This week has seen a marked slow down in progress reported from the club, typical given this week I’ve actually done something.
Therefore first up I’ve been using some old branches from the garden to make a petrified forest. I’m going for a selection of tree stumps to represent either the remnants of a dead forest or one after shelling or some form of barrage. I’ve got 19 trees and a few fallen logs.
And finally Andy continues to make further progress on his dark ages figures. Once he’s done I might well show each of these stages together from start to finish.
Let’s see if next week shows an increase in productivity, if nothing else I should have finished my forest.
Gardening and Miniature Wargaming are not normally two hobbies that have a clear connection, but on a recent autumnal day club member Jeremey managed to turn green fingers into um… terrain building fingers.
It was time to tidy up the garden and get it ready for the coming winter months. I had recently cut down a shrub that had seen it’s last summer and needed to chop it up for the compost heap. Whilst doing so I got to the main trunk of the shrub and thought (as comes naturally) that maybe it would work as a piece of scenery.
I’d always wanted an old gnarly tree as a feature piece in a game, especially to act as some ancient druidic meeting place in fantasy games. The shrub had already dried out and so I snapped of some of the branches I didn’t want and then cleaned the stump in the sink with an old toothbrush to get the dirt off. I then put in on the radiator for a while so that the heat would dry it out completely.
I turned to my old favourite EVA foam for the base. I didn’t have a large piece of MDF or something similar for the base. But then I also did not want this on a huge base, just one big enough to support the tree. By using foam I was also able to cut holes in it to sink the tree and branches into it. The tree was quite tall so so I added a bit of weight with some washers to stop it being easy to knock over. The trusty glue gun was used to stick all of this down.
For basing I went for a material that I have found to be a very cheap and effective way for covering large areas. Bathroom sealant, that is basically any sealant that is used for waterproofing round sinks, baths, showers. For use in terrain building I buy the cheapest version from somewhere like Poundland. I’d never use this cheap stuff for actually sealing anything, likewise I wouldn’t use the expensive stuff from the DIY store to make scenery with. I put an amount in a container and then add cheap acrylic paint depending on the colour required. In this case I added black and brown. Once mixed together I spread it into place with a small stick and then use an old paintbrush to move it around and provide texture. Adding paint can increase the drying time of the sealant but depending on the thickness it should dry in a couple of hours.
One the sealant was dry I did a bit of dry brushing of the dirt base to give a nice contrast. At this point I did also paint bits of the actual tree with watered down brown ink, this was mainly to ‘dirty’ up the recently snapped off bits so they didn’t look like new breaks and had weathered like the rest of the tree. Finally I added a bit of flock and some tufts. Not too many as I didn’t want the dead tree surrounded by lush vegetation.
And there we have it. I think the base of the old shrub works perfectly as an ancient old tree and you’d be hard pressed to find a commercial piece of terrain to match it. I also didn’t have to paint the tree making this one of those projects you can do in a day.
The latest innovation in hobby paints has been Citadel’s new Contrast Paints. These are fairly dilute acrylic paints, like a thick wash in consistency but with more pigment than a wash. The idea is to speed up the painting of armies by getting your shading and highlighting in one coat. Having tried them out I’ve been impressed so far, although they do need to be used on areas of heavy detail – they don’t really work on large flat areas when they can result in a very patchy finish.
I thought I’d give them a try on some 6mm AFVs to see how they worked and if they did speed things up. I’m using some Brigade Models 6mm Hammer’s Slammers vehicles to try them out on – nine Prosperity National Army tanks and APCs. These have plenty of surface detail so should be ideal.
All of the models were cleaned up, assembled and then given a good solid base coat of Halfords white car primer.
Stage 1 – Base Colour
The first colour I used was an overall coat of Agaros Dunes (desert sand, essentially). With the Contrast paints you need to take care that the paint goes into all of the nooks, crannies and panel lines – if not, when it dries you can be left with unsightly white spots. So make sure you brush along the direction of the panel lines, not across them. Try not to let the paint pool too much in one place either.
Stage 2 – Camouflage Coat
When dry, I followed this up with a camouflage coat of Militarum Green in irregular stripes across the hull, 3-4 stripes per vehicle. This needs to be reasonably thick, too thin and the colour doesn’t stand out enough.
Stage 3 – Tracks
I then used Gore-Grunta Fur (an orangey-brown) on the tracks – I painted one track on each vehicle, then went back and did the second track – it just gives the first one a chance to dry a bit and reduces the chance of finger smudges.
Stage 4 – Weapons
The only other painting on these models was to pick out some of the guns in silver, followed by a Nuln Oil (black) wash.
And that’s it – battle ready 6mm vehicles using just five paints (plus primer and varnish). I did consider giving them an overall drybrush of a pale stone colour (Citadel Terminatus Stone would be ideal) but they really are fine as they are. Excluding drying time, these took less than an hour so it’s a great way to paint large forces quickly.
It’s Wednesday again so that means a chance to see what the club members have been up to.
Mark J has made some good progress on his 6mm panzer companies.
Mark says “a tale of two companies; 1 panzer grenadier company with heavy weapon support and a light tank company. I’ve used two shades of dark yellow on the tanks, I wish I could say this was done intentionally but it wasn’t; never trust what the spray tin tells you. Anyway I feel it gives the unit that cobbled together look, which was what was going on at the time, each platoon was usually responsible for applying the dark yellow paint and camouflage, so there were lots of variations. I used contrast paint for the camouflage striping. Two more light companies on the go at the moment.”
Mark also had this to say about his great basing for 6mm infantry that can sometimes get swamped by flock/grass. “I use the Baccus basing system, very fine sand applied using PVA, then apply a red brown wash followed by dry brushing 3 shades of sand, dark medium and light. I use a thinned PVA wash for the static grass, the grass is dropped onto the base using a small plastic bellow.”
Next up we have some Scavengers from Eric. These are from Copplestone Castings and painted up for use in games like Zona Alfa.
Saved from last week we have some 1:3000 ships from Marcus apparently for Guadalcanal, I’m not sure I’ve seen Marcus running WW2 Navy games but maybe he is branching out.
And last but not least Steve has put together some more miniatures for Frostgrave. In his own words we have “Using some old, and some unused models, I’ve put together a party for what I’m calling ‘Dark Grave’.
Here’s Rollo Magwitch and his apprentice, Edith Blackthorn, and their band of treasure hunters…”
That’s another WIP Wednesday from the club members, do let us know if you’re managing to make progress on your own projects.
Back in 2015 club member Marcus put together a James Bond themed game for that years show circuit. The game had secret agents being chased down a snowy mountainside pursued by numerous bad guys.
There were many challenges to putting on a game like this, constructing the mountain, sticking magnets to it to stop the miniatures sliding to the bottom as well as many action cards, unit stats and rules for the game.
But another challenge was a real lack of 28mm modern era skiing miniatures. Marcus could find plenty of WW2 winter troops but wanted this to be modern. Marcus did manage to find suitably positioned troops to act as the bad guys, and converted them to be on snowboards.
However Marcus needed skiing miniatures to represent the secret agent, their love interest and a final miniature for the main bad guy (well bad woman in this case).
Having dabbled a bit with sculpting miniatures I volunteered to see if I could convert some existing miniatures for the starring roles.
Marcus provided a number of miniatures, so I started with the main character, the body was an artic trooper miniature with a head swap from a Copplestone Castings Man in Black miniature. I chose this miniature because it needed to be holding ski poles and have their feet in a suitable position for ski’s, and this one was already in a good pose.
I had changed the left hand because of the original weapon being held, repair the detail on the miniature and added a fur collar to ensure it looked suitable for cold weather.
The miniatures Marcus was hoping to use for the female characters I struggled to get to work, after a few failed attempts I went looking for substitutes. For the good female agent I went with the Vampire Hunter also from Copplestone Castings. After removing the weapons and replacing them with ski poles I repositioned the arms and legs into a skiing pose. Marcus wanted them to look cool so I also added a pair of sunglasses. A bit of fur for the top of the boots and jacket collar added the winter feel, rather than the leather style of the original.
The enemy agent proved to be the most difficult to create. After a lengthy search I found a suitable miniature from Reaper Miniatures.
The miniature came with separate hands holding different weapons. These were tricky to remove and I had to pin the hands to the main body. I decided to do a head swap on this figure since the original was wearing desert style garb. The next step saw a twist of the arms and legs, again to get that skiing pose. I also bent the cloak to give the impression of it being caught by the wind as the agent sped down the hill. Sunglasses came last with the same added fur to winterise the miniature.
Here we have the finished converted miniatures. The ski’s were cut from a plastic cover off a note pad, with the final stage just to add the ski shoe binding points.
Tony F from the club volunteered to paint the agents and we can see them in action. This was an interesting game to create things for and a popular choice at the shows that year.
It’s Wednesday again, so let’s see what everyone has been up to.
First up we have some more Panzer progress from Mark J. Mark says tis is a picture showing some finished Germans from his 3rd Panzer project, these represent each type of vehicle painted for the mech battalion. Mark added, “Currently painting a company of panzer grenadiers, panzer III company next.”
Marcus has been busy on a number of miniatures, firstly after a bit of repair work he presents a Dreadball miniature. Apparently the lower arm needed pinning back in place. I knew of Dreadball but I’d not seen these miniatures before.
Next up from Marcus we have a Tiger shark and another reptile from HLBS for Pulp Alley games. I k now Marcus has a collection of scuba miniatures these would look great next to.
And last but not least Andy has made a start on a selection of terrain pieces from Ainsty Castings.
That rounds off another WIP Wednesday from the club members, next up I believe we have some WW2 ships and Tudor buildings to look forward to.
Club member John L takes us through his latest terrain project.
One of the problems with 28mm wargaming is the size and bulk of terrain. I resolved to deal with this by fitting as many buildings as possible in a shoebox in a systematic manner.
The first task was to determine building foot prints to fit in the box. I started with four single story wooden buildings.
These first four buildings would be the main dwellings of the village. I elected to go for an all wood finish as these would represent traditional buildings prior to modern materials (a mistake as I spent days cutting out planking from cereal box cardboard) The building shell was foam core and exposed rafters were from coffee stirrers.
I used matchpots for the finish with light dry brushing of acrylic for the faded paintwork.
I looked at making a number of buildings with a concrete finish and corrugated roofing (asbestos I think). Along the centre line I could fit two inverted buildings which I decided to make as Chicken sheds.
I covered the foamcore shell with pva and then fine sand for the concrete effect and used corrugated foam from Hobbycraft for the roofing. To get the ivy, I used Jarvis Heath Green scatter finished with Morrison’s dried mixed herbs
I worked out that I could fit a further four buildings in the ones I’d made in phase 1, like Russian dolls. These would be the same construction as the Chicken sheds above. I made another Chicken shed, two workshops and a small office or dwelling.
I thought I could make more buildings to fit along the sides of the box so added a further two buildings, a Sauna and a Village Store.
That’s it for the moment, twelve buildings in total, I’ve still got room in the box for wooden fences but I’m glad it’s finally finished so that I can get on with playing the game!
A constant of all miniature wargamers has always been to come up with your own set of rules. Every gamer has either written a set of rules (unpublished of course!) or heavily modified a published set of rules (just to to improve it), although to be fair to the club a number of home grown rules are used on a regular basis.
Jeremey takes us through such a typical Wargamer project and what happened to it.
Back in 2009 I fancied getting into mass battle fantasy games. I’d played a bit of 2nd edition Warhammer in my youth but was in a period of preferring smaller scales. I picked up a copy of Warmaster but it didn’t really grab me, the movement section with 20 plus pages (slight exaggeration) explaining how to perform a wheeling movement, just looked very similar to many of the historical rule sets that put me of historical wargaming for years.
Like all Wargamers in this situation I naturally started writing a set of 10mm fantasy rules of my own, I went with units based on round bases with no need to worry about detailed facing and movement rules.
When writing rules I’ve always had a weakness in needing actual miniatures to test the game with. I hate testing just on paper or with stand in’s, so I created two whole armies first!
I decided to go with 10mm fantasy miniatures from Pendraken miniatures. Pendraken’s miniatures are cast individually which meant I could put them on a round base. Most other 10mm fantasy miniatures were cast on strips for 40mm wide bases. I used standard 40mm round bases and put 10 foot or 6 cavalry miniatures on each base. I was really pleased with the results but the first crack in the plan appeared as all the miniatures needed to be painted before putting them on the base and flocking the base was a pain to get between the miniatures.
Regardless I continued to torture myself and carried on creating two armies (Undead vs Barbarians).
Unlike a number of other rule sets I’ve written I did get to playtest this set which I called ‘Battle Fury’ (often referred to as Battle Furry!), it was a very simple ruleset with no unit facing so you just moved where you needed to. There were typical bonuses for combat based on charging and having multiple units ganging up on the enemy. Activation was done by players taking it in turns to move a unit. I also went with 10 sided dice as I’ve always found the range of a normal 6 sided dice does not offer enough variation.
Games of this type often suffer from needing lots of markers for activation, wounds etc. But I had the genius idea (in my opinion of course) of making flags for both sides that showed the number of hits the unit had remaining (see the skulls on the flags!). The rules had the units roll a number of dice based on the number of hits remaining so you could see at a glance how strong the enemy or your own units are.
The game worked fairly well on the playtest, the forces came out quite balanced and I got the kind of game I wanted with big beasts fighting it out and plenty of back and forth action allowing for tactical moves.
This project taught me a lot about writing rules, having a clear idea of the kind of game I wanted from the start really helped. But it also taught me a lot about creating games and mistakes that can often be made.
The use of round bases for this scale hasn’t really been done and so the idea that wargamers would be willing to rebase their armies is unrealistic. However the round bases packed with figures looked good and better reflected warfare in an undisciplined world where armies just charged at each other and fought to the death. The flags that could be changed to reflect the hits of a unit felt like a good idea, but having to create enough to show the correct number of hits as units suffered damage became quite a challenge.
And so this project came to a halt and the miniatures are back in the pile of unfinished ideas (which is quite large if I’m honest), although after writing this I might revisit the flag idea for my WOTR army instead of the mini dice added to the base.