The Workbench This Weekend, 23 July 2024

This weekend I have mostly been raising the dead! A while ago Corey and I split two boxes of Northstar Oathmark skeletons and revenants and I’ve finally got all of mine assembled. We’d previously split another box of skeletons, so this gives me a good size horde of angry undead and when combined with Corey’s (eventual) horde it will grow to truly terrifying size!

The Oathmark plastic figures are nicely proportioned, clean sculpts, and clean casts. I mixed some GW skull box and Frostgrave extras into a few figures for variety, and then used some leftover bits to create more weird undead constructs!

Three regular skeletons and a necromantic construct mixing two Oathmark skeleton bodies, a bunch of limbs, and some GW skull box skullz.
First five revenants, all straight from the Oathmark box.
The large necromatic construct in all it’s weird shambling multi-limbed glory! I don’t have particular rules in mind for this thing, I just wanted to build something cool and weird. We’ll house-rule it once it hits the table.
Necromatic construct from another side.
Left, a necromatic totem of some sort – broken weapons and skulls. The other two bases I’m calling “scuttlers” – little necromatic constructs of spare limbs and skulls. Scouts and messengers for an undead force, maybe? Weird little dungeon nuisances? Both?
An in-progress photo of the horde, before finishing the last couple sprues of skeletons and revenants or the scuttlers. The ghoul is a Games Workshop freebie from earlier this year, and really quite a cool little figure.
The final horde!

Total score is thirteen skeletons (surely a lucky number for the undead!), fifteen revenants, five scuttlers, one large necromatic construct, one ghoul, and one necromatic totem/midden terrain piece or objective. And enough leftover bits to make more scuttlers and more totems, if I want.

Finishing up the bases with greenstuff is next, then primer and paint. I did up the previous batch of skeletons in a fairly simple paint scheme which I’ll be copying for these skeletons, and I’ll do something similar but not quite identical for the revenants – thinking they need some purple or green to set them off against the black/red/bronze theme of the skeletons.

After that I clearly need a necromancer and his immediate entourage to command this horde! No concrete plans for that yet but we shall see…

The Queen of the Waste

The Queen is the largest Gaslands vehicle I’ve done so far and by far the most complex conversion I’ve done for the game!

She started life as a city busy of some sort, sourced I think from Ali Express by Corey, sat around in his stash for a while, then became mine when I volunteered to make something cool to terrorize our Gaslands games with! She’s true-scale to Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars, so very close to six inches long now that I’ve finished a full post-apoc war bus conversion job.

Death in the Dungeon – a quick review for a quick game

Looking for something new to try, Sean and I played a little competitive dungeon crawling in the form of Death in the Dungeon, a quick-play zine-format brawler from Crushpop Creations that came out a few years ago. We both quite enjoyed our 3 quick games over 2 hours, but both felt it needed a bit more.

The game is quite small – only 34 pages that are 5.5″ by 8.5″ in size – so by its nature cannot cover a lot of game. But you get the basics – your PCs have a few stats – Movement, Toughness, Armour and Damage. With 6 races, 6 classes, 3 types of armour and 7 weapons, plus a dozen spells, there is definitely room for tactical variety here.

Stats are based on a d4 through d12 dice system – with the core mechanic of being Power Level (from Class ) vs Toughness (from Armour). Ties go in the attackers favour, which was different (and quite deadly for me, as it happened). Initiative uses a pooled dice of the active PCs Power Level to determine, which was quite a clever mechanic.

Our first game we built to 75 gold and I fielded 3 characters to Sean’s 2 – I had a Human Knight, an Orc Barbarian and a Human Sorcerer (who had no weapons or armour, this was bad). Sean had a Knight and a Barbarian. And he destroyed me in two different games – one a straight fight and one with endless skeletons spawning.

Many, many skeletons kept my team busy with Sean eventually did for it, one member at a time.

Our third game I managed to win, mostly by taking a pair of long-bow equipped mouselings running as Dwarves and a Dwarf barbarian. Ranged without cover is almost always deadly and in this game it was too.

Overall, it was a fun little game. But it really doesn’t lend itself well to just two people playing – there just wasn’t enough chaos. Both Sean and I felt that with 3 or 4, that would have felt right. Given the time it took to run a game, even doubling this to 1 hour was totally doable.

One key challenge with the small page count is the lack of clarity you have. For example, my initial sorcerer had no weapons or armour. Was this a legal build? Can you drink a potion or loot during combat?

Would we play this again? Maybe if we had more people. The quick setup and play time means a game can be done in very little time, even if you don’t know the rules.

You can get Death in the Dungeon from Wargames Vault for $2.99 USD. It has a number of expansions as well, which I have the free ones.

Build Something 2024: The Painting Process

Well, round 1 of the Build Something Competition is done and I have been beat, badly. The vote wasn’t even close. Ouch. Anyway, at least I have a pretty building for my table.

With me out, means I can share some process photos and discussion here. I ended up painting and gluing the building together pieces by piece – paint some, glue some, paint some, just because of the way I needed to paint the inside.

First thing I did was assemble the upper back section (with the walkway) as a separate piece and then paint the inside of it. I also added mud/spackle to cover the 3D printing texture on the lower section and painted the concrete floor (with a few cracks added with an exacto blade).

After that, I added the inside graffiti to both the lower walls and the upper section. After I had added them, I glued the two pieces together and then added some mud/spackle to cover the gaps and then roughly painted it grey. I wasn’t overly worried, as I knew that I was going to be badly painting the inside white again (to partially cover up the graffiti, as if somebody was working to renovate the building).

Assembled back with spackle/mud covering the gap between the foam upper parts and the 3D printed lower bits.

Then I rusted up the hangers and doors. For this I sponged on paint quite thickly – mostly Burnt Umber but some Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna for accents. This is what gives these the bumpy texture. I would note that the grey paint was not fully dry under the tape here, so I ended up pulling off a fair amount and needing to repaint it. Oops.

After that, I glued the front panels on and then the lower walkway (which touched both the back walls and the front walls). You can see the interior has been painted white at this point.

Gluing in the lower walkway, with the inside now painted white.

Once those were done, I cleaned up the front where the joins were to make the grey tones more consistent. I then masked off the green sections and the upper ghost lettering.

The lettering was over-sprayed with Golden’s Shading Grey, a semi-transparent grey that was amazing for darkening things subtly. I pulled off the letters, which were cut out of Oracal mask on my Silhouette, in a random order, spraying a bit more of the shading grey over the whole area each time.

The last bits I didn’t get any photos of, but this is the “draw the rest of the owl” directions:

The green lower sections I added blue stuff to mask off the damaged sections where the exposed rebar was and then sprayed the lower area, hangers and the doors with chipping medium, and then all three with a random mixture of greens roughly mixed in the airbrush. To chip it I used three methods – light sanding, using tape to pull off random sections and water with a brush. If you use water with a brush, you get lighter sections. I ended up putting an undercoat of white on the doors after I tried just straight green, but that wasn’t covering the rust well.

Lastly, I glued in the windows after painting them separately, painted the exposed rebar and then weathered with oil paints. Overall, the painting felt a bit rushed and I should have taken more time. I also missed a bunch of small details that I’d like to get back to.

And voila! The final product:

Z1 Design’s Precinct 187 Kickstarter 7 years later

7 years ago, at the beginning of my 3D printing journey, I backed a now partially-failed Kickstarter called Precinct 187 from Z1 Design. A few years later the designer and his company stopped responding to messages and as of 2024 have apparently vanished off the internet, save their FB page. At the time, I didn’t even own a 3D printer – I bought the Ender 2 a few months later. Ironically, I’ve actually only ever fully printed a single building from this range – the Blackhollow Pub (not even really part of it – it was a free addon to sell the next kickstarter – Black Hallows Town’s Folk that I never backed).

A few years ago, the creator, Jon, shut down posting in the Z1 group too, which stayed dormant until today and apparently he deleted his FB account, so that meant the group was admin-less. And so a random group member became admin today.

Given Z1 Facebook group is back again, I wondered just how much of the Kickstarter had actually been delivered. Hence this blog post.

Delivered Files

As far as I can tell, here is what was delivered.


  • Town/City Hall
  • Fire House
  • Mel’s Diner
  • Tenement
  • Big Joe’s Donuts
  • L Train
  • Construction Site

Stretch Goals

  • Billboards
  • Block Z (I’m missing these files) Received from a kind soul
  • Car Park
  • Cinema
  • City Bank
  • Docklands
  • Docklands Building
  • Docklands Fish Boat
  • Docklands Coastguard Boat (I’m missing these files) Received from a kind soul
  • East Coast Shopping Mall (appears half complete)
  • Factory
  • Gun Store (received)
  • Hotel Empire
  • Mini Mart
  • Pawn Shop
  • Police Station
  • Prison
  • Restaurant/Bar
  • Road Tiles
  • Subway
  • Staircases
  • Street Furniture
  • Street Barricades
  • Water Towers

Stretch Goals & Addons – Not Delivered

To my accounting, here is what wasn’t delivered (I’ll update this if others can correct me)

  • Wonder World
  • Block Z This was delivered, I just didn’t get it (now received from kind soul)
  • Police Station Cell Block & Compound
  • Post Apocalypic Add-ons
  • Road Markings
  • Prison Bus
  • Security Truck
  • Roberts Fish Merchants
  • East Coast Shopping Mall this might have been partially done
  • Subway Station This was delivered, I just didn’t get it (now received from kind soul)

Black Hollow freebies

  • Blacksmiths Shop
  • Tavern
  • Stables

What I’ve printed

Well, in 7 years, not much. The Tavern and a few copies of the dumpster. In a way, you can say that this Kickstarter started my digital pile of shame opportunity.

EDIT: I forgot – I printed the donut at 200% size for a Gaslands jump ring

Did you back the Kickstarter?

Curious what others who backed the Kickstarter thought. Are they happy? Are they missing files as well? I’m happy to help other lost souls with instructions and some of their missing files (within reason, need to be able to prove you actually backed it)


I’m sad this project didn’t finish, as although I’ve never printed the buildings, I have them if we ever seriously get back into moderns. And I feel it would do well today – the buildings were well designed, had clear instructions and would have been perfect for things like Marvel Crisis Protocol.

Anyway, will close by giving a plug to one of my favourite creators, Corvus Games Terrain, who make many similar buildings including an awesome elevated rail (below). And no, that’s not a sponsored or affiliate link, I just like his stuff.

Photos from Trumpeter Salute 2024

Last month was the annual Trumpeter Salute convention in Vancouver, BC. Usually right around the same time as the big Salute, this one is decidely smaller but still fun. It runs over the whole weekend rather than just one day, with one slot Friday night, 3 slots on Saturday and 1 big one on Sunday.


This year I ran other Under Alien Suns game in the Friday slot, this time using both my scifi and hellscape terrain. It was a lot of fun – we had 5 players and the usual set of hilarious moments. One player managed to roll a natural 1 on two different healing checks, dealing out 1 damage instead of healing. And my brother’s PC was bit the zombies but only died in the doorway to the exit, bottling up the PCs


In the morning we played Roman on Roman naval violence with papercraft and small figures. Romans won, Romans lost, it was a good day for everybody but the Romans. As is our tradition, Brian and I played opposite each other – him playing the defenders and me the attackers.

Midday Brian and I played a nominally cooperative WW2 Italian partisan game – we all played different factions of partisans – both Brian and I picked flavours of communists, which are as opposed as you can get in a coop game. In the end, luck had my team closest to the scientist we had to get off. And the Nazis were rather crap, so in the end the partisans got to engage in their favourite activity – shooting at each other, which mostly meant everybody shooting me and nearly taking on the scientist before I got him off the table.

The evening I played some Canvas Eagles, always a good game. This year I played with Troy Tony Chard’s 1/144 planes, which are very hard to photograph well, so did get some good photos.

During the day I managed to get a few shots of some random games at various points.


Last year I ran a pickup Gaslands game, which was a lot of fun, so this year I decided to formalize that. We ended up with 8 players and had a brawl to the death with 2 spec cars each (HMG front & either napalm or mines back). The winner was a car initially piloted by myself, then Brian’s daughter E (she of double jump last year) and then E’s aunt – who smartly drove away from the carnage at the end.

All in all, another fun convention and thanks to the organizers again.

Build Something is done for 2024 & I finished!

Another year keeps marching on and Build Something 2024 has come to an end and unlike nearly every prior year, I actually finished this year! No pictures of the painted model yet due to the rules, but here are some updates on the construction.

Overall, I managed to only get the warehouse done of the whole set I planned – will have to do the actual landing pad later. But I was happy with where I ended up with the warehouse.

For the warehouse, I ended up with a more “ruined 20th century concrete” vibe than I initially planned, largely because of the design of the windows – rectangular with thin frame pieces.

With that, I switched out a lot of my concept and leaned more heavily into that look. Here’s a few pieces of inspiration I pulled from the internet:

I then decided on a heavy, old-style large doors, with a small door that roughly followed the inspiration above. Both were modelled in FreeCAD and then printed on my Ender 5. The large doors…

…and the small door. I first did a test with it printed flat to the bed, which worked. Once I designed the door itself, I tried it vertical. That failed, so I switched back to horizontal and printed it at 0.12 layer height. The white you see on the final image a piece of styrene rod which acts as the hinge.

After the doors were printed, I moved onto the interior walkway, which by pure accident ended up being perfect height for a figure to shoot out of. I really didn’t plan that at all, but it was awesome. There are two levels of walkway – one at 3″ where the small door opens and the main walkway at 4″.

And then onto the windows. I ended up printing them twice – the first round I didn’t think were thick enough, so I ended up printing them a second time at double the thickness. I decided to keep the first round windows and used them as external frames, to which I glued clear PETG and styrene too to make broken and boarded up windows.

And with all those pieces, the design was basically done! I decided to assemble as a I painted, so this is the final shot before painting:

All the final pieces of the building, not yet assembled.

Onwards to painting, which I can’t show you yet, but here’s a photo of my photo setup. Good photos needs lots of light, so I did just that.

Other photos and notes on my forum thread and voting will start fairly soon on the Build Something Competition subforum here.

Still Around, I Promise!

Been doing gaming fairly regularly, had a good weekend at Trumpter Salute 2024 in Vancouver early in March, but apparently haven’t managed to blog a thing in ages.

Here, have a chill painting video in lieu of original content.

Bunch of stuff in progress including a gloriously over the top Gaslands war-bus based on a city busy chassis, which I have been taking a bunch of progress photos of and will try to assemble into a gallery here to show off sometime soon.

Speaking of Gaslands, and somewhat time-sensitive as the Kickstarter closes in 3 days, Fogou Models are running a KS for various Gaslands-scale scenery items. These aren’t STLs but actually physical cast resin pieces. Rad Trax Toy Car Scale Terrain on Kickstarter. The items will likely be available on Fogou’s webstore post-KS, useful for those of us who (say) just had to cough up a home insurance deductible after a plumbing leak and are a bit short on cash…

Note to self, remember you have a blog, dude.

Build Something 2024: A starport

I’ve had various (ed: poor) success with building things competitions in the past. I’ve singularly failed to finish a single one I’ve entered, even the Build Something Small and Encounter Terrain 10×10, both of which were small things. So the natural thing to do was to organize the next round of Building Something Competition (BSC) on Lead Adventure!

If you’re not familiar with BSC, it is a friendly competition on the Lead Adventure Forum, running for more than a decade. Both Brian and I have entered at various times, he’s even finished something:


I wasn’t sure what I wanted to build this year – either a spaceport or a vertical mill thing for my hellscape terrain. As you can probably gather from the title, I decided on a spaceport. I’ve been doodling a few different options for a little bit, starting with one giant 12″x18″ piece, but nothing was really gelling for me.

So I decided to try a few different layouts in FreeCAD, see what I liked. I found this cardboard tube from something paper that I wanted to use as the main upright. And I knew I wanted a 9″x9″ building for the main warehouse building. I initially tried a single larger building on a 12″x12″ base, but that didn’t work either. I also tried the landing pad on a big 12″x12″ base. I also didn’t like that

So I decided to split it into multiple bases, the building and starport each on one. And I knew I needed a way to have pads lift up into the sky, so I decided on magnets and printed pads. That is what the orange vertical pieces are – holders for either magnets or metal strips. Those pads will land on a yet another 6″x”6 base.

Printing things!

I’ve been fighting off some sort of stomach issue for the past few weeks, so progress has been slow, but I finally have printed pieces ready to show at least. But first, a whole lot of failures. I needed to find out if I’d measured the tube correctly (which I hadn’t) and then I decided to use an empty pill bottle as a fuel tank to add on. So several failed prints for those look like this:

And finally, the printed pieces (mostly). I haven’t been able to print the holder fully successfully yet, but that is next to go on the printer again tonight. But I have the borders at least done – base, starport base, landing pad base and fuel tank.

You can find all the current entries on the Lead Adventure Forum BSC subforum, including my own.

Joining the Nightwatch to fight endless skeletons

Our group tried out Patrick Todoroff’s Nightwatch today, a coop fantasy/horror monster hunting skirmish game he published a few years ago. We play a lot of cooperative games, mostly Sellswords & Spellslingers and the new scifi variant I’m working on, so we’re always keen to try something new.

Our First Game

We decided to play the intro scenario set as laid out in the book, which was the big bad or Atrocity, as a necromancer, so lots and lots of skeletons for us. Good thing all three of us have lots of skeletons already. Brian choose a ranged fighter, Sean a melee fighter and myself an alchemist. As we were an odd set (in more ways than one), we ended up with Sean getting a d10 minion to balance the pact Brian and I shared (apparently we ran up a gambling debt together).

The first mission is an escort one – get Derek across the table. Here we bumped into the first challenge, as we couldn’t see exactly what stats Derek was supposed to have. We ended up playing him as having a single free move and nothing else – this did make it an 8 turn game (another challenge, it wasn’t clear to us what the term limit was – it is implied to be 7 turns elsewhere).

Nightwatch begins very quietly. There isn’t a single foe on the table in the first Pact turn. We moved as much as we could given we had to wait for Derek, so that meant the Darkness got lots of turn to spawn. The early turns were fairly easy – we shot or used explosive grenades on foes and got rid of them quite easily.

Brian’s ranged fighter faces off against a bow-wielding skeleton over the graveyard

By turn 3 or 4, it was quite different. The Darkness was now spawning many more skeletons than we could handle in a turn, so out came the smoke grenades. These work wonderfully – any foe inside them moves in a random direction, but this also ended up being a place where some more explanation in the rules would have been nice. it wasn’t clear to us what happened with foes outside the smoke – would they move through it, then randomly once they were in it? And if they moved randomly out of the smoke, would they change direction once out of it to move towards the PCs?

Then the end was coming – one way or the other. Two of us got wounded and that meant we lost our d10 action. Thankfully a pair more smoke bombs and then some flashpowder to get my alchemist free followed by the last explosive grenado my alchemist had.

The end. The PCs and Derek are up in the top corner, about to escape while the hordes close in. Another smoke bomb can be seen in the upper right.

Closing thoughts

Overall, we quite liked the game. It played well and fairly quickly – 2 hours for a game including time to build characters and understand the rules. The core of game is the alternating turns between the PCs (the Pact) and the foes (the Darkness). The second major mechanic is around activations – both PCs and the foes activate worked well too – the PCs get three activation dice (d6, d8 and d10) and use them for their actions looking for successes with a 4+. This gives you some options about what you choose to do.

We rather liked the wounding system – it wasn’t everything to nothing, PCs lose their best actions as they get wounded, all the way down to 3 wounds where they can only move, and then dead at 4 wounds. This meant that PCs degrade naturally, although we never had a PC with more than a single wound.

Sean quite liked the fighting system and how the shield bash and other abilities worked, although we forgot about our guild abilities quite often. The abstract different melee/ranged weapons combinations was an interesting way to cover off many types of weapons without naming them all.

The rulebook is well written, but needed another pass to reorganize and clean up bits. We found ourselves flipping through many pieces to find rules, including some basic stuff like Free Move can be used for reload, which isn’t listed on the quick reference. The author did mention that this was basically a home-brewed system expanded into a commercial product, and as someone who is putting the final touches on a beta for playtesting for a ruleset, I know just how hard this can be.

Sellswords has a nice flow chart for foe action that would be good to incorporate, although the wording around how foes act is quite nice – gives players a flavour for how they are supposed to act, not just as mindless creatures.

We’re definitely going to play at least a few more times, likely through the intro scenario. And I’d definitely recommend others try it out, it does play quickly and well.

You can get Nightwatch on DrivethruRPG for $9.

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