Friday, 30 December 2011

Instant Mold

I have come across some interesting discussion and reviews of a product called Instant Mold, a silicone like moulding product that softens when heated and does not stick to modelling putty, allowing items to be cast in Green Stuff and similar.

This video shows it better than I can describe but I would caution against his modelling knife using skills:

Roebeast has a more in depth assessment of the product on his blog here which shows some of the uses he has put it to which certainly shows applications of the product off better than the video.

Whilst Instant Mold is available from CMON there is an equivalent product available at half the price (I have read that it is the same product but can't confirm); Oyumaru Instant Mold Moulding Compound, available in the UK from Metal Clay Ltd for £4.95. At that price it has got to be worth giving it a shot as the potential uses seems limitless...

Thanks to Andrew Wood and Ian Rees for the heads up on this.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The War Against The French

 When we think about fighting the French our thoughts usually turn to Agincourt, Trafalgar and Waterloo more so than Madagascar and Syria but Colin Smith's England's Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-42 about the largely forgotten war against Vichy France and the threat posed by her navy and colonial possessions is a fascinating read.

From a wargaming point of view the campaigns in Syria, Madagascar and French North Africa make compelling reading and a series of hard fought battles between Vichy colonial forces on the one hand and British Commonwealth and Americans on the other beg further research and tabletop recreation, after all it is not often you hear of Australian troops being forced to retreat in panic - and against the French to boot. Similarly the Americans who were badly beaten in Oran will probably disagree with the inane "cheese eating surrender monkeys" label the French have been branded with by the uneducated.

Whilst you can purchase 15mm Flames of War miniatures for the French in the Levant (Syria and Lebanon), 28mm is a bit more problematical with a dearth of suitable figures. Foundry's old Darkest Africa Foreign Legion pack and Artizan's WW2 Legion may be suitable for troops with Adrian helmet head swaps but the Bolt Action and Crusader 1940 ranges less so with their troops in greatcoats (I know the French wore greatcoats in the Levant but they would look very odd to Commonwealth troops in shorts...).

I've had a growing interesting in the over-looked French involvement in WW2 and given the Syrian campaign featured the same Commonwealth troops who had previously fought against the Italians in east Africa and I am tempted towards some section to platoon level 28mm skirmish gaming for East Africa and the Levant especially if I can find some good sources for 28mm WW2 Indian Army troops (Pulp are the only ones I know of).

Back to the book, even if you don't fancy starting a new period, it is an excellent read and a good balance with regards to the politics and military with excellent use of personal accounts of fascinating battles most of us are not aware of.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Hope you all were on Santa's nice list and you, your family and friends have a peaceful festive period.

The miniature is the excellent Santa Hunter from Scibor Miniatures and was quite therapeutic to do some painting yesterday...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

My Dad

My dad passed away on Wednesday morning. He'd been seriously ill for a number of years now having being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a particularly nasty Alzheimer's variant as well as having Bowel Cancer in recent months. Whilst it wasn't a surprise it was still a shock and I'm a bit all over the place. I decided rather than sit around today to pick up a paintbrush and paint something. Whilst my Dad wasn't a wargamer he was a very good artist and painter so it helped to do something he encouraged me in.

It's funny what memories come flooding back, some long forgotten like eating smoked yellow fish on Fridays (which I haven't done since I was knee high...), the no TV on Christmas Day rule and also, from a wargaming point of view, the regular presents of Roco Minitanks be bought me from Trapnall's model shop in Weston-super-Mare.

It has also brought to the forefront the need to enjoy what we have and not put things off until tomorrow so my only New Year project as such will be geared to making an effort to play more games with Saul in 2012...

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Kindle-mass Comes Early

Work, domestic concerns and a resumption of editorial duties for the SFSFW's Ragnarok have resulted my fingers not touching a paintbrush for over a month now which is a lamentable state of affairs and one I intend to correct later this week. In the meantime SWMBO gave me a £15 Tesco clubcard voucher that was valid on one day only last week so I toddled down Tesco Homeplus to have a look at the iPads which I did but am still undecided on a whole host of issues, 3G or Wi-Fi? 16GB or 64GB? Even white or black? (honestly, white MacBook, black iPod - doesn't help!).

Anyway feeling £15 off something electronic was too good a voucher to waste I decided to treat myself to the bottom of the range 4th generation Kindle working on the basis that whilst some people think they are either/or devices I regard them as totally diverse concepts. So £74 lighter I now own a Kindle  that I am finding to be a wonderful little device and encouraging me to read more non-fiction than I have for a while.

The main draw is storage. I've just picked up both Colin Smith's England's Last War Against France and Keith Jeffrey's MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 which would stretch the limited bookshelf space available (ok, being honest the non-existent available space there is a lot of double racking and piling on top going on here in Blease Towers...). That I can back them up and sync them on my MacBook (and smartphone if I had one), can annotate books and carry a library in a A5 piece of plastic is very attractive, so much I can considering a serious book cull and ebook purchase splurge).

Will I give up "real" books? No of course not, there is still 'something; about them and from a Kindle point of view they are really only good for text rather than pictures but there is a convenience factor that any serious reader cannot ignore (and for a wargamer down the club you can have your library with you to make sure your facts are correct when you are challenged!)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Zombies Throughout History Revisited

It seems great minds think alike. Not long after my post about Zombies in the American War of Independence AB One Games have announced Patriots & Loyalists & Zombies coming in 2012 - cool...