Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Empire Steam Tank - Beauty More Than Skin Deep

This evening I put together a steam tank model from Games Workshop. I was impressed with the level of detail in this plastic model from the start, but as I started putting the pieces together it soon became evident that much of this detail will remain hidden to the world.
The wooden detail from inside the tank along with the detail on the boiler door is covered by the side armour plates during construction.

More hidden during the fixing of the top plate.
The placement of the turret fills the last remaining hole sealing the interior from the outside world.
Even peeking down the side of the canon does not allow access to the interior.
The instructions recommend painting the interior before fixing the sides. I find it hard to motivate myself to do this when it won't be seen again.
I prefer to spend my time paint the excellently detailed outside of the vehicle. I really like this model, the concept, the detail and the actual ease of construction has moved this into my top ten. I just hope I can do it justice in the painting stages.
I will leave you with some close up photos of the model that I took with a macro lens while waiting for the glue to fully cure. Enjoy...

Wargaming Castle - Part 4

With the application of a black under coat then 'over brushed' with a medium grey the castle prototype is starting to look more like a finished product.

The door was made from a scrap of balsa that I had at hand. Not very convincing I'm sure you'd agree, I think this that it needs some kind of stone frame to go around it.

No so bad from a distance.

The battlement bracing have worked well considering that they were the off cuts from the merlons.

Still working on a stair case to finish the narrative of the structure. I am considering magnetising the joins between the castle components. This will add to the robustness of the structures during game play.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wargaming Castle - Part 3

If you have seen the other two wargaming castle blogs that I have posted over the past week you will be familiar with the development of a modular castle suitable for playing a wargame. 

With the prototype wall section being complete apart from the final paint coating I decided to move onto the tower section.

The tower is simply made up of two 8'' by 4'' sections of 2'' ('' denotes inch) fixed together with 'no-more nails'. I have found this to be a great adhesive for this kind of work as it has a quicker drying time than the contact adhesive used in other areas on the project.

The battlements have been cut and fixed in place using the same measurements and methods as the wall section so I won't be repeating the instructions here. The corner sections were problematic to create having to cut four bespoke corners to fit and then fill any gaps. On future towers I intend to overlap the battlement on the corners to simplify the construction part of the project.


I placed the wall section next to the tower and noticed that the area for the door leading on to the battlements is limited. To prevent this from becoming a noticeable, I modified the support block shown below.

The usual sloping support blocks.

The sectioned support blocks, still sloping, but not to a point. The red line mark indicates the top of the wall. The distance between the bottom of the support block and the red line is 35mm, a suitable size of a door frame for a 28mm scale.

Only two of the four sides of the tower will have doors placed in them to prevent doors from appearing on the outside of the castle.  

Wargaming Castle - Part 2

Today's prototyping involved making a wooden scaffold style of stair to narrate where the troops could access the battlements. I mentioned in a previous blog that I wanted to use this form of stair case as it is more flexible than a stone staircase fixed to the wall.

In terms of game play the stair case is irrelevant as troops that can move into base contact with the wall automatically occupy it if the wall is not garrisoned. 

I feel that this attempt hasn't worked out that well. It extends to far out from the wall taking up too much space inside a give castle. I was worried that the slopes would be too 'rabbit hutch' in appearance but at this scale I think they work.

 In essence the main mistake I made with this was in using a base width for a figure as the basis for choosing the dimensions. This resulted in a stair case 45mm square, too big to work, so back to the drawing board.

The next few photos so the size of the blocks I've implied by scoring the styrofoam. The lower blocks are 15mm high with the battlements being 5mm high. 

To finish my modelling session I gave the section of wall an undercoat of black acrylic paint ready for the grey stone colour tomorrow. (Notice the shine patches where the paint hasn't dried yet?)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wargaming Castle - Part 1

After completing the Necron prototypes I was itching to start a new fantasy project using the 'blue foam.

The 'Blood in the Badlands' book released by GW are the rules for castle fighting for fantasy. It is based around the Warhammer Castle set ( costing at the moment £61.50 for four towers, three wall sections, and a gate section.

I have for a while now wanted to use the expansion rules to play some games but at the same time not wanted to spend that kind of money. 

So armed with around £1.50 worth of foam, a pack of blades and some waterbased contact adhesive I set about making a prototype section of castle wall.

The base part of the wall is 6 inches tall with the battlements being a further 2 inches. The battlements are over lapped by an inch to allow an area for the contact adhesive. Each of the embrasure (groove) at the top is an inch wide and 1/2 inch deep. This section of wall is 16 inches in length. I am going to design the towers to be 4 inches creating a total castle footprint of 24 inches. (16+4+4)

This side view shows the overlap of the battlements and wall section. The triangles were a by product from cutting out the embrasures and merlons on the top of the battlements. They do indicate some kind of support for the overhanging brick work on the wall.

At the bottom of the battlements I also cut a 45 degree slope to break up the 'blockiness' of the building. The stairs to the castle wall I intend to make out of wooden scaffolding structures so that they can be deployed in different areas as required.

The walkway at the top of the wall section is 50mm (2 inches) wide allowing for troops to be garrisoned two ranks deep. Ideal in Warhammer for shooting and fighting.  

Not sure how much protection these merlons and embrasures would give the soldiers behind but they allow fully ranked troops to see over the top and still keep them in 'legal' gaming formations.

The wall section does seem plain at the moment so when the glue is fully cured I will add some brickwork to it.

Necropolis - Part 3

With the completion of a segment of the power array I am ready to start filming on the construction of my Necron themed wargaming table for YouTube.

Necron symbols and a few straight lines to indicate inner glow allude to a Necron influence.

The rear view shows a few symbols placed to give an area of interest on the sloping base.

The smaller links indicate an inner power when painted in the bright green as desired. The black used is metallic black to give an alien/unnatural feel to the look.

I am thinking of using several of these in a line on the table to indicate forcefiled activators/runway indicators or such like.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Necropolis - Part 2

Day two of the Necron prototype was all about the application of paint. Initially I added a base-coat / undercoat of black. This, I find, saves time and paint as subsequent colours do not require multiple coats to cover a given area.

The texture on the board is a sand mix with different size sand grains glued to the surface with PVA glue.


After the initial base coat I then applied burnt umber (dark brown) to the base and metallic black for the structure.

Highlights and symbols on the structure were painted on in the brightest green paint that I could find in the paint range. This lines on the edges and a few symbols on the remaining structure. I dry brushed the sand with a light grey to pick out the grains to give an almost frozen mud look to the base.

The whirl pool is still not dry in these photos. Hopefully when the gloss varnish dries and becomes more translucent the swirl will become more evident. I would normally use yacht varnish for this but managed to leave my tin at work so I used the normal Vallejo gloss.

The next piece that I will hopefully be able to make videos for is shown below. The shape is common on the new Necron vehicle releases and I thought that a structure influenced by this shape would look natural on a Necron home world. I cut the basic shape into segments and placed smaller connection pieces between the block. It is my intention to have these smaller pieces 'glowing on the finished models.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Necropolis - Part 1

In order to make the scenery on the wargaming table more relevant to the 40K games that we have recently started playing I am going to make a series of themed tabletops. The first I decided upon is a Necron themed table. 

The background to the Necrons 'or fluff' is that of an ancient race awakening after millennia of sleep to take ownership of the universe.  Some of the worlds on which the Necrons went into stasis perfectly preserved the forces, others failed and over time the forces crumbled to dust. I hope therefore to indicate the passage of a long time and design structures reflecting this.

I have also set limitations on myself when making the structures. I am fortunate, when at work, to have access to a workshop and all the machine tools that go with it. I have gone back to basics with this project as I intend to make a series of tutorials showing the complete making process for several buildings. I only wanted to use materials that most people can get easy access to, so it is blade and glass-paper (aka sand paper) instead of band-saws and standing disks.

So out came the left over blue foam from previous projects and I launched into my first prototype Necron structure 

I 'dry fitted' all the pieces ad I made them to ensure that the component parts fitting together. The MDF base is a piece of 4mm that I had lying around and is A3ish in size. 

Alternate views showing front and back.

The steps at the front are out of scale for real steps as they would be hip high. The door look more ascetically pleasing though and help in game play as a figure cant stand on the step rather than balance on a slope of steps.

Each individual piece was then 'sanded' to remove the worst but not all of the imperfections and then fixed in place using 'no more nails'. It is possible to used wood glue but the drying times are considerable as the foam does not absorb any moisture. Other water based glues can be used that do not melt styrene.

Ready for the next step of filling the holes and joints before the application of paint. The top pieces look crocked on the left hand upright in the picture but this is not the case in real life.

Hope you find this series useful and if you have any recommendations for Necron structures do not be shy!!!