Send in the Clowns…

Time is a slippery bugger.

On Sunday night, the week stretches ahead of you, pregnant with possibility, and you sit safe in the knowledge that at some point during the next 7 days you will be able to spend a little of your free time indulging your passion for slapping paint on tiny little men.

Then various aspects of Real Life impinge on your free time, slowly eroding the time you thought you had, until you reach Saturday night and realise that you’ve achieved less than you had planned. You may have mowed and edged your lawns, hand-washed the hard floors of your dwelling and performed various sundry repairs and minor jobs that you had been putting off for a while, but what of your hobby?

Whinge over. I have actually managed to get a bit of painting done, but less than I had hoped. However, I’d actually miscounted the number of weeks in April, so I thought I had to have finished the clowns (and the clownmobile) by this weekend, when in actual fact, I still have another week. Yay!

And clown make-up is hard to do at 28mm, a factor I’d overlooked when I started this particular project. Boo!

So, a few more details have been added to Marionette, M.I.R.T.H. and Sweet William:

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Marionette needs her facial features and clown make-up completed and a few minor details added (her ‘lipstick’ is NOT final – this was just a test). M.I.R.T.H. needs a bit more detailing, as does Sweet William, but we’re on the final stretch.

As for the remaining Clowns…

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Merry Andrew, Silly Billy and Tom Foolery also just need a few more details, mainly patterning on their clothes and the dreaded clown make-up.

As for the Clownmobile, I may have spent most of my painting time on this…

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I don’t know about you, but I think it looks particularly circus-y and pretty darn cool. This just needs a little more detailing and it’s done too.

So, that’s all for Clown months this week, but read on for a special announcement…

As regular followers will know, Roger Webb of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table and I pay regular visits to Eternia, creating our unique versions of Masters of the Universe characters in 28mm. These ‘He-Months’ are great fun, as we get to indulge our creativity and create unique figures for ourselves. However, as we are three He-Months in, it’s a little hard for others to join in. So, I came up with a cunning plan, which I discussed with Roger at Salute and he agreed it was not only a good idea, but came up with a better name…

FORGOTTEN HEROES!

Whilst there are a vast array of official Marvel and DC superhero and supervillain figures, both in metal and plastic, available AND various unofficial miniatures of both the big two’s characters and other heroes/villains, there will always be that little hole in your collection for a particular favourite or obscure character that they just don’t make. And that’s what Forgotten Heroes is about.

During the month of June, Roger and I are inviting you to join us in creating/converting an existing figure into a costumed superhero or villain of your choice, from any source. The rules, such as they are, are quite simple.

  1. The character you create must not yet have had an official or unofficial miniature made for it.
  2. The figure must be in 28mm scale.
  3. The figure must be completed during the month of June.
  4. In your first post, you should provide a bit of detail on the character you’ve chosen and why.

And that’s it basically. It can be as simple as repainting a DC Heroclix Blue Beetle as Marvel’s Goldbug, to as elaborate as converting a GW Imperial Guard Commissar into Marshal Law.

As there are a vast number of costumed heroes and villains out there (the Leopard of Lime Street, the Private Eye, the Savage Dragon, Megamind, Mr Incredible, Thermoman, the list goes on and on), the only question you have to ask yourself is this – Who will be your Forgotten Hero?

We’re announcing it now, to give you time to gather your thoughts and the necessary figure ripe for conversion. It’s open to all, just let me know if you want to join in and I’ll make sure links to your blogs are posted on here whilst it’s going on.

Next week, we finally finish these accursed clowns…

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Post-Salute Thoughts

The problem with being part of the online blogging community is that the majority of your interactions with fellow bloggers is virtual and when you do abandon your keyboard, venturing blinking into the light, like Mole from The Wind in the Willows, you have no idea what your fellow bloggers look like. So, when attending an event such as Salute, you could be travelling to the venue with or standing in the queue next to one of your online ‘friends’ and be none the wiser.

Of course, there are those rare bloggers, such as Andy from Da Gobbo’s Grotto, who do post ‘Salute Selfies’, but these are usually after the event, so of no use until the next event.

Luckily, I came across this excerpt from the renowned unnaturalist and documentary maker, Sir David Battenburg, whose seminal documentary concerning wargamers ‘Dice on Earth’ (followed by the less well-received Dice in the Freezer) is essential viewing for those of us in the hobby. It would appear that Sir David attended Salute this year and managed to identify and photograph some of the bloggers within my immediate circle. So, to provide a ‘spotter’s guide’ for future events, I’ll hand you over to Sir David…

“Having studied the migratory habits of that rare breed of gamer known as the ‘wargamer’, I discerned that they descend en masse to our great capital mid-spring, congregating around the docklands area of east London. Like magpies, they are attracted to shiny objects and this annual migration allows them to acquire further ‘shinies’ to add to their ever-growing collection, which I believe are known as ‘lead mountains.’

In order to observe them in their natural environment and at close quarters, I needed to present a facade that would allow me to mingle with them unmolested. To this end, I consumed my body-weight in meat-filled pastries, refrained from bathing for three consecutive days and left my manners back home at stately Battenburg Manor.

The first subject I managed to identify was the Webb-footed Ranter (Rogerius webbi), a visitor from more Northerly climes. This particular breed is known for its ability to fashion recognisable icons from 80’s cartoons from a curious clay-like substance, known colloquially as ‘Greenstuff’, due to its colouration and the fact that it is…er…’stuff’.

Having watched its interactions with its peers, I was then able to identify Simoneus Mooreis, more commonly know as the Blax Kleric. The resplendent plumage of this partciular breed is particularly distinctive, standing out from its shabbier cousins. The Blax Kleric lines its nest with four-colour periodicals and is known to make any ‘shinies’ it acquires even shiner, by the application of a hard-wearing translucent lacquer.

On the periphery of this social grouping, I noted the shy and retiring Lord Penguin (Michaelis awdri), before the press of the crowd caused its panicked flight. The particular breed adorns its tower-like nest with brightly coloured ‘shinies’, which are the envy of its peers. It can also be identified by its distinctive and haunting cry of “Inconceivable!”

The final subject I identified is a new addition to this annual migration, Jeremiah winstanlei, more commonly known as the Buffet Crow. It’s apparently hostile demeanour and spiky plumage belies it’s mischievous nature, which can be enhanced through gifts of hot coffee, or preferably, cold beer. Like the womble of nearby Wimbledon Common, the Buffet Crow makes use of the things that it finds, adorning its nest with objects manufactured from “things that everyday folk leave behind.”

I apologise for the quality of the images, as on every occasion I attempted to record my findings, I was mobbed by white-clad armoured forms, who seemed drawn to the lens, like moths to a flame. Hopefully, my next visit will provide more accurate images…”

 

 

“Do Not Fear My Clowns…Fear My Awesomeness!”

Sometimes, you have an idea which niggles at the back of your mind, scratching away until such time as you get out your hobby gear and begin to create.

There are those rare times when your imagination exceeds your abilities, and you end up making something that looks like it was made by a pre-schooler. The majority of the time, however, you get a reasonable facsimile of what you intended.

And then there are those times where everything not other goes according to plan, but you exceed what you initially envisioned – fate, kismet, destiny, luck, the correct alignment of the planets and/or stars – whatever the reason, you just know that you now have something that is unique, awesome and very cool.

And you feel just that teeniest bit smug.

Which is how I am feeling at the moment. I will leave it up to my regular followers to pierce that particular bubble. Or not.

So, we continue with Clown month here at the buffet and no paintbrush has touched the clowns this week. However, work has progressed on the Clownmobile, as shown below.

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Progress from last week was to add the roof to the rear cargo container and add a canopy (and supports) to the cab. The canopy is a cut down plastic ‘wedge’ that’s used as a spacer when laying laminate flooring. I’ve got dozens of these lying around and the tapering shape and width meant it was exactly the tight size for my canopy. The headlights are the plastic inserts from the GW Skeleton Horde boxed set, which are designed to fill the holes in the supplied shields. The bumper/fender is just a length of wooden coffee stirrer, cut to length and the ends sanded to make them more rounded.

Moving on…

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The interior of the cab has had a seat added made from two lengths of what I refer to as ‘hobby wood’, a pack of which was given to me by a friend. This has a square cross section, is about 10 inches long and is a bit harder than either Balsa or Bass wood. Other than that, I have no idea what it is, other than useful. Obviously, in order to steer the Clownmobile, we required some controls, so a hole was made in the panel between the cab and the ‘engine’, into which was inserted a length of cotton bud stem, which has had part of a metal popper/pop fastener inserted, to create the wheel. This means that it actually does look like a steering wheel, but you can’t really see that from this picture.

And finally, round the back…

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I decided to create a tailgate, which is actually glued in place, from three lengths of coffee stirrer and two pieces of the aforementioned ‘hobby wood’, which I cut lengthwise to reduce their width. However, it looked a little bare, so rummaging through my bits box, I came across a part of an old Action Force/G.I. Joe accessory. The ribbed handle was the correct length to provide not one but two ‘hinges’ for my tailgate, which look suitably retro, fitting in with the theme of the model.

So, other than a suitable circus-themed paint job, the Clownmobile is done. Not bad for a scratch-build, in which the only part I didn’t actually make was the chassis. And as I had all of the component parts already, the only thing this cost me was time.

I’d just like to finish off by saying how nice it was to finally meet/put faces to names at Salute yesterday, although I only really got to speak to Roger, Simon and Michael, and I hope you all got hope safely and in good time. As this was my first Salue, I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it, having only previously experienced Colours and Warfare. However, saying that, it would appear that no matter how big the venue is, some attendees are still inconsiderate enough to barge past you. To quote Kingsman, “Manners maketh man…”

Still, although I failed to partake in any games and was quite frugal in my spending (partly due to not liking particular miniatures when I saw them ‘in the flesh’ and partly due to vendors having sold out of something I wanted by the time I reached them), I did have a good time.

Next week, we complete the Clown Gang and their vehicle and decide what’s next on the agenda…

Clown Tech 101

Marionette circled the hulking robot sitting in the middle of the workshop, a pensive expression on her face. Stopping, she turned to Merry Andrew, who was building God-knows-what out of a variety of household appliances.

“I know I said we needed a bit more muscle for the next job,  but I was hoping for something a little more inconspicuous…”

Merry Andrew tipped up the welding mask with a sour expression on his painted  face.

“We’re clowns. We’re not renowned for blending in.”

“Point taken'” said Marionette, “But in order to get M.I.R.T.H. close enough to the bank, we’re going to need a truck…”

One more we venture into the Liberty Force universe, the universe I have created for my own group of heroes and villains, this month focusing on the nefarious clowns of the Clown Gang and their creations.

The first update is on Merry Andrew and his creations, the hulking clown-bot known as M.I.R.T.H. and the sickly sweet robotic confectionary known as Sweet William:
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Whilst it may appear that I’ve not done very much since my last post, I have added a few additional colours to the each of the above figures; M.I.R.T.H. has been given black ‘gloves’, Merry Andrew has had his cuffs and ruff painted in cream and Sweet William has received a coat of Chainmail to his arms, which was then was inked Black and all three have had their bases painted Light Grey.

As for the remainder of the gang…
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Silly Billy has been given red hair, his coat tidied up around the edges and both his boots and blunderbus washed in Black ink. Marionette has had all her previously Marine Dark Blue parts inked Black (hat, gloves and boots) and also been given black pants. I still need to tidy up her legs and decide if she’s wearing stocking and choose a colour for her bodice. Tom Foolery has had his leg, wrist and neck ruffs painted cream and his bomb inked Black.

However, there is a reason that I haven’t progressed as far as I should have on them and it started with this:
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The above is a very old piece of Lego from the Fabuland range, which was aimed at younger children, as all the characters had animal heads. It didn’t do particularly well at the time, but I had a few sets and this particular piece was actually broken, with the front ‘loop’ snapped off. However, it is ideal for the basis of the Clown Gang’s transportation, namely…the Clownmobile.

So, digging through my bits box, I stacked some balsa wood, hobby wood and various plastic odds and ends and after much contemplation and a frantic hunt for some glue, started sticking things on to my chassis. And this was stage one:
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So far, I’ve mainly used wood in its construction, as I wanted to go for the 1930’s Circus Truck feel. The engine hood at the front was a cut down plastic container, which came from some kind of Kinder Egg-ish thing. The grill is made from the top part of a plastic coffee stirrer, the kind you used to find in Motorway service stations before everyone started using wood. Works quite well and does give the feel of an old lorry grill.

Having constructed the main part of the chassis, I then decided to add the cargo container at the rear, which has a base and three sides so far. Looking at the half-constructed model, I realised that some of the parts would be quite tricky to paint once I’d attached bumpers, etc., so gave those tricky parts an undercoat of black, as well as painting the grill to see what it looked like. And this is where we are so far.
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The rear cargo container can take at least three standard models standing up, even with the roof on, or one M.I.R.T.H. laying down, so it meets its purpose very well. I need to complete the cab, add lights and bumpers and then paint it up in suitably bright primary colours, possibly with some kind of circus poster printed out and stuck to either side. So far, everything is going according to plan…

Next week, more clowning around, but the post is likely to be on Sunday, as I will be attending Salute. I have started compiling my shopping list, as it turns out that some of the figures I’ve featured on my blog will be available and this saves me shelling out on shipping costs, which means I can buy more figures! However, as I’ve volunteered to buy the teas (and possibly biscuits) for my fellow bloggers Simon from Fantorical and Roger from Rantings under the Wargames Table, I’d best make sure that I keep the tea-kitty separate and not succumb to “Salute Virgin Fever” and buy everything I see.

Good thing there’s not a bar on site…or is there?

April Fools

During the closing weeks of He-Month in March, I was contemplating what should be my next project. Whilst the Ghostbusters Project is still ongoing, I was not feeling particularly motivated to return to it in March. Furthermore, as I have finally booked my ticket for Salute, I needed something that could be completed with a potential 3-week period – so this meant looking at which half-completed group of figures grabbed my fancy.

As Simon over at Fantorical is currently beavering away on his mountain of Heroclix figures for the “Cosmic Cube Crossover Conflict” (my name for his huge upcoming batrep), I was inspired to paint up some superheroes &/or villains. And as it was April, it seemed a no-brainer that I should paint up the nefarious super-powered clowns known as…The Clown Gang!

So, let me introduce you to the first three members, Merry Andrew, Silly Billy and Tom Foolery:

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So, these three well-armed clowns were originally part of the officially-licensed Cyberpunk miniatures, specifically the Bozos. They are now available from Mirliton as part of the 28mm Future Warriors range for 6.71 Euros for the three from here. I filed of the integral bases and glued them to 25mm circular bases, to match the rest of my supers.

The final three members of the gang are its leader, Marionette, the robotic clown known as M.I.R.T.H. (Mechanism Intended for the Removal of Troublesome Heroes) and Sweet William, who may or may not be made from sweets…

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These figures are, from left to right, Yvette, Magician’s Assistant, available from Reaper Miniatures for $5.99, Bot from the Superfigs line, available from Old Glory Miniatures for $8.95, and Kandyman from the 7th Doctor range, available from Black Tree Design for £3.25.

So, this is my Clown Gang, with nary a Heroclix figure in sight! Depending on how much time I have, I may try and construct their Clownmobile (or rather their truck). We shall see…

Comments and feedback welcome.