Jan 3, 2023

USS Arizona '36 Edition WIP #3 - Life Signs Edition


First of all, a Happy New Year to everyone.

It just occurred to me that although blog posting is sparse, I actually did a lot more hobby-related things during the past year - more available free time I guess, because of less commuting. I hope that in time I'll be able to catch up with my painting output and post on this blog more frequently.

Among other things, some progress had been made on the Arizona. The bottom of the hull was painted red, and some sub-assemblies completed. After repositioning all the barrels, I painted and varnished the turrets. My homemade PE bender turned out to be faulty, but two scalpel blades helped me out in completing the first larger (1/700 scale so ther term is up to debate) PE part I ever did, the turret-mounted catapult in these images. I'm really proud of the result. The catapult is five or six pieces and includes multiple 90° bends. The good-lookin Seagull mounted on it is made out of another five pieces. It was not frustrating at all to put together.

I could bore you further with details about how horrible everything is on the Hobby Boss kit, but let's just be happy for a little while.

Nov 27, 2022

Welcome to the Future

The beginnings of an 18th century naval campaign are currently on my mind. The basic premises are that it is centered around an Ottoman force running the blockade at the Pirate Bay, and then trying to capture as many merchantmen as possible.

For this, harbor defenses for creative use were necessary, and I began constructing a medium-sized ship "in ordinary". However, scratchbuilding such things, while cost-effective, is very time-consuming. I started looking for alternatives, and thought that even with the worst possible results, a 3D print of an old semi-derelict vessel of war could be a good start.

While I don't own a 3D printer myself, by the suggestion of my wife, I found an on demand 3D printing service nearby. You just upload the .stl file to the website, scale it up or down, get a quote and in a few days you receive the final product by courier.

It was kind of hit or miss, but worth a try. I downloaded a free .stl template of a 1/700 scale large frigate from Wargaming3D, blew up the model to a 150% scale (to better match my own fleet of 1/500-ish ships), and made an order worth about 7 Euros including p&p for the pair.

You can see the results above. I went over the models with a lighter to remove most of the fine threads sticking out, but overall I think they look pretty fine, and there is not a lot more prep work to do on them than on some old injection-moulded stuff. Some filling and sanding required here and there. One will be the Böhnstadt flagship SMS Jagdhund, and the other an Ottoman/Tekirdag razée of 40 guns, without masts or sails, ready to be towed to battle (or not).


Nov 1, 2022

USS Arizona '36 Edition WIP #2


Some progress was made during the long weekend with the Arizona build. I sanded the hull to a better shape and corrected the torpedo bulge at the bow. The gun shields were trimmed off the deck above the secondary casemates. And finally, the metal barrels were glued to the turrets which were more or less corrected.

There are obvious mould lines and marks all across, which makes the process, erm, interesting. I'm glad I don't have to work with the plastic barrels. I'll salvage those for another project.

Next up is sanding the second deck tier to a smooth finish, and doing something about those nasty porthole-looking things. I'll probably fill them up, add some card on the outside and drill proper holes.

Oct 2, 2022

USS Arizona '36 Edition WIP #1


I might have mentioned previously that I'm on the lookout for the Takom 1/700 scale Derfflinger kit. Well it was made available in local model stores recently, so, to clear the queue and do some practice, I started working on the 1/700 scale Hobby Boss USS Arizona.

Sep 19, 2022

The Dark Gate of Trashburgh

We enjoyed a meal of Aldi puddings and I really liked the shape of their packaging. Thought followed thought, and, since I had not done anything major terrain-wise since our move to the new place, I scavenged around and came up with the idea of making a small gate for the adequately named city of Trashburgh. On the image above, you can see the beginning stages of the build.

His Grace the Duke of Rotstein decides the build is proceeding well enough for a personal inspection. The gates will mostly be used for him and his pals to run around in an urban environment, sticking rapiers into each other.

As humidity builds up inside when PVA and the secret ingredient cures on the sides of the things, I had to drill them through at a few points, but this shall not detract from the overall effect.

The base is a piece of foamcore from the stock Dad used to renovate their bathroom. You know where the pudding jugs are from; the tower tops are 2mm balsa, around which I glued some EVA foam and decorated it with 1mm balsa strips. The bulwark is made from the same type of foam, and the gate and main wall piece are corrugated cardboard. And, of course, we must not forget about the secret ingredient.

Why yes, the secret ingredient! It's an artist's acrylic medium called "heavy body gel". It can be used to fill in large gaps and dries to a hard finish. It's great for texturing as well. It can be shaped with a spatula or fingertip for the less sophisticated like myself.

Once I added a few more bits and pieces, I'll cover the walls in a stone effect plaster and paint the thing to an eggshell colour, or some similar shade. 

Jun 5, 2022

Undead Knight

This is a fantasy-ish Perry conversion. I took a foot knight of their English(?) HYW set, and modified it a little. I drilled out the eyeholes and made a dent on the helmet. I took a skeleton arm from a spare skeleton, he's not gonna miss it, and added a GB plastic round shield, making it look a bit battered by, again, carving and drilling through it. The upper part of the surcoat was modelled with green stuff, and the same was done to the joint of the left arm and the body. I also scraped the bottom of the surcoat with a scalpel to make it look torn.

May 26, 2022

Straight Outta 叫阿里快递的坑


I am a member of the 'Super Cheap Wargaming' Facebook group. Sometimes it even proves itself useful: for example, a member there directed my attention to the fact that the black hole that is The Eye of Terror AliExpress carries a pack of 1/72 soldiers, no less than two hundred pieces, for the price of about a single box of figures (for the sake of comparison, 30-50 figures) from a retailer, p&p included. This was something I could not miss.

When it arrived (suprisingly fast, about two weeks, no customs charges either) and I could closely examine the contents, it turned out that the figures are carbon copies of multiple Caesar Miniatures sets. (What do you call a Chinaman that copies another Chinaman? Rhetoric question.) The plastic is the flimsy kind one could find toy tanks in army men sets built out of. There is lots of flash, gaps and mould marks. Still worth the price in my eyes, as there is just as much, or even more, work to do on other commercial figure sets.

As the figures are from a variety of periods spanning the Middle Ages, I intend to use them for not-so-serious medieval fantasy games (dinosaurs may be included!). This ten are the Knight of Holstyn from the Kingdom of Lathugan, his two squires and a band of mercenary pollaxe-men and archers hired by them.

After removing all the casting errors I could, I went with a simple colour scheme of silver metal on the plate and mail, yellow on the hauberks and plumes, and flat brown on the weapon shafts, arrow pouches and belts. I have long since been thinking about creating armies around beer brands, so I guess more is to follow.

May 22, 2022

Public Service Announcement

I realize I hadn't posted anything since the end of April, but I had a good reason to do so, as I was preparing for my last exam ever for my master's degree at law, which, unbelievably, I passed. I'm very happy, because I was way overdue, and occupied with a full-time job, to and from which I have to commute more than three hours overall. I'm also very grateful for my wife, without whom I would have lost my sanity.

Until I find a job in the field, and preferably closer to our home, I finally have some time for painting a few figures and working on the Hobby Boss Arizona. It's really relaxing, something I did sort of forget about. This also means that most likely there will be fresh activity on this blog.

Apr 25, 2022

Research on the MNF Bretagne that might be useful for somebody

Some of my readers might have followed the adventures with the 1/1000 scale waterline model of the Bretagne during Spring 2020 on this blog. That model was broken and thrown out to the trash, but the interest remained. The Bretagne-class, just like most dreadnoughts designed before or during WW1 and continuing to serve in WW2, are an interesting topic, and they are probably one of my favourite ships despite their obvious flaws.