Hail Caesar 28mm Imperial Romans

romans-033-e1512908937233.jpgHail Caesar Imperial RomansI’ve been painting legions of Imperial Romans for the Hail Caesar miniatures war game. These are 28mm miniatures, about the height of a AUD 50c coin.

I have completed a number of units. I think they have turned out alright. Originally I used the transfers for the shields but then reverted to using a base red for the shields and leaving off the shield insignia. In my opinion it helps to achieve that sea of red that I am looking for on the battle field.

Here are some shots. I also have painted up some Praetorians, veterans, auxiliaries, a scorpion and some cavalry. Photos of these to come, although you can see the Pretorians in the rear of this first photo.

These Romans have taken me some time to paint, as I have worked slowly at it over the past few years.

romans-023-e1512908958347.jpgHail Caesar 28mm Imperial Romansromans-043-e1512908922480.jpg
28mm Romans by Duff

Happy modelling.

Giant Axis & Allies Board

Giant Axis & Allies Board
Giant Axis & Allies Board

I recently planned to have a game of Axis and Allies (Spring 1942 Version 2) over the Christmas break with some fellow gamers – one of whom was arriving from interstate, and so I grabbed the game from the cupboard, dusted off the box and laid the board out on my billiard table, thinking this would make for a great playing field – plenty of room for the four of us to stand around the board, discuss strategies and make battle. Yet the board looked rather small sitting there in the middle of the billiard table which is 10 feet x 5 feet).

I thought to myself ‘how good would it be to have a Giant Axis & Allies board, one that fits the size of the billiard table’. We were playing in two days time so I had to get to work if I was going to make this happen.

Old board on new giant board
Original board laying on top of the giant board. The giant board is 2.1 metres x 1.2 metres.
Pieces on board comparison
Same amount of pieces on the original board (left) as on the giant board (right) for Western United States.  No longer cramped!

First, with a simple search on Google, I found that the board that I have in my Axis & Allies set was already scanned onto the net. So I copied the image into photoshop and then enlarged it so that it was 1.2 x 2.1 metres in size ( a size I had determined would fit nicely on the billiard table) – a large file! The image was blurry at this size, however this was okay because I then redrew the whole board using the original image merely as a guide.

The board that I have in my set is the dark board with the almost blackish water and dark brown,grey land. Personally I don’t enjoy this board’s colours and have often thought of buying the later version with the more earthy coloured land masses and blue seas. So I changed the colours on my giant board to greens and brown for land and blue for the oceans. I then added sea and ocean names that are not on the original board, and also continent titles – Europe, Asia, North America etc.

Smooth as silk
The professional contact finish makes the board smooth as silk.


Giant Axis & Allies board close up
Giant Axis & Allies board close up. Sea names not found on the original board have been added.

Another feature I included that is not on the original board is setup symbols. On each land space that requires pieces for the start of the game I then added the appropriate symbols. This makes setup so much easier.

Starting pieces now on board
Starting pieces now on board

It took me approximately 18 hours to recreate the board in photoshop. It could probably be done much quicker, however, I’m a bit of perfectionist when it comes to these sort of things. The next morning I made some phone calls to 6 different signage companies who do print on demand and ‘one offs’. Each was on on holidays (it being the period between Christmas Day and New Years). The 7th company I rang were situated miles away, across the other side of the city, yet I gave them a  call anyway. So glad I did. The gentleman happened to be doing some work that day and when I told him what I needed and that it needed to be ready the following day, he said he would do it!

He did the job, printed, finished and delivered it the afternoon of the day before we were to play.

Gamers posing over board
Gamers posing over board

The board is professionally printed, mounted on 5cm armour board and coated with a protective contact. It is incredibly smooth and durable. The printer did an amazing job and it was a terrific surprise for my fellow gamers when the arrived to see the giant board awaiting on the billiard table. The game was played with zest and was very enjoyable, however we ran out of time and so there was no victory outcome, although the Allies definitely had the upper hand.

Axis islands fit more
Axis islands fit more

When the game is not being played I store the board on my study wall. It is affixed with mounts that keep it flush and stable, but also allow for quick removal ready for the next big game!

Giant board on study wall
Giant board on study wall

For others wanting to create their own giant Axis & Allies board, there are some good posts on gaming forums that describe how one can do this. Please do not ask me for the photoshop file. I will not be giving this out or selling it as this would breach the intellectual property rights of the game developer. This board I created purely for personal use … and it makes Axis & Allies (already a magnificent game) even more enjoyable.

Happy gaming.

Giving my loco the rustic treatment

I recently purchased a second-hand On30 Bachmann porter 2-4-0 loco for my narrow gauge wall layout, (which I plan to build over the next few months). The other day I set about repainting the loco because I was not comfortable with the weathering.

Well tonight I spent some time giving the loco a rustic overhaul.

I began by dabbing on some rust effect using a Humbrol Rust Wash, placing a fair bit on and then rubbing it back. The wash worked really well on the metal boiler. Was a little more difficult to get the desired effect on the plastic frontage. Next I ran some Humbrol white wash down the side of the boiler and then rubbed this back to get a leached effect.

I was not happy with the plastic cabin (not rustic enough for my liking), so I removed it and then set about building my own cabin out of matchstick wood and PVA glue. I tried to match the cabin to exactly the same size as the plastic cabin, and managed to get it fairly accurate. I placed some diagonal supports between the roof struts to strengthen the structure. I was unsure whether to go with an iron roof or keep it timber. I chose timber this time. For my next narrow gauge loco I will go with an iron roof. Below shows the completed cabin sitting next to the plastic original.


Rear wooden buffer in place.
Rear wooden buffer in place.

I stained the cabin with Citadel Agrax Earthsade wash. It is a dark brown wash which seeps into the wood giving it a great rustic finish.

With the cabin in place I then set about creating a similar effect for the front buffer, ensuring the coupling could still move freely and be easily replaced in the future. Below you can see that the chimney still needs weathering and the iron plate below the buffer needs some work.


Threw an axe and keg with a mug on front. Hung a chain on the right side.
Threw an axe and keg with a mug on front. Hung a chain on the right side.

With the front buffer completed I then created a similar rear buffer, ensuring once again that the coupling could still move freely and be replaced easily in the future. I then positioned the whistle on the roof.

Next I weathered up the lower portion of the chimney stack, then added an axe and a roped keg (with drinking mug) to the front buffer. With these in place I then hung a think chain on the right hand side from the cabin roof.

Below is a close up of the roped keg and drinking mug. Both the axe and keg I obtained from an old Warhammer Fantasy sprue. They are not to scale but incredibly close. I think they look the part.

Close up of the roped keg and mug.
Close up of the roped keg and mug.

Next I added some weathering to the inside of the cabin. In this photo you can see the bell rope coming in on the left hand side through the firewall.

Inside the cabin.
Inside the cabin.

A full photo of the right had side. Very fond of the axe wedged into the front buffer. If anything the chain is slightly too big. Might replace with smaller links in the future.

Right side shot. Loco is on its way to rustic.
Right side shot. Loco is on its way to rustic.

A view of the left hand side. I also looped a chain from the cabin roof on this side and then added the bell pull rope.

Strung a pull rope for the bell.
Strung a pull rope for the bell.

I’m not finished yet. There is still plenty to do, such as weathering the wheels and pistons, adding a driver and some kindling to the cabin, weathering the top of the chimney stack and adding some further weathering to the rear metal and cabin floor. I’d also like to rework the rust effect on the rear and add some weathering to the iron plates beneath the buffers. There are a few more gadgets I have ready to place on the loco too. More to come.

Happy modelling.


Warhammer Skaven

Being so busy with other parts of my life I haven’t got into the hobby shed lately and so I thought I might post a few photos of some work I did A few years back, when I took some time to paint up a Skaven army from the Warhammer range of miniatures. For those who do not know Warhammer, the Skaven army is an army of rodent creatures (rat men). I had always wanted to paint some of these miniatures, however, I must admit I struggled with these as the detail is so fine. I now have a huge respect for the artists who can paint these miniatures with such perfection. I do not own these miniatures anymore as I do not play the game, and so I sold them a while back, but thought I would share my efforts.

Warhammer Skaven Army
Warhammer Skaven Army

Happy modelling.

’41 Willy’s Street Rod completed!

I Finally got around to completing my ’41 Willys Street Rod. Chrome pieces, headlights, tail lights, windscreen, rear window and decals all added. I am pretty happy with the finish. I like the colours I chose and think it has turned out alright for my first two tone job. There are some areas that could have been done better around the trunk and bonnet grooves, but its fairly small stuff, an overall I am pleased.

The full build is available here.

'41 Willys Street Rod - Completed

'41 Willys Street Rod - Completed

'41 Willys Street Rod - Completed

'41 Willys Street Rod - Completed

'41 Willys Street Rod - Completed


Happy modelling,


’32 Ford Coupe Street Rod

I received an email from a gentleman who was keen to see more of the Ford Coupe with the flames, which could be seen in the background of one of the 41 Willys Street Rod build photos. The Ford coupe was one of my first street rod builds and I had no intentions of running a post on this model, as I have always felt that the finish was pretty average, however, here it is, Jason – the 1932 Ford Coupe Street Rod. This was the Revell Good Guys kit, and the only mods I made to it, were using smaller head lamps without the cross bar. You may also note that the left hand door handle, in the last photo, is not from a ’32 Ford Coupe. I lost the original and had to improvise.

'32 Ford 3 Window Coupe - front view

’32 Ford 3 window coupe – front view with hood.

'32 Ford 3 Window Coupe - rear view

’32 Ford 3 window coupe – rear view.

'32 Ford 3 Window Coupe - bonnet off

’32 Ford 3 window coupe – hood off.

'32 Ford 3 Window Coupe

’32 Ford 3 window coupe – side view without hood – note the non standard door handle.

Happy modelling,


1941 Willys Street Rod build

Earlier this week I was rummaging about in the garage (during a somewhat middling attempt at tidying it), and I happened upon a Revell Goodguys 1941 Willys Street Rod model kit (produced in 2005) that I had purchased a few years back.  Dusting it off, I took it into the train shed and set about constructing the first few stages.

According to Revell, the 1941 Willys is one of the greatest ironies of the automobile industry. A car that was never very popular in its day, and yet nowadays, the little coupe is a fixture at every street rod show across the USA. Thanks to its good looking lightweight body and frame, the Willys has become a classic on the American automotive scene.

Thought I would share a few shots of how my model it is coming along.

View the completed build

 41 Willys undercarriage and engine

Engine assembled on frame and linked to rear axle, with springs, suspension wheels and tyres fitted.

41 Willys Blown V8

Close up of the supercharged V8 motor. Wondering if I should have painted the carburettor aluminium. Fan belts need a coat of matt too. 

41 Willys Street Rod purple coat

Chose purple for the body. May mix it up a bit yet later on. This is four coats of Tamiya TS-37 Lavender.

41 Willys Street Rod body coat

Happy so far with how it is looking. Hope to post again soon on my progress.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Began work on the rod’s interior. I began with a maroon colour, but was not happy with the result, and so switched to a blue. This is the Citadel Ultramarine blue with a semi gloss black.

41 Willys Street Rod blue and black interior

41 Willys Street Rod interior

Citadel Ultramarine Blue and Tamiya Semi Gloss Black Trim.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Work on the interior and the trim is completed, although I may scratch-building a roll cage and some seat belts. I’ll see how I go with time.

41 Willys Street Rod interior and trim

Completed interior. Quite happy with the results, especially the white dials, the chrome stick-shift and chrome accelerator. It was difficult to get closer up shots using my cruddy camera, without the photographs blurring. 

Monday 26 January 2015

Spray painted the second tone for the body work, using a Tamiya Blue Voilet TS-57 – three coats.

41 Willys Street Rod two tone paint job

Bodywork taped up and then the Tamiya Blue Violet applied – showing first coat of three.

41 Willys Street Rod undercoats completed

Two tone ’41 Willy Street Rod – Undercoats applied – Lavender top – Violet Blue bottom.

41 Willys Street Rod undercoats completed

Undercoats applied – Chrome fittings, decals and gloss top coat still to be applied.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Finally got back to the ’41 Willy and gave it a final coat of each colour and then two coats of Tamiya semi-gloss for that shine. The car is all ready now for Chrome fittings and decals. I’m fairly happy with the result. There are a few small areas that could have been done better around the boot line that had to be touched up.

41 Willys Street Rod - Final coat plus semi gloss

Final coat + semi gloss x 2 coats applied – Ready for chrome fittings and decals.

41 Willys Street Rod - Final coat plus semi gloss

View the completed build

Happy modelling,


Autumn in Hollow Grove

Autumn in Hollow Grove was my first attempt at a OO scale layout. Previously, I had only built in N Scale. This layout was simply two modules, both 1210 mm x 410 mm, placed end to end. Although I intended for the layout to be an English 1940s prototype, it ended up rather a hotchpotch.

Specifications: Track is Peco Flexitrack and set track Code 100. Point motors are Peco. Scenery is Woodland Scenics. Fencing, railway workers, platform, platelayers hut and coal hut are all Dapol. Black Five and rolling stock are predominately Hornby. Woody is an Oxford Diecast.

Enough said, below are some photographs.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - twin tracks
Twin tracks leading into Hollow Grove.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - the notice board

Railway workers read the notice board on the platelayers hut.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - working hard

Railway workers loading crates onto a lorry.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - A well kept woody decorated in autumn leaves

A well kept woody decorated in autumn leaves.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - picket fence

A weathered picket fence frames the Hollow Grove tracks.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - train yard

Railway workers busy in Hollow Grove train yard.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - the loading crane

A railway worker rides the crane in Hollow Grove.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - pine wood

The pine woods of Hollow Grove.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - a black five approaches

A black five departs the rail yard.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - dirty work

Railway workers tidying up the coal bunker.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - another angle of the crane

Another angle of Hollow Grove’s railway yard.

Autumn in Hollow Grove - storing the junk

A railway workers stores a plank while his foreman barks orders.

Happy modelling,