Thursday, May 01, 2014

Washed up

I haven't done any painting this week as I am in transition from one contract to another and so I have had to do things like save all my documents and emails for transfer to my new work laptop.  I picked it up yesterday and it is Windows 8!  Argh!  So, not feeling like painting, I decided to start basing my lovely new Artizan Afghans.  I mount all my figures on individual bases; for some reason I just can't bring myself to mount them as elements even though it would often be more practical to do so.  As a result I won't use rules that require "stands".  I have no real reason for this other than I like my soldiers as individuals.  I'm sure it goes back to Airfix days, or something.

For armies that adhere to formations I make 20mm card squares using art mounting board.  For figures that are more likely to be deployed as individuals in skirmishes I use 20mm metal washers.  For the last six and a half years or so I have bought these at Hurst (or Errrst, as the locals pronounce it) the ironmonger in Cowes; stocking up every time I go down there.  Last time I went, however, they didn't have them.  I checked at their main branch in Newport and they said that they had changed their supplier and would not be stocking them any more.  Argh!  You'd think you would be able to go into B&Q or Homebase and just pick these up but they are remarkably difficult to find.

The ones above are the very last ones I have and I was getting stressed about where the next ones would come from.  I did manage to find some on Amazon the other day but they were the last pack available.  I really need to get a couple of hundred from somewhere.

I have a similar concern about the PVA glue I use to stick sand to the bases.  I also bought the PVA in Cowes, years ago, in an art shop which has now gone.  I liked it because it was quite thin, unlike most other PVA I have had, and you could spread it easily with a brush. So now I need to find some thin PVA as well.  

Guy with an Iguanodon foot cast on Compton beach

The sand I use for my 28mm figures comes from Compton Bay, also on the Isle of Wight.  The beach at Compton is a very good place for fossils and there is an Iguanodon footprint which you can see at low tide.  Also there are a number of Iguanodon footprint casts just lying along the bottom of the cliff.  So my sand may contain fragments of dinosaur!  I need to paint some dinosaurs!

The music I am playing for this post is, naturally, Benjamin Bartlett's excellent soundtrack to the BBC Walking with Dinosaurs (not the ghastly anthropomorphised American film that was recently released).  I bought the CD in the Dinosaur Isle museum on, you've guessed it, the Isle of Wight.  "Imagine you can travel back in time" intones Kenneth Branagh (I sat at the next table to him once when having lunch in the Beverly Wilshire hotel) as portentous music plays (fortunately there are just a few spoken lines in the first track only).  If I could go back in time I'd make sure I picked up more glue and washers from Cowes!


  1. You could try www dot bulkhardware dot co dot uk for the washers. I'm not sure what the minimum order value is, but they do sell multi-packs of blisters and they work out quite cheap.

    Another possibility is Robert Dyas if it's just a few dozen you need.

  2. Legatus Hedlius, Ave!

    Have those dastardly Celts hidden away their reserves of iron? They must be dealt with harshly!

    Here in the United States we have several large home improvement stores who will take special orders for things like boxes of washers. You might also try going to a store which sells automotive repair supplies and ask for what we call fender washers which are used for holding bolts and the like in place. Like you I use circular bases for indigenous peoples or irregulars. I, too, use 20 mm square bases for my troops which fight in formation. I have discovered a source here in the States where someone can buy square and rectangular magnetic bases by the hundred count.

    Enjoy the merry month of May!

    Gerardus Magnus (Jer)

    1. Ah, we have a shop called Halfords. I might try there.

      Gratias tibi ago!

    2. In the UK they are called repair washers. I hadn't thought about looking for them in Halfords though.

  3. When I started French and Indian War in 28mm I too used washers like these, obtainable from the local hardware store they worked out at about 5p each. Eventually my little brain worked out that using the 1p and 2p coins from my wallet would be a lot cheaper........not magnetic but that wasn't essential to me. Now I have hefty bags of coins in my basing drawer! Try your local branch of Wilkinsons for good PVA glue by the litre, it's good value and flows well.

    1. Thanks for this. Can't say I have ever been in a Wilkinsons. I thought it was some sort of Northern shop but there is one in Epsom so I must check it out!

      Yes, it is weird to spend more on the washers than the coins are worth but I do need them magnetic as I keep them in boxes with magnetic paper on the bottom.

  4. I would also try Screwfix for the washers

  5. I use washers myself and get mine from here: always a good service.

  6. Legatus - I buy all my washers on ebay - I have sent you a link - best prices

    Washers are described by their diameter (in mm) and an m number - this is the diameter of the hole in the middle. For obvious reasons only go for the smaller holes

    PVA glue - recommend that you don't buy the cheap stuff - it doesn't hold up well in the long term. I always get mine in the craft shops. I buy gallons of the stuff for my terrain builds.

    I have sent link to you by email.