Monday, 12 September 2011

Skyping and painting..

As anyone that does it knosw, painting can end up being a very isolated hobby. You spend hours on your own, concentrating on little toy soldiers that in spite of your dreams( or possibly your nightmares) will never tell you how they feel about  your work on their paint job.

              So the other day I saw a random tweet that was a brilliant idea. Being on skype, while you paint with others that are doing the same thing.  You've got a headset, so your hands are free, you're talking to other people that are doing the same thing. If you have a problem or a genius idea, you can share it straight away.

It's genius, and it's so simple.

Wish I'd thought of it.

If anyone wants to try it, drop me a msg.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Well hello there... long time no see..

O.k, I admit it. Just lately I have been utterly crap at making blog posts.

I could make a long lists of all the things that have gotten in the way of me making posts, but the bottom line is that I've just been procrastinating left right and centre.

That being said, I would like to speak about something I think is vital for any business.

Customer Service.

We all know what customer service is, what's good customer service, what's bad customer service, what's outstanding customer service. 

There are some companies out there that have a record for outstanding customer service, I personally would count Privateer Press among them.

There are some companies that are notoriously bad, who I won't name here, because I'm not going to turn this into a poo flinging contest.  You know who they are, they know who they are, no sense in giving them free publicity.

O.k, now to the meat of this post. 

Sometimes I see a product online that I just have to give a try,  sometimes this involves ordering from a company I haven't ordered from before.
In this case it was Warlord Games. They have a rather nice new paint rack solution that I wanted to try out.
It looks pretty good to me,with a good price. I chose two for large pots and one for small pots. 
So I happily placed my order and started to wait, thinking" Well, If I'm really lucky, I'll see it on saturday morning, or tuesday morning if I'm not" So cut to Wednesday and still no arrival. "Hmm," Say I. "Surely something has gone amiss? 

So I grab the phone and place a call to a rather charming fellow by the name of Steve at Warlord. 
I explain the problem and he promises to look into it and call me back. Which he promptly did less then  five minutes later. 

Apparently they were out of stock of one of the trays.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind waiting for stuff, if it's out of stock it's out of stock.

However,  if  you are out of stock and it is causing orders to be backlogged, then it would be really nice to let the customers know in some way, shape or form. a note on the website, an e-mail, a quick phone call, hell, I'd accept a carrier pigeon.

Needless to say, I was a bit non-plussed to find out that it would be friday to monday before I received my order, but that was mostly because I hadn't been notified. I'm still holding faith with Warlord for now,  but it was hardly a glowing start.

If you want to chance your own arm and buy a rack like this yourself, you can get them here.
Until then, keep them brush's flailing!


Monday, 14 March 2011

Cardstock and scalpels

 Hello again, presuming you've been here before, if not, hello and welcome to the blog!
                                                    I've spent today building tiles and things for Worldworks Games latest product, the Oubliette of Peril
                          Like all of worldwork's products, it's well thought out and produced, excellently done at a great price, however, the economy of price comes with a cost that while not hidden, you might not think of immediately. 
  While you're building this you're going to need a lot of cardstock at a specific weight, you're also going to hammer the ink on your printer and go through a LOT of scalpel blades, the last isn't really a problem, as I buy them by the box anyway :)
  Oh, you're also going to need a fair amount of adhesive and foam board. 

So while it can be great, and once you've made a lot of bits up, all very labour intensive, I might add, then you can build some very nice, very adaptable gaming boards that you can configure to just about any gaming purpose you wish.

 For me, I'm now looking towards one of the automated cutters that they do, shame it's £240 after VAT, but hey, talk about time saving :D

That's all for now folks, tomorrow I might actually show you some minis, go figure :D

Friday, 11 March 2011

Rabbit Holes..

      Well, after my statement of being an antisocial bastard the other day, I decided to head into town and check out a couple of things, so among my wanderings through the spaghetti map that is the london undergrounn, across the river Thames and it's surrounds I managed to make my way to Dark Sphere Games.
  The first thing I noticed is the fact that this shop, despite being there for at least 12 months, has got no large sign on the top. That's it, no banner, nothing. If you weren't keeping a sharp eye, it's easy to miss.
 Fortunately, if you're looking, the posters and such like can be most helpful in finding it, although the large amount of Magic: The Gathering  posters was off putting. (Personal grudge, I don't like CCG's)
  Anyway, once you find it and get in there, forget your normal browsing patterns, there are no visible prices, anywhere on anything other then the P3 paints. Oh, and it's less browsing, more like an archeological dig,  it's roughly the size of a  shoebox and the walls are covered, absolutely covered with stock, and stock stacked on top of stock . It's a massive selection of stuff, a really great selection, IF you can find what you want. Don't be afraid to ask, you will need to ask regardless because nothing is stickered with prices, oh wait, I already mentioned that, can you guess how annoyed I was by that?
     Oh, and diminishing the space even more, I chose the day when they had just had a delivery.

 On a totally different note, I had my first experience with a wet shave when someone else is holding the blade.
  While the pampering was nice, the hot towels, the slap,  certain other of the services were a little odd. The hand and arm massage for example, what on earth was that about? And the ear singeing? Really, really strange.
 Sadly, for all that, it was a lousy shave, as a blonde I usually only need to shave every 2-3 days,  I'm currently sporting evening stubble. Well, that was 15 quid  that would have been better spent on paint.

Right, I'm hoping to get back on the brush tomorrow, I've got a group of 5  Reservoir Dogs-esque figures I've been slapping around with the brushes.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Books Books Books!

              Some of you may be aware, but I'm a compulsive reader, it's one of the reasons I have problems  getting stuff done,  but I just found out about a really great contest for some signed books that I want to win on a friends blog, heres the link.

   I've been meaning to read this series for a while now, but I just haven't got around to it, so fingers crossed  for me on this!


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler, if you think we are on the run,

we are the boys who will stop your little game.
 To many Brits of a certain age, that will immediately bring to mind this.

You may have noticed I've added a progress bar to the right, the code for that came courtesy of @RTGamer on Twitter, so big thanks to him.

The mini's currently in that are an unlikely bunch of chaps, character from a BBC comedy series called Dad's Army. Dad's Army was the nick name given to the units that made up the Home Guard during  World War Two,  so called because they were all soldiers past their prime and unable to enlist in the regular forces, often veterans from the previous world war.

Anyway, enough of a history lesson, these are the figures in their current state.

I've had them knocking around for about 8 years or so, I finally figured out what colour to go for with the uniforms. (Please don't tell me about the different dye batches and variations in the uniform colour, I know, I don't care, I just want the damn things painted)

So there you go :)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Just a quickie...

While round a friends a noticed a rather smart little idea for organising your tools and brushes, bonus points here for doing it rather cheaply.

What you can't tell clearly from this rather dodgy image is that it's a sink organiser, as in something that usually lurks around the basin in your kitchen. Not too shoddy eh?

PS. wow, that's one hell of a pixilated image, but if you click through, it gets much better.

Wow.. a week already since I posted?

 Um yeah, it's been a big fat fail lately, lol.

 But I have made some recent purchases, so I'll talk about those.

 First up, rather mundane, but I needed them. I was having a problem with  the flip top lids on a fair few of my paints, they seem to have developed some kind of crumbling nurgle's rot,
No, I haven't been chewing on them.

So, yes, with the seals now being less then great, it was time to do some research, see if I couldn't get some lids.

I found several sources, but the best price I found was here. The problem as such is that you have to buy the lids and pots as one unit, so I know have a whole bunch of  empty pots with no use for them.

Other purchases, include some more Warmachine, some more Infinity and a dipping of toes into a new horror skirmish game called Malifaux (well, new to me)

For Warmachine, I ordered the new resin/plastic Heavy warjack and the Triumph upgrade kit.

So that's going to be a lot of fun putting those together, magnets ahoy!

For  Infinity, I decided to go with the Yu Jing Su Jian  Immediate Action Group, in other words, Transformers!

Finally, for Malifaux, I couldn't resist some Hilbilly Gremlins :D

I mean who could resist these sweet little fellows?
So I guess I'll be painting a fair bit of green in the future, of course, it's all dependant on when the gamestore of choice decides to deliver them.

So yes, that's what's coming up next.

Oh, and I hurt both my legs trying to swim today, I say swim, but judging by the splashing I was making, I think that  the lifeguard may have thought I was having some sort of seizure. I do know how to swim, I'm just out of practise, way out of practise. :D
That's all for now folks, catch ya later!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Cunning Plan?

    I picked up an old wine crate on the way home today, sadly empty of actual wine, but when I saw it, I knew it had potential.
 Potential for what, I'm not quite sure, I've got vague ideas of a portable painting case, not unlike these

But of course limited by my not-so-great  wood working skills :D
If I won the lottery,  modelo MT 02 is the one I'd like :D

Right, now I need some food.

Recommended Tools

   As I have spent my painting time today scrubbing old miniatures, which involves  copious smelly chemicals and I wouldn't recommend it to anyway, this post is not about my painting progress, it's about some recommended tools.

   I see a lot of people using  Games Workshop tools, while these are  fine to begin with, they are not  aways the best value for money or quality, so I thought I'd share some of my recommendations.

Not really going to argue the merits of each one, just which I think are best.

  If you've spent any time on a painting forum, you'll know this. Windsor &Newton Series 7's. They are considered the best on the market by many pros, I buy mine from here.  If you look after them, they will last you a long, long time before you have any problems. A fairly close runner up, and quite a bit cheaper are the brushes from Rosemary & Co,

   Remember those yellow handled clippers that would randomly fire one of the blades off if you looked at them wrong? Well, I do, and boy, did I ever get tired of that happening, so I shopped around, the best I've found are by a company called Xuron, I've had a heavy pair and a spru cutting pair for years, so I had to do some digging to find current sources, I recommend Squires, the Xuron's are on page 54. A quick note about Squires, you may find cheaper on the likes of Ebay, but the service I've had from them over the years is nothing short of impeccable.I recommend the Sprue Cutters and the Track Cutters.

Tool Organisation.
 The problem with tool organisation is that it's mostly aimed at  much larger tools then we wargamers use, however, there are solutions, and this is the best one I've ever found. I have found them on Ebay and I have bought them from Terrascenic, but they seem to be out of stock of most of the range at the time of writing this article.

Paint Racks
 Well all need somewhere to keep all that paint, right?  Cardboard box, tackle box, empty drawer, crowding around the desk, old spice rack? My personal favourite however are the carousel type, as made by Vatican Enterprises and available in the UK from here.  However, terrascenics as mentioned earlier do a nice paint rack that's a bit more budget friendly.

 With files, look to the hardware stores, Screwfix has some surprising results for needle files, but a set of diamond files can be invaluable too, I like the ones that Heresy Miniatures sells, they also have a rather good value set of needle files

Razor Saws
 There are two types of razor saws, the first is the traditional version, which X-acto make a very good quality version of, you'll want the shallower blade for metal and the deeper blade for terrain building, also available from Heresy. The second kind is one I've only recently found, and is invaluable for plastic converting. I've found it in kit form from Hannants, perfect for very precise cuts.

O.k, I'm all one for tonight, but next time I'm going to talk about hobby knives, glues, pin vices and anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Paints and brushes and glues and clippers and... Part 1

     Recently, over twitter and in IM I've had a few conversations about paints and tools,  so I decided to do a little post on it, or  my opinions anyway. This is going to be a multi-part post that I'm going to try and do on a sunday,  as I take a break from the brushes.


 Most people coming into this hobby start at the same place, Games Workshop.  I'm not going to spend this article extolling the virtues/evils of Games Workshop, you can find that on just about any forum.

  GW paints come in quite a good range of colours and the paints hold up reasonably well, I believe most of the issue they had with drying out prematurely have now been solved. After a little research, I see that GW paints are now retailing at £2.30 a pot.

  - Easily available just about anywhere
  - Reasonable range of colours, metallics and washes.
  - Fliptop lid for ease of use.

 - Can dry out/poor bottle seals.
 - Smallest quantity in bottle.
 - Colours can be poor coverage.

  GW paints have gone through a lot of changes since I started, 4 different bottles and various paint manufacturers, the irony is that the original paints in most cases are still viable for use. This brings us to a second range,  Coat D'arms.

Coat D'arms come in all the colours that the old range of GW paints came in, albeit with different names, for copyright reasons, but you can find a comparison chart here. Coat D'arms are probably the most economical of the paint ranges, 18ml for £2.00

  - Familiar range of colours
  - Economical
  - Quite good coverage/ opacity
  - Fliptop lids/good seals

 - Harder to find, usually limited to mail order companies.
 - Can be confusing getting right colour
 - No company support

P3 are the range produced for and supported by Privateer Press, most likely one of the best out there, and I say this with bias, definitely my favourite range. While initially a rather limited ranged, it has grown into a fairly comprehensive range, geared towards people painting Warmachine and Hordes miniatures.

 - Good range of colours
 - Excellent coverage
 - 18ml pots
 - Fliptop lids/good seals

 - Most expensive ( at £2.50 a pot, but18ml, rather then 12ml)
 - Some problem with plastic rot on the lids (but that may just be my bad luck)

And now onto the granddaddy of paint ranges,  this time from a spanish company.
Vallejo, are quite possibly, the range with the greatest range, at last count they had over 200 different colours and shaded in the Model Paint range alone. Infamous for their squeeze bottles, Vallejo have been upsetting the apple cart for several years now, the range is incredible, but it's aimed at traditional military modelers, so it's understandable. They are heavily pigmented, so you can not use them straight out of the bottle,they must be thinned.

 - Incredible range of colours
 - Squirt bottle for precise amounts
 - 17ml bottle For £2.00
 - Densely pigmented
 - Highly opaque

 - Tend to separate when stored, require lots of shaking
 - Squirt nozzle gets clogged, can lead to paint waste
 - Must be thinned for use, no quick touch ups.
 - Range perhaps too large and confusing.

So, that's it for paints at the moment, there are other ranges available. Vallejo also has a game range, which is less densely pigmented and aimed at wargamers, an Air range, for use in air brushes and an extra Opaque range (which I will cover at some point) and some alcohol based metallics which are.. interesting to use.
 There's also the Foundry paint range, which you can only buy in triads, which makes it rather expensive to experiment with, if you can find them, there is a range of paints from Rackham, which are now discontinued and I believe Reaper has a couple  of paint ranged, of which I have very little experience.

That's it, this article is done, part two will come next week, Let me know what you'd like to see? More paint? Brushes? General tools?


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Progress! And a new acquisition!

Well,  I did it, I actually started to get something done, I picked the little green bug-eyed dude :)  I'm particularly fond of the rather bright purple jacket and red shirt and orange shorts combo, snappy dresser, eh?

Yes, I know, far too much light, but then again, it was just a quick snap.

I also had a lucky find, someone was throwing out this piece of furniture.

It doesn't show in the photo very much, but t's been painted with a very pale, almost white blue, in what I believe the decorators like to call "distressed", personally, I know streaky when I see it :D So that's going to be a heavy sand down with the belt sander, then some brass name plate furniture, that should make it a lot better..

Now where to put it on my already crowded desk......

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Just to get the ball rolling

I thought it might be a good idea to show my current painting set up and the line of which I speak.

This is a long shot of the overal rig,  yes, I have a lot of paint,  I more then that too, but a lot of it is crusty old Games Workshop paint, from the screwtop era that's about as much use as a glass hammer.
The Paint Monster lurks, waiting..

And here's a close up  of the bench itself, The Line is all the models just behind the tiles on the little stands,
Argh! The little eyes, watching me all the time!

Some of them have been works in progress for several years, the Dad's Army ones from Foundry to be exact. I have a lot of foundry stuff that will likely never be used for anything but painting. That will teach me to have more money then sense when I was younger.

Today, I'm going to try to get the bug eyed alien (from Hasslefree Miniatures) done, so I can shelf him and move on.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Hello.. well.. anyone, really.

                             Hello there, allow me to explain the reason for the existence of this blog. I claim to paint miniatures, toy soldiers, for those not in the know.
  Last year, if I managed to paint a dozen mini's I'll be surprised, so I've decided to make a rod for my own back here to document my progress, in an effort to try to get me motivated.

   However, this blog will also be littered with the random, I do that a lot, as can be evidenced by my twitter account.

 Anyhow, that's the long and short of it, I'd best get on with some painting.