Saturday, 24 June 2017

Acrylic Paints And Being Hung Up On Specific Brands

Acrylic Paints And The Battle of the Brands

Gamers are fickle people. Some will only every paint their models and figures with specific brands of paint. They are quite happy paying £3 or more of a tiny bottle of their favourite colours supplier.

I used to be like this when I used Humbrol Enamels over 25 years ago. It took a very bad experience with Tamiya Acrylics to put me off using them for years. I finally bit the bullet and bought a selection of Humbrol acrylics and never looked back. I then started trying different brands and before long ended up with hundreds of acrylics of all different shades.and hues.

It took a conversation with an old contact in Australia for me to look elsewhere and see that I had been overlooking a very cheap source of good quality acrylics. The Art Supplies sector. Artists use lots of paint in huge amounts and are always lixing their own shades. They tend to buy their paint on bulk and it cones in 2oz squeezy plastic flip top bottles under brands like Crafters, Decoart, Decorart DoCraft and other names of a similar nature. A quick search on EBay for Acrylic Paints this morning brought up over 33,000 lists. This included the usual wargamers supplies as well as artists supplies.

If you cant face EBay shopping theres always other sources for paints on the high street.
Hobbycraft carries Humbrol Acrylics and if you have no idea if theres a local store to you though just use their store finder option, 
They offer Free Postal Delivery or Click and Collect of you spend £30 plus they carry loads of other things that are useful for gaming. You can always just walk in and check out what stock the store has.

If not them have you tried The Works for very cheap generic paint. Order online for collect in store too that way you get what you want.They do have sales every so often and have a lower minimum spend for free delivery too.

Finally theres the good old fashioned decent Arts and Graphics Suppliers shop. 
I live near the Olympic Park and my local shop is called
They sell art supplies, glues, pens, pencils, paper, card plus more paints than you could shake a stick at.
I use the 2oz bottles for base colours nowadays to supplement the specialist shades that you just cant find generically. So dont over look these as a good place to buy paints. Remember the name on the bottle is only a guide. Only your imagination is stopping you from using that bottle of Dark Grey instead of a four times the cost branded acrylic paint called Panzer Grey to paint that tank. Remember that what looks right to the human eye at 100% scale will be far too dark when its applied to much smaller models and you have to adjust the shade and hues to get the TLAR* finish that you want on your model, soldier, ship, aircraft etc.

Oh in case you were wondering what TLAR* is? 
That Looks About Right !

Friday, 23 June 2017

Early and Later Polish - Part 6

Feudal and Medieval Polish - Part 6

Having been suffering the unusual June heat I slowed down on the painting front for a week.

The Early Polish army list starts at 960 AD and finishes at 1335 AD.

I have finally completed the Early Polish Noble cavalry elements.

In DBx terms they are 20 elements of Irr Cv [O]. In 1201 AD the Nobles and Generals are regraded to Irr Kn [F] I have yet to work out if this means they just change fighting style or adopt Western armour styles too. The Early Polish list is further complicated in that by 1243 AD the Nobles and Generals are regraded from Irr Kn [F] to Irr Kn [O] and Irr Kn [S] respectively. I have plenty of suitable unpainted metal left to create the remaining Irr Kn [O] and Irr Kn [S] elements so have decided arbitrarily that the 20 x Irr Cv [O] castings will also do for the 20 x Irr Kn [F] elements which saves me painting a third batch of 72 mounted figures.

Here are the 20 Irr Cv [O] Early Polish Nobles. The riders are Minifigs ZC320 Lithuanian and Polish Mercenary Cavalry with Lance on the outside with Minifigs ZC321 Polish Knight, Russian Style with Round Shield in the middle. I decide that this figure mix would better represent the Nobles supported by their retinue. I discarded the Minifigs horses because I didn't like them and replaced them with a special horse order from Donington Figures consisting HH01, HH02 and HH03 one of each on each element's base for variety. The Minifigs horses are now in the spares box which means I can use them to replace any broken figures or others I might obtain that are sat on the older 1st Generation Minifigs horses.

Lastly I have finally completed the last batch of 10 x Irr Sp [I] elements that make up the core of the Polish peasant infantry, 40 elements in all. They are also Minifigs Z338 castings. I have a huge batch of Irregular Polish Spearmen to also paint for the later armour style from 1200 AD.

This means I can actually deploy the Early Polish army between 960 AD and 1242 AD which is at least a start.

The New Elizabeth Line Trains Launched This Week

New TfLRail Train Launches 22/06/17

Officially the Elizabeth Line doesn't launch until December 2018 but TfL are introducing the new trains under the TfLRail branding from today. There's only one unit in service at the moment and its not even running on an advertised service. TfL have added a special service on the line. Currently its M-F only 10.30 Liverpool Street to Shenfield and it returns at 11.39 Shenfield to Liverpool Street. I can only assume that its to test the unit under real operational conditions and the will add in further units once they are commissioned and replace the current BR Class 315's in service two at a time as the BR Class 345 is twice the length of the old trains.

I took the opportunity to take a ride on the second day of service. I got delayed on my bus and saw the train leave platform 8 at Stratford as I got to the top of the stairs. A bit of quick thinking and I went over to platform 10 and jumped on an Abellio service to Colchester Town and got off at Romford having passed the TfL Rail some 5 minutes earlier further back along the route.

The train design is typical of the new Bombardier designs and functional inside. The 2+2 seating is as hard as a rock as just as dreadful to sit on as the other units of the Electrostar family of trains. See Wikipedia for the class specifics. These trains are the replacement design for the Electrostar and seem to share some of the internal design concepts that Siemens have installed on their Desiro Class for UK Train Operating Companies.including the rock hard highback 2+2 seatings. If you get the chance try and grab one of the transverse low back seats that face inwards across the coaches as these seem to be much more comfortable IMHO.

TfL have ensured that they are disabled friendly with lots of dedicated wheelchair spaces along with an audio and visual display system that is generationally a leap forward from the current dot matrix designs on the older trains.

The journey was very smooth with hardly any sign of hard braking though the insides of the coaches because noticeably noisier as the trains went over points or crossovers. Some further thought into noise transmission into the trains would have helped with this. There are three pairs of entry doors per coach which is 50% more than on the older trains which makes for entry and exit times being greatly reduced. It also means that there should be less of a fight getting past those idiots who insist on standing in the doors when they are travelling more than a couple of stops. 

Here are a selection of the pictures I took on my two journey excursion earlier today. One word of warning due to Network Rail not having completed the platform extension works at lots of the stations the last two pairs of doors in the final end coach are locked out of use during the journey for safety reasons.

BR Class 315 at Romford Waiting Its Pension To Arrive 

Broken Down Greater Anglia Class 1 Express stuck in Platform 4 at Shenfield