Wednesday 25 June 2014

A Quick Build!

My gaming group have been planning to run a series of games using the steampunk rules In Her Majesty’s Name.

IHMN is a small scale skirmish game using companies of around 5 – 15 miniatures in each opposing force. Shooting in the game appears to be pretty deadly and it is fairly apparent that a good amount of cover is going to be essential. As such I have been reviewing the scenery I have, and also preparing a few bits of specifically “Steampunk” styled pieces. I soon decided that I didn’t have enough buildings for the game (after all a lot of the feel of the game is set around urban Victorian scenarios).


Some time ago I picked up an Airfix Beam Engine model kit (actually, it was in a sale and I bought three of them…). I have built it and it makes perfect scenery for a steampunk game. It occurred to me that I really needed a building to go around the Beam Engine, giving the flavour of a Victorian Pump room or some other strange factory facility.

I wanted the building to be multipurpose, so I decided not the fix the Beam Engine into the model (it might be handy to leave it lying around the steampunk tables anyway.

I did a quick sketch last Wednesday. I am not great at doing extensive plans, I generally prefer to dive straight into the actual model making, and then finalise the design as I go along.The sketch was a very simple plan view of the building an then an isometric view. At this point I hadn’t even considered any stairs…


This was a very fast build. I cut all of the foamcore by hand, just using a scalpel and a steel straight edge. Due to this I don’t have any step by step photos. Basically I cut the floor of the upper storey and then cut the rest of the pieces to fit it!

Joining Foamcore

I cut the foamcore back from the edges of one side of each joint so that it would hide the edge of the other piece in the joint.


Once I had all of the pieces cut I stuck everything together using PVA wood glue.

At this point I started to look at the stairs. I was considering having a curved stair at each of the back corners. However, as this was supposed to be a quick build I went for a simple central structure, which has the added benefit of giving a nice deep tunnel underneath, that a figure can lurk in!


I kept the upper floor separate so that we could have access to move figures around on the ground floor.

Next up, I started to consider some of the finishing details. Obviously I needed a balustrade of some sort, to go around the upper floor, both inside the building and out. I decided to use 1.5mm ply and cut all the details on the laser cutter.

First up I cut back the top of the foamcore, by 1.5mm all around, so that the balustrade wouldn’t overhang.


Then I measured up what I was going to need. I designed the balustrade in Corel Draw, it only took around a half hour to do, as it was all more or less repetition… It took about the same time for them to cut in the laser.


The roof of the building was also laser cut. I found a roof tile texture on the web, and with quite a bit of tweaking I made it suitable for laser cutting, and giving a (shallow) 3D surface.

Finally I laser cut the window frames, door frames and the balustrade on the stairs.

Once these were all stuck in place The model was finished.


These two photos show the model with roof on.






Taking the roof off, you can see there is plenty of room for figures to run around both in and outside.




Finally with the upper storey removed, there is full access to the ground floor.








Monday 23 June 2014

Alliance Model Works Steampunk Submarine Build Part 04

It’s been a while since I had a chance to update this kit. I have been dragged into a few other commission jobs, and I am only just now managing to get back to some fun with this one.

I am still finishing off the brass etched parts of the kit, and some of them are proving quite time consuming.

This time however, I am starting off with a couple of small resin detail pieces. These spar headlights are glued to the brass etched struts, at the front of the vessel. I found them really quite difficult to position as the brass is very thin and tends to flex as you touch it.


Once the lights were in place I moved on to the conning tower ladder.


This involved folding the two sides to create the hand rails. Very small, but straight forward enough.


The positioning of the ladder is fairly straightforward, even though there are not locating lugs for it…


Next we have the propeller. The propeller itself is a single piece of brass, that simply needs to be twisted and glued in place.


However there are three small “washers” that give it some depth.


These simply glue on the shaft once the propeller is in place.


At this point I decided to add the deck mounted harpoon gun. This is a very small resin piece, Although as a one piece casting it was  simple job to glue it in place.


However, the harpoon was a different matter entirely! This is the smallest part in the entire kit. It is, maybe, 5mm long, and under 1mm wide. It proved tricky to pick up, even with a fine pair of tweezers.


The hole on the barrel of the harpoon gun was quite large compare to the harpoon itself, so getting it to sit straight in the barrel took two or three attempts. Still, I got there in the end…


Next up with be the larger tail pieces. These look to be quite challenge, as they are each made up of 4 or 5 pieces.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

West Wind Productions Gas Lamps

I bought a couple of packs of these gas lamps for West Wind Productions at a Wargames show last year.

I think they will really add to the flavour of my table when we start to play In Her Majesty's Name next week. However, they have been sitting in their blister packs since I got them so I really needed to get them ready.

I don't think the paint job will be to arduous, I am planning on simply painting them black with the glass parts either being skyblue or yellow, depending whether I decide to go with a daylight look or a night-time one...

I opened up the blisters last week and cleaned up 5 of the lamps. They don't need much work, just a brief scraping with the edge of a craft knife to remove the moulding lines. 

I then glued them to their square bases. These are about a centimetre square, and add some weight to the lamps. At this point it became obvious that the centre of gravity of these lamps is quite high and with the small base any nudge of the table is likely to have them falling all over the place.

I could have simply glued them to a larger piece of card, but that seemed like an in-elegant solution. Finally I decided to laser cut some new bases for them. I designed a round, paved island, that will pass as a traffic island or something similar. These can be dotted around the board and shouldn't look out of place on any Victorian or later city street. I removed the square metal bases and inserted the lug on the bottom of the lamps into the MDF traffic island. 

I am very pleased with them , I think they look nice and neat, will fit in with the scenery and are a lot more stable than before.

Monday 16 June 2014

Iron Mammoth's Studio won a Liebster Award!

This came somewhat out of the blue... I must admit I haven't really been pushing for acclaim or publicity with my blogs. So when this nomination turned up I was very surprised. Anyway, I suppose I should really pass it forward!

The rules are:

    Link back to the blog that nominated you.

    Nominate other blogs with 200 or less followers

    Answer a couple (or more) questions

OK, so lets get going...

Link back: Cluck Amok

Nominate other blogs with 200 or less followers:

Dampf's Modelling Page -Terrain Making at it's best... (Edit: It appears I shouldn't have nominated this one as it already has too many followers - oh well check it out anyway...).

18 Charlie -Another excellent terrain making blog!

Colonel O'Truth's Miniature Issues - Some amazing scratch-built steampunk pieces and some lovely conversions too...

MSRaynsford - A keen maker,with his own laser cutter. It's always interesting to see what he will produce next...

Warhammer Tau - I briefly ran the Warhammer Tau blog, fortunately during the period of the publication of the last Tau Codex. I don't play GW games very much, but I do love the Tau and more especially the Kroot figures.

As for the questions...

Why did you start blogging?
I have been blogging for a long time. Before that I ran a couple of podcasts.
I see people trying to break in to model making and figure sculpting and having spent years discovering the secrets of these skills, I am happy to pass them on.

If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
That's a tricky question to answer. I don't think I would change much about the hobby. I personally would like to relocate, to be nearer the centre of things within the UK wargaming hobby, somewhere around Nottingham for example, as that seems pretty central for most of the wargaming in the UK. But I doubt that will happen!

What is best in life?
My family. Beyond that, being able to create objects and models that last, and that hopefully some people like and find useful.

Fame or Fortune?
Neither and both... I'd like a little more spare cash, who wouldn't, but I don't really need a great deal more.
As for fame, it is nice to be appreciated, but I don't see that as fame in itself...

What miniatures are you most proud of having painted?
I don't really feel pride in my miniature painting. I am pleased with some that I have painted at different times, over the years. Fir example, I was very pleased with a halfling /skeleton diorama that I put together back in the late 1980s. It got me a place in GW's very first Golden Demon competition. I didn't win (a friend of mine got the Slayer Sword), but I still like the piece.
I suppose the simplest answer is I am usually most proud of the last figure I finished...

How do you deal with burnout?
I don't get a chance to burn out. I tend to flit between different mediums and projects continuously. I am usually juggling sculpting jobs, hand built model making jobs, design jobs for the laser cutter and and various other things that cross my path. I also try to keep my blogs going too.
On top all that, my two sons, knowing I am a professional model maker, have always got things they want me to make!
Ocassionally I do have an evening when I simply can't be bothered to do anything, but it's not long before I feel the need to get back to making stuff!

Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
I have always loathed Alice In Wonderland...

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Neither! I have complete collections of Babylon 5 and Blake's 7. I am collecting the new audiobooks of Blake's 7 that are coming out regularly as well now.
I enjoyed Star Trek until about half way through DS9, and then became very indifferent towards it.
As for Star Wars, it did have a huge influence on me when I was 12, but unfortunately the arrival of the second trilogy of films didn't manage to recapture any of that.

If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which would it be?
Very difficult... I would be tempted to say Hydra Miniatures as I love their Retro Raygun range. Also Infamy Miniatures and Guild of Harmony for their beautiful Steampunk creations. There are lots of other companies that produce excellent miniatures too.

If I had to go with one company, being pragmatic about it, I would probably go with West Wind Productions. I don't actually have that many of their minis, but that is one of the reasons I chose them.
I have been keen to pick up more of their Empire of the Dead VSF range. I would also like to get a lot more of their Secrets of the Third Reich Weird War stuff. Beyond that I like quite a lot of their Gothic Horror figures and I have an interest in getting some Samurai and World War 2 as well.

What is your favourite takeaway (take-out)?
Chinese Takeaway, although there is also room for the occasional Indian, Doner Kebab and Pizza too...

What do you like most (or least) about blogging?
I like the community that has grown up online.

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