Wednesday, 10 February 2016

ECW Casualty Markers, The Pikeman's Lament

These markers are used to keep track of individual losses for multi-based figures. whilst playing the (as yet to be released) 17th century skirmish ruleset from Osprey, The Pikeman's Lament. The modified figures are taken from the Warlord Games 'Firelock Storming Party' box set.

As I don't particularly like to depict the face of death (I prefer to put the emphaise on gaming when wargaming) I covered the face of one of the plastic 'causalities'. As making these bases are quite time consuming and uses up relatively costly figures, for future markers I will probably just produce simpler bases with the detritus of the battlefield.

A YouTube video of how I made similar markers (for Bolt Action pin markers) can be found [here].
I had previously relied on having loose individual dice to mark casualties but when die are being scattered across the tabletop it is very easy for these to get lost amongst the chaos. Using markers like this also then at least you have a decent chance of being able to keep track of things.
The co-author of the new The Pikeman's Lament rules, Dalauppror, has come up with an unusual basing system which can be used with the rules. Keeping true to the spirit of the original rules (i.e. newcomer friendly and flexible), this basing method doesn't have to be strictly adhered to, it's just a recommendation to aid game play. Details of Michael's method can be found [here].

It isn't a basing method that I'm going to use simply because a lot of my figures are already based in groups of four. If you're going to be using the core mechanics of the Lion Rampant system then it may be worth considering, especially so as I believe that this group of rules will be considered future classics of their type.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Scratch Built Hedges & Fences

This post may be "stating the "bleedin' obvious" for most readers but hopefully someone will find it useful. In the past I have made a number of hedges using various techniques for my tabletop. Initially I used strips of foam board for the base with scouring pads stuck together with wood glue (PVA) and attached to the foam board with internal posts (made from barbeque sticks). All of this was sandwiched together with PVA wood glue which had to left, usually overnight, to dry properly. The bases were textured using the same technique I used for my figures using sand, grass and various pieces of flocking. The resulting sections look nice but they required quite a lot of work for what is a basic piece of terrain. With hindsight these were definitely over-worked.
Original time-consuming example.
During a moment tidying away various hobby tools a thought occurred to me, I was curious if I could speed up the process using a hot glue gun. After all if it could glue my fingers to the nearest loose object then a scouring pad shouldn't be a problem. I also had a number of wooden tongue depressors that had been lying about which happened to match the length of the scouring pads. 
All new time-saving example
To make similar hedges you will need the following (Blue Peter style):
  • Scourers - Wilko (large UK department store),
  • Wooden tongue depressors (available from most craft shops),
  • Hot glue gun,
Cut the scouring pad into two pieces (check the length of the pad matches the length of the wooden stick). An easy way to do this is to fold the pad in half length ways and with a large pair of scissors cut the pad in half along the fold. This will ensure that you have equal pieces with no need to mark or measure the scouring pad.

Fold one of these halves again length ways using the gun to stick the two sides together, the glue should set in a few seconds. Next glue the 'hedge' to the base. It really is that quick and simple.

You could use a small pair of scissors to trim the edges of the pad so that it has more natural looking finish but here I'm showing the very basic model.

For anyone tempted to make their own terrain this is probably the easiest and most practical pieces you can make for yourself. At an educated guess I reckon the materials used to make these hedges, in the form shown above, would work out to cost about 25-30p each. If made in batches then it should work out to take only a few minutes to make each one.

If you wish to improve these pieces you can do so very simply by adding sand (and flock if you're feeling fancy) to the base.

Using cheap poster paints you can drybrush the hedge to create light green/yellow highlights. 

Interesting Hedges in History No.01 (in a very occasional series) - The Great Hedge
The 'Great Hedge' that featured in the battle of Blore Heath (1459) was tall enough to conceal the waiting Lancastrian forces (but not tall enough to hide the glinting spear tips apparently). On a visit to the battle site it's interesting to see that this ancient hedge still exists and it's also possible to see how it played a roll in the battle. The hedge towered over me (and I'm around six feet tall).
Great Hedge, Blore Heath
One you've made enough hedges, or get bored of them, you can then try to make fences. I have seen online versions (it may even have been via Games Workshop) of these hedges that including a gateway. With plenty of coffee stirrers lying about I was interested if I could make a similar item for myself. The example shown below isn't made to any particular design.
Use the same method described earlier but obviously you will need to cut the hedge/scourer in half length ways as well. The fences were simply made with coffee stirrers and off-cuts glued together with PVA wood glue.

If and when I get round to making the next generation of hedges these might be rougher inm appearance with broken walls, fences and branches etc. but it will may be a while before that happens.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Clubman - Archer, Modified Warlord Games

This is another modified plastic figure, taken the Warlord Games 'Firelock Storming Party' box set. Having read that the bow and arrows that were still being used occasionally on the battlefield during the wars I wanted to portray something completely different, hence this figure represents a 17th century archer.
As I didn't want to make or depict an entire unit of archers I thought it would be more interesting to make an individual clubman who came armed with bow and arrow(s). Given that he depicts a clubman I deliberately didn't want to give this model a quiver of arrows as I wanted to give the impression that he was probably a gamekeeper/poacher and not someone who had a dozen or more arrows at his disposal, more like someone who used a couple of arrows to hunt for food. To add to his individuality I gave him an extra bag and a woollen hat made from greenstuff. 
As with the clubman commander figure I cut away the belly box. Both arms are taken from the Perry's WotR plastic boxset.

Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that I had forgotten to dot in the eyes before taking this photo. I normally add these using a technical pen. It's surprising the difference this tiny detail can made to the overall look of the model (no pun intended).

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Clubman Commander, Modified Warlord Games

This model is a modified plastic figure, the original taken the Warlord Games 'Firelock Storming Party' box set, which forms part of my ragged group of clubmen. I'm currently working similar models that will appear as dragoons but with this one I wanted a figure that would offer a degree of flexibility and so could represent a cavalry officer, dragoon, militia or, as titled above, a (rather well-to-do) clubman (any excuse to have a go at modifying plastic figure). The majority of the clubmen are standard, stock figures but I still detail them as and when I finish painting them.
This particular figure required a lot of cutting and carving, more than I initially envisaged. First the top half of the head was removed and then the sides of the head and face had to be narrowed in order for the distinctive helmet to fit. Anyone who has a box of Warlord Games plastic cavalry set will hopefully recognise the original part. If not then the top part of the lobster pot helmet consists of the crown and the face bars. The neck pieces (or the lobster tail, if you will) of the helmet and the hair were added with greenstuff.

The extended left arm was also taken from Warlord Games plastic cavalry set as was the carbine. So that the left and right arm matched I added a cuff, using greenstuff, to the left arm/hand. The carbine was a cut and shunt job. I chopped in half, well to be more accurate cut out a small section (the size of the model's hand) out and then glued the pieces either side of the left hand making sure that they aligned properly (unlike the first attempt seen in some of the original photos).

The small belly box was also cut away.

As the figure is obviously waving his sword around I removed the original sword hilt from the model.

The large turnovers on the boots were also created with greenstuff.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

C19th Horse Drawn Utility Cart, 4Ground

Costing £3.50 this is a small kit, this time from 4Ground, that I would consider to be in the pocket money range of purchases, such as this [chicken coop]. Although the label states it's a 19th century utility cart I don't think it looks entirely out of place for my ECW games and even medieval set ups.
Utility Cart
Relatively simple to put together (each kit is individually rated indicating the skill level required) I would recommend reading the instructions before popping out all the pieces from their board. Another recommendation is to dry fit all the pieces before gluing them in place. 

Yet another thing I would recommend is to paint the wheels and side of the wagon before gluing the wheels in place as it is quite awkward trying to paint them afterwards - as I discovered. A simple error to make but one that I will avoid in the future. 
Utility Cart
The model was given a rudimentary paintjob given that will only ever appear on the table top as a terrain piece.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Cattle, Irregular Miniatures

These models were bought loose from a stand at a show last year. I think they may be from Irregular Miniatures but I'm not sure as I couldn't find any reference to them on the company's website.
The miniatures are painted to represent White Park cattle, a rare ancient breed, hence the black ears etc. More details of the these particular animals can be found [here].

Monday, 11 January 2016

Skeletons, Games Workshop

My brother spotted these figures in a local toy shop, suggesting that they could be used for Dragon Rampant. I'm assuming these are relatively old as I can't find any reference to just plain old skeletons from Games Workshop anymore. There are only five models but from what I've read the game doesn't always require six and twelve models per unit. I have a few Mantic skeletons which may be useful to bolster this unit. 
Front View
Rear View
Box Art
Sprue front detail
Sprue Rear Detail
Unusually for a Games Workshop product there are no alternative head or weapon options available. You only get enough to make five skeletons armed with spears and shields and no head options.
I wanted to give the impression that these skeletons could have existed for centuries. To achieve this I added the rust and verdigris effects more generously than I would normally. 

With the film 'Jason and the Argonauts' firmly in mind I may buy a few ancient Greek hoplites for these to spare against, but that's another project for another day.