Right, this may be the absolute flat out anyone-can-do-it simplest old wargaming trick ever…
Hedges! SO easy to do, so simple , so effective…
And it would appear I have lost most of the pictures that go along with this 😦
Still, here’s where we begin – lolly stick and pan scourer:
Chop the pan scourer to about 15mm height – enough to give cover but not block LOS completely (for 20mm scale – you poor deluded fools in 28mm might want to go a bit higher) and glue to the lolly stick. We used acrylic caulk for this but PVA will do the trick too, it’ll just take a little longer. The great thing about using the lolly stick as a base? No warping!
Next, spray prime black, and drybrush dark brown – you can be quite heavy with the drybrushing, as this is really is more like a base coat than a highlight. I did have pics of this stage but I seem to have had a senior moment and deleted them….
Now it’s time for flocking – we use Jarvis scenic flocks and followed a bastardised version of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s three tone flocking technique. Dark green in the “lowlight” areas, light green highlights on the most exposed bits and then mid green over the whole thing. Paint your hedge with PVA and then sprinkle the flock accordingly.
After that, we hit them with some clump foliage to represent weeds and undergrowth and to break up the outline of the lolly stick base. Finally, sealing! There’s a LOT of flock and clump foliage on these pieces, the last thing you want is them shedding everywhere. So, we topped up an old Windolene spray bottle with a mix of PVA and water (about 10-1 water to PVA) and just went to town soaking the pieces in it. Then the next day we did it again.
And finally, the end result!
Pretty happy with these, although I may have overdone things with the differing flocks, I have seen some really nice pieces that just went with dark green… but oh well, they look pretty good from two feet away and that’s really what matters.
Hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, so stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!
Some of you may be familiar with Dakkadakka.com, one of the biggest hubs for wargaming (mainly GW, but by no means exclusively), as well as painting and modelling. Jim and I are regular visitors, and over the years have come upon many PLOGs to loot for ideas and inspiration (see here, for example).
And lo, it was on a recent trawl for ideas to pinch that we came upon the elite secret society (well, sort of) of Dakka terrain builders, the League Of Extraordinary Riveters – so named for being the detail obsessed, practically OCD modellers who will go to the extent of modelling every rivet onto their pieces.
Frankly, this rather appealed! And so when this month’s terrain competition was announced, with “food” as it’s theme, we thought, let’s have a go.
Now, every year I get a Cadbury’s Creme Egg easter egg. And every year it’s awesome, even though it does nudge me a step closer to type 2 diabetes. But every year, after I’ve gorged myself on sugar and then gone through the inevitable grinding comedown, I look at the packaging and think, “That could be…. SOMETHING”
Well, this year? It’s going to be SOMETHING.
So no idea how we’ve placed in the end, but it’s been a good fun ride!
So until next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!
You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.
Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.
I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?
STAGE 1 – PLANNING.
Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.
There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.
We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.
STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS
Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!
Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!
We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!
So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:
So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon….
Right, I’m writing this because Dan a) can’t be bothered and b) is clearly a ludicrously talented terrain builder.
Anyway, a bit of background – back in 2016, we came across an eye opening article on DakkaDakka.com by the magnificently talented 3T studios, detailing how to make “Dynamic, Craggy Hills“. We both were struck by the incredibly cinematic beauty of their work and resolved that our stuff would look like that.. one day.. so I sawed off a hardboard rectangle to serve as base, piled paper mache, and chunks of packing polystyrene on board, along with some pebbles and twigs, coated the lot with PVA and and before painting up and flocking. The result was… ok, I suppose, but it was only a few months later when I realised what was bugging me about it – the base.
Nature doesn’t do straight lines.
So Dan scooped up my baby, took it over to his shed with promises of a more organic shaped MDF base, and a few days later produced this:
So there we are, proof positive that Dan is a frankly phenomenal terrain builder and kept that pretty bloody quiet! I’m intrigued to see what he comes up with next…
And if you’re wondering why the name – Robert Kubica, one of our motorsport heroes. His return to F1 might not have been the most successful so far, but we’re rooting for you (and Williams) – and if you want an inspirational story, his is up there… tagged as an F1 star of the future, loses most of an arm in horrific crash, 8 years later makes it back to the top of racing.. tiene cojones, Bobby K. So this terrain piece is for you!
Till next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon 😉
See, this was the first ever 40K box set (I know, right?) and GW were trying to have their base of starter players completely covered – rules, miniatures, army lists, counters and terrain – in this instance, cardstock push-fit walls to create LOS blocking ruins. We checked the campaign maps, and there were a LOT of these little buggers. 20, as far as we could tell. So if we were going to come up with our own DIY versions, they would have to be cheap, quick and easy.
The Skinflint Way.
We also decided, that since we’ve been dipping a toe into Deadzone waters, they should (at least for the most part) be compatible with 3″ squares. Fortunately, we’ve watched a LOT of Terrain Tutor videos – and we were up to the challenge!
We began with the base – lolly (popsicle to our friends across the pond) sticks. We measured these as 10mm wide, so here’s where it starts to get ingenious – we cut one piece 3″ long, mark it L for long. Cut the next piece 3″ less 10mm wide – mark it with an S for short.
Position in an L shape as follows:
Next up – foamboard. This is bog standard 5mm stuff, which we picked up off eBay in A4 sheets.
We drew 2 rectangles – one 3″ x 2″ to be marked L, one 3″-10mm x 2″ to be marked S. Next, draw a wobbly diagonal line across each square – this represents the outline of the wall. Like this:
Cut this out with an Xacto hobby knife – I used a steel ruler for the straight edges and cut the wobbly ones freehand. You’re making ruins, so no need to be too precise.
You’ve now got a long wall (L) a short wall (S). Glue the short wall over the long base and the long wall over the short base, then glue the walls together like this:
The long wall overlaps onto the long base and glues onto the short wall, creating a tough and sturdy L shape corner ruin. Don’t worry about the join – a) life’s too short, and b) we’re going to put more stuff on it.
The next step is optional, but it’s pretty quick and does help the look – bevel the edges with your knife (Health & Safety disclaimer – Knives are SHARP. Handle them carefully).
Next, we covered the ruins in texture paste – this is fantastic stuff, a home made brew of PVA, sand, powdered Polyfilla with some black craft acrylic mixed in and watered to taste. Leave this to dry – 24 hours if possible. You want it to be solid. Make sure you daub liberally over any exposed foam too, as the next step is spraying black primer which will melt any foam left uncovered.
Although I forgot to take pictures, this is also the stage at which I got some acrylic filler (aka decorator’s caulk) and pushed some cat litter into it to create rubble effects.
Next up, painting – colour scheme filched entirely from Lukes APS and has served us well so far. First, duck egg blue drybrush:
Next up, drybrushed on some red splodges from cheap acrylic craft paint – yeah, I know, red???? But this is the Squire Of The North, and he’s not steered us wrong yet!
Overbrush with City Break mid grey:
Drybrush with Cloud Burst light grey:
Next up a couple of washes – thinned mix of Vallejo Black and Smokey inks, applied with a wet brush – water keeps everything moving and evenly blended. A home made dark green wash finished things off nicely, and the various layers of greys and other things give a real depth of colour.
You can switch things up a bit from this basic design too – For these last two, I added an extra floor and a couple of bits of guitar string to represent rebar rods and cabling:
Really pleased with how these came out, and although there’s scope for adding flock and dust effects I think for now these are good to go! Some last pics of them in situ, both Deadzone and 40k:
As always, stay thrifty out there, and as this is almost certainly our last post before Christmas, here’s wishing you all a very merry one!
I’ve long had a vision of my miniature armies fighting their way through a ruined urban battlespace, diving and weaving their way through dense cover, shattered buildings, ruined walls.. the whole bit. Stalingrad, Berlin, Hue, Fallujah.. right up to the shattered metropolises of the 41st millenium and everything in between.
Now, we redid our regular board last summer, but I couldn’t help looking at the flip side of our chipboard shelves and imagining texturing and painting it up to model the ruined city I’d always seen in my head. But I was always worried I might not be able to match up to what I saw in my head. After mentioning it to Dan over a beer for the millionth time though, he told me to “either shit or get out of the kitchen” – which I took to mean either shut up or get on with it!
Between the multiple drybrushes, washes, flocks, dust and everything on there blending nicely, I’m really pleased with this, it looks almost exactly like what I’d visualised. The next trick is going to be building the ruins to go with it, I’m really looking forward to having a truly 3D absolutely epic battlefield for Dan to paste me on!
So, to sum up –
Step 1 – texture paste, acrylic caulk (aka flexible filler) and kitty litter, cardboard paving slabs – basically, all your texture goes down at this stage.
Step 2 – prime black. Cheap black spray paint or craft acrylic applied with a big brush.
Step 3 – drybrush blue grey, over everything. We used Crown house paint tester pots.
Step 4 – drybrush red (in certain areas) – go light here, but don’t worry, it’ll work out!
Step 5 – Greys! Drybrush up with Wilkinson City break, followed by Granite Dust and Cloud Burst in gradually lighter stages.
Step 6 – Washes – splodge on VERY watered down greens, browns and chestnut tones.
Step 7 – Mud. Stipple on the burnt umber and drybrush up with lighter browns
Step 8 – Flocking – paint on watered down PVA and daub on strategically. Then drizzle – very sparingly – flock and dust.
Step 9 – Seal. PVA and water, 1 – 10 mix. Slosh this stuff on at least three times
Step 10 – Varnish – cheap £1 matt varnish.
We also added a couple of girders and a tiled floor, done in the same way as our previous smaller board. So now, the planned 40k 2nd ed mini campaign set on Armageddon will have somewhere authentic to fight over, not green fields on a planet famed as a harsh, overdeveloped Hive World! Can’t wait 🙂
So the dust has settled after last month’s mega-battle, and after gorging on our biggest game yet, we’ve decided to turn our attention to something a little lower key and skirmish-y.
Now, there’s a strong appeal to these types of games – low model count means easy buy in, short set up and pack down means it’s easy to get in a quick game even on when time and space are a premium, and it’s a great way to learn a ruleset without jumping in the deep end with a full combined arms force!
Clearly GW agree with us, having just released the new version of Kill Team, but we’re planning on starting with a few more free-to-download sets, not to mention our own Black Ops system (intended to be a more detailed small scale RPG/ skirmish variant on the basic Apocalypse: Earth game engine). An accidental alcohol-related eBay purchase means we’ve got ourselves a crowd of 2nd ed 40k Grots and Marines, so we figured time to make them somewhere to have a scrap!
We did actually put together a folding urban warfare table last year, built from the back of a set of shelves – roughly 3’x3′ folding, made of some sort of hardboard/ cardboard laminate – but we’ve learned a lot since then, and now it looks a bit… crap, to be honest. So we decided – time to pimp, yo.
After getting the stonework and texture paste on, I made sure to seal thoroughly with a spray of diluted PVA (empty Windolene bottle, ten parts water to 1 part PVA). In fact, I actually hit this three times at roughly 4- 6 hour intervals over the day – worth it in terms of time investment to make sure the thing doesn’t end up shedding grit and cat litter all over the floor every time you get it out!
With priming complete, the next step was painting. I used a recipe that has served me well, nicked wholeheartedly from Lukes APS. I used house paint tester pots for economy and ruggedness – hilariously, Duncan recommends using about £20 worth of Citadel model paints for this…. don’t, just don’t! – and put simply:
Overbrush grey blue
Drybrush red (lightly, and only in selected places)
Drybrush with Wilko’s City Break grey
Lighter drybrush with same brand Granite Dust
Next up, I made up some very thin washes based on brown, green, black and skin/ flesh wash colours heavily watered down and daubed about the board. This gives it a rather cinematic feel which I found I liked.
For the muds, I went with a burnt umber basecoat and gradually drybrushed up a couple of lighter browns, taking care to really work the brush into the texture to blend with the concrete.
Overall, this was a fun little build and I think t actually came out looking pretty good. It’ll suit Black Ops, and 28mm stuff like Kill Team and Necromunda. Plus, it folds away!
Next step is to scale up these techniques for the main 6’x4′ board, and a squared off 2’x2′ for Deadzone – thanks to Mantic for making the core rule book freely available as a download – and actually, none of these steps are particularly difficult, just require a bit of patience, planning and imagination. Youtube, and particularly The Terrain Tutor and Lukes APS are your friends here – good luck, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!
It’s a nice feeling when you can wrap up a project pretty quickly and simply – or, as a wise man once said, “I love it when a plan comes together”!
In this instance, this has come together in a little over a week, and I think you’ll like the result. So sit back, grab a beer, and then go and hunt through your recycling bin!
It all started a couple of weeks back when I picked up a punnet of blueberries for the youngling (his favourite fruit – for now, at least), and after he’d scoffed his way through it, as I was about to throw it in the recycling, I looked at it and thought hmmmmm…. I can do something with this!
As you can see in the above photo, I’m trying to improve my modelling skills by not simply half assing everything! I measured the interior depression on the blueberry punnet case and drew a centrepoint, then measure the yoghurt pot lid and did the same thing. Gel superglue bonded the two, hopefully irrevocably!
Painting involved a layer of Vallejo US Olive Drab, a wash with thin Smokey Ink, a pin wash with a mix of Black and Smokey inks (thinned, with the target area prewetted as per Mel The Terrain Tutor’s advice), before overbrushing with Olive Drab and drybrushing with the same olive drab lightened with a small amount of bone (avoid white for this, it can make for a “chalky” finish).
Weathering was sponge chipping using black, grey and metallics, and I followed Google Images for guidelines on how to paint a NATO communications bunker to get the grey radar dish idea. This was Vallejo German grey lightened with bone craft paint.
I added some detailing and hazard stripes, then based with a mix of Garage Floor Dust (TM) and green flock. So, pics:
All in all a fun build – a nice centrepiece, and a nice way to thin out my Box of Interestingly Shaped Crap! Still need to get better at hazard straps and lenses, but on the whole quite pleased – it should make a nice centrepiece in our upcoming Apocalypse: Earth game, along with Skalk Point and Bose Cliffs!
As always, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon 😉
One of the great things about this hobby, especially with the rise of the internet and YouTube, is that you never, ever stop learning new tricks. Certainly, our last terrain post, dedicated to master terrain builder and all round good egg Dakka Dakka user Skalk Bloodaxe, taught us that!
, we’ve learned a few new things since our last round of terrain building. Last year, we bought a big square of insulation foam and 3mm MDF with the intent of revolutionising our collection of hills, and in true SFG style we’ve managed to make….
The problem we’ve had is gradient – trying to get the height/ width ratio with such a thick block of foam is really tricky, so we’ve ended up settling for a big LoS blocker, and as a salute to Luke of Luke’s APS fame, we heretofor dub this “Fellowes’ Peak”. The real issue is having bought to thick of a sheet of foam. Too thick a sheet = too much height = too steep slopes to get up.
That said, it was a pretty fun build. Want to see how we did it?
And thus was Fellowes Peak born!
A week or so later, I got the itch to do another big piece – I’d always fancied a big corner piece to add drama to the table, and it occurred to me that a big cliff or rocky bluff would be the perfect way to utilise the height that the thick foam gave me. And so, using the exact same methods, over the following week Bose Cliff was created:
The thing that’s been really great about these pieces is how easy the new techniques have made things – I always hated the PVA/ sand stage, it took forever and inevitably made a huge mess. Texture paste is a far better bet, especially when you’re going to be flocking on top of it anyway. As for leopard spotting instead of the traditional grey drybrushing – well, I’m not sure we’re there yet with the paint ratios, but it’s looking pretty fly!
I’d also like to take a moment to thank Mel the Terrain Tutor for his video on the three T’s of terrain design – I built this having measured the capacity of my cupboard and also the footprint of Skalk Point, our power substation from the other month, as we’re planning these to be the centrepiece of our big Apocalypse: Earth Summer Smackdown game, just a few short weeks away!
In the meantime, I hope these provide you with some inspiration – good luck and good hobbying, stay thrifty and we’ll check in soon!
Feels like we’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front this month, but the truth is – we’ve been glueing stuff together like Chinese children in the better class of sweatshop (i.e. busily, but not necessarily in fear of our lives…).
It all started with this thread on Dakka Dakka, by a user named Skalk Bloodaxe. Browsing through his log of work, we started with a fairly “meh” attitude, but by page 20 both Dan and I were slack jawed with awe and busily scribbling notes. And so it was that we were inspired to raid my draw of Interestingly Shaped Crap to try and build a genuinely spectacular centrepiece for our games.
After the success of our earlier plasma reactor attempts utilising low energy light bulbs, we figured we’d take the idea a little bit further – what about a whole plasma generator substation? Featuring reactors, coolant coils, storage tanks and whatnot.
I cut a slice of roughly square MDF and after glueing everything down with superglue we mixed a texture paste of PVA, filler and a little bit of sand and stippled it down around the terrain parts for an asphalt effect. With that it was time for priming!
Next up – painting. Now, experienced, talented modellers will think about a paint scheme ahead of time and in many cases paint individual pieces ahead of time to ensure a clean finish and coverage, before glueing them in place. We are neither of these, so we glued it all down, primed it, and then realised how difficult it was going to be to get to almost everything we needed to paint.
This is why the blog’s been so quiet this month – we’ve been too busy angling our brushes into impossible patterns and swearing through gritted teeth…
Anyway – I’ll spare you the frustration, suffice it to say we went with an all-purpose olive drab finish for most of the complex using Vallejo Russian Green (figuring this would work well across both 1950s Europe, 23rd century sci fi and the grim darkess of the 41st millenium) – this got a wash with Army Painter Green Tone, and a pin wash with my own homebrew dark green wash, before drybrushing back up with Russian Green, mixed in with Crafters Choice tan to lighten back up. If memory serves, we did three drybrush layers.
Next was the main storage tank, and we’d agreed we wanted this yellow. Unfortunately, we’re both muppets and had primed it grey.
So at first, we needed to undercoat it white or the paint was never going to work. We duly managed to work a white undercoat, and then prewashed with Vallejo Skin Wash, and the yellow (cheap stuff from The Works) actually layered up quite nicely over it. We mixed in a little white and drybrushed lightly over the top. You need to be very gentle here, modulating colours subtly is essential. Vallejo Skin Wash came out again for a thin wash into the crevices to create depth.
Next up, the three smaller storage tanks in white – white’s a weird colour to paint, it doesn’t look right just painted on. So after painting we washed (with Vallejo Smokey Ink), drybrushed, washed and drybrushed again.. before sponge chipping – hopefully the feel conveyed is one of well used but maintained equipment.
After that came the plasma coils – this part was from a piece of packaging from some M&S cookies, and yummy as they were, the packaging might actually serve to be the best bit! These got the Russian Green treatment, followed by layering up white, and then a glaze technique using very light – almost turquoise – blue.. and then layered up with thinned down white paint up to a central point. Not sure I did as good a job as Duncan, but it looks OK from two feet away!
And then we get to the fun part – painting the reactors themselves! I nicked this wholesale from this technique on Warhammer TV, so I’ll let Duncan’s soothing voice talk you through it.. although to break it down for those of you without YouTube access, it’s basically blue paint, stippled with lighter blue, purple and pink patches, with lightning flashes done using thinned white paint. Simple enough, but looks the balls. Although with the sheer amount of surface area we had to paint.. it took a while.
With this all done, the next step was the asphalt – the paste had settled nicely and given a good texture, but this time rather than paint black and drybrush up, we decided to employ a variant on the “leopard spotting” technique Dan picked up from this Luke’s APS video – essentially, dark washes in three separate shades (black, brown and black/brown mix) that overlap each other. These then get drybrushed up with tan and bone colouring to unify it all together – actually really pleased with this one!
You may notice Luke uses solder and/ or styrene rod to build his fences.. we didn’t have any of that. What we did have were a bunch of kebab skewers, and a couple of quid from Ebay bought is all the nylon tulle (mesh) we were ever likely to need. Gel superglue and greenstuff did the joinery and we used the grid on the modelling mat to line it all up at right angles, but still this was fiddly and frustrating. Nylon tulle does not respond well to superglue or cutting.. but we persevered and made it! The fences then got a blast of cheap £1 silver spray paint and a couple of Vallejo Smokey Ink washes, and then we drilled through the MDF to create holes to plug the fences into. Very important that they be removable – they may be impassable to infantry, but crash a T-48 into a wire fence and the fence loses!
Overall, I’m giving this build a 7/10 – we measured, we thought, we planned, but we were still stupid in many ways, still plenty of wonky bits, but definitely a step up from our previous efforts! Lots more to learn about terrain building but that’s the joy of this hobby, you can always improve as long as you’re willing to!
We’ll come back to Skalk Point in time, as there’s plenty to add – little details here and there, industrial warning notices, a gate house, maybe a walkway or two… but for now, for the sake of our collective sanity, it’s time to turn our attention elsewhere and play a game or two!
Stay thrifty out there, thanks for staying with us through a lean month! See you soon 😉