Monday 29 February 2016

Saurian Teaser

I hope by the time you read this I am not being savaged by a cold. I had last week off work, which was very helpful in getting Dad's present finished. Naturally, having to that point avoided the deadly cold which had been slaying (well, inconveniencing) people in this locale since just before Christmas, I succumbed. Anyway, today's teaser is much less tantalising than the last one: dinosaurs!

Thursday 25 February 2016

Brown Teaser Explained!

So what was I playing at by posting a picture of a brown car on a brown board? I was making a model railway for my Dad's birthday. I'm too technologically inept to have worked out how on Earth to wire it up properly, though I spent several hours in failed attempts, reading online tutorials and watching a few Youtube videos. It all seemed perfectly simple. It wasn't. The construction was much easier. I made an initial error by applying green grass onto bare brown-painted board, and expecting it to look like grass, but after that everything went swimmingly. The board is deliberately a hodgepodge of different elements. There are some plastic buildings from Granddad's old layout in Stockport, a few buildings I've assembled and painted just for this, several card structures that I ransacked Dad's old layout for, and figures I've painted recently with acrylics, and ones painted in the 1960s with Humbrol. In short, a mixture of wargaming and model railway terrain, miniatures, kits and paints was employed.

He used to have a huge layout that took up most of the attic. Several years ago he removed it to transfer a large quantity of books onto shelves up there, and subsequently I carved out a little wargaming empire, too. I deliberately set up the tunnel to hide the disappearance of the track, that way, if he chooses, we can expand the board with another 4' by 4' section. Anyway, that is what I was up to. He seems pleased with it, and we're all happy I managed to keep it under my hat! Enjoy the pictures. A couple show the construction process in the attic, and then its current location downstairs.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Terrain Tutorial: Mausoleum - Part 2

I'm having the week off work. Usually, this would allow me to get a lot done. However, I accurately predicted that the cold which has lain low friends and family (and perfect strangers) for weeks on end would get me. Luckily for you, I finished the Mausoleum several days ago.

In case you missed the first half, it's here. As before, the pictures here are labelled 1-2, so even if Blogger decides to hide or lose them, you should be able to follow the narrative. I seem to have forgotten to photograph the work on the doors, but they are easy to describe. I cut a rectangle of 1mm thick plasticard, and cut a rectangle out from it, leaving a lip of 5mm. Inside I placed some balsa, trimmed to size, and scribed it to make it seem like a double door. I inserted those brass pins you used to find securing collections of papers in aeons gone by. I ought to have paid closer attention, as I later realised they were not symmetrical. Oops.

Right, next I got to work on making a pediment for the tomb. To be on the safe side, I cut some paper templates first, and then, having decided they were the right size, duplicated them in plasticard. I used 2mm thick plasticard for the triangular structure. You can see the measurements (in millimeters) marked on the pieces in Pics. 1-3. I used small bits of Lego as internal supports to ensure sturdy right angles. The Lego was secured with superglue, the plasticard with polystyrene cement.

I'd decided the pillars needed a little something at the bottom, so I cut out small square bases for them from balsa, gluing the bases to the original balsa, then the columns to them and the face of the building, framing the doorway. I cut the handle off the reverse of a Lego shield, and added it in the middle of the pediment to break up the empty space. Pics. 4-5.

I applied dilute filler over most of the building (not the doors) to give some surface texture, then undercoated it all in blue. I would continue to use small bit of blue in the painting to suggest cold. This was mentioned in the original magazine article that inspired me to make this piece. Then I applied a layer of blue-grey. Pics. 6-8. When I came to detail the stonework, I discovered that my filling and painting had rendered nearly invisible the delineations between bricks and slabs, and so used some blue ink to reverse that. The doors got a reddish brown, and a couple of coats of washes, while the brass elements had brass, green washes and gold drybrushes. I painted the ground dark brown, and added a few patches of grass, as though plants were just starting to recolonise the lost city after the thaw. Pics. 9-12. A Great War Miniatures British officer is present for scale. I hope you found this tutorial useful.

Monday 22 February 2016

Brown Teaser

A big brown board with a little brown model car. What does this mean? All will be revealed in a few days.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Terrain Tutorial: Mausoleum - Part 1

Tools and Equipment:
Balsa wood
Something to use as a base - part of my bed needed replacing last year, so I have some wood left over from the damaged portion
Decorative bits and bobs
EVA foam (I ordered mine from Amazon, though have since found it in a store called Hobbycraft)
Cylinders suitable for use as columns (I used the plastic innards of the rolls of paper used in credit card machines)
Balsa wood
Assorted glues (PVA, superglue, EVO-stik)
Stanley Knife or other sharp blade
Ruler(s) - preferably steel so you won't slice through it/them by mistake
Half a large Christmas bauble or hemisphere of some other kind
Decorative wood
A Lego shield

Introductory note: Blogger does a wonderful job of rearranging pictures and sometimes even removing them. For your convenience I have numbered the attached pictures 1-11, so even if they go astray or end up back to front, you can tell which one I mean.

First, lay out your base and make sure you have plenty of room for your building. I wanted to allow a large enough lip around mine for models to stand on. I also wanted to make it large enough to have a distinct presence on the tabletop. My base was about 10" (25cm) square, so I decided to make the building about 7" (17.8cm) on each side. That's an approximate measurement because I had some offcuts of decorative wooden stuff from B&Q (from about 15 years back, but which is still available as of my last visit there last week), which I fancied would look good on the sides.

Second, cut out your foamcard. I ran a little short during this phase, and ended up making some of the front of the building from balsa wood. Plan ahead so this doesn't happen to you! I made it 3" tall so it would loom over most models. Having made the essential box shape of the building, I started work on the one side without the wood, the front. I want ed some nice columns here, flanking the door, and a pediment for them to stand on. I measured carefully to ensure they would be symmetrical. Figs. 1-3.

Having done that I wanted to get a good visual notion in my head of the shape of the finished building, so upended a handy empty box of tissues, and popped the hemisphere atop it, balancing the "columns" in place on their pediments. Figs. 4-6. Pleased that the image confirmed my mental image, I continued, boxing the building in with balsa, and placing an EVA foam layer above that. Figs. 7-8. I had heard of EVA foam as a great thing to use for paving and so on, and so it proved. Though the paint did tend to fill in the scribed marks I made with a pencil to resemble flagstones and cracks. I dealt with that by applying a diluted wash, but we shall come to that later.

I wanted the option for figures to manoeuvre around the roof of the building, so ensured an inch (25mm) between the edge of the building and another walled section 1.5" (38mm) in height. Having run out of foamcard at this point, I created a box from balsa (not the best of materials for this, as it kept wanting to fall down as I glued the EVA to it later). Over the course of a few days (owing to the fragility of the balsa) I glued the EVA to the wood in stages, one flat side at a time. I used a vice to do this, and because it would have marked the foam, I folded up a sheet of A4 paper on either side of the vice, preventing it from doing so. Then I blocked in the roof with cardboard, and applied the dome to the top of the roof. Figs. 9-11.

Stay tuned for Part II next Wednesday!

Monday 15 February 2016

Village Teaser

I had a turn of good fortune on Friday. The little shop I work at had some old decorative bits sitting about doing nothing, and my boss kindly told me I could take them away. They're about five foot by 9.5" of 5mm foamcard. So here's a frenzy of construction for you, all accomplished after work on Friday with the aid of caffeine. I have begun work on a little collection of dwellings suitable for colonial/SF gaming. The wee officer just about visible is a Great War 28mm BEF officer. Tutorial to come in due time.

Monday 8 February 2016

Tyrannosaur Teaser

I'm not just working on terrain these days, although that is consuming much of my time. I am also doing some painting of models, I promise. Here's a teaser of a Tyrannosaur that I am basing and tidying up.

Monday 1 February 2016

Tower Teaser

To go with the mausoleum I am working on for Frostgrave, I thought I'd also build a tower for folk to shoot at enemies from. It may also end up being used for various other periods. It's a fair old height, as you can see by the WWI BEF officer standing atop it. Again, stand by for a tutorial in all good time.

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