Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back in the Workshop and a Contest

 I've been medically cleared to go back into the workshop and have started a few projects that have been on the wife's "I want this" list for a long time.  It does feel good not to have stitches anymore.

The contest is simple - guess what I'm building for the wife and you'll win a custom wooden dice tower from your's truly.

Lets see, this project needs some wood,
 and clamps, lots of clamps
Oh no - there are some scribblings on one of the wood spacers.  I wonder if that might provide a clue?

Is this project gaming related?  It could be if one uses a very generous definition of what wargaming is.

I'm doing the contest in part to say thank you for all the well wishes I got over the past 4 months as I went through my health drama.  They were all very helpful and greatly appreciated.


Contest Rules:
This is pretty simple - add your guesses as a comment to this post and I'll throw of the correct ones into a hat and pick a winner.  I make no representations that this contest will be managed in a fair and balanced way.

To make things interesting, I'll throw all of the incorrect guesses into another hat and pick a winner from that group also - yes that means I'm making two dice towers.  Postage will be on me as long as you live on the planet earth.

EDIT: It seems I'm really not all that good at running contests as I forgot to include a end date for submissions - lets fix that and say the cut off date for guesses will be September 23, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

If only it was Hunting Season

Right off the back porch there were three bucks just lounging in my yard (the third is out of the picture frame).  I took this from my car as I just drove up.

We rarely see bucks in groups but it does happen every now and then.

I invited them to come back on November 25th.

Friday, September 14, 2018

3D Printed 15mm Fortified Farm - Done (well almost..._

 The farm is 95% done - I still need to paint the wagon and add some additional "farm-yard" details but the piece is pretty much ready for the table top.  I'm actually very pleased how it came out.

Once the buildings where painted they were given a black wash to bring out the details (no pictures of that step).  I was a little nervous doing this out of concern the wash would highlight all the print layers.  My concerns were somewhat valid but the whole look is fine.

I used a new (for me) wash formulation which was a 50/50 mix of water and matte medium, a few drops of flow aid and black and brown acrylic ink.  I'm finding ink based washes to be superior to paint based ones.   Like a lot of my recent scenery ideas, I got this one from the wonderful Black Magic Craft Youtube channel - if you like making scenery, go check it out.  Jeremy does fantasy and D&D stuff bit the techniques have a much wider set of applications.

After the wash dried, the next step was to add some flocking.  As silly as this sounds one of my most effective terrain "innovations" (that sounds a bit pompous) has been the use of sheet cake pans for scenicing.  Their really cheap, protect the table top and the sections (the triangles in each corner) are really useful for keeping different kinds of flock separate.

Once a project is done I pour the leftover flock into a bin and use it for basing .
 Different flock types were added by painting the base with diluted matte medium, sprinkling the flock on and then using an eye dropper to drop some more diluted matte medium on top.  Once the matte medium dries the flock is attached and will not come off.

 I would rotate the piece 90 degrees, work on a section and then rotate again.  After 3 full turns it was done.

 The "ivy is Woodland Scenics tree foliage cut into small pieces.  once trimmed the "ivy" is soaked in the diluted matte medium and paster to the wall section.  I think they look very nice.

 The wagon is from Old Glory's Blue Moon Napoleonic line.  I may have ordered a lot of wagons and other army camp figs from them the past few weeks....
 Crap! I still need to make the gate, so maybe 93% finished rather than 95%.

The obligatory scale shot.  The overall piece is 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and will make a nice focal point on the table top.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It's kind of like Terrain building....

 Executive Management decried that we needed to add more sleeping capacity to out place in St Michaels and a bunk bed was procured.  My son and I (mostly my son) spent a day putting this thing together as it came in just under 1,000,000 parts.  This unit will likely get it's first use in November when i'll be hosting another gaming event.
I'm not really a cat person but Izzy seems to like me and has taken to sleeping on my shoulders.  At least I got a free coffee refill from my wife as I pointed out if she didn't get it for me  I'd have to disturb the cat.  I'm pretty sure I can only pull that stunt off once.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

3D Printed Wall Farm in 15mm scale - Basing and Initial Paint Up

A few weeks again the first test printing of a walled farmhouse in 15mm scale was finished.  It consists of 18 separate pieces and came out rather well.  My next step in of my 3D printing adventure is to see how well these things paint up.

 Since I'm experimenting, why not vary all the elements - so I'm also experimenting with different materials.  First up is the base- which is made of chip board.  Chip board is essentially the same thing one finds as a backer for legal pads.  Given this is 15mm, I did want to try something that would be thin so the base edge doesn't stand out.  I'm using 1/16 inch thick board.  The pieces in 6 inches wide by 11.5 inches long.

The chip board I purchased is defined as medium weight and, in hind sight, I should have gone with the heavy weight version as I think that will be more durable.

With any card-board based material that's used for basing it's important to protect all of the surfaces (even the bottom) from moisture and wear and tear.  Once the piece is done on top I'll paint the bottom of the base with a 50/50 mix of black craft paint and PVA glue.

For ground texturing and adhesion I'm using a Vallejo ground texture resin.  I've used this stuff for basing minis for years and it works great but never tried it on a larger project.

I put a masking tape barrier down on the work surface to prevent the resin along the edges from adhering to the world bench.   How did I know how to do this? - painful personal experience very early in my miniature hobby experience.  Perhaps a post on hobby mishaps is long overdue...

It doesn't take a lot to cover the piece and when dry it will provide a very nice ground texture that takes paint well.

The lower level pieces are all in place.  I used CA glue (aka super glue) to attach the pieces to each other.  One of the benefits of the resin is it acts like a glue as it dries so it will affix the farm to the base.

All weighted down to ensure everything dries nice and flat.

 The resin dries in a few hours and then the next step is to prime the piece.  Rather than a standard primer, I made up a custom batch by mixing some Liquitex Gesso (a surface prep) and dark brown craft paint (roughly 2/3 to 1/3).

The Gesso is thicker than normal primer and tends to fill in the striations (layers) that are a result of the printing process.  I really liked how the new primer mix worked out.
First basic paint up of the buildings.  The colors used are:

Vallejo light grey primer for the buildings and walls

Vallejo Red Leather for the roof tiles

Vallejo "Old Wood" for the doors and shutters.

I need to go back and touch up the details and scenic the base once the paint has fully dried.

Perhaps a scratch built a set of wooden gates for the entry way would be a nice addition?

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Fleets are currently in the ship yard nestled in their dry docks

There will be a naval aspect to next years game that will feature a minimum of 4 ships for the french fleet against a 3 ship (plus shore batteries) British one - all in 15mm scale.  If the modeling goes well there will be more ships.

Iv'e had a lot of these kits for years mouldering on the lead pile and am using the 2019 game as a reason to build them.  All of the models are from the fantastic Thoroughbred Miniatures Sea Eagles line.
 Here are the 4 French ships, including a 22 gun frigate
The British currently will have three ships - including a super fast / maneuverable mercenary Xebec.

Hmmm whats the scenario?  You'll just have to wait and find out.....

Friday, August 24, 2018

More 15mm Napoleonics Basing

 Basing continues to, umm, grind along.  To date, I've got about 1,0000 figures stuck on bases - all of which still need to have scenery work.  Basing can be tedious but I find it oddly calming if there's something nice on in the background like Bach or Elvis Costello.  Sadly music from artists like Metallica don't really work with miniature basing as the violent head bobbing it induces gets flock all over the place.

I'll do a much more in depth army review later on but I've been working to flesh out my Peninsular Campaign armies.  From left to right there are:

- 5 Calvary units
- 14, 24 figure infantry Battalions

- 2 Infantry
- 2 Calvary

- 2 Calvary
- 8, 24 figure infantry Battalions

- 10 Line Infantry
- 6 Light Infantry
- 3 Guard Infantry (one each for Young, Middle and Old)
- 7 calvary (with more to come)

There is still a lot of artillery to base (roughly 40 guns across all the combatants).  I'm aiming to get over 2,000 figures on the table for Historicon 2019 and am roughly halfway there with the pre-painted ones I've purchased.  The rest I'll paint myself over the next 10 months or so.  Thee will also be some ships - at least 7 - to build and paint up plus their crews stands.  It's going to be a busy winter.

Hey Curt, get ready to tally up a lot of 15mm Napoleonics for the upcoming Challenge - if you choose to subject yourself for a ninth time!

 Another exciting "action shot".  It really doesn't convey the whole dramatic effect as you can't hear the music in the background which in this case is Elvis Costello's classic "Imperial Bedrooms" album.

I use a resin sand for the groundwork as it both provides great texture and firmly "glues" the figures in place.  I've learned to use cheap aluminum sheet cake pans to protect my work surface and making flocking a lot easier.  Since this is a Peninsular French army there will be a lot of Dragoons - The picture shows 15 stands in production and I've got another 15 stands waiting in their plastic bag barracks.

Since I've been home recovering from surgery for the past few weeks, our second rescue cat, Buddy has decided that I merit his attention.  Buddy typically hides all day sleeping so I view this as a major step forward in my social rank in the cat world.  Buddy came to us very beat up and can't see all that well but he's doing much better.  He is huge for a cat - weighing in at 13 pounds without being fat.

My wife now has two rescue cats (or do they own us - I'm not sure).  I've told her that getting a third puts her formally across the line into "crazy cat lady" territory.  Hopefully that charade will continue to work or I may never get a dog....

Back to basing Nappy's, perhaps this time accompanied with a little English Beat.

What forces are up next? Austrians who have been bolstered by a very generous gift from Gary over at the Old Sarge's Blog.  I was very touched by his generosity and will try to emulate it by finding better homes for some of the soldiers that are whiling away the prime years of their tabletop lives on my lead pile.  I'll do a more detailed post on the Austrians in a week or so.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

15mm Napoleonics & 3D Printing

 Next year's Historicon game, as currently envisioned, will require a lot of new 15mm scale early 19th century terrain and I wanted to see how 3D printing might be put to use.  There is also an ulterior motive in that I wanted to get my tech-expert son back involved with the hobby.

Pictured is out first "co-production" - a walled French farmhouse in 15mm scale.  I think it came out really well.  Please note these pieces are just butted up together and haven't been fully cleaned up yet.

I purchased the 3D printable files from a company called Printable Scenery.  The files are originally scaled for 28mm but it's very easy to scale them down to 15 by setting the scale function to 60%.
I'm really happy with how these came out and will mount and scenic the farmstead over the next few days.  

The whole thing consists of 18 separate pieces.

One of the cool things about 3D printing is the ability to have interior details in the print.  The Barn has full interior detailing while the house model does not.  The more detail one has the longer it takes to print and I selected the house file that didn't have interior detail for speed up the process.
The lower level of the house.
I'm printing at the recommended layer height of 0.2MM.  You can't see the striations from 12 inches but if one gets up close they become apparent.  Dealing with theses striations is print material dependent.  A quick wipe with an acetone laces rage will clean them up in ABS.  I use the cheaper PLA material - it's plant based, biodegradable and doesn't give off any gasses while been formed.  Acetone doesn't work on PLA and I'd need to resort to a VERY light sanding.  I'm going to see how these paint up and  then decide if they need to be sanded.  If the 12 inch rule still holds I doubt I'll bother with it.

I also printed up some lengths of stone walls (also from Printable Scenery) and really happy with how they came out.

Looks like everything is perfect in 3D print land right?

Not Exactly.....

 First get ready for a lot of your prints to look like this.  "Bed Adhesion" or having the printed object stick to the print platform is one of the more common issues one struggles with.  If the item moves the tiniest amount the print job is ruined and you need to start over.

Another factor is 3D printing is VERY SLOW.  The farmstead consists of 18 individual pieces and I think it took close to 23 hours of total print time - excluding time lost on miss prints!!!

3D Printing is also a very young technology and isn't exactly user friendly.  In fact, I doubt I would have been able to get anything done without the help of my son and his Carnegie-Mellon University tech education.  For me one of the goals of this project was to do something with him so that was perfect but if you're not technically inclined or have access to the free expertise of your offspring, this tech may be a bit early for you.

What printer am I using - a Creality CR-10S.  It's a printer with very good reviews and was moderately priced at roughly  $550.00 US

It was the model my son recommended we get.  There are other printers on the market that are less expensive but when the "pro" says buy the creality - I said Yes!

I did have to assemble this printer which Sean actually made me do myself to familiarize myself with the parts.  That was a really good idea and the thing worked on the first try!

 So is 3D printing the next revolution for miniature gaming.  I think long term yes but shot term (next 5 years) I'm can't decide - color me intrigued.  Hopefully with some more experience down the road, I'll be able to render a more definitive opinion.

I'm also trying to learn 3D modeling so I can make my own print files.  My goal is to make a 15mm scale 74 gun ship on the line - we'll see how that works out....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

15mm Napoleonics - Basing Has Commenced!

 I've acquired some painted 15mm Napoleonics from two sources - unbased from Gajo Games and a good number of painted and based miniatures from EBAY.

I've been very impressed with the units purchased off EBAY from Chinese sources.  The painting and basing are of high quality and match what I planned to use going forward.  So far I've purchased 8 Infantry and 2 cavalry units for my Spanish army and then 2 British and 2 French Infantry units plus 1 Austrian.  The pricing works out well too.  Remember, you can bid lower than the asking price.  I'll post some more detailed pictures of each army in a week or so.

 I also ordered some French and British from Gajo Games.  They have an extensive line of painted 15mm Napoleonics.

A word on Gajo's service - it's superb.  Ordering from Chris is really easy and he sent me some updated picture of some of the french to make sure I was ok with the colors (I was).  Shipping was REALLY fast like 2-3 days from order placement to receipt.

I'm using my standard 15mm basing technique which consists of spreading a thin layer of Vallejo pumice stone and then positioning the minis.  Once dry the pumice stone really holds the mini's in place like glue and gives the base a nice texture.  After drying I still add a drop of super glue to each mini and then will paint and flock the bases.  Easy Peasy and really sturdy.

I've learned to buy cheap aluminum cake pans the doing basing work - it's keeps everything tidy and makes it easier to gather up flock that didn't stick.

I'm going with a basing standard that will work with all of the rulesets I'm considering.  The standard is:

Infantry - 4 figures on a 20mm wide x 25mm long base

Skimishers - 2 figures on a 25mm wide x 15mm deep base

Screens - 1 Infantry figure on a 25mm wide x 15mm deep base

Cavalry - 2 figures on a 25x25mm square base

Artillery - 1 gun / 4 crew on a 30mm x 40mm base

Limbers - 30 x 40mm for Line Artillery and 30x60mm for Horse Artillery

Some proof that I'll actually be painting some of the figures - in this case a 24 figure unit of British Marines from Thoroughbred Figures's Sea Eagles Line.

I've also just received my order from Old Glory for some Limbers to test out and plan on picking up some AB figures from Eureka USA at Fall In. I'll need a lot of limbers!

Once I finish up the Peninsular Campaign Armies, it will be onto to either Austrians or Russians.  I'm thinking Austrians.

Its good to be able to spend a little time at the workbench.