Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ruined Tower

I am so impressed with the moulds from Hirst Arts. If you haven't used them I strongly suggest investing in a few! Here are a few images of my first major project using the fieldstone moulds. When you consider that it is a long time since I last used plaster of paris I think it turned out rather nicely.

Toxic Waste

In the process of basing a few bits of pipe terrain it became obvious that a toxic waste pool was required. Initially I was tempted to get one of the proper pour-it-out-water-scenery offerings but, partly because I didn't want to spend money and partly because I couldn't be bothered to go to the shops, I thought I'd try just using PVA glue.

But I ran out...

So instead I hunted around the garage for a suitable alternative and came up with some UniBond wood glue. It's fairly thick stuff so I didn't end up with it pouring through all the unfilled gaps at the bottom of the pool. Also it dries a really nasty yellow! To be honest it looks like toxic waste even without painting.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Ork Horde

Alex has been beavering away painting his first ever group of Orks. To be honest I've been heavily impressed by just how much time he has been able to spend patiently painting away. When you take in to account the fact that he has never done this before, the results are quite impressive.

Not too shabby I reckon. I'd better get painting some more figures if I'm to fight off that lot!

Space Marines Unit

Finally finished my first figure painting project in years (having children will do that to you). These are from the Black Reach set - still got to finish the terminators, commander and dreadnought!

Terrain Project Part 3 - Finishing Touches

And by finishing touches I basically mean lots of glue and flock! I keep telling my son that there's nothing you can't do with PVA glue. So far he doesn't seem convinced, but we have yet to come a cropper when using it. If it doesn't stick, then that's just because you didn't use enough PVA glue!

Anyhow, here are a few images of the finished game board. The hills were fixed to the board with loads of PVA and then the whole thing was flocked with a couple of bags of woodland scenic's turf - one bag of green blend and one earth blend (again, stuck down with a suitable quantity of PVA glue.

As can be seen from the last image I used some gravel to represent the rocky cliffs. That needed a lot of PVA, plus regular coats of PVA afterwards to make sure they were stuck fast. I ended up pouring small amounts of PVA over the stones over a couple of days to get them to stick properly. Also I sprayed a coat of watered-down PVA over all of the flock after a couple of hours just to bond it to the board a bit better.

Finally, and after everything had dried, I sprayed each of the boards with varnish (satin in this case) for an added layer of protection.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Terrain Project Part 2 – Adding the Hill

Now, any good terrain just has to have hills and just like the Games Workshop Realm of Battle Gameboard we wanted them as well! Taking the same modular approach we also decided on having one big hill spread across 4 of the board squares and the material of choice just had to be polystyrene. To be honest, that's mainly because I couldn't get any foam-board!

Polystyrene is fairly difficult to work on without a hot wire cutter, as well as being really messy. I don't have a hot wire cutter (and yes, I did go out and try to buy one!) but I do have an old, cheap soldering iron. It's one of those soldering irons that uses a metal loop between two points on the hand grip and an electrical current passes through the wire to generate the heat. By stripping a length of electrical cable to get at the copper wire and replacing the original soldering iron element with my new, really long one I had a makeshift wire cutter! What's more, it actually worked (you can see it in the first image).

The rest was pretty much plain sailing and I happily carved out a hill:

That's about it for now, though there is still the problem of carving that hill in to four pieces, one for each section of the base. As you can see, we created a nicely sloping section to the hill and topped it with a much more steep inclined section - ideal for gun emplacements to hang out on!

Terrain Project Part 1 - Creating the Game Board

We finally got around to starting our terrain project this weekend. The intention was to create something modular, a bit like the Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard, only for a fraction of the cost. After checking out quite a few blogs we decided to go with MDF as the basis for our designs. A quick trip to B&Q found large MDF sheet which was about 8 feet by 2 feet. Unlike a lot of places B&Q will happily cut MDF for you (up to 4 free cuts!) and moments later we had 8 'nearly' squares of MDF.

Once home I took to sizing them up. To have a truly modular board that we could have in any configuration I realised that each square would have to be just that - square. By measuring each board to find the smallest dimensions amongst them I decided that 600mm squares would be possible with a bit of planing. I'll be honest, I'm no carpenter and I did expect this to all go horribly wrong leaving me with a load of scrap MDF. Luckily I remembered the electric planer that I bought a couple of years ago to do one door in the house. I know that one small and simple job is a really ridiculous reason to buy a new electrical tool but I was glad I'd done it now. Besides, can you imagine what a mess I might have made of the door if I'd used a manual plane?

Some careful measuring and planing left me with 8 600mm squares of MDF. Well, nearly. I'd say that they were within about 0.5mm. I considered that a great success and continued on...

Fixing them together was going to be the hard bit. The Games Workshop board comes with lots of clips to attach the bases neatly, but that was unlikely to be an option here. I had noticed one blogger (the link to which I have since lost) attached them using dowel rods and this seemed like a reasonable idea.

Unfortunately this requires very accurate drilling along every edge and again I thought this could be the undoing of the entire project. But after the success of the square-cutting I thought I'd give it a go anyway. Ever the sensible person I decided to create a template for cutting the holes to at least make it easier to get them in the same place on each board. I really didn't fancy having to measure and mark every hole before drilling either.

After being careful to drill the pilot holes using the template on the same face of each board (to make sure the holes match as well as they can) I drilled 9mm holes to fit some 9mm dowelling pegs I had cut up. A quick test showed that, perhaps surprisingly, the boards did actually match up using the dowel pegs to keep them in position. Admittedly the joins were a little tight and sometimes needed a little 'persuasion' to push the boards close enough to prevent gaps, but after a few fits the holes seemed to loosen a little and it became easier to push them together. Another result for amateur carpentry!

The final task of the day was to get a bit of colour on them. For the sake of simplicity we just sprayed them brown. I'm hopeful that the later flocking will mean the mottled colouration won't be visible and it should also help hide the joins in the board.