May 232010

Since I built the first two stands of trees a while back, I’ve been annoyed with the trees being fixed to the base. It made it difficult to place and move miniatures in the woods. I got the idea that I could mount each tree individually on washers and then glue a magnetic strip to the base. This would hold the tree in place and the base could be moved and stored without the trees falling off. It also keeps the trees from toppling over. At the same time, the trees can be removed temporarily when need be. I’ve mounted all my trees on washers now, and built a proof of concept. Images and comments below.

While not perfect, I’m very satisfied with the solution. I need to tidy up the “slots” a bit and maybe try harder to make the trees fit snuggly in all slots but all in all it’s good. Not only good, but good enough!

Coming soon: Zombies, in more than one way. I need to finish my summary of our latest game and I also need to take and post pics of my recently finished fantasy zombies for the Stillburg project!

May 152010

I recently found an uhm… “digital copy” of Warhammer Townscapes from 1988. This is one of those awesome products GW put out in the 80s, stuff you could actually get a lot of mileage out of. It’s a hard cover “book”, containing sheets with which you build cardboard buildings.

I’ve printed a few pages and assembled two buildings so far. In want of cardboard, I have instead used foam core sheets. The houses are a lot more stable, but building one includes a lot more work and I think the end result would be tidier if I had the original product. Nevertheless, these houses will serve just fine on our table top and should work wonders when playing in the town of Stillburg. Here are the two buildings done so far. Click for large versions in a new window!

Here are some smaller shots showing the back of the two buildings.

They were used in game yesterday for the first time, when my cousin and I played a highly entertaining game of Song of Blades. I’ll post a session report later today, hopefully. As a teaser, I can say it involved a handfull of very scared villagers and a horde of 38 zombies!

Mar 192010

(Originally posted 100319)

I was asked to show how I made the step pyramid we used in our Song of Blades campaign recently. Luckily, I had prepared a few pictures of the different steps. Remember, click each image for a larger view!

Step 1: The basics
I started out with a masonite sheet which I’d cut to a 30×30 cm square. I rounded the corners and gave the edges a slight bevel by sanding. I also sanded the surface for better glue adhesion.

Next, I cut out regular white styrofoam (the expanded kind, made up of little styrofoam balls). It’s generally frowned upon by terrain builders, but it was the only kind I could get. It’s not as malleable as pink foam, but it works fine for this project.

I cut out four squares, decreasing the edge size of each by 4 cm. These form the four levels of the pyramid. I didn’t take particular care when doing this, but still used a steel ruler and tried to get the cuts as straight and horizontal as possible. Most important here is to have a sharp blade and use a gentle, loooong sawing motion when cutting. You can’t cut styrofoam as you cut card or foam core. It’ll only mess up the cuts and make the foam crumble or curl.

The result ended up like this:

Step 2: Joining stuff together!
First thing I did here was to just tile the levels on top of eachother (and the base) and draw out an outline to get the levels fairly well aligned.

I then applied a liberal amount of PVA (wood glue) to the base, pressed down level 1, slid it around to spread the glue love and finally aligned it. Once in place, I pushed a few cocktail sticks into level 1 near the center, to rely not only on glue for adhesive support. Once again, I applied liberal amounts of glue to the area which would be covered by level 2 and then put level 2 in place, like this:

This was repeated for each level until the pyramid was assembled. At this point, I continued on with sculpting – but what you really should do is to apply preassure on the pyramid and wait for it to dry completely. I finally found a use for my old copy of Trivial Pursuit, and also had a reason to bring out Titan. Two opposites, but they have one thing in common. Actual weight!

Step 3: Sculpting!
This might seem complicated and hard, but I’m telling you it’s dead easy! This was the first time I sculpted stone work of any kind, so don’t fret!

I started drawing a rough grid, off-setting it by 1 cm on each level. I then started cutting out small “scores” along the grid. This was done by “slicing” along the lines with the blade tilted first to my left and then to my right. It took a while, but not more than 30 minutes or so to do the whole pyramid.

After I had the stone slabs sculpted, I did some detail and weathering damage here and there. Still using the same “angled slicing” as above. I also shaved off the perfect angles of corners and edges. Here’s a work-in-progress shot:

Step 4: Base coat, sand and gravel
The first base coat must be applied with a brush! Any aerosols will melt the polystyrene and you don’t want that. I mixed some PVA glue with water and then added black acrylic craft paint to the mix. This was applied liberally with a large brush all over the piece. Make sure to get the mix into every nook and cranny to prevent the white of the polystyrene to show through!

While the base coat is still wet, I poured coarse gravel on select spots where there should be rubble. Some small pebbles were also glued down with an extra dab of PVA. The rest of the base coat was covered in very fine sand. This was then left to dry completely and thoroughly, and finally I gave the whole piece a coat of watered down black acrylic paint. In hindsight I should’ve used a dark brown instead of black. Here’s the result, halfway through the last base coat:

Step 5: Finishing up!
This part was not really documented, I’m afraid. What I did next was to cover the base in flock and static grass, just in case I’d have to game with the piece before I had been able to finish the dry brushing and touch-up. Luckily, I did have time to finish the whole piece before we started playing.

I drybrushed in several steps, starting with a dark brown on a fairly wet brush. Here’s one shot of the piece at that level.

I then added an ochre to the dark brown in steps, with an increasingly drier brush. At the end, I added some white to the ochre to get some nice highlights on the raised edges and debris. The last touch was to add static grass and a piece of left over foliage from my trees here and there on the pyramid. I sealed the whole thing with a glossy spray on varnish. Now, when more than a week have passed I’ve also given it a coat of dull varnish to take the shine off. These pictures were all taken of the piece with glossy varnish though.

Here are a few of the finished piece, with a 28mm miniature for sense of scale.

So, that’s pretty much it. With left-over materials and two evenings of fiddling after work, I have this pretty neat scenario centre piece!

Feb 252010

(Originally posted 100225)

As an interlude between the two scenario reports from our SOBH campaign, I give you… wood! Unfortunately the picture with the conifers came out terribly blurred so I didn’t bother linking it to a larger sized image. Click on the other picture for a larger version though.

The base of the stands is regular old masonite, cut to shape and slightly beveled with sand paper. I attached the trees with hot glue and then covered the whole base in flock and static grass, with a few small pebbles for added life. Didn’t want to put too much stuff on the stands as they need to be able to hold miniatures during games as well. The trees are H0 scale ones from Faller and were a christmas present from Marie (my very loving, understanding and generous Mrs). I made them in an evening, in about two hours. Great payoff for little work! I’ll get myself some more trees the next time I’m close to a model rail road shop! I’ll try to make future tree stands have detachable trees, as these were a bit of a pain to use in games.

I’ve actually received a request too, to see the mini seen in the background of my first post. I used her as a model for this shoot and here’s a close up. Click on it for a larger image.

It’s a Wild Elf Warsinger from the usual D&D Miniatures line of pre-painted plastics. I rebased her and did a quick touch up some months ago. You’ll see alot more of these pre-painted plastics as they’re my main source of miniatures. Ready to play with straight out of the box, but paints up nicely if need be. Finally, they’re so much more durable than metal or hard plastic miniatures – thus easier to store!

Next time; a write up of scenario two in the three part Pyramid SOBH campaign!

Feb 212010

(Originally posted on 100221)

For a while, I’ve had an itch to start a sub blog related to my board- and miniatures gaming hobby. Recently, I’ve been following Tim’s excellent blog and that was what tipped the scale.

So, what’s in store for this first post? Without further ado, I give you; rocks! Click on the image for a larger version.

One of the most simple terrain pieces but also one of the most versatile. They will fit right in when we play Song of Blades & Heroes, but just as well with Mutants and Death Ray Guns. These rocks were scrounged up last summer when pulling weeds in the flower beds around our house. They’re mounted on masonite board (using PVA glue) and primered black. After that, they’re drybrushed with lighter shades of grey and the bases are covered in flock, sand, pebbles and finally statics grass. They’re not quite finished yet in these pictures. I will touch up the edges of the bases (to contrast less with the game surface) and also do a coat of dull varnish to take the edge off that glare and fixate the flock and grass.

Coming up next; stands of trees and possibly a few 15 mm miniatures to be used with Hordes of the Things. More on that later. Until then, here’s a close up of an Aasimar Fighter I painted recently for a Song of Blades campaign. Click it for a larger version!