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”…
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!
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.
I’ve talked up Rain City Hobbies on this blog before, but only for their very nice grass and flower tufts. They also do a huge range of resin bases, but because I rarely use elaborate complex bases they’ve not interested me much.
I do own a few of their resin bases, however, picked up from the “production seconds by weight” bin sold by Rain City at gaming conventions. (remember gaming conventions from the Before Times? I miss them…)
Needing a distraction from current events I decided to paint up the biggest of these, an elaborate ruined temple base nearly the size of a CD, their Huge Ruined Sanctuary insert. 120mm (~4 and a quarter inches, roughly) across, the production second one I have has nearly perfect molding of all the details, but it warped before the resin had fully cured so won’t lie flat.
I tried out a bunch of different stone painting techniques on this base and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The three big chunks of shattered statue were based in light tan, then progressively highlighted with whiter and whiter paints well diluted with glaze medium, which really got a translucent polished stone effect going.
The green arc and big green fragment were basecoated fairly dark green, then given marble-like veins with brighter greens, again well mixed with glaze medium. They got a good coat of gloss varnish, and then some highlighting with almost pure white.
The flagstones got basecoated with four or five off-white/tan shades, washed with GW Sepia and Earthshade washes, then highlighted with light tan and off-white. The tree roots are various shades of reddish brown.
Because of the warp across the width, I’ll probably base this onto a larger piece of thin plastic, then use putty and then foliage to merge the lifted corners back into the base, making this look like a fragment that has been largely swallowed by forest or jungle.
I’ve also got a few more random bases I might finish up, and those three tan pieces to the right in both photos above are the Large Broken Statuary Base Accessories that I will be using either together with the big base or on their own as scenery elements. More on them in some future post when I get them finished.
Stay safe, stay home, try to get something creative done, mask up when required out in public, and better days (actual gaming conventions!) shall come again.
Reading through the rules, I realized that Gaslands Refuelled has rules for jump ramps and jumping, so naturally I had to scratchbuild a pair of ramps to make a dangerous lunatic game even more dangerous and lunatic!
The two ramps are about 4 inches wide. They’re based on scraps of 1/8th plastic board and mostly made of random bits of styrene plastic. The big beams are from Plastruct and I’m pretty sure they’re leftover from the model railroad we had when I was in junior high in the first half of the 1990s… that’s more than long enough to have something in your Bin Of Interesting Parts before using them!
The great thing about the mostly-post-apocalyptic Gaslands setting is that nothing has to be really cleanly constructed or painted, so I just layered sheets of styrene up until it looked right, and used pliers and a knife to attack various bits, warp them, and chew the corners off.
The billboard/crash barrier piece started as a way to use up the leftover stub of heavy I-beam I had left over after the ramps were done; it’s based on more scrap 1/8th plastic board and roughed up the same way. It got orange and white hazard stripes on the fronts, because, well, why not?
I’ve got four cars and a motorbike in progress; the first coat of primer on several of the cars didn’t take so they’re in paint stripper to get reset back to bare metal. I’ll probably fish them out this weekend to scrub them down and reprime.
We’re back in lockdown here for at least another ten days and realistically probably longer, because the second wave of COVID is well and truly here. Stay well, stay safe, ignore the goddamn idiot ratlicking anti-mask morons, and when we’re able to game in person again, hopefully there won’t be any gaps around the gaming table.
Oh, and happy American Thanksgiving to any American readers!
From the excellent people running Dark Fantastic Mills I purchased this Doomcap Shrooms Bundle earlier in the year. If you want to run fantasy games, you should, I think, have fantasy scenery. If you want to fight amongst perfectly ordinary trees, run a historical game, those are fun too.
These mushrooms are all 3d printed in FMD; you can see some layering here and there, especially across the broad flat tops of some of the bigger mushrooms, but other than that they’re wonderfully sculpted and beautifully detailed pieces of scenery. And BIG – check out that roughly human sized figure in the Dark Fantastic Mills shop photo above!
With “fantasy scenery should look fantastic” in mind, I cut loose and did up this lovely batch of 3d-printed giant ‘shrooms (and their smaller brethern) in gloriously weird colours. Reds and purples and vivid blues and greens, all the colours I usually use sparingly here and there came out in force.
I started with a dark grey spray primer coat, then did a rough drybrush of pure white. All of the colours after that got cut at least 1:1 if not more with glaze medium, so the original drybrushing mostly showed through and the various colours layered and blended fairly smoothly. I’ve posted this link before, but go watch Dana Howl’s 24 minute intro to glaze medium on YouTube, it really has changed the way I paint and these giant mushrooms would have looked much less interesting without her influence.
Some of the DFM shrooms still need another round of highlighting or glazing to finish them off, and the biggest one, the massive slope-topped multi-trunked one in the last photo, still needs it’s base finished, flocked and detailed.
I’m really pleased with these Dark Fantastic Mills ‘shrooms. The bundle isn’t cheap, but you get huge dramatic pieces of scenery for your money that really stand out on the table! Go check Dark Fantastic Mills out, they’ve really harnessed 3d printing to make scenery that couldn’t easily be made in other materials and their designs really are fantastic.