May 26, 2019
The workbench focus continues to be on the Indians for my mountain man collection. I continued to put Milliput leggings on the classic Plains Indians, but realized a couple of things as I began work on the Blackfoot. My first realization was that I had to make the Blackfoot as compatible with the classic Plains Indians as possible. To do that I added Milliput fringe to their pants and gave them Milliput breech clothes. I also decided to keep my scratch-built lances for the Blackfoot because my missing Foundry lances had not arrived by the time I began work on the Blackfoot figures. The homemade lances look fine. In painting the Indians I decided to keep the color scheme very simple and earthy. The only bright colors are found on the breech clothes and a few instances of decorative cloth. Even in terms of the breech clothes I have kept it simple… blue or green, or red and in a couple instances black. I have included some bands and borders on the breech clothes and that was all done in Vallejo Pale Sand. All but the three of the Indians I painted on Saturday are complete including basing. The Saturday figures still need to be sprayed with a clear flat and given their snow and earth base covering.
The only thing I worked on this week was a souvenir of three totem poles I picked up at the swap meet a week ago. It’s made of resin which always attracts me to a terrain piece and there was some minor damage that needed some repair, but for $3 it was too good to pass up even if I have no idea how I will use it.
May 19, 2019
The week began with a focus on finishing the last of my 26 selected mountain men figures (all Foundry) and four pack animals (two Foundry and two WizKids Deep Cut). When I finished those, I decided to paint an additional two Foundry mountain men to bring my total to 28. With those completed I turned my attention to a couple of WizKids Deep Cut animals for this project… a bear and a stag. Note that, in the picture of the stag and bear, the base for the stag is separating. I discovered that the plastic the poker chips are made of doesn’t ultimately accept liquid glue. So once the picture-taking was over I re-glued the base using Krazy Glue. I’m hoping that will hold.
Mid-week I began work on the Indians. With the exception of a few Indian villagers I will be using from the Old Glory 25s’ War Paint line of figures, all of the Indians I will be using are Foundry. For my purposes there are only two Foundry Indian groups to draw from: their Blackfoot and Plains Indians ranges. The Blackfoot line of figures (four different packs) is particularly good for this project because they are wearing warm clothing. One of the nice things about the Foundry Plains Indians is that their war bonnets have a very Blackfoot look to them based on Osprey, but the Plains Indians presented a problem in that they are mainly wearing just loin cloths which is not a great match for snow on the ground. I re-watched the opening battle scene from The Revenant and was pleased to see that many of the Indians were shirtless, so I decided to remedy this problem by giving my Foundry Plains Indians the appearance of wearing leggings. To do that I used Milliput to add fringe along the length of each leg and filled out narrow leg joint areas with putty to give more of a pants look. Painting had to complete the illusion, but I think it worked pretty well.
On Friday my daughter emailed me the decals she had done for my Dr. Who collection. I printed them on decal paper and sprayed them with a clear gloss fixative. Once they were completely dry I applied them to the Tardis and my Dino Tour tram, and that project is now complete.
May 12, 2019
This week the workbench has been focused on my Mountain Men project. I began by applying the snow and turf to the bases of the two figures I painted last week but hadn’t had time to finish in terms of their base covering. With those done my workbench time was divided between painting and basing mountain men and resolving a problem I discovered on Sunday evening. A little over a week ago my mountain men and Indians order arrived from Wargames Foundry. Because my attention was still on the pirate refuge I just set them aside without looking at them. I’ve been buying Foundry figures for years and didn’t give much thought to the possibility that something could be wrong with my order…WRONG. In that order I purchased four packs of Blackfoot Indians. Three of those packs came in blister packs and one came in a baggy… actually most of the figures in that order were in baggies. I opened the mountain men first because I was going to begin my painting with them, but on Sunday evening I decided to have a look at the other figures. I discovered that the Blackfoot Indians in the baggy were missing a horse and the lances/spears for the figures. I didn’t give that a lot of thought because I regarded it as a mistake made when putting the figures in the baggy. It turned out I was wrong. None of the Blackfoot figures in the blister packs had lances/spears… 14 figures missing their weapons. That’s a big oops! I checked to see if I had missed something, a disclaimer about having to purchase the lances/spears separately… no disclaimer, and the website clearly showed the figures with lances/spears. I check their weapons and shields page, and it showed no lances/spears for American Indians that could or should be purchased separately. On Sunday night I wrote Wargames Foundry about the problem hoping I would hear from them the next morning… 7 am here is 3 pm there. No response. No response on Tuesday either. I decided to see if I could find another option. I went to The War House (a miniatures and game shop I have been going to for 40 years) to see if they had some spears in their GW odds and ends box. What they had were spear tips so I bought enough to cover my needs, and have been attaching them to the Plastruct plastic rods for the spear shafts. It’s working out pretty well.
I generally write these reports as the week progresses, and that’s the case with this one as well. So it is Wednesday morning (early) and I have just checked my email and found a response from Wargames Foundry about my missing horse and spears. It seems that Monday was a “banking holiday” in the UK so they just saw the email. They will be sending along the horse and the missing spears. They sent their regrets as well. That’s the Foundry I expected. My scratch-built spear production will stop now and when the Foundry spears arrive I will have to decide whether I keep the ones I’ve made or carve them off and replace them with the ones from Foundry.
As the week came to a close I had completed the painting and basing of all but 3 of my 26 mountain men. The three that remain are the ones leading the pack animals. I also did one figure I hadn’t planned on, but after re-watching The Revenant this week I felt the urge to have a figure that is central to that story… the victim of a savage bear attack. I did this using one of the Mantic Kings of War zombie figures. Years ago I bought a box of their generic zombies and generic skeletons, and I feel very lucky that I did because they no longer make these two collections and the figures come in handy from time to time. One of the unique elements of this piece is the use of a poker chip as the figure’s base. Once again a lucky swap meet find because the chips make perfect large bases… bases that if purchased at a hobby shop would be very expensive. I got a couple hundred of them for $1. Unlike many, maybe most, poker chips, these have smooth plastic edges like normal figure bases rather than the ribbed edges common to poker chips.
May 5, 2019
As the week opened I found myself once again not ready to begin my next large project, and once again looking for smaller projects to fill my workbench week. The first thing I undertook was a return to the pirate refuge by way of adding a couple of detail pieces. One of those detail pieces was a second gibbet cage… this time with a victim inside. These cages are removable so having different versions is not a problem in terms of their use with the pirate refuge. I followed that with a telescope and stool (also removable/separately based) to be used on the gun platform of the pirate refuge. Both the telescope and stool are from the Wizkids Deep Cut line of figures. This serves as a kind of homage to the original purpose of Skullvane Manse that had an observatory where I put my gun platform.
Once those were done I turned to six of the Monolith Design Sci Fi buildings that remained unpainted. I have about 25 Monolith Sci Fi buildings (now out of production) and used some of them with my Spaceport collection and intend to use all of them with my Star Wars and Stargate collections. I purchased all of them at Brookhurst Hobbies but purchased them over several years since they were tucked away in the Brookhurst stockroom and apparently not readily found, so I bought them a few at a time when they popped to the surface. The six I painted this week are the last I purchased and probably the last I will add to my collection.
With those painted and put away, I looked for something else to undertake and found a Games Workshop Watchtower I purchased at a Brookhurst Hobbies’ Bring and Buy (customer flea market) a half dozen years ago. I discovered it in a box of random items most of which appeared to be either broken or simply unused parts from other models. It was in a large baggie. If you are familiar with the GW Watchtower, you will know that it is out of production and if found on eBay it is expensive. The one I bought at the Bring and Buy was a mess, but it did appear to have all its parts. The previous owner had put it together at some point though it was now largely in pieces. The four walls of the first floor were no longer together and the entrance wall had been bent in such a way that a large gap existed between the wall and the steps going up to the entrance door. The second floor was largely together though one wall had separated. The chimney and window coverings were no longer attached, and the small building that can either sit on the roof or as a separate side building had been put together in such a fashion that the walls were not at right angles with each other and consequently the roof was not properly seated. The wooden wall supports (buttresses) had also become separated from the building. On top of all that the paint job left a lot to be desired. So what was the attraction for buying this piece? The answer is simple: it seemed to be complete in terms of having all the key parts; it’s hard to find a piece of terrain; the paint job was unimportant because I intended to repaint it once I got it back together; and it only cost me $2. I’ve included a picture of the building almost as it looked when I bought it. I say almost because by the time this picture was taken I’d put the first floor back together, straightened the front wall so the steps would fit properly, reattached the separated second floor wall, removed all the skulls (remember this is Games Workshop so lots of skulls) and spikes, reattached the chimney, used plastic to cover the window interiors so they could be painted rather than left as empty holes, and taken the small building apart so it could be put back together with the walls at right angles with the roof seated properly. Ultimately I decided not to reattach the wall supports (buttresses) because it would make the building more difficult to store. Instead I based the buttresses on metal washers covered with Milliput for use as needed and easier storage. Once it was all back together, it painted up nicely and turned out to be a real prize at only $2. I should note that the “yellow” color of the repainted building is much brighter in the picture than in reality. The real color is closer to the color shown in the small building to the left of the watchtower.
I next returned to the pirate refuge. I found that I had another form of gibbet cage on hand, and decided I would paint it up as a third option for my pirate refuge. This is a skeleton held by a metal contraption that I then attached to floral wire to serve as rope
so it can be hung from a beam off the pirate refuge.
Nearing the end of the workbench week I have begun work on my next collection/gallery project. This one will be Mountain Men inspired by the story in Man In The Wilderness (Richard Harris/1971) and The Revenant (Leonardo DiCaprio/2015). Most of the figures, both Mountain Men and Indians, are Wargames Foundry. The Foundry Mountain Men are beautiful figures and as far as I can tell unique in that I know of no other manufacturer that produces a line of figures dedicated to this subject. A few of the Indians, Indian villagers, are by Old Glory 25s. Because I intend to use a Dept. 56 river/stream as a key terrain element and because it is spotted with snow, snow had to become part of my figure basing for this collection. With that in mind, my first work on this collection was to see if I could make snow. I learned from Steve Toth at Brookhurst Hobbies that there are companies that make materials that can be mixed to make snow… even icy snow. But he said that he liked to make his own, and he did it using a baking soda, white glue, and water mix. Since I wanted packed snow in patches rather than icy snow, I decided I would try Steve’s formula. Using a paintbrush I covered about 2/3 of a poker chip (I bought a big rack of heavy, thick, smooth-sided chips at the swap meet for $1 a couple months ago because they could serve as perfect large/50mm bases) with the snow mix and let it dry. It took several hours to harden, but once it did it was exactly the look and feel I wanted. The next thing I was interested in was how it would look next to synthetic ground cover by Woodland Scenics with a figure on it. The figure I selected was a rabbit that I believe is by Mirlton. With that done I cut the bases off three mountain men, glued them to painting stands (old paint bottles), and began painting.
I was happy with the way they came out so I started work on the next three, but only had time this week to do the base covering for one of those. The other two will have their bases done on Sunday for next week’s posting, but I’ve posted them here without their bases done since the figure painting is complete.