A Quick And Simple Pond

I’ve been wanting do some more area terrain – mostly flat pieces to serve as rough ground, forested areas, and the like – for a while now. With the move back into ECW skirmish and terrain building for same, I’ve decided to start with a set of low profile stream pieces that can be used on practically any table.

As a test piece, I started with a small duck pond, about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide or so.

I started with an offcut of relatively thick styrene sheet (plasticard) that I think is either .030 or .040. I chopped it to roughly the shape I wanted with an Xacto, then sanded the edges smooth and beveled them slightly.

Styrene base for the pond. 28mm Warlord pikeman on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

Styrene sheet isn’t the cheapest material for terrain making, but it has a number of advantages for this type of terrain. It’s sandable, making it easier to smooth down corners and edges. It’s waterproof, so you can slop paint, water, and glue around with abandon and not worry about ruining your base material. It’s also stronger than similarly thin card and more resistant to warping. I’m using an offcut of Evergreen sheet styrene for this particular pond, but for future use I plan to go down to our local plastic supply place and buy a big 2 foot by 4 foot sheet of .030 or .040 styrene; it’s sold in bulk for signmaking and other applications and it’s much, much cheaper to buy it at that scale than in the little Evergreen or Plasticraft packages at a hobby store!

For the shoreline of the pond I used a long thin “snake” of Milliput, rolled out to about 2 or 3mm across. I mashed it down with my fingers, keeping my fingertips damp while working to prevent the Milliput from sticking to my hands. I tapered the outer edge down to the edge of the styrene sheet and kept the inner edge fairly vertical but only a couple of millimetres tall. Pushing your thumbnail up against the inner edge of the Milliput is an easy way to achieve this, although you could use sculpting tools too!

Shoreline in place with Milliput. Click for larger.
After letting the Milliput dry overnight I painted the whole thing brown. The outer edge got a couple of different shades of brown scrubbed on to look appropriately muddy, and the pond water is a greeny-blue with some brown added to the centre to make it look slightly deeper.

With all the paint thoroughly dry, I added several layers of white glue over the pond to give it the appropriate wet look. You could easily use gloss varnish or even a thin pour of clear or tinted resin here, but the white glue I’ve currently got dries to a high gloss and looks good as water so that’s what I used. I did one coat of white glue mixed with little bit of GW sepia wash to tone down the blue-green paint a bit.

Basic painting done and first layer or two of gloss glue in place. Click for larger.

When layering gloss varnish, glue, resin, or whatever water-representing material you choose, it’s important to let each layer – and any paint that will wind up underneath it – dry completely before adding the next layer! Forgetting this will get you frosting and/or bubbles and other inclusions in your layering and could really screw the look of your water up. Paint that isn’t dry properly can also crack or craze under a sealant layer and really screw things up.

I’ve got a set of 28mm ducks coming from Warbases soon that I’ll be added to this pond for some extra character. I added some flocking and tufts along the banks after the last coat of gloss had dried.

Half-Timber Dovecote, Dampfpanzerwagon Style: Part One

As I mentioned in my last post about the things I brought home from Trumpeter Salute, one of them was a copy of Issue #87 of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, their ECW special. One of the articles in there was by Tony Harwood, also known as Dampfpanzerwagon around the internet, including on the Lead Adventure Forum.

Wanting more buildings suitable for an English Civil War game (and possibly for early 20th C pulp games set in the English countryside!) I decided to build my own version of Tony’s dovecote. It’s a great building for wargaming, having a minimal footprint but nice presence because of it’s height.

My version of Tony’s dovecote has walls 60mm wide and a total footprint, including minimal base, of about 65mm by 65mm. It’s 120mm (12cm) to the tops of the walls. I haven’t actually measured to the top of the roof, but it’s somewhere around 20cm or so total height.

Dovecote started, with the finally-completed barn on the left! Click for larger.

The walls and base are 1/16th” matt board (picture framing card). The stone foundation is thin (about 1/8th” or so) styrofoam insulation, carved with an Xacto blade and pencil. The half-timbering is all wooden coffee stir sticks, most of them split lengthwise to make narrower beams.

The half-timbering took a couple of hours all told, done in bits and pieces in between household chores on a Saturday. Do the big vertical corner beams first, then the horizontals, then the infill verticals or diagonals. The pattern of the half timbering is slightly different on all four walls, which seems pretty typical of this sort of Medieval/Renaissance building!

Roof structure installed, half timbering done. Click for larger.

The central “tower” on the roof is more 1/16th matt board, 20mm a side. The sloping pieces of the main roof are lighter card, cut to fit by trial and error. The tower roof is a scrap of styrofoam insulation, cut with a fresh Xacto blade into a four-side pyramid. All eight roof surfaces will get “slate” tiles from medium weight card, and the top of the tower will get some basic detailing from card as well.

For texture in the panels between the timbers, Tony uses air drying clay in his original dovecote. Lacking air drying clay, I’m trying out stippling a fairly heavy coat of white glue over the card. I’ll slap some paint over it soon and see how it looks; the white glue I’m using currently dries very glossy which makes it hard to see how much texture I’m actually getting.

The dovecote at the far end of the table during our first games of Pikeman’s Lament. Good game, look for a proper review here sometime soon! Click for larger.

On to roof tiling and paint!

The Trumpeter Salute 2017 Loot Haul!

I managed to escape from Trumpeter Salute 2017 at the start of April without buying a single actual figure, but I brought home a batch of scenery bits and pieces and some reading material, at least.

The haul from Trumpeter Salute 2017 all laid out. Click for larger.

It helped my wallet that Bob Murch of Pulp Figures wasn’t there, and neither was Uncle Mike of Uncle Mike’s Worldwide/Strange Aeons. The excellent folks of Imperial Hobbies did help lighten my wallet and bulk up my luggage a bit, at least, although winning a pair of their $20 gift certificates in the very generously supplied door prizes offset the wallet-lightening a good bit!

The centerpiece of my acquisitions are the Pikeman’s Lament rules from Osprey, to finally put my long-neglected English Civil War/Thirty Year’s War figures to use and get them some time on the table! Related to that I snagged Issue #87 of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, their ECW special, which has some great articles including an excellent building how-to by Tony Harwood that I’m going to be doing my own version of sometime soon.

The rest of my Trumpeter Salute acquisitions were scenery, almost all from 4Ground. Short & Gated Stone Wall Sections, Weathered Picket Fencing, two packages of 25mm bases, and finally Renedra’s Palisade Fencing package to round out the set.

I’ll be doing proper review articles on the 4Ground and Renedra fences & walls sometime soon; those posts are already being drafted.

The Workbench This Week, 21 April 2017

…is being relocated and cleaned up!

Same room as before – our guest bedroom/office/workroom – but we’ve moved the shelf unit I used as a painting and building bench to the other end of the room, away from the door. It’ll be slightly closer to my computer desk, which is out of frame to the left in the photo below. I’ll have a bit of natural light from the window just to the right, and more space for shelving along the wall below the window eventually.

It will also make the room more usable as a guest bedroom, because the guest bed is now right close to the door and all the messy hobby stuff is at the other end of the room!

The relocated workbench. Click for slightly larger.

The next several Lead Painters League entries are barely visible in the photo, lined up across the centre of the shockingly tidy desk surface. If that CSI TV-show “Enhance… enhance… enhance” voodoo were real you could peek into the future and see my next four or five LPL11 entries in various stages of completion, from “Ready to photograph” down to “O Dog am I going to get these done in time?!”…

Trumpeter Salute 2017 Photos

I headed over to Vancouver for my annual pilgrimage to Trumpeter Salute again at the very end of March. My girlfriend and I decided to tie it in with a road trip the week before to visit my folks a few hours inland from Vancouver and her folks up on the Sunshine Coast just north of Vancouver, which had the affect of making sure I was tired even before Trumpeter weekend started!

Regardless, it was a great show. I’ve been going for eight or nine years now, with one or two gaps, and there’s a number of folks I only ever see at the Trumpeter Salute show every year that I look forward to reconnecting with and seeing what spectacular gaming projects they’ve been up to.

This year we started off on Friday night with some 15mm WW2 Eastern Front action, leading a German mix company to a really marginal victory against the Russians. No photos of that, unfortunately, which is especially sad as Troy runs a spectacular looking game and each vehicle and infantry stand is a tiny work of art!

Saturday morning we started off by borrowing Martin’s son’s Star Wars Lego collection to run a good sized Star Wars Lego Battle of Hoth, complete with AT-AT, snowspeeder, and a fierce Bantha! Luke in his snowspeeder managed to bring down the AT-AT, but when he went back out to rescue the pinned-down Wookie squad, Darth Vader managed to capture him (and Han!) in the middle of the snowfields.

Star Wars Lego FUBAR

Saturday afternoon we ran a 1980s air war scenario based on the Iran-Iraq War. The Iranians had all American fighters, including the F-14 Tomcats the Shah had purchased before the Revolution, and the Iraqi Air Force had then-new MIG-25 Foxbat fighters, straight from the USSR. Unfortunately for the Iraqis, Iranian luck and high tech American missles meant it rained Foxbats and parachutes into the Persian Gulf all afternoon!

Iran Iraq Air War

Meanwhile, this spectacular Vimy Ridge game was being put on by the White Rock Gamers.

Vimy Ridge

Sunday I ran a Pulp Alley game with six players. There were three groups of fishmen, a Miskatonic University research team, a team of human cultists, and a mad scientist all competing to find or recover a lost Treasure of Dagon! Lots of action and pulp hiliarity ensued, ending in the cult leader blasting multiple other characters with terrible occult power and preventing the recovery of the Treasure.

Fishmen vs Lunatics

There are a bunch more photos – 18 in all – over in my Trumpeter Salute 2017 album on Flickr. Enjoy!

Lead Painting League 11, Round 1: Old Saber-tooth’s Clan

The Lead Adventure Forum runs a great painting contest about once a year called the Lead Painter’s League. I’ve participated before but not for a number of years now, but when LPL11 was announced a while ago I decided to get back at it and enter.

LPL was originally conceived as a way to help participants clear their stockpiles and lead mountains of figures, so the requirements for small groups of figures – the minimum entry has to be five figures – and relatively loose theme allow you to paint whatever you feel like. There’s bonus rounds with slightly more specific themes on the first, fifth, and tenth round but they’re intentionally loose as well. This year’s bonus themes are Tribes for Round One, Ship’s Crew for Round Five, and Big Brother/Little Brother for Round 10.

I was able to get ten rounds worth of figures together, including satisfying all three bonus rounds, just from my stockpile of figures, in classic LPL style!

For Round One, Tribes, I used a family group of cavemen (cavepersons?) that Bob Murch of Pulp Figures sculpted. There’s a grizzled old shaman, an older woman, a young mother with baby on her hip, a teenage boy, and a younger child. I think they’re some of Bob’s older sculpts and it looks like he’s taken them out of circulation at the moment – which means we might see resculpts sometime soon!

Old Sabertooth’s Clan, my Round One entry for LPL11. Click for larger.

I’ll be posting my LPL11 entries here after each round is finished; Round Two is currently running and you can find the entire LPL11 sub-forum over here on LAF!

Half-Timber Barn, Finally Finished!

Way back in June of 2011, I started a fairly small half-timber barn for 28mm, for either my ECW/TYW stuff or early 20th C pulp gaming.

I’d gotten most of the painting done on the building six years ago, then moved on to other projects as the 16th C ECW/TYW gaming failed to grab my attention. The barn has floated around the edges of my painting bench, almost but not quite finished, ever since.

Earlier this week I was off sick and needed something sedentary and easy to do, so I pulled the barn out and started adding doors, some final paint touchups, and flocking and terrain around the outside of the walls. I’d originally planned, long ago, to do hinged arched doors on the big front doorway of the barn, but decided that six years of not figuring out how to do that in a wargamer-proof way was long enough and have gone with simple closed doors across the back of the arch!

Here’s what it looked like back in June 2011:

barn01
A stone-and-halftimber barn, work in progress. Click, as usual, for larger.

Here, all finished and detailed, is the barn in April 2017!

The big front door is wooden coffee stir stick planks over an offcut of picture framing card (matt board), cut to size, and then roughed up with sandpaper, an Xacto knife, and a razor saw. The back door is just card, with planks scored into it with the back of an Xacto knife. The hinges on both are scraps of light card painted with Tarnished Steel. Both doors got all-over washes with several different colours of wash, including green on the front door to stain the wood.

The roof is towel thatch (this was the first thatch building I’d ever done!) with thin foam for the stonework on the bottom half of the walls. The greenery is a mix from all over, including the nice red flowers from Rain City Hobbies over in Vancouver.

For more details on building the barn, check the two 2011 articles I linked to right up in the first paragraph of this post, there’s lots of detail there.

Nice to finally get this building done and dusted after nearly six years of three-quarters finished limbo! Now I need to consider other buildings for an English Civil War or Thirty Years War hamlet… some cottages, maybe a version of the interesting dove cote seen in the ECW edition of WS&S I picked up at Trumpeter Salute. We shall see!

LANtasy 2017 Photos!

Our local “big” convention, LANtasy, was a couple weeks ago now. I participated in the Blood Bowl & Infinity tournaments all weekend, and my Infinity terrain made up two of the four tables in the Infinity tourney. We’d hoped for more players and had originally reserved space for up to eight Infinity tables, but six players was it. I managed to come dead last, by a fairly good margin, including conceding one game at the bottom of the second turn (of three) but they were good games on good tables!

I brought my Lizardman team, the Handbag Factory (they’re crocodile figures, hence the joke name) to the Blood Bowl tourney and did nearly as badly, including one game where I got six lizards including my Kroxigor killed and didn’t injure a single orc…

Some photos – see captions for details.

Trumpeter Salute 2017 was last weekend in Vancouver and was a lot of fun. Lots of different games, a chance to see folks I only ever see at Trumpeter, and I ran a Pulp Alley game that was a blast and greatly enjoyed by all six players. I haven’t processed the photos from that yet, so I’ll do another post this weekend about that show.