Samstag, 20. Oktober 2012


No, I'm not talking about the TV-series of that name (although it is reasonably entertaining) but about a small medieval town that I have bought at Ebay. You have certainly seen it before as I have myself many times - it is from PMC games and at first I was very reluctand to buy it. The pictures on ebay are not the best, and I have never seen them in reality, so...

Well, After months of thought-wrestling I've finally re-invested the revenue of an ebay sale, and I was really surprised when the parcel arrived. The buidlings are of very good quality, look the part and are, especially at this price, more than a bargain. I've aired them a few nights in the garage, thought, as they obviously were packed right after painting. Now the smell seems to be gone, but the looks remains. Enough said, now see for yourself:

PMC-games medieval town - laid out on my new gaming mat. The river is from litko (painted by me)

Here is the same view with some background added...

... a detail-picture of the mill (I'll probably add some water-effects on the wheel later)...

...and a panorama-view:

All roofs can be lifted off to place miniatures within the buildings, although there are no interior details (I for my part really don't miss them). Some more pictures of the scenery:

Perry Miniatures Knights preparing to defend Smallville

As you can see from the pictures, the buildings are a little bit on large side for the Perry figures. But they are just fine for Fireforge, which perfectly fits my new project planned for 2013 (more about that some other time).

I couldn't fight the urge to do a little photoshop with the pictures, but I have not altered any of the buildings. In my opinnion, they are really good. Now I'm looking forward for the first game of medieval street-fight.

Have a nice weekend, thanks for visiting,

Freitag, 12. Oktober 2012

Dux Britanniarum 1: The British

As you can see from the title, this fantastic new rulesystem from TFL has really hit home with me. I was no fan of their rulesets before as I'm not gaming modern warfare, and while I am interested in the Napoleonic era which they cover with Sharp Practice, the low production quality of this ruleset has prevented me from buying it (yes, I am that boring coffeetable-type of wargamer, sorry).

But with Dux Brit, not only the production quality is very appealing, but the rules work quite well and are really a very pleasant change from your usual "line up and fight" - game. I like the idea that you rather withdraw to be able to fight another day instead of storming the impossible hill or a bridge too far because its either that or quitting the game. A continuing background flow without the need of a real campaign is an idea that I really like to try.

So, I need figures. Now. And so I went into rebasing - using the flexible system I have written about in my last post. And my British army is already finished:

A birdseye-view of the complete British army
From left to right: The Dux and his household troops, a few skirmishers and two units of soldiers with their captain (all Gripping Beast Miniatures except for the DUX which is a Foundry figure - and signed by the Perries on its base :-)

The levies and their leader (all Gripping Beast figures)
A close up shot of the levies - fighting poorly does not mean you cannot dress the part...

 Still missing is a suitable Champion figure. Also, I'm going to paint and use the official Dux-figure. The hairy barbarians are also coming along nicely, but here I not only have to rebase them but also paint many of them anew- so give me just a few more days. Here is a little teaser:

The Saxons attack the British shieldwall (figures by Gripping Beast and Musketeer Miniatures)

Have a nice evening, take care,

Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012

Back to Bases

As the workload of 'real life' increases, I'm becoming a very unproductive painter. Ten painting points (1 figure = 1 point, 1 rider or warmachine = 2 points) per month is nowadays the only quota that I can achieve as an average. At the same time, the number of rulesystems I'm interested in has increased - and while I usually could apply my DBx-basing standard to every rulesystem, with SAGA or DUX Britanniarum there are now skirmish systems in my portfolio that require single based figures!

This brings me back to a point where I have been before, as I already had experimented with single based figures years ago - then with metal-singlebases and multibases with inlayed magnets. It had not worked and resulted in some really nasty accidents with miniatures falling down and all that, so I went ahead and have based everything the DBx-way since then. Now I'm willing to give the thought it another try.

The thing I have changed now is that the (quite strong) magnet is not in the multibase, but in the base of the figure itself. And suddenly it works like a charm! So I'm now able to use this unit of Normans both for SAGA...

Crusader Miniatures Normans single based for SAGA

... and for systems requiring larger units like Impetus or Hail Caesar.

The same Crusader Miniatures Normans on Multibases for Hail Caesar or Impetus

The Multibase has sabots that I make myself with a saddlers stamping-tool. The base can be styrodur or any strong material, it is glued to a metal surface in order to give the magnets in the figure-bases something to hold on to.

The Multibase without the figures

A not finished multibase together with the saddlers stamping-tool

The figures blend well into the Multibase

The sabots can only be seen from directly above

Due to the strong magnet in the base, the figures hold on to the Multibase very well and have not yet fallen off - even when turned around:

No miniatures were harmed in the making of this picture -
but don't do this without magnets!!!

They also can be fixed on smaller bases DBx-size - yet since here there is not enough room to make sabots, the visual effect clearly suffers.

Admitted - it would look better with color on the base - but only slightly so...

The same method works for mounted figures. Here I use oval single bases from warbases (with a 5mm magnet in a drilling-hole) amd fitting sabot-bases from warbases as well.

Crusader Miniatures Normans charging as a unit for Hail Ceasar or two units for Impetus
The same figures as they would be used in a SAGA-game
I'm quite happy with the result. The making of the Multibase takes some time, but much less then the painting of another unit for a new gaming systems would require. The same goes for the price: The Multibases and the magnets are not for free, but they are way cheaper then new figures would be.

Now I'm going to give the same treatment to all my figures that I would like to use for several systems, especially my Dark-Age figures for Dux Britanniarum and my Perry Samurai and Koreans (I have not yet found a suitable skirmish system for them, but Samurai skirmish is much to tempting to glue them all onto one large base...).

But I'll certainly draw the line at the year 400 AD - my Ancients collection before that date is all neatly based on DBx-bases and much to extensive to be rebased. Also I don't see the point of skirmish gaming in an era that really relied very much upon large bodies of troops, and since DBx-basing is compatible to all non-skirmish systems anyway, there really is no point changing it.

Best regards and have a nice evening,

Dienstag, 2. Oktober 2012

A new horizon - tutorial for a flexible gaming mat

Sometimes our hobby with all its focus on neat detail needs a counterweight - that is big, messy work. With my new army for DUX Britanniarum nearly finished, I felt the strong urge to create some new terrain for it. The rigth moment came when my wife had decided it was time to spent a weekend at her parents together with our little doughter. I had the house for myself - and I used it. The result looks like this:

The new gaming mat

Well, not all of it was done in two days of course, only the gaming mat. It is not my first one, you can see other mats I have made at our clubs homepage (here). But since I never have written a tutorial in English, I'll use the oppertunity to write one this time.

The first thing you'll need is a large piece of canvas. I know mats can be done with other, cheaper materials, too, but I have found canvas to be both durable and solid - which it needs to be when you place something under it later on to create hills. I buy the canvas direct from the wholesale trader in a large roll. This gives me near unlimited material to do some more mats in the future - much to the distress of my sweet wife.

Lay out the canvas flat on your table and fix it with something - it will later constrict and you'll need to keep it in place. I have some holes in my gaming table for this purpose to which the canvas is fixed with large screws.

Step 1: Lay out the canvas and fix it with something - in my example with screws
I have reinforced the anchoring point with a slice of metal

At this point it is important that the canvas should be bigger than your mat will be later on - it will be easy to cut off excess material, but if you cut the material to size to early, the constricting will cause size-problemes later on.

The basic material from which the mat is made is acrylic paste, which can be bought cheap at your local DIY (use the cheapest/ white one), paint and sand. The paint is as well from the DIY - the cheapest and biggest pots of acrilyc paint you can buy in all colors associated with earth, mud and groundwork. Mix a large pot with paint and some water, and add first sand and than acrylic paste. You will at least need four tubes of acrylic paste for a mat 180x120cm.

Step 2: Arrange what you will need and prepare a large amount of paint in a container. This will get messy, so best use something as a container that you can throw away later - like the bottom of a water conatiner I have used here.
Put in the acrylic paste and birdsand and mix them thoroughly - medical gloves that can easily discarded come in handy

Best not to show the result in too big a picture - I know what it looks like, but it smells better...

Now the fun begins - spread out the mixtures on your canvas. Use your hands here - I have experimented with all sorts of brushes, scrapers and spatula, but the material will stick to your tools instead of the canvas. So use your hands wrapped up in medical gloves. It is really messy, so you best enjoy it.

For my mat I wanted a road, some fields and a village, so I first I blocked in these areas with the dark mixture...

Step 3: Bring the acryl-sand-paint - mixture to the canvas (I really don't know why the scraper lies there - it has not been used during the process)

... and then I put the other material around it. Obviously if you want a more generic mat without fixed geographic features you don't need to mix several shades, just use one big container. But I'm not a fan of superimposed flexible roads, and this mat is especially made for 28mm skirmish games (well, for DUX Britanniarum, to be honest).

Use your hands (best in gloves) while spreading the material, and be careful not to spread it on the floor and your clothes - I know it will happen anyway but don't say I have not warned you ;-)

Now you want to be fast, because the next step has to be done while the mixture is still wet. Apply now static grass in different shades, little rocks and bushes, colored sand - everything you have at hand. If you do large areas it works good to throw the material up in the air - it will rain down evenly and give a more natural effect. In my case I had to be more careful, because I did not want too much flocking material on the road. Note that you don't need glue - just cover the whole surface as quickly as possible für the mixture to be sufficently moist and sticky.

Step 4: Use every flocking material you can lay your hands on. If you are just a little bit like me, you will have an ample supply of it.

At this point you should have noticed why it is a wise move to wait with this project until you have the house for yourself. Should you still think your partner is tolerant enough to try it anyway, you'll break the limit at the next step of the process. But before that, put in a few hours of movies and/or sleep. The acrylic paste has to dry, and it best does this with an open window.

Now if everything has had time to dry up thoroughly, you can see why it was important to leave some excess-canvas all around the surface and especially why it is important to fix the canvas to the table. The drying acryl will constrict and has quite a force in doing so - if you forgot to fix the canvas, you will by now probably have a little shrunken ball in the middle of your table instead of a flat canvas.

Anyway, the material is dry now and you can use a very sharp stanley knive to cut away the borders which will leave you with a neat mat in the required size.

Then comes an interesting part from which depends whether you can spent the rest of the day gaming or cleaning the house. The excess-material has to be shaken off the mat. What I do is lift first one half of the mat and jiggle it, than the other half, and then I pour everything that has accumulated in the middle in a container. It is good to get as much of the material back as possible, as you can use it the next time. Afterwards I roll up the mat (yes, you can do that), carry it outside and give it the treatment of an old carpet.

Step 5: Shake off the excess-flocking material and repair a few parts with paint and glue + flock, then your are done

Well, that was it. Know you can use your mat, and you can roll it up for storage. For rolling up I propose using mantling material for pipes - this is soft and durable.

The good thing about gaming mats is not only that they look beautiful and are easy to store and transport, but that you can simply put books or similar under it to get naturally looking soft hills - like I did here underneath the wood in the background. Now the thick material of the cancvas comes into play - it is so durable that it will carry your miniatures even if it is stretched between table and book and has nothing but air underneath.

Some books under the trees make for a soft hill

Some parting shots of the landscpae - I really like how this has turned out.

I hope you like the result, too. Next will be more pictures with some miniatures in it. Thanks for your visit and have a nice day,