Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rationalizing my Collections

So - I finally got around to re-organizing my library, storing some books, placing others in the "give away" pile.   I'm pretty happy - nothing beats the satisfaction of spring cleaning and bringing things back in to order.   Next is my storage closet for boardgames and as yet unstarted miniatures projects, to be followed by my under table storage of project materials and unpainted figures.

When I was sorting through books, it struck me that there were periods and books for which I was just NEVER going to do any miniature gaming.   A combination of events - organizing my library and watching the movie "Warhorse" brough that into focus for me.  

As an example, I have a great interest in WW1.   My WW1 library had grown to about 4 shelves of materials.   Watching Warhorse proved to be a fairly depressing event for me....the bleakness of the trench warfare scenes, the brutality to the horses...I'm an animal lover, so those parts were hard to watch.

What it did, however, was bring into focus what I most likely wouldn't game - for example, 1915-mid 1918.    I had a lot of books on that period...the Somme, Gallipoli, etc.    I just don't want to game it.  However - I DO want to game 1914, and the open period of 1918.   Just a completely different war than the middle years.

So - those books on the Somme, Gallipoli, etc., are off the shelf, as are the big "picture" books, Time Life series of ACW books, etc.   The stuff that was "nice to have" on the shelf made way for the "got to have" on the shelf.

It's really been nice to identify my main interests:

Zulu War
Sudan Wars
Early/Late WW1
Ancient - Rome/Gauls/Germans, Successor Wars, Punic Wars
Medieval - WoR, Crusades

These are all periods that I have stuff for, either "finished" collections, pieces of collections, or boxes of materials waiting for their turn.

Looking at the above list, it doesn't look like much of a reduced list!  However, it does help me avoid the temptation of doing "oddball" periods - Paraguayan war, Chaco War, Mexican Revolution.   It struck me that its OK to be interested in historical knowledge, but some periods are just not what I want to game.   

Enough of that - a quick photo to finish up the post.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pulse of Battle: Ancients Rebased

I finished up the basing for the ancients that I have complete.  Some photos below of components of a Macedonian/Successor army, along with a Greek (mercenary?) hoplite unit and 3 bands of Gauls.

I'll add more closeups in a later post.

As you can see, my army isn't done - still need light foot units (bow, sling, javelin), plus some elephants, and extra heavy cavalry.   This is, however, the core of my "Macedonianish" pike-centric army.  It will do battle against Persians, itself (in Successor battles) and my Romans. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Terrain Tiles: Roads

Continuing my "how I did it" posts for my terrain tiles - today I'll go through making the road sections.

All the finish stages (paint, flock, clear) are the same.  The only difference is the road surface and finish.

I mark the area (roughly) where the road will be.   I then spray paint that area with a brown paint - a shade you want to show as the shadow or base when you scratch in the ruts in the surface.   I use Rustoleum flat brown spray paint (from Home Depot!).  

After that area is dry, use a pencil to mark out the boundaries of the road.  My roads are 1.5" wide.  Make 'em however wide you want.   In my opinion, most wargame roads are way way too wide.  1.5" fits my stand width and is acceptably wide to my eye.

Next, apply a bead of caulking to the marked out area.   I use Dap Dynaflex 230, Cedar Tan.  This is a great color because it doesn't need any repainting, and its a nice neutral road color.  Check out the photos.   Smooth this out to the marked roadway edges across the width of the tile.  Doesn't have to be real smooth, but you don't want shark fin waves either! 

Now, while still wet, scratch in the ruts.  I use the edge of a craft stick (popcicle stick).  Push down until you pull the caulk away from the brown painted surface below; it leaves a nice dark brown rut that looks great.

Let that dry overnight.   Spray with dullcote to seal the slightly tacky surface.

Next day, I run a bead of yellow carpenters glue along both edges.  While wet, drop on a mix of sand and ballast.   Let that sit until dry.

Mix up a diluted batch of brown paint (I use Anita's Earth Brown acrylic craft paint) and flow that onto the sand/ballast edges.   Let dry.

Now you'll want to highlight the road and ballast.   I drybrush across the road using a cheapo 1"wide brush (from Home Depot!), picking up and emphasizing the surface variations and rut edges.   I use American Driftwood craft paint.   Finish off the road edges as you wish.  I do them with the same colors as with my unit stands so there is a consistency and theme in my collection (drybrush with American Mississippi Mud, Driftwood, paint larger rock areas black, drybrush with 2 to 3 shades of gray).  

As the last step, I add a few blobs of carpenters glue along the ballast/sand edges and stick in some static grass.  Let dry, brush off and highlight with a yellow drybrush.

Finish the grass areas adjacent to the roadways as in my earlier post - roll on paint, sift flock, dry, shakeoff, roll on clear - just on the flocked grass areas.

You're done!

Photos below of the set in progress.  You can also check older posts that show the terrain tiles with roads in a game setting.