Workbench Monthly Archive: FEBRUARY 2019

 February 23, 2019

It was another cold, wet week and that tends to slow things down at the workbench which is located in the garage.  Nonetheless, I continued painting my giant plants and made a lot of progress.  Among the pictures of the painted giant plants I’ve posted here is one that includes both the original and repainted versions of the plants.  Several years ago I found a piece of toy terrain at the swap meet.  It’s 24” long and 14” wide.  It’s made of hard plastic, and I got it for one dollar.  It offered both an interesting look and more importantly a lake.  I painted it up, and the results are all I had hoped for.

 I even found time to do the practice layout for my Boxer Rebellion collection.  This was the first time I have seen the terrain piece on the table which is to say the first time I actually knew if the plan in my head actually fit on my 5 ft. x 7 ft. surface.  While it is not historically accurate, it looks good.  I knew from the beginning of the project that the right side of the table (looking from the Tartar Wall) would be less historically correct than the left in terms of the placement of the legations.  To get the US and British legations where I wanted them, the Japanese, French and Russian legations had to go where they fit best.  I did a temporary Jade Canal/Imperial Canal using railboard.  I cut the real one out of plastic in the next week.  The Hotel de Peking underwent a major shift in placement, but I can live with that.  The other upside is that I was able to fit all the civilian Chinese buildings I purchased from Blue Moon on the table.  Always good to find I hadn’t wasted a lot of money on unused buildings.  With the practice layout done, I cut the canal out of a 2 ft. x 4 ft. sheet of plastic I got at Home Depot.  I gave it an initial spray of Testors’ Dark Blue followed by a more random spray of Testors’ Bright Blue.  I plan to dry brush it with a mix of Vallejo Brown Violet and Andrea Blue to give it the appropriate green look.    

February 17, 2019

There was no opportunity this week to put together a practice layout of the Boxer Rebellion table(s) because this was another week of constant rain.  With work on the Boxer Rebellion project put on hold, the week was devoted to dinosaur painting.  As the week came to a close I finished the last of the more than 50 dinosaurs for the Dr. Who collection.  I should note that I have been collecting these dinosaurs for more than 15 years, and all are swap meet finds purchased for between $1 and $3 each.  Until the last couple weeks they have been boxed up and awaiting their turn with the brush, and I’m very happy with the way they turned out.   

With the dinosaurs done, I turned my attention to this project’s flora.  When completed it will include a lot of flesh-eating plants by Reaper, Acheson Creations, Snapdragon, and Armour Cast, but it will also include a lot of repurposed toy flowers, many by Playmate Toys, that I have picked up at the swap meet over the years.  When I first saw these more than a decade ago I was attracted to them because they were intended to be pretty and sweet, and so I thought it would be fun to repaint them and give them a more serious look as giant plants in a strange world.  The first one I have repainted is a Disney Tinker Bell related piece.  I think it’s a great looking toy, but the new paint job gives it a more serious, less-toy look.  The first plant picture provided shows the original (sans Tinker Bell) on the left and a repainted version of the right.

February 10, 2019

The week opened in rain.  I believed that the work on my 15mm Boxer Rebellion collection was done except for the Imperial Canal/Jade Canal and a practice layout of the table.  Because of the rain I decided to put off the practice set-up and since the canal will be cut/constructed based upon what I find in terms of measurements during that set-up, I decided that I would continue my painting of the Dr. Who dinosaurs.  That progressed really well, but mid-week I got a message from FifteensAway, one of the members of Lead Adventure Forum, pointing out that my use of single hump camels for my Boxer Rebellion was incorrect.  I should be using the Bactrian two hump camels.  At first I thought I would ignore this, and just leave the camels out of the collection.  But I liked the idea of the camels, and so I decided to have another look at my local model train shop to see if I had missed some Prieser Bactrian camels among the many, many Prieser figure boxes they have in stock.  As it turned out, they did have a box of the Bactrian camels I needed, and so I bought them.  I gave each of them a tie-up/hitching post that I linked to each of the camels with a floral wire tether.  On two of the four camels I added pack bundles using Milliput.  I then gave them new paint jobs.  Pretty happy with my more appropriate camels… thanks, FifteensAway.

With the camels done, I found some dinosaur skeletons to work on… chopped them up, set them in Milliput bases and gave them new paint jobs.  I ended the week with a couple of Saturday swap meet finds… two of the old kids’ meal Flintstone vehicles.  I removed the driver (Wilma), added a little putty where needed, and painted them.  Since the Dr. Who Meets the Dino/Caveman world of Obacron is more than a little tongue-in-cheek, these little Flintstone vehicles fit in just fine.

While I haven’t done an exact count recently, I think I have about 15 dinosaurs to go before my dinosaur work is done, but that’s for the new week.

February 3, 2019

The workbench week began this past week with the repair/renewal of a Department 56 Subway entrance.  I bought it about a month ago at the swap meet.  I have two of them that are in perfect shape, but when I saw this one at the swap meet for just $3 I couldn’t resist.  There is a very good reason why it was only $3.  It was missing one of its corner posts and fence for one side and the end.  I hoped this would be an easy fix because I remembered that I had some Department 56 fencing (again a swap meet purchase) that matched the missing pieces.  I was right that the basic design of the fence I had was the same as the Subway fence, but there were major structural differences that made putting this together a much for complex task.  While my end result is not a perfect match for the originals, I think it looks good and offers me a third subway entrance for a city layout I am planning for the future.

Once the subway was done, I returned to the Boxer Rebellion.  I painted two more Prieser figures… a pig and a goat.  I also found and painted an old Old Glory 15 Napoleonic carriage that I will set on the grounds of one of my legation compounds.  Next on the painting agenda were a bunch of barricades for the Boxer Rebellion.  The photo of those barricades reflects a few samples rather than all that I painted because they are packed away, and I’m feeling lazy.  With the barricades completed I returned to my legation flags and added the decals to the previously painted flags.  This was a bit of a task because the metal blanks that are the surfaces the decals are attached to are neither true squares or rectangles so we made the homemade decals to come as close as possible (1/2 inch x ½ inch).  After the decals were in place I then went back with paint to clean up the poor fit.  I’ve been using these flag blanks (by Stone Mountain Miniatures) and this decal and painting process for years so I knew what was involved and am happy with the outcome.

I ended the workbench week turning to my next project which will focus on Dr. Who and an adventure on the planet of Obacron (the name could change) which is a planet of dinosaurs, stone age humanoids, flesh-eating plants, giant plants, volcanoes and daleks.  To this end I spent one morning going through boxes pulled from the shed that were filled with the dinosaurs I have been collecting at the swap meet for the past decade.  Some had to go because I had too many or because some were not up to the quality of most, and because, in a few cases, the collecting had taken place over years, there were too many repeats.  Once the sorting was done I decided to jump right in to try my hand at painting a Stegosaurus, and so the dino painting began… I think I kept about 30 or 40 so I’ll be painting dinos for awhile.