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!
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”…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Up next was the “GATE” lettering and giant numbers for the three numbered gates.
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.
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.
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!
Final touches and some finished shots soon as this project finally wraps up and might actually hit the table sometime soon!
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 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!
After grey primer I covered the whole thing in a blotchy rust coat using a couple of different shades of browns, reds, and oranges.
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.
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.
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…
Next up, painting and installing the big “GATE” signs and numbers on the rest of the gates, and loads more weathering. So much weathering…
For my naval gaming I knew I needed a proper mat eventually; I thought about doing up a sheet of grey felt with spraypaint and such, but then I found the Cold Waters mat from Cigar Box Battles and figured it was worth the investment.
A lot of mats are designed for Mediterranean or tropical games (pirates!) or the Pacific and are way too blue or blue/green for the North Sea or English Channel where all of our WW2 small boat stuff has taken place so far. The Cold Waters mat is described as “the perfect mat to use with your North Sea WW1 Jutland fleets” and the colour looked good, so I decided to order it.
I ordered the mat February 1st and it showed up on the 20th from wherever it is in the US that Cigar Box Battles are based. I didn’t get a shipping notification or tracking number, oddly, which I was expecting given the cost of the thing. No matter, it made it, and a three week turnaround is good in normal circumstances, nevermind our current COVID-FUBAR’d postal mess!
Honestly the mat looks even better in person than in the photos on the Cigar Box website. The colour varies randomly across the mat from quite a dark blue to a lighter grey-blue, with whitecaps across it in the fairly consistent pattern you’d expect. There’s no obvious repeats of the pattern created by lazy graphic design, which is definitely not the case with some of the other sea mats out there.
The mat is a lightweight fleece blanket material and only printed on one side, which is fine. The fabric has a bit of a shine to it, again just fine on a seascape, and just a bit of fleece fuzz texture. It lays nicely flat, no curling at the corners or edges, and the creases you can see in the photos are about the largest on the whole thing right now. I’ll iron it eventually, and then store it either rolled around something or crumpled up loosely so it doesn’t get long straight creases in it again.
I think it’ll stand up to years of gaming use, and according to Cigar Box it’s washable in case someone does spill on it once in-person gaming is a thing again.
The mat has fairly flat seams along each edge; if you were laying several out overlapping the ridge along the edges wouldn’t be too disruptive even with small ship models. It’s advertised as “4 x 6 Plus” which I think means it’s four to six inches bigger than that in each direction; I’ve not actually bothered to measure yet.
Absolutely a good value and solid looking product, with good shipping times. I’m not sure when I’ll next need a mat for something else, but Cigar Box will be on the shortlist if and when I do!
Kind of slow on the gaming front around here; we are still in COVID lockdown so no in-person gaming is permitted, but Thursday evening Gaslands by webcam is still going strong – we’ve had six players the last couple of games, which is probably pretty close to the limit for webcam gaming and keeping things organized and moving.
The gates have their basecoats and a first pass of weathering done, at least. I’m especially fond of the blue pair, they’ve taken the weathering really well so far.
We had a blast of unusually cold weather and snow which has meant that my brother’s 3d printer (which lives in his garage) has been out of order, so everything is on hold until he can print the “GATE” lettering the six or eight times I need to add to each gate. It’s warmed up to normal winter temps again so hopefully he can get that done this week and I’ll be able to finish these up!
Got the base gate towers primed, and cut out the huge numbers that will go on each gate.
The plan is to label each pair of gates with large numbers cut from scrap styrene sheet, and to have 3d printed lettering for “GATE” above that, because I do not want to create styrene sheet lettering six or eight times if an alternative creation method can be found!
I’m going to scar up and then do the base colours on all the towers before the lettering goes on, so that I don’t have to try to paint under the lettering. But I cut the huge numbers last night and added the scrap bars that lift them off the surface of each tower.
Base colours tonight and priming the lettering, then I kind of have to pause until Corey gets his 3d printer fully functional again before I can add the GATE signs and start work on the overhead gantry for the Start/Finish line.
The Death Race scenario for Gaslands calls for at least three or four gates, for start/finish line (which might not be the same gate) and a couple along the course. We’ve been using various random scenery bits, which works fine, but proper gates have been a obvious piece of scenery I wanted to make.
The scrap metal look worked well for the jumps I made last year, so it was the asthetic I followed for the gates as well. I decided to do freestanding gate pillars, essentially, with no permanent overhead horizontal pieces but with the vertical construction to allow modular overhead gantries to slot in if desired.
To keep the tall gate posts ballasted I started with solid 1 1/4″ washers from the stash, then sank the main vertical beams for each into a footing of styrene plastic filled with Milliput epoxy putty, which dries rock hard. Because it’s a fast technique and super cheap, I filled the lower levels of the foundation footings with crumpled tinfoil tacked in place with superglue, then put a layer of Milliput over that.
I used a couple of different methods to construct the footings; roughly circular lengths of corrugated sheet styrene were fast and easy but I really like how the vertically-embedded heavy pipe (styrene tube) came out.
This entire project was done from the Ancient Stash of Doom; I’m pretty sure some of these random girder pieces date back to the family model railroad we had in the early 1990s when I was in junior high. The dark grey plastic is all Plastruct; all the white plastic is Evergreen Plastics. There’s three or four sizes and styles of girder, a couple sizes of tube, and sheet styrene in at least four thicknesses and styles.
Beyond making sure all the main vertical beams were roughly the same length (about 4 inches) I did very little planning ahead. Each pair of gate pieces is in roughly the same style… more or less. After making sure the main vertical beams were solidly anchored to the washers, I filled in the rest of the structure from whatever sheet and beam bits were handy and looked the part.
Gates One, Two, and Three are basically done, structurally, although I might yet put more details (floodlights, maybe loudspeakers) on them, and the plan for all three is to get Corey to 3d print lettering for “GATE” and then add the gate number in sheet styrene like they were cut out of sheet metal.
The Start Line Gate is still undergoing detailing. There’s ladders to get the crew up into the announcer’s cab, and I’ll be covering the sides and back with some solid metal sheet and a bunch of mesh – you can see the first piece of that on the offside Start Gate pillar, second from left above. The ladders are scratchbuilt from very thin strips of styrene; I’d have used HO scale plastic ladders but my awesome local hobby shop was out of stock.
The Start Gate is also going to get a fairly substantial horizontal gantry spanning the course between the two pillars. It’ll have floodlights, speakers, and a 3d printed “Esquimalt Thunderdome” sign on it, or will when Corey coaxes his 3d printer back to life. I’ve got some very cool openwork styrene girders to form the main central part of that gantry.
More on these gates soon, and in the meantime stay safe, everyone.