Friday, November 29, 2013

Marching Fort corner (part 1)

I was unsatisfied with cutting the the pink foam with the coping saw, so I went by the hardware store near work during lunch and scored one of these beauties. Night and day, hands-down a better tool for the job.

Last night I did some sketching and tonight I cut the foam for a corner section. I was amazed at how much more precise the cuts were. I was ready to build Troy out of pink foam!  =]

The cut below was a little rough. Not sure if my technique was off or if there is actually a grain to this stuff?

I guess a square corner section might make more sense, but the only big plywood bases I had were rectangular. Meh... 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 9)

Well, it's finally finished! Sorry for the lack of WIP shots, but I've been working in dribs and drabs and before I knew it it was done.

As I mentioned, I decided to make the ditch look wet. This is just some Humbrol enamel gloss varnish over a coat of acrylic matte varnish over the whole shooting match.

I flocked with some Army Painter field grass and then added some various tufts & flowers.

Some kitty litter rocks were added during one the previous painting sessions. These were dry-brushed with a couple different craft store acrylic grays. In hindsight I probably should have added them in more than just the ditch as the concentration of stones there looks a bit unnatural. Next time.

Here you can (barely) make out the work I did to mount the log stakes in the berm. As you recall they were separate for painting. I put some white glue down into the gap and them wiggled the fence in. Once dry, I added a bit of spackling on the sides to cover the gaps on the sides. After a day, I sanded and then painted over the spackling with more craft store acrylic burnt umber. 

 Not much to see on the backside. Just a few dry looking tufts. I debated adding some flocking here too, but decided that with all the marching going on the the marching fort, no grass would be able to take root!  =]

Now I have a decision to make. Carry on with more sections or noodle with trying a waddle fence. Stay tuned...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Inspiration (part 10)

I've stumbled upon a great series of blog posts about Late Roman Britain written by one Barry Jacobsen. A good read with lots of pictures (obviously from other sources). Here's a link to the first part:


Yes, I've also noted that with all this "Inspiration" I should be getting more done. Maybe I should re-title these posts "Distraction!"  =]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Inspiration (part 9)

I just finished another great read. This is one is also about King Arthur.  Although the prose is quite modern-sounding it is incredibly clever. Many a passage had me laughing out loud or sharing a line or two with my wife in the chair next to me. Not to say it's a comedy of course, but just very cleverly written.

Perhaps some of the most moving chapters were those Arthur spent among the "faerie folk" (Prydn as they call themselves). The way Godwin describes the gritty, intensely spiritual, bronze-age nomads is really a joy to read. Like Rosemary Sutcliff, this author uses the vernacular of the natives (in this case the Prydn) in his dialogue and this really helps set the tone. Good stuff!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 8)

Well, I think I'm finished the dry brushing for the stockade. My first attempts came out too uniform to look like random logs strapped together, so in the end I went with more of a stippling technique.

A couple of close-ups:

Here are a couple of shots with the stockade in the earth berm:

Overall I'm pretty happy. It seems a bit anachronistic though. It looks kind of like I've got a freshly made earth berm and some ancient logs. I may go back and darken the earth and lighten the logs. We'll see...

Next up some matte varnish and then static grass and a few tufts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 7)

God, I love the sheer mindlessness of dry-brushing. And the Vallejo pumice painted up a treat.

I could've kept at it all night but forced myself to stop after four color variants.

Here it is with my three log tests. I gotta say, I'm leaning toward the one on the far right. The middle one just seems way too dark and the first just gets lost on the brown dirt mound.

You may have noticed a darker streak at the base of the wall. I'm thinking of making it look a bit wet there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 6)

Well, I think I finally licked the issue with white spots showing through the porous pumice. I made a goop of water, PVA, burnt umber craft paint, and a bit of playground sand (just for laughs).

And here it is with a barely noticeable dry-brush of "spice brown." More dry-brushing to come, but it's beer-o-clock here...

Here's a shot of various dry-brush techniques for the logs. Brown base, Brown-Black base, and Black base. I'm trying to decide what look to go for. Newly cut logs, ancient logs, or something in between.

I may defer this decision until more of the dry-brushing is done on the base to make sure the fence stands out color-wise.

Not as much progress as I'd hoped, but I was sick again dammit. Twice in two months. I may have to start eating apples again...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 5)

So I've textures the fence a bit with a wire brush and primed it black. I read somewhere that most tree trunks are grey (not brown), so we'll see how the dry brushing goes. I might to a couple of test "logs" to try out different color palettes.

The ancient Elmer's wood glue was a bit lumpier than I'd hoped. Hopefully it will be less noticeable with some matte varnish.

Priming the White Pumice was a royal pain in the ass! There were a bazillion tiny crevices and craters that were next to impossible to get paint down into. I tried a dilute wash. I tried a full strength, goopy-latex coat. I even made my own "stippler" brush by cutting down a rather stiff, synthetic #1 brush. Each time I looked I would find new, sparkly, white dots twinkling back at me. Argh!!!

Next time I might use a latex paint/PVA mixture for the first pass. Maybe the PVA will provide some gap filling? Or mix the paint in with the pumice first. I'm using cheap craft paint so I'm not too worried about the expense. Or I could just skip the pumice...

Anyone out there had this experience?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inspiration (part 7)

I just finished a mammoth book about the British rebels Caradoc and Boudicca called "The Eagle and the Raven" by Pauline Gedge:


The book is a study in contrasts and does an excellent job capturing the juxtaposition of fractious, self-serving British tuatha versus the necessity to unite to throw off the bittersweet yoke of imperial occupation. It captures the flavor of the old gods (and their relationships to the various tuathas) versus the new god. It also explores the dichotomy of sustainable, guerrilla warfare versus the more "honorable" method of head-to-head battle.

I have to admit, some of the reviews are correct in that it takes a while to get going. Like 150 pages or so. Once Rome invades though, the book gets rolling and (for the most part) doesn't stop. It's a bit more psychological than martial, and a more assertive editor could have whittled it down a bit (it's nearly 700 pages), but it's a fascinating take on the period and highly recommended for those interested in the Roman occupation of Britain.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Marching Fort wall section (part 4)

I'd bought some Vallejo white pumice a while back with the intention of using it for basing. Upon further research, many people find it to be too messy for basing. So I stuck to Gareson's method.

However, I felt like I shouldn't let the pumice go to waste and decided to give it a go on the earth berms of the fort section.

As expected, it was a bit of a nuisance. I used a wet craft stick too apply and it was hard to get it on evenly and without the odd bit poking up like meringue. I'm pretty pleased with the texture though.

Here's the back of it done. Have to admit this side is looking more like a concrete bunker than an earth berm, but hopefully some paint and flocking will sort that out...