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Fixing Up My Musketeer Miniatures

I have been quite taken with the Musketeer Miniatures line of figures for the Very British Civil War, they are one of only maybe two or three people out there making figures specifically for this somewhat unique setting.  They are sculpted by Paul Hicks and quite simple to paint.  My only problem so far has been the great amount of flash and mold lines and a somewhat high amount of damaged or broken weapons.  I’ve ordered seven packs so far and have four broken rifles and pistols.  Now, Gripping Beast has been superb in taking care of what I have reported to them (only one of the failures) but I’ve decided I will take care of the rest myself.  Here are my results so far.

First I ordered some IRA and BUF figures, I discovered a broken BUF rifle and they replaced it with a new pack.  When the new pack came, it had a broken rifle.  Then I finally found time to paint the IRA and when I had a good look at the models that I ordered at the same time as the original BUF, they had a broken rifle!

Pin Vice - handy to have around

So, now I had three broken rifles to fix.  I broke out the pin vice and drilled a hole as close to the center of the rifles that I could, I went in just a few millimeters.  I have some brass tubing that I bought a while ago for some VSF stuff.  It’s not very big, about twice the size of a paper clip, but it’s hollow.  I cut a length of that and popped it in the hole.

Then here’s what they looked like then.

I really liked how this turned out.  Now this doesn’t look like any gun that I’ve ever seen, but at table distance, it passes muster beautifully.  Here are all three of the lads with their new rifles.

And here are a couple of the lads with a coat of paint on them.

I think the operation was a success!  It’s pretty rewarding to save a model or two.  This was a great lead in to my next hard luck case.  I just ordered some more British regulars and this time I ordered some officers and NCO’s to lead the troops.  One of the officers came with a broken pistol and looked a bit funny.  Our came the pin vice and super glue again!  This time I only put a piece of paper clip in as the pistol barrel is much smaller than the rifle barrels.  Here he is pre-painted.  I wish I had used a longer piece of paper clip, but I’ll live with it.

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Dredd – WIP

I’ve been reading old Judge Dredd comics this summer and it’s got me thinking about painting them for a while. I’ll write more about them when they have the final touches done.

I had a problem where Dreddy was bigger than the bases I use, so I hit him with a file and shortened the cast-on base. Now his feet stick over a bit, but I like the effect, and only nicked his feet with a file a few times.

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Neo-Sovs and Zombies WIP

I have been dying to start this new project for a while now and the near wrap up (2 months away) of my FIW extravaganza is around the corner.  These are my first test models for a “The Dead of Winter”.

Some Copplestone Neo-Sovs that will serve as the troops of The People’s Free City of Burlinton.

And some Zombies to oppose them.  Well the beginning of the zombies to oppose them anyway.  I’m quite happy with the way they turned out for test models.

I’ll have a lot more to tell about them once they are based up and ready to go.

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5 Figures in Twenty-four Hours

I’ve been at a conference away from home for a few days now. One of the advantages of this is that I have had more painting time than I usually do in a house with three small children. I typically paint twelve figures in a month as I usually paint about two and a half hours a week.

I brought twelve figures with me on the trip with high hopes. You see I am in a race with The Galloping Major, I want to finish one of each of his figures before he releases more of them. I’m in the home stretch and this trip is gonna help. In addition to the FIW troops, i brought along some Copplestone Neo-sovs to paint for my new Dead of Winter project, so I brought some Mantic plastic zombies along as well. (though one was popped off my painting base by the TSA guys when they searched my bag due to having all sorts of funny tools and paint bottles in it). I watched for ten minutes as the airport security swiped every paint bottle and tested it for bomb traces.

Inside of twenty-four hours of arriving in the hotel room, I managed to paint five rangers from start to finish. Here’s a rough shot taken with my iPad, sorry for the poor quality, better pics are on the way.

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Repainting Figures

I have always been afraid of having to do this. I have very limited hobby time with a busy family life and a few jobs, so I have dreaded having to spend one or two weeks of my hobby time on something that I will have to redo later. I have let it stop me from experimenting, a let it stop me from growing as a painter I suppose.

I took the plunge with some Canadien Militia recently and wasn’t happy with the results. So, it’s off to the store to pick up some “Simple Green”. I’m not sure about availability outside the US or brand name elsewhere, so you might have to do some research to find it. Simple Green is pretty widely known as a safe substance that does a heck of a job removing paint from figures. I’m not sure about plastics, but I don’t have any so it’s not a worry for me.

I popped them into a glass jar, put a touch of water in, and added an equal amount of simple green and let them sit over night. I pulled them out last night and gave them a going over with an old toothbrush. It removed 95% of the paint with ease. Pretty impressive. There were a few bits still in deep crevices and undercuts, so i popped them back in the Simple Green for another night. I hope this will take them back to “factory” condition ready for priming and getting back into the action.

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Oooh…Shiny, Miliciens and Washes Part Deux

When I first saw these guys on the Galloping Major’s web site, I didn’t really think to much of them. I mean as a FIW layman, I knew nothing about the Canadian Militia and their role in the war, so I didn’t see any use for them. I have spent quite a bit of time reading about them since. I decided to paint them as a warm up for the rangers, really the main attraction, right? Well, I’ve since really fallen for these figures. They are great fun to paint and have loads of personality.

I have been looking at all the painted examples that I can find to figure out how to paint them. I finally decide that I will paint half of them with white shirts, one quarter with buff shirts, and the remaining quarter will be colorful in some way.

I have also been experimenting with what is the best sized batch to paint in. It seems like I haven’t posted a blog post in donkey’s ears. It’s because I choose to paint four figures at once for the first time. I think this would be a time saver if they were uniformed figures, but as it is, I still have to stop and change colors so often that I don’t think it saves much time to do batches of greater than two at a time.

Without further ado, here are the Miliciens Canadiens with the initial wash, ready for a light dry brushing and a serious matte coat.

Here are the models as individuals showing my new wash concoction. Regular readers will know that I had some…”undesireable” results with my first experiment with washing.

One of the most frustrating thing about trying to learn about washes is that there are very few videos out there that show the technique and I’ve never read a tuttorial that really made me understand. Top that up with me not liking the washes available commercially and every article out there telling you how to make your own NEVER specifies a recipe. It’s always, “Mix the paint with some future, I just keep adding until I achieve the effect I want.” Thanks for nothing A-hole!

The Wash

We’ll, if you like the subtle wash effect from above, here’s how I did it. You will see two of the ingredients on the left here Vallejo German Grey and Vallejo Glaze Medium, and the other is the wash. The only ingredient not pictured is Future Floor Polish which I found at Wal-Mart. I’m sure it goes by different names in other countries, if you do some googling you find it.

I mixed the wash up with the following ratios:

  • 20mL of Future
  • 1 Drop of German Grey
  • 4 Drops of Glaze Medium

I’m pretty happy with the subtle tones compared to the GW washes that I ruined the figures with last time.

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Further Canoe Progress

I’ve had a bit more time to work on the canoe. This time instead of using sand paper, I went whole hog and broke out the dremmel tool. I threw out a lot of dust, but was able to work on it at a much faster pace.

I really like where it’s at right now, I have only some minor smoothing to do and it’s ready for some green stuff to be added for the details. This will finally make it look like a canoe I hope. A few seems in the right places.

I will say that the amount of dust I threw up while caving this scared me a little. I wore a mask for the most part, but still had while nostrils when finished. Who the hell knows what kind of stuff you are throwing around when sanding plumbers epoxy? This has lead me to look into creating a dust catcher. Once upon a time (after two years of schooling) I was a dental technician for about 60 days. But we did use a lot of equipment that is used in model making as we were custom sculpting and casting tiny teeth. One of the pieces of equipment that I will next try to create is a dust collector. Basically a vacuum with a head that sits right next to the dremmel and sucks in all the dust. I have an old vacuum cleaner in the basement that should do the trick.

Anyway, here’s where we are at.

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A Few Minutes Work

I had a few minutes while my wife was in the shower to try shaping the canoe. It went pretty well, I’m loping forward to getting some more time soon.

After looking at my reference, I think I will have to try and put more of a point on the end, it’s definately a canoe shape, but some fine tuning is in order.

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Make My Own Canoe!? Sure…

When I made the decision to leave 6mm behind and try something different, my main motivation was creating something with personality. Individuals and places rather than troops and battlefields. One of my main inspirations has come from a poster on the Lead Adventures forum, Silent Invader. I have seen what he has created and painted and I’d be happy to accomplish half as much as he has. One of his blog posts shows how he created his small water craft by hand. Now I don’t have any need for a canoe as I only have 6 figures painted, but I thought “HOW FREAKIN’ COOL, wonder if I could do that?” So, here is the beginning of my attempt.

I don’t want to post another person’s pictures on my blog, so I will refer to the photos from Silent Invaders blog that can be found here.

The first thing I did was take a trip to the hardware store to buy some plumber’s epoxy. I have never used the stuff before, but hey it’s about time right. Don’t let my wife know, she might expect me to fix a sink or something eventually. It was about $7, so not to bad, but not exactly cheap. Then again, not as expensive as buying one.


Next was to make the basic shape out of some sort of card type material. One of my students (I’m a teacher) left some scraps of poster board in my room yesterday, so I had my material. I copied the picture of the cut-outs from Silent Invaders blog onto a word document and blew it up to as large as possible on one piece of paper. Then printed it out, cut out the shapes, drew them onto the poster board, and cut those out. The two sides of the canoe in SI’s picture are different sizes due to camera angle when the shot was taken. I used the smaller size for my model. I used scotch tape to keep the pieces together temporarily. Here is the result. I’ve also placed some bases in one picture to make sure it will hold my figures. I’m hoping for a four figure capacity, but more about that later.

It’s hard to get my head around the fact that a lot of this frame will be sanded away during the process. Once I had the initial shape ready, it was time to start applying the epoxy. I started in the bow and stern and let that dry for a few minutes. Then I the epoxy to the sides of one half, that way it allowed my splint in the middle to keep the canoe-y shape. After a few more minutes, I added the epoxy to the other half.

I was pretty happy with my creation at this point. Then I looked at the one I’m supposed to be emulating. I think I made a big mistake. My sides are far too wide an d a base no longer fits on the flat surface at the bottom of my boat. We’ll see how it turns out.

The boat will be given it’s final shape through a combination of sanding and adding greenstuff.