Rooster Cogburn – 54mm Andrea Miniature (September Neglected Challenge)

It was touch and go whether I made this post in time as I had been waiting for the base to arrive in the post for the best part of two weeks.  Fortunately I got there in the end!

The figure is by Andrea miniatures and is based on the Rooster Cogburn figure played by John Wayne in the film True Grit for which he won his only Oscar.  A fantastic sculpture in my opinion but anyone who is familiar with their work will know that Andrea set the quality bar very high.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a 54mm figure, despite the scale being where my modelling roots lie.  I’d forgotten how different it is to paint them after doing so much in 28mm scale.  Hopefully I’ve managed to do it justice.

So how did it become a neglected model?  In truth it’s less a case of neglected and more a case of forgotten.  The copyright date on the box was 2006 and I reckon I bought it about a year or so after that which puts it at about 10 or 11 years old.  As best I can remember I had problems pinning the front legs to the base, a pretty crucial aspect of the model given the scale and its weight (it’s a metal model).  I then put it to one side with the aim of doing it at some later date only for it to be submerged underneath various models subsequently bought but waiting to be done.

While She Who Must Be Obeyed has been away I decided a modelling tidy up was required and thus the fruits of my labour were rewarded by finding this forgotten piece.  After much deliberation between washing, cleaning and cooking for the kids in her absence or starting on neglected Rooster I decided it was time the kids learnt to be more self-sufficient.

A modest amount of acrylics were used in painting the figure, mainly as undercoat.  When it comes to 54mm figures, and horses in particular, I’m an oils guy.

Pictures of the finished figure below.




“The Lamerton Posse” – 28mm Old West Figures – The June Challenge (Part 2)

With the Plymouth show taking my time from this (Friday) afternoon and all day Saturday I thought I’d better post today instead of hoping to do so tomorrow and risk missing the boat and with it the June challenge deadline.

A much better week saw me manage to complete the remaining figures for the June challenge by the skin of my teeth albeit that I only achieved five figures in the end and not the six I’d hoped to do.  Not a great deal to say.  Basic figures on basic bases but enjoyable to paint all the same.  Still a little rushed but you can’t have everything!

Individual images of the three new figures below along with a group shot of all five.

Figures by Artizan and Dixon’s and painted using acrylic and oil paints.






“The Lamerton Posse” – 28mm Old West Figures – The June Challenge (Part 1)

For a variety of reasons, my dad going in to hospital with a suspected stroke being the big one, this has been a challenging week and time spent painting has been minimal.  As a consequence I didn’t think I would enter the June challenge.  War gaming looks great, I love what others are up to and I read their blogs and comment when I feel I have something to say.  I admire the gaming boards and the figure painting but I’m not into gaming myself and thus building armies etc is not my thing.  Accordingly I couldn’t see how to contribute to “June-it” against this background and the unforseen time constraints.  Then I went and had an idea – “The Lamerton Posse!”

A Posse is a unit of sorts, a gathering of men summoned by a sheriff to apprehend a wanted outlaw.  My historical genre of choice is the Old West and Lamerton is where I live in Devon so there you have it.

So far I’ve completed the first two figures (hence part 1!), albeit painted and based in to much of a rush.  I hope to hit a minimum target of five/six if I can.  The figures themselves come from Artizan and Dixon’s.  In the case of the two below both are from Artizan.  Very basic base work applied to both and painted using a combination of acrylics and oils.

Now to get my finger out and get the others done as the clock is ticking and the end of the month is nigh.  Hopefully this will prove to be a better week!

Images below.





The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – 28mm “The Man With No Name”

Prompted by IRO’s recent post I realised I had yet to publish my second contribution to his The Good, The Bad and The Ugly challenge.  So here it is.

For my part I figured it wouldn’t be right to not at least have one figure of the main character from the spaghetti western series which starred Clint Eastwood as “The Man With No Name”.  Andrea Miniatures do a very nice 54mm figure but this one is a 28mm (more like 25mm I’d say) from Ebob Miniatures.  A really cool pose in my opinion.

Painted using mostly oils but with some acrylics too.  The blue shirt isn’t quite so shiny in the flesh but I think it’s been exaggerated by the flash bouncing back from the oil paint but I’m guessing.  The close-ups highlight a few things that need some touching up so will make amends and get the brush out later!



The good the bad and the ugly – 28mm “Quigley Down Under”

I couldn’t say no to IRO’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly challenge not least of all because the Old West represents an era in which I have a keen interest.  It’s the era I grew up with and it’s the era which got me into modelling figures initially and in later years the era that I started to build dioramas and construct buildings.  Put simply it’s in the blood and it’s never going to go away and I wouldn’t want it to either.  A trip some years back to Tombstone Arizona will for ever be a life highlight.  It’s a generation thing as much as anything else and each to their own.

What I did for the challenge depended mainly on what figures I could find that would fit the bill and be of interest to me.  I found two, both fall within the “Good” category and this is the first of those.

A little more preamble.  A couple of posts ago I shared with you my brother Alan’s list of top 5 films (not produced in any particular order) that he felt had characters befitting of the challenge.  Fifth on his list was the film “Quigley Down Under”, set in Australia (The clue is in the title!) and staring Tom Selleck and the late Alan Rickman.  This figure which I found, produced by Reaper Chronoscope, is clearly based on the Quigley character played by Selleck, the good guy.

I couldn’t resist the figure for a few reasons.  firstly the Australian background was a fitting tribute to IRO and his challenge, it’s a good-looking figure (even if the paint job isn’t the greatest) and I know it will go down well with my brother who I’ve decided I shall give it to next time we see each other.

The figure is painted entirely using oils.

As for the next figure?  Well let’s big it up.  If you even remotely like western movies then characters don’t come much cooler than this one.  All I have to do is not screw it up!




The Last Of The Mohicans – 28mm Diorama – Part 2

A succesful week, helped considerably by the stay in doors weather, which has seen the completion of this model and also of one of my outstanding WW1 vignettes, the subject of a separate post to follow this one.

Not a great deal to say on this one.  The fir trees were completed with a couple of applications of static grass, the water effects were applied but need to dry a little further and the figures were painted and fixed in position.

The figures are in my opinion nicely designed but they aren’t the greatest of castings and they lack the crispness of other models that I have painted.  As a consequence they aren’t the best but perhaps I’m just getting my excuses in early!

The last photo was taken with the Magua model placed behind this diorama (my brothers idea, credit where it’s due).  The idea was to see how dramatic, if at all, the backdrop would look.  I think  a combination of both bits of landscaping could make for an interesting diorama, I just need to get my head around what figures to use.  There is no rush however as right now I’ve got more than enough lined up!

Photo’s below.




The Last Of The Mohicans – 28mm Diorama – Part 1

I wasn’t intending for this to be my post for this weekend but my recent posts on How To Make Fir Trees along with my Magua Model seemed to go down well so I thought I would keep with the “Last Of The Mohicans” theme while it felt topical.

As mentioned previously, the Last of the Mohican figures I bought comprised a set of six of the films characters.  Having already used the Magua figure the aim of this little diorama is to feature the other five.

Before deciding bow best to present the five figures I thought it would be best to sit down and watch the film once again.  It was a struggle but in the interest of research I put aside a number of chores that She Who Must Be Obeyed had left on a list for me to do as I figured these could wait.  Besides, most of the list consisted of “domestic” jobs and I’m strictly “maintenance”.

I decided that the most fitting theme would be to portray the figures walking in line along the side of a river against a back drop of rocks and trees.  There is a scene along these lines in the film although it also features Major Duncan Heyward who isn’t included in the set of figures.  I suspect I could have found a suitable figure if I searched hard enough but as my diorama wasn’t intended to be a wholly accurate portrayal I thought better of it.

The base was built up using foam board to provide height which was then clad using slate chippings from my garden drive. Similar chippings along with smaller stones and grit were used to construct the river bed.  The fir trees still need to be dressed and have therefore not yet been permanently fixed in place yet.

Next up will be working on the figures, completing the trees, painting the base work and applying the water effects.  All being well part 2 of this project will see the model in its completed state and hopefully I will get to post images of it next weekend.

In the meanwhile some progress pictures below.



The Last Of The Mohicans – 28mm Magua Figure

My third and final post for this weekend and the background to the first post on “How to Make Fir Trees”.

One of my favourite films is The Last Of The Mohicans staring Daniel Day-Lewis and Wes Studi.  I love the story, the cinematography and the sound track.  A winning combination all round.  Truth is from a very young age I have always had a soft spot for the Indians.  There is a reason for this and it is a true story.  Allow me to enlighten you.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side had three older sisters and back in the time of the Great War 1914 – 1918 the family lived in Windsor.  During the war the Canadians sent over an expeditionary force who were billeted in Windsor Great Park.  Many of these men were lumber jacks and native indians who were brought over to chop down trees to supply some of the timber used in making trenches.  Two of my Grandfathers sisters met and later married two Canadian service men and went to live in Canada when the war ended.  In the case of my Great Aunt Rose she married a man by the name Pete Commanda, a native north American Indian.  They spent their lives living on the indian reservation in a log  cabin on the shores of Lake Temagami, Ontario.  A story which has fascinated me from an early age.  For interest a couple of pictures below.

So, whilst trawling the Warlord Games web site some while ago I discovered a set of six figures based on the movie.  I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy them.  I decided they would make two models.  One, this one, would feature Magua on his own.  The other five figures would feature as the basis for a separate diorama.

One of my favourite sequences in the film is at the end when all the main characters are high up on the mountains.  Somehow I wanted to create a mountain scene, albeit with a degree of poetic licence. I wanted height, I wanted rock faces, I wanted fir trees and to aid the impression of altitude I wanted snow (the poetic licence bit as none featured in the film!).  I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve this and even if I could I wasn’t sure how good a single 28mm figure would appear dominated by a 30 cm high base.  As a consequence the idea sat on my to do list.  Then I got some inspiration on how to make fir trees.  I still wasn’t sure how the overall model would look but then decided to hell with it, let’s give it ago!

The first step was to sift through my outdoor log pile for a suitable log.  This was followed by some saw work to cut away sections which would house the trees and the rocks.  The photo’s below show some of the stages in that sequence.  I then cast some rocks using Woodland Scenics molds.  While various things were drying and doing their stuff I painted the Magua figure.  The Trees were made following the “How To Make Fir Trees” article that I recently published.

Everything painted and dried it was then all about assembly, more painting and then applying the snow.  My overall impression is that it came out looking OK.  I think I achieved the depth of scale I wanted and if nothing else then it’s a little different.

Now to deal with the other five figures!



28mm Old West Saloon – Boxed Diorama

This week has been a planning week with little being done in the way of actual modelling.  The simple reason for this is that I’m waiting on a number of things to arrive in the post.  When they do arrive my time will be dedicated to WW1 and RAF figures.

In the meanwhile I’ve started to look at how to go about constructing my Old West Town diorama.  I wont be starting it for a while but there is a lot to think about and a lot of figures to identify and purchase.  It’s also intended as a project which will last a long time.  One of the things I would like to do is install lighting to some of the buildings and with this in mind I revisited a boxed diorama that I put together a while ago.

The idea of a boxed diorama appealed to me when I saw one at a show I went to.  Keeping with my Old West theme I knew I wanted to do a western saloon scene but the first stumbling block was finding a suitable box.  Eventually I managed to find one on Ebay (see below).  An inexpensive purchase with windows at the top and front of the box.


Having acquired  a suitable box it soon occurred to me that I had a few obstacles to overcome.  Firstly, I didn’t need a window in the top of the box.  Secondly, although finding figures proved straight forward (Dixon Miniatures once again came up trumps) many of them came on bases which needed to be removed without damaging the figures feet otherwise they wouldn’t look right standing on a wooden floor.  Thirdly, I needed to get my head around how to make the lighting work and finally an issue I had originally completely overlooked, composition.  It’s not that I don’t normally give composition a lot of consideration because I do, it’s just that I soon realised with a box diorama you only have one view.  The figures therefore needed to be placed in such a way that they can all been seen.  Essentially it’s like looking at a stage theatre.

A very fine saw enabled me to remove the figures quite easily in the end and the lid of the box proved more than sufficient to conceal the lighting and associated battery and wires.  Composition was a matter or trial and error and the window on the box lid was filled with a stiff piece of card of an appropriate thickness to which was added a poem.  Yes, a poem.  In a moment of inspiration I came up with a few choice words which essentially tell the story of the people in the saloon.  If you cannot read it from the images below then it reads as follows:

When The Sun Goes Down

When the sun goes down and the day is over

Enter the town folk, sheriff and drover

A pianist playing and a barman pouring

A lady singing and saloon girls whoring

Whiskey and poker late into the night

A winner, a loser, a probable fight

Another day in another town

More of the same when the sun goes down

No prizes for finding all the characters in the box!

What follows are a few pictures of the making of the box diorama with the lights on and off.  Apologies for the quality of some of the photo’s but try as I might I seem unable to eliminate some of the reflective light .  Overall it presented quite a challenge but it should stand me in good stead as I look ahead to my Old West Town diorama.




Messing About With Realistic Water … Again! (Part 3 -Completed Model)

Well, after what seemed to take for ever the Realistic Water started to set which then enabled me to manipulate it before it was left to completely go off. Together with Woodland Scenics Water Effects I managed to eventually build up the “running water” into something like a fast flowing white water river.  When completely dry certain areas were dry brushed with Winsor and Newton Titanium White oil colour.

Where appropriate, the front of the canoe and by the paddles, I tried to create the image of cutting through the water.  All in all I’m reasonably pleased with this one but I’ll leave that for others to judge rather than me.  To give it some perspective the model stands 6 inches (15cm) tall and is about 3 1/2 inches (9cm) wide.

There is definitely an art to creating water that looks realistic and this is an area I may look to explore more in the future as I have more to learn for sure. For me though the jury is out with Woodland Scenics. Ideally it would be good to find something less liquid that can be molded but still dries clear (bathroom sealent?). It may well be that Woodland Scenics offer the best products for this sort of thing but I can’t help but think there must be others available and possibly cheaper too.  Something to investigate ahead of any future diorama I do with water.

If anyone knows of other products I would love to hear from you!  In the meanwhile some images of the end result.