Friday, March 2, 2018

Stepping Stones

After much experimentation, watching video tutorials, etc., I have finally figured out one way to do stonework that I find works well for me. I glued pieces of "dollar store" foamcore (the advantage it has is the paper on either side of the foam is easy to peel off) to some of my basic building structures. Then I cut in the stonework with a sharp hobby knife. Then I traced over all of the cut lines with a ballpoint pen to deepen them and to separate the individual stones more. I used the scrunched up ball of aluminum foil trick to imprint some texture on the stones. Then painted the stonework with gray gesso, followed by a light wash of black ink mixed with water. Then painted some of the stones in various shades of gray. And finished off by sponging on a light gray.

I made 2 low stone staircases, and small archway, a building "riser"/foundation, and a full stone building.

Friday, February 23, 2018

More Construction

I finished some more building pieces - I did some with wood paneling on the lower portions, a couple of stair pieces, a "riser" to lift the ground floor off the ground a little (one of the stair pieces can be placed next to this to give access to the building), a sort of lean-to addition (can be a market stall, too), and some longer upper story pieces that overhang the standard buildings, as well as making it so I can use a couple of narrow pieces with a wider piece on top to create a sort of opening or pass-thru.

Here is an overview of the completed pieces along with the ones I did previously:
And a closer shot of most of the new pieces, with a better look at the wood paneled sections and the stair pieces:

You can see how the riser lifts the one building a bit higher than its neighbor.

As far as construction goes, I am making them starting with a shell made from foamcore; with balsa wood added for the timbers and wood panels and doors; leaded glass windows made from cross-stitching plastic grating cut at a 45 degree angle; roofs made from chipboard/cardboard with cereal box cardboard shingles and various bits of wood and cardboard for the chimneys and chimney pots. The plastering between the timbers is foam putty/hobbilite filler (basically the same lightweight filler/putty from different manufacturers - it's made for working with foam and sets up lightweight but sturdy enough).

Next on the building plan, I hope to add some stonework pieces.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Under Construction

I have been working on some buildings to use with my dwarf musketeers and other figures. They are still under construction, and more are planned, but I wanted to show what I've done so far. I have made them in pieces so they can be arranged in various ways. Here are the pieces that are nearly finished:

And here is a street scene with a dwarf musketeer dueling with a Foundry Casting Room fancy orc.

And a wider shot showing more of the buildings.

I have more of the "fancy orcs" in progress on the painting table. They are fun to paint and I'm going wild with the colors, making them as bright and clashing as I can. More buildings are planned as well, including some with stonework (once I work out how I want to do that), and some with more wood siding and/or a mix of wood siding and half-timbering.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Latest Miniatures

My latest batch of minis. My painting output is very slow these days!

A scout and an infantry soldier from Venus Women at War kickstarter

A Reaper aardvark, a couple of dodos from Bombshell Miniatures, and a stirge from Toad King Castings kickstarter getting into someone's ale.

And some dwarf musketeer cavalry from Iron Mask Miniatures, also a kickstarter project.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sci-Fi Females

It's been a while, but I finally finished a few more miniatures.

A small squad of Valkeeri females from Hydra Miniatures.
And a shot showing the leader's cape from behind, along with a spacewoman from Reaper (I based her colors on the woman on the front cover of Osprey's Rogue Stars rulebook, even though the miniature isn't meant to depict her).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Galactic Rangers vs the Space Phroggs

I played a fast game using the Pulp Alley rules for a pulpy sci-fi encounter between Captain Psmith and his Galactic Rangers against the Space Phroggs. It was pretty easy to create the characters for the 2 sides and then set up the scenario. I used the solo card deck, which offers some advantages as well as disadvantages for whichever side has to pull cards from it each turn.

Galactic Rangers:
Captain Psmith (in the purple uniform)
First Officer Bassett (in the green uniform)
Chief Engineer Potts (in the gold uniform)
Spacemen Emsworth and Threepwood (in the red uniforms)
The robot, Keggs

Space Phroggs:
Commander Rivvit
Sgt. Kroke
5 Phrogg soldiers
Giant toad

I played the basic "Smash and Grab" scenario, in which the two sides are trying to grab the most plot points and get away. I rolled for the plot points on the tables provided (these are just for descriptive purpose and have no real impact on game play; although it might be fun to represent the plot points according to the descriptions). In my case, I used wooden counters to represent the plot points (plain wood for the minor ones and a red counter for the major plot point).

This is a view of the overall table. The "area" pieces (rounded shapes) represent perilous areas; other smaller terrain pieces represent obstacles and/or cover but are not perils.
The Galactic Rangers set up first, entering from the south.

The Phroggs arrived second, entering from the north.
The Galactic Rangers had initiative, so Captain Psmith ran forward to the major plot point in the middle of some swampy ground. Chief Engineer Potts moved off to the left to try to grab the minor plot point there. He tried to use his latest invention, the sonic spanner, but it blew up on him and ended up knocking him out for the rest of the scenario. The explosion must have rattled First Officer Bassett a little, as she moved more cautiously towards the minor plot point on the right.
Meanwhile, the Phroggs also moved forward. One of the Phrogg soldiers succumbed to the perils of the swamp (how embarrassing, right there next to his commander, to tumble face first into the swamp).

Captain Psmith grabs the major plot point (a smuggled shipment for which the Phroggs had some evil plot, no doubt). Commander Rivvit grabbed a minor plot point. Some shots rang out. Captain Psmith was hit, but it was only a flesh wound. The giant toad also succumbed to the swamp (must have some perils that the Phroggs are not used to on their home planet).

Meanwhile, the Sgt. Kroke is having difficulty with the minor plot point next to him. Although First Officer Bassett grabs the one next to her. Meanwhile the rest of the Phroggs threaten Captain Psmith and Spaceman Emsworth with gun-play all around. Some hits are scored, but most of the characters recover.
Captain Psmith and Spaceman Emsworth pull back to the minor plot point in the swampy area to the south. First Officer Bassett and Spaceman Threepwood pull back, too. While most of the Phroggs surge forward and Commander Rivvit pulls back to retrieve the plot point to the north. Another flurry of shooting occurs to little effect.
First Officer Bassett and Spaceman Threepwood pull back out of the conflict, while Captain Psmith grabs the last minor plot point. The Phroggs try to shoot, but it's a case of too little, too late.
In the final tally the Galactic Rangers have collected 2 minor plot points as well as the major one. While the Phroggs have gathered 2 minor plot points.

I had fun with this! I did have to reference the rules a fair bit while playing, but less and less as the game went on. The basic mechanics are pretty simple; the turn sequence isn't complicated either. The main thing that I can see a need for referencing are the various skills and things like gadget and gears, and some things like creating gangs/characters, setting up scenarios, and handling things like experience and between game effects. The solo cards also make for the unexpected to happen in solo games, throwing obstacles at you (or your opponent) as well as the occasional perk.

It's also a very flexible set of rules, with various options, so you can play straight-up pulp, sci-fi, fantasy, swashbuckling, or other genres of that ilk (WW 1 or 2, horror, gangster/detective noir, western, adventure). In other words, nearly any genre covered by pulp novels or movies.

I also want to commend the father/daughter company that produces Pulp Alley for their great products and customer service (I received my order within a few days of placing it).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dragon Rampant: Dwarves vs the Green Horde

With travel and board games and other things going on I haven't been painting any more miniatures lately, but I did get in a game of Dragon Rampant. I used smaller units and kept track of strength points by the use of dice. This allowed me to field some units with fewer figures, temporarily glued onto stands as an experiment to see if I liked that arrangement. I did/do, so I will probably make some units from some of my existing miniatures. I really like the various rules sets that Dan Mersey has done for Osprey. They're pretty simple, but versatile, and make for a fun game that doesn't have to be too large.
View from the dwarven side (light blue dice as strength trackers)

Instead of playing any of the scenarios in the rule books I just had a line up of 4 dwarf units (2 crossbow units, one on each wing; a unit of muskets; and a unit of axe thanes, the heavy hitters), with a horde of goblins and allies facing up against them with the object of breaking through. There were 2 units of goblin wolfriders, one with spears and one with bows; a couple of units of orc warriors; a couple of units of goblin infantry with spears; a large stone troll.
View from the goblin side (red dice as strength trackers)

The goblin horde tried to move in for the attack, with the wolfriders heading around on each wing to try to hit the dwarves quickly. But the numerous units on the goblin side had to go in a bit piecemeal, to avoid bunching up and also because they weren't always able to all move. This allowed the dwarves to shoot them up as they came in.
Goblin horde getting shot to pieces around the mid-point of the battle

The only real damage done by the goblin side was when the troll got close enough to attack and manged to do enough damage to the dwarf muskets, and eventually cause them to rout. But it wasn't enough. The dwarves were able to prevent any goblin units to break through.
Troll attack!
Dwarves triumphant

If I were to try this scenario again I think the goblin side would need some combination of more units, stronger units, and/or more shooters. Especially some stronger units.

Still, it was fun and gives me more confidence about wanting to base some of my figures on multi-figure stands for small battles. And I can use just some of my existing figures for that, and still have plenty to leave as single figures for other games, such as dungeon crawls, skirmishes and such.