Fire, Explosion, and Wreckage Markers for Tiny Boats

Sometime earlier in the pandemic I ordered a batch of 1/1200 3d printed stuff from Shapeways, who use some sort of resin printing to get incredible detail on their prints. I keep meaning to write up that purchase in a proper review, I took a bunch of photos of everything I bought, but nevermind…

One place I have used a few of the 3d printed bits is in some wreckage markers. I bought a sprue of inflatable liferafts, and the sprue of boats included traditional life boats in several sizes, so I popped a few of those onto 1″ styrene bases as wreckage markers, or possibly as scenario goals – rescue downed aircrew or stranded squadronmates, that sort of thing.

Wreck and rescue markers for naval gaming, and the first two fire/explosion markers behind.

I also did up a batch of fire/explosion markers, also on 1″ bases. These are pretty simple things, made up mostly of hot glue splatted and “sculpted” with the tip of the hot glue gun. Holding the bases upside down and twisting them back and forth as the glue stretched and cooled helped, and for several of them I dunked them into the cool water of my paint rinse pot to help “freeze” the shapes. A few of them have wire centres but the most interesting ones don’t and I won’t bother with that step if I do any more.

Various explosion markers in progress. You can see the wire core in the one second from right, but don’t bother with this step if you do your own like this.

After the glue had cooled and I’d cleaned the thready wisps of glue off that hot glue so often leaves, I glued on a bit of medium flock as extra texture, which works nicely.

All the explosion markers painted, lightly drybrushed, and the first coat of gloss added to the water.

The explosion markers got a black basecoat. I considered trying to paint actual fire on them, but decided to just do a bit of a grey drybrush, mostly on the very tops, and leave them at that.

The boat sticking out of one base, about to be engulfed in an explosion, is one of the Shapeways 3d printed ones, left a generic grey so it could be from any side of the war. I cut the stern few millimeters off that boat to tuck it into the body of the explosion a bit more, then used that boat piece on the fire marker just visible on the far right of the photo above.

The Shapeways stuff makes for nice extra bits, and the explosion markers are super easy to make. These little pieces should make for some interesting extra colour during our next games of messing about in tiny boats.

Links of Interest, 11 August 2021

Quiet around here as I’m not doing a lot of gaming, painting, or terrain building this summer. Too busy with other things! I did have a couple of fantastic games of WW2 coastal forces earlier in August, and will get those photos up here in the next little while.

I recently got a well-stuffed box of awesome stuff from Fenris Games as part of their Toadstool Brownies Kickstarter, including whole forests full of mushrooms and some really neat tiny brownie and kobold figures. I’ll get some more photos of those and get some sort of review up soon-ish.

On to links… over on Empire of Ghosts we have some rather nice small scale islands in two styles, one tropical for Caribbean/the Med and one more northerly for the North Sea. They’re nominally 6mm or 1/300 to match the Warlord Cruel Seas boats and others, but as designed they’re pretty scale-neutral and the basic ideas will serve for even smaller scales too.

My excellent local game store started carrying UV resin and I picked some up a while ago, intending to try it out for windows in various buildings. Usefully, I just found this tutorial on using UV resin for windows over on the Comm Guild blog, which should prove useful when I finally get around to finishing the MDF church I started a few years ago.

More content here as the summer comes to an end in a month or so, I promise!

BCS 2021 & A Blog Update

Well, “a few weeks” in my last update apparently turned into two months of radio silence here. Oops.

Build Something Contest 2021 over on LAF had the end date pushed back by two weeks due to the organizer having an attack of Real Life, but it’s wrapped up and voting should start this week over on Lead Adventure!

I’ll get a full gallery of all my build shots up after voting begins, but in the meantime here’s a teaser from early in construction of my entry, which wound up named the “Dark Pool of Dark Darkness”…

The piece with most of the basic groundwork laid down and the rock formations just started. 28mm gnolls on 25mm bases for scale; the whole thing is about 10″ long by 9″ wide or so. Click for larger, as usual.

Build Something Contest 2021

Quiet here the last week or so because I’ve been thoroughly distracted by Lead Adventure Forum’s Build Something Contest 2021!

Lots of cool entries in progress over on the BSC subforum of LAF. Posting WIP photos elsewhere is discouraged but I’ve taken lots of photos so far of the rocky moor piece I’m doing and I’ll be sharing them here in a month or so when the contest is concluded.

I do have some other stuff I’ll be showing off, including some scatter pieces I just finished that I’m quite happy with, so it won’t be totally dead here but go check out the BSC and look for my updates there!

Over a Barrel, Gaslands Edition

Corey has a 3d printer, as has featured here many times, and a little while ago he cranked out half a dozen barrels in Gaslands-ish scale. His printer was being temperamental, however, and they wound up a bit lumpy and mis-printed. The care and feeding of 3d printers appears to be an entire hobby unto itself, one I’m happy to leave to him…

Waste not, want not, though and on a post-apoc deathtrack battered misshapen barrels seem more likely than pristine clean ones anyway, so I took them, stuck them in a rough line on a base made of a lump of Milliput, and chucked some paint on ’em.

Rust basecoat after priming.

After my usual grey spray primer the barrels got a reddish-orange rust basecoat, then I painted them alternating white and red, to fit with the general colour scheme on our Gaslands arenas.

White barrels masked while I paint the red ones.

All the paint was stippled on to be deliberately scruffy and let the rust basecoat show through, and then I drybrushed various shades of rust, dust, and grime back over everything. I think there was a dark brown wash in there too, but can’t actually recall.

Finished and ready to be put out in the arena to be crashed into!

This was a nice quick little barricade, done over a couple of short sessions, and a good way to reuse slightly misprinted but still basically intact bits!

New Books for the Library

Went on a bit of a book buying spree recently in aid of getting more background material for my WW2 coastal naval gaming; among the classic references in the field are the trilogy of books published in the 1990s by Leonard C. Reynolds, Dog Boats at War, Mediterranean MTBs At War, and Home Waters MTBs & MGBs at War. Except for Dog Boats, they’ve been out of print ever since.

I looked through a few different used book websites and eventually wound up getting all three through different ABE Books sellers, despite my standing desire not to funnel money toward noted sociopath Jeff fuckin’ Bezos.

I also picked up three Osprey books on the same subject, because one of the ABE resellers is also a full-service new book store as well and Ospreys are usually worth it. Those were E-Boat VS MTB, German E-boats 1939-45, and British Motor Torpedo Boat 1939-45.

If you’re looking for reading material on the coastal forces of WW2, I highly recommend the Publications page of Spitfires of the Sea, and the rest of that website while you’re at it. It’s written by Stephen Fisher, an archeologist/historian specializing in 20th C naval matters. He also tweets as @SeaSpitfires and is well worth following there.

Links of Interest, 4 April 2021

Cement Saul is a fairly new YouTube channel that has been doing a bunch of interesting Gaslands-related videos. I especially like the video on Weathering with Coloured Pencils and Pigments. Pigments (pastel chalk dust, or similar) are familiar to me and I’ve used them in the past, but weathering with actual coloured pencils hadn’t occured to me and I’m going to have to try that out! It’s part of a series on painting, stencilling, detailing, and weathering cars that’s well done, approachable, and worth your time.

Light Industries is a Canadian outfit that do various decals including custom work; I always like to find Canadian sources for things when I can!

Misc Minis do various decals as well, including tiny decals suitable for 1/1200 vessels or aircraft. I contacted him back in January 2021 about getting a little sheet of his smallest decals, got it in just a few weeks for much less money than I was expecting, and will do a proper review of them sometime soon!

A Paintbrush Rack from Scrap

I’ve always know that hanging paint brushes bristles down to dry was better for them, but never bothered doing anything about it. Recently my selection of brushes has expended as I’m using cheap makeup brushes for drybrushing and, right at the other end of the brush quality spectrum, my wife spoiled me at Christmas with a trio of gorgeous W&N Series 7 brushes, the seriously expensive ones.

My painting bench is an old Ikea modular shelving unit, and I realized I could add a brush rack to the underside of one of the shelves just off my actual painting area, where it would be out of the way but close at hand for convenience.

Even better, I realized with a few seconds of experimenting that I could make a functional brush rack from scrap foam and recycled cardboard! The foam happens to be sheets from Infinity box sets, about 4″ by 6″ or so; I took one sheet of that, cut it in half lengthwise, and then cut a series of slits about an inch apart and maybe an inch and a half deep.

New drying and storage rack in position. The foam will even hold the fat-handled makeup brushes I’ve just started using for drybrushing. Click for larger.

I hot glued the foam to scrap cardboard from the recycling bin, then hot glued the whole assembly into place on the underside of the shelf just on the left hand edge of my painting bench. If I ever decide to replace it or move it, the hot glue can be popped off the wood of the shelf fairly easily.

The slit foam will even hold the wide handles of the cheap makeup brushes I’ve started using recently for drybrushing and the 2.5″ housepainting brush I use on big scenery projects. Given it cost me exactly nothing to make, took just a couple of minutes, and uses a spot on my hobby bench that was previously empty space, I’m very pleased with this little project!

The paint brush rack in context, top left corner of the photo. Yes, I need to de-clutter my bench, move a whole bunch of completed figures into storage, and such. Next weekend. Click for larger.

Gates for Gaslands, Part Five

Up next was the “GATE” lettering and giant numbers for the three numbered gates.

Mid-project roundup. Rust basecoat on the big numbers, front centre; GATE lettering primed on the right, and the gate towers all lined up behind and overhead. Click for larger.

I cut the giant numbers from sheet styrene and mounted them on strips of scrap styrene. The GATE lettering was 3d printed as separate letters and then mounted on very thin square section styrene strip. To make that easy I taped long pieces of the styrene strip down to my cutting mat, glued the letters down, then once the glue had cured cut each word out.

Everything got spray primed grey and then basecoated the same blotchy rust I’d used on the overhead gantry and elsewhere. I stippled and drybrushed everything with a couple of different shades of off-white (Reaper Linen White and Leather White, primarily) before a final drybrush of Reaper Pure White.

The GATE signs and numbers all mounted and final weathering begun. Click for larger.

After that it was back to the weathering, primarily drybrushing with a big soft makeup brush. I only just picked one of these up, a super cheap dollar store special, and it really is the bomb for drybrushing! I used a fairly random selection of browns, reds, tans, and off-whites for this, going back and forth over all the towers and the gantry as well.

Back view of the six gate towers, with speaker cabinets and loudspeakers mounted. Click for larger.

While adding the lettering I had finally primed, painted, and installed the roof on the announcer/race official cab on the lefthand start gate tower. I thought about installing mesh on the windows but decided to leave them open for now; I might go back in and add some additional protection for the folks who wave the chequered flags but the current form will do for now!

Roof installed on the announcer/official cab. It had to be cut to fit around the fairly random structure of the tower itself. Click for larger.

Final touches and some finished shots soon as this project finally wraps up and might actually hit the table sometime soon!

Gates for Gaslands, Part Four

When we last saw our gates they were basecoated but stalled due to missing 3d printed parts. Those arrived, thanks to my brother’s 3d printer, and I was able to move on with the project.

I didn’t want to start the overhead gantry on the Start/Finish gate until I had the 3d printed “Esquimalt Thunderdome” sign in hand, but once I had that the basic construction went together quickly.

The three openwork girders have been in my stash for decades and the packaging is long gone, but they’re from Plastruct – possibly these ones, which seem to be about the right size. You can find all the similar openwork web girders from Plastruct by searching their site for “web”.

The girders are only six inches long, so I knew I’d need to extend the gantry with other materials as the Gaslands rules call for gates the same width as a Long Straight movement template, which is roughly 7 inches long, and Corey’s Thunderdome racetrack dirt track is roughly 8 inches wide. Fully finished, this gantry is almost 10 inches long, and slots into the roof structure of the two vertical gate towers to hold everything together.

The start of the overhead gantry. I later pulled off the plastic mesh as it was getting in the way of construction and painting, and replaced it much later in the process. Click for larger.

The rest of the gantry was a random scatter of styrene shapes from the stash – there’s some flat C-channel, different T- and H-girder bits, and lots of square or rectangular cross section stuff. It had to both look structurally sound and actually have a certain amount of structural integrity, but the beauty of post-apoc engineering is that it still looks great if you bodge extra bits on to fix earlier problems!

in progress but before priming. You can see here how the gantry’s beams slot into the tops of the two gate towers. Click for larger.

After grey primer I covered the whole thing in a blotchy rust coat using a couple of different shades of browns, reds, and oranges.

Rust coated. Click for larger.

After the rust coat I did a blotchy coat of white, partly drybrushed and partly stippled into place. This came out far better than I’d hoped, and really looks like white paint that’s flaking off as the metal under it rusts and weathers.

Stippled and drybrushed white, and first coats of blue on the sign. Painting of the actual gantry is basically done at this point; the sign got a bunch more weathering and highlighting and touchups. Click for larger.

The speaker cabinets and loudspeaker horns were 3d printed from STLs on Thingiverse, both from a very nice collection of Gaslands parts. The speaker cabinets were printed in two different sizes, which added some visual interest.

Speaker cabinets and loudspeaker horns in place and weathering started. Click for larger.

The speakers got painted a blotchy off-black (Reaper Pure Black with a dot of one of their greys mixed in) and the loudspeakers got one of the many tan off-whites in my collection, I can’t remember which one.

The clutter of speakers and loudspeakers really makes this piece pop, it’s exactly the visual clutter I’d pictured in my head when first thinking these designs up!

I’d like to add some light fixtures, but it seems nobody makes 20mm 3d printable floodlight fixtures, at least not that I can find, and I’d want enough of them that scratchbuilding isn’t really an option unless I can come up with a really simple design…

The back of the gate, with mesh back on the walkway and all the 3d printed stuff getting weathered.

Next up, painting and installing the big “GATE” signs and numbers on the rest of the gates, and loads more weathering. So much weathering…

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)