Gaming, Painting & Modelling Hobby Blog
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Gaming, Painting & Modelling Hobby Blog

This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.

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Six to beam down Speedpaint test on Star Trek Minis

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Six to beam down (in 60 minutes time).

Ann was out last night, so after dinner I was looking for a quick project that I could get completed in around an hour. I've been a big fan of the Army Painter Speed Paint ever since it was launched about a month ago. In my opinion Speed Painter is even better than Games Workshop Contrast Paint (and that was pretty good), and costs half the price and comes in dropper bottles rather than those pots with the awkward lids that I wonder if have been specially designed to be easy to knock over or not quiet seal? .... or am I just getting to cynical in my old age.

I'm a huge fan of Star Trek and am currently running a Star Trek Adventures campaign so I thought that I would have a go at painting a couple of packs of Landing Party Crew with Hand Held Energy Weapons.


The great thing about Star Trek uniforms is there simplicity and vivid contrast between black and primary colours. I know that these are not the correct Next Generation uniforms, I've chosen to paint my 'Fleet' slightly differently, but recognisable as inspired by STNG.


The miniatures come with separate heads, three variations of body (one female and two male) and separate arms. There are five different energy weapon arms, four different empty-handed arms and countless head variety so there is no need to have two crew that look the same. I glued the miniatures together with superglue and snipped the slotta tab off as I prefer to mount my miniatures on clear bases so that they merge with whatever they are standing on. More about that later!


The miniatures were then superglued on to MDF temporary painting bases and given a quick undercoat with Army Painter White Spray undercoat.


I decided to paint the black parts of the uniform first as this is the largest part. Black is often difficult to shade and highlight so I was a bit apprehensive, when first painted on the Grim Black Speed Paint looked a bit wishy-washy, but I am pleased with how it has dried. I painted the black on all six figures and then left them while I had my dinner. Speed Paint is more like a stain than a normal paint and it is important that the adjacent colour is completely dry before painting up to it otherwise the colours will mix at the join!


I used the following paints for the colored 'divisional identifier' part of uniform.

  • Command Division: Blood Red
  • Operations Division: Zealot Yellow
  • Science Division: Highlord Blue


These are the other colours that I used.

  • Andorian Skin: Magic Blue
  • Reptilian Skin: Malignant Green
  • Human Skin: Crusader Skin
  • Hair: Dark Wood
  • Phasers: Gun Metal (normal acrylic)
  • Comms Badge: Gold (normal acrylic)

I also used some Army Painter Matt White to touch up any areas of black that were in wrong place before painting over the top as Speed Paint is semi-translucent it really needs a white or light-coloured base underneath.


These miniatures are not going to win any painting competition, but at 60 minutes elapsed time for six miniatures, I am more than happy to use them on the tabletop for characters in Star Trek Adventures, Stargrave and Star Patrol. After giving a quick spray with Army Painter Matt Varnish to protect the paint, I removed the miniatures from there temporary painting bases and glued them on to some thin clear bases that I had made.


I make the bases from Ultra-Pro Top Loader Cards. I have tried lots of different materials, but I have found this best. You need to use a good pair of scissors to cut the seal off, so you have two separate pieces of plastic. Good job Ann is out and does not read my blog... are those the best kitchen scissors?


This is a cheap 25mm diameter punch that I brought on eBay. It works best with the bottom removed so you can see where you are punching. You can get 12 25mm bases from one top loader card.


A drop of Superglue underneath each foot, place on a piece of paper to remove excess and hold for a few seconds to dry. I really like the look, as I often use miniatures on the official Star Trek Adventures tiles & floor plans, and it is a shame when the lovely artwork is obscured by clunky bases. I used to use 2mm thick clear bases, these thin ones are even better as they do not have a reflective side edge and they are thin enough to overlap if needed.

Miniatures painted were from Landing Party Range. The Sci-Fi corridors used as a backdrop were 3D printed on my Ender 5 from models from LV-427 range.



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Gangs of Rome, First Game

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This morning Mike and I got together to play my first Game of Gangs of Rome.

Mike had played a lot of Gangs of Rome when it was first released, but had not played for several years. I had not played at all. I am just beginning to build up a collection of miniatures and terrain for the game, which I am documenting in my 'Rome was not built in a day' blog.


As I have only been painting miniatures and terrain for three weeks, we decided to play this first game on a 2' square board rather than the normal 3' square table. To facilitate playing on a smaller table we have used mobs of three miniatures on a 58mm round base, rather than the normal five figure mobs and set up miniatures withing 4" of the opposite table sides.


We played a 75 point game, I spent 65 points on miniatures, giving three in my Gang and spent the remaining 10 coin on some equipment including slings, spear, shield, stitching kit and a dagger. I also brought a Gladiator Ally. My Gang deployed in front of arches, behind rug display and in the public toilets.


Mike's fighter Lauren skulks around the small shops in the Plaza.


Meanwhile Draco, another of Mike's Fighters climbs up on to the roofs of the shops armed with a spear.


My allied Gladiator makes his way through the market place to intercept Lauren.


My fighter breaks from the cover of a Mob and charges Lauren. Unfortunately the dice gods were not with me today.


My fighter takes a severe beating and struggles to stop a gushing wound. My gladiator moves in to releave the pressure.Meanwhile both of our Gangs had taken to rooftops and the heights of the arena and slingshot stones and thrown spears sailed over the heads of the mob below.


Both of our gangs have taken to the roof tops and the upper levels of the arena and before long sling shots and spears are flying above the heads of the unsuspecting mobs.


Lauren had retreated from combat, quickly moving around the back of a building to use his stitch kit before rejoining the fight. My fighter and Gladiator charged in, but once again our luck failed us.


The noise of the fight attracted a mob of civilians who tore my poor fighter to pieces.


As he went down, he dropped his equipment which was snatched up my Mike's fighter, Draco.


Draco runs across the plaza, drops the offering in front of the statue as an offering, winning the game for Mike.

We both really enjoyed the game and are planning our next game which will be played on a slightly expanded 3'x2' terrain board.

The market stalls and rug racks are from Sally 4th Exotic Locations range.

The 3D buildings are from Iain Lovecrafts Gladiator  / Roman range.

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Pulp Alley Treasure Island

Last week I got together with my good friends Doug & Paolo for some Pulp Alley Pirate Adventure.

The table was set up as a corner of an island where a previous pirate expedition had buried some treasure (of course) before being chased off by the hostile natives.

Scenario 3: The Trail of Clues from the Pulp Alley Rulebook, seemed a good fit for what we had in mind. Each league deployed (by boat) within 12" of one of the sea-ward corners, the four clues as to the treasures hiding place (minor plot points) were placed over 6" away from table sides or characters. The buried treasure would be revealed once a clue had been solved. The clues were the skeletal remains and effects of two dead pirates, the ships logbook and the curious golden statue of a bird of prey (covered in black paint!).


Sally 4th has just started releasing Swashbuckling Adventures, a range of characterful and detailed 28mm pirates sculpted by Iain Lovecraft. I received a set 2 days before the game, so quickly painted them with Army Painter Speed Paints and based them on some thin clear bases punched from Top Loader sleeves.


These are the Pulp Alley character cards that I put together for the game for the new miniatures.

Feel free to use them in your own games!






I choose a league led by Mary Reid (Leader) backed up by her two trusty lieutenants Miranda Blake and Bessy the Blade (sidekicks) and Black Heart Kate (ally) to wave the flag to distract the natives.

The gals jumped from the longboat, heaved it up on to the beach and headed off to search for the logbook of 'Bachelors Delight' to see if it contained a clue as to where Dampiers cutthroats had stashed the loot.


Paolo's league rides the surf, beaches and a griup lead by Calico Jack make haste towards the remains of one of Dampiers crew the have spotted at the top of the beach.


Dougs League splits into two, with the Leader and a couple of goons heading for one Plot Point and the Sidekick and his onw minions heading past the tower for the other.


Mary Reid moves in to discover the logbook and disarm the cunning traps set to protect it, while Black Heart Kate protects her back. Beyond the ruins the natives are stirring. The natives are wandering perils. After characters have activated they move D8" in a random direction unless a character is within 12" in which case they move towards the nearest character. If a character activates or moves within 3" of a native they need to overcome a random peril or suffer the consequences. If during that attempt they score one more sucess than needed they can either banish the peril or push it D8" away from them.... handy if an enemy figure is within that direction!


Meanwhile, Paolos league fends of natives, some allies and followers falling in the process while Jack and the Boss see what they can learn from the booby trapped remains of the fallen sailors.


These natives mean business. Black Heart Kate falls to a well placed spear thrust.


The clue on the dead pirate is deciphered and Paolos league are on the move.


Dougs Sidekick inches through cover towards the plot point.


"So it's come to this, has it Jack?" Callico Jack has no qualms about fighting a lady, but Bessie the Blade gives as good as she gets (while still maintaining that laid back demeanour).


The rest of Paolos league piles in, Bessie is holding her own (for now), but it's all looking a bit ugly.


How can I mess up both their plans simultaneously? I know - shoot into combat!


In the background Dougs League loses time and low-level characters to hostile locals. Callico Jack kills Bessie the Blade and Mary Reid moves in to avenge her shipmate.


Curses! Foiled. And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those pesky pirates...


Gotcha. Why take risks when shooting distracted people in the back is so rewarding! Mary and Jack fall to the ground, neither are moving.


Miranda see's her chance, seizes the treasure that Mary had previously uncovered, sprints to the beach, pushes the longboat into the surf and heads back to the ship.

This was another really exciting game of Pulp Alley, it could have gone either way, right until the last turn. In the end Paolo and Doug's leagues had a minor plot point each and my league had made off with the major plot point giving them 3 victory points, but most importantly, a good time was had by all!

The majority of the terrain for the game is 3D printed from the excellentTreasure Island Kickstarter campaign from the very talented Iain Lovecraft, including the ruinned walls, ruined towers and two of the small boats. Check out the terrain in more detail, including step by step painting guides in my Treasure Island Hobby Article.

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Rome was not built in a day, but lets see how we do in 6 months!

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Gangs of Rome, is a skirmish miniatures game set in Ancient Rome where rival houses use gangs of thugs to gain advantage and influence.

Two weeks ago I had nothing for this game, no Roman Miniatures and no Roman Terrain. I can't even remember how the topic came up in conversation with my good friend and gaming buddy, Mike, but it transpired that he had a good collection of stuff and was a big fan, so I set my self a hobby goal, (always dangerous), to be up and running with Gangs of Rome via a 6 month hobby project.


I can remember when the game first came out, which must be a couple of years ago being excited about it. I'm a big fan of terrain heavy, figure light skirmish games like Pulp Alley and 7TV, as I love making terrain and creating beautiful boards to game on. However, at that time, even I was put off by the idea of 6 miniatures for your force plus a 3' square segment of Rome.


I had a search to see if I had anything that could give a start and found that I had some urban base boards from Sally 4th Terra Former range and some market stalls which I mainly use in Pulp games, from Sally 4th Exotic Locations range which could be pressed into service to fill some gaps until my Roman terrain collection gets a little more established. I particularly like the rug / fabric stalls that add a splash of color. I do have a 3D printer. A cheap and cheerful Ender 5 which was the best gaming and model making investment that I have ever made. It cost around £220, 18 months ago and slowly but surely turns out lovely terrain pievces as a background activity on most days (and nights) of the week.


A quick search revealed that Iain Lovecraft had two collections of 3D print files that would be a great starting place.

I had also looked at Iain's Gladiator terrain a year or so ago and had though beautiful but no because it will take for ever to print an arena. Then the penny dropped, for Gangs of Rome I don't want a complete arena, a corner or a side would be ideal. The steps and raised seating give height to the board, and those lovely arches give some great cover. Each seating section takes around 24 hours to print, so at the end of the first weekend I had a usable corner piece that I can add to over the coming months.


When Gangs of Rome first came out Sally 4th stocked the complete range. When I searched the racks last week, I just had these 6 miniatures left... but it was a starting point. I painted them last week using the new Army Painter Speedpaint range, which I highy rate. Even better han the Games Workshop contrast paints which I also use and rate highly, and half the price!


I designed myself some figure bases and this 80mm round mob base or movement tray to match the cobblestone effect on my urban boards.

The Lovecraft Gladiator terrain also included some useful small pieces to go outside the arena like this drinking fountain and public toilets.


This picture shows the business side of the arena. I am going to have to sort out some sand for the base. I'm thinking of maybe using a large sheet of sandpaper cut to size and temporarily blue tacked in place.

To make this a managagble project and to get some gaming in and start learning the rules, I am going to initially focus on collecting and painting a gang, a couple of mobs and a 2' square terrain board. This will then my expanded to a 2'x3' board and finally a full sized 3' square gaming area.

I have set myself a target of doing this over a 6 month period, as I have many other painting and model making commitments with my work at Sally 4th.

My plan is to update this hobby blog around twice a month, to share progress with who ever is interested. My immediate goal for the next update is to get the arena and a couple of Gang miniatures painted.

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Pulp Alley: Tomb of the Serpent - Episode 1

Last week Mike and I got together to start our Pulp Alley Tomb of the Serpent campaign.

The idea is that whatever other gaming projects we have on the go, the first time we get together each month we will play the next instalment in the Tomb of the Serpent Campaign.


Akhenaten and his league deploy alongside the graveyard, ready to secure the first great clue, banish the demon and return the resurrected pharaoh to eternal life!


It ‘looks’ like plain sailing as the Professor, Assassin, and mooks head into the graveyard. Unfortunately the servants of the shadow had other ideas…


Thousands of ghouls begin to amass around the party (we thought we’d better put some models on the board to represent them- or we’d have forgotten the ghoul factor)


The servants of shadow prove to be remarkably bullet proof!


The professor uses his Deductive skill to unlock the missing ruby- securing the main objective! Huzzah for Arkhenaten! Life! Prosperity! Health!


What I should have done here was legged it carrying the objective. Unfortunately what I actually did was tried to make a game of it for Chris and grab more objectives! And the rot set in…


Akhenaten lays about him with his mighty Kopesh of Osiris- until he fluffs a save…


And then a bunch of servants of shadow appear to stick the boot in!


End of game, Arkhenaten is down, and the mook fails to pick up the dropped main objective! So we’re back to square 1- searching for another clue! Key learning points… League design is very important Followers are not great Even d10 combat monsters are not infallible! The saga continues…

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Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island... The Pirate Sloop (painting & rigging)

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Painting and Rigging the Pirate Sloop from 'Treasure Island'

This article describes, step by step the process of painting and rigging 'The Pirate Sloop' from Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island Kickstarter. The model is supplied as standard STL files to be printed on a 3D printer. I printed my copy on an Ender 5, at 0.2mm layer height using eSun PLA+ (light grey). Iain recommends printing his models at 1.2 or 1.5mm layer height which will give even better detail. I printed mine at 0.2mm because I only have one printer and I am trying to print, paint, photograph and review as many of the Treasure Island models as I can while the campaign is still running.

The Hull printed in two sections fore and aft hull. Gun port covers are separate, 6 of those need printing. The mast pieces consisted of a bowsprit, upper and lower main mast, gaff and crow’s nest. I printed the fore and aft hull as single print beds and then all the masts and matches together. It took around 2 days and one night to print everything. In this review model the wheel prints as part of the aft hull. I understand that Iain is planning to have this as an optional piece in the finished model so the sloop can be modelled with a wheel or the more common tiller for steerage.


The bowsprit, fore and aft hull and the mast assembly consisting of upper and lower main mast, crow’s nest and gaff are glued together with superglue.

The model was then given a good base coat of black using Halfords Auto range - Black. When this had dried it was over sprayed using Leather Brown from the Army Painter range, at 45 degrees from 12" - 18" away so as to leave a little darkness in the recesses of the model.


Using a warm flesh tone acrylic paint and a make up brush, I drybrushed over all of the wood on the deck, inside and underneath the ship. I did not bother with the sides of the hull as they are going to be painted yellow and blue.

When the highlights had dried, I applied a wash over the wooden areas using Army Painter Strong Tone.


For painting large areas of model buildings and terrain I prefer to use 'Craft' paints rather than the small bottles and jars of hobby paint as they come in a good tonal range for browns and off whites and are a lot cheaper. I am a big fan of 'make up' brushes for painting buildings and terrain. They are ideal for dry and damp brushing and are a fraction of the cost of specialist hobby dry brushes.


I had decided that I wanted the sides of the hull to be yellow with blue detail. Yellow is a difficult colour to paint, so I reprimed the area white. I used Vallejo white primer, but any white paint will do.


While the primer was drying, I painted all the areas that would have been metalic with a base coat of black. I used Instar Alpha Pure Black. Any black paint will do.


I choose 'Iyanden Yellow' from Citadel Colour Contrast range. I wanted to try using Contrast paint as yellow is a difficult colour to highlight with out it going 'chalky'. I'm happy with the shading that the paint has provided.


When the yellow had dried, I painted all of the blue detail using Vallejo Mid-Blue.... other mid blues are available!


Finally, I used a small make up brush to drybrush the areas previously painted black with Army Painter Gunmetal.


The next job was to attach the gun port hatches. They can of course be glued in the open or closed position, but I really liked the way that Iain has designed them so they can be hinged too actually open. No more sleepless nights worrying how your ship will look when alongside in port with its gun ports open because you wanted to be able to show her with guns run out, ready for action. It is a fiddly job, but worth it. I used a paper slide for the hinges, cut to the right length with my trusty GW yellow side clippers. I had to use some tweezers to wiggle the hinge pins in. When I had them in place, I carefully applied a drop of superglue to hold them, being very careful that it did not spread to the moving parts!


The mast is superglued in place, and we are ready to start rigging.


Firstly, I must point out in case any proper naval modellers stumble across this blog and are horrified, this is not proper rigging. A real sailing ship of this period had miles of standing rigging, sheets, halyards and much more. What I am doing is wargames rigging, to give the impression that the masts and spars are being supported without getting in the way of placing miniatures on the decks during a game. The magic material here is 1.5mm elastic cord. It is available from Ebay and makes the job a lot, lot easier as you can stretch it out to knot and it self-tensions. I started by adding a fore stay from the end of the bowsprit to the front hole in the crow’s nest. I find it helpful to use a length of 15-amp fuse wire, bent over to make a large threading tool that you can poke through a hole, thread elastic into and then pull through. I use a figure of eight knot at the end of the elastic to stop pulling through. When I am happy with the line, I add a drop of superglue to hold it permanently. At the bowsprit end the stay is tied off with a round turn and two half hitches.


The next thing to do is the shrouds, these are the lines that go from the mast to the sides of the ship. The elastic is attached from the rack on the side of the hull to the holes along the side of the crow’s nest. I cut and tied of each line separately, but with hindsight I could have used a single length per side and gone up, along and back down, along and back up until I'd got to the end. It looks very strange, but we are not finished yet. Make sure the elastic is not too tight because when all the shrouds are in place we are going to tie a length of elastic around them all to bring them into the mast an inch or so below the crow’s nest.


A second fore-stay is added from the 2nd hole at front of crows nest to hitting at far end of bowsprit and two aft stays are run back to the fittings at front of poop deck. I used a single length of elastic for these tying around mast at points where shrouds are gathered in. All of this rigging to this point has been done with 1.5mm black elastic to represent the standing rigging that was covered in tar to protect it. I then added a line from 1.5mm round brown elastic from the stern to the end of the gaff and onwards to the top of the mast. This was tied to gaff and mast using a clove hitch and represents the running rigging used to raise and lower the gaff.


I have made a pdf that can be downloaded (click here) for the sail shapes. Just print them out actual size on a piece of white paper.


Paper is very thin, fragile, does not hold a curve well and does not really have the texture of sail cloth, so to improve the look, feel and durability I start off by gluing a small triangle of paper to the front and back at the 'clew' (this is the corner where we are going to attach some thread to represent the sheet or rope that controls the sails position).


The front and back of the paper sail is then covered with 'Japanese Tissue Paper'. This is available from Ebay, it is a craft product that model makers used to use to cover the wings of radio-controlled aircraft and is now mainly used for making hot air lanterns. It is tougher than normal tissue paper and retains its strength when wet. Using slightly watered down PVA glue paint over one side of the paper sail with a brush then quickly place tissue paper in place and work from the centre out with palm of hand to smooth out and remove and trapped air bubbles. When dry do the same with the other side so that both sides are covered in tissue paper. When the glue has completely dried, trim the tissue paper to the shape of the paper sail and then paint one side with watered down PVA glue, wait for it to dry, turn over and paint the other side with PVA glue.


This is now a lot stronger and has a texture that can pass for sail cloth and if you gently pull lengthways, you can introduce some curvature into the sails. I am going to show the topsail flaked out and tied down to the gaff, so have folded it backwards and forwards like a concertina. Using a ruler and a sharp HB pencil I have drawn parallel lines down the length of the sails to represent the joins in the sections of sail cloth. Finally, I marked along the edges of the sail that are going to be attached to the rigging or the gaff at 1/2" intervals and then made holes at these points with a needle.


The sails are then 'sewn' into place on the fore stays and the gaff using a length of jute coloured thread and a needle. Tie the thread off at one end of the sail and then sew through the holes you have made and around the rigging or the spar. Tie the thread of securely at the other end when you have finished and apply a drop of superglue for added security.


Finally, using a needle thread some jute-coloured thread through the holes that you made in the 'clew' of the sails and tie the thread in place with an equal amount of thread either side. These will be the 'sheets' that hold the sails in place. I have modelled my sloop on a starboard tack, meaning the wind is coming from starboard and the sails are over to port so are attached being held out tight with the cotton running back and being wound around the posts on the port side. The loose ends are run forward round the bow and tied off on the posts on the starboard side.

I modelled the topsail as flaked down on top of the gaff. The paper sail was folded, glued into place, covered with pva glue and once dried tied down with loops of jute thread.

Useful Links:

The Pirate Sloop is part of Iain Lovecraft's 'Treasure Island' Kick starter, if you've not looked at the miniatures, buildings and ships in the campaign, you can look by clicking here. The campaign is running until the 18th of February.


Previous Articles

General 'Treasure Island' painting and preview of terrain pieces

Detailed guide to painting 'The Lighthouse'

Guide to painting and rigging model Xebec

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Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island... of Bobbing Buoys, small boats and shacks

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Over the next two or three weeks I am going to be painting up as many pieces as I can that I have 3D printed from Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island Campaign.

Yesterday I painted this rather unusual 'Bobbing Buoy' model.

A 'Bobbing Buoy' is basically a number of empty casks (in this case four) nailed or lashed together with a crowsnest, look-out post mounted on top of them.

Even on the calmest of seas, this is going to be a very unpleasant duty and is definately not recommended straight after a cooked breakfast.


I sprayed the model from all directions with Halfords Black Auto spray. This gives a good base to work from and has some handy gap filling properties. When this had dried completely, I gave the model a light spray with Army Painter Leather Brown from 18" to 2' away at a 45 degree angle to leave some darker areas on the model.


The wooden areas were then drybrushed with a 'mid flesh tone' before applying a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone.


The metal parts were painted black, drybrushed with bolt gun metal and then washed over with flesh wash to give a rusty appearance.

A light green ink wash was applied around the bottom of the barrels and in any corners to represent dampness.


This small rowing boat, The Marsh Skipper was painted in exactly the same way. The gunwale was picked out in Ultramarine Blue.

The Cannon Tower

The cannon tower is a useful model of a ruined circular tower, propped up with wooden scafolding with plenty of room for mounting a cannon.

The model prints in three main pieces plus a flagpole.


The Cannon Tower was painted using the same paints and techniques as the Lighthouse.

The model was primed using Halfords Black Auto Paint, before being oversprayed with Army Painter Leather Brown from 12-18" away at a 45 degree angle to leave some deep shade.


The plaster wall are then given a heavy drybrush using DecoArt Honey Brown, trying to avoid woodwork and deepest recesses, followed up with a medium drybrush using Apple Barrel 'Lite Mocha'


Finishing with a light drybrush of DecoArt 'Oyster Beige'

The exact brands and tones are not critical... you are looking for a tonal graduation from a warm mid brown to an 'off white'.


The wooden areas were then touched up with Army Painter Leather Brown from a bottle before being given a light dry-brush of a warm flesh tone and a wash of Army Painter 'Strong Tone' Ink.

Update 3rd February 2022

I have just finished making the sails and rigging the Pirate Sloop from Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island Kickstarter.

Here are a few images.I have just added a complete guide to printing, painting, sail making and rigging. Click here to take a look.




Plucky Captain... Boarding Action vs Xebec.

Update 7th February

The Hut


The hut is a useful round wooden hut with a stone chimney and a thatched roof sitting on top of a ramshackle wooden platform built on top off some hefty pillars.


The model prints on a FDM printer, mine has been printed on a Ender 5 at 0.2mm layer height using Esun PLA+ material.

The whole model prints without supports in six pieces. Hut Base, Hut Roof, Front Pillars, Back Pillars, Cooking Pot & Door.

The door is hinged so it can open and close, I used a length of brass rod for the hinge.


The Hut was very easy to paint. I sprayed black using Halfords Auto Paint, then lightly oversprayed with Army Painter Leather Brown from around 18" away at a 45 degree angle to leave some shading. Once the spray coats had completely dried, I drybrushed a warm flesh tone over all of the wooden areas using a large make up brush, and the applied an ink wash of Army Painter Strong Tone slightly diluted with Instar Alpha Water +. The Stone chimney was painted black and then dry brushed with Vallejo German Grey and then Mid Grey.


The sand bars that the posts are rising from were treated with the same basing mix that I use on beaches and desert terrain tiles. This is the finest aquarium sand mixed 5:1 with tan tile grout. The base is painted with PVA glue, basing mix sprinkled on and shacken off before spraying with Isoproponyl soloution to draw the PVA glue up and around the sand. The water in the mix sets the tile grout which then forms a nice hard surface.


Update 10th February

The Lookout Post



Over the last few days I've been printing and painting the Lookout Tower from Treasure Island Kickstarter.

Pictured above are images from my slicer. I use Simplify 3D. The model is in 6 parts as shown above.


I painted the pieces seperately, before gluing tohether with super glue into 2 pieces, the Roof (parts A&B), and the tower (the other 4 parts). Not gluing the roof on makes it easier to place models in the crows nest.


I love these wooden structures. Not only do they look great, have lots of gaming potential, they are also really quick and easy to paint.


The lookout tower was painted in the same way as the Hut and the shack. I sprayed black using Halfords Auto Paint, then lightly oversprayed with Army Painter Leather Brown from around 18" away at a 45 degree angle to leave some shading. Once the spray coats had completely dried, I drybrushed a warm flesh tone over all of the wooden areas using a large make up brush, and the applied an ink wash of Army Painter Strong Tone slightly diluted with Instar Alpha Water +. The thatched roof was drybrushed with Ochre Brown.


I am really excited as a couple of days ago Iain sent over the Pier pieces, which did not look so much by themselves but allow the individual models like the Hut, Shack, Lookout and Crane to be joined together to make a fantastic ramshackle community on stilts. More on this over the next few days!

Update 15th February


Spoiler alert: The next 4 images are not about pirates!

As most of you will know by now, I have spent the last couple of weeks printing and painting terrain & ships for Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island Kickstarter. Treasure Island has a huge quantity of Pirates and Fantasy Miniatures, Pirate / Caribbean Buildings and Sailing Ships. For £32 you get pretty much everything you need for Pirate Gaming, which is great. I'm a big fan of Blood & Plunder and Swash & Blood. However, yesterday when I had my camera out I started thinking these piers, huts and shacks would also be great for Pulp Adventure using games like Pulp Alley & 7TV.


I've put the pirates and the sailing ships on a side table and introduced a RIB, a Grumman Goose and 'Everything but the Goose' inspired by Tales of the Gold Monkey miniatures to show the versatility of this terrain set.


The detail on these piers is fantastic. There are 12 different pieces including corners and 'T' Junctions.


The pier sections are designed so that they line up with the steps and platforms on the huts, shacks and other buildings to enable you to put together a great looking village on stilts that can be laid out a different way, each time you play.

21st February Update: Sloop of War

I have just finised painting and rigging the second sloop variation from the Treasure Island Campaign.... The Sloop of War.


I'm planning to use my Sloop as a 'Sloop' in Blood & Plunder.


Here's it's ship stats card. It looks like a pretty good match! It's almost if if Iain had played Blood & Plunder!


Here we can see three of Iain's ships for comparison. The Xebec (left) was not included in the Treasure Island campaign, but was available as an add in. It was very popular with Barbary Pirates! The middle ship is the Trading Sloop. It's large stern would be loaded with trade goods, lifting it's bow and increasing it's speed and to the right we have the new arrival, the Sloop of War.


The two sloops pass, Port to Port.


The three ships leave harbour. They are sailing very close to each other. Let's hope they've all read and understood International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea!

Update 25th February: Colonial House


The Treasure Island campaign was about so much more than just Pirates & Ships, the buildings and other terrain give plenty of options for filling a Carribean table with great looking terrain. The smart, colonial style buildings include a house, warehouse & hacienda.


I've started by printing and painting the colonial house. The model prints in five pieces, ground floor, ground floor walls, upper floor, upper floor walls and roof (plus five doors)


You can leave the floors and walls as seperate pieces so that you can lift walls off to leave a floor plan, but as I wanted to fit and hinge the doors, it seemed like gluing together was a better soloution. The upper floor is reached via an external staircase and contains two rooms.


The ground floor also has two rooms, but in this case three doors as there is an additional door on the inside of the arched entrance passageway. The model gives the feel of heavy stonework and thick walls, built to offer a cool refuge from the Carribean sun. All of the doors are hinged. I used short lengths of brass rod, superglued in place as hinges.


The Colonial House was painted the same way as the lighthouse tower, click here to take a look as that article had step by step painting instructions. I choose a cheerful mid blue for the doors and windows as it reminded me of many similar houses that I have seen during travels in Spain.

The Lighthouse


I have previously written a detailed stage by stage account of painting this lovely Lighthouse model. Click here to take a look.

The Lighthouse is being made available as a free preview or 'Grab Bag' model, so follow the link below to pick one up for free!


Treasure Island Kickstarter Launches 1st February 2022 and runs for 18 days.


Lasy year I printed, painted and rigged 'The Xebec' from Iain's Pirates vs Cthullu Kickstarter. As this model is available in Treasure Island as an Add On, it is woth mentioning that I wrote a complete article on painting and rigging the ship. Click here for the Xebec Article.


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Iain Lovecraft - Treasure Island - The Lighthouse

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Over the last week I have been printing a copy of 'The Lighthouse' from Iain Lovecrafts upcoming 'Treasure Island' Kickstarter.

Treasure Island is scheduled to run in February. I was deeply honoured to be invited by Iain to test some of the new buildings and boats that are going to feature in the campaign.

I am very excited about Treasure Island, Iain's models are always incredible in design, execution and attention to detail and his Kickstarter campaigns are always excellent value for money, however the new campaign looks to be even more fun as well as the normal miniatures and terrain, Iain is developing a complete D&D 5E adventure using the models, and after 40 years of gaming D&D is still a firm favourite so the idea of using all of this stuff with my D&D group is incredible.


I have printed the lighthouse on my Ender 5 using Black PLA. It has taken around 4 days to print.


The lighthouse features a crane mounted on the roof, but this can be swapped out, as shown for variety or if it is not to your taste.


The lighthouse prints in six pieces. The largest piece is the base. I printed at 0.2mm layer height with 8% infill and it took around 28 hours to print.


Mid and Tiop sections


Roof dome, crane and spire.


All of the pieces have incredible detail and printed easily without any supports.


The building is mainly wood and plaster so I decided that it would be a good idea to start with a base coat of Army Painter Leather Brown, as this is the starting shade that I tend to use for wood. I first primed the model using a black spray paint from Halfords Auto range. This has good fill properties and gives a good base. When this had dried, I over sprayed with the Army Painter Leather Brown Primer, from a short distance at a 45 degree angle so as to leave some black undercoat in recesses to help with shading effect.


All but the finest details on buildings are either dry or damp brushed using cheap craft paints and make up brushes which are excellent for dry-brushing and far cheaper than specific hobby alternatives.


The plaster wall are given a heavy drybrush using DecoArt Honey Brown, trying to avoid woodwork and deepest recesses.


This was followed up with a medium drybrush using Apple Barrel 'Lite Mocha'


Finishing with a light drybrush of DecoArt 'Oyster Beige'

The exact brands and tones are not critical... you are looking for a tonal graduation from a warm mid brown to an 'off white'.


Although I had been as careful as I could be (with 80mm make up brushes), I had got some drybrushing over the wood work, so the next thing to do was to touch that up using Army Painter Leather Brown Acrylic.


The wooden areas were then drybrushed with a 'mid flesh' tone. I used a craft paint... you could use a flesh tone from any range of paint. I find this gives a good warm contrast for wood, especially when washed over with a slightly diluted wash of Army Painter Strong Tone.


Iain told me "The dome is made of Plaster and seashell cement to form the main structure and then it is covered in a plaster or adobe(Plaster with mud) to smooth the outside surface to a nice finish.". I decided that sounded like a Terracotta shade. I do all my Spanish / Colonial Terracotta roof's with household emulsion, as these are the best tones I've found after much experimenting. The paints are from Dulux, they have a nice 3 tone system which is great for base coat and drybrush application. I use Sumatran Melody 3 as the base coat. Once dry, I then drybrush over with the lighter tone Sumatran Melody 2.


To complete, I painted the Ivy with Games Workshop Contrast Dark Angels Green and the Window with Contrast Ultramarine Blue. I also applied an Army Painter Strongtone wash over the damaged section of the roof dome.


The finished model at the end of a pier. The figure is from Iain Lovecrafts previous 'Pirates vs Cthulu' campaign. The small boat in the background is the 'Marsh Skipper' which is also part of the 'Treasure Island' Release.


The final shot shows the Xebec from 'Pirates vs Cthulu' sailing past. I did a painting and rigging article on that last year, click here to take a look!

Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island is due to Launch first week in February. Click image to sign up for notification to make sure you don't miss the day one deals!


Iain Lovecraft's Treasure Island Kickstarter

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The Neptune Protocol: Prologue

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The Neptune Protocol

Prologue: A sleepy port on the North African coast


The evil industrialist Max Crossley with a headful of ideas for a new world order sails into the dawn having secured the first part of his deliciously sinister plan. Hoping he has left Bond and Hinks behind too!


Special Agent Amanda Hinks and her British counterpart, Bond have been on the trail of Crossley for several weeks. So far, he has stayed a step ahead. If they can sabotage the speedboats in the Marina that are fast enough to give chase and get to the Lotus Submersible before Crossley’s ship is out of range they may still be in with a chance.


Hinks and Bond set off towards the Marina from the north east corner of town. We are playing out this action using 7TV. Hinks is cast as an Action Hero and Bond as a Flamboyant Agent.


Crossley has left behind a cast of minions and lackeys dressed in rather conspicuous bright yellow boiler suits and blue safety helmets to cover his retreat


Heading to protect the speedboats in the Marina we see Crossley's Faithful (but unnamed) Lackey and four minions. The speedboats that could give chase have been marked with 7TV plot point tokens.


At the far side of the jetty we see a Minion Commander some Minions and a Technician trying to get through the protection devices added by Q branch to the Lotus.


Hinks and Bond split up, Hinks heads straight for the first boat in the marina.


Bond causes some cinematic chaos as he rushes throught the crowded early morning market.


Before long Bond is placing a small but powerful timed charge on the engine compartment of the Sunseeker XS2000 under inaccurate but persistant fire from Crossleys minions.


Amanda Hinks places a charge on the Glastron under the eyes of the local constabulary


A minion attempts to interfere but is ruthlesley dispatched with one of Amanda's martial arts moves and the 'extras' on the keyside mysteriously become involved in a health and safety accident when a stunt goes horribly wrong and they all catch fire.


Meanwhile Bond is holding his own. The handy 'Capture Bubble' that Q gave him to try out, proved to be effective in the field, and a second minion is dispatched before he becomes embroiled in an ongoing fight with the Faithful Lackey, Bond does take a slug to the shoulder early in the scene.


The body count rises, faceless minions die dramatically, but Bond is delayed.


Hink's comes to the rescue. She takes a wound but dispatches the Lackey with a spinning kick and chop routine enabling Bond to sprint along the jetty, dropping a delayed charge on the Carlson on the way past.


Bond dramaticly leaps from the bow of the Carlson to the bow of the Vic 34, but almost loses his footing so can not move any further forward, and at that point the Director finds that she has 'Blown her Budget'! This means that the next three countdown cards get revealed and played, which does not really help us and denies us another action to make it to the Lotus and escape.

When the scene cuts, we find that Hinks and Bond have collected three plot points from sabotaging boats but Crossley's Minions are still in control of the Lotus plot point (and one plot point is uncontended) giving Hinks and Bond a marginal victory but denying them (due to budgetary constraints) the scene of the Lotus powering up the ramp and into the water before transforning into submarine mode.... that will just have to wait for another scene!


We then cut to the opening credits of 'The Neptune Protocol' and wait for next week’s when we shoot the first scene of the movie proper, which according to the script I've seen includes a high paced speed boat chase sequence.



Special Agent Amanda Hinks, RN Commander Bond, The Speedboats, Jetty & Pier Terrain are all from Sally 4th Rising Tides Kickstarter.

The scene was shot using 7TV and Crossley's Minions were supplied by the Crooked Dice Casting Agency

The Colonial Police are from Sally 4th's Classic Movie Miniatures Range and the Souk or Market Place props are from Sally 4th Exotic Locations.


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A Klingon Renegade Crew for Stargrave

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I've been a huge fan of both Frostgrave & Stargrave ever since they were launched and always buy at least one of all the North Star plastic releases because as well as being great miniatures in their own right, they offer so much scope for customisation and conversions. I have several Stargrave crews already, but recently I have been listening to several Klingon themed Star Trek novels via Audible, so I thought that a Klingon based crew would be rather neat.


The feel that I was looking for was Klingon renegades or pirates rather than Imperial Defence Force regular crews, so I decided to use Frostgrave Barbarians as the starting point for bodies and extra knife carrying left arms and the odd spare knife being carried from the belt.


The arms are mainly from Stargrave Mercenaries Plastic Box set, although the sniper is using a scoped sniper rifle from the Landing Party Special Weapons Conversion Pack.


The heads are metal castings fromLanding Party Ridge Faced Aliens conversion packs - both male and female versions come in the pack.


This is the full 10 figure Klingon Renegade crew. I've mounted them on 25mm round clear bases from Sally 4th. This creates a little extra work, as the Frostgrave miniatures come cast on plinths, but they are easily separated using some side clippers and feet tidied up with a modelling file. I have recently started painting the edges of clear bases using Army Painter Light Grey acrylic paint. This removes the reflections that you often see from clear bases and helps them blend in even better with the terrain that the figures are standing on.


I am using the female with a data pad as a codebreaker / hacker and the one with a tool box as a chiseler or casecracker.


These models are being used as a Grenadier, Sniper and Gunner.


The remaining five will be used for a Captain, Mate some recruits and troopers.

The miniatures were painted with GW Contrast Paint and Instar Alpha (which are also contrast paints).

I have already assembled a good selection of miniatures that can be used to represent a Federation Away Team using miniatures from the Landing Parties 'Fleet Landing Party' set, so I need to schedule a Star Trek themed Stargrave game with my good friend Mike to see how they fare in a game!


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