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Stephen goes Mad Men

I was in the mood to make a few terrain pieces and since the more clutter the better for skirmish games, I thought I’d make some sci fi terrain. To help create an urban, post-apocalyptic, vibe I thought I’d make some advertising hoardings.

The first thing I did was a bit of Googling to find suitable images. I did struggle a bit to find futuristic looking adverts. Just typing in ‘sci fi adverts’ brought up a host of cinema billboards for films, but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. Nevertheless, after a bit of perseverance I find what I was looking for and printed them out.

Then to make the actual hoardings. I used a backing of thick plasticard. I cut this to the dimensions of the picture plus the edging I was going to add. This edging was also made from plasticard, and it was stuck around the…er…edge. I had some plain EM4 dice and I thought these would make an ideal control box on the rear. So that’s what that is. I also had quite a lot of box-section polystyrene extrusion from a previous project and I thought that would do for legs.

Since it would be quite a light model it was obvious it would need a hefty base to keep it anchored down, so it was all stuck on a 40mm diameter metal washer from Wilkos. I also sanded the edges to tidy it all up.

Painting was next. It was given an undercoat of Humbrol ‘Dark Earth’ spray.It was then dry-brushed a pale cream, and then a rough dry-brush of white (so it stayed looking dirty and grubby – this is post-apocalyptic, after all). I then gave it a bit of splotching with a terracotta colour for rust and dirt effects. I also thought I’d add a bit of graffiti on the back of some of them.

All that was left was to cut the advert out and glue it in place, and then flock the base.
There it is – an advertising hoarding all complete.

Gaslands Scenery

Andy makes some scenery for the Wastelands.

At Broadside back in June I bought some scenery pieces for Gaslands, as we have another of the Maidstone Wargames Society’s GASCAR’19 events coming up I thought I’d better get them ready. All paints are Vallejo matt acrylics unless stated otherwise.

First up is a set of four MDF gates from Blotz.

Each gate comprises eight pieces, the two halves of the gate, two connecting pieces, two bases and two number boards. These were assembled (apart from the number boards) using superglue.

Once assembled they were primed with Halfords grey primer, then sprayed with Rust-oleum metallic chrome. The bases were then painted with Black Grey, at this point I realised that spraying the bases with the Chrome paint wasn’t a good idea, as it was not a good surface to try painting with acrylics. After three or four coats the bases looked OK.

The number boards were given three thin coats of matt white; the numbers were painted Red one side and Green on the other, and the borders painted Black. Once all was dry, I added the number boards and gave them a coat of matt varnish.

Next up were some resin accessories from Debris of War; some Jersey Barriers, a Storage Tank and some Crates.

After cleaning up a little flash and filling a few holes I gave these a good wash in soapy water and once dry sprayed them with Halfords grey primer.

The Jersey Barriers were painted all over with Deck Tan, followed by a liberal wash of Army Painter Soft Tone wash.

The Storage Tank was sprayed Chrome, and, having learnt from the gates, I then undercoated the tank base and supports White. The base was painted Black Grey, the supports Deck Tan and the recesses of the ladder Black.

The crates were painted London Grey with Light Grey sections. I decided to paint the top panels in different colours, two each in Red, Intense Blue and Flat Green. The grey areas were then given a coat of Army Painter Dark Tone, and the coloured panels coat of the appropriate coloured tone.

I also did some scratch-built pieces. A while ago I found some sheets of corrugated cardboard in the recycling bin and thought “corrugated iron wall”. I also had some large lollipop sticks from a craft shop, 150mm x 18mm, bases I thought.

I cut the sheets into strips, scored the plain side of each strip along the centreline to make it easier to fold. I then coated one side of the carboard with PVA glue and folded the two sides together. When the glue had set, I trimmed the strips down to 20mm high, and cut them to length to fit the lollipop stick bases.

This left some short lengths which I ended up using to make some gate sections. I had enough sections to make eight wall and four gate sections. I then got the hot glue gun out, and assembled each base as follows: I laid a strip of glue down the centre of the lollipop stick and pushed a fence section into the glue and held it until it set.

The sections were undercoated Halfords grey and then the walls were painted Gunmetal Grey and the bases Black Grey. The walls were given a liberal coat of Army Painter Dark Tone wash. The excess hot glue was coated with PVA glue and some grass flock applied. Once all was dry they were sprayed with Matt Varnish.

Dearly Beloved

For our sins, Stephen builds a chapel.

At MHWC’s Broadside show in June I was glad (and surprised!) to see that Scotia/Grendel would be there.

What I bought off them was a resin ruined chapel, which would make a great piece of terrain for medieval games.

I cleaned up the pieces, cut some ply for the base, and glued the pieces together on the day after buying it. It then sat on the shelf for a few weeks. But last Sunday I finally got around to slapping some paint on it.

Before painting I thought I’d make a bit more of it. The first thing to do was create a tiled floor. I made the tiles out of thick plasticard. I chamfered the edges roughly and then scratched and gouged the surface to make them look worn and damaged. I then needed some more rubble. I made this from a mixture of sand and dried plaster broken up into bits. Though you can buy some rubble scatter mixes.

Once this was all dry I gave it a spray of dark khaki. This was then washed with my favourite all-purpose brown wash: GW’s Agrax Earhshade. I decided I wanted it to look like it was made from sandstone, so it was drybrushed with a khaki-heavy mix of khaki and grey.

An important thing to realise about medieval churches is that they were very colourful places. It was only with the advent of the Reformation and Protestantism that church wall paintings were considered idolatrous and were chiseled off or painted over. So I scoured the internet for pictures of surviving painted medieval church walls and then printed them off.

These were then glued to the walls. To make them look like they belong there and look a bit damaged and eroded by time and weather I splotched (that’s the best way I can describe it) the edges of the pictures to make it look like they belong on the walls and blend in.

Some staining and damp was added with a very dry brush using dark green and brown.

The model was then based with some mixed ballast and static grass.

The result is a ruined chapel worth fighting over!

From The Halls Of Montezuma

Stephen goes all John Wayne on us.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some WW2 games for a while but never really knew what I wanted to do. I had a false start with Flames Of War some time ago but I found the rules so dire that it soon fell by the wayside.

But then a recent issue of Wargames Illustrated had some plastic 28mm US infantry as a freebie. I bought an issue, put them together and then slapped some paint on them. I enjoyed it so much that I decided that 28mm WW2 was the way I was going to go. I also decided that I would focus on small-scale infantry actions rather than huge set-piece battles – Chain Of Command has been played at the club and it seemed like the scale of game I was interested in.

I then bought another copy of WI so I could get some more. Realising this could be an expensive way to go about it I then asked if anyone at the club had an unwanted sprue from the magazine. Phil and Marcus both stepped up (cheers, chaps).

When it came to painting them I made a snap decision.

I was going to paint them in standard European theatre colours and do late war games. Then I thought about the scenery. Woods, roads, hills, etc would be no problem – I have plenty already. It was the houses though, that made me pause. I wanted to do this on the cheap because WW2 would never be a ‘main’ period for me, so it had to pay its way in terms of money and storage space. Piles of European houses, that would not be used for anything else I do, would take a lot of space and money.

So I suddenly thought, ‘Pacific war!’

Trees, trees, and more trees.

I know there’ll be some out there who will object and say the figures aren’t wearing Marine issue equipment. Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s. Once painted, especially in that duck-hunter camouflage the Marines wore, I reckoned no one would be able to tell.

So I went for it.

They were given an all-over spray of khaki. Flesh and weapons were given a base-coat of a chocolate brown colour. I then washed all webbing and weapons with GW’s agrax earthshade. I use VMJ medium flesh for…er…flesh. The wooden bits on the guns were picked out with GW’s Bestial Brown (or whatever they now call it). The webbing was given a base-coat made from a mix of khaki and mid green, and a bit of white was added for highlights.

For the uniforms I decided to mix it up a bit to create a rag-tag look. Some would be in green, some in duck-hunter, some in a mix of the two. For the green just choose your favourite olive drab colour. For the camouflage the base colour was a 50/50 mix of khaki and white. And then blobs of chocolate brown and mid-green were randomly dotted all over.

The sprues themselves give a good mix of poses. I managed to get a good variety, even better with a slight bit of chopping up. I’ve given each squad a sergeant (armed with a Thompson), two BARs, and nine M1-armed infantry.

I also scratch-built a flamethrower using bits from the sprue.

The motivation is still there so I’m making head-way in painting these whilst I can. I will need a few more to complete a platoon. And I will also have to get some Japanese. So an order to Warlord will be made later in the year.

By the time it’s all done and ready it will likely be 2020, so for next year some WW2 games will be in the offing.

Open Day 2019: The Tower Of Ballicroney

More Open Day updates from Stephen as he wows us with the size of his tower

I’ve been lucky for this year’s Open Day – I more or less had everything I needed for the game.

There’s been just a few jobs that needed doing – some Norse Gael axemen and an Irish round tower.

The game will be set in the early 12th century with the Normans raiding an Irish religious community. A key feature of early Irish monastic sites were the needle like round towers. These were built as safe places during earlier centuries when Viking raiders made their way around the Irish Sea. A few were also built in Scotland, mainly by the Irish settlers.

Entrance to the tower was on the second floor via a ladder. The ground floor was often solid stone to resist being battered down.

I made a few concessions with my model. It is to scale height and the ground diameter is also to scale. The actual towers converge which mine doesn’t. This is because of what I used to make the tower – three empty (Christmas) tubs of cheeselets. So it had to have parallel sides.

I also decided to use more elaborate windows. During the period when the towers were constructed the windows were just plain openings. I went with a Gothic window frame, which is out of period. I did this to make it more interesting to look at, so it can be used for other periods, and maybe fantasy games as well. I also went with a tiled roof rather than a stone roof. This was done to create a different surface texture and colour again, to keep the model interesting.

The windows were spare castings I had from a previous project.

The tubs were glued together using internal tabs. I then chose to hide the external joint using pieces of card to look like bricks – it makes it look like a decorative feature.

Individual bricks were made using heavy duty water-colour paper. This is ideal because it has a textured surface. These were stuck in groups and clumps all over the outside.

The tiles on the roof were made using the same card.

The ladder is made from styrene sprue.

The entire model was given a spray with a dark khaki colour. This was then washed using GW’s Agrax Earthshade. It was then dry-brushed using a mix of khaki and light grey, with a bit of white added for subsequent highlights. To create damp patches and mould I used both a brown and a dark green, paying attention to windows and doors (where people are likely to throw things out of) or around the base, where the damp could be.

All that was left to do was decorate the base with odds and ends.

Middle Earth Miscellany

Tony F shows the latest painting additions to his ever-growing collection of Middle-Earth miniatures.

I’ve once again been splashing some paint on a random selection of characters, mostly from Games Workshop’s range but with a few extras from other manufacturers to fill some gaps. One I painted just for fun is shown above – it’s a younger (Martin Freeman) version of Bilbo from The Hobbit, outside a really nice hobbit hole that I picked up on a Kickstarter. I don’t have an immediate use for him but he didn’t take too long to paint.

Phil and I have a game due soon based on a fictitious (as in not-mentioned-in-any-of-Tolkein’s-books-but-it-could-well-have happened) attack on the village of Bree. This is the village where the four hobbits were due to meet Gandalf soon after they left the Shire, but instead bumped into Aragorn and the Ringwraiths.

According to my Atlas of Middle Earth, the village is one of three that surround Bree-hill (the others being Combe and Staddle). Bree is sited on the west of the steep hill which serves to protect it from the north and east, and a large hedge and dike keeps marauders at bay from the south and west. The population is mostly Men, but a number of hobbits live in holes on the slopes of the hill.

My defenders will come from three sources – the inhabitants of the village (both men and hobbits), a small number of Grey Company rangers and Dunedain, and a few random travellers who might be staying in the Prancing Pony when the attackers arrive. There aren’t really any official GW figures that I could use to represent the villagers, so I had to look at other manufacturers and came up with this mean looking bunch from Gripping Beast. They’re arrayed before a Caliver Books butter market surrounded by plenty of Ainsty bits and pieces.

Leading the Grey Company is Halbarad, a Ranger who helps guard the borders of the Shire – he’s another minor character who has a bit part in the books (he carries Aragorn’s standard onto the Pelennor Fields where he meets his end) but is left out of the film adaptation.

Talking of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and looking further ahead to a rather ambitious game we have planned for later in the year, I’ve also been painting Rohirrim – lots of them. For someone who has a rather irrational dislike of painting horses, an army made up entirely of cavalry seems like a bad move. I’ve made a start with the King of Rohan, Theoden, painting the superb new plastic model released late last year.

I’ve also painted the version on foot and at the same time painted Gamling, the King’s standard bearer (although he appears to have lost it in this version of the figure).

And finally, just for now, a few dwarves. This is a version of Balin from The Hobbit, along with a small retinue of dwarf rangers.

The Wars of the Roses

Stephen updates his progress on his Yorkists (or Lancastrians, I don’t think he’s made up his mind).

Along with Jeremey I have been popping away at some 15mm Wars of the Roses for games of Sword & Spear.
I made a good start at the beginning of the year then I lost my mojo for painting these. However, I’ve got my mojo back and now they find themselves back on the painting desk.

The majority of the figures are by Essex Miniatures. The plate armoured men-at-arms are Peter Pig, as are the cavalry (not painted yet). I chose to base mine on Sword & Spear size bases (which are multiples of WRG/DBA bases) rather than small elements because I don’t enjoy playing DBA or FoG so it made sense to base them on the necessary size bases to avoid fiddling about with lots of small bases. That means they are also compatible with Armati, which is another set of ancient rules I enjoy (though not played for yonks), and also Impetus.

The flags are generic and not specific to any noble families from the period. These are just for decoration. I decided to make them generic so it didn’t tie the army down to anything specific and would give more flexibility. My intention is to give the commanders the actual flags of the nobles who fought. I haven’t yet decided whether to make a command base for each of the noblemen or whether to do like Jeremey has done with his and make them removable.

Pack it in Donkey!

Andy K tries to pin the tail on his donkey, and ends up pinning its leg instead !

I ran a game a Milton Hundred recently where I needed to give the players the option of taking some pack animals, I had 5 pack donkeys ready, but had another three in the metal mountain, so decided to paint them up. These will be part of my French in Mexico collection.

The figures are from Wargames Foundry, part of the Darkest Africa Range.

As I cleaned up the models prior to painting I found that one of the donkeys was a miscast, part of a rear leg was incomplete. I stuck a small length of wire between the remaining parts of the leg with superglue, and once dried added polystyrene filler to build up the leg. Once the filler had thoroughly dried off I filed it into shape before undercoating the donkeys and the packs matt black.

The donkeys were painted using Vallejo acrylics, some flock added to the bases and matt varnished.

Dark Age Warriors

Andy K gets to grips with his inner beast…

I needed another eight figures for a Dux Bellorum game at the club recently, so dug into my boxes of Gripping Beast plastics for suitable figures. I decided to split them half and half, four armed with spears and the rest with sword or axe. These figures are made up of four parts: the body including left arm, right arm with a number of weapon options, head and shield.

They were assembled and painted these up in about a week; black undercoat, followed by shades of grey and brown for the tunics and trousers. A variety of hair colours were used. The paints are mostly Vallejo acrylics, with the odd bottle of Army Painter used. Once dry the figures were treated with appropriate shading paints from Army Painter.

The shields were painted white, and Little Big Man Studios transfers applied. All then given a coat of matt varnish

Strapping Jocks

John Lambert brings us up to date on his Scots SAGA warband

I’d bought a Gripping Beast 4 point Warband over a year ago. With the advent of Saga Version 2, I had the incentive to get them table top ready. I added one unit of Levy archers and a third unit of warriors to bulk it out to 6 points and out of 45 figures I only had 3 duplicates – well done Gripping Beast!. I replaced the Warlord with the Welsh Warlord on foot and used wire spears in place of the white metal ones supplied to ward off curious fingers.

I used Artist’s acrylic throughout ensuring that any intense pigments were dulled down to colour matches I had for Dark Age dyes and employed a three shade system that these figures suit. The figures themselves had plenty of flat surfaces on cloaks that would need the plaid treatment so once the basic figures were done, I sprayed with matt polyurethane to apply the plaid using a lining brush.

Levy Archers.
I decided that these would be the Warlord’s Estate workers so would have a shared colour palette – Brown, Yellow, Grey, Green, Blue.

Warriors
These would have a more varied palette and I decided to try wet blending on the shields to get a colour gradient which worked well. For shield designs, I chose simple crosses or Pictish designs.

Hearthguard
These would have more plaid cloth and more red on the clothing. I decided that they would have black shields with a white motif to match the Warlord.

Warlord
I seem to remember a doughty character in Macbeth called Lennox, well this would be my Warlord. Another trip to the Memory Bank reminded me of Bobby Lennox so he had to be kitted out in Green and White. For the cuirass, I used gunmetal/Silver and a thin coat of silver white to highlight. I added a dark purple cloak with yellow plaid. A black shield with Stags head motif completed the figure.

Basing
I added filler and stones to the base before undercoating the figures. When the figure was complete, I started the bases with black all over. I then drybrushed mid grey and then a light grey to pick out stones and boulders. I wanted a dark peaty soil with granite showing through and then the boulders. I then dry brushed the areas I was going to apply static grass in mid then light brown. I then applied Static grass in two shades.

Heather and grass tufts
To make the heather clumps, I used a piece of black pan scourer from B & Q, which I ripped open to make clumps which I attached to greaseproof paper with PVA. I drybrushed the surface with PVA and then sprinkled Heather flock lightly on the surface. Once dry and fixed with sealant spray, I could peel these off and attach to the bases. I bought some 6mm forest green static grass for the tufts. I dropped blobs of PVA onto Greaseproof and then dropped the Static grass on top. I pushed this into a clump as the PVA dried then fixed with sealant before peeling off and fixing to the base.