No, this isn’t some kind of strange fairy tale.
Fenris Games makes some pretty cool terrain and miniatures. They caught my attention when they started making terrain items for the Incursion Board Game. Then, I started paying close attention to their Facebook page because they are awesome and give away miscast miniatures to lucky folks who comment on Facebook posts.
Recently, they posted Clive, the Nodding Donkey and it looks awesome. I wanted to share the information here for anyone who is not familiar with Fenris Games. Check it out. It is a multi-piece laser-cut plywood and plastic kit to build an oilfield donkey pump, scaled to suit 28mm miniatures. Can be modelled in a variety of positions. Click on the picture to get more details from the Fenris Games online store. Or if you prefer, take a gander at their eBay store.
“Dwarven Forge’s Game Tiles Kickstarter project seeks to bring revolutionary miniature terrain to everyone in the tabletop gaming world.”
I’ve been collecting Dwarven Forge terrain for awhile now. I have two Cavern Sets, 3 Ogre Dens, 2 Room & Passage sets, 2 Classic Dungeon Room sets, 1 Fantasy Floor set, 1 Wicked Editions set, 1 Wicked Editions #2 set, 1 Narrow Passage set, 2 Octagonal Room sets and 1 Sci-Fi Alpha Expansion set. I also ordered four sets of the six piece 6″ x 6″ floors.
I can make a HUGE dungeon, dude.
My only regret is that I missed out of the RotA Ruined Entrance. I thought that I was getting it for Christmas, and I did not. By the time I went to order it … it was gone. Sold out forever! Boooooo! Oh well.
So I was very excited when I heard Dwarven Forge was going to do a Kickstarter. My only worry was that they would try to go the route of using the “sturdy cardboard” construction sets that have recently become popular with certain miniature games. I was really hoping that they would NOT do that because I like the quality of the pieces I own. Here are a few examples:
So when the Game Tiles Kickstarter went live, I was excited to see that it was not “sturdy cardboard” but instead a new material that was less expensive. As a bonus, the stuff is super tough and doesn’t easily break or scratch. That good because I have a 13 month old who will want to “help” Daddy play Dungeons & Dragons with his plush d20.
Anyway, I talked with my wife and we decided to back the Kickstarter. I suggested that we jump in at $120 in order to get all the cool extras. To my delight, my wife suggested the $260 mark which gives us Five Sets of Game Tiles plus any bonus extras. Awesome!
A Game Tiles set comes complete with these 34 pieces:
- 14x Straight Wall*
- 12x Floor*
- 6x Corner Wall*
- 2x Swinging Door
*has a 2” x 2” footprint
From the Kickstarter page: “Because the pieces are modular in design they can be re-arranged in countless ways to form many interesting encounter areas. All the pieces have a 2” x 2” footprint, so the wall pieces can be placed in the interior of set-ups to form smaller rooms or alcoves. With multiple sets, collectors can lay out big and exciting dungeons complete with rooms and passageways.”
Check it out for yourself, I know you’ll like what you see.
Terrain shouldn’t be boring.
One way to add a tiny bit of realism to your forest templates is to add a simple path, showing a footprint from living … or maybe unliving … beings having passed through before.
Plasticville makes some very nice O Scale buildings that can be used in miniature wargaming on the 25mm – 30mm range. This particular building is The Diner. It was given to me by my Father-In-Law in a large, dusty box that he had stashed in his outbuilding shed. He said that the box had a collection of models that he and his brother had used when they were growing up. He thought I might get some use out of them in my miniature games … and he was right.
This is what The Diner looks like normally:
And this is what I did with it:
I’m pretty happy with how the building turned out. And I’m very grateful to have a cool Father-In-Law that keeps my hobbies in mind when he’s sorting through his shed.
Keep rollin’ sixes, folks!
Do you follow the crowd, or form your own opinion?
We live in a time dominated by all kinds of public opinion polls. Decisions are being driven by the crowd, and sometimes this is a good thing. Surveys can inform us about people’s experiences with products helping us make wiser purchases. Opinion polls can tell elected officials of how their policies have been received by the public. And when information is gleaned on a personal level, it can help us in making decisions in a variety situations.
The same can be said about the scenery and terrain pieces we use with our little toy soldiers. Blogs, podcasts, and videos reveal the good, bad, and ugly about all the choices of terrain that we have out there. Before buying, most people will do a little research in order to find out if the piece is made well, transports easily, and holds up decently to the use and abuse of miniature gaming. However, in the end, personal opinion wins out.
Some people like homemade terrain, and others hate it. Some people only buy their terrain, and would never waste their time making something that they would view as “ugly” and “unattractive.” Others just want something that works and is inexpensive to put on the table. Heck, some people just use whatever is laying around like books, plates, soda cans, and pie pans.
There’s nothing like playing “King of the Hill” from WARMACHINE using a big fat pie pan.
Anyway, it really comes down to the reality of what you want in quality. Do you want to spend some hard earned cash to have beautiful stuff to put on the table, or do you need to use “upcycled” stuff from around the house and “found items” to make your terrain? It’s really up to you.
If you’re into inexpensive items that you can have fun making into terrain, then this is another idea for “Terrain on the Cheap” for you!
As I discussed last year, you can make simple, functional trees using Moss Rocks and Dowel Rods. You can likely find both items in a local craft store or dollar store. Here in town you can buy them for $1 each at the Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, JoAnn Fabrics, and other stores of that kind.
You simply need to cut the dowel rods to your desired length, and paint them to your desired color. After they are dry, carefully push one end pf the dowel rod into the foam “rock” to make a tree. You can also do this using toothpicks if you choose. Additional detail can be added easily by using Green Stuff on the dowel rods to bulk them up, and carve in details to resemble tree bark. In the end, you’ll probably want to attach them to some kind of base depending on what game you play. I recommend at least a 40mm base for WARMACHINE.
And ta-dah, you have trees for your favorite miniature wargame!
Until next time, keep rollin’ sixes!
Waste not, want not.
The foam tray from your chicken nuggets or meat of choice might make a good trash bag stuffer for you. But it’s a cheap and effective hill for miniature wargaming for me. It’s just the right size for a decent hill, already sloped for reasonable movement of models on and off of the terrain piece, and it’s inexpensive. Plus, it’s a “green” way to recycle your trash. It’s actually called “upcycling.”
Make sure to use soap and hot water to clean the tray. Common sense applies here.
Spray the tray with some textured paint, or add texture using a mixture of white glue and sand.
Spray the entire piece with either black or dark brown spray paint. When dry, paint it with a dark brown color, and then highlight it with a lighter brown color. If you wish, add some green highlights to simulate grass.
Apply white glue, and flock. Adding some static grass, and maybe some field grass will finish it off.
Then, it’s ready to go. You have a functional hill for playing a few games of WARMACHINE and HORDES.
Keep rolling sixes!
Learning to make good Groundwork templates is an essential skill in terrain making and building.
Begin your project with easy to find materials. I will be using thin plywood, Titebond white glue, green putty, vinyl spackling, and basing supplies (sand, flock, static grass, talus.) These templates can be used as generic groundwork templates in your games of HORDES and WARMACHINE. You can use them as sections of rough terrain, building and ruin bases, forest templates, and other generic terrain. For now, I’d recommend sticking to 5″ x 5″ or 4″ x 6″ templates.
Simply, the project goes like this: (1) Shape (2) Texture (3) Glue (4) Scatter (5) Flock (6) Paint (7) Accent (8) Seal
(1) SHAPE: Cut your template to the size you want it. Craft Stores often sell their craft wood in various sizes. You may be able to find a size that you need pre-cut however chances are you’ll need to use an hobby knife or dremel (with cutting disks) to give the template a little shape. (Using foam is easier here as you can just cut it to shape with a hot wire cutter.)
(2) TEXTURE: Apply your putty and spackling. These materials help to add texture to the template. You can also use a fine grit sand mixed with paint as a substitute. Also, Spectre Hobbies sells “Texture Gel” which does the same thing very well. Anyway, add the putty first followed by spackling. Leave empty space at the edges. Add the putty, spreading it thin and pressing a few medium sizes stones into it. Follow up by adding the spackling to the remaining empty spaces starting from the center. Allow the template to dry before going to step #3.
(3) GLUE: Coat the template with glue. I use Titebond straight from the bottle however if you wish you can use some water to create a 1:1 mixture. It’s really up to you. Spread a thin coat of white glue over the entire template including the empty space on the edges. While the glue is still wet, continue with step #4.
(4) SCATTER: Place a paper or cloth towel under the template. Gather at least three grades of stone-like flock. I recommend craft sand, fine talus, and coarse talus. Sprinkle the stone flock over the template beginning with the finest material and ending with the coarsest. Allow the template to dry. After it is dry, carefully shake the template over a container to remove any extra talus. I usually shake the excess talus right back into its original container as to not waste flocking materials.
(5) FLOCK: Same story as step #4 but this time with flock. Use at least two colors of flock, one dark and one light. Take a cup or sifter and mix the flock together. Now get the white glue. This time, use a 1:1 mix of water/white glue. If you have a scenic sprayer, use the regular mixture. Figure out where you want to add patches of grass on the template. Add your watered down glue to these areas, and then sprinkle with your flock mixture. If you have a scenic sprayer, mist the flock lightly to add an additional seal. Allow the template to dry before moving on to #6.
(6) PAINT: Using a black or brown spray paint, coat the entire template. After the template dries, use a large brush to paint the entire thing with a basecoat of dark brown or reddish brown. Don’t worry about getting fancy because this is a basecoat. Once the entire ground is painted, it’s time for drybrushing. Start with the rock outcropping, painting them with a dark grey. After finishing with the rocks, drybrush with a slightly lighter color. Remember to take a little care to maintain the level of “dryness” on the dry as to avoid ugly smudgy spots on your template. Afterwards, drybrush a second time with a even lighter highlight color to add contrast. Allow the template to dry before moving on to #7.
(7) ACCENT: Now is when you can add Undergrowth, Bushes, and Grasses. For undergrowth, use polyfiber. Separate the polyfiber be carefully tearing it into layer. Stretch the layer until thin and lacy. Apply white glue to areas of the template you undergrowth. Gently push the polyfiber into the glue, then sprinkle around the edges of the polyfiber to add volume and to fill gaps. Do the same with bulky moss or foam bushes. To add grasses, simply add small amounts of white glue to the surface, and add small pinches of grass to the glue. Allow glue to dry before moving to step #8.
(8) SEAL: When you are happy with your template, use a matte spray like Dull Coat to seal it. Lightly mist the entire template with the spray. It will protect your template while you’re moving models and tossing dice on the game table.
When you’re building terrain for your collection, don’t forget to add a little flair. A movie theater is a good idea, whether it’s vintage or modern it would be an excellent little eye catchers for your urban combat table.
Whether out on a date, filling a few hours between trains, or just to get out of the house, the world has loved going to the movies from the first reel to the present day. By the 1920s, no American town worthy of the name was complete without a theater – and those that didn’t have one often set up a retractable screen inside the local opera house.
The biggest and grandest, rightly called “movie palaces,” were built new from the ground up. No expense was spared in construction, particularly on the highly visible front with its ornate decorations and the all-important marquee that blazed to life at twilight. Inside, attention was lavished on every furnishing, from lamps to seats to the stage itself. One of the key attractions in the years before “talking pictures” was a massive pipe organ, providing a “sound track” to accompany the action on screen, as well as the music for audience sing-alongs.
One of the major problems for theater owners was a tremendous drop in business once the weather turned warm. The last place people wanted to be was inside with hundreds of other people on a muggy night. But that changed quickly with the arrival of air conditioning. Often the first building in town with the new fangled air cooling equipment, people began flocking to theaters to escape the heat for a few hours. Studios began holding the release of major pictures until warm weather to turn bigger profits and early summer is still one of the most important periods for the launch of new movies.
Popcorn and candy have long been part of their appeal, but the theater also became a social center. Always a busy location (especially in areas where lots of folks worked second or third shifts), most theaters could count restaurants, candy kitchens and ice cream parlors among their next-door neighbors, as these businesses served people coming to or going home from the show.
As downtown areas faded in the postwar years, so too did the once great movie houses. Many were closed and bulldozed as the interiors required major work to make them suitable for most other occupants. Lucky for us though, a fair number survived and have been restored to their former glory. Many now show classic movies, are home to small theater groups and provide a venue for live stage shows.
So don’t hesitate. Add a little flair to your collection, and start building today. And remember to email me the pictures so I can post them on the blog!