Wednesday 21 December 2011

Watermill Nearing Completion

I have more or less finished building the Watermill now. I just need to add a chimney and few final touches inside and I can move on to the base and scenics.

Friday 2 December 2011

Model Making : The Watermill is progressing!

It is slow work, but I am making good progress with the laser cut watermill. 

At the moment I am working on the roof. I designed the main part of the roof all in Corel Draw, but have moved to cutting down long roof tile strips individually and then measuring them afterwards to draw up on the computer. At this stage it is proving far simpler!

Thursday 24 November 2011

Model Making: Now the Windmill is finished , I am working on a Watermill

A colleague, after seeing the windmill model, suggested I have a go at a watermill. I couldn't resist a challenge like that, so I have spent the last week or so whipping this up.

It still needs a lot of work, (the roof, the dam and some more internal details, but I thought I would post this photo anyway!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Model Making: Laser Cut 28mm Scaled Windmill

Sometime ago I posted some photos of the Fortified Tower House model that I designed. In the same vain as that (i.e. eye catching centre piece for a wargames table) I have now created a windmill model, that is scaled to suit 28mm size miniatures.
As such this is a a pretty big model, it will make an impressive centre piece for a large wargames table, but realistically, it is more of a model for it’s own sake rather than being for wargaming uses…
MDF model windmill
The model is based on the Upminster Windmill, although I have taken a few liberties with the design. Mainly the shape of the top part, which on the Upminster Windmill is somewhat “boat-shaped” whereas, due to the nature of the materials I have used, I simplified the shape a little.
Upminster Windmill
Also I must add that my model is built purely from my estimations of its dimensions, taken from the photos I found on the web. I have tried to scale all the part appropriately, but to some extent it has come down to guesswork! For example, I made the small fan on the back side three times, reducing it’s size each time until I was happy with the size…
Vintage photo of Upminster Windmill
The windows are constructed in three layers. Firstly there is the surface of the wall, which has the hole cut in it as well as the sills etc. etched onto it. Then the second layer which has the window panes cut out of it leaving the frame of the window. Finally the third layer, for this model I have used MDF to back up the window, however I am considering using clear acrylic to add a little more depth to the model.
Details of the rear top of the windmill model
The model is built entirely out of 2mm MDF sheet, except for two short pieces of 6mm dowel and a piece of 2mm dowel, all of which were used as axles for the spinning parts of the model. Oh, and there is the cord used for the upper hand rail…
As I have used dowel for the spindles the sails and small windmill both turn as does the top of the mill (to face the wind…)
I construct my models as kits so that a competent model maker can put them together fairly easily. If I was simply making “one-offs” I would do things considerably differently. For a start I wouldn’t use the interlocking wall system. This is a compromise that allows the model to be put together far easier than if I was going for pure accuracy…
Another view of the windmill model
The construction of the windmill offered several interesting challenges, there are multiple parts that come together with compound angles. The most complex of these was devising the construction of the top part of the mill. The top of the original Upminster Windmill is constructed much like an upturned boat. Due to the nature of the material I was using (MDF), which wouldn’t bend very easily, I decided to keep the sides straight.
Another consideration is that the main sails of the windmill do not turn on a horizontal axis. It is actually tilted back by a few degrees (this appears to be so that the sails don’t hit the main mill building, lower down). This forced me to tilt the front of the top section back at an angle of 7 degrees off of vertical (which matched the angle on the sides of the main tower below). This then led to the problem of calculating the angles on each of the roof sections, which are each at shallower and shallower angles. Fortunately I dredge up some old technical drawing techniques from the depths of my memory (I left school some 30 odd years ago) and managed to get it right first time – I surprised myself with that one…
This final photo shows the size of the model, that is a 30cm(12”) steel rule propped against the model
Size of the 28mm scaled windmill model

December 2013
Just a wee note to say I have just entered this model in a competiton by :-

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Toy Soldiers: TARGE 2011 Wargames Show

Last weekend saw the third and last wargames show that I have managed to attend this year (quite good as recent year it has been a struggle to get the time to attend shows).

TARGE was held at Websters High School in Kirriemuir, a small town just north of Dundee. Over the years I have really enjoyed visiting TARGE and in it’s previous incarnation the original SKELP. The show was originally held in the town hall, and even though it was always a friendly show, the cramped conditions were starting to become annoying. Over the last couple of years TARGE has moved to the new venue (Websters High School), which has proved to be a very good move. Not only does the venue have much more space for tables, traders, the Bring and Buy and even some odd table that visitors could sit at and have a break, but it is also far easier to get parked without having to walk miles now…

Unfortunately, I only managed a fairly quick visit this year, as I had the boys in tow and I don’t wont them to get too bored and be put off. So it was an hour in the morning, retire to the car for a “picnic” and then a further half hour in the afternoon, then head back up the road to Aberdeen.

I felt that the standard of display and participation tables was excellent this year. Everyone made a good effort to put on interesting games and even the simpler ones looked very effective.

Moving on to the photos.

Firstly we have a view of the main hall.


Next up we have a WWII game, based in Sicily. Put together with generic scenic pieces, but all tying together to make a very attractive table.


Here we have a W40K game. I must admit I dread to think how much all this would cost to put together. It is the second show I have seen it at and I am still pretty impressed by it, even though there is not much self made stuff on the table…


The following table, from South East Scotland Wargames Club, entitled Closing the Falaise Gap (WWII Normandy) appealed to me due to the use of artificial fur as long grass. Very effective, and it certainly made  the table stand out.


I must admit that I can’t remember exactly what the next table is. It appears to be somewhere around the 17th century (I think). However, the thing that really attracted me to this table were the excellent terrain boards…


This next ACW table was one of the simpler tables. Fairly flat, using a base sheet instead of boards, but still quite effective. I would be happy to play on this table on a regular basis (even if I am not particularly interested in the ACW period).


Following on with the simplicity theme, this scrubland style board worked really well, with all the colours tying in nicely.


I am definitely not a Napoleonic period fan, however it is difficult not to be impressed by this table from Buchan Wargames Group. Initially looking quite plain (due to the winter scheme), the overall effect was really very good.


Here we have another fairly simple table that rises quite a bit from one end to the other. I get the impression that this board is well used, which account for the lack of fussy detail. The only thing I dislike about this board is the grey colour as it is a bit monotonous. I would probably add a little more variation to the ground colour, if it was my table. Varying the tone particularly along the cliff edges, to bring out the different levels a little more.


Another well done table, this time an ECW game (I think) from the Iron Brigade club(?).


This is the Great Escape game that I have seen at a couple of shows before. Always a good game to see around and I hope I actually manage to participate in it in at sometime in the future…


Finally we have a large table featuring a city display with some kind of early 20th century conflict. Unfortunately I didn’t managed to speak to the guys that were running it to get more details of the game as it certainly looked interesting…


While at TARGE I managed to pick up a few thing that I hadn’t really planned too. Firstly, I was enticed by Figures In Comforts large selection of West Wind’s Secrets of the Third Reich, so I bought the two rule books and a couple of character figures. Now I will have to read through them and decide which forces to put together. I am certainly planning a German force, which will feature a group of figures I have been amassing for several years. Beyond that, I usually like to have a British force, although I do like the look of all the other figures, so I suppose I will have to make a decision at some point…


I also got a pack of West Wind’s Vampire Wars figures from the Bring and Buy, Russian looking military types, that will fit in nicely with either my Steampunk figures or possibly some of the more pulpy figures as well.

Talking of Steampunk I finally managed to get 4A Miniatures Top Hat figure (They had run out when I asked for it at SKELP a few weeks back)!


I am very happy with the way that my Wargames Show calendar has worked out this year. Early on I was at Carronade in Falkirk, where I had a good chat with Craig from Critical Mass Games (which lead to some work coming my way, can’t be bad…). At this end of the year I managed to attend both of the local shows, SKELP and TARGE. Next year I am already hoping to attend Carronade again, and beyond that, well we shall have to see…

Friday 11 November 2011

Remember the Fallen…


To all those that have fallen, in conflicts around the world, fighting to protect the ones they love… We shall not forget you!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Laser Cut Steampunk Bases

Between mid-September and Mid-October Jeff Wilhelm of Dragon Forge Design ran a base design competition.

I thought I would give it a go and I knocked up a couple of 50mm steampunk style cog and gear bases. I sent in the photos and Jeff emailed me back to discuss working together on a few things.

However, I then waited for him to announce who had won the Base Design competition, which he has not done. I then emailed him to follow up on the initial discussions that we had. He has not got back to me… So I am assuming that he no-longer wants to take the projects any further. As such I have decided to show the bases I made on here.

50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Bases

50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base A50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base A50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base A

50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base B50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base B50mm Laser Cut Steap Punk Base B

The bases are made of 2mm acrylic sheet and epoxy putty. They are ready for casting and should have no air pockets, so should survive the mould-making process.

At the moment I haven’t decided what I am going to do with them. I may get them manufactured myself and sell them via the website. The other possibility is that I will sell them on. So if you are a base maker and fancy a couple of 50mm steampunk bases please let me know. I would be happy to expand the range, if anyone is interested…

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Aberdeen Model Railway Club Exhibition 2011

It has been several years since I attended one of AMRC’s exhibitions. They seem to have changed venues a couple of time and I lost track of them.

Fortunately a friend of mine, Jeff, let me know that this exhibition was coming along and I managed to slot it into my busy social calendar!

I am not particularly enthusiastic about the whole model train hobby, however I am a pretty much interested in looking at any model making endeavours and ,if nothing else, you can usually expect to see some high quality terrain! I had the added bonus this year, that I took my son along, and he is developing a keen interest in all things mechanical/engineering based, so it was great to see his fascination with all the train layouts (it probably means we will have to get a train set in the near future…).

OK, so lets have a look at some of the photos I took!

First off as we entered the exhibition hall we were greeted by this mountainous display. A really nice look to it, although I would have preferred it if it hadn’t been quite so straight. What would have really made it for me would have been if they had put a small side valley, cut by a small river or steam, somewhere along it’s length, this would have needed a small bridge for the track to cross as well. Still, a very eye catching display!


This layout has much more of an industrial feel to it. Lots of “rust and dust”. There were some nice touches that can’t be seen on the photos, like the flicker of a welding torch in one of the engine sheds.



Moving along, we have a nice display, that I think was set somewhere in Germany or Austria (Note to self: I should photograph the signs for these tables as well). A lovely mix of town and countryside, with some very nice model building. I could quite happily have have played a Flames of War scenario over this layout!


This was one of my favourite layouts. It was actually a commercial display by the company ( selling the kit on the layout. This is reputedly the smallest scale model railway commercially available, and at 1:450, I can quite believe it! I was really taken with it, and if we do decide to invest in a train set in the near future I may well be looking do it in this scale. You can just do so much on a very small table…


The problem I find with a lot of these club displays, is their linear nature. I suppose as a wargamer, I am used to seeing rectangular tables that get quite sizable at shows. These long thin layouts do disappoint me quite a bit. These two photos for example, show some lovely work on a couple of bridges crossing a small river. Really well executed, but when the display is only around 400mm deep (at that point), the whole effect is pretty much wasted.


Here is another very linear display, however, I did like this one, if for nothing else, it’s shear size and attention to detail were worth seeing.



This section of a display caught my attention for it’s shear craziness. I don’t know if it is based on an actual bridge (somehow I doubt it), but even if it is, it looks like it is the centre piece from a Wily Coyote or Wacky Races cartoon…


Looking back at the photos I took, I must have a thing about bridges, maybe they were just the most interesting features, to a non-railway modeller… anyway here is another one!


Both my son and I were very taken by this wintery display. In some respect, it was similar to the one in the first photo, however it had far more variety in the design of the landscape, even under the layer of snow…


As well as the railway modelling, there were a few other genres on display, here we have some Meccano. I  find Meccano fiddly and, frankly, frustrating. So I am always impressed when I see well made and “finished” Meccano models.


I took a couple of photos of this windmill, as I am in the middle of designing a laser cut windmill kit at the moment. It will be very similar to this one, appearance-wise, although I am initially making it at the 25/28mm scale (this one is 1/72).


I was pleased to see that Aberdeen Wargames Club put on their Battle of Harlaw game. I have missed seeing it a couple of times and having heard about it from Sholto Humphries of Scheltrum Miniatures (who is a member of the club), I had been wanting to see it for a while.


One of the things I was most impressed with was that a couple of the displays let kids have ago at driving the trains. My son had a great time driving this large scale set around a circuit.


One of the things that usually disappoints me with these model railway exhibitions is the amount to trouble some of the displays have getting their trains to run. There was plenty of that again today. This pair of crane was a good example, embarrassingly enough for the chap running it, as he had quite an audience of kids just waiting to see it pick up the container and place it on the train. He did get it to work eventually, but I wouldn’t call it smooth by any stretch…


Finally, just before we left, my son got his second go at driving a train. This time a much smaller scale, but with a lot more to do. He drove the train out of a siding, coupled up with a carriage, drove it about a bit, and finally decoupled it. I think this one really made the show for him…


So, to sum up, I almost didn’t bother attending the exhibition this year, and only went along after my son pleaded with me to take him. We ended up having a great couple of hours. Well worth a visit.

I have the TARGE Wargames Show in Kirriemuir in just over a week and a half, my calendar is so full at the moment!

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