I purchased a transaprent plastic rod from a manufacturer last year. I wanted to use it to place aeroplanes on when basing them for wargzming, so that rather than having to disguise a piece of wire or solid rod, its transparency would negate the need.

The rod was a metre long (and has a diameter of 12mm), which might make the height of the plane on the wargaming table more realistic, but it would be impractical. Altering the length and shape of the rod would thus be crucial.

A hacksaw cut through it nicely: Experiments 1  – so perpendicular cuts are OK.

What about a diagonal cut? To position the plane on the rod so that it looks like it’s dive-bombing or strafing, a diagonal cut (or a few of them) would be required. Well, here’s multiple attempts: Experiments 2 – as you can see, a bit ‘iffy’. Now, I need to acknowledge that I was not using a clamp to hold the rod still, nor was I using a new or very fine hacksaw blade. Both of those things would help enormously.

Then I needed to know if I could file it: Experiments 3 – I filed the end of a perpendicular cut, then began filing diagonally to see if there was any difference. As you can see, it files very nicely (and I wasn’t using a good quality file).

Lastly, I wondered if it could be cut, or at least shaved, with a good knife. The answer was no to cutting, and not really with shaving: Experiments 4 – filing would be a much better way of getting rid of some girth, instead of trying to shave it off with a knife.

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Today’s swap & sell was cancelled. Next one is the IPMS one on Queens’ Birthday weekend monday.

 

Two years ago I explained and demonstrated (with photos and all) how I made my wargaming smoke markers – if you don’t remember, click on this link. I’ve been very happy with them ever since and they have been serving me very faithfully, with no problems whatsoever.

Well, Paul from “Plastic Warriors 1/76 & 1/72 Plastic Soldiers,Armour & Aircraft” has shared on his blog how his mate Dave makes wargaming smoke markers. I was very impressed! Not only are the materials pretty easy to come by, there are times when a smoke marker having some sort of flat base to correctly position it (or anchor it, if you play outdoors and it’s a bit breezy) is  a great idea. Mrs Funker, like Paul’s wife, would not be happy with using the family oven for drying – I think sun-drying during the summer or indoors for a few days in a quite-warm, low-humidity room in winter would do the job adequately…after all, if not perfectly dry after a couple of days, it’s very easy to just put them outside again during the next sunny spell…

Anyway. This is something I will remember for next time I need to make smoke markers…and I may even ‘base’ a couple of my existing ones using my current supply of caulk, sheet styrene cut to appropriate sizes and shapes, and paint. Thanks Paul, and thanks Dave!

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The blog ‘War and game’ is gone – it ceased being accessible last year, and I mentioned this on this post here.

But I didn’t remove the link and kept forgetting to do so every time I logged in to WordPress.

Realising today that I really need to do a little cleaning up and re-organising around here, I have removed it from my Links…

…and added a new link!

Chris Kemp’s blog “Not Quite Mechanised: Fastplay Operational-Level Tabletop Wargaming” http://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/ is taking up the slack! It’s a blog about 20th Century wargaming, and one tank model on the table represents a whole company (which s quite different to ‘Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist’, which is 1:1). There are great photos, plus progress reports and lots more. So, welcome Chris!

If you don’t know about the TV version of The Wombles books, educate yourself on YouTube here.

I’ve been doing a bit of Wombling lately…

someone at work had bought an Eee Slate and threw out the box and packaging: Wombling 1 . The cardboard packaging was of no value to me, but wait…: Wombling 2 – could that be a useful plastic tray? Let’s have a look: Wombling 3 – why yes, it is! A nice size for a lap, with a nice, sturdy carry rim: Wombling 4 and good depth too, probably an inch deep: Wombling 5 . Great! This will be useful for sorting out bits and pieces when assembling individual 1:72 scale figures, or for sorting out vehicular stowage and other small odds & ends. I might even use it to catch the pieces of flashing when cleaning sprues with a scalpel. So, useless plastic to one is a handy hobby tray to another.

Next up: Christmas present packaging. Two presents came with transparent plastic lids:  Wombling 6 . The first one is a perfect, flat sheet – I’ll cut off the 90 degree angle sides and discard them (they are too small and I can’t be bothered keeping every last scrap of everything): Wombling 7 . I have used pieces like this to make wargaming rivers in the past (for a smaller scale of wargaming, different period and different rule set). They turn out really well, too! The second one has some shaping moulded into it, so it’s not a single perfect sheet: Wombling 8 . With the shaping bits removed, there’s plenty left to use for windshields, aircraft canopies, building windows, etc.

So, some rubbish that might end up as landfill will be given a second life on the wargames table. As Paul from Plastic Warriors would say, “Model on!!!”

 

Winter is clawing at the windows nowadays – our second morning under 5 degrees Celsius two mornings ago – and so I’ve finished with making large terrain pieces until warmer weather returns.

You’ll recall that I was working on some more  “commercial-style” wargaming hills. Last weekend I was able to photograph them and move them inside, and clean up the table in the shed for more ‘house and garden’-type activities.

So, here are the two hills I made – one large and in two sections, the other much smaller (and it can go on the large one to make a two-level hill):     . Because these hills have flat tops, I’ll be able to put some based trees on them. It looks a little bit funny to only have beautifully sloping hills that have no trees on them…but if you want hills to be durable and easily stored with other hills in one box, then my opinion is that you can’t make hills with trees stuck on them.

I have three criticisms of my work: 1) I probably brushed off too much loose flock that was left behind after the glue dried. I could’ve left some on when I sprayed the hills with Scenic Cement to seal them. There are some patches where you can see the brown undercoat a little too easily. Oh well. 2) I touched these hills before the glue under the flock had even had a chance to harden,so one on of the two hill halves, you can just see a thumbprint. Oh well. 3) I used too much of the Heki green scatter material. Originally I said I’d use none, and really strive for a very “commercial”, modular appearance. Then as I was undercoating them I decided I’d better use some of the Heki scatter material to represent weeds, as I have done that one so many figure bases, other scenery pieces and some of the other hills. If I don’t, they’ll stand out from my other pieces too much. In practice, I applied too much. Oh well.

So, no big terrain items now for quite a while.

 

I was a bit keen with the sand-paper, so some bubbles came free completely. Otherwise, the edges rounded nicely with the sand-papering: .

Putting two layers of paint on will help fill up the tiny holes a bit…when I cover them with Aquadhere, that will get rid of all the small holes and tiny grooves completely. Finished product this weekend, if this freaky Autumn warm spell can hold until then…

Now it’s time to seal the hills. If these were troops or vehicles, I’d be sealing them (to protect the paintwork) with Testors Dullcote. I seal hills with Woodland Scenics spray-on/brush-on Scenic Cement as it glues the flock from the top side, meaning that at the end of the process it’s glued from below and above and will only come off under physical duress.

I prepare the spraying area. In the past, I put newspaper on the floor and walls of a corner of a room and sprayed. Now I’m doing it in the garden shed. I get my cardboard box shield and it’s removable cardboard floor: and place newspaper on the removable floor to absorb any overspray or runoff: then put the fllor into place and place the hills in position: . I use a cheap garden sprayer/mister with 500ml reservoir as they are available in hardware shops and supermarkets – either I pour the Scenic Cement into the reservoir (usually when the Scenic Cement bottle level is low) or put the sprayer mechanism directly onto the Scenic Cement bottle (when the level is high, as is here -a brand-new, unopened bottle).Spray from the front, the sides and very lightly from the top: then take out the cardboard floor, rotate it 180 degrees, put it in place and spray from the front. Then leave the hills to dry (I always wait 24 hours). Be sure to carefully wash out your sprayer/mister, otherwise the glue will harden and interfere with the mechanism. I rinse it out and spray clean water through it twice. Even so, glue will still ruin it in time (over a few years of annual use, so hence the need to buy cheap sprayers/misters.

Next day, have a look at your finished products! . I’m very happy with how the SeeNiks Earth Blend flock turned out – it looks like this: . I think it looks fantastic, far better than the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend which contrasts too much with green flock. This SeeNiks flock also is a bit grittier…there are cut fibres and large flakes of sawdust in there, that make it look more like broken ground that’s dry than the “polished mud” appearance of Woodland Scenics’ product.

Your hills are now complete. Remove all the posterboard pins from underneath and store your hills or get a game on with them. Here are some photos of the hills with my Tiger Is:    . Just a quick check that the hills are taller than the tanks, thus completely blocking LOS when everyone’s at ground level : – they sure are.

 

I’ve already done 333 posts…one third of a thousand. I didn’t think back at the start that I would need so much time to complete enough German forces to have a good slog against Peter – well, I was wrong. At the rate I’m going, I’ll need another 300 posts at least…

Anyway, let’s keep making better hills!

Assemble all terrain ingredients you think will be useful: . I’ve got my Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock, my SeeNiks Earth Blend flock, some Woodland Scenics fine Talus, some Heki coarse flock and Selleys Aquadhere glue. No, none of these companies are sponsoring me.

Apply the glue completely and thickly: . A thick application of glue will fill up any small holes and crevices, leaving a smoother appearance.

If you’re going to apply talus, now’s the time, before applying any flock: . Remember, grass grows up,  around and sometimes nearly covers rocks…not the other way around (unless a volcano just went off).

If you need to apply any sort of coarse turf or small clumpy foliage, you are now at the appropriate stage to do so: – I use this strongly-coloured green coarse turf stuff from Heki to represent big-leafed weeds. Green Blend flock is fine, but it’s still a fairly uniform product. Break it up with some of this kind of stuff.

Thickly apply your flock: – you too can let a chance ray of sunlight into your garden shed if you want…this was by and large a grey morning, so all my other photos don’t feature it. Once applied, I manually pat the stuff down hard so I know that it’s gone into the glue. I pat the whole hill over and I pat it with some strength to the action. Then I apply more flock over the top of what’s there because inveitably you’ll see some glue visible somewhere after patting.

Now you can leave it for 24 hours(or longer if the humidity’s high) to dry.

Want to do hills where some bare soil is showing? OK, apply glue and then your Earth Blend flock: – I placed some Talus around its edge to show the effects of erosion. Remember, erosion usually only affects one side of a hill, so don’t go silly with your Earth Blend flock. I decided with this project to leave the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend out – I wanted to try the less uniform and slightly more gritty SeeNiks Earth Blend. It goes on OK and looks good at this stage.

I like to put some lush vgetation (thick weeds) on the opposite side of the hill, to show that the other side to the Earth Blend is sheltered from the wind: .

Then on goes the Green Blend flock, thickly applied, patted down and then reapplied where necessary: – you’ll see that I’ve even applied it almost covering the Earth Blend flock too. I don’t want the erosion to be too bare.

Now wait for it to dry.

***

Back inside the house, the next project is waiting to be started. It’s a pair of infantry guns: . I bought them over a year ago – it’s time to get these Caesar Miniatures sIG 33 guns built, painted, based and gaming.

I decided during last year that the hills I made back in 2009 don’t really cut the mustard when used in a game. I had collected some polystyrene foam used for house insulation a few years ago…it’s about 3 inches thick, allowing for quite tall hills – my other polstyrene is less than an inch thick which doesn’t allow for hills that completely block LOS. I had done the initial shaping of the foam some time ago. I refined the two hills I’m going to make this summer during last week, by doing finer cuts and thin shaves of the foam until I had realistic hill shapes.

I’m doing it all in the shed, not the Hobby Room. First thing to do is put down some cardboard to stop any drips/mess going onto the table underneath:  and then some newspaper on top of it:  . Here are the hills as plain foam shapes: – one has a flat summit, the other a natural/curved summit. I wanted a flat summit for one so I could put at least one of my based trees on it (to further block LOS, but also because hills often do have trees growing on them!).

Open and stir the paint, making sure you’ve got some water to rinse out the brush with:  . Begin painting with your base/earth colour:  – I’m using Haymes’ ‘Kayak Brown’ as my earth colour. Cover until you only have the bit left where you are holding it: – as my polystyrene foam was rescued from a rubbish skip, I’m turning them over and putting a light coat on the bottom to cover some of the dirt they got on them when shoved into the skip: . When you’ve done all the hills you have, then stop and let them dry: . I’ll do the remaining white when they are dry (probably early tomorrow morning, we’ve been having hot days and warm nights lately).

Begin to think about what flock, talus, underbrush etc. you are going to glue on when all this painting is finished. I like to do two coats on the exposed surface of the hill, so these won’t be ready for any glue tomorrow or the day after…

 

 

 

 

 

Back in September I showed you some small resin haystacks I’d bought and painted up. I discussed how I had painted them and what I was trying to achieve with colour and effects when I painted them. I also asked about what it means when a resin item is still ‘sticky’ to the touch, as one of them was still ‘sticky’ even after being painted and varnished.

Talking to a valued acquaintance on Friday night at Nunawading Wargames Association provided the best answer – the resin used for that particular item was at or past it’s effective ‘use-by’ date, and so had not hardened or cured properly – the chemicals in it when mixed with the hardener won’t react completely – so they will never stop being ‘sticky’ – just chuck the item out. He spoke with plenty of authority as he has cast in resin for well over 25 years. He’d cast me some wonderful large haystacks, taller than tanks, which I’d painted up – and I’d found the bottom of one was a tad sticky. It was a good opportunity to speak directly to a manufacturer whom couldn’t be evasive – so I provide the answer here for all of you to utilise as well. Photos? Here they are for you to see (with the camera flash on): .

I’d spent some weeks trying to decide how to do the final, light drybrushed layer, to get the lightest, outermost strands of hay that should be sun-bleached to look exactly as all the balesof straw I could see in my mind’s eye. At first I thought I’d just drybrush with Bleached Bone, but when I tried it, it looked a bit odd – a bit too much greenish-grey. So I tried a mix of Desert Yellow and Skull White…and it was perfect. It was exact. Not too white, still with a touch of yellowy-brown. Golden. It’s what you can see, on layers of Desert Yellow. In order for you to see what they look like without the camera flash, here are two more photographs – the colours are less distinct: . As far as I’m concerned, these haystacks are perfect. I’m very proud of them.

I have a photo somewhere of haystacks in the Ukraine just before the war…they were two storeys tall, huge things, so I’m ruling that these haystacks do block LOS for ‘Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist’.

 

SeeNiks?

December 1, 2011

I realised that I had incorrectly typed SeeNiks’ name on my last blog post, so I’ve fixed it. I also decided to research them more.

On their own packaging it says that SeeNiks is part of the IHC brand of model railroad supplies, IHC being the initials for International Hobby Corp. Sadly,IHC/International Hobby Corp’s own website, when searched, doesn’t bring up any hits for SeeNiks?

Whilst rustling around for something else in my two boxes of scenery making supplies, I found a jumbo bag of the exact same product down the bottom of one of them. I got it as part of an e-Bay win a couple of years aback. Now I’ve got lots of the stuff,so hill-making is definitely on this Summer – which starts today!