Posts Tagged 'Wargaming'



Papercraft Build – Okumarts Darkfast Set One: Orc Tribe

This is the second set in Darkfast series that Okumarts has released. As the numbering for the Darkfasts series starts at zero this set is labeled as Set One: Orc Tribe. I wont repeat the scaling and background information in this post but you can read all about it in the top of this post.

As you can guess from the title of the set this set contains Orcs. The Orcs are drawn more a long the lines of long snouted Orcs (Pig Orcs) slightly different to your Warhammer 40k orc but are a very nice take on the old Pig Orcs.  There are a total of 24 unique miniatures in this set broken up into two lots of twelve. The first twelve you see when you open the PDF are warriors and these are printable in four colours; red, brown, blue and green. The second bonus set of twelve (turn off the four warrior layers) are available in the one colour but consist of various Orc villager types. I’ve included a picture of all 24 miniatures with the warriors printed in various colours (There is a little lens flare/washout in the below photo’s – Sorry):

Orc Axe (M), Orc Mace (M), Orc Sword & Shield (M), Orc Sword (M), Orc Sword & Shield 2 (M), Orc Club and Chicken (M)
Orc Fancy Sword (M), Orc Axe (M), Orc Axe(M), Orc Club (M), Orc Bow & Arrow (M), Orc Bow (M)
Orc Frying Pan (F), Orc Shaman (M), Orc Thief (F), Orc Bucket (F), Orc Old Broom (F), Orc Thief (M)
Orc Boy 1, Orc Boy 2, Orc Boy Wood Sword, Orc Baby (X), Orc Boy Run, Orc Girl w/Bear

I really like this set, you can outfit a whole Orc village if you wanted  to, something I think would be impossible with metal miniatures. This could open up a world of alignment based issues for your players e.g  The PC’s just crashed into the Orc village intent on killing and plundering and find a calm village scene complete with young Orc children running around (Evil GM Grin). Okumarts has added some very nice touches to make this set stand out, such as:

  • Including Orc’s with Axes facing left and right, great as gate guards, the same yet different.
  • The female Orc thief could make for a very nice NPC or even an unusual PC character.
  • The old Shaman need I say more 🙂
  • Female orc with frying pan, reminds me of the Tangled frying pan quote “Frying pans… who knew, right?”
  • The ability to have four colours of the main warriors, you could have four different clans all fighting, with the PC’s trapped in the middle.

Okumarts has kept the outlines fairly simple although if you are cutting by hand there are a few hair, cloak and horn points you’ll need to cut around. The back to front alignment on the set is excellent which can be an issue with front/back paper miniatures. I was a little skeptical of the cloak colours when viewing the PDF on screen, particularly the green, however on print out all four colours look good. The miniatures themselves are bright and have excellent colour toning. Identification of the different miniatures on the tabletop was very easy when looking down at them from a seated position at a table. The PDF’s are not “locked” so editing them for my (or your) own personal use is easy rather than if they had been password protected.

Village Life (Huts by Worldworksgames)

I have no real issues with the set except wishing that the little craftrobo “L’s” (alignment marks) were on the pages. The only other small comment I have is that I would have liked to see a few female warrior types mixed in with males. However this is an area that metal/plastic miniature manufacturers tend to miss so no big issue. Although in the case of Orcs I can understand their military might not be an equal opportunity employer, unlike more open minded races such as Wood Elves.

This set would be great for any GM who’s players are about to invade an Orc stronghold or try and wipe out an Orc village. Print each of the warriors out in two or three different colours and the villagers once and you could set a really nice scene on the tabletop. This set will also make for a nice warband for a skirmish sized wargame (8-10 miniatures per person) such as Song of Blades and Hero’s. At this point in the Darkfast series this set can’t quiet provide enough variety of miniatures on it’s own to start to outfit a full fantasy Pig Orc army using rules such as No Quarter. Saying that you can field three different types of foot units, Hand to Hand, Archers and Polearms although you might see a little repetition in the units, to this you could add a Ballista (link) or Catapult (link or link), use the Old Shaman as a powerful magic user and use the Orc from Set Zero as a Hero, this will leave you short on some form of cavalry and a command type group. Okumarts is a big fantasy fan so I have no doubt that we will see some more Orcs in the future.

Orc Hand to Hand Unit Ready for Battle

This set is a pay set but will only set you back $2.50 USD about 10 cents a model if you don’t count colour options, less if you do. The set is excellent value for money and the artwork is of a very high standard. I’d recommend picking up a set for yourself, if you have any RPG GM’ing in your future or need a few warbands for a skirmish level wargame. However if your only use for this set is more along the lines of needing a full Fantasy Army I’d carefully weight up buying and building what you can now or simply waiting to see if further miniatures are released in the future and then pickup both sets at that point, so you can better field a more complete army to begin with.

For myself  it was no brainer buy and I’m really happy with how the miniatures look on the table. I’ll wait with crossed fingers for more variants in the future to help fill out a more complete army list for Fantasy Wargaming or possibly I’ll just mod some for my own personal use.

Next up Wood Elves.

Orc Ambush

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 🙂

Papercraft Build – Okumarts Darkfast Set Zero: Basic Adventure

Okumarts has been releasing paper mini sets for about 12 months now. It’s great to see another really talented professional artist get into the paper mini field and I hope he continues to expand his range, especially as Onemonk has hung up his pencil. I decided to build up the first of Okumarts Darkfast Classic Fantasy series (Set Zero: Basic Adventure). I’m currently building sets One and Two and will put posts up about those shortly.

Okumarts has a very distinctive style which aligns most closely with the manga drawing/image style. I personally really have an affinity for his style, if you prefer your paper mini’s more ultra realistic I wouldn’t recommend these. Okumarts has however incorporated a lot of the great features that Onemonk used on his paper mini’s that made them stand out so uniquely, this includes:

  • Tabbed basing for easy mounting
  • Back and front colour art
  • Black border around the outside of the mini to help it pop
  • Close cutting of the mini’s. No fold up triangles here.

The above make Okumarts paper mini’s very compatible with several other artists and let you reuse some of your already existing bases. Although the unique style will mean you can mix and match Okumarts and other artisits mini’s on a table for an RPG, if you try to mix and match them inside the same wargaming army unit it will look at little odd as the styles will clash. This however is not a big drawback as you can’t really mix and match different metal miniatures from different manufacturers in the same unit. As with the metal miniature world there are some issues with scale in the paper miniature world. The advantage with paper is that if you want something a particular scale you can scale it up or down prior to printing. I’ve put together a quick image below which shows one of Okumarts miniatures from this set side by side with a Human from Onemonk and a Human from Sanity Studios, Okumarts miniatures align most closely with Onemonks work however they have a less exaggerated head to body ratio:

Approximate Conversion

Scale Up Sanity Studio’s, print at:  118 – 120%

Shrink Onemonk/Okumarts, print at: 83 – 85%

This is the first set in the Darkfast series Set Zero: Basic Adventure and is a free download. The set contains 10 unique miniatures which can be printed in two different colour schemes, this is achieved by using a layered PDF. The mini’s are split into  Five “Good Guys” and Five “Bad Guys”. If you were just starting out with D&D or another fantasy RPG, this set would give a you the basic figures to get your campaign running for 1-2nd maybe up to 3rd level characters. This set can also be used to give you some quick starter figures for two different warbands for Song of Blades and Hero’s or some other skirmish sized fantasy game. Okumarts didn’t specifically name each of his mini’s but I’ll do my best below:

Dwarf Fighter (M), Human Monk/Druid (M), Human Fighter (M) , Human Wizard (M) , Elven Archer (F)
Bugbear Fighter (M), Gnoll Fighter (M), Goblin Fighter (M), Pig Orc Fighter (M), Hobgoblin Fighter (M)

The colour options for each miniature are:

  1. Dwarf Fighter: Yellow/Brown and Blue/Brown
  2. Human Monk/Druid: Grey/Brown and Green/Green
  3. Human Fighter: Blue and Yellow/Gold
  4. Human Wizard: Mauve and Green
  5. Elven Archer: Natural Green’s and Bright Green/Yellow
  6. Bugbear Fighter: Green/Grey and Red
  7. Gnoll Fighter: Light Brown and Light Green (loincloth)
  8. Goblin Fighter: Light Brown and Dark brown
  9.  Pig Orc Fighter: Burnt Orange and Aqua Blue
  10.  Hobgoblin Fighter: Red and Green

For a free set this set is excellent value for money and the artwork and options are great, the weakest miniature in the set to me is the Bugbear he sort of looks startled rather than aggressive. Okumarts has kept the outlines fairly simple without to many little pointy area’s to cut out (the ones above were cut out by my craftrobo), I test cut out one by hand in 3-4 mins.  The back to front alignment is excellent this can be an issue with front/back paper miniatures not always aligning well. The colours print out very well and the miniatures don’t appear muted or dull. I could easily tell which miniature was which when looking down at them from a seated position at a table. The PDF’s are not “locked” so editing them for my (or your) own personal use is easy rather than if they had been password protected.

Scene One for Fun

I do have  two minor quibbles with the set although as this set is free the word minor should be bolded and underlined. Normally you want 1-2 of each hero and 5-6 of each monster/critter. As the two are tied together on the one page this means to get 5-6 of each monster you end up with 5-6 of each hero as well, not particular useful and a waste of paper and ink. This could have been overcome by making better use of the PDF layering so that you can switch the hero’s “off” and have an extra row of monsters underneath. The second issue is the lack of craftrobo registration marks. I don’t expect every paper mini set to come with a set of GSD’s however it would have been nice if the little craftrobo “L’s” (alignment marks)  had been placed in each corner then it would have been 5-10 min’s work for me (or anyone) to put a set of GSD’s together. Without the L’s I have to export the files to GIMP re-lay them out and then reproduce them which also breaks the layered PDF and makes it impossible to share the GSD’s with anyone.

Scene Two for Fun

I really like this set and as it is free go and grab it now . The minor issues are nothing and can be overcome by spending 10-20 mins with the miniatures in GIMP, something you may like to do anyway so as to get a whole sheet of Hobgoblins etc. This is a great way to get that RPG or skirmish game off the ground with a few miniatures as decoration that wont cost you anything but a little time, some paper and ink.

Have fun with them, I know I will 🙂

Scene Three for Fun

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.

Wargaming Terrain – Rocks

It has been sometime since my last post. I wish I could say I’ve been sitting around doing nothing but watching movies unfortunately no such luck. I’ve been tied up at work, trying to get more exercise and fixing the house up a little which hasn’t left very much time for creating blog posts or spending much time on my hobbies. I do have a backlog of “stuff” to post about and a pile of things I need to finish so I’m going to use Ye Olde blog to help me get things finished. I have been doing some small amount of hobby stuff, basically working on some more traditional foam, balsa wood and plaster terrain and the rocks below are some of the first pieces I’ve finished.

Must be a thing with wargaming terrain creation everyone normally starts with rocks. Good news I didn’t start with rocks these were just the first I managed to finish. I started by building a ruined tudor house and some scratch built tree’s. Unfortunately the house still needs to be painted and I need to create a few more tree’s before I post about them.

The rocks are a fairly standard build of foam cut rocks, I think there’s literally a million “how to’s” on making rock’s so I wont go into great detail about cutting foam etc etc you can see tutorials here, here, here and here for tutorials on how to make rocks and cliffs. A few minor comments that I noticed while cutting my rocks;

  • Avoid having any 90 degree edges, go have a look at normal rock formations very few 90 degree angles.
  • Do seal the foam with white PVA glue before trying to use a spray undercoat unless you want the I’ve just been dissolved by acid look
  • Use whatever foam you have at hand; depron, blue, pink, yellow (extruded polystyrene) or normal White polystyrene bead sheets just get some and get started.
  • If you can build a hot wire cutter, it’ll take you a few hours but save you a heap of time and stop that tearing you see when you use a craft knife…even a  sharp one can catch.
  • If you are cutting foam with a hot wire cutter make sure you wear a mask or do your cutting outside in a well ventilated area. I see very little about the fumes the various foams give off as the cutter melts them but they smell terrible as you cut them so I suspect the fumes are in the not good for you bucket.

I’ve basically finished two small rock stands. I mounted a 6mm sheet of depron to a masonite base and rounded the depron to make it seem like a small hill. Into the masonite bases I glued 3-4 small magnets so that later these can be used as hill toppers on larger flatter hills. The rest is your fairly standard wash and dry brush. The bones I cut from some kids toys I found in a go-lo store $2 and you get a packet of four dinosaur skeletons which provided a heap of bones although they are a little out of scale (Pic below). The human skull I’m not sure what it’s from I just had it laying around:

Dino Skeleton Toys

The vines are probably the most unique part that I haven’t seen used on terrain before, although I’m sure someone probably has. Basically I grabbed a mold for food vines and used this to cast some vines segments and then fit them together into a long creeper style vine. I’ll do a post later this week covering how exactly I used them and what to use to get cheap bendy segments.

Rocks One

Rocks Two

I’m fairly happy with how the rocks turned out although they could probably use a little more weathering and maybe some lichen on the rocks but for a first attempt I’m happy to leave them as they are for now.

Lego Separatist Army – Unit Attack Craft

I’ve been working slowly on my Lego Separatist Droid Army to use against the Clone Army. Here is the first unit an APC. The design is primarily based on Lego set 7929 although that set is the Platoon Attack Craft (PAC) which holds 112 battle droids. This is more battle droids than I could ever use in Defiance as it’s a skirmish based game. The Lego model of the PAC only holds 8 Battle droids, again of little use to me as I’ve created the Separatist army so that it is 12 B1 Battle droids to a unit.

I had a hunt around Wookepedia to see if there were any canon Star Wars unit level Separatist Droid transports and unfortunately there are none. Oddly you can either transport 112 battle droids slowly using the PAC /MTT or one at a time quickly on a STAP. Seeing this obvious hole in the Separatist troop transport line up, I’ve designed my own unit based repulsa lift APC/carrier named the Unit Attack Craft (UAC). I stuck with the wonderfully exotic naming regime that the MTT and PAC uses.

The UAC look is sort of cross between Lego set 7929 and Lego set 7126. I tried my best during the design phase to reuse as many elements from Lego set 7929 as I could, so as to limit the number of extra parts you need to have on hand. However due to the shortening of the chassis and droid carrier components and the addition of guns you do need some extra parts. The only drawback with the design is that I couldn’t quite fit 12 blaster rifles on the transport so only 8 are visible with 4 more carried in compartments along the side of the UAC, yes a cheat but a necessary one:

Just in case anyone else would like to use the UAC in wargaming or whatever here’s a little bit of unofficial fluff:

The UAC was designed by Baktoid Armor Workshop to fill the role as a rapid Battle droid carrier and delivery system. Unlike the lumbering MTT and PAC the UAC is fast moving with a top speed of 250kph enabling it to deliver troops quickly for re-enforcement or for the insertion/extraction of commando droids on a mission . The UAC carries twin linked light laser cannons and twin linked light blaster cannons which are primarily used to clean up any light troop resistance it might encounter on it’s way to it’s destination. The carrier is lightly armoured especially from the sides making it prone to anti vehicle weaponry and light arms fire. The crew consists of a pilot and a loader, both droids however can carry out the others function in case one is destroyed. The UAC can carry 12 B1 Battle Droids and there weaponry, with some re-configuration it can carry 12 B2 Battle Droids or 6 Destroyer Droids.

I put together a bit of an action picture/mockup as well, although it’s a little bland. It’s quite difficult to keep the focus on the subject and not clutter up the picture with unnecessary elements. The background of this image was taken by  Stuart Brabbs (Rolling Hills and is used under CC 2.0) and represents the rolling grasslands of Naboo with two UAC’s racing to re-enforce a pinned down Battle droid group.

I put some instructions together using MLCAD, they are the longest instructions (and largest 4mb download) I’ve ever assembled, however they are only A5 in size and hopefully easy to read. If you do build one don’t worry to much if you don’t have the exact colours needed any kind of black/gray parts should look okay. You can see in my prototype above I didn’t have enough light bluish gray clips for the Blaster racks and used black instead.

Instructions for Lego Unit Attack Craft (UAC)

Have fun and please leave a comment if you build a UAC .

Lego – Basing Minifigs for Wargaming

This is a bit of a tutorial/instructional post and I’m hoping informative and useful to others who may wish to use Lego minifigs for wargaming (Part2 here). One of the fundamental problems with using Lego minifgs for wargaming is they don’t have a base and if you try to just field them as is they end up falling over and getting knocked over a lot. Now you could try sticking them to radar dishes or flat square bases,  however you’ll then be adding height to your already slightly over-sized troopers or worse for most fantasy games they wont rank up well in movement trays and the bases are still very light. Now you could buy these from Minifig For Life:

However I had 3 issues with these, firstly at 0.65 euro’s (0.80 – 0.90 AUD) each it gets expensive fast. I estimated I needed 40-60 of them to start with so  I was  looking at close to $50AUD just for bases (not counting shipping).  Secondly they appear quiet small my estimate is 3/4 inch – 20mm round slightly under the 25mm standard round base and made of plastic so they might be to light and small to keep minifigs upright. Thirdly I had to order them from OS which of course means more $$$ for postage. I like to spend my money on paper or lego not postage, however if I lived in europe I probably would have jumped on them to save time and energy :).

So I started to look around what could I use to make nice bases. Washes come in a nice 25mm size (25mm/1inch diameter) with a hole in the middle, are cheap (10-15c)  and heavy,  I thought I could simply bond a flat plate of lego over the hole (Yes, glue a piece of lego permanently to something hence destroying it forever, my lego protective gene had issues with this to, however my need was to great).  It was partial success the flat plate caused to much of an increase in height and looked very glued on. Hunting around  Bricklink I found the below part which is the top part of 2×2 turntable part no 3679, even better you can get them for around 1-3 cents each and they are very thin vertically:

Now the process of actually creating the bases is fairly simple. Grab 1 of your 25mm washers (1 inch), next grab 1 x 3679 (the above part), take a small dob of 2 part epoxy glue and place it around the outside of the inner washer hole (Araldite or some other brand, I find the 5min stuff best and use a cheap no-name brand from the $2 shop not like anyone’s ever going to see it):

Next place part number 3679 over the washer hole (center it relative to the outside edge of the washer) and push it into the glue, make sure the glue doesn’t bulge up higher or across the flat part of 3679 or your minifig’s will have problems being placed on the base:

Next I spray painted the whole lot black using a cheap enamel spray for durability (keep the coat thin). If you want for example desert bases change the enamel spray to a light brown or desert orange basically a colour that matches your planned finishing look (I prefer black with green :), personal choice):

I quiet literally have heaps of flock laying around and just grabbed some green flock to use, but you could use sand or any other standard wargaming basing technique just make sure your Lego interface piece (3679) stays free of flock/sand and other bits of decoration:

Now your lego armies soldiers can traverse the most difficult of Felt terrain without any problems:

Hopefully this information was slightly useful to someone 🙂


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