Terrain, Fonts and other Links of Interest, 13 April 2012

To celebrate (?) this fine Friday the 13th, another of my occasional posts of links.

Muskie commented on my Youtube scenery videos post to remind me of his fascinating Miniature Painting News Aggregator, which has a neat collection of feeds from all over the place, mostly focused on miniature painting but touching on a number of other hobby elements too. The aggregator apparently started as a private project, and it’s a bit GW-centric for my personal tastes, but it can throw up some neat semi-random content. Well worth a visit, and well worth bookmarking for return visits. (Incidentially, I”ll also recommend Muskie’s Better Hobby Blogging article for those of us who blog. Full of good advice.)

We talk about design, fonts, Inkscape and related topics fairly regularly here on The Warbard, and I’ve just discovered the Lost Type Co-op, a pay-what-you-want font foundry with lots of very nice Art Deco-influenced fonts and others suitable for Interwar/Early 20th C design efforts.

Further on the design and graphics front, Fantastic Maps is, well, fantastic. Jonathan Roberts also has a great collection of Tips & Tutorials that is well worth checking out.

Last but definitely not least, the Barking Irons site has a nicely illustrated Witchlands Hovel tutorial by Tony Harwood. The Witchlands are Flintloque’s version of Russia, and Tony’s article should provide inspiration for plank-roofed rural buildings for Russia and elsewhere.

In fact, I’m going to get off this computer, get some food, then start cutting coffee stir sticks for my own version of a plank-roofed hut!

Scenery and Terrain Vids on Youtube

I don’t spend a lot of time rummaging around on Youtube, so up until recently I’d missed the immense amount of wargaming material there, especially terrain & scenery tutorials. A lot of the model railroad techniques are really too fiddly (or the resulting scenery too fragile) to really work for wargaming, but there’s lots of wargaming terrain vids and some great ones from the model railroaders that’ll work nicely on the wargaming table.

This might be old news to some of you, but I thought I’d link to a couple of good ones I found. Who knows, this might become a semi-regular feature here.

How to make your own clump foliage.

A machine for making bottlebrush trees. These look good and should be solid enough for wargaming.

From the same guy, how to make pine trees, a variation and expansion of his bottlebrush technique. He also has hedges with another variant of the same bottlebrush technique.

Another YouTuber with lots of good video tutorials is RubbishInRubbishOut of Australia. Here’s his useful Making “Goop” for basing wargaming scenery and terrain, basically a mix of caulking, water, glue and sawdust or sand for texture to quickly add ground texture. He’s got a bunch of other good videos too, well worth checking out.

(I’ve avoided embedding the videos in this post quite deliberately. Half a dozen embedded vids can lock up older computers quite nicely, and the embedding always gets broken on Tabletop Gaming New’s blogroll and other RSS feeds anyway. Go watch the vids on YouTube, they’re worth it!)

Pardon Our Outages

We’ve had two outages in the last week here on the Warbard, where our normally-reliable WordPress backend takes a dump and decides to stop working. Given that the entire site (and five others…) run on this WordPress install, that’s a bit of an issue.

I know what the fix is (reinstall the theme used here via FTP, which is easy enough) but this is a classic bandaid solution, because I don’t know why it’s breaking in the first place, as the error message appears to reference a line that doesn’t exist in the file it’s referring to, which is amusing…

I have to say that this morning’s quick repair job on the site (while on my coffee break at work) wouldn’t have been possible without PortableApps – I have both Filezilla Portable and Firefox, Portable Edition on a USB key, so I can securely carry around all the accesses I need for site maintenance without having to install stuff on the machines at work or other random Windows computers!

Anyway, hopefully it won’t happen again. Any WordPress gurus in the audience know what is going on? The WordPress help forums and a general Google search turned up nothing terribly useful…

Transporting the SPAD

Almost all of my gaming is done away from home, at other houses, up at the university on the weekend (our local miniatures group takes over a classroom up there every Sunday) and at conventions. So everything has to be portable or it’s useless to me. Given the relative fragility of the White Russian SPAD, especially that damned upper wing, I needed a solid way to protect it in transit.

Some scrap cardboard, a dip into my stockpile of cheap upholstery foam (normally used for lining figure cases) and some work with razor knife and hot glue gun, and I had the SPAD Caddy:

A SPAD Caddy, for secure transport of my White Russian SPAD to games. Click for slightly larger version.

The base is a square of scrap cardboard, then two layers of half-inch foam with a cutout to accommodate the body and wings of the plane, and a deeper square cutout (through both layers of foam) at the front for the wheels and propeller. More scrap foam protects the tail and wingtips, and the two bits of foam forward of the tail hold the whole thing securely. The extra strip of cardboard across the front helps protect the propeller and landing gear as well as provide a convenient spot for a label.

I used the SPAD Caddy to get the SPAD and the rest of my Russian scenery and figures to Trumpeter Salute at the end of March, and it worked exactly as planned. There’s even room in my Russian Civil War scenery box (just!) for a similar caddy for the Nieuport I plan on doing for the Reds.

Fairly Quick Hedges, A Photo Tutorial

These are only fairly quick if you ignore the fact that they sat around for about four months half-finished before I got bored of them taking up space on my project shelf and got them finished!

Actual construction time is quite short, nevertheless, and the results are solid enough for wargaming purposes.

Raw materials for hedge making. Six inch hardwood tongue depressors, soft iron wire (from my local hardware store). Not shown, my hot glue gun.

Continue reading Fairly Quick Hedges, A Photo Tutorial

Even Whites Bleed Red, A RCW Encounter

The Trumpeter Salute convention last weekend saw the first full outing of my Russian Civil War forces, in a scenario I called Even Whites Bleed Red. I’m a pulp gamer at heart, so a punchy, interesting scenario title appeals, what can I say?

The scenario is set “somewhere south of Moscow, sometime early in the Russian Civil War” and has a disorganized scratch platoon of Red Guard defending a hamlet from a composite company of White forces, composed of a shorthanded platoon of White riflemen and a plaston (infantry platoon) of Cossacks, lead by an energetic and capable group of Cossack officers.

I threw in my White Russian SPAD, for additional “Ooo shiny” factor and because I had the thing painted, and off we went, with two players on each side and me GMing.

Trumpeter Salute 2012: Even Whites Bleed Red I

The SPAD appeared very early in the game, although never had much impact, neither strafing run doing much. Above, the plane machine-guns the Reds in the churchyard,

Trumpeter Salute 2012: Even Whites Bleed Red II

This game, the Reds got themselves shaken out and in position fairly quickly. They were able to get most of the Whites pinned down well outside the hamlet, and the Whites never got into position to launch more than a token assault on the place.

Trumpeter Salute 2012:  Even Whites Bleed Red III

Above, the White rifle platoon advances, one section in the foreground on the crest of the ridge, the other two behind it. In the far background, one of the Cossack sections can be seen advancing. The Cossacks had far less cover than the rifles, and the White players might have been better off funnelling their entire advance up the near edge of the board, sacrificing one section to hold the flank while the rest of the composite company pressed in toward the hamlet.

Trumpeter Salute 2012:  Even Whites Bleed Red IV

Above was the high point of the White advance, with one rifle section thrown back after attempting to storm across the railway embankment and attack the Reds along the stone wall. The Red reinforcements, one section of Red sailors and another section of Red Guard, also appeared just after this assault was thrown back, and the White players conceded the game at this point.

I’ve got some thoughts on why this game went so differently for the Whites when compared to our squirrel-obsessed playtest version, but I’ll save those for a longer followup post. Suffice to say that all four players enjoyed themselves, I enjoyed running the game, and we actually got done surprisingly quickly. Start to finish, including introducing the game to four players who’d never played it before, we were done in under three hours. Near-perfect convention game length, in other words. We could even have gone a bit longer and still had plenty of time for cleanup.

As it was, I had time to run a little demo session with a “stacked” deck to give two interested bystanders a chance to see how the Mud & Blood system worked, and get everything put away in good order!

Trumpeter Salute 2012 After-Action Report

So, Corey and I spent the weekend over in Vancouver at the always-excellent Trumpeter Salute 2012 gaming convention. We saw a lot of people we really only see at Trumpeter, played a bunch of good games and got to spectate at many more!

Corey is suffering from computer issues and hasn’t gotten his photos processed or online yet, but I finally sorted mine out this evening. You can go check out all of them on my Trumpeter Salute 2012 set on Flickr. Or you can read on for some of my favourite photos, and favourite games from this year’s version of Trumpeter Salute. Continue reading Trumpeter Salute 2012 After-Action Report