Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Nerds Rule!

There are times when you see things that just make you laugh. Not because they happen to be funny, but because, they are, and more, they fit you very well.

I have to say I laughed out loud at this parody. Its so true in so many ways. If I were to count the evenings I have spent with friends and strangers around a dinning room table, gathered on the floor of a room in university hall of accomodation, roleplaying and rolling dice, it would be embarrising. So here is to all the nerds and geeks, who keep the world going and will save the day when the zombies rise!

28mm Vietnam Project - Part 5 - Basing Texture

Well, I managed to find an hour to apply some basing texture.
Having mounted the figures onto 2pence pieces like so;

FoA Vietnam Figures Mounted on 2pence pieces before texture
Now this is where personal preference tends to come in. I know many painters who do their basing texture last. However I choose to apply it now and then undercoat the figures with black or white spray depending.

For these Force of Arms Vietnam 28mm figures I am sticking to my usual texturing medium, of Basetex paint. Its a paint with grit in it basically. Now it comes in varying size pots, from 200ml size, upto 0.5ltr size. I buy the big pots for a simple reason. They have better lids and they don't dry out. Also its handy stuff and lasts a long time if sealed.
But the smaller pots I found to be a false economy if you like it. So by all means grab a small pot to try, but if you like it, make sure you use that small pot up quick. Basetex paint is made by Colourparty, here in the UK.

Now the one thing you have to note, with basetex. The consistency does not always come out the same. I mean, i have bought two pots of brown. One has come out quite viscous and easily spatulared on. And a second pot from the same batch has come out, very runny.
Now this really isn't a problem, either leave the lid off the runny stuff for a few mins and watch the liquid evaporate, or do as i have done to sometimes extend a pots life, by adding some sand. Now in the brown, you will not notice it. The brown will take extra sand, and gravel and not discolour. Lighter colours of course, may tint slightly in shade.

Now, I like it quite thick, as I use a stiff long bristle cheap nylon brush to apply it. Working the brush like a spatula. Applying the first off around the feet/centre of the model and working outwards. The liquids surface tension is pretty good, but it will settle out, and so if you have a raised area, like the base of a figure, then you need to add a little more here, to compensate.

Once I have applied enough basetex and covered the base, you could leave it like that and let is set/dry. If you do, you get a nice caked mud type finish, with drying type cracks in the odd places. Don't worry the basetex, sets like concrete!  So it really is tough stuff.

Now my preference, is to add a pinch of model railway ballast or sand/fine grit mix, here and there to break up the texture and ensure i have some areas when i come to dry brush the model bas, will pick up paint and leave a nice effect.

By sprinkling the gravel onto the wet basetext paint the majority of the gravel will sink in a little and remain well glued down. I do however, rub each figure base with my thumb, to remove and weakly bonded gravel prior to base coating, to avoid you getting "bright spots" when some comes away after base coating, as Murphy's law states it will do in the most obvious place..

So here is what they look like once textured;
Basetex Paint by colour party as base texture medium
As you can see, there are some gravel pieces near the edges and these i tend to ping out, to ensure there are non over hanging. But even as yet unpainted, the bases look pretty reasonable.
So the next step with these will be give them each a rub over, and remove the loosely bonded bits. And glue on a single M79 weapon, that comes as a separate item on one of the figures. Oh and then try and sort the lost gun barrels on a couple. Now I probably should have fixed those earlier, before mounting, but my brain was saying.. " you will have more to hold onto after basing".. time will soon tell whether my brain was right or not.

So here is a close up for those who like detail..

Close up of the textured base.
So the next step, will be glue on the M79 and sort the snapped M16 barrels and then undercoat them. However these are not my only US figures by a long shot. See some of my earlier posts and I have realised some of those were not textured either. So it looks like I might be spending a further night or two prepping before I can get around to base coating.

But will keep you in touch with progress as it occurs.  So stay tuned for the next progress report..

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

28mm Vietnam Project - Part 4 - Basing Begins

Ok, so firstly apologies for the lack of any substantial progress of late. But life has conspired to keep my rather busy and away from the painting table. However in a sudden fit of energy last night. I dug out my pot of 2pence pieces and my batch of Force of Arms 28mm Vietnam figures and started on the basing.

The first step was, simply to go through cleaning up the figures, trimming off flash and vent tags from the moulding. There was not a great deal, mostly vent tags, which are easy to snip off, cut off or file off, depending on your chosen technique.

There were remarkably few bits of flash to deal with. That was the good news. The bad news, was. The FoA metal is not the most bendy. I found several figures with bent gun barrels and two or three snapped upon straightening. Now this is annoying. But I have had it with other makers.

From a recent comment by John Bruce (FoA) with regards to his latest ANZACS release on TMP, I noted he has now moved to a softer metal. So obviously I was not the only one notice how brittle it could be.

Anyhow, I will try and pin those, to give a gun barrel of sorts. And it probably won't be too obvious. As these are gaming and not display models, I am not too worried. It is just slightly frustrating.

So, first step was the clean them up.. now.. a quick note on tools. A while ago I bought a seam scraper from Micromark tools over in the USA. Its a triangular shaped cutter. Its have a double ended bit and can be extended and retracted as required. And its sharp!

It flies through flash at a rate of knots. The only issue is, they are not cheap to buy, having to order from across the pond.

The postage was pretty high and I managed to avoid the tax threshold just. So quite happy with it. I spotted the tool being demoed on YouTube;

This is not the one I original spotted but that has been removed. However this one shows the tool in use. The one thing I will issue a WARNING!! about is, the point is sharp. It is very, I stress very easy to slip and jab your self with this tool. Just like hobby knives. Best treated with respect or the blood will flow! The video also shows some other tools in use.

So.. once the figures were cleaned up, it was just a case of digging out the two part, 5-minute epoxy. I use Devcon, as its never let me down in the past.

Some care needs to be taken. The inbuilt figure bases/tags with some of John's miniatures are quite small and their poses make the figure top heavy. So you have to ensure you have a pretty flat working area, or you get them toppling, whilst the glue dries. This happened to one and I have to quickly remove the still curing semi rigid epoxy with a knife and re glue it. Nothing too serious.

I mix about two penny sized blobs of resin and harnder in each batch and use a cocktail stick to mix the two, thoroughly. You can tell when it is well mixed, as the liquid will take on a frosted haze, that will clear as it sets. This is usually enough to do about 6-9 figures, depending on base size. Its easy to try and do too many in one go. And before you know it, the epoxy will begin to setup/harden and you will have fine stringers of glue, everywhere and then wham! All of a sudden its hard,, and you find your cocktail stick is now, going to have to be come part of your base.

So, small batches. It also means if you get a figure suddenly fall off the desk, or get interrupted by the phone, the cat, the dog, family etc, and you have to leave it, you only loose a little. I mix the liquids on old business cards, as they are a good size and can be scrapped off, before the excess sets, to get more than one use out of them. Be careful mind with tossing setting epoxy about the place. Its exothermic, meaning it generates some heat depending on brands/chemicals, and so can cause melting/fires in large quantities. Also don't get it on your carpet!

Right, OK here they are.. the 34 odd or so.. stuck and firmly glued.. next step will be the texturing.. which I hope to get done this evening.

Force of Arms 28mm Vietnam based on 2pence pieces
If you look carefully you will see some US infantry, including some special forces and a few VC figures in the set. These figures are nicely styled, and have some real character to them. Each figure is an individual and I do think many gamers interested in 28mm Vietnam, over look John Bruces - Junction City Range.