A busy man

Winston Churchill once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”  Clearly this did not involve blogging. (A noticeable exception to the blogging rule is Neil Shuck of Meeples and Miniatures fame. He manages to keep up a daily blog, a weekly podcast and who knows what else in addition to a full time job, a family, a hobby and recently a broken wrist)

Anyway, back to me.  I have not posted for 6 weeks.  I have had plenty to do, but little time at the “real” computer, having spent a lot of time on the iPad and iPhone simply catching up.

So what have I been up to?

I will try to cover these activities in detail later with photographs, but meanwhile, here is the boring stuff.

I have been vainly trying to progress my “Operation Sealion” PBEM campaign, which is stagnating mainly due to the fact that I want to get all my models looking as good as possible on the table (shades of Peter Stringfellow?).

The next battle is the German assault on Brighton, which calls for a lot of railway track.  My blog followers will know that I normally use Hexon tiles for my gaming area, but extensively remodelled by me.  Well, this time I tried to mount the railway track by Irregular Miniatures and Leven Miniatures onto the raised rubber-ish roads produced by Total Battle Miniatures.  This was not successful because everything delaminated, and I am now remodelling all the railway hexagons, and, having spotted it while ordering more track I have a new railway station from Leven to paint.  I should mention that Leven have taken the trouble when asked to cast in resin a new 4-piece set of double rail track that will make a 60 degree curve specifically to fit a 10cm hexagon tile (2 inner curves, 2 outer curves).  I hope to see it on the website for general order soon.

In addition, this battle – without giving away too much to my German commander – needs a lot of British transport.  I have loads of 6mm trucks and lorries for 1944, but I want to get it right, so several packs of GHQ vehicles were ordered from Magister Militum, my UK supplier.

All of this stuff needs painting.

A failure to paint in time resulted in me not taking my semi-portable in-period wargame to the (bizarrely) 217th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.  For wargamers, I am building armies from the Commission Figurines MDF range, but my figures are glued together in blocks for small people’s fingers to handle.  The project to create, initially French and Austrian,  armies for the French Revolutionary Wars is ongoing.

The trip to Marengo occupied much of my time, including all the necessary requirements of taking my dog camping in Europe and bringing him home again without quarantine. Superb driving over the Alps, including the St. Bernard Pass, last visited in 1989 in full Napoleonic kit for a reconstructed crossing by Napoleon in 1800.

Additional problems are having my car fixed after a sunroof motor failure (luckily it was a heatwave with the roof jammed open) and some kind individual ramming the rear end of my car in the Marengo car park.

We took our new caravan (collected the day after my return from Italy) to Wales for an English Civil War re-enactment weekend, and I am still resolving, and paying for, the failures of the vehicle.

I have also been instructed by my GP to have certain areas of my body checked for issues that affect gentlemen of my age, culminating – I hope – in an hour of MRI scanning this morning.

And so I am returned to the “real world” of painting, modelling, and hopefully actually playing some wargames, with a resolve to post more frequently in future.



A bit of recycling

For the next engagement in my early 20th century alternative history the map calls for a railway track to cut across one corner of the table.
I am fighting the battles using 6mm Irregular Miniatures figures on Kallistra Hexon terrain. I have tried in the past to adapt the Irregular Miniatures railway track to fit the 10cm
hexagons but was not really happy with the result.


Also I have of late been trying to create set-piece hexagons including the relevant terrain rather than plonking features on the top of the grass. This of course does not assist with the storage!
Rummaging in the toy cupboard I found more track sections and some old unflocked hexagons that had been irregularly plastered and painted a hideous “grass green”. Time for some recycling.


To be awkward the rail line had to cross most of the hexagons across one edge, rather than directly from side to side. It still had to enter and leave each tile At the mid-point of the tile edge. I took seven of the old hexagons, drew the course of the track in pencil and filed off the plaster along that track.
Next I carefully placed the track sections and cut the ends to align with the hexagon edges, aligning each hexagon tile with a couple of others to ensure continuity. The track sections were glued to the tiles and allowed to dry.


The next step was to smother the tiles with a thick coat of Basetex textured paint, right up to and over the edges of the track pieces, and to scatter flock onto the wet paint through a decommissioned kitchen sieve.


After leaving this lot to dry overnight the surplus flock was shaken from the tiles and the track painted. I started with slate grey and blue grey for the ballast followed by black for the sleepers (ties) and magic metal ( dark brown metallic paint) carefully applied along the edges of the rails. Finally I ran a craft knife along the top of the rails to remove the paint and leave the bare metal.
Et voila! A small branch railway line.


Now I just need to paint the train set… Luckily not actually needed for this engagement.