Monday, 30 March 2015

Swords by Ben Boos - an Artist's Devotion

I came across this book while visiting Glastonbury Abbey last week . The book was on sale in the Abbey souvenir shop, but at the time I thought it a little too expensive. Later when I got home a Google and e-bay search produced little. However, later still I found a perfect copy on e-bay and promptly purchased it.

I have found over the last year (maybe longer) that I am very particular about the books I buy. I find that I buy books for three reasons; Pleasure Reading - my latest being Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. Research - usually, wordy books or books full of technical drawings for example The Historical Architecture of Britain by F.R. Smith or Barns of Rural Britain by Graham Hughes. Finally we have Books of Beauty - Books crammed full of gorgeous illustrations, one of my latest being Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi and illustrated by Roberto Innocenti.

Swords by Ben Boos is one book that can and will fulfil all three categories. The full title - Swords an Artist's Devotion, gives some hint as to the reason why. This is a true labour-of-love from Ben who has been sketching and researching the subject for many years. There are detailed notes and comments about the development of the Sword, but also beautiful drawings, both colour and black and white, of the sort that appeal to me of Swords, Knights, Vikings and even Sword Maidens - this really is a book to be enjoyed.

Image Two shows an official page spread giving an example of the pen and ink drawings, while;

Image Three was taken from the internet and gives and idea of the artist's work.

The book is beautiful and full of detailed drawings and sketches which should appeal to many modellers, gamers and historians. I cannot recommend it enough.

This link gives more details and this is an official Ben Boos page.

I have also read that Ben had since passed away and I find this a great loss as he was obviously a talented illustrator.


Swords by Ben Boos - an Artist's Devotion
270mm x 310mm
88 pages - fully illustrated with Colour and Black & White images
Published in 2008 by Templar Publishing
ISBN 978-1-84011-324-2
List price £14.99

Saturday, 28 March 2015

West Midlands Military Show 2015 - The Aircraft

The final part of my WMMS reports details some of the model aircraft that were on display. The first image shows the cockpit control panel from a ME109.


Friday, 27 March 2015

The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver

Earlier this month, I read a review of brush soap on The Miniatures Page, for details go to this link. Later I browsed e-bay and found a UK based supplier of The Masters Brush Cleaner and ordered a pot.

I thought I would test out some of the claims for this product on three of my brushed. From left-to-right they are; Rosemary & Co Series 401 No.2 (my current go-to figure painting and working brush), Rosemary & Co Series 401 No.1 (a well used and rather forlorn brush that I have been using for drybrushing) and a Daler B12 No.8 Bristlewhite (another old brush that I use when painting terrain. This brush was originally part of my Fathers collection).

I used warm water and brush soap on all three, then  repeated the exercise to see what effect the brush cleaner had. From top-to-bottom; The Rosemary & Co Series 401 No.1 has cleaned up well and I would suggest that the bristles are even a little more pointed. The Rosemary & Co Series 401 No.2 was the real beneficiary, with caked-in paint being removed and the point restored to a nearly new condition. The Daler B12 No.8 was in a well worn state and after two washes, I was surprised just how much caked-in paint came out. I can also confirm that the white bristled are much cleaner.

In the past I have used standard washing-up liquid, shampoo (and conditioner) as well as Imperial Leather lanolin soap to clean my brushes. I'm not saying that The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preservative is that much better than the 'standard' soaps, but on first look I have been impressed and I would recommend the brush cleaner to other figure painters.

I hope that this practical post is of interest and helps.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Build Something 2015 _ the voting is now open

The voting is now open on The Build Something Contest 2015, for full details go to this thread. My own entry The Horseshoe Forge can be found either on this Blog (see earlier posts) or here.

Good luck to all.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Away-Day Glastonbury

Last year Sue and I decided that we would make up a 'bucket list' of places in the UK that we wanted to visit. Due to circumstances completely out of our control this did not happen, but in 2015 we are trying to tick off as many as we can.

Glastonbury and in particular the Tor is a place that I have wanted to visit for some considerable time, ever since watching a TV documentary. Earlier today I achieved that goal.

For anyone not familiar with this impressive sight I suggest a quick look at Trip Advisor - See this link. I also advise you to take warm clothing!

The views are quite spectacular. We even experienced a New Age Service (to the right of the tower).

We had a quick walk around the Abbey and Abbey book store where I came across a great looking book called Swords by Ben Boos. I think I might have to search this book out on E-bay.

And the Town centre.

I would say that Glastonbury Town centre is a 'strange' place to visit, full of ageing hippies and stores that sell anything spiritualistic or new age. We saw Skulls, Wands, Herbs and Spices, Crystals, Woad, and book stores full (and I do mean full) of books on spells, witchcraft and alternative lifestyles. All very interesting. If you are planning a visit - remember to wear PURPLE. Sue and I felt a little out of place.

There you have it - another great Away Day.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Away-Day Monmouth

Sue and I have just returned from out Away-Day in Monmouth. This is an unusual day out for us as we normally drive past rather than too Monmouth. In fact I think this is the first time for about four years that we have visited this historical market town.

We started the walk with the famous Monmouth Bridge - one of the last remaining Towered Bridges in the world. The bridge is now closed to traffic (about time) and operates as a footbridge only.

These illustrated tiles were part of a Tourist Information display to the West of the Bridge. They were very well made.

And here you can see some beautiful stonework over the entrance and to the side of the local pub.

At the other end of the town we visited the Nelson Museum and took photos of these impressive models. The first is made from individual stones.

There are also exhibits to Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame.

Before returning to the car (with a pack of fresh Monmouth Faggots and some piping hot fresh bread) we stopped at the Monmouth Regimental Museum and I took photos of these three outdoor exhibits. Unfortunately, the Museum does not open until April.

Driving back we took advantage of our National Trust membership and stopped off to see this huge stone Tithe Barn. The Ashleworth Tithe Barn takes some finding, being down a narrow farm track, but was well worth the trip as you are able to walk inside the Barn and see some extraordinary stonework and timber frames.

For full details go to this link.

This was our first Away-Day of 2015 and we both enjoyed the day out.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Croome Park Ice House

Sue and I spent most of the morning walking around Croome Park, Worcestershire, a National Trust house and gardens. If you've not been, you are missing a real treat, beautiful gardens and an interesting house with loads of history.

The highlight for me was the newly opened Museum showing development of Croome as a secret radar research facility during WW2. However the image above is of the quaint thatched ice house. Regular readers and followers will know that I produced a series of similar buildings for an article in Miniature Wargames and this was a beautifully restored buildings that was just crying out to be modelled.

For full details of the Ice House restoration go to this link.

For details of Croome Park go to this link.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Building Wargame Terrain - stocks are very low

Sue and I are in the process of 'Spring cleaning' the garage and this gave me the perfect opportunity to tidy up my current stock of wargame books.

I have less than 25 copies of Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 1 Building Wargame Terrain and 30 copies of Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 2 More Wargame Terrain left.  It is very unlikely that there were will be another re-print of either book, so I would suggest that anyone looking to buy a copy does so quickly.

For full details go to the links at the top right of this main Blog page or direct to these links; Building Wargame TerrainMore Wargame Terrain.

Please note - the books are not signed and numbered.

Thank you.