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Category Archives: Terrain building

Forward Base, Habitat 4

Forward Base, Habitat 4

So it is time to upload the next Habitat from The Forward Bas Kickstarter. This time it is Habitat 4, which is the large L-shaped living quarters. All in all the general process on this one was the same as it was with the previous one. So a lot of the detailing was doing by using the masking film as a mask and airbrushing the habitat. But there are a few new things on this habitat and a few things and others I skipped on the previous one that I would like to go into more detail here.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

First of all, you can see that this is a massive habitat as well. Not as tall as the previous one, but the footprint is almost as large and due to its L-shape it offers some interesting LOS options compared to a square or rectangular building. Also, this being a living habitat it features more monitors and air con units that the workshop and I really like how this adds character to the model.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Now with the previous post, the solar panels on the roof were a little harder to make out. But there you get a clearer view of them, up on the roof. I really like the mirrored version you got with the KS. They are quite reflective and look the real deal as a result. If you look at the upper edge of the walls, you can see that the models come with solar panels etched into the MDF and I simply could not resist, but paint them up. But even though I airbrushed them with chrome paint, they are by far to as shiny as the moveable panels on the roof.

This photo also shows the Habitat Logo that Angus designed for me. The design will be repeated on the other barracks building, just with other numbers. And as you can see, the font, general arrangement and simple icons are present in all the logos, which should give them all a unified look in the end.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

The ends of the habitats really live up with he clear acrylic windows and doors, as well the resin parts and the red markings. I was actually quite surprised how much light actually gets into the building. As you can see on the upper picture, the roof is in place and still you can see fairly far into it.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

As strange as it sounds, this corner is actually my favorite part of this building. I cut the edges of the corner panels off at 45° and the really sink into the wall. It is hard to explain, but in really live, this gives it a really homogenized look, that makes the whole building appear like it was not made from MDF. I would advise everyone to do the same, especially since the kit comes with twice as many corner panels as you need, so even if you do not like the results, you will always have a spare part.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

So as I promised in my last post, here is a better look at the Imperial (Warzone) / Ariadna unit logo that Angus  as kind enough to draw up for me. I am really happy with it. As you can see, after airbrushing it in red there is still a lot of work to do there, but it is worth the effort I think. And as you can see, I tried different colors for the keep clear area (the backdrop for the text is now white instead of red). I like this much better than the version I used on the other building an shall stick with this.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 4

One of the best thing about these buildings is the interior. There is the option for resin wall elements and furniture, both of which I decided to go for and they add so much to the building. I wanted a somewhat sterile look for the interior of the buildings. After al these are prefab buildings, serving as quick to deploy military or scientific outposts. If you look at SciFi movies, they usually convey this sterile look for these types of buildings and that is what I wanted to copy. So all the panels and furnitures are painted in an US Navy ghost grey and given slight highlights. Afterwards I accepted the buttons, handles and panels, painted the couches and seats as faux leather. The monitors simply received the printed screen provided with them. For the next couple of buildings, i really need to make sure the photos are more focused.

The one thing I am not too happy with yet is the double personal container unit standing on the floor on the bend of the L. It somehow does not seem to fit in. But I already have my sights set onto a set of consoles from AW that will probably replace them in due time. I just hope I will be able to remove them, without doing too much damage to the floor (already glued them to the model).

 

So, this is it for today… hope you liked it! Not 100% sure, when I will be able to post the next building. We did the test set-up for your game at Crisis the other week and found that we still needed more terrain than I I had though. Plus i sighed up for an Infinity tournament in November and I would like to play with a painted  army. But I will still try to mix one more habitat in from time to time.So please stay tuned!

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Forward Base, Habitat 5

Forward Base, Habitat 5

As I indicated in my last post, I have started work on a massive Sci-Fi terrain project. essentially it is all based on the Forward Base Kickstarter from Antenocities Workshop. Now as usual with me, I went a little bit over the top here and went for everything, so there is a fair bit of work for me to do.

Before I get started, let me say a few words here. First of all, the models as they come out of the box are already great. They have lots of detail into the MDF and if you went with the extra resin parts they are even better. So essentially you could build them straight out of the box and get a real nice set of buildings. Now that being said, with all the extra detail, I felt it would just have been a waste not to go the extra mile paint the resin, pick out the details and accent the MDF a little more. This last part was actually made pretty easy, since I had gone with the pristine version of the buildings. Which meant the MDF is covered with a protective film / tape before cutting to prevent the paint from being burned. Now if you removed that film selectively and airbrushed those sections carefully, you could use it as a mask. For me this worked out like a charm and I am glad I did do so. But with all the extra detailing, I am still unsure, whether to weather the buildings or not. For now, I think I am going to finish them all first and make a decision, after I see how they look as set.

Now before I go on to the model itself, there is one more thing I need to mention. At the pledge level that I went for, I had the option to choose custom logos for my buildings. All I had to do was provide vector graphics for my custom logos. Now in my youthful ignorance (if you can call it that way at my age) I told myself “this cannot be that hard”! Well it turned out it was and I surrendered after about half a logo. At this time Angus, a very fine Scottish gentlemen, came to my rescue and drew me the logos. I have to say, I am really, really indebted to him. Without his selfless help, these buildings would not be the one-off pieces they are  and after having finished the first two, I am so happy they are!

So off we go. I decided to start with Habitat 5, aka the TAG hangar. Why? Well this is one of the habitats for which there are assembly instructions and I want to get a feel for the general idea behind the buildings, before I tackle those without instructions. And this seemed like a pretty straightforward building in the first place.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

As you can see this is a front view. The ramps can actually fold up infront of the bay doors and I have kept the parts for the bay doors loose, so I can depict them either closed or open as needed. As you can see there is a lot of resin pieces on this one. With most of the exterior resin parts (for all buildings) I decided to go with dark colours like Gunmetal Black and Panzer Grey. The buildings are all very light-colored and I chose the dark colors to create some contrast here and break up the looks. The ramps are actually a fine example of the airbrushing in combination with the masking tape. The ramp pieces were delivered in yellow. So I removed those sections I wanted in black and airbrushed them. Easy as that.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Now this is the top down look. Again all the red and yellow sections were airbrushed again. All the rest was done using a brush. On this one I decided to try how the text boxes on the hazard areas would look in red. But I have to say, I am not too happy with that, as I feel it looks too heavy, so this will not be duplicated on the other buildings. The logo you can see on the upper roof is one of those that Angus did for me. When I pledged for this Kickstarter I had planned to use these for Warzone and that one is the logo of the Imperial cooperation (and I am very happy that Prodos Games allowed me to use it, as long as it was only used on my models). But from the very beginning, I wanted to make sure, that these logos gave me extra mileage, in case I chose to play Infinity or to sell these off one day. Now the logos from the Adriadna faction in Infinity is based on variations of British and French rondels, just like the Imperial logo. No big surprise there, as I understand Infinity was created by some Warzone fans when the 2nd Edition of Warzone went belly up. With that in mind, I felt I could always claim, that this was the logo of some sub-unit within Adriadna. Unfortunately it can not be seen too well on this photo, but with so many more buildings, you will see it soon.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5


Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

With the removable roofs, it is now time to take a look inside. Now in this case, the floors were a little harder to paint. Antenocities made the decision not to cover the floors of the habitats with the protective mask, saying that these would get dirty in real life anyway and could do with some stains. And in general they are right. And they do look good with a little staining. But I would have much preferred to airbrush these piece and this way I had to paint them with a normal brush, which took about an afternoon.

Health and Safety would probably rant about the upper level having no railings. I am still a bit undecided here. I can understand why there are none. It is easier to move figures on the lower floor when your hands to not get entangled in the railings and as I understand it, the upper floor is essentially a workspace to work on the upper parts for the TAGs, but it still feels like something is missing. So I might still end up building one of my own in the future.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5


Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

A look inside through the open bay doors and I think it gives a very good idea of the size and lines of sight inside this baby. Again, all the gun metal lockers and grilles cut into the MDF were airbrushed.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Rear view, giving a nice view of the custom logos Angus did here. At first I was a bit undecided, since on this habitat, the logos is much larger than on the other ones, but once finished, it looks fitting on this large wall. There are actually resin fans that go over the round grills here, but I have to admit, I liked the looks of the grills so much once airbrushed, I did not want to glue them on. So I will rather keep them for some other building or even another project. The space above the mini will receive two holo screens. For some reason I put them in the box with the parts for habitat 4 and could not find them when assembling this one.

I think this shots also shows the clear acrylic doors and windows as well as the acrylic rods in the light fixtures quite well. And I really like them all. The light fixtures actually glow a little im the sunlight and having clear doors and windows that actually allow you to draw line of sight is great.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

And a view of the side. Again giving a nice impression of the acrylic parts. All the little details like the metal bolts were painted on using a brush. There are lots of little ports and connectors on the lower surface, which is a bit of a shame, since one can hardly make them out with the panels angled inwards.

The grill right above the door, does not come with the kit though. I had fitted the resin part that belongs there on the inside of the building and since there were marks on the outside here (the MDF also has imitations of the resin parts layered in for those who buy them without the resin) I needed something to cover that up. And this one did the job nicely.

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

Antenocities Workshop Forward Base Habitat 5

And I am going to leave you with this last shot of the other side, this time with the bay doors closed.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

SciFi fast food container and other Sci-Fi scatter terrain

SciFi fast food container and other Sci-Fi scatter terrain

Well it seems this year I am utterly incapable of keeping a coherent chronology on this blog. Why? This model was finished around February.

It is a fast food stall / container by Laughing Jack Games here in Germany. Nice model all around. Easy to assemble and for the amount of parts actually quite fast, too.

Fast food container

Fast food container

The model itself is meant mainly for games like Infinity. Now back when I bought this model, I had planned to use it for Warzone, so I decided to do it with more of a run down look than what you usually see in Infinity. Now since then I have decided to play Infinity as well, but to be honest… I would not image the whole Infinity universe to be as shiny as you see in the concept art. There must be a social underbelly and there must be areas where those recently conquered do not live in the most shiny conditions. And this is what this container represents.

Fast food container

Fast food container

I wanted to try some new techniques. So I primed the whole thing in off-white and applied coats of green ink over it with my airbrush to get a faded paint look. I like the results, but it was a somewhat strange experience and definitely needs some getting used to. Otherwise the usual chipped off paint and rust marks and it was as good as done.
What I did not like was the looks of the billboard, since it simply looked too clean and new in its acrylic state. So I painted some rainwater streaks over and that did the job. Overall, I am really happy with the results.

Fast food container

Fast food container

What else? I recently bought some bicycle booths from Antenocities Workshop. Nice little models. They come in their pristine MDF version, which means the MDF is covered by a protective mask while cutting. This also helped painting them, since I removed the mask over the company logos and airbrushed them before removing the rest of the mask. This was fast and created a great result. The only downside I had was this: Usually this mask is only on one side of the MDF. Since the inside of the booths looked somewhat ungainly, I airbrushed them in the base-colour. Only after assembly did I realise, that this side had been masked as well. I hope the mask never decides to come off, since that will be a royal mess to remove with everything being glued together.

Bycicle booths

Bicycle booths

Bycicle booths

Bicycle booths

Last I also wanted some cars for Infinity. There are lots of really nice resin models for Infinity out there, some of which I have in queue, so I wanted something different, too. I looked at some of the 1:43rd scale models of concept cars from the big car companies.

Up first is the 2004 concept for the Renault Laguna. Really liked the sleek low looks of it. But I had to laugh. Last year Renault closed the Laguna line and replaced it with a new model, the Talisman. Looking at the last Laguna (photo included as a reference, since I know Renault does not sell in many parts of the world, including the USA), it is striking how far it still is from this concept.

Renault Laguna III

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

Renault Laguna concept

The other one is the Peugeot Moonster. This is a concept from 2000, trying to envision what Peugeots might look like in 2020. Suffice to say, I doubt that this is what cars will look like in 4 years time. But I really liked its organic, chrome looks for a Sci-Fi setting.

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

Peugeot Moonster

This is it for today. But this also is kind of a prelude to more Sci-Fi buildings. A couple of weeks ago my Forward Base Kickstarter models have arrived and after slaving away for a couple of weeks preparing all the details to get them assembled, I have now started. so there should be more to present.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Sci-Fi, Terrain building, Vehicles

 

Some SciFi Terrain

Some SciFi Terrain

While last years terrain building efforts went quite well, I am still not where I want to be. So this year will see more terrain building. This will include but historic terrain (mostly terrain for both WWII and ultra modern) and SciFi terrain. I am especially lacking in the later department and with us playing a lot of Warzone and the like, more SciFi terrain will be needed. Last month I did a few pieces and here they are.

Up first is a workers hut / small site office. I got the building together with my monorail cargo terminal from Mad Mecha Guy last year. It is a very simple building with three rooms (not shown) inside. Judging from the size, layout and windows I would guess that one is the office, while the other two are the toilet and a vestibule for the toilet. As a add-on to the terminal it is OK. It serves as a decent sized low-level LOS blocker, you can have minis on the roof if you want and it offers enough room for a squad or two. And with the few windows it only allows a few minis to fire out of it, so it does not become a “must use” strong point either.

Workers hut

Workers hut

I went for a pretty simple paint job here. Most of these construction site / cargo terminal office buildings that I have seen in real life look a bit shabby. Mostly tan, yellow, greenish or blue, partly faded, partly dirty. And that is the look I wanted to achieve here as well. So I airbrushed the insides off white and the side in a German camo green (which already looks like a yellowish paint that is well beyond its prime). The floor was airbrushed in a concrete colour. Over that I airbrush a sepia wash to give it a dirty look. Unfortunately this also kind of blended the concrete into the walls. Window frames and doors done in grey, hinges in metal and it was done. All in all less than 10 minutes and for the amount of time spend, it looks fine.

Workers hut

Workers hut

Up next is a pedestrian bridge from Maki Games. The terrain is from their Kickstarter, so it seems most parts are not available for general sale yet (which is kind of strange, since this was delivered a little over a year ago). Anyway it is their Pedestrian bridge set (with some different floors) and the addition of some SciFi corridor walls. Essentially I wanted a bridge that provided some cover to the troops at the top. I guess this could already have been achieved by the railings used for the low platforms, but this way it looks a bit more imposing.

Pedestrian overpass

Pedestrian overpass

Some parts were glued together, but the pylons that support the mains bridge and the stairs are separate. While the main reason was ease of storage (this actually takes less than a shoebox to store) it has the added benefit the central pylon can be moved left or right, or being left off all together. This is great if I want to place it over a road where the pylon would be in the way or if I want to have it span both a road and monorail, where I need an odd spacing.

Pedestrian overpass

Pedestrian overpass

Over all the paint job is quite simple again. German Panzergrau base coat, with two progressively lighter airbrush coats of grey and a spray of black wash. Again very fast and simple, but it works. I am still contemplating dry-brushing the stairs and handrail in a gun-metal tone to depict worn paint, but I am not yet certain about that. I guess I will have to see how it fits in when I have more SciFi building for the table finished.

Pedestrian overpass

Pedestrian overpass

And last comes the highlight (at lest in my opinion) for this post. Some containers from Antenocities Workshop “Designed for Infinity” line. Before any asks… no there are not from my Kickstarter pledge, which should arrive some time this month, but I bought these from one of their German distributors. I had read that they had produced too many pristine containers for the Kickstarter, so that surplus had gone into general retail, while stocks lasted. Since my pledge was all pristine (which means the MDF is covered with a masking tape like material during cutting to prevent the fumes from the lasers blackening the paint), it seemed like a good choice to try to get some more containers this way.

SciFi Cargo Containers

SciFi Cargo Containers

All kits are delivered with this masking material still on and you have to remove it yourself. Antenocities actually advise not to use this as a mask for airbrushing, but I thought I should give it a try anyway. I removed the mask over the logos, the writing on the cargo clamps and the ladder-like slots on the bottom of the containers (which do show when the containers are clamped together and placed upright). What can I say… applied a few light coats with the airbrush. No paint soaked under the mask and they were easy to remove afterwards. It was a great way to add extra character to the containers fast and easy.

SciFi Cargo Containers

SciFi Cargo Containers [stacked]

The hinges, locks and blots on the containers were painted by hand later on. In case of the hinges and locks I simply wanted to prevent any overspray with the logos and in case of the bolts, it would just have been too much effort.

SciFi Cargo Containers

SciFi Cargo Containers [stacked]

SciFi Cargo Containers [stacked]

SciFi Cargo Containers [clamped]

SciFi Cargo Containers [stacked]

SciFi Cargo Containers [clamped]

As you can see, I think they are quite versatile. You can use them either as single containers (on the ground or loaded onto a truck or train), stacked in a number of ways or clamped together (either lying prone or upright). Also mixing containers of different colour adds additional variety. I have one more set of three containers coming up with my Kickstarter pledge and that should give me a really nice selection there.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

Gamemat.eu review

Gamemat.eu review

I guess it has been an awfully long time since I wrote my last review, but I guess it is time for another one. This time it is a gamemat from gamemat.eu or namely their 6´x4´G-Mat: Quarantine Zone.

Those who know me, will know that gamemats of any kind are something new for me. In the past I have not been too fond of them. I always liked the ability to have rivers, trenchers, hill and so on in 3D on my table. Also, my table is obscenely large (3,5m x 2m maximum) and I never found any mat that could cover this. So I always went with my own modular game boards. So far so good.

But last year in the run up to our Battle for Berlin game I came to a point where this did not make sense. What if you do not need such a large table (as you will with most SciFi and Fantasy games, where a 4´x4´ table is the norm)? What if that table does not even require any rivers, trenches and the like (like urban terrain or many deserts)? Does this warrant the use of game boards that are larger & heavier and therefore more complicated to store and transport? What if, even if you wanted to say yes, you do not have the space to do so?

So I personally came to the decision to look at gamemats after all. The cobblestone mat we used for the Battle of Berlin vindicated that idea. It looked good, was easy to transport to the show in Antwerp and only took minimum space to store (which was a huge plus, taking into account, that the buildings were taking up a lot of said space). So I began to look at other options. With us playing a lot of Warzone lately (which also recommends a table size of 4´x4´or 4´x6´for larger games) and me wanting to play in some more futuristic urban settings, this was the natural choice as well. Looking around the mats from gamemat.eu looked quite pleasing to me and that was what I chose.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

Now this mat is made from neoprene with a cloth covering (to those non divers out there… this is often referred to as “mouse mat material”). The neoprene is about 2mm thick. If used for a wetsuit this would only be fine for warm waters, but I felt for a gamemat this was more than enough. It is so soft, that the dice settle fast after rolling (even with a D20), but hard enough that you will not get dice that are cogged. The big plus is that the neoprene will cover minor bumps in your table, giving you a flat surface. It also means that the mat is non slip, so it will not easily shift or wrinkle during a game.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

The cloth itself is printed with the design, in this case a somewhat damaged and dirty futuristic urban environment. Looking up close at the cloth the paint is soaked into the fibers, which should mean that is will be robust and should last a long time, if not forever (well not in a sense of “some alien archaeologists will be able to dig this up in a couple millennia and instantly play on it”, but you know what I mean). I cloth as a matt to slight satin gloss finish, which looks good when playing on it and does not look shiny on some photos. If you look very closely, you will be able to see the structure of the cloth, but during normal gameplay or on photos you will not notice it. The bond between the neoprene and the cloth seems to be very good. Better than most mousemats I have seen and about en par with good expensive wetsuits. So that should last you a good while, too.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone

The corners of the mat are rounded. At fist this might seem strange, after all we play on a square playing field, but then again… when did you ever place a mini right in a corner? But I feel this is an added benefit. With a rounded corner the wear on the corners during play, storage and transport will be less, so combined with the good bond between the neoprene and cloth, this should enhance the lifespan of the mat as well.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with car]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with car]

What I really liked about the mat is the design itself. For one it could fit both ultra modern, as well as SciFi settings. Some elements look futuristic, others present day. In the end this means it is a bit futuristic, but not so much, that it look out of place in a modern city. At the same time it is not so present day that it would not fit a city of the future. This is a very fine balance, that I think they met well.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with building]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with building]

Also, if you look that the two photos above and the one below, many of the details are sublime. It does not matter if you place a building over them. It will not scream in your face “but there are markings for cars on the floor, your building looks out of place”, but still when you place a car there, it will fit the table. With many mats I have seen, the designs are pretty straight in your face and if people place a building over them it will look wrong. So I feel this mat gives you a lot of flexibility placing your models.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with building and miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with building and miniature]

There might be one slight exception here and that is the streets itself. Any mat that has a street design printed on, will inevitably force you to place your buildings where there are no streets. On this mat, the streets all run parallel to the edges. So if the game you play is very strict about having fire lanes that run diagonally to the edges, this might not be the mat for you (although they did release a 4´x4´ version of this mat last week that has the streets run diagonally). But to be fair…it is hard to do diagonal streets on a rectangular mat, without creating open areas in the wrong spot and without knowing the size of people’s buildings. And the streets leading onto the table from the long edges do not line up, so there is no fire lane from one long edge to the other.

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

In this context there is another thing that I liked (and that I think might have been impossible with diagonal streets). The city blocks are actually well sized. They are big enough to allow for buildings with a large footprint without making them look  squeezed in (sorry no photos of that, since I am still awaiting my SciFi buildings and only tested it with some historic buildings that would have looked ridiculous, but there should be some of that in coming weeks!). But they will also accommodate small buildings without making them look lost. Some of the areas are also large enough to allow for multiple buildings, allowing you to create small alleys off the main roads or small plazas besides the buildings.

So here are some photos of some of the details I really liked on the mat:

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

6'x4' G-Mat- Quarantine Zone [Detail with miniature]

6’x4′ G-Mat- Quarantine Zone
[Detail with miniature]

So final verdict on this one?

Well I really like it. The design is good and it should come in handy for anything from modern to SciFi. The quality of the mat itself is really good and should last me a long time.

Official retail for this mat is 69,00 Euro / 52,00 GB£ (or 62,00 US$ without VAT) and I personally feel this is worth every cent.

 

P.S.: I will be posting some pictures of a few terrain items I painted recently later this week and since I took those pictures on the mat as well, you can see a few more pictures in the next post once it is up.

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Modern, Sci-Fi, Terrain building

 

Terrain and Star Wars Armada repaints

Terrain and Star Wars Armada repaints

I know this blog has been a bit quiet (again) lately, but I have not been idle, just too busy taking to take photos. There is also a batch of three points of Normans and Mercenaries for SAGA and a Lord for Warzone finished, but I have not gotten around to take any photos of them.

So without much further ado, here we go:

Right after Crisis I wanted to start kicking with a few small terrain pieces. Up first was a Celtic Cross for the Dark Ages. The model is by Timeline Miniatures. I loved the very intricate and detailed carvings on the stone, so it was a must have for me, even though it looks a little tall next to 25mm minis. The only letdown was the basic block it rests upon, which looked too basic and too much like MDT for my taste, but a little structured paint did the trick there. Just a little paint and presto:

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Up next was the Village Fountain by Sarrissa Precision. Now this one was a little more complicated. I had put this together last year, always with the intention of adding artificial water. I did not want the moisture from the artificial water to soften up the white glue, so I used two-part epoxy instead of white glue back then. So far so good. So I painted it up and started pouring the first layer of Vallejo Still Water into the fountain. Everything looked good. The next morning I inspected my work and it still looked good. I picked it up and all the MDT layers came apart and the artificial water which had not completely dried started seeping through the gaps. Seems the two-part epoxy reacted with the artificial water as well. 😦 I quickly clamped everything together and for the next couple of days I kept it clamped together while pouring the next layers. The idea being, that the clamps would push it together and prevent if from coming apart again and that the water inside the fountain (and between the layers) would keep it stable and in one piece. After all this was done, the piece spend a couple of days atop the radiator to make sure it dried completely. After I removed the clamps it all stayed in one piece. Now I had to repaint parts of the fountain to mask the gloss where the water had come through, the spots where one could see the gaps in the MDF and the clamp marks. Then I added ripples with Vallejos Water paste and it was done. More effort than I wanted for this small piece, but in the end, it looks good.

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

And last… Martin and I have started playing some Star Wars Armada lately. Now we have decided to concentrate on one faction each. Martin will play the Rebel scum and I the glorious Empire (which does not mean we will not swap sides from time to time). Anyway, right now we have three core sets between the two of us (Martin has two, the other is mine), plus an extra set of Imperial fighters and one each of the ships from the Wave 1 expansions. And while I play the Empire, I felt this was too many Corvettes and Frigates in the Rebel fleet for them all to look the same (lets face it… I am not that likely to field 3 Victory class Star Destroyers in one game anyway), so I decided to give mine a repaint. I gave both quick diluted black wash to make the details stand out more. The Corvette got highlighted in tan and sand colours while the Frigate was highlighted in Ivory and White. For the Frigate I decided to paint the red markings over completely and replaced them with blue chevrons that run over the whole forward hull to enhance the shape of the ship. The Corvette just got the red markings overpainted in blue. Added some engine glow to both of them that was it. Nothing special, but it took less than an hour, which is fine by me. I guess starting December I will start (re)painting the Imperial ships and fighters, but I guess that will be more work, since I do not completely like the base colors of the ships (they do not look like they do in the movies to me).

Star Wars Armada - Corelian Corvette

Star Wars Armada – Corellian Corvette

Star Wars Armada - Corelian Corvette

Star Wars Armada – Corellian Corvette

Star Wars Armada - Nebulon B Frigatte

Star Wars Armada – Nebulon B Frigate

Star Wars Armada - Nebulon B Frigatte

Star Wars Armada – Nebulon B Frigate

 

Battle of Berlin… small terrain items

Battle of Berlin… small terrain items

So as the last post before the game shots from Crisis… here are the extra items, to add some life to the table.

Before we start… I also painted a whole lot of Tamiya 1:48th scale lampposts, but to be honest, those are pretty boring to photograph as single items, so you will have to wait till tomorrow to see them.

Up first is some rubble heaps. Now these are simple pieces of pink foam cut to shape, covered with sand, plaster bricks, some wooden sticks and painted to match the other terrain. These are just there to represent the bigger heaps of rubble. I think in the long run, I will have to do a few more of these, but for now… these will have to suffice.

Rubble

Rubble

But another important feature in the battle of Berlin were anti-tank barricades. These took various forms. Some were just boxes made from squared timber, filled with rubble. Others were ramparts made from rubble with railway sleepers driven into them. I wanted some of either version. Again these were just done like the rubble heaps above.

Barricades

Barricades

Barricades

Barricades

Barricades

Barricades

In some places barricades were simply created by taking tram cars and rolling them into the street. At times these were filled with rubble to make them harder to cost or move away. Now tram cars are virtually impossible to get in 28mm. Well over a decade ago I found a 1:45th scale Tokyo tram model on eBay and bought it. The previous owner had already converted the kit, so it could pass as a German tram. So all that was left for me to do last week, was to actually assemble it and paint it. I am really happy I bought this all those years ago, since I never saw any again and it makes one really nice piece on the table.

The Tram

The Tram

Tram from the front

Tram from the front

Tram drivers postion

Tram drivers position

But what would any good defense of Berlin be, without a decent Pantherturm? This model actually came up as a left over piece. A couple of years ago I converted a Tamiya 1:48th scale Panther into a Bergepanther, using a conversion kit for a Solido model. This left me with the unused turret and upper hull. So a cut the hull out around the turret ring and build a bunker under it using plasticard. This was the based, and rubble added and I had the Pantherturm.

Pantherturm

Pantherturm

Pantherturm

Pantherturm

And last but not least… some objective markers for Battlegroup: FotR. One is simply an ammo cart from a Kettenkrad. Nothing special about this… just a place a soldier would seek out to get some more ammo.

The next is an eagle and Swastika ornament that has fallen off one of the buildings and scattered on the ground. I think this makes a good objective marker to show the final days of the Third Reich have come and it now lies scattered on the ground.

The last is a piano someone carried into the street from one of the houses. Whenever I see the opening scenes from Band of Brothers (or the scene in the episode,) or any photo from a warzone of a soldier standing besides a piano, I feel it is a stark reminder of how war changes the reality. In peacetime music and such fine instruments have a role our lives. It is about beauty and what humans can create with their imagination, their compassion and their soul. In war all that changes and no longer is life about things like beauty and creation. It is only about survival and destruction. So I felt a piano would be a reminder of that. I am still thinking about adding some weapon to the top of the piano, to underline this and enhance the conflict between the two. What do you think?

Objective markers

Objective markers
[Image was edited to comply with German law]

 
 

A big batch of WWII Berlin buildings and ruins

A big batch of WWII Berlin buildings and ruins

So here is the pan-ultimate of my “catching up with the work done ahead of Crisis” posts… the buildings.

For the Berlin buildings, I used MDF buildings from Commission Figurines. As some might remember, I had done two test pieces last year to see what could be done with them and a complete block this summer to see how the process could be speeded up. Last months it was time to do it for good and these are the results. In the end I was happy with the results and especially the time it took me. From the moment I put the first basic coat of paint onto these, to the moment I proclaimed them done, it took me about 4 weeks (obviously not nine to five work, but a few hours an evening and on the weekends), which I think was a good time. And I was more than pleased with the overall results when put on the table. Before anyone asks, the cobblestone playmat underneath is from Deep Cut Studio.

Before I start with the pictures, please note, that some of them have been edited (blurred out) to be in line with German law. It is illegal to publicly use (and posting photos of your miniatures and terrain would fall under that) Nazi symbols like the Swastika, SS Runes and so on here in Germany. It is a criminal offense and even in the best case, being found guilty would mean that I would no longer be allowed to work in the job I learned.

But here we go:

Up first is one of the intact city blocks. They actually come with slots for the ruined floors, but I felt the building was too intact for damaged floors. So the slots were filled with match sticks cut to length (exactly the right size) and I build an intact roof with chimney from MDF, some pink foam and plaster bricks. So far the building has no internal floors, but I think I might eventually add some to it. Although, this would mean that I could no longer store some of the 6 part building blocks inside. Lets see what I will do.

The building itself is meant to represent some party building so I outfitted it with some resin ornaments I bought off eBay more than a decade ago. Which quite surprised me, since their sale would have been forbidden under eBay rules, but somehow it must have passed them by.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)

This is one of the damaged storefront buildings. The signs on the left are a small homage to Walt from Commission Figurines, who used some advertising for the Schultheiss Pilsner brewing company on the buildings he showed off as samples for the Kickstarter campaign. The other is just the name of a local butcher in my hometown.

Since this building shows a lot of battle damage, I added a fair amount of rubble (but still little enough to keep the building playable) and furniture to the building. The furniture here and in the other buildings is just cheap 1:48th scale plastic doll house furniture.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)


Berlin building (inside)

Berlin building (inside)

And a residential block. Now this one is huge (almost 30cm tall IIRC) and provides an impressive central building to any game table.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)


Berlin building (inside)

Berlin building (inside)

And this is another ruined block. While the ones above and below have a one-piece-base, this one is actually 6 pieces, which allows for a little more flexibility when placed on the edges of the table or going for a diagonal layout. Two of the corner pieces (left in the first picture, right in the second) are actually the test pieces done last year. While taking these photos it dawned on me, that I did not put any rubble on the pavements back then… something which will be remedied soon.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)

And another ruined residential block… not as tall as the previous one, but still quite impressive. and the extra top floors I added, provide for a nice sniper nest.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)

And here is the second intact building block. I actually intended this as a normal residential building, but when choosing a scenario for Crisis we found that one of the Battlegroup: Fall of the Reich scenarios actually provides rules for a hospital, which may not be fired at. I like that idea, so I might fashion some red cross flags for the building that might be added in the future.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)

And the second store front building. Now I allowed myself a few puns on this one. The store on the left is a plumber and his name is Nothdurft which in a slightly different spelling but with the same pronunciation means “to relief oneself” in German. This plumber actually exists somewhere in the north of Germany and I decided to pick it up. The one on the right is an undertaker from my hometown. He is actually called Hellfeier which is actually pronounced like the English Hellfire.

Berlin building

Berlin building


Berlin building (rear)

Berlin building (rear)

And this is it. There are still two more 6 part blocks that I did not need for Crisis and that will be done in coming weeks, but otherwise, this is it.

I have to say, I was really happy to see Walt the owner of Commission Figurines at Crisis and seeing that he liked them! This was the first time he had actually seen his buildings used as a whole set-up in 28mm and he was pretty happy with their looks. Which really warmed my heart!

So, tomorrow I will show you the last few pieces done for the game (barricades, Pantherturm and objective markers) and on Friday it should be the game pictures from Crisis. So stay tuned!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Terrain building, WWII

 

Preparations for the Battle of Berlin

Preparations for the Battle of Berlin

The time has come to prepare everything for this years game at Crisis in Antwerp. The obviously theme for this years Crisis is Waterloo, in line with this years bicentennial. Am I going down the same road? No. The Battle of Nations game two years ago was largely ignored (even though it was the bicentennial as well) and I would have been hard pressed to get all the minis painted in time. So what was my choice? The Battle of Berlin, after all that one has its 70th anniversary this year.

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

So where to start? Since most minis and vehicles for that were done years ago hardly anything remains to be done except for the scenery. Last year I already did  few test pieces and the lessons learned from that were put to use this time.

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

Again all the buildings are by Commission Figurines, with some added rubble (homemade from foamcore, sand, matchsticks, wooden strips and bricks cast from plaster), wallpaper and doll house furniture. As I did last time, I also added an extra floor to some of them using coffee stirrers and matchsticks.

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

What I changed were some of my techniques. Last time I applied virtually all the paint by hand. This time I only did that for the outside walls, windows / doors and stonework applications. All the rest was airbrushed. I deliberately over-sprayed the bricks a little bit to create an impression of brick-dust in the spots where the plaster had come off the buildings. I also over-sprayed the rubble to create the impression of a heavier layer of dust around the rubble heaps. All the buildings also got a slight dusting with the colors I used for the rubble, to create a general dirty look.

Ruins (inside)

Ruins (inside)

Ruins (inside)

Ruins (inside)

But there are also a few more lessons I learned. First I glued some tile and wooden floor imitations to the base, just like I did with the pieces last year. The more I do that, the less I like it. A lot of that gets covered up by rubble anyway and there is always a chance of warping. So in the future I will probably just cover up the whole ground floor with rubble.

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

The other thing is, that I must pay better attention to the floors that come with the buildings. For some reason I picked floors, that were all oriented the same direction. Obviously, that meant, that they did not fit for two of the corner pieces and I had to clip them down to prevent them from touching. I can not be helped anymore (and it eventually means that I will get the same problem on a mother two corner pieces later on), but I will have to make sure I do not botch up once more.

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

1st complete Berlin ruins city block

Up next will be some minis (actually tomorrow I will post some pictures of a Borgward Wanze), but then it is back to more ruins.

 

Trucks, forklifts, cargo and a Monorail

Trucks, forklifts, cargo and a Monorail

So the struggle to catch up continues! 😉

Now as some may or may not remember, one of the resolutions for this year was to definitely add to my collection of terrain, where I have felt an increasing lack, especially in the Sci Fi sector. So this is what I worked on besides minis over the few months (usually on weekends, when I actually had the time to work more than a few minutes in a row and when it was worth filling the whole table with stuff). But it is not all strictly Sci Fi. Some of it would also have its uses in a modern game, so I tried to keep it kind of generic. So lets kick things off:

Up first is a Container Truck. A lot of this post will be taken up by the Mad Mecha Guys Monorail system and associated items. And tis is one of them, as it came as part of the cargo stop set. So maybe lets start with a few words on his items. All his stuff are sound and simple (in a positive meaning) laser cut MDF designs. Easy to assemble, easy to paint and great value for money. This truck was no exception. Easy assembly, clear lines and nice to paint. Th only thing I did not like about this truck, is that the seams are easy to spot, but still, the end product looks really nice. Actually to the point that I think I will get myself a second one in due time. Please note, the cuts into the flatbed are supposed to be fitted with holding clamps, but they were missing from my set. But in my experience, Joseph´s (the owner) customer service has been top-notch, so I will simply mention it with my next order.

Container truck

Container truck

Container truck

Container truck

The next truck is from another company, CNC Miniature Scenery. Now again, these look nice and are good value for money. They are also a little more elaborate. But I did not like them near as much. Both this truck and the Heavy Forklift coming next had spots where a hole was cut in the wrong place and the parts had to be modified to fit. The Forklift was also missing some parts (they were not cut out). Also each vehicle came in a lot of parts, each fitted to the MDF sheet by two lugs. The lugs were fairly extensive (usually 2+mm longs) and the MDF is quite thick. So it took a long time to cut them out and there was absolutely no chance to do more than one a day, otherwise your wrists would hurt too much.

Cargo Truck

Cargo Truck

Another problem is the functionality. With the engine sticking out of the flatbed, you can hardly place any cargo on it and on such a large truck, a few small crates loo ridiculous.

Cargo Truck

Cargo Truck

The Heavy Forklift is from CNC as well. Again the functionality is not perfect. the centre of mass is very much to the front. Meaning it will topple forward even with small items placed on the forks. Unfortunately the model does not really allow for the placement of hidden counterweights far enough to the rear.

Large Forklift

Large Forklift

Before anyone asks… the heavy chipping and rust are not there to cover any imperfections with the models up, I just wanted something that looked like it had seen many years of wear and tear on a cargo yard.

Large Forklift

Large Forklift

The next item is a small Forklift. This time a 1:43rd scale die-cast from Siku. Pretty simple work here, as I simply weathered it, put some matt varnish on and painted the warning lights and indicators.

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

Small Forklift

The good thing about this on is… the it actually works and you can actually place items on it. A fine example are these HazMat barrels from Fenris Games, which I also painted last month. Before anyone complains… yes I know, that they would have to be different colours, but I think all those Zombie movies and TV series in recent year have left everyone expecting yellow, so I went with that for all of them. As usually with Fenris, good value for money and easy and fast to clean and paint.

I glued three groups of six to some Siku pallets. To be honest, no one wants to arrange all these barrels on by one for a game, so that seemed like a good solution for me.

HazMat barrels

HazMat barrels

And to round the small cargo off (at least for a few weeks) some ammo containers from Fenris Games. Wanted more of a military coloration for them, so I went with green and brown here.

Ammo containers

Ammo containers

But What I really felt I needed now was some bigger cargo or in other words ISO containers. Again these are from Mad Mecha Guy. They were easy enough to assemble. I could also have done so with open doors, but I did not want that.

What I wanted here was something, that would be useful in modern games as well. So they received homemade decals with the names of well-known container companies. What bleeped me off though, is that I put a lot of effort into doing the decals properly. I let the containers dry for a couple of days in the sun, covered them with gloss varnish, let that dry for a couple of days in the sun, applied the decals with decal softeners and decal fix, let that dry for a couple of days in the sun and varnished afterwards. Still I got frosting. I cannot say for sure, but my guess is, decals and MDF to not like each other. 😦 At least it is half as bad to the human eye as it is to the camera, so it is not quite as distracting while playing as it is on these photos.

Anyway, as a last step they got some rust marks using sponge techniques and various pinpoint washes.

ISO containers

ISO containers

ISO containers

ISO containers

A couple of years ago, I also bought four plastic container models. They were fairly expensive, but much more detailed. Yet all those years I had just left them plain. Now I was wondering what to do with them. Their hight and width was identical to the MDF ones from MMG, but the style too different for my taste.So I decided not to do them as civilian containers, but military ones. This way I could use them together, but the camo would distract from the differences.

While they look fine on the photos, they did give me some headaches. Even with proper cleaning and priming, the paint would still rub off easily during painting. So I decided to seal them with heavy-duty car varnish. Unfortunately, while drying, the varnish crackled. Even more unfortunate… the varnish did its job well and now nothing would easily rub off. So I decided to incorporate the crackles into the rust to a certain degree. Which is fine, since it actually looks a bit, like the containers are rusting below the paint.

Camouflaged ISO containers

Camouflaged ISO containers

But now on to the big one… the Monorail. Back when MMG released the 15mm version last year I was hoping that he would do a 28mm version as well, which he did soon enough. Even better, he was open to suggestions so the line grew really quickly into a complete system. Before I start with the rolling stock, I just want to say, that there is lots of track, both raised and low, straight and curved. I think about 15 meters in total length, or in other words enough to cover my whole table (3,5m x 2m). But to be honest… taking photos of meter upon meter of track is boring, so I will leave you with the more interesting pieces and will let it feature in future post here.

Now on to the rolling stock. My initial plan had been to do a mixed passenger and cargo train. So I bought a cargo locomotive, a flatbed and a passenger locomotive. Now painting it and doing the cargo stop, I feel that separate passenger and cargo trains will be better, so I will have to buy another passenger locomotive in the future.

I wanted all the trains to be somewhat inspired by the Transport for London trains, but not an exact match. So the cars were painted white and the lower half was painted blue (but a lighter one). Instead of painting the doors red, I decided t do the roofline in red. The roofs on all the cars can be taken off and minis paced inside.

Monorail (Cargo locomotive)

Monorail (Cargo locomotive)

When all that was done, the passenger car looked a little bleak, so I decided to break that up and chose some graffiti for it. Back when I was in school my best friends were “graffiti artists”, but that never caught on with me. I have never regretted that… until I had to paint these, since I had to find that these took me ages. The first one I applied (Ozone) is actually a copy of one I found on the internet, which someone had sprayed on the London tube. With the rest I got more experimental, creating designs of my own from graffiti alphabets I found online. Some of these are completely fictional (Stalk), others have a reference to Warzone (the Algeroth logo with the words Rulez) and one is a reference to my gaming club (DHC). There are also some other small references hidden in there, like my initials and year, the tag my best mate in school used and so on. I am sure and real life “graffiti artist” would be laughing at my designs, but I think they are good enough for the gaming table.

No I am never too comfortable with freehand. If you look at real life graffiti, all the lines are usually pretty clear and surprisingly hard-edged. I did not feel comfortable doing this with an airbrush, so I did it all with a brush, trying to mimic spray can effects.

Passenger car (front)

Passenger car (front)

Passenger car (rear)

Passenger car (rear)

And here is the whole train (with the cars I currently have) on one of the two ramps I have that can be used to connect the raised and low-level parts of the system.

Monorail ramp

Monorail ramp

Now at one point I said to Joseph, that a switch would be nice as well. What I was expecting, was that he would do something that looked realistic and stop at that. Quite to my surprise, he came up with a design, that actually works.

Switch (straight)

Switch (straight)

Switch (interchange)

Switch (interchange)

Passanger car on the switch

Passenger car on the switch

For the low-level track, he also provides level crossings. I have two set of two, which should even be more than I would ever need. Again, these are working.

Level crossing (closed)

Level crossing (closed)

I just need to do some road sections, that fit these. As you can see, there are beams, that hold the track when lowered, but these are in the middle of the road. So I will have to cut some road sections, where the lanes split for the level crossing.

Level crossing (open)

Level crossing (open)

What I really love is the cargo stop. The crane is moveable. It can be moved along the track and left and right. The operators cabin can be opened and minis placed inside.

Container terminal

Container terminal

Container crane

Container crane

Container crane

Container crane

I also wanted a passenger stop. Now this one is not 100% finished. It will receive some signs with the station name, but the color cartridges for my printer died while printing them out, so that will have to wait until the replacement cartridges arrive.

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

I really like this station. At first I was unsure, if I had made the right decision to buy the raised version, but now I am really happy with my decision. The hight provides a nice raised level to the battlefield. And the pylons, together with the pylons for the track also provide nice cover on the ground level. The bus stop and ticketing machines also provide some extra cover on the ground level.

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail Station

Monorail plattform

Monorail platform

As you can see, the platform is a little bare right now. I need to find (= buy or scratch build) some trash bins, modern benches, flower basins or even a small kiosk to provide some cover on the platform. Until then, two soda machines from Ainsty Castings will have to do. One was painted as a generic machine, the other in a future Version of a coke machine.

Soft drink machines

Soft drink machines

And here are some close-ups of the ticket machines and the bus stop. The bus stop features some recruitment and movie posters fit for Warzone that I photoshopped.

Ticket machines

Ticket machines

Bus Stop

Bus Stop

So this is it… probably the longest terrain post I have done to date.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Modern, Sci-Fi, Terrain building