Thursday, 11 June 2020

I'm going back ... Back to the Blogosphere!

Back to Blogging

It's fair to say this has been a neglected blog, of late. Mostly, because I have focused in the past year on posting on my Instagram account Models From Scratch

While the crafting community on Instagram and YouTube are a wonderful bunch, and it's a great platform to display your work, blogs provide a great opportunity to give more detailed posts and (importantly) somewhere to record your techniques. There is nothing worse than nailing a colour scheme only to go back a year later and not being able to reproduce it! 

Anyway, I hope to get back to more regular blogging with a focus on posts about scratch building terrain and even some gameplay (shock, horror!).

Iso projects

As it is for all of you, life has been dominated by social distancing for a couple of months now. In Australia we've had a fairly easy run with COVID-19 (thanks to decisive action by all levels of government). That said, the financial impact on many has been horrendous. Luckily I've dodged that so far with a job that translates well to working from home. But, the crunch is yet to come in my sector (higher education).

Over the next few posts I'll give some updates on the following projects:
  1. Building an Old West mining settlement for some Cowboys and Aliens - Old West / Weird West skirmish gaming;
  2. Crafting terrain and miniatures for an antipodean setting for Of Gods and Mortals;
  3. Building a shanty town and waaaay too many shipping containers for a post apocalyptic setting!
  4. Update (25 July 2020) ... and, a 2mm Biblical Armies project that has sprung out of nowhere!
 Here's a taster of the upcoming posts:

A shanty town well suited to modern setting and post apocalyptic gaming made of cork sheet using methods learned from Matakishi and Platypus Scotsman.
Kulpunya - a giant spirit dingo (scratch built) and Denisovan minis from Eureka Miniatures for a planned display game of Of Gods and Mortals (Osprey) at the (sadly) cancelled Little Wars Melbourne 2020.
My growing Old West town. After binge watching Deadwood (for the first time) I could not resist painting my favorite characters using the Al Swearengen and Wild Bill minis from Artizan recently purchased from War and Peace Games.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

2mm ACW (with updates)

Amidst the mountain of rules I’ve downloaded over the years, I’ve recently found a copy of  Who Shall Rule this American Nation? - simple ACW rules written with the 2mm gamer in mind. They are aimed at divisional or corps level gaming.

Update: I have since discovered that the rules are part of a collected set by John Bobek, The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes (2007):  A copy is on its way in the next week or two! I will review the rules in more detail then.

The mechanics of movement, shooting, melee and morale are provided but the set lacks a turn sequence and the morale rules are a bit unclear - but the rest is solid. I’m playing through a game to the identify gaps and will write up some homegrown solutions.

Update: thanks for a Review by Ryan Morgan on the above BGG page, I have learned that 'In chapter one Mr. Bobek lays out the ground work for interpreting his rules in the further chapters as well as discusses his philosophy for wargaming.'

At this point I just wanted to post some shots of the initial few turns and I will update on my thoughts soon. This blog has been quiet for too long!

I’ve also been experimenting with creating woods terrain for 2mm using Casuarina cones coated in flock - there are some WIP images below.  I'll post a short tutorial next.

Monday, 28 January 2019

A craggy protuberance

I need a craggy hill for the D&D adventure I’m working on - a great opportunity to try out my new interest in foam crafting! Still a WIP but here’s a progress shot or two.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Crafting for D&D 5e

At a pre-Christmas get together with some gaming buddies I was discussing how the Netflix series Stranger Things had reenlivend interest in Dungeons and Dragons with my kids. I had been using AD&D manuals that I had since my early days of role playing in the late 1970s. The chap I was yarning with suggested I try fifth edition (5e) suggesting there was a lot of news stuff we were missing out on. I was keen to see where D&D had gone over the years, so challenge accepted!

So, the young bloke’s Christmas stocking was stuffed with some Eureka dungeoneer miniatures, the 5e Dungeon Masters’ Guide and a DM’s screen as a bit of a kick starter. I find using some miniatures and dungeon tiles or terrain helps the kids engage with the action sequences better (although in many parts of an adventure we stick to ‘pure’ paper and dice role playing).

Of course, I need very little encouragement to take up a new crafting project and swiftly got onto making some dungeon tiles. There is a wealth of advice on YouTube for dungeon crafting and I adopted the 2.5 D dungeon tile approach used by The DMG with reasonable success. I used foamcore instead of cardboard which worked fine. I have created a basic set of about 20 tiles but am working towards the full set of tiles outlined by DMG:

While searching for some additional goodies to populate the dungeon with I happened across the Black Magic Craft channel on YouTube which, among the huge catalogue of really useful videos, has a great tutorial for crafting an Earth Elemental out of foam here. Here’s my attempt at the build - I’m happy with the results. I particularly think adding some areas of ‘dirt’ using model railway ballast gives the model even more of a feel of having just having been conjoured from the landscape!

I highly recommend you check out The and Black Magic Craft - great channels.

More dungeon goodness will follow. Thanks for dropping by.
NB: this is my first post using an iPad - not a happy choice for Blogger - apologies for formatting issues!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Scratch built Nissen Huts, road barriers and shipping container 28mm

So often I find that terrain ideas are the motivation for new projects. Currently, I'm working on some  items that lend themselves more to a Cold War era post apocalyptic setting than the classic Pulp that he’s been my recent focus.
'The Road' (Source)
My hope is that this will inspire some 'Apocalypse Alley' gaming using Pulp Alley rules based around the aftermath of a nasty biological weapon exchange. The leagues will give me the opportunity to use some of the Eureka Cold War era moderns in like thev 28mm US and Soviet lines they have in NBC/MOPP gear. Link

Keeping to my (nearly) zero budget terrain philosophy, I have been working mostly with cardboard, cork and wire mesh. Here are a few of the creations and the inspiration for them.

'The Base' - a quick layout of the components I have built so far. At the moment I'm working on roads, finishing the perimeter fence and helipads.

I love the look of these old Nissen huts built using 90mm postal tube and corrugated cardboard. The construction process is set out in a great article by Dennis Berwick

This bird's eye view of the base shows the mysterious generator spewing out toxic goop on the bottom right. Ultimately this will be outside the perimeter of the base.

These street barricades are simple to make and will be useful for a range of modern settings. I used a cool tutorial by FearDaAlien. They just need some ballast in the bottom as, being made out of foam, they tend to fall over easily.

I've wanted shipping containers for ages - always been looking in toy stores etc. At last, I've found a great tutorial on Panzerfaust Nostalgia for making them out of card. I'm very happy with the result. Now for mass production! The container made out of 1mm card stock with craft store corrugated cardboard glued to the outside and plastic tubing for the locking mechanism.
Thant's all for now. Study and work are weighing heavily on my crafting time - but the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Just as an aside, I found this nice little article on post-apocalyptic ecology:

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Something's afoot at Mosquito Creek

Far to the south of the troubled waterways of the Murray-Darling river system, something's afoot in a gloomy corner of Westernport Bay. Despite the recent storms, there's been a a noticeable increase in ferry traffic out to French Island in the past few weeks. The Master at Tankerton Jetty has been unwilling to discuss the contents of the barges that were doing nightly runs just muttering something about a government project.

The master's son was driving tarp-covered loads out to somewhere near Mosquito Creek by night - sodden, poor land, no good for grazing. By daytime he was ferrying working parties of prisoners and their guards to an 'undisclosed location'.
The island's only General Store was alive with rumour - was a factory being set up at the island's prison farm?  Could the government be finally electrifying the island (long overdue), or was it something to do with upgrading the cable line to Tasmania? One thing was sure, if any of the Islanders new what was going on, they were keeping tight lipped. Les Johnston, who usually knows everything that's going on on French Island,  says that when he was out near Mosquito Creek shooting foxes last week, he saw a strange glow off over the mangroves. Someone needs to go out and have a look - but because the prison is involved, nobody is game...

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Right Bloody Mess on the water

As always my gaming focus swings wildly.

With the release of Matthew Clarkson's magnificent tome A Right Bloody Mess in 2017 and more recently Mana Press's Maximilian 1934 rules and the wonderful supporting ranges from Eureka Miniatures (OK plugs over now!) my mind has turned to 'what if?' conflicts in the parched plains of this great, big brown land of ours.

I have been experimenting with Eureka Miniatures 'The Cars that ate Murrumbeena' range and there will be posts to follow on that. Today is just a little taster of the riverine consequences of this civil disturbance in Australia in the 1930s. Currently a work in progress.

My mind has been turning to monolithic dredges from the gold mining era being hauled across dry landscapes by traction engines to fight battles in the ephemeral, mineral leaden lakes of the interior - my take on American Civil War Cotttonclads - but I need to start a little smaller than that!

USS Morning Light - an American Civil War Cottonclad
Today I give you a peek of my first addition to the riverine fleet for ARBM - the converted wool barge Willandra.

The Murray Barge Dart
The Willandra is based on a real barge of the late 1800s (but no accurate dimensions could be found - so I faked it). She was built in 1879 and plied the Murray-Darling rivers as a barge for the Paddle Steamer Alert. These barges and the whole riverine transport system slowly declined with the spread of the road and rail network and many boats fell into disrepair. Now, I diverge from history.

With the outbreak of hostilities in the 1930s (see Matthew's ARBM) the road and rail network was again compromised by the warring factions. The massive (although ephemeral and unreliable) Riverine transport network of the Murray-Darling Basin flourished again. Old barges (once towed by Paddle Steamers) were retrofitted with diesel engines and pressed into service - valued for their shallow draft in these rivers full of sandbanks and snags.

Here we see the owner of sheep station at Minindee along the Darling River in NSW on a run down to the market in Mildura to sell some of her high grade Merino wool - in great demand again for uniforms as the various militia kit up across the region!

But, soon enough, as resources become scarce due to the break down of trade across this huge continent, the trip to market becomes fraught with danger from attacks by land-based militia and even the occasional attack from small watercraft. Only last month an aged paddle steamer was sunk in the Murray River by spar torpedo boats from a timber-cutter gang turned feral in Barmah! The militia need uniforms so the wool must get through to the markets. Thus, the first 'woolclad' gunboat on the darling River is born - the Willandra! More to follow...

The Hotchkiss Gun, Nordenfelt and Wool Bales are all from Eureka Miniatures, The Willandra is scratch-built of cork, MDF and plastic card. The other figures at from Bob Murch - Pulp Figures


The 'woolclad' Willandra is complete and ready to start plying her trade up and down the Darling shipping wool to the market in Mildura. Mimosa Herridge, the matriarch of Menindee Station is accompanying her shipment of the finest Merino wool down river.

Stopping to pick up a shipment from the neighboring property, Herridge is surprised to find a newsreel crew waiting for their arrival. The NSW Government's recently formed Ministry of Information wants to calm the jittery investors in Sydney by reinforcing that the State's rurl industries were still thriving despite the recent conflict.
 The arrival of Herridge is a godsend for Ken G Hall the Movietone crew Director, Ken G Hall, but the Ministry's 'advisor' Major GPW Meredith (yes, the infamous commander of the failed Emu War!) quickly advises the crew to crop the armaments on the Willandra out of the shot as it doesn't send the right message!