Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pulp Alley character cards

'We are nostalgic for the old and the analog'

Despite the many and various joys of the digital age for this aged researcher, one cannot help but feel nostalgic for the intensely tactile experience of searching the card file catalogue in a library. The feel, the smell, the frustration of the missing card!

As my first Pulp Alley leagues are nearly off the painting table, my mind has turned to charter cards and league rosters! While searching for images that could be used for the card, I happened across this groovy Catalogue Card Generator created by John Blyberg.

With very little effort, some 'atmospheric' charter cards can be pieced together (the photo is added later by me). These are two of the League Leaders for my upcoming Pulp Alley adventure – 'On to Port Said!'

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Way too late for Christmas, but ...

Happy New Year bloggers,

I know this is sensationally late for Christmas but just happened across this video of The Royal Guardsmen performing their Snoopy/Red Baron songs on a new blog I'm following (The Woolshed Wargamer) and couldn't help posting - not high culture, but oh the nostalgia!

I recall having the single with:

  • A1: Snoopy Vs The Red Baron
  • A2: The Return Of The Red Baron
  • B1: Airplane Song (My Airplane)
  • B2: Snoopy's Christmas

  • Just back from summer hols - will extract the digit and get some wargaming posts going soon.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    The polar night approaches at Gruhuken

    Not content with on Pulp project on the go, I've started work on the buildings for a Arctic adventure based loosely on the book Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. As the clouds of war are gathering over Europe, a small British expedition leaves for a small island in the Arctic Circle to establish a weather station to map sub-polar weather systems. Ahead, their first experience of overwintering and the months of darkness of the Polar night. Paver writes a jolly good ghost story, the pulp adventure to come will explore in other directions… the harsh polar environment, polar bears, rogue trappers and U-boats, perhaps?

    The building is a balsa construction with a corrugated card roof and polystyrene 'skin' to provide the texture of the timber planking. The minis are Bob Murch's excellent Courageous Mountaineers!

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Architectural details

    In a quiet day at the 'office', I happened across a number of interesting website form the 'miniatures' fraternity (eg. doll's house makers etc.) and I thought they offered some interesting ideas. I'm sure much of this has already been done by the wargaming fraternity but it's always worth looking at what others are up to!

    In reality, it's just a good way of keeping links for my own use, but hopefully others may find it useful too!

    Making model windowns
     Opening casement window for a dolls house
    Craft wood aging solution
     Raw balsa wood, silver grey  and deep brown basswood  created with vinegar/steel wool solutions
    Palm trees
     Scale miniature palm tree set behind a porcelain building in a Christmas Nativity set.
    Four dolls house scale cattails made from a variety of materials.
    Flint finsish (buildings)
    Scale railway ballast and budgie grit used to mimic stone finishes on a dollhouse exterior.

    "The illusion of moss/lichen on shingles can be created by washing the lower areas (or shaded areas if you are using trees) with a light wash of sap green acrylic or watercolor. Actual patches of lichen can be applied by dabbing small amounts of bright green, tan, and orange chalk on in tiny irregular patches. The chalk can be fixed in place with an artist's fixative, or by a light coating of matte varnish."

    And let's not forget the wallpaper:

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Middle Eastern village in cork

    In the words of 6mmPhil at LAF:
    I swear this is some form of hypnotic control developed by Matakishi, however to what ends I couldn't say, but there's many gamers who've disappeared under piles of cork buildings never to be seen again. It starts with just a couple of small buildings, works it's way up to a town scape and then before you know it you've bought enough cork tiles to cover a football pitch and your home is packed with buildings of every type and there's not enough room to move.  
    The only cure, partial as it is, means encouraging other folk to start modelling with cork too, so welcome to the sinister cult club.
    Oh yes, I can attest to the  appeal of creating cork buildings - I've spent every 'spare' moment (for me, they are rare) thinking or doing something related to my current cork building project and have more than once, started planning for other projects to follow!

    The current project is a Middle Eastern village which will see use in my Pulp Alley adventures to come. During the project, I have realised the range of uses (other than the multitude of Pulp opportunities) that they may have: colonial; modern skirmishes – giving me a great excuse to purchase some Eureka Miniatures 'modern range including the excellent Afghans and Somalis; and, possible Sci-Fi uses.

    The basic shells of the buildings appeared quite quickly. The great challenges have been learning how to add sufficient detail to make them interesting and to paint them appropriately. I went down the path of using paint only rather than using a textured finish under the paint. 

    Learning on the job has lead to too many coats of paint going on. :( They started a red earth colour, then morphed to a rich, sandy yellow, then to antique white (was looking better by now but lacking depth), then a raw umber wash (to pick up the texture again) and finally with a dry brush of antique white with a hint of Vallejo dark sand.

    In future, I'll just paint with antique white, wash with raw umber then highlight with the antique white tinted with some dark sand. It seems to work OK.

    I experimented with a bit of faded colour on the two story building (in the style used by Matakishi) and a small domed building (trying to capture a faded orange-red paint job). I think with some follow-up to mute the colour a little more the two story building it will be OK. I'm not happy with the orange-red dry brush on the central building - it's likely to go back to the standard white at some stage.

    Anyway, some pictures (not the best, sorry, only had my phone on hand):

    The village has a main administration building in the foreground, its Mosque in the rear right, and the market in the centre and top left. Of course, the whole thing is modular so can take many shapes.

    The compound for the main administration building. I will eventually create a wall section with double gates to close it off completely giving it the opportunity of being used as a stylised Afghan compound as detailed by Matakishi

    I'm planning on using the red washed building as your typical Den of Iniquity where all sorts of favours and troubles can be found! As I mention above, I'm thinking of going back to the white wash look.
    The main market area will soon have many canopies on the buildings and some central under cover stalls as well.

    I've recently stumbled across this British Pathé film of life in an Egyptian village (1940-49) which will be used for further inspiration. The first stand out feature is the amount of palms and plans in the village - have a look! 

    Another challenge I have to overcome is whether I base the buildings (which would assist with fixing the canopies to the market buildings), or whether to leave them as they are and devise a way to make the canopies self supporting (eg. diagonal struts to the side of the building). One problem with moving to bases is it makes the use of the modular wall sections a little more difficult as they will need to sit up on the base and this will leave a gap underneath between building bases.

    I'll post again when I've make the next step.

    Any comments and ideas most welcome!

    Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Adobe buildings using cork

    So, I've been agonising about the possible price of buying the buildings I need for my Pulp Alley venture having no 28mm terrain to speak of. I found an interesting Desert Village paper terrain kit at RPG Now by Papermodels which provided the inspiration (and plans) for a test run with balsa - wanting something a little more durable than paper terrain. I found the stock I was using way to light and lacked the substantial feel I had hoped for. My eye drifted over the pile of 7mm cork tiles I'd recently snapped up at the local hardware (being hard to find at times) and it came to me in a flash what a great building material it would be.

    I quickly cut out and assembled the shell of a simple building and saw this was the way to go. Now, fellow wargamers, I thoughts I was pretty clever for about 30 minutes thinking I'd come up with something new. A notion that about 10 minutes searching the web completely disabused! I trawled over forums finding all sorts of interesting work using cork tiles but all roads led to Matakishi's Tea House.

    So, 36 hours later, I fond myself well under way. The simple building style for desert villages makes for quick results. I'm even getting to the stage of splaying the first coats of paint on a few. Here's some initial pics – much is held together with pins (glue still dying) and the canopies are just slapped on. Once they are completed and weathered they'll look much better. A couple are awaiting a dome as well.

    I've decided to draw some inspiration from Matakishi's Afghan buildings as well. I'm starting to realise that these will open up a world of gaming - Pulp, colonial, modern. Hmm. I'll keep on working on getting more of a market town feel to it all then populate it with some of Eureka's excellent Middle Eastern civilians.

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Wilhelm, the unknown Krupp.

    I hope you enjoy my first hesitant steps into the world of VSF and Pulp!

    The Great Panic of 1873 saw Alfred Krupp spread his financial interests beyond the family's steelworks into Spanish mines and Dutch Shipping. While on business in Rotterdam, Krupp's little-known half brother, Wilhelm Krupp, saw an opportunity to combine the family's passion for armaments with the growing interest in clockwork automation among the Clockmaker's Guild in Rotterdam.

    Wilhelm had spent time in the Far East and had seen first hand the devastating effect of Richard Gatling's monstrous machine during the Boshin War in Japan. He returned to Europe in time to serve as a staff officer in the war of 1870, and through his connections in the Prussian high command had heard talk of the potential of weapons such as the French Mitrailleuse volley gun (used rather ineffectually in 1870) on dense infantry formations. Krupp spent many a long night pondering the potential of a mobile, rapid fire weapon on the serried ranks for the Poilu when the opportunity came for a return to hostilities.

    For years, Wilhelm slaved in his secret workshop in a rat infested corner of Rotterdam perfecting an armoured suit that could deliver the devastating fire of the Gatling where and when it was needed on the battlefield. The need for secrecy was paramount. British spies were everywhere in the Netherlands, so Wilhelm rarely ventured out. His Oriental mistress and his two Bavarian clockmakers, Ernst and Heinrich, were his only companions. Nevertheless, his plans crystallised and slowly, a new machine of war was born.

    It was on a grey July morning in 1882, in a secluded polder, that Wilhelm unveiled his ultimate prototype of his Kreighosen to a distinguished visitor – none other than Prince Leopold of Bavaria! The Prince had served alongside Wilhelm in 1870 and had heard of his top secret work. Wilhelm had acquiesced to the Prince's insistence, that he be the one to give the suit it's first field trial. So, after several false starts – the Dutch mud playing hell with the exposed mechanism – the Prince navigated the sodden fields with ease and, despite Wilhelm's protests, insisted in firing a burst of the terrible Gatling Gun.
    Sorry, ghastly photo!

    After a gruelling trip back to the workshop under the cover of darkness, Wilhelm and the Prince toasted their success and made plans for more extensive tests of the Kreighosen, hopefully under battle conditions. The news of the following day, that the British Imperialists had bombarded Alexandria, provided the ideal opportunity. The Prince had a connection in the Suez Canal Company in Port Said who arranged a bogus invitation for the party to inspect the canal. While the Prince called in favours in diplomatic circles, Wilhelm busied himself with packing his monstrosity in grease and arranging for its transport on a Krupp family ship. "On to Port Said", he mused, as he departed on the Krupp family steamer a week later.
    Little did Wilhelm know, that as they steamed out of Rotterdam a mysterious crate was being hoisted from the hold of a British steamer in Alexandria. Wilhelm would soon discover that the British spy network in the Netherlands were not as incompetent as he had believed.