Monday 31 October 2011

Halloween 2011

Being British and of a generation that didn’t celebrate Halloween (until the retail industry took it up as a way of making some quick cash), this time of years has always been more about Bonfire Night (Guy Forkes Night) than Halloween to me. However, now that I have two boys that are very much wrapped up in modern culture, I have more or less been dragged into the Halloween “festivities”.

I hasten to add that they wont be Trick or Treating, as we don’t believe in blackmailing the neighbours for sweets.

I have carved a pumpkin for the last couple of years, and rather than stick to the simple ZigZag style scary face, I thought it was about time I tried my hand at something a little more adventurous!

I did a quick hunt around the internet for some simple ideas and came up with this one.

Pumpkin 2011 a

Still fairly simple, but certainly more effective than my previous attempts! To give it it’s full effect here is a photo with all the lights off!

Pumpkin 2011 b

Monday 24 October 2011

Model Making: Painted Laser Cut Snake Oil Wagon

I have shown several on my laser cut models on this blog and generally they have been well received. However, a few people have asked to see the models in their fully finished and painted state, to see how well they paint up.

I have spent so much time developing new models that I haven’t really had the time to get them painted up myself. I am planning on changing that in the near future though.

In the meantime, a friend of mine, Del, has just finished off his first Snake Oil Wagon, and I got a couple of photos of it with my phone. They are not great photos and I have done as much post processing as I can to make them presentable.

Derek's Snake Oil Wagon 1

Derek's Snake Oil Wagon 2

Derek's Snake Oil Wagon 3

Derek's Snake Oil Wagon 4

Del has two of these wagons and for this one he decided to do some Photoshop work to create the posters on the sides. However, he has assured me that the other one will feature the engraved ladies faces fully painted (I actually cut some spare sides for him so that he could practice the faces and see what style worked best).

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Model Making: Pulp Scenic Ideas

As I slowly progress my Pulp Sci-Fi Habitation Dome terrain piece I have been slowly developing various ideas for furniture and other items to fill out the spaces inside the dome.

I had already settled on the different uses for different rooms, kitchen, workshop, lab control room etc. But the big question was how do I make this stuff, will it look suitably retro sci-fi and finally, how can I do it without spending too much time on it…

My first option was to use some ready made resin scenic pieces, such as those available in the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang range from Copplestone Castings or or the sci-fi scenics from Scotia Grendel Productions, however, neither of them really caught the retro sci-fi feel that I was looking for.

The thought of making it all from scratch was quite a daunting one, and I suppose has been the main thing that has caused the stalling of the project. However, even though I haven’t been working on it recently I have been keeping my eye open for suitable items that I could use.

Some time ago my sons had a Happy Meal from McDonalds and returned with some odd little (totally pointless) music players, in due course one of them stopped working and was about to be disposed of when it occurred to me that it might work well as a retro computer so that was added to my pile of bits.

Hab Dome Computer

Now having found both some 15mm sci-fi tanks and the “retro computer” from McDonalds Happy Meals, I have since been keeping an eye on the toys that my sons gather from their (very occasional) trips to fast food establishments.

McDonalds Star Wars Walker Tank, ideal for 15mm gaming!

Just recently McDonalds have been running a series of science related toys based on the cartoon show Johnny Test. Now most them are of no interest, but two caught my eye and had a definite pulp feel to them.

Johnny Test 1

Both of these have real possibilities for biohazard chambers, growth tanks or hydroponic tanks.

As soon as I saw them I immediately did a search on Ebay (there is quite a market for McDonalds toys on Ebay). Found several listings for the ones I wanted, and bid on them. You can almost certainly pick them up for the starting price (usually 99p + postage) so I managed to get two or three of each.

I have held off posting this article until I had what I needed, but there are plenty more being listed if anyone else would like some!

Johnny Test 2

McDonald’s toys always seem to come fitted with a type of safety screw that requires a triangular headed screwdriver. However, it is possible to force a 3mm flat headed screwdriver into the screw and undo them with some care. As I don’t plan on putting the screws back in, I could of course have simply drilled them out. But, as I managed with the flat headed screwdriver, I didn’t need to resort to that!

Johnny Test 3

As you can see the two toys strip down fairly easily. They have four screw holding them together and no sign of any glue anywhere.

Johnny Test 4

This was the bit I was most interested in disassembling. To make the chambers I am planning I really needed the inner (spiralled) part to come out leaving a plain tube. Fortunately I got my wish!

Johnny Test 6

As for the spiral and inner mechanism, they go straight into the bits box, I am sure I will find a use for them at some point.

Johnny Test 5

Now, to reassemble the chamber and see how it looks… Perfect! This will do nicely for my Habitation Dome hydroponics lab. I also have a couple of spares on their way that will be great for any pulp games I create in the future. I can already see a Weird War scenario with a mad Nazi doctor creating zombies or superhuman storm troopers in one of these things!

Johnny Test 7

Now on to the second one. This one also came apart very easily. However the inner part, rather than being a clear tube, is actually mirrored plastic. Not so useful…

Johnny Test 8

Still, I can always use it as a teleportation chamber, or possibly line it with some mirrored card and flex some clear acetate in to cover the front, making a suitable chamber!

This is as far as I have got with them at the moment, but I thought it would be worth pointing these things out to any keen pulp gamers out there. I don’t know how long they will be available on Ebay, so now is the time to track them down. Good hunting. Here is the Ebay search that should find them for you.

Monday 10 October 2011

Toy Soldiers: SKELP Wargames Show 2011, Forfar

On Saturday I took a trip down to Forfar to visit the Angus Wargames Club’s annual wargames show, SKELP. Held in The Reid Hall (a reasonable size community hall), the show had a good atmosphere and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The traders in attendance covered most periods, and were pretty much all you could expect from a regional show so far from the centre of the UK wargaming population centres!

As for the games on show, there were an interesting mix of mainly historical games that were all run on nicely laid out tables and run with a good level of enthusiasm.

I wasn’t able to pay as much attention as I would have liked to the details of the tables, as I was accompanied by my sons( and my wife, who thoughtfully took the boys away for a nice long walk to give me a little time to catch up with a few people), however I have tried to capture some nice photos of the show, and I will comment on the ones I can recall details of!

SKELP 2011, a view of the main hall!

A view of the main hall, with the games tables and traders around the edge. As you can see on the extreme right there was one empty table, a bit of disappointment for such a small show…

55 Minutes in Peking

55 Minutes in Peking was the participation game put on by Aberdeen Wargames Club, my local club, that I really must join in the near future. The game had various Western Legations fighting off the Chinese, and basically fighting a loosing battle over the length of the day.


I would have liked to have spent more time investigating this table as it looked great fun. From what I can gather it involved a couple of parties racing across an arctic landscape to reach a crash flying saucer (whether of mundane origins or more extra-terrestrial ones I am not sure)!





This was a wonderful Chinese game that I have seen before at Carronade 2011 in Falkirk, however, at is such a nice table I had to take some more photos…




Finally we have a Great Escape game that looked to be good fun. In fact, too late in the day, my 7year old asked if we could have a go at this one, but we were planning on leave by that point and I think they had finished the games for the day.

All in all a good day, I caught up with a few people, failed miserably in the painting competition and didn’t spend much money (the wife in attendance Winking smile). We have the Aberdeen Model Railway Club Exhibition in a couple of weeks and then TARGE at Kirriemuir a couple of weeks after that, so quite a lot to look forward to at this time of year.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Posting Update!

I know things have been very quiet on the blog for the last couple of weeks.

I have not given up on the blog, it's simply that several projects are at their mid-point at the moment. I should have several new posts lined up over the next couple of weeks.  Also I am planning to attend the SKELP Wargames Show in Forfar on Saturday, so you can expect to see a show report from me later in the weekend or early next week.

In the mean time here is a work in progess photo of the Mk2 Retro Rocket. It is nearing completion and I am presently working on the landing gear.

There will be a full tutorial on the construction of the Mk2 as soon as I have it finished.

Now in the tradition of my update messages I feel I should add the usual "Space Babe" photo!

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