Tuesday 28 August 2012

Toy soldier diplays- part 1

I have been making dioramas and layouts for the 54/60mm collectors for a few years now. Most commissions involve making the layout or diorama ready for the collector to place his figures where he likes. Occasionally I am asked to make a layout with the figures built into the diorama. I have done 5 or 6 of these now and really enjoy doing them; I don't have to worry about flat areas for figures to be displayed and I get to see the finished item with the figures in position.

I have already covered one of these jobs in detail- the Gandamak diorama that you can see under 'layouts' heading of previous posts so these next posts won't go into too much detail- just lots of photos.

The first layouts cover what I have done with W Britain figures. This layout was over 1 metre long but only about 30cm deep so the British had a very thin line of defence behind their sandbags and boxes.

You can see that I could go to town with the ground texture so could add lots of stones and long grasses and bushes. I had alot of fun with this layout.
These next two are only 30cm x 30cm bases so could only get a few figures on.

I think the combination of the landscaping and having the figures built in brings the whole scene alive. I hope I get more of these in the future so if anyone is interested then just get in touch.
This is part one of two so the next one is covering two ACW layouts I did for a customer.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Watermill in 28mm

I have had this project made and delivered for a few weeks now but haven't got round to posting pics etc.
Dave Imrie saw the English Civil Wargame that I had done the terrain for at Salute 2011 and he liked the mill I had done there. A couple of months later he officially commissioned me to make one for him along with  4x4ft terrain boards. I finished it just after Salute this year so the whole process took just about a year!
Here is the overall board:
The 4 boards are my usual 595mm x 595mm size and 50mm thick. They are made from a frame of mdf and a base of hardboard. I then fill them with polystyrene and then add what I need to make the landscape that has been ordered. The whole thing is very robust and give very clean tough edges- there is more chance of the boards damaging you than you damaging the boards. This job saw me finish off with my usual mix of green flock- 3 shades with the first layer being dark green followed by a lighter shade, finishing off with a highlight of very light green. I then soak it all in watered down PVA glue to keep the flock in place. I always paint the earth before I flock so overtime if some flock is lost the earth showing through still gives it a good look.
The river is just painted polyfilla which is then varnished. I do use clear resins for water effects but only for small areas. I find if you get the colouring right then a good paint job makes a very effective river.
The mill itself is stone finished so I covered the foam board skeleton of the building with Daz Pronto (air dried clay). Once it was dry I was able to carve the stone pattern into it. It takes ages but is worth the effort. The sandstone colour is achieved with a yellow ochre base coat, washed with a raw umber and then dry brushed with a couple of shades of cream. The final touch is a bit of weathering with some raw umber- water streaks, splash marks- that sort of thing.

The outhouses were brick and I used brick embossed plasticard for them.
Some quick notes on some of the details
the courtyard tiles are from a dolls house supplier and they are sold as kitchen tiles. They are small pieces of real brick so the texture on them is wonderful.
Guttering from Skytrex and their railway range
windows are my own resin bits.
A small kitchen garden made from a kit that I can't remember the details of now.

Just to finish off with a few more pictures

That is it for this one. Dave is planning to use this for ECW gaming I think but I have made it as generic as possible so can be used for all sorts of periods.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Open Day at Grey Goose Collectables

A couple of weeks ago I spent a very enjoyable weekend at Grey Goose Collectibles- the European distributor for Figarti collectible toy soldiers. Clive (Mr Grey Goose) also has a substantial collection from other manufacturers so there were figures everywhere all weekend. It was great.

The weekend saw the official opening of Clives new display area for the Figarti range and so many of his customers came to see what was on offer. I knew some faces but met many new people so it was loverly to spend time chatting about various aspects of the hobby.
a small area of display.
The whole collection and displays of Figarti figures are all 1/30th ish scale so you can guess from the photos the size of the displays and how impressive they look.
I had another interest as a model maker. I have made a number of displays for Clive over the last few years and all of them were being fully utilised in the display area. It was quite a kick seeing all that hard work being used to its full potential.
Here are a few photos of Clives displays biased towards my own work! All of these dioramas have been scratch built by me for Clive over the last 3 or 4 years:
Hartstein Hotel, Arnhem 1944. The model is 4feet wide and 2 feet high.
Hotel from another angle

German railway station- 6ft x 3ft. Trains etc by Figarti
the station from another view. Just look at the railway kit that Figarti have made!
V2 rocket site. The rocket and vehicles again by Figarti (the railtrack and tunnel is not my work)
The bocage is my work but otherwise all Figarti- impressive allied armoured column or what!
ruined factory -2ft x 2ft diorama. Too much light reflecting off the display cover.
a slightly better shot of the factory. We are looking to expand this dio to double its size.  

nothing to do with me this time but just an impressive model- about 4feet long with enough room for 5 or 6 AFV's!

 The fun didn't stop there with all these figures. Some of the guys then decided to try to recreate the look of 30 Corp advancing down the road towards Arnhem. The 'official' results of the shoot are planning to appear in a new book sooner or later but these are my efforts-
The first few are showing the overall working environment that was created to try to achieve the effects:

These next series are close ups of individual models. Most, I think are Figarti but some are from King and Country

Finally some longer shots trying to get the look of the column

That is it. This post is a little different to normal but I thought it would be good show what can be done with some superb models and a camera.
Next post is back to normal.