Of Dwarven Steel and Dragon Flame – Tiny Soldiers Forum Terrain Building Challenge 2016

“The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep.”

Saruman the White

It was in the fateful year 1492 Dalereckoning that I organised a small terrain building challenge in the german speaking Tiny Soldiers forum. Inspired by a recent MDF release and the desire to come up with a better rendition the goal was to build a dwarven mine fit for Moradin!

I shall present the winner of the contest, his well-deserved trophy, and naturally his dwarven mine!

Continue reading Of Dwarven Steel and Dragon Flame – Tiny Soldiers Forum Terrain Building Challenge 2016

How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism

It will shock you, but I really enjoy making trees. I know, I know who could have known? No wonder then that I dedicate yet another post to our green (or gnarly) friends.

I already covered birch trees, hazel bushes, oaks and yews, but this time the question is which features make a home-made model tree stand out and more naturalistic than the store-bought ones? What techniques can you use to add this last bit of realism to your trees?

I will address these questions with regard to bark texture, foliage, trunk and crown shape, scenic basing and critters. This is also an excellent occasion to show off my latest tree commission plus some trees I made for my own collection. We will look at oaks, apple trees, plane trees, olive trees and umbrella pines. Continue reading How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism

Over hill and lofty mountain – how to make magnetised wargaming hills

What could be a more essential wargaming terrain piece than the common hill? No matter what period, no matter what setting, hills will be featured. They add visual interest and tactical complexity to any gaming surface, may it be modular boards, gaming mats or just a green table-cloth.

They may be an essential piece of gaming terrain, but making naturalistic looking hills that not only allow easy placement of models, but also easy placement and removal of trees or other terrain features,  can be a challenge.

In this post I show you my take on such hills and try to solve some of the problems one may encounter by using the fantabulous power of magnets *gasp*! Obviously this tutorial can also be used for terrain boards. Continue reading Over hill and lofty mountain – how to make magnetised wargaming hills

My soul still seeking for the land of Greece – Sweetwater Forum Miniature exchange 2016

I just came back from a nice relaxing holiday in Apulia followed by an extended stay in Germany visiting family and friends. Finally some time to prepare new blog posts. I thought I keep the holiday spirit alive and show you in one of my next posts how to make some olive trees and mediterranean pine trees. After all Apulia is well-known for its olive oil production and in fact produces a significant amount of the European Unions output. Pine trees are also a common sight on the heel of Italy, together with Thyme bushes, vineyards and cypresses.

This post is however dedicated to the Sweetwater-Forum miniature exchange 2016. A German forum that was and still is one of my favourite places to discuss wargaming, terrain building etc. in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. I’ll show you the miniature I painted and then in another post the one I received.

Continue reading My soul still seeking for the land of Greece – Sweetwater Forum Miniature exchange 2016

Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II

Our yew tree stands already proud, but yew trees are evergreens, so we cannot leave it barren, instead we have to find a good-looking solution to depict coniferous leaves.

In Part I of this tutorial we created the trunk, branches and scenic base of our ancient yew tree. In this second part we will conduct some experiments to find the best solution to depict the  leaves, use some simple weathering techniques to add depth to the foliage and finally fixate it with thinned down PVA or acrylic medium. The last step is to matte varnish the tree and then glorious battle around its trunk can ensue! We will also revisit the fallen branches and add some finishing touches to the bases.

Continue reading Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II

Measure what is measureable – laser cut profiles for a modular skirmish board part II

At last my plans for a skirmish board set during the Second Punic War can advance a bit more and naturally I am very happy to share this progress with you. Last time we looked at the basics: theming and design of the board, possible materials to construct it, historical considerations (including roman viticulture and villae rusticae)  and miniatures to use with the board.
This installment is all about the laser cut frames for the modules. The design for these has been improved, the material changed from HIPS to Bamboo and it got all very extravagant in the end with the possibility of fancy inlays. All this should be of use for any gaming board you might plan, no matter if laser cut or hand cut.

Continue reading Measure what is measureable – laser cut profiles for a modular skirmish board part II

Through a Forest, Darkly – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part I

Ancient trees with their often haphazardly growing branches, bulbous trunks and weathered appearance always fired up my imagination. Inscribed in their bark are stories of times long past, combined with a certain mysticism and deep respect for such an old being. To depict such a tree on the gaming table can add such qualities to our games and add narrative potential as well as a welcome change to young or middle-aged deciduous trees that are most commonly depicted.

For this two-part tutorial I chose to model an ancient yew tree. With their broad, often hollow trunks they allow us to use the tree as cover or as a mission objective, adding further to the appeal. I also decided to magnetize two of the main branches for easy transport and storage. Per usual I will provide some botanical background, some facts about owls, a list of the materials needed, followed by detailed step-by-step instructions. Part I will cover the trunk and branches as well as the scenic base, while Part II will focus on different options to depict the foliage.

Continue reading Through a Forest, Darkly – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part I

Squirrly goodness – making Hazel shrubs for 28mm and 15mm

Browsing my blog it becomes apparent that I have a thing for modelling trees, evidenced by earlier posts on oaks and birch trees. But what about bushes, shrubs or hedges? There is a variety of shrubs and bushes that one could depict on the gaming table and construction will be very similar in most cases. That said I chose to make a hazel bush for this tutorial given they have a distinct, very appealing bark texture and the fruit lends itself for base decoration. Oh, and I think squirrels are adorable, so why not give them some scale hazels to forage?

Per usual a step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the creation process, with additional background information and scenic shots of the finished bushes.

Continue reading Squirrly goodness – making Hazel shrubs for 28mm and 15mm

Luxuriant Braids and Magical Staves – Conversions 101

While we are spoilt for choice these days if it comes to miniatures,  it still happens that I really love a miniature, but there is this one detail that really does not work for me. For instance the pose is awesome and the garments are beautifully rendered, but instead of a spear the miniature is wielding a ‘tree log’ or a sword is as thick as a wooden plank. With Bones miniatures (or any other miniature really) miscasts can be an issue and may ruin an otherwise  wonderful sculpt.

Fortunately we have greenstuff and bits and bobs from other sets at our disposal to change or enhance the look of a miniature. In this first installment of a semi-regular feature on conversions I will talk about the basics and provide an example for making thin braids and wooden staffs. This tutorial is meant for the conversion novice, mainly because I am one also :P, but I hope future installments will add complexity.

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