About 1,000,000 years ago, in a beloved but now defunct chain hobby store called Hungates, I purchased two small boxes with plastic scale models in them. Unlike the semi trucks, 1950’s hot rods in 1:25, or WWII ship models I had ham-fistedly assembled as a child, these were early 20th century automobiles, roughly in scale with 28mm miniatures.
Glencoe Models still exists and these kits are listed. (I can’t find a direct explanation of how one might order them — there is a physical address to write to, and more of this modern age, an email address. So I imagine if one worked at it, he, too, could acquire these kits).
I completed the Pierce-Arrow and Stanley Steamer several years ago, photographing them with the intention to blog, but not following through, apparently. These models embody the term “fiddly” and I was intimidated by the other two for years.
It would seem I have become more adept and confident, and thus these two have finally rolled of the production line.
And so, I can move my Glencoe Models automobiles to the “complete” column. All due to the fact that I no longer have to use my own automobile for a daily commute.
A chance mention on The Miniatures Page led me to a new (to me) Australian manufacturer of mdf terrain: Knights of Dice. The sci-fi stuff — which is what was referenced in the TMP post — is fabulous. The pulp/modern stuff is what hooked me, though.
Chinatown? An amusement park? I hadn’t even realized my absolute ache to have this stuff!
A little digging uncovered the delight that Noble Knight Games carries a bunch of the stuff in the US. I ordered last Wednesday morning and by noon on Friday I had my first three bits of Sentry City. I decided to start small, with Chinatown.
First up, a simple plaza. This one reminded me of street plazas on the Lower East Side / Chinatown in New York City. The only ding I’ll give the kit (and my sole criticism of Knights of Dice thus far) is that the website photo shows a table and chairs in the plaza — which are sold separately — but not included with this kit. I fully realize that when they pose miniatures in photos they won’t come with the terrain; I just kinda thought they might include the tables to dress up the plaza. In NYC, I recall they had chessboards, so I may scratch build some of those instead.
Next up, we have a lovely brace of street food Hawker’s Stands. Check out the details on the image on the KoD website â€” stove grates, cutting board, pan, cleaver. Amazing!
Finally, a smallish restaurant / food stand — Little Ramen. The detail inside the kitchen rivals the street carts. I haven’t begun to search for suitable miniatures to staff them…
I’ve just begun to dry fit some of this together, and everything fits neatly and tight — they should be a joy to build. Noble Knight has a lot, but not everything, that KoD sells, so I will likely be doing some direct ordering from Down Under.
At any rate, I foresee many, many more purchases from Knights of Dice.
Fresh from showing off my counterfeits of Matt’s figures, I should make clear that I also steal from Kenneth Van Pelt. Here are a few pictures of my Square Pegs 54mm craftee VSF soldiers (and some experiments in other genres). Many of the fellows could be used for straight-up colonial combat, I suppose, but I don’t possess enough hard military historical knowledge to paint them correctly…
First up is a British artillery crew with scratch-built gun. I did buy the mdf wheels. (Though, I will say, I made one using the Toy Making Dad’s methods, but it took a LONG TIME so I opted to buy some here). I should also note that these guns do not really fire …
Here are their Prussian counterparts:
The pickelhaube-with-a-ball-on-them are a real thing, by the way. One wonders if it wasn’t just a touch difficult to take them seriously? They were manning a cannon, I suppose…
So that you can appreciate my sacrifice, you see I glued rivets onto this thing. You can’t really see it, but there is also a bolt to turn to adjust the elevation. At one time I fantasized that I would make a firing model; I have given up on that dream for the moment.
Death’s Head Hussars. I cut the tops off the pegs and glued on bits of dowel to fashion the busbies.
Here are some Jægers. I tried to take the easy route by sanding the top at an angle to communicate the distinctive hat. I’m not sure if it was successful.
I think Kenneth was brilliant in devising the pipe cleaner arms, but I agree with Dale that something else — he suggests craft foam — might serve better. The pipe cleaner arms are eminently reposition-able, but they hold guns funny. And [sigh] they make the guys look like muppets.
The field surgeon and a wounded soul. I’m either going to make a scalpel for the medico or buy one intended for Lego people. You’ll see some Lego weapons anon.
A hospital scene, with casualties and nurses. I think one of the ladies from Downton Abbey was serving as a nurse when I made these plucky lasses — I hadn’t seen the costume previously. Note, I have to cut the pegs in half the long way to get them to lie on the cots properly. I don’t recall now how I did it! The blankets are tissue paper soaked in white pva glue.
Here are a couple of civilian ladies and an Indiana Jones-type. Gun and sword are Lego weapons. Hats on Indy and the lady in yellow are some type of metal nut from Home Depot, intended to hold plastic wheels on axels. I haven’t attempted to do a whip yet.
Now we come to some of my experiments. First up, the crew from a famous starship. Phasers are Lego weapons. The figures can be removed from their “starship floor” bases, should I become sufficiently possessed to create exotic planet bases as well.
Feel the need to point out Uhura’s earrings and eye shadow… I have also begun an Orion slave girl (should you even doubt it) but haven’t photographed her yet.
The pirate lass is the favorite figure I’ve done. Her hair is braided, but I had to outsource the task as I seem incapable of learning the art. Tricorne courtesy of Dale’s craft foam tutorials. Lego weapons. Alas, her counterpart is WIP.
Finally, Lara and Tara Kraft, tomb raiders. The only female expression I seem to be able to paint is a smirk… which likely sums up exactly what they think of me.
I came to miniature wargaming as an adult. Childhood Christmases did include wondrous gifts, but never the tubs of little plastic warriors that so many boys enjoyed.
As an aside, I did yearn for that crate of Revolutionary War Soldiers advertised on the back of comic books in the 70’s. I’m quite sure I could have scraped together the $1.98; I think it was lack of postage preventing the transaction.
My recently developing 54mm VSF bug coincided with a big sale at Armies in Plastic ($12 boxes for $7.50) and thus I placed a robust order timed to arrive just before Christmas.
The packaging — cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing the figures — is a bit excessive for 2017 sensibilities. I had a vision, though, of how wonderful it would be to walk into a store that stocked them. The box art is suitably stirring and could serve as painting guides, should one be not girded with preconceived notions…
My preferred look for the British army is the red-coated Zulu wars era. Alas, the AIP figures are in “shirt sleeve order” which, although likely appropriate for the hot African climate, was too informal for the likes of me. My soldiers need to be in uniform.
These chaps from a conflict a few years later could be painted to fit the bill. They seem to be wearing gaiters, but I have already painted them black to look like boots.
The highlanders will be painted as a detachment of the Black Watch and there will be cavalry support as well. I intended for them to be the 17th Lancers, but they are brandishing sabers instead. I may do some modifications with Egyptian lancers. Finally, there will be Indian troops in support.
Next come the opponents: frontier tribesman and Prussians. The uhlans might well be converted to Death’s Head Hussars.
Following the blizzard of productivity which coincided with February’s blizzards (well, o.k., they weren’t really blizzards, but a half-foot of snow is a lot for North Carolina), things have been slow, hobby-wise, for the past month.
I did finally manage to knock out the 15mm Pathans who so unceremoniously invaded the painting queue. As I find customary with Irregular miniatures, they looked like blobby bits of lead out of the bag, but painted up quite nicely. I don’t purport them to be historically authentic; my main source for guidance was the little line drawing in The Sword and the Flame rulebook. I’ll probably use them most often for VSF, so anything goes, I suppose.
It seems I’m a slow learner with the digital camera. I was attempting to follow the tenets of this miniature photography tutorial, and I ended up not being able to get the camera to focus properly. Apparently, cameras are complicated tools that one must take time to learn how to use properly…
In addition to likely inauthenticity, these are painted to my usual “good enough for government work” standards. I don’t do eyes (I don’t even do them on 28mm when I can avoid it) and the beards proved to be a challenge. I think one luckless chap suffered a daub of black on his nose.
Hexographer is the thoroughly wonderful program I used to create the map in my header. It comes from the mind of Joe Wetzel at Inkwell Ideas, who also has programs for mapping dungeons (Dungeonographer) and, thanks to one of those successful Kickstarters, entire cities (Cityographer). The programs are Java-based, therefore platform agnostic, free for a basic version, and reasonably priced for an upgrade.