03 April, 2014

Project Multitasking

AS the title implies I have output from multiple (well, two) projects to showcase this evening. The first lot represents the meagre dent I have put in my pile of unpainted Oldhammer miniatures over the last month-or-so. As you will shortly see I have of late been focusing heavily on making terrain for my Sci-Fi project so miniature painting has been neglected somewhat; something that should hopefully be remedied over the coming weeks! At the beginning of the week I managed to get my hands on about thirty old Citadel shields of varying shapes and sizes. I  have a fair few painted models in need of them so with the assistance of Orlygg's numerous guides should be able to remedy this deficiency in the not-too-distant future.

A couple of Norse Dwarf berserks.
Jes Goodwin Elf Captain.
This chap's a particular favourite.
A Cave Troll contests a river crossing against a band of Dwarf Berserks in a Norsca forest.


Next up for your delectation is the evolvement of my Sci-Fi project. As I consider terrain to be an important facet of this venture I have mostly been focusing on making it (although naturally this hasn't stopped me from hitting Ebay for minis too...)! In a previous post I showcased a building I'd made using a polystyrene cake dummy as a basis. I have since crafted another edifice using the exact same methods, which may be seen below. I intend to create one more, which should be enough to give the illusion of an imperial settlement or somesuch on my 4'x3' gaming table.

Whilst on the subject of my gaming table I have also created a gaming mat for my Sci-Fi games using caulk, sand and heavy calico. My inspiration initially came from this quarter, but more recently Whiskey Priest over at The Leadpile blog created one as detailed here and was able to give me some invaluable guidance when it came to my own undertaking. I shan't go into onerous detail as the two aforementioned links provide excellent direction, but I will share what I learnt: 
  1. On the dust sheet/calico spread the mixture at least five inches beyond the final dimensions you want the mat to be as the sheet will contract considerably when drying. 
  2. Five 300ml tubes of caulk, 400ml of paint and 1kg of sand is enough to cover a 4'x4' area. 
I mixed the base colour with the caulk and sand and then highlighted with a large brush when dry. I'm very pleased with the effect and would certainly recommend readers to have a go at their making their own; it's cheap (less than £20 in my case) and, aside from the space required and longish drying-time, pretty damn simple.

Close-up of my 4'x3' caulk gaming mat. I can literally sense your excitement.

And lastly I'd like to present the only Sc-Fi models I've painted thus far: some original Necromunda Scavvies which will serve as general oiks in my games. These have been painted haphazardly over the last six weeks. I'm probably going to hit the bases with a paint-on gloss to match the building roofs. Tha...tha...that's all folks.

18 March, 2014

Cavern Crawl Blues Pt. II

FELLOW blogger and not-too-shabby miniature painter Blue in VT has posted a summary of his latest Cavern Crawl session (I mentioned his prior report back in September '13) featuring plenty of pictures of his dazzling models in subterranean action. I thank Blue for once again plucking up the courage to descend into the cavern with my rules and direct readers to study the tragic tale here!

It may appear that things have been relatively quiet on the CC front, but rest assured that behind-the-scenes wheels are whirring and cogs are grinding in preparation for an official release resplendent with unique artwork. Hopefully this will be at some point this year and obviously any developments shall be recounted here! It is the preparation of said artwork which has caused the delay, but this obstruction to publication and resultant fame/glory has in actuality proved beneficial as I have in the meantime been further able to play the game and so calibrate the rules even more! The edition which is currently available for download (2.8, see link at right) has since been given a whole raft of amendments and hopefully any incongruities that players may have come across in that edition will have been smoothed over in the updated version!

07 March, 2014

Sci-Fi Terrain

AS I declared in my foregoing dispatch I have embarked upon a 28mm Sci-Fi project drawing on the gonzo (machine) spirit of eighties gaming and - in particular - the aesthetics of Rogue Trader-era 40k. Miniatures aside, all the scenery I currently have is specifically for 28 and 15mm fantasy (some interchangeable, some not). Now I know that it's perfectly authentic to fight laser-battles across verdant pastures and woodland when it come to RT, but I wanted something rather more specific without reverting to the grimdark smashed cityscape that predominates in latter-day 40k. 

First-up I wanted some buildings to represent an imperial settlement on some godforsaken backwater planet and after searching fruitlessly for suitable manufacturers of such decided to make my own! Thus far I have only crafted one of what will be hopefully grow to be a sprawling metropolis of, er, three-or-so habitations. 

The core of the structure is a hexagonal cake dummy (hit Ebay for these: they are dirt-cheap) based on 3mm foam PVC. I have been using the latter material for basing terrain elements for some years now and cannot recommend it highly enough: it doesn't warp ever, is light, thin and can be cut easily with a stanley blade. Before attempting to adhere anything to it, though, I do recommend giving the surface a quick roughing-up with sandpaper to aid cohesion. 
Anyway, back to the tutorial! The parapet walls were made from off-cuts of foam PVC, pinned to the cake dummy. The dome is a polystyrene ball cut in twain. The roof surface is made from Slaters single-tread plate embossed plastikard I bought years ago from Antenocitis Workshop and never used. The door and control panel are also from Antenocitis (you get two of each in a pack: bargain!) whilst the hatch on the roof and ventilation-thing at the rear are sundry GW bits bought cheaply from the 'bay. Once everything was stuck firmly in place I coated the walls with ready-mixed filler. To be honest I got rather carried away during this phase of construction and the effect was rather more drastic than I intended, but in retrospect I actually think it works! The base was covered in the usual aquarium sand+cat litter combo. 

These alien fungus-plant-blob whatsits are merely polystyrene balls cut in half, glued to foam PVC, coated in a mixture of filler+PVA (spackle+wood glue to our American cousins) and then sprinkled with Woodland Scenics Fine Turf of all things to add texture. A gloss finish gives 'em a gooey, seeping look. These were in part inspired by Matakishi's 'alien plant' tutorial here. These are simple and open to all sorts modifications by brainy hobbyists. Incidentally, I got the styrene balls in a bag from a local garden centre (which also sells craft supplies and other miscellany) for £2.50. I still have half a bag left so this was a really cheap build.

Lastly we have some spaceship debris from the 'Battle for Macragge' boxset. A quick n' dirty PJ got these table-ready in no time.

So what next scenery-wise? As I mentioned above a couple more buildings, probably some storage-type stuff (crates, barrels etcetera) to scatter about, craters (probably commercially-sourced) and maybe rocky-hill things. All the above photographs were taken on a sheet of heavy grade calico cloth (£4) which I will be turning into a textured battle mat the same mars-red colour as the scenery bases using this tutorial. Stay tuned earthlings! 

22 February, 2014

In Gloss we Trust!

NOT much to say this post, but plenty to show! Since my last excretion I have been laid low with a stomach bug swiftly followed by a cold which have seriously curtailed my capacity to indulge in "the hobby". Last month I wrote about some simple fantasy campaign rules I had been developing based on the 'Crom' system. These are essentially finished, but need to be typed up and edited before presenting here. They are just the sort of thing I could imagine a twelve-year-old Gareth gleefully creating and playing, but obviously tempered by the restraint and sound judgement that only my "adult" self could provide. Hopefully this will emerge here at some point over the next fortnight as a pdf for interested parties to peruse and even play.

In the meantime here's my painting output since the last epistle:

0202 Chaos Warrior.
c20 Cave Troll. Absolutely classic model in my humble opinion!
Chaos Thugs: Punter Dunter, 0209, Markos Deathshead.
Two Olley Beastmen (the centre chap obviously a Pestigor) and the iconic Hesh (probably Jes Goodwin).

Before signing off the image below introduces a new project which I'm working on alongside the Oldhammer one (I hope to have both largely finished by the summer). For this new undertaking I'm probably going to use either 'Laserburn', 'Confrontation' or 'Inquisitor' for rules, but time will tell. I'm also scratch-building lots of terrain. Expect updates here as usual and, lastly, have a good weekend!

Necromunda Scavvy squares up to some spore-thingies from the 'Battle for Macragge' boxset.

17 January, 2014

More Vintage Citadel

THE Oldhammer train steams onwards with the following models completed over the last fortnight. My painting desk groans under the weight of more vintage lead which is awaiting the attention of my brush, so expect more updates soon. In other news I have almost finished creating some quick n' dirty campaign rules for 'Crom' using a hex map. Different player-controlled 'companies' rampage across the map conquering territory, uncovering magical artefacts and occasionally bumping into one another. I hope to present them to you over the next few weeks; they really are a blast to play!

Aygar Misteltaine of 'The Magnificent Sven' infamy.  
Aygar's snazzy coat from behind.
Wood Elves. I went for some suitably garish colours here and, for some reason, emerald-green eyes!
A couple of Marauder Plague Monks to keep the older Citadel chappy I showed in my last post company.

03 January, 2014

Oldhammer Redivivus

THOSE of you unfortunate enough to have been following this blog since its inception may remember that in my inaugural post in June 2012 I predictably declared that I would be making a record of my tabletop gaming ventures, which at the time consisted of an 'Oldhammer' project and the development of my dungeon crawl game 'Cavern Crawl'. Whilst the latter undertaking has progressed steadily over the preceding months, as has been chronicled here, the former soon fell by the wayside. I gave and have given no explanation for this cessation and shall endeavour to do so now. Put very succinctly: I simply cannot stand the WHFB rules!
Prior to acquiring copies of WHFB second and third editions in 2012 I have played fourth, fifth and sixth editions, ceasing my involvement with the system in the early part of the present century. I then went through a brief gaming hiatus and when I returned it was to indie games such as 'Song of Blades and Heroes' and, more latterly, Matakishi's 'Crom' and Bombshell Games' 'Mayhem'. The elegant simplicity of these systems allowed for a degree of intuitiveness that was entirely lacking from WHFB, with its buckets of dice and sclerotic IGYG mechanic. 
However, being a fan of the aesthetics of pre-'92 GW I found the growing Oldhammer phenomenon to be particularly appealing and I duly bought the aforementioned early editions I felt required to run 'authentic' games. As detailed on the earliest posts of this blog I also began collecting an Undead army to this end. With this small, but growing force I began playing some small rehearsal games using third edition rules and quickly arrived at the conclusion that, ethos and minor cosmetic changes aside, third edition differed very little from the later editions that I had played and come to disdain. I soon lost interest and abandoned the venture altogether. Now I fully appreciate that 'Oldhammer' is not a rigid concept and that it is as much about attitude as it is about the use of particular rules and even miniatures; it is a rejection of the soulless tournament-orientated direction in which companies like GW have pushed their rules. Even so, most 'Oldhammer' bloggers do seem to predominantly use WHFB (especially third edition) so at the very least owning a copy does feel somewhat mandatory. Naturally if you are reading this and enjoy these rules then I say fair enough: my own prejudices are entirely my own! 

Despite this my love of vintage Citadel lead did not abate and recent posts on blogs such as Noble Pursuits, 6 Iron Spikes and the frankly sublime Realm of Citadel have stoked the embers of this affection into a blazing fire once again. I dug out some of the old lead I had tucked away and began scouring the back-alleys of Ebay for material inspiration. However, the issue of just what I would do with them if I started painting vintage miniatures again reared it's ugly head. After all I had committed myself to 15mm and 'Mayhem' for mass fantasy battles and for 'Cavern Crawl' I am using Red Box Games and compatible ranges. And besides I did not want to collect and paint hundreds of vintage miniatures. 
Skirmish gaming it must be then! I decided that Matakishi's Conan-inspired 'Crom' rules would be the perfect vehicle for this, allowing me to collect a small yet eclectic mixture of models. 'Crom', which is available freely HERE (although you are of course encouraged to buy the pdf version), divides models into Characters (single models) and Minions (single models, but more commonly small groups of 3-5 a la 'Mordheim') and abstracts virtually everything. Straight-up pitched battles are possible, although narrative-driven scenarios are much more fun. A typical force might comprise 2-3 Characters and 3-4 minion groups, although scenarios could easily pitch a handful of hero characters against multiple minion groups. The system is elastic enough to allow for all manner of modifications if players so desire. For those interested in using these rules for similar purposes, here are some of the changes I have implemented:


Rather than printing specific cards for each character and minion group I use a normal deck of playing cards, with each character/minion group relating to a specific card. Each force has a roster sheet with the usual statistics listed and whom is linked to which playing card. This also means that you can dispense with a 'dice mat' and that it is easier to keep track of who has what dice left in a turn. This doesn't effect play in any way, but is much easier to manage! Here is an example of the roster sheet I use:


I have introduced the following maximum ranges to limit the devastating effect of ranged weapons:
  • Crossbows=24"
  • Bows=18"
  • Crossbow Pistols=6"
  • Also, Shooting now uses Combat and NOT Special dice.
I have also created a small scenario which I think serves as a great introduction to the game, that may be downloaded from the link below. I plan to create more scenarios over the coming months which may be linked together so that magic items and so forth may be carried over.

Oh and before I leave, here are some photos of the miniatures I have painted over the last fortnight. I decided to go with hex bases and a gloss varnish finish, which might seem excessively 'retro', but, hey, I run a record label that releases everything on cassette so what did you expect? As usual let me know what you think!

Classic Orc Archers.

Clan Pestilens Plague Monk Champion, Harktnad Beastspawn, Juggo Joriksonn (with turquoise hair!)