Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Building the arena part 3

Well, I must apologise for rushing ahead and not reporting.
You see, I was so excited to have finished my arena that I completely forgot to log what I was doing.

Last time, I only had the outer wall to add.
I had some thin cork sheets that were once IKEA placemats. They're lovely and thin, so I thought I'd use them for the curved outer wall.

The wall was built in situ to get a better fit. First the inner side of the wall, then a few strengthening struts made of the thicker cork floor tiles, followed by the outer wall sections. The tips of the wall were sized up by flipping the whole thing upside down and drawing around the top on a cork tile.

Detailing on the outside was done by adding Depron (RTM, probably) to make the arches and card for the decorative strip. I've had the Depron for many years, just waiting for the right project, and this is certainly it. It's a thin but strong extruded polystyrene as far as I can tell. It bends easily without breaking, is strong and allows you to scribe detail onto it. Lovely stuff. It made the black arches you can see in the photos.

I sprayed the entrance portico part black to get the shadows in place and then gave it all a good covering of textured stone coloured spray paint, after blacking off the bits I wanted to stay black.

The roof tiles are by Warbases, those wonderful strips of card that have you cursing that you ever decided to put tiles on the roof, until you realise that the alternative is cutting out the individual tiles yourself. Wonderful things, those Warbases roofing strips!

All that remains was a bit of paint and the jobs done. I didn't get a shot of the finished arena on its own, so I've add a few shots of it in play at the Hereward show in Peterborough at the start of the month, complete with cricket pitch and pavilion!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Building the arena part 2

I hope the most laborious part of this build is now over. Upper and lower tiers, left and right are finished and I solemnly swear that I will never cut a sheet of foamcore in carefully measured curved rows ever again!

I added covered entry points to both sides. They're covered so that I don't have to make the stairs inside!

After sealing the foamcore with thinned wood glue mixed with brown craft paint (that wasn't nearly dark enough!) I'm calling those parts done, apart from the outer wall, which I'll probably glue to the seating section. I sealed the foamcore in the hope that when I spray paint them, the propellant won't eat into the exposed foam edges.

Next I made a high level vip seating area. This will not have a lower level seating area underneath it as that's where the pavilion will go. I made the seating here straight. I'm really not going to cut more curves!

I decided to make the main entrance/portico next so that I can fit the outer wall around that rather than vice versa. I think this will be the focal point of the model after all and want to get it right.

I made this out of good old cork board; a lovely material that works with either wood glue or superglue depending on how fast you need it to set.

The columns are tubes that once contained vanilla pods. I knew they'd come in useful one day! I've sandpapered them so that they will hopefully take paint better.

Luckily I remembered to add an entrance to the vip seating on the back of the portico. Somebody would be sure to ask how you get up there if I hadn't!

The whole entrance piece is still in two parts so that I can paint all around it easier. Sometimes I surprise myself with my forward thinking. Of course, having said that something is bound to go wrong now...

I'm very happy with how this piece is coming along so far.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Building the arena part 1

So I agreed to build an arena as a terrain feature for a game of Sharp Practice.

That may sound like an odd item for a 19th century black powder game, but it gets odder. This arena has a cricket pitch and a pavilion.

Oh, and it's on Mars.

There is, of course, a tale to tell regarding the game, but that can wait. First I've got to build the arena. If fact I only have to build a quarter of the arena, but that's ambitious enough!

I plotted the floor plan full size on a piece of mdf that for some reason I had previously painted blue. This enabled me to see where Matt's pavilion will fit and hopefully help to keep the dimensions accurate.m and let me see where I can split the construction. I really don't want a single piece of 24"x24" terrain taking up storage space!

The tiers of seating are divided into four areas, low and high on each side of the pavilion. I'll have a high level viewing area above the pavilion too.

The simplest place to start seems to be the lower level seating, so I cut out all of the pieces for that from my template prior to assembling any.

The steps are going to be two thicknesses of polyboard high each, which I hope will give a realistic look at 28mm. Unfortunately this means I have to cut each piece twice. It soon got a touch boring.

Once assembled I attached a piece of cork around the back to help stabilise the steps and to provide the dividing wall between the two levels of seating.

That's all so far. I'll make another of these for the other side before tackling the higher level, and leave the pavilion section and outer wall to last.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Martin Schwartz

Martin Schwartz was a mercenary from Germany who was brought to fight for the Yorkist cause against Henry VII at the battle of Stoke Field, the last battle of the Wars of the Roses.

This model of him was given away free to attendees of the Partizan show in Newark in 2013. I bought mine from eBay last year sometime.

I wanted to practice my Non-Metallic Metal technique on more than just the odd sword and I'm pretty pleased with how he came out.

I don't know who sculpted or manufactured the figure in afraid, but they do come up on eBay from time to time.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Sanwar

The game I'm enjoying most at the moment is the second edition of Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies. It is designed with 19th century black powder skirmish engagements in mind where the "big men" or leaders of the troops are fundamental to the action and even have characters of their own in an rpg-light kind of way.

The game has grabbed my attention to such an extent that a game we had planned to run using Dan Mersey's The Men Who Would Be King rules is now going to be a Sharp Practice game.

We're taking it to Mars though. Matt has a lot of colonial types with a Victorian SciFi theme from Ironclad Miniatures, and I've had a hankering to buy some of their Sanwar for a while now.

So I gave in recently and purchased a few packs. The figures are wonderful! Reminiscent of the Tusken Raiders from the original Star Wars movie, these will make excellent tribal types with primitive musketry and scavenged hand weapons.

Hopefully I'll be able to provide a game write up soon as I'm itching to play. I need to work out some stats first...


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors

I'm off to Operation Market Larden 4 near Evesham on Saturday, a day of gaming with Too Fat Lardies hosted by Wyvern Wargamers.

Sharp Practice 2 in the morning followed by Big Chain of Command in the afternoon and a curry to round the day off. Really looking forward to it.

There's a raffle, to which attendees donate prizes; this is mine. A dozen Dark Age warriors from Gripping Beast.


Friday, 27 May 2016

Tom Meier goblins

I was taking some photos of these guys for a Facebook group and realised I'd never posted them here.

I must have mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Tom Meier's sculpts and these are among my favourites. They're all originals from the early eighties, so many of them bear the scars of previous battles and healing potions (superglue). 

I repainted them about two years ago with a view to proxying them for the Saxons in a game of Dux Britanniarum that still hasn't happened!

The two larger command figures are more recent sculpts, from Tom's Thunderbolt Mountain range, which for many years I was too intimidated to attempt to paint! 

I am slowly making my way through them, but I really need to be in the right mood to paint them. I won't rush them!