I have a cunning plan. Maybe?

Somebody yesterday on the Oldhammer Community page in Friendface posted an interesting question.
“Has anybody made replacement doors for the Mighty Fortress?”
The Mighty Fortress was a polystyrene castle made by Games Workshop in the mid-eighties.
mf
Due to the age of this many of the plastic doors have disappeared or have been broken.
The-Doors
Some people on the Oldhammer page suggested 3D printing. This got me thinking.
Why can’t I laser cut replacements?
I dug my Mighty Fortress out and I used a piece of scrap 3mm MDF to guage sizes.
scrap
It fitted perfectly.
Next project.
group

Reflections on 2017

I’m somewhat late on this one as I’ve been laid low with a rather unpleasant flu-like lurgy.
A quick catch-up on a couple of pieces from my last post.
barbarian
Here is the Barbarian from the OS Miniatures Company. This was a challenge that I undertook to have him painted before Christmas. Nobody else took up the challenge which was a pity.
santa
This was from Warmonger Miniatures, again painted up for Christmas.
There is one more figure which was supposed to be my last figure of 2017, but the lurgy stopped that. I’ll post when it is finished.
Old age seems to have telescoped the year. Blink and I’ll miss it.
The first three months were taken up with making the Rogue Stars display board. April/May I did some landscaping in the garden converting a be-shrubbed steep slope into a flat grassy terrace.
June/July/August were at Electric Love. I had a great time and it gave me enough money to buy my own small laser cutter.
The rest of the year seemed to evaporate, lttle jobs around the house and making bits with my loot from the summer.
2017
Here is a group shot of what I finished painting. There is a lot more half finished and the 2018 goal is to finish all the half started jobs from the past few years, the Heresy Dragon being the main target, get all that out of the way so I have a clean slate. Then one project at a time, start it and finish it.
Yeah right!
Product of the Year 2017
On reflection it has to be the laser cutter. It’s small and slow but it has enabled me to prototype ideas and to make stuff on the fly. Christmas cards, party invites, party bag goodies, cake icing molds and gift tags just to name a few bits and bobs.
Heroes and Zeroes
Firstly the Heroes.
At the top of the list are the Facebook friends; EvH, DW, SR, ME and CF. They have been a constant source (sauce?) of inspiration, advice and encouragement. I might actually meet some of them in RL oneday.
Then comes the figure manufacturers who have gifted me with lovely toys this last year.
Ramshackle Games
http://shop.ramshacklegames.co.uk/index.php
The OS Miniatures Company
https://www.facebook.com/OldSchoolMinis1985/
Avatars of War
http://www.avatars-of-war.com/eng/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=51
Warmonger Miniatures
https://www.warmongerminiatures.com/
Finally Revolution Events
https://www.revolutionevent.com/
For fun, education and loot.
Now to the Zeroes
Wayland Games for lengthy delays, poor communication and their unwillingness (or inability) to combine orders.
TNT for their lack of customer service and making life just that little bit harder.
Games Workshop for tantalising me with the new rules for 40K, promises of fewer books and then conveniently forgetting about all that.
The new plastics are beautiful though.

The tyranny of Bullet Journaling

Blame my Daughter.
I am disorganised.
I am untidy.
I am lazy.
In my ideal world I would sit at my desk and paint, all day and everyday.
However in RL there are jobs to be done, kids to be fed, laundry, chickens etc. etc. etc.
I’d never heard of Bullet Journaling before. Go and Goggle it. There are about twelve million results, I just looked. So it must be fairly popular.
My Daughter visited in the summer and spent some time hunched over a notebook. I didn’t really pay any attention.
She came back last month and on a shopping/sightseeing trip (Salzburg is very picturesque if you didn’t know) had wanted to spend a small fortune on rubber stamps for her journal. My Wife told her to talk to me first.
I had some rubber sheet especially for laser cutting and knocked off a set of the stamps she was after. She was delighted and pointed me in the direction of stencils for journaling.
I erm “copied” a stencil sheet that she wanted. Basically traced the image in Illustrator, quite roughly and cut it on my laser.
She was delighted, again, and gave me a shopping list of designs that she wanted. There are a number of stencils on the market, but I want to do better.
The material I used was Kraftplex.
Kraftplex specifications
It’s a softwood pulp pressed into sheets and I had been given some samples to try from Happylab.
Back to the original topic.
I make myself “To Do” lists on the back of envelopes etc, which I proceed to lose or are “tidied” up.
So I considered buying myself a Bullet Journal and start organising myself. I took a peek at Leuchtturm1917 on Amazon which my Daughter stated was the absolute gold standard in Bullet Journals. Not excessively expensive, however it was the size issue. A5. I have a little Man-Bag and I carry around an A6 (ish) book from Tiger (their webshite is excessively annoying). So why not just use what I have and adapt.
jour1
Using my own bastardised version I have started making my own daily task lists. In reality this means I am always busy and tasks seem to overflow to the next day, but rarely to the next week.


Here are some date stamps in the production queue.
invites
Birthday party invites for Number Two Son produced on the laser cutter.
Maybe time for a zero task day soon?

Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago

gawinter
Winter is here
This really needs no introduction and a lot more eloquent people have written about this.
cover
Frostgrave looked very interesting, never played it but never mind, but the only drawback that I could see was that all your scenery had to be winter themed which could be quite restrictive.
Ghost Arcipelago is set in a more tropical environment so the scenery can be integrated into other games.
At my rather casual reading of the rulebook it appears that it can be a sandbox of a rule-set. You want pyrates, OK. Savages, no problem. Dinosaurs, why not? It seems it can be a lot of fun.
I’ve put out a request for players on my local gaming forum, but no takers as yet.
http://www.diefestung.com/forum/
Next year’s Austrian Salute is looming and I’d like to try and win best gaming table again. I’ve set a standard so I have to go one better and I’m up against Christoph from Grune Horde who does his own laser cutting. To win I have to have an oustanding table AND play the game.
ga4
I have my gaming table, thankyou Electric Love. And I have started planning out a possible layout. I wanted my island system to be as interchangeable as possible so I could go from small islands to large conglomerations.
ga1
You can see on the right the first iteration of the design process. Looks nice however the pieces don’t fit seemlessly, there would be a little gully between each cluster.
ga3
This led me to laser cut this little device which means I can have perpendicular edges enabling everything to fit together unobtrusively. Hopefully.
ga2
Laser cutting some islands.
Lush tropical islands need to be accessorised.
Here are some scatter plants. I need a lot more. Thank heavens for eBay and cheap chinese aquarium suppliers.
ga5
Some scenery from my bitz box. Who knows what eldritch terrors this statue has witnessed.
On a final note. I’m having to squint to type this so apologies for any smelling mistooks. I had my eyes tested and my prescription has changed very slightly. Trying to be sensible and grown up and looking after my eyes I took the new lenses. After a week of squinting at the computer, I thought my eyes took time to adjust. Sitting a metre back from the screen hunched at a weird angle trying to reach the mouse I’d have enough and went back to the optician.
“You didn’t say you wanted to read as well.”
Using the interweb acronym FFS!

A laser cutter which is all mine

With my ill gotten gains from the summer I bought myself a laser cutter. It is a 30cm by 40cm machine from Shen Hui Laser Company based in China.
https://shenhuilaser.en.alibaba.com/
It was a bit of a performance getting it. First with the money transfer and then with TNT not communicating with itself.
But it arrived.
laser1
Unpacking revealed the quality of the components.


Not very good. There was great big screw in the middle of the work-bed which threw out any pretensions of a level work surface. And the airhose is of the cheapest material and finish one could imagine.
The provided software was unintuitive and useless.
Customer support is non-existent.
Thankfully there is the interweb. I found a piece of software called K40 Whisperer and some support groups dedicated to Chinese laser cutters.
It is slow and takes a couple of passes to cut through anything so it is only useful for prototyping ideas.
laser5
For the real work I’ll have to continue using Happylab in Salzburg.

Some little bits done before Electric Love

I did manage to do a few bits and bobs before and during my time at Electric Love, but I don’t seem to have photographed everything. I plan to remedy this before too long.

This was inspired by the Blanchitsu articles in White Dwarf and I rather liked the floaty bits that people had made. This is part of my ongoing Imperial Court which is slowly building up.

This is a little speeder I’d lasercut and will be putting up for sale.


My old gaming buddy Seb had sent me some figures. With them was this halfling which I liked but just didn’t quite know what to do with. So rather than having it sit on the leadpile I thought I’d paint him up and return him. I had a blast painting him and I made the most impractical gaming base ever.

This was the Mayor of Helsreach, a freebie figure from Curtis of Ramshackle Games.
http://ramshacklegames.co.uk/
He was given out at the annual BOYL event at Wargames Foundry

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I really want to go to this one day.

Die Grüne Horde

As usual I’m far behind in my posts. Laziness, a trip to Legoland and starting work at Electric Love Festival. The ELF is my work for the next seven weeks with some very long days ahead the nearer the festival gets, so don’t expect much posting from me. If all goes to plan I want to by a small (400mm x 300mm) laser cutter with the money.
This was the event that I had been invited to the previous year and due to communication problems I didn’t make it. This year I did. Okay there were some problems with road signage and autobahn exits that were closed, but I was there.
It was advertised as a gaming day and it most definitely it was. There were three tournaments that day; Warhammer 40K, Infinity and Firestorm Armada. Also being played was Saga, Bolt Action, the ubiquitous Frostgrave, X-Wing Age of Sigmar, Kings of War, Force on Force, Kugelhagel and a very brief appearance of Test of Honour (replaced by Halo Fleet).


It was held in a much larger space than the Austrian Salute. The thing I have found at gaming days is that I felt very slim. The average physique on display was, politely, well rounded.

My display


There was a painting competition, which obviously I entered. I ended up with a third place in the Unit Category. I did expect to be higher ranked in this one as the quality of the other entries was okayish, in the other categories there was better painting so I didn’t expect much there.

Painting competition area


Roll-the-Dice was trading there
http://www.roll-the-dice.de
And I had an interesting chat with Martin, the proprietor.
Walter (Austrian Salute) was there and it was nice to see him. We chatted about the new edition of Warhammer 40K coming soon. And he managed to chat me out of some money for when it is launched.
There was a pro painter there
http://www.crissis-bemalservive.de
She wasn’t up to the standard of Sigur of Battlebrush studios but she did have some interesting iridescent effects, but not using nail products which I am currently researching.
The lunch was mediocre, luke warm, but the service was excellent.
I didn’t demo the game at all and hardly sold anything. But I had some excellent conversations with people there.

Number One Son eying up a scratch built titan.


Overall it was a pleasant day, not sure if it is worth the effort though. Quite a lot of traveling for very little result. I’ll have to ponder whether I want to attend again.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother

I really cannot for the life of me understand why people are prepared to pay me double the amount I pay myself laser-cutting for a few hours work pulling up weeds in their gardens.
Is there no value to creativity?
On the plus side though, it means I can afford to get a few tools for the workshop.

Rogue Stars Gameboard

My regular readers will know that I set myself the goal of making a gameboard to run a demo game of Rogue Stars at the Austrian Salute this year. I’ve yet to play it. Here is a progress report.
plan First off a plan. I wanted to have raised walkways and a twisty-turney town part. My initial plan was a little too ambitious and too large. It was based on a metre by metre board, it was only when I got the rule book that I learnt that the play area was three foot by three foot play area. The idea is that the board can be used for a variety of games so it needs the maximum amount of empty space and the minimum of fixed scenery. I still wanted my twisty-turney streets. So a back wall is used and the scenery only projects about seven centimetres into the play area.
tokenSomething else the game uses is tokens. So I knocked out a couple of examples. The wound marker was something I already had and thought I would use.
gateHere was the first building, the Gatehouse. I would have liked it higher and more imposing, but using steps at one centimetre intervals didn’t allow it. Next time I will make the steps at two centimetres. Maybe.
houseIn all there are three different types of Desert House that I have made for the board. This is one type, the others have either a glass dome on top or stairs up the side. One problem is that they make the wall buildings rather insignificant.
startwallThe beginnings of the wall, trying bits out for size.
backwallA view of the wall buildings in situ. There is an edging to the gameboard which I have added extra shapes to suggest some depth.
progressYou can see everything painted up and glued down and work started on the cliffs.
viewThis is an overview where I am working on the positioning of the landing pad and the goods yard.
cliff1Work started on the cliffs using my new EBay purchase, a hot wire foam cutter.
cliff2Filling in any gaps with “No More Nails” a most excellent product which I haven’t yet sourced over here. If anyone knows what it is called in Austria/Germany I would be most grateful.
cop2
cop1
I plan to have three different groups of adventurers for the game. This is the first group, the “Star Cops” lead by the redoubtable Captain Robert Smythe. Figures by Pig Iron Productions
http://www.pig-iron-productions.com/
Nice figures and I will certainly be revisiting their ranges.
bridgeCutting the foam to insert a small bridge.
road1Glueing the roadway together.
road2One unfortunate effect of painting the roadway was that the card warped. It did straighten a bit when it dried. I shall say that it warped in the hot desert suns.
overHere we are at today’s state of play. There are four more stepped houses to make, but as they are loose they are a lower priority. The next job is to glue the roadway down and then apply sand.
More pictures will follow when this project draws closer to completion.

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2016 Been there, done it

This was started on New Year’s Day and then it got put down and buried under stuff.

I am sat here feeling slightly obfuscated, mostly due to schnapps, brandy and presecco seeing out the old year.
2016 was a year that a lot of interesting and clever people shuffled of this mortal coil. The way East/West politics are moving 2017 could be the year that everyone dies.
I didn’t paint much, far less than I wanted to. The Dragon was prevaricated on. It seemed that every time I picked it up I was asked for help with something else so there was no “Zone” achieved.
But there shouldn’t be too much beating myself up. My workshop is set up and I can airbrush to my hearts content. One project for this year is to make a spray booth with PC cooling fans (from the recycling center) to extract spray. The hobby room is done, bar one small speaker shelf. So I have my space for painting and gaming. And I have been working on the garden making a path and building a wall. This involves going to the farm with a wheelbarrow and taking a rock and wheeling it back, so quite time consuming.

Financially the laser cutting has not been a success this year. Etsy resulted in zero sales. Handing out my business card at Salute resulted in a huge spike in blog views the following day, but zero sales.
What I find frustrating in my target audience is that they will happily fork out thirty or forty quid for one figure they owned as a teenager but will balk at paying twenty for scenery to grace their collection. There was a thread I was following where collectors were boasting about the prices they had paid for a metal Thunderhawk Gunship. It was jaw dropping.

I am going to continue with making laser cut scenery, if only for myself. But getting some money for it would be nice. The last year has seen a readjustment in family finances. I have gone from having a huge disposable income a couple of years ago to having none. My Wife stopped working at the beginning of last year and despite having no income we’ve lived comfortably. Having no rent or mortgage helps tremendously and visiting fleamarkets for clothes and entertainment makes what we do have go along way.
I have backed a few Kickstarters this year, not as many as I would have liked. Ten Minute Heist and Dwarves in Trouble are two board games that look like fun to play with the Boys. Then came the addiction, miniatures. Space Raiders, scifi orcs sculpted by Kevin Adams. Greenskin Wars, goblins sculpted by Kevin Adams. Goblins and Sea Demons, sea goblins sculpted by Kevin Adams. Return to Colony 87, scifi civilians. Kev White does Matt Dixon, female fantasy miniatures. And finally Ramshackle Games’s Jetbikes.

The product of the year for me has been Foundrys Sable Mix General Detail Brush. I was going to replace it at the beginning of the year but it kept on going for “one more paint job”. In fact it is still going strong, so I might not replace it just yet.

Although I’m not very good with my predictions I’m going to say that 2017 will be the year of NMMs. Non Metallic Metallics, where you paint something to look shiny and metallic without using any metallic paint. For those of you who don’t quite get what I’m on about, think about a photograph of a shiny teapot. You don’t have metallic inks when you print a photograph. What you see are whites, greys and whatever background colours are being reflected. So the object is to try and replicate this without metallic paint. G’Dub is already putting painting guides out with this technique with some of their new products.

Talking about G’Dub, I have liked watching their Warhammer TV on Youtube. It has been very instructive and has kept my Boys entertained. Just remember kids, always thin your paints.

Something I got as a Christmas present was a copy of Osprey’s Rogue Stars ruleset. It is a bit dry, mostly tables of equipment, physical traits and very little fluff. From reading of reviews apparently one gets the hang of it very easily. The advantage, as I see it, of having very little fluff is that you can create your own universe in the flavour you want. Magrathea anyone?
I’d like to make a go of this and try and run a demo game at the Austrian Salute this year.
The game is figure light, four to six figures a side and the playspace is three foot by three foot.
So I have approximately ten weeks to learn the rules. I’ve taken the step of joining the Austrian gaming forum, diefestung, to find opponents. Then painting the figures and making a terrain board which will showcase my laser cut work.
Oh, and make sure I have enough stock to sell.
Speaking of stock I must really extract my digit and design more big objects. The ideal solution would be one big thing a month.

This year I must be more focused on my painting. First jobs are to finish off any jobs that haven’t been completed. Then I need to decide which army to concentrate on and finish it. A prime candidate would be my Roman army, just a fortified camp and two commanders.

Another brick (or stone) in the wall

Today has been hotter than yesterday, if that is possible. The cicadas are in full voice and the mountains are a pearly grey in the heat.
This mornings task was to glue some walls together that I had laser cut over the last few weeks using up old scraps of MDF.

image

These were inspired by one of GDubs scenery books where they made walls from thick card. I really did not fancy spending hours and hours with a knife cutting out card shapes. This is where a laser cutter comes in handy. Each wall section only takes a couple of minutes to cut and I have loads of scrap that I want to use up. The only pain is glueing it together.

By ten this morning I had to stop as the glue was setting almost immediately in the rising heat.

“Do you really think that’s wise, sir?”

First of all a warm welcome to my new followers. Although I have to say I am not quite sure what some of you stand to gain from following a rather niche blog. But it is gratifying all the same.
So without further ado here is some more waffle.
Next up in the sketch modelling is the first in some sci-fi buildings. This is a small habitation.wise1
Here is a side view with Sergeant Wilson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Wilson) for scale. The exterior is going to have lots of gubbins like solar panels and heat exchangers. I think I might make the top of the roof flat so it can be used as another surface in skirmish games.
wise2
This is a front view looking into the car/buggy port. There will be a step/s leading up to the entrance.
wise3
A rear view shot. I’m not sure whether to recess this a little and have a little porch area.

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