Wednesday, 11 April 2012

We'll drink-a-drink-a-drink to Lily the Pink-a-pink-a-pink...


Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

So I was so impressed with the rustic charms of Shamlingham from the previous post that I had to try copy some of the buildings the creator had converted.  This involved ordering two sets of "It's Girl's Stuff!!" carry-along doll houses from eBay, which worked out at about £6 each.

They arrived today.

My god.  The pinkness!  The pinkness!
Once I'd gotten over the saccharine overload, I started pouring over the photos from GWP to determine exactly what had been done with them.  The toy as designed has two different house frontages hinged together to form a carry case which opens up into a four-room dollhouse.  Scalewise they look pretty much spot on for 28mm.

The simplest build with them was to take two matching halves and glue them back to back.   This I could just about manage, and got as far as filling in the join with greenstuff.

Shamlingham's creator, who goes by the handle "Mr Dodo" on GWP, seems to have done some more extensive rebuilds on the other half.  I've sent him an email asking for more details on what he's done.

£6 for a cheap plastic toy like this is a little on the high side, but £6 for what will become a decent sized and detailed wargame building.. that's not too bad.

We had a fairly freakish hailstorm today which kept me from spending any time outside painting the mountains, so it was a day for indoor tinkering.  As well as the pink houses I've received a couple of sets of laser-cut MDF railings from Fenris Games.  These really push the envelope of what's possible... or dare I say it advisable, using this new medium.

Both styles cost 6.99 for roughly 1.5m, though they come in lengths of roughly 28-30cm.  The lengths are a little irregular, and for both styles I received 5 full length strips and one at about 20cm long.  While you certainly get at least your 1.5m total length, the problem is that it becomes difficult to produce terrain pieces of consistent length without wasting a lot of material.  For example, I might want to make 15cm long railing pieces.  I can do that efficiently if the segment I've got is over 30cm.  When a couple are 29cm, one 28mm etc, then I'm forced to do smaller segments.. if I cater to the smallest size, say doing two 14cm strips, then I'm going to be throwing away bits of the longer segments.  In the end I just bit the bullet and made up irregular lengths making the most efficient use of what I had.

The other problem with these railings is that they're really pushing the envelope of what's possible with 2mm MDF.   Some of the cuts are incredibly fine, the MDF left behind is only 1mm thick.  The simpler design of railings were relatively sturdy, but the ornate Canterbury railings were incredibly flimsy and vulnerable to breakages.  In addition, there were a lot of "hanging chads", where the cutout pieces hadn't been cut-out and removed cleanly.  It was about a half hour's work to poke all the tiny pieces out with a craft knife, and even then I found one or two sections where the laser hadn't cut all the way through the MDF.  Some I was able to cutout manually, but others were just too fiddly.  I wound up "losing" about 10cm from each railing type due to this wastage.

All that said, these are absolutely gorgeous.  I don't expect the Canterbury railings to have a particularly long lifespan on the wargames table, they're just too delicate.  But maybe some paint might make them a little more rugged.  They were easier to work with than the plastic railings I've used before, which required quite a bit of cleaning up as well as assembly and were less flexible in terms of length.  I'd definitely recommend the simpler and sturdier Brunswick railings.  The ornate but fragile Canterbury... honestly I'd prefer if they were cut a little thicker and sturdier, as I just don't think these are going to last more than a few games ever with careful handling - they're already showing plenty of battle damage and I've not even finished painting them.

Finally some overdue photos - no more progress on the pier, but this is where I'm up to at the moment...

... and a couple of slightly overgrown looking decorative garden pieces.  These are going to be scattered here and there in urban boards surrounded by railings or walls, or laid out in the grounds of the Amera Ministry building when it's pretending to be a stately home.  The bulk of the vegetation is dried moss from the garden.  It's my first effort using it, hopefully with practice I can get the flower beds looking a little bit neater in future.


  1. Good post, thanks for heads up on the dolls houses, I might check that out... As for the railings, not sure whether it would help but maybe if you paint them with a thinned mix of PVA glue and acrylic paint it may stiffen them giving them a little more strength. Though there again, as the MDF is so thin, it could warp as it dries?? Over to you!

  2. Moving forward very nicely indeed- interesting ideas and certainly food for thought...
    Keep going your project is shaping up really well!