The Beat Goes On

Literally, when I came home and walked up the stairs my downstairs neighbour was playing music very loud, I could here it just fine in my apartment and I could feel it coming through the floor.  Now I like music, but if I’m being forced to listen to some, I’m choosing the tracks.  So I put on my surprisingly large stereo considering how loud I usually listen to music, anyway I put on some Emmylou Harris circa “Spyboy” and “Wrecking Ball”.  These are mostly ballads with a lot of bass.  It was amusing to drown out crappy dance music with a gospel track, but then I think the music got louder downstairs, so I switched to a custom funk mix I made which is great for painting to.

I never did much painting so far today, but I appear to have won the stereo war.  This is the second one to take place.  If there is a third it will be take no prisoners.  Last night a different neighbour in a different building played music until 2:30 AM.  I need to move, but my never ending job search goes on…

After talking to a recruiter and revising my resume at his suggestion, I really think it is just strange now, but anyway I’m not what people are looking for… I’ll probably revise the resume again before I update copies online so that and applying to yet more jobs are the order of the day beside the laundry.

More hobby supplies
More hobby supplies

Now this really is a boring blog posting! But there is a reason, after revising my resume I walked to Deserres and bought more balsa wood, a brush, and some two part epoxy.  With these fresh supplies and the Slaneesh Daemons off my painting desk I’m ready to tackle the big Goblin baseoff.  Actually it is the medium sized Goblin baseoff as the biggest unit will sit in the case as I once again avoid painting 63 goblin shields.

Before I get to basing goblins and making them a custom magnetic movement tray, I need to finish off the second movement tray I’ve made for my Plaguebearers of Nurgle.  I have attached the sand and a sealing layer of white glue is drying.  Once that is done, I’ll use my new bigger brush, but still smaller than 1 inch, I think it is a half inch brush, to paint the movement tray black then the traditional three GW brown drybrush and it’s done.

Old Gretchin and Older Squig
Old Gretchin and Older Squig

The funk gets stronger as it goes longer.  “Burning Spear” by S.O.U.L. complete with funky flute solo won the stereo battle, but now it is the JBs.  This song has bass.

Also being primed right now are the chaos sorcerer model and the fancy magnetic plaguebearer base thing I made.  Those will possibly get painted this week, but it is already Wednesday so perhaps not.  More important as far as the Mighty Empires campaign is concerned is getting the goblin mercenaries fit for their 8th Edition debut at Strategies on Sunday.  And as promised I got out an old 2nd Edition 40K Gretchin which got a squig bit I’ve been saving for about 15 years and some beach sand and will be used to test the Krylon Grey primer I bought at Deserres or Micheal’s quite a while ago now…


Not all quiet on the Western Front

I wasn’t very productive today.  I didn’t find a job.  I didn’t watch the World Cup.  I didn’t finish the second trench tile.  I didn’t even watch a film.  However I have worked on the trench tile.  I did watch “All Quiet on the Western Front” last night and I’ve been reviewing my other research material, principally two books. Maximum Grit

“The Canadian Corps in World War I”, is an Osprey title, perhaps the first one I bought.  It has a Van Doo on the cover and I pretty much will do a unit of them, how big of a unit I’m not sure.  Three officers and 116 enlisted men would be the best number.  The other book I bought is called “Postcards from the Trenches”, it is real postcards produced during the Great War that this collector ultimately donated to a museum and they produced the book.  It and the film reveal that my trenches may be too orderly, but other material shows it was all a matter of what sector the photos were taken in.  The Canadians or the Stormtroopers as the Germans dubbed them were always sent where the fighting was thickest Vimy, Ypres, the Somme.

As for modeling, after a coat of thinned down white glue dried, I then painted the tile black with a 1″ brush and Rustoleum brand black paint.  After that I twice went over the tile with a much smaller bush and Ceramcoat black.  Both times I used my ‘dab and jab’ technique as this keeps as much grit as possible in place and also is the only way to get paint into some gaps.  After even more black touchups, I painted the wood in the trench and just outside it Ceramcoat Terra Cota, which I thinned considerably with water.  Two coats was necessary for coverage but also tends towards orange… One coat of brown paint

Hopefully after the drybrush things look fine.  My two observations are it is better to leave a small gap between planks on the ground as it is easier to get the brush in there, requires less planks, and is more historically accurate.  The second observation is I don’t need quite as much grit inside the trenches.  Less grit but maybe more little detail bits.

I found two more interesting links while reading threads over a the Lead Adventure forum which along with B&C, The Waaagh, and the Miniatures Page is my go to place to discuss painting, converting, terrain, and mini manufacturers. Two coats of brown

The first link is an informative page with pictures about life in the trenches of World War One along the Western Front primarily.  The second link is to a new (to me) line of WW1 trench inserts.  These would be inserted into correctly cut shapes of foam, saving all the bother of doing the planking and sandbagging by hand.  They look pretty good, narrow, but big enough to accommodate 30mm bases apparently.  They are designed for 25/28 mm miniatures.  I may have to give them a go, at least their machine gun nests when I make version 2.0 of No Musk’s Land.

Tomorrow I’ll have to try harder to find a new job and it will be the drybrush fest as I will drybrush the planks, the sand and dirt, and the sandbags to match the first tile.

Still Entrenching

So in and around looking for a job and doing research in the form of watching movies set in the trenches of World War One, I’ve been gluing grit, sand, cork, cat liter, etc to my latest trench table tile.

The movies I’ve watched the last two nights are “Passchendaele”, which despite the guys at Happy Bats hatred of Paul Gross was useful as they were wearing Canadian uniforms.  They didn’t spend much time in the trenches, more like in flooded craters.  The next movie I watched had lots of flashbacks to the trenches in France, with French and German soldiers.  Their trenches were flooded and they too had more ruined forests than I had planned on putting into my battle field. Thin layer of glue

I may make some ruined forest type scatter terrain, but flooding all my trenches and craters…  I’ll invest in some water effects at some point and fill the bottoms of a few craters just for fun, but I’m leaving my trenches as is.  Some of the trenches in “A very long engagement” were not lined with wood, especially on the ground.  This is counter to my own research.  I did see lots of sandbags and barricades made of wood as well as barbed wire and telegraph lines.

I think the trenches look better filled with stuff, so this tile has more plastic bits glued both in and outside the trenches.  I have to remember that I will have plenty of larger scatter terrain too.  I also plan to name my trenches and fortified positions.  This was a common practice, the trench in “A very long engagement” was named “Bingo Crépuscule“, a name I may give to one of my trenches, as it is both obscure and realistic at the same time.  Soldiers often gave humorous or ironic names to places they were stationed. Trench Tile with lots of texture

My first choice of films for WW1 is “Paths of Glory” which I own, but it is in black and white and film making, the technical side has advanced a lot since that earlier but still awesome Kubrick film.  The other rapid suggestion was “Black Adder goes Forth” which I also own.  Most of that series is spent in HQ or in the front line bunker/sleeping quarters for Black Adder and Baldrick.  I’ll have to look for some more trench warfare movies.  Wikipedia has this list of WW1 films.

There was just a goal in the World Cup!  Spain is up 1-0 at the 62nd minute.

I’ve seen “Joyeux Noël” recently, maybe that influenced me in starting my trench project, most of that movie takes place in the trenches.  It also shows how close the enemy really was to each other, they could yell back and forth.  It was less than a football pitch wide in place.  “Joyeux Noel” has some useful extras for learning more about what really happened in the trenches of WW1 as censoring the press was still prevalent back then. Adding even more grit to the tile

I generally followed the same order and techniques I used on the first tile.  This time I used thinned glue earlier, more beach sand, glued on plastic details sooner, and then added cork and finally another layer of cat liter.  That is the current state of the tile, the glue is home drying on the cat liter and maybe later tonight I can begin painting things black.  Remember to gob on a bit and dab it onto the grit rather than paint in proper brush strokes.  Once the girt is good and covered in black, the drybrushing begins.

Is dry brushing one or two words?

I’m going to need more Popsicle sticks

So although I said I was going to switch to working on my Astronomi-con Vancouver army and some more test models, I ended up working quite a lot on the next trench table tile.  This tile is ‘D2’, it has a name too.  I really should put some of my planning documentation on this blog.  I’ll save that for a slow hobby week maybe.  I got a few other things I’m saving for when I’m making less progress.

First two terrain tiles

As someone currently unemployed, who owns too many unpainted models, including a pile of material for a trench themed miniature wargaming table.  So I put another coat of black paint on a tile.  After first test fitting the tiles and scatter terrain, I eventually decided to do the planking last night.  It took quite a while and after only two tiles, I think I may have used half of my Popsicle sticks.  They are cheap and easy to find in craft stores, but this tile isn’t even the one that needs the most planking.  The wider trenches are easier to work with, the narrow more realistic tiles might be quite frustrating to do the planks.Clamps are useful

This time I made the planks fit pretty well.  I even used some balsa wood on part of it to make it level with the foam.  I also implemented my exit scheme.  One of my pet peeves with miniature terrain is the ladders are always modeled too small to be useful.  Miniatures often end their move half way up, but you have to pretend.  Ramps are great to show exactly where a miniature is, but they take more space and are not terribly accurate.  Stairs have to be oversized, but again aren’t something you normally seen in trenches.  I made a hybrid, it is a very steep ramp with two narrow steps on it, so miniatures can end part way into or out of the trench.  I’ll probably make some stand alone ladders that I can just plop down, they are also available for sale.  But I plan to model two more exits.

I’ve also lined one side of the trench with plastic sandbags, but the pictures of that are still on my iPhone and the cable is at home.  This was just for fun.  It goes against my modular everything theme, but I wanted to try them out.  I clipped them all off and put them in a jar.  Some are a bit big for 28mm though both brands are 1:35 scale.  28mm falls between 1:35 and 1:48.  Using pre-made resin pieces is easier, no gluing, no clipping, no cleaning, but I’m not sure which is cheaper.  Making your own sandbags out of a modeling medium might be the cheapest and most flexible, but for speed pre-cast resin pieces is the way to go.

Finished Popsicle planksMy plan for this evening is to put down a layer of black paint and then a layer of grit (cat liter) before bed time.  I plan to use a bit more grit than last time, but the big difference will be using a lot more beach sand.  I also will likely put some scattered bitz down at the same time as the sand.  I already put a drum for rainwater perhaps in the trench.  I have three pieces of resin scenery also on my painting table and will make three more pieces of scatter terrain which will spread into no man’s land.  These will be based on plastic GW tank traps, as although I want an opening in the defenses to slip the odd scout out of the trenches, which is historically accurate, I don’t want it to be a weak point so several tank traps will be further protecting the position.

For the record I prefer the Italeri brand plastic sandbags.  They have more detail, with a garbage bag style end.  Both brands have a couple different shapes, but the Italeri are solid, well the other brand is hollow so you can only put one side up with the green ones.  The green ones are bigger which works less well for 28mm.

Two brands of plastic sandbags

Trench with sandbags and planks

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