Monday, January 7, 2013

A fine line between clever and stupid

Well, I had it all planned out. I was going to prepare a travelling kit to take my figures and paints with me on my vacation. I reasoned that, since I usually wake up ungodly early, that I'd have no responsibilities and plenty of time to paint.

I bought two small Sterlite plastic boxes with the dimensions 11" x 6 5/8" x 2 3/4". Filled one with paints, brushes, small xacto knife and a light with a magnifying glass. In the second I placed an adhesive magnetic sheet and the figures, which were all mounted on washers.

So far, so good.

First problem was that the magnet didn't hold all of the figures as strongly as I would like. So, genius that I am, I thought I'd stuff the box with tissue paper to pad the figures and keep them from moving around too much. Then I packed both boxes in our check in luggage.

Now, I have a bunch of hard plastic cases with the foam compartments for my 28mm stuff, but for some reason I did not think that what I was doing was horribly insufficient. So imagine my surprise when I open said figure box and found all the figures jumbled up in a corner with two broken weapons and a bit of chipped paint.

I then reasoned that I needed to go to a craft store and buy some foam. I went to Michael's and could not find the exact foam I wanted, so I ended up with the foam sheets that have become popular for kids arts and crafts. After carefully measuring and cutting the sheets the exact dimensions of the box I then embarked upon a plan that seemed reasonable at the time. I began to cut out keyhole squares and was going to stack theses thin layers to fill the box. Fortunately my wife, being the intelligent person she is, asked me why I wasn't cutting them like the cardboard dividers in an ornament storage box.

Still not safe enough.

So I changed my design and repacked everything. When I arrived back home and unpacked I was greeted by each small section being a jumble of figures and one more broken weapon and some more chipped paint.

Close up of the carnage.

What were the lessons learned? Pack the figures well to minimize or eliminate movement. Take fewer figures. Consider putting the figures in carry on luggage. And don't be so stubborn and locked into an idea. (I'll need years of therapy for that one.) I also learned a little more about how I want to paint. I think that further thinning the GW paint with flow aid during the color blocking is not really working for me. The coat is blotchy and the color settles more in the creases and is lighter on the ridges, the opposite of what I want for the base color. I also found that mixing glue with paint and flow aid makes for a good primer and one less step. I had been coating in thinned PVA and then priming and a lot of my paint would not stick or chipped off. The ratio is 1 drop paint: 1 drop Aleene's Tacky Glue: 2 drops flow aid.

I didn't paint the Vikings at all.  2 broken weapons and chipped paint.

Saxons got 8 huscarls mostly blocked out. Levies got skin, metal and leather. One broken weapon, some chipped paint.

If I can solve the packing issues I may try this again when I travel during Spring Break.


  1. I never bother with adding anything to my paint apart from water, I just don't think there's any need, but that's me!

  2. One of those commercial figure carrying cases might be a solution?



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