Monday, 30 June 2014

Terrain Tutorial: Nissen/Quonset Huts Part 2

Got some more work done on these today. I've decided to just build 7 of the 10 that I have prepared for now. I might try and do something different with the last 3, just to add a bit of variety to the collection.

I started off today by gathering the bits I needed for each hut. First off I cut out end pieces for the front and back. Then I cut out 2 pieces of card to use as doors.  Curiously I had originally cut out the doors to scale and they looked terrible, which just shows how unrealistically proportioned 28mm miniatures are. These are each 20mm x 30mm and they seem to work fine. Finally I trimmed 3 of the coffee holders to give me the longest and tallest piece possible, which works out at 210mm x 44m. 

Next I glued the doors in place at either end. I then cut a door shape out of the corrugated card. Its important to do this after you've glued the door in place as it allows you to hide any irregularities there are at both ends. Then give the ends a good coat of wood glue and attach the corrugated card. Don't press too hard as you will dent the corrugations. The end result should be something like this.

Next stage is the trickiest but its worth the extra effort to get the right finish. Take two pieces of corrugated card and trim them to the proper length. You need to make sure the cut is along the trough at both ends. It doesn't matter if there is a small overhang at either end. Now for the tricky bit. You need to break the rigidity of the card without damaging the corrugation.  The best way to do this is to carefully rub the back of the card along a table edge. This should allow you to put a curve in the card that will be similar to that on the pringles tube. Apply glue to the bottom of both sides of the Pringle tube and gently press the card in place. Again be careful not to dent the card too much. 

When it has dried a little brush glue along the remainder of the tube and press the card down. It should follow the curve of the tube and sit quite flush. Start putting elastic bands around the whole thing making sure that the card doesn't move. Take it slowly and check it continually. Eventually you should end up with this:

Try and make sure that the elastic bands stay within the troughs of the corrugation otherwise if they are too tight they can dent it. Once this has dried remove the elastic bands and cut the third piece of card to length. I left a slightly larger overhang at either end, probably one full corrugation this time.You need to break the rigidity of this piece too, but it doesn't have to be as curved as the previous ones. Then glue it in place. It should overlap the two lower pieces of card, presumably to protect any joints from the rain but I think it also provided ventilation. Put the elastic bands around the hut and voila the construction is finished. Repeat ad nauseum (this being a vaguely 40k post I figured I better use some Latin, apologies for not making up the words ;-))

This is how many I have done at this stage
The astute amongst you will have noticed the lack of windows in these huts. It should have been simple to add a window on either side of the door but when I tried it out it just looked odd. I figured they could do without it as they a) are more secure and b) have electricity inside them. That's my story and I'm sticking to it anyway. I think if the tubes had been the proper size the windows wouldn't have looked so odd. 

That's it so far, next up will be painting and basing. Hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow (World Cup allowing) If you have any queries ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Terrain Tutorial: Nissen/Quonset Huts Part 1

I need some Nissen huts for the participation game that the O'Hammerers are running at Brocon in a few weeks. I had a look around online and there are some commercially available ones around but if you need 5 or 6 of them it gets expensive very quickly. In the best spirit of Rogue Trader and Blue Peter I decided to have a go at making my own.

I did a bit of research into Nissen huts (or Quonset huts as they were also known) and there are actually a wide variety of types. I decided to go with the simplest one which is a basic half cylinder built of corrugated metal with a door at either end.

A couple of weeks ago I had a trial run and this is what I ended up with. It only got a base coat of paint on it but it works. I'm not sure I'm happy with the colour and may paint the next one blue/grey and decide which way to go with the rest of them. Either way it needs a bit of a wash and drybrush, with bits of rust added here or there.

I finally got around to starting the rest of them yesterday and thought I'd do a tutorial as I went along, in case anyone wants to have a go themselves. The basic materials needed are mounting card for the base, a thinner card for supports, a Pringle tube and some corrugated card (I'm using the ones that come with take away coffee cups). I used wood glue to stick the whole thing together as I have read that it contains less water than PVA and is less likely to warp card.

Historically the huts were 20' wide, 40' long and 10' high, which equates to about 90mm wide x 180mm long by 45mm high in 28mm terms. However the diameter of the Pringles tube is only 75mm, which is a bit short but I decided to ignore that and just build it anyhow. Start off by cutting the Pringle tube in half and then cut it to whatever length you require. Cut out a rectangular base from the card stock and glue some angled pieces of lighter card along the edges. When these have dried glue the Pringles tube to the base. The angled pieces will provide a larger contact area and the whole thing is surprisingly strong. I put a few elastic bands around the whole thing to keep it secure while the glue dried. Don't worry about any gaps, or uneven cuts as the final stages will hide any imperfections.

 The base with one angled strip of card glued in place

Gluing the Pringle tube in place 

This view illustrates how the angled strips work

Once the assembled pieces have dried I glued some folded pieces of light card along the inside of the tube, this will help to hold the front and back in place.

Then using the end as a template I cut out a semicircle of card and glued it in place at both ends. I used elastic bands to keep everything in place while the glue dried and then I kept on going until I ran out of Pringles. I now have 10 of the frames, which is more than I need but it does give me a bit of room to experiment.

That's as far as I got and then I had to take a break for the football. Hopefully I should get the corrugated card glued on today. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Conclave 2014

The last couple of weeks have been quite hectic and between the rare summer like weather, the world cup and lots of guests I have had very little painting time. I did however go to my first wargaming convention in about 20 years last weekend and I have to say it was great. As long as I stayed well away from the tournament games which just made me cringe. But enough about that and onto the good stuff.

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the room was this little piece from Warlord Games (apologies for the glare on the photos):

That's Warlords version of Pegasus Bridge in 28mm. Simon, from the Gathering, was running games of Bolt Action at this table all weekend and I have to say it was great fun. Not the most historically accurate rule set ever written but definitely one for heroics and derring-do. Warlord include a mini-campaign with the box set and we played through the whole thing over the weekend. All credit to the lads at the Gathering who built that terrain board and painted everything in the space of a couple of days to have it ready for the weekend.

The Wee Gamers put on a few demo games as well. I finally got to try out Saga, a game of Dark Age combat published by Gripping Beast and Tomahawk Studios. This is is simple but bloody game that I have only ever heard good things about and I have to say its good fun. The rules are easy to pick up and once you get your head around the dice allocation and battle boards it fast and furious.

These are both games that I want to play more of as they are relatively cheap to assemble usable armies. When I got home I started digging through boxes of minis and eyeing up starter armies when I remembered that I had a bunch of Wargames Foundry Vikings lying around that I had got about a year age and promptly forgotten about. These are solid based versions of the original Citadel minis and are perfect for my needs.

Hirdmen (Hearthguard)
Bondi (Warriors)
Thralls (Levies)

There doesn't seem to be an allowance for archers in the Viking forces but I'm sure they'll come in useful somewhere along the way. Along with the box of Dark Age warriors I've ordered that is the bulk of a Viking warband for Saga, at least for starters anyway. I've also ordered the dice and traded some stuff I didn't want any more for the rules and battleboards. 

The Wee Games also put on a demo game of All Quite on the Martian front, a new game which pits a kind of steam punk US army against Martian tripods. Its set a few years after the events of HG Wells The War of the Worlds and while I'm not sure I like the tanks I can see myself getting some tripods to use in other games. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of the game but there are plenty on the Wee Gamers facebook page. All in all it was a good weekend and I met a few more gamers from around the Limerick area. 

Next post will be back to the Leprecians and hopefully I will have some scenery for the game we're putting on at Brocon 2014 ready to show.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Leprecians/Leprechauns or Tomato/Tomato

I'm getting tired of writing ratlings, kindred and scavengers and space hobbits doesn't cut it with me so what do I call them collectively? Well being Irish I couldn't help but think about Leprechauns. No I'm not going to call them Leprechauns, well not quite anyway. A few years ago I was told by friends who worked as tour guides on various historical sites that people were asking them about the Leprecians. It took a while for the penny to drop that these tourists were mis-pronouncing Leprechauns and had somehow got it into their heads that Leprechauns and Leprecians were two distinct aspects of Irish folklore. Anyway in honour of tourists worldwide I have decided that my space hobbits are the inhabitants of Leprecia IX and henceforth shall be known as Leprcians.

I've almost finished the first batch of Leprecians, basically just need to touch up a few bits, varnish them and add some tufts to the bases. I'm still not sure about the rifles, I tried them black but it looked wrong on them so instead I've gone for this 'definitely not wood' colour.

I toying with the idea of painting some body camouflage on these guys to complete the Rambo/Arnie in Predator look but I'm nervous about it. I'll probably varnish them first and then give it a go.

I have 15 more kindred either en route to me or ready for painting but I think I need a bit of a change so these guys have jumped ahead in the queue. The 4 anteaters are from Eureka Miniatures Pax Limpopo range and I love 'em. They were kindly donated by Cheetor in exchange for the Ramires figure. I will definitely need to get a few more of them.

They are closely modelled on the French Foreign Legion so I plan on painting them like this

The only thing I haven't decided on yet is the skin tone for the anteaters. Obviously there are only two choices (as shown below). I'm not sure how blue skin would go with the blue coat, perhaps I will paint the first one blue to see how it looks. Any ideas?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Test scheme for the Ratlings

Just a quick post today. Painted the first of the Hasslefree Kindred yesterday. I decided to go for a fairly accurate WW1 uniform colour to go with the sculpting of the figure. I might need to do a bit more work on the leggings and spats and I think the hair on the feet might need a bit of a highlight but I'm fairly happy with it. I'm not sure about the gun either, I wanted it to 'not' be a 20th century rifle but I'm not sure how well that has come out. Still easy enough to change if needed.

I'm thinking of a fairly rural setting for these guys, partly to fit in with the WW1 theme and also because anything else just doesn't fit with my image of halflings. Oh and because I want to be able to reuse as much scenery as possible between these and my regular halflings.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ratlings, Kindred and Scavengers or Hobbits in Space!

I've had this idea rattling (apologies) around in my head for some time now about a sci-fi skirmish force consisting of vertically challenged peoples. While traditionally gamers tend to go for squats (space dwarves) I thought I'd try something a little different and try to gather a small force of hobbits and their kin. There aren't that many around but I have managed to get a few examples.

Ratlings from the original Rogue Trader line

Scavengers from Black Tree Design

Kindred from Hasslefree Miniatures

At the moment I'm thinking of doing something along the lines of using the Kindred as a Planetary Defence Force, while using the Rogue Trade minis as former military types retired to their home planet. The BTD scavengers may just have come home from the wars and gone a little John Rambo.

I don't know if anyone has had a read of the background for the ratlings in Rogue Trader but I'm chucking that out and starting afresh. Something just doesn't seem right with me about portraying halflings as hedonistic, promiscuous layabouts. 

Anyway these are just the first thoughts on this fairly small project. Hopefully I can get somewhere with it before I get distracted.