Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Weekly Update - July 31st, 2016 - This and That

Life on the Lushomon Canal, near Butrus. More boats...

It has been a pretty nice week, here at the Workbench. I am getting used to my new work schedule, and it's dovetailing nicely with the new(er) gaming interests that have been coming my way. I am very pleased with things; the weather has been nice, I've gotten in some very good gaming, and projects that have been hanging fire are finally getting done.

I have, for example, finally finished painting and basing the Foundry 'Assyrian Siege Mantlets' (Foundry #ASS038) that I had gotten in a series of E-bay auctions almost a decade ago. I like doing siege equipment - which is all Phil's fault, I think - and I have pavis and mantlet sets for the Tsolyani and Yan Koryani, with more 'generic' sets for everybody else. The archers that I got went into the Salarvyani army; as Craig Smith's original drawings look very Assyrian, I thought that they'd be most useful there.

This is part of a long-term plan to rebase and refurbish / refinish all of my siege train; it's been years since this has had any attention, and I'm finding that if I take the process in small steps, things tend to get done a lot faster. I'm at a point in my gaming life where all the really large projects are mostly done - with one exception - and so taking things more slowly has been a pretty relaxing way to unwind.

I am also getting back into writing, and moving along with "To Serve The Petal Throne". The two areas of activity are very closely related - the book gives me ideas for miniatures, and the miniatures bring back memories of the adventures that they were created for. As I have noted elsewhere, one of the main reasons why my collection is so large and diverse is that I had a week between game sessions out at Phil's to make whatever had happened or been seen in the game sessions. After a while, it all added up as you can see from the various photos here and on my Photobucket page.

Another project / activity has also been pretty satisfying. There's a thread I'm doing over on the RPG site ( called "Questioning Chirine ba Kal", where I try to answer any and all questions as best as I can. The thread has been active for about a year, and it was pointed out that we are now up to over 400 pages, over 4,000 posts,  and over 70,000 views. I'd like to think this is because of the sheer excellence of Phil's Tekumel, and not anything I've done; as I've said on a number of occasions, all I'm able to do is tell you what I saw Phil do in his campaign when I played in it; it's up to you, as he himself said, to make of that what you will... :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, July 24th, 2016 - A Nautical Diversion

Nemesis comes alongside; Harchar's on his quarterdeck, and all's right with the world. Dreadnought to the left.

Maritime Mayhem Game, with much of the fleet in action. Lady Caroline's Revenge got in Harchar's way...

We're going to have a small diversion from our course, and talk about ships and boats for a bit. One of our Regular Readers, who has a very nice blog entitled 'Adventures in Lead', asked about the ships he'd seen in the various photos of my game room. He recently posted an excellent article on an excellent model ship of his own; please do have a look:

I do have a lot of ships and boats that I use in games as needed; this goes all the way back to my getting a copy of "Bireme and Galley" from Fantasy Games Unlimited and a copy of "Sea Steeds and Wave Riders" from Judges' Guild. I mounted all the lovely deck plans included in these publications onto foamcore sheeting, and used them for years in our adventures out at Phil's. (I still have all of them, too.) I also drew up the plans for dear old Captain Harchar's various ships for our adventures; we spent several years of game and real time afloat.

Gaming technology has come a long way since those days. I was able to get a pair of solid foam galleys and a merchant ship back in 1987, and then in the middle 200's several companies came out with cast resin ships of various sorts. Grand Manner, Old Glory, and Flagship Games / Scale Creep Games are all represented in the fleet; I have also built a number of ships for specific scenarios and games. (Commercially available ships used to be available for very modest prices on Ebay; the Missus, Queen of the Internet, really deserves a lot of credit for building up the fleet for what was a very modest investment.) Laser-cut wooden ships and boats are also coming in to the market, and these are very nice; you might have to do a bit of gluing and assembly, but it's worth it. TRE Games has some very nice boats that make great cargo lighters, for example. And, interestingly enough, the gift and novelty shops also can be a useful source of boats; I got a half dozen very nice little fishing boats / rowboats from a company that specializes in table decorations, for example.

The flagship ship of my fleet is the mighty Nemesis, a gaming model of one of the packet galleys that go up and down the Missuma River between Jakalla and Bey Su; I built her in a weekend for a game session, along with the Prince Ahmed, a smaller sailing ship that can be seen in the lower photo - she's the red and white ship with the lateen sail. She has a removable quarterdeck, as access to her cabin was an important plot element in the game session.

Usually, when I build ships, they are intended for specific games and so usually have to be built pretty quickly. I normally cut a solid 'plank' of wood to the basic hull shape, and then wrap card stock around that shape to form the sides of the ship. (Glue. Small nails. Trim up as needed.) Nemesis is three planks, stacked on on top of the other; the railings were the most time-consuming part of her build, as was gluing 96 (!) Foundry shields to the railings. Similarly, Harchar's big merchant ship is also stacked planks, but this time of the pink extruded styrene foam I used for a lot of scenic projects. Her arch foe, the Hlyss nest ship, is built the same way.

The rest of the smaller ships and boats are resin, from various manufacturers; look in 'pirate' ranges, and you'll often find some very nice bargains. I prefer to buy the smaller boats, as they take just as much work to make them look good as larger ships, so for me it it simply more cost-effective to buy commercial products then make them; it's certainly possible to make them, though.

Serious ship modellers will note that I usually don't put a lot of detail into my ships. I've found, over the years, that while doing so makes for great models, it also makes for trouble in games; the details usually get in the way and get broken, so I usually put in only the stuff that's going to get used in a game. Masts, yards, and sails all fall into this category, as the players are forever shooting them off, hacking them off, setting fire to them, and doing all the things that heroic players do in the movies. I generally don't do holds and cabins, and prefer to supply separate plans to the players - it seems to keep the games moving faster, and adds more of a surprise factor when somebody breaks doen the cabin door or falls down through and open hatch.

And yes, I do have grappling hooks, in both artillery-fired and hand-thrown sizes; look in fishing supply shops for treble hooks, and then make sure to file down the barbs on the hooks before you try to use them in a game. Stout thread for rope is always nice; I like to supply my ships with lengths of thread for ropes, just in case of need. More then one ship has had to be towed to safety, over the years. :)

I think, if people don't mind, is that I'll alternate a post on painting figures with a post on a specific ship or boat; I think it might be fun to do so, als get more information out to all of you...

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Weekly Update - Monday, July 18th, 2016 - Of Wooden (Laser-cut) Ships and Iron (Portcullis) Men

More from TRE Games!

Lots of news, this week, and if it's all right, we'll dive right in!

 I've now had my first week in the new job, and I can say that I am really enjoying it. Yes, I do come home tired, but it's a good tired. My health is markedly improving, I'm getting more sleep, and I think I've made a good move. I am, as they say, a happy camper.

I was at the Minnesota Miniature Gamers Association' quarterly meeting - Recon - and played in a game of "Close Action!" rum by Mr. T. Arndt. It was great!!! Three of us old hands from the Conflict Simulation Association and three 'younger' players, amongst five ships - one player arrived late, so I offered him my ship, and I took on the role of the Spanish Commodore. It was 1777, and we were trying to get away from the Portugese squadron off Uruguay. We were bigger, and thus slower, but we had a lot more guns. The net result was that both squadrons got battered about pretty well, and lots and lots of reports had to be sent to Lisbon and Madrid.

It was a wonderful game, and reminded me of the nights at Coffman Union, all those years ago. A truly wonderful day!!!

TRE Games has come out with a pair of new products - a larger portcullis, and a set of three triremes, all in their laser-cut wood. I have the smaller versions of the working portcullis, and it's one of those little detail items that really makes an underworld adventure special. This larger one would be founf in more important areas, and it'll work just fine. I am very happy to have these!!!

The trireme kits gets you three ships for $8.00, and is - in my opinion - very good value for money. Each ship is built up in layers, and has alternate oars; you also get several sets of parts for the masts, so as to have spares, and there's a sheet of a dozen different sets of sails. These are very elegant little kits, and I'll say a lot more about them when I start talking about my little fleet of model ship...

More to come! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The Fifth - Azure Blue And The Heavy Infantry

Azure Blues
Tsolyani - Heavy Infantry 'A'
Tsolyani - Heavy Infantry 'A'
Thank you for your patience - the first week at the new job has been great, but I've been pretty busy.

So, let's move into deeper and murkier waters, shall we?

Back in the summer of 1975 - the dating is pretty vague, actually, Bill Murray of Old Guard (a manufacturer of historical collector figures in 54mm) contacted Prof. Barker regarding doing a line of Tekumel miniatures in 25mm. Bill had gotten the license to do the line from TSR, but since the latter didn't have a lot of material for Bill to work with, he contacted Phil for more information.

Phil sent him a list of the figures that he'd like to see made - it later formed the basis for the 'Painting Guide' information - as well as a pile of illustrations from both Phil and Dave Sutherland. In the beginning - this is back at the dawn of the RPG era, remember - the feeling was that 'fantasy wargames' would be like the usual 'Ancients' and 'Medievals' games; big armies facing each other across broad expanses of tables. So, there was an emphasis on 'military' figures in Phil's list; the various priests and priestesses were included with the idea that these would be the 'officers' and 'personalities' used in wargames, as well as the magic-using contingents that are part of Tekumelyani warfare. A this time, there were no recognized legions as such; this would come in a couple of years, with Dave Sutherland's "Legions of the Petal Throne" miniatures rules.

So, let's have a look at this 'Ur-list'. I'm using the "Heavy Infantry 'A'" figure; which was drawn by Dave Sutherland. Phil did the drawings of the Standard-Bearer, Trumpeter, and Archer; Dave did the Officer. Phil used these as a generic infantry figure; several different paint schemes exist in his collection. Today, I'll concentrate on what became the Legion of Serqu, Sword of the Empire, in later publications.

The first, and possibly oldest, question about Phil's idea of what his figures should look like is "What did he mean by 'azure blue'?". Well, as near as I can make out, he was probably thinking of the Humbrol MC20, 'Prussian Dragoon Blue'. I used Pactra 'Flat Light Blue' on my own figures, and Phil said that this was several shades too light; he preferred a slightly darker palette, himself, and it became very easy over the next decade to tell my figures from his simply by looking at them; put them side by side, and my figures were always a shade or two lighter then his. It made clean-up after games a lot easier.

So, from what I could tell that was his standard for the classic 'Azure Blue' - which he promptly departed from, as you can see from the photos. The armor on these figures is a metallic dark blue, which I'm still trying to identify: I am pretty sure that it's a Floquil color, as Phil didn't like using Pactra - I did, and the Pactra metallic blue I used looks a little lighter then Phil's color. The 'skirt' is a darker blue, kilt and tunic white, leather is Humbrol 'Red Leather', and trim in gold. I am pretty sure that the plumes are the MC20 color, right out of the tinlet.

Now, at this point I think I need to make a point that Phil was at pains to make for years:

There is no 'color standards list' for Tekumel.

Very early on in the history of Tekumel publishing, Phil got a letter from a fan asking what were the 'FS' numbers (from Federal Standards, published by the US government) and Phil replied that he didn't know. His point, in the course of a long and detailed letter, was that the dyes used by both his Tekumelyani and those used in the Terran ancient and medieval settings did not give perfectly consistent results. So, he pointed out, there will be subtle differences in these colors - the Temple of Ksaul may specify that their members should wear black cloth, but that black will vary between locations and between individuals; unless the very same 'dye lot' of a bolt of cloth is used, you will see subtle different shades in a group of what are supposed to be all the same unit or group.

Interestingly, Phil's point of view has been borne out over the following decades by practical experiment. Various re-enactment groups, such as the justly-famed Ermine Street Guard, have been using natural dyes in their outfits, and there are indeed noticeable different shades of color in fabrics. Hence, his lack of a color standard; it just didn't show up on his radar. He felt then, and for years later, that he was happy to provide descriptions of how he painted his figures but that the owner of a figure should have the right to paint their figures anyway they wanted to:

"Here's my Tekumel; now make it yours..."

Which is why we have this figure in Phil's own collection in blue armor and white kilts, black armor and orange kilts, blue armor and linen kilts, and so on.

"So, Chirine," I can hear you say, "Cut to the chase and tell us what color you use for 'azure blue' and where to get it." I use a color that Howard Fielding of The Tekumel Project found: Vallejo Game Color #72023, 'Electric Blue'. This color is a shade lighter then the Humbrol paint, but a shade darker then the Pactra paint I used; it's an acrylic, and looks very good on the game table.

Which brings up a point; we usually use very good lighting on our workbenches, but very poor lighting for our game tables. For example, I use three 60-watt lamps on my game table, but most of the places that I game have fluorescent tubes that give a bluer light. Wheh I built my game room, I installed track lights that provide a lot of light, in the same color spectrum that I have on the workbench, So, while I am very aware that my figures will look slightly different in some venues, I don't worry about it all that much and just get on with the painting.

Right, then. Questions? Comments?

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Weekly Update - Monday, July 11th, 2016 - The First Day At The New Job!

There's some rust, but it still runs...

This will be a very short update, and then we'll be back to the series of painting essays later today or tomorrow. It's my first day at the new job, and I've been trying to get used to the new schedule all weekend. This will be the first day shift I've worked in eight years, so I'm having to do the 'jet lag recovery' thing to get my internal clock reset.

Posts and updates here will be getting done at different times as we transition over into days, but I will get them done.

speaking of the essays, what would people like to see? I've had one request for information about the boats I have, and I'll do this after we get done with the painting stuff. This blog is as much yours as it is mine; what would you like me to talk about? :)

Friday, July 8, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The Fourth - Inferences and Choices

Various editons of the Chlen:
Original sculpt, resin in primer. basic colors, detailed and 'weathered';
Tummy scales shown at top.
Let's move on a bit in the painting process, if we may. I'm using a pretty basic paint scheme, that of a Chlen beast, to get us started in the process of color and paint selections.

Back in the day, we didn't have model Chlen to paint, but we did discuss what color Chlen-hide, that common and useful material - this of it as the 'plastic' of Tekumel - might be as we saw it so much. Phil considered the problem, and I brought him a couple of color charts ('chip charts', we used to call them) to look at. These used to be given away for free by paint companies in hobby stores; these days, you can get them from the companies on-line.

So, Phil looked over the Humbrol and Floquil chip charts, and selected a nice green-grey color for basic chlen-hide: Humbrol Authentics HP-4, 'British Army Deep Bronze Green'. I used I don;t know how much of the stuff over the years, as anything made of Chlen-hide that wasn't going to be dyed a different color - like weapons or armor, for example -  got this color.

Now, this particular color - like the rest of the Authentics line - is no longer available; however, we look at the IPMS Stockholm chart, and we see that it has been replaced by Super Enamel 075, 'Matt Bronze Green'. So, off to the hobby shop, and four of the classic Humbrol tinlets go into the drawers of my painting stand.

Two bits of very hard-won advice for anyone thinking about using Humbrol:

1) When you are using the stuff, keep a supply of toothpicks handy and stir the paint every now and then. Humbrol has a very high density of very fine pigment -it's why it's such a good model paint - and keeping it stirred helps keep the stuff at it's best.

2) After each time you use the stuff, clean off the cap / lid of the tinlet and make sure it's clean. Any air leaks into the little can will cause the paint to dry out with truly astonishing rapidity, and the stuff is not cheap. An occasional drop of the right thinner doesn't hurt, either, but one much be judicious about this.

Nowadays, we happen to be able to get a very nice Chlen from Howard Fielding of The Tekumel Project; this is a model done for me by one of my players, and is of the full-grown mature Chlen. Phil once commented that the beasts are big and slow, and this one certainly fits the description he gave as well as the drawing he did that was on the game board of "War of Wizards".

The model has belly scales, and these had been mentioned in our of our games by Phil as being the same sort of greyish-green, but much lighter. So, enter Liquitex Artist's Acrylics, stage right. Phil was an early adopter of these for his models; he didn't go to the art supply store, but being both clever and thrifty went to the University of Minnesota Bookstores' art supplies section. He pointed these excellent paints out to me, and I took the suggestion and have been using them ever since.

Back in the day, Liquitex made a very handy device like a circular slide rule, but with colors instead of numbers. one spun the inner wheel to get the colors that matched the sample printed on the outer wheel, and so got the color matches for the base color. It's a lot like the complimentary shades one finds in various paint ranges - the Reaper 'triads' come instantly to mind - and it makes it very easy to select colors. I don't know if this handy device is still made, or if a similar device is available from other companies; I'd be willing to hazard a guess that there is an on-line tool that does this same function.

Be that as it may, a little comparison work and we get out the bottle of Liquitex 'Baltic Green'. This color is in the same chromatic range as our 'Bronze Green', and a fair bit lighter - I used this lighter color because the beast's belly is going to be hard to see - it's always going to be in shadow, on the game table - so the lighter color makes it stand out when a player does have a look across the table. Details, like the yellow for the eyes, is simply one of the yellows from the Liquitex range. I also used the 'Baltic Green' to drybrush the beast, to bring up the details of the horns, toenails, and bumps on the hide. It looks good, I think, and brings out the details on the beast.

We'll let the beast(s) dry, and in the nest installment of this series of essays approach a more complicated subject...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The Third (Continued) - What Color Is That?

Some of Phil's Mu'uglavyani, in their original cigar box

So, now that we have some of the underbrush cut away, let's move a little deeper into the forest. Phil and Bill Murray of Old Guard did a lot of letter-writing back and forth about the new line of 25mm miniatures that Old Guard would be producing, and one of the things that got done was a long and detailed list of what Phil would have liked to have seen as a line of miniatures. Phil did very detailed descriptions, with lots of notes on colors, and both he and Dave Sutherland did a series of drawings of the proposed figures. Some got made; some didn't; decades later, Howard Fielding of The Tekumel Project is doing them, using the same information - and doing a fine job of it, if you ask me!

This information was later published in "The Dragon" magazine - #4, I think, the 'Tekumel Issue' - and even later on in a little booklet I did, cleverly entitled "Miniatures for Tekumel". I pulled together the drawings we had on file and the descriptions, and this was a useful adjunct to the painting guides being published in the backs of the "Armies of Tekumel" series.

The army lists' guides were an artifact of gaming at The Little Tin Soldier Shoppe, here in Minneapolis; the house rule was that figures appearing on the game tables there had to have three colors of paint applied to them, over and above the coat of primer. This had an influence on the guys who wrote the army lists - it's a big reason why the colors are grouped in threes, in the guides. One anomaly - until I started painting figures for Phil, nobody did any 'test shots' of what the specified colors looked like painted o actual figures; when I started doing these, a number of oddities were revealed - and it's also why I have a lot of single four-figure cohorts of troops in my collection.

The second anomaly - and a much more significant one, in my opinion - is that Phil didn't paint his own miniatures according to his own notes a lot of the time. He tended to do units of about thirty to fifty figures, and did them as the mood took him; he also painted so that he could see the miniatures on the game table. Phil's eyesight was never that good - he was legally blind, for most of the latter part of his life - and used one of those magnifying lens visors when painting. He also used a pair of binoculars at the game table, to see what was going on down at the other end; we all used to think this was sort of an affectation - that is, until I got to be Phil's age, and I started doing the same thing so I could see to the end of my own table. (Which is why I now have a 48" x 48" table, but we digress.) It did not help matters that all we had in his game room for light was a single 100-watt incandescent in a central ceiling fixture - the shadows were deep and dark, I tell you.

(All of this, if you'll pardon a slight diversion, is why when people asked "What unit is that?" the answer was "Whatever unit I need it to be..." from Phil. When I started painting figures for both him and myself, we agreed that we'd do a lot more 'standardization', but there's still a lot more individuality in Phil's figures then some folks are comfortable with. Generally, my figures are painted in the 'standard' schemes, as my figures were the 'demo army' for conventions; as time went on, we tended to use my figures out at Phil's, to save wear and tear on his figures.)

One of my on-going projects is to take the photo inventory I did of Phil's miniatures in 2012 and list all of the units he had, with breakdowns of what figures that he used and what colors he painted them with. It'll be a while before I get that done, so I'll try to provide some useful information as we go along in this series of essays.

At this point, I should introduce acrylic paints. Back in those far-off days, acrylics were a deep mystery, as you got them in artist's supply stores - these were very mysterious places, full of gaunt young men and hollow-eyed young women - art students! To say that us gamers looked out of place in such establishments was an understatement of titanic proportions. Phil would always casually offer greetings to the denizens of these places with a cheery "Hi! I'm Professor Barker; where do you have your paints?" - and he looked like a professor, too! - which got their instant attention and reverence. A full tenured Professor! In our shop!!! Wow!!!

This was my introduction to the Liquitex line of artists' paints, the ancestor of all the paints we see on the racks at our game and hobby shops today. I took to arcylics like the proverbial duck to water, and have been using them since the late 1980s. As we go forward, in our next essay, I'll try to give lists of the old and new, with suggestions on how to get that 'vintage look' to our miniatures.

Monday, July 4, 2016

On Miniatures - Essay The Third - The Professor And The Paint

The Professor And The Table Saw
(But that's another story...)

Right, then; this is going to be a somewhat complicated post - or maybe a couple of posts - about painting miniature figures as was practiced in Ye Olden Dayes.

Back in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, collecting and painting miniature figures meant that one was working in 54mm scale, and doing figures of (hopefully) museum quality. When the smaller 'wargame scales' - and I have seen a local guy doing French and Indian Wars in 54mm; it's astonishing!!! - were introduced, there was a lot of the collector figure painters doing the small figures, often as part of gaming clubs.

I'm going to skip over the subject of artists' oil paints, which were the paints of choice for a lot of the collectors; they can be used on miniatures to spectacular effect - one of my daughters does this, and it impresses the heck out of me what she can do! - but the paint takes forever to dry. Most modelers, in this long-ago time, used either enamels such as the American Testor's / Pactra line, or the lacquer-based Floquil line; painters outside the US had access to the superb line of Humbrol enamels; Humbrol paints were available in the US, but only from specialist suppliers and at great expense. As a result, they enjoyed a certain 'prestige value', right up there with artists' oils.

Acrylic paints, which will figure (sorry about the pun) later on in our story, were not widely known or considered for miniatures at this point in time. More anon...

Both Humbrol and Floquil came out with lines of their paints - Humbrol Authentic, for example - that were aimed specifically at the miniatures painter, and these are what was the standard paints in use when I started doing wargame-sized figures back about 1975. These had very specific colors, based off samples of actual paints and dyes, and were very useful for us - if you wanted an authentic paint scheme on your model, you looked at the list, bought the paint, and brushed it on.

So, the Tekumel connection. Phil loved miniatures, and he used Humbrol Authentic and Floquil Historical colors. When he says 'red leather' in his "Painting Guide" in "The Dragon", or 'scarlet' in the painting guides in the "Armies of Tekumel" series, he's talking about specific paints in the Humbrol Authentic line. Similarly, when he wanted to describe the paint he used for Tekumelyani skin, he specified Floquil 'Samoa' (M-80, in the old catalogs). Oddly enough, he never did specify the exact color he used for the Tsolyani 'Azure Blue'; I have some samples of what he used, and I'll mention them as we go along.

When I was Summoned To The Presence in early 1976 to paint figures for Phil, I had to make a list of everything he used, and what for; I then went out and got some of everything, as well as the paints I was using for my own models, and that's what we'll be discussing as we go along.

Now, the bad news. Floquil, Humbrol Authentic, and even the humble Pactra lines ae no longer being made. So, we'll have to look at the paint racks in the shops or online to come up with substitutes for these vintage paints. Here, as in so many things, the Internet is our salvation. Let's take a visit to our friends in Stockholm, and the website of the local chapter of the IPMS - the International Plastic Modellers' Society:

and to our friends at Microscale, suppliers of very handy hobby stuff:

Now, I do have a footnote to the Floquil chart; they do not list 'Samoa'. My suggestion for this color would be the Testor's 'Model Masters Acrylic' #4707 "Red Earth"; I matched this to a sample of Floquil's 'Samoa', and it's as close as I think we'll get to what Phil used.

How do I know this?

Okay, I'll confess. I still have my Secret Stash of all the paints I bought back in the day to paint figures for Phil, and they're all still useable - I made sure to always keep the threads on the caps clean, the appropriate solvent in the bottle to keep the paint 'wet', and - like any good wine steward - I kept the bottles in a cool dark place. (The cellar, or basement as we call it hereabouts.) to come up with my color matches, I painted a half-inch square of the old paint onto a flat white bit of styrene plastic card, and then did samples of all the new paints on the same card. I use three 60-watt incandescent lamps on my workbench, and I looked at the samples under this light - I paint under these, so it made sense to me to do it this way.

Now, we'll pause, and let all of you ponder these historical facts; now that we have the basics, I'll move on in the next post to more specific information. However, I do need to provide this very important safety warning:

While Humbrol enamels use mineral spirits / turpentine as their solvent, always check the actual tinlet that the paint comes in for the exact thinner to use on these. Floquil is a lacquer-based paint, and will dissolve anything made of styrene plastic that it comes in contact with - the solvent is basically acetone, which is the 'active ingredient' of plastic model cement. Both paints were made long before there were any kind of safety considerations being thought of, and both are toxic - Floquil very much so. I would very strongly advise anyone using these paints to use a good respirator (I do, and I insist on my girls doing so as well) and an exhaust fan; better yet, paint outside. But still: wear the respirator!!! I also use gloves and eye protection, which is why I am still alive; I can think of quite a few of my painting friends who didn't take the precautions that I have for the past four decades, and are no longer with us.

Next up: Chirine's guide to painting for Tekumel...

The Weekly Update - Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 - News, Mentions, and Miniatures

Roof tiles. I'm into roof tiles.
We're well into the holiday weekend, here at The Workbench, and I have been pretty busy. I had my last full night at my old job on Friday; I'll be in again on July 8th to finish up all the little details, but by dint of hard work and effort everything is pretty much done. As a result, I'm on the tired side, but I'll use tomorrow's holiday to talk about old paint lines and modern equivalents. I am now also embarking on three day's vacation, so I will be able to overcome (hopefully!) the 'jet lag' from moving to my new schedule.


I was able to get two sets of the working portcullis sets (three per set, for a total of six) from TRE Games at The Source today, and they assemble in no time flat. They are basically a box with the portcullis in the middle, and one does have to be very careful not to get any glue into the grooves that the portcullis slides up and down in. I put the glue on from the outside, after assembling the parts dry, using the glue as a kind of 'mortar' to fill in the clearances between the parts. It all worked fine; I am very pleased with these kits.


I also got a look at the TRE Games 'Pteradon' skyship kit, and I am very sorely tempted! The thing comes in what feels like a pound or two of flat stock, and the final product looks to be over two feet long and a good foot and a half wide. It is a whole lot more impressive in the actual package then you might think, and I am already thinking up paint schemes.


Another chore / task done today was going through the piles of old miniatures I've been dreading sorting for a while; today, I just buckled down and got to it. Like anybody who's been doing miniatures for any length of time, I have a lot of figures that I bought 'on spec' and then never got painted up. So, they are now all sorted, and I'll be putting pictures up for everyone to look at; I am hoping that they'll find new homes, and be part of somebody's games!