Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Ship Ahoy

Ship, newly undercoated with grey spray and a little paint
Yes, it is a bit of a twee title, but it gets the point across that I've managed to get some work done on my 'pirate' ships this last week, despite some real-life family crises.
It's not much really, all three ships have been undercoated  and had some paint added to them in varying amounts and styles.
Having to paint with the  models on my lap and my failing appreciation of colours (not just the poor light or my lack of painting skills) has met with some  unusual (to say the least) colour combos - must try not to paint in the evenings!
I've tried many colours, washes, highlights etc. but am still experimenting!
Deck of the above, showing hatch.

The back end (technical term "blunt end")
Hatch on the front sloping (?) bit.
Crows nest - a figure now sits in comfortably (20mm square base)
Another view of the deck (bored yet?)
Add caption
To relieve the boredom of the above ship. here's the ship converted to a sloop -style, single masted vessel.
It's the most 'finished of all three and I'm fairly happy with  the overall paint effect - so far, there's still a lot more  paint to slap on.
I'd forgotten just how much painting (and time) that these models take to complete.

View showing the "horns" of the original toy around the gunports
Third vessel, clearly showing the pointy end.
The third vessel (the one with the extra hull piece added) I decided to paint in much darker colour *to hide the joins). Unfortunately thought it turned out looking  a bit too dark,  so it was brightened  here and there without losing it's darker look. The masts, spars etc. have has a least three different colour schemes but they're still not finalised.

You can't see the join if you turn the lights low and squint
Another boring crow's nest
The crows nests were converted in two different ways. The first, abandoned idea, saw me cut a notch out of one and the let it rest on a small platform.already on the model. The second method had me cut s hole though the two remaining ones and the the upper mast was pushed through and located in a hole in the mast below. All three has a couple of rails removed from the rear to allow for the filing flat of the crow's nest floor.

Obligatory really boring picture
The current state of my gaming table.
As mentioned above this last week hasn't all been plain sailing (I can hear the groans), my gaming table, now turned being used as a large storage shelf has had to be moved around whilst I've had #2 son put some shelves up. It turns out that although this is not one of the top priorities in his busy schedule (work, eating etc. seem to take preference) I have had two more shelves constructed and with just two more planned they could be finished soon enough.
If I wasn't so useless with DIY things, I'd have done them myself, but illnesses, uselessness (I recently levelled up) etc. all work me - and I should be up ladders etc nor be near to power tools!.
The two new shelves (about seven foot up)
"Jablite", eight bits, 4 x1.5 ft - enough to cover 4ft x 12ft for under £15
I'm also planning the terrain I'll need for my pirate games, do new terrain boards are in order, it seems pirates rarely fought on modern urban roads (even Somalis it seems)- sad I know. To this end I've been to B&Q and bought some "Jablite" polystyrene block; they're a bit tougher than the more well-known polystyrene ceiling tiles but much less tough than the blue or orange foam more commonly used for terrain these days.  They're 4 foot by 1.5 foot, yes they're an awkward size, but I'm working around the problem.
Plans for one of the boards.
So that's it then for another week, it may seem that I've done quite a lot, but it doesn't feel that way!

I hope you've found something of interest and as always, your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Plotting a Hatch (or two)

Despite the problems of the lack of space for doing anything substantive I have managed to progress my piratey project quite a bit this week. My good friend Stu who runs Captian's Jack's Locker  (find hin on FB) gave me a few bits and pieces when I visited him before Xmas.As can be seen there is some  variety, though the deck hatches were made as windows and I had to file the,frames down. I also filed the reverse so that they'd fit a little more flush to the decks of my ships.

Oversized chests
In yet another fit of enthusiasm (strange I know), I was inspired to do something with the oversized 'pirate treasure chests', probably prompted by the arrival of all my greenery!

Taking the chests apart gave two lids and bases.
The bases, to me looked very suitable as the type of concrete planters that can be seen in a lot of towns and cities (hence the greenery connection).
I've added some scraps of foam-board, then filler and a sprinkling of sand - they just need undercoating, painting and of course some plants added.
Composite picture of the cylinder
The lids didn't escape my attention either, the two lids, after being cleaned of all their excess bits were glued together, to make some sort of reinforced cylinder, that can be painted up as either wooden (maybe with metal straps) or as metal throughout. Perhaps as some form of water barrel or gas cylinder.
Pirate with Lantern ?

In another attempt to utilise what I could from the Pirate ships sets I was drawn to one of the accessories of the pirates themselves.
The accessory in question can be seen in the photograph I've taken it to be a lantern and in its current form is obviously too large for 28mm figures (he stands about 60mm tall)
The three lanterns
Dowels spars and yards (boring ship bits)

I've cut the bases and handles off and they've become the ships' lantern - a large and prominent lantern mounted on the rear of sailing ships. They were hollow too which made the fitting of a support fairly easy, but you'll have to see if you can spot them on my ships (below) as I failed to take any photographs of them solely.
I've also been busy on the ships too, adding spars and yards (I'm tole that's what they are) in various combinations to give a bit of variety. I did have to buy 2 meters of 5mm dowel (£1.50) for the purpose,  but did also use the mast tops (minus their pennants) provided with the sets.

Plastic mast tops )still boring)
One end glued on with extra bit along the dowel
All three of my ships have also had work done on them the pictures illustrating all the various bit added , the hatches, the yards, the rear lantern etc.. The three photographs following, show the three steps of how I do my 'rigging'. I haven't a clue as to how sailing ships are rigged, so I just try and get some impression of rigging, whilst at the same time allowing for easy access to the decks for figures.

Glue the other end on once the first bit has dried thoroughly.
Use thr thread to wrap around the other bits

I've used embroidery cotton for all the rigging, gluing one end to where the line (or rope) is going to go, allowing it to dry then gluing the other end.
I get the aparent tightness of the lines by wrapping more thread around the thread alreadyin place, this also allows me to tighten up the rigging slightly.
You'll hopefully have noticed a couple of the hatches on the models, the read lanterns and the crow's nest - the latter now being able to take a figure.
The model shown on the left was going to have it's "pulpit" on the rear deck left in  place but as I thought it abhorrent even to my non-nautical eyes, I removed it! This was the only one of the three that I also left the horn-like ornaments around the gun apertures, the others were removed.

Since writing up this lot,I've finished the rigging and undercoated two of my vessels, so just one left  to rig and undercoated before I put the sails on  all three and paint them up!
I feels like I've been a man possessed this week and made more progress than I thought I would or could - and I haven't even mentioned the related building plans I've been working on!

That's it then for another week (hopefully it'' be another one as productive as this last one has been.), I hope you've found something of interest and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, 6 February 2017


Rear, back blunt end ,Stern view of the three ships.
So this week has seen a sudden burst of enthusiasm for conversions of my pirate ships, probably brought on by lighter evenings and better health. I now have three ships, all of which I wanted to be distinctly different to one another. With this in mind I decided to leave the first model in its original state (more or less); the second ship I'd convert to some sort of single masted sloop thing whilst the third would be converted into a larger three masted vessel (utilising the spare mast). This latter idea was quickly abandoned  when I realised that once more I would have too large a vessel than I wanted .

The larger ship conversion was cut in two flush with the rear stairs, if I was converting another I'd go instead for a central cut.
In the top photograph you can see the piece of plastic I used as a keel joining the the two parts of the extended hull.
Two of the ships would have extended work done on their rear deck, namely cutting away the hideous pedestal.(One attempt was slightly more successful than the other)
Not such a successful cut-job.
Two masts successfully removed!
Cutting the two masts off, to leave their bases flush with the deck  was a bit tricky , due to the sides of the ship getting in the way, however I did manage to utilise the open rear cabin door  to slide my hack-saw in and slowly cut through each base of the two masts..
The key (hole) to cutting the masts flush with the deck.
The crows next as is, isn't really usable at all; the raised mounting in the middle is for a small pole with pennant on , that doesn't really leave enough space for a figure.
My solution to still to use these crow's nests was to cut the interior flat and cut the whole crow's nest from the mast to be mounted in an alternative position against the mast, rather than atop it. Cutting away a couple of pieces of guard-rail enable me to get access to cut the base flush (scalpel and file).
...and after.
Hull piece
The hull extension was a piece of soft card (back of a notepad) roughly shaped, Two piece of plastic glued just beneath the rear and forward decks gave the foundation for the piece of card I used as a deck, scribed with 'planks' to reinforce the sides and to give a comparable thickness to the sides of the ship two further pieces of card were glued in place.

Extended vessel.
Obligatory blurry photo
 The rear decks would also be all slightly different, one I've covered in paper; a second I've used filler on, whilst the third will probably end up having a coffee-stirrer deck!
In case you're wondering about all the white filler stuff on the masts, the rear of the masts each have  slot along their entire height that I wanted filling (it can be seen on a couple of the photos).
There's still a lot to do on these models, but I'm very happy with the progress made so far and knowing that I do have an end product in mind. 

In other news, with the departure of my daughter and her family I should have a lot more space for hobby-related projects rather than just my cutting board on my lap!.

That's it for this week, as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated

Monday, 30 January 2017

Boxes, Barrels and Bushes

I've taken a break from the Stoetzel's Federal building build, suffice to say I could have added boobs to the already salacious sounding title (just think of the hits!).
Now that I have three each of the pirate ship's boxes and barrels, I'd have a quick attempt at tarting them up..
Undercoated with a matt grey from Poundlandbargainworld (and yes I forgot to wash the soft plastic first) then various browns and sandy colours later I came up with what you see in the photograph, although I have picked out the rope around the barrels since taking the photo.
As a reminder, here's how they look straight from the box:
The barrels in their original form...
And a couple of photographs of how they painted up:
One of the most obvious things to me (other then the cheapness of the models themselves, is the lack of barrel hoops - something I could probably rectify if I could be bothered (I'm not)
Barrels sans rope painting
...and the boxes (obviously)
Also this week Boxes painted up
Also this week in a visit to my favourite shop "Poundlandworldbargainbuy", I came across this little ball of wargaming goodness:
A £1 ball of foliage - with purply-blue bits!
The B&M ball
 By chance, I also stopped by my local B&M tore and in their sale they had a similar, but larger ball for the princely sum of £2.49.
I immediately went to work pulling all the individual bits from each ball.
There are about 40 'plants' in the £1 ball and about 60 in half of the pricier one (but alas no purpley-blue bits!). 
 Each piece has four a leaf'-stems attached to a central ring (that in turn had been attached to a stud on the frame of the original ball.

Half the big ball's 'bits'
'Heart-shaped leaves'
In a further burst of greenery my last two packages of Chinese plasicky, shrubbery goodness also arrived this week.
Both packs are more or less the same, with minor differences .
One pack has "heart-shaped" leaves, whilst the other has more fan-shaped leaves.
There are 50 pieces (I think) in each pack and they were less the £2  (including postage) iirc.
As can be seen on the photographs, they're quite large (about the size of a 28mm figure) and have a 'stud' for basing.

Boring close up
Equally boring fan-shaped leafy bushes
Obligatory boring close up
Finally, you  may have noticed, in the background of the first photograph can be seen some bush-like material. This has resurfaced after many years due to building work affecting my outside shed. It's some form of bedding or potting material that I bought about 15 years ago to use a foliage for a twisted wire tree that never came to fruition  (hence the staining). It has the consistency of coarse string (what I would refer to as "Post Office parcel string) and I've an idea or two as to what uses I can make of it (other than the obvious one of thatching) - so watch this space.!

I won't be telling you of the boob I made cutting out a foamboard wall with two printed walls hidden on the reverse side, so that's it then for this week and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, 23 January 2017


I'm taking this opportunity to take a quick break from my normal blogging 'style' (more of my normal moaning and complaining follows below) to reflect of the last 5 years, even  though it's another fortnight or so before my blog is five years old!
The reason for this early reflection has been the realisation that I made over 100, 00 'hits' recently probably thanks to the influx of many Russian spam bots. I didn't notice this at the actual time as I don't  put a great deal of importance in hits as more than a passing reflection of blog success, as I find that more to be the number of those who regularly leave comments.
This post will also be my 252nd, (another 'milestone' - the 250th - missed?), but what I have noticed is the number of bloggers that still have blogs on my blog-roll that have either ceased posting altogether after less than a half a dozen or so posts (when their enthusiasm was at it's highest I'm guessing) and well established blogs that fold after about three years of regular blogging (my very nearly gave up on my own blog at the three year interval).
In the early days of my blogging I was given some sage advice about posting regularly, on a given day and replying to each and every comment etc. Most of this advice has now of course been thrown out of the window by my then adviser (haha!) but I have held to it,
I've also noticed a decline in the number of new followers, which is probably natural, but it is always warming to be able to welcome a new follower to my blog and to this end let me welcome "Ric Walters", for whom I can't find a blog.
Some bloggers I know put great sway in the number of their followers, but still don't manage to get even 10% of them leaving comments (like 'hit's', something else I think too many put importance upon)  - I get about 10% of my followers leaving comments, for which I'm truly grateful.
As a postscript to the above I was very pleased to see "Confused dad" posting on his blog "Confused Dad's Mental Wanderings" very recently after an absence of five years.
 Perhaps there's hope yet for some older favourite blogs : "Lucky Joes Place" (2 years absence). "Welcome to Lazarus" (which had a revamp of old posts about a year ago but nothing since) and of course "Obviously Dead" (with the many adventures of the Whiteface faimily! - over a year) and finally "Plastic Zombie" , that has been spluttering for a good while, but I can live in hope though can't I ?
I may even get around to posting on my other blog too!
The internal corner with rabbetting for goodness knows where ? 
Yes, it's now back to the boring bits as this week has seen the continuing frustrations I've had with Stoetzel's Federal house. The first floor (2nd if you're from the US) has the same fault design as the ground floor in one corner of the building and in the area above the entrance.
When cutting out the seven doors for this floor I also had to add doorknob to them, for as in the ground floor doors, none of them had door-knobs represented on the printouts either,
It's a minor complaint, (but nevertheless annoying) easily fixed with my Gold Sharpie Xmas present, despite my current shaky hands!
Before (top) and after,
Upper fl;oor (the hole is for the staircase (- another nightmare in the making)
The "fun" with this build  just hasn't stopped as I discovered that the upper floor has been creased across the width of the floor and with foamboard it's difficult to remove  - so I won't be trying, but will instead be looking for a way to disguise the damage. (-failure may not be an option, but throwing it all in the IS!)
The two large yellow circles in the photograph, highlight the crease and aren't tea-cup stains (I haven't had that particular delight - yet), The crease has probably come about with the my current limited work-space.

Coffee stirrers - Who'd have thought ?
The "crease" has necessitated a slight re-think in how I'll be aligning the upper floor with the ground floor and I'll be experimenting with an edge of coffee stirrers to retain it in position - just one of many ways it could be done, but as many regular followers will attest, I do like my coffee stirrers!

More Piratey goodness

It hasn't all been doom and gloom though as I visited "The works" with my daughter and they've restocked on their Pirate ship sets. After my daughter had paid for her purchases she received a 20% discount voucher which she promptly gave to me. I bought up all their stock of ships (both of them), presented the recently acquired  discount voucher and in turn received my own 20% off voucher which I immediately gave to my daughter!
Two ships for £16 (after discount) - bargain!
I intend to convert both, one into a larger (longer) ship and the other into a single masted schooner-type but the final decision on that front is still to be made.


Finally, in the last week I received yet another bag of "trees" from China; I've only two more bags to await before I have to think about basing up the entire lot!
From the photograph it will be obvious that thees are bamboo, but what surprised me was the very thin strip of wire running through them (vaguely visible in bottom centre of the picture).
They're about 4-5 inches long and I thought could also be used as corn stalks, as I'm pretty sure I've seen them used in such a capacity.

Well, that's it then for another week, not much I know, but thanks for visiting and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.