Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Termite mounds

Hi Folks,

Keeping with the recent rash of terrain projects I've got going, I figured I'd throw up the latest one. My wife and I made a killing the other day at our local Michaels store. Much of the stock was marked at a discount for the holidays plus they have their normal coupons in the local paper. So we headed over and I went on a walkabout. I picked up a number of craft paints for $.79 as well as some odds and ends.

Nurgledeathmonkey over on the Zombiesmith forum posted picuters of some awesome termite mounds he built for his table. Inspiring me, I thought I would give it a go. While I was at Michaels, I saw a number of foam cones in the florist section. They ranged in price from $2 - $4. But with the coupons and stuff I figured I would grab some.

These are the hard white foam with the course texture. They had the green florist foam, but I've never had luck with that stuff. So I grabed a zip knife and began cutting out chunks from the foam. Once I had a rough shape, I sanded down any rough edges left on the foam. Then I just gave it a quick brush off to get any pieces sticking to the cone. Note to self: This stuff is very staticy and will cling to everything......

Once the cones were shaped I took some drywall spackle I had and mixed it with water. I didn't thin it down to much as I needed it to stick to the cones. Think soft toothpaste..... Wearing latex gloves I grabbed a bunch of the spackle in my hand and coated the cone. I didn't try to remove all of the rough texture just coat it. Once the entire piece was coated I set it down to dry. Once they were dry, I did the same paint technique I used on the Jakdul piece. I started with a mustard acrylic paint I had. (similar to German Panzer Yellow.) I then used the Krylon textured paint and sprayed an uneven coat. Once that was dry I drybrushed some buff paint over the top. Here is what they look like with some figures.....

They were fun to make. Not a lot of difficult steps. I plan on making some more now that I have seen how they look. I may get a little more involved in the process as far as how they look. I will also look at smaller sizes as well. These are pretty big even for 28mm.

Hope you like,


Sunday, December 5, 2010


So what do you do when your snowed in. Make desert terrain......

As I said in my last post I enjoyed playing in a Sudan game put on by my friend Dave. During the game my friend Tom asked if I could make a set piece of terrain for an upcoming game he wants to play. He asked if I could create a piece of terrain to represent the Wells of Jakdul.

During the War in the Sudan, Jakdul was a hidden group of wells half way between El Deb and Khartoum. The British would go on to fortify these wells to use as a base for keeping their stores. At the time, the british forces didn't have enough camels to transport both supplies and men. So they would bring some of both half way and return for the rest. Once everything was in place off they would go.

So for constructing Jakdul, Tom had requsted something about 12" around. It just so happened I had a piece of pink foam board that size laying around. Taking that and a bunch of foam chunks I had laying around I began building the base. At the time I also had a can of "Great Foam". So I thought I would try it to see how it would work as a binder and filler for the gaps. In hindsight, I would suggest not using it. Basically the density of the foam is too soft compared to the pink board and is more the consistency of a firm sponge than foam. So after placing the blocks I began carving out the rock structure with a zip knife. Once the structure was carved to what I liked I made a mix of ballast that I glued to the foam.

Once the ballast was dry, I made mistake number two. I painted the whole model with Gesso, thinking it would seal the foam for my next step. I was wrong. But heres what happened. I started spraying the gesso'ed foam with a golden yellow spray paint. I immediately saw the foam was melting. The gesso didn't seal it good enough. So I switched to a similar color acrylic paint I had and covered the whole thing. Once that was dry I hit it with a beige Flek Stone paint. Mistake number three. Even with two separate coats of acrylic paint the foam still melted. Strong stuff I guess. So after that, the detail I carved was gone, but there was different details in its place.

So this was the final effect. It looks good but the resulting shrinkage of the foam opened up all of the seams a bit. I gave it a quick drybrush to make the detail pop a bit as well as distinguish the sandy areas opposed to the rock. I showed Tom who liked it but asked for a little more in the sand area. I made a mix of ballast again and glued it down where the sand would be. I then gave the whole thing a heavy drybrush to lighten it up. I also added some elmers white glue to the water area at the base of the mountain. This is still drying at the time of the picture as you can see the white in the photo. The great thing is it will be clear when totally dry and show the base color underneath.
Overall I'm happy with it. I think it will look good on the table with figures on it. I learned a couple things regarding my construction choices, but all in all, its all good.

Hope you like,

Busy, Busy, Busy........

Hey Folks,

So lets see whats been going on. Actually quite a bit.

My friend Tom and I just finished our third game of an ongoing Battlefleet Gothic campaign. We have tried to do this for years with other friends, but as we all know getting everyones schedules to match are nigh impossible. However, Tom and I work together and have half days off on Fridays. We got with Travis from our local gaming store and scored Fridays for ourselves to game. So we have actually played 4 games, the first as a primmer to reacquaint ourselves to the rules, and the last three actually as part of the campaign. And as usual I forget to bring my camera. I tried to take some pics with my camera but they were terrible. Next time bring camera! Of the three games we have run the Convoy scenario, Blockade Run, and Cruiser Clash. As to the score, I have amassed 15 renown, with Tom getting 7. If your not familiar with the game, the higher the renown the better your choices become during the game. And the weird thing is you don't have to win the scenario to get renown. But the system is actually quite interesting.

The day after Thanksgiving my friend Dave had his annual game at his house. We played a Sudan game based on the Battle of Ginis. I had a very enjoyable time. Not because my Fuzzies ran ruff-shot over my opponent, but it was a laid back fun time. I controlled the far right wing of the army, and pretty much pushed the British far left back and into the center. By then the British Cavalry was threatening my flank so I had to pull back into a better position. It actually turned into the typical battlefield dance with the battle being fought 90 degrees from how it started. The rules we used were written by a friend of ours called Victoria's Battles. They were available for sale, but the last time I talked with Frank he was redoing the base set to include all the Victorian elements. There are actually 4 different versions of the rules at the moment. This game also lead my friend Tom asking me to build something I will put on the next post.

I've also been putting a bunch of woodland scenic trees together. I must say I'd rather just buy the pre-made trees in the bag. Building them from the kits is a pain in the butt. And it seems to take forever. Maybe its just me.

I've also been working on some stuff for my Quar. Both the 15's and my 28's. That will be coming up in a couple posts too.

Well off to make more stuff. We'll see you in the next post.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

The 19th Borderers grows.....

Hi Folks,

As you know I received a batch of Quar for my birthday. After painting those I needed some more, so.... I ordered some recruits. I purchased the Crusader Command pack, Light MG team as well as the Shotgun team and Mortar team. I have to say I am amazed at the bits of detail on these models. Everywhere you look on them there is something more to find. One of the models I received was the Crusader cook. At the time he wasn't listed on the Zombiesmith site so I was a little surprised when he arrived. Not that I was disappointed, as it is a great figure.

Just a little side note on these figures. These are the first figures I have exclusively done with the "Magic Wash" or "Dip". I have used ink washes before but usually only for 15mm or smaller. The thought of doing larger figures always kind of intimidated me.

So I had been reading up on the various recipes and figured I would give it a try for 28mm. I created a batch of wash using a 1-4 ratio. Meaning, 1 part Future to 4 parts water. I actually created a large batch of the "base" and then parceled it out to smaller containers to try different colors in. The wash I used for these was a black ink base I made from inks I had sitting around. Basically I slowly added black ink and stirred until the wash was a good opaque color.

The figures were block painted in their primary colors. I have Vallejo paints for my WW2 stuff so I used them for these as well. For the most part they are all only 5 colors not including skin and details. I then either dipped or brushed on the wash and let sit to dry. I did notice the brushed on wash didn't "run" as well as the dipped. But the effect is basically the same. Once dry they were sprayed with Krylon Matt spray and based.

So on to the pics.....

Caertan Traddyn
The Light Machine Gun Team. Gunners


Pyk Pyk Handler Guffudd
The 19th's unit Musician Karddor and Ryfler Brych

The Mortar Team

Heavy Shotgun Team

And the 19th moves out for another patrol.....

Hope you like,


Friday, September 17, 2010

Early Birthday to me....

So as you know I have been working on my 15mm Quar figures. Well my friend Tom surprised me with an early birthday present. He picked up for me the "Songs of our Ancestors" rulebook from Zombiesmith along with a unit of Crusaders in 28mm. Of course once I started painting the mini's I had to have more, so I promptly ordered reinforcements....

I had been playing with some fluff and had come up with a name for my unit. So without due allow me to introduce members of the 19th Volunteer Cawtrad "The Upper Barro Borderers".

Ryflers Beuno and Cerrag on patrol.

Yawdryl Trywent.

And never far behind is Ryfler Tabor with his cask of Bogen Barrel Single Malt Scotch.

I hope you like.

I've been busy.....


So lets see. My last official post was in June. What have I been doing since then. There was the living history at the Geneseo Airshow in July. The D'Day event in Conneaut OH in August. And I just won the Odessa Tactical this month. Yeah, I guess I have been busy....

Now that reenacting season has wound down, its time to finish some of the projects I have going. We'll see how far I get.

So lets start......

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Buffalo Naval Park

Hey Everyone,

Well after a long week of work I finally get to sit down for a minute. Last weekend my reenacting group had our annual display at the Buffalo Naval Park. We had a great display this year. We had three tables set up with our standard US GI equipment and weapons. But this year we also had a set of tables with both Marine and Navy equipment as well.

We were also booked with about 300 boy scouts as well for Saturday night. It was a bit cramped on the boats, but we pulled through. Actually after the kids settled in for the night, some of the parents came up on the fantail and hung out with us. It was a good time.

So heres a couple pics of what we did.

Standard GI weapons and equipment for the Big Red 1.

US Marine Display

My meager US Navy Pilot display. I've been slowly adding to this over the last year.

And finally Rich's Navy display. Everything in the next few photos (minus a couple oddball things) has a very cool story to them.

The story goes.... These items belonged to a Mr. Alex Pennella. He was an Aviation Machinestmate during WW2 on the Carrier Tulagi. What you see on the table was packed into the canvas seabag under the holster in the picture above. The bag was packed in 1946 and sat in an attic or cellar until last year. Mr. Pennella and his son didn't get along. And when Mr. Pennella passed away his son was going to toss everything out. Mr. Pennellas niece knew Rich collected these things, and rescued the bag from the garbage. The first time these items saw the light of day in 64 years was last December when she gave these items to Rich, and he pulled them out of the bag.

If you ever are in Buffalo, I would encourage you to stop buy the park. It is an amazing place.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This last Saturday I participated in my friend Daves annual DBA tournament. Every June about 15 of my wargaming pals get together for a day of food and fun.

Now I will admit, DBA is not my cup of tea, and I have missed a number of events over the past few years. But I do have to say this Saturday was a blast. Where else can you hang out with friends, play a bunch of games and have hot dogs with Dave's famous hot sauce.

Jay from Renaissance Ink stopped out, whom I purchased some flocking gel and bases from. Our friend Travis from Millenium Games sent a ton of prizes for the tourney as well. And we had the annual bring and buy with the guys. I picked up a couple trucks to be converted for my Quar as well as five different cans of Flames of War Spray Primer.

And true to fashion, I won the "Good Sportsmens Award". In other words I had the lowest score in the tourney..... But hey, at least the games were close....... I actually killed some units this time.......

Ah well, I think their renaming the award after me...... Dave is supposed to be sending some photos of the day. When he does I'll put them up. Well maybe not the one of me and my award.......

See ya.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trash to something......

As gamers we are always looking for things we can turn into tabletop terrain. It just so happened I found some at work. As I was leaving, my friend Tom picked up some clear plastic forms that were laying in the trash. And as our usual response said "we can make something out of that...."

Tom recently picked up some 15mm Hammers Slammers from Old Crow and GZG. So we have been talking about ideas for terrain. So yesterday I grabbed one and threw some paint on it.

Here is the plastic form as we found it.
I trimmed away the extra crap around the edge and cut off a area that had the plastic rating symbol pressed into it. I sprayed the whole thing black with a can of Krylon Fusion and let dry. I have a bunch of vinyl lying for my vinyl cutter, so I cut thin strips to be used as windows. Painters tape or masking tape would work as well.

I placed them around the form where I thought windows would be. I then sprayed the whole thing with Krylon Stone Texture paint. Just a note, we are used to spraying from 8 to 12" from the target. It works much better if you are 12 to 16" with the stone paint. Once dry I pulled the vinyl off, and the black paint showed through. Here is the finished product.

I finished with some flock and static grass. I then took some pastel chalks I have lying around and did a hard highlite on the edges of the building. I also used some to darkened the ground that shows through the flock. It was quick and dirty, but I think it looks cool. On the next one I will use a bunch of greeblies. Probably a radar dish or something.

Hope you like it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bangalors up.........

Well, the event at the fort was fantastic. We had a great turnout from the unit, and everyone was on their top game with the public. The only downside is it was hot. I mean real hot.... Normally there is a nice breeze off of Lake Ontario, but this weekend there was nothing.

Anyway I broke out a new display piece this weekend. And the crowd was very interested. Alot of what we use we have to make ourselves, so off to Lowes and walla.......

The Bangalore.

Nothing overly special, but they make for interesting talk. They are 1 1/2" PVC with the ends capped. Sanded, primed and sprayed. The original Bangalores are 2" inches in diameter by 5' long. These are only 1 7/8" in diameter so are a little small. It also makes it hard to find connectors between them. I plan on getting 2" exhaust pipe to remake them, as well as get exhaust connectors for them.

I cut quick stencils for the lettering and applied them with yellow spray paint. On the caps I made the hole where the blasting cap would fit. As well as made a blasting fuse.

The blasting fuse and cap was fairly easy to make. The cap itself is just a piece of 1/4" steel rod, and the fuse itself is just paper that I glued in a tube. The fuse itself is just string dyed black.

Overall its a good example of a Bangalore for display.

Now clear the shingles........

Monday, May 31, 2010

Soldiers through the Ages

This past weekend I participated in one of my favorite events. Every Memorial Day there is a Soldiers through the Ages timeline at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown NY. There are reenactors portraying soldiers from the French and Indian war up to and including WW2. There is a representative display for each era of soldier stationed at the fort at one time or another. Throughout the day we have interactive demonstrations as well as question and answer sessions.

For us its a relaxing time, seeing old friends and making new. The downside is I don't get to take any photos, as I am usually talking with the public. I am sure some of the guy in my unit have taken some and as I see them I'll throw them on here.

Apparently the local news was there filming us as well. Though I didn't get to see the report.

Next up is the Buffalo Naval Park.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shameless plug....

The story.... If you have read my profile you would have seen that I co-wrote a set of rules called Arena Games. Back when the movie gladiator came out my buddies wanted to get into the gladiator craze that was going on.

We played a number of rules sets out there but couldn't find a fun set of rules that gave us what we wanted. There were rules that were very technically challenging, and some that only went so far. Many of the games we play are based on a "feel" of what we are doing. If I'm playing a pirate game, I want it to feel like the old Errol Flynn pirate movie. Swinging from the rigging, etc. Same goes with the gladiators. So one night I show up for a game and my buddies Mike and Jim are banging their head over a set of rules. In the time it took them to play one turn, we hashed out the basics of what we wanted.

Anyway, we wrote the rules for ourselves and moved on. We had played them a number of times with our local group and it became a regular event. One day our friend Walt shows up with a huge box. He opens it and inside was this........

The Colosseum. Over 300 painted figures that have nothing to do with the game. Thank god hes retired..... So we start taking the game to conventions for a pick up game, and to our amazement it becomes a hit. It was awarded "Best New Ancients Game" at Historicon, along with a battle streamer for a "Game for young players". People started asking where they could get the rules. Hence we began publishing them for sale. Here we are presenting the award to Walt for his amazing work.

Now for the plug.......

Recently we updated out website which you can find here. Also recently they have been offered for sale at Wargames Vault. If your looking for a fun, fast game, give it a shot. I think you'll like it.