One tile nears completion

I’ve finished the scatter terrain, I’ve finished the dry brushing, I long ago finished construction.  All I have left to do is some fine detail work and take some decent pictures for the fanboys.  ;-)

However since I want to get out of the house, maybe watch some World Cup, try to find a job, I’m going to quickly update this blog, as I do have a lot of new pictures to show off, and I want to write down what I did, in case anyone wants to try and duplicate it, or in case I forget what I did myself…

First of all some eye candy, this is my test model, posing behind some sandbags made by the guy who runs, these are about the nicest sandbags I’ve found.  He may sell you some if you ask nice.  I painted them with GW colors, the greens are Gretchin, then a no terribly effective drybrush of Camo, followed by 1.5 washes of Gryphon Sepia.  Then I did a dry brush of Rotting Flesh which was more effective.  I painted the dirt: Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic Brown in progressively lighter drybrushes.  That’s it, quick and relatively painless.  To speed up the process skip out the Camo green and the Sepia wash.


That above picture is on Flickr along with some of my other finished models.  The Sandbags are a bit shiny, I think they will be getting sealed with a Matte sealant.  Darren was recommending Testor’s the other day, may have to invest in some when I’m gainfully employed again…

So what else do I have to show you, why lots of browns of course.  This project requires lots of black and brown paint so I bought a bunch and chose the ones I thought would work best, lets see how I did…

Chosing the best browns

So I gathered together all the new and old browns I’d bought and chose the following, for dirt Brown Velvet followed by Raw Sienna.  These are then labeled D1 and D2 as that is the order I will drybrush them on to the rocks and sand.  The final dry brush will be GW’s Bubonic Brown as it will help the terrain match my armies bases some.  For the wood I wanted contrast with the dirt and the GW colors and ended up chosing Terra Cotta and Golden Brown.  All these craft paints are made by Delta, three are labeled Delta Ceramcoat and the third is just an older or newer style bottle.  They are 2 Fl. Oz. and available at craft stores for about two bucks a pop.

Hopefully these four bottles which are basically new and full will last the duration of this project.  The From the Warp guy is a fan of these paints, he uses them on his miniatures I believe.  They cover pretty well, I just straight drybrushed them on except the Terra Cotta…

Terra Cotta which is what I painted the planks goes on pretty orange, especially if you paint it thick.  Try to avoid putting too much of it on.  When I paint wood grain, which is the case for the foot bridge and the planks in the trenches I try to paint in the direction of the grain.  This lets the brush lines sink with the wood grain and with a black undercoat is a quick way to add detail.  Again too much Terra Cotta and this works less well.  That said wood shouldn’t all be the same uniform color, especially not in the trenches so a little darker or lighter base coat here and there shouldn’t matter.

Now things weren’t looking as nice as the footbridge I did with GW paint, but just tell yourself it is the aggregate effect that counts.  It doesn’t matter how well you highlight a given plank, the effect you want is a whole battle field.  Hold the terrain at arms length and it will start looking better, this is about how close people will get to it.  People pick up models, terrain generally just sits there.  Also tell yourself you have to paint at least 23 more tiles and that it will look better when you finish.

So after the orangy and a bit patchy coat of Terra Cotta dries I then finished off the scatter terrain and the next morning begain the drybrush fest.  First I drybrushed the scatter terrain, then I drybrushed Golden Brown on the planks.  Then the three browns mentioned above onto everything else.  I never touched anything up if a little brown goes on the wrong spot push on.Stockpile of modeling stuff

The final touch is tiny details.  Over the last few years in addition to collecting resin terrain, balsa wood, and foam, I also bought up on eBay and elsewhere random battlefield accessories.  Warhammer 40,000 is heroic 28mm so I tried both 1/35th and 1/48th scale, both kinda work.  Lots of companies make bits in 28mm too and you can just use most anything to provide that little extra detail to your terrain.

I glued these on with white glue, then painted them black.  The last step will be to paint them and assemble the tile and take a decent photo or two.  You can add the detail earlier when you are doing the grit, I’ll experiment more going forward, but basically a bayonet here, a canteen there gives the terrain more personality, I plan on adding a lot of personality to this table…

Battle Field AccessoriesMore resine bits I bought on eBay.







Small realistic details, bucket, canteen, knife, etc.Almost finished first terrain tile.


One More Colour

Well I’m back.  Today has been a bit strange.  I did a little biking, found out quickly how fat and out of shape I am.  I also had a totally flat tire, so I got a new tube.  I also visited the art supply store, the local game store, and this weird craft store on Main Street.  I invested about another $25 into this project.  That is starting to seem like a lot of money seeing as I’m unemployed and have not received a cent in government assistance in almost three months of waiting now…

Enough of that, I still don’t sleep, at least not at night.  I worked on the terrain tile in the wee hours.  It should be done today.  The one thing I haven’t done that will take a bit of time is to go through my bitz boxes and various battlefield accesory kits I’ve acquired in the last three years while scheming up this project.  I have too much hobby stuff, I’d like to have a little less hobby stuff and a little more money right about now.

Colour Samples

Anyway I also bought a lot more paint, mostly browns, trying to better match the GW browns I use to do my basing on the Diseased Sons and the Nefarious Fire.  I generally do Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic Brown, all dry brushes, all the newest versions of those colors.  From my previous terrain and display base projects I learned that the cheap craft paint I bought didn’t match very well. I ended up using some of the GW paint, basically you can use two or three craft browns, but if you do the last drybrush of Bubonic Brown it looks alright.  I think I did better at matching the GW colors this time, thanks to the swatch I made.

Old Craft Paint

I also bought some browns that contrasted with the GW browns, generally some tan, beige type colours.  These will be for the trench lining.  I’ll use some GW browns for some things, especially detail work.  I think I’ll stick with a trifecta of Gretchin Green, Camo Green, and Rotting Flesh for the sandbags, likely with some Devlan Mud or Gryphon Sepia washes.

Everything should go quick and easy now that I got a good coat of black.  Waiting for the thick coats of black and the glue to dry is inefficient working on 12″ square tiles.  I’m going to work more on scatter terrain and models in the down time.  I have lots of stuff to paint.  I plan to build a few models soon.

New Craft Paint

One last tip, to coat the really rough grit, it is best to get a gob of paint on the tip of your brush and jab or dab it on the grit.  Trying to paint normal brush strokes doesn’t work so well and ends up knocking off some of the grit.  You can paint the really fine grain sand normally.  After the drybrush fest we’ll see if I’m full of shit or not.

Did anyone get the Rheostatics reference?

Three Layers of Grit

All Black Tile?

True Grit

I continue to plug away at the first of at least 24, twelve inch square modular trench table tiles.  A few people have noticed, probably because I told them.  ;-)  There is a thread over at the Miniature Pages where people are discussing techniques for making terrain, particularly trenches.  I of course ignore everything they say and just do things my way.  :-D

The Miniature Pages is a bit old fashioned, but I think that is the way they like it.  Hopefully they don’t completely lose my thread like Terra Genesis did…

Beach Sand applied to tile

Onward and upward.  In this installment I basically put grit in the form of sand and cat liter on to the tile.  I used regular white glue.  The first two layers of grit I just squeezed the glue on, this makes the grit thicker and works better for cat liter which is super absorbant.  After two layers of grit, I sealed it with watered down white glue.  This can take a long time to dry so mostly I just use a really thin layer of straight glue in my basing and terrain work.

After taking the photos I then put thinned white glue where I had put the ‘S’s this stands for sand.  I want my terrain to be playable and modular so I can’t have as much texture as I did on my GT display board which everyone admired.  I also think the brand of cat liter I used back then was bigger, though I also think I did like two or three coats of cat liter.  I intend to use some air dry clay, foam, and other stuff to build up no man’s land some, but mainly I need to keep it not too rough so models and scatter terrain can rest easily on it.

Tile after two layers of grit

Now I wait overnight and in the morning shake off the excess fine sand.  Once that is done I have to get serious about choosing colors for the wood, dirt, and sandbags.  I think I may use GW paint for the sandbags, but for the dirt and the wood I’ll probably use cheaper paint, which I’ll bike to the art supply store to pick up tomorrow.

Sealing grit with thined glue

Laying down more thined white glue

Applying a layer of fine grain sand

Laying the Lumber

So after carving my foam and painting it black, the next step was to line the trench sides and bottom with planks or in the miniature wargaming world, Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors.  These can be bought at most craft stores along with more precision cut pieces of balsa wood.  My trenches turned out to be just under five Popsicle sticks deep.

Timber lined trench

This tile has a removable foot bridge which used to lay flat in the trenches when not needed, but after lining both sides it doesn’t.  I’m not sure on the front lines you saw bridges across trench works much, but further from the front they were needed to send out patrols and what not.

This tile also got two little sandbag walls, made by this fella.  This gives any sentries something to hide behind or lean on.  I also allotted two surface craters to this tile, these were rather cheap and flimsy.  I don’t advocate buying craters for the most part, as they are make-able, but then again I bought lots of sandbags and they are make-able too.  I went against my golden rule of maximum modularity and glued the two craters to the tile.  They were pretty lightweight foam so I thought this was for the best.

After coating everything black once more it was time for the first texturing.  Due to cost and availability I use cat liter for this.  The problem with cat liter is it is porous so painting is a bit more work, it is also dusty which is why you need to use cheap black paint early and often.  After the glue hardens I’ll do beach sand, then probably this finer grained sand I got from somewhere years ago.  Beach sand as long as it is dry is great due to being more irregular than hobby sand.

Trench lining with Bridge

Once again I took a bunch of pictures at each step, including posing with my test guy, a technique I got from someone on the Waaagh.  I need to name my Imperial Guardsmen at some point.  The test ork is named Barry…  Oh the bridge is made by Snapdragon but he doesn’t make or sell much stuff anymore.

Painting everything blackTile with scatter terrain



Adding texture with cat litter

Paint it Black

Yep, the most overused title in the miniature painting hobby.  This is actually really important, having made several display bases, nothing cramps your style while doing the final details like pink or white foam poking through.  So this rather large undertaking I vowed to paint it black early and paint it black often.

I’ll paint some more black on these but first I’ll probably put down the timbers inside the trenches.  After that is done I’ll do the sand.  I don’t want to sand all the flat surfaces and I can’t use as much cat liter as I did on my GT display base, it looked good but it isn’t game-able.  This table needs to game-able, that means wider than usual trenches, modularity, less than perfect fits, and lots, and lots of little pieces that can be re-arranged.

Someday I’ll get my other table’s worth of terrain here in Vancouver.  I plan to make a lip to connect the two.  I was thinking of doing a ruined village after this, something vaguely French and World War One.  I’ve also considered Spanish Adobe style buildings or even an Ork Village, but lately seeing the stuff Pardulon is producing if I ever have the money to drop on a gaming table again, plus the time and energy seeing this one is barely started, I might do a shanty town.  Maybe only a 4*4 Shanty town…

Here’s some pics.  I plan to work on just one tile at a time after this, plus I plan to work on my army for Astronomi-con Vancouver.  Note I tested the biggest GW base, the one used by Imperial Guard weapons teams, they fit in the biggest trenches.  I plan to make some machine gun nests and some of them will be big enough to accommodate these 80mm bases, but not all.  I want my table to favor lone models on a single 25 mm base.  Painting even six tiles took up my painting table, all my counter space, and my stove…

Final photo of the pink foam tiles

Painting table with tile

Counter covered with terrain tiles

Stove covered in terrain tiles

Trench Table Beginnings

One of my long schemed for mega projects is a dedicated gaming table more befitting of my tendency to play almost exclusively Warhammer 40,000.  Of course by play I mean occasionally attend a local tournament, say two a year, with one or two in-store games.  I think you play more when you can host, and in order to host you need a reasonably sized place and table plus terrain.

Expanding modular trench line

I have over a table worth of hills and forrests plus some rocks and the odd building, but with the success of one of my tournament display boards and the amount of stuff you can buy online, I decided to build a really nice table and I decided to make it a modular trench table.  I did a lot of research, I collected a lot of resin scatter terrain and bits I would need to build my table, but time and energy proved ellusive. Modular Trench Terrain

Recently unemployed I’ve worked on my dream table, but I discovered my hobby foam cutter couldn’t handle the big thick foam I wanted to work with and it was hard to make long perfect cuts.  I bought a jab saw along with a couple metal squares, but I had to give up on perfection.  Working on terrain pieces takes a lot more space and makes a lot more mess than painting another squad of plaguemarines.

Undaunted I’ve pushed on.  I was originally going to make one or two squares at a time, but in order to get a decent fit and to better lay out the scatter terrain I ended up cutting and carving almost one entire defensive line before I painted anything.  My plan is to paint the white and pink black.  Then I plan to line all the trenches sides and bottoms with little bits of wood.  This is historically accurate and although this table will probably get used mostly for 40K, there is no reason it can’t serve for World War One or even World War Two in a pinch.  I plan to paint up some Germans and Van Doos someday.

Resin scatter terrain

I painted one test dude, you can see him making sure the firing platforms are the right height.  I made my trenches deeper than most and wider than I intended.  The first square I did was the angle one and three inch wide openings and then drawing the lines looked too narrow.  I want to be able to fit 40mm bases in my trenches along with the planks and firing positions and some scattered stuff.  I’ll make some narrower trenches eventually, but the two initial defensive lines will be bigger than scale to make it easier to game.

First two tiles I made

Almost all the scatter terrain will be loose and thus can be rearranged along with the tiles.  I’ll make a dozen or so extra tiles eventually, but to start I’m make 24 carefully planned tiles.  There are some early ramblings on my personal blog about this and likely on the odd forum, but this is the most I’ve revealed my hand.  I need to switch shortly to finishing up my Astronomi-con Vancouver army, so this table will not be at Astro Van this year, but will be next year for sure.

All the resin terrain show on the tiles so far was made by Snapdragon ( he stopped making them due to injury so I bought rather more than I needed, just before he went out of production, as I thought it would just make things look better.  Other companies I’ve ordered from are listed here.

Constructing Firing Position One

Constructing Firing Position Two

Looking Good

So as I mused, I’ve started a dedicated miniature painting blog for my various hobby projects.  Hopefully I’ll get off my ass in the next few days and paint something fresh for the masses.  I still need a job, so look at my resume!

I’m not going to move content over here from my personal blog, I’d rather spend my time creating new content and painting new miniatures rather than just import old text and pictures.  Plus I don’t like broken links, I remember when people cared about broken links, now people just trust in Google.

So what will be here? Everything I do hobby related basically. isn’t going anywhere, but it is a huge hand coded site, to an army that I’m going to use less as I paint some new stuff, I’ve ran just about every Plaguemarine squad possible.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve matured and I stay out of online pissing matches when I can, I still contribute to the odd forum, mostly the Bolter and Chainsword but occasionally the Waaagh or elsewhere.  I’ve been at this a long time, I have WIP threads that are years old, but I’m not sure if my efforts get viewed by that many people, so hopefully Google will find this stuff and it turns out to be of use to someone.

One thing I have imported by hand into is links.  I’ve been collecting links since 1994 or 1995, my biggest collection is pretty out of date, but more recent useful finds, were added to the sidebar for the benefit of all.

What you will also find here is some well painted miniatures and occasionally tutorials and advice on how to improve your painting.  Back when I was employed I bought a lot of paint and models, so I try stuff out, rather than stick to just GW paints and models.  That said most models I paint are for Warhammer 40,000 or 40K as it is known online.  One of the more famous things I’ve put online is the Diseased Sons homepage, so additions to that army along with the Nefarious Fire and new incarnations of Waaagh Musk will appear here.

I’ll continue using Flickr for finished models in higher res, but I’ll probably put most of my Work In Progress or WIP photos on, previously I used and I still may use it for somethings.  I pay for the bandwidth on about 10 bucks a month, I get about as much free from maybe, but they throw the odd ad around my text and pictures.  I’m happy with the theme I picked, it is new and gritty, and called Greyzed.  Thanks to the Forge Web Creations for that, apparently they are from South Africa, small world nowadays, especially online.

We’ll have to see if a more focused blog on rather than self hosted leads to an increase in popularity, as measured say by number of comments.  I always got traffic from the search engines, often from very strange keyword referrals, but I’d like a more social and interactive site, though that said it is just a hobby blog, if I get busy with my new job it will languish for a while.

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to ramble, which is why Muskblog is an unfocused mess after being updated very regularly for years.  This blog will be focused on miniature painting and the hobby, if I want to rant against bad service at a restaurant it won’t appear here, neither will pictures of my sister’s dog, or any baby photos, or any thing else that will pollute the purity of Musk’s Miniatures.

I own a lot of miniatures, a lot of them are painted, but a lot of them aren’t.  Even if I never buy another model, I’ll probably never get them all done.  I’m going to have to have a liquidation sale someday.  I own a lot of older GW miniatures that I either bought back in the day, traded for, or got on say eBay.  I don’t have any immediate plans to sell anything, but at some point it is a good idea.  I’m building something of a dream table for wargaming, but it has gone slowly.  I got hundreds of dollars tied up in resin and other stuff like foam, plasticard, and balsa wood.  I kinda wish I had some of that money back right about now seeing as how I’ve been unemployed for over two months and I’ll always be paying for my MBA.

I promise this is the least focused and most off topic post that will appear here.  I need some text to test the theme further and make sure tags and categories are working well.  There are links to a lot of photos of my miniatures on the sidebar, but lets see if I can’t dig something interesting out of iTunes to see how the theme handles images.Assault on Black Reach Ork Nob

I don’t currently have access to a good digital camera, remember I’m unemployed.  I do have an iPhone 3GS which takes surprisingly good pictures of miniatures in my lightbox setup.  I also know a number of pro and semi-pro photographers, maybe I’ll con one of them into using their 1000s of dollars worth of equipment to take photos of my minis.

I also might submit this hobby blog to various specialized blog networks, that seem to be all the rage in online hobby circles.  I’m not sure how much more traffic they’ll add, but now with a focused blog and hopefully a month or two of good original content I’ll be eligible to join one or two.  In the mean time we’ll have to wait and see who’ll be the first to link to this blog and leave a comment besides me.