Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photo of the Parrotman Hut

This small birdhouse made a great hut. All I did to it was to stain the raw wood, cut off the original perch and add a wooden step. Finally, I cut a conical piece of the material from underside of a pot-topper and glued it to the roof of the birdhouse.
Presto! Instant primitive hut.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interesting Stuff...

I have been searching for bits and pieces here and there for an aerial flier project, and while doing so, ran across some interesting things. I thought I'd share, in case anyone else is interested in the same sort of oddities.

These fellows make Cthulu-esque terrain pieces. Go to the bottom of the page, but check out the rest of their stuff, too. Its pretty neat. I wonder who carries them in the US?

If you are in a hurry, and want nice looking stuff that's reasonably cheap and super quick, check these fellows out: They sell paper terrain that you download, print on cardstock, fold and place. I don't have any, but the pictures are nice. And if it gets crushed, chuck it and print a new one - nice!
Anyway, check it out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some VSF Work

First, the parrotmen hut. This could be any primitive hut, really. The base is a $1.00 miniature birdhouse I purchased at a local craft store (Michael's) in their bargain aisle. First I cut the rope loop off the top. Then I cut off the perch in the front and stained the whole thing with a dark walnut stain.
Finally, I used the earth-y looking underside of the pot-toppers I was telling you about in another posting to do the roof. Just make a cone shape by making a circle and then cutting out a quarter of it. Glue to the roof using some PVA (Elmer's) glue painted on pretty thickly. I used superglue to join the edges of the roofing material together. I think it looks like a peat or thatched roof of some sort.
All that is left to do on this one is the small porch/step I am using to replace the perch dowel.

This second piece is an older piece that is getting a facelift. It's gotten a touchup of my now-standard Martian sand, plus a few layers of the water effects stuff I have been using. Finally, I added a lot of reed bundles. These are about an inch tall, so very high reeds/grasses for 15mm, or tall grass for 25/28mm gaming.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scum in the pond it is...

Okay, I am going to give it a shot, as urged by the poll...

Which, by the way, got a disappointing response level.

I'll let you know how it goes in a day or two.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Archiving Labels

Hi guys (and gals).

It just dawned on me that I really need some sort of systematic method of labeling posts so that I (or you!) can find them agian later, or check out older posts of interest if you are just reading the blog for the first time. Its not an issue now, with so few posts, but it could become one if I keep this up as I hope to do so. With that in mind, I am going to try to establish a system. So far, here's what I have:

Articles that I post that are essentially step-by-step instructions on how to make some piece of terrain or scenic item. A post type label.

Anything specifically of interest to 15mm games. A scale label.

Anything specifically of interest to 25mm games. A scale label.

Article relates specifically to some sort of permanent structure: house, barn, office building, school, outhouse, etc.

Post deals with some feature of the blog.

Posts dealing with some sort of field, for crops, ranching, or whatever. Includes orchards. A terrain label.

This label indicates that the post is probably nto gaming related, but that it does homage to something I felt was important enough to be mentioned. Ex: Veteran's Day.

Article discusses the usage of varying materials in terrain making. Generally, these are not specifically designed for wargaming terrain (example: using PVC pipe for pipelines)

Indicates post has either a lot of photos or exists only to showcase something.

Post discusses a poll topic. A post type label.

As opposed to materials, these are ready-made items, specifically for use as terrain or for the making of terrain. This would include such things as resin buildings from any of the various manufacturers.

Either a listing of projects or an update on the progress of same. A post type label.

Sometimes completely off-topic, but something I needed to get off of my chest anyway. I avoid politics, and these aren't frequent, thank God. Another post type label. You have been warned.

Post dealing with either resin casting, or resin-based materials or products. A material label.

Post dealing with rivers, streams, waterfalls, etc. A terrain type label.

Another terrain type label. Sometimes these are just scenic additions to larger terrain pieces.

As opposed to terrain, scenics are man-made objects. This includes buildings, but also such things as signposts, billboards, fences, telegraph poles, etc.

Post deals with construction of terrain from odds and ends leftover from other projects or just laying about the house. Not to be confused with scratch-building, which is mostly what I do here anyway.

Post describes or discusses tools useful for making terrain.

Post describes or discusses where one can locate various tools, terrain pieces, materials, products, etc.

VSF (Victorian Science Fiction)
The gaming genre I am most involved with right now. Also often described as 'steampunk.' I could probably generate more hits by making steampunk the label, come to think of it. I will add other genre labels as needed (medieval, modern, sci-fi all come to mind). A genre-type label indicates, naturally, that the post deals primarily with something useful to that genre.

Yet another terrain-type label, for any kind of liquid surface. Rivers, ponds, asphalt pools - you nmae it, it falls under this one.

Somewhere in the post I am indicating a good place to go check something out. It may also be a vendor, or some kind of notice about a product, or just some really cool terrain. You should go and check it out.

That's it for now. My OCD need to neatly pigeonhole things has been satiated temporarily.

Feels good, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Project Listing

Thought I would go ahead and list all my current projects and recently finished ones.

You can check it out in the sidebar.

Great New Product

Okay, I check out Litko's "Jim's Product Lab" from time to time, just to see what all that madman has gotten up to lately. Some of the things he creates are just too cool.

This time, I think he's outdone himself. They have a modular building line for sci-fi/modern gaming. While I don't need that kind of thing very much on the projects I am working on these days, he just did up (well, I just noticed for the first time, at any rate) a couple of different sets of stairs to be attached to the outside of some modular towers. I absolutely hate making staircases. Despise it. I make a lot of goofus ladders instead. These may change that.

Naturally, they could be attached to the outside of pretty much anything. or the inside if you were detailing the interior.

Anyway, check here to see it. Scroll down the page a little bit. You'll find them.

Bookmark it - you're going to want to go back again later. I know that I do.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just a quick shot of the telegraph poles in use! This is a VSF setting, with a column of her Britannic Majesty's troops patrolling the line.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jungle and Martian Pools

I've been re-working an old piece of VSF (Victorian Science Fiction) terrain I made over a year ago. I was never really happy with it, but it looks much better now.

Essentially, it's a piece of thin plywood, on which I smeared a fair amount of wood putty, forming some slighty uneven terrain and a depression in the center, for the pool. Sprayed the whole thing in various reddish-browns, then hand painted the center in the blues you see.

Sorry about the blurry shot. Some days I just can't take a decent picture.

What I had to re-work most was the sand/flocking around the pool. Originally, the ground looked more like a hard baked but way too smooth mud plain, not the desert-like surface I envision on a dying Mars' surface. I also added about three additional thin layers of the water to the pond for greater depth. Finally, I had glued in the small cluster of holly berries as some sort of alien reed plant in fruit. I have some more work to do on it, like reed bundles at the edges and some sort of game trail leading to the edge of the pool (maybe scraping away the sand and going back to that mud pack look), but I am much happier with it so far.

The second piece here is one I mentioned a few weeks ago. Its going to use a pot-topper for the grass around the pool. I have a few shots showing how I built up the pool, then primed and painted the interior of the pool and the rest of the base.

So, you can see the progression through the process. I poured water (first layer) into it late yesterday evening, so I have to wait until tonight to add more. It will also get three or four layers of the water. I have even thought of painting in a little green on one of the middle layers, after it dries, to get a little of a scummy water effect. What do you think? I'll poll it, I suppose, since I like to keep polls up anyway. Let me know, and make comments on what you think I should do.

Rivers Project, Part 3

So, I have finally gotten around to pouring some of the realistic water effect stuff into some of the river sections.

The stuff is pretty easy to work with, you just use it in thin layers. As you can see, I used some modelling clay to block the ends of the pieces so the liquid would not simply run all over the place. Then I set it aside to dry for a day.
After 24 hours, I poured a second layer. Again, let it sit for 24 hours.

It was actually more like 3 days before I got back around to these sections. I scored the ends along the modelling clay with a craft knife. Always use a fresh sharp blade - I probably keep the guys at X-Acto in business. Sorry about the blurry picture.

Now all you have to do is flock the banks, which I am going to try to get to this afternoon. Which means you may finally get to see some finished pieces in the next week or so. Note that I highly recommend you finish all of your pours and let it dry all the way before even thinking about flocking. The reason is simple: little bits of flock always get trapped in the hardening water. It isn't the end of the world, but it looks better without.
I have some custom pieces I need to work on to finish the project, and of course all that flocking and sanding and such. I hope to have a decent shot or two of some finished pieces by the end of the week. Until then, check out some of my other projects that I am updating.