Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Stoelzel's Structures Brummie's Burgers Fast Food Restaurant

It has been FAR too long since I last posted a review of a card model building. I started making Carl Stoelzel's excellent Brummie's Burgers fast food restaurant in April of 2013. I began by making furniture items and props for it, which is not my usual method of making buildings. I like to make the building first before working on the furniture and props. Anyway, I didn't get much done before I was admitted to hospital. That effectively put an end to my card modelling in 2013. It took a LONG time before I got my mojo back. But earlier this year I decided I was going to complete this model and over the past three or four months I have worked on it at a steady pace. Last week I finally finished it. Before telling you about the model and how I made mine here is bit of background history that Carl devised.
Welcome to Brummie’s Burgers, founded by Mr. S.M. Quinton and his step brother Bryan during the great meat famine of 1975.  Brummie's began as little more than a of couple students collecting scraps from the local butcher and selling dirt cheap lumps of meat to their college friends.  By the 90s, Brummie's had spread to 50 shops across England, and opened up their first international location in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Today, Brummie's is known to have the best burgers this side of Birmingham, and is home of the original widow maker burger, "the only burger to have, not one, but two full pound patties, sandwiched between three layers of our world famous cheese stuffed fried dough, and dripping from our tangy secret sauce.  The widow maker burger will surely leave your loved ones to mourn, but the nitrates and other preservatives are guaranteed to leave your body in a state of near mummification.  A steady diet of Brummie's Burgers is the best step a prepper could undertake to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, because you will have the nicest looking reanimated corpse around."
There is so much that I love about this model, but one of the things I like best of all is that it comes with its own car park so you can use it as a drive-thru restaurant. The colour scheme of the ground tiles perfectly match those of Carl's Undeveloped Real Estate set. Note that the two large signs on the long metal pillars are not glued in place.
The car park is made up of 12 tiles each measuring 7.5" square to give a board size of 30" by 22.5". That is a decent sized gaming board. The restaurant itself measures 11.5" by 12" and is a tad over 4" tall. The grass bits are glued to strips of mounting card to slightly raise them from the ground. The two pavement areas are glued to two strips of mounting card, which raises them even further.
Note that the restaurant building comes in a choice of four colour schemes. The default colour scheme is brown and red. I did not like this particular choice. I opted for an alternative colour scheme - yellow and red, which to me says fast food restaurant best of all. The other colour schemes were yellow and blue or yellow and green.
The model comes with four litter bins but I have only used two, which I've placed on the pavements on either side of the building. They have not been glued in place.
This is the side of the restaurant that shows the booth (at the far left) where drivers can order and pay for their meals, without getting out of their vehicle. The menu board at the left of the booth has been glued in place. It may look like it is floating in space in this photo but I wanted my restaurant to be separate from the ground tiles so I had to make allowance for the thickness of the ground tiles, which is why the menu board is not sitting flush with the ground. As you can see from the photos above, it looks fine when coupled with the ground tiles.
This is the front of the restaurant and whilst that huge curved window looks very hard to make, in reality it wasn't. It consists of a five tier sandwich. On the outside is the photo paper that I printed the design on. This was glued to a piece of thick cartridge paper. You could use thin card instead. After the glue had dried (I use UHU clear adhesive, which dries very quickly and which gives a strong bond) I cut out all of the glass bits. Cutting thick paper or thin card is a lot easier than cutting mounting card or foam-board. Once that was done I added the centre of my sandwich - the transparenceees (name trademarked by Carl). These are printed on transparent inkjet film. I then glued the inner window frames to a piece of thick cartridge paper and once again cut out all of the windows. This was then glued to the back of the transparent film. The cartridge paper, even though it was double thickness, was flexible enough to be bent into shape. As I said, UHU glue is fast drying so it did not take long to glue the whole lot in place. It sounds complicated and was rather labour intensive, but by taking my time and being methodical the end result was well worth the effort. Of course if you want to keep things simple you don't have to use the transparenceees. But I like my windows to be see through.
This is the opposite side of the restaurant to where the pay booth is. Note the drain pipes, which is a feature on model buildings that is often overlooked. As with all of my card models, the doors open and shut. This particular door uses the sandwich technique that I used for the front window as it has two glass panels in it. The hinges are simply a strip of masking tape.
This is the back of the restaurant. The door is solid "metal." The large brown garbage skip is glued in place, just like the menu board.
Here is an overhead view of the restaurant without the large sign on a pillar. The roof was the last part of the model that I made and was the part I was least looking forward to making. Why? Because it looked so difficult to make. But I'm an experienced modeller and I was not going to be defeated. So I carefully read the instructions - something I recommend you should do before making any model. Once I had cut out all the pieces and done a few dry runs I came to the realisation that this was not going to be as hard as I feared. I began by making the main roof by gluing my printouts to thick cartridge paper. Next, I cut out a large square of foam-board to which I glued three sides of the roof to. This was the lowest level of the roof and the biggest square. The gutters that run around the roof are the same thickness as a piece of 5mm foam-board. Each roof side comes with a large underside flap which gave me two points to glue each roof side to the foam-board - the flap and the gutter. I then slotted progressively smaller sheets of foam-board into place. This is why I left one side of the roof off. I should point out that this is not the method that Carl suggests in his instructions but I could see it working well for me. I think it took five layers of foam-board before I reached the large flat level in the middle of the roof. Note that there is a small wall running around all four sides of the main roof. These four walls were reinforced with mounting card. Before gluing the central roof section I added the fourth side in place. Then it was a simple matter to slot and glue the central section in place. My roof is unbelievably solid and very thick. Once that was done I used a similar technique to make the roof of the pay booth. That roof is glued to the main roof. Finally, I added signs to three sides of the roof slopes and painted the edges. Yes, it was tricky to build but it wasn't as hard as I originally feared. Incidentally, Carl offers two versions of the roof, the complex version that I made or a much simpler roof with a single set of sloped tiles. No way was I going to make the simple version! I relish a challenge.
And so we come to the interior. From top to bottom you can see the drive-thru pay booth, the kitchen and serving area, the main dining area, a storeroom and the toilets. This view is the best for seeing what is in the storeroom and the toilets. In the storeroom, from top to bottom, are a large stack of shelves, a small unit with a few trays on top and a large sink unit with one tray off to one side. In the toilets against the outer wall are a flush toilet and an urinal. This is the first time I have seen a urinal in any card model so well done, Carl. To the right is a wash basin and on the left wall is a dispenser for feminine products. Although this is a uni-sex facility I have no doubt that whoever is using it will lock the door behind them when doing what needs doing.
If you look closely in the pay booth at the top of this photo you can see I have added a desk with a till on it. The till came with the model but the desk did not. It came from the WWG Mayhem Police Station set. Sorry, Carl, but I needed a small desk and this fit the bill perfectly. In the toilet room you can see a condom machine next to the door. It really is a unisex toilet with dispensers for male and female products.
From this angle you can clearly see the serving desk and the menu board above the desk. On the menu board the eight dishes shown at either side are the same eight dishes shown on the external menu board. Naturally! In the centre of the board is a sign proclaiming "Home of the famous WIDOW MAKER BURGER." Ah, only in America! At the back of the kitchen you can see a small unit upon which stands a microwave oven. Next to it is another unit with a couple of trays on top of it and finally are a pair of sinks. Some of the posters were already printed on the interior walls. The red poster on the far wall above the work unit was one I added from a selection. Also, note the paintings hanging on the walls are all optional extras. There are eight paintings in total and I used all eight. The one on the side wall of the conservatory that doesn't have the door in it is the hardest to spot.
Check out the two dispensers next to the wooden door in the kitchen. They sit atop another small unit. To the left is an ice cream dispenser and to the right is a drinks dispenser. Both offer a variety of flavours. In the centre of the dining area is a trash receptacle. This is one of two such items. If you look at the two windows at the top of the photo you can see that the "glass" is slightly tinted. I like this effect better than them being totally transparent.
In the kitchen I placed the main cooking devices in the middle of the floor. From left to right are a pair of deep fat friers, a large hot plate for grilling burgers, and finally a four ring oven. The long serving desk is stacked with cups and glasses. I added a couple of tills to the desk. Note that the menu board is double-sided. In the dining area I placed two small square tables in the conservatory area (top of the photo) whilst five large circular tables were positioned in a V-shape in the main area. Note that the table in the middle has had two extra trays added to it as I didn't want every circular table to show two trays.  Each circular table is surrounded by four chairs, whilst the two squares tables can seat two each. The second trash receptacle can be seen in the upper right of the photo.
I should point out that my review is somewhat biased, but on the other hand, I do rave about ALL of Carl's products. The reason for my bias is that Carl announced a competition to come up with a suitable name for the restaurant. One of my suggestions was for Brummie's Burgers, a nice alliterative name, that Carl thought was the best choice. Naturally I was delighted to win the competition. My reward was to receive a free copy of the model. Incidentally, if you are not keen on the name, Carl provides a full sheet of alternative names, many of which were submitted to him in the competition. One alternative is a place called Vampi's Fans, which has a nice ring to it! If you fancy purchasing this fine model it cost a mere £3.39 from Wargames Vault - a real bargain when you consider it consists of 91 pages. I love this model and I can't tell you how pleasing it is to have my card-modelling mojo back.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Infantrymen 02

And so we come to the last (for the moment) review of my Black Scorpion 32mm scale US Army infantrymen. These 12 figures are the last of the soldiers to make up my infantry platoon, which is made up of four squads of 9-10 figures.
 These first four figures are all identically armed with the 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. The African/American soldier who is third in line from the left is wearing sunglasses.
Note that the first and fourth figures in line are wearing Night Vision Goggles, which negates any penalties for night time vision.
Moving on, we have four more infantry privates armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. The soldier standing second from the left is wearing sunglasses.
At first glance a lot of these poses seem identical but most have subtle differences. Wherever there are two identical figures I get round that by painting one as a Caucasian and the other as an African/American.
These last four soldiers have a bit of variety in their choice of weapons. Second and third line are armed as would be expected with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles.
The soldier at the far left is armed with a a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The private kneeling down is a sniper and he is armed with a 7.62mm M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS), which is the military version of the Remington 700 Rifle. It is called a Weapon System because it comes with a telescopic sight and other accessories. It is loaded with a five-round box magazine.
I went to check the prices of these figures on the Black Scorpion website and you can buy the majority of the range in packs of five figures for £10.00. Do remember that these are labelled as being 32mm scale and that they are now cast in resin. I discovered that there is a female medic that can be used with this range. I ordered her and she arrived a few days ago. For a resin cast mini, she is very nice. Some of you may be put off by her having her jacket open showing off a mighty fine pair of boobies. They are covered up, by the way. Such cheesecake doesn't bother me in the slightest but not everyone thinks as I do... thank God! I'll review her just as soon as I paint her.
I have a real treat in store for you with my next post. For those of you wondering where my card models are, just wait until you see Brummie's Burgers fast food restaurant.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Infantrymen 01

In my last two posts I've reviewed my Black Scorpion US Army Officers, NCOs, Snipers and Heavy Weapons Troopers. Today, I turn my attention to the ordinary infantrymen in part one of of a two part review.
The two infantrymen to the left of the photos directly above and below are armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. Note that the private at the far left is wearing Night Vision Goggles (NVG).
The two infantrymen at the far right of the group are each armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles with an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher. The kneeling private is wearing a pair of sunglasses. Note that three of these four figures are left-handed. Even though I'm right handed myself I do like to see diversity in the handedness of figures.
Three of the second group of four are also armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles with an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher. That's a lot of firepower!
The private at the far right is kneeling with a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
No doubt someone (Mathyoo, cough, cough!) will tell me that they have far too many M203 Grenade Launchers but I don't care. They look good to me and that is all that matters. I should point out that my company of figures are split into four squads, each consisting of 9-10 men. Once again, I do not know or care if this is historically accurate. In each photo the first figure in line, starting at the far left, belongs to squad one, the second figure in line belongs to squad two and so on.
Next time I'll review the final twelve soldiers from the range. Nearly all of them are armed with the standard M16A2 Assault Rifles.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Heavy Weapons Troopers and Snipers

As I continue my review of my collection of Black Scorpion US Army soldiers I thought I'd show the company's heavy weapons troopers and snipers. There are four of each.
My four heavy weapons troopers are all armed with an 84mm Saab Bofors AT4-CS Light Armour Weapon. The AT4-CS (Confined Space) is a man-portable shoulder-launched disposable anti-tank missile system designed specifically to be fired from confined spaces. The system fires a single-shot high velocity 84mm warhead and comes complete with a shoulder strap, crew protection and sights that can fold up from the system. The launcher casing itself is produced with fibre-glass reinforced construction and offers up a lethal dose of anti-armour protection for the standard infantryman. The "confined space" approach means that the system can be fired from openings in rooms without the fear of tremendous and deadly "back-splash" occurring to the firer or the occupants around the firer. The system is also designed to be recoillless and is thus resistant to forms of self-degrading damage that make the weapon more reliable than other weapons of this type. The launcher container is fully watertight.
The soldier at the far left of the group has his AT4-CS slung over his shoulder. He also has a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle slung over his other shoulder. He is using a pair of binoculars. The next two soldiers are identical sculpts that I have made different by painting one as an African/American and the other as a Caucasian. The fourth soldier in line is kneeling down to fire his AT4-CS.
The four snipers are actually just prone figures. Only one of them (the fourth in line from the left) is armed with a sniper rifle. The first soldier in line is firing a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The next two are armed with the 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. The only difference between them is one has a pair of goggles and the other doesn't. The one true sniper is armed with a McMillan TAC-308 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle, which is chambered to fire the proven .308 Winchester cartridge from its heavy match-grade free-floating barrel. It comes with a five-round box magazine and is fitted with a scope-sight. I must admit that I am not a big fan of prone figures (unless they're corpses) but these came with the various figure packs so I couldn't avoid getting them. Fortunately, there are only four in the range so that's not too bad. They are mounted on two 20mm diameter slottabases that I glued together and filled in the gaps between them with Milliput.
Last time I promised I'd tell you how I painted the camouflage uniforms of these figures. My colour scheme is based on the current Army Combat Uniform (ACU) which uses the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) as shown in the photo to the left. Sadly, my efforts did not come out strictly accurate as they are far too green. No matter. I'm happy with how they came out. This is how I painted them. First I gave each figure a base coat of Foundry Cadaverous Green Shade 46A. This was then given a Citadel green ink wash, which is now called Biel-Tan Green. Next I dry-brushed the figure with Foundry Cadaverous Green 46B. Then came the hard part - the stipple effect for the digital camo pattern. I used Foundry Cadaverous Green Light 46C and Foundry Forest Green Shade 26A for the light and dark spots respectively. Because everything has to be painted in this colour scheme (helmets, pouches, knee pads, body armour) I had to use my black line technique to identify them. The boots are painted in Foundry Deep Brown Leather 45B with a dry-brushing of Foundry Deep Brown Leather Light 45C.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Black Scorpion US Army Officers and NCOs

Over the next few posts I'll be reviewing my collection of Black Scorpion 30mm scale US Army figures. Believe me, this review is long overdue as I have had these figures for about five years now. I can't even say I've just painted them as an excuse to wait until now for showing them to you. The fact is, I painted them almost as soon as I bought them and then promptly forgot about them. Shameful, I know! They have never seen action in a game. So, why am I reviewing a group of contemporary US soldiers? Simple. At some point they will make an appearance in my zombie campaign. I have used military types in a few old ATZ-BDTZ scenarios but in them, I rolled for National Guard types rather than the regular US Army. National Guard soldiers appear if you roll 1-4 on a d6, whereas regular US Army soldiers appear if you roll a 5 or a 6. My National Guardsmen wear different coloured camouflage uniforms to my regular Army troops. I'll begin my series of reviews with a look at the officers and NCOs.
From left to right are my staff sergeant, first lieutenant, chief warrant officer and master sergeant. The staff sergeant is armed with a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle, the standard firearm of the US Army since the mid-1980's. He also wears Night Vision Goggles (NVG), which in ATZ removes any penalties for sight at night or in darkness.  The first lieutenant is the overall leader of this company and he is also armed with a 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle. In addition, he carries a 10mm Colt Delta Elite Pistol, a modern version of the famous .45 Colt Government M1911 Pistol. In ATZ it would be classed as a Big Ass Pistol.
Both the chief warrant officer and master sergeant are armed with 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles. The kneeling master sergeant is using a pair of binoculars.
Next up, from left to right are two corporals and two sergeants. The two corporals and the second sergeant in line are armed with the standard 5.56mm Colt M16A2 Assault Rifles but all have fitted an under-slung 40mm Colt M203 Grenade Launcher.
The first sergeant in line is armed with a 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Note that the first corporal and first sergeant both wear Night Vision Goggles. In ATZ, these would be classed as Luxury Items.
I'm afraid I have not got round to naming any of my modern US Army soldiers. They will be given names when I use them. These figures have been available for a long time now. Technically, they should be US Marines, as this is what Black Scorpion call them, but I think they work just as well as regular US Army troops.
Be aware that these are over-scale when compared to a lot of 28mm scale figures. This did not put me off from buying them but it may influence some of you. I recently showed them to Mathyoo when he stayed with me last month and he commented that they look a lot better in real life than in their photos. He's right - they do. They are well sculpted, even if they do look a bit bulky and tall. Anyway, I'm happy with them and that is the main thing.
The two officers (my first lieutenant and chief warrant officer) are available in a USM Command pack priced at £5.00 for the pair of them. The rest appear in an assortment of multi-packs, containing five figures for £10.00. Please note that my figures were cast in metal but nowadays all Black Scorpion figures are cast in resin. This may influence your decision as to whether to buy them or not. I must admit that I prefer metal to resin but these figures are very reasonably priced.
Next time I'll review my heavy weapons troopers and snipers.