Thursday 30 June 2011

London show- the final part

Sorry for the delay in posting the final part in the show run of posts. A stomach bug, getting children back from university for the summer and generally being knackered from the show has slowed me down for a few days.

Anyway, after the previous posts about the preparation for the show this last show post is about the show itself.
We arrive at the hotel venue about 1pm on Friday afternoon which gives us a wonderful 4 or 5 hours of playing with toy soldiers! Once we have unpacked the van and sorted stuff out we just have to display enough soldiers to cover the 30 feet of display space we have. A couple of friends meet us there so all four of us have a great time. My biggest worry was that I hadn't brought all the terrain and dio boards but it was fine and by 6 in the evening the display was just about there.

The dios themselves looked good and by the end of the show about a third had been sold. All the dioramas are on sale during the show and as usual I sold about a third of them. I make them all 60cm x 30cm now for the show so they can easily be taken home by customers.
The abode building dio was finished in plenty of time and was really worth the effort as it looked great filled with Africa Korp figures. I think the dio was sold by lunchtime so I think another one will be done for the next show in December.
The last minute details and weathering on the buildings made all the difference. The blanket hanging over one of the roofs added a splash of colour and the staining around the wood roof beams made the whole scene look used and fitted the atmosphere that First Legion figures help create.
The Stalingrad scene came alive with figures on it but I wish we had a German Stug or PZIII model we could have added but we had sold out of them. The Russian AT gun was ready for whatever was coming round the corner.

The other dios showed off the figure displays beautifully. Here are just a few photographed with the new releases on them.

First Legion Romans- the stars of the show maybe?
Collectors Showcase winter 88mm and half track
First Legion Highlanders repelling charge
First Legion Crusaders and Mamluks
John Jenkins Spanish Civil War- the armoured car is the newest addition
John Jenkins World War I planes with ground crew and pilot
The show itself was the usual good day meeting lots of regular faces as well as some new ones. It was great to meet a couple of wargamers (I hadn't expected to talk to a customer about  the Two Fat Lardies rules sets but there I was was discussing how good Sharpe's Practice is!) that had come to the show for the first time. It would be great to see this continue as the two hobbies have alot of common ground.  Two or three customers took the opportunity to have a chat with me and place diorama making commissions with me as well. The best sellers for us on the day was probably the new John Jenkins armoured car and the First Legion Romans and Crusaders.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of the show. Mike and the rest of them at King and Country have done a great job with the show over the last 7 years and they have announced that this June was to be their last show as organisers. They made us very welcome when we started coming to the show and they have continued to support us and make our show experience a good one ever since. They have passed it on the Guideline Publications, the publishers of Toy Soldier Collector magazine, in a very healthy state. Roll on the December Show- the first weekend in the month.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

First Legion and the London Toy Soldier Show

I thought I would update you with just what we will have at the show this weekend from First Legion.
Matt, at First Legion has really pulled all the stops out and sent us a parcel direct from China with lots of brand new stuff that in some cases hasn't even made it to pre order on their site.
It means we have a supply of all the Romans from ROM001 to ROM008 but we also have 1 each of ROM009 to ROM016.
Roman Aquilifer and Optio- both at the show

The DAK Opel Blitz and other infantry will also be there and I have made a special effort with the diorama so it will look good. Come along and pick one up and be one of the first in the world to own one.

opel blitz and stowage set

MG team
we only have very limited numbers of these new items so come and see us early if you want them.

London Toy Soldier show- part 4

36 hours to go before we make our way down to London so I am on the very last leg of the diorama building.
I put the last coat of varnish on the river sections today so that will be dry soon so I can wrap them up.
It means the only diorama I have left to finish is the one to display the growing range of Africa Korp figures from First Legion. We will have the new Opel Blitz along with all the new marching infantry on the day so I thought it a good idea to make a real eye catching piece as the figures are wonderful.

I thought about an oasis but then I went for a board with a backdrop of adobe buildings. I also decided not to put any period detail on the board as it will also work for the Sudan display.
Stage one was to build the structures:
building fronts made from 1cm thick foam board.
This gave me a good start but then I needed to coat it in something that would give it texture
textured walls and coated roof
The photo doesn't show the texture very well but it is one of the most important bits of the job- without it there is nothing for the paint washes and dry brushes to get hold of.
Once this was dry I begin the painting with a base coat of yellow ochre which is then washed with a raw umber to get the following result.
washed buildings with a little more detail added.
This dried and all I need to do now is finish weathering it with dry brushes of various sandy colours and then a final addition of some more details which I will decide on when I come to it. I can see this stage being dependant on the amount of time I have left!
Finally, with this post here are a few pictures of some of the other boards that are finished and just waiting to be packed up.
The last installment about the show will be after the show on Sunday or Monday and will have lots of photos of these diorama boards in action so to speak with them being full of figures.

Remember all these boards are for sale on the day so if any have caught your eye come and have a chat and you could take it away with you.

Monday 20 June 2011

W Britains at TMTerrain

Diorama with W Britain Zulu figures in place.
 Just a quick post to announce we are now starting to stock WBritains figures. To start with, we are just taking their War along the Nile and the Zulu ranges.
We are currently putting them on the web site and at the moment we are just listing the items we have in stock. After the London Show next weekend we will add more to the lists.
Of course we will have both ranges displayed at the show next week so come along and have a look- here is your opportunity to compare John Jenkins Sudan and W Britains.

Thursday 16 June 2011

London show prep part 3

I have had a good productive day today. The main diorama is finished. I just had to finish off the painting with more dry brushing and then adding weathering in the form of water streaks and bullet holes. The final touch was to add some ruined and fallen down telephone wires. I had found some interesting looking posts and supports so I used those for the wire supports on the house.
out of focus but you can see the wire supports
I have just remembered, the final, final touch was to add the glass in the windows- lots of cracks and holes to make it look fought over. I might weather the glass a bit tomorrow- I will see how it looks in the light of day.
You can see from this that I have high lighted the bricks on the piles of rubble as I know this is to display First legion World War Two figures and this is how they do their bases on their figures so I tried to match them.
This picture shows the wire better. I have tried to make it droop and look fragile.

All the above photos were taken in the workshop where the light is not great so sometime next week I will get it out side and get some shots in the sunshine.

The other smaller dios got more treatment today with the first coats of paint going on as well as more ground work on others.
I do this brown as a base on most of my European and American bases followed by a raw umber wash that highlights the texture and helps to cover up bits I have missed. Once the wash is dry I can dry brush and then flock although there won't be much flock on the above corn field. There is alot of trampled corn that doesn't show up at the moment but the dry brush will bring them out nicely.

This photo looks horrible but it is the first coat for my desert boards. I use a very dark brown as a base and then 2 more lighter brown coats followed by 2 shades of 'sand'. A long process but it gives the landscape alot of depth and interest.
Finally, today I nearly finished a base with a river in it. I had shaped it and textured it over the last few days but today saw the river come on.

For large areas of water I do not use resin. I fill the area with cheap wall filler that is quite watery. Once that is dry I cover with a heavy coat of PVA which smooths the whole thing and then after about 24 hours drying I paint it with lots of washes and dry brushes. This is the time I try to get the feeling of depth. I have found it works really well and the finishing touch is a couple of coats of gloss varnish.

That was it today. The next installment should see some of these boards finished as well as the beginning of the Africa Korp display- a board full of adobe building fronts. This is a worry as I only have a week to go!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Toy Soldier show preparation

Only 10 days to go to the show and I am finally getting my finger out and starting the displays. It looks like a few late nights next week.
Before I go into details about the display, can I remind anyone coming to the show wanting to get figures from us please get in touch with what you want as soon as you can as we now stock so much we can't bring everything down so to avoid disappointment give us a ring with what you want.
As I mentioned in the last post about the show, we have 30 feet of display space and I have worked out I need to do about 16 new displays for it. They are all 30cm deep and 60cm wide- big enough to get alot of figures and terrain on but small enough to put on a shelf. These boards will cover displays for the French Indian Wars, Sudan, Zulu, WW2 (Normandy, desert and Eastern front), W1, Spanish Civil War, Napoleonics (Waterloo and Russia), Crusades, American Civil  War, American War of Independence, Samurai, and  Jacobite's- so quite a range. Fortunately, nearly all f them will be on different landscapes, not involving any buildings. The one real exception is a larger layout for the First Legion World War Two display. The layout is being made for a customer in the USA who has given me the OK to use a s a display piece at the show as long as I don't sell it on the day.
basic modelling done- ready for painting
The layout needed to have lots of display space so all the great First Legion tanks could be easily displayed but he wanted some interesting background detail and available cover for the Russian AT gun. The above picture is what we came up with. The ruins either side are very simple but offer cover and the main building is just a couple of inches thick but allows figures to be placed at the windows.
The next stage is to start painting it- the model looks terrible after the first coats of paint and I always worry that my painting techniques won't work this time! So far It has always worked out OK.
basic paint job complete- YUK!
I paint everything is a basic coat- burnt sienna for bricks, raw sienna for woodwork and then in this case grey for the plaster work and brown for window frames. The whole lot then gets a wash of raw umber

Washed in raw umber
You can see that this dulls everything but helps to blend all the colours together. I tend to leave that for 24 hours to dry and then get on with dry brushing and weathering to hopefully bring the whole thing alive. As it is drying now upstairs, this is as far as I can go tonight so the plan is for an update tomorrow or Friday.
The other boards have been started as well:
groundwork done ready for painting
trampled cornfield- early stages
adding depth to the boards
The boards are all on 18mm thick MDF and I add depth to them if I want to create undulations or holes of any kind. I first make a frame and then fill it with polystyrene. Once that is done then I can shape the ground however I want. More photos tomorrow on how they are going.

Warlord Photoshoot

You will have seen shots of the English Civil War game a customer had at Salute. The game made quite an impression on the guys at Warlord Games and Wargames Illustrated and they invited everyone up to Nottingham for a photo shoot to go in the magazine and a future edition of their rules. Sunday was the day and a good day was had by all.
the game

I won't go into too much detail as I will leave that to our hosts but we all arrived in Nottingham about 10am with the game finishing about 7pm in the evening.
It was the first chance I had had of playing the game and we were able to play to a conclusion in the day even allowing for regular stops for photos and notes to be taken ready for the write up. It was great to be able to move wonderfully painted figures over a good looking table in a purpose built wargames room.
Rick  and Neil deciding on a plan- something to do with the right flank I guess!
It was also great to watch Dan, the WI editor 'work' the table with his camera and lighting equipment. I didn't realise you needed to be fit to do his job- I have never seen a wargamer move so fast to get his lighting rig up before the camera shutter went!
Dan and camera 
Dan and lights!
The sharp eyed of you may have noticed the church- the new tower from Grand Manner had been bought at Partizan and I had managed to get it painted and attached to the church so now it looks like a proper English church. It also adds considerable height to the table which is always a good thing. The urge to put a sniper in the bell tower was over whelming.

the church with new extention
Here are a few more shots of the game in progress. These are all from early on in the game as I don't want to give anything away for the full battle report published by Warlord later on this year.
Could the gate be open?
Keep an eye out for a full report and some really good photos in a future edition of Wargames Illustrated and a detailed battle report from Warlord games in their new Pike and Shot rules. I can't wait to see them.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

London Toy Soldier Show

The 25th of June sees the next London Toy Soldier show take place. If you collect Toy Soldiers this is the place to go. It happens three times a year- the end of March, the end of June and the beginning of December.
The show is held at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London and fills two halls with everything to do with collecting miniature figurines.
The show web site is here for more information

TMTerrain has been going to the show as a trader now for about 3 or 4 years and we are now up to 30 feet of display space. We fill the space with figures displayed on some good looking dioramas so it is always worth coming to find us just to have a look. Here are some examples
John Jenkins Jacobite's
John Jenkins Sudan range
First Legion Stalingrad
Collectors Showcase WW2
The last show in March saw me sell alot of the dioramas so I am having to make lots of new ones for this show. I will post updates on how these are going- as there is less than 3 weeks to go and I have no photos of WIP to post you can guess that I am just a touch behind schedule!

The show should see some brand new sets of figures from all our suppliers. First Legion displays will include the new Mamluks and maybe one or two surprises (hopefully we will be able to confirm this nearer the time)

First Legion Mamluks
Collectors Showcase will have the new and very impressive Royal Horse artillery limber and gun set on display along with the even more impressive 88mm, prime mover and crew.

Collectors Showcase 88mm gun
Collectors Showcase RHA sets
John Jenkins will have his normal 4 or 5 new pieces on display but to pick just one out as a highlight it has to be the wonderful Spanish Civil War armoured car
John Jenkins armoured car
We haven't had this delivered yet but I can't wait to see it. It looks good in the photo but they always look better in the flesh.
You can find more information about all these new releases on our web site:

I will post more about the show and our preparations for it over the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for more.