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

Saturday 30 May 2015

True Grit

I've been watching a lot of Westerns while I've been painting this week because, Hell, who doesn't like a good western?

As part of my digging around in the garage I located the last set of miniatures I was painting before the birth of my firstborn, 3 years ago. They are a sorry-lookin' collection of half-painted cowpokes and desperadoes from Black Scorpion and Artizan.

Here's the photo taken way back when:

A Good Day

I've started catching up with them - I've already posted big Al:


And yesterday I sat down to watch True Grit (the original version, although Lord knows I do love them both) and painted the Duke in his Oscar-winning turn as Deputy US Marshall Rooster Cogburn:

Rooster (2 of 2)

As an interesting aside, I really need to stop using the big macro lens to shoot my minis as it makes the brushwork look horrible:

Rooster (1 of 2)

So the next step is to paint a few more; I have the Artizan Doc Holliday and Wild Bill to do as well as the Black Scorpion generic chaps.

Can anyone recommend any good Western rules...?

Thursday 28 May 2015

Saruman of Many Shades of Off White

Whilst digging through the garage I found some miniatures long thought lost. I was particularly happy to find these chaps as I was generally happy with the paintjob at the time. As it is, just needed a couple of glazes to bring it up to my current standards:


I was also able to finish the last couple of details and varnish big Al


Next up, finish off a long delayed project...

Wednesday 27 May 2015

The Boyz

Well, got a bit of time - this time in front of Pale Rider - to finish the orc Bloobowl team. I just need a name now - any suggestions in the comments would be gratefully appreciated.

Bloodbowl Orc Team

The Throwers Bloodbowl Orc Team Throwers

The defence Bloodbowl Orc Team Linesmen

The Big Boyz Bloodbowl Orc Team Offense

A little break, I think, before I do the Human Team.

Saturday 23 May 2015

And so mote it be...

I popped The Outlaw Josey Wales on and Clint inspired me to man up and get on with it. 

All base colours and shading done. Just highlights and the armour glaze to do and a touch of detail here and there. I've decided to add a few tattoos here and there to help give some character to the linesmen who are, after all, all the same sculpts: 

Quite happy for an hour or so's work. 


Although I surely do feel it. 

The reason for the long silence is that my 3 year old son came down with chicken pox. 

Then my one year old son came down with chicken pox. 

Then I came down with chicken pox. 

The humiliation of a 40-year old man sent home from school because he has chicken pox is pretty complete, it has to be said. Thanks to living in the future, I was still able to teach my Year 11 lessons  via Skype to make sure they were ready for the exam. 

What this little visitation by Nurgle has meant is that there's very little in the way of painting been done. Here is the sum total of my efforts for the last fortnight:

I've blocked in the base colours on the Orc team and done some slightly different skin tones. And that's it. 

Hopefully I'll be able to get into the swing a bit and do some more over half term if I'm feeling better, so please don't abandon me!

Saturday 9 May 2015


This is more or less a product review. Hope it's helpful (I've not been paid for this in any way. If anyone wants to, though, feel free)

Stripping minis has always been a chore. My own personal favourite was always the old nail polish remover but the shift to plastics out paid to that as the acetone free stuff was never as good. 

Since then I've mainly been using brake fluid which, although brilliant, is seriously nasty stuff. Then a read a forum post about this stuff: 

Biostrip 20 is available more or less everywhere online and I got this pot for a tenner. It's like slightly watery PVA and this single pot will do for an awful lot of minis as you will shortly see. 

So, how do you use it? Well, you pretty much just dip the miniature in. For my first test I used the Orc Bloodbowl team and a lovely Saruman which I picked up at a car boot sale slathered in paint. 

So, we dip the minis:

And leave them for an hour. 

Within a few minutes you can already see the pigment starting to come off in some of the colours:

And within half an hour the paint itself is starting to crackle and blister:

After an hour a quick rinse and scrub with a toothbrush shows that this stuff is dynamite:

Only a couple of very thick dollops in deep recesses remain, such as on the Black Orc:

But these can be scraped off with a fingernail. The stuff is non toxic and doesn't smell of anything much, so I had no worries scraping away at it. Overall, the team looks more or less like new. 

The only problem I ran into was with Sir Christopher Lee; it turns out there was another coat of paint under the first - and this one appears to be enamels. 

Another dip and another hour and most of the second layer disappears.

So, the bottom line: this is exactly the product I've been waiting for. It makes stripping paint a minor job rather than a major chore, something you can set away while you're painting something else. 

As you're simply dipping the miniatures in fairly thick liquid, this one pot would easily be enough to conveniently strip a normally painted warhammer/40k/saga/lion rampant sized force with a fair bit left over. And for a tenner, that's hard to beat. 

Monday 4 May 2015

Musings of an (ex) Cigarette Smoking Man

A few fairly random bits to round off the weekend. 

1. In the comments on my Bloodbowl painting post, something was mentioned that got me thinking. The inestimable Roy said I should crack on with the rest of the team while I still had the paints out. 

Confession time: I have one of these 

How many of you fine people have something similar to record colour schemes and recipes for various things?

2. I started to put together some Grenadier Platoons with a mixture of the Flames of War metals and PSC plastic figures.

The PSC are much better, as my test squad shows quite effectively. 

3. I've been tidying up some old
Miniatures with varnish and some new glazes I've formulated since they were painted. 

Here's a teaser:

More later in the week. Assuming I survive the last run towards the two Paper 1s of the GCSE History and Film Studies exams, that is. 

Saturday 2 May 2015

Sabotaged by my own wife...

I'd been doing so well. 

I'd stuck to the Wars of the Roses project. I'd not bought much stuff. I'm ready to start on the Bloodbowl teams. 

I'd been good. 

But today, The Good Lady Er Indoors Mrs West spotted something for sale on one of those local Facebook pages; and I found myself presented with this:

They need rebasing as whoever it was stuck then together in quite a random fashion, but a full late war company for £15 is not to be sniffed at. 

The problem Is, of course, that I now have to build an opposing dice of equal size....

I'd been doing so well. 

Oh and the addition of 96 troopers has shot my pledge all to hell. Or do we count them as bases?

Good Company

Today I discovered that Edward Woodward was a wargamer.

He played Callan who- when he wasn't killing the enemies of the state or angsting about same - painted toy soldiers, but I had no idea he was also a Lead Crack addict.

So between him and Peter Cushing, I'd say we're in good company!