Saturday, 21 October 2017

Battle-weary Beaufort

A fitting follow-up to the Blenheim, latest to emerge from the Partizan 'plane purchase pile is this Beaufort.  Never having owned or built a Beaufort I had to do a bit of research to establish the maker of this kit.  I think it is the Frog (or Novo) Mk1.
The model was in good shape and though the paintwork is very tatty and worn looking, I rather like the effect!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Painting 54mm plastics - a duffer's guide part 2

Once the figures have dried off, I glue them to mdf based using PVA.  The easiest and quickest way is to dunk the figure's own base in the tub of PVA, making sure the adhesive covers the base.  Scrape off some of the surplus PVA on the side of the tub and press the figure on to the mdf.  Don't just put a dab of glue on the bottom of the figure base - it won't be secure.  The figures above are the CTS NKPA we met in the previous post.
Once the PVA has dried - I leave mine for 24-48 hours - brush on a coat of artist's gesso.  This is a strange substance which artists use for sealing canvas and is available in both black and white.  Having tried both I prefer the former.  Be warned that despite being acrylic based, gesso is a bit smelly - so keep a window open.
Brush it on generously.  When dry go over the figures again touching up bits you've missed and give a second coat to vulnerable extremities like heads, rifle barrels, bayonets and swords.  These figures are MARS Soviet Motor Rifle Troopers.

When the gesso has dried we can finally crack on with the actual painting!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Painting 54mm plastics - a duffer's guide part 1

As regular readers will know, I have never laid any claim to any great talent on the painting front.  Though I can churn out toys in reasonable numbers.  But as Stalin said "quantity has a quality all of it's own."  And he should know.
Here then, following a flood of requests from at least three readers, is part one of my duffer's guide to painting 54mm plastic toy soldiers.  This post deals with preparing the figures for paint, which represents at least half the work.
Clean up the figures, trim away any excess plastic ans in required trim the bases to fit the stands you'll be using.
Wash the figures.  Put the kettle on and while it boils run a basin of warm water with washing up liquid.
 Fill a bowl or mug with boiling water and another with cold water.
May figures will have extremities which need straightening.  The bayonets of these CTS North Koreans are typical examples.
Using a set of tongs - ours are bamboo and normally serve to retrieve errant bakery products from the toaster - dunk a few figures at a time into...
 ...the boiling water.  The bent bits will straighten all by themselves.  This is also an opportunity to bend arms or legs to alter figure poses.
 Dunk the now very warm figures in the cold water for a few seconds.
Then chuck the figures in the soapy water.  Swiz them round a bit in the water as this will help de-grease the plastic.  I gather that some use a dishwasher for this purpose but ours never seems to have room!
Rinse off the soap using a colander and the kitchen tap..  Then tip them back in the basin and rinse off again.

 Finally tip the damp figures onto a tray covered with a clean towel and leave overnight to dry off.
After all this effort, and bearing in mind the kettle has boiled, it's now time for a nice mug of tea!  Make sure there are no toy soldiers in the cup first...

Monday, 16 October 2017

Birmingham Toy Soldier Show 2017

 Having missed this show in 2016 (I was in France instead), I was pleased to be able to attend it last Sunday.  As well as chatting to friends - John Curry, Mike Lewis, Anthony Morton - I picked up a few gems.
The six French gunners are nicely painted metal figures and set me back £20.  I have simply added my usual mdf bases and a coat of varnish.  They are posed here with a couple of  Armies in Plastic guns.

Eight nice cavalry were a mere £16.  Again I have based and varnished them after repainting the flaky swords.  The four above are Timpo, below are even rarer Dulcop figures.