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.

torstai 21. elokuuta 2014

Oldies goldies 1 - Omaha Beach

I went nuts (pun intended) when I saw Saving Private Ryan in the cinema last century. That left the desire to make a huge diorama of Omaha Beach and I went so far to buy tons of subject related Tamiya, Italeri and Dragon models and figures in 1:35 scale. Still have them all.

Later on I had found Flames of War and I started to design my own table pieces - modular 60 cm x 60 cm (2' x 2'). About the same time Battlefront lauched the D-Day and I split the books with a friend. I got Overlord and he got Atlantik Wall. Anyhow, the Bloody Omaha came back to my mind. This was way back in the Day - 2013 or something.

I started with cutting the table pieces out of 3 mm hardboard that had been used at my parents and sisters house building site as a floor cover. Free material!

Then I went to a hobby store and got me some L-frame plastic rod that I cut to about 25 mm (1'') long pieces.
Some L-frame sticks.
After that I glued them as crosses.

Some L-frame crosses.
...And kept on gluing. Ta-dah! Czech hedgehogs that I spray painted (now that's a technique I use a lot) .

Paintjob not pictured.
Next I took some bamboo barbeque sticks that I cut to two sizes, longer and twice as many shorter.

Cutting lengths drawn on the table (don't tell The Wife!)
After that I glued them to be those barricades I don't remember the name of, but you know, those that were put on the beaches so that the landing crafts wouldn't take off so easily.

Saved! It wasn't the table I drew on...
Barricades done, I went to work on the beach itself. I took some styrofoams that had came with bookshelves for our livingroom (I hoard styrofoam - great buildingmaterial), glued them to the hardboard to get a little rise on the beach, and added ice cream sticks (it was awful getting those - someone might had bought them cheap from a hobby store, but being as dumb as I am, I forced my way through numerous ice creams, that are more expensive than sticks bought from a hobby store) as a beach wall. I also drew two lines to the table piece, for the surf area and for the sea area.

I used renovation filler - a leftover from our renovation - to smooth the styrofoam edges and also for surf. For the surf I took a reasonable lump of filler and swept the spatula "out to the sea" starting with little spatula pressure and ending up cleaning the spatula going outwards.

Added the barricades, too.

Added some sand.

Adding sand.
For the cobblestone road behind the sea wall and for the shingle I used various grains from a local supermercado.

Even when painted, the birds love these.
 The table piece was ready for painting. That time around I used normal furniture paints, because that way I could get the shade I wanted and they were reasonably priced.

We there yet?
I painted the sand with two shades of light brown, the cobble stones and shingle two shades of grey, and the sea with grey - drybrushing the tops of the surfs with white, brushing again "out to the sea".

There. Done. Let's get some beers.
A couple of months later, we played the beginning game of Band of Brothers Total War Campaign - Normandy. More of that later in a future post.


Homewargaming begins

US paratroopers taking on German artillery
On public demand I decided to start a blog to share my enthusiasm on wargaming — notably Flames of War — and on modelling. I play Flames of War purely recreationally and therefore I do not compete.

When I was a boy, I used to make models. At first, they were just glued on, but later I started painting them and I was at brink of becoming good at it... And picked up a guitar. The hobby of modelling was lost from me for years before I bought a Tamiya model of P-51D Mustang (Chuck Yeager). It was the first real stab on returning to the hobby, but it really took off two years ago, when I bought the starter pack for Flames of War.

Since I have picked up the hobby really with me and since I am a family man, I don't like to leave the house too much, I have decided to take the gaming tables home.

In this blog I will post what I have done and more so, how I have done them. My techniques are pretty straight forward and hence very easy to follow. Or take ideas to your own modelling — do this, since what do I know on modelling... Or just sit back and read.