Friday, 19 May 2017

Painted Tudor dollies

Further to the last post here are some of the Tudor dollies assembled as Billmen and painted with the eagle claw livery badges of Lord Stanley.

As per the Perry WOTR boxed set here they are in en garde and attacking poses, the dollies are adaptable to either pose as you can see;

The coats are very neat casts and the folds in the skirt are easy to paint with satisfying results. They work well with the Perry plastics arms, heads and accessories. The Tudor heads work well too and I've also made my own Tudor heads using those from the Perry Ansar box as they're particularly expressive.

Orders are going well for the first batch from Griffin, these are certainly going global ! There's still time to get yours in as I'll be making the first bulk order on 1 June. if you'd like some just email me via the address below stating the number of figures that you'd like and your address. I'll get back to you with the postage cost and arrange payment.

Bye for now and thanks for your support


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Assembling the Tudor figures

Further to the last post here is a brief tutorial on how to create your own figures using the Tudor dollies, Perry miniatures plastics and green stuff.

It's perhaps easy for me to say but sculpting sleeves is quite straightforward. In developing these dollies I considered having arms on them but I wanted them to be versatile so that the whole range of Perry plastics was there to apply thus sculpting sleeves became the compromise.

If you haven't sculpted before this could well be your first steps to simple and confident miniature conversion.

In the first instance you will need some green stuff and the sculpting tool shown above which is available from gaming suppliers or as part of a wax carving set which is useful to have as some of the other tools come in handy too.

In addition you'll need some soft paraffin cream such as Vaseline or E45.

To begin select a dolly to use and the arms and head of your choice. These dollies were created in an attacking / advancing pose so work best as bill though they also look quite good as advancing crossbowmen and hand gunners.

You'll then need to cut and mix some green stuff to the sizes shown above, one ball for each arm.

Take the first ball and place it where the arm meets the shoulder then press it down with your thumb with a slight push into each side of the armpit.

Put a little blob of Vaseline / E45 onto your palm and very lightly moisten the end of the sculpting tool and wipe it off, you just want a very very light smear of it on the tool. This will make it easier to work with the green stuff.

Using the sculpting tool push the green stuff into each side of the arm pit then push down from the top of the shoulder in the direction of the arm. Then use the side of the tool to give an edge to the bottom of the sleeve.

Continue this process to build up the shape of the sleeve, it won't take long, just remember to push down from the top of the shoulder in the direction of the arm first so that the position and weight of the sleeve is natural.

Repeat for the next sleeve. If you're worried about obscuring or touching the other sleeve you can wait until it is dry but you should be able to do them both in one sitting.

Here you can see that as the arm is in a different position it needs to be worked a little differently but the principle is the same; place the ball of GS at the top of the shoulder and press downward and into each side of the arm pit then use the tool to continue this.

When you start the sculpt do so from the top of the shoulder down the arm to dictate the necessary sleeve position and shape. It doesn't take long and it'll feel right when it's done and be obvious if the shape isn't correct.

Here's the end result; there's a clear line down from the neck and shoulder of the metal dolly which is continued in the sculpt of the sleeves. Provided you get the right amount of GS to begin and let the arm dictate the sculpt the rest will fall into place. The whole build / sculpt took me around 15-20 minutes.

If you'd like to have a go yourself with a pack of dollies they're £6.00 for 6 plus postage which starts at £1.00.

Just send me an email with your address and state how many you want and I shall quote you the postage and give you my PayPal details, my email address is; 

I'll be putting the first order to the mould maker on 1st June and the figures should be ready for posting around 1 month thereafter.



Monday, 1 May 2017

Tudor Figures available for pre-order

It's been an interesting month....

Further to the last post I completed final detailing on the sculpts that I was working on and sent them off to Griffin Moulds to have the master mould made, these are the first castings back for inspection and review prior to production.

The castings are very clean and required minimal filing as is the standard I've seen from Griffin who do the castings for Steel Fist miniatures. They're true to the originals if not better, it's very satisfying to see them.

I must add that without assistance and support from Oliver at SF and Griffin these would not have been possible, you can read more on the project development here.

Having prepared the figures I set about the final part of this project to check that they fitted neatly with the Perry Miniatures plastics and that the base coat sleeves were easy enough to sculpt and joined naturally with the figures. Given the time invested thus far this was a somewhat nervous process but all was fine. My main goal of speeding up the process of creating Tudors in coats was immediately obvious. When making previous figures I had to allow for drying time and couldn't sculpt a figure in less than 4 days, with these I made 9 in 3 hours and they just needed an overnight dry for the sleeves, I'm very happy !

Here are a few completed pieces ready for painting;

These were principally designed as attacking/advancing Bill but a couple work fairly well as archers and they all work quite well as advancing crossbow / handgunners using the mercenaries sprue.

As I've mentioned in the development post these were never principally intended as commercial pieces owing to the further sculpting work that is required but I've always appreciated that these may be useful so I've been considering my options to make them available.

I'd rather not cover the cost upfront and keep a stock of them as it's difficult to gauge demand so to keep things easy I'm going to pay for the production mould and put in an order for some figures on 1st June.

If you'd like to add to that order they're £6 for a pack of 6 plus postage & packaging. If you're interested just send me an email (see below) stating how many you'd like and your address and I'll work out the P&P and take payment upfront via PayPal.;

I'll put in the order on 1st June and they should be available around a month later, I'll send a notification prior to posting.

Thereafter I'll have a think about how best to make these available (suggestions welcome) but this works easiest for me at the moment.

Hopefully I should have a few of these painted up soon.

Bye for now


Friday, 7 April 2017

Tudor sculpting conversions & first foray into casting

Here's the latest addition to my Tudor Army, a rather stout looking standard bearer.

This conversion follows what has become a fairly standard method for me; the use of an existing torso and legs as a dolly over which a base coat is sculpted ready for the addition of plastic arms, head and equipment.

I have usually used a plastic Perry figure as a dolly but this figure represents a rather interesting twist.

Oliver James of Steelfist Miniatures got in touch with me a while back for some assistance in finding Landsknecht source material for his latest Gendarmes & Landsknecht Kickstarter which I'm happy to say achieved funding today.

In putting the Landsknechts together Oliver first created some dollies in various advancing poses and he kindly sent me a set to experiment with.

These were a step up for me as the torso had to be built up which took a little while to master with trial and error. After a few weeks I had created the figure above, here's a pre-painted shot;

This tested my ability considerably but I was very pleased with the result, the only problem was that it took quite a while to do, as they all do. However with a metal dolly I now had the option to get something cast so with permissions sought that's what I'm embarking upon.

Here's the first set of converted dollies;

They're all wearing a skirted base coat with the exception of the last figure on the right which is in a jacket. Each has a belt and is wearing oxmuhle shoes typical of the period. The shoulders and head sockets are modelled to take the arms and heads from the Perry plastic sets.

Once cast all I'll need to do is add the arms, head, and sword, sculpt the top sleeve of the basecoat and they're ready for painting - this will save me considerable time in bringing my existing ranks firmly into the early sixteenth century. 

As the dollies were in an advancing pose I built these figures up with the intention of using them as Tudor billmen;

I'll be doing a fairly limited run initially to enable me to update my collection and we'll have to see what comes next, I'm already considering getting some standing dollies made to convert in the same way for Longbowmen.

Though these were not conceived as commercial there's always the option of getting more cast so let me know if that's of interest.

I'll have to see how they come out and paint up first but it's looking good so far.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Scenic distraction

I've been meaning to create some new hedges and undergrowth for a while as current stock was looking a bit tired. Painting tends to take precedent but some inspiration from the garden set me off on a creative tangent.

Would you believe that it occasionally gets a bit damp here in South Wales, it was a shock to me too. Well one hitherto rather useless by product of that in my garden is moss growing up the fence and shed. In clearing things up I peeled it away and thought I'd see whether it could be of use. Given that there was no soil beneath it most of it came away in large pieces and it dried overnight.

I tend to use scenic lichen and bits of scatter to break up scenery boundaries and to obscure where it meets the table for a realistic effect but at times it looked a bit artificial and lacked variety but this natural stuff seems to work a bit better, what do you think?

I also created some new hedgerows; These started as 180 x 25mm strips of wood with 4mm depth. holes of various diameter were then drilled along the length, about four to a piece using 3 different drill bits into which I placed twigs. To be specific dead thyme plants trimmed to size for the small to medium pieces and cuttings from old lavender plants and roots as the trees, all thoroughly dried out prior to use.

For extra strength I generously added wood filler and then tile grout along the length of each piece. At the base I added steel wool before then spraying with matt black. The trees and bushes were then spray / scatter painted using a toothbrush and various colours before then applying spray adhesive and various clump foliage and/or scenic scatter.

All of the above then makes for added depth and interest for photographic backdrops and compliments to the gaming table.

It was then rude not to have a play around with some set ups, hope you enjoyed this scenic interlude - I'm not procrastinating honest !

Bye for now


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Renaissance Gendarmes Kickstarter

I'm a little slow on the uptake here but there's still time to support the latest Kickstarter campaign from Steel Fist Miniatures; a set of charging Gendarmes, you can see much more here;

Oliver has been at pains to achieve a historical feel for these figures and has researched them in depth. Having had a minor input in this I am really pleased with the results Oliver has achieved in the previous pack of gendarmes;

These are versatile figures, in particular the plumes and heads are interchangeable and spares for multiple options come with each pack which is great for converting other figures as I have done here;

Scale wise, I must admit I don't have that many manufacturers in my collection but they're a perfect match the Perry plastic men at arms set which I have used as English Demilancers, when on the table there isn't really a noticeable difference.

In my own collection all of my Gendarmes are presently from the Perry sculpted Wargames Foundry range and the Steel Fist figures are larger.

I'm a slow worker and have yet to paint the Steel Fist Gendarmes that I have but my intention is to have a full compliment of WF Gendarmes and an equivalent compliment of SF Gendarmes.

As they match the Perry plastic cavalry in size I'm very keen to create some conversions from these to make supporting men at arms in skirted coats and light armour, some with spare heads from these sets, it will really give some life and variety to my collection - unless of course by the time I do that there's another Kickstarter that covers that (hint hint Oliver !).

Fingers crossed for these, it's really good to see some new inspiration and variety to the options available for the Renaissance collector and gamer.


Thursday, 9 March 2017

French Men at Arms revisited

Whilst packing away the figures after the Lion Rampant game (see previous post) I dropped a box containing all of the heavy cavalry, a rather painful episode and another rite of passage in my wargaming life I'm told.

Since then after a week or so of not being able to look at them my efforts have been engaged in repair. Two of the existing four men at arms were beyond repair and this acted as a useful prompt to re-evaluate this unit. I managed to save a couple of the horses and set about creating some new riders and a couple of complete new figures. Once I got started I soon found that I had six figures which I based 3 to a stand to match their accompanying heavier Gendarmes (who also all lost their lances!).

This immediately looked right as whilst 'archer' cavalry were allocated some specific duties their principal role was to support the Gendarmes and as such would be intermingled as one unit and/or would form a second charge line.

Here's the unit prior to damage

The completed unit re-modelled and re-based

Both trumpeters are new additions, I'd had these sculpted and on the back burner for a while and this seemed to be the perfect unit for them.

The trumpeter in red and yellow livery was made 6 months ago. The body is from the Perry light cavalry set and the head is from the Ansar sprue. In painting I added a pair of gauntlets hanging from the saddle.

The next trumpeter was completed a couple of months back, I had initially intended it to be part of a unit of German crossbowmen but following a bit of re-modelling he's now a Frenchman.

The initial sculpting is below. I wasn't too keen on the arms so I removed the green stuff and recreated them as heavy voluminous sleeves rather than slashed.

Here's the completed unit with accompanying Gendarmes, I intend to do another two bases in the same manner - no doubt with a few less command figures and I think I'll model some in skirts.

All in all a better unit I think though I hope not to repeat the same method in creating figures !

Bye for now