Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Factory Assembly

Well, what I thought would be a fairly easy exercise to assemble the basic four walls to the base turned out be something of a nightmare (I really should have known).
All the walls have a slight warp to them making them bow out a mm or so from the base.
Camping the base firmly to the table and using other clamps to force the walls to align with the base whilst glue dried was the answer, but took a very long time as I wished the glue to be really set before releasing the clamps - overnight for each wall was the time I'd set.
Before (left) and after (right)
In the meantime I covered and painted the corners of the annex with thin strips of folded cards, to hide the obvious MDF joins (one of the features I hate worst off all with MDF buildings.

Obligatory boring picture
I also made some thin card pieces to cover the three ventilation ducts for later, undercoating and  paint. I used a slightly different method than I did with my previous MDF build and the result was far more satisfactory.
In case you're wondering why and hadn't caught this the first time, the shafts are made from three pieces of MDF sandwiched together and imo look awful.
After the four main walls were glued in place and the roof added, it was obvious that although the clamps had cured the  warp-age at their base it had continued to the roof, consequently making a 1mm to 2mm gap (slightly exaggerated in the photograph).
Extra 'padding' to make the roof look 'better'.
This was yet another feature I  hadn't experienced before, but with the 2mm MDF, plus thin card, plus glue and paint I should really have anticipated this happening.
Three pieces of card were quickly employed to cover the gap, more or less successfully.
Once the roof was in place another problem reared its head.
Another reminder that these are not called 'precision' for nothing as the roof was a very tight fit. So much so that I poked a piece of the perspex out to enable me to get a grip on the roof to lift it off. This is a minor niggle but one I haven't sorted -yet.
The photograph shows the quick roof-fox in place though not entirely pressed down into place (for ease of removal).

The 'annex' showing the corners of the main building and central strip.

Other features went together really well, the annex/office glued into place (once more being held and pressed into place using clamps because of the slight warp), The four corners each had a thin piece of card added to them to hide the MDF joins and yet another piece of card was added half-way up the wall to reproduce the etched feature on the original model. This later detail had to be left until late in the build so as to fit the corner pieces too,
You can see from the photograph that I've also added the ventilation ducts.

Staircase side with single ventilation thing.
The ventilation ducts didn't want to fit where they were meant to either, though I can't pin it down why - it was probably through my own inadequacy. There are three ducts, each with two fittings and following the trend with this one of the fitting had mysteriously disappeared into some void or other.
Luckily (?) because of the configuration I'd chosen for the staircase, I'd need one ventilation shaft less (yay!) as the stairs covered the intended location. In the photograph you can just see the top fitting hole to the right of the door.
Front view (yawn)
Because of the way the walls sit atop the base, the base edges have no features on them, this wil be remedied with some filler to represent dirt and to fill in some gaps made by the walls lifting slightly during the time the glue dried on them . I have no-one to blame for this, save for my own tiredness and boredom in the length of time being taken trying to get this to the table.

Bits of filler can just about bee seen as can the missing roof perspex (top left)

I'm hoping to have this model finished in the next week, as I can't see what other problems it can throw at me.

So that's it then for this week, thanks for taking the trouble to visit and of course tyour comments and criticisms are always welcome.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Precision Built ?

Internal wall with gantry - what a pain is was
Progress on my Sarissa large Factory has come on in leaps and bounds despite all the real-life issues that have befallen me over the last two weeks. I think I would have had it finished in a week or so (even given my slow work-rate) if I didn't want it looking a little more 'unique' and with more internal detail than was probably intended by the manufacturers.
External wall with the internal wall of the 'annex'

The majority of the painting on the main structure (i.e. the four main walls) and the two external add-ons have all been finished too. (that is to say the stairs and small annex). I have a little painting left to do on the external brickwork and then the whole thing will be assembled.

Two 'sides' of the combined structure.
The photo on the right shows how I assembled the external staircase to the inverted 'U' shaped gantry. I figured it would be slightly stronger in this configuration and would enable me not to have it separate (for safer handling).
Rather than paper to hide the obvious MDF joins I used thin card (cartridge paper probably) as I did with the smaller offices building.
The gantry did need two of the railing cut and re-positioned to allow for this configuration and I did forget to file down the resulting 'lip' between the two pieces before I painted it all up. Doh!
Here's what it looked like after it's initial priming.
The card is hardly noticeable and well worth the extra ten minutes or so work imo.
Stairs (who'd have thought?)

 The finished article has been painted in my usual style of 'grot', covering many of the mistakes, thumb-prints, dripped glue etc. primarily a blue grey (hardly noticeable I know) for the flooring, with yellows for the railings, all covered with a wash of dark brown for the grime aspect.
Some lighter brown rust effects were added to the structure too, but once more the cameraman failed to get a good shot of these.
Compulsory boring picture

 The photograph on the left shows the roof and floor of the small annex, which I'll be designating as an office rather than the boiler house (so no chimney). They're sitting on the main floor (the base) of the building which after its initial prime spraying of grey has been used as a palette to clean my brushes on - hence the multitude of watered-down colours - it's an effect I really like, but I guess others won't.
Fairly boring roof, but in close-up

Here's a close-up photo of the annex/office roof clearly showing the three bevelled edges and the straighter edge that will align with the main wall of the main building.
It's had my usual grey car-primer as a base colour to which I added a very dark metallic paint colour then a dark silver highlight followed by a wash of black.

"Don't look at me - I'll break"
Left is a photograph of the roof  of the main building in its currently; the state of which I'm not too happy about presently.
I've halved the number of windows by affixing card to them and topping them with another length of card folded into a 'v' for the roof ridge.
Initially I was going to have it fully 'glazed' so to speak, but the roof decided it was too flimsy  for such nonsense  and wouldn't play along.
Gluing in the perspex pieces was yet another example of piss-poor planning on my behalf (I should have done it pre-assembly); the thin 2mm MDF with glue added (initially making it weaker), the precise nature of Sarissa building (they're not called Sarissa Precision for nothing) combined with my inept stubby-fingered handling resulted in a pig's breakfast of a build. - But it will be sorted !

This next week will see me attempt to see if it will all still assemble into something resembling the  model I originally intended to build. I still have a lot (believe it or not) bits that have to be added to the model and the roof to attend to, but it is getting there.
The more attentive among you may also have noticed that my reading gadget thing has changed to the THW pirate rules "And a bottle of Rum". I had these bought for me November 2015 along with "Free Ports" in one of the many sails sales that ED at THW has. (did you see what I did there).
Pirate games are one of those genres that many (if not all) wargamers have had an inkling to try - me included. (I posted about my own efforts in this direction  years ago  - you can see the post here)
Unfortunately I've never found a set of piratical rules that embodied all I wanted in  a single game, such as swashbuckling (the old Yaquinto game Swashbuckler did it for me), ship -to ship action (AH wooden ships and Iron men) and land combat. However these rules encompass all the major elements I like about pirates and what I like about THW rules in general (though I will of course be amending bits of them as I go along).  A major plus of the rules is that many of the ideas I'll be incorporating into my Zombie rules too (though I'll be avoiding  zombies in my pirate games).

Monday, 11 April 2016

...Chicken Dinner

As some of you may already know I recently won a competition by Michael Awdry of the blog 28mm Victorian Wargames  to celebrate his blog's fifth anniversary. (If you aren't already a member or haven't visited his blog site yet, please do as it is not just about Victorian Warfare and inspirational in many aspects of our hobby. The prize was two packets of Empress Miniatures and an additional pack of Zulu War British from Michael's own collection. As a had no immediate use for the latter pack I declined taking the Brits and I'm sure they will be put to better use at Awdry Towers.
The two pack I chose were SAS2 and US7 (a special forces pack)
the order was placed on the 5th and I'd received them by the 7th (- what Service!).
I'd gone for these two packs as I'll most likely be using them as survivors and they seem to fit the bill nicely,  looking the least like they're wearing uniforms.

A word of caution if buying these figures, in pack 'US7' two of the figures are multipart figures, meaning you have to stick their limbs and some equipment on - no big deal unless you're as ham-fisted as I am! (The photographs btw are from the Empress Miniatures' site - I've not become David bailey overnight as my later photographs will testify to)

In other news I've been very busy working on my large Sarissa factory, which although not assembled has had quite a bit of paint slapped on it.
These two particular  walls have had both their external walls painted in what will be the final colour  (save for some highlighting and shading -  maybe)
The red door frames I went for mainly to contrast with the blue of the small office building. Whilst the large door frames will be a bluish-steel effect, a little lighter than shown.
The internal view of the above two walls shows the complete window frames (as opposed to just the sills and lintels of their outside aspect and the yellow girders used to support the gantry crane. The parts for said gantry have yet to be punched from their original sheet - it looks to be yet another daunting task imo.
 Of the remaining two large walls, neither have had any of the lighter sand colour applied yet, ( though there is hardly any noticeable difference in these photos), although the small outer wall has.
The photograph below (and the only one that doesn't appear to have been shot by a five-year old) shows the state of play on the internal walls of the three walls shown to the right.
Progress has been pretty slow, but despite being away at the weekend I think I've been making good progress,
I do think though that for those buying this particular model and not being as picky as I've been wanting some extra detail it could have easily been finished in a week. I'd also forgotten how long it takes to paint even a single one of the large wall, it seems to take me forever (about an hour).
There's still plenty left do on the model, before its final assembly (which will no doubt be a fitting nightmare). I haven't yet looked  at assembling the outside stairs, though I am now happy with how I will assemble them as there is quite a few different arrangements that can be made.
The roof is also assembled and being painted (as well as being cursed, sworn at, altered and cut about) and is yet another long job (who said 'glass' is a good idea ?). The usual real-life distractions hinder progress, as do the more enjoyable hobby-related ones as once more my enthusiasm for all things piratical reared its ugly head in the form of series two of "Black Flags" on TV as a reminder of my  enthusiasm of the genre.

I'd like to welcome Damon Carlton who has his own new  blog "Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse" which is well worth a look along with another new zombie orientated blog "The Deadlands"  .

So, that's all then for this week, pretty thin fare I know but with these longer daylight hours I do feel a lot more productive.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Action Force (Truck Set)

The full set in their box
In the last fortnight I mentioned to my beloved I'd seen a box of trucks that would be suitable for my games and was lucky enough to receive the very same this week.
More or less all the information about these can be found on the front cover of the box, save for the fact that I don't believe these are from the same "Action Force" company that make die-cast military vehicles. However that shouldn't deter the bargain hunters among you - at £6.99 for six vehicles, (or £12 for 12 if you buy  two boxes) they're a bargain in my opinion.
Sid showing their size
They're very comparable in both quality and size to many Poundlandbargainworld vehicles that I've bought over the last few years. They're made from a soft (ish), but durable plastic, but have few noticeable mold lines. They also have a kiddy-friendly push along motor (whereas some of my others have the pull-back and let go variety).
Cement truck with revolving 'bucket' thing
They are typical of  normal bright coloured toys, but I'm sure that the more able modellers amongst you could do wonders with these, weathering them etc.

For my part initially I'll be doing no more than removing some of the stickers, the ones either side of the cab showing "Beat truck" in a large blazon and the ones either side of the rear body showing a spanner and the word "Truck".
I've removed many of theses from similar buys I've made. The fingernail and peel method doesn't always work, so once this has been attempted it's a water soaking followed by another soaking using Turps substitute, White Spirit or something similar. This latter stuff removes the tacky bits of glue left even after a successful peeling.
The container truck
  The container vehicle has an immovable container on the rear of it (I haven't yet worked out how it's attached) and the rear 'door' sticker is a bit 'meh' too, but serviceable until future enthusiasm to do something about it kicks in.
There is also a rear sticker that is a flat representation of the rear lights, though there is no physical representation of these on the model, but you can see that the model does have wing mirrors represented, so they're not entirely lacking in detail, even if a little bland.
As a final feature of this version, the container roof can seemingly be pried off.

Sid on lookout.

   Next up is this cherry-picker with a basket large enough to get a figure in, that is, providing it's on a base less than 25mm diameter. My figures are on 20mm washers for the most part and Sid is quite a tight fit.
The photograph gives a view of the 'detail' on one of the alternate beds (there are three from what I can tell ) with some form of control panel (or possibly it's a seat), in reality has so little detail on it, it's impossible to tell.
Sid by the 'control panel' thing.
"So what's this for again?"
The 'digger' vehicle, uses the same 'bed' as the cherry-picker, but has additional stickers that will be removed (for an instant model improvement). You can see on this photograph that the exhaust pipes aren't completely solid either (yes, that's how cheap these are), but a quick bit of filler, or some paper wrapped around will  fix that little problem lickety-split.
Sid with the "No tipping" tipper truck
The last of the models made me chuckle somewhat (and not because of the two extra stickers that'll have to be removed - that's just annoying), because although it's blazoned on the side of the model and on the box as a "tipper" is doesn't in fact tip at all. No, the tipper part is securely affixed to the bed of the truck with some form of plastic magic - but it's not something that bothers me in particular.
My vehicle storage solution.
Overall though I'm very happy with this acquisition and for the price I may well have been tempted to have bought it myself. I've bought a lot of vehicles over the last few years but have never paid more than £1 for each, but at just over a
£1 a vehicle (who needs two sets ?) these are still good value. (And yes,  I do have a lot of vehicles that have cost more than a £1, but  these have been gifts and I didn't buy them.) The only problem I have now is that I need a new storage bin to fit them in.
As you can see from the photograph to the right, this is my storage solution for my vehicles. They're obviously vegetable bins, free from my local grocers and they're each crammed full of vehicles . My largest vehicle had to be put at a slight angle to fit (and it's a slightly under-scaled model at that) but normally I can get anywhere between upwards of two dozen cars to at least a dozen models of the size these are.
I've done very little 'work' on any of the vehicles I have, as a lot are fine to play with as they are, but there are just as many, like these, that really should have a a bit of attention. One day, maybe, possibly  I'll get around to it.
 In other news I've been once more bitten by the pirate bug and my bed-time reading has been reading through my recently acquired pirate rules, contemplating both the good (for the most part) and bad parts.  This enthusiasm for all thing Pirate has been tempered by the ongoing Large Factory build, that has taken up the majority of my hobby activities this week. The windows have all been 'glazed' and framed; all the doors (large and small) have all had their details added (8 large doors, all with twelve [that's 12!]  bit of cardboard cut to size and added for detail on each side - making 192 individual bits) and it all takes time. The initial coats of paint have also been started , but the model still hasn't been assembled and glued together yet, but I guess I'm over the half-way stage with this build - further news next week.

That's it then for another week, here's hoping that I haven't completely bored you to tears.

Monday, 28 March 2016


The prototype
I've been quite busy this last week, by my standards at least, but as usual not just with one particular thing. I've been preparing several different things to add some internal detail to my Factory offices and as can be seen by the photograph it's a computer ! (OK its only a screen atm)
I have tried to do computers like the one shown previously, normally as "one-offs" for a particular model, and I only really needed one or at most two to give some interior detail to the factory office.

The first three stages,(top to bottom)
However  I did have a thought to mass-produce them like daGobbo (though not with the same degree of success) and here's the results.
Using a strip of scrap card from the factory unit I marked out the size of the screens. I won't be using this card again, it really is rubbish to cut accurately as can be seen by the many torn and ragged bits, despite using a new scalpel.
The resultant framework was glued to a piece of scrap foamboard which when dried had the back layer of card stripped from it and the foam then smoothed out with a file, giving a nicely rounded back to the screens.
Prototype and bases at the top and examples of the various supports .

The next two stages were (1) to cut a scrap of mdf (Again from the ever helpful Factory build), file the edge off to a wedge shape and glue it to the back, then (2) glue the whole thing to a small base , which I cut from a better piece of card.
Along the way I filed any rough patches on the screen fronts and generally tidied up the fronts.
The results, whilst not great were sufficiently usable for my needs (to represent computer screens). 
A quick lick of paint

Some quick dabs of various colours to represent the various icons for a typical desktop screen and a gloss varnish was enough imo to declare them finished (which really means I was sick of them)
The overall effect is OK and the build wasn't difficult - just frustrating at times) and I do have another idea to make some more of these, using a different technique and to make them smaller as these could easily double as flat-screen TVs.
Dividing wall (pretty boring huh?)
More progress on the Factory Office was the wall shown on the right, which will act to give two rooms upstairs.
Once more a bit of scrap MDF from the kit served as the dividing wall, cut an filed to fit.
A door was added by merely adding a frame and a scrap of card for the door itself (on both sides I hasten to add). The small amounted of detail that can be seen on the door was added using a craft knife - not unlike the details on the original doors, minus the use of a laser and the windows!
Two quick scratch-built desks
Lots of progress made on this new build.
A couple of "desks" were quickly knocked out of the scrap from windows using two pieces from each bit of window scrap. I'm not entirely happy with these particular ones and they may well be gazumped by more  others. One desk is destined to be glued to the diving wall (above), to give some extra needed support to it as it will we used to remove the upper floor
 to give access to the lower area.
Finally this week I've been making a lot of progress on the second Sarissa Building , their Large Factory Building. 
I'm more or less following the same processes as I followed with its smaller brother, so the internal walls will all have 'glass' windows (perspex obviously), the card inserts will all be supplemented with additional card to reach the corners, windows will have lintels and sills on the outside and frames on the inside etc.
The  major deviation I made with this build is to assemble the four main walls with their inserts first before and  before gluing them to the base they'll be painted.
Currently I've also decided not to add the chimney stack and will be using the building annex it sits on as an yet another office,

That's it for this week and as usual if you've taken the time to look then I hope that there was something here of interest. Comments, as always are welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Factory Offices (MDF 5)

Front of building with Sid for scale.
The factory Office is finished, even after yet another week with a hospital visit, I still managed to finish off the little that remained to be done on this build.
The 'little' in question was mainly the roof, with hatch and affixing the doors that  were still detached.
The roof I'd already painted too, so that should have been a bonus, but I really didn't like the positioning of the hatch. A quick rotation of the roof allowed me to have the hatch in the corner opposite to the door  (a more logical place in my mind).
 The 'hatch' however was a different story, the one supplied with the kit was merely a cut out square of MDF and an engraved square within it !
  The 'hatch' piece is larger than the hole it covers (why there is one there in the first place baffles me) and I looked for the cut-out piece from the hole to use on top  of the hatch. Alas it was one of those bits of scrap that had fallen from the frame somewhere within the  packing process and not at my end I hasten to add.
Using the hatch as provided as the base for a better overall looking one I cut a  square of MDF from the scrap frames to sit atop the large base.
I rounded the corners of both the top piece and base, added a recess for a handle and fitted some pieces to represent hinges and an handle.
The result can be seen in the photographs below.
hatch, before and after painting

Sid wondering if it's locked.
I also took the opportunity to give the roof a bit of texture, using PVA and a sprinkling of sand. Colouring would be multiple washes of a lot of different colours and even though it looks very grey in the photographs, it really isn't. The texture can be easily seen in the photograph to the right.

Sid, on the inside, looking out
There wasn't that  much to do internally, although I did have to file away a little off two sides of the middle floor to allow the floor to be lifted in and out easily. This in turn led to me having to make an additional two supporting strips to better support the floor.
To me the height of the windows looks odd internally. As can be seen in the photograph, there is little clearance between the floor and the window-sill and not that much room between the top of Sid's head and the ceiling (where the blue  stops above the window).
No holding guns up in the air upstairs ! 
The large double doors downstairs were glued in place, slightly ajar, as was the single door. And that, more or less was all that had to be completed. (still took me ages though)

The back of the building
Front and stairs.
The ventilation side and front
Overall I'm very pleased how this has turned out and I've learnt a lot of lessons throughout the build. I should have painted much more of the model before assembly, especially the stairs. The card wall insets should also have been glued in place before painting and assembly.The former would have prevented warping  and would have allowed me easier access for my clamps whilst the glue dried..
The extra bits needed for the corners would also have been a lot easier to cut and insert if the model hadn't already been assembled  and would have made painting the interior a lot simpler. The internal window frames, that seemed a good idea at the time, were a pain when it came to the centre floor being removed, leading to a lot of filing. The roof, like the centre floor, is a very tight fit and really needs something to grasp to enable its easy removal.
I'll be putting a lot of what I've learnt into practise with my next MDF build, but I doubt I'll be giving another blow-by-blow account like this epic tale has been.
I am however not quite finished with this build, after all it's just an empty shell at the moment and a bit of internal detailing is already  planned. and started., but that for another time.

That's all for this week, thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope that there was something of interest herein.