Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas one and all!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas

May your stockings be full of marvelous toys!

Mostly Moat....what sort of madness be this?

      Even someone as mad as I will stop and consider exactly what they are up to. On occasion this moment of reflection changes the course of their actions, on other occasions it does not. I was confronted with the moat question when I first started this project; in my usual style (working without a plan and even fewer serious thoughts) I dismissed the question and charged ahead. It now seems that I have run out of "ahead" and have come full-circle to the moat question once more.

   I stopped to fully contemplate exactly what modelling the moat would entail; to model it at full depth (and why would you do ANYTHING else, if you were to take the plunge that is) would mean building a full-depth counterscarp (which would be about two inches high). This would look simply foolish without the covered way and glacis in front of it, so they would have to be added. Even compressed by a third these would add about six feet to the distance from the center of my model to its outer edge. Consider the lovely drawing below.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Aspern-Essling anyone?

Austrian grenadiers storming the Granary 

   Tom has offered to host another mega-game; this time the very-near-run-thing of Aspern-Essling. A titanic conflict between the still very good French and the Austrians in their very best form. Looking for players who can commit to at least six hours of gaming. And availability dates in the near future  This should be epic!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Of Guns and Gunners

somehow the British gunners ended up without a single linstock amongst them   
while the Dutch, Spanish and French are all properly equipped

     While waiting for the glue to dry on the bastions-basing project I spent my time finishing the gun crews that I had assembled. This took less time than I thought it would and I now am the owner of six more gun crews. I also painted one of my scratch-built fortress-carriage cannons. They seem to work together well enough. I am thinking that making a mold and casting the guns instead of scratch-building them is probably the best answer, more on that idea later.

the French gunners bravely volunteered to fire the experimental new cannon

Monday, December 18, 2017

Basing the Castillo....

    I got some 1/4" plywood cut to the required sizes for basing the Castillo. Gluing the parts down will be slow work as I have to wait for the glue to dry. To keep myself amused while that happens I assembled a bunch of gunners and started the painting process by priming them. Four weeks to the convention does not seem like long enough!

the bastions are on 30" squares, 
if you look closely you can see the pencil line that marks the edge of the moat

a fort without guns and gunners is little more than an interesting pile of masonry 
so I'm off to the races with painting guns and crew

Sunday, December 17, 2017

For want of a nail....

     So, I sat myself down and faced up to the jam I had placed myself in. Nail heads, zillions of 'em! Dozens of shutters and doors each needing dozens of nail heads to look believable, then there was the drawbridges.......

     Three hours later I was done. I think they turned out rather well after all.

in retrospect I probably should have painted the coat of arms on that shield
before I glued it to the drawbridge....

can't build with wood and not use nails! next is chains and portcullises

there are an awful lot of windows and doors on this thing !
I really should have made a mold and cast them in resin, such is hindsight

Friday, December 15, 2017

OK, So I'm a wimp...

     Facing the daunting task of installing bars in simply dozens of window frames I wimped out. The fact that I had run out of florist's wire and there was a snowstorm in progress gave me an excuse, but it was just an excuse and I know it.
     Instead of the barred windows I opted for installing shutters, it was only afterward that I realized that I would now have to put no less than four rivets on each and every one of of the hinge straps!

What price cowardice?

Of course the answer is Tedium, more Tedium.           Oh, the shame of it all!

in retrospect I should have made a mold for the window and door frames
at times I am an idiot

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gaming Update

     With the chaos of overtime, my birthday and Christmas piled into the next ten or so days I really would like to get a chance to game. Is anybody available around 1900hrs on the 15th, 16th or 17th?
Call or respond in the Comments section, also be ready with an idea of what you would like to play.....I am far too swamped to be creative. Assuming I can get stuff done around here there will be times open next week as well.

Glimpse of the future

the red trim over white plaster is striking on the model, on the real thing
 in the blazing tropical sunshine it must have been absolutely stunning

    When dealing with a long-drawn-out project I often find myself losing interest (my MOUNTAIN of semi-completed projects is a testament to that fact). The Castillo is approaching that point. To stave off the urge to just put the entire project on a shelf and walk away I decided to take a tiny portion of it and finish it. This gives me a view into the future and restores my hope. I grabbed the "small section" gateway and a wall section and tidied them up for a coat of paint. After the base coat had been applied I added the trademark Spanish red on white Bourbon colors, I may have gone a bit over the top on the gateway but it got my fires lit again

having painted it in the "as new" colors I find it too stark, for the finished model 
I am going to paint it with a light caramel color and then drybrush white over it

Details, details, details......

    Despite the rumors of my demise I battle on (working 152 hours out of the last 288 has prevented any work on the blog in the last 12 days, but I carry on!).. The Castillo has gotten to the point where there are a host of tiny details. This is slow work and less than enlightening as far as techniques go so I have not bored you with the routine but necessary work.
        As I come to new ideas or techniques I do try to highlight them and below you will find as much. In my endless quest to reduce the blueboard pile at my house I try to find ways to use it instead of other products. To this point I needed some 3/32" round dowels to use for the cable-molding on the Castillo, but I needed that doweling to be flexible enough to wrap around my corner towers which are about 1 1/4" in diameter, clearly the standard Birch wood is not up to the task; enter blue board! But It is Square! you exclaim in disbelief. Only to begin with, I reply.  Follow the madness below.

let us start with an unsuspecting 1/4" square bit of blueboard

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Really Amazing Stuff

     If you have ever watched television you have doubtless encountered some lad bellowing at you about the wondrous product he is selling (BTW why is it that they are all Aussies? Or is that just a USA thing?). Despite these strident urgings I normally resist the exhortation to run out and purchase their products. Happily OldSarge put me onto a product that actually performs as advertised; UV light activated glue, I had assumed that this was just another version of the always-disappointing superglue family. I was never more wrong! The glue consists of equal parts happiness, wonder and magical chemistry. At last we have something that performs all the amazing tasks that the nice fellow from Melbourne was screaming about on the television last night at 3a.m.

seriously, this is good stuff

     I found it at my local hardware store, and with OldSarge's ringing endorsement haunting my memory, I picked up a package. I have been trying this on every project that superglue has failed me on and it has performed admirably. The plastic resin does not dry out or stick your fingers together, it is only activated once the UV flashlight is shone on it, then it hardens in seconds. No shrinking. No fumes. No white fog forming on adjacent surfaces.  You DO have to be smart enough not to shine the UV light into your eyes. One caution; the glue is only activated by the UV  light so can only be used in applications where you can apply the light source. I am still exploring the uses of this marvel of modern science and suggest that you give it a go as well.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Entering the Modern Era

    Most people who know me personally are aware that I am a bit of a Luddite. I have  finally bowed to the advances of Modem Science and dispensed with mu "old-fashioned" land line for my telephone. Henceforth I will be using solely this new-fangled "cellular phone". If you don';t have my current number send me a email and request it. Sorry for the inconvenience.