Sunday, March 4, 2012


After much dithering, I've broken down and bought some server space for a website.  I'm moving the blog to the new site, and I'll be able to put up files for projects as well.  The new blog is at

This gives me even more incentive to keep the blog updated, so with luck you'll see more activity as I prepare things for Bayou Wars.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ship bases: group photos

As promised, the current fleet based and ready for action, sailing the brown waters of my painting stand.  (As always, click a picture to view it close up.)

Next in the queue, marines from Pulp Figures.  I'll post next Sunday with what progress I've made.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ship bases: painting

 Continuing the ship basing from last week...

I trimmed up the edges of the bases with a knife, then started painting.  Pick a base color and several highlights.  I started with a bright blue, covering the texturing on the base top.  Also paint the plastic along the edges of the texturing, to make sure none of the white base shows next to the ship.
The first highlight was a heavy drybrush of Ceramcoat's Ocean Reef Blue.  I hit every surface, only leaving the original blue visible in the deepest troughs and crevases.
 Folk Art's Light Blue is next.  I hit all the high points with this to pick them out from the surface.
 Last, I used white on the tops of the waves and the churn at the back, places where the water would foam up. 
 When finished, the ship should just fit in its place in the texturing.  A couple dots of superglue hold it tight.
And that's it.  Once I get the rest of the bases done (and pick up the ships I left at Jay's place after showing them off at last week's game :/ ) I'll put up a group shot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ship Bases

I wanted some nice bases for the Uncharted Seas ships I painted up. Like everything else I do, I looked for a method I could steal rather than trying to figure it out for myself. While poking around, I found some very nicely done ships on the Lead Adventure forums, and a (very) brief description of how the bases were made. Here I show how I copied the idea.

First, materials. You'll need something to serve as the base; I used 0.040" styrene sheet because I had it, but you could use any material you can cut to size and won't warp when glue is applied. You'll also need white (PVA) glue and toilet tissue, torn or cut into small pieces. I used a sculpting tool and a pair of tweezers to apply the glue and tissue to the base, but anything convenient should work.

Naturally, you need a ship to base. I wanted about 5mm of exposed base around the ship, so I added 10mm to the length and width of the model; for this ship, that came out to 33mm x 77mm. I cut a piece of styrene to size and lightly tacked the ship in place with a few dots of white glue. You will remove the ship later, so don't do anything permanent here. The lines are 5mm from the edges, and are just guides I used to ensure I had the ship centered and straight.

(Here I've tinted my glue blue so it is visible; white base, white glue and white paper do not make for good photography.) Spread a thin layer of neat PVA glue on the base, being careful to keep it off the ship.  Start placing pieces of tissue on the glue, using your tools to tuck it down on the base until it sticks in place. Don't worry if it overhangs the edge, you can trim it up with a sharp knife once the glue dries.

Once the tissue has been stuck in place, put a thick layer of glue on top of it.  This will quickly soak the tissue through and break up the fibers in it.

Using a sculpting tool of some sort, push the tissue and glue into a wake shape drawing off from the edges of the ship.  Start at the back of the ship, and push the tissue toward the back to raise up the waves.  If you keep the edge of the tool at the bottom of the wave, the top of the wave should angle forward like it's crashing over.

At the bow of the ship, push the "water" up against the hull so it is rolling off and forward, and extend the wave off the edge of the base to the side.  Then do the same for the other side of the ship.

Give it a few hours to dry, then carefully remove the ship from the base.  If you got too much glue on the ship and wait too long to remove it, part of the sculpted water may come up from the base.  Just add a bit of glue under the part that came loose and hold the water in place as you remove the ship.

Once it has dried thoroughly, I'll paint it.  I'll show how that goes in my next post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What have I been up to?

The answer is, not much of anything. Various things have kept me from the painting table, and so I haven't had much of anything to say here. But now I've made some progress on some projects, so here we go again.

Here I have a test paint of a Dwarven ironclad for Uncharted Seas, which Ed got me interested in recently. Behind it are the other two cruisers from the Dwarf starter set, waiting for drybrushing and detail work. Once they're clearcoated I plan to use dot filters on the metal armor panels to make them subtly different. I expect it to work, but we'll see. I have some destroyers and a battleship (the rest of the starter box) to follow these, and an Imperial starter box to paint up as well. I want to make sculpted water bases for the ships, which will be a new thing for me.

Next up are Rebel Minis' Earth Force Marines, done up in a desert/scrubland scheme. The four sticks in front are done, the fifth stick needs a wash, and the heavy weapons and sniper teams in back are just basecoated. This is about half the pack, I have eight more sticks that aren't in the picture. Four (including the ones pictured) are basecoated, two just need washes, so I should be done with these pretty soon.

I finally figured out how I will base my 6mm Seven Years War figures: 20mm x 25mm bases from Litko, with figures based three ranks deep on a stand. I plan to use these with the Batailles de l'Ancien RĂ©gime rules, to see how the table looks with something closer to a 1:1 figure scale. This will actually come out to 1:4, at 1:1 a battalion would be unmanageably big in 6mm, stretching four feet across the table. Doesn't someone make 2mm 7 Years War figures? :)

One regiment; I've got notes around here somewhere saying who these guys are supposed to be, but I don't remember off the top of my head, other than Prussian. I'll find them again when I don't need them, or the painting notes that are with it. Each of these stands will count as three figures in BAR, and casualty rings or markers of some sort will mark stands with partial casualties.

The unit's flagbearer and drummer, or at least one of them. There's one more stand on loan to Jay, who wanted to paint up the French figures I bought along with these. All of these figures are by Baccus 6mm.

A cavalry squadron of 12 stands, each stand counting as a single cavalry figure in BAR. I'm not entirely happy with the horses, the greys and bays may get pulled out and repainted. Basing was simple: I glued the figures to the Litko base, then glued down sand to smooth the bases up to the strips. I painted it all with brown ink, then glued on a mix of Woodland Scenics earth blend and green blend flock. I'll stick some static grass on soon, and hit it all with a thin layer of pva glue to lock the flock down.

The cavalry banner, still awaiting paint. I'll probably find an appropriate banner image somewhere and print it on label paper rather than trying to paint anything that small by hand. Or maybe I'll print it on decal film and basecoat the banner white. I'm not sure yet.

Artillery and crews in progress. I'll base each gun and crew as a single unit, I may have to go up to a 25mm square base to fit them all in place.

So that's where I'm at. I've got some plans for the future, and Jim and I are scheming on a Bayou Wars game that may require me to break out my Hirst Arts block molds in addition to painting up some more figures that have been waiting on the sidelines. And the Martians should see some more time on the workbench soon as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post Bayou Wars

Another Bayou Wars has come and gone, and great fun was had by all. I have photos, but they are still on the camera. I'll post them once I've recovered a bit. I came out of it with one very important lesson: my game for next summer will be completely ready by Christmas! None of this frantically preparing the night before for me, I'll be done with months to spare. (I also have bridges for sale, cheap, just one owner.)

I have several projects to work on this summer and fall. My plan for Bayou Wars is a 6mm scifi game, part of a campaign of 6 games I hope to run for the club next year. I also want to get some more Aeronef painted up and build some more shipping vessels to go with it, and get enough figures painted for a playable Colonial Mars game. I have some plans for a gladiator game as well.

This week, though, is spring cleaning. I'm tearing down my painting desk (and much of the rest of the house) to clean and organize things, because it needs it badly.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Archaeologists and Germans

It's been a couple months of slowly plonking away at figures as I find the time. But I've finally completed the archaeologists I'll need for Bayou Wars, as well as another unit of Zeppelin Troopen.

This week I want to build some hills, rocky outcroppings, and jungle vegetation to fill out the table. I also need a narrow trail that will cross the table; I can use my road pieces, but I want something less built-up, more like a track that's been hacked out of the jungle. We'll see how it comes out.