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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sneak Peak of Return of the Overseers ships....

I spent Saturday with Neil at the SG office for a long overdue catch up about all things Firestorm (plus Planetfall and a few other bits and pieces!). One of the things we had a look over were some of the new ships in resin for the Return of the Overseers 2-player box that will be out in the New Year. He was quite happy for me to give all you FA fans out there a sneak preview of some of the first castings...

So first up we have the Oannes, the new Aquan Heavy Carrier. After working on the stats for this for the last 6 months or so, and having seen the renders for almost that time too, the Oannes surprised me with its sheer size - it's a monster! Here it is with a Maelstrom Battleship.

And the underside;

You can't see it well here, but the underside is scalloped in, making the Oannes look very sleek and fast.

 Overall, she's probably one of my favourite Aquan ships ever.

Another of the new Aquan ships is the Sulis, a rather different Heavy Cruiser from the previous stock. The Sulis utilises the standard cruiser body, but the add-on dwarfs and shields that;

Here you can see the large redirection crystal:

Of course, on the other side we have the Directorate, and we have an impressively large slab of resin in the form of the Anarchist Battleship:

This doesn't have its cyberwarfare turret, but you get the idea.

Underneath she has dedicated broadsides

Whereas up-front she has multiple bay doors for SRS...

I'm quite excited to field this one!

I also spotted a few other ships awaiting release....any RSN fans? Starting with the humble (but deadly) escort, the Siren - this got a bit of a makeover in the transition to 100% resin - definately an improvement.

The other small is of course the frigate:

The Destroyer is also very close to the older casting, but completely resin;

Last ship I have to show today is the Heavy Cruiser

Well, that's it for now, hope you enjoyed that sneak peek of upcoming resin for 2015!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Making a Modular Multi-Level Gaming Table, Part 3

Ooops! I posted this rather prematurely, as I left a large section out between part 2 and 3! Now edited to fix that....

Well rather later than I expected to post this, here is the third installment of the modular gaming table. I left you all with the negative-depth piece sculpted and drying, ready for some further detail. Here is the board where we left it, though considerably dryer!

Now this is a good point to tie everything together and ensure an even surface for detailing, painting and flocking. The first thing to do is to make up some more filler, this time using mostly PVA glue with just a little water added - this makes the mixture very adherent, and also slightly flexible when dry - we don't want big chunks of plaster-based material cracking off mid-game.

This is then liberally applied over everything - initially I used the wooden spatula, then my hands, and then smoothed everything over with a dampened brush. For some areas the brush was stippled into the wet filler/PVA mixture to provide some texture.

I also used the end of a pencil to create some crater depressions, and the point of the pencil to reproduce the star-shaped cracks from the impact sites.

Now, white is never a good colour to base terrain on, so the first thing is to change that - painting the whole base black.

This is then the basis to create our rock faces - first a dark grey on the exposed rock, leaving only the deepest crevices black

Another couple of progressively lighter grey shades, and our rocks are looking decidedly more rock-like. The flash here does make this look rather lighter than it really is;

The rock faces finished for the moment, the next step is to colour the rest of the non-rock areas - in this case I used some old GW Bestial Brown that I needed to get rid of.

Now comes the fun bit! It's time to break out the flock, grit, sand, ballast and whatever else you want to use to decorate your board. Here's the start of mine....

...and the finish;

And just to finish off the effect, let's add some models...

Here we see some nobel Dindrenzi tank destroyers about to liberate the pit from its tyrannical Terran occupiers!

So there we have it, a fully formed 2' square negative-depth gaming module, ready to join its five compatriots for plenty of Planetfall-related (or other game systems) fun. One of the things I was careful to ensure was that there are no real scale items on the board - the tile could be used for any scale from 6mm to 60mm, with no real issues.

Anyway, that's all from me at the moment, I hope this has inspired you to create your own!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Making a Modular Multi-Level Gaming Table, Part 2

You may remember that we left the modular table with two empty frames previously to be able to create some negative-depth landscape. Before I got onto that, however, I decided to paint the edges of the frames using black emulsion.

This is after one coat, I gave them two to ensure an even black finish. With that done, the next thing to do was to create a negative-depth frame. With another piece of hardboard, I marked out a 12" square inset 4" from one corner. I then used a 10mm drill bit to drill and entry point in the hardboard for the jigsaw.

Next I cut out the square

Leaving an even hole in the hardboard, so;

I then attached this to the frame in the same way I had with the intact pieces.

Now, to create the negative-space, I needed to re-attach the piece I'd just cut out, but at a lower level. Fortunately I still had the remnants from cutting the frames.

Of course these would be too large if used as they were, so had to be trimmed a little to accommodate the extra depth of the hardboard, otherwise they would protrude beyond the depth of the frame.

These trimmed pieces were attached to the cut-out...

...and then to the main piece. Voila! A hole with a bottom!

Of course, the hole needed more than this, but as the next part of the work was indoors, I needed to add a little protection to the frames so that they wouldn't damage the kitchen table either during further work, or in their gaming lifetime. This helps my wife tolerate my hobbies and keep our marriage intact!

So, protection comes in this form;

It's a piece of black felt, available from most fabric shops for about 50p a piece. I bought 5 pieces, just in case, but each almost does two squares. The next step is to cut the felt into strips - I used a rotary cutter as it stops the felt stretching.

The strips are then glued with PVA glue to the bottom of the frames

I glued several small pieces to the bottom of the "negative" space too.

OK, table and partner sanity preserved and wrath pre-empted, progress could be made on making the negative terrain look less like an elevator shaft. This starts by blocking in the sides with polystyrene, roughly cut to size.

Additional pieces were then cut and glued in so that it would have some form and a "ramp" of rock and earth going down to the bottom.

As you can see, this was all secured with copious quantities of white glue. At this stage it looks less like terrain and more like some sort of shipping crate accident, but were making progress. Honest! This was left for a couple of days to set before continuing.

The next purchase is some standard household filler - I used one suitable for indoor and outdoor use as it's pretty robust.

But before we get to that, we need to sculpt the polystyrene a bit. For this I used a large soldering iron - you might have a better, purpose-made tool, but this works.

Make sure your work area is well-ventilated, as the fumes of melted/vaporised polystyrene are both unpleasant and toxic. Using the soldering iron, I took off the square edges of the polystyrene and carved vertical scars and clefts in what would become the rock face.

A lot more of this later, and we were ready for filler!

For the filler I took white glue, diluted with water, and filler....

...and mixed to an even consistency.

I then took standard toilet paper;

Take a sheet, put it in the filler mixture and apply to the polystyrene. The tissue helps give a support structure to the filler and increases the resistance to cracking later on (as does the white glue).

Repeat this until you feel everything has a pretty even layer. Don't apply too thick as it will take forever to dry - better to build up in layers.

Once that is almost dry, I then diluted some white glue 50/50 in water

And applied with a brush to areas of the terrain;

Individual sheets of tissue were then laid on these and pressed down with a light stabbing action of the brush.

This was repeated across the terrain

This softens the features somewhat and strengthens everything a bit more. I then added some filler powder to the remaining glue/water mix...

...and painted this on areas I felt needed it. Now time to leave it to dry completely before Part 3!