Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Making ruins from a strawberry box

Yep, following on from my ruined temple, I made this burnt-out ruined building:


From this strawberry box which I salvaged just before it was about to be thrown. 


Made from a sturdy MDF, I reinforced the joins with some pva, cut a few of the walls down with a hacksaw to make a less symmetrical shape and then added some details with a combination of extruded polystyrene, coffee stirrers, match sticks, balsa wood, polyfilla and sand:


The whole thing was undercoated with grey aerosol primer, washed with a watered down, dark grey acrylic house paint, highlighted up with drybrushed lighter greys (a range of sample pots I had from B&Q) and then areas sprayed again with black aerosol (to make a burnt look where the wooden areas were) and then weathered with a range of greens, ochres and browns:


Finally some scatter material (leaves and bits of moss were added) and then some posters were pva'd onto the walls. 





Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Modelling Workshop 2; Ruined Temple (White Dwarf 135)

Following on from making my Townhouse, I moved onto making the ruined temple from White Dwarf 135. I used exactly the same materials and techniques from the article, namely foamboard, balsa wood, Polyfilla, mount board, sand, pva and some cake decoration columns.

The only real changes I made were with the addition of black and white checks on the interior floor tiles of the temple and by painting the trim a pale blue.

The great thing about this piece of scenery (apart from being quite quick and easy to make) is that it can be used in a variety of settings, from Frostgrave, to Heroquest and of course a WFB game too:

Nicodemus summoning a zombie in the ruins of the temple 
Some quite extensive weathering helped break up the cream of the walls and add a little colour interest.


I probably should have filled in the hollow top section of the columns.






A few close ups of the weathering, rubble and detailing.


To create the frame of the window I just used the edge of a plastic yoghurt pot.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Family Gaming - the tale of the wandering gerbils

It was the end of the Easter holidays so what better to do than break out the dungeon tiles and the Heroquest box and have a game with the kids!

I've simplified and adapted the Heroquest rules to better suit my 10, 8 and 5 year old kids with these rules to also make it more of an RPG game:

  • A character can move up to 4 squares. 4 squares is considered a sprint and no other actions can take place.
  • Characters gain an action point for every square they don't move; ie a character moving 2 squares gets two actions, a character not moving gets 4 actions.
  • Possible actions: 
  1. Fight (2 action points)
  2. Cast a spell (2 action points)
  3. Search, Pick up, Interact, Jump, Disable etc (all 1 action point)
  • Characters can move and fight diagonally
  • GM decides how hard a task is, some tasks happen automatically some will require a 2D6 roll above a certain number depending upon the difficulty of a task. I.e jumping up to a great height may be 9+, charging down a stiff door might be a 4+. Picking up a potion would be automatic.
  • The spellcaster has a range of spells (created from previous games - and new ones can be also be created)- they must rhyme (so she actually has to say the spell) and have a variety of difficulties rolled against 2D6. She gets 1 attack dice and 2 defence
  • The boy warrior can use his flail to attack all enemies around him. He gets 3 attack dice and 3 defence
  • The girl assassin can throw a knife from 3 squares away. She can also use sneak (tested against 2D6 - usually a 5+) to attempt to go unnoticed. She gets 2 attack and defence dice.
  • The sequence of player turns is randomly selected; Tom the Cat is controlled by the first player each turn. He gets 1 attack and defence dice.
  • The kids should be thoughtful about their actions and the consequences they may bring!

The scenario:

The children had been left home alone by their slightly neglectful parents(!) and decided to play with their new pets, the gerbils named Jeff, Joe and Larry. The gerbils were happily playing in their spheres, running around and smashing into the furniture when out of nowhere Tom the Cat appeared and leapt onto Larry's ball. Pandemonium ensued as somehow there was a multiple collision and all the ball's lids popped open and the Gerbils scarpered for it, running underneath the kitchen cupboards before Tom could strike. 

The kids were incredibly upset but decided to have a good look for their pets (once Tom was safely moved away). During their search they found a secret trapdoor under a rug in the dining room and carefully lifted up the door to see where it led; they slowly descended the stairs into the gloom. Tom running down with them... 


After some fruitless searching in the first underground room, Sebastian the warrior boy opens one of the doors to find a man running towards him in terror. Sebastian decides to continue walking past him, completely disinterested,  towards the door at the end of the corridor! Lily the Sorceress decides to engage him in conversation after calming him down. Bob (the man in terror) tells our adventurers that there are monsters down here that are all controlled by a witch and a wizard and that he was trapped down here after he was fixing some of the sewer pipes and he'd really like to retrieve his tools. When asked if he'd seen any gerbils, he replied (slightly agog) in the negative. He did offer to help them with their task though.

Willow the Assasin says she will accompany Bob and that he should stay close to her as she's the best fighter. Sebastian the boy warrior starts bickering about this comment. Lily the Sorceress opens the double doors to discover three skeletons and some treasure.

Sebastian the boy warrior charges straight into the skeletons swinging his flail, taking two of the boney foes down. Lily the Sorceress decides to leave her little brother to fight by himself and selfishly search the treasure. She draws a wandering monster card  and is attacked by a Zombie. Sebastian guffaws!

Meanwhile Willow the Assassin decides to search the corridor rather than help her slightly overwhelmed siblings. She finds a secret switch which leads into a small chamber. Using her remaining action points she searches the room to find Nothing! She has a bit of sulk. Bob panics a bit due to his claustrophobia.

Sebastian the boy warrior and Lily the Sorceress join forces to wipe out the undead in the room using a combination of spellcasting and flail damage. The boy manages to complete a difficult jump onto the remains of the next floor and searches the treasure chest to find yet another wandering monster - another zombie!

Lily the Sorceress this time comes to her little brother's rescue, dispatching the zombie with ease. No one got hurt (apart from the zombie).

Exploring further into the depths of the dungeon, Sebastian the boy warrior encounters a room with stairs, a crow, some barrels and a ghost in front of the only exit.

Sebastian the boy warrior does not hesitate to attack the ghost only to find that his flail does no damage. The ghost wails in sorrow. Lily the Sorceress decides to engage the ghost in conversation (I had a word with my son at this point about considering his actions and the consequences!) and finds out that a witch has put a curse on him! The witch is in the next room and yes he did see some gerbils running past him! The kids are happy!

Lily the Sorceress successfully casts a spell on the ghost, removing the Witch's curse. A handsome man by the name of  Peter is now standing before her and pledges his allegiance to their quest as a favour for his freedom. During all this storytelling, Willow the Assassin again starts rummaging around and again draws a wandering monster card - here comes a zombie!

Sebastian the boy warrior decides to explore the pile of skulls and finds some gems, whilst Lily the Sorceress has a chat with the crow. He is a very clever crow and can speak human and listens intently to their quest. He tells them that the witch is in the next room and that they should be very careful as she is powerful, but not necessarily evil. He admires the kids bravery and grants them all a magic mini egg (cadbury's) which they can eat at any time to gain a power. He then flies off.

Willow the Assassin meanwhile opens the door to the witches lair. Tom the Cat searches the gravestone and unearths another zombie. Willow the Assassin tries to engage the witch in conversation, but soon tires of the Witches impatience and disinterest in their gerbils. The witch tells them to leave her quarters and to leave her alone. Willow the Assassin tries one more time and is threatened to be turned into a frog. The assassin takes some umbrage at this and throws her knife at the old hag! She in turn starts muttering an incantation....

All the adventurers charge in (including Peter, Bob and Tom the Cat), but cannot do enough to stop the witch's spell. Three armoured skeletons are raised to do her bidding.


The foes are vanquished - great teamwork!
Some gems (jelly beans) are discovered amongst the treasure, but they also awake a Werewolf!

And so the adventurers, full of confidence cautiously approach the final room. They see an executioner in front of his rack, two female prisoners and the evil wizard (who looks suspiciously like me - the GM). All the adventurers eat their magical eggs and receive a random gift. Magical armour for the boy warrior, protective shield for the girl assassin and courage spell for the sorceress.


Willow the Assassin sneaks into the room and unseen removes the rope that is holding the prisoner captive to her pole. Sebastian the boy warrior charges into the wizard hurting him with his trusty flail, whilst Tom the Cat and Peter attack the executioner. The assassin, still sneaking around, ties the wizards hands without him seeing and stops him from casting any spells. Great RPGing by her!

Surrounded by his foes the wizard threatens to kill the gerbils that he has trapped in the corner of his room, awaiting to be experimented on. Tom the Cat looks at the gerbils longingly but instead attacks the wizard with his sharp claws, finishing him off!

The prisoners and the gerbils are saved, treasure is taken and they all live happily ever after.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Pantheon of Chaos - a warband

This is my first backing of a Kickstarter project and my was it a good choice! You may recall me announcing my pledge and hoping to get my hands on the models in August, well a few months after that date I did get my hands on the sculpts and they jumped straight to the top of the painting queue. 

They are some proper gorgeous miniatures.

First of all they have the character that I associate with the GW 80's style of Chaos which have obviously been a huge influence on me. Secondly they are really crisp sculpts with lots of detail that just shout out to be painted with care and attention and thirdly they work so well as a group/warband; ranging from the leader (who is a great re-working of the classic image in The Lost and the Damned) to his Nurgling-esque apprentice, through to the thugs and the warriors. 

At this point I should say that the PoC crew are putting an online shop together so that if you missed the Kickstarter you can get your hands on some of these models and a choice of a whole load of others. There's a sorcerer and a troll I'm looking to add to this group...

The whole group together, I restrained my desire to convert any of them although I did add a dragons head to the base of the leader (as per the illustration) and decided to go for hex bases to add to the old school vibe.





A wonderfully mutated Warrior of Chaos. I loved the pointing gesture and the armour adorned with a grotesque face. I decided early on to go for a pale blue motif that would contrast with the warm red on the bases. A bit of weathering was added to the metallics too.

The Nurgling-esque apprentice (to have an accompanying sorcerer soon). He actually came free with my order which happily and coincidentally boosted the group to seven models! I went for a nice muted skin tone on him that was based upon my Orc skin recipe. I love his expression and I went for a powerful looking orc on  the end of his staff.

Who wouldn't want a two-headed thug in their warband? They look slightly resigned to the issue especially the bearded one who has to put up with his mate shaving every morning, what a drag!

A second warrior of chaos. Even with all that armour, his attitude still comes through; ready for battle for sure.

The second thug needed to be ginger and slightly green of complexion. Here he is.

Oh and the shields that come with these models are also ace.

And finally the leader. I wanted to paint him in really muted/pastel browns and then constrast the whole lot with a warm red base and a vivid blue dragon head. The basing was totally inspired by the illustration which also inspired the sculpt in the first place:






Oh and the shield, as expected, is awesome.




So all in all a wonderful Kickstarter project. Not only was Diego Serrato very forthcoming with information regarding a few delays with the casting and shipping, but he (I believe sculpted some of these models with some other very talented sculptors - these are seriously good miniatures and were a genuine pleasure to paint up. I hope to have done them some justice! Cheers PoC!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Modular town tiles

With some modelling of terrain underway, I decided it was time for yet another new project to house all this scenery...

For large fantasy battles I like a nice green landscape with terrain laid out either by a GM (ideally with a scenario in mind) or by one player with the other then choosing sides to set up from. I don't really like a fixed set up (although it can look splendid, it surely must become repetitive) and modular battlefields only have a limited appeal.

I have already made modular dungeon tiles for underground games, but to compete the fantasy "set" I want to make a modular townscape for skirmish games like Frostgrave and Mordheim. With a few sewer entrances I can easily link up with my dungeon tiles to continue the game underground.

So here's the plan; 9 boards that have been designed to be put together in a wide range of configurations; I initially sketched up my ideas and then transferred them to graph paper so I could measure the size of the squares and keep everything to scale:



The graph paper also helped ensure modularity, making each road be able to link up with the next road. Here are all the pieces cut up into squares:



And randomly re-arranged three times into new modular gaming boards:




You can see how these will create a wide range of variety and I'm planning on making them so that they can easily be stacked upon each other for ease of storage. My experience is telling.

Both of these are 1 level with a few roads and a statue/well in the middle section. I like the idea of a few narrow lanes too.


Slightly more complicated with raised sections which will be higher than the street level. Steps going up/down and a footbridge across one road section.


A double raised area at the top will be three layers of foam thick, hence the additional steps.


The market square, with roads running around the outside so it can link up with the roads of any other board.

The canal runs down the middle, so the outside will be slightly raised. A footbridge spans this section. I'll be adding details like sewer pipes, mooring posts and walkways under bridges (perfect for trolls).

A road bridge runs over this canal section. A raised section at the bottom with two tunnels




So to make these I will be using 20mm extruded polystyrene (thicker than my dungeon tiles to add extra height and so I can carve steps, curbs, cobblestones etc into them). They've been ordered and I have my glue gun, knives and pencils at the ready to start making. I'm not sure I've been quite so excited about a project for a while...

Oh and here's what has inspired me (images from google, apologies for not being able to give credit to the makers):