Saturday 29 July 2023

Lidl wargame storage case

Lidl are currently selling a fishing tackle bag wargame storage case for £25.  I didn't buy one when I saw it, but after considering, I decided that it might come in handy for some of my Epic scale vehicles.  As it happened, we were passing a couple of Lidls on a day out yesterday, and the second one had a few cases left.

The front pocket has a few elastic straps so you can keep your pencils neat.  There's space for lots of dice and a tape measure too.

The 2 side pockets both contain 12-compartment containers.  I'm thinking these will be useful for order counters and the like.

The main compartment includes a zip compartment in the top of the cover.

The main compartment contains 6 large plastic multi-compartment trays.  These will come in extremely useful.

Each tray has 18 compartments, which will be excellent for all my tiny tanks.  They stack neatly in the bag, which is well padded to protect them. The 2 long dividers are fixed, the rest are slot-in removable ones, so you have space for larger vehicles if required.

My Epic models are rather cramped at the moment, so spreading them into some extra cases will be good.  The existing cases are the same size, so I can mix and match which ones I transport in the bag.

The metal models will need a little padding, but the resin ones are very light and should be fine once they're spread out across extra cases.  If I swap some around, I might reallocate a tray or two to my 15mm scatter scenery which is about to overflow from its existing couple of trays.


Friday 21 July 2023

Medical beds and a desk

 Some 3D printed furniture... these medical beds come from Ecaroth and are designed to print support-free.  I printed them flat on the build plate, they come in 2 parts (base and bed with arm) which are easily glued together after cleaning up.  These were reduced to 56% to convert from their native 28mm down to 15mm.  The first pair were painted in a utilitarian grey and brown, maybe you'd find them in the medical bay of a grungy freighter or merchant vessel.  Or maybe a disreputable backstreet medical facility.

I painted a second set in a cleaner white/blue pallet suitable for a medical facility.

This desk and chairs will populate some of my office buildings or 1980's supervillain lairs.  The chair comes from crazyrabbit, reduced to about 20% original size.  The computer desk came as part of a large set of computer equipment, when I locate the original again, I'll include the creator/link.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Summer Scenery Project: Ruined City part 4

The bulk of my ruined city will be the smaller ruined buildings I've mentioned in my previous 3 posts.  I do have some larger city blocks from Terrains4Games.  These have appeared in one or two games already, in a partly-completed state (glued together, window sills added and sprayed grey).

I've been improving these since their earlier appearances, filling in around the connecting tab slots and adding rubble to some.  I've adopted a red-brown colour scheme to provide a bit more visual interest than the more typical grey.  The buildings have a panel-clad design, so perhaps it's COR-TEN steel or something similar.  I've used red oxide, burnt umber and burnt sienna dabbed on with sponges to vary the colour.

The buildings include internal floors.  This gives them great rigidity, though it might be difficult to get figures in and out of the bottom floors!

I have one tall building and a pair of identical shorter ones.  I'm debating whether to make "sockets" of rubble into which I can place them, allowing me to swap the different sizes around.

I experimented with adding some rubble in one of the smaller ruins.

The rubble has been base coated grey, black ink washed for shading, then some parts have been drybrushed with the red-brown colours of the walls.

I've tried a tiled floor in the more detailed building.  This is simply a piece of paper scored with lines to make a 5mm grid pattern and glued onto the floor of the building.  An ink wash soaks into the scored lines to enhance the appearance.  Rubble has been added around the edge to blend it into the floor.  The result is better than I had expected, so I'll definitely be using this technique again in some other buildings, perhaps with checked or different coloured tiles.  Adding the red-brown colours to the rubble definitely makes it look more 3-dimensional than just different shades of grey.

These buildings will be great as focal points during a game, whether on the edge of the city as sniper locations or in the centre as objective locations.  They are big enough to provide cover for large mecha or big alien creatures.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Summer Scenery Project: Ruined City part 3

I've assembled some test buildings and experimented with texturing to make them more visually interesting.

I've painted PVA into the joints, pressed them together and painted some more PVA along the inside of the joint.  This creates a good, strong bond once it has dried.  I've used some coffee stirrers to add floors in one of the larger buildings that came with no internal detail.

Wood filler is smeared over the joints, then sanded smooth when dry to help conceal them.

The walls are textured with a mixture of tile grout and PVA, plus a few drops of black paint to give it a grey colour.  This hides the filler on the joints and blends the lintels and window sills into the structure.

I add the paint so that if the scenery gets bumped and chipped, the grey blends in rather than standing out as a bright white scar.  The buildings scale well against my existing home-made foamcore and it will be easy to add in some extra walls here and there using some of my foamcore scraps.

I've left the etched brick areas uncovered.  At this scale, the thickness of the texture paste is enough to look like broken render around them.  A sheet of thin plaster crumbled to small fragments will be sprinkled in the rubble under these chipped areas on the finished game board to simulate the flaked off render.

Broken edges of wall have been painted with PVA and sharp sand mixed with brown grout sprinkled over them for a rubble effect.  Some patches of rubble have been added on the floors inside.

I'll be able to mix and match the various corner sections to create different ruins, so re-use of 3 identical sets of ruins will be much less obvious.

Many of the ruins include damaged floor sections - you can see in this example that the bottom of the windows are sometimes very close to the floor, but this doesn't seem to be as noticeable on the first floor as it would be on the ground floor.  The floors are the same 3mm MDF, so quite chunky.

There are a range of window styles across the different buildings.  Although this will limit which ruins I can put together to create buildings, I like the variety that it will bring to the table.

Some of the ruins have a small internal wall section to add.  In this instance, I added it on the outside of the building instead.  It will probably be more useful out here, where it will provide extra cover and won't interfere with putting figures inside.

I've cut some more angular bites out of the broken sections of wall, where whole bricks will have been knocked loose.  A lot of MDF ruins have breakages that I think look too curving and smooth, and not how walls really break and collapse, in a more angular way.

These test ruins have been valuable for experimenting with a few different techniques and the rest of the buildings should go together pretty easily when I have the time to work on them.

Monday 10 July 2023

Summer Scenery Project: Ruined City part 2

The buildings I'm constructing will have added detail to reduce the slab-sided look you often get with MDF kits.  The first thing to do is match up all the parts for each set of ruins.  As mentioned previously, all have a slightly different set of corner connecting lugs, so you can be sure that you have the correct pieces.  I'm not building them all yet, just a few to practice some techniques and work out the best approach to the project.

Window sills and lintels are the first thing I'll be adding.  These are just trimmed out of thin card or thick paper.

I cut the paper strips for the lintels to start, easiest with a sturdy craft knife and a metal ruler.  With the buildings laid out, it's easy to trim the strips down to the correct size for each window.

I cut all the lintels to match the angled ends laser etched on the MDF.  I set them out as I go, to help keep track, then glue the whole lot in one go.

I used a slightly thicker cereal packet card for the window sills.  Tesco Corn Flakes proved ideal, but other brands are available...

I use a small brush to apply the PVA onto the building.  The bits of card stick almost immediately when pressed firmly into position.

Once completed, it's onto the next building.

Even this small detail can make a surprising difference to the appearance of the building.

You can see the difference in thickness between the lintels and sills.

Experience has shown that these details are definitely best added before you assemble the buildings!  Next time I'll go into some detail on the assembly of the buildings and also applying some extra texture.

Sunday 9 July 2023

Summer Scenery Project: Ruined city part 1

 I've fancied making a ruined city game board for ages.  Not the GrimDark TM gothic type, something more generic so that it can potentially be used for modern games as well as sci-fi.  I want it to be landscaped so that it is multi-level, with narrow, winding streets and steps as well as larger thoroughfares, a stream, gardens and lots of scatter scenery.  I intend to use a mixture of MDF, Linka and foamcore for a lot of the buildings.  It will be a chance to try out a few texture rollers too, for some interesting effects on cobbled/tiled paths.  Inspiration comes from many places that I have visited or lived such as Norwich, Bangor (N Wales), numerous Cornish towns and villages.  Ferrix in the Andor series had some interesting architectural ideas too, along with lots of narrow winding lanes going up and down hills.

JB MDF Products are an excellent source of cheap MDF structures to use as the basis of my city. I ordered a bulk buy set of ruins in October 2022 for £27.99 (including postage).  This includes 3 packs of his "set A" small ruins, one "set B" large factory and outbuildings and one "Set C" tower block ruins.  This should be enough to cover at least 4 x 1 foot square tiles, more when I mix in the foamcore and Linka.  Using the MDF will save all the time I would spend cutting out windows, which is a big bonus.

All the ruins have their own individual pattern of interlocking lugs.  This has advantages and disadvantages: it does mean that you can match up the lugs to ensure you put the right bits together with minimal need for instructions, but it also means you can't easily mix and match to create different structures.

There are exposed patches of brickwork, detailed windows and lintels visible for extra interest.  The windows in particular are one of the reasons why I like his models

Some pieces come together to form almost complete buildings.

Doorways can be a little short for 15mm figures, but that's only a minor gripe.

Many of the ruins have a good number of windows.

There are still a few larger sections without windows, so mecha and armoured fighting suits will still have the occasional place to hide.

The lugs generally interlock very neatly to hold the structures together.

The designs have been well-thought-out to give a good range of variation in size and shape.

Many have upper floors of the same 3mm MDF.  In some cases, the floor thickness hasn't been fully allowed for, leaving the window 3mm too low, but this isn't too noticeable so isn't worth spending time fixing.

These will provide plenty of vantage points for snipers or weapon teams.

The large factory building will make a good centrepiece for a tile.

This has lots of space for internal details such as stacks of crates or chemical drums.

A storage yard outside would provide lots of extra cover during a game and perhaps host some objective markers.

I have been busy adding extra detail to these MDF shells, I'll go into some detail on this in my next post.