Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Too many projects! M-u-s-t h-a-v-e f-o-c-u-s...!

I thought with the Lead Adventure League done, and a big Acheson Creations order coming in, that there would be no indecision on what I would be working on at this stage. However, my project queue is a mess right now! I have about a half dozen things in various stages of progress clustering my painting desk and cluttering up the desk in my spare bedroom.
I have two each of these 28mm French & Indian War fortification pieces. The artillery emplacement on the left, and the stockade tower on the right
It all started when the Acheson Creations order was slow in coming in. I put together an order for me and a few friends, which turned out to be huge, in the end. And it turned out, so did half of the free world because of the excellent sale they were offering, putting the company way behind on filling orders. We've received three separate shipments from them, but the French & Indian War fort that I was thinking I'd be working on has not been among them. This last shipment did have two of the stockade towers and two artillery emplacements I ordered to supplement the basic fort set. So, I ran those through the dishwasher to clear off the mold release agent. So, that is project one, at the lowest possible stage of completion.
Two 25mm Old Glory Indian canoe paddlers on my contraption for slipping them in and out of the canoes (before painting, of course!)
Project Two is 12 Old Glory 25mm Indian canoe paddlers. I special ordered them without the lead canoe and picked it up at Historicon the other week. When I got them home, I was surprised how small they were. They have to be the tiniest 25mm figures I've ever seen Old Glory produce. I'm sure they probably shrunk the scale to allow them to fit in their lead canoes. However, I had another source for my canoes (see Project Six below). I studied them and decided I would create a base of sorts sized to fit in my canoes perfectly, so I could just pop them in and out. The base would be tall enough to allow their paddle to clear the side of the canoe. I cut clear plastic triangular bases that fit snugly in the front and rear of my canoes (the center part would be where my 28mm Conquest Miniatures Indians would stand). I then sliced a square of balsa wood to the right height. A slat of bass wood was trimmed to resemble the board they would be kneeling upon. It would also hopefully serve to disguise the balsa wood prop. I drilled a hole in the bottom of each paddler, and epoxied in a straight pin. This was trimmed with wire cutters to leave a projecting point about 1/2" long. The Indian was then pressed down onto the balsa wood prop, clamping the bass wood slat between his knees and the prop. I just finished painting the joints with white glue to better seal it all together. Next stage is to paint the base and the Indians themselves. This project is at the next lowest stage of completion.
Four 28mm reporters, newsmen, etc., that I will paint up and auction off at Advance the Colors 2014
Project Three is a group of four 28mm reporters or newsmen. These (along with Projects Four through Five) will be auctioned off for charity. The charity is my middle school travel group which I am taking to Italy at the end of this school year. The tour (through EF Tours) is not cheap, and the students are doing fund raising to offset the costs of their trips. Some parents want to send their kids, but can't afford the price, so I will be doing a variety of fund raisers. One of them will be a silent auction at Advance the Colors 2014. I am constructing and painting up three items which I will display at the convention. There will be cards for attendees to put in their bid for each item. I will post the highest bid every hour or two, so people can go back and up their ante if someone outbids them. Anyway, this batch includes a 19th century looking reporter jotting something down in a notebook. Another one is an old-time photographer with a large camera on a tripod and bent over the viewfinder with a cloth draped over him. A third one is an artist, seated on a barrel, and painting a picture of the scene (doubtless, the aftermath of a battle). The final one looks more 1900s, and has his suit jacked draped over his arm and is gesturing with a rolled up paper. These figures are assembled and epoxied onto metal bases. I will paint them up relatively generically, so anyone gaming Civil War, to Colonials, to the World Wars can use them as decorative elements on their battlefield.
Timeless, small resin bridge good enough size for either 15mm or 28mm
Project Four is also for the silent auction. It is a small resin bridge, which can be used for either 15mm or 28mm. I based up each end on styrene, but left no base in the center. That is so it can be placed over whatever the GM is using for his river material. I will add some scenic elements on the bases, too, to make it stand out as an attractive piece. The bridge itself is a timeless looking stone one which can be used for anything from ancients to modern. I have run it through the dishwasher, spray painted it black, and also gone over the black in a brush-on, 50/50 mix of water and acrylic black paint. So, it is probably at the midrange stage of completion for the half dozen projects.
Construction done, this small 28mm graveyard is awaiting spray paint
Project Five is a scratch-built, small 28mm graveyard. It is inspired by my own graveyard I constructed last year, but is a smaller version. It is assembled this from various bits, including resin stone walls, Acheson Creations graves with tombstones, and a "dead" plastic tree. All of these are epoxied down onto a 8"x6" piece of black styrene. The picture shows how I created some of the components. I placed textured plastic over where the two halves of the entrances joined together to hide the seam. And I glued decorative plastic jewels to the tops of the walls to give it some fancy elements. The tree is in a corner of the small graveyard and should look appropriately atmospheric. Like the bridge above, I have based these down, spray painted them black, and gone over them with the 50/50 black acrylic paint. There is still quite a bit of painting and flocking to do on this, but all the construction is done.
This is what the canoe looks like off the shelf at Hobby Lobby...will look MUCH better when I'm through!
The final project, #6, are a half dozen canoes for my French & Indian War period. I wanted canoes for various scenarios -- such as the lake battles from the James Fenimore Cooper "Hawkeye" novels -- or river actions. However, lead canoes are expensive. Worse yet, any figure with a reasonably sized base which allows it to stand up on the tabletop won't fit in manufacturer's canoes. The canoes are too narrow. My first solution was to construct them myself out of Sculpey. I have a three or four squares of it sitting on my desk in the spare bedroom, along with plastic tools for slicing and texturing it. However, it seemed such a big task, and one that might be artistically beyond my capability, artistically. So, I kept putting them off, putting them off, until I stumbled upon something at Hobby Lobby. In their birch wood products line I found a wooden canoe. It was on a stand, and had interior elements that would get in the way of figures fitting inside, but it seemed the right size. I bought one and took it home to mess around with. I popped it off its base and hollowed out everything on the interior so that it was just a wooden canoe shape that did actually resemble Indian ones. Three figures on my 1" square bases fit inside easily. Eureka! I went back up the next day and cleaned the shelves of the other five they had in stock. These are fairly far along. I will save description of how I did them for a separate post. Suffice to say, the canoes themselves are the closest of the six to completion.

Of course, that does not mean they will GET finished first! With six projects clustering for time, I need focus. Actually having that many things in various stages of completion is very frustrating for an anal person like myself -- ha, ha! I like to begin something and see it through to completion. The most I like having in progress at the same time is cleaning and priming the next project. So, stay tuned to see how progress on all these goes...!

1 comment:

  1. I will have to find a proxy bidder for the AtC silent auction.