Sunday 15 March 2015

Terrain Boards Trials

For quite some time, I've been thinking of doing some terrain boards. For all the reasons everyone can think of, I've never got around to this fairly space and time consuming activity but recently, I took a bite of the bullet and just got stuck in, and gave it a try.

Having all the bits and materials I needed already, I went for the tried and trusted MDF 4'x2' s and went for a textured and flocked board.

I had already been thinking of doing some modular terrain boards (well, I've been toying with idea's for this for years really) using 2" styrene sheets and doing some modelling and landscaping. Once decided to get stuck in and just do something I decided some trial work would not go amiss and see how things went on a simple project before doing something a bit grander, so the boards were born.

To get the most likely use from the boards, I decided to go for a moorland/scrub look which could be used for a fair variety of games including general skirmish and wasteland terrain settings.

The boards were first emulsioned with a medium green from the local DIY store. I've noticed with the current indoor decorating fashion for 'feature' walls, the paint manufacturers are now releasing some good middle tone strong colours so some good greens, earth and sand tones are easily available, which is nice.

Once dry the boards were coated in diluted PVA and covered with a very fine dry sand. In this case the sand was from the beaches of Morar which is fine, non-porous and free.

After the PVA was dry I started air-brushing the boards in a fairly random fashion with a acrylic Raw Umber and Raw Sienna 50/50 mix, building up some random light and dark areas.

I continued over a couple of evenings building up the depth of colour and ensuring the entire boards were covered more or less and making sure the white colour of the sand didn't show through.

Once I was happy with the 50/50 mix coverage, I then lightened the mix with a 40/60 mix and adding in a dollop of Naples Yellow giving the colour a more sandy tint

This mix was then air-brushed pretty evenly over the whole area of the boards in a couple of coats, again over a couple of evenings.

I then picked a few areas at random and gave these a deeper coverage of the sandy mix to pick out some of the areas previously detailed. This seemed a good place to stop with the paint and start flocking. I also added a very light dusting of a mid and light green spray I had in a couple of spots just to vary the feel a bit on each board.

To keep to the scrub or moor feel, I had decided to keep a good proportion of the boards 'bare earth'. So roughly, one board was to be half flocked, one a third and one two thirds.

Again the trusty PVA came out and a good ground base cover flock was applied (using a handy kitchen sieve to get a more even coverage) in random areas but keeping an eye on the light and dark areas, the flock generally being applied to the darker areas. This was allowed to dry over night.

Once this had dried, a couple of small bits were added to 'fill in'.

After this base layer was thoroughly dry, a summer mix traditional flock was applied to the areas base layered. This adds a varied textere and colour mix to the flocking which I like.

A few, very small areas were sprinkled with a light green traditional flock.

After all the previous layers were completely dry, the 'final' layer of grass was  applied using a mid-tone static grass, again generally keeping to the areas already flocked but keeping away from the edges, to get a graduation in colour and leaving a few bits of the summer mix showing through here and there.

Now, I had to stop myself. I had thought to do a few light green areas using some light green static grass and maybe a few random dark green foliage to simulate heather or similar, but stopped myself. I would like to have a greater variety of colour textures across the boards but practicality crept in and adding these bits would begin to add height to the boards so might start to impinge on the use of the boards and laying terrain pieces on them might not sit right. I'm going to leave them as is for now and see how they wear. A few areas of the static grass could do with a bit of thickening but we'll comeback to that after trialling the boards with a few games first.

One thing I did try which failed completely was attempting to spray the diluted PVA. This didn't work at all with the spray bottles I tried with just spitting jets of the glue rather than actually spraying, so all the PVA was all applied laboriously with a brush.

I'm going to investigate into spraying the dilute PVA further as this would be a big speed up to the whole process.

Saturday 7 March 2015

The Army of King Matthias (and other stories)

These three rather splendid books dropped through my letter box the other day.

The three titles; The Army of King Matthias 1458 - 1526, Warriors of the Hungarian Frontier 1526 - 1686 and Hungarian Military Flags are all by the Hungarian graphic artist Gyozo Somogyi.

I caught up with these titles from a book review in the latest issue Hobilar, the Journal of the Lance and Longbow society which reviewed the first title but went on to point out where these Hungarian publications could be purchased, both from Military Matters but also from (the Hungarian version of Amazon apparently) the later being where I picked the titles up from. They were ordered and received within a week, so definitely no complaints on the service.

The three volumes I picked up (there are several more from the same author who specializes in Hungarian Military History from earliest times right up to the current day) are all each full of illustrations with only an introductory page of text on the background history of the chosen title in both English and Hungarian and the rest of the volumes full of plates only with captions, again in English and Hungarian.

I thoroughly recommend these titles for source material for the period and locale and a search on Google for Images of Gyozo Somogyi's work will give you a good taste of his other work available.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Necromunda Campaign Round 4 - Gang Fight?

Round Four of our ongoing Necromunda Campaign a while ago was a pretty brief and slightly un-fulfilling affair.

With just the four of us; Me, Dave K, Kev and Andy, we plumped for the familiar Gang Fight Scenario. (The Campaign info and so on having been lost due to a server crash and all the club forum stuff being consigned to the great unknown) we decided to keep things simple to get things going again.

On a 4' x 4' table it was a straight random deployment and 'have at ye!' kind of game. The game was really over very quickly. Dave's Goliath's mob charged Andy's Van Saar and by round 2 the Van Saar were broken and off table. My Redemptionists, doing much the same moved towards Kev's culty types and after a round of ineffectual fire as they advanced, the next round also proved decisive and Kev's guys broke with more than half the gang on the deck down or out of action. Strike the second gang.

It quickly dawned on us that things weren't really working here. My Redemptionist's now turned and tried to re-group as Dave's Goliath's advanced round the flank towards me in a bit more coherency. It was obvious that who ever got the attack/charge in first was likely to win and as Dave was already in a tighter group than me, he proved to be the favourite and with a gang's worth of shot's dropping three of my number and taking another out of action, the game was over by round four.

No one really enjoyed the game. Mob rule, a slightly too open battlefield and too small a table for four players meant that every one was within a move of each other and volley firing was just to effective for the relatively small gang numbers.

Lessons learnt, but a couple of gangs a bit battered especially Kev's.

Next update on the campaign Round Five real soon.

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