Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (Battlefield Obstacles)

My scenery project for the week was a couple of lengths of wattle fencing.  I experimented with several different materials.  I started by drilling some small holes in a strip of thick card and a strip of plastic.  I glued small craft sticks in the holes and wove the "wattle" material around the posts.

The fence in the foreground uses some packaging material from one my son's toys.  A few years ago, almost all packaged toys used plastic strips to secure the items inside.  The end result was a lot of extra plastic and parental frustration.  Lately, many companies have been switching to tying toys in with some sort of natural fiber material.  It is fairly thick, but wrapped easily around the posts and was held in place with white glue.  The fence in the background used sisal string as the wattle.  Again, weave it around the posts and coat heavily in white glue.

After the glue dried, I painted the pieces brown, dry brushed in highlights and added basing material: 

I almost ashamed to acknowledge the size of my painting backlog.  This particular item below is from Gripping Beast's baggage train.  My wife bought it for me last Christmas and I am just now getting to it.

The baggage train is a nice set, but a bit pricey for something that can be scratch built with a little effort.  You get two ponies, two carts and about a dozen barrels, bags and tools.  One cart is pulled by the animals, but the other is meant to be a fixed piece of scenery. Preferring mobility, I stumbled upon another use for Gripping Beast's plastic Dark Age Warriors - farmer.   

I wish I had painted him with a dark beard to look more like Topol so he could sing "If I Were a Rich Man."  One other conversion with these figures that I am curious about is making a longship rower out of one.  It would take a great deal of time and green stuff to make a small crew, but it would probably work.   

And finally this week, I finished my set of Conquest's Normans with this squad of mercenaries. Standardized shields and clothing were probably unheard of in the pre-heraldic era, but for a small group of swords for hire, it works on the table.  I think they will get some use in an upcoming Normans v. Welsh battle.    

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mixing Plastic Gripping Beast Parts

This is for Nico, who was wondering if the heads on the unarmored Gripping Beast Warriors were oversized.  If so, would a bare GB head look out of place on an armored body from the older sets?

I do not have a spare armored body to test this with, but it did happen that I am in the process of placing a spare head with a helm upon an unarmored body. I am also giving him a short fur cloak from a small piece of green stuff putty.

The head looks pretty good on the unarmored body and it is appropriate.  If a less elite warrior could only afford a single piece of armor, it is a good bet the helmet have been his first choice.

Here is a comparison shot below:

Comparison of Gripping Beasts' plastic heads
From left, two Vikings, two Dark Age warriors, and two Anglo-Saxons

The bald head is large, almost as large as the Viking helmets itself.  However, the Saxon helmets show that a head with a realistically encompassing helmet can look too big.