02 November, 2014

My Other Blog!

GREETINGS reader, just a short post to advertise the fact that I have started another blog detailing my historical wargaming exploits. It may be accessed HERE. Given that Drums... is so explicitly fantasy orientated I felt that another blog was appropriate for these new ventures. 

In other news I am VERY close to releasing Trapdoor now; it's just a question of waiting for Wargames Vault's printing people to okay my pdfs for the hard copy version and things are good to go! I will of course update here as soon as anything happens in this regard.

20 September, 2014

Trapdoor: Rules for Tabletop Dungeon Exploration

A BRIEF UPDATE! Editing is pretty much finished: next I'm focusing on laying-out and once that is complete publication will shortly follow. 'Trapdoor' will be available in pdf and print-on-demand format and obviously will be modestly priced. I do not wish to blow my own trumpet, but I am extremely happy with how the rules have turned out; certainly those readers au fait with prior incarnations of 'Cavern Crawl' will find 'Trapdoor' to be a much sleeker beast, featuring integrated, streamlined mechanics, but still retaining enough depth so that campaigns could plausibly be run over period of six months-to-a-year. Updates will of course be announced here and I will naturally be hitting several well-known forums too as things progress. I will also be contacting some of you 'Cavern Crawl' veterans about the possibility of looking over some proofs and providing feedback prior to going live.

04 July, 2014

An Age Undreamed of...

IT seems that in 2014 I am destined to commence most posts with an apology for my prolonged absence. In my defence I do find the summer to be the season in which I get the least done hobby-wise; largely due to the (occasionally) fine weather making other hobbies more desirable: in this instance fishing (beach casting) and running. And possibly ale appreciation. I can also produce another valid excuse and that is that - brace yourselves! - 'Cavern Crawl' is actually nearing completion. After a year of frustration resulting from unkept promises regarding artwork I finally bit the bullet and commissioned an unknown illustrator to complete the task. I intend to keep things under wraps until I am nearer publication, but suffice to say that at present the artwork is 90 per cent done and I am editing like a man possessed. Due to this game being released last year I have decided on a title change to avoid confusion and other problems. However, all will be revealed over the next couple of months, so stayed tuned readers!

Obviously with all this going on my painting has been sorely neglected. Regular Drummers will know that I have on occasion raved about Matakishi's 'Crom' rules, to which I were introduced by a good friend last year and that simultaneously placates my love of elegant, abstract rules and all things Conan. Since that time I've harboured a desire to play 'Crom' in 15mm using Copplestone Castings' excellent Barbarica range, so back in late May I put in a decent-sized order. What little painting I have done over the last month has been of these, which I display below. I have one more base of Pict infantry to paint, two bases of Pict archers and four bases of wolves. Mark has intimated that fantasy Romans (Aquilonians!), Pictish characters and Lovecraft-esque demons will be released at some point in the future. I have almost finished a hex-based campaign map for 'Crom' through which Conan and comrades move across encountering various enemies and will attempt to get that into presentable shape for interested parties. Until next time!

09 May, 2014

Chaos, Greenskins and a Dwarf

I'M rather shocked that it's been five weeks since my last post. Tempus fugit indeed. This silence fortunately does not signal a dearth in hobby-related activities; actually I've been painting away furiously in an attempt to get through my small(ish) pile of vintage Citadel fantasy. Although I've some way to go I have made some headway. Admittedly impulse purchases like those depicted below don't exactly help the cause, but what's a chap to do?

Last weekend saw me meeting up with the last sane/active member of my gaming group from c. fifteen years ago. Living some fifty miles distant means our reunions are sporadic to say the least, but they are always an occasion. Together we attended Exeter gaming convention Legionary, which in terms of traders at least I thought had grown since my last attendance some three years ago. My son subsequently ordered a copy of 'Valhalla', Viking-age skirmish rules from East Street Games who were running a demo table. We hope to give them a whirl this weekend. Afterwards it was back to schloss Gareth via The Bridge Inn (a pint each of Yo Ho Ho and Spring Forward) for a game of 'Companies of Chaos', my skirmish adaptation of 'Cavern Crawl' (expect some major updates soon!). An excellent day, but one that also left me ruminating on how much I miss regular gaming. On with the miniatures!

Three Jes Goodwin Beatmen.
Chaos Centaur. I have another waiting to be painted.
Goblin and Orc Champion.
Kev Adams Lesser Goblins from Alternative Armies. I have five more with
spears awaiting the brush.
Comparison shot with Citadel Gobin.
Perry Norse Dwarf. Love this sculpt. 

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.
This chap's a particular favourite.
A Cave Troll contests a river crossing against a band of Dwarf Berserks in a Norsca forest.
Jes Goodwin Elf Captain.
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 '12) 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!