Saturday, 31 October 2015

Miniature Painting Service Sir?

So the last couple of days have been busy. I've now launched my own miniature painting service. You can find it here: or by following the link on the right of my page.

I offer very reasonable prices and a high turnaround. Anyone who has followed this blog knows that the last year or so I've been taking on more work for friends (mainly through the local club), but after some careful planning, consideration and plenty of encouragement from those close to me I've taken the steps necessary to establish myself for public consumption!

The price lists and other details can all be found on the BFD website. Plus I can do discounts on large orders. So if you've got a mountain of silver that needs to be battlefield ready, please get in touch ;)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Black Dragon Miniatures Hinckley, Leicestershire UK

My partner and I were heading into Hinckley to go through some Parish records the other week. Whilst she was busying herself with the research I was given leave to wander around the shops for a couple of hours. "What the hell is there in Hinckley?" I asked myself. Thinking I'd be restricted to a DiY store and maybe a Costa Coffee. Surprise surprise, but across the road from the town library just happened to be one of the best and biggest Wargaming stores I'd ever seen. How on earth did I not hear of this manifestation right on the doorstep?

Stepping inside it was obvious they've given a large consideration to 28mm Historical wargaming as well as the usual Warhammer Fantasy and Sci Fi selections. Therefore I was pleased to see a huge range of Warlord, Perrys and Gripping Beast to choose from. Also what bowled me over was the light and space. This is certainly not a dim forbidding hobbit hole that some others seem to be. Instead it's almost a gamers dream with plenty of nicely designed terrain tables, clean atmosphere and helpful, friendly staff.

Talking to one of the guys, he said that the store had only been open since last December (so almost a year) and had lots of regular gaming nights and tournaments.

Check out their address, opening times and other details here:

In a time when brick-and-mortar stores seem to be on the decline, it's heartening to see a few still springing up now and again. I think the key aspect is promoting these places as community gaming hubs, whilst carrying the kind of stock to still keep it viable as a business. Like the staff guy mentioned, their stock is dictated by what local gamers are interested in and the games they come into the store to play.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Converting 28mm WF Apocalypse Survivors to Modern Taliban or Insurgents

My latest 28mm Modern Afghan project is coming along nicely, but my only difficulty has been in collecting enough Taliban. I'd already bought around fifty of the excellent Empress miniatures models, but going through the Force on Force scenarios it became obvious that if I had ambitions of putting on anything larger than an average game I'd need buckets of them.

Cue me scouring the internet for the past week looking for cheap alternatives....or ideas for conversion jobs. The only one of the latter I could find was a guy on TMP who had used his Gripping Beast Arabs box with Wargames Factory plastic WW2 Russians (taking all the rifles and MGs to put on the GB figures). Pretty nifty. But I was concerned about the lack of AK47s and more up to date weaponry - even though the Taliban are notorious for using almost anything that would fire a bullet. Sebastian Junger remarked that during a weapons raid the US Infantry had found, amongst other things, a Martini Henri.

Lo and behold, more searching came up with a Wargames Factory Apocalypse Survivors - The Men box of 30 plastic figures including all the AK's M16's and even Sniper rifles you could need. Checking ebay there were a few available but I also happened to be passing through Hinckley, Leicestershire, the same day. Home to the very excellent Wargaming Store "Black Dragon Miniatures" and probably one of the best stocked and friendliest I've ever visited (more on this later). Sure enough, two minutes after coming into the shop I'd picked up the necessary figures and was on my way home to give it a shot at converting them.

So what's inside? I'll tell you. Bloody LOADS of guns!! In fact so many extras that it's given me an idea to make some weapons caches as objective markers.

Putting them together was very easy. A few fills here and there but no problem. In fact if you wanted to use these as straight up insurgents you could use at least half of them as they are or just put a Green Stuff scarf round the face. The guys with baseball hats and security type uniforms? How about using them as Private Contractors?!! Awesome.

Making them into Taliban is slightly more tricky, but not impossible if you've got some time and plenty of Green Stuff.

First I rolled a Turban and wrapped it around the head. Then I made two squares (one for front one for back) to fashion a tunic. I covered the arms too, as some of the original sculpts had short sleeved shirts.

Next came the baggy trousers for the start of the Afghan Salwar Kameez. So wrapping the lengths of Green stuff around the legs and flattening it as I went along to create folds. Then I added the bottom hem of the Salwar hanging down below the tunic.

Lastly I added a beard and some more flowing material coming off the Turban and down the back.

So in conclusion I should be able to get around 30 insurgents or Taliban for only £18. Which would cost me almost three times as much in metal. Hope that gives you some ideas! :)

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Scratch Built 28mm Afghan Compound

My very first successful attempt at making a building has resulted in my knocking together this Afghan Compound. I'd been reading through Matakishi's Tea House Blog ( and was impressed by how effortless he seemed to put together his own buildings for a similar modern Afghan game. Anyway, feeling a bit "brave" (I'd tried to create my own terrain for Warhammer in my schooldays and it looked terrible) I went out and bought a load of foam card and filler.

Luckily the instructions on the Matakishi Blog are really straightforward and it gave me great confidence that I could make some useful at least. I cut almost everything out in the pattern apart from a set of stairs which looked a bit difficult, and then used pva glue and cocktail sticks to hold it all in place. My only problem was by using foamcard (instead of corkboard) the material did tend to warp very slightly once painted. This led to slight gaps between joins etc. However I did manage to hide these with some more pva glue and extra filler. I also used small amounts of filler lightly spread across the walls to give a textured effect. When it was dry I then painted it with Colour Party Dry Earth and highlighted it with a block brush of 50% Earth and 50% white.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Derby World Wargames 3rd October 2015

I've always enjoyed going to the Derby World Wargames Show, and this year was no exception. One difference however was meeting up with a non-wargaming mate Martin and his son Edward. I'd been regaling him with tales of our jaunts to places like Salute (and of course the Evesham Festival) and he was at a loose end for what to do last Saturday, so we made our arrangements.

The first thing we did was peruse the many games going on to see what may take their fancy. Edward, who is only nine, had expressed a big interest in trying out some Fantasy games. However, after a brief wander he was adamant on having a go on a 6mm WW1 game that some fellow had set up on a small 2x2 tile! The man in charge was a lovely chap who was very patient with him despite an absolute barrage of questions. I then left father and son to get on with it for a while and roll some dice in their first ever Wargame together.

After picking up a pre-order from Timecast for (yet more) 15mm Dervishes and AWI artillery, I spotted Ian Hinds selling a few boxes of books and rules. Snatching a bargain in the shape of the Force on Force "Enduring Freedom" supplement for 8 quid, I then did a turn past the Bring n Buy and new Flea Market addition. This year didn't produce much in the way of secondhand stuff and I only came away with a couple of Osprey books. The thing that did get me reaching for my wallet was Britannia Miniatures/Grubby Tanks 28mm Humvees and Mogadishu Technicals (with gun crews). Great models at excellent prices. After that it was on to Empress Miniatures for more 28mm moderns. Here I bought some extra US Infantry, a SEAL team and some Taliban on motorcycles.

By the time I returned to Martin and Edward they'd resoundingly defeated their opponent and were full of smiles. Being an avid fan of history Martin admitted to the appeal Wargaming had in this respect. Indeed after a quick tea and further discussion about the hobby Edward dashed off again to play 'The Lighthorseman' game I'd checked out at Salute earlier this year. A really cool game with amazing figures and terrain. For some reason I took this moment to go and buy some Frostgrave 28mm plastic soldiers. Now I'm definitely not big into Fantasy gaming, but the conversion some chap had done to these for the WI Lion Rampant Day (going from Fantasy Dungeoneer types into a ferocious unit of Fierce Foot) left me wanting to try something similar.

During this shopping spree I met up with my friend Mark who'd had an unreasonably early start and had to drive all the way up from the London area. He showed me some impressive MDF cut 6mm Napoleonics he'd bought. I'd heard of these previously and on his suggestion I later wandered over to where they were selling these chaps and was bowled over by the painted examples they had on display. Check them out here:

After this Martin and Edward decided they were going to buy some resin Dragons and paints. So after buying the figures we went over to Colour Party Paints (a growing favourite of mine) to get some. By this time the crowds were thinning and the weight of lead in my backpack was starting to kill my shoulders, so we began the journey home. Just before we parted, Edward talked animatedly about how much he'd enjoyed his first Wargaming Show and Martin laughed about how he originally thought the venue would consist of a small church hall type place full of sullen old men - I was glad to prove him wrong!

Anyway, to finish, here's some pictures of our day :)