' was my first layer as this was a nice dry looking base colour to build up from for the American continent.

 However, while making Birch and Aspen trees for my ACW collection I realized that I had buckets of tiny tree 'sponge' left over in piles around the table. These autumn colours said 'American woodland' to me, so I scrapped them up and added them to my earth coloured flock. The tiny oranges and yellows really give a sense of fallen leaves. I'm really looking forward to using this new base blend on my AWI project where stalking through Autumnal woods is all part of the atmosphere and look of the war.

 So far the early tests on my rail fences seem to be good. This tree scatter foam stuff is very satisfying to work with and I found myself sprinkling it all over the tree bases to act as leaf fall. Also rather than just use one colour on the actually trees, I found the best results were to mix the different colours to produce trees that were just beginning to turn.

 Aspens are very yellow in colour and say American woods more than anything else.
 large boulders offer a little more protect against musket balls... Also my old trick of using mixed herbs from the Supermarket as bracken and dry leaves also comes into it's own on these tree bases. Cheap and very effective...tasty too.

 It's worth saying that once done I give the whole base and tree a good covering in watered down wood glue from a spray bottle just to set everything and make it gaming proof.

 Here are the bare trees before they get any flock, quickly sprayed with various spray paints to produce a basic Birch colour. To this I will add tiny black brush strokes to create the Birch bark look.
This idea of basing tiny trees on tiny scatter bases is new to me but one that should work well. I bought these birches from eBay for a very good price. They should work well scattered in amongst fences and around building to break up the terrain..

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ACW/AWI fences Emperor Toads Emporium

 I treated myself to another set of American fences from the model maker Emperor Toad's Emporium. I think I paid £26 for 16 fences from eBay. The strength of these products is that most of the heavy lifting has been done when they arrive. You are meant to use straight as they come, but I like to spend a little time and 'jazz' them up slightly.

 I started off by digging out an old tube of Raw Umber paint and coated the whole lot with a big brush. I added a few more pebbles to the bases with hot glue to add to the look of the fences. ( My god that glue is hot, my fingers and thumb are still hurting today).
 I then dug out an old pot of Tamiya grey paint from my 'bits' box. I wet brushed the fences with this, the brush too was an old one and had split into many points, this was great as I used the feathered brush to create lots of tiny lines on the rails. They ended up looking like birch trees quite by accident.
 These bases also gave me the opportunity to use my new American ground flock I have been working on for my new AWI project and my ACW collection.
 To this ground flock I also added some lighter flock and some mini bushes to grow up the old rails. It was worth doing and the extra effects took me about three hours. I had been looking forward to getting these fences for a while and once tweaked I am really happy with them. Not having much time to create scenery these days I love any short cut I can take.
 Union troops take cover behind the new fences. Now the question is...what is a fence like this counted for as cover. In Bonnie Blue Flag rail fences get no cover bonus but with these having a small wall of large stones pulled from the fields at their base, I may have to rethink that, maybe a +5 modifier.

When I get home tonight I might add a green wash to some of the rails coming from the ground and put a brown wash on some of the boulders. I had a good time doing these last night, I have got into the unhealthy habit of watching people paint on YouTube rather than do it myself. Although this is a great way to past a late evening after work It means you get nothing done yourself, so last night was a blast.