Monday, 12 August 2019

I'm invading Old Blighty!

Hi, All!

Wouldn't you know it, but I'm heading to Merrie Olde England for a few weeks!

And since I have family in the Newark area, I thought I'd pop me head in at this year's Partizan Wargaming Show and take bit of a look around.

So if any of you spiffing chaps and chapesses are going to be there and you'd like to say hello, drop me line at

Tally ho!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Remember This?

Hi, All!

I'm finally getting to grips with Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile...

The monster is back!

When I last reported on this monstrosity, I had started work on the chassis for the entire machine. And that's more or less where I stopped for around three years!

Wooden struts are added after ripping away previous work,

Anyway, I'm glad I took the break because now that I have returned to it, I have so many great ideas, and a fresh enthusiasm - which is definitely required when contemplating rivets in their tens-of-thousands!

The underbelly is gradually constructed.

Upon digging the chassis out of my spare room, I found it was a little warped. I also realised that the foamcore structure I had constructed was going to be too bulky and, frankly, boring. So I opted for tearing the whole structure apart, reinforcing the MDF boards and starting again.

More shape is added...

It will be necessary to build, detail and paint the entire underside of the machine before continuing with the upper decks. So for now, I'm working 'upside down', which is challenging.

The brackets are in place and will eventually be used to secure the legs.

Steel brackets were screwed in place and glued with epoxy for permanent strength (I'm taking no chances on these ever working loose!) as they will be used to attach the six legs of the machine and will essentially be responsible for supporting the entire weight of what promises to be a pretty heavy model!

Curves from straight lines! Maths, innit!

An interesting little technique I hit upon was in the construction of large curves where the two sections (main section and engine section) meet at a hinge. I often draw my curves freehand, but these were too big and needed to be calculated more precisely. I remembered having fun at school as as kid, drawing curves across an X and Y axis with a ruler. With a little careful calculation, I was able to adapt this technique to get the desired shape. Clever, if I say so myself!

Nice curves, madam!

With the structure taking shape, it was time to add more flickery LED lighting so that I could start closing the lower decks in in preparation for detailing and painting. I ran brass rods through part of the machine as a main circuit and soldered wired LEDs to these as needed.

Portholes are drawn and punched.

The first LEDs and portholes in place. Remember - you're looking at this upside down!

For the outer hull, I have decided to work mainly with card rather than plastic - representing a huge cost saving! Portholes were punched out and backed with lightly sanded acetate as with the rest of the machine so far.

The inner workings...

The lowest deck starts to look, well, decky...

So there you are for now! As you can see, there is a tremendous amount to do but I feel enthused and inspired! Watch this space!

All the Best!

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na...

Hi, All!

The Dark Knight! A splendid chap!

I've been away for a few days, indulging my other creative passions with a bunch of insane musicians, so I thought today I would just do a quick post to show you something I worked on as a commission a while back.

A friend of mine is a teensy bit obsessed with Batman and he asked me to make a Colonel O'Truth version of the Batmobile.

How could I refuse?

A basic chassis is made from bits and pieces... (not a good photo! Sorry!)

The work in progress, almost completed.

Made from plastic board offcuts, bits of junk, brass foil, model wagon wheels and a converted cowboy miniature. Sadly, I did not take many photos of the building process, or keep a rivet count! What was wrong with me?!

Anyway, here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure...

Hope you like! More soon!

All the Best!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Opening New Doors...

Hi, All!

Before I get started on today's post, let me take this opportunity tell you that I am now on Instagram under "Colonel O'Truth's Miniatures" for those of you who would like to follow me. I shall be posting lots of pretty pictures on a regular basis!

I hope to see you there.

Anyway, on with the Stargate project!

Ready to see where this leads!

At last, several days later than I planned, my steam powered Stargate is complete! And I'm very happy with it, I must say!

When last I spoke at you, I had completed the main elements of the layout and was moving on to the finer details and smaller parts.

The first banister rail is added. 

Both rails in place and painted!

The first of these was the banister rail for the stairs. These I made from brass rod, with loops of plastic tube to connect to the uprights I'd already attached to the stairs. This was a relatively simple task but it really made all the difference when it was done!

The controls... A bit boring, I felt.

The stairs done, I turned my attention to the control mechanisms. I admit, I had been putting these off as I really wasn't sure about the design I'd begun. No sooner had I started painting them than I realised they just looked a bit boring. And then it hit me...

"Magnets!" I shouted, scaring the cat. And lo, it came to pass.

Magnets are made from plastic board (and patched with green stuff where I made a wrong cut!)

Rivets! More rivets!
The finished controls, with guitar string cables.

I fashioned a couple of magnets in the same style as the ones I made for the Faraday Galvanic Field Gun, oh so many years ago! This also gave me the chance to add more rivets!

As I mentioned in my last post, I also wanted to add a coal bunker, and I wasn't happy with the base for the model, so I cut and detailed a new base from yet another discarded old vinyl record and a sheet of 5mm foamcore.

The basic parts of the coal bunker.

A very small shovel!

The finished pieces.

The coal bunker was really quick to make from a few off-cuts of plastic board, some scrunched up tissue paper covered with glue and gravel and lots of rivets, of course! I also had tremendous fun making a teeny tiny shovel to finish off the scene.

The finished coal bunker fills an empty corner of the base nicely.

Unfortunately, there was also a little bit of remedial work required. I had glued the Mysterious Shimmery Portal Bit into the gate with superglue, which had slightly frosted the acetate sheet with fumes. This would not have been too bad, but the accidental frosting allowed the ink wash on the green paint to bleed into the MSPB. Ugly. So I made a fresh MSPB, cut out the old one and replaced it using blobs of PVA. This is fine as it only needs to hold the (very light) acetate in place.

The spoiled MSPB (left) and its replacement (right)

And suddenly, I was ready to put it all together!

Nice big fat cables are added!

Once the main pieces were glued down, I added more guitar-string cables, along with some brackets I'd made to secure the cables to the ground. (Four rivets each! Adds up quickly!)

Cables and brackets link the controls to the rest of the machine.

Et, Voila! Who knew making a doorway between the stars was so simple?

Final Rivet Count for this beauty:

1,389 !

So with that all done, here are lots of nice pictures for your enjoyment! See you soon for my next creation, and of course the return of Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile!

All the Best!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Stairway To...

Hi, All!

A bit of an update on my steam powered Stargate project for you today, before I knuckle down and try to finish it!

The boiler, pipes and chimney, almost ready for final construction!

The last several days I've been getting the various components painted, in a (failed) effort to knock the bugger off before reality set in and I had to return to work!

Sigh... Didn't jolly well happen, did it? Oh, well. On with the post!

As you can see, this job has been fairly heavy on the green paint. I wanted something that looked heavy, and for me, nothing says "Victorian machinery" quite like a good dirty green paint job with plenty of brass.

Left to right: 1 coat of green, 2 coats, and with a dark wash.
Basic green on the stairs and the Stargate.

The process here was very simple. First, I painted practically all parts green, which required two coats as I didn't bother with an undercoat. Since this is essentially a terrain piece rather than a perambulatory wotnot, and therefore won't be handled a lot, I can get away with it. I wouldn't normally recommend it.

Dark wash on the plinth, and highlight on the chimney.

Having allowed the green to dry, each component was washed with a mix of 1 part black ink to 3 parts rust ink, and 8 parts water. This in turn was highlighted with the original green again. Of course, I could have highlighted further with a brighter green or even yellow, but I want this to look really solid, grimy and imposing. The metalwork will add brightness.

The finished plinth has plenty of brass and copper components to add interest.

Brass area were painted gold - again two coats - and then washed with a nut brown ink. Black areas were painted black (two coats) then lightly highlighted with dark grey, followed by a very light dusting of silver. There are also a couple of small copper components - but there will be more about the copper when I finish the gate itself.

I also started to add my favourite extra bits - guitar strings as cables. These were carefully bent into shape with pliers and glued with just a tiny drop of superglue at each end. The bronze looks gorgeous and doesn't need to be painted at all. There will be plenty more on the final piece!

Bronze wound guitar strings are added.

The stairway itself and the mesh walkway were painted separately then glued together. Only now can I start putting the hand rails together.

I rather like my little brass circle details!

Ready for hand rails.

With the main components ready to glue into place, I will now turn my attention to finishing the Stargate and controls, and the handrails for the stairs. I also want to add a coal bunker for the boiler, and I'm not happy with the base - so that will have to be redone before the final construction can be completed.

Boiler and chimney

Boiler and chimney again

All in all I think that's looking rather splendid! More soon!

Time to finish this beast!

All the Best!