Monday, February 29, 2016

USS Wasp in 28mm Scale

 My submission for the Nautical-themed bonus round is a 28mm scale (1/56th) version of the USS Wasp.  It's a pretty big model and weighs in at 6 pounds and is 37 inches long and 29 high.  This will become the centerpiece of a planned game at next July's Historicon.
  A closer shot of the main deck - theres always a trade-off with a high level of detail (with breakable detail parts) and playability.  One clear compromise is the rigging - I left very wide gaps between the masts to facilitate moving figures around the deck.  It's no fun to be trying to repel boarders and getting all tangle up in the rigging.
 Looking down the bow
 A shot of the starboard side
 I've made several nameplates, which attach with double sided tape - the Wasp, the Peacock and "Seis Grandes" in honor of the sixth AHPC
 All of the flags were made by me using powerpoint.

 This project ended up being a lot more involved than I thought - I'll be posting several "how-to's" post on the building process over the next few days.  I'm also trying to build a the HMS Frolic (18 gun British Brig) but am not sure I can get that done by Historicon this July.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

AHPC6: Napoleon Command Stand and a Nautical hint.....

What Napoleonic collection is completed with the man himself?  None, in my opinion.  So I've rectified that situation using the Napoleon command scene from the Perry Brothers (in 28mm scale)
 This was a fun little vignette to knock out for the L'amour bonus round.  I may have stretched the definition a bit with my "no one loved campaigning more than Mr Bonaparte " but there you have it.
 I've had these figure sitting around for ages and was happy to finally get them completed.
The theme of the next bonus round (which is post today over at the Analogue Hobbies Challenge page) is "Nautical" - here's a hint of what I might be submitting.  The hand plane is one of my favorite tools in the workshop.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yet More FOW Stuff

 Some more 15mm FOW stuff for the Challenge in the form of Japanese artillery and germane Panzer III's

 The artillery marks the start of my new Japanese force for the Pacific war themed books that are coming out.  I've got a bunch of Command Decision Japanese infantry that match up well with the Battlefront artillery crewman so don't have to wait on Battlefronts rather slow supply chain.
 The guns and crew were done as a test set on uniform colors and I like how they came out.
 Next up is a platoon of Panzer III's for the Italian campaign.  These poor lads had been sitting primed in a drawer for multiple years so I thought it was time to finally paint them up.

 The miniatures are from Battlefront and where very easy to paint up.
Next up will be a company of Japanese infantry and some anti-tank teams...

Did I mention that I was excited about the new pacific books?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Some FOW Stuff for the Challenge

 Over the past few weeks, I've been painting up a lot of odds-n-ends in 15mm to finish up some Flames Of War armies - first up is a Fallschirmjaeger  Pak 40 AT gun unit and a Elephant.

 Next up some more FJ's in the form of a heavy mortar unit and and Panzer IV / 70 AT gun

Next will be some Japanese FOW stuff - I'm getting very excited about the upcoming Pacific books!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Roughing it

A picture of what I have to endure at this offsite meeting.  It's very rough duty

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Back from London

 Just got back from a hectic three day trip to London.  One of my portfolio companies, Clear Score just moved offices from Hammersmith to very near Lambeth Bridge.  I was able to take the first shot of "Big Ben" while walking to dinner Tuesday night.

I really like the south bank and the new office is a very short walk to the Imperial War museum!

The second picture is from the new office location on Lambeth road and is located about 200 yes from Lambeth Bridge.  The picture also has the obligatory images of double decker buses.

This was a very busy trip with several boring board meetings and some negotiations for Clear Score related contracts.  My apologies for not having time to break free to see my gaming friends in London.  Hopefully I can rectify that in the next few weeks.

Monday, February 8, 2016

AHPC VI: Week 7 Update

We're now past the seventh week of the challenge with 6 remaining and my painting has totaled 2,094 points.  Thats just over my initial goal of 2,065.  These totals include my estimate for points from the terrain submission.

Due to some business travel, the next two weeks will not see a lot of activity as I'll be in the UK next week and then the Turks and Caicos the following week and British Airways refuses to let me paint while inflight.  Last year I also had a similar unproductive 2 weeks for the exact same travel which you can see in weeks 6 & 7 of last year's points (the blue line).

Given how productive the first few weeks of the challenge will be, I've raised my target to 2,500 and will be focusing on the Nautical challenge that is coming up on 2/28

Week 7 saw my first non 28mm scale submissions as I finished up a 15mm Fallschirmjager Pak 40 anti-tank gun unit and an Elephant.  I've haven't played a lot of Flames of War lately but am getting excited for the game with the impending publication of the two Pacific war books: Gung-Ho (US Marines) and Banzai! (Japanese).

Friday, February 5, 2016

Red Tail Hawk

Nothing miniature related in today's post - just a picture of a red tailed hawk from my dining room.  He looks very well fed which means the local mouse population has taken a big hit.  I'm OK with that!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AHPV VI: Redoubt Tutorial

 The 3rd bonus round of the AHPC was defensive terrain and I submitted the artillery redoubt pictured.  While based on some American Civil War artillery emplacements near DC the terrain piece is designed to be used  for any blackpowder era.

 The only specialized tool I used for this project was my trusty Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter.  Handheld hot wire cutters or a knife could be substituted but the fixed wire is really EASY to use for this type of project.

I used pink 1" thick insulation foam for the project.  You can buy these as 2 ft x 2 ft panels from either Home Depot or Lowes for $5.50 each.  It's a tad bit more expensive to buy the "project panels" (as they are called) rather than the normal 8 ft x 4 ft sheets but they are much easier to work with and store.  For this project I cut a 12inch x 12 inch square and several 12 inch long 1x1 inch pieces for the second level.

 I reset the cutting wire to a 45 degree angle and then beveled the sides.  I also cut out a section for the ramp and then beveled it by cutting along the long diagonal of the piece.
 As I was removing the ramp, I "wiggled" the end section while cutting it out a bit.  It makes the ramp fit like a puzzle piece and ensures a stronger bond for the glue.
Another shot how the ramp fits into the main section - all of this gets covered up but the joint is really strong.

 It's time to glue the sections together.  I use a few wood sticks (wooden kabob skewers) to help anchor the top sections to the base.  For glueing a standard yellow wood PVA glue was used but really any PVA will work fine.

 A picture of the redoubt after glueing up - give the glue a minimum of six hours to setup.  You'll notice that the pieces don't fit together perfectly.  Thats ok as you can either clean the up now with a sharp knife or just cover them up with the "ground material" later.  I choose the later as the irregular shapes give the grout more surface to hold on.

 Now comes the tedious part - putting the ramp and sides in.  I used wooden matchsticks I got from Michaels craft store.  These are simple cut to length and glued down with the same yellow PVA wood glue.  The sticks I used were 1/16 of an inch wide and you can make this a lot easier by using 1/4 inch wide pieces without a loss of visual appeal.

 Whew! - that's a lot of wooden pieces to cut.  After a few knife nicks, some cross words it's done.  Actually it wasn't all that hard to do and probably took no more than 90 minutes to put in place.

 Test fit with a 28mm figure - looks good to me.
 The next step is to cover the piece with your ground material of choice.  I like to use a pre-mix flexible tile grout.  It's relatively inexpensive  and when dry has a very nice texture like a fine sand so works great for 15 - 28mm scaled miniatures.  The pre-mix tile grout can be purchase in a whole range of colors.  I use a "sandstone color" version.

I mix the tile grout with white glue (roughly 2/3 tile grout, 1/3 white glue) to make it easier to put on and help with durability once dry.  Terrain pieces take a lot of abuse and the combination of flexible tile grout with white means you really will not suffer and chipping form use.

After the grout was applied to the ramp I used a popsicle stick dipped in water to make some wagon wheel ruts up and down the ramp.

 This is messy stuff to work with and anything you use to mix and/or apply the materials should be disposable.  Some of you might be thinking "I can use some of the household's fine china to both mix and apply this stuff 'cause I'll just clean it up and nobody will be the wiser".  Don't do it.  This stuff dries really quickly when in thin layers (in seconds) and once it adheres to something it's really hard to come off.  What's worse, if you try to clean it up in a sink, the grout gleefully detaches and then reforms to block your sink pipes and "magically" transform your sink into a bowl.  Tile grout is very cunning.  Just use a plastic cup and some popsicle sticks and toss the stuff when your done.

 The redoubt with the tile grout applied.  When putting the grout on have a damp rag at the ready to wipe up anything that gets on the wooden platform.

I also added to defensive works to the redoubt in the form of "pointy sticks" (I'm sure theres a more technical term for them).  I think they add to the look of the piece greatly and they also serve a very practical purpose.  What is it?  You'll just have to wait and see.....

 The first coat of paint for the redoubt is done.  I used a very basic brown craft paint (much cheaper than using a Vallejo) given the surface area.  I'll next applied a series of dry brushed of lighter brown and tan tones to get the piece to match my terrain panels.
 A shot of the finished redoubt, complete with an artillery battery (French 28mm Perry miniatures).  I added a bit of static grass to again help the piece match my terrain panels.
 I kept the interior details (supplies, equipment) very sparse to facilitate moving troop stands about and to allow the piece to be sure for multiple periods.

 I did screw one thing up - when checking for size I forgot to test an artillery piece.  If I had I would have noticed that some barrels didn't poke out over the top.  My solution?  I built a few platforms from the matchstick cutoffs to raise them the need 1/8 on an inch.
 Think of these platforms as booster seats for the big guns.

Back to the "pointy sticks" and their practical role.  They were positioned to help support the troop stands of an attacker as steep bevels and troop bases don't work well together.

This project took about 4 days to complete, with the vast majority of that time being devoted to either glue or paint drying.  In terms of complexity, it's very simple and I'd encourage beginners to give it a go

Materials Used

- 1" Pink Extruded Foam (roughly 12 by 14 inches) from a 2'x2' project panel

- Pre-Mix Flexible Tile Grout - Sandstone colored

- Matchsticks

- Kabob Skewers - You can buy them or get them "free" with a kabob take out order.  I highly recommend the second option as terrain making is hard work and you'l need sustenance to get through the project.

- PVA glue (yellow or white)

- paint

Total cost of the materials used was less than $10.00