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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Painting Report, March

Not much finished.

Well, I actually did really well for my VSF projects. Got all of those finished in the nick of time for the month. But Warhammer suffered to a lot of terrain projects and stuff. All I finished was 9 Empire halberdiers and the Stegadon. I also painted two BattleMechs (a Phoenix Hawk and a Panther).

I did manage to get a lot of work done on the new blog (this one!). And the new European fields mat is nearly done. A good bit of terrain work accomplished. Photos tomorrow, I promise. Just too tired to go get the camera and download pictures right now.

As far as the poll goes, I guess there will be a few more labels. I'll try not to go too crazy with subtopics.

Next month's goals are:
  • Paint two more BattleMechs
  • Paint BattleTech coolant trucks, SRM carriers, and Manticore tanks (2 each)
  • Finish BattleTech factory complex and defense turrets
  • Finish 5 Kislev horse archers (about 80% done now).
  • Finish Grandmaster of Blazing Sun Knights (about 95% done now)
  • Finish halberdier banner carrier (need to print banner and clear coat).
  • Finish Euro-field mat
  • Paint ten Masked Minions for VSF (25mm)
  • Paint four Masked Minion gun crewmen
  • Paint one smoke launcher (VSF artillery - poison gas!)
  • Paint ten halfjack automatons (more VSF)
  • Paint ten halfjack 'mines'.
Wow. That is a lot. We'll see if I can manage it! The list helps keep me focussed, though, and if I can get the VSF things done... well, that pretty well ends my Automaton army (excepting one conversion vehicle that I need pieces for still).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

WarTech BattleHammer

I have mentioned before that my sons and I are getting into two new genres these days: Warhammer Fantasy Battle and BattleTech. Now, I like the settings for both, but I got to thinking how cool would it be to combine them?

I'm starting off the setting with the Empire. Essentially, the Empire is a large volume of space roughly in the center of the galactic arm. It has been divided up into a number of smaller (though still quite large) regions. these include Reikspace, Middenspace, Nordspace, Wissenspace, Stirspace, Talabecspace, Ostspace, the Ostmark, MootSpace, etc. One region for each of the provinces in the Warhammer Empire, you see, usually substituting the word 'space' for 'land.' Each of these regions has many planets within them. These planets take the place of the various cities and towns of the Empire in Warhammer. So, Bogenhafen is a planet within Reikspace. Altdorf is the Imperial capital planet. Nuln is a major industrial planet, and so on.

Each region or planet's Mechs will be painted up in the WFB state color schemes.

I figure the Knightly Orders can be semi-autonomous units, with fortress planets as bases.

Orks will be wandering raiders, mostly, based off planets out on the fringes of the Empire. Dwarfs will also have heavily fortified industrial planets in systems loaded down with asteroid belts and such. Wood Elves will be based on naturalistic planets, hidden within nebulae and such instead of a forest. Brettonia will be added, similarly to the Empire. Tilea and Estalia too.

For the other evil races, I have thought of the following: Dark Elves and Chaos are easy, just locate them in the appropriate stellar geography. Skaven are troubling. Maybe a lot of beat up vehicles and only a few Mechs? But where to locate them? Dark planets? Subterranean in human planets just seems a little... maybe in asteroid belts or gas giant moons in the systems. Undead are a problem too. Zombie Mechs? Not very sensible.

So it isn't perfectly worked out yet. But its the germ of an idea that may be fun.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quantum Gothic - Beautiful Stuff!

Quantum Gothic is a British terrain manufacturer. They make some really nice looking resin 'gothic' 25mm sci-fi terrain. But to be honest, I think most of it could easily be used for VSF gaming. When I finally convince my wallet that I have not been abusing it (this may take a few months), I want to remember these models. I especially have my eye on the forcefield pylons pictured below, the comm array (aethergraphic relay stations, anyone?), and the watchtower. The other bits are not bad, either.
Note: Photos taken from Quantum Gothic website for illustrative purposes only. Free advertising!

I found these fellows sort of by accident whilst rummaging about on TMP tonight. And my wife thought I was wasting time. Harrumph!

Those pylons are just screaming "Professor MacGlarrigy's Galvanic Defense Field Focussing Array Pylon" to me. Venus needs these to keep out the dinosaurs. To quote Doctor Henry Cavor, "Imperial! Absolutely imperial!"

Royal Xenological Society, Vol. 5

Rosa venusica manticora
"Venusian Manticore Rose"



Shown above is a photostat of one of the more dangerous plants on Venus: Rosa v. manticora, or the Manticore Rose. It is so named for several features it shares in common with the earthly rose bush. First, it has a red coloration like the common variety of Earthly roses. Second, the odor of the blossom is quite similar to that of the common rose. However, the Manticore Rose has a single smooth stem with only one blossoming head, unlike the thorny thicket of stems typical of the common rose. It would seem that, lacking this defense (of thick sharp thorns), the Manticore Rose would be easy prey for herbivorous creatures of the rainforest.

The actual truth is that most creatures of the Veiled Planet's jungles know to avoid getting close to this plant. You see, the large bulbous blossom has the ability to fling a volley of sharpened thorns at any creature that approaches within a dozen feet. These thorns, beyond the damage caused by their needle-sharp points, are also envenomed. Observation of some of the larger Venusian lifeforms indicates that they may be immune or merely irritated by these toxins (as humans are to various stinging nettles), or that their thick scaley hides have developed to the point of virtual immunity. We thin-skinned denizens of Earth are rapidly overcome by the potent poison. The toxin puts its victim into a deep comatose state.

Doctor Nigel Clive of the Agricultural College of Texas, the Texican scientific group's chief botanist, believes that the plant feeds on the remains of small creatures that are overcome by the toxin and fall to the ground near the root system. These animals perish of malnourishment while comatose, and their bodies decompose, feeding nutrients in to the soil.

There is no known antidote for Manticore Rose poison. Two Texican marines are still comatose months after being poisoned. Travelers to Venus are warned that if they smell roses, they should proceed very cautiously.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let Me 'Splain...

To start off, if you know me, you know I suffer from GRADD. Gaming Related Attention Deficit Disorder. If you don't know me, now you do.

I game in all sorts of ways, or work on a wide variety of gaming projects. I play Napoleonics. World War II. VSF (in multiple scales!). BattleTech. RPGs. Warhammer Fantasy. Wild West. Car Wars. I make terrain. I paint. I write. I watch videos and read books related to all of the above. And I blog about them. In multiple forums, on multiple blogs.

I call this the "scattergun" approach to gaming. It has to do with how my brain works, constantly jumping from idea to idea and across genres. My wife marvels at why I save a lot of little bits of plastic packaging and beads and wire and all sorts of things and actually make stuff out of those.

I asked some friends if they thought I should consolidate my blogs (I have three currently, and had a fourth previously). Some said "YES!" Others said no. So I thought I would give it a go. I'm starting with two of my smaller blogs: Warhemorrhage Fantasy Battle and Gaming Terrain. Everything else will get thrown in here as well. I even have a guest speaker or two that I will be letting post here. Hopefully, it proves popular.

Fans of the other blogs don't need to worry too much. Victoria's Boys in Red is not getting deleted. But I will import most of it here, and double post. The other two blogs will no longer be updated, but I am not deleting them yet. Call it a 90 day trial, if you like. If this combined blog does not prove popular, I will break back out into the others more.

One other thing I am going to try to do here is keep the number of labels minimal. Basically, general genre and scale labels instead of super detailing. I personally like super detailing labels, as it makes specific subjects easier to find especially in archives. But a two-foot long list of labels seems excessive as well. This will be my first poll subject, I suppose: to detail or not to detail - that is the question!

Well, that's about it for right now. Expect more - a lot more! - soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Working in 6mm...

   My sons have discovered BattleTech. So now, amongst all the other projects, I also need to build some 6mm scale sci-fi buildings.

   Luckily, I have a ton of little plastic bits. I have already made a hospital/clinic building using the molded blister packaging from one of my younger son's insulin pump pods. Two more pod packages with some sheet styrene and a large number of bits attached are being turned into an industrial complex. Comes with a mini-nuke power plant and even some defensive turrets. even considering some kind of security fencing. I bet a bit of screen fabric and some small plastic rod uprights would do the trick. I have thin gauge wire I could do in loops for the top razor wire... Speaking of, I guess I need to do some concertina wire and minefields as well, since I will be using infantry, artillery, VTOLs and vehicles as well as the Mechs. Combined arms, baby!

   Another interesting plastic container will likely become the control tower for an airstrip setup. I already have a piece of PVC cut in half to make a pair of Quonset hut style hangars. I was originally going to paint them aluminum, and even masked one up and sprayed it, but now I think a nice camo pattern would be better for the hangars themselves. Or at least plain concrete. Or whatever they use in 3050.

   I am tempted by some lovely resin terrain out there. I think the 28mm scale Armorcast mini-nuke plant would be brilliant for a city-sized power station. For now, I have to settle for scratch built stuff, though.

   Final thought for tonight is this: thank God for Dremel. I got one at Christmas time, finally, and I absolutely love it. Now I really want a small table top bandsaw for cutting hardboard to shape faster and easier than the jigsaw does.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Newly arrived...

More Mechanical Monstrosities!

In what is sure to be a calamity for the Crown Colony, additional metallic monstrosities have been developed by Doctor Maton! These so-called half-jacks actually have human pilots sealed within them! Malevolent midgets manipulate the machinery of these dastardly devices of death and destruction.

Photostatic evidence of these fiendishly clever devices have yet to be developed, but word has reached this journal through highly placed sources in the Government House Office of Threat Assessment that ten half-jacks have been built by the Mad Belgian. It is further rumored that the steam-powered contraptions are capable of burying themselves in the loose rocky red soil of Mars in a matter of moments, making detection of them extremely difficult until they choose to spring their ambuscade.

More information on this dangerously developing story (and photostats, if possible) will be relayed to our Dear Readers as soon as it is available.

[Editor's Notes: I got a shipment of ten of Privateer Press's half-jacks in the mail on Saturday. I think these will complete the mechanical portions of the Automaton army. The only additional purchase I am currently considering is more masked minions to give Maton a larger human element. All I have to do now is paint them, paint the ten masked minions, their leader, their gun crew, and finish the vehicle I have to convert for Maton. That's what, 25 minis or so? Wow. A project actually nearing completion. Color me surprised.]

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Mid-Month Progress Report

Overall, the report for VSF gaming is Very Good.


10x "Great Rail Wars" Steam turtles: DONE

Hydra Miniatures's Warbot: DONE

Wyrd Miniatures's Brass Arachnid: DONE

Metal GW Stegadon Crew: DONE

And the whole Stegadon, based and ready.

As for the rest of this month's projects, both the Praetorian Heavy Bolter (aka the McFadden patent Single Barrel 3 pdr. Pom Pom) and the Autocannon (aka the Greelie-Heeby Magazine 7 pdr. Artillery) are about 60% done. This includes a modification of one autocannon crewman to change a control box to a telescope. The guns themselves are painted and done. Just finishing up the crew.

The ten Empress British have been started, and most of the block painting is done on them. I really like these minis. Lots of character. I have decided they will be representatives of the Manchester Regiment, formerly the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot before amalgamation with the 93rd last year. Non-royal, English regiments have white facings, as will these. Single battalion regiment. I think First Company, yes? Anyway, the ten I put in my goal this month are about 25-30% done, I would say. Keep an eye out for a Reginald's on the 63rd once I get these painted.

Besides my goal projects, I am working on a variety of other things sort of part-time. This includes the officer for the Queen's Own Aeromobile Infantry, the "Skywalkers." Just barely started on him, though. I need to back off of them a bit, so I can get my Warhammer Fantasy stuff worked on. Tomorrow and the next day might be bad painting days, as I am supposed to get my wisdom teeth removed first thing tomorrow morning. Pharmaceutical rollercoaster. Next stop, la-la land.

Oh, and I have the cloths ready to dye for my small Car Wars arena and the big green fields of Earth mat. Maybe if I tie dye them while whacked out on pain meds they will look totally awesome! Or maybe not. I think I will wait on that...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Terrain Mat Photos

The Jungle Mat

   This is a 6' x 9' canvas tarp, dyed with a variety of greens and brown, and then misted with water to get the colors to bleed into one another just a little. Basically, I used a spray bottle with RIT dye in it to color the cloth, changing colors as needed, and then following up with a bottle full of clean water. If you do this method, DO NOT OVERDO THE WATER. I tried washing the first mat after dying it, and it was a disaster (see the other post on mats)!

                                   The Martian Mat

   This is a 5' x 9' piece of good quality canvas from the fabric store. It took the dye better and I think will last longer than the tarp. As mentioned previously, this was the first and suffered a series of mishaps. I am pretty happy with the results I came out with, considering all the mistakes I made. I think it looks Mars-y. And definitely more durable than the old felt mat.

   I'll be making two more mats in the near future: a European fields mat (5' x 9') and a smaller gray concrete area mat (3' x 5'). The smaller mat could be placed on a large mat for an urban area. It is going to be designed for a Car Wars autoduelling arena, however. I even have a neat idea for some bunkers to place on the mat, and gate markers. The concrete bunkers will get advertising posters on them! I may even get really ambitious and do up arena walls for the outside edges of the arena. I have some old styrofoam that woudl be close to perfect for that, and then I could build the gates into the walls... Sliding steel doors? That really slide, of course!

   One last photo for tonight, of some random jungle scatter I have been making:
That's a GW metal stegadon for WFB in the background, and its all on the new jungle mat. Just aquarium plants glued to fender washers and static grassed. Nothing fancy.

The Earth Trembles!

The Stegadon approaches!



So the Stegadon is done. Mark that off the goals list for this month. I ahve been doing really well on the list for my VSF forces this month, but need to concentrate more on the WarHemorrhage side of the coin. I have been distracted by demands for BattleMechs, as well, and painted two of them so far this month (an old Phoenix Hawk and a Panther, if you care.) Here's the Panther:
Note the Talabheim color scheme - not an accident!

The Accidental Martian Terrain Mat, Part 2

I mentioned about a week ago about the problems I had with making a terrain mat. With the mat bleached to a terracotta kind of color, we continue with our hijinks...

While trying to figure out what to do with this piece of cloth, I decided to try making a second gaming mat with a cheap(ish) canvas tarp I got at Home Depot. This time, I was going for a European fields look. But no washing after the dye went on - I finally learned that lesson!

So, first I did wash the tarp in the washing machine. Hot water, detergent, you know the bit. Just to get any sizing off the cloth to avoid mistake number one from the first mat. Then I got two cheap spray bottles and filled them with two different colors of liquid dye. I used RIT Dark Green and Apple Green. I added some Dark Brown later.

Armed with trusty spray bottles, I misted the colors sort of randomly all over the tarp. Once I had the color down, I squirted a little clean water on the tarp to mottle the colors. Then I let it dry in the sun. Next day, I added more color and cold water. I ended up using too much of the dark and not enough of the lighter green, and the mat looks more like jungle than European fields and grasslands. So I guess I made a Venusian/jungle mat. But I learned a few things I would use later.

Back to the Martian terrain...

I bought some scarlet liquid dye (again, RIT brand), mixed it about half and half with water in a spray bottle, and went to town. Lightly misted the whole sheet, getting a good red tone to the mat. Then I went back over it with dark brown and then with tan. Again, I watered down the dyes some. The tan I had to mix from powder, but it turned out fine.

The dark brown I allowed to make bigger drops, not just a fine mist. This caused it to look like hunks of rock or broken ground in the red and tan landscape.

The final step was to mist the whole mat with water. This caused the colors to bleed together some, giving a nicely mottled appearance. And the end result is...
I am pretty happy with it. The cloth is good quality, and the colors look pretty good. They even go with my basing pretty well. So all is well that ends well.

Oh, and the Venusian mat (in case you wondered) looks like...


So, for about $50 in cloth and sewing, $3 in spray bottles, and $20 in dye (not including bleach to un-do mistakes), I have two good size canvas mats (5'x9' and 6'x9'). The Venusian was cheaper, but the cloth is not as good, has pills, that sort of thing, and I don't think it will last as long as the other. But it was about 1/3 the price, too.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #8

2nd Gonzales Foot

Army of the Republic of Texas

History

The Republic of Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. An army of volunteers had already been formed, and successfully gained independence for the Republic on the field of battle at the San Jacinto River, on April 21st of that same year.

It was soon realized that the persistent threat from Mexico would not allow Texas to remain independent without keeping a small professional standing army to deter Mexican aggression. Thus, the Army of the Republic of Texas was created. Since those beginnings fifty years ago, the Army has grown along with the Republic. Each regiment is named for the region in which it was raised, thus the Second Gonzales Foot is the second regiment of infantry raised from the Gonzales region.
Combat History

The Second Gonzales has seen combat against hostile Indian tribes in the Republic, and along the borders of the Republic with both the United States and Mexico. The Second was instrumental in turning back an attempted invasion of the Republic from Mexico by the disavowed General Ugarte in the summer of 1851. At the battle of Alto Montes Foothills, the Second held the center of the line against Ugarte's infantry while Texas Ranger cavalry attacked the Mexican flanks.

A company of the First Battalion, Second Gonzales Foot, is posted to the Texican Consulate in the Martian Crown Colony. As such, they took part in the defense of the Consulate against attack by rioting Martians in the unpleasant events of last fall. After the riots subsided, the Texican infantry assisted British forces in patrolling around the city of Victoria's Landing, searching for pockets of dissident activity.


Lieutenant Harald Godwinson, 2nd Gonzales Foot

Uniform

The Second Gonzales wears the standard uniform of the Republic of Texas Army. In the field, and on regular duty, butternut tunic and trousers made of heavy cotton fabric are supplemented by brown leather boots and equipment. A brown felt campaign cover is standard issue headgear. The Texican forces are currently armed with their licensed copy of the Martini Henry breech-loading rifle. Officers carry a Colt revolver and sword instead. Rank distinctions are on the sleeve for NCOs and on the collar for officers. Branch of service insignia is worn on the campaign cover, and a colored cord indicates officer, NCO, or enlisted status.

Dress uniform includes a dark blue tunic, with slate grey trousers. Infantry trousers have a wide black stripe down the leg seam on the outside. Dress headgear is the Belgic shako, in black. Officers have a gold cord on the shako; other ranks have black. Belts and boots are in black leather. Epaulettes on the tunic carry unit designations. Specific rank insignia is on the high collar of the tunic. The dress uniform is rarely worn, and many enlisted men only don it twice in their careers: at the ceremony for the end of initial training and when mustering out. On-duty guards at government facilities wear the dress uniform, as do consulate and embassy officers, and officers assigned to the General Staff Office.

A few photos of recent projects

Just a few photos of some of the things I have been doing. Once the Martian mat gets dry, I'll photograph it and show you all how it came out.


First up is the unobtainite deposits. Martian landscaping, blue crystals. Ready to play! Also useful for BattleTech, which my sons and I are getting into a little.

These are shots of two different rock outcroppings I just finished for Venus. The basic forms were given to me by Dan Martinez, aka Cacique Caribe, aka One Swell Fella. He was out of space and just couldn't bear to discard them, so he "Gamed them Forward" to me. What do you think, Dan?

All I did was paint them with flat black latex house paint, then spray with textured rock paint. Paint the base dark green. Once paint is all dry, I painted PVA all over the base and in strategic nooks and crannies and added static grass. The vines were done with a line of PVA riht out of the bottle, then some 'weed' green ground cover flocking was sprinkled on. Poke a few holes in the foam and glue in a few bits of aquarium plants and floral stems from Hobby Lobby. Spray all with a coat of gloss clearcoat and a coat of matte finish. Done!
If you look on the left edge of this photo, you can see the rocks 'before.' The blue foam is nice, but I like the way they came out better. Don't you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Game it Forward!

My good buddy Eli, who runs the excellent gaming blog I See Lead People, brought up an idea a while back he called "Game it Forward."

The basic idea is like the movie Pay it Forward, where instead of giving something in return to someone who helps you out, you give something in return to someone else in need. Paying forward, rather than back. Now apply the principle to gaming.

I think we have most all of us gotten some kind of little gift from our fellow gamers over the years to help us out. I know I have, and recently, too. So I thought I would try to organize myself a little bit to pay things forward. I am adding a section to the bottom of my blogs where I am going to list items I no longer need, extra bits and pieces, that sort of thing. If I put any price next to them, it's because the shipping will cost me something. Small items I can just drop in the mail, or if you live near enough to come and get the bigger things, no charge at all.

First come, first served. Come and get it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Idea... Could be Hazardous to my Wallet

I just had a nasty idea. Nasty, as in potentially expensive.

GW used to make a lot of really cool Imperial Guards regiments that had character. You have all seen the Mordians and the Praetorians used for VSF. I have been trying to convince myself that the few Valhallans I have would make good Russian VSF troops, but they still look too Red instead of White Russian to me.

Another group I have always wanted to try to use was the Tallarn Raiders. [For Example...]These are desert-dwellers. I thought "Oh cool, maybe the Turks." But they are more Arab than Turkish, and the Turks would not be giving away their expensive high tech weaponry to a bunch of illiterate Arab irregulars!

Today, I had a new idea for the Tallarns. Martians. Deep back of beyond desert dwelling Martian nomads. With technology from the Ancients. And a lot of religious fanaticism. Oh yeah, I'm liking this. My wife won't. Nor my wallet, I'm afraid. But just look at that picture at the top of the post - what a beautiful Martian cavalry commander! And "only" 16 GBP from Forgeworld...

But, before I hare off on this crusade, I have GOT to finish the Automatons. They are so close...

Anyway, that's my random idea for the day. Maybe it will spark some of yours. I certainly hope so.

More Miragliani Marksmen...

I won five packs of these for $25! They should arrive in the next week or so. Not too shabby, I think.

Quick update:

I've been busy working on terrain as well. I have some new rock outcroppings and cliffs that are nearly finished. Also, I found some apple trees on clearance at Hobby Lobby, so there is a four tree orchard on the way. Finally, I have been working on a new canvas mat for the table top, suitable for Empire battles. Sadly, I really messed up on the first one. It will be transformed into a Martian landscape. The second one looks better, but is too dark - more like a jungle than European fields and such. Fine for Lustria and Venus, but not what I wanted for the Empire. So try number three is coming up in the next month or so.

Finally, I have nearly finished the Lizardman Stegadon (old metal version). The crew just needs a little touch-up and then to be glued in place in the howdah.

No work on Empire. Well, almost none. I started the last six flagellants. So far, just the flesh has been painted. Like I said, not much. I got a new pot of paint to help vary the dark reds of their robes.

Next week is Spring Break. I hope to get a lot of painting done

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Accidental Martian Terrain Mat, Pt. 1

I have been busy working on a couple of terrain projects over the last week or so, and thought I would share with you my progress.

The main project began last Monday. I took a day off from work, it being the day after my birthday (38 now) and a mental health day being well overdue. My days "off" usually include a long list of projects to keep me hopping about, and this one was no exception. I did find myself at Hobby Lobby, and wandered into the fabric area. I have been wanting to make a canvas gaming mat or three for quite a while now, being slightly dissatisfied with my current felt mats. I just don't like the fuzzy factor.

So I picked out a bolt of nice cotton canvas. I also picked some liquid RIT dyes, and was looking at various tapes and glues to hold the edges of my fabric together. I asked a lady nearby her opinion, and she offered to serge and hem the edges of the cloth for me (she was a professional seamstress). So, with about $18 in the cloth (3 yards, 60" width), and another $12 for having it professionally hemmed to avoid fraying, I proceeded to color the mat.

My first mistake: I didn't wash the fabric before trying to dye it. The cloth has a sizing agent on it whe new, and this kept the dye from penetrating into the fibers properly.

My second mistake: Washing the fabric after dying it. Instead of mottled greens and browns, I ended up with a nice, uniform olive drab. Great for a WWII-era GI tent, but not so good for gaming.

So I ended up bleaching it back out, and now have a terracotta colored piece of canvas. Instant change of plans: no longer an Earthly vista, this glorious series of errors had produced the basis for a new Martian landscape!

I wonder, should I go ahead and just draw in the canal on the cloth? What do you fellows think? I smell a poll question!

Canvas Mats, Part One

I have been busy working on a couple of terrain projects over the last week or so, and thought I would share with you my progress.

The main project began last Monday. I took a day off from work, it being the day after my birthday (38 now) and a mental health day being well overdue. My days "off" usually include a long list of projects to keep me hopping about, and this one was no exception. I did find myself at Hobby Lobby, and wandered into the fabric area. I have been wanting to make a canvas gaming mat or three for quite a while now, being slightly dissatisfied with my current felt mats. I just don't like the fuzzy factor.

So I picked out a bolt of nice cotton canvas. I also picked some liquid RIT dyes, and was looking at various tapes and glues to hold the edges of my fabric together. I asked a lady nearby her opinion, and she offered to serge and hem the edges of the cloth for me (she was a professional seamstress). So, with about $18 in the cloth (3 yards, 60" width), and another $12 for having it professionally hemmed to avoid fraying, I proceeded to color the mat.

My first mistake: I didn't wash the fabric before trying to dye it. The cloth has a sizing agent on it whe new, and this kept the dye from penetrating into the fibers properly.

My second mistake: Washing the fabric after dying it. Instead of mottled greens and browns, I ended up with a nice, uniform olive drab. Great for a WWII-era GI tent, but not so good for gaming.

So I ended up bleaching it back out, and now have a terracotta colored piece of canvas. Instant change of plans: no longer an Earthly vista, this glorious series of errors had produced the basis for a new Martian landscape!

I wonder, should I go ahead and just draw in the canal on the cloth? What do you fellows think?
More to come... plus, the other projects, too! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poll Results, Purchasing and Monthly Goals

Wow... been almost a week since I last posted here. First month postings were pretty good, though. Hopefully March will live up to February's start. One can always hope.

So the poll. Obviously, more people thought winged lancers were the way to go. Personally, I was hoping for both. One thing I do not like is the winged lancer champion. Maybe I will do a weapon swap on him - its the mace I primarily do not like. Yes, I know a mace is a very effective weapon, especially against heavy armor. Don't care - I don't like them. So maybe a sword or lance. Anyway, I have decided I want both, and have already gotten 9 horse archers. Still need a musician for them (did they make one? I have to check my old Empire book).

Purchasing wise, I have got to slow down. First of all, I have tons of stuff now, waiting to paint (more on that in a moment). Second... I am running out of money! So, other than a little bit of stuff on eBay, and a private deal kinda in the works, I am done buying for the next few months. Yeah, right!

Painting goals for this month:

  • Finish the crew of the Lizardman Stegadon.

  • Finish the Empire Flagellants unit (4 down, 4 or 6 to go)

  • Finish the Grandmaster of the Knights of the Blazing Suns

  • 1x Sigmar Warrior Priest

  • 1 unit of Halberdiers (Wissenland)

  • 5x Kislevite Horse Archers

More later.