Monday, 8 October 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 13 - Scenics: Craters)

I've built a few more scenery pieces to add to my growing collection. This time it's craters.

Construction was as simple as can be: A hardboard base, to which I added a thick ring of PVA glue and laid on top of that a ring of gravel. When dried, I added another layer of PVA and another ring of gravel.

When that was dry, I smothered the gravel in PVA and scattered on some sand, massaging it into the cracks with my fingertips.

When that was dry, I painted the whole thing with a mix of black emulsion, PVA and sand to add texture to the whole base area.

A bit of drybrushing and some paint/snow/static grass and the result is as shown below:

More scenery stuff:
More wargames table stuff:

Monday, 1 October 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 12 - Scenics: Rocks)

Now that I have a gaming surface I'd better add some dimension to it, right? To that end, I've made a few rocky outcroppings for my growing scenery collection.

Unfortunately, my hurriedly-taken photos were a bit pants, so I can't show them all to you on this pass. I'll retake some newer pics and show you the others on another occasion.

The same method was used throughout:

  • Cut a hardboard base, 
  • PVA some randomly snapped chunks of polystyrene to it,
  • Hot-wire cut the polystyrene into a "rocky" sort of shape,
  • Add some gravel to the base for texture,
  • Paint the whole model in a couple of coats of black emulsion mixed with PVA & sharp-sand,
  • Paint the rocks grey,
  • Drybrush the hell out of it,
  • Add snow/static grass & clump foliage to taste.

Sorry about the blurry photo

More scenery stuff:
More wargames table stuff:

Monday, 24 September 2018

Warhound Titan Revamp - Part 2 (Turbo Laser Phase 2)

I'm too easily distracted - I set myself the project of revamping my very tired, unprofessional-looking scratch-built Warhound as a New Year's resolution and so far all I've managed is to add some Nurgley-gloop, grilles and tubes to one weapon and paint it up.

It's a huge improvement to what the weapon originally looked like, but the rate of progress has been virtually at a standstill.

I think I'm a little daunted by the prospect of moving past the weapons and onto the model proper, if I'm honest. It's a massive canvas to have to work on and is also quite fragile.

I need to "man up".

Anyway - this is the finished article (except that when I get to working on the body I'll probably add some hoses connecting the weapon to the carapace):

More Titan stuff:

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 11 - Starting on some scenics)

As usual I'm jumping about from topic to topic. So, notwithstanding the fact that I've not yet completed work on my modular tiles, I've started working on some scenery pieces to add some height.

This is a WIP post so there are no finished products to be seen yet.


I've built a few different types of hills. All are made from polystyrene sheets. The polystyrene used is the dense kid - fairly robust and not easily dented/damaged. All will be painted firstly with a mixture of black emulsion/PVA/sand to give some texture and strength to the surface. A second coat of black emulsion will then be applied before drybrushing etc. In the images that follow, some have had that first coat, some haven't.
Single-tier hills

More single-tier hills

two-tier hills

3-tier hills

And a two-tier cliff - the cliff face is difficult to make out but it's a few chunks of tree-bark.
It'll be easier to see when painted.


The rocks are chunks of polystyrene hacked into shape, based on hardboard and will be textured with some gravel and the same paint/PVA/sand mixture as was used on the hills (and everything else!).
Rocky outcrop

Rocky outcrop

Difficult Ground:

Randomly scattered chunks of foam and gravel, textured with sand/PVA/paint etc.
Difficult ground


There's no foam in the craters. These have been built by gluing a ring of gravel onto a hardboard base with PVA. A second ring of gravel was added once the first had dried. Once that was dry, I applied a final layer of PVA and then "smooshed it around" with my fingertips, working it into the cracks and crevices between the gravel I'd previously applied. I then covered the gravel with a layer of sharp-sand and allowed that to dry. Once dry, I removed all the loose sand with a 2'' paintbrush and then painted with the same mix as used on all the other pieces above.

There's clearly more work to do here - the pieces all need another (and in some cases - a first) coat of black paint and need then to be highlighted and dressed.

The pictures above also show only a fraction of the pieces I've built so far - there are a couple of dozen items in total.

More news as it comes in...

More scenery stuff:
More wargames table stuff:

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Quick Tip: Hotwiring a Hot-Wire cutter!

In a minor diversion from the norm, I thought I'd post something showing a quick 5 minute hack I made a short while ago.

As you may be aware if you look in on my blog I've been working on building a modular-tile system for a wargames table.

I have a small attention span, so as always I get distracted. Despite not having finished all the tiles yet, I've already started building some scenic pieces to add dimension to the table surface.

Inevitably, this has lead to building some hills.

The hills themselves I'll cover in another post - this one is all about the hot-wire cutter I used in the process.

When I got my cutter out of storage (it hadn't been used in a while) I was irritated to find that the battery had gone flat.

My hot-wire cutter may differ from yours - it#s basically a handle with a twisted pair of cables which end in spade connectors: order to attach to the terminals of a 4.5v battery:

Now I honestly have no recollection of the thought-process that led to this, but I ended up devising (probably via wondering if I could buy a PSU of some sort) a means of safely mains-powering the cutter using an old USB cable and a discarded phone charger.

It goes like this. The hot-wire cutter requires a 4.5 battery. USB runs at 5v. "Near enough for Jazz" as the saying goes. Cut the Micro-USB end off the USB cable and strip off the outer insulation. You'll find four very thin wires inside. You're interested in the red and the black only. You can ignore/chop off the others.

All I did was solder the red and black wires to the spade connectors, wrap a bit of tape around them in order that the spades can't touch each other and - JOB DONE! You can see in the photo below where the red wires from the h-w cutter join the green USB cable, wrapped up in a bit of masking tape.

It works like a dream. Not only do I never have to worry about flat batteries again, the spade connectors weren't that reliable anyway and my cable is now 1m longer to boot.


More "quick tips":

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Stormcast Eternals - Part 7 - Vanguard Hunters

I'm having a love-hate relationship with this army.

Generally speaking I've enjoyed painting them. I totally didn't ever want to paint Ultramarines, but picking these guys up enabled me to paint Sigmarines with a nod to Ultramarine colours without making an army that looked silly ("Who's idea was it to make our camo bright blue? <FOOM!>").

I loved painting the Lord Relictor. I was originally cheesed off with painting my first unit of Liberators. My second unit of Liberators was more fun. I really enjoyed the Prosectors. These guys (largely due to the heads & faces) I hated. No matter what I tried I couldn't get a result I was even close to being happy with.

Ho hum.

More Stormcast Eternals Stuff:

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 10 - Finishing off Rivers)

If I break this project down into Phases, then this post definitely closes off Phase 1 - the first seven of my fourteen tiles upper surfaces are now complete. I have seven more tiles to build and paint (five of which will just be "flatties", one will be a river section and one will contain a pond). In addition, all fourteen tiles will be flipped over and given a different finish on the other side so that I can use more than one basing scheme for games that aren't fantasy/sci-fi based.

A set of rocky details (fords etc.) has been built using PVA glue and fish-tank pebbles. The river itself is sculpted (not very well!) from decorator's caulk and has been basecoated brown.

In this image the rocky details have been painted black, ready for some highlighting. The river sections have had some green added to suggest dirty, murky water.

Same stage, different angle

Here the rivers and rocks have been finished with a drybrush of light grey. Some tufts of static grass have been applied to portions of the riverbank too. 

Same stage, different angle.
So, time to put these away, get the jigsaw back out and get started on the second batch!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Imperial Agents: Sisters of Battle (Part 2 - Canoness)

Wow - I can't believe it was March when I painted my first SoB model (a Rhino, pictured below). This is only the second model!

That's not a great rate of progress by any standard!

Mind you, I have been busy with other projects so I won't beat myself up too much.

Anyway - here she is. She's actually a Sister Superior model on a larger base, but I think she works OK.

More Sisters of Battle stuff:
More Imperial Agents stuff:

Stormcast Eternals - Part 6 - Liberators 2

As always, leaping back and forth between projects.

Many weeks ago I wrote a post showing what was next in line for my slowly growing Stormcast force. I've finally got some actual paint down and am able to share with you the results.

Of course those horrible GW types have gone and released Soul Wars since so my army (and therefore to-do list) is about to get a lot bigger.

I've actually completed two more units - these guys and some Vanguard Hunters who I will share in a following post.

So, my 2nd unit of Liberators (who were not quite so boring to paint this time around - don't know why) are here:

More Stormcast Eternals Stuff:

Friday, 10 August 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 9 - adding features to tiles)

So at this point I have seven tiles cut, assembled and textured with gritty black paint.

Time to start bringing them into line with my models' basing scheme.

For forever-and-a-day I've been basing my models with a view to at some point building a games table for myself. They look like this (shown here on a small vignette I constructed to serve as a photo booth):

As you can see the scheme is basically an ash-waste, with some scrubby grass and patches of snow.

So I'll begin with a boatload of drybrushing:

My son Noah -  my most valued assistant on this project. Shown here in a drybrushing frenzy!

Once all the drybrushing was completed, we painted on some patches of PVA and added grass patches (a 50-50 mixture of Javis "spring" flock and "summer" static grass). I've not attempted to get the static grass to stand as I will be storing these tiles stacked up in a pile so it would get flattened anyway.

Once that was done, we painted on some more PVA and then added snow (Bicarbonate of Soda from the local supermarket).

Once all was dry, I mixed up a 50-50 mix of PVA and water in a spray bottle and gave the whole table a series of three heavy spray coats to seal everything down, leaving 24 hours between each for the previous to dry.

I'm getting there! I will add more to these surfaces shortly, but I'm itching to get stuck into the water features next.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 8 - texturing the tiles)

With the first half of the tiles for the wargames table complete (there will be 14 tiles all told, I've built the first 7 so far) it's time to add some texture.

For this stage I've mixed up some black emulsion with some PVA and sharp sand and brushed it on. Applying the mixture is a matter of not brushing too hard (don't want to leave brush marks) and not too gently (also don't want big globs of sand that models will not stand flat on).

Once this has dried I can go over it and pick off any bits of gravel that are too large.

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 7 - the beach)

We've made a start on building one of the major water-features for our wargames table - the modular beach.

As you will see below, this is based on two tiles that can be deployed in a number of ways. I did a fair bit of thinking and experimentation with bits of paper to work out an approach for this and what I came up with enables me to place two tiles adjacent to each other like this:

Or I can rotate them nintey degrees and swap them over like this:
Both of the above images show the tiles as "end pieces" placed on the short edge of the table, but they will work just as well placed along the long edge of the table.

Or I can deploy them on their own as a corner tile, like this:
This tile has another sneaky feature. Remember that I'm intending all of these to work as double-sided tiles; if you flip this one over you will find that there's a lake cut into the baseboard (concealed in the upper right of the picture).

Or like this:

Friday, 27 July 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 6 - First modular tile)

I made a doohickey!

I have started work on construction of the tiles to top my wargames table. I'd sized things in such a way that from five 8' x 4' sheets of 9mm MDF I could get:

  • eight 2' x 3' sections - these would form my table top and under-table shelves,
  • twenty-eight 2' x 2' tiles.
Q: Why on Earth do I need 28 tiles? 
A: I don't. I need 14 tiles.
Q; Why? It's only a 6' x 4' table - you can't fit more than 6 tiles on it? And why do you need 28 "bits"?
A: Because each one is 9mm thick and I have a hair-brained plan...

I'll try and explain.

16 of my 28 "bits" will have a river section, pond or shoreline cut into it and then be glued back-to back with another tile. The shoreline sections will be backed with a pond, and the others will be backed with an uncut square tile. I'll be doing this twice over - each tile will be double-sided with a grassy finish on one side and a wintry "ash-waste" on the other. I've tried to mock up what one set might look like in this dodgy little diagram:
This is intended to show each tile top (upper) and the lower that will be glued back-to-back with it.
The key things here are to ensure that:
Each tile is a perfect square - the local DIY store's timber cutting service did that for me.
Each river section starts and ends in exactly the same place on each tile.

That's where my doohickey comes in.

I simply got a couple of offcuts of wood & MDF left over from building the table:

You can see I've ruled a line across the bigger section - that marks where the smaller section will be screwed in place, like this:
My doohickey
I have used the tool to measure the points on the edges of the tile where the river exits. Doing this I can guarantee that each tile will be consistent and that the river will exit (as long as I cut it correctly!) in the dead center of every tile.

So, here is the end result on my first tile:

Monday, 23 July 2018

Blood Bowl: Humans (Garroting'em Forest - Part 4 - Throwers)

I mentioned in my first post in this short series that these models are antiques (in fact, they're older than my children and two of them have left home!)

That said, they're not a precise match for what is currently the standard line-up for a Human Blood Bowl team.

You'll notice that there are indeed some Throwers, but there are also some Kickers, who for my purposes "Counts as" Throwers (well, their main job is to move the ball through the air to another player. Who cares if they use their hands or their feet, right?)

More Garroting'em Forest stuff:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 4 - Table frames complete)

A big step - we have completed building the frames that will support our games table.

All four frames have been bolted together. The intention has always been that this should be built such that it could be dismantled and moved should I ever need to do so. The last thing I want to do is to put something together that I'd need to trash the shed to move!

It's not perfect - there are slight differences in levels here and there so some planing and sanding will be required to smooth it all out. But it's solid - there's no give or wobble.

More Workshop stuff:

Wargames Wasteland HQ (Part 5 - Table complete!)

This is a proper moment for me. For the first time in my hobby life, I have a dedicated set-up for Wargaming. My shed is shelved (considerable tidy-up required!) and I have completed work (with able assistance from my son, Noah) on a 6' x 4' gaming table, with under-table storage space.

The lower shelves went in a couple of days ago:

And the surface went on yesterday:

The idea is that I can use this large, flat expanse as a worktop for larger projects that need some space. The first such project will be the construction of modular tiles to form the actual gaming surface.

I'm an  obsessor. When I get an idea, it mills around in my head until I've planned it to the nth degree. Then I normally botch the actual build-phase (this one is still going OK - no surprises so far). Whilst plotting this scheme, I came up with a way of constructing the entire table surface, shelves and fourteen 2' x 2' double-sided tiles out of five 8' x 4' sheets of 9mm MDF.

Stay tuned for details of how I did it and how it's going.

More Wargames Table stuff: