torstai 27. marraskuuta 2014

Fire Direction Centre - Objective marker

Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I last wrote in here. But the thing is I am studying at the moment and the last two months have been really hectic with all the exams and written assignments and presentations and what-have-yous... But hey, I'm back.

Every once in a while I have had time to build something, but not to finish - until now. During last about three months I have created an US Fire Direction Centre. The vignet can work either as Fire Direction Centre included in some Flames of War lists (can't remember any) or I could play it as a normal staff team. I also have this idea about some huge Total War game, where I would play US Artillery Company created on the principles of Battlefront's Total War PDF and have the Fire Direction Centre as a second in command. Or something.

Anyway, let's get to business and see how I made this.

First off, I built the frame of somewhat fortified hut on a large base and placed artillery command and staff team figures and accessories in there. I made the hut out of matchsticks and PVA-glue.

"We don't have a map, see."
"I think the Krauts stole it. They are in the direction I'm pointing at, see."

I am a bit lazy, so I didn't use any filler, but just glued sand to the base. I have realised that only sand, paint and static grass make enough landbase, so I usually don't bother more.

"This shampoo or..?"
Glue added for sand.

Sand added.

After the adding of the sand I primed the whole vignet with brown spray and over that with dunkelgelb. So I did same as with my trenches.

Primed vignet with canopy frame on the side.

Primed vignet.

The fire direction centre wouldn't be fortified(ish) if there wasn't any sand bags, so I molded some with modelling clay. At first, I made thin strips out of the clay, then cut it to small pieces and molded sandbaggy shapes out of them.

Counter clockwise from the top left:
Strips, cut pieces, and finished sandbaggy shapes.

Then I added the sandbaggy shapes around the hut.

"I feel a lot more safe now that the sandbaggy shapes are there, see."

With the tarp canopy I cut out a fitting piece of newspaper, soaked it in waterded down PVA-glue and molded it to the matchstick frame of the canopy.

Newspaper piece molded to be the tarp canopy.

Painted tarp canopy.

I finished the painting of the vignet in normal way, painting the figures and accessories in their places - I always do that. Lazy, remember. Last off, I washed all of it with black.

Painted and washed vignet.

I then added the static grass to the base...

Glue for grass added with other elements of the artillery.
Also, with Jerry infiltrators.

Set to dry.

...and finished.
"We still don't have a map, see."
"I think it was those Nazi infiltrators, that took it. They went to the
direction I'm pointing with my finger, see."
"I'm calling for help, see."
"I'm calling too, see."

Finished vignet.
Some some reason the wash dried to be black-gray spot here and
there, but I think it just looks crappier that way.
In a good(ish) way.

Now, how about that US Artillery Company..?

tiistai 16. syyskuuta 2014

Shape of things to come

I know there has been a small break in my posts, but bare with me. I have been painting air supports for three armies, some 88s, and some Long Toms. Since I made a decision early on that I wouldn't write any painting tutorial, I would not be writing about them. There is lots of blog and tutorials concerning figure painting, by more talented painters, so there you have it. I wouldn't be stepping on no giants toes.

Things I've done, vol. 1: I bought three huge boxes to house my terrain.

However, on the side I have been making US Fire Direction Centre - scratch built - that I'm going play as a normal staff team. Or in case of some huge Total War game, my artillery battery's second in command. Yeah, I have that sort of perverse idea.

Things I've done, vol. 2: Sturmovik - work in progress.
Also, I have a sheet of foam-core board that I'm going to turn into house ruins; I have made plans to make a garden for Manor House Arnhem (hope that the Wife - an interior design and garden blogger - concludes the plan); my minefields and barbed wire obstacles need to be finished...

Things I've done, vol. 3: Played a Bulge game with a convertee.
Sturmvogel pilot has madskillz in low flying.
So stay tuned. Lots of posts coming. In good time.

maanantai 8. syyskuuta 2014

New front

Yours truly was asked to join in VonRichthofen's Lounge and I gladly joined forces with them. I will be sharing posts from this blog there, so stay tuned.

keskiviikko 3. syyskuuta 2014

We wants a SHRUBBERY! - Making bocage

I think has came across, that I like to play Normandy battles, so there has to be bocage for those games. I started the project last year, have played almost every homegame with them, and today I finished. I think.

I bought two kinds of wood profile, triangle and half-round, for about 6 metres of 20 feet. Yeah, it was a lot, and theres still half of them in the first and second stage... But the half of it I finished.

At first, I drilled holes in the half of the profiles and then stuck a bamboo barbeque sticks in those holes. These would be the tree-trunks, because some of the bocage have, not only bushes, but trees too. Then I added some various grains to make the stones.

On the foreground, adding tree-trunks; in the background, stoned bocage.

After that I sprayed them brown.

And had a beer.
(Yes, it's lite, deal with it - even Homewargamer should look fabulous)
Next I forgot the sprayed and dry-brushed bocage outside - as I had sparayed them outside - and  came to realize, that birds don't mind if the grains have poisonous paints over them.

Notice the absence of stones.

 I didn't mind much about eaten stones, because I was going to add the bushes and it would not show.

Just turfed.

The only problem - that I later learned - was that I had used turf, that made really cool looking bushes, but all the loose turf fell off, leaving only a thin coverage.

Turfed bocage.
Notice the big clump of turf, that - and it's kind - lead me to believe it was okay.
It wasn't.

After a year of gaming, the turf had come to a really thin layer. The bocage didn't look like bocage. So this, time I added clump foliage.

Lots of PVA before adding clump foliage.
Finished. Looks a lot better.

torstai 28. elokuuta 2014

Houses part 1

Last Christmas I spent at our cottage in Northern Carelia and since there was lots of free time, I decided to make the most of it. I had this idea of a hilltop village and I knew I would need houses to make the village. I also had an idea of a town hall and after few google searches I had found quick references. I knew there was some 6 mm (1/4'') plywood at the barn, so I grabbed a couple of beers with me and off I went.

I pretty much freehanded the whole project over the couple of days and since my tools were robust, so was the outcome. Anyways, the first house that I built was the town hall.

Just glued.
In the sub zero centigrade temperatures in the barn the PVA glue wouldn't dry properly, so I took the houses inside.

The clock tower has a place for one small base and otherwise I designed the rooms big enough to house one to two medium bases.

Town Hall opened up. Clockwise from the top left the roof (yet missing the roof windows), the attic floor and the clocktower, second floor with the balcony (yet missing the railing), and the ground floor.

I also built several smaller houses. The plywood was somewhat crooked, but I didn't care about it because all the houses are just going to fill up the table (I had and have The Premium Property order coming).

Town Hall at the back, Railway Station at the left, and the small houses.

My work with the houses didn't end there. Back home I used renovation filler on them to smooth the edges (sort of) and to give a stony feel for them. I sprayed them in different colours that I like to think are generic to all the european fronts: brown, gray, and so forth. The town Hall and the Railway Station I painted orange-brown. I used roof tile sheets from a hobby store for all of the building and molded the door and windows out of hobby clay (I don't have pictures of this, sorry). The balcony railings and the Railway Station's platform columns and front stairs I built out of match-, hobby- and ice cream -sticks.

Some of the unfinished houses in the floor game.
The Town Hall is yet missing the roof tiling and the houses balcony railings are not painted. Some windows maybe missing.
Also pictured unfinished minefields.
The houses didn't end up looking as good as I wanted, but I'm going to detail them some more to a reasonable extent - add some wines and such - but I will return on the subject in a future post. When I get around to making the hilltop village, I will cover that, too.

maanantai 25. elokuuta 2014

Oldies goldies 2 - Stonebridge

Last year we decided to play a Market Garden game, so there had to be bridges for it. I made couple of simple wooden bridges out of hobby sticks and matchsticks, but the stonebridge wasn't as straight forward as those "daycare-centre-glue-the-sticks-together" -bridges.

From the start I decided the stonebridge to be modular or in three pieces. That way I could field it in full 40 cm (16'') length or in shorter 20 cm (8'') length, considering the width it is supposed to gap; or I could just use the central piece between terrain features. There remains a possibility to build a piece under it if needed (which I will do, as long as I get around building that hill-top village I have planned).

I started by cutting the pieces out of styrofoam. I measured the width of the bridge to be wide enough for Tigers.
The centre piece in plain styrofoam.

Next, I used renovation filler for about a 1 mm  (1/25'') layer that I textured with a toothpick. The toothpick needs to be wet or moist so that the filler doesn't clut on up it.

The texturing in close-up. The stones could have been smaller in size.

I used normal corrugated cardboard for the sides. I cut them higher than the body of the bridge so that they form railings.

Jagdtiger for size.

All the three pieces.

I repeated the filler and texturing for the sides.

The whole bridge textured.
The pieces did't fit exactly, so there remains little gaps.

When everything had dried, I sprayed the bridge with hardwarestore "Gray" that is sort of dark gray and gives also a great base for German Feldgrau. I dry brushed the bridge with lighter gray.

The painted bridge.
In the foreground a matchstick bridge, also painted.

Add some flocking for moss and grass and Gandalf, and I'm done.

Like honey with the bees the bridges draw the Istari.

The bridge was used in the Market Game for our Band of Brothers Total War Campaign that will be addressed in a future post.

"I've had enuff of this, guv'nor!"

lauantai 23. elokuuta 2014

Making trenches

I started this blog mainly, because so many hobbyists asked me about my trenches. So here goes.

I didn't take pictures of the earilest stages of the making - that's something I will revisit when I get around making intersections and shorter trench pieces - but can still describe how I did them.

At first I thought about the trenches a lot. There is a thing that cannot be overlooked, the mindwork. Don't just make them, think about it first, especially when making modular elements as my trenches: will it work compared to other pieces of the modularity; what if I put this piece backwards, would it work; etc. After I had stumbled through these things I was ready to go.

I had decided to make three triangle corners, four square corners, five pentagon corners, nine straight trenches measuring 20 cm (8'') and four gun pits that could join the trench system. From early on I had decided the trenches to have back wall too, because that models the trench being dug better than just the front - at least I think so.

I started by sawing the bases for the trenches out of hard board (recycled old table pieces) and made them 10 cm (4'') wide, which is almost 7 cm (2 3/4'') wider than the medium base. This way, I had enough room to slope the sides and fit the logs inside the trenches.

I glued the logs first. I put four bamboo barbeque sticks on the table vertically, spacing them so that the outmost sticks were 20 cm (8''), the length of the trench section, apart from each other. Then I glued four sticks (already cut to length) side-by-side horisontally. I left a small space and then repeated this as many times as there were room or when I had enough loggings (sic? - not Kenny, though, younger readers, ask your dad or watch Top Gun). After the glue had dried, I cut the log elements out with pliers. (This whole paragraph is hard to describe in words, but as said, I will revisit the subject.)

Next I cut styrofoam to about 1 cm x 2cm strips that I glued to the bases (I had carved the the edges of the bases with my Sissipuukko - google it) so that there were enough room for medium base and log elements. Then I glued in the log elements. For corners I did not make the log elements, but glued the sticks straight to the styrofoam.
Finally, a picture!
I carved the rectangular styrofoams edges off. The coarser the styrofoam and duller the knife, the more uneven and therefore more realistic did the slope end up.

When cutting styrofoam, have the vacuum cleaner standing by. If you don't and The Wife walks into the mess, they will never find your body.
Added some sand to the slopes and to the bottom of the trench.

Sand added, stolen from the kids sand box.
I thought about the painting and ended up taking the easy way: I sprayed the trenches first with hardware stores "brown" (gloss, damn them) and went over it with Mil-Tec's Dunkelgelb. That's right, Dunkelgelb.

Dunkelgelbed. No - coyote browned. No - beiged. No - sand browned. It's  light brown, fellows.
I also painted some gauze bandage with olive green, so I could cut it to desired size, soak in watered down PVA and mold in place.

"I think these bandages are past 'best before' -date..."
 In total, I made 180 cm (6') of straight trench, add corners and that comes to total of about 340 cm (11' 2'') of trench. Plus the gun pits.

Stacked trenches.
 Of course I had to recreate a scene from a TV show on our kitchen table...

Not Sponge Bob Squarepants,
...And then I had to play the scene from a TV show with a friend.

This time around, Lipton actually blew up a gun.
As said, I am forced to revisit the trenches when I make the intersection. Maybe foxholes, too.