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Modular River, Part Four: More Paint

Quick update on the river project! I’ve been taking a lot of summer holiday time recently, including all of last week away, so not a lot of progress or action, but there has been some, at least.

I’ve got all the river segments except the bridge basecoated and drybrushed up, ready for foliage and then water effects.

All the river segments except the bridge all laid out on the floor. Click for larger.

I snapped this photo after dark, so I apologize for the generally crap image quality, but it shows the current state of everything except the bridge. Black basecoat over the sand layer, then heavy brown drybrush on the banks and shallow bits and a lighter brown drybrush down the centre of the river channel. Finally a drybrush of tan on the banks and the shallow parts of the river channel.

The bridge segment is a bit behind the others; it just got the black basecoat on the banks and channel so no picture for now as I didn’t want to put wet paint down on my carpet for some reason.

The long straight sections are 12″ long, 6″ wide overall, and the river channel is 3″ with 1.5″ wide banks on either side. The short straight is intended to be a ford and is 6″ long; the two short curve segments are roughly 4″ or 5″ long on the long outside sides. The bridge is on another 6″ segment, and the eventual plan is for different 6″ segments to add flexibility – a high tech bridge for my Infinity gaming will be one of the first, probably.

Next up will be foliage and flocking along the banks, and then the smelly, messy business of resin water effects on the whole set!

Warbases Skirmish Movement Trays

I picked up a batch of simple lasercut MDF trays sized for 25mm bases on one of my recent Warbases order. Pikeman’s Lament uses either six or twelve figures per unit as standard, so I bought a batch of six-base skirmish trays (listed on Warbases’ site as “Dux Brit/Zombie Trays“) and a pair of twelve-base three by four regiment trays for when a PL pike unit is in Close Order, both cut for the 25mm MDF bases I’m using for my English Civil War/Pikeman’s Lament project.

Each tray is two layers of 2mm MDF, lasercut and with the two layers already glued together straight from Warbases. I’d been thinking of replacing the bottom solid layer of 2mm MDF with something thinner (probably .030 plastic card) as I am not a huge fan of big thick bases, so having them arrive pre-assembled forced me to consider different options.

As an aside, if you really did want un-glued movement trays, or even just the tops so you could do your own base layers, I’m fairly sure Martin and Warbases crew can set you up that way. Chuck them an email and ask!

I finally broke out my grossly underused Dremel tool, poured a pint of excellent beer, and sat down on the back patio with this unwise combination to modify my movement trays to my liking!

Beer and power tools, an excellent combination! Also pictured, grumpy cat wondering why it’s so damn hot and why her human servant is insane. Click for larger.

A Note Of Warning: Power tools capable of 30,000 RPM and alcohol is not a recommended combination. Sanding MDF without wearing some sort of filter mask is also not recommended. Even though I was outside while doing this, I can still taste MDF dust on the back of my mouth over a day later. Wear a dust mask of some sort. Don’t combine power tools and beer, even very good beer. Dear readers, be smarter than me. Thank you. Also, should you not be smarter than me, don’t send lawyers after me. They’re scary. Thank you again.

Anyway…

A couple of minutes with a sanding drum on the Dremel per base rounded the top edges off nicely, and the corners of the regiment bases. I touched up a few scuffs from the Dremel by hand with regular sandpaper, knocked the nasty MDF dust off, and then brought everything – including the beer – inside to my workbench to add a bit of sand here and there to the trays.

First two bases done on the right, untouched ones on the left. Click for larger.

With that done, I put the Dremel away, poured another pint of beer, and put a bit of sand around the edges of the trays, being careful to keep it out of the holes. Dark brown base paint followed, then some drybrushing after that was dry, and finally some of my usual flock/turf mix here and there to help blend everything together.

Sand, base paint, and drybrush done, starting flock. Click for larger.
Flock all done. I might add some tufts or other detail bits eventually, but this will do nicely for now! Click for larger.
The bases in use with Warlord pike in various stages of completion. Click for larger.

These movement trays are a great value and will make “big” skirmish games a bit easier to manage! I’ll definitely be getting more, especially of the six-base irregular trays, and might contact Warbases about some custom irregular trays for my cavalry, who are mostly on 20mm by 40mm rectangular bases, or my artillery, when I add some guns to my Pikeman’s Lament forces. Having the entire force on similar movement trays would look really sharp and make games a bit more streamlined, especially if I’m running convention games for other people.

Build Something 2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 2

Progress on my Lead Adventure Forum Build Something 2017 entry, the goblin-crewed Bloodyear Blomp!

I’d said previously I was going to finish covering the blimp envelope in fabric before moving on to the gondola, but in standard wargamer fashion I’ve been distracted into working on the gondola first.

The basic skeleton of the gondola is a couple of big hardwood craft sticks, cut and butted together with more scrap wood between them. The flying bridge is more craft sticks cut and jointed together, and the support structure under it is random scrap foamed PVC board.

Blomp hull basic assembly, with Reaper Bones goblin crew for scale. Click for larger.

The crew are going to be converted from Reaper Bones goblins; I’ve got a whole bunch leftover from my BB Goblin team conversion project and they’ll fit right in!

First part of the Improved Non-Exploding Flautulating Engine. Finest goblin engineering! Click for larger.

The midships portion of the gondola, behind the flying bridge, is going to be filled with the lift and propulsion machinery. Pipes will lead from here up into the balloons of the envelope, with solid wire cores to provide the structural connection between the gondola and the envelope.

More soon!

Papercraft Spacecraft!

I’ve been calling my Infinity space station table project a space station since I started planning it, but really it’s been a collection of big walls and random bits until recently. What does a space station really need to make it feel like a space station? How about some actual space craft?

To that end I hit the excellent Genet Models site and grabbed a bunch of the free papercraft scenery PDFs there. Genet is Christopher Roe’s site; he used to sell his PDFs under the Ebbles Miniatures and then Genet names but these days he gives them away for free!

First I printed and built the basic Utility Shuttle in red. There’s a lot of grey and white on my space station table, I wanted something solidly colourful! The Utility Shuttle is only five parts – nose, body, tail, two wings – and quite straightforward to put together. The only issue I had with it was the central body piece was kind of loose and floppy to put together. I’d printed everything on 65lbs light card; it might have been easier to put together with heavier 90 or 100lbs card. Once it’s assembled it’s all solid, though. I left off the landing skids that are supposed to elevate the shuttle off the ground, to make it more obviously a Line of Sight blocker during Infinity games.

All five subassemblies for the red Utility Shuttle. Click for larger.

To cover the white strip that the landing skids are supposed to be glued to, I cut part of each landing skid up and glued it straight over the strip.

Completed red Utility Shuttle. Infinity Muyib infantry on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

The second build is the VU-22 Percheron, a light shuttle/dropship. It’s only available in military colours, although there’s really nothing obviously military in it’s lines. I might try re-colouring the white/black prototype version to get some civvie colours going, but for now I printed off the tan/sand coloured standard version.

This is a more complex build with about 20 parts, some of them smaller and somewhat complex, but I actually found this an easier build overall than the Utility Shuttle. It’s a more recent design than the Utility and better engineered, with some internal bracing on potentially floppy and troublesome parts to assist with assembling. It’s about the same size, roughly, as the Utility Shuttle (I’ll post a group shot soon, don’t have one currently) but more complex, more interesting, and with better proportions than the chunky, simple Utility Shuttle design. I didn’t watch much of the new Battlestar Galactica TV show when it was on the air a few years ago, but a friend pointed out the Raptor inspiration for the Percheron.

Percheron major subassemblies laid out. Click for larger.
Percheron assembled, front view. Muyib for scale again. Click for larger.

Most of the Percheron’s parts count is actually in the back end engine and tail assembly. The engine cones and tail pieces are a bit fiddly to assemble but look great when done.

Percheron tail view. Muyib for scale again. Click for larger.

There don’t seem to be that many generic papercraft shuttles, dropships, or other wargaming-scaled spaceships available, so it’s awesome that Genet is making their PDFs available for free. There’s a bunch more spacecraft available there, including the massive VT-3 Pinzgauer cargo shuttle, that I might yet build up to decorate Infinity tables with, as well as some smaller details like cargo-handling exoskeletons and such that would make great looking “dockside” clutter around the docks and hangar bays of a space station. I’ll almost certainly be building up more Genet Models cardstock kits in the future!

The Workbench This Week, 23 Jan 2016

New paint rack in place, top right, and an Impudent Mortal elevator spread out across the bench.
New paint rack in place, top right, and an Impudent Mortal elevator spread out across the bench.

My Impudent Mortal order arrived last week, and I’ve assembled the new paint rack already. It’s an exact duplicate of the one I bought back in 2014 and should help keep the rest of my workbench relatively uncluttered, at least of paint, figures, and small projects that can go up onto the shelves of the rack somewhere!

Spread out across the foreground is the components of Impudent Mortal’s Near Future Elevator Set, which should make for good looking scatter terrain on our Infinity tables soon! More about those in a future post as I actually start assembly of the first one.

Also in progress and needing a post soon is new dugouts for Blood Bowl, to go along with the scoreboard I made in November.

Links of Interest, 25 March 2015

Yet another post of short links, news, random bits, and oddments that wouldn’t warrant a full post.

Laser-cut MDF for early motor vehicles? They look pretty good, actually, and they’re 1/3 the price of resin & pewter vehicles. I might have to make an order to Warbases sometime to expand my pulp/RCW/WW1 vehicle fleet some more!

Via the always-excellent Airminded (who describe it pithily as “the fine print”), this great Australian recruiting poster from the Imperial War Museums online archive.

All Eligible Men...
All Eligible Men…© IWM (Art.IWM PST 12220)

The Battle of Mons: The Official German Account
From the blurb: This book is a translation of the German official history of the Battle of Mons, which took place between the German and British armies in August 1914. It covers the lead up to the battle, details of the fighting that took place, and the immediate follow-up from a German perspective. Early WW1 isn’t my particular area of interest, but well translated sources from the German side of World War One are rare enough to make this especially interesting regardless!

The Great War Week by Week

I just found out about this very interesting project – The Great War on YouTube. Their plan is to do at least one episode a week all the way through to November 2018, covering the Great War in “real time”, as well as extra episodes for background material and answering questions from viewers.

Each episode is short (five-ten minutes) and focuses on either the week it’s covering or a specific topic.

I’ve got their chronological playlist running (see the first set of links on their Youtube homepage) and it’s good solid stuff, starting with a great attempt to explain the insanely tangled mess that lead to the start of the war. I’ll be subscribing and following this one with interest, especially if they manage to keep running through the entire four-and-a-half run of the war. The host is historian Indiana Neidel (excellent pulpy name, too) who is an interesting and engaging host.

My favourite factoid so far: Franz Ferdinand’s funeral was only 15 minutes long, as very few of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy liked the guy very much…

Paint It Black

This is a wargaming website run by a pair of Canadians. It’s hosted on a Canadian server (a very deliberate decision, I should point out). So why is this post about American politics?

Because SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and it’s evil twin PIPA (the Protect IP Act) currently being debated by American legislators are so mind-bogglingly stupid, badly thought out and vile, frankly.

And because, especially under our current Conservative government up here, Canada has a bad habit of following our giant southern neighbour happily over whatever stupid policy cliff it’s just launched itself. SOPA/PIPA is a really, really big cliff. One that could wind up with the wreckage of much of the Internet as we know it splattered at the base of it.

Michael Giest has a great article on Why Canadians Should Participate in the SOPA/PIPA Protest. Read it before he blacks out his site.

I also know from the site stats we keep here that significant number of our visitors are American. Unlike those of us from overseas, who just have to watch in horrified astonishment and make what protests we can, our American visitors have Senate and Congressional Representatives they can, and should, be contacting to hammer home just what bad laws SOPA/PIPA are.

Wikipedia is going black. So are WordPress.org, BoingBoing, Reddit and a host of tech and geeky sites. Closer to wargaming, TGN and parent site CMON are going black.

We”ll be blacking out Warbard in solidarity from 0800-2000 PST Wednesday the 18th.

We’ll be back that evening, and so will all those much, much larger sites I mentioned above. But if SOPA/PIPA are rammed through, huge swathes of the Internet as we presently know it could wind up black for good, wrecked by bad laws passed by idiots.

Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Three: Inspiration

Infection Is Avoided...
A 1930s WPA job-safety poster. Via x-ray_delta_one on Flickr.

A necessarily brief, personal and idiosyncratic tour through some websites with noteworthy archives of 1920s/30s posters, postcards, luggage tags and other graphics. Some photos, some stuff that’s technically outside our chosen era but still cool, and far too short, but enjoy, be inspired, and get a feel for the graphics of the pulp era!

Part One of this series introduced Inkscape. Part Two talked about design, typography & fonts.

The American Library of Congress WPA Posters collection, part of their American Memory project, is huge but not that easy to navigate. Start with the Collection Highlights tour, then just start hitting random keywords or subjects to find gems like Yellowstone Park posters, injunctions to clean up your trash, and even hippos. The WPA was the Works Progress Administration, part of the whole New Deal aimed at keeping Americans employed and maintaining national morale during the Great Depression. There was a whole wing of the WPA dedicated to encouraging the arts, including the graphic arts. Hence the really cool posters.
Continue reading Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Three: Inspiration

Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Two: Fonts

This is the second in a series of posts (three or more) aimed at introducing gamers to some of the resources out there they might not be aware of for making their own graphics & such. It’s based on our current areas of interest, the 1920s & 30s interwar pulp period, but should be of interest to anyone wanting to add some graphic design details to their gaming!

Part One was a general introduction to Inkscape.
Part Three is on online sources of pulp/interwar design & other images.

A Quick Intro to Some Pulp Design Basics

van isl golf poster
A 1930s Canadian Pacific poster for the Empress Hotel. Via Boston Public Library's Flickr account (CC BY-NC).

Have a look at the image to the right; it’s a good basic distillation of the design principles shared by many of the 20s/30s graphics we’re trying to replicate for our own uses. There were, of course, a number of different styles and variants in use in the period, this one just happens to be a favourite of mine and also easy to replicate in Inkscape!

There’s no gradients, just areas of solid colour. Shading is done with smaller areas of another solid colour — see the area along the golfer’s inner thigh or around his arms — or not done at all. Notice that the grass and sea are simply solid colours; the sea and sky are even exactly the same shade of blue, with the horizon sketched in with a thin tan divider. No outlines or sketch lines, either, just areas of colour.
Continue reading Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Two: Fonts