Crashed Shuttle, Part One

Doing a bit of cleaning up in my boxes of wargaming supplies I rediscovered a shuttle I built at least ten years ago. It was nominally for 15mm science fiction gaming, but was built without visible windows or any other really obvious scale indicators, and it’s big enough to look like a small craft in 28/32mm SF scenery!

Shuttle retrieved from the box it's been half-forgotten in for ages. Landing gear next to it; Infinity figure on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger, as usual.
Shuttle retrieved from the box it’s been half-forgotten in for ages. Landing gear next to it; Infinity figure on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger, as usual.

It’s suffered some damage in storage; one of the stabilizer fins is missing and the landing gear was loose and damaged. Rather than fix it up I figured I’d run with it as a damaged crashlanded shuttle that’s suffered a hard landing but is still basically intact. I added some more damage with a file, then chopped part of the underside away so it would sit slightly nose-down.

Hole in the nose. The original shape was a mouthwash bottle built up with styrene plastic sheet and putty. Click for larger.
Hole in the nose. The original shape was a mouthwash bottle built up with styrene plastic sheet and putty. Click for larger.

I used hot glue to stick the shuttle down to the base, then packed the gap between the ground and the shuttle with a few bits of scrap card, slices of foam from a miniatures blister, and a lot more hot glue.

Shuttle with foam and scraps packed into the gap between the body and the ground. Click for larger.
Shuttle with foam and scraps packed into the gap between the body and the ground. Click for larger.
Other side of the shuttle, also showing the missing tail fin and the extra damage I scratched into it. Click for larger.
Other side of the shuttle, also showing the missing tail fin and the extra damage I scratched into it. Click for larger.

Finally I put a layer of white glue over the foam and base then dumped sand over it. It might need another layer of sand to touch everything up; we’ll see in a day or two once everything dries!

Sand in place; Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Sand in place; Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

More soon once I get the base painted up and touch up the damaged parts of the shuttle!

Yet Another Hill

I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been working on a third large hill, with a roughly 12″x15″ footprint, that being the maximum interior size of a banker’s box. This one is a more complex outline than the previous two and was a fair bit more work to assemble, as I wound up using a lot of smaller pieces of styrofoam to piece the hill together.

Most recent hill in progress, missing the top couple of layers of foam. Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Most recent hill in progress, missing the top couple of layers of foam. Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

The “gully” up the centre of this hill is designed to allow 40mm wide based figures – many of the mid-sized or larger Infinity figures – to access it. There are a number of other areas on this hill that will allow 25mm based figures to stand and access.

Construction finished. 40mm base in the centre, 25mm base to the right, and a 25mm-based figure in the foreground. Click for larger.
Construction finished. 40mm base in the centre, 25mm base to the right, and a 25mm-based figure in the foreground. Click for larger.
Sloped end of the latest hill, with Daylami on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Sloped end of the latest hill, with Daylami on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

The sloped end of this hill still needs to be sanded, then I need to mix up a new batch of glue/sand/paint/plaster “goop” to texture the thing before proceeding with painting and flocking.

I’m not planning any more hills this large right now, but I do want to do a group of smaller hills, including some half hills that are explicitly designed to go against the edges of the table to help break up the long lines of sight that can happen on the sides or back edges of too many tables.

A Pair of Hills, Part Two

I’ve finished the first two hills I started a while back, and built a third large hill to finish up the set for now.

After the first coat of glue/sand/paint “goop” dried I added a second layer to a few areas of both hills, just to smooth out a few seams and such.

After the second coat of "goop". Click for larger, as usual.
After the second coat of “goop”. Click for larger, as usual.

I mentioned in the first hill post that I was piecing these hills together out of pieces of styrofoam instead of using solid sheets for every single layer, to stretch my current supply of the stuff just that little bit further. Here’s what the underside of the two hills looks like:

Underside of the two hills, showing layers and pieces of styrofoam. Click for larger.
Underside of the two hills, showing layers and pieces of styrofoam. Click for larger.

Before I started painting, here’s what the two hills and the smaller cork piece looked like.

All three initial pieces together, with an Infinity figure on a 25mm wide base for scale. Click for larger.
All three initial pieces together, with an Infinity figure on a 25mm wide base for scale. Click for larger.

Painting

Painting these was pretty straightforward. I started with a flat black basecoat, to thoroughly hide any hints of pink styrofoam that managed to peek through the texture goop layer(s).

Black basecoat done and drying. Click for larger.
Black basecoat done and drying. Click for larger.

The earth areas got a heavy brown drybrushing, then a sloppy wash of thin brown paint, and finally a drybrush of brown mixed with a bit of white.

Brown done on the earth sections. Click for larger.
Brown done on the earth sections. Click for larger.

After that I did a couple of layers of grey drybrush on the rock areas; the initial drybrush was grey mixed with a bit of black, then straight grey, and finally grey mixed with a good dollop of white. The final drybrush mostly got applied on the upper edges of the rocks and on protruding corners and such.

Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.

Finally I flocked random areas of the earth parts, let everything dry, and called it all done!

Smaller cork piece with flocking and Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Smaller cork piece with flocking and Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Larger hills all flocked and finished. Click for larger.
Larger hills all flocked and finished. Click for larger.

I’ve started making a third large hill, and I’ll get photos of that up in the next day or so!

A Pair of Hills

Still quiet around here this summer, but wargaming has been taking place, as has figure painting, and finally, just for a change, a bit of scenery building!

I broke out my stockpile of half-inch insulation board last week and spent and couple of hours with a razor knife, hot glue gun, and the styrofoam. I wanted a pair of relatively large hills that were tall enough and complex enough to make for an interesting game of Infinity, a game that tends to be very demanding of cover and alive to the tactical possibilities of good, complex scenery.

Each hill is roughly 15″ long, 12″ wide, and about 4 or 5″ tall. The footprint means they’ll fit in a banker’s box, my standard unit of terrain storage and transport, and the height means they’ll provide total cover to even the biggest units in an Infinity game.

Basic construction finished, with standard sized CD for scale.
Basic construction finished, with standard sized CD for scale.

To save on foam I cut the bottom layer or two of each hill as a ring instead of a solid slab of foam, and quite a lot of the upper sections of each hill are pieced together from random sized foam chunks.

As a base layer before painting, I mixed a “goop” of white glue, fine sand, and paint and slathered it on with a small housepainting brush that was already beat to heck.

With "goop" on as a base layer to protect and strengthen the foam.
With “goop” on as a base layer to protect and strengthen the foam.

The goop layer isn’t quite dry, it’s going to need about 24 hours to dry out entirely before I proceed with the final painting.

The hills with a trio of Infinity figures on 25mm wide bases for scale.
The hills with a trio of Infinity figures on 25mm wide bases for scale.

The third piece of scenery in the photos is a small hill/rocky area I made years ago from a half inch thick cork kitchen hot mat. I was never happy with the colour and flocking I’d put on it, so it got covered in leftover texture goop as well and will be re-finished in the same style as the two new big hills.

Now the next question: go with a conventional Earth-like paint and flock covering, with grey rocks, brown earth, and green foliage, or go with a stark foliage-free moon- or asteroid-like look? Decisions, decisions…

A Mid-Summer Update

Awfully quiet around here for far too long, for which I apologize!

I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of painting and a little bit of terrain work. My personal goal is to get my entire current collection of Infinity miniatures painted, based, and completed before Labour Day, the first week of September. That’s about 65 miniatures total, of which maybe 25 or so are actually fully finished.

A couple of shots of recent work – see the photo captions in the gallery for more details!

The Workbench This Weekend, 7 May 2016

My girlfriend is out of town with friends so I’ve had a bachelor/wargamer weekend and gotten a lot done on my Infinity figures.

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The workbench – planters in the foreground, various Haqqislam figures behind, and the usual clutter around the edges! Click for larger.

The planters are foamed PVC sheet and mat board offcuts, and the trees are from Games Workshop — at one point they produced a rather nice set of modular plastic “tropical trees” that vaguely resemble palm trees and are a lot of fun to put together. Like pretty much everything that GW ever does that’s actually interesting, these seem to have vanished from their website, which is a shame. I picked up most of a set a while ago when I bought a whole mixed batch of wargaming stuff off someone locally who was having to downsize.

Closeup of the planters - done with the old GW palm trees - and CB Haqq figures in progress. Click for larger, as usual.
Closeup of the planters – done with the old GW palm trees – and CB Haqq figures in progress. Click for larger, as usual.

Closeup of the figures and planters. The dark blue figures in the background are various Hassassin Bahram soldiers including three of the infamous Fiday assassins. The figures closer to the camera include a pair of Remotes on the left, an al’Hawwa sniper and al’Hawwa hacker, a pair of Hafza infantry in lower left, and a quintet of Djanzaban medium infantry on the right – two rifles, a sniper, an HMG, and a hacker, all stalwarts of the Qapu Khalqi sectorial force in Haqq.

PlastCraft Curved Modular Building

While at Trumpeter Salute I picked up one of PlastCraft’s Designed-For-Infinity plastic pre-coloured buildings, the Curved Modular Building, from the awesome folks at Imperial Hobbies, BC’s greatest wargaming store, and the only reason I do anything in Richmond other than change buses…

Anyway, the Curved Modular Building is a small building, with a footprint about 4″x4″ (not including the ramps) and about 3″ tall. It’s only 16 parts, six of which are for the two ramps off each end of the building.

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Curved building parts all laid out. Click for bigger, see text for details.

The material is all 2mm foamed PVC board (Sintra is one common brand name) that’s been colour printed on one side, presumably by computer. The printing seems very solid, certainly enough to handle transport and use on a gaming table, and foamed PVC is good solid material for gaming terrain. My space station walls are built mostly with thicker Sintra (1/8″ or about 3.5mm) that I picked up at our local plastics supply place.

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Assembled, with ramps. Infinity (28/30mm) Hassassin Bahram Fiday for scale. Click for larger.

Assembly is pretty straightforward, with the small caveat that you do need to be slightly careful with the curved pieces so you don’t kink them. I glued the two end walls into the floor with superglue, let them cure for a bit, and gently pre-curved the main roof piece with my hands and over the top of one thigh before fitting it in place. Secure one end of the roof with superglue and work patiently around the curve of the piece, adding glue an inch or two at at time along the top edge of the two walls. Once you get the whole roof glued, hold the whole assembly for a minute or two to give the superglue a chance to cure.

Pre-curve and dry fit the two end roof pieces before tacking them into place with superglue, then add the two short end walls on each porch. Glue the two ramp assemblies together and you’re done, one piece of terrain ready to go on the table. I elected to leave the ramps separate from the building to make transportation and storage slightly easier; they tuck nicely into one porch for storage.

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End with two CB Infinity figures for scale and the ramp in place. Click for larger, as usual

I like these buildings, they’re super easy to assemble and it’s kind of nice not to have to paint and detail everything yourself. The use of foamed PVC instead of the more usual MDF or cardboard allows the interesting curved roof, and the curved features in some of the other PlastCraft ColorED range. PlastCraft has just announced an expansion of their ColorED Infinity line, and they have a couple of other lines in the same range, some of which could make for fun Infinity tables. They also do most of the range in plain white foamed PVC if you want to paint them yourself.

Trumpeter Salute 2016 Photos

Finally got my Trumpeter Salute 2016 photos off the phone and onto Flickr a few days ago.

The full collection is over on Flickr but here’s a few favourites and highlights!

Reagan vs Ghadaffi

Saturday morning we ran a Libya vs US Navy air war scenario, based on an amped-up version of the real Gulf of Libya incidents in the mid-1980s. The Libyan MiGs humiliated the US Navy Tomcats, shooting down two and barely losing any aircraft, while blowing up the oil tanker they had come to strike!

Ain't Afraid of No Ghost!

I didn’t play in this one, but it certainly caught my eye. Rival teams of Ghostbusters (they’ve become a franchise, apparently) try to clear a haunted subway station. This was one of Lisa’s games, she always runs awesome creative games that are very welcoming to gamers of all ages!

Cold War Hot

Another 1980s based scenario for Saturday evening, this time using Martin’s awesome 6mm hex terrain to do a complex West German vs Soviet scenario. Soviet air-landing battalion vs West German home guard, then a counterattack by West German armour that runs into a spearhead group of Soviet armour coming to relieve their paratroopers! Great game and a decisive Soviet victory.

The Pulp Finale

Sunday I ran a big Pulp Alley game for six players. It was somewhere in India after the Great War, and we had rival teams of Thugee cultists (the cult wasn’t as extinct as everyone thought…), various interfering foreigners including White Russians and Red Air Pirates, and two rival British Army Lieutenants each out to prove themselves the best! It all ended in a giant brawl in the collapsing cursed temple of Kali, with the Thugee generally being seen as the winners!

As always, a great time in Vancouver. It was good to see most of the regulars there and catch up with them, and see all the great games being put on. Until next year!

Bring Me… A Shrubbery!

Having moved at the start of this year I’ve been sorting and reorganizing gaming stuff, as one does, and working on actually using some of the stockpile of stuff I’ve accumulated.

Part of the stockpile was a much wider array of greenery and model plant type material than I had thought I had. I also had a batch of sci-fi planters I had started back in January 2015, painted, and used a lot during Infinity games without ever putting greenery in.

A few minutes with the hot glue gun has finally fixed that!

shrub1
Shrubbery in progress. Click for larger, see text for details!

The little trees are from Woodland Scenics; I won them as a door prize at Trumpeter Salute a couple of weeks ago. Most of the bushes are just various shades of green foliage foam also from Woodland Scenics, while the spiky looking blueish bushes are actually furnace filter material, spraypainted green, and with fine ground foliage foam sprinkled onto them. Many years ago (like, in the early 1990s…) we had a family model train layout and our background trees were made from furnace filter. The stuff I’m using is from a bag of the surviving, salvaged railroad trees, finally back in service after a couple of decades off!

shrub2
Completed shrubbery, with Infinity Hassassin Bahram figures observing. Click for larger, as usual.

Looking forward to getting these onto our Infinity tables; Infinity has a bunch of cool terrain rules that are often ignored but can really make the game more interesting.

Heading Home From Trumpeter Salute

Heading home from Vancouver and an excellent, exhausting weekend at the Trumpeter Salute show! Good to see most of the Trumpeter regulars, many of whom I only ever see once a year at this show.

Great games all weekend, including the six player Pulp Alley game I ran Sunday, “Terror in the Thuggee Temple”, which was a gloriously confused and messy multi-sided mess enjoyed by all.

I got a good crop of photos all weekend, including a bunch of my own pulp game, and I’ll get them edited and posted here soon!

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)