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.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Tower of Skratch-Bi'ilt

Full confession:  I've spent a lot more money than usual on wargame terrain lately.  My side gig paid off, and I've dumped a lot of the extra dough into terrain that I don't have time to build.  Plus, it was my birthday.  You're going to start seeing a lot of pre-bought buildings which goes against the core mission of cheap, portable wargames on a budget.

But not this day!

I couldn't find a decent wizard's tower in 15mm scale, so I built one.  What you see here are three large cork stoppers glued together and secured with toothpicks.  A little plastic-card from a debit card that I think was left over following a trip to Dave and Busters makes for great decorative spiky flourishes, and a pair of gears from the box make for a fine magic wheel thing over the door.  The rest is pretty self explanatory.

After a quick paint job, we get a little something like this.

I originally conceived of the dome as a sort of observatory and tried to make a telescope bay, but it turned out rough and delicate.  A second wood ball was pressed into service and painted gold because MAGIC!

The blue symbols are the twelve signs of the zodiac, the sigils on the red doors represent the four Archangels, and the chalk above the door...well, it's a Catholic thing.  My Papists bros know what's up with that.

Friday, August 25, 2017

City of the Dead

Graveyards can be tricky terrain pieces to build.  They have a lot of fiddly bits that become very delicate and damage prone.  For my fantasy terrain box, that's one hassle I'd like to avoid, so I just bought a resin graveyard from Monday Knight Productions.  This piece measures four inches on each side, and with all those lines of tombstones, you need to be careful how it affects play.  Depending on the ruleset each lone of stones could act like a linear obstacle, or you could treat the whole piece as rough ground.

The piece is scaled for 15mm, but look how low that outer wall stands.  You could easily use this piece as a 10mm terrain piece, too.

As I was entering the tags for this post, it occurred to me that this piece is fairly setting and era independent.  People always have and always will die, and stone walls around the city of the dead crop up all over the place.  There is no reason that this piece couldn't be used on my sci-fi table with no changes, except that it will live in my fantasy box and I'm likely to forget about it when pulling out the sci-fi box.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mined Out - Bloodstone Temple

Lead Mountain is tapped out.  There's no more gold in them thar hills.  How does that happen?  I mean, sure there are a few mounted Musketeers and an odd bit or bob that could use some paint, but I'm raring to add to the 15mm fantasy, and that means there's only one thing to do - hit the bits box!

One busted up Lion King CD, some card stock, a few wooden dowels and washers later and behold!  The lost Bloodstone Temple.  The round wooden disc under the sacrificial black stone might just hold the entrance to a lost tomb, but how to open it?  

This is one of those 'found mysteries' that make miniature wargaming so much fun.  I set out to make a set piece for a battle map, maybe a nice objective for two factions to war over, and the only decent stone that worked for a sacrificial altar was a little too slanted on one side.  Placing a wooden bit and painting it as a nice red granite slab elevated one end of the altar, but it also makes for the perfect covering for a short drop into a lost tomb.