This section of my blog will be home to tutorials and some simple hobby tips that I hope may be useful to people whatever their experience level. 

A tip for removing mould lines

Removing mould lines can be a bit of a chore, but we all have to do it to get our miniatures prepared for painting. Here's a quick tip on a mould line removal tool to help you and the best bit is, you probably already own it!

Games workshop actually sell a tool that is made for specifically removing mould lines. If you've got £10+ to drop on one these, all power to you but I've got a cheaper solution that does the job fine.

Citadel Mould Line Remover Tool

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that since you are into the miniatures hobby you have one of these. A scalpel, hobby knife, craft knife or similar. You can remove mould lines by carefully scraping them away with the blade, but sometimes you can be a bit heavy handed or a slip happens and you take off a chunk of detail you would rather have kept.

How to remove mould lines miniatures removal tool

Now here comes the really technical bit to transform your everyday blade into a mould line removal tool... turn it over.

How to remove mould lines miniatures removal tool

Using the dull backside of the blade you can burnish away mould lines, it allows you to press and rub a little more heavily than you would want to with a blade. 

How to remove mould lines miniatures removal tool

If you get a stubborn bit of plastic you can quickly flick the blade around to the sharp side, take it off, flip it back to dull and carry on burnishing. But it works fantastically and you can get a very smooth area where once was a dreaded mould line.

How to remove mould lines miniatures removal tool

 I hope this has been of help to somebody and possibly saved you some money too. Take care now.

Make miniature broken glass for bases and terrain

Whether you are decorating urban bases for your army or making a bombed out ruin to play over, making broken glass for basing or terrain purposes couldn't be simpler.

What you will need:

- A pair of scissors (whatever size you feel comfortable working with.

- A tray or large container of some sort.

- Clear plastic from packaging/miniature blisters etc.

- And a container to store it in when done.

Making the glass:

Sit yourself comfortably, I recommend sticking a movie or music on while you work to avoid it becoming tedious.

Just use the scissors to cut the clear packaging into various sized pieces, ranging from tiny shards to large portions of window pane.

Try to use only flat portions of the packaging to make the glass, also if you end up with bits that get a kink/twist to them I'd recommend taking them out of the mix because it doesn't look like broken glass.

tutorial make model scale broken glass basing terrain

You just use the tray/large container to capture your pieces, then when you are done sweep/pour the bits into the container you chose for storage.

tutorial make model scale broken glass basing terrain

Using the glass:

When your base/terrain is complete and painted you just dot glue in the places you wish and sprinkle or carefully place your broken glass shards with tweezers.

You can use superglue or P.V.A. for this purpose.

I'd recommend super glue, sometimes it may frost the plastic, but that actually adds to the looks.

You may then add a light drybrush of your final colour used on your bases, or even weathering powders to bring everything together.

Make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

Here's a quick tutorial on making miniature leaves for basing miniatures and terrain making. This is a very simple tutorial and will save you a lot of money if you used to buy these from hobby stores/sites.

Of course the main thing you will need is to find Birch trees growing in your near vicinity. These Birch seed pods were picked around the end of May in the UK, there's a couple of weeks leeway either way from April-June.

How to make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

When you're on the hunt to get your own this (the image above) is the type of seed pod you are looking for.

How to make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

I made sure to gather a good amount to make a large batch that will last me quite some time. I may have taken them a little early they were still very springy and green, but they still workable.

How to make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

Simply grip the pod between your fingers and twist, as it comes apart it should look like the image above. The drier they are (toward the end of their growth when they are about to drop the seeds) the easier they will be to twist apart.

How to make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

Above is what you get once separated. These tiny leaves are actually the chaff that encases the Birch seeds. You can dry them a little more by laying them out on a baking tray and putting them in the oven on a very low heat (or in the residual heat after you've used the oven to prepare dinner).

How to make miniature leaves from Birch seed pods

I took a shot with my little finger tip just so you can see how tiny these things are.

Female Paladin Pathfinder Grey Maiden Painted Birch Leaves

Here's an example of where I used them on this female Paladin figure. You can fix them in numerous ways, superglue, P.V.A. Glue, matte varnish. And they take paint, inks and washes very well. You can pre-colour them with a drop of colour mixed into a batch of the dried leaves if you wish.

I hope you find this tip useful.

Take care.

Make slate chips for bases and terrain

Making your own modelling slate chips for basing and terrain couldn't be easier and is a lot cheaper than buying them from a hobby store:

You should be able to find a natural roofing slate quite cheaply from a D.I.Y. store. Or as in my case, I found some dumped down a back alley.

 Just wrap your tile in some cardboard, I had to break my tile in half first. And then take your smashing tool of choice to it, for me it is this weird cheap-ass hatchet/hammer/crowbar tool.

Check on the tile and break it up a bit by hand along the fractures, start laying it on top of other pieces to add more stress areas. close up the cardboard and smash away again.

You should get a large variety of chips You can dump the lot of this into a large tub and leave it at that or like me you can go an additional step.

I sat at a table and using a sieve over some paper I was able to sort the slate chips into seperate tubs of different size gradients. Large chips, Medium chips, Small chips and collected a tiny gravel too.

(I recommend you wear a dust mask during this step)

I've added a 28mm Chaos Cultist here for scale, as you can see I've got plenty of modelling slate chips to last me quite some time. Total cost for me on this was a couple of hours effort.

I hope this quick tip was useful.

Take care.

Use test swatches when building terrain

When you're in the process of building terrain/scenery for your gaming table, you can save yourself a headache in the future by making yourself a small swatch to test ground cover, colours and flocking material.

These are some old pictures from a project I worked on a while back. I just used a random off-cut of the cork tiles I was using on the project:

make a test swatch terrain making

I wanted to test textures of ground cover, in the above example you can see the plain cork, sand, sand/gravel mix and wood shavings.

make a test swatch terrain making

I was able to gauge how much paint it would take to cover the type of texture. I discovered that the wood shavings in the example above were really paint thirsty.

make a test swatch terrain making

Highlighting was drybrushed on each section and a little colour was added to the ditch where I would be testing some water effect.

make a test swatch terrain making

And here we can see the sections with the water effects and flocking added. I also tried different washes across the flocking material to dull down the unnatural brightness.

Then side by side you will be able to gauge which of the scatter/colour combinations/effects you prefer and reproduce it on your finished terrain piece without having to make any mistakes on your project.

(If I remember correctly I went with the gravel texture and the flock/wash combination that was used on the sand section for that project)

I hope this was helpful for somebody out there.

Take care.

If there is something you'd like me to write up that you have seen elsewhere on my blog, anything you want clarifying or expanding in the above tips/tutorials; or any other questions/suggestions you may have. Feel free to leave a comment below.