Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Celtic Hill Fort, my daughter's school project. Or... How your nerdy hobby skills are awesome!


Hi everybody, this is a little break in my normal hobby routine. I just wanted to post about a little homework project I helped my youngest daughter Rhiannon (8 yrs) with over the last couple of days.

She has been studying the Roman Empire at school for some time and they moved on to some of the other peoples of the time period. The last term they have been looking closer at the Celts.

For the Easter break her class was given a project to complete and bring back with a log/journal of how they made it at the start of the new school term and she had been having some difficulty deciding what to do.

Rhiannon had been wanting to make a mask based on some they had studied with a visitor to the school, but she became despondent when children in her class started to bring their completed masks into school and she didn't think that hers would be good enough.

I took a look at her project book and pointed out it said she could make a model of a Celtic roundhouse or hill fort if she wished.

She looked at me with her sad puppy-dog eyes and said "But I don't know how to make models daddy..."

I smiled back and said "No, not right now. But I do and I can show you how."

And with that she brightened up and it was decided, we were making a hill fort. So with a bit of my hobby know-how and amateur blogging experience we made a start. We did a bit of research online and Rhiannon picked a couple of images she liked which I've posted below:


I'd like to note now that I'm not in the habit of giving my children the answers to any work they bring home. I'll guide and encourage them to find the answers on their own. The only time I step in is if it is something they are physically incapable of doing.

This normally gets me a response from my kids of "But what I make a mistake? What if I get it wrong?"
My response, "Good. Making mistakes is part of the learning process. You make a mistake, you correct it, you then find out why you were wrong..."

So with that thought I went and had a look through my hobby supplies in the basement. I wanted to find as much material and tools as possible that Rhiannon could do the majority of the work by herself with me mainly giving instruction and guidance. It also had to be fairly simple and robust to survive the prodding and rough handling it'll get once it is handed in at school.

And with the materials gathered we commenced work:


Angry cutting face! We drew the top hill layer and Rhiannon cut it out and used it as a template to cut the next larger layers.


She looked pleased when she realised she could see the shape of it coming together very quickly.


Angrier chopping face! Rhiannon used the matchstick cutting tool to chop the cocktail sticks we were going to use for the fort walls.


At this stage I did take over to use the hot glue gun, I thought it would be too dangerous for her. I was proved right when I burned myself several times. The layers were glued to the base and on top of each other and then the tiny logs glued around the edge to make the fort wall.


I used the hot glue to quickly create the smooth stepped edges of the hill, build the ramp roads up to the walls and dragged it around most of the model to add texture. Minutes later it was cooled down and I spray painted it with a flat brown colour and handed it back to Rhiannon to carry on the work.

We stopped here at this stage on the first evening, because bed-time beckoned for my little ones.

(We missed a picture at this step. Garden cane was used to make the tiny round houses, cut into small discs. The thatched roofs were made from plasticine textured by scratching at it with the point of a cocktail stick, then a drop of superglue was applied and spread around to instantly harden it.)


Rhiannon painted the model using sponges and craft paints. Starting with the roads in different shades of brown, then the rooftops in an off-white/yellow and finally all the grassy areas with different shades of green. 


I showed her how to apply PVA glue and some different shades of flock in small stages around the hill. And then it was left to dry properly.

And again by this point it was bed-time of the second evening.


While Rhiannon slept I knocked the loose flock from the model and I couldn't help myself, I added a few little bushes to the model. And then printed off all the above images for her to use in her project journal.

I don't think we did bad for about 4-5 hours of work between school, drying times, dinner preparation and bed-times.

This morning when she saw the completed model she gasped and said "Thank you daddy!"
I replied "What do you mean? You made this, I was just here to help."

She gave me a big smile, a big hug and a kiss and said "Thanks daddy. You're the best daddy in the world!"

It's moments like that, that make all the trials and tribulations of parenthood just worth it, you know?

And I just want to end this article with a little thought for you all:

We are all hobbyists, nerds, gamers. We have collected a wide variety of esoteric skills. If you haven't before, think about how elsewhere outside your hobby life that you can apply them.

Decorate your home with crafts and colours. Teach someone something that you know, pass the knowledge on.

You can even with a bit of imagination add them to your resume. Craft and Design Skills, Project Planning, Application of Knowledge, Constantly Learning New Skill-sets and Techniques, Working to a Deadline!

Or maybe... Just maybe... You can just use them to make a little kid smile...

I'll be back soon with more of my own hobby projects, until then, take care everyone.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Stormcast Eternals and Making your own slate chipping bases

Hi everyone, just a quick post to let you know I've still been getting on with hobby stuff; I've just not made any significant progress on any one thing that I thought was worth blogging about. Just a lot of little things here and there.

I've had the Age of Sigmar starter box since it's release and decided to start constructing the miniatures. I've got all the Stormcast Eternals constructed now and I was using slate chippings to base them all.

Stormcast eternals bases slate

Slate chippings make excellent rocky outcroppings and bases in miniature scale. As I was putting together the miniatures I realised that I was running short of slate in my basing materials, so I thought  this was a great "two birds, one stone" situation

 I've made some more to replenish my stock and written a step-by-step HERE in my slowly growing and updating Tips and Tutorials section on the blog.

I'll be expanding that section as I re-write some old tutorials and add new ones later. I'm possibly going to get around to posting some sculpting tips there too which I was asked about some time ago but never got around to.

I've got a few small things on the go and I'll be back when some of them have got to the point I think they are worth posting about.

So until then, take care.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Space Marine Painting Competition - Completed

A few posts back I showed my work in progress entries for the painting competition. I didn't get straight back to it as intended due to other things getting in he way, but I completed the paint-jobs and took them to the store to enter them.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Guardians Celeres Angels Revenant Blanche Blanchitsu


Here's my thoughts on how they turned out:

I think he two different whites turned out quite well on pauldrons of the miniatures. The Guardian of Celeres on the left started from a pale grey base colour, the Angel Revenant on the right started from a bone base colour.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Guardians Celeres Angels Revenant

I wanted the bases to set them apart a little too, so one got a very light, dry dusty base using weathering powders. And the other got a wet muddy base by mixing weathering powders with a little gloss varnish.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Guardians Celeres Angels Revenant

I had a lot of fun with the freehand, it's something I haven't done very often in the past. The Guardian of Celeres chapter symbol on the left was challenging to get the lines straight, but turned out okay, the Angel Revenent symbol you saw in the last post just got another lighter highlight to finish.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Guardians Celeres Angels Revenant

I liked how the tactical symbols turned out. A lot neater than I was expecting, the numerals too. I think this has given me a little more confidence to try and freehand the squad symbols on any future marines I paint for my own collection.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Guardians Celeres Angels Revenant

While I was finishing off the two marines from the last post my two youngest children wanted to paint with me. So I gave them a Space Marine figure and they sat painting an entry each too. The one on the left was painted by my son Caine aged 6, the one on the right by Rhiannon aged 8. They enjoyed it quite a lot and want to know when they can have some models and paint with me again.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed

And since I'd already pretty much finished my two entries and the kids wanted me to paint with them I grabbed another spare marine and started again. I decided this one was purely for fun. I undercoated it solid white and decided I was going to see what I could do using only the Winsor & Newton inks.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Blanche Blanchitsu

I love how the ink dries receding from the edges of the armour leaving natural highlights. And it was a simple matter to use a cotton bud to gently rub away ink from the highest raised points to strengthen highlights too.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Blanche Blanchitsu

And because I was being quick and just having some fun with this one I decided to skip trying to paint the freehand on and grabbed a fine-line pen and started to quickly doodle the details on the pads.

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Blanche Blanchitsu

Pen drawing is something else I haven't done very much of in the past on miniatures, I like how the pen drawn freehand has a similar organic feel as painting freehand symbols, but is a bit easier to apply. I may experiment with this again in future, with some of the coloured fine-liner pens I have in my art supplies,

Space Marine Painting Warhammer 40k Competition Completed Blanche Blanchitsu

With him taking on a very definite Blanchitsu quality in my eyes I decided a dusty orange wasteland look for his base was the only logical thing to do. I really liked the overall glossy finish too.

So there we have it. I finished my two original entries and ended up with a thrid I just splashed some colour onto while painting with my children. And truth be told I think I had a lot more fun with that third marine than the two I was trying to paint carefully. Just being able to let loose and have fun pushing colour around was great.

I think it turned out really well for a miniature that was painted almost entirely from start to finish using only inks (I did have to use a touch of metallic paint to finish some small details). I like the look of it so much that I'm considering painting up a squad of Space Marines in the same scheme.

I think I may use that technique and look on the Space Marine Terminators in my Space Hulk boxed set too for my board game project when I finally get around to painting that set.

All in all, it was a nice, fun little project to get my creative juices going again. Now I can start on some of the other things I need to work on.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and I'll be back with updates of my other projects soon.

Until then, take care.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Assassinorum: Execution Force - Chaos Cultists W.I.P.

Hi everyone, here's my first update on my board game side-project. I decided to start with Games Workshop's Assassinorum: Execution Force (as you probably already knew from the post title...)

So... I just can't keep things simple. In the box set you get 3 each of 5 variants of chaos cultist. I didn't want to have so many duplicates so I decided to mix things up a bit with some simple head and weapon swaps to make them look a little bit more individual and rag-tag. I also gave them all industrial style bases to match the board game.

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

Nothing complicated, cut, glue, fill, sculpt... Aha! that reminds me. I decided to try something out I'd read about online some time ago. I used a mix of epoxy putties for the filling and sculpting. The mix was a 50/50 mix of Apoxie Sculpt and good old Green stuff. from what I've seen online the mix can be carved and drilled a bit more easily than pure Green Stuff, but still retains a bit of it's flexibility, reducing the hardness of Apoxie Sculpt.

The Apoxie Sculpt feels soft and waxy (much like Fimo if you've ever used that), mixing it with Green Stuff is really easy. The texture ends up somewhere between, but the interesting things to note are that when mixed this way the Apoxie Sculpt gets rid of the "memory" of the Green Stuff so it generally stays where you push it without any of the spring back you can get with GS, it smooths very easily and the cure time is reduced quite noticeably too.

Here are some shots of the 5 variants of cultists. each image has the original unconverted figure in the center and my minor conversions on either side:

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

assassinorum_execution_force_chaos_cultists_conversions

I enjoyed trying out the putty mix, it was quite a different experience from Green Stuff alone. I think I'll be doing it that way from now on. The cultists just need a touch of clean up and such and will be ready to paint.

See you all soon.

Take care.