Falluja, Iraq, 2004

Peter reports on his major lockdown project, making its debut at the club today.

This is my lock down project that’s taken the best part of two years to complete. 

It is a modern warfare game using 20mm scale figures and the Force-on-Force rules from Ambush Alley Games. 

We’ve played the rules a few times during past meetings with Mike, who left the club a couple of years ago. They were memorable games and great fun. That’s why I decided to start assembling figures and models to put on a game based on the battle of Falluja, Iraq, 2004.

Here are the first figures ready for action – US Marines and a Humvee with Grenade launcher. 

After assembling and painting more US Marines and a couple more Humvees, I started on the Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters.

And a couple of Technicals with machine guns. 

Next the terrain.  

The game board is about 4’x4’ and depicts a section of a modern middle eastern city with damaged buildings, debris strewn streets and abandoned vehicles all over the place. 

I chose 4mm foam board for the construction of the buildings as it’s readily available at shops like Hobby Craft and the Range. It’s also easy to cut and it’s light to transport around. The rest of the terrain and building details were sourced from places like S&S models and model railway shops.

Here are some completed buildings.

 Rubble mounds were made of scrunched up newspaper and coarse basing material from various wargames and modelling websites and all stuck down with good old PVA glue. 

I got hold of a plastic model Abrams M1A2 MBT and enhanced it with some baggage and lose rubble. 

More rubble and damaged buildings were made next …

The roads are black 3mm thick soft foam sprayed with grey paint and debris sand and rubble stuck down. The road markings were done with masking tape and paint – gently rubbed down with glass paper when dry. 

A couple of Helo’s adds to the US Marines arsenal… 

A couple of shots from a practice game, Delta team on building clearance mission.


Scratch Building on a Budget

Jeremey takes us through building terrain from things just laying around.

For a while now I’ve been determined to build up (no pun intended) my collection of terrain features and some table top dressing. But I wasn’t able to just throw lots of money at all those nice resin or plastic terrain sets, and so I looked at the materials I had around me.

The Swamp
First up was a swamp, I’ve never actually owned a piece of swamp terrain but often see other gamers with a single round piece of cloth or card to act as a swamp.

I wanted to do something a little different to just one large swamp and so built a selection of smaller pieces that could be pushed together to form a large swamp or break up providing paths through the swamp.

The swamp pieces were made from a piece of backing board from an old flat pack chest of draws. It’s like a thinner version of hardboard and easy to cut. I painted the pieces in a swampy green colour and stuck bits of real wood branches to it. A bit of flock was added and then to get that wet looked I used clear PVA glue. it took a couple of layers but ended up looking the part.

Total cost for the swamp was the price of a bit of flock, bit of glue and bit of paint. In other words pretty cheap.

Stone Walls
Battlefields have to have walls, if for no other reason than to justify the half dozen pages in most wargame rules dedicated to how to move your troops over them.

For these again I used the backing board and stuck to it some polystyrene pieces. However it wasn’t your standard white polystyrene this was a special grey insulating styrene that was a bit stronger and had a larger better formed structure that looked like a pile of stones. I didn’t know such existed until my neighbour had some building work done and let me have some of the off cuts. They were very easy to paint and fitting for this project, free.

Signs of Past Battles
As well as actual terrain pieces I also wanted to create some scenery to break up the blank spaces you often get on the battlefield but do not affect the game.

I found in the bits box a few old sprues of Games Workshop plastic skeletons and thought having some remnants of a past battle.

I cut some small pieces from the backing board and simply stuck various body parts down. In quite a few cases I cut the underside so that it would lay flat to the base and in some cases used the part of the model I’d sliced off back on the base. A bit of flock and the odd grass tuff and I had a half dozen pieces to add a bit of character to the battlefield.

Forest Hall
On a wander through some local woods I came across an unusual piece of bark that had fallen off a tree (quite a long time ago given the state of it), and I immediately thought it would make a good roof for some primitive dwelling.

I brought it home and using some other sticks I’d collected I built a forest hall by sticking the bark and sticks together with the hot glue gun. A little bit of flock and the hall was complete. I might return to this and add some furs or other decoration to the entrance.

Lastly I just used some of the collected bits of old wood from the forest floor to make additional dressing pieces to the battlefield.

I made two tree stump pieces and two large ancient trees that would work as objective markers or some other scenario goal in games. You can also see the size of the forest hall in the above picture.

Building all of this terrain was exceptionally easy and as pointed out cost next to nothing to get on the battlefield.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Welcome to another Work in Progress Wednesday, as a complete contrast I’ll start this week with what I’ve been up to. Above you can see I finished my long dead warriors scatter terrain pieces, and below I have a re-discovered a Citadel Miniatures Viking from 1985 that I’ll be adding to my Viking Saga warband.

36 years old and still looking the part

Next up Mark has yet more 6mm units. Fist are some Roman infantry units.

Medium infantry ready to join the Roman army

Then we have some Hundred Years War Men at Arms and Longbowmen.

Hundred Years War English Men at Arms and Longbows

Finally from Mark a camp for his Greek 15mm army. This is a nice twist on the normal two tents and a wagon style camps we often see.

Camping at a ruined temple after a hard day on the battlefield

Next up Stephen has added to his Sci-Fi collection with a group of generic crew members.

More conversions for Stargrave

Marcus has been improving this years club game (technically last years game!) With more snowy terrain that will hopefully be ready to play at Broadside.

More Snowy Ground for Biggles!

And last but not least this week, Tony has continued painting his Lord of the Rings dwarf Grim Hammers.

Grim Hammers led by Bombur, who’s obviously spotted something to eat ahead of him

See you next Wednesday for another catch up with the club.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Bit of a bumper crop this week. Stephen has made progress on his hover Camper Van. Stephen has added luggage to the roof and undercoated it ready for the paint scheme.

What paint scheme will it be?

Next up Eric has painted up two fantasy miniatures. The first being a ranger miniature.

Old school feel to the Ranger

The second a warrior Eric will use for Warhammer fantasy or to add to a Dragon Rampant unit.

Flailing around?

Mark has gone back to his Hundred Years War army with the mass ranks of archers getting the painting treatment.

Hundred Years War archers

John has made progress on his Japanese buildings having added the thatched roof and wooden panels.

Japanese houses

And last but not least I’ve been looking at creating some terrain pieces to just act as battlefield dressing. Things that won’t have an effect in the game but break up the tabletop and set the scene. To start with I’m using some old Games Workshop skeletons as the fallen left behind after some ancient battle.

Unfortunate souls from a previous battle

See you next week for more from the club.


Barrow or Cairn?

Jeremey takes us through a recent scratch build of an ancient Barrow, or should that be Cairn?

During the last few months I’ve started to build up my collection of terrain. Having a fantasy undead army I thought I’d have a go at building a burial mound of sorts.

As is my usual methodology when building terrain I created a number of rock shapes out of some EVA foam and stuck them together with the hot glue gun.

Stage 1 – the basic burial mound

The whole thing was then glued to a piece of thin wooden board, and then spray painted with grey primer. Unlike other polystyrene foams the EVA foam does not melt when sprayed.

Stage 2 – undercoated grey

I then had to decide what colour to paint the rocks. The temptation is always to go with grey but I try and avoid that. I chose to go with the brown/beige look.

Stage 3 – painting the individual rocks

The method I used was one I’d tried before when painting a dungeon. I used a few different shades of brown to give a variety to the mound.

Stage 4 – dry brushing

The next stage is to chose a light beige colour (bone, linen etc.) and to dry brush the whole thing. This dry brushing blends the different rock shades together, you can go lighter if desired. I did return to this later feeling that the dry brushing needed to be lighter.

Stage 5 – basing

Simple stage up next with painting the base brown. I always do my bases this way and then apply PVA glue before flocking.

Stage 6 – flocking

With the PVA glue applied I then sprinkled the flock on the base. I also stuck some flock to the rocks to give the impression it has been around for a while.

The finished burial mound

Here we have the finished burial mound, this was a simple piece of terrain to build. I was pleased with how the rock colours worked especially after applying another lighter dry brush.


Work in Progress Wednesday

We start this weeks post with a unit of Dwarf Grim Hammers from Tony. He has 24 on the go at the moment.

Next up John has turned his scratchbuilding skills to some Japanese buildings.

Next up I’ve started building a Barrow, it’s made out of EVA foam with the next stages being to decide on a colour scheme for the rocks.


Barrow of foam

Stephen has decided to build a sci-fi camper van. Next step is to add a cage to the roof and fill it with cargo and luggage.

A Camper Van that Hovers!

And finally this week Mark has made more progress on his Spanish army. First up more cavalry.

Spanish Cavalry forces

Also some Infantry and Generals.


Tune in next week for more from the club.

Work in Progress Wednesday

First up this week Eric has painted two more Stargrave crew members, I could be wrong but these have the look of cannon fodder.

Next up Andy continues to wade through more of his medieval miniatures, this time with some progress on horses.

Mark has made some 6mm progress with his Spanish Napoleonic era forces.

Two cavalry units, a mixture of heavy cavalry, dragoons, hussars.

Mark also sent us progress his son Felix has made on his first Imperial guardsman.

Warhammer 40K Imperial Guardsman

And lastly this week, with the shows starting again Marcus has turned his attention back to the clubs current (Last seen at Cavalier 2020!) show game, first up some Yeti’s.

Copplestone Yeti’s

and some snow scenery made out of expanding foam.

Expanding foam terrain

That’s it for this week, catch you next Wednesday.

The Painting Of Doctor Moreau

Stephen gives us step by step guide to painting a Sci Fi villain.

For an upcoming game of Stargrave I wanted a baddie. The Big Boss. I looked at the models I had and none of them were really suitable.

So I decided I would buy something. I knew how I wanted the model to be armed, and knew my chances of finding something exactly like that was virtually zero, so it had to be something that could be modified.

Since I intended to order some bits from Ral Partha I thought I’d have a look there.

And lo and behold, I found just the thing – a Neo Soviet Handler from their Vor range (specifically, code 40-412):

The original figure

I trimmed off the knuckle-duster thing in his left hand and in its place went a blaster pistol from the spares bag. His main armament was going to be a void blade. And when I saw this model, and what he had in his right hand, I couldn’t believe my luck. This would make the perfect handle for a lightsaber (sorry, void blade). I trimmed it down a bit, but I liked the flared ending so kept that. A hole was drilled and a piece of 1.5mm styrene rod was glued in. The model was then stuck to a 25mm plastic base and the base built up with filler. And then it was given a brown undercoat:

Modified and undercoated figure

Now, in this write-up I am just going to give generic colours rather than specific names and codes for a brand. I use from more than one range of paints and I am sure everyone else does as well.

I decided his robes, gloves, and gimp mask were going to be black. So I slapped it on, letting it get into any awkward gaps in case I couldn’t get a brush in there later so it would act as a deep shade.

Basic black basecoat

Right, this is just my own personal philosophy on black. But I never highlight black with just grey. No. Black is seldom that helpful. Look at any black clothes you may have. I bet they’re all slightly different shades – it depends on age, what the material is, what dye was used. Lots of variables. So try to keep that in mind when highlighting your blacks. The black for the robes had a bit of blue added, then white added to that for successive highlights. The gloves and mask had a blob of red added, then white added to that for successive highlights. You can see the slight difference in ‘black’ here:

Shades of black highlights

Next up, I decided to do the bits that would get a dark brown (OK, OK, GW’s Agrax Earthshade) wash – the boots, pouches, bracers, and metallic bits. These received the same base brown colour. The metals had a steel base colour. Once dried, on goes the wash.

Brown and steel parts base coated and washed.

And when that’s dried the pieces are painted up. Like black (and most colours, to be honest) it helps if you vary what you use to highlight your base colours. It’s tempting to add white to lighten it. But maybe yellow might give a different shade to the base colour, or a pale grey. This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you have two uses of the same colour next to each other. That said, I did use white to highlight the brown. The metal bits were touched up with the base steel colour, and then highlighted with silver. I ummed and ahhed about what colour to do the lenses on the eyepieces. Blue or green were the first choices that came to mind. But then I thought, orange. So orange it was, highlighted with a dot of yellow.

More highlights and those glowing orange lenses

Next up I decided to do his weapons. There’s a good reason for this – I just couldn’t make up my mind what colour to do his armour. Normally I would have left the weapons to last because they stick out and there’s every chance they could get knocked or rubbed as I did other bits. But I just couldn’t make up my mind. I had thought about green, but I had also decided that his blade was going to be green, and if there was too much green then I may have to re-paint the armour. With that, I decided to do the weapons first, and once that was done maybe the armour colour would be obvious. The handgun had a base colour that was a mix of steel and black to make a gun metal colour, then highlighted with the steel. A red laser sight was also dotted in. I knew from the outset I was going to do a green blade. I have a nice rich green colour, so I went with that. It’s hard to paint a 3D object like it is lit from inside, so I chose to just highlight the base and tip of the blade. I used white to highlight this time.

Pistol and lightsabre, sorry void blade, painted and highlighted

I looked at it. You know what, I thought, I reckon green would look OK. So I went with green for the armour, but a different shade of green. I gave all the armour panels a thin coating (not really a wash, but not really thick paint either) of the base green mixed with a blob of dark brown (again, you don’t have to darken colours with just black). Once dry I then painted in the panels with the base colour, which was highlighted by adding yellow to the green to create a more vibrant green, but also so it didn’t have the same tonal value as the green on the blade. The edges of the armour were based in dark yellow, and then picked out with a flat yellow.

Armour panels painted green and yellow.

And that’s the end of the painting for Doctor Moreau. Once finished, I thought the 25mm base looked a little small on what was a chunky model. So I pried the model off the base (and, inevitably, had to touch up a few knocks and chips) and glued him to a 30mm wooden base. Flocking was my standard recipe – a mix of railway ballasts first, and then some spots of static grass:

The rebased and finished figure

And that’s Doctor Moreau done, ready to be pestered and set upon by a group of ne’er do wells and freeloaders.

Work in Progress Wednesday

Here we are with another selection of pictures from the club showing what we’ve up to. With the return of club meetings, projects are turning to the various games we have managed to start playing again.

First up Tony has been painting up some 15mm Brigadier characters, strangely enough from Brigade Models. He has also managed to complete another dwarf for his LOTR’s collection.

Kili the Dwarf

Next up I’ve been painting up some crates from the Mantic Dreadball range for use in various sci-fi games.

The selection of crates from the Dreadball Extreme box set

John has been painting up some 10mm Chilean and Peruvian Cavalry.

Regiments of Cavalry on the way

Lastly for this week Stephen has used up some old EM4 Colonial Marines miniatures and a bit of kit bashing to create some additional crew/gang members for use in games like Stargrave.

Effective bit of kit bashing to bring some old figure to life

See you all next week.



You came in that piece of junk?

Jeremey takes us through the various times club members have used actual toys for games.

Recently Tony posted pictures of a toy Millennium Falcon he bought for his current 15mm Star Wars project.  This was a Hasbro Millennium Falcon toy measuring 9.5 inches x 7 inches.

Checking the toy for size

All Tony did to this toy was to give it a wash of black acrylic paint thinned with Johnson’s floor polish followed by a heavy light grey drybrush.

Picking out the details

As you can see the end results were quite impressive for such a simple technique.

When the Stargate rules came out Stephen decided to paint up a spaceship to act as scenery. Again going for a toy Stephen bought a strange looking spaceship from something called the Starlink range.

Starlink Neptune Ship

From what I can tell you can connect this toy up to a games console for added features. Stephen converted a few bits of the original toy to turn it into a craft for his bounty hunter.

This is the notorious bounty hunter, Boone Sadist, with his ship Scourge Reaper…

I also got in on the toy action a number of years ago for my Fenris Descending game. I dug out one of my old Star Wars toys, namely this PDT-8 transport toy.

The old Mini-Rig range dating back to the early 1980’s

For this I did need to cover over the compartments you put the action figures in and went for a complete paint job, but that was still just a simple primer of grey, dry brushed silver and a black ink wash applied.

The shuttle craft from Fenris Descending

Again the level of detail on the original toy made it a good choice to use for wargaming. You can often pick up such toys for a bargain price on Ebay or in the toy store clearance bin. A purpose built wargaming spaceship of the same size (although likely better detailed) would be quite expensive.

I can see my self doing this again if I spot the right toy.