Weird Fantasy Terrain

If you’re going to do fantasy battles, why restrict yourself to normal-looking trees and such? If you want to fight a battle in a pine forest, go do Romans vs Germanics or WW2 Ardennes or something. For fantasy, we should have properly fantastical terrain!

To that end I recommend Dark Fantastic Mills terrain (but more of them in a longer future post!) and the Fantastic Rocks & Plants STL Kickstarter which concluded back in September and which now appears to be available for purchase (or late pledges? I can’t tell) over on MyMiniFactory.

I don’t have a 3d printer but Corey does, so I pay him in beer and snark and (when his tempermental 3d printer cooperates) get 3d printed nifty things back from him.

Using a couple of junk CDs (best scenery bases ever!) I put together this trio of fungal thickets to add proper fantastical flavour to our fantasty skirmish games.

All three mushroom thicket bases together, plus nine Reaper tree-kin to lurk in the thickets! Click for larger.

These thickets use half a dozen big 3d printed mushrooms from the FR&P KS and a bunch of resin and 3d printed smaller mushrooms from Dark Fantastic. Scraps of cork board about 1/4″ thick add some height here and there, and sand, flock, and lots and lots of flower tufts finish them off.

More mushroom madness. The tree-critters in the foreground are Reaper Miniatures saporlings. Click for larger.

The tree-dudes are Reaper Saporlings, available in a batch of nine, as a single, or in Bones plastic. They’re about human sized and great figures. They’re going to star as zombie stand-ins in a fantasy pulp game sometime soon, and will no doubt find other roles to play in future games.

More Saporlings, and two of the mushroom thicket bases. Click for larger.

I have the Doomcap Deeps bundle from Dark Fantastic all painted up in the same bright colour blending scheme as these mushrooms, and I’ll get some decent photos of them soon for that longer review post I hinted at at the start of this post.

Stay well in our second wave of COVID world, stay safe, and try to get some gaming in if you are able. If we isolate now, it is so that there isn’t a gap on the other side of the gaming table when we do gather again in safety.

The Workbench This week, 30 October 2020

No posts for a month? Sorry! The irony is that I’ve been gaming more regularly than ever, as our little COVID-compliant pod of gamers are now meeting every Monday daytime (all three of us are on reduced work hours, again due to COVID…) and on Thursday evenings due to my lovely wife’s heartfelt desire to kick me out of the house every so often.

We have gotten into Gaslands, and been running through the Perilous Island campaign for Pulp Alley with a fantasy flavour to it instead of the classic early 20th C pulp we’ve done in the past.

Gaslands cars in progress. Mostly stock and no weapons for now. Click for larger.
28mm Saproling from Reaper Minatures. Really neat figures, roughly human sized. Click for larger.
Giant weird mushrooms for fantasy scenery. From a recent Kickstarter. I’ll do a review of that KS sometime soon, I promise. Click for larger.

Anyway, I’m going to try to get back to August’s regular blogging schedule, or something like it. I spent September and most of October gaming but hardly doing any painting or scenery building, and have now painted or built more stuff in the past week than in the previous two months!

Esquimalt Thunderdome – a Gaslands race track

I love a big terrain project and a few of us here got into Gaslands recently. So I decided to create a racetrack. A big one, at 5′ by 3′. So off I set to do that.

Initially, I wanted it to be portable, so I did some experiments and found that acrylic caulk will peel off of wax paper. I ended up regretting this decision, but I am going to use the technique for a future project.

Racetrack laid out on wax paper
Racetrack laid out on wax paper

The track is 36′ wide and 60′ long, with the track itself being 8′ wide. All of these widths are approximate. The cars on the track are either older Hot Wheels or Lledo.

Once the caulk was added, I added quite a bit of texture with a rough caulk knife that I had roughed up on a previous project (oops). Here was another error I made – the wax paper was not fully taped in the middle, I ended up with ridges.

Fresh caulk on the racetrack
Fresh caulk on the racetrack

One note about drying acrylic – it loses a lot of water, so you’ll want something underneath your mat like another drop cloth to catch that water.

Once dry, I inked it using and then heavily dry brushed it with a variety of browns. Overall it works, but I was aiming for a slightly different brown than what I ended up with.

Painted race track
Painted race track

We used it a few times like this, but it really didn’t work that well. The edges of the mat were thin and a tear started developing in one curve. So onto a canvas mat it went, with more acrylic caulk to stick it down. Should have done that first…

Now that it had a permanent home, I decided to add some concrete pads with thicker grey caulk, mostly as an experiment. It worked well, I would do this again.

Then it was time to flock the rest of the mat. I decided a dead grass theme fit the post-apocalyptic Gaslands well. The dog decided to come and leave his mark on the mat (good thing acrylic caulk is non toxic, as it ended up on his pads too). And thus Crater Dog Paw 1 came to be.

Once the mat was fully flocked, it looks pretty good. This is the 85% stage done project – I need to cut the mat down to size and paint the concrete pads. I may also add some more bushes or other flock.

Links of Interest, 30 September 2020

Busy month but not much gaming activity of any sort!

Over on the awesome Lead Adventure Forum, Silent Invader discussed a really neat Snakes-and-Ladders inspired English Civil War mini-campaign idea, which seems readily adaptable to all sorts of other times and places! He later found his original inspiration, a post over on Grid Wargaming from June of this year which used the idea for a Jacobite campaign and has some additional details. One nice thing in our current age of physical distancing and social isolation is that the campaign part can basically be run solo thanks to the “gameboard”…

On another genre entirely, I recently tripped over the Wartime Canada website and have only just started exploring it; they have a small but interesting selection of WW1 troop manuals available for download.

I’ve got a bunch of fantasy terrain on the go I want to get finished, photographed, and posted this weekend, so hopefully October will be a bit busier around here than September wound up being!

Links of Interest, 4 Sept 2020

Quiet around here for the last couple weeks on account of me being busy getting married and going off on a short honeymoon, as well as various wedding planning/bachelor party type stuff before the actual wedding!

Back now, working on various things that I’ll show off here in due course.

Firepower Gaming is a new UK website & webstore that is publishing some great terrain articles. They started with a fantastic set of Normandy farm buildings, starting from simple MDF kits and really, really making them shine and have since published scratchbuilding a stone dovecote to accompany the other Normandy buildings. I built an English-style dovecote a few years ago and they’re great wargaming scenery, small footprint but visually interesting. No idea how common they were outside of England and France, mind you.

I’ve also just received my first ever order from Shapeways of a mix of stuff, including a bunch of incredibly detailed 1/1200 or 1/1250 detail items for our naval games. That Shapeways link above goes to my public lists, so you can see some of what I ordered. I’ll do up a review of those sometime soon too.

Links of Interest, 17 August 2020

Nice little sculpting tutorial on doing feathers in greenstuff from JuanHidalgo Miniatures. I really like short, approachable tutorials like this, it’s something specific to concentrate on if (like me) you’re not much good with sculpting!

Speaking of YouTube, Dr Alexander Clarke has an interesting channel with WW2 and interwar naval stuff, mostly British. Similarly, Drachinifel does mostly WW2 naval history videos as well, more American navy but some others.

Boom & Zoom Graphics have a set of really approachable, humourous, but (far as I can tell) complete introductions to WW2 aircraft markings, painting, and camo, with entries for each of the major combatants. Superb reference for WW2 air if that’s largely a new field to you as it is to me!

More Small Scale Scenery Inspiration

There aren’t a lot of small scale scenery tutorials out there, either as videos or traditional blog post writeups. Viv on RubbishInRubbishOut, though, did some YouTube videos of Dystopian Wars scenery a few years ago, and it turns out that DW is in something approximating 1/1200 scale, more or less.

Table intro, part one of four.

Dystopian Wars table intro, painting & finishing the table, islands part one, and finally islands part two.

Also, Dispatches from the Front has been working on some fantasy naval scenery for Man’O’War using the Brigade Models buildings and it looks fantastic. Fantasy microscale terrain has a definite appeal, you can get grandiose epic terrain on the table that wouldn’t work at all in any larger scale!

Fifty (or so) Tiny Buildings

I’ve finished painting the last buildings of my first Brigade Models Small Scale Scenics order, before I start in on painting the buildings and scenic bits I got in my second Brigade order. This batch has the British town, village, and suburban buildings I didn’t use previously, a bunch of industrial buildings, and a couple of lighthouses.

The cutting mat in all of these photos is a one inch/half inch grid, for scale. The largest of these buildings is less than two inches long, and the smokestacks are all between an inch and an inch and a quarter tall.

In progress industrial buildings, in various shades of grubby brick. Click for larger.
Walled farmyards and various houses and such behind. Click for larger.
Everything all finished and off the painting sticks. Industrial buildings over on the left, two churches and a variety of detached houses centre, various town/village buildings on the right. Farms in the background. Click for larger.
The industrial buildings, churches, and a variety of houses. Click for larger.
Town and village buildings, and some more large detached houses on the right. Click for larger.
The farmyards, still with some work to do on the actual yards but the buildings complete at least. Click for larger.
Lighthouses and Martello towers. Click for larger.
A streetscape of sorts, most of the village/town buildings pushed together roughly with the larger church behind. Keep in mind most of these buildings are about 1/4 inch wide! Click for larger.

Now that these are all done they’re getting varnished and then put back into storage for now, so that I can move on and finish some more partially finished projects before I come back to building more coastal modules and starting on the buildings from my second Brigade order.

Blinds & Markers for WW2 Naval Gaming

Most naval rules have spotting and target ID rules of some sort or another, often with various stages of “we think something’s out there” through “there’s probably a ship over there” to “It’s a German S-boat and it has started shooting at us!” or similar.

For example, Coastal Patrol published by TwoFatLardies uses both Blinds (for small groups of ships or dummies) and Markers (for possible individual ships, or dummies) so I’ve done up both 2″ and 1″ numbered tokens, designed to be printed on light card and then punched out or cut out for tabletop use.

The current PDF covers all the major combatants – the British Royal Navy, German Kriegsmarine, Italian Regia Marina, United States Navy, and Imperial Japanese Navy, and also includes generic Red Force & Blue Force markers, all numbered 1 through 12 in both 2″ and 1″ sizes. It’s available in both Letter (for those of us in North America) and A4 (for the rest of the world) for easy printing.

I might do up a second set of extra markers numbered 13 through 24 for larger scenarios; that would be straightforward enough.

Earlier this year I also did up a simple set of printable Star Shell & Moon Markers for naval gaming that you might also find useful.

If there’s any other combatants you’d like to see added to a future set, please let me know in the comments. Some of the larger Commonwealth navies, the Soviets, the smaller European nations?

Tiny Boats and Even Tinier Planes

When I did my first WW2 coastal order to Last Square back in November 2019, well over six months ago now, I added a pack of British Beaufighter/Beaufort and a pack of German Ju88 for the heck of it, chosen because both types of aircraft show up in the maritime strike role for most of the war with various loadouts.

I got them, looked at them, was dumbstruck by the insanely minute size of the things, and put them aside to paint the boats up instead. Having just finished (most of) the second order of Last Square coastal naval boats and being in a get-stuff-finished mood, I decided to have another look at the tiny tiny planes and figure out how to mount and paint them.

I recalled reading about using plastic broom bristles for masts and antenna previously, so I decided to test this out for creating flying stands suitable for tiny planes. I used the same 40mmx20mm thin acrylic bases I’m using for most of my boats, because I’ve got them, and I happened to have a micro-drill-bit in my tool stash almost perfectly the same size as the bristles I harvested off our household broom.

RAF Bristol Beauforts/Beaufighters, two mounted and one left loose. Click for larger.

I kept the flying heights fairly short, about one inch maximum, which means these planes are all coming in at wavetop height, pretty much, which seems to make sense when attacking small coastal vessels and is way, way easier to store than taller possibly more realistic height stands!

Two Beaufighters and two Ju88 mostly done, including recognizable national insignia on these tiny, tiny planes. Click for larger.
Extreme closeup of the unmounted Beaufighter and Ju88. I’m pleased with the look of the canopies, especially on the German Ju88 with their big “greenhouse” canopies covering most of the front end. Click for larger.

Painting Notes

All my current paints are from the Reaper Master Paints series. All six planes got a white primer, and then for the RAF I used Muddy Brown and Military Green for the topside camo; the underside is Heather Blue mixed with Rainy Grey which seems like a good match for the RAF “sky blue” grey-blue underside paint.

The Germans were a mix of Rainy Grey and Muddy Olive 1:1 for the all-over base coat, with two of the Ju88s getting slightly darker grey-green camo added with some additional Stone Grey added to the Rainy Grey/Muddy Olive mix.

I adding some highlighting along edges mostly by mixing a bit of Rainy Grey into the relevant base colour, and the Germans got some yellow recognition patches with Marigold Yellow. I also used some Games Workshop Nuln Oil (black) and Agrax Earthshade (brown) washes, especially along the roots of the wings.

The German iron crosses are Walnut Brown, a lovely almost-black that I use all the time instead of actual Pure Black.

The RAF roundels are Marigold Yellow, Sapphire Blue, Pure White, and Carnage Red.

Windows and cockpit canopies were picked out with Ghost White, a blue-tinted off-white.

For scale, I made sure to take this photo with my thumb “in the way”. That’s a standard CD I’m using to hold the planes, just for additional scale. These things are seriously tiny. Click for larger.
Side views, RAF Beauforts/Beaufighters on the left and Luftwaffe Ju88 on the right. Click for larger.
Tail end view, Beaufort/Beaufighter left, Ju88 to the right. Click for larger.
Forward view, same arrangement as previous. Click for larger.

Aircraft don’t actually play a huge role in most of the engagements coastal naval vessels find themselves involved in, so I don’t think I’ll be adding to my collection of tiny aircraft anytime particularly soon, but these turned out to be fun to paint and they ended up way better looking than I was thinking they would, given the diminutive size of the things!

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)