Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Skaven Warband for Frostgrave

Weez in UR sitty, steelin' UR potionz...

Mid-Feb I posted a Google plus update on which Skaven models I thought would be good to make a Warband for Frostgrave, but I didn't update the blog. 
So here they are! 
The cool thing with Frostgrave is that there aren't any rules about what models you can use so anything goes from your collection (although there are nice official models available) to represent the thieves, soldiers, archers, wizards and barbarians that could make up your crew.

The first warband I thought of had the following members:

✠ Wizard
✠ Apprentice
✠ x1 Infantryman
✠ x2 Men-at-arms
✠ x1 Thief
✠ x3 Thugs
✠ x1 Warhound

A weakness I considered in this merry band was a lack of ranged power, (no archers) but as someone pointed out, I could easily replace a couple of models with a Skaven Gutter runner with a sling. 

Anyway, let's take a look at these models and meet the band...

Wizard (Skaven Grey seer)

At right, Nemo the wizard, leader of our band and seeker of ancient knowledge. At left, Pestilich Seep, apprentice. No less covetous than his master, but sadly only half as talented...

x1 Infantryman (Stormvermin)

Meet Scratch...wielder of the big slicer

x2 Men at Arms

Wenz and Blue. Cowards extraordinaire!

x1 Thief

You'll never see him, and if you do? You're dead.

x3 Thugs (Skaven slaves)

Cheap to hire, and dirt-cheap to replace when dead. These guys think they are going to make it rich, but more than likely they aren't even going to make it to the city center...
From left, Weezil, Diezal and No Tail.

x1 Warhound (Giant rat)

It doesn't have a name, but it doesn't need one! All anyone needs to know is that thanks to the stimulants coursing through its buboe-infested body it will attack anyone and anything.

I really like Skaven, so using these guys should be fun!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Scratch-built Treasure Markers

"My precious..."

I've recently been focused on trying to put together very low cost terrain for Frostgrave (or other skirmish games). Naturally, the focus has been on buildings because having lots of terrain seems essential to the experience, but you also need treasure markers. If you aren't familiar with Frostgrave, the premise is that each player has a small warband of up to 10 models, and you are fighting in an abandoned city to discover treasure, potions or other magical items.
Of course, a coin, or dice or anything else can be used to indicate where the treasure is on the gameboard, but wouldn't it be better to have something that looks like treasure (at least a little bit?)

With that in mind I headed over to one of my local dollar stores, and returned armed with a variety of supplies.

Supplies, supplies!
  • shiny hologram paper (comes in various colours, but this pack comes with gold!)
  • 6 pill boxes for keeping your meds in.
  • Nail art ornaments. They look like pearls or gems.
  • Pack of white beads.
  • Diamond earrings (These didn't work in the end as I couldn't pry the diamonds out.)
This cost around US $9.00 (of which I ended up using about $6.00)

Making the Sarcophagi

The first thing I needed to do was make the containers, and in the end, I thought that these would be made of stone, rather than wood. The shape of the pill boxes lent themselves to looking like a tomb or sarcophagus.
1. Adding foam core.

1. Add foam core. 

I cut up some old red packing foam to match the shape of the pill boxes. This foam comes in model blister packs - always keep it! The gold paper will lie on top of this, so part of the trick is to cut the foam to the right depth. I wanted my sarcophagi to be almost full, so I made the foam about 5/6 the depth of the box.

2. Accessorize your sarcophagus

2. Accessorize your Sarcophagus.

Time to raid my Warhammer Fantasy and 40K bitz box! I managed to find some items that would spice up the pill box. Scrolls, a giant rat, taken from a Skaven Plague monk sprue, a helmet from an Empire knight, assorted skulls, chains, and swords etc. These were attached with super glue.

3. Undercoat.

I used grey, but I also then inserted the foam and used Chaos Black around the edges. This is to hide the red foam if I can't get the gold paper to fit exactly.

Marble with gloss varnish

Marble without varnish

4. Painting.

I had never tried to paint marble before, but I watched a few YouTube videos and had a go! You'll find plenty of advice about painting marble in different colours, and I thought it would be fun to try green marble as well as white/ grey. After painting, I applied GW gloss varnish to some of the models but realized that I actually preferred the matt look.

5. Fill with Treasure!

After painting was complete, I added the "treasure". This was done by cutting out the gold "hologram" paper to shape, then gluing it on top of the foam. Finally, I added various gems, necklaces and pearls from the nail art kits. These were glued in place using PVA glue, which then dried clear.


Blackstone Village Scenery Update

A few weeks ago, excited by the prospect of getting into Frostgrave, I decided I would need more terrain if I was going to have a skirmish game BUT I didn't want to spend too much money or time. After getting my hands on cheap foam and recently making some other bits and pieces I thought I would put the stuff I have made so far down on a (small, 2.5 x 4.0 foot) table and see how it looks.

Granted, with the green mat it looks a little...strange, but it gives a sense of the stuff that I have put together over the past few weeks - all very cheaply:

x2 Storage box buildings (100 yen shop)
x1 three storey tower (100 yen shop foam)
x1 village pub (100 yen shop foam)
x3 peasant hovels (100 yen shop foam)
x7 destroyed walls (mini packing foam cut-offs)
x4 statues on plinths (empire minis and styrofoam board)
x6 treasure chest objective markers (100 yen shop pill cases)

Grand total (approx): US $6.00 - $7.00

So overall, if I am not going to paint it at this stage, I probably have the basis of the right kind of terrain here. However it still feels a bit "open". I think I need more scatter terrain, such as rubble, a couple more destroyed houses, and maybe barrels etc. I just need to find the time to make it!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Storage Box Buildings!

A whole lot of building, for 95 cents!

On a recent browse at my local dollar store ("100 yen shop") here in Japan, I was amazed by my good fortune.
What did I find?
Rows and rows of different-sized cardboard storage boxes designed like wood-beamed buildings, which looked like they would be about right for 28mm wargaming. There were several different designs, in black or brown, ranging from long and slim to wide and flat.

OOOOOoooooooo! Buildings!

I excitedly bought a few and rushed home to see what I could make with them. After sorting them out and reviewing the different sizes I tackled the smallest first - a long, thin file storage box.

After scoring, cutting and folding the roof, it came together!

Some empire soldiers guard the front door.

I was able to score and cut the "Roof", folding it along the length of the box so it folded over. Using PVA glue I was able to make it pretty sturdy. As you can see from the photos above, these buildings aren't exactly 28mm scale, but they feel close.

For that first building (which I think makes a pretty good Merchant's House or Town House, I was so excited I didn't even give any thought to the inside! Consequently, the inside of the building isn't currently accessible...

So, for the second building (a pub or possibly a town hall?), I decided to see if I could assemble it so models to move inside. To do that, I bought the same building twice and cut one of the sets so that it would fit inside the first box, providing an "interior lining" of matching walls. I also added a "floor" using wood effect tape.

After lining the inside of the lid, it can be turned over to make a roof.

The door opens, and with the roof off, the interior is accessible
for adventuring.
"The ratmen think they have us cornered lads!"
This turned out quite well I think! This box is spacious, and the overall effect (considering the low cost) is acceptable. Granted, I'm sure it could do with weathering (or even more destruction) and more general detail added, but for $1.90 it doesn't get much better than this.

I bought a few more boxes, so hope to get those made up in the next week or two.

In the meantime, here are some photos of the packaging, just in case you are interested. The maker is apparently "Karinpia".


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Blackstone Buildings #3 The Wailing Watchtower

The Wailing Watchtower

"The old haunted place", as Old Dave (now deceased) used to call it, was built in better times (long ago). A screaming spirit is said to inhabit the tower, which may be why locals give it a wide berth except in the direst of circumstances! Unlike other buildings in the village, the tower has never fallen or been reconstructed, although whether this is due to sturdy construction, protection offered by the spirit, or invaders having better things to do, has never been established!

Making your three storey tower

++Before we start, the traditional important public service message++
Please note that these buildings are not "true" scale or carefully designed to match the scale of GW or other 28mm games systems building. True to this being "quick and dirty terrain" I put them together by just literally "eyeballing" a 28mm model and taking it from there! They are going to look bigger and rougher!"

Also, the measurements used all came out of having a large piece of black foam board, that was 0.5 cm thick. To follow the instructions below I strongly suggest using board of that thickness!!
++Thanks for your attention++

Note at this point that I have designed the tower to be:
1. Enclosed on all 4 sides, with the rear of the tower designed to swing open for access.
2. Have removable floors and roof that slide out.

This is different to the hovel and pub, which were destroyed enough to only have x 3 standing walls. To simplify the process below you could just have the tower walls on three sides.

As the process is more involved than the other models, I've divided the steps up below.

Step 1. Exterior:

Although not to scale, here is an image to help you visualize the steps below and the measurements:
Blackstone village tower exterior guide image (not to scale)
To open this image in Google drawings, click here.

The tower walls are 20.8 cm in height, 40 cm long total. You need to:
  • Mark out and cut out a rectangle 20.8 cm tall x 40 cm long.
  • Score (but don't cut all the way through) a solid vertical line every 10 cm, so the rectangle is divided into four (these are your walls)
  • Each storey will be 6.5 cm in height, so score 3 horizontal lines all the way along the rectangle at the following heights: 6.5 cm, 13.0 cm, 19.5 cm.
  • Cut out a door space on the second wall from the right (3 cm wide x 4.5cm tall). 
  • Decide what shape windows you want, then cut out a window 2 cm wide x 3 cm tall in the center of each storey (I went with a more arched window)
  • Every 2 cm around cut out battlements on the top storey 2 cm wide x 1.3 cm tall
  • Cut out a base, either to fit exactly under the walls, or that extends slightly beyond each wall. Mine was 11.5 cm x 11.5 cm
  • Glue the x3 walls to the base, being careful not to glue the back wall, you want it to be able to swing open.

Step 2. Interior:

Blackstone village tower interior guide image (not to scale)
To open this image in Google drawings, click here.

x3 floors. 10 cm x 9.8 cm
Nine support beams for the floors.
0.5 cm x 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm
  • To mark out the roof, score one more line 17.5 cm from the base, all the way around.
  • Cut out x 3 floors to go in each storey of the tower. Make these slightly smaller than the tower dimensions, so they will slide in an out easily. I did 10 cm x 9.8 cm.
  • (Optional: cut an access panel/ hole in each floor where models could "climb through".)
  • To support each floor and the roof, you will need x 3 horizontal supports for each floor, total x9. To make these, cut out x3 long rods 0.5 x 0.5 x 21 cm, then cut every 7 cm.
  • Glue these just underneath floor level of each storey, and they will hold up the floor. You don't need one on the back wall IMHO
  • OPTIONAL: x 2 interior window sills, 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm x 3 cm

Step 3. Exterior details:

Exterior beams (detail)
  • Cut out x 12 wooden beams (10 cm long x 1.0 cm high x 0.3 cm deep). These will encircle your tower at each storey. They really break up the flat look of the polystyrene, so well worth the effort! Like a real wooden beam, carve away troughs, nicks and curves so you have a more worked or organic look. 
  • TIP: My original foam board was 0.5 cm thick. so I cut out 6 pieces for these beams, then using my box cutter just cut right down the length, giving me x 12 beams of 2-3 mm depth.
  • Hide the joins on each corner of the wall. To do this cut out x 2 long square rods. 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm x 20 cm. Carve, nick and score the rods randomly so they look organic, then cut up into random lengths.Glue into the gaps between the walls.
  • Add bricks around windows and doors.
Phew, that's it for Blackstone village buildings for the moment. Now I'm going to focus on some scatter terrain and other bits and pieces. If you have any questions let me know!


EDIT: I forgot to add that this watchtower makes a natural partner for a hovel, (or hovel and roof) where it could easily make a chapel or village church.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blackstone Buildings #2 - Village Pub

Fancy a drink?

"Welcome to the Lord Castellan's Head!"
Once the focal point of the limited social lives of the residents of Blackstone (and those wandering through), the traditional greeting of the publican can no longer be heard. This public house is now just a shell of its former self. No laughter can be heard within the blackened walls, and the once-admired floor paneling now lies dirty, stained and rubble strewn...

Following part #1 of the Blackstone building series, where I looked at the simple hovel, in this post we will look at a more grandiose structure, the village pub. This was actually the first building I made, but as it was more challenging than the hovel I've decided to put it as the second post in this series. It is distinguished from the hovel by having 2 storeys, ornate windows and doors, more floor space and...actual floors! 

For this building, the standard equipment is required (black polystyrene board, box cutter, PVA glue) as well as a roll of floor repair/ covering tape (or any tape that looks like wooden flooring). I got all these things from the dollar store.

Here are some more photos. Bear in mind that the goal was to have buildings to put on a gaming table at very low cost, in a short period of time, and with little to no painting!
Side wall, showing damaged window frames, rubble, and cracked plaster.

Front door, with brickwork.

Making your village pub.

++Before we start, the traditional important public service message++
Please note that these buildings are not "true" scale or carefully designed to match the scale of GW or other 28mm games systems building. True to this being "quick and dirty terrain" I put them together by just literally "eyeballing" a 28mm model and taking it from there! They are going to look bigger and rougher!"
++Thanks for your attention++

Step 1: Marking out and cutting

The pub walls are 15cm in length, 12.0cm in height total. You need to:
  • Gently score and cut out a rectangle 45cm x 12.0cm high in your polystrene.
  • Score a solid vertical line every 15cm, so the rectangle is divided into three.
  • Cut out a doorspace on the left wall (4cm wide x 5cm tall).
  • Cut out a window 3.0 cm wide x 2 cm tall on both sides of the door. 
  • Cut out x4, 3.0 x2.0 windows in the center panel (2 on each storey) equidistant apart.
  • Cut out x1 or x2 windows on the right panel (see image below)
  • Cut away part of the far right wall so it looks like it has been destroyed or collapsed.
  • Cut out a base, either to fit exactly under the walls, or that extends slightly beyond each wall.
  • Glue the walls to the base.
  • I don't add an extensive ceiling, as I want the inside to be accessible.
Although not drawn to scale, this will hopefully give you the general idea if looking from the front:

Step 2: Interior

Once you have your basic pub shape on the base, you need to think about the interior and second floor. As I want to keep things simple, I'm not going to worry about stairs. I just want a fairly solid place to put models or treasure. 
Mine ended up looking like this:

You can see a support pillar holding up the second floor, but what you can't see is the supports I glue horizontally around the walls at the 2nd storey levels. These supports make the second floor sturdier so I can place more models or treasure on there.

Here is a drawing showing these supports from an internal perspective.

For the flooring, I found some sticky-backed wood pattern tape. This is used to cover damage to wood panels in your home (at least in Japan). It comes in various patterns, colours and sizes. The roll I found in my local dollar store was 2 cm wide and comes in a roll several meters long.
Wood pattern tape (not sure what the official name is!)
Measure this out into the number of strips you need to cover the floors, and then stick it down. It looks bright, but I think that I can later glue piles of rubble and fallen beams onto the floor to break it up, or possible dull the colour down through paints or washes.

Step 3: Detailing.

After you have the walls on the base, and a second floor, you have a structure that you can already throw on the table, but adding some details not only looks good but is also satisfying.
This is very easy to do and literally only takes a few minutes for each wall. As a general rule, you are trying to avoid having too many straight edges or flat areas.
This can be adding rubble, showing plaster damage, or having simple cracks coming out of key areas.

Rubble: Strew the same bricks that you made previously for windows or doors around the base.

Plaster damage: Starting from an accessible wall edge, with a box cutter mark out the area you want as damage, cutting no further than 1/3 to 1/2 way though the wall. The carefully cut behind this, and lift off the damaged area. Keep the surface layer that you just cut away, and glue this to the base below the damaged area where it would fall to the ground (not shown above)

Cracks: Starting from a point where a crack might naturally occur, such as a joint around a window, score a lightning pattern extending away from the join.

Wall damage: Using a box cutter, carefully dig into the wall, and using a circular motion, gouge out some polystyrene.

Optional steps:
Depending on what you have in your Bitz box, you could glue shields to the internal walls, add a pub sign hanging outside over the main door, or add wooden beams to the exterior walls all the way around where the first and second storeys meet. For me though, I'll leave it there!

In part #3, I'll look at the three storey watchtower with battlements.

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