Track Painting

With the recent release of our new Small Scale Scenery engine sheds and track, I thought it might be a good time to quickly run through my painting method for the track. When I first got hold of prototypes of our original track to paint, I looked at all the little tiny sleepers and thought “how on earth am I going to paint those – it’ll take forever”. Well, fear not…

Step 1 – Primer

After a quick cleanup, removing any extraneous bits of sprue and running a file round the edges, I gave the track a coat of Halfords’ grey car primer. This is my favourite primer for all models – it sticks to any surface and gives a good matt base for painting over.

Step 2 – Sleepers

If you’re in North America, read ‘crosstie’ when I say sleeper, it’s the same thing. I gave the sleepers a good drybrush with GW Bestial Brown (use your favourite brown if you don’t like/use Citadel paints) – use a small brush to do this as you want to avoid too much paint getting everywhere. You will inevitably get some brown around the track but don’t worry too much, we’ll clean it up in a minute. You want a relatively heavy drybrush coat (if that isn’t a contradiction) so that the whole of the sleeper surface is painted, not just the edges. As you can see, it’s all looking a bit messy…

Step 3 – Cleanup

I then went round and tidied up any overspill from the drybrush with grey paint (Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey is a good match for Halfords primer). Assuming you haven’t been too liberal with the brown and got it between the sleepers, you should find it reasonably quick and easy. Don’t worry about any brown on the rails themselves – any on the top surface will be coming off later, and any on the side looks like rust, which is a major colour as far as railway track goes. You might notice that I forgot to do the tops of the road crossings in one or two places – I had to clean this up this later.

Step 4 – Wash

Everything was then give a good coat of Citadel Nuln Oil black wash (Army Painter Dark Tone or Tamiya Smoke would work just as well). This takes longer than you might think – you tend to get little bubbles between the sleepers so you might need to use a stiffer brush to work the wash into these areas.

Step 5 – Rails

On our first set of tracks I used a silver paint pen and ran this over the top surface of the rails. This worked OK but I did get some overspill onto the sleepers especially around the points. You could use a small detail brush and silver paint, although I suspect it would be time-consuming. My solution this time was to make use of the natural colour of the metal. On the first piece of track I used a piece of wet-and-dry to remove the paint from the top of the rails – this took longer than I thought, and I managed to remove the paint from some of the sleepers as well. So for the next piece I simply ran a scalpel blade along the rails and scraped the paint off – perfect ! It was more accurate, quicker and cleaner. Look at those rails shine !

I painted almost two dozen pieces of track in an hour or so, so it’s a pretty quick method of producing reasonably good looking track.

Railway Assortment

Today we’re expanding on the railway options available in our Small Scale Scenery range. We have two different engine sheds – one is a large shed (over 250 scale feet long) with room for multiple engines and carriages. It’s not based on any specific prototype but is more generic.

The second is a more distinctive circular shape based on the Camden Roundhouse in London (now a well-known concert venue which I’ve been to once or twice). This has just a single entrance door for engines, but had a turntable to distribute the engines to repair bays once inside.

We have a new pack of double track, allowing side-by-side running (which would have been difficult with our existing curved track) – this has twelve pieces, six straight and six curved.

Finally, we have a very useful set of assorted crossing track – single and double road crossings, X-crossings and left- and right-hand crossovers (there are two of each piece in the pack – ten pieces in all).

SSS-8077 – Large Engine Shed – £4.00
SSS-8078 – Roundhouse Engine Shed – £3.00
SSS-8079 – Double Track – £5.50
SSS-8080 – Railway Crossings – £4.50

Cavalier 2017

Our next show is on Sunday 26th – Cavalier in Tonbridge, Kent, just a few miles down the road from Brigade Towers.

For this particular long-standing show we’re in the same position again, a couple stands along from the entrance to the trade hall on the right. We again have a smaller stand than usual, which means being able to carry and display slightly less. So, this is what we’re hoping to have with us:

  • Spaceship fleet packs plus some of the new Neo-Soviet models
  • Aeronef fleet packs and some individual battleships (including all of the new models)
  • A full range of 15mm individual vehicles and packs of figures
  • A full range of 6mm army packs, company packs and building packs
  • A full range of individual Celtos figures, small unit blisters and medium army packs
  • The full range of 2mm Small Scale Scenery items
  • The full Magpie Miniatures range
  • Imperial Skies rulebooks and accessories
  • Great War Belgians
  • Squadron Commander blisters
  • A selection of Shapeways 3D-printed items

We will not be bringing:

  • Any individual spaceships, Aeronef or 6mm models unless noted above
  • 15mm buildings or building packs
  • 15mm platoon packs or Hammer’s Slammers army packs
  • Celtos Large Army packs
  • 10mm Buildings
  • Individual Squadron Commander models
  • Iron Stars

If you would like us to bring anything on the list above, please drop us a line by Wednesday and we’ll see what we can do.

We won’t be able to display everything – so if you can’t find it on the stand, please ask, we’ll have it somewhere behind with us.

Maidstone Wargames Society will also be there, running our new Fenris Descending participation game for the first time. Hordes of Robots…

Defending the Harbours

Today’s new release is an expansion to our Small Scale Scenery Harbour Walls set. It’s a set of compatible pieces with fittings for various sizes and type of gun turret, plus fixed gun mountings (from our Fort Guns). They aren’t based on any historical prototype, so technically I suppose they’d fall under the remit of the Aeronef and Land Ironclads VSF umbrella. That said, the fixed gun positions are very similar to historical installations around the world, and Dover Harbour has a gun turret on the harbour wall which is still in position today.

The set contains ten pieces – two end pieces for large turrets, two angle pieces for smaller turrets, two angle pieces for fixed guns, two straights for two smaller turrets and two straights for three fixed guns. Four types of turret are available – French, British, German or Russian (see pictures for more details). If you’d like a different mix of turrets from our range, contact us and we’ll see what we can do. Using the fixed gun pieces, it would also be possible to create a fixed gun battery or water battery.

SSS-8076 – Harbour Defences – £9.00

Polyversal Fulfilled

Great news – two large boxes landed on Collins Epic Wargames doorstep last week containing around 1600 vehicles and 1200 Power Armour. That means we’ve fulfilled the final part of our contribution to the Polyversal Kickstarter. Apparently we’re the first of the six miniatures companies involved to do so, but I’m sure the others aren’t far behind.

By way of celebration, here’s a photo of some new 15mm tanks in amongst the detritus of other new stuff. These are the Neo-Soviet Vombat and Bars, the former of which is already part of our 6mm range (although this is a modified new design). The latter is essentially the same vehicle but without the infantry-carrying compartment at the rear of the hull. Readers of Miniature Wargames may have seen some CGI previews in the Fantasy Facts column last month. More photos to come as I get them properly painted.

The Flying Dutchmen

Although not one of the conventional major powers, the Netherlands nevertheless has significant colonial assets at the end of the 19th Century, both in Central/South America and the Far East. The Royal Netherlands Air Fleet watches over the skies and seas of these far-flung territories with its force of unique twin-hulled Catamaran craft.

We’ve had a pair of Dutch models made by Phil in the range for some time. As part of our ongoing programme to replace or update worn or inadequate moulds, it’s become the turn of the Netherlands to get an upgrade. As well as taking Phil’s two existing Nef and remaking those, I’ve created three new designs to round out the classes. The de Ruyter class heavy cruisers remains the largest vessels in the fleet, but they’ve been joined by new light cruiser, frigate and torpedo boat designs.

The Dutch feature in a Benelux fleet pack, and this won’t change; however, in recognition of their increased range of vessels, they now get their own dedicated fleet pack with two of each of the largest four models, and a torpedo flotilla with five torpedo craft and a frigate as leader.

All of the models, apart from the torpedo Nef, feature separate turrets – the smaller ones are the existing secondary turrets from the Gaulois, while the larger ones are a new design. These are available separately in accessory packs of 12 along with all of our other turret models.

VAN-1001 – de Ruyter class Heavy Cruiser – £5.50
VAN-1002 – Zeeslang class Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-1003 – Tromp class Light Cruiser -£3.00
VAN-1004 – van Speijk class Frigate – £1.50
VAN-1005 – Flores class Torpedo Catamaran – £0.50

VAN-7047 – French Single Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7048 – French Twin Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50

VANFP-1002 – Netherlands Fleet Pack – £22.00
VANFP-1011 – Netherlands Torpedo Squadron – £4.50

These Things Are Sent To Try Us

Yesterday the power went out at the workshop, mid-casting session, and didn’t come back for the rest of the day. Unfortunately this plunged me into pitch darkness and meant I wasn’t able to finish all the outstanding orders, which is a pain. Everything placed up to last Friday (Feb 3rd) has been packed and sent, but after that you’re now in the queue. With a bit of luck it will have been fixed today and I should be able to get back to casting tomorrow.

Sunday sees us (well, me) attending a new show – Red On Blue In Nottingham, or ROBIN for short. Given Nottingham’s position as the centre of UK wargaming’s Lead Belt, being the home of an awful lot of the major players (us excepted, of course) it’s surprising that there hasn’t mean a show held there in recent years. I’m heading up Saturday afternoon ready to set up Sunday morning first thing. I should have a decent stock of all of our new releases (assuming of course that I get power back tomorrow !). Because this is a solo show, I’ll have a full quota of army packs, starter packs, rulebooks etc, but no individual stock of 6mm, spaceships, Squadron Commander or Aeronef (although we have started carrying a selection of Aeronef capital ships) – I just don’t have the space or the will power to lift and shift that much stock. I will have individual 15mm vehicles and figure packs, Celtos and Magpie figures, Great War Belgians and the full 2mm range.

Starship Crew

As today’s new release we have a pack of extremely useful new 15mm figures – a set of uniformed starship crew. The set of four includes two armed figures, one with a datapad and a senior officer – the perfect landing party.

I’ve painted up two sets, one in primary coloured tops indicating different crew functions, and a second set in more utilitarian blue-grey uniforms – there are more photos on the product page.

So whether you’re planning to Boldly Go and split infinitives, or are looking for the Last, Best Hope, these could well be handy figures.

SF15-012 – Uniformed Starship Crew (x4) – £1.50

Watching the Wall

As a follow on to our recently released Hadrian’s Wall set, this week we’re adding a Roman Wall Fort to the range. This metal 20-piece set has four gates, eight wall pieces and four corners with turrets plus extra plain wall sections including two T-pieces that connect with our Hadrian’s Wall sections. Each piece is 40mm long (the corners are 20x20mm) so the whole fort can be up to 200mm square (over 600 feet at 2mm scale). It can also be used as a standalone fort anywhere from 80mmx80mm upwards. The walls match the Hadrian’s Wall sections so these can be used to extend the area of the fort, extending it to become a walled town if desired.

SSS-8075 – Roman Fort – £12.00

PacFed Progress

Although we’ve had a bit of a cold snap lately, during the day yesterday it was warm enough in the sunshine to work outside. I took advantage by firing up the airbrush and putting some paint on our new 6mm PacFed models. I have a game or two of Horizon Wars lined up at Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend, so I thought I’d put together a new force for the occasion. I haven’t worked out a proper force composition yet, so I’ve just painted up 2-3 of each new model and can work out exactly what to use later.

The paint scheme is really simple, echoing my 15mm TAS force. Over a grey primer, I airbrushed Vallejo French Blue followed by camouflage stripes of Light Sea Blue. Everything was drybrushed with Citadel Etherium Blue, and then washed with Drakenhof Nightshade. Where possible I like using a wash that matches the main colour of a model, it avoids the dark or muddy effect that can come from using a black or brown wash colour. And apart from needing to add a few small spot details, that’s it.

We’re really pleased with the way that the new PacFed models have come out compared to the originals. Phil is still working away at production moulds for the last ones, although we won’t be making them available until we’ve completed our share of the Polyversal pledges.