Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

The 20 Questions

Ok, it seems rude not to join in. So here you are - the window to the soul.

20.   The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
So little time - so many things to paint

wind turbines - don't work when there is no wind , and not if it's too windy - so you you need a power station to back them up - hmm...
middle lane hoggers! 
cold callers.
that's enough for now.

Monday 27 August 2012

Thunderin Guns!

This weekend saw the the first play test of the Old West game using a set of in house rules working title - "Blazing Guns" which are an amalgam of shooting from the Rules With No Name and simpler actions, challenges and bookkeeping from Dusty Trails, with a few personal slants thrown in.

The player brief

Welcome to the boom town of “SERENITY FLATT” in the
Territory of “Desperation”

Each of your characters starts with $50.00. Your aim is to have as much fun & make as much money as possible from your visit. And return back to the trail.

Each character at the beginning of the game rolls a d20 to determine skills from the lists. Shootists roll twice, Legends roll 3 times

Lawmen, U.S. Marshal’s and Pinkertons may never shoot at each other and are to uphold the law. Lawmen make money by collecting fines for people breaking town ordinances, collecting taxes from business , reward money , and their regular salary.

Shooting honest citizens may not be the best idea, as they might gang up and form a citizens vigilance committee or wire the governor for help – but it’s your choice!

A visit to the ladies at the Cattleman’s Saloon may be good for the soul – and enhance some skills

The Dried Goods store sells a range of wonderful products and tonics - Sassperilla and the “Real Thing” which may just give you the edge.

Each of the saloons and hotels offers a gambling establishment where it may be your lucky day. Try your hand at Poker, Faro , Blackjack or Craps- just watch out there may be a card sharp or two around

Of course you might want to slake your thirst at a bar with a shot of whiskey or two to give you a bit of dutch courage, but try not to too have too many.

The doctor is on hand to help with wounds – he will always rush to the nearest casualty.

If your weapon breaks or you want something different pay a visit to one of the towns gunsmiths.  

There are two banks where you may deposit – or make a withdrawal – legal or otherwise!

We were one player down from the planned 4, so along with the Townsfolk we had the  Lawmen , Gamblers (who would align with the Lawmen if pushed), Cowboys and Outlaws. Each faction was given some specific instructions and objectives. Of course some of these were designed to cause some friction! The fate deck contained a card for each member of each group, two sets of various level action cards, the townsfolk and the Pony Express to allow communication with the outside world.

The Cowboys were intent on heading to the Cattleman's for a good old time - however they found one Doc Holliday there manning the card table. Johnny Ringo bet the gangs stake - and rolling a "1" lost the lot - of course suspecting foul play he challenged the Doc to a fight one on one - mana a mano. The crowd cleared the way and  made room. Now unbeknown to Johnny the Doc had rolled a Quickdraw Skill which would give him a +3 to the d10 fast draw result. The Doc rolled low Ringo rolled high - the result a tie ending in 9 a piece both shot together - otherwise the winner would have shot and applied the result first. Choosing to blaze away with two six guns gave Doc 9 dice to hit - only one 6 meant 1 hit. Johnny armed with one 6 gun blazed away with 6 dice - 2 hits   Time to cut the shooting deck. Doc hit Johnny , but just a flesh wound the right arm. Johnny cut the deck - FATAL HEADWOUND! (1 card out of 36!).. the onlookers gasped. 

Now there was going to be trouble. The law officers had been out collecting taxes from the businesses further down the street , they turned to face the commotion Sheriff Steel leading the way with Deputy Daniels carrying the shotgun . The Cowboys having decided there was already going to be trouble faced towards the  advancing lawmen loosing of long range shots wounding the Deputy in the arm. The town doctor was close on hand to administer some first aide , which was unfortunately poorly applied with a 1 being rolled, resulting in additional damage to the arm, meaning he would not be able to reload the Shotgun. The next long range shot from the Cowboys felled Sheriff Steel  - FATAL SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (1 card out of 36!)  following the double 6 needed to hit him. It was turning into a bad day for the law. Deputy Daniels passed his PANIC rolls & determined to take some bad guys with him advanced and let fly with both barrels his aim (and dice rolls) perfectly bracketing 3 Cowboys , now it was revenge time with the shot flying. Jake  went down with a FATAL GUTSHOT, Dalton collapsed knocked out with a serious leg wound . Blood covered the ground. Curly Bill got away lightly with a graze to the chest.

Meanwhile further down the street and taking advantage of the mayhem the Outlaws led by one Billy the Kid had been busy fortifying themselves with liquor and had also been successful at the blackjack game at the saloon decided to take the opportuity to relieve the 1st National of some funds.

They managed are very poor $1650 dollars on the first round.- seeing as the Sheriff had just been shot they decided to threaten some more in the hope of an even better pay day.
At this point emerging from the Grand Hotel having finished his card game was one Wild Bill Hickock, who had picked up a whole series of high quality action cards - allowing multiple activations. Blasting away with his ambidextrous and lighting fast skills he felled Johnny Ringo and Frank Spotswood from the Cowboys. 
 With the combined action of Deputy Daniels and Wild Bill, the Cowboys with more than half their number down PANICKED - time to get the hell out of Serenity.

Two of the Outlaws decided to make there way out of town with their ill gotten gains almost $6000 -despite cutting 10 money cards Ian never found any of the big money! It could easily have been 10 times more

Wild Bill drew Billy the Kid and the other Outlaws to him like moths to a flame - with Bill's terrifying presence reducing the number of dice against him he led a charmed life in the doorway of the Grand with splinters flying all around him. Billy advanced firing away - until that deathly double click -Out of Ammo. Bill turned letting fly - click, click  ... more 1's then 6's both guns. Out of Ammo. Again an action card saved the day with a quick reload ready for the next round.

 While all this mayhem had been going on news of the early trouble in Serenity had been sent out of the town by Pony Express. The Joker card that ends the turn made a few consecutive early appearances along with a whole host of  the townsfolk clearing out the way. It was tense, a new unknown card was added to the fate deck and once more it was shuffled. What would happen next?

Sam Bass had taken cover behind some barrels and in possession of an action card took one move taking careful aim at Bill  then playing his card he shot, getting those extra +6 dice to hit, Bill was down - knocked out  with a serious chest wound. Billy smiled - the town was his for the taking, with only one badly injured Deputy with an empty shotgun in his way.

There was a clattering of hooves as an old experienced Marshal drove hard into town - letting fly from his rifle. Billy was still Out of Ammo and could only stare as Rooster bore down and riddled him in both legs. A further immediate action card by the Marshal saw a quick turn while the bullets spat from his pistol - Sam Bass was down injured.  The remaining Outlaws decided enough was enough , and panicked their way out of town.

3 hours after the first shots rang out order was restored. The doctor and Undertaker were going to busy.

So overall how did it go for a first play test? I feel it went well  and  the investment in time and treasure in this collection has been worth it.

 The skills rolls at the beginning really did make a difference, and number of those did fit each character perfectly. There was some spectacular early shooting putting the lawmen on the back foot. but statistically these were pretty unlikely - Simon playing the lawmen also had some terrible dice - but that's just gaming not the rules. I think I will however add some more simple flesh wound cards to the shooting deck to take it to 48 cards with 5 fatal , rather than 5 from 36.

We did miss a fair few panic rolls early in the game - in the excitment of gunsmoke -  which may have changed things - that will change with experience . 

Not enough use was made of some the differing actions, there was a lot of just move and fire -but then we had a number of high level characters that could do so and absorb the penalties for doing so. We will play test this again with more basic characters. 

I am going to colour code the bases of the figures, not widely different , but each faction will have its own brown or green shade to help less experienced players quickly identify their pieces.

Another key point was that more game aid markers are required - so the good people at WARBASES will be getting an order for some. we did use some Out of Ammo ones I made earlier. But some for RECOVER, KNOCKED OUT, KNOCKED DOWN will be required-  so some double sided ones will be good 

One of the players had never played a wargame before - just a bit of role play stuff - (he brought his own 6 guns), and said he really enjoyed it and wants to do it again - JOB DONE!

Some more work to do over the autumn and winter, I want to take this to a table size of 8 foot x 5 ,.I have some proper terrain baseboards to make, and another 5-6 buldings (train station, church, newspaper, large dried goods , freight company and boot hill to make). - Overall not too much .

The playtest acheived its function , identifying some changes and improvements required. 

All agreed it was a cracking  few hours of FUN , and that was the point. 

Friday 24 August 2012

A prickly challenge.

I saw a post over on the Lead Adventure Forum about a lack of companies making large cacti, which reminded me I wanted some as scenery for my Old West Collection. Now I can't see the point on buying something like that when it is so very easy to make! Anyone with a modicome of skill should be able to do these.

First - Raid the pound shop for some green plasticene. Next take some stiff wire and make an armature into the shape of the plant you want to do.

Form the plasticene around the wire armature and smooth it with your fingers - sometimes a bit of water helps. 

Take a sharp implement - in these a sculpting tool and score marks into the surface to give some texture

Next apply low viscosity (really runny stuff) super glue -  all over the surface. Do this in well ventilated area as it does whiff! Once dry this hardens up the surface of the plasticene. The branches will still be a bit bendy , but they are still strong and wont flake apart etc.

Once glue is dry run a wash over to bring out depths

Add bases texture and colour 

give it a little drybrush and repeat - really takes very little time

Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Bank

Well if you are going to have an attempted robbery - you need something to rob. So here is the bank. This was picked from Products for Wargamers . They do a range the same with different frontages. Its a 2mm laser cut MDF. I have left off the hitching posts for now as the boardwalks seem narrow - i intend to do some freestanding one for these buildings.

I was asked to do a walk through so here goes.

The completed building is given a spray of Humbrol Dark Earth I find it helps to seal things a bit and stop the MDF absorbing too much paint and gives a better surface to work on.

Next it was given a heavy drybrush of Khaki Grey a nice green - brown colour for a base with a large brush

This is not worked fully into the corners of detail as these are left darker

I used a Golden Olive Green to paint in a deeper stronger colour on some areas 
 The window panes were added with a blue grey  , and then a little white added and the middle of the panes highlighted
 Some light reflection in lighter grey added to the panes , and framework detail picked out in an Ivory colour
 The planking is done with a 50/50 water / paint mix and painted in to the centre of the planks - this look bright when first done but as it dries it darkens
 The same 50/50 technique is used to create the tiles on the roof
 You can see from this shot the differnece as it dries.
 The board walk is done with two lighter browns using the 50/50
 Hand painted signage is added

 A light drybrsuh over the roof apex,edges and wall corners with Iraqi sand to give a bit of definition. Also added planking to rear of the frontage just using dark brown lines. Sepia wash is run around under the roof line and a thinned sepia wash added below the rear window and around the bottom of the walls.  So now it just needs the base colour doing and a spray of matt varnish.

It can take it's place in the collection along with the Gunsmith done at the same time

5 buildings done in the week not a bad output!

First shot of them all together - just on the dining table - some custom baseboards planned for later in the year.

Game on for the weekend

Monday 20 August 2012

The "Meat Co"

I enjoyed doing the scratch build on the Ranch so much I wanted to do some more. So here we have the towns  "Meat Co" . It's a 5mm foam board construction with 2mm balsa cladding . Windows are a set from Antenocitis , doors were made from balsa. I had picked up some bits for this at a recent railway show - a find of pigs and chickens for the back of the shop

 It was coloured using a dark grey base and then given successive dry brush distressing using a middle grey grey and finished of with bit of Vallejo Iraqi Sand to give it bit of warmth. Really please with the end result 

I had some foam board off cuts left over , so waste not want not they say, I turned them into a simple adobe walls construction - this should double up ok for Old West and the Sudan I think. This was a simple bit of work. I added some odd bit's of plasicard brick left over from the chimney of the ranch and then gave the whole thing a coat with a powder plaster filler & little sand mix put on with a palette knife. Once It was dry it was given a PVA wash to give it extra strength and coloured with a natural calico emulsion (Dulux) picked up at the DIY store , and given a top drybrush of pure white.

Also got all the Old West foot figures together for a shot.

First play test planned for the bank holiday weekend,

and just noticed this is the 100th post!

Thursday 16 August 2012

A home on the range..

As last weekend was actually sunny I took the opportunity to do some work outside , catching up with some airbrush work I wanted to start on long delayed project, and I decided to do a bit of house building. I already have a number of commercially available laser cut MDF and resin buildings for the Old West collection and felt the need to create something unique for it. So I have built my own take on a farm ranch type building using 5mm foamboard and 2mm Balsa.It measures L10" x W5" x H4"

I am going to have to build a rocking chair I think to complement this

This is what it started out as , just a few base materials with a bit of time and effort.

I sourced ready made doors and windows from Antenocitis Workshop along with some 7mm brick embossed plasticard (for the chimney.

Painting was done with with a range of different browns - i used vallejo's, but not practical in long run and I will pay a trip to the DIY store to get something in larger quantities (the Sandtex range is good)

I think I will be doing a few bespoke buildings for the collection as I was pleased with how this one turned out.

Also well you need some cattle to look after!

These are 1/64th scale Hereford cattle available from ERTL - in packs of 25 ready painted.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Pick a card part two.

So no painting as such other than some block work and thats not real eye candy for you. But a few updates. I did these bits a few weeks ago. So we have a a Ground Works outhouse.

 It comes complete with inside detail - i am going to have to create someone sitting reading a paper...

I picked up some bits n bobs from Ainsty Castings A range of boxes ,bales and barrels.for the lads to take cover and duck back  behind. The log piles I found at a model railway show - good for picking up terrain pieces i find.

In addition the remainder of the cards have turned up. I have created two other bespoke packs for the game. The Green deck , and the Red Deck.They have the same design art work  as the main character/fate deck but are coloured for a different purpose.


The "Greenback" deck will be used to generate random amounts of money - there is a pack of 54 cards with values from $10 to $100,000 . So for scenarios involving say robbing a train, bank or stage  then the larger denomination cards will be put in. These can be drawn randomly or rolling a dice to see how many to turn over to see the gangs ill gotten gains.

The Red deck is a replacement for the 6 x 6 shooting matrix. I  liked the idea of of shooting effect being done by turn of a card rather then roll of dice.

Cards from ARTSCOW
Anyway just trying to pin down a day to have a game now.