Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Moving Van is Coming!

I am going to be moving this blog.

Actually, I am combining blogs. The new site will be The Scattergun Gamer, and it will have all sorts of gaming stuff on it. Wargames. Minis. Painting. Terrain. Different genres. Different scales. RPGs. Boardgames. Total chaos.

It should be fun.

Fear not, though: this is a 90 day trial offer. If, after three months, the new blog does not prove popular, I will be reviving this one. I will not be deleting this blog for at least that amount of time, though I will not be posting new to it. I will be moving the better posts from here to there as well in the next few days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Working in 6mm...

My sons have discovered BattleTech. So now, amongst all the other projects, I also need to build some 6mm scale sci-fi buildings.

Luckily, I have a ton of little plastic bits. I have already made a hospital/clinic building using the molded blister packaging from one of my youngers son's insulin pump pods. Two more pod packages with some sheet styrene and a large number of bits attached are being turned into an industrial complex. Comes with a mini-nuke power plant and even some defensive turrets. even considering some kind of security fencing. I bet a bit of screen fabric and some small plastic rod uprights would do the trick. I have thin gauge wire I could do in loops for the top razor wire... Speaking of, I guess I need to do some concertina wire and minefields as well, since I will be using infantry, artillery, VTOLs and vehicles as well as the Mechs. Combined arms, baby!

Another intersting plastic container will likely become the control tower for an airstrip setup. I already have a piece of PVC cut in half to make a pair of Quonset hut style hangars. I was originally going to paint them aluminum, and even masked one up and sprayed it, but now I think a nice camo pattern would be better for the hangars themselves. Or at least plain concrete. Or whatever they use in 3050.

I am tempted by some lovely resin terrain out there. I think the 28mm scale Armorcast mini-nuke plant would be brilliant for a city-sized power station. For now, I have to settle for scratch built stuff, though.

Final thought for tonight is this: thank God for Dremel. I got one at Christmas time, finally, and I absolutley love it. Now I really want a small table top bandsaw for cutting hardboard to shape faster and easier than the jigsaw does.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Terrain Mat Photos

The Jungle Mat

This is a 6' x 9' canvas tarp, dyed with a variety of greens and brown, and then misted with water to get the colors to bleed into one another just a little. Basically, I used a spray bottle with RIT dye in it to color the cloth, changing colors as needed, and then following up with a bottle full of clean water. If you do this method, DO NOT OVERDO THE WATER. I tried washing the first mat after dying it, and it was a disaster (see the other post on mats)!

                                   The Martian Mat

This is a 5' x 9' piece of good quality canvas from the fabric store. It took the dye better and I think will last longer than the tarp. As mentioned previously, this was the first and suffered a series of mishaps. I am pretty happy with the results I came out with, considering all the mistakes I made. I think it looks Mars-y. And definitely more durable than the old felt mat.

I'll be making two more mats in the near future: a European fields mat (5' x 9') and a smaller gray concrete area mat (3' x 5'). The smaller mat could be placed on a large mat for an urban area. It is going to be designed for a Car Wars autoduelling arena, however. I even have a neat idea for some bunkers to place on the mat, and gate markers. The concrete bunkers will get advertising posters on them! I may even get really ambitious and do up arena walls for the outside edges of the arena. I have some old styrofoam that woudl be close to perfect for that, and then I could build the gates into the walls... Sliding steel doors? That really slide, of course!

One last photo for tonight, of some random jungle scatter I have been making:
That's a GW metal stegadon for WFB in the background, and its all on the new jungle mat. Just aquarium plants glued to fender washers and static grassed. Nothing fancy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A few photos of recent projects

Just a few photos of some of the things I have been doing. Once the Martian mat gets dry, I'll photograph it and show you all how it came out.

First up is the unobtainite deposits. Martian landscaping, blue crystals. Ready to play! Also useful for BattleTech, which my sons and I are getting into a little.

These are shots of two different rock outcroppings I just finished for Venus. The basic forms were given to me by Dan Martinez, aka Cacique Caribe, aka One Swell Fella. He was out of space and just couldn't bear to discard them, so he "Gamed them Forward" to me. What do you think, Dan?

All I did was paint them with flat black latex house paint, then spray with textured rock paint. Paint the base dark green. Once paint is all dry, I painted PVA all over the base and in strategic nooks and crannies and added static grass. The vines were done with a line of PVA riht out of the bottle, then some 'weed' green ground cover flocking was sprinkled on. Poke a few holes in the foam and glue in a few bits of aquarium plants and floral stems from Hobby Lobby. Spray all with a coat of gloss clearcoat and a coat of matte finish. Done!
If you look on the left edge of this photo, you can see the rocks 'before.' The blue foam is nice, but I like the way they came out better. Don't you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Game it Forward

A friend of mine over at the excellent I See Lead People blog (and if you haven't been there, you should go - now!) has brought up an idea that I think deserves a good deal of attention. He called it "Game it Forward" or something like that.

The basic idea is from the movie Pay it Forward. Most of us have gotten help from another gamer at one point or another when working on one of our projects, and especially when just starting a new one or desperately trying to complete one. A bit here, a bit there, a single hard to find figure you needed to finish a unit, that sort of thing. Helped without taking payment in exchange, except maybe for some postage if the item was expensive to ship.

So, the idea is that we have a karmic debt that needs to be paid. Since we can't pay the giver back, we pay it forward, by giving things to other gamers that we ourselves have little or no need for, but that can help them. I myself have recently benefited from the generosity of another gamer who had to give up his game room for his wife's home office. With no space to store a bunch of his terrain, he just gave a lot of it to me. All it cost me was gas to go get it across town.

To further this idea, I am adding to my blogs called "Game it Forward". I'll list some things I know that I can spare that I think others might be interested in using. I've already put a couple of things on this blog. They are available first come, first served. All I ask is you pay for shipping on the bigger items (like the mats).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Canvas Mats, Part One

I have been busy working on a couple of terrain projects over the last week or so, and thought I would share with you my progress.

The main project began last Monday. I took a day off from work, it being the day after my birthday (38 now) and a mental health day being well overdue. My days "off" usually include a long list of projects to keep me hopping about, and this one was no exception. I did find myself at Hobby Lobby, and wandered into the fabric area. I have been wanting to make a canvas gaming mat or three for quite a while now, being slightly dissatisfied with my current felt mats. I just don't like the fuzzy factor.

So I picked out a bolt of nice cotton canvas. I also picked some liquid RIT dyes, and was looking at various tapes and glues to hold the edges of my fabric together. I asked a lady nearby her opinion, and she offered to serge and hem the edges of the cloth for me (she was a professional seamstress). So, with about $18 in the cloth (3 yards, 60" width), and another $12 for having it professionally hemmed to avoid fraying, I proceeded to color the mat.

My first mistake: I didn't wash the fabric before trying to dye it. The cloth has a sizing agent on it whe new, and this kept the dye from penetrating into the fibers properly.

My second mistake: Washing the fabric after dying it. Instead of mottled greens and browns, I ended up with a nice, uniform olive drab. Great for a WWII-era GI tent, but not so good for gaming.

So I ended up bleaching it back out, and now have a terracotta colored piece of canvas. Instant change of plans: no longer an Earthly vista, this glorious series of errors had produced the basis for a new Martian landscape!

I wonder, should I go ahead and just draw in the canal on the cloth? What do you fellows think?
More to come... plus, the other projects, too! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Modular buildings

So I am thinking about making a kind of modular building for my kids' new Empire army. Wall panels, gable ends, ceiling panels. Connector pieces (both end to end and inside and outside corners), doors and windows, chimneys.
How tall do you thinkI need to make the walls for a single story? I was thinking 2 inches, maybe 2 1/2 inches.
The plan is to put a layer of sculpting clay onto a pre-cut base of either styrene or thin plywood. Call it about 1/8" thick. Then sculpt the pattern into it. Make an RTV mold of that, and cast in resin.
That's the plan. What about it? I need feedback before I get started.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Resin Minerals Painted

I bought a pair of pieces of Armorcast's resin "Pyrite Crystals" from a local gaming shop last week, and got them painted up over the weekend. Finally had time to take a photo of them and put together a few thoughts about them, especially as compared to my previous crystal project, the green 'handwavium' ones I made of carved pink foam.

My review:
  • Nice quality casting.
  • Good stronge yellowish beige resin
  • Very little flash or pitting
  • Nice lines
  • Details okay, but not fantastic. Just a clump of rock crystals.
  • Super easy to paint.
  • Price: $5.00
What I Did:
  1. First I used a sharp hobby knife to clean up the little bits of flash, mold lines, etc.
  2. Then I washed the pieces with warm soap and water, rinsed and dried with paper towel. Let it sit overnight to air dry more.
  3. Next, a little bit of superglue to fill the few small bubble pits. Let sit for an hour to cure.
  4. Then I sprayed each piece with flat white paint.
  5. Color on the rocks was achieved by using several coats of thinned Vallejo Intense Blue. Ground color was Ceramcoat burnt sienna.
  6. Brush watered PVA glue on base (using 100 for $4 cheap-o plastic bristle brush), then dredge into my Mars ground mix, and let dry.
  7. Next morning, two coats fo Testor's gloss, followed in afternoon by Testor's flat.
  8. Will finish by brushing on a coat of water-soluble gloss onto the crystals to make them shiny.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

European Gothic structures

If you follow my other blogs, you know by now that I have been sucked into the Warhammer world again. It's a great setting, I'll give it credit for that.

But I have virtually NO scenics for the Empire other than generic terrain. I already had a few things for the Lizardmen I was using for VSF, with a similar tropical feel. But half-timbered buildings? Wattle and daub? Nein.

Anyone have easy ways to make these buildings? I will need at least:
  • Tavern or coaching inn
  • Farmhouse
  • Two or three townhomes
  • Barn/stable
  • Outbuildings
  • Sigmarite Shrine

Friday, February 5, 2010

A River Runs Through It

Found this posted on TMP (The Miniatures Page). An interesting idea for what looks to be reasonably attractive, cheap do-it-yourself river sections. I hope the blog owner doesn't mind me sending extra traffic his way.
Essentially, he uses cheap vinyl tile as his base and some silicon caulk for building the banks.
Personally, I think cross-pollination of blog ideas like these are a great thing. The more exposure to good terrain tips, the better, I say.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unobtainite Deposits

Yesterday I went to a game store in Houston, the venerable Nan's Too. Anyone who has gamed in Houston during the past, oh, 20 years or so, knows Nan's. The nice thing about this place is that, being so old, you can find some older stuff there. I found some older GW minis that I could use, but more to the point for this blog, I got a package of resin "pyrite crystals" made by Armorcast. Got the package for $5. Haven't compared that price to current website price, but it seemed good. Just wish they had had a couple more packages.

The plan is to turn these crystals into the wonder mineral "unobtainite" for Victorian Science Fiction. It cancels out the effects of gravity when exposed to electricity. More power, more anti-gravity.

The resin has been washed, dried and primed. Next step is to get to painting. Blue crystals, red Martian landscape. I'll put photos up when I get some work done on it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Project List Updated

Two posts in two days! Amazing!

So, nothing much today. I updated my Current Projects listing. A few comments regarding that:

I abandoned the plastic pre-cast rivers project. I decided they looked nice, but were too much work overall. I got about half or three-quarters done with them, but will not be finishing. Anyone wanting them can have them for shipping costs. Let me know (email is probably best).

Quite a few projects have been finished. They are marked "DONE!"

A few new projects have been added, as well. These include Martian Canals, Resin Rivers, an Ethership Field (on Mars) and a Mine Entrance (also on Mars). I was thinking of casting the canals for fun and profit. Anyone interested?

On a final note, having done a lot of re-organizing of my gaming space and looking over all of the stuff I have, I am thinking I need to get to work on more projects! With the newly cleared area available to work again, I think (hope, pray) you should see more activity in that regards and on this blog as a result.

For those of you who have remained with me through the dry spell, thanks. I hope you find some interesting new content here in the coming weeks and months.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RTV Purchased

I bought this past weekend the first RTV I have ever had.

For those of you who don't already know, RTV stands for Room Temperature Vulcanizing. It's a silicone rubber material used to make molds for casting resin, plaster, etc. It generally can NOT be used for lead - the temperature is too high, melting the mold. I believe there are some types that can handle the high heat, though.

What I got was a Smooth-On product, called OOMO 30, IIRC. It mixes in equal parts by volume (easy!). I have read good things about it on the internet, at TMP and other places. Found it at a local art supply store.

So, obviously, the plan is to sculpt up some items, make molds, and get to casting. Some of these things will be scenics related, so I thought I would mention it here. Specifically, I want to create some doors and windows to be attached to buildings, in both 15mm and 25mm scales. It is a pain to try and scratch build them each time, so I am going to try and create some good masters to cast from. Might make some railings, chimneys and such, too. Start simple before trying something ambitious.

Anyway, wish me luck. I have a nasty feeling I am gonna need it. When I get a space cleared to work on it, I'll get to work. Hopefully, pictures and such will be involved as well.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

eBay Based Terrain Maker

I have bought from this guy before, and I am pretty happy with his stuff. Lots of different things, different types of terrain. I recommend it.

The link should take you to his eBay store.