Tuesday 31 October 2023

More car boot sale finds

 A return trip to the local car boot sale a couple of weeks ago yielded another excellent collection of bargains.  As always, all of these vehicles cost 50p or less each, so a total of only £5-6 for the lot from across the whole sale.

A couple more coaches (Majorette and Siku) added to the existing collection means I've probably got enough for any sort of modern/sci-fi urban combat environment, or as objectives or liability units for something like AK-47 Republic. The Siku one even has opening luggage doors, a feature missing from all my earlier acquisitions!

Another small tanker suitable for airfield refuelling is useful (presumably containing kerosine rather than Cadbury's caramel), as are a couple of generic trucks.  These will be good in any late 20th Century game, either as civilian vehicles or with mounted guns as technicals.

 A Matchbox personnel carrier ready for conversion to an AFCFA APC.  Here is an example of some of the conversion work in progress on another to give an idea of what the end result might be.

A submersible pod, handy as scenery for an underwater complex or dockside.  I have a couple of other different ones, and a variety of boats.

Buck Rogers starfighter with pop-out wings!  I have the large Corgi model but had only ever seen this smaller one in the catalogue I had as a lad.  I had to buy this!  It will be useful for Epic Scale or BattleTech scenery.  I can just see the little paddle steamer with an Epic Hydra AA turret and a couple of Imperial Guard crew, patrolling a stretch of river somewhere suitable grimdark.  It'll obviously need a grimy repaint for that purpose.

An ERTL toy Westland Wessex that looks close enough to be OK for AK-47 Republic or some of my Action Force games.  It needs some work on the rotors, wheels and a good repaint, but it was a great find. The Wessex was a development of the Sikorsky H-34 and saw action in the Falklands War.  It served from 1961-2003.

Some steel washers.  50mm, these 20 cost me only £1.  I'm thinking I'll either glue them under plastic bases to give a bit of extra weight, or maybe do away with the plastic entirely and just use the washers on their own.  Either way, they'll make my larger 15mm mecha and monstrous creatures that much more stable on the games table.

Monday 30 October 2023

Growing trees - Teloxys aristata (Seafoam) part 8

This post is about 2 months late, but never mind!  My Seafoam was all harvested in early September.  The plants pulled out of the ground very easily and just needed a quick snip with a pair of secateurs to remove the roots.  I allowed the plants to dry on a large sheet of cardboard in the garage for a few days.

Drying Seafoam.

The plants are full of tiny seeds.  After drying, gently shaking and patting the plants caused most of the seeds to fall off, providing me with more than twice the quantity I originally received in the seed packet. Drying them on the cardboard meant it was easy to fold it in half to pour the seeds into a pot.  Plenty for next year!


The structure looks excellent, ideal for tiny trees.  It can be fragile because the texture is so fine.

Wonderful miniature tree structure.

Preserving the plants helps reduce their fragile nature.  I'm using 1 part glycerin to 2 parts water.  The glycerin should replace the water remaining in the plants, leaving them slightly more flexible and less likely to crumble away. A litre bottle cost under £10 and should do me for 5 or 6 years of Seafoam harvesting.

Glycerin (aka Glycerol)

 I save the bottles from my car de-icer, they're perfect for spraying a thin PVA/varnish mixture for sealing scenery, or in this case, a glycerin mixture for preserving plants.

Spray bottle with glycerin mixture.

In mid-September, the plants were sprayed heavily and clothes-pegged to a length of string stretched across the garage rafters to dry.

Tightly packed branches.

After drying, the addition of the glycerin means that the plants retain some spring and bounce, so hopefully they will work well for scenery.

Separated plants.

 The hardest part was teasing apart all the intertwined plants.  I will try and grow them further apart next year to avoid this problem.

Ready for use.

 Looking on the internet, this quantity of Seafoam I've produced would probably cost me upwards of £60.  It's cost me under £15 so far for the seeds and the glycerin.  Compost and pots have all been free, and repeating the process will cost me nothing else for the next few years. I'll probably end up paying less than 5% what I'd pay for "scenery-ready" Seafoam.  The only problem I foresee is where to store all the forests I'll be making...