Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Trenches for the Quar, Part IX, A shattered woods in No Quar's Land

        Zhodani Commando had asked for some shell-shattered woods as scatter terrain for No Quar's Land, and as I was finally finished with the sandbagging operation I got to work on this. At first I considered using Woodland Scenics tree armatures but they aren't terribly sturdy (train accessories, not wargaming toys) I decided to go with making my own. This also keeps the entire project scratchbuilt. 

the first thing I did was cut some bases out of left over Eco-Rug 
this is a tough flexible outdoor rug made from recycled pop bottles

Monday, June 24, 2024

Trenches for the Quar, Part VIII, End of the sandbags (at last!)

last we saw this was the extent of the sandbagging effort

        A spate of hot weather forced me to stay inside and work on this project instead of mowing the lawn (well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it). After an arduous two days where I spent almost twenty hours (on top of the fifteen or so I spent on the Great Redoubt board) sticking the horrible little things down I am finished with the sandbagging operation. Some touch-up remains to do on the boards and then there's the barbed-wire, duckboards and shattered woods to conjure up, but I am now closing in on the terminus of this commission. 

1/72 scale Great War tanks; Airfix & Emhar

        Somebody asked on Lead Adventure Forum about Great War tank sizes, specifically the Airfix Mk IV kit. I snapped some pictures  (and as long as I had the collection opened up I took pictures of the Emhar products as well). So here they are:


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Trenches for the Quar, Part VII; Sandbagging it.....

       I don't care for the look of plastic or resin sandbags. To me they look like fluffy pillows, not like a sack of earth weighing sixty to a hundred pounds. Thus I am forced to make my own (what the heck, I'm scratchbuilding everything else in this project so why not go for broke?). This brings us to the the Great Tedium, crafting miniature sandbags from clay.

it may not look like it, but there are simply thousands of sandbags in here 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Trenches for the Quar, Part VI, Final texture, drybrushing and turf


        Last we visited the battlefield it was looking a bit wet (having been freshly painted that was to be expected).  That has come and gone as has another heavy coat of wet paint and some finer texture applied into the wet paint. Once that had set the whole thing was given a two stage drybrushing of lighter shades of the basecoat (the beauty of the modern big-box home improvement store is that you can pick your color and then get smaller jars in lighter shades mixed up a tester pots). Once all that had set all that remained was to add the bit of vegetation that has survived he shelling so far.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Trenches for the Quar, Part V Debris and texture

        As I continue to pound away at this my posts may become less frequent. This is due to the sheer volume of work, the processes used on each panel are the same and I won't waste your time by posting each day as I finish a panel. That being said, I have completed the debris ejected from the shell holes and give the boards a light bit of texture and a coat of paint.

last we saw our table it looked like this

Monday, June 17, 2024

Jumping The Shark; or Anton goes and buys a 3-D Printer

I only have one spool attached, everything I make will end up getting painted

       After ten years of talking about it and endless reading of reviews and such I finally broke down and purchased a 3-D printer. Now I can make zillions of things right in my basement (as if I'm not 40,000+ figures behind as it is!). I am now the proud owner of a Bambu A1 mini. This thing is simplicity itself, it was up and running inside of an hour of getting home from  Microcenter. Assembly consisted of attaching a couple of parts and feeding the filament into the machine. After a quick test-print of a manufacturer provided file I purchased an STL file from Wargames Atlantic Digital and it was off to the races! The results you can see below; 

gangster vs bison; the bison lost the tip of his tail to me during support clean-up,
I forgot that they have a little tuft of hair on the end of their tail and cut it off

       Soon I will be up to my eyeballs in farm animals for my Vikings to try to pillage

Sunday, June 16, 2024

D-Day at Michigan Toy Soldier, a Bolt Action extravaganza

        The good folks at Michigan Toy Soldier celebrated the 80th anniversary of D-Day by running a Bolt Action game spread across three tables and three sessions. To my dismay I was only able to attend for a short while and snap some pictures to the very nice terrain and the lovely miniatures. The scenario was the two US beaches; Utah and Omaha, and the US Paratrooper drop behind the lines to take out German artillery emplacements. The store was packed and everyone was having a grand time playing, I had to squeeze in between turns to get my pictures. So, with no more ado (and a sad lack of commentary to provide context) here are the pictures.

the paratrooper table, nasty Germans lurking about in the shrubbery

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trenches For The Quar, Part IV; Tidying up the shell-holes and Revetments for the trenches

       Pushing ahead to get this project completed as quickly as possible the next step is to "soften" the edges of our shell-holes. The Gorilla Glue does a fine job of expanding but often has bubbles that popped and almost always has an overhang at the edge where it joins the surface.  To address these issues I paint over the surface with latex-based wallboard compound. A decent quality stiff bristle angle-tip brush about an inch wide is my weapon of choice (don't spend good money on it as this process absolutely WRECKS the paintbrush). You may have to add a bit of water to your wallboard compound, what you are looking for is the consistency of smooth peanut butter.

our battlefield as we last saw it

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Trenches for The Quar; Part III Filling in the empty spaces

        Twenty four square feet of table looks pretty blank when there are only trenches in the opposing foot-wide strips at either short end. This table needed some tactical details to make it interesting. To start with I added a mess of shell-holes, the Quar wars are sort of a Great War/Steampunk cross-breed so there would just have to be a spattering of shell-holes across the table. To add a little more interest I placed a small hill in one of the "no-man's land" sections and the shattered remains of a village in the other. Both of these features were offset toward a corner so that by rotating the panels different tactical situations could be portrayed.

first step, make a bunch of tiny bricks
second step, laboriously glue them together into the remains of a shelled building
third step, a glass of bourbon and some classical music

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Gaming Update, Tom's Place Saturday 15JUN24 at 6:pm

        Tom has graciously offered to host a game at his place this Saturday the 15th of June, 2024 at 6p.m.

We will be playing Fire & Fury

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Trenches for The Quar, Part II Blocking -in the trenches

       The handy tool that I had when I made my Great War trench board has long since burned out so I was forced to come at things from a different direction. The design that Zhodani Commando approved was based on 2" squares, so I began by making a bunch of shapes out of green-board in multiples of two; 6"x6", 4"x6", 4"x4" and so on. From there it was a simple matter to start assembling these on the wooden base-boards to match the design on the graph paper. I roughed up the surfaces of the foam with some 60 Grit sandpaper to ensure that the glue got a solid grip. I use Titebond wood glue which is water-based and won't react with the foam. I drew lines on the surface of the base boards to make sure that the trenches lined up going from board to board to avoid any unattractive dog-legs at the joints.


the first board getting laid out, a cross between Tetris and Legos
(I was never any good at either of them!)

Friday, June 7, 2024

Another Terrain Project, this time it is a Quar thing


some of my Great War trenches

        My endless taskmaster, Zhodani Commando, has fallen under the spell of the latest release from Wargames Atlantic; The Quar. I was aware of this little niche in SciFi/Steampunk gaming from previous contact with Zombiesmith, and it has an amusing mythos and some interesting minis. Being a stone-cold historical gamer (wink) I resisted the urge. The release of inexpensive plastic models tempted but did not seduce; I cannot say the same for Zhodani.  The essential idea is that there is a race of anthropomorphic ant-eaters that are trapped in a perpetual war that blends Steampunk with Great War technology. To provide something for his armies of Quar to fight across Zhodani  need some entrenched terrain that has been blasted a bit by artillery. Having seen my Great War trench board Zhodani asked if I could build some geo-morphic boards for him. Having no big projects on the table at the moment I agreed (why does it always go like that?).

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Game at my place, Saturday 8JUN24 7pm

 The title pretty much says it all. 


We will be giving "Here's the Ruckus" a go.

Medieval skirmish game, simple rules, looks like fun!

For you ambitious types yo can see the QRS here

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Put A Spot Of Paint (and some bases) On It ! Ottawa Longhouses, Part II

        Some time ago I started  building some Ottawa Longhouses for my friend Zhodani Commando. They have sat untouched for a couple of weeks now and I felt that I had best get them off the "To be painted" pile before I forgot about them entirely. As it turns out it only took a couple of hours and they were finished. The process was a progressively lighter series of drybrushing going from dark brown to a pale brown-gray and them some line work to pick out the saplings that were the outer frame. 

the base-coat was Krylon Dark Camouflage Green
then a heavy drybrushing with Americana Soft Black
and then a nearly as heavy drybrushing with a 50/50 mix of Soft Black and Slate Gray
this was topped with a lighter drybrushing of Medium Gray
then the sapling frame was picked out in Honey Brown and the doors painted in Lamp Black
The models were so light and wobbly that they would get knocked around during play 
so I decided that they needed some extra heft and went ahead and added bases

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Bolt Action Operation Overlord at Michigan Toy Soldier 06/08/24

        Drew and Pete at Michigan Toy Soldier have been working their backsides off on this project for some time and it promises to be a treat for the eyes. I have seen their work before and can attest that it will be well worth a trip to the store to view in person! I plan on attending just to get some pictures. Being a bit of a lazy sod I'm not going to type in the entire announcement but will add pictures of the handout below.

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Medieval Foot Knights 1150- 1320

       In conjunction with Footsore Miniatures new Baron's War rules and minis Wargames Atlantic has released Foot Knights 1150-1320. This set of figures depicts European Knights on foot clad in complete chain-mail and wearing (mostly) Great Helms. They are perfect for the Crusaders in both the Holy Land and around the Baltic Sea as well as for the Baron's War in England and innumerable conflicts on the continent of Europe. A hugely versatile set to say the least!

       The minis are cast in a medium-hard gray plastic that takes the delicate detail of the chain-mail very well and exhibits no flash and very little in the way of mold-lines. The figures are separated at the waist to allow different positions and have individual arms and heads. The minis wear the calf-length surcoat over their mail and are provided with heater style shields and headgear that varies from bare-headed to full-on Great Helms. The chain-mail is very finely sculpted and other details are very well executed too. Most arms have the weapons cast into the hand (which to me at least is very much preferable) These minis take me back to my childhood days of buying individual Timpo 2nd series Crusaders at K-Mart for forty-nine cents each.

box front, with a nice illustration and, more importantly, some very well-painted minis

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Citizens/Gangs of Rome

       Every once in a while you come across a set of figures that you just know will more often used outside of the purpose intended by the sculptor. Wargame Atlantic's  Citizens Of Rome set is just one of those, the versatility of this set is near limitless. The way that the figures are broken-down and the vast array of options provided (which would be greatly expanded by access to even a limited "spares bin") mean that you are apt to see these lads popping up all over the Classical Ancients scene!

       The stated purpose is to provide minis for the fun and intriguing "Gangs of Rome" miniatures game which it will to perfection. The set is cast in firm, medium gray plastic with no flash and few mold-lines. The minis are sectioned at the waist and arms with the usual individual heads. Some will be unhappy about the amount of assemble required but it is crucial to creating the individual characters required by the rules. In addition it allows for a simple staggering number of options to create troops for your armies and unarmed figures as the innocent citizens of Rome.

front of the box, just another day in ancient Rome

28mm Wargames Atlantic British Expeditionary Force (and Dad's Army)

       The folks at Wargames Atlantic keep finding new areas of the plastic minis market that others have failed to explore, this latest offering is an example of that; the 1940 British Expeditionary Force. Like it's precursor, the Old Contemptibles, the B.E.F. was highly trained, well equipped and tiny. It also had the additional and unfortunate similarity of being led by men entirely unprepared for the coming conflict. Fortunately this lack of ability did not apply to the common soldier and the individual parts of the B.E.F. fought bravely and with skill. The minis are cast in the usual medium gray plastic with no flash and only the faintest of mold-lines needing clean-up. 

       The troops represented give you everything needed to build a 1940 B.E.F. platoon except a Boys Anti-tank Rifle (which could be easily modified from the prone Bren gunner, which I intend to do!). This isn't a huge liability as the Boys was unpopular for being large, heavy and generally ineffective and was probably "lost" at the earliest opportunity. 

       An interesting addition to this set is the inclusion of obsolete and imported weapons to allow the player to represent the Home Guard, a.k.a. "Dad's Army", that was raised to protect Britain after the debacle at Dunkirk and the fall of France. These include the Lewis Gun, a Browning Automatic Rifle  and a couple of Springfield M-1903 rifles. These can be used to reflect the desperate days when England felt that it was under dire threat of invasion. This is a great inclusion for players wishing to play out a scenario from Operation Sea Lion

front of the box, its nice to see well-painted minis as box-art