Friday, 22 July 2016

Good news for Venexia fans!

In the gap between me stopping collecting and painting 16th C war-games figures, Venexia came onto the market and disappeared from it. Whilst I have managed to buy a few of these fantastically detailed figures second hand, it has been very frustrating to think of what might have been.

The master figures were bought by Sgt Major Miniatures in the USA and there has been a lot of speculation and anticipation about when and whether they would be brought back into production.

A few weeks ago I wrote to them asking and have just had a very welcome and encouraging reply:

Subject: Venezia Italian Wars range 
Sorry for the delay, I have been having some issues with the web site eating messages, and failing to alert me as they come in, cleaning up many old messages this morning... 
I am slowly working on getting the line back into production.  I have issues with the master figures they supplied when I bought the company, they melt in the mold maker, I think they must have some solder or something in the metal, its completely ridiculous! Anyway, the process to fix this is incredibly slow unfortunately.  I have gotten the Ottomans back into production, and the Italian Wars should be back in the next couple of months.  The Louis line is currently being re-done, and the rest of the lines will follow that.  Its been 4 years since I bought this line, and I want it back in production as much as everyone else, probably more, I haven't been able to make any sort of return on my investment thus far...  
Sincerely,Sgt Major Miniatures

Good news - the wait should soon be over and I'll be at the front of the queue for some gendarmes!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A small barn

I started this a while ago but was sidetracked by my French crossbowmen and distracted by work so made little progress. Another cause of delay was finding some suitably thick card for the steps - I started off doubling the mounting card I use for the walls but that was a huge faff and left an obvious line half-way up each step. Then I found an out of date catalogue about to go in the paper recycling with just the right thickness and in half an hour had my steps.

The idea was to make a small barn with space upstairs for one of the farm hands to live. The design is based a little on one of the out-buildings of a place we have stayed on holiday in France.

The method is the same as the other buildings I made - a basic structure from picture mounting card and bricks /stones made from cut up old business cards stuck together with wood working PVA glue. Once the basic structure is together, I give it a wash with dilute PVA and ready-mixed filler for strength, texture and to soften the edges.

I painted it with DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic - Country Maple as a base coat and inside then dry brushed with lots of Tan  and a little bit of Antique Gold (looked like yellow ochre to me) to break it up. To give a bit of variety I then picked out individual 'stones' in different browns, ochres, greens and greys. My first go used much too strong colours and after a massive amount of dry brushing with Tan paint, the effect was like a photo with way too much grain and contrast so I flattened everything down again with a wet dry-brushing of tan, reinstated some shadows and colour variation and re-did the colour picking out with more toned down colours.

After a more careful dry-brushing with slightly diluted Tan and then Tan-white, the rather vivid colours toned down and it all came together.

One thing I did very differently this time was the doors and shutters. Rather than using cardboard and using paint in lieu of texture, I tried to follow the techniques in this amazing building blog making buildings in foam board and used plasticard scored and shaped with a knife and textured with a suede brush. I think the overall effect is much better - more natural and easier but it does mean I have three buildings with very different woodwork.

Even so, the effect of the whole little village / hamlet is what I was looking for with a small jumble of mission tiled roofs and sun-bleached walls.