Monday, 27 November 2017

'Epic' buildings from Blotz.

Warfare was on this weekend and followed the usual pattern:
  First check out the ‘bring and buy’ for 6 mm or 10 mm figures.
2  Collect Pre-orders at Baccus, Commission Figurines and get bases from Minibits
 Walk around the show seeing what is new, and looking at demo and participation games for scenery/terrain ideas and new games.

This time I came across a trader I hadn’t seen before, Blotz, they had some beautiful well detailed buildings in 28 mm, 20 mm, 15 mm and 10 mm and did my eyes deceive me 6 mm!

I was impressed by their ‘Epic style’ 1920’s Mid-West collection, they certainly looked the part. I was encouraged to pick them up and discovered they were designed in stacks; base unit, middle block and top and they also sell all the items individually so you can add more middle units to vary the heights of the same building type or indeed swop the top to the damaged unit. You could even remove floors in game as the building received more hits changing the LOS.
So I bought 6 buildings and the 10 mm satellite dish which can be an objective and will look great on a 6 mm table.
There are also assembly instructions on the website and I certainly needed it for the satellite dish and the first building, subsequent buildings were newer and don’t yet have instruction, but having done one I understood the format.
I must say as I constructed them I was amazed at the level of detail both in design and in construction with facias that needed adding and recessed lobbies; I was constantly saying, Wow and ‘that’s clever’.
I will certainly be ordering some more buildings and extra floors; I suspect an order of £50 is in the making.

The sheets are cleanly lasered with facias to add depth and lobbied areas. In the disassembled picture, note the 'tangs' that allow the levels to lock together.

Not sure if the Cinema is 'right' for my war zones, but I bought it with the intention of converting to some kind of HQ/bunker.
PS, Gareth Beamish  commented on Facebook:
Got one of these buildings at Warfare too. They're excellent for making ruins photo here.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Hands Up! 2010 MAD game

Some time at the beginning of the year (2010) at our regular painting evenings one of the group announced a change of plan to our 'annual game, rather than the ACW scenario we were thinking of playing he informed us that we would be doing a Rapid Fire scenario he had found, we would do it in 20 mm.

I was informed, that we would need my conservatory so we could build the scenery there and it was suggested to Tallyho that he do some research on the subject.

I don't think he was prepared for our response to what he had delegated, our interest was piqued by this little known operation and we soon discovered there was far more to it than as suggested in the original scenario he had discovered. Unfortunately our desire to properly represent the thoughts and planning that had gone into 'Operation Chastity' and 'Operation Hands Up!' resulted in a parting of the ways as our good friend felt we had taken over his project.

As a result I found myself tasked with building a 10' x 5' gaming table. Previous to this I had only done small pieces of 28 mm terrain, Jungle scenery  and Industrial scenery, so I was a little disconcerted.

Tallyho spent a lot of time researching the island 'Belle Isle Sur mer, 'Le Palais 'and the projected landing areas. As a result he had printed off a 10'x6' tabletop map.
The image below is of the first trial practice game, you can see how the map alone began to shape the projected terrain.

After the trial game it became apparent that some changes needed to be made to the map and my argument to reduce it's width from 6' to 5' was accepted as we hadn't used the inland 12" strip, now as I had hoped it would fit in most hatchbacks. 

When we had first discussed the possibility of the game I had wanted 'the team' to consider some alternatives to the usual polystyrene boards

In part encouraged by Alcal's [of SoGGs] beautiful creations I had also wanted to incorporate some of the textured finishes I'd seen

For example, this from WW2 built for RAF pilots and navigators to recognise what terrain looks like from a great height.

Stunning work and so realistic, look at the shadows for example.

So I had to start thinking about materials not only to finish off the terrain, but also to build the boards.

Doing a little research I came across examples of people using felt, corduroy, towelling and carpet.

Previously we had used chipboard with a layer or two of polystyrene on top, with 'Artex' rendered on top to protect it.
From the site Terragenius

(How many times had I created a depression when gaming as an elbow or fist rested on those boards while measuring or moving a piece?)

Although I wanted something harder I also needed a serious 3rd look, I had cliffs to build, I considered both blue Foam and Kingspan.

I decided on Kingspan as it was the cheapest.

I discovered

1) It has two layers of glass fibre sheet reinforcement through it so gloves should be used, the good news is that this also creates two stratum lines in cliffs, Issues in other areas can be 'filled', it also makes a fantastic break line for you to create a new level area.

2) it is very resistant to vertical pressure but gives easily if you push sideways into it. This allows you to shape the material with your gloved fingers and use your gloved hand to 'sand/polish' the finish.

3) It also gives off an odour that probably shouldn't be breathed in, as well as a fine dust, non static and easily hoovered up, [warning clogs hoover quickly and probably also lungs so use a mask].

The following pictures show the sculpted board before I added the 'surface' features.

Next stage was to 'paint' this 3D canvass to look like these.

I wanted to ensure that the terrain was level with no attached buildings/projections so that it would be easier to pack/transport.

This would be made easier as the island is essentially a plateau with deep scrub and wood filled vallies.

I achieved texture by using cheap [ASDA] toweling, felt and corduroy, wall paper was used for cobbled streets and sea waves, oh and sand for the beach 😁 .

Some part finished and finished views, sorry about the 'yellow' picture, poor lighting.
 White areas still need painting or application of printed card, the fort still needs to be built.
Close up of the 'dock/port', town & fort bases are removable mdf inserts that hide the joins.
Finished lots more trees need to be pushed into place.

Thanks for reading this.

Credit to various suppliers for the buildings although Russ (aka Rusty Bullet) built the windmill and a number of other items whilst I built the Napoleonic fort. 

It is my intention to do a how I built it threads with pictures.

Building the board Not yet live
- Cautions beginnings
- Getting serious

Original post thread  -may be visible.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Giant Cactus 28 mm

An old one the idea dates back to 40k 4th edition with dangerous jungle plants

Using a polystyrene egg, I glued it onto a base using builders caulk, ('No Nails' melts the polystyrene).

Cocktail sticks are then pushed into the sides, and then cloves were pushed into the top for the flowers.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Early Imperial Romans Part 3

Finally in about 2016 I started playing Hail Caesar again.

Got a couple of games in and then a discussion started on basing.
As stated earlier we had been basing units on a 60 x 30mm base and command and artillery on a 30 mm square base. I think this was because the players were partly influenced by the way they'd based their Black Powder units and from the days they's played ancients before [Warmaster Ancients, DBA and rules older than that.]

A change was suggested so that:
  • The unit could be more of a diorama
  • More men per base to show heavy infantry as opposed to light archers for example
  • Different bases sizes in depth for Warbands and Cavalry.
  • New base sizes for small units.
The convention we decided upon was:
  • 80 x 40 mm - Infantry default
  • 80 x 50 mm - Cavalry units and Warbands
  • 40 x 40 mm - Small infantry units of infantry 
  • 40 x 50 mm - Small cavalry units
  • Round bases for command any of; 20 mm, 30 mm & 40 mm The smaller base commands a division, the larger is that of the CIC. 
This of course meant I had to rebase all my army, strangely enough this didn't quite put me in the panic mode you'd expect as I'd been shown an easier was to base than my current one. [I'll post later]
So blade and plasters to hand I set off. I did separate one skirmisher from his ankles, but plonked him in the new basing medium and after flocking I can't see who he is any more, although he is shorter. My finger healed in the usual time span.

I have chosen a rather dark base paint, but unless I change them all I'm stuck with it for this period.

Naturally I increased the number of units at the same time, 4 psiloi units were changed to Skirmishers with slings or Javelins and additional units acquired to give me more choice.

So my units went from this

to this:

In my opinion it looks more like a dynamic unit rather than a playing piece, but OFC each to his own.

Some of you will see the small dice on the base, this marks the current stamina level.

Most of the units available to my Early Imperial Army

12 Heavy Legionary units                                6 Medium auxilary units
2 Medium Archers                                           4 Scorpion Bolt throwers
2 Heavy Cavalry                                              2 Medium Cavalry
4 of many Light horse (small) units                10 Skirmishing units, javelins or slingers (small) units.
                                                                              I do have many more skirmishers and light horse.

Left wing

Medium and heavy cavalry, light horse, Archer, Auxila, bolt throwers and skirmishers javelin units and slinger units.


Romes' finest with skirmishing slingers and the command bases.

The larger size is the CIC, and generally I use the medium and smaller units.
The larger one is planned for a big battle 1.5k points. (A man can dream).

Right wing

Medium and heavy cavalry, light horse, Archer, Auxila, bolt throwers and skirmishing javelin units.

And that's where I am today, with 2 more medium cavalry undercoated.
Will post them when done.

Early Imperial Romans part 2

My First Hail Caesar! Army

It was bought in April 2011, the same year as HC came out.
You can now buy army packs specifically for Hail Caesar!
The units have been selected by Mr Priestley for Baccus and IMO are roughly about 500 points.

6 units of Legionaries (AIR1)
4 units of MI Auxiliary Infantry (AIR2)
2 units of LI Auxiliary Infantry (AIR2)
2 units of MC Auxiliary cavalry (AIR3)
2 units of MI Auxiliary Archers (AIR4)
2 small units of Sk Javelins (ACE3)
1 small unit of Sk Slings (ACE4)
1 small unit of LC Bows (APA1)
1 unit of Bolt Throwers (AIR5)
3 Commanders (AIR6)

Of course you will want to add to the army, probably add more of the same and other different units to reflect the way you play.
How you base, how many men per base all depends on the look you want .
Initially I was basing up for Warhammer Ancients.

A quick view of the Legion, unpacked and glued to a lollipop stick.

We all paint differently, but I try to use a small palette per army so all the units look like a cohesive whole. I also try to identify an element that makes the unit stand out, Cloak, Kontos or in this case shield.

A quick undercoat of black, remember to keep it thin, detail can get easily swamped with any undercoating, especially at this scale.

The Romans were easy for a lazy me.
Drybrush Boltgun, highlight with Mithril Silver, faces hands and calf flesh, hint don't try to apply paint to hands or face they way you might on a 28 mm model, just dab it on. paint skirts and shields red with brass boss, spears brown with metal tips

The centurion, Signifer, Cornicen and one legionnaire are a one four man strip which I positioned to the centre of the front rank. With white to the crest and brass/gold to the horn and signum.
The same pallet was used on all units and commands. Initially I mounted the Legionnaire two deep the same as the Auxila, but decided they needed to look heavier and went for three deep so had to recruit more from Mr Berry.

A Legion and a command base.

Four  Auxila below


Two bases of 9 medium CavalryAuxila

4 Bolt thrower bases

Psiloi / Skirmishers


The Army.

We played some games and then butterfly like moved to other eras and games.

I knew I would come back, I'd already purchased a Dacian Army to fight the Romans I didn't realise how long it would be.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Early Imperial Romans part 1

Then 6 years ago.

Never ever loiter near Pete Berry, especially if his alter ego, my mate Trev is also there. They said nothing one merely took my money the other smiled. Mind you I say merely, the machine refused to accept my plastic, but I was foolishly determined and handed over cash instead and then paid extra for bases.

I'd always wanted to play big Roman armies, that's why some years ago I’d bought three 15 mm DBA Roman armies, Republic, Imperial and Italian Ostrogoth, the plan was to play DBM as well. I also think 15 mm and 6 mm are very much the scales for large battles. Although I've hesitated to go down the 6 mm route as I feared I wouldn't be able to see much to paint, but I've been sitting next to 6 mm players and listening to too much 6 mm prattle as well as reading similarly themed threads on my club’s forum.
That Friday game before Salute between Chris McGill and his friend again showed the advantage of a large 6 mm game, two games played in one evening and so little to pack away afterwards.

So Off to Salute 2011 to buy 20mm DAK, I should have known it was a mistake to loiter near Baccus, it had already been a day of 180 degree change arounds.

I'd never intended to go to Salute that year and hadn’t decided to buy a new army never mind a 6mm Roman one but a Roman army pack was now nestled next to my 20 mm DAK.


It was a decision I’ve never regretted. Sure it took a while to understand how to paint 6mm, but once I’d stopped trying to paint a 28 mm model and accepted I was painting a 6 mm unit it became easier. Yes I know some can do wonderful jobs, but to be honest I don’t care. I paint so I can play.
The advantages are real
Cost of an army circa £60-100, that’s for all the units you could ever really need, of course you will expand on that but the price of an extra unit is less than the price of a couple of extra 28 mm men, a true economy of scale.
Storage space, I can get three 500 point Hail Caesar armies plus variants in one 9 ltr Really useful box. Another box will carry all the scenery and terrain I need a third the dice cloth and rule books.
One trip to the car, less setup time, no movement trays, more play and beer/coffee time;  I could go on.
However the overwhelming reason for me to play in 6mm is my desire to play big battles. I always preferred the skirmish of 40K or WHFB in 28mm but for that massive battle I would drop down to Epic or Warmaster.

My unit of 48 Roman legionnaires has a foot print of 80 mm by 40 mm, how big is yours?
In my 500 point army I field 10 of those plus 3 units of 6 skirmishers (40 x 40 mm) plus two units of 9 Medium cavalry (80 x 50 mm) and two units of 24 medium archers (80 x 40 mm).

These all line up outside of bow or indeed Light artillery range, with plenty of space to then manoeuvre and wheel on a 6’ x 4’ table.

Were you to field your 28 mm models 480 Legionaries, 48 archers, 18 skirmishers and 18 cavalry on that size table, all you could do is charge forwards and shoot. That’s not the sort of battle I want to play, in my opinion it is a large skirmish.

The picture above was taken in Feb 2012, at the time I was basing on 60x30mm or 30x30mm as this was my club's standard. More on why I changed in part 3

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Chaos Altar (Jungle trees) 28 mm

So what to do with the ball at the centre of the aquatic moss ball or indeed the spikes from the same ball?

Sometimes you just see potential in a piece of scrap add two stones, place the spikes correctly then thread your pentagon in place.

The prayer flags are just strips of paper printed with gobbledygook, reduced in size and then cut out, ink washed and then cut at the bottom to look frayed.

There were some interesting cracks in the stones, a little red paint in them and we are oozing blood.

Jungle terrain

Some years ago I decided to create some scenery for 40k, we are talking 3rd-4th edition.
At the time the rules on LOS were more liberally understood the area of terrain was considered to be the jungle edge and you could only see 2" in, anything beyond that or behind the scenery base was out of LOS. Later versions of 40k played if you could see it you could shoot it. Scenery therefore had to be more substantial if you wanted it to block LOS.

After a hiatus in gaming of two years I came back to my scenery and found it has been mouse chewed and soiled. (it had been stored in an outdoor shed) apparently there was no room in the house.

The original layout had been three pieces of terrain that worked individually or could be grouped to make one large piece. I'd done this by cutting the bases out of a single piece of 6mm mdf using a jigsaw.

No the picture isn't washed out, but the flock had come off  and it looked tired. In addition I had learnt new skills. So it was time for a full refurbishment.

When I first created them the supply of scenery items was from a florist supplier, this warehouse had occasional sales and I accessed my materials there.

I've since discovered plastic aquarium plants, although one of their biggest faults is a lack of height, However I worked out a way to get height, I also used plastic xmas tree branches.

Using a painting brush I removed the dust and debris, cleaned it up best I could. I then applied PVA where I wanted rough stone areas and then sprayed black undercoat over the entire model to sterilize it. Dry brushed the stones with two shades of grey in two stages, then applied PVA and flocked those 'grass' areas I wanted.

The aquatic plants usually come attached to a mat, a ball or individually based on 'stones'. I avoid the individual pieces as they are more expensive. If you look closely you can see the plastic is assembled using small spikes onto which the individual elements are pushed, I gently pull these apart with the intent to reassemble the elements onto a kebab stick or dowel.

First I drill a hole into the base where I want the 'tree/bush' cut a length of kebab stick and glue it in the hole if you get the drill size right it's a tight fit, a quick wash of brown for the dowel and then I push on the plant material, adding further pieces separating them as I see fit to produce my tree.

By using different plants you can produce quite a variety.

In some instance the dowel mab no more than 10mm high in others 60 mm.

Sometimes the elements break off or like the xmas tree elements have no hole to thread so I drill holes to size and glue in with PVA or 'No Nails'.

The stone slabs in the picture are simple squares cut from a cereal box.

If you do enough you can create quite an interestingly terrained tabletop. Of course it's up to you to decide if LOS is stopped by terrain pieces or not, but with enough as shown below, you can use actual LOS

'Epic' buildings from Blotz.

Warfare was on this weekend and followed the usual pattern: 1     First check out the ‘bring and buy’ for 6 mm or 10 mm figures. 2   Co...