Into The Woods

Regular visitors to the Buffet will have noted a distinct lack of content relating to the stalwart members of the Black Museum.

Whilst I still have tales to tell (and games to play) of their adventures, we have reached a plateau and other projects have been singing their siren songs, encouraging me down other avenues.

So rather than ‘force’ my hand and produce additional content that might not be up to the standard I’ve already set for this project, I thought it best to take a respite and move on to something a bit…different.

My simple mass combat rules – Feast of Crows – are complete and have been passed on to a third party, in order for them to be tested and (hopefully) not broken. The results of this will probably be published here, with a review and AAR done by someone other than me, with the rules available as a download, so you can try them for yourself.

And as June is fast approaching, this will see the return of spandex-clad shenanigans, as Forgotten Heroes returns for the third year running. Once again we offer you the chance to exercise your creative muscles and create a 28mm miniature of a costumed hero or villain who has yet to be produced, or has, but the figure was a bit rubbish. Details of the previous two years outputs can be found on the ‘official’ Forgotten Heroes website, set up and run by my glamorous assistant, the lovely Roger Webb. Come join us – it’s a lot of fun!

So, what other things can you expect to see on the Buffet for the remainder of the year?

Well, the main project will not only be something new, but also a new era for me, as we travel back to the 18th century, a time of horse and musket, drums and shakos and Sean Bean shouting “Bastard!”…

And for this I blame Steve Gilbert. However, he has redeemed himself regarding this, as I shall explain.

We’d been discussing various topics and Steve had expressed a desire to do some kind of joint project, where we shared a ‘world’, to which we could both contribute, adventure and play within. I’d said I was quite keen on doing something involving pirates and highwaymen, flintlocks and powdered wigs, where if your hat had less than two corners, you weren’t taken seriously. Steve like this idea, as it was an era he was interested in and had a fair few existing models which he could use.

However, I didn’t. Steve then kindly offered to send me a few sprues of suitable figures from Warlord Games‘ AWI range, so I’d have the necessary core figures to do this.

Now that obstacle was removed, ideas began to flow and the world began to take shape…

So, this joint sandbox project will have three threads. Each of us will have a dedicated personal setting or campaign, with the third part being a shared location we both utilise.

The project as a whole will fall under the umbrella title of “Age of Unreason”.

Steve will be following the exploits of a group of ‘chosen men’, as they take to the field in various conflicts and will follow their globe-trotting career. This may feature here or may end up on a new blog of Steve’s. This will be entitled “Sharpe’s Progress.”

The shared location will be the small Caribbean island of St. Gilbert, located in the Lesser Antilles. Whilst entirely fictional, it was originally colonised by the very real Order of St. Gilbert, hence the name. For more details on this unique order, follow this link. This part will be entitled “Île des Mortes.”

As for my setting, I will be concentrating on a small British Colonial township located in the deep woods of what will become the state of Maine. And this part will be named after the town itself – “Dark Haven.”

Understandably, given who’s involved, you can expect a wealth of historical detail and a big dollop of the macabre. This is an era where the major powers of the World are expanding past their borders into regions filled with unfamiliar cultures and belief systems. Whilst the majority of what they encounter can be dismissed as mere myth and superstition, not every tall tale is untrue…and some things are best left undisturbed.

Now, as with every ‘new’ project I start, the first thing I do is to work out what I’ve already got that can be used/re-purposed for the nascent project, before deciding whether I CAN do and what else I will need.

As Steve had provided me with troops and my collection of HeroScape hexes would provide the terrain I needed, it was time to decide what else I needed.

Short list consisted of; North American fauna, suitable settler’s dwellings and trees…lots and LOTS of trees.

I’d already picked up some wolves from Warbases at Salute (see my post ‘Sa-Loot 2018’ for details) and Roger very kindly offered me a toy bear he had, that he felt was the right scale. When this arrived, it was not only the right scale, but also a better sculpt than the metal figures I’d been looking at, as you can see from the picture below;

Rather cool, ain’t he? Big thanks to Roger for this (as well as the other figures, you bad man).

Due to miscalculating exactly how much of my Salute budget I had left (it was more than I thought I had), I failed to pick up the Renedhra Noeth American Farmhouse, which was on offer at Salute, so don’t yet have any buildings. However, as I do have a crapload of coffee stirrers, some wooden cabins are on the horizon.

This left the trees…

Now, gaming trees are not the cheapest item you can buy. True, they do look rather nice and usually come pre-based, but you’re looking at roughly £15.00 for three, which if you’re trying to plant a forest, is a substantial outlay.

Having dismissed this idea, I watched various online videos on how to make your own, which whilst is a cheaper option, does require a fair outlay of time to do.

And then I had a brainwave and went to eBay. I remembered that Andy had picked up some inexpensive trees for his ATZ terrain and thought I’d see if they did something similar for my needs.

After a browse, I came across a listing for “10 pieces 10cm plastic model trees”…for £1.80 including shipping! The pictures looked pretty good and 10cm tall was a good size – tall enough so they didn’t look too small, but small enougb that stiorage wouldn’t be an option. So, I took a gamble and ordered two packs.

Six days later (yes, it only took six days for them to ship them from China) they arrived, and this is what they look like;

Each tree IS actually 10cm tall and consists of an injection molded plastic tree, to which has been attached ‘blobs’ of flock to represent the foliage. The coverage is a little uneven, with a few bare branches, but this means that whilst each tree is effectively identical, there is a bit of variation. As the soft plastic of the ‘frame’ is easily cut, if you want to trim a few branches here and there, I can’t imagine this would be a problem. There was also a bit of shedding of the flock, but a quick dip in a solution of thinnned down PVA will solve this issue.

All well and good, you say, but how do they compare to a standard 28mm figure?

Like this;

Not had a chance to base them properly yet, so I just used a temporary solution to get them upright.

So, twenty trees for £3.80 – which is less than a pint of beer! Bargain!

Whilst mine were £1.80 for a pack of 10, this has now gone up to £1.95 for a pack of 10…but that’s still less than 20p per tree. And they can be found here.

A fair bit of assembly and basing to be done, but soon I shall be able to send some Redcoats into the woods. What will they encounter? Native tribes? Indigenous fauna? A French raiding party? Or something far more inexplicable? Hopefully you’ll have as much fun as me finding out.

Until next time…

Breaking the Silence

A slightly different voice for this post, as I hand over to someone who has been missing for a while..


It’s been a while since I wrote anything for a website, and even longer since I contributed to a blog.

Since handing the reigns of The Game Cupboard to Dave Stone, owner of Wargames Terrain Workshop, I found myself heavily caught up in a lot of real life non hobby activity…pretty much since November 2017 up until, well…pretty much now.

Hils had a serious knee operation in January, which involved her having a whole new metal knee cap and socket replacement: combine this with her artificial metal and plastic hip, which she had replaced two years ago, and I will soon be able to do an American accent and start saying things like “We have the technology to rebuild her.” with Bionic Woman music playing in the background. But yeah she’s doing well: recovering nicely, but slowly.

On top of all this the past months have been hectic with me playing nurse and looking after her, doing the house up to put on the market, travelling loads to look at potential new houses and bungalows (with an eye to buying when ours was purchased by a new owner), and in general, lots of things which all conspired keep us away from our more normal gaming activities. We gave up the game club, wrapped up our long standing (home run) D&D campaign, filled the moat and pulled up the family drawbridge for a while.

Now, as the first half of 2018 rapidly approaches the half-way point, I find myself once again able to look at my hobby and start to drool with excitement and anticipation over future and forthcoming plans and anticipated gaming delights.

A funny thing happens when you take a long break from your hobby. When you return to it, you find you and even the hobby itself may have changed and moved on a bit from when you left it; and most assuredly, but subtly…you may have aged a bit a well: perhaps you are not quite as spry on your feet, or your eyesight has slightly diminished (noticeable when you go to paint the faces on your tiny little models), or maybe your health has declined slightly. This latter most certainly has affected me, and I feel my condition more poignantly than ever before…after a long cold winter and climbing up and down endless stairs (one of the reasons we first considered moving to a smaller house) and feeling every jolt in my weary old bones.

One of the symptoms about having emphysema is that your lungs don’t get enough oxygen, so effectively your muscles have to work extra hard and never to full efficiency, which feels a bit like having permanent flu…aching bones, headaches, and listless lack of energy (like having a cold, but without the runny nose and other cold like symptoms). This is permanent to some extent for me, with some days better than others…verging on feeling normal and good even, to full out uuug!!…and miserable stress of pain lol. Anyone with a permanent back injury or crippling arthritis will know all about this and understand what it’s like to carry an injury that will never fully go away: as for the fit lot out there, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it and imagine how it is, and be thankful you don’t have it yourself.

Point is, after winter and the shivering cold and damp of an Irish cold patch, I am usually at an all time physical low, and this makes warming up a little bit like waking up from a long carbonite freeze… i.e. slow and groggy for a while.

So where am I going with this, ah yes…

Returning to the hobby this time round has induced a few profound changes. Anyone who knows me well will know by now, I have been slowly culling my lifelong collection of figures and games for a few years now, either giving stuff away or simply chucking it out (or handing to the charity shop). Well, waking from the dark of winter this time round has seen me fine tune and tick off my hobby needs even more… and I find I need even less nowadays than ever.

And I find my true interests are a lot more focussed than they used to be. I find myself not wanting to play this, and that, and everything under the sun, not any more: but instead I find I enjoy devoting the majority of my time to just a couple of projects at a time.

For years I have been an eclectic gamer, adding games to my growing collection like a woman collects shoes or a Punk Rocker collecting badges.

Before you know it, you are surrounded by things you don`t want and can never fully use and enjoy in any case. I had become an addicted hoarder and it didn’t make me a happy gamer at all.

Anyway, nowadays, with my spending and my addiction well under control.. I find myself entrenched in my (let’s just say) ‘horse and musket’ era skirmish scale table top games, which covers a diverse range of related topics, from the French and Indian War (Last of the Mohicans) all the way up to Napoleonics (I love the “Sharpe” TV series and the Bernard Cornwell books).

I also enjoy a bit of space opera…but not all of it. Have fine tuned this and cut out most the comic book and film options and now have focussed in on just a few indulgences: Star Wars (Imperial Assault) and Doctor Who (which allows me to add in bits of anything I want really.. Aliens and Terminators and weird WWI and II, all sorts of stuff, pretty much at will).

A third passion is my lifelong love affair with all things Dungeons and Dragons. But more of that another time. Likewise with my Zombicide.

That’s a major culling of hobby interests and gaming endeavours, when compared to my former pursuits which must have run into at least a couple of dozen different types of games is pretty darn conservative, for me haha.

But I forced myself to give games to people I knew would enjoy them, rather than sit on them like a hoarder, even knowing I would never get to use them. So now I come back to the hobby with clear passion for the things that interest me, and the rest.. I let go.

My Dungeons and Dragons and my Star Wars are my solo indulgences, which I will be writing about in my new blog, when I finally decide to open it publically. I’m already sitting on tons of material, I just haven’t got it all neat and tidy yet, and it mostly sits in files here, there and everywhere, waiting to see the light of day and share with the world – yeeey, lucky you huh lol.

Zombicide (in all its many guises) I mostly just play with the family, or solo when the mood takes me. I may write about this game one day, but honestly, I have enough on my plate right now, without this added weight.

But it is my Horse and Musket “Age of Reason” (or Un-Reason, depends which side of the coin you want to look at) that has really caught my imagination this last while.

Talking back and forth with Jez, I realised we shared a similar passion, similar warped sense of humour, have a similar enjoyment in making stories come to life on the gaming table, and we both have an interest in collecting and painting appropriate, nice miniatures. So we decided to make this happen, and to share a game world in which to play in and write about. But I’ll leave Jez to talk more about all that.

Suffice to say, Lord Henry Arthur Bingly, the good Lady Chase Bingly, and of course, the voracious Lady Scarlett Blightingdale…will all be making regular appearances. As too will our good man Richard Sharpe and his merry gang of cutthroats ooops, I mean “Chosen Men.” as well as cameos from the likes of Muldrew and The Skull, and Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill.

Oh, what fun times ahead.


Kicking and Screaming

Certain things irritate me. Car owners who seem incapable of considering others when parking, people who say “Excuse me” when there’s plenty of room for them to get past and you’re not actually in their way and the inability of baristas to serve you unless you use the specific term they have decided means “a large coffee”…

However, today I have a new hobby-horse and as I intend to take on a substantial canter around the Buffet, those of a delicate sensibility or those easily offended should probably go and read something else.

And that hobby-horse is Kickstarter.

Now, I fully appreciate the purpose of Kickstarter. It allows people to realise their projects that probably wouldn’t see the light of day without external funding from a group of interested people and, generally speaking, I think this is a good thing.

However, when utilised by bigger companies, who have no real need to call upon the support of us ordinary folk to fund their latest project, this is where things get a bit…off.

When Mantic Games announced that they had secured the licence to produce a miniatures board game based on Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, I pricked up my ears. I’d been a fan since the original four-issue Seeds of Destruction series way back in 1994.

They announced it was going to be funded via Kickstarter, that the intial ‘pledge level’ would be quite tempting for fans and as ‘Hellboy Week’ progressed on the Mantic Blog, the articles from both Mantic and the actual designer of the game, James M. Hewitt (designer of Dreadball, Bloodbowl 2016 and Necromunda: Underhive) seemed to suggest that this was a game I’d be seriously interested in AND potentially my FIRST Kickstarter.

Then the Kickstarter dropped…

Their goal was £100,000 and although the Kickstarter has only been live for a couple of days, they have already reached a total amount pledged of £753,000. So, quite popular, then…

Now, the actual RRP of the basic game will be £69.99, which is pretty typical of boxed games these days. So, you would expect the lowest pledge level would enable you to get the game at a reduced amount and I was kind of hoping that this might fall into the range of £40-£50, which would be just about within my budget.

But No! The lowest pledge level, whereby you actually get something, is £95.00! True, you do get approximately £200 worth of ‘stuff’, including Kickstarter ‘exclusives’, but there’s no option to just get the basic game.

Now, this may be mere pocket change to others, but to me, £95.00 represents a substantial investment in a game that might not be as good as it sounds and I won’t see hide nor hair of until February 2019.

To add insult to (potential financial) injury, Mantic do offer you the chance to pledge a lower amount, for which you get…nothing. Why!? If this was a small company or individual, whose project may only be realised through the generosity of strangers, I could understand it. But this is Mantic Games, who I can’t imagine are short of a few pennies, so why do they want us to, effectively, give them our hard-earned cash gratis? They don’t need it, do they?

So, having been quite excited by this game initially, I now have a nasty taste in my mouth and definitely WON’T be contributing.

If I want to field the agents of the B.P.R.D. on the tabletop, I can pick up the Heroclix boxed set for £30.00, which includes seven agents, including Hellboy, Abe, Liz, Johann and Roger AND they’re already painted.

Now, I appreciate that this is purely my opinion on this matter and people may not agree with my views, but surely these bigger companies should cater to ALL gamers, not just those with the biggest bank balances?

Look at Warlord, their licenced Doctor Who game starter game Exterminate (which didn’t require a Kickstarter to fund) retails for £40.00.

Now, I appreciate that this is purely my opinion and am not expecting everyone to agree with my point of view, but just before you click that button that says ‘Fund This Project’ on Kickstarter, whatever it may be, think what else you could use that money for. How much other hobby stuff, for projects you’re currently indulging in, could that pledged amount be used to buy? With the added advantage of being able to use it NOW, rather than ten months down the line. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Right, ride over and hobby-horse stabled.

Join me next time, when regular programming will resume.


Sa-Loot 2018

I usually attend two gaming conventions each year – Warfare in my home town of Reading, as it’s right on my doorstep, and Salute in London, as it’s the biggest wargaming event on the UK calendar.

Gaming conventions give you the opportunity, if you’re fortunate, of picking up those rulebooks, miniatures and terrain that you’ve been drooling over on the Internet for the previous couple of months, but without having to budget in the shipping and handling costs, which can sometimes be greater than the items you’re ordering.

Being somewhat anal, I do meticulously plan what I intend on buying prior to the event and always set myself a budget which, so far, I’ve not exceeded. My willpower is Legendary

Purchases at events fall into four categories; Definite, Potential, Gift and Impulse. Definite purchases are those things I know I’m going to buy, as long as the vendor has it in stock. Potential purchases are things I quite like the look of, but want to see close up before I decide if I do actually want it. Gifts are those things that would either make ideal presents for my gaming friends or stuff they’ve asked me to pick up because they can’t attend themselves. Finally, Impulse buys are things that I wasn’t aware of before attending, that fulfill a specific gaming need or are just too cool not to buy.

So, this year’s Salute budget was set at a very modest £40, which may not sound like a lot, but to a canny buyer such as myself, was more than sufficient for my needs. Knowing that I only had about an hour and a half to make my purchases, I did a swift sweep of the hall to locate the purveyors of my Definite list. I then returned to my targeted vendors and bought the items I was after.

Next came the Gift category, for which I had to collar one of the organisers, as I knew who had the item I was after, but couldn’t find their stand. Better signage needed next time, chaps…

As time was rapidly slipping through my fingers, I then visited the vendors who stocked my Potential purchases. However, whilst they all had the items in stock, I decided that the items in question were A) not as nice as they looked online, B) not worth the asking price or C) not really necessary at this point of the project.

As for Impulse buys, I did try and make one near the end of the show, but as this was from Wargames Terrain Workshop and was a small terrain item (rather than a big-ass dragon), Sarah decided to give it to me as a thank you for all my help.

So, having sat through my explanation of my buying philosophy, you’re probably wondering what exactly I spent my pennies on, so I shall show you. And, more importantly, explain the reason behind each one.

First up, Constanzi, Katerina and Elena – Vampire Sisters of the Moon from the Belt Ged Gaming range carried by Colonel Bill’s.

Three very nicely sculpted Victorian female vampires for £8.50. I’d seen the pre-release ‘greys’ for these on Roy’s Never Mind the Jankers blog and knew they had to be mine. Ideal for both my Tales of the Black Museum project (can’t really do Gothic Horror without vampires, can you?), as well as a new project that is looming on the horizon.

Next, some Wolves from Warbases.

£4.00 for four different sculpts. Whilst I do own a fair few figures of both people and monsters, my collection is quite light when it comes to animals. I own a couple of foxes and some pigeons, but that’s about it. As the new project will see me venturing into the wilds of Colonial Maine, I needed some wolves. Of course, I now need a bear too. And possibly the terror of the Maine woods, the whiskey drinking fiend known as…Razor-Shins.

Next, a Steampunk Female from the Kaosball range carried by Tritex Games.

On their website, this 30mm plastic figure retails for £1.99, but they sell the individual figures at Salute for a £1.00 each. I’d previously bought this figure as a Harley Quinn proxy for Tarot as a gift and had decided I wanted one too. Whether she ends up actually AS Harley Quinn in a supers game or as a Victorian version in Blackwell remains to be seen, but it’s a nicely detailed figure and you can’t argue with the price. Especially if you compare it with the licensed figure from Knight Models…

My final item is the Dragon Bell from Wargames Terrain Workshop.

I’d recently taken delivery of a new figure case from Tabletop Tyrant, as my figures had stsrted to spill out of the cupboard. This resulted in me sorting all my miniatures by genre, including all those I’d gathered for Oriental Fantasy gaming. I thought the addition of this well-detailed terrain piece would enhance my games, so decided to add it to my collection. It normally retails for a very reasonable £1.00, but as mentioned before, mine was a gift.

Not a huge haul, but every item was purchased with a use in mind, so all will see play sooner or later. And surely that’s the point of buying them, isn’t it?

Until next time…

Post-Salute Thoughts 2018

As this year I was helping out on the Wargames Terrain Workshop stall, rather than wandering the aisles, this year’s report will hopefully give a view ‘behind the scenes’. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to take many photos, being on call or occupied for most of the day, which also meant I missed the annual blogger’s meet. However, as the time for this had changed to 12.30 and no-one had mentioned this…I probably would have missed this anyway.

So, my Salute experience started around midday on the Friday, as I packed up my stuff at work and made my way to the station. With trundle-bag in tow, I had a reasonably swift and pleasant journey into London having wisely decided to get some hot food to eat on the journey.

Having arrived at Paddington and checking the time, I realised that my cunning plan to visit The Porterhouse in Covent Garden was still a possibility, so jumped on the tube and made my way there. I’d visited the one in Dublin last October, and when I found there was one in London too, I had promised myself a visit the next opportunity I got.

After a very pleasant pint of their Plain Porter, I did what I usually do when in a part of London I’m unfamiliar with, which is to set off in roughly the right direction for my final destination and hope to hit a tube station. After wanderng past Somerset House on the Embankment, I ended up at Temple, then tubed to Tower Gateway and on to the DLR for the Excel.

As it was slightly later than I’d anticipated, I headed directly to the hotel to book in – to find that they couldn’t find my booking. Slightly annoying, but luckily they did have a room available and it was actually £20 cheaper than when I’d initially booked.

I dumped my stuff, used the facilities and then went to meet Dave.

Slipping in through the Contractors Entrance, I got my first look at the hall from an insider’s perspective. All three rear shutters were open, allowing the afternoon sunlight in and my first thought was…that’s a lot of vans.

From a logical point of view, I should have expected it, but seeing the shutters closed and all the stands set up as an attendee, you don’t immediately connect the two and realise that getting all the stuff in would require more than a few sack trucks and trolleys. They open the shutters, the traders drive their vans in and unload. And you thought the width of the aisles was for your comfort…

Traders are allowed in from approximately half two on the Friday to set up and are kicked out at around five. Depending on how much you’ve got to set up and when you arrive limits what you can get done on the Friday. The traders are allowed back in at 7.30 on the Saturday to finish off and have to be in the hall by 9.00am at the latest, prior to the doors opening at 10. In these two and half hours, there is an air of franticness palpable, as those traders with large complicated stalls or those who have arrived later than the others try to get everything ready by ten.

This pre-opening period is also the opportunity for those ‘inside’ to network and make purchases prior to the crowds filtering in, but not ever trader is in a position to take your money, so a certain degree of persuasion IS needed. Luckily, being a charming chap, everyone I spoke to was prepared to help me out. I even had two of the staff on Caliver Books stall searching their entire stock for a particular miniature I was after, for which I was extremely grateful. I made a few modest purchases, more of which later.

Bearing in mind that Salute officially opens at 10.00am, I was surprised to discover from one of the Salute staff that some attendees had been queuing since 6.30 that morning! Standing in a queue for three and a half hours, just to be one of the first through the doors. That’s dedication…or possibly some kind of mental aberration.

From a traders point of view, the day goes in pulses. You get the initial filtering in of the crowd – some will rush straight in to their targeted supplier, desperate to get their stuff before it sells out, others take their time and browse as they go.

As Dave and I were manning the demonstration table, there was a certain degree of waiting until such time as people had made their initial purchases and felt inclined to sit down and play a game. I think this is typical of all these sorts of events.

As the crowds filtered past, I saw Imperial Stormtroopers, Scouts and officers, a Jawa, a rather nice Cylon Centurion and Deadpool wandering about. Simon Moore (aka Blaxkleric) of Fantorical dropped in to say hello and later in the day, so did Andy Nash of da Gobbo’s Grotto, although I was running a demo game of Death Match at the time and wasn’t able to chat as much as I would have liked.

Whilst Dave ran the lion’s share of the demo games, as he’s more familiar with the rules than me, I did run at least three or four games, including one for the writer of the rules and his son, which was slightly nerve-wracking as he obviously knew them better than me! The final game finished just as they were kicking people out the hall at five and I realised that the day had actually gone a lot quicker than I’d thought.

After all the attendees have left, the traders have two hours to pack up and leave. It’s pretty remarkable that they do manage it in this time, as by the time we’d packed up at 6.30pm, the majority of the traders were already done. Years of practice obviously.

So, it was an interesting experience to see if from the other side. It’s an early start for the traders, with breaks taken as and when possible, and ideally getting a good night’s sleep the previous evening is recommended. Unless, like me, you had a raucous party occurring on the rear deck of the Sunborn yacht hotel going on into the wee hours of the morning within high-pitched squealing laughter of your room…

However, the illuminated London skyline IS quite pretty…

As this is a longer post than I anticipated, my Salute purchases will have to wait for another, later post.

Whilst I will be attending Salute next year, I think I may go back to being a patron. However, I would like to thank Dave for the opportunity and also to the rest of the WTW crew for making me feel very welcome.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something…Orange

Initially, the title of this post was going to be a time-related quote, but as I’d already used “It’s About Time” which would have been perfect, I had to think of something a bit different, hence the above. All will become clear as you read on…

So, let us start with Something Old

When I first started my Gothic Victoriana project (which became Tales of the Black Museum) way back in August of last year, the first structure that was shown for the London borough of Blackwell was the Chapel of St. Gilbert, with accompanying churchyard and scenery. The build for this particular terrain piece can be found in the post For Whom the Bell Tolls, which is probably worth a look so you can do a comparison, as it was pointed out at the time that my church was a little too clean…

So, I decided to do a bit of work on it to see whether I could make it look a bit more soot-stained and grimy, and this is the result:

Certainly looks a bit more worn than before and the roof tiles are now the appropriate colour. To be frank, the picture makes it look brighter than it actually is. The same applies to the tree in the churchyard, which was originally undercoated black and has had various shades and washes applied to it, but now looks a bit ‘spectral’ – although it is darker to the natural eye.

I still need to finish off the remainder of the churchyard and add a few details to the church doors, but when you progress a large terrain piece from ‘half-done’ to ‘almost done’, you do have a sense of achievement, as large terrain pieces do take a fair while to paint compared to figures.

Next up – Something New. As my last post did state that the churchyard was where Lord Edmund Blackadder’s time machine had ended up, I thought I’d best show it in place – as I’ve finally got around to finishing the bloody thing!

Trying to create tiny clock hands out of very thin plastic that were the right shape AND symmetrical proved quite tricky. Also discovering that I really should have made the trench surrounding the dial slightly wider to allow me to write the numbers around the dial more clearly was an annoyance, but it IS finished now, so I’m quite pleased.

And yes, this close-up of the time machine revealed that I’d missed painting one of the chapel’s buttresses, which is why it still has the warm toffee colour of the original paint job.

Now, we’ve got Blackadder’s time machine complete, but where is the man himself? He is our Something Borrowed.

So, I finally managed to get the figure I’m using for my version of the 1999 incarnation of Lord Edmund Blackadder based, undercoated and some paint on him. Strangely, the bit that took the longest was mixing up the colour for his velvet jacket, as I did not have a suitable colour pre-mixed – Imperial Purple being too pink and Worm Purple being too purple. So, “Blackadder Plum” was tinkered with until it matched what I thought the colour should be.

Still a bit of work to go, but he’s coming along and at least he can now appear in physical form for his adventures in Blackwell.

So, something old (the church), something new (the time machine), something borrowed (Edmund Balckadder), which leaves…something blue. Or in my case, something orange…Zygons!

I took advantage of Black Tree’s post-Christmas sale to add some classic characters to my Doctor Who collection, including a couple of the classic Zygons from the 1975 Fourth Doctor serial Terror of the Zygons.

Now, I know that the modern re-design of this alien race has changed their colouration slightly, so that they look more crab-like in colour, but my recollection and online images from the original story, showed they were a greeny-orange colour, so that’s what I went with. Both figures were given an undercoat of white, followed by a coat of GW Bogey Green, and then a coat of my ‘Pumpkin Orange’ mix. And that’s it.

As the orange paint is quite ‘orangey’, but also quite thin, it kinds of acts like a glaze, pooling in the right places and allowing hints of the underlying green to show through. I think it works really well and am now tempted to buy some of the new Warlord Zygons and paint them exactly the same way. May not be exactly canon, but neither’s painting their hands black…

Hopefully, this post signifies a return to more regular posting. The next post will be my regular post-Salute report, as it’s now less than a week away, and will be from an ‘insider’s’ point of view, as I’m helping out on the Wargames Terrain Workshop stall and demonstration tables this year. So, please feel free to drop by and say hello.

Until next time…