Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Fleet's in.

My experiment with silicone mold making didn't turn out too bad in the end. I managed to create a potent Royal Navy force of eight Majestic class battleships, five Apollo class light cruisers and a half dozen destroyers without too much effort or expense. The less said of the attempt to mold a Cressy class armoured cruiser the better, although the resulting hideously deformed first (and only) casting will make a nice battered and sinking wreck... Since I intend to field only four armoured cruisers I think it'll come down to scratch-building them.

I'm not 100% happy with the destroyers, which are fiddly buggers to build in this scale, but they'll serve for now. I might replace them with commercially made models by the by.

I also experimented with making shell splashes, which turned out quite nice I think. It's a simple process. Take a blob of plastic wood, stick it to an offcut of clear plastic packing material, shape the blob into a rough cone then score the sides in uneven vertical grooves. Once the blob is hard cover it and the immediate area of base in hot glue, paint white, give it a wash of light blue-grey, touch up with white highlights then finish with a coat of gloss varnish.
HMS Magnificent avoids a straddle of large calibre shellfire. The crew of the destroyer sailing out of shot can count themselves supremely lucky!
The next step will be to create a German fleet to oppose them. I'll scratch-build the battleships since the German navy tended to build these in classes of four or five. First up will be the Brandenburg class, the Kaiserliche Marine's first ocean going battleships and the first to be equipped with wireless telegraph.
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I also hope to get the Dux B cards printed up this week sometime and play an actual game in between getting ready to head to England.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tempest at Hazard

© Paul Daly 2018 - used with permission from the artist
For those of you who like Victorian science fiction and Pulp/Spy action gaming, my good friend Paul Daly has released his Hugh Adventure web comics, Tempest at Hazard, and The Terranaughts. I've got several pieces of Paul's work hanging on the walls of my gaming room, including an original of the picture above. Yes, Major Tempest does look somewhat like a certain former Bond actor...

Paul's work has appeared in countless RPG games across the years, and these are a brand new series of webcomics featuring his distinctive style. Head on over and check it out!
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In other news, I've made the movement bases for Dux Britanniarum's Saxon force. They're been given a base coat of green spray paint, and I'm waiting for the paint to dry before giving them a touch of scenic embellishment. All I have to do now is print off the cards and I'll be ready for a game.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Saxon force & Majestics finished

My wife and I had a great time at Archon this past weekend, although we were both pretty exhausted by doing back-to-back panels and suffered from 'con crud' for the rest of this week. Anyway, I managed to finish the Saxon force for Dux Britanniarum, along with the Majestic class battleships for pre-Dreadnought naval games.

First up, the mighty Saxon horde of raiders, fresh off the boat and looking for spoils. 

I aim to make the movement bases for these over the weekend. Once done I need to get the event cards printed up and hopefully get a game in before I head across the Pond to England.

Next, an octet of Majestic-class battleships.

Now, these aren't the greatest scale models in the world, but they look fine from a distance and they'll do fine for my gaming. I mounted them on rectangles of clear plastic taken from pastry packaging (which also gives me a reason to buy pastries...).

First off I scratched the surface of the plastic where the models would go to provide a key for the glue to grip to. I then glued the models using E6000 adhesive, allowing it to set before getting to work with the hot glue gun. I found that pushing the glue ahead of the nozzle along the side of the ships made a nice tight seal and replicated the appearance of water flowing along the side. Smearing the hot glue on the plastic made a decent looking wake. If trying this method be careful not to let the nozzle linger too long on any part of the plastic or it will melt. Once the glue had set I painted the water with white craft paint thickened with PVA, followed in turn by a thin overall wash of light blue-grey which flowed into the dips and hollows to give a nice 3D appearance.

I've yet to work out how to designate the ships for record keeping, but will probably plump for a slip of paper at the rear end of the base, like I've seen other modellers do. 

The Apollo-class cruisers are molded, and will be next on the slipway. I've taken a good hard look at the German battleships of the period and they're a bit more complicated than their Royal Navy counterparts when it comes to condensing detail into a 1/2400 scale model. At the moment I'm unsure whether I want to mold them using silicone or just go the scratchbuilt route with all of them. We'll see.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Archers - and a Pulp kickstarter

Apologies to those British readers who now have that theme tune running through their head. More on the kickstarter later.

Anyway, I've finished the archers for both Romano-British and Saxon forces...

The Romano-British - some of whom look rather nervous.

The Saxons - ready to administer some long-range violence to those effete Roman nonces.
Since light troops are individually based in Dux B rules, I made the archer bases a bit larger than those for the close-order troops so the figures are more stable.

Next up on the painting block is the Saxon leadership contingent. Some interesting poses amongst these. There's the Mighty Man of Yore on the left, a true giant of a bare-chested Saxon champion about to give someone a heck of a belt with his axe. Next to him is the horn blower, a skinny twerp who's possibly related to the Saxon Lord's wife, a youth who has been given the horn blowing duties to keep him out of the battle line where he might get hurt. The Lord himself is next, a bluff chap pointing and shouting orders. Behind him is another champion, a lightly-equipped bloke armed with a quarterstaff. Next to the Lord is another champion of more conventional appearance. The standard bearer is the only two piece figure in the batch. His standard is an animal skull on a pole. Last, and by no means least is the shaman, another skinny and half-naked bloke getting down and funky with a large snake in his attempt to unnerve the enemy.

I had a bit of a think about bases - as you do - and instead of going with the cast bases used for the Romano-British I'll make new ones for the Saxons. I've seen some used that have a staggered arrangement of holes to give the impression of a more fluid, armed mob style of fighting which fits with the Saxon way of war, so I'll try that.

The command figures will possibly be finished before this weekend, when we'll be at Archon 42 mixing with other nerds. Then (whisper it softly) I will be able to get a game of Dux Britanniarum going.
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Splintered Light Miniatures have launched their first kickstarter aimed at the Pulp/fantasy market in the shape of a 15mm Egyptian fantasy army - The Scarab-men. The sculpts are pretty good and it's worth a look for those gaming Pulp or Fantasy in that scale.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Gedridht completed

A bit more progress on the Dux B project. The Saxon Gedridth (hearth guard) are finished.

I forgot I needed to attach the shields after doing the basework and not before, which made applying the gunk a bit more fiddly than it had to be, but all's done. I did have a small problem with the shield transfers since they're slightly larger than the shields themselves, requiring a bit of careful trimming around the edges.

The Splintered Light Early Saxon starter army turned out to have more figures than required in the Dux Britanniarum rules, to the tune of six extra gedridht. This isn't a problem, since success in a campaign can be rewarded by the arrival of extra warriors to fight under the Warlord's banner. Although these are nominally for the Saxon force they could conceivably be used as Saxon foederatii loyal to or hired by the Romano-British Lord.

I have the archers on the painting block and undercoated. Once they're done I'll do the warlord and his champions next. I wish I knew where I put that bloody base mold...


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