It’s been a bit of an odd year for gaming, I’ve been having fairly regular games but not painting or building things on a consistent basis.
Obviously I’ve been very lax about updating the old blog but I have gotten a few bits and pieces done since the last update here at the end of February!
Sometime earlier this year I assembled and painted up this pair of little Gaslands vehicles, both from the North Star Implements of Carnage II plastic sprues. Both very cool Hot Wheels-scaled (20mm, nominally) little vehicles of a type that (unlike normal cars) you can’t easily get commercially.
By way of a mini review, I’d say buy Implements of Carnage II if you’ve already gotten into Gaslands, want the specific two vehicles on it, and probably already have the Implements of Carnage I set, which has lots of regular weapons, armour plates, and other bits that are more useful for converting Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars than what comes on the 2nd set!
There’s no instructions included with the sprues. The dirtbike is three pieces and goes together easily; the buggy is a bit more complicated but some test fitting should show you how it assembles. There’s two pieces of armour plate designed to go on either side that I’ve left off mine – they cover the sides of the roll cage either side of the driver.
More soon as I sort photos and try to get back into the swing of active gaming and blog posting!
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!
Cement Saul is a fairly new YouTube channel that has been doing a bunch of interesting Gaslands-related videos. I especially like the video on Weathering with Coloured Pencils and Pigments. Pigments (pastel chalk dust, or similar) are familiar to me and I’ve used them in the past, but weathering with actual coloured pencils hadn’t occured to me and I’m going to have to try that out! It’s part of a series on painting, stencilling, detailing, and weathering cars that’s well done, approachable, and worth your time.
Light Industries is a Canadian outfit that do various decals including custom work; I always like to find Canadian sources for things when I can!
Misc Minis do various decals as well, including tiny decals suitable for 1/1200 vessels or aircraft. I contacted him back in January 2021 about getting a little sheet of his smallest decals, got it in just a few weeks for much less money than I was expecting, and will do a proper review of them 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…
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.
Finished up my first three cars for Gaslands over the weekend, the two Barracudas and an Impala last seen in grey primer a little while ago.
Car One: Vlad the Impala
The big red and black car is an Impala, so naturally it has to be called Vlad in the long tradition of ancient dumb car jokes. The bulldozer blade ram plate, exhaust pipes, ring mount gunner, and rear slab spoiler are all off the North Star accessories sprue; the bar armour on the windows is thin styrene plastic strip. I might yet freehand the car’s name on the top of the spoiler, but it’ll thunder around the track quite handsomely without it for now.
Car Two: the blue Barracuda
This one seems to have accidentally turned into a Spaff Maureen landsplatter or whatever they’re called, never having played any 40K myself. It’ll be nice and clear which direction to point toward the finish line, anyway! Sheet armour over the windows is sheet styrene scrap; the air scoop, gun, and minedropper are North Star accessories.
Car Three: The Purple People Eater (Barracuda)
The second Barracuda is wrapped up in some extra bar armour with a pair of machine guns bolted to the hood. Guns again from North Star, bar armour bits from scrap styrene. Over the purple paint it has neon green skulls on the trunk and both doors, with some flames alongside the gun on the hood.
A Few Extra Shots
Just a few extra beauty shots for fun!
My next project is going to be a set of gates for Gaslands race events; I’ve got a big stash of random plastic tubing, girders, and such that’ll make three or four gates to lay out race courses.
We’ve had a couple more Gaslands-by-webcam sessions since Corey wrote up his how-to and that’s inspired me to finally get the first few cars built up properly.
I’d primed and painted these cars months ago and they probably even appear in a few of our game photos, but I’d rushed the painting so the primer was scratching off far too easily, and I really hadn’t done much conversion.
I dropped the metal car bodies back in Simple Green to reset them to bare metal, then set about properly converting them into post-apoc Gaslands armed cars! Some time ago we’d done a group order to North Star for a bunch of their Instruments of Carnage plastic accessory sprues and those plus bits of plasticard from my parts box has gotten me three armed, up-armoured cars, all Gaslands Refuelled legal designs.
The first and largest of the three cars is Vlad the Impala, with a turreted MG or HMG, ram plate salvaged from a bulldozer blade, huge exhaust stacks coming directly off the engine block, and “spoiler” on the back hacked from a piece of sheet metal. The windows also got barred off with plastic strips.
The two Barracudas are slightly smaller. One of them got an air scoop on the hood, a single HMG mounted alongside, sheet metal on the windows, and a dropped weapon (usually mines) off the back. Barracuda 2 got metal bar armour over the windows and reinforcing the front and back of the car, and a pair of MGs or HMGs on the hood.
I’m pretty sure that one reason I had trouble getting paint to stick to the metal toy car bodies the first time I tried painting these cars was because I rushed off to paint before the primer coat had properly cured, so I’m going to put this trio aside for a couple of days to give the primer a chance to really properly dry and cure.
I haven’t actually finalized a paint scheme for any of them, although I suspect Vlad the Impala will wind up red and black, with one of the Barracudas mostly purple and the other blue, just because. There are driver figures on the North Star sprues, but with all the window armour none of the driver seats are particularly visible, so I think I’ll save them for other projects with more visible crew positions.
Given that our current COVID restrictions are running until at least mid-February at this point, I am probably going to finish all three of these and then drop them off at Corey’s place, along with the jumps and other terrain I finished late last year so they can appear in our webcam games as lockdown drags on!
The second wave of COVID-19 is here and with it, new restrictions on in-person events like gaming. While in British Columbia we don’t have a strict lockdown, we are limited to our “core bubble” aka our immediate household. Which means no in-person gaming. Our little gaming group (myself, Brian and our friend Sean) took a break, we wanted to get gaming again and preferably avoid fully-online solutions like TTS. Enter the webcam.
Attempt 1: Ancient webcam + gotomeeting
Our first attempt used an ancient webcam that spits out low resolution image, plus using Gotomeeting. I shared my screen, which had the default Windows camera app up on this. It worked, but was very difficult to see.
We were also challenged with how to track stats – gear, hazards, damage, etc. Brian tracked it on his computer and I tracked gear phase and hazards on the gaming board. Neither really worked – we couldn’t see what Brian was tracking and due to the webcam, nobody could see the hazards I’d placed on the board.
Attempt 2: Phone as webcam + OBS + Discord
Having tried the old webcam and realized it didn’t work, plus the need to track stats, I decided to download and play with OBS Studio. I figured I could overlay a Google sheet to track stats, plus bring in the camera feed.
To deal with the poor image quality, I downloaded #LiveDroid, an Android app that streams your phone’s camera over a local server. To help with low light, I used my new ring light that my wife had bought me for Christmas.
Setting up Open Broadcast Studio
OBS is pretty easy to setup – this was my first attempt at using it and it ran flawlessly. I had four different sources: cam link from phone (as a browser source), read-only Google sheet (as another browser link), white image for a background and the Esquimalt Thunderdome branding image. Note that I didn’t run any audio through OBS, as we were talking via Discord.
For stats via Google sheet, I first setup the needed columns and then cropped the source down using a Crop/Pad Effects Filter to only show the key part of the stats. This method is easy to change on the fly, which we did when I forgot to add Gear Phase to the initial sheet.
Streaming from your phone
I downloaded #LiveDroid, a free Android app that streams your camera to a browser on your local network. You will need to set the resolution for both the camera and in OBS. I set the phone to be 1920×1280 and the OBS source to 1280×960. For me, Camera 0 was my rear camera.
I also tried DroidCam, which has an OBS plugin, but that stuck an ugly watermark on the image.
Connecting it all together
Finally, I shared the OBS window out using a virtual webcam. On the bottom left of the OBS window, it is labelled Start Virtual Camera. We then started a video call in Discord and I changed my webcam source to OBS Virtual Webcam.
If you’re the presenter, don’t be alarmed when your webcam looks like this:
But for everybody else, the combination works well. This was Brian’s view of the final hit of the game.
Modifying Gaslands to play via webcam
For those playing remotely, the hardest challenge is spatial sense. A lot of Gaslands is about choosing the right template. Also, play will be slower, so plan for that.
Adjusting the template rules
The touch it, use it and no pre-measuring rules from Gaslands assume you have a good view of the table, which remote players really don’t. So we changed the template rules a bit. They could ask me about what a template would look like and sometimes I would even lay it down after they’d described what they wanted to do.
Keeping the cars and game simple
In order to keep the game from bogging down, we decided to institute a few simplifications to the game:
Everybody drives the same car, in our case a car with a single HMG forward facing & a mine layer aft
Easy scenario – we ran both a modified flag tag and arena of death
Have a record keeper (and track stats locally and remotely)
The person moving the cars and running the feed doesn’t have the time to deal with record keeping that others can see. So we ended up tracking the key stats both on the game board (so I could see them) and in the Google sheet. So Brian, sitting at his computer, could track the stats for everybody, leaving me free to move cars and keep the game moving
Be ruthless about whipping people along
In order to complete a game, you’ll need the person who is moving the cars to be a ruthless GM. They need to keep the game moving via ensuring each player moves, constantly asking all the key questions like “How many dice do you want to roll”.
Overall, the second game ran really well. OBS made it a lot simpler for everybody to see all the stats.
One of the key problems we ran into was seeing the dice. Instead of an online dice roller, I rolled everybody’s dice in person. For the next game, I plan on using the crappy old webcam as a dice cam – set it up vertically over a dice rolling box.
I also need to play with the colour balance, contrast and saturation of the webcam. Unsurprisingly, all the various pieces of software being used tried to do some sort of correction and not all of it worked.
Where to get the software
OBS is free and runs on most major OSes, while #LiveDroid is Android-only.