Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains Part V

 Last night I had intended to start dry brushing the mountains to lighten up the colors.  As I was working on one section I then noticed that there were lots of spot where the pink foam was showing through - little dots of pink on all the pieces.  These gaps in coverage were mostly in the cracks and I think the paint mix was two thick.

The dry brushing was set aside and another batch of red/brown was mixed up but with twice as much water.  This created more of a wash than a paint but it flowed much better into the cracks  and crevices created from the carving.  All six sections were given a coat of the wash and seemed to look a lot better.

In hindsight it would make more sense to do the wash first before the main coat but one lives and learns.

The sections will be given 24 hours to fully dry and then the next step will be some dry-brushing.

The last picture shows the some of the sections before the "wash" was applied - you can see lots of pink spots poking through which just didn't look right.  It's like the mountains had some form of pink measles and who wants to play games on an infected mountain?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains, Part IV

 With the day offI was able to get A LOT of work done on the mountain sections.  All of the carving was finished, ground texture was added and, lastly, a base coat of red brown was applied.

 The ground texture is my standard goto - Sandstone colored flexible tile grout whit a little white glue added in for strength.  It's really easy to work with and dries for a flexible but really tough shell.
 Almost all of the sections have strange openings to allow little beasties to emerge or they can be covered up with ground foam.

 Some openings are bigger than others - hint for the Historical game - you really want to enter the catacombs from here.....

Then again, maybe you really don't?

 My super secret paint mix - about 1/4 red and 3/4'w brown then dilute with water.  Like the fancy palette?  I sued to used a real painted palette but found paper plates a lot easier to use.

 Painting has commenced.  It's a bit of a pain to get the red brown in all the crevices - there's still some pink showing through I'll need to clean up.
 Ans their all done!
 Some close ups

 The 45 degree bend came out really well.

These will dry a good bit lighter and then I'll add some dry brushing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blue Angels Air Show May 2017

It's graduation week for the Naval Academy in Annapolis and that means it's time for the Blue Angels airshow.  Reason #1012 why it's hard to beat living on the Chesapeake Bay.  The weather wasn't really cooperating - it was cold, cloudy and drizzly which meant the show was curtailed a bit, but still it's an amazing event to see, hear and feel.

I even managed to upload a few videos.  All in all a good day to play hooky from work.

Back to work today.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains Part 3 - Carving Rock Faces & Post #750!

 Tonights project was to carve the "rock faces" on the pink foam.  I managed to get 2 of the six section done in about an hour.  I used a new technique from model rail roader David Frary which I'll explain below.
 The first step was to take my hand held hot wire cutter and roughly shape the mountain sections - adding slopes and other details.

 The carving technique is really simple and involves using an old steak knife and cutting horizontal and vertical cuts all along the foam.  the lines should be at right angles and you can criss cross.  Here's a link to a video that's narrated by David Frary
 Once you made the initial set of cuts, go over the entire piece with sand paper and lightly sand to smooth out and remove looses pieces.  If you don't like the look just repeats the criss cross cutting and saving to it looks like you want.

Please don't tell my wife that I "borrowed" one of the steak knives from the kitchen.

Heres a shot of the other side. I added a cave for a little extra interest.  I need to go back and make the cuts looks a bit more random but I'm liking the look and it was a really easy to do.

This process does make a mess so you probably shouldn't do it outside of a work area.

By the way - I just noticed this is my 750th post on the blog!

Monday, May 22, 2017

I've Been Banned from TMP and I Feel Fine

I have managed to get myself banned from The Miniatures Page (TMP).  TMP used to be a great source of hobby information (and really still is) but the recent tone and dwindling user participation levels have made it less interesting of late.  It's always been a fractious place which was a guilty pleasure watching people fight furiously with words on the proper location for Historicon or the true shade of white for a lapel color on a 17th century dragoon.

What the cause for this development?  The owner / editor of the site recently put up a post asking for comments on the question "Are British gamers are arrogant?"

Think red cape / bull.

Anyway, he seems to be banning anyone who challenges the usefulness of such discussion - including advertisers!  I couldn't resist making a post pointing out that promulgating a post that creates divisiveness on a dying forum is the exact wrong thing to do and now I'm banned.

Hopefully, after a proper period of grieving, I'll be back on my feet - Oops grieving's over and I'm fine.

In some ways this is a shame and a lesson.  I know TMP can be a rather rude place filled with people practicing recreational outrage but it also was a wonderful source of obscure miniatures information.  Want to know how to paint a 13th century man at arms - it's somewhere in TMP.  Given the lower traffic trends and declining advertising mix, I think it will will continue to decline for a long time (kind of like Sears) and then one day **Poof** disappear.

TMP should also serve as a lesson in civility,  Internet miniature forums are wonderful places to meet new people and exchange ideas about our rather obscure hobby.  I've met some wonderful people across the globe and now count them as true friends.  How we choose to comport ourselves while on line is something we should always bear in mind.  I would be deeply disappointed in myself if I contributed to the creation of another TMP-Like environment because I choose rudeness over civility.

Goodbye TMP, hello Lead Adventurers forum.

A few comments below have asked for a link to the thread.  As stated in my comment below, I can't provide a direct link and should reflect the site owners wishes and not figure out a work around.  I can provide a link the the topic that has the thread which is: Wargaming in America.

Look for the label "Arrogant American Wargamers" - the tile is misleading as its really a slight to out British cousins.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dinner in London

While I was in London, I had dinner with Tamsin, Ray, Lee and Postie!  It was a lovely event and I even received an invitation from Postie to come over to his gaming warren.  Perhaps one of the greater honors achievable in wargaming-dom.

The diner and conversation was grand and it was good to catch up with everyone.  I had hoped to extend my stay to be able to go to Partizan but those plans were disapproved by my lovely, yet fierce, wife.

We met at a pub called the Black Dog in Vauxhall.  I think it's more properly designated as a "gastro-pub" but I don't care as the location is great and the food better.  I greatly appreciate everyone traveling through the rain to get to dinner.  I'll need to come to you guys next!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cheap Ancient Terrain Source

I had to run into a pet supply store to kit some cat food and wandered by the aquarium section and saw some interesting "Egyptian" ruins in a tank and got an idea.

After returning home, I fired up the PC and hopped on Amazon and presto-change-o found out there a wide variety of Egyptian (and Greek) ruins that can be had for very cheap.  Aquarium decor is a very useful source for gamers.

I ordered some and the first 3 items arrived yesterday (thank you, Amazon Prime).  I took a picture of them next to a hist arts column I made (which took a total of 6 castings).  The combined price of the three items is less than the Hirst Arts Mold!

They will need some re-painting but that shouldn't be too hard.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Terrain Tutorial: Sectional Mountains part 2

 With all six frames finished the next step was to rough in some EPS (pink foam).  I've got enough on hand to finish 3 maybe 4 sections.

Pretty simple process, but time consuming.  Jut cut to fit and glue/tack down.

 I'll trim everything up with a hand held hot wire cutter and then carve in the rock race.  It's a really messy part of the project
 A look down the one side and then
from the other side of the work bench.  One of the "good" things about this project is that I can use all the scrap EPS I've got in a bucket so it's really efficient from a materials point of view.

I know it doesn't look like much now but we'll get there.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Terrain Tutorial - Sectional Mountains, part 1

 What does a gaming geek do on a rainy spring day - make terrain, of course!  I need some mountain ranges to break up the playing area for my Historicon game and finally figured a way to build them with the materials on hand.  Actually the core of idea is shamelessly stolen from Eric the Shed - take a look at his magnificent terrain builds here.

Ok I had two 2x4 ft luan plywood sheets lying around and that will be just enough to make the 6, 2 ft long sections I need (12 feet in total).  The mountains will be used to create a "hidden valley" in the center of the table.  I went with making 24 inch x 8 inch wide pieces.  The first picture show the plywood cut to length.

 While I was cutting the strips to length I decide to make 2 sections with an end that's 22.5 degree (together they'l make a 45 degree angle just to break up the monotony.  Making some ends angled will impact the width and shape of the end caps.

 I I then cut some of the remaining stock to create the end caps.  Since these sections will need to line up the end caps need to be exact matches.  A great reason to get out my dremel mini band saw!
 Hmmm, what I am going to do with these scraps?

 As there are six sections, there will be 12 end caps, 10 at a 8 inch length and 2 at 8.5 inches for the angled ends.  I grouped the band saw cut end caps by type and then sanded them to be exact matches.  Well exacts matches.

 Here's the frame for the first section - both end caps are at 90 degree angles and a support frame is built into place.  I'll fill the interior in with Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) (pink foam) and then carve the rock faces.
 The excess material from cutting the end caps was trimmed to be cross supports.  Waste not .....
 A close up of the bracing - this should be rigid enough to resist warping.

 I managed to get three frames finished today and will do the other 3 tomorrow.
This section will have a twisty mountain pass.  Others will have caves and other items of interest.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Aftermath....

 The spring truncheon has come and gone and I've managed to survive yet another onslaught of hungry females.  My life can be so difficult.

 Here's a shot of the ringmaster of this circus of doom.
 and her rapt pupils as she discusses how to domesticate a husband.
 More picots of love ladies eating and

 I am amazed at the amount of food they put away.  Pure predators in every sense of the word.
Trapped in my office while they leave after getting their parting gifts.  Normally my desk is very messy but the "boss" made me clean it up.

The bill from the caterer can be seen in the lower center right of the picture.  Not only do I have to endure this event, I also get the privilege of paying for it.

There is no justice in the world.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Our Defenses are Prepared: but the Odds are Long

 This may be may last chance to report from the front - contact with the enemy is imminent and they have come in force.  Yes it's the time of year when my happy homestead is besieged by 50 or so twenty something students of my wife.  As with previous years we prepared a defense in depth with several defensive lines to stop the hungry marauders.

First up a crafty mix of salad and deli meats to slow down the raw recruits.  More seasoned veterans will likely bypass these for better pickings further on.

 Next they have to wade through a fruit and salad minefield.  Many an invader has been undone from a overdoes of berries.
 The main defensive line if a barrier of man-sized quiche - bacon (pictured), asparagus and assorted veggies versions.
 The quiche will be supported by sorts of fresh parties.
 Our commander in chief feverishly preparing her strategy....
and, our defense of last resort - the giant strawberry cake.  It's never failed us - yet.

Pray for me as battle is upon us.....