Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!

Despite what some of you might have suspected I've not fallen off the face of the earth, but rather taken a break from the hobby. Since late August there's been a bit of upheaval on the professional front, as I've gone from working full time to studying full time. While this has been a fantastic experience overall, it's also quite demanding with a steady stream of assignments, projects and reports to work on. Between studying and family stuff, I have virtually no time or energy left for painting or modelling.

So for the time being I have put the hobby on hold, but I'm sure I will return to it in the future.

Anyway, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Ruined Columns

Here are the last terrain pieces I picked up at Salute back in April. Some ruined columns by The Square. They're maybe a bit more on the fantasy side, rather than the historical, but perhaps they could be used for an abandoned Roman villa in Dark Age Britain?

After drybrushing them with some sandy colours, I went to town with weathering, using a couple of watered down washes of greens and dirt browns. They were then finished off with various tufts, vines and turf/flocking materials.

Nice and easy, and scatter terrain will always come in handy for skirmish gaming.

As always, thanks for looking!

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Bogged Down 2

I've finished another set of marshland terrain pieces. Just like the earlier ones, these are from Magnetic Displays.

As I wanted the new pieces to look different to the first batch, and glued on some sand to change the layout a bit. They were then finished in the same way as before.

I gave the Vallejo Still Water another chance and it worked better this time. I didn't use any tufts in the water areas, which maybe helped?

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Mini Gaming Boards

After the success of the Goblin Quest game, I've been looking at making a small gaming board to use when playing with my oldest son. The two 2'x4' gaming boards I have at home are a bit unwieldy and to be honest, after eight years, I'm not too keen on their look anymore.

Instead, I nicked an idea from the excellent Realm of Chaos 80s blog and used two cork pin boards as a base. These were bought at IKEA and cost 40 SEK (roughly £3.50) each. They measure some 40 cm by 60 cm, giving a total playing area of about 80x60 cm – perfect for some quick games on the kitchen table.

VĂ„GGIS pin board from IKEA.
Not very exciting, but cheap and sturdy.
I filled the interior of the pin boards by gluing down sheets of foam board. The sheets were 5 mm thick, but since the depression was a bit smaller than this (approx. 4 mm) I chamfered the edges. Filler was then used to smooth out the transition and the small lip on the frame. (In hindsight it probably would have been easier to just slap on the filler around the frame without cutting the foam board first.)

The edges of the foam board
were chamfered to fit the frames.
Once the filler was dry, I glued on the sand using a mix of different types to get some interesting variety. Watered down PVA glue was then used to fix the sand more firmly in place and stop it from rubbing off later. 

The sand glued in place.
The sand had a mid-brown tone, so to get a nice natural effect I applied an undercoat in the form of a dark brown wash. This was just some artist's acrylic paint heavily diluted with water. I went back and added more wash to certain parts, to get a more varied look.

When the undercoat/wash was dry I did some drybrushing, mixing in some light tan into the original brown. I kept the drybrushing very light, as I wanted a dark, earthy look, like a forest floor. However, after the drybrushing it still looked a bit too bright, so I did a new wash to tone it down.

Happy with this look it was now on to the flocking.

The painted boards.
Once again, I wanted a varied, natural look so I mixed three types of ground cover: Woodland Scenics green blend fine turf, Woodland Scenics earth fine turf and a dark green flock from Javis. I applied this in patches, leaving a path in the middle of the boards, as I thought it looked good.

First coat of flock added.
When the first coat was done, I sprayed the boards with watered-down glue and added some lighter flock (Javis mid green flock) in various spots, to get some colour variations. This got another overspray of watered down glue to fix it all in place.

I had originally planned to stop here, as I wanted the boards to be able to handle some rough going – kids you know! However, looking over the boards I couldn't help thinking they looked a bit flat and uninteresting. So after rummaging through my stash of basing materials, I found some coarse turf that also went on the boards. Satisfied with this new look, all that was left was another coat of water-glue mix to fix it all down, and to paint the edges black to tidy it all up.

The finished boards with some lighter flock
and coarse turf added.

Close-up of the surface.

Some models to show the scale. 

I couldn't resist setting up some terrain. 

That's more like it – a proper mystical forest to explore!

We haven't had a chance to try out the boards yet, but hopefully it won't be too long!

Thursday 2 June 2016

Bogged Down

I've had a bit of a hobby slump after Salute, in parts due to painting fatigue but mostly because of Real Life intervening in its usual way. However, over the last weeks I've started to get back into things. To get me going, I painted up a couple of terrain pieces I picked up at the show.

These marshlands are by Trevor Holland Design, sold by Magnetic Displays. Nice and cheap resin pieces, really versatile stuff, that can be used in virtually any time and setting – from ancients to moderns; from fantasy to historical and even sci-fi.

After priming the pieces black, the earth parts were dry brushed with some dark to mid browns, with some olive green in-between, to get a muddy look. Then the water parts were washed with a mix of dark green and dirty brown. Finally I glued on various scatter/flock and tufts, washed parts of these with brown to tone them down a bit, before spraying the whole thing with cheap hairspray and Army Painter Anti-Shine spray to seal the flock.

The water was done with Vallejo Still Water. I mixed in the same dark green and dirty brown washes I had used before, and poured a small amount in each depression.

This was my first time using a water effect product, and it was an ... "interesting" learning experience. I had read some reviews and tutorials on using the Still Water, so I knew what to expect and was careful not to do too thick layers. However, despite being very careful I still found the this a very tricky product to use and, as you can see from the images, the results are far from perfect. After doing three pourings, and growing increasingly frustrated with each of them, I pretty much gave up – they will have to do as they are!

I have another set of three pieces in the works, which should be more than enough for my current needs. These pieces will be slightly modified to make them look less like the first ones. And the Still Water will get another chance before I give up on it all together.

Monday 18 April 2016

Salute 2016: The Battle of Foteviken 1134

Well I'm safely back in Sweden after my visit to Salute this past weekend. I had a very nice time, met up with some very nice people and had the honour of being part of a terrific team. It was extremely satisfying seeing this project finally come together like this.

Thank you to Michael for taking the lead on this whole project and a truly heroic painting effort; to Jan for his stunning terrain and wonderful ships; to Jesper for lovely painting and, as always, being an most enjoyable opponent; to Colin for, amongst other things, his help in setting up the table, repairing damaged models and not least his tireless chatting to everyone who came to see the table; to Steve for helping out with everything, playing and being a thoroughly nice and enthusiastic chap; to Tony for making sure we didn't get in the way of anyone taking photos.

Finally a big thank you to everyone who came to see us, ask questions and compliment the game. We had a steady stream of visitors throughout the day – and a fair few times it was really cramped around the table – and I was truly humbled by all the nice things people had to say about the terrain, modelling and painting.

Here are some pictures of the game. I'll be back with another post with pictures of some of the other games I found while walking around on my breaks. Enjoy!

A modest start.

Starting to come together.

The table and miniatures all set-up.

We had a swanky rollup, designed by yours truly,
to welcome the visitors. 

Close-up of Jan's stunning ships.

Someone saw the trouble ahead and made a dash for it.

Mercenary German cavalry riding through the village.

The Scanian welcome committee.

Danish invaders.

The battle lines starting to close in.

Lots of details to explore on the table.
The fire had a flickering LED-light in it – very nice!

The cavalry making slow but steady progress.

The battle is beginning to take its toll:
soon there will be more models off the table than on ...

Time for some fresh reinforcements ...

... and off we go again.