Monthly Archives: February 2011

Weekends are never long enough!

With the weekend less than twenty four hours away I’m really looking forward to Friday night. The astronomy club is host to a chap called Greg Smye-Rumsby and he is giving a talk about Pluto, no not Mickeys dog, the former planet. So that should be Interesting, plus I’ll have the chance to catch up with the brilliant people who go along to AAS and, hopefully, get to see one of my mates’ new ‘scope, sadly the weather forecast isn’t too promising and I’m debating on whether to take my scope along. To be honest it’s a bit bulky to carry to work and then transport to Woodchurch and not be able to use it. On the other hand the weather has an uncanny knack of clearing over the village for the last Friday of the month.

Saturday is shop day, something else I’m looking forward to, my attendance has been somewhat lacking for several weeks and the lads have started to wonder if I’m quitting. Hopefully the talk of my tau army actually being painted should go some way to allay their concerns. Even if I were to stop going to the shop on Saturdays I don’t think I would pass my armies on, I’ve put far too much effort into them to the painting to get rid of the models, plus I do think I’d still get the odd game in now and then with Smiffy. What I would really like is a weekly gaming group that has a couple of full size tables and runs on a Sunday, not completely sure that Trudes would be too happy with me taking every Sunday out to satisfy my 40k craving but one can live in hope.

Sunday is going to be a quiet one, I think Trudes is planning to pay her son a visit so I shall have a completely chilled day snuggling with the pups and catching up with crap TV. There may also be a spot of painting.

Since I’ve mentioned the pups, there has been a development, Trudes, and I suppose me, has officially adopted Richie. There were concerns that the PTB’s at TLDR would want to re-foster him which would result in us losing him, not something that I would allow to happen, the effect it would have on Trudes would be very detrimental to her health, so that simply cannot be permitted to happen. The adoption means that he is ours and that no one can take him away from us.

So there you have it, what will hopefully be an enjoyable weekend and a happily ever after as far as the pups are concerned.

Until next time!

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Sometimes humans are good!

I’ve heard of some ridiculous ideas before, a chap wanted to put an expedition together to find a hole at the north pole because he thought the earth was hollow and there could be new lands to (conquer) er, I mean cultivate. Then there was the plan to make battle ships out of icebergs. Just two of the ridiculous ideas that the human mind has formed. but the other day I read something that is completely beyond ridiculous, that plan is an idiotic proposal called “Double Summertime” this means that during the summer months it will be lighter later, at the height of the summer sunset won’t be until as late as 23:00 in some parts of the British Isles. Now I do hear whoops of joy from some of the residents of this nation all chanting great more summer, yup, this means that the chavs will hang around the streets longer before they have to go home to be tucked in by mummy after a hard days mugging and boozing on cheap alcohol. Yes the summer days will be longer with around sixteen hours of daylight. This also means that the winter days will be shorter, with about seven hours of day light. This means that in the winter in the UK we would have to travel to and from work in the dark, as sunrise would not happen until after 09:00. On a personal level this would mean that my passion for astronomy would be difficult, sunset at around 22:15 would mean that in won’t get really dark for about another hour and it doesn’t get truly dark during the summer as it is. I know that astronomers would benefit from the longer winter nights, not that they would be that much longer.  I think it would mean that sunset would be a half hour earlier where I am. Personally I feel we should stick to GMT, none of this +1 rubbish, There’s more daylight in the summer anyway it’s a natural occurrence, so stop messing about with it. if the public have any say in this moronic decision, and let’s face it the way things are at the moment it’s very unlikely, I for one will vote against it, and I would urge any of my readers who are UK based to do likewise.

On to something else, some of you are aware that Tea and me foster our dog Richie and that his vet care is, supposed to be, funded by The Little Dog Rescue, sadly for a reason that is either political or financial, the rescue have allowed Richie’s vet bill to get to such a high amount that our vet has, quite rightly, said that he will no longer see or treat Richie unless payment is made at the time of treatment. I don’t dispute that and think it very fair. Our vet did not make this decision lightly. When I spoke to him regarding this he was very apologetic and stated that he realised that this may result in health problems for Richie. This also meant that he would not release medication that Richie needs and must have unless they are paid for there and then. I realise that there are many people who hold to the thought that he’s just a dog and what does it matter if he gets his tablets? Fair comment! The thing is, it matters to us! Richie is a warm affectionate little chap who has been very badly treated in the past; to be honest I’m surprised he is able to trust any humans. Ok so he has a dodgy ticker and he has limited time with us, so it’s down to me and Trudes to ensure that he gets the love and care he really deserves. He may have a few months or he could carry on for a couple of years, we won’t know until the time finally runs out. The short of it is that Richie has been officially adopted by us and we are now fully responsible for his care, it won’t be easy and we will have to make a few small sacrifices now and then. But he’s totally worth it. Better that than have him taken away from us and constantly shunted from one foster home to another where he may not be as loved as he is with us. I’m not saying that we’re the greatest dog carers in the world, we spoil the dogs rotten and we’re probably a bit to soppy with them but that’s us and I know that we’re not alone in the world of soppy dog lovers. I truly hope that the rescue manage to sort out the problems they are having and that none of the dogs under their care suffer as a result of what appears to be nothing more than a power struggle. A good friend of mine has been involved in reputable organisations where similar situation have happened and it usually ends badly. Sometimes people want all the credit and recognition but don’t want to do any of the effort that earns them the credit.

On the opposite of that there are those who put in the effort that would rather remain anonymous. Such a situation has arisen and I would like to say that thank you doesn’t do a certain person justice, this person is beyond thoughtful, and if karma is an actual thing then our unknown friend has shed loads of positive karma heading for them. Trudes and I will probably never meet the lady concerned, but if ever we do we will show her how special she has become to our little family, to be honest it has a new member as of 18:00 today.

So I leave you to ponder the concept of karma, go look it up, once you have figured out what it means, take a deep look at how balanced your karma really is.

I’m also going off to finish watching Bones, possibly have an hour’s painting, I’ve made a start on the Tau models, huzzah! I’ll also squeeze some grub in there somewhere.

Have fun doing something that you enjoy, I know I will as long as the government don’t try and put the kibosh on it.

Mission (and Mumak) accomplished!

Hello all, just to bore the pants off you, I thought I’d give you a better look into the miniature painting I do, although this model is not the norm, 40K doesn’t have elephants, sorry the post is a bit long but as you will read below, there’s an awful lot of work involved.

Any way I hope you enjoy this post.

I have finally finished a model that has taken me more than 16 months to paint. I wish I could say that the whole of the time was spent painting the model, but this is not the case, I’ve actually spent around 12 hours painting a War Mumak of Harad. The model has been painted in three stages, Mumak, Howdah and base. the easiest part to paint was the Mumak, the hardest was the base. It’s a very busy base, as you can see in the pictures. the hardest part to build has to be the howdah, mainly because I’ve misplaced, er lost, the instruction sheet. So I had no idea how the blooming thing went together, fortunately a good search of the net was very helpful. after cleaning and removing mould lines and flashing the whole thing was sprayed with grey primer, including the base. The Mumak’s body was in two halves, as was the head, those components were glued together and then washed with Badab Black. I figured elephants are more or less grey and the Mumak is just a bigger, nastier version of an elephant, so washing over the primer should work fine, it did! I got the effect I was after and the wash settled in all the wrinkles of the hide to create a multi tone effect from black to the grey of the primer. the head, tail and ears were given the same treatment, the eyes I painted blue after the head had been washed so that they stood out, and applied a little red war paint on the front of the head. on each of the Mumak’s flanks there is some rigging which forms the main strutting for the howdah, this consisted of wooden beams, rope and a blanket of some type. The beams were painted with Beastial Brown, it appeared to me that the blanket was made from a type of leather so that got painted with Snakebite leather. The rope was left grey and the rigging washed washed with Devlan Mud,

The howdah appeared to be constructed from three types of material, wooden beams, cloth and what looked to me to be wicker, so the beams were painted Beastial Brown, the cloth was base coated with Mechrite Red and the wicker was base coated with Khemri Brown. The wooden beams and the wicker were then washed with Devlan Mud and the cloth was washed with Baal Red, once the Baal Red wash had dried the cloth was washed again but this time with Leviathan Purple. The tusks and toenails were base coated with Bleached Bone and then washed with Gryphonne Sepia, once that wash had dried the the tusks were washed again with Ogryn Flesh and the toenails were given a wash of Devlan Mud. Once it was all dry I set about building the howdah, it wasn’t easy! Once again GW moulding left a lot to be desired but after a few minutes, and a couple of choice words, later and the thing was finally together. I attached the head to the body and the glued the tusks in place.

For the base I sprayed the whole thing with Iyanden Darksun and then painted the three horse corpses, one black, one brown and one grey. The fallen warriors were given green cloaks and the armour was base coated black then dry brushed with Boltgun Metal, their hair was painted with Bad Moon Yellow and the exposed skin was painted with Rotting flesh and then washed with the old style Flesh Wash. I also picked out the other details like weapons and rocks. I then sprayed the base with Devlan Mud (again) and then repainted areas like the warriors hair and faces using the same palette. I then gave the exposed rocks a wash with Badab Black and then dry brushed with Fortress grey to highlight the edges. I also gave the grey horse a Fortress Grey dry brush. After a few finishing touches the beast is finally finished. I’m very proud of the finished model, I don’t know if it’s because it’s for someone else but It definitely seems to be one of my best efforts yet.

Any way, on to the pictures

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The base primed

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Iyanden Darksun basecoat

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Some detail painted

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Washed and more detail painted

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The completed base, the pictures don’t show the detail that well.

And Finally!

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So there you have it, back to the Space Marines. I still have the Venerable and Iron Clad Dreadnoughts to paint, 2 devastator Squads and a Predator to paint, and then I have a Librarian Dreadnought to get on with. It’s gonna take a while.

Night all!

Elephants!

We originally planned to have some friends up to play a game that I got for Christmas, Unfortunately this didn’t happen. It turned out that Trudes had planned to see Ben earlier in the week and they had arranged to go to the cinema. She doesn’t get to spend a great deal of time with her young man so anytime she does get is very precious. Knowing that the friends concerned would totally understand the situation we cancelled and i stayed home with the pups. Boy would Trudes be in for the cold shoulder when she got home, Richie was extremely put out with the fact that she went out. Normally when she goes out I have both dogs on the sofa with me and they sit quietly content knowing that they are safe and snuggled. today however was a bit different. Several months ago one of the guys from the shop bought a rather large model for the Lord of the Rings table top game, the model concerned is a War Mumak, it’s basically a big elephant with six tusks and a bad attitude. I was asked to paint as the lad isn’t very confident in his painting skills. so, like a fool, I agreed. that was over a year ago. well since i had the house to myself, and given the fact that yesterday I gave the chap my word that the model would be painted and delivered to him on Sunday, I made a start on painting the thing. I started at around 13:00 and finished at about 18:00. I must admit that i am rather pleased with the results so far, and my deadline of having the model finished by Friday night is looking rather realistic.

The model is based on a beastie that features in the books and, obviously, the films, and it is the standard elephant colour, grey! now I’ve never painted something that uses a real animal as the template, I’ve painted a couple of dragons and some weird alien creatures, both of these allow you a free run with your palette. so an elephant was a bit of a challenge, i spent a few hours looking at pictures to get an idea of skin tone and shading, and to get get an idea on the best way to paint the tusks, granted it’s not an accurate representation but it’s close enough for jazz, as you can see by the pictures here. SDC10051

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They don’t really do it justice, the flash from the camera washes out the shading and the background could be better as Trudes pointed out. but the important thing will be Sunday when I present it to the owner and see how he reacts to the end result, I expect I shall be a bit worried that he will hate it, but knowing him as I do that’s rather unlikely. All I have left to say about this particular model is, although I’ve enjoyed painting the model, I’m never going to do another one.

Fossils!

I walked the pups a bit late this morning, I managed an all too rare Saturday lay in, well lateish, Ronnii had me get up at 09:00 as she was desperate for a pee, so I grabbed Richie and we were soon outside in the cold and the wind and the rain, the pups didn’t seem to mind, Richie even went so far as to take us on a bit of a tour. He gets a bit stubborn and refuses to walk, when he gets like this I either have to pick him up and carry him home or follow him. Today I let him take charge and we had a bit of a wander and he found some new smells, and we got shouted at by what sounded like a rather large dog, Richie shouted back and the big dog did his best wolf impression.

Once we were home I made my nearest and dearest a cup of coffee and then headed down to the shop to see the lads at the 40k club and see what I could spend my vouchers on. I settled for two boxes of Assault marines, they should do some damage. I only stayed for a short while, overseeing one game and taking time out to explain to the guys that to be actively involved in the hobby the really should get some dice and have, at least, a basic understanding of the rules.

I left the shop at about 13:00 to jump on a bus to Canterbury, as I learned earlier in the week that the annual fossil road show was being held at the Museum of Canterbury. So I took time out from my usual Saturday activity to visit the museum as I’ve missed it each year for the past four or five. It’s moved since my last visit, from the Beany museum to the Museum of Canterbury. On arrival it was nice to find that the entry fee had been reduced for the event from £3.50 to £2. Each room had a display and at least two very helpful people staffing it. I didn’t get a good look at the first table as there were quite a few very excited children asking questions about the items on display. There was a rather fun looking “Dino-Dig” where small peeps could hunt for fossils that had been buried in sand, with the added bonus of keeping the fossil they found. There was also a quiz that the children could do, and if they answered all the questions correctly they were rewarded with a small bag of fossils. moving on to another table that had some well preserved crabs, turtle shells and fish bones, sadly I didn’t get a chance to speak to the chap manning this table as he was deeply involved in helping another chap identify a find. Thinking it best to leave them to it I went into the next room where I saw some beautiful Ammonites and belemnites, much better than any I’ve found on my local beach, jealous much? I chatted with the nice lady supervising this spread and correctly identified a few items. I was quite pleased that I didn’t sound like an idiot, stuffed up on a mammoth tooth because of the fact that it had freshly broken open and I saw, for the first time, what one looked like on the inside. Wow is a word that springs to mind. I also mistook a fossil sponge for a mososaur tooth, but in my defence it was very similar in shape. I headed downstairs to the final area and it was clear that I’d saved the best until last. On the first table were some fantastic crabs, fish and lobsters, but the best pieces were, without doubt, the fossilised snakes and a croc that was part of the stomach contents of something much bigger and probably much meaner. I could clearly see bones and teeth and a couple of gastroliths. I was very impressed with the iguanodon and Ichthyosaur remains and chatted with the lucky chaps who had been fortunate enough to find these remarkable fossils. The last table I visited was displaying what I thought was a mammoth bone but the young lady sitting at the table corrected me and said that it was, in fact, an elephant bone. There were also deer remains and an extremely nice tusk from an elephant. Also on this table were stone tools ranging from arrow heads through axes and all manner of wonderful things. Our ancestors were quite ingenious, so there you have it, a couple of well spent hours chatting with some very knowledgeable people. It’s a shame this is only an annual event as I would like there to be a larger, longer fossil based event in the area. I think the highlight of the day has to be the expressions of wonder on the faces of the kids as they learned about the things they were seeing. I don’t think they quite grasped the concept of the age of the fossils, to mast ten year olds an hour is an eternity, but they certainly enjoyed themselves. There needs to be more events like this as it raises awareness of a pastime that means kids get out and do something rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. Well done to the organisers and collectors and thank you, Although it was a small event, it was worth the travel time and certainly worth the £2 entry fee, it’s also rekindled my need to spend some time down the Warren, with the rough weather we’ve had these last couple of days I would think that some good stuff has been washed out of the clays, I also hope to get a visit to Pett level, on the Sussex coast, in this year, although one visit isn’t enough. If I had my way I’d take a tent and spend a night there and get two days fossil hunting done.

The region hasn’t had a clear night for the better part of two weeks and now that I have some of the things I wanted for the ‘scope I’m very eager to get out and set the Meade up, according to the forecast it should be clear on Tuesday, well one can live in hope. There are also plans afoot to set about getting a new ‘scope, it involves saving and probably a trip to either Tunbridge, Dorking or Sittingbourne, check back in a few weeks for an update on that one, and once the weather improves I’ll try and get down the Warren and collect some fossils which I’ll post pictures of. You never know I may be able to persuade my nearest and dearest into taking a walk with me and taking the pups, they may be useful in sniffing fossils out, you never know!

hoppy burpday

Today has been pleasantly quiet, I had a lay in and took the pups for a stroll quite late, I was given my birthday gifts I got a head lamp and some mini LED lights from the pups, the head lamp will come in very useful on my next trip to the Dover fortifications. Trudes got me The Sorcerers Apprentice on DVD, a film I’ve wanted to see but never got around to it. So that’s all good. From Trudy’s folks I got a gift voucher for the shop so that will probably go towards one of the three Land Raiders I want for the Space Marine army. Trudes has said that I have some more pressies on the way so I shall look forward to those, and other friends have been awaiting confirmation on whether or not to get me something from Games Workshop. I sent a message saying as much so that should be winging its way soon.

I received a rather nice card from a very good friend who I’ve now known for around twenty years, I have to admit that the words inside it did bring a lump to my throat and nearly made my eyes leak, I was very touched. I also got loads of birthday messages via Facebook.

I messaged the friend to ask if he would be coming over, sadly he’s suffering with a long term back problem and was more or less immobile. Trudes asked how he was and when I told her she suggested that I go and pay him a visit. So off I went, It was nice catching up and spending time with a really good mate.

back home and Trudes went in to town to get some bits, including something nice for tea, she came back with a rather tasty chinese meal and cake, cake is always good but I’m reining myself in and not having cake until tomorrow when I can share it with friends who will be calling in.

So I’ve had a nice relaxing birthday and really enjoyed the time.