May 20, 2018
The Weekly Workbench began with a return to the Post Apoc collection. Over the weekend my daughter sent me the decals for all of the signs for that collection (I compose the signs and she designs them). Applying the decals took about a day and a half, but it looks to me to be time well spent. Once the decals were applied, I returned to the Boxer Rebellion and the painting of the remaining 9 Tartar Wall sections. For the purpose of the Weekly Workbench I’ve limited my wall photo to just two sections rather than piling up the whole stack. If you look closely at the wall section photo you will see that the two wall sections are not the same length. That is because I made one extra wall section about an inch shorter in length than the others just in case I misjudged the space available on my table.
After finishing the painting of all the Tartar Wall sections, I decided to take a shot at painting the Japanese legation building. I was surfing the web and found a later picture of the building in a significantly remodeled state. What attracted me most about that picture was that it was color, not colorized, so I decided to go with the color it offered even though it probably is different than the 1900 version. My plan in painting these is to keep it simple.
The next problem confronting the workbench has to do making it possible to use the Blue Moon legation gate entrances for both the pre siege and siege periods. For the British the gate had been bunkered up so I built a whole new gate entrance, but that was not the case for the others. The problem with them is that they are attached to wall sections that are cast with firing steps. For most of the firing step wall sections I will build new walls, but I don’t want to build new entrances for other legations so I need to hide the firing steps on the walls attached to the gate entrances. I did that using Legos to build an inner skeleton over which I put scored Milliput that I then painted as shrubs/trees. So far I have completed the shrub cover-up of the firing steps on the walls attached to the gate entrances for the Japanese and French legations. Only the US legation’s entrance walls remain to have their firing walls hidden. Fortunately the Russian legation’s entrance gate is cast separate from the legation’s walls and their firing steps.
The last project completed on the Weekly Workbench this time around is the painting of an old Ian Weekley building… long out of production. When I purchased it more than a dozen years ago, I had no idea how I would make use of it. The company was closing its doors, and Brookhurst Hobbies (its US distributor) had a big sale on what remained of their Ian Weekley stock. I will be using two of the Ian Weekley buildings in my Boxer Rebellion collection. The one completed this week will be used as the pre-siege version of the British legation building. The other Ian Weekley building (not pictured) will be used as the Hotel de Pekin. Glad I bought them, and glad I remembered where I put them after all these years.
May 13, 2018
The workbench this week was dedicated to the completion of the construction and texturing of my Tartar Wall. The wall is composed of 12 five inch-long wall blocks and a two-part ramp made from Duplos and Evergreen Plastic. The texturing was done using Squadron Green Putty which was sanded after it dryed. The crenelated and non-crenelated rims on the top of each wall section as well as the ramps are made from Evergreen Plastic. The wall is five feet long and about 9 inches deep at its deepest point which is the ramp area (wall blocks plus two ramp sections). On one of the wall blocks I have made a representation of the water gate on each side of that wall section. On the crenelated side of the water gate wall section I have included a representation of a metal gate. In making the water gate I used as my source the picture on page 81 of Ospery’s Peking 1900 (#85) from their Campaign range of books. The painting remains to be done, but good headway was made this week.
Thursday and Friday I turned my workbench efforts to scratch building four rickshaws. After a lengthy internet search I became convinced that no manufacturer makes a 15mm or 18mm rickshaw. Atlantis at one time made a plastic Chinese Revolution collection in 1/72 scale that included two rickshaws, but as is the case with most Atlantis toys, those are both difficult to find and extremely, very extremely expensive. My solution was to build my own. I did this by making the bodies of the rickshaws out of pieces of Evergreen Plastic. The wheels are leftovers I had by Old Glory 15s. The figures pulling the rickshaws are from the Blue Moon 15s’ Chinese civilians pack which is part of their Boxer Rebellion collection, and the rickshaw passengers are Preiser HO scale Victorian/Edwardian figures.
I closed out the week by painting six of the Tartar Wall sections… four of the wall blocks and the two ramp sections. One of the six pieces I painted was the water gate wall section. I’m liking it!
May 6, 2018
This week’s workbench involved a lot of work around a single project carried over from the week before… the Tartar Wall. Previously I had put all the Duplos together needed for the five feet of wall required for this project… 12 Duplo blocks; each 5 inches long and about 4 ½ inches tall. That’s a lot of Duplos. This Weekly Workbench began with the complex aspect of building my wall which is the construction of the ramp. Like the wall, it was built largely on a Duplo base. The actual ramp was made from Evergreen Plastic supported by rails of Evergreen Plastic that were supported by Legos. It worked out pretty well. My wife and I took a couple of breaks during the middle of the week… a trip to Disneyland where we encountered not only Peter Pan and Indiana Jones but also the famed photographer Annie Liebovitz. The next day we spent a few hours with our son-in-law and our baby granddaughter… that was really fun.
Returning from my workbench breaks, I began the rather boring task of removing the connecting buttons from the top level of Duplos on each wall block and then sanding that surface smooth. Once that was complete all of the Duplos in each block had to be glued together so each block would be a solid mass that I could texture with Squadron Green Putty and then, using Evergreen Plastic, add the raised edging to each side of the upper surface… once side crenelated; the other not. That pretty much ate up my week at the bench.
I did make one good discovery and a couple of decisions for this project. In reading Diana Preston’s book on the Boxer Rebellion I found that the British legation had green roof tiles. Can’t find similar color information on the other legations, but will keep my eyes open. Several years ago, when I first decided to do a 15mm Boxer Rebellion collection, there were figures and terrain by Blue Moon. I was going to have to piece odds and ends together. Over time I found a number of buildings that I believed would serve as the main buildings for each of the legations. One of those buildings was marketed by Disney and was a replica of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. I found it at the swap meet… beautiful piece. In reviewing the map of the legation area of Peking, I found that near the Japanese and French legations was a hotel… the Hotel de Pekin. Blue Moon does not make this building. I don’t believe that anyone does so I decided that if it sized out right in terms of the Blue Moon buildings, I would use my Disney Haunted House as my Hotel de Pekin. As it turned out, the sale/size of that building and the Blue Moon structures work fine together. My other big decision is to build my own legation walls sans firing steps. In that way I can have the legation area both pre-siege and during siege in appearance. With the exception of the British legation, which was the main defensive point in the siege, the legation buildings for the Japanese, US, Russia and France look fine as both pre- and during siege structures. The British buildings are all bunkered up so I am going to cheat and use the Blue Moon Austrian legation building as my pre-siege British legation building.
My last workbench project this week was scratch building the British legation gatehouse in a pre-siege condition. I did this using Legos to create the internal skeleton structure and covering the Legos with Evergreen Plastic. I think this will work out well and give me the two looks I want… pre-siege and during siege.
April 29, 2018
This week’s workbench marks the first week dedicated to a new project. I expect that for the next nine months I will be working on my 15mm collection of the Boxer Rebellion. Most of the figures and terrain for this collection are by Blue Moon. Very little of my work on this project this week has actually taken place at the workbench. Most of my time has been dedicated to research; I haven’t looked at this material for several months and needed some serious refreshing so I hit the books… two by Osprey and one entitled “the Fists of Righteous Harmony” Boxer Rebellion by Henry Keown-Boyd. At the recommendation of FifteensAway/Lead Adventure Forum member, I have also ordered The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston which FifteensAway says is the best book he’s read on the subject. I should mention that FifteensAway is currently working on the same project using very much the same collection/Blue Moon of figures and buildings. It’s nice to have someone to confer with on one of my projects.
My first non-reading activity of the week was to unpack the five European legations that will form the bulk of the terrain for this collection. It is my plan to keep this layout restricted to one 5 ft. x 7 ft. table. I unpacked each legation one at a time and arranged each on a separate piece of poster board. I identified by number the arrangement of each piece of each legation using a black Sharpie on the bottom of each piece and then outlined the same of their outer walls on the poster board and identified where each numbered piece of each legation was located. I then cut out these outlined pieces of poster board so that I had a template for each legation and thus did not have to completely set up each legation each time I wanted to do some location planning.
My next project for the week was to find bridges that could be used over the Imperial Canal. Unfortunately Blue Moon did not/has not made either bridges or the Tartar Wall for their collection. I found good bridges in the fish tank area of Petco. Because the bridges came with steps better suited for 28mm, I used Milliput to cover the steps and make the bridge a smooth road surface.
My final Boxer Rebellion task for the week was to build the Duplo skeletons for what will become my Tartar Wall. As it turned out I had just enough Duplos for the twelve 5” Duplo blocks that will give me the five feet of wall I require. I will need more Duplos for the ramps to the top of the wall but over the next few months I should have no trouble finding those at a good price at the swap meet. My only detour from the Boxer Rebellion was painting three large cactus and a plastic rock outcropping I got at the swap meet on Sunday and may use with my post apoc collection.
I wrapped up the week by doing a Tuff Shed search for missing ceramic Asian structures. I picked these up at the swap meet several years ago, packed them away for use with my Boxer Rebellion project and unfortunately lost track of where I put them. Fortunately an hour-long search of my storage shed turned them up once again.
April 22, 2018
For the first time in seven months, my workbench has not been focused on anything post apoc. While I still need to put the decals on all the signs for that project, the design layout, painting, building, and repurposing are done. As of this writing my plan is to start my next project soon… probably next week, and that project will likely be my 15mm Boxer Rebellion collection. But with no new project officially on the workbench I can allow my attention to wander to things I want to do just for the sake of doing them, and that’s where the Weekly Workbench took me this week. During a trip to the swap meet about a month ago, I found two plastic racing sloops (identical when new) that were intended as pond sailboats, but were long past their prime… broken and dirty and cast off. They are 16 inches from bow to stern and looked to me to be potentially perfect for use with 28mm miniatures. For purposes of showing scale I placed a Heroclix figure on the deck of one of the sloops I have pictured. All they needed was some repurposing: remove the weighted keel, create new masts, spars, cabin rails, and a hatch cover using Evergreen plastic, cut the hull to waterline, use Milliput to make the reefed sails and waterline bases, add reefing lines using floral wire, and add boat wheels/helms to each boat using the wheels off two Heroclix Unsuccessful Dirk Anger figures. I’ve attached a picture of one of the sloops in the condition I found it, and a second picture of the other sloop repurposed but not yet repainted, and two more pictures of the sloops repainted and done. The final picture is of a removable machine gun position I made for the bow of the sloop. The machine gun base is made from Evergreen Plastic, the small rail is taken from the Unsuccessful Dirk Anger Heroclix figure and the gun is by Pulp Figures. Given the fact that I got the pair of sloops for just $8 ($4 each) and have since located one on eBay in what appeared to be like-new condition for $82, I think the two I got for $8 are pretty good finds.
April 15, 2018
This Weekly Workbench is a reflection of what my workbench looks like as a project comes to a close. At this point there is very little left to do on this project, and so my mind begins to wander to future projects and other things of interest in terms of the hobby. For about a year now I’ve been putting together pieces for a Stargate project I plan to do, and during the ongoing collection for the Stargate project I purchased an Egyptian gate from Scotia Grendel. I intend to use it as the entrance piece for the inner temple that is part of the Soma Great Adventure of the Lost Kingdom Playset. The Scotia Grendel Egyptian gate is very nice but too short so this week with not much pressing on the post apoc project, I decided to raise the gate’s height by about an inch and a half using Legos. Once the Legos were attached and covered with Evergreen Plastic to add thickness to the Lego blocks, I spread Squadron Green Putty over the Lego area and scored that section into blocks the same size as the original supporting blocks of the Scotia Grendel Egyptian gate. Since the Lego area doesn’t have the artwork of the original piece, I’m hiding much of the Lego area with two sphinx statues set on Duplo plinths. I think it looks pretty good. I’ll hold off the painting until I’m actually working on the whole project.
With the modification of the Egyptian gate complete, my attention returned to the post apoc project. I had a few days to think about the table layout since my practice set up. As a result I decided to make a couple of arrangement changes in terms of where buildings would be placed, and that took me to the next step… constructing the streets. Years ago I discovered the 2 ft. x 4 ft. sheets of plastic typically used in kitchen ceiling to hide ceiling lighting. It’s reasonably strong and reasonably easy to cut. Given the amount of plastic involved (a 2 ft. x 4 ft. sheet), it is also reasonably inexpensive. I have found that by selecting the smoother side of the sheet, it makes for excellent material for use as streets, roads and water. In the case of my post apoc collection, I am using it for my desert road and town street. I cut it using an Xacto blade along a long metal straight edge… the scraping with the blade along that edge continues until the plastic is cut… usually takes about 10 repeated pulls along the straight edge. I then spray painted the cut pieces with flat black. Once the black was dry, I masked off the street so that only the area that will serve as the sidewalk remained uncovered. That done I dry brushed the sidewalk area with Vallejo London Grey and then highlighted that with Vallejo Light Grey. Because there are more than 14 feet of roads/streets & sidewalks, I am only taking a picture of one section for this posting on the Weekly Workbench.
A recent swap meet visit gave up six baggies of plastic letters (upper and lower case letters). They were cheap at less than a dollar a baggy. I bought all six baggies in order to ensure the best possible selection of letters. When I bought them I considered using them to make store sign (which I may do with future projects), but for the post apoc collection I decided to do something a little more out of the ordinary. I based the letters on washers covered with Evergreen Plastic and then painted them to look like junkyard rusty throw away letters that spell ZOMBIE in upper and lower case letters. I’ll probably use one of the two versions and distribute the letters around the junkyard so that a careful viewer can read what they spell.
This collection will also include only one interior. Interiors for my 28mm collections have become an important feature of my collections in recent years… at least they are important to me. My first interior effort was simply lifting the roof off one of the Miniature Building Authority Spanish buildings in my Pirates collection and placing some figures in the room. Since that simple beginning I have developed an approach based on what I imagine a sound stage set would look like… a floor and a couple of walls. It offers space with easy access for arranging figures and furniture. It’s open so easy to photograph, and the way I construct the walls and floor (Evergreen and JTT Plastic) the pieces (floor and walls) come apart for easy, flat storage. For the post apoc collection I am doing only one interior. That is an ice cream parlor with tables, counters and stools, a jukebox and refrigerator units. The furniture came from a little decorative diorama piece I found at the swap meet several years ago. It was made of resin and included one of each of the items mentioned above. I used the original pieces to make additional pieces cast in resin. The jukebox is from a Lemax-style diner I found at the swap meet a year ago. The red door is made from pieces of Evergreen Plastic. I think it worked out well… with the addition of a little zombie violence of course.
My final work of the week and for this project was to base a few small trees/bushes, and paint a Lemax-style pram. The pram, another swap meet find, is a little large (maybe 30mm rather than 28mm), but I think it will serve as an interesting detail piece abandoned on the streets of the town. It is always a strange moment when I realize that a collection I have been putting together for years and working on for months (in this case seven months) is finished. I still have the decals to put on some signs, but the heavy lifting (painting and building) is done. The new week ahead will see me working at the bench on some things that have nothing to do with my next project (15mm Boxer Rebellion), but at the end of a project I claim the right to do some non-project related things before making my next multi-month commitment… I expect the Boxers to demand all of what remains of 2018.
April 8, 2018
When I began this Weekly Workbench week, I immediately came to the realization that this one was unique. It was unique because my post apoc project is nearing completion. I had all of the figures for the project (between 400 and 450/lost count) painted before I began posting the Weekly Workbench element of my website; the buildings are done; the vehicles are done (almost… 3 bicycles and a motorcycle remain); the trailers are done; the rock formations are done, the cactus are done; the telephone poles are done; the Las Vegas sign is done; the trailer park and junk yard fences and signs are done; most of the small (though all important) detail pieces are done. What remains? I decided to do a quick inventory of what was not yet completed. The results of that inventory are as follows: 3 bicycles (by Eureka), 1 motorcycle (cast-off toys found at the swap meet), a soda machine (probably by Lemax), a gas pump island (by Plasticville), the ice cream parlor interior (scratch-built but with furnishings found at the swap meet), a restroom interior (scratch-built with furnishing/toilets, urinals, and sinks by Mega Minis), streets and sidewalks.
The first workbench task was the soda machine. I confronted two problems with it: first it was too short and second I needed to paint it without destroying the two soda signs on the machine. I raised the height of the machine using Evergreen Plastic and some Squadron green putty. Fortunately, the Vallejo Flat Red was a good match for the original color of the machine. I masked off the machine’s window and pay areas, painted them black and then dry brushed them chrome. It really turned out to be pretty easy. I next decided to paint the Plasticville gas pump island. I’ve had it for years (found it at the swap meet), and it really was just a simple paint job. My previous Weekly Workbench posting included two modified but not repainted Heroclix figures weaponized with Gatling guns. I decided to give them sidewalk bases. With that decision made I gave both new paint jobs… easy. The three bicycles by Eureka required some assembly… the pedals and handlebars. I painted one red, one green and one blue. I’ll put one of them in the trailer park leaning against a table, chair or trailer. I plan to have another on its side on the street or sidewalk, and the third will probably be leaning against the wall of one of the town’s buildings. I found a plastic motorcycle at the swap meet several years ago. It needed a little work (new hand grips) and paint. I think I’ll put it near the office in my junkyard or maybe the trailer park.
Once those pieces which are part of the post apoc collection were done, I decided to paint the Heroclix figures that I modified with Gatling guns; I decided to mount them on sidewalk bases rather than desert sand so they probably won’t be used with this collection since I made an initial decision to base these post apoc figures on bases covered with desert sand. I also put in some work on three signs: two announce that drivers are entering the town of Sleepy Eye and one roadside sign announces that drivers are 125 miles from Las Vegas. The signs are made from Evergreen Plastic set in bases of Milliput. To provide a little additional interest value, I attached leftover pieces of cactus from Pegasus, and a broken wagon wheel from Wyrd. I’m writing this on Tuesday. Tomorrow my wife and I will be spending the day with our granddaughter. On Thursday or Friday I will be doing a practice layout of my town in preparation for work on roads/streets and sidewalks. Given that and the limited amount of workbench work that needs to be done on my post apoc project, my time at the workbench will probably contain less than usual this week.
As this workbench week came to an end (we had a great day with our granddaughter) I came upon another pack of Foundry Street Violence figures (The Lovemore Detective Agency), and decided to paint them up. I also put the finishing touches on the three signs I spoke of earlier. I closed the workbench out this week off the bench and on the layout table. I learned some lessons about the layout process years ago. The very first collection we ever photographed was my 15mm Samurai castle siege. I set that up for the first time the morning we took the pictures and as a result there were a number of problems with the layout that could have been resolved if I had done at least one practice set-up a week or so before taking the pictures. Therefore, I now always do a basic set-up (mostly structural rather than figures) a couple weeks in advance. The first thing I learned doing this initial practice set-up for the post apoc collection was how well the buildings will actually fit on the table. The second thing learned was the precise placement of the different structures, and the third was the space (width) I have available for the street and sidewalk that pass through the town. Keep in mind when looking at the pictures of the table layout that at this stage there is no ground cover, no streets or sidewalks, no background mural, no accessory details, no figures, no vehicles. All you are seeing is the mapping out of the town on a plywood surface. It’s always an important learning experience, and an important part of my process.
April 1, 2018
Much of this past week my workbench efforts continued with Pegasus cactus. Like last week, I did a box of Pegasus cactus #1 and #2. Since the cactus I painted this past week are the same as those painted the previous week, I’m making an executive decision to not bother taking another set of pictures… just look at the previous weekly workbench pictures twice. I know have nearly 160 completed cactus. Keep in mind that my post apoc layout will be done on two 5 ft. x 7 ft. tables. On Sunday I bought a cast-off toy tractor at the swap meet… for a dollar. It doesn’t really match the period look of most of the other vehicles in my post apoc collection, but I really like it, and it painted up great. Monday morning I was organizing some things in my storage shed, and I came across two plastic rock outcroppings purchased several years ago. They were originally part of a toy marketed with the release of the first Cars Movie. Over the years I’ve bought two of them for a dollar/maybe fifty cents each because I could see that they would paint up great as part of the desert terrain I was planning for my post apoc collection. I’m really glad that I rediscovered them because they are beautiful pieces and painted up really well. More rocks followed the two from the Cars Movie. Two of them are large arches that are also cast-off toys purchased at the swap meet for about a dollar each and repainted. The last three rock pieces I will probably do for this project are by Snapdragon and were picked up for $2.50 each at Brookhurst Hobbies a couple months ago when they were clearing out the last of their Snapdragon stock.
I next revisited my Dimestore Dreams fire chief car. It got a full paint job rather than the partial one that I initially did. It now has a much better look… in my opinion. With those done I returned to the Pegasus cactus and began the repurposing and painting of my Welcome to Las Vegas sign (another swap meet dollar purchase). Without a doubt the sign makes no realistic sense out in the desert a hundred or more miles from Las Vegas and yet we’re talking about a collection that is full of zombies and big bugs so why not have a big Welcome to Las Vegas sign… it’s fun, and I added a couple of vultures.
Once in awhile during the course of a project a plan is altered… sometimes big, sometimes small. That happened while I was repurposing/modifying and painting the Disney parking lot tram to become the ZOMBIE TOUR tram. Originally my plan was to attach a couple of Gatling guns (taken from the Heroclix Skullbuster figure; I had two of them) to the front and rear wagons of the tram, but when I found the pieces for a larger gun, the plan changed and a rooftop gun platform was attached to the second wagon instead. Cactus painting, while important to this project, gets boring and my mind wanders, and it wandered to modifying a couple of Heroclix figures with those unused Gatling guns. With a little carving I removed the Gatling guns from the Heroclix Skullbusters and attached them to the Heroclix figures Gotham Undercover and Professor Xavier. I’m not sure these will become part of my current project, but I like the way the modifications came out. I won’t be basing or painting these two figures until I have a better idea how they will be used.
Another break from the cactus was the repainting of a couple of beat-up overstuffed chairs and a sofa. I got them on eBay under the name Pro Paint. Their original paint jobs weren’t bad but not mine so I put the brush to them… better now. I should note that in addition to the Pro Paint furniture, I also have six of their trashcans, and I didn’t bother to repaint those… I just gave them bases.
I closed out the week painting the last of the cactus, basing a crate of 12 Cokes (a little large but I think they will be okay and offer an interesting detail), and I based and painted the Crooked Dice arms dealer terrain set. I liked that set so much that I decided to expand it by adding an additional arms table made from Evergreen plastic, some Grandt Line HO scale barrels (used as table support/legs), weapons from the Foundry Street Violence line of figures and a couple of military equipment packs and jerry cans from a Tamiya 1:48 scale accessory box. Pretty good week.
March 25, 2018
This time around, the Weekly Workbench began with some odds and ends/detail pieces and will probably carry on that way throughout the week. First off was an idea to use a Crooked Dice mattress on one of the Aztec dollhouse beds. I was happily surprised that they turned out to be a perfect fit for one another. I next began the process of building some picnic tables and benches for my trailer park out of Evergreen Plastic. I decorated one of the tables with a BBQ, and mustard and ketchup dispenser from the Heroclix figure The Thing. I added three plates made from the knobs cut off a Lego. With that done I was surprised by another swap meet find purchased about five months ago and forgotten. In this case it was a drugstore sign… probably part of a broken Christmas decoration. Since all of my buildings are complete, gluing this sign to a finished building didn’t seem like a good idea, but I remembered that the building I made for my barber shop had a removable sign. I also remembered that I used a different Plasticville/K-Line building that housed a florist and a barbershop in my Gangster collection. The earlier barbershop building now became part of my post apoc collection, and I put together a supporting pole for my new drugstore sign. The new sign will sit on the building’s roof weighted by three washers at the pole’s base.
When I painted up the US military communications van and trailer I was forced to confront the fact that while I like those pieces, I had no US military figures to go with them. On Saturday I went to Majestix (my Heroclix shop) and went through the 25 cent buckets. I found a US Army figure plus another figure that could be repurposed for a military look. I bought two of the military figures and one of the figures for repurposing and began the modification and painting on Sunday. After a couple of head swaps and some new paint, I had three US military figures that will work well with the military vehicles I’ve already completed.
I pulled out a couple of patio and lawn chairs from my Plasticville apartments (I will be using the Plasticville apartments in a more urban setting in another collection.) and painted them up. With those done I decided to do some modification and paint work on a Disney parking lot tram. I have used these Disney trams with two other collections (my Gangsters & Stuff and Spaceport galleries). They are great toys (hard to believe little kids are actually interested in playing with parking lot trams, but I am) that work well with 28mm and offer an unusual look for these collections. With the Gangsters, it served as a studio tour tram (little tongue-in-cheek humor) and with the Spaceport it served as a tram carrying spacecraft passengers from their craft to destinations around the spaceport military base and town. In the case of this tram, I am going tongue-in-cheek once again and it will be a ZOMBIE TOUR tram running through my post apoc town. In addition to the ZOMBIE TOUR signs on top of two of the passenger wagons (the first and third passenger wagons), the central passenger wagon sports a gun platform on its roof. As yet I am still putting together the homemade decal list, but they will be coming soon.
It was a rainy day on Thursday, and I spent my hobby time basing and painting cactus (by Pegasus) for the land that surrounds my desert town. I completed Box #1 of the Pegasus cactus and began Box #2 (the small size cactus). I also built and painted five sidewalk advertising signs before I called it quits for that rainy day. On Friday I dropped by Arnie’s Trains and made a wonderful find on their bargain table in the form of a box of Plasticville O gauge figures and a second box of Plasticville O gauge accessories. In the accessories box I was delighted to find 12 fire hydrants, lots of bus-stop-style benches and mailboxes. There were also two A & P pole signs (probably not Plasticville). I painted up three of the hydrants for use with my post apoc collection, and began modifying the A & P poles signs to become a Texaco pole sign and a Shell pole sign. The modification of the pole signs involved sanding off the raised A & P logo so that it could be replaced by the Texaco and Shell logo decal and rebasing both signs. In at least two of my previous collections (Gangsters and Victorians) I made sidewalk signs with ad posters. I decided to use a few of those with this collection as well.
This week’s swap meet offered up a toy sandbag defensive position. It’s a little big and the sandbags are far from perfect sculpts, but I think they work with zombies, big toy bugs, Plasticville and K-Line buildings. Plus they are cheap and easy to paint, and I’ll add a couple more if the swap meet gives me the chance before this collection is done. I also decided to use a Snapdragon terrain piece that will have an atomic warning symbol on it plus a sign that says Test Area. To complete this week’s Weekly Workbench pictures, I’ve included posters and signs that will be made into decals for this project. Hope you enjoy.
March 18, 2018
My Weekly Workbench efforts for my last posting ended with the building of the entrance to my trailer park and the sign for my junkyard. Both were built largely with Evergreen plastic and given their base coats of paint as that week ended. This past week the workbench began with the painting of the trailer park entrance and the junkyard sign. Both still need their homemade decals, but those will come soon (PARADISE ESTATES and LAST STOP JUNK & SALVAGE). I also finished the painting of a few more pieces of trailer park fence. The junkyard will be surrounded by the wire fence I used outside of the military base that was part of my spaceport collection. I did make several additional sections of that fence this week to allow the existing fence to work more effectively with the junkyard’s needs. The junkyard fence is made from Evergreen plastic poles, plastic/nylon window screen material, and a Milliput base. Decals for the signs attached to the fence are in process.
With the two types of fences needed for this project complete, I turned my attention to painting some Armorcast dumpsters and trash… nice pieces. In the middle of the week I accidented upon a broken Christmas ornament I found at the swap meet last November or December. It is a grand piano. In terms of size, it is perfect for 28mm. As you might guess it was covered with Christmas décor and unfortunately its right leg was missing. I paid 50 cents or perhaps a dollar for it, put it in a box of odds and ends, and until this week forgot about it. When it caught my attention a few days ago, I decided it would be fun to have a guy in a suit playing a grand piano in the junkyard. What I didn’t know was whether I could bring it back to life… new leg and no Christmas décor. It turned out great. I cut off the décor, filled the holes and sanded its rough areas smooth. I used several different pieces of Evergreen plastic to build a new leg and gave the body of the piano a new paint job. Because it is located in a junkyard, I used a straight back wooden chair by Aztec Miniatures (1/4” dollhouse furniture) for the piano player’s seat. I made the piano player from two Reaper Chronoscope figures pieced together for the look I was after.
With the piano done, I painted up a couple of cast-off toy trailers from the swap meet: one a military communications trailer and the second a horse trailer. I also based two bug-like creatures from a Heroclix figure called Flood Infection and painted the last of my Heroclix Spiderman lamp poles (with another vulture). The work I did awhile back on the two Dimestore Dreams’ taxis has never made me happy… too minimal/too plastic looking. I decided I needed to spice them up a bit, so I gave them red fenders front and rear… much happier with them now. As the week drew to a close I turned my attention to junk piles for the junkyard. The tire piles I picked up at Historicon 2012 (can’t remember the manufacturer) and some very nice junk pile pieces by Crooked Dice.
Late Friday afternoon/perhaps early evening I located (by happy accident) three more Greater Worms/Purple Worms by Reaper (the plastic versions). I was hoping I would find them in order to paint up a set in brown and purple tones rather than the green and purple I have already completed. I got them started on Friday night after my wife and I returned from dinner out. I didn’t bother to modify these because my experience with the first three I did showed me that the modification made very little difference in the way they look.
March 11, 2018
Most of this week the work on my workbench was focused on the fence that will surround my trailer park. Years ago I decided that I would buy a Disney playset for Mater’s tow yard that was marketed with the first Cars movie. That first Cars movie produced some wonderful buildings that can be effectively repurposed for use with 28mm figures. My post apoc includes two of those buildings (Flo’s V8 Café and Radiator Springs Curios), and I used two other buildings marketed with the release of the first Cars movie when I did my Gangsters and Stuff collection (Luigi’s tire shop and Ramon’s auto paint shop). Mater’s tow yard does not have a wonderful building, but it does have some great fence. Over the years I picked up three of the Mater playsets at the swap meet each for very little money (one to three dollars each) and it was my plan to use their fence to surround my junkyard. But as this project got underway my plan changed, and I decided to surround the junkyard with the scratch-built wire fence I used with the military base in my spaceport collection, and use the Mater fence to surround my trailer park. The big problem with the Mater fence is that it is too short, so to solve that problem I glued the fence to one level of Legos and hid the Legos under a cover of Milliput scored to look like bushes. It was a lot of work, but I think it came out great.
Once that was done, I took a break from the fence work, and painted up a couple of off-road vehicles I picked up at the swap meet a couple years ago for 50 cents each. When those were done I based and painted another Heroclix lamp pole and added a Reaper vulture to it… love those vultures. I based and painted up some Keil-Line Products’ trash cans, and a cow skull from Wyrd Miniatures’s Malifaux collection (got that very cheap at Brookhurst Hobbies’ Bring-and-Buy a couple weeks ago). I next painted a couple of chairs for my trailer park… one a beat-up overstuffed chair and the other a straight back chair from Aztec Miniatures ¼” scale dollhouse collection. On top of one of the Aztec Miniatures tables (I cut it down a bit), I attached the game board from the Heroclix figure Despero… I love that figure and have used the game board with several of my collections; 28mm game boards are hard to find. The yard flamingo and the umbrella are pieces I picked up at the swap meet… broken toys. I also repurposed, based and painted two mailboxes from the Heroclix figure Blue Beetle… great mailboxes and Blue Beetle on the mailbox is a 50 cents to $1 figure. On Friday I saw that Michael’s Arts and Crafts was have a 40% off sale on their Tiny Treasures miniatures plus another 20% off of any purchase so I went over to see what they had. I found a resin inflatable pool “bed” (not sure what it really is) with an inflatable palm tree on one side. I decided it would be a great trailer park yard pool for a little kid. I also got lucky and found one with the palm leaves broken from the tree truck so I got an additional 10% off for that… it glued back on with no problem. I smoothed a layer of Milliput in the bottom of the inflatable whatever it is/pool to serve as water and added a yellow rubber ducky taken from a Heroclix Molly Hayes.
Once all these nice little detail pieces were done, I returned to fences. I built an entrance for my trailer park made from Evergreen plastic, Milliput, and a couple of small sections of the Cars’ fence. I also made a sign for my junkyard using Evergreen plastic. I finished repurposing a few odds and ends pieces of Cars’ fence and built three new sections of wire fence for the junkyard using Evergreen posts, Milliput for the base and plastic/nylon window screen material from Home Depot for the wire. I finished off the week by giving them a base coat of black spray. They will get painted this coming week. Almost forgot, this week the mail delivered me an eBay purchase of the Copplestone Castings Future Wars’ Bikers. I found them very cheap on eBay and it looked like one of the figures was missing his weapon… a miscast. I bought the pack because I wanted the Bikers; they were very cheap, and I believed I had the ability and materials to give my biker the weapon he was missing. Turned out to be a pretty easy fix at a great price. The unpainted figure shown in some of this week’s pictures is that repaired biker.
March 4, 2018
This week my Weekly Workbench began with a figure that has nothing to do with my post apoc collection… the Wyrd Malifaux teddy. I’ve wanted this figure for awhile, but Wyrd Malifaux can be extremely expensive, and I have no immediate purpose for teddy so buying it has not been a priority. Fortunately for me I found this teddy for about $6 at the Brookhurst Bring-and-Buy a couple weeks ago. The one I bought is the early, metal version. It was fun to paint, and I based it for use with my Victorians (on cobblestones) and added a yellow, rubber duck to the base for a little humor. The duck was one that I cut off the Molly Hayes Heroclix base. My next workbench project this week was another tow truck. I then rebased one of the Horrorclix waitresses for use in the interior of my post apoc ice cream parlor. I also painted a zombie for use in the interior of my ice cream parlor. I should note that the interior furnishings (tables, chairs, counter and cold storage units) were purchased several years ago at the swap meet as part of a small vignette that I then reproduced in resin and painted about a year ago. One of the sets of figures that I have been looking forward to adding to my post-apoc collection is the Mega Minis’ road-kill figures (a snake, a rabbit, an armadillo and a squirrel). Fortunately I purchased this set of figures years ago before Mega Minis went out of business. Like the telephones, I based them on metal washers surfaced with Evergreen plastic. With those items completed my workbench attention returned to O-gauge telephone poles (Marx/modified and I added a couple more Reaper vultures) for my post apoc collection. One of the main reasons I decided to include telephone poles with this collection is because one of the two 5 ft. x 7 ft. tables I will be using will have only one building on it (the Cars Movie Radiator Springs Curio shop) and I just felt that having the telephone poles running along the road on that table would add to the feeling of emptiness of the surrounding land. On the base of one of these poles I added a Malifaux cactus that I picked up at the Brookhurst Bring-and-Buy at the same time I bought teddy. While working on the poles I also put together a pile of car parts for my junkyard. The real thread of my workbench efforts this week and in the coming weeks is on the small details like fire hydrants (unknown manufacturer), streetlights (Heroclix/Spiderman), telephone poles and mailboxes (Heroclix/Blue Beetle). Over the years and completed galleries I have come to believe that little the details really bring my galleries to life.
February 25, 2018
This week I was wrapping up the vehicles for my post apoc collection. That is not to say I won’t find another one I just have to have before the project is done, but for now just about all of them are complete… one exception is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile I am thinking about including. Anyway, in terms of the Weekly Workbench, my focus this week was on finishing my Dimestore Dreams vehicles: a woody and trailer, a convertible, another taxi, a fire chief’s car and a military signal corps’ van. Not all of these will actually be used, but since I have them I decided to get them done. The woody, trailer and convertible were complete repaints. The taxi, fire chief’s car and signals van are done in my limited paint job method. Once they were complete I decided to move on to my not-Ghostbusters/Paranormal Exterminators car from Crooked Dice. Mine will have one very distinct difference from the traditional Ghostbusters look. Instead of the traditional Ghostbusters’ emblem on the doors, my car will have a similar emblem but with a zombie rather than a ghost in the circle. We’re working on the homemade decals now. The last group of vehicles worked on this week is the wrecks for my junkyard. Over the years, if I found a nice busted-up car for about 50 cents, I purchased it with the idea of including it in my junkyard. I did seven of them this week. I’m pretty happy with them. The last focus for the workbench this week was vultures. Within the last year or so, Reaper released a pack of really nice vultures (3 different poses/six vultures per pack). I posed three of them on the stone block I cut from Molly Hayes, and have them surrounding a bloody body. I use a fourth vulture on one of the telephone poles that will be lining the road through the desert. Pretty good week.
February 18, 2018
This past week the Weekly Workbench has once again been mainly dedicated to vehicles. If I have my count correct, I did 19 vehicles this week including a couple motorboats on trailers by Dimestore Dreams. I did several Dimestore Dreams’ plastic vehicles this week, but most of the cars and trucks painted this week are die cast. Most of the die cast pieces I finished this week were completely repainted, but several received the limited paint job focused on chrome, windows, wheels and an overall spray with Testors Dullcote. I painted up a couple more 1949 Ford police cars. While these are slightly different from the one I did last week, they seem to be based on the same toy body. I added large antenna to both using wire and beads. Since these police cars were Louisiana police vehicles painted overall white with the state map as the emblem on the door, I painted them to match the previous black and white, and I will be adding a homemade decal of the California Highway Patrol badge to the doors. In addition to the vehicle work I did this week, I painted some giant one-eyed worms made from plastic eye stalks originally attached to head bands much like those that are used with Minnie Mouse ears at Disneyland. I got the eye-stalk head bands at the swap meet for 50 cents each. I cut the eye-stalks from the head bands and set them in a Milliput base decorated with small stones. Once the bases were hardened I gave each piece a new paint job. They’re a little crazy, but they look pretty good. My final work this past week was painting two Wyrd Miniatures’ Malifaux children that I picked up at Brookhurst Hobbies’ Bring and Buy last week. I paid $2 each for the figures which isn’t bad for Malifaux figures that tend to be very expensive. The little girl has a kind of Adams’ family look to her though I did her as a blond, and as for the baby and his teddy, well, who doesn’t love a baby and his teddy.
February 11, 2018
This has been another week of vehicles for my post apoc collection. Most of the vehicles are die cast vehicles that I picked up for $3 or less at the swap meet, but there are a few unique pieces. The most unique is a resin Zamboni I bought in a Montreal gift shop in 2015. While the original is a little on the tongue-in-cheek side, particularly the overstuffed chair as the driver’s seat, I couldn’t resist it. The Zamboni just had too much potential for my post apoc world. I decided to leave most of the Zamboni unmodified and with its original paint, and I focused my attention on the driver’s cockpit… raised the floor using Legos, provided a new bench seat set on the cushion of the overstuff chair, added a steering wheel, and attached some barrels to distract from the overstuffed chair. Finally I gave it a driver from the West Wind Road Kill Human Biker Gang pack. Another unusual piece is the Toot Toy eight-wheel tractor-trailer. It’s another swap meet find and while more toy-like than most of my die cast vehicles it seemed a reasonable match for the post apoc collection. I also worked on a Dime Store Dreams’ plastic police car. I really like the Dime Store Dreams vehicles, and in the case of the police car I decided to do only limited targeted painting… siren, red roof light, grill, windows, and wheels. I left the rest of the police car as it came and sprayed it with Testors Dullcote to give it the flat look of my fully painted vehicles. I took that same approach with my 1949 Ford and 1957 Chevy police cars, the hot rod with yellow flames, and my school bus. Other than the Zamboni’s driver, the only figure I painted this week was another Great Worm by Reaper Bones. I cut out a section of about a third of its body to give it a different look from the original and then painted it. I photographed it next to the first Great Worm I did/the original version to show the size difference. Pretty productive week.
February 4, 2018
This week my workbench continued its focus on vehicles for my post apoc collection. I completed modification and painting of nine vehicles that included an armored VW bus and Chevy stationwagon, a tourist van, a trash truck and several die cast pieces. All of the vehicles I worked on this week were obtained at the swap meet… most for a dollar and none for more than three dollars. The armored vehicles were modified with the use of Evergreen Plastic and detailed with barrels, jerry cans, and bedrolls by Tamiya. The tourist van also includes a large tarp covering Legos. The tarp is made from Kleenex coated with Testor’s dullcote paint. The tourist van, the VW bus, the armored Chevy and the trash truck all have personnel from West Wind’s Road Kill Human Biker Gang. When I painted up the West Wind motorcycles without their riders, I was left with ten bikers that I was wanted to find good use for. The biker sitting on the rear opening of the trash truck is the most interesting in that he is removable… held in place by two tiny magnets much the same as those I used to hold the removable boards over some of my town windows. All in all, not a bad week’s work.
Postscript: I’ve decided to cheat a little and stick in a couple pictures of my Zombie Abatement Team (Z.A.T.) bus. It’s the first zombie-related item I have ever done, and it was completed perhaps eight or ten years ago when I first got the idea of doing a post apoc zombie desert community. Like most of the vehicles in this collection, it was picked up for a dollar at the swap meet. The reason I’m tucking it in here is that I want a record of all the vehicles I’m doing for this project, and because this one was done so long ago it won’t fit in the normal postings on the Weekly Workbench. Also, since it’s my website, I figure I can do what I want!
January 28, 2018
This has been a slow week at the old workbench. In part that was due to shopping for some new sofas (actually one large sectional sofa) for the family room plus a dentist appointment at the end of the week, but the main reason for my slow down in productivity this week has to do with a trend in my work on my projects that I have seen recur over the years. Work on each of these projects/collections tends to last between six months and a year, and I tend to work on them in blocks… buildings, figures, vehicles, accessories and interiors, and end-of-projects odds and ends. What happens is that at the end of each block I slow down before moving ahead on the next block. It’s almost as though I’m a little nervous about starting something new. Since October I have done a bit more than 30 structures (mostly Plasticville and K-Line) for my post apoc desert community, and last week I was wrapping up the last of the figures painting for this project which brought that number to about 450 figures… about 200 more than I thought this project would involve. Next on the agenda is vehicles, but I had trouble getting vehicle focused. So this week I worked on another version of Molly Hayes. This time I gave her a Gatling gun taken from the Heroclix figure Skullbuster. When Molly was done, and I really like the way she came out, I decided to make use of some Heroclix Nightrider heads that I had removed from their original figures and replaced with Kings of War zombie heads. I took the removed Nightrider heads/flaming skulls and mounted them on posts with new paint jobs… warning to zombies to stay away; not sure if zombies can be warned, but the mounted heads look pretty good.
Next on my workbench were a couple of Reaper/Bones Great Worms that for some reason had been pushed to the rear of my figure painting throughout this project. I did one as it came, but I decided to modify the second one by cutting a section out of its neck (3/4” at the back and ½” at the front) to give it a different look. Despite removing that large chunk of neck/maybe body (hard to tell with a worm), it’s almost impossible to see any difference between them. After the worms, I returned to playing with some Clix. I cut the cat woman off one of the Heroclix bombshell figures, did a little touch up work, and rebased the unexploded bomb… might have a place in a post apoc desert community. I also removed the TNT boxes from the Heroclix figure Mr. Immortal. I rebased the boxes on the rock slab from the Molly Hayes figures and gave it new paint… I like it. While I was at this little stuff, I decided to base and paint a couple of little plants taken from a broken toy I got at the swap meet months ago… definitely not for the post apoc, but I’ll find a use for them with some collection.
Finally my mind began to turn toward vehicles and the next stage or phase of this project. I’ve been collecting cars and trucks for this project for years… most of them coming from my local swap meet. But my transition into vehicles had one foot in the figure world. During my figure-painting phase of this project, I painted up more than a dozen standing bikers (as opposed to riding bikers), and they needed motorcycles. A month or so ago I painted the Blue Moon Road Kill Human Biker Gang and really loved the figures, but I also discovered in putting them together that the riders are completely separate from their bikes which meant that the bikes could be made as stand alones for my “standing” biker figures. Because I share a membership in the Old Glory Army with a couple other guys, I get a 40% discount, and I share the shipping cost. That said I felt I could afford to by the Human Biker Gang just for the bikes, and I did. They came out great, and eased me closer to the vehicle phase of this post apoc project. Finally I took out a box of cars and trucks and completed work on a couple of VW vans and station wagons plus one little hot rod. It’s a start.
A Look Back At My Workbench/October 27, 2017
This website has galleries that go back nearly ten years, but the Workbench section is only a few weeks old. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to inject a look back at past work from time to time. Since the Workbench began several months after work began on my post apoc collection, a lot has already been completed so a look at the past work on this project would probably be a good place to start with a “look back” element to the Workbench. Rather than focus on painted figures, zombie or otherwise, I decided I would post pictures of the completed structures that will make up the town. By October 28, 2017 I had finished 27 buildings (2 from cars movies, 1 O gauge theater/manufacturer unknown, and 24 buildings from Plasticville and K-Line), 13 trailers for my trailer park (6 Plasticville and the others from Michael’s, JoAnne’s, and the swap meet), and a camper. The most unique element of the buildings is that I put removable boards over the windows of a number of the buildings. I was able to make them removable by putting a tiny magnet on the inside of the window and the back of the boards. By doing this the boards can be attached or removed with no evidence of the magnets. By doing that I get more use value from these buildings and trailers, and options for varied use is a good thing.
January 20, 2018
I’m posting the workbench for this week a day early because tomorrow will be a busy day that will probably not offer time for picture taking, and this week’s workbench requires a lot of pictures. When I began the weekly workbench section of my website just a couple weeks ago, I was well in to my post apoc figure painting. Today pretty much brings my zombie brushwork to a close with about 200 zombies done. This posting includes zombies from Box 3 of the Blue Moon Things That Go Bump In The Night zombie collection. My work this week also included zombies from Kings of War and Eureka. In addition to the zombies, I painted some casualties from Old Glory and three Clix… two Heroclix and a mutant bunny from Horrorclix. Without question my favorite workbench figure this week was Heroclix’s Molly Hayes. I originally bought Molly because I wanted the three yellow ducks. My plan was to use them as targets in a circus shooting gallery sideshow. But the more I looked at Molly herself, the more I saw her potential as a zombie fighter. Rather than do a long write-up of the change Molly has undergone, I’ve photographed her in her before and after state.
January 14, 2018
This week, work continued on my zombies… lots still to do. I completed the rest of the Project Z female zombies, several Reaper zombies, three zombies from Brigade Games, and Box #1 of the Blue Moon Things That Go Bump In The Night Zombies. For a little break from zombies, I decided to paint up four voodoo figures for this collection… two are Reaper and two are Clix (one Heroclix and one Horrorclix). My work on zombies will continue for the next week or two. Tomorrow I will start Box #3 of the Blue Moon zombies and probably get started on some zombies from the Kings of War.
January 7, 2018
Having completed my Spaceport Gallery in October, I have been working for several months on my next collection which is a post-apoc collection roughly inspired by the work of members of Lead Adventure Forum who were involved in a game called Atomic Cafe. The setting for my post-apoc drama will be a small desert community located between LA and Las Vegas. I have currently painted about 250 figures for this collection, and I am now deep into my zombie horde. This week I have been working on figures from Warlord Games’ Project Z/Zombie Horde and completed the male Project Z zombies, and about half of the females.