31 December 2006

Champagne pouring tips!

"In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it.” Napoleon Bonaparte
Just to make sure you get it right, lets spell it out now:

Chill the Champagne to 45°F, usually three hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in an ice bucket (silver or pewter look the nicest). Cut the foil and remove.

Wrap a towel around the bottle; this will help to keep the cork from flying away and to catch any Champagne that might spill. Hold the neck of the bottle while securing the top of the cork with your thumb.
Twist off the cage; it takes about six turns to undo it. Remove the wire cage while you are still holding the cork. Hold the bottle at a 45 angle. Hold the cork with one hand and the bottom of the bottle with the other; turn the bottle (not the cork) slowly and carefully. Release the cork gently, and pour the Champagne.
Use flute glasses that focus the aroma, rather than coupes.

Pour the Champagne down the side of the glass to give the champagne fewer "head bubbles."

Don't shake the bottle; it increases the internal pressure and the Champagne will have less "fizz" when you serve it.
Of course for the truely stylish, you can open it with a sword: hit the glass ring at the top of the bottle below the cork and the weakest point of the bottle seam - NOT for beginners!

21 December 2006

Guest Spot - How to do the Dip

It is a pleasure to serve as a guest commentator on what has to be the best named blog around, “Yours in a White Wine Sauce.” While Tas was at sea, Maksim asked me for a contribution. We had some issues getting it posted, but the guys have been kind enough to add me to the blog. It is not 2mm, but it is VSF, I hope you enjoy it.

When I started my VSF project at the beginning of the year, I was a bit daunted about doing it in 28mm, I tend to be a slow painter. But, I stumbled across the infamous Dip method on The Miniatures Page and decide to give it a try. It does give the figures someting of a "toy" look, but I like that for VSF and it does cover a multitude of painting sins. I have been happy with the results, here how I do it.

Step 1: Paint Figures

Currently I am working on finishing up my Russian force. The infantry consists of figures from Old Glory’s Boxer Rebellion range and I picked up the Romanov Holiday set from West Wind’s Gothic horror range to use as a force commander and the Tsarina and kids as objectives.

As you can see, I have done a very basic paint job, nothing fancy, no dry brushing or shading, just the basic colors.

Step 2: Prepare the materials

To do the dip, you’ll need a one step wood stain / sealer, such as Olympic One Step. Chose a dark color, I use a dark walnut. You will also need some rubber gloves and sponge brushes. I got all of these at my local Lowe’s home store.

Most importantly you will need a work area that can get messy, do NOT do this on your wife’s antique dining room table.

Step 3: Do the Dip

Stir the stain, put your gloves on, and grab a figure. Grit your teeth, and dip the figure into the stain. This is really difficult the first time you do it, but it gets easier.

Pull the figure out and let the excess drain off.

Use the foam brush to dab (not brush) the excess off. If you do not, then it can pool. The objective is to let it settle into the cracks and bring out the relief in the figure.

Here are the results…

Stoic Russian riflemen ready to serve the Tsar on Earth, Mars, or Venus.

The Tsar and family prepare for a trip to the red planet.

Here are some dipped figures next to more traditionally dry brushed figures for comparison.

I hope you enjoyed this, glad to have you back, Tas.