Skarach's world

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My new PC (#1)


The recent Easter holidays gave me a chance to build the first of two new PCs. Two, because whereas I have had one “all rounder” for the last few years – used for gaming, media (music), everything – I decided I wanted to move the gaming PC into my living room (connected to the TV) and have a second, less powerful, one for all tasks but gaming in my study\hobby room. It is this second one which I have recently built. For a while I was tempted by a Mac mini for this purpose, as I use one at work for iPad app development. But, in the end, looking at the details, I could get a more powerful PC for less money. So, the details:

Obviously, it is no gaming beast, but as I said, it is not intended to be. Anyway, it went together really well. It is always slightly nerve-wracking to me to build one from scratch! Once I have seen the BIOS come up the first time, detailing the correct CPU, memory and drives, I feel that I am in the home straight. That, and a few error free passes of Memtest86+ before installing the OS – the only time I had a problem PC assembly in the four previous attempts was to do with bad RAM.

A few observations:

  • I always build my own as I can never find the exactly equipped one pre-made! Plus I would sooner avoid all the extra software which the PC builders insist on installing onto Windows, the likes of which do Microsoft no favours in my opinion.
  • I really like the neatness of the Mini ITX board. The only thing I could fault it for was only having one case fan header, but I think you could daisy chain more from an appropriate adapted molex power supply cable.
  • This is my first solid state drive. Of course, I used that for Windows and all program installs, leaving music and documents for the larger hard disk drive. As expected, it makes boot time much shorter.
  • The case is nice too – perhaps a bit bigger than other Mini ITX cases, but that is fine. Change the CPU I selected for an i5, add a dedicated graphics card (the case can supposedly fit all but the largest ones) and you would have a very capable gaming box. Good for LAN parties.
  • This is also my first proper use of Windows 8.x. Having used it after Microsoft have had time to issue various updates, I think that I have avoided some of the major frustrations for keyboard and mouse users (as opposed to touch screens). I would guess that at this point it is probably not going to shake off  the negative views in many quarters, but I can live with it fine.


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Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916)

British Army, Battle of the Somme, 1916.

Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 1:Introduction
Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 2:Assembly
Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 3:Painting
Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 4:Weathering

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Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 4:Weathering

  • I tend not to try any paint chipping effects on a model in this scale, so straight to the pin wash with AK Interactive “Wash for DAK Vehicles” (AK066).
  • Application of AK Interactive “Streaking grime for DAK vehicles” (AK067), AK Interactive “Rust streaks” (AK013) and AK Interactive “Fresh Mud wash” (AK016) on vertical surfaces.
  • Dry brushing of Lifecolor rust paints on the grenade screen and Games Workshop “Boltgun metal” on the raised edges of the tracks and the machine guns.
  • AK Interactive “Fresh mud” (AK016) was flicked from a brush end onto various parts of the vehicle to attempt the effect of splashed mud.

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Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 3:Painting

The artwork shows a complicated four colour scheme (presumably the type mentioned here). I freely admit to finding these  types of schemes – to the extent that I have tried them – difficult! It doesn’t help that the suggested colours do not appear to be the same as the colours in the image. So, I decided to wimp out for a model of this scale and following the quote in the Wikipedia reference (“In late 1916, the Solomon scheme was abandoned and tanks were painted with a single shade of dark brown.“) I went with the below colours.

Primer: Tamiya “Fine Surface Primer” (white) spray can

Base coat (tank and grenade screen): A mixture of 90% Tamiya acrylics (XF-49 “Khaki” (80%) and XF-57 “Buff” (20%)) and 10% Tamiya X 22 Clear in Tamiya X-20A thinner (2:1 paint mixture to thinner).

Base coat (steering tail):  A mixture of 90% Tamiya XF-63 “German Grey” and 10% Tamiya X-22 Clear in Tamiya X-20A thinner (2:1 paint mixture to thinner).


  • Machine guns: Vallejo Model Color “Black” 70950
  • Front lights: Games Workshop “Mithril Silver”
  • Tracks: Vallejo Panzer Aces “Track Primer” 304

The paint was protected with a layer of Humbrol Clear gloss varnish and then Citadel Purity Seal satin varnish.

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Mk I “Female” (Somme 1916) build – Part 2:Assembly

The instructions and artwork show the tank without the mesh part of the grenade screen. But, really, the brass part is too nice to leave off.


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