Posts Tagged 'miniature'



Papercraft Build – Undersea Kingdom

Squirmydad (Mayhem in Paper)across on the cardboard warrior forum designed a paper version of the Juggernaut from the Undersea Kingdom TV show/series. Right about now I can see most people scratching their heads as I was. Basically it was a 1936 TV series put together to compete against Flash Gordon. It’s not what you would call a high budget series. However when I saw some of the pictures that Squirmydad posted from the series, it tugged at my nostalgia bone in particular the Volkites (large robot guys) . I suspect they remind me of the monsters from the early Doctor Who episodes I used to watch as a kid, you know the high budget monsters from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Doctors stint in the TARDIS.

Volkite Upclose

Squirmydad was almost finished the model so I thought I’d try my hand at drawing some Volkites. As Squirmydad was almost finished the Juggernaut I drew and finished these fast. These are the quickest I’ve ever completed some paper mini’s basically from scribbling on the page to 5 finished mini’s was about 3 maybe 4 days. I did use every trick I could think of such as mirroring bits and reusing as much as possible. I was pretty happy with the results although I did fall into my usual bad habits drawing them but still learnt a lot. The one mistake I did make which made it to the final versions available is that the fold line on the tabs is about 1/64 (1/2mm) to high so you’ll need to score just below the line not on it (I must have bumped the line at some point).

Juggernaut with Volkites in foreground

Squirmydad did an excellent job on the Undersea Kingdom Juggernaut, considering the flimsy reference pictures available I think he has nailed the vehicle almost perfectly. The model is very easy to build, I assembled it in one afternoon and it has that classic Sci-fi retro feel. Squirmydad has also done a set of Robo/Silhouete SD GSD files so for those who own one of those cutters the model is even easier to build. There is a full sheet of clear instructions as well, although for the most part the model goes together easily enough and I only checked the instructions twice.

Juggernaut by Squirmydad – Mayhem in Paper

I managed to finish up 5 Volkites, 4 with guns and 1 with just traditional claws. Now I’m not entirely sure I got the colouring right as the show was in black and white but I coloured the models to give them that retro sci-fi feel without going to over the top. I then didn’t do my normal trick of procrastinating over the small imperfections and simply wrapped them up and called them done.

Volkites ready to Invade

Lastly a picture with the Volkites around their Juggernaut vehicle. Now the observant of you will note that the Volkites cant actually enter their vehicle,  being to tall. Interestingly if you look at the original shots of the Juggernaut and the Volkites from the TV series you’ll notice that in the show they likewise couldn’t physically fit in the Juggernaut. So I think somehow Squirmydad and I got the scaling spot on and as with all good 1930’s sci-fi you’ll have to get inventive with your scene cutting 🙂

Volkites and Juggernaut

Squirmydad had one last piece of fun with the models and did a quick 1930’s inspired movie poster of the Juggernaut and Volkites.

If you’d like a copy of the models you can grab them from the Mayhem in Paper website:

Link to Mayhem in Paper Freebies Section

Link to Juggernaut and Volkite Zip

Hope you have fun terrorizing your 1930’s sci-fi pulp hero’s 🙂

Trying out Axles and Alloys

Over the weekend myself and a number of friends got together to give Axles and Alloys II a try. The get together was  a little impromptu so I had to throw some terrain together the night before, basically just some polystyrene covered with sand and quickly spray painted red/brown.

For the game itself I modified the rules slightly so we could use a bunch of micro machine cars (about n scale/15mm). Although it doesn’t quite have the impact on the table it did make the game much easier to transport. For using the micro machine cars I used the tried and true method of converting inchs to cm and it seemed to work out well with the rules still holding together very well. The board we played on was only about 45cm x 75 cm ( 1.5 x 2.5 feet) and it did get a little crowded with 7 players, but this just meant more mayhem. I wrote up some quick vehicle cards and for each game we shuffled and dealt the cards out so no-one had the same car twice.

We played a total of two games with basic race to the finish goal. The first game resulted in all player vehicles being out of commission by the end of the 5th turn, except one. This was mostly caused by the figure 8 track design and a rather cramped first turn which resulted in much ramming, weapons fire and collisions with terrain as skids and drifts were misjudged, also a lack of anyone using the brake pedal didn’t help 🙂 :

The above photo was taken just after the second turn at this point the Orange and Green cars driver had been killed after a wicked burst of MG fire from the rear by the blue car. The blue car had been savagely rammed by both the yellow 4×4 and orange and green car in the 1st turn. As you can see even though it was our first game a mountain of mines and spikes had already been dropped.

Similar time as the above shot but you can see the field was fairly well spread out the purple dragster in the middle went on to win the game.

This was near the end of the game, the yellow 4×4 slide into the towering rock cluster after I misjudged drift. The two blue cars ended up ramming each other and then getting out of control and colliding with each other a second time. We were unsure if this meant another ram but we played it that way and it destroyed both cars, one due to driver death. You can just see the purple dragster in the background heading of to win the race.

Final positions of everyone at the end of game 1, the lime green car on the right edge had tried a massive drift circle and had been planning to try and cut off, then ram to death the purple dragster but came unstuck on some rocks. This left the purple dragster as the last car alive.

For the second game we changed the board layout so it was a simple Horseshoe track with 1 lap to win. This seemed to help with 4 cars still surviving when one crossed the finish line.

Cars lined up at the blue start finish line for race 2. Three cars are obscured by the terrain in the lower left of the shot.

Just after the 1st turn with a few cars having moved for their second, two cars used the ramp suffering a little damage but it was a heap of fun for the players and to watch.

This was at the top turn, once again the purple dragster was in the lead. Just after the purple dragster passed around the turn, there were 2 head on collisions which knocked out a couple of cars. The purple dragster itself was rammed head on to try and knock it out and slow it down but unfortunately it didn’t quite work and the purple dragster once again went on to win.

As part of the setup one piece of terrain had a hole in it and we designated the leading edge a ramp, so a car could fly up the ramp and jump out the hole. The purple dragster did this but due to the ramming damage incurred and then hitting the ramp to fast was almost destroyed on landing. The dragster crossed the line with 2 damage box’s remaining.

Much fun was had by all over the two games and the rules themselves are written very well, we only had a couple of minor spots were we weren’t quiet sure what the rules should work, but we simply worked something out. Due to the success of the game I plan on mounting the micro machines to bases permanently and giving them a quick coat of paint. As a group we are more likely to do pickup one off games and so to randomize the vehicles a little more we may put in place some form of random weapon assignment mechanism. The only other minor change we might make is to double the weapon damage we found ramming was much more deadly than weapons and want to encourage weapon use a little more.

If your looking for a fun car game, which doesn’t take itself to seriously give Axles and Alloys II a try, for the price (free) I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Have Fun 🙂

UFO MK I – Papercraft

I’ve spent the past 2-3 weeks working on finishing a papercraft UFO, primarily to use with Okumarts retro aliens. The UFO itself is reasonably small (75mm/3inches across), this does mean some of the parts are quiet difficult to build due to the size of the parts. The Guns are the most fiddly followed by the canopy and then the rest of the UFO. I will warn that this is not an easy model to assemble and you will need at least 2 hours to cut and assemble the clear canopy version, the first time you make it. I have also included a solid coloured canopy if you don’t want all the internal detail

Quick Download Links
UFO Mk1 Final – PDF (25mb)
Instructions UFO Mk1 (5mb)
UFO Mark One Studio  (rename extension to “.studio” after download)

I designed the base UFO in sketchup and ran through several different designs before settling on an Octogon as the bases for the UFO.

For each of the initial designs I also built a rough version in plain white card to see how hard the design was to build. I added some small plastic beads to the below gun ends to help give them that more retro laser/gun look similar to how Okumarts drew his weapons.

To try and make the instructions a little clearer after I’d flattened the model and textured it. I laid the texture over the top of the sketchup model and created some renders for use in the instructions. Below are some renders I made up for the instructions, you can see the rest in the instructions :). I learnt a lot about what not to do when trying to texture a model in Skechup and will be much more careful with the layout of any future models.

As far as texturing goes it was fairly standard GIMP work, I did add two base  texture types a sort of brushed metal look and a more enamel paint look. I put in a large number of colour options as not all the colours worked with both texturing looks, plus I’ve learn’t to keep my texture and colour layers seperate so that adding a new colour is just a matter of duplicate existing layer and flood fill. I also split the base and cockpit out so you can have a coloured top, a metal coloured base and then if you like a different coloured metal texture for the inside of the cockpit. I added a few other customizable bits such as; different insignia, different light colours, several different engine globe colours and two different clear canopy designs (see final picture (type two) and test build (type one)) . There is a studio cut file for the model (use the new Studio Designer to open), I included both an SD and Cameo layer for cutting, the SD is the default layer so if your cutting on the new Cameo don’t forget to turn on the correct layer before printing (if anyone does use a Cameo to cut the file let me know if it works :)). I have hand cut and cut with the Silhouette SD and due to the size and scale of some parts on the UFO if you can afford the time I’d definitely recommend hand cutting as the human hand and eye are still more accurate than the SD, with the small parts on the UFO even a small mis-alignment during cutting can cause problems during assembly of the UFO.

Newspaper Mockup: City Scape by Barive, Text inspired by H.G.Wells War of the Worlds

I actually had a lot of fun putting this model together, with both the dragonfly and dunebuggy I used a lot of time up learning how to best lay the files out etc which meant a bundle of re-work for both. Although still a lot of work the UFO seemed to flow much better and I knew what to do to help speed up certain steps and what to expect in regards to amount of work at each step. A rough breakdown of time is about a 1/3 on the mesh, 1/3 on texturing/layout and 1/3 on instructions.

I’m off to build a few more UFO’s so that my retro aliens can face of against the terra force marines and at least have some chance of competing against the Dunebuggy and Dragonfly. Hope you enjoy the model :).

UFO Mk1 Final – PDF (25mb)

Instructions UFO Mk1 (5mb)

UFO Mark One Studio  (rename extension to “.studio” after download)

Flight stand from Dragonfly

How to Base Paper Miniatures

I’ve been meaning to do a post on how to base paper miniatures, which includes some of the various types of paper miniature basing you can do. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of basing so there is no right or wrong way to base. Most of the various base idea’s below come from the cardboard warrior forums, so feel free to head over and browse through the gallery to see what others have done. Depending on the type of basing you decide on you’ll need to grab some of Onemonks standard bases or I’ve made up a plain base template as a layered PDF (30mb) which includes Onemonks basic textures. Additionally I’ve  included the raw shape png’s at the end of this post so you can overlay them on any texture you like from anyone, sorry no cut files yet.

First you’ll need to choose a base shape. This initially would seem easy to do and if you only game using one set of rules just use whatever they recommend. If however you jump around between rulesets/RPG’s/Wargamming it gets slightly more difficult to pick a shape. If your using one of the removable base types below you can just make different base sets for each rule sets you use although if you have 2-3 armies making all those bases can get tiring. For myself after much deliberation I settled on Octagons, there are several reasons why I choose Octagons:

  1. Most RPG’s don’t care what base’s you use but by some sort of weird default convention most stuff to be used for RPG’s ends up on round bases. Round bases do have their advantages in that you don’t snag base corners on things and they aren’t as easily damaged. Octagons provide a similar level of protection not quiet as good as a circle but very close.
  2. Most War games (fantasy) like you to rank your troops up into units and use movement trays, normally specifying a square base so troops and units fit tightly into a movement tray. Octagon bases can also be ranked up quiet effectively in movement trays.
  3. Some war gaming rules have the concept of facing and it can be quiet important which way your unit is facing. The facing rules can be based on a Hexagon or Octagon. By using the trusty Octagon you can cover facing very easily and disregard two sides if you need to very easily.
  4. There easy to cut out compared to circles 🙂 .

In the end pick the shape that works for you, for me that’s Octagons but if you want heart shaped bases go for your life :). With some of the below base types if you use black foam core you can save yourself a significant amount edging.

My Current Bases

I’ll cover my current basing method first. I use a modification of the slotted Foam board base (see below) and something Afet posted about here. I bought a sheet of 2/3mm Depron, Depron is used in RC plane construction and is pretty much available everywhere (okay I know the US/UK and AUS can get hold of it very easily).

I find these bases are slightly thinner than a 5mm foam core base below and don’t look quiet so odd on the table next to regularly based metal mini’s but provide plenty of stability for the paper mini’s. The mini’s don’t slip out easily during game play and I can remove the mini’s to store them flat at the end of a game so they take up less space. It also gives the illusion of flat basing which I prefer with my miniatures. There are a couple of draw backs: It takes slightly longer to make each base than the stock foam block method. I have to shorten the black base tabs a little bit on each miniature which again uses up time. Eventually the bases take on a permanent bend and wont grip the miniature as well (this takes a lot of use). Below I’ve documented the process for making these bases:

First up Print and Cutout a base of the required size.

Glue the above base to a piece of 2/3mm Depron/Foamboard

Cut around the hexagon and cut the base in half (or just off center if your going to rank troops) and colour all white edges to black using a thick black marker

Stick the two halves back down onto some thin magnetic sheet ( I use the cheap fridge magnet stuff on ebay), Insert a single piece of card between the two halves as you stick them down to make a slight gap.

Trim the magnet to size and the base is ready to use.

When I make bases for larger paper miniatures I do tend to mount them on thicker bases as they look less out of scale.

Flat Slide Bases (Reivaj bases)

Full credit goes to Reivaj for coming up with this basing method. I’m torn at the moment between using my basing method above or slowly moving my miniatures across to this basing method.

This basing method  provides you with a removable bases, the bases are not to thick so your mini’s don’t have a mounted to a plinth look, they are only slightly more difficult to make than my modified foam block bases above and the miniatures once mounted are near impossible to pull out of the base. They do however have a couple of draw backs: When you make your paper miniatures you have to be careful not to glue the black base tabs together so you can bend them outwards later on, sliding the miniatures into the bases can be a little fiddly and if your not careful you can damage the the base (bend it to much) or the miniature (burr over the tabs).

First up print and cut out a standard One Monk base of the required size.

Trim off the square end tabs as they are not required.

Flip over the base and glue some strips/pieces of cardboard inside the base (black spacers in the below image, I’ve been using doubled up 190GSM card to create the spacers), trim to size and edge.

Fold over and glue the top to the bottom

When Gluing your miniatures up make sure you Don’t glue the black tabs as you need to bend those out left and right.

(You can strength the black tabs with a little sticky tape)

Base all finished. When sliding miniatures in and out bend the base upwards slightly.

As an addition I’ve been  sticking  a thin piece of magnetic sheet to the bottom of these bases to add a little extra weight/strength.


Slotted Foam Block Bases

I’m not sure who came up with this basing method but I’ve seen several users on the cardboard warrior forums using this technique . The advantage of these bases is that they are very quick and easy to make. However they are not without their drawbacks. I have had some problems pushing miniatures into the base slots and removing them which can damage the miniatures base tab, if you use standard 5mm foam core for the bases they are also very chunky. I tend to only use these bases in a pinch eg I’ve run out and need to mount some more mini’s for a game I’ll quickly cut some squares  from black foam board and wont worry about adding a ground texture.

First up Print and Cutout a base of the required size. I tend to find with these bases I need one size bigger than I would normally use for the miniature.

Glue the above base to a piece of foam board

Trim the foam board back to the base shape and cut a groove. I use a small steel ruler to help work the groove slightly bigger.

The base is all finished and ready for use

Onemonk Standard Bases

These are the standard Onemonk bases you can download. There are over 50 pre-made bases and textures available in multiple manufacturers textures. These are easy and fairly quick to make. I have found overtime with use that the tab on the base that holds the miniatures slowly loses it’s grippyness, this tends to occur more quickly than with the other base types. You can fix this issue by simply using a short bobby pin or if you prefer permanently gluing your miniature into the base. This of course then removes some of the advantages of paper miniatures as you will no longer be able to store them flat. I’ve included how I assemble them below as it’s slightly different to the PDF guide located here.

First up print and cut out a standard One Monk base of the required size and score along the indicated score lines.

Flip the base over and using a black  marker blacken the end tabs and a strip down the middle of the base

Simply glue the top to the bottom and edge with a black marker

The base is now ready to use

Permanent Flat Bases

With all the options above I no longer use flat basing as a basing method. Although it looks good it removes one of the key benefits of paper miniatures for me and that’s the ability to store a lot of miniatures in a small space. Saying that it is impossible to remove a miniature from a base short of ripping it off so during gaming they are very durable.

First up Print and Cutout a base of the required size.

Glue the base to your preferred basing material and edge. I’ve used magnetic sheet, Matt board and plain cardboard in the past.

Simply cut the black tab off your miniature and glue it to the base using PVA or super glue

Going All Out

There are some really nice based paper skeleton miniatures across on the cardboard warrior forums, although not removable from the bases they look out standing. Using the above bases as a start there is no reason you can’t use more traditional basing materials to really make your miniatures and bases pop. Although fairly labour intensive to make for a whole army, for special miniatures like Hero’s or PC’s these bases really help to make special characters stand out on the table top. Below is one example I’ve assembled but you could use any of the hundreds of regular basing tutorials on the web to create unique looking bases (here, here, here and here).

Fancy Reivaj style base (sorry about the dark base in the photo)

Here’s a picture of the five different base types side by side at the end of the day they will all look good on the table so pick the base that works best for yourself 🙂

Have fun gaming

Plain Base Shapes Layered PDF (30mb recommend right click save as)

Save the below and load in GIMP/Photoshop, they should be 2550×3300 pixels @ 300 pixels an inch

Circle Square Octagon Hexagon
15mm 15mm 15mm 15mm
20mm 20mm 20mm 20mm
25mm 25mm 25mm 25mm
30mm 30mm 30mm 30mm
40mm 40mm 40mm 40mm
50mm 50mm 50mm 50mm
Pill Rectangle Oct-Rectangle
15x30mm 15x30mm 15x30mm
20x40mm 20x40mm 20x40mm
25x50mm 25x50mm 25x50mm
25x75mm 25x75mm

Wargaming Terrain – How to Make Trees (One Single Trunk)

I wanted to try scratch building some tree armatures for wargaming. Two main reasons, one I wanted to see how hard it would be and two I’ve always been pretty disappointed with the way paper trees look, the paper trees are normally to short and/or have that toilet paper tube look. I think in the case of trees paper may not be the best medium.  Below is a bit of a how to on what I did to make my trees. I’ve only done single trunk trees however I am going to try multi-trunk and fruit trees later on. I apologies for the below pictures but it was very difficult to take some decent photos to show the build process. You can see some further photos of the textured trunk at the end of this blog post. The information contained below I’ve picked up in various forums, tutorials and by looking at some commercially available trees over the past decade or so, unfortunately this means I can’t provide any links to anyone place as inspiration, think of the below as an amalgamation of web idea’s plus some of my own all mixed together.

You will need to gather some supplies before you can start making trees:

  • Acrylic Gap Filler (White cheaper, Brown can save painting)
  • 20-30 meters of 1.57mm diameter (14-15 gauge) galvanized tie wire
  • 20-30 meters of .9 mm diameter (19 gauge) galvanized tie wire
  • Coarse art paint brush
  • Wire Cutters
  • Long nosed pliers
  • Hot Glue Gun and/or PVA glue
  • Masking tape 18mm / 3/4 of an inch
  • Disc magnets 15mm x 1mm/ 5/8 x 1/32 inch(optional)
  • 5 min epoxy if your using the magnets and don’t have hot glue
  • Super glue
  • Strong fingers 🙂

If you can’t find the exact tie wire listed above slightly thinner would be better than slightly thicker, make sure it is tie wire and not high tensile fencing wire. In Australia you can get all the above items from your local hardware store,  except for the magnets, the magnets I used are these magnets available from deal extreme. Deal extreme also sells an 18mm x 2mm magnet which would be interesting to experiment with.

Some of the tools

The dimensions etc listed below will make a tree approximately 20cm/8inches tall, at the end I’ve included some dimensions and lengths for a 6inch tall tree. You should be able to expand this method out to make taller trees by simply adding an extra longer length.  The first step is to grab your thicker (1.57mm) tie wire and cut some lengths of wire:

  • 4 x 12.5cm / 5 inches (potentially optional read below)
  • 4 x 20 cm / 8 inches
  • 4 x 26.5cm / 10.5 inches
  • 4 x 30cm / 12 inches

Wire Lengths

Grab two of the same length of wire and twist them together using your fingers and the pliers. Make sure you leave a tail at the end being held by the pliers of about 1.5cm / 3/4 of an inch, later these will become the roots of the tree. Do not twist the wires all the way together leave at least 4cm / 1.5 inches untwisted on each piece. I’ve done a picture and a very short video to try and show what I mean.

Link To Video

For the 5inch lengths there is no need to leave a tail on them as they will be used as extra branches, hopefully you have two of each twisted length something similar to the below.

Twisted wire pairs

Similar to the above process now grab two of the same length twisted wire pairs and twist them together. This is harder to do due the 4 strands of wire, if you need to you can use a second pair of pliers to help with the twisting. Again do not twist the wire pairs all the way together as the end part of the wire becomes the branches. As a rough guide leave at least 10cm / 4inches on the 20cm / 8inch wire pairs, 8cm /3 inches on the 26.5cm / 10.5 inches wire pairs and 6cm / 2 1/2 inches on the 30cm / 12 inches wire pairs. There is no need to twist the two 12.5cm / 5 inch lengths together as these are used later independently.

Now the fun part begins, you need to shape your wire pairs into some semblance of the start of a tree trunk and branches. Basically you just need to bend the untwisted wire parts down, not as far down as 90 degrees but just slightly sloping upwards, try not to bend the two branches exactly opposite each other, stagger one slightly up and the other slightly down. I’ve included a diagram below which shows the approximate lengths to leave prior to doing a bend, don’t take these figures as 100% accurate but use them as a starting guide and then if something looks off adjust it a little. You may end up with a little extra wire at the ends if you do just snip it off, likewise if one branch is turning out a little short don’t worry to much trees don’t seem to when they grow in nature :). Bend your short root ends up at about 90 degrees.

Click to enlarge picture

Hopefully you now have five parts that look something  like the below.

Wire pairs twisted together

This next part is difficult to describe, however hopefully with my description and the pictures below you’ll be able to work out what I mean. Take your Short, Medium and Long trunk/branch segments and fit them together so that the roots at the bottom are lined up flat but pointing out in different directions and the branches poke out in different directions at the top or as different as you can get them. Next take a short length (8-10cm, 3-4 inches) of masking tape and tape the very bottom of your tree just above the roots, tape as  tightly with the masking tape as you can to help hold the three wire pieces together. The three wire trunks will naturally form a sort of triangle down the bottom.

You can really start to see the tree in your wire armature now. To help strength the tree further and hold it together, You will need to wrap masking tape tightly around the trunk under each wire branch pair.

Masking tape around trunk below branches

Your tree should be fairly sturdy now and is hopefully not in any danger of falling back into it’s component parts. However to really help tie the wire together in a more permanent structure. Grab your hot glue gun/ PVA glue and in the gap between your base masking tape and your first branch piece of masking tape push some hot glue or PVA glue into this gap. The advantage with hot glue is that it dries quickly so less waiting around. The below image shows were you should have the glue placed, feel free to use your hot glue on other spots if you feel the armature needs it.

If you like you can stop there and call your tree miniature armature done and not worry about adding a few extra branches. I’ve done a few trees with just opposite branches and it does have some advantages, you use less Acrylic gap filler, less branches means less “leaf” (ok sponge material) that you have to glue and use on the tree, quicker to paint and most importantly the trees will still look good.  If you do wish to use the two extra branches they are pretty easy to use, basically bend what would be the root end down about 1.5cm / 1/2 inch. Select a location for your branch and size it to about the same length as the other two branches located near it. You want your branches to be evenly spaced around your tree so you will need to bend the other two like sized branches back towards each other ie the angle between your three complimentary sized branches will be approximately 120 degrees. Now using your hot glue gun glue the branch to the side of your tree. While the hot glue is drying wrap some masking tape around the tree trunk and the branch tail to help hold it in place (the tape is very important if you use PVA glue). Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of myself covered in strands of hot glue and wincing in pain as it stuck to my hands, but hopefully the two pictures below and the description above give you a rough idea of what to do.

Deciding on position


All Glued and Taped in place

Once you have your branches added on, next is to add a short top to the tree. I use the 0.9mm wire and just twiddle a bit around the the top of the trunk and extend it upwards about 3.75 cm / 1.5 inches and then have small branches pulled down on each side of about the same length (you may need to glue/tape it in place). I’ve circled the topper in blue in the below photo and the extra branches in red.

Extra branches and topper

Topper ready for use

I’ve put magnets in to the base of my tree so that they magnetize down onto the terrain to help stabilize the trees when they are being used during gaming but can be easily lifted out of the way if needed. I’ll need to do a post later on detailing how I make my hills etc with grab points. If you prefer to permanently affix your trees to your terrain you can skip this step. If you look at the base of your tree you’ll notice the roots are all crisscrossed over one and other, what you want to do is untwist and pull these out flat. The picture below shows a base I’ve sorted and  flattened out. You want your root ends at this point to be pointing slightly upwards (Yes my roots are slightly longer than needed).

Take two of your 15mm magnets and super glue them together, next temporarily stick your magnets to the base of the tree and stand the tree on a flat surface check in all dimensions that the tree trunk is approximately vertical and isn’t laying over in one direction or the other. If the tree trunk is laying over re-bend your roots to help flatten it out. If it looks good simply hot glue or epoxy glue the magnets in place.

Next trim your roots to the length about 18mm / 1/2 an inch long. Once they are all trimmed down you want to bend the roots down so that the tips of each root are level with the base of the magnet. I find the best way to do this is to bend them down to about where I think they need to be and then check them by standing the tree on a tabletop and bend any up and down that need adjusting. The roots will seem to curve down over the magnet which is the effect we are after. You can also see in the below picture were I built up the base with a bit of hot glue.

  Lastly before we apply the acrylic you can further bandage the tree in masking tape. I have made trees with and without masking tape bandaging. A quick pro’s and con’s for bandaging:

Pros

Cons

Use less acrylic filler Time taken to bandage tree in masking tape
Easier to cover the wire with filler
Quicker when using acrylic filler

From the above it would appear the best thing to do is to masking tape the armatures however this does add significant time and is reasonably fiddly as I’ve had to cut the masking tape in half length wise to tape the branches. Saying that at the moment I do lean towards bandaging the trees in masking tape. If you do use masking tape make sure to try and respect basic tree anatomy, ie thinner towards the ends of branches and top of the tree.  I also do a last pruning at this stage to check I don’t have any to long branches or branches pointing in the wrong direction, basically just try to give the tree reasonable symmetry. The two pictures below show a bandaged tree and an un-bandaged tree ready for painting with acrylic gap filler.

Bandaged Tree

Un-Bandaged Tree

I tend to stockpile 5-6 armatures before I paint them with a coat or two of acrylic gap filler (If you want to permanently fix your trees to your terrain now is the time to glue them in position on the terrain). Take one of your armatures and put a drop of super glue onto the magnet on the underside and try to get a dot on the end of each root, now place the tree down on a piece of thin writing paper so the magnet and root tips glue to the paper, to get a good smooth bond use a metal surface (old computer case wall for example).

I find I get a better bark texture if I squeeze out some gap filler into a small bowl and then add a few drops of water and mix it in so the gap filler is slightly less goopy. The more water you add the smoother your bark will appear once the gap filler dries, this is a good way to show different types of tree barks.  Next just grab your coarse paint brush (I use a cheap art 1/2 brush) and paint the gap filler onto the armature. When you brush the gap filler onto the armature brush the gap filler on the trunk in an up and down direction and paint a long the branches (red arrows). Try to build up a sort of triangular shaped wedge on the underside of the branches were they join the trunk (Green triangles), Don’t paint to much on the branch wire ends just a thin layer to cover the silver wire.


Painting Gap Filler Flow Diagram

Don’t worry to much if you think the texture looks wrong as you paint it on, even some really weird lumpy textures look very bark like when you get them dry brushed. Below I took are two pictures one shows a group of trees dried after being painted with brown acrylic gap filler and the second a close up of the base and bark texture.

Four 8 inch trees and One 6 inch tree

Close up of base and bark texture

Once the acrylic filler dries about 12-24 hours trim the base to a roundish circle using the wire root ends as a guide. Next  paint the underside of the base with some PVA glue, don’t worry that the base is a little wrinkly, the important thing is that the magnet and the wire tips provide the contact points with the ground and these wont be wrinkly. After I’ve done the coat of PVA glue I then paint the the underside of the base black. You now have three options

  1. You can use the trees as is or
  2. Give the tree a quick dry brush with a lighter colour to bring out the ridges or
  3. Fully paint them with a mid colour,  dark wash and a dry brush.

If you used white gap filler you’ll have to do a full paint or at least a base coat. I’ve been doing the last option as it really helps to bring out the texture of the bark and makes the tree look good on the table. My colour choices for bark have been burnt sienna as the base coat, darkened burnt umber as a wash and Bilious brown as the dry brush highlight. Below are a  couple of pictures of a finished tree armature, in the below picture you can see were I’ve missed the dark brown wash in a few spots as the wood appears redder (most noticeable on branch tips which will eventually be covered in clumping foam).

Single Tree Closeup

Group Shot Finished

Last step is to just add your preferred type of tree leaf material. I’ve been using Woodland Scenics clumping foam stuck on with super glue so they are really durable for wargaming. There are a few ways of making your own tree leaf material but I’ve found the clumping foam to be the best compromise between cost and durability.  The below finished tree isn’t one of the above but it is one of my first prototypes which I painted in a slightly different colour scheme, however as an unexpected bonus the colouring works better when photographed.

For a six inch tree you want to cut wire to the below lengths from .9 mm diameter (19 gauge) wire:

  • 4 x 7.5cm / 3 inches (extra branches)
  • 4 x 12.5 cm / 5 inches
  • 4 x 17.5cm / 7 inches
  • 4 x 22.5cm / 9 inches

Using those as a starting point you should be able to assemble a six inch high tree using the above guide and these wire lengths as a starting point. In the off chance someone would like to read this as a PDF later on I put one together available here (3mb).

Have fun with your trees 🙂

Wargaming Terrain – How to Make Creeping Vines

As promised I thought I’d do some quick instructions on how I made the green creepy vine on the rocks. I picked up some push molds from the mold hut on ebay, the vines are specifically mold number F112 I’d recommend getting at least two it will speed up production. The mold hut has a heap of molds which would be handy for decorative bits on scratch built terrain, some others I picked up are G113, A115 and F147 but there are literally 10+ others which look handy, just have a browse:

Molds from the Mold Hut

The problem with vines is that they are traditionally bendy and conform to the shape of the object they grow around and over. I’m sure there is some ultra expensive bendy specialized rubbery molding agent. However as I was looking for a cheap solution I tried a few different Gooey type sealants I had laying around the house. As it turned out the cheapest one was the best, it doesn’t stick to the silicon mold once dry (no special release agent required), after doing 20 or so molds of the vine I’m not seeing any mold degradation so it appears to be silicon safe.

The only drawback is it needs at least 4 hours to dry before you try and remove the vine from the mold, this however isn’t to much of an issue if you have two molds you set them up before going to work/school then pop them out on return, set them up again pop them out just before bed and set them up again and pop them out in the morning. So you can do about 3 cycles a day and on a weekends if your around the house you can do 5 or 6 cycles producing between 6-12 vine segments. The goo in question is the cheapest Acrylic gap filler you can buy in those long tubes, downunder it costs $2 per tube although you do need gun to squeeze it out ($6-$10) most people probably already have the gun laying around the house. You can also buy the stuff coloured but this more than doubles the cost to about $5 a tube, I also couldn’t find a nice green (brown in below pic).  This is not a Silicon based gap sealant you will have terrible problems painting the vines if you use a silicon based sealant it has to be a plain acrylic gap filler:

Acrylic Gap Filler

Now the easy part grab some of your Acrylic gap filler you only need a tiny amount less than half a teaspoon full per vine mold. If you squeeze to much out simply wrap it up in some kitchen cling wrap/film which stops it from setting and you can then use it later to fill a mold.  If you have the plain white gap filler you can colour it at this stage with a small amount of paint or green ink just mix it in well. Try as much as you can to push the sealer into the mold to fill in all the gaps. Once your happy that you’ve squished the sealant in as much as you can hold a toothpick on either end and run it across the surface of the mold. You’ll need to push down reasonably hard, however if you push down to much you’ll scoop the acrylic right out of the mold, if this happens just push some more gap filler back into the mold and re-scrap with your toothpick. Whatever you do make sure you scrap fairly quickly otherwise a skin will form and you wont be able to scrap. Additionally don’t worry if the surface facing you is not perfectly smooth it’s the glue side:

Molds Filled and Scraped

I timed my test piece at night in late winter early autumn (about 18C or 64F) and 4 hours seemed to let the acrylic set enough for removal. However leaving it as long as 24-36 hours only made it easier to remove. To remove the vine simply bend the mold away from the vine and then gently lift it out remember to be gentle some parts of the vine are very thin. If you do happen to break the vine in half or pull a  piece off all is not lost either save those two bits for when you need a short piece of vine or use a tiny amount of acrylic gap sealer to join them back together. You will notice a little bit of flashing around the edges of the vine, as far as I can tell that’s pretty normal I think a combination of the type of mold and using acrylic goo as a casting material are not exactly optimal:

Vines demolded (left-front, right-back)

Leave the vine to dry for another few hours or overnight if you can and then simply trim any unwanted bits hanging of the edges away with a pair of nail scissors. I’d recommend buying your own pair rather than stealing borrowing your other halves or parents as all hell will be raised when they find bits of gooey acrylic gap sealer all over their nail scissors. Your handy $2 shop/Golo type establishment should have nail scissors for $3-$4 a pair. If your hobby table is anything like mine, it is some form of mimic hobby table that eats tools and so I’d recommend buying two pairs. Two nice trimmed vine segment:

Vines Trimmed

Next up paint the vine segments in the base green  colour (or any other colour you like), it’s easier to give the vines a base coat while they are not glued to your piece of terrain. If you found a nice coloured green acrylic goo or dyed your acrylic with paint or ink you wont need to worry about this step unless it’s not to your taste. Here are a couple of my vine segments painted green and ready to be used on my next piece of terrain.

Vines Base Coated

At this point I tend to stockpile vine parts ready to be used in a small jar. I have about a dozen in the jar ready to go, a dozen segments gos a long way the two rock terrain pieces used 5 and 4.5 vine segments each so it stretches a reasonable distance.  To use them simply mock the segments up were you’d like them to go a long your piece of terrain (Paint the terrain first). You will need to trim off the odd leaf (save them they do come in handy) and clip the top and bottoms so they fit together and align.

Mockup showing One and Half Vines

I’ve used both super glue and white PVA glue to glue the vine segments in place, I prefer the PVA as it gives me slightly more time to adjust the position of the vines. When you place your first piece make sure it’s about 5mm (1/8 inch) up from ground level, then simply glue the additional vine pieces in place. The small gaps and the missing base stem simply fill/build up with a small amount of acrylic gap filler and once dry paint green to match. Next I simply painted on some thin white lines as leaf veins and then lightly washed and highlighted the leaves with a lighter green paint:

Vines Glued and Detailed

You can use the above acrylic gap filler in other molds just remember if the piece is thicker or more dense it will take longer to dry before you can demold the piece.

Terraforce Troopers (Onemonk Bash) – Paper Miniatures

I’ve been hard at work on various projects since I stopped playing nexustk (MMORPG). This post relates to extensively modding the existing Terraforce troopers that Onemonk put out a while ago. I wanted to mod them for three reasons. Firstly I wanted to scale them down a little so they were more inline with 28/30mm miniatures. Secondly I wanted more pose options for the HE laser rifle. Lastly I wanted to turn them blue to fit in with how I visualized my armies colour scheme. As I was making all these changes I decided to add a few other colour scheme’s as well just in case.

I carried out all the mod work using GIMP. First step was to import the base set and scale them to more 28/30mm size as it turned out this was spot on 90% for these miniatures. This bought them more into line with 28/30 mm size and Sanity Studio’s scale. For those unaware Sanity Studio’s bought out Onemonk’s back catalog of mini’s and have been putting out some very nice fantasy miniatures, They produce about 1 new set every month but the quality of the artwork on each mini is outstanding (no they don’t pay me for saying this  🙂 ).

Once the troopers were in the correct scale my next job was to provide various colour options. Solid colours were easy but putting together the camo variates took significantly longer although once I had the process sorted out it become quicker. With feedback from the guys and gals across at the cardboard warriors forum I settled on 14 colour options:

I also created two skin colour overlays so that you end up with three skin tone options: Light, Mid, Dark. With all the colour options done I then created the HE Laser Rifle overlay. I had to do some significant fiddling to make the HE laser rifle nicely overlay the stock Laser Carbine, but it worked out well in the end and I think it was worth the work.  Next I laid all the different layers out and combined them into a layered PDF.  Lastly I created the 4 craftrobo GSD files I needed to account for all the weapon options and tested that each cut file was accurate. So this means that you can select uniform colour, skin colour and two weapon choices from the one pdf.

As the sets are going pay again in the near future, I can’t just make these mod’s freely available. I really don’t want to eat into the already small margins on paper miniatures that the commercial guys do plus it would be a breach of copyright and personal integrity.  As a side point if we lose the commercial paper mini makers we’ll lose a whole pile of future releases :). However all is not lost what I have been able to do is supply them to Sanity Studio’s and when the One monk website is updated my mod troopers will be a free download attached to the stock pay set when you buy it.  I’m very happy to be able to share my work with other people otherwise the above would be for my personal use only :).  I do plan on modding all the troop types into the above colour scheme’s, next ones on my list are the special weapons troopers.

I’ll post an update when the above become available so keep an eye on my blog or the One monk main site.

Update: These are now available from Onemonk


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