Monday 28 January 2013

Progress, of a sort...

Well, let's put it this way. I now have quite a lot of Pictish skirmishers, and an increasing number of cavalry. I can whizz round the battlefield and shoot arrows and javelins at people I don't like, but the army is a bit lacking in core units! I'm hoping to start addressing this at the weekend.

It's the Vapnartak show at York racecourse this Sunday, which has been great fun in past years and I hope this year will be no exception. The chaps at Gripping Beast are bringing me along a bunch of Pictish minis and I'm hoping to pick up some Crusader armoured Scots, which together will form the hard core of the army.

I'm working on the post-Roman fortress walls I threatened to start on in an earlier post. I've spent some time converting the drawings and photographs in Leslie Alcock's various books into a set of dimensions and some plans and sections to scale the build from. I have acquired a supply of extruded blue polystyrene foam to use for the drystone walls.

This bit of the build was a head-scratch moment. As you know more or less all my terrain is built out of waste polyethylene foam, cut to shape and covered. It's nice easy stuff to work with but it isn't something you can easily engrave stonework into, and the idea of applying plaster and hand-engraving was more than I could face.

I had more or less settled on either using extruded polystyrene or else casting the drystone panels in casting plaster. The latter didn't really appeal. If there's one thing about drystone walling it's that it definitely doesn't follow a pattern, and even if I made up two or three moulds this repeating panel would start to be a bit obvious. Making the whole thing from extruded foam appeared to be eye-wateringly expensive, so I wondered about applique-ing drystone panels made from thin polystyrene between the timber uprights?  Genius! Just one thing... How do you glue polystyrene to polyethylene without it falling to pieces at a touch or melting the PS?

I tried a few things: stock PVA, wallpaper overlap adhesive, epoxy, solventless builder's glue, none of which actually worked. Then I tried this stuff: Gorilla Glue! I normally use this for mending furniture, but I decided to have a punt. I applied a very thin layer to the PS first, and was pleased to see it didn't melt! I dampened the PE foam slightly, then put then together. Before applying anything, I had lightly scored the joining faces of both substrates with a scalpel, to allow a bit of penetration. Two hours later and no power on earth will get them apart!

The stuff isn't cheap, but its far more economical than using epoxy or cyanoacrylate on those sort of areas.


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