Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Saturday, 10 November 2018


In the endless flat of the Grimnir Fens, travellers must be wary of the Deadlights. Ever keen to draw people off into the endless shadows of the depths, the Shades of those who drowned in the service of the Harrowed King glow with an unearthly light. 

This was another one painted for my son; the easy to build banshees are great little miniatures and he saw something I'd done with the glow in the dark pigment which led him to ask if I could make him a ghost that glowed. 

I could. 

It's relatively simple to use; you mix the pigment with a little bit of water and then add some matt medium to make your actual glow in the dark paint. I'm still experimenting with getting the consistency right; hence why the finish here is slightly gritty. To be fair, that grittiness works quite well when you're looking at the model in the dark. The nice thing is that the paint is pretty much unnoticeable in normal light, leaving the glow as a nice little surprise.

Monday, 5 November 2018

The Haunting of Caliburn Fell

It was time for the Halloween Game again, and once more our chosen game was Trail of Cthulhu. Two of the same characters from our previous game were joined by two new characters: the Reverend Ephraim Pennyweather and Thomas Middleton, slightly dodgy scientist. 

This was not a published adventure - it was one I wrote myself. So I'll include all the various handouts and gubbins in case anyone wants to use it themselves. So, what was the set up? Here was the introduction. And the Reverend had some extra information....

Our brave heroes arrived on a cold November day in 1935 to met by the groundskeeper, Grady. Ignoring his dire warnings, they bravely enter the Mansion.

Running true to form, they brought no equipment. Nothing. Well, a torch and one set of batteries. And a camera. No weapons - apart from Thomas, who brought a colt .45. This will become important later. 

Investigating the squalid confines of the Fell, they discover evidence of debauchery and pain; their nerves are already on edge when Bernard discovers a painting which has a peculiar effect on him...

It is about this point that some of the more sensitive members of our intrepid adventurers begin to notice that things seem to be moving when others aren't looking. This includes the dustsheet they removed from the dining table being put back over it. 

It was around this point that they armed themselved with cutlery. Yes. Facing down the denizens of an uncaring universe with steak knives. Or a butter knife, in you're a man of God. 

The Library provides a treasure trove of information:

Photographs of the construction:

By now the Intrepid Investigators is starting to develop a very definite idea of what is going on in the house... re-inforcing this are the notes they find in the bedrooms.... They also find some interesting tomes in the Library.

Bernard pockets the Necronomicon and Branston settles down to read the King in Yellow. This is a Bad Idea, as anyone familair with Lovecraft or Chambers could tell you. But this doesn't slow down the others, who are convinced they are dealing with a massive haunting...

Unfortunately, they are wrong. You see, the house is designed as a massive invocation. As their grasp on sanity slips, they open the way for the King in Yellow. As they decide to flee the house and burn it down, Grady - actually the reanimated corpse of Fisher, the psychic killed in the previous expedition - bursts in with a shotgun. 

It was at this point - as the sight outside of the house shifted from the hills of Vermont to the endless plains of Carcosa - that our Intrepid Investigators show that grit and determination and skill which marks them out as true heroes. Bernard legs it - followed by Thomas (the only one with a gun, if you recall) leaving the Reverend and the parapsychologist to fight the living ghoul. The reverend proved himself to be a dab hand at the old fisticuffs while Branston waded in with a steak knife and cleaver. Thomas - as the firearms guy - takes control of the shotgun. No-one makes any comment about this, even given what happened with the gun. 

The immediate danger over, they head down into the cellar and discover the Stadkrone like altar which is channelling all this energy and realise they must do something about it...

Well, most of them do. Thomas stays upstairs. With the shotgun. The Reverend is screaming that they need to destroy the unholy thing while Bernard starts singing a hymn to the Yellow King in the hopes this willl molify him or something? I don't know but there's certainly the undertone of the guy hearing a lion pulling on his running shoes. 

In a final ecstacy of terror, the Reverend throws his Bible at the altar which disrupts the flow of energy. The heroes escape from the Fell just as the mansion falls about them.

Well, Branston runs back in to take a photo of the floor. It obviously seemed like a good idea to him at the time. 

Another great little game. I've said it before but Trail of Cthulhu really is a fabulous little system and ideally suited to playing in an internet environment. I can't recommend it enough. 

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Iron Within

I bought both of the boys the first few issues of Conquest, the new 40k part work. The eldest has been happy painting his but the youngest asked me to do it for him. As I have a rather big project coming up I decided to use these as a test bed for some colour schemes.

The hard part as always was the hazard stripes but I used the same technique I learned for my little Knights.

The rest of the weathering was sponge chipping and then playing around with some different methods of applying weathering pigments.

Monday, 29 October 2018


As you may recall, I have built a U Boat before. It was not a relaxing experience. However, I'm nothing if not a sucker for punishment. It was that time again when I needed to experiment with some new techniques. This time, my specific aim was to learn how to model water. I figured that I could model rough seas that most anything else would be quite simple. The donor kit for this experiment was a 1/350 Revell Type VIIc bought from Amazon for the princely sum of £6.99.

The kit itself went together very easily. It is a beautifully engineered kit and significantly better than the Airfix one, even allowing for the larger scale.

Then we got on to the tricky bit. I sourced a wooden base - leftover from an old attempt to make a Bloodbowl dugout - and stuck some blue foam down. This is what would become my base. I carved a hole for the rear of the sub to slot into and then started carving the waves. 

This process led me to becoming the latest victim of the U-Boat menace. 

Next a bit of masking and then painting the two colours of the sub. I did this with thin washes of colour over a white basecoat to ensure that the details of the sculpt did most of the work for me. 

Then a thin black wash over the whole thing to bring out the recesses. I didn't bother pin-washing here, just applied it as a filter. 

Once this was dry it was time for weathering. U-Boats were very well used ships; Doenitz worked his crews and material hard, and I wanted to reflect this. Time for another new technique. 

I got some pigment and thinned with airbrush thinner. This allowed me to alter the thickness and opacity of the resultng wash on an almost brush by brush basis. This is great technique that I will be using a lot more in the future. You can see the results here: 

Just in case anyone hadn't worked out how small a 1/350 sub is, here's a pencil for scale. 

At this point I also added the rigging on the front of the sub. After all, if I can rig a 1/1200 ship, this is a doddle. I did not rig the rear lines, simply because I didn't want to faff with them disappearing into the water. I wasn't sure it would cause any problems but seeing as this was my first time out I didn't want to take the risk.

Happy with the sub, it was now time for the main event. First I covered the waves with watercolour paper; this gives a base texture and smooths out any too sharp edges in the wave structures. I mixed a green/blue deep sea colour and airbrushed a light grey over the higher areas (in future, the base colour will be darker and the highlights closer to white - this was the only real mistake I made but I had no way of knowing that at the time)

I added some sponged highlights to the airbrush for randomness. 

Now I started adding the water texture, starting with Vallejo Still Water. Two layers of this were added with 24 hours drying time between. 

Now I glued in the sub and started filling the gaps with sea foam - this was tissue paper, soaked with the Still Water effect. 

I cut some sides from Balsa wood and glued it on to neaten up the edges. I cocked up the measurements slightly so they didn't quite meet but such is life. 

It looked pretty good at this point - indeed, the Good Lady She Who Must Be Obeyed thought it was finished  - but now came the most nerve wracking bit. 

I slathered the whole thing with an Atlantic Water effect. 

As this dried, it turned transluscent and allowed the detail underneath to show through. 

So I did another layer. 

This dried with some real depth to it, so I started adding the whitecaps. This was mixture of offwhite, glaze medium and the atlantic water effect, sponged and brushed over the tips. 

I then started painting some more onto the waves to help give a sense of direction and movement using the same mixture as before. 

The last element to add was sea foam. I did this in the same way as I added the wake earlier in the process but this time with cotton wool. It was stuck to the hull and base with water effect and then teased into shape with a brush loaded with still water effect. 

The whole base then received one last coat of  still water effect to blend everything together.

Overall, I'm very happy with the outcome. And along the way I've picked up a couple of very useful techniques that will come in handy in a lot of future projects. 

If anyone is wondering where the title for the post and the basic look came from, it's Das Boot again. 

If anyone wants a handy tutorial on this effect, you can't get much better than this one from Vallejo:

Before I launch back into the round of miniature painting I think I might have another experiment, this time with pigments for weathering and corrosion. For that, I think another little diorama is in order.