Monday, October 16, 2017

The Tower Generica

Even with all of the additions, my table was looking a little bowling-green-esque.  To add just a little bit of topographic interest to things, I elected to mount my local tower keep (courtesy of Kallistra) on a small, defensible mesa.

Front and approach.
To keep things nice and generic, I opted for a simple crusader cross on the pennants.  Those could easily be left gray, but I wanted a little splash of color to break up the solid wall.
The other side.
Houston, we have a table.  Time to figure out what rules/figures!

I actually broke out all of the terrain and set it up for my daughter to zoom her matchbox cars around on.  The pictures didn't turn out, though, so you'll have to wait for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tavern on the Green

Alternative Armies has a great line of single piece resin buildings, but they seem more geared for town life than the bucolic village that I've been assembling.  Of course, any village worth its salt will have a decent tavern for the local yokels and the passing murder-hobos looking for a map to buy.

These pieces are even more undersized that the church.  Again, we're looking for representative terrain pieces here, not perfectly scaled.  This particular piece should match my houses very well - they all have that Germanic timber frame and plastered walls look.

I have one more building to finish and then I'll break everything out and see how it all looks when put together.  Maybe I'll even get a game out of the set-up!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Building Bridges, Not Walls

Another productive week on the production front with two and a half terrain items completed.  The first one is a bit of a 'gimme'.  This simple resin bridge is a Kallistra piece that needs no prep and no basing, just prime and a quick dry brush.

The village church took a bit longer, but as a single piece, it still based and painted up easy-breezy.  For the life of me I cannot remember where I got this nice looking church.  Which is a shame, because it's a nice piece and it was really inexpensive.
I added a few flagstones near the entrance to tie the building into the base a little better.  It's a little undersized, but that's what you want.  If the piece was in-scale with the figures, it would fill half my table!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Completed Housing Development

My big box of fantasy grows ever larger.  Because of the recent additions, I found it expedient to streamline all of my terrain boxes.  The collection now includes one box of general ground terrain (drop cloth, woods, roads, streams, etc.), one box of sci-fi specific terrain (billboards, buildings, urban scatter), and one box of fantasy terrain (wizard's tower, stone circle, the houses below).  With so little room to spare it makes no sense to duplicate effort on universal items.

Two big houses and a barn.

The four small homes
These are all from the same manufacturer, Total System Scenics QRF Line.  Specifically from the Renaissance Scenics line.

At just four quid each for the smaller houses and six for the larger ones, they certainly are affordable, but the castings aren't the best quality.  These come in six flat pieces that have to be glued together, and the the thicknesses of the pieces doesn't quite line up correctly, particularly for the roof pieces.  Those I had to trim down by hand to get the right angle.  The peak of the house meet at 90-degrees, but the casts don't account for that, so you need to sand those edges down to 45-degrees to get them to line up right.  Without the right tools, I did what I could, but there was still a considerable gap along the peak of the roofs because I don't have a miter in this size and stink at filling in gaps.

Getting these put together took a lot more spackle and effort that I'd have liked, but if you have the time and are better with the zap-a-gap than me, you could do a lot worse than these buildings.

Here's an example of the sizing issue.  The left wall shown here extends beyond the roof line, and there was no way to fix this without making the right hand wall look worse.  This whole building leans to one side, so we'll call it the slum house if anyone notices.

I also picked up a few lengths of dirt roads made out of that latex rubber from these guys.  The roads came painted already and look great.  Those I can use right out of the box.

One of the things that I did to cover the gaps was use judicious placement of bushes.  The tall one to the left of the door shown here covers an issue with the wall and floor being mismatched sizes.

Oh, and check out that massive lintel over the front of this house.  Two of the four small houses came with fronts like this, and they don't line up with the roof.  If used as-is, that is to say placed such that the lintel can't be seen and allows the roof to overhang, then the sidewalls are too long.   I think they are meant to be used with the tall (two-story) houses and got mixed in with my order.  It's not that big of a deal - I just split the difference a little bit, and with the right tools you could just carve that lintel off - but it's one more thing that might seriously harsh a more serious wargamer's mellow.

In the end, considering the price and final look, I'm not broken up about this purchase.  They took a little more effort, but will really look sharp on the table.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Housing Development

I don't know about this.

In an effort to save some money, I bought resin houses for my fantasy villages that came in six flat pieces.  The guilty manufacturer shall not be named - they are likely a hobby outfit doing this in their spare time, so you'll have to look elsewhere for bad press.  (Unpainted lead mountains, like blood, are thicker than watered down paint pots.)

My assembly results were not so hot.  It took a lot of filing and shaving to get these things to look even halfway decent.  The glue didn't hold pieces together long enough to keep one corner straight while setting the other one.  Right now, the results look pretty haphazard, and not all of that is my fault.  Look at those houses int he front right.  They have some sort of overhanging eaves, but no matching sidewalls.  I split the difference, but it still doesn't look right to me.

A decent base and a stellar paint job might cover up for a host of sins, but I just don't know about this project.  I may have to chuck these in the circular file and start over before all is said and done.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Sometimes these quick little posts represent a lot of work.  This isn't one of those times.  My forests took a total of around four hours start to finish.  I'm a fan of the Toob Trees for my wargaming needs.  They are a little undersized, but at a buck each for durable plastic that takes paint like a champ they are hard to beat.

Splintered Light 15mm Barbarian for scale.
Since these will be used on my skirmish table, I mounted them individually on metal washers.  These both provide weight and a little more size to help the trees stand upright, and give me a chance to paint and grass/flock them so that they blend into my terrain shapes a little better, too.  

The pine tree nearest the camera here has a larger base constructed of a pre-cut wooden disc.  These were used in a few cases to allow for the addition of a few rocks and logs to add to the variety of the trees.  This is my go-to system that allows for dense wood terrain pieces where you can move the trees around to allow unlimited movement of figures within the base, and adds the flexibility of using the trees individually as well.

By varying the painting styles a little, you can get a uniform look with just enough variety to help the trees stand out a little better.  I don't know if it shows up in the photos, but in this case every tree has the same base green, but I used three different mid-tone shades on them.  Then I used two different highlights (bone white and an ochre yellow) for a total of six different looks on the trees.  Using different weights of dry brushing provides for even more variety.  Trust me, these trees don't look nearly as white in person as they do in these shots.

My storage solution is a pair of flat plastic boxes.  Just a little something to keep them from banging around too much.  They have a matte varnish sprayed on to protect them, but every little bit helps.

These should work equally well in my sci-fi games as my fantasy games.  Which means I may have to reorganize my terrain boxes.  I think maybe I need just one 'generic terrain' box, with separate boxes for sci-fi and fantasy touches...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Terrain Base Quick Hit

You may have noticed that my wizard's tower included a wooden base.  That one was 3-mm thick wood, but after a recent pet shelf building exercise, I found myself left with a few extra pieces of MDF and Oh Em Gee is this stuff a lot easier to work with.  The scales have fallen from my eyes, and I now understand why so many guys use this stuff.  It's easy to cut with a coping saw.  It's easy to sand with a belt sander.  It's easy to paint and holds its shape like an aging supermodel.

The ones with more rocks don't need any extra items, they can serve as unwooded rough ground.  Any one of these can take a few individually mounted trees and serve as the bounds of a small copse of trees that block sight and make travel difficult.  The rock and logs come straight from my yard.

It occurs to me that I'm doing this a little backwards.  Normally I buy the drop cloth and match colors to it.  This time I've been too busy to track down the heavy canvas that is my first choice for drop cloths.  C'est la vie.  It will be ready when it is ready.