The Building continues!

Set3

The “Homeowners association” in this Village is tough! Red Roofs only!

As a follow up post to the last one on the “Total Battle Miniatures” 10mm Buildings for the Napoleonic Wars in Europe I figured I would post pictures of all the buildings as I worked my way through painting them. Here are the next five I have done. In the “Total Battle” base system five buildings would be the number required to fill one of the “Village” bases and is a comfortable number to paint as a group, speeding things up as you can paint the same areas such as roof, walls wood, ect…at the same time. This set of five I did a bit different look for the roofs, using a red/orange color for the tiles and selected some of their buildings with a distinctive style “cap” to some of the roofs. This different roof treatment was treated as a “copper” sheet roof, not uncommon back then in Europe and other places. I gave it a weathered look to show copper as it looks after years of exposure to the elements. I also did a bit of house numbering as well and signage.

Set3dWhile these buildings are all painted with the same style and color palette they can easily be mixed into the other buildings as some towns had buildings that looked very different from one another. Painting this way however speeds up the process enormously and helps you to have a consistency when you want it.

Here's the whole set as ordered.

Here’s the whole set as ordered.

BasepaintWash

In the last post you saw this picture of the whole unpainted set. All the buildings need to be washed in warm/hot water with dish soap to remove any mold release. I was told no primer was need and a good acrylic craft paint would be fine. I used a combination of craft store paint with some Vallejo and washes.

Basepaint1I have several large old paint brushes picked up from garage sales and swap meets that I use for big projects. You want to make sure of complete coverage, push the brush in every nook and cranny.

Basepaint4 After a few base coats you can begin “texturing” in roads and details. This is a good look at the fluffy brush I use! Many people toss out brushes like this but they are perfect for big terrain projects.

All the bases done and detailed. I used no clear coat on them as I did not want any paint that might not take the slight bending of the base.

Basepaint5All of the Church buildings come with a couple of “dome” or “steeple” options and I was had pressed to select one so I decided to to make the different “steeple” options for the church’s secure yet ale to quickly be switched out. This involved a simple drilling enough space to insert a magnet in each piece and gluing flush. To do this you take a ruler and draw lines from on corner to the opposite corner giving you an “X”. Where the lines cross is exact center and where you dill your holes in the church steeple base and the “dome” top.

ChurchMagDo not drill the wholes any deeper than you need and be sure to check polarity of the magnets before gluing to keep their facings correct since one way they attract and the other they repel! When you glue in the magnets take special care to get them set in deep enough so that the dome sits flat or it will stick up looking silly. I was off on this one at first and you can see where I had to drill another hole to allow me to pop the magnet out and reset depth.

Tops1Some of the tools for this project, not shown are a drill motor (I cheated using a drill press!) Exacto hobby blade for flash, Drill bits (use a drill motor, Dremel tool, or even a hand pin vise) the Magnets are off ebay, I bought 25-100 of several different sizes just to have around the work bench. The dentist toll is just one of a dozen or so collected over the years (ask you dentist if they have a few old ones) a small ruler. You can see the “X” marked on the church steeple and the roof section.

Tools1Assembly line painting methods save time and money when doing large projects of even small projects where the pieces or miniatures all require a couple of the same steps such as priming, base color coats, washes, ect….For Resin buildings my “go to” primer is always Krylon Automotive Charcoal Grey (black) as it really adheres to surfaces well and is fairly unaffected by dirt, mold release, or other contaminants left on the model or mini, yep use this on my minis although I have just started trying Vallejo’s primer with very good results! It’s water based and allows me to use smaller amount in my airbrush (paints on with regular brush as well) saving both time, money, and the environment while still doing a bang up job! The Vallejo primer is also safe for plastics like the Perry and Warlord miniatures that the “Auto” primer would damage!

PrePrimePlease leave a comment if you enjoyed this article on these fine Napoleonic Buildings, I truly enjoyed painting and now using them on our battlefields! Here are a few more pictures, enjoy! Bill W

 

 

Our Napoleonic battles expand (or shrink?)

Always start a Napoleonic post with the French marching!

Always start a Napoleonic post with the French marching!

Been doing so much SAGA (battles in the Dark Age Skirmish) around here and painting 3 Warbands for it from scratch that there has been little time for any other projects or gaming in any other periods. So after finishing my last Warband, Anglo-Danes, I decided to take a break from SAGA painting and dive into the prepped and primed set of Napoleonic buildings that I had gotten over the summer from “Total Battle Miniatures”. I had looked at re doing my Napoleonic buildings for some time now as Steve and I have a collection of random 15mm buildings but we were just not real happy with their effect on the battlefield.

One of our "15mm" buildings by I think "hovels" its not really true to scale either. This building is about medium size for a 15mm building.

One of our “15mm” buildings by I think “hovels” its not really true to scale either. This building is about medium size for a 15mm building.

Our 15mm buildings looked fine paint wise and good on the field but the size of the building meant that in the scale we play (Age of Eagles rules) towns were represent by one or two buildings and even then the large size of the buildings did not give either a good look or anywhere near the correct ground scale. Now ground scale was not that important to me as I was going to modify the AOE town combat any way into something slightly simpler and I really just wanted towns to look like towns, or closer than what we had now.

The way we had been showing "Hamlets" or "Villages" not very satisfying in my opinion.

The way we had been showing “Hamlets” or “Villages” not very satisfying in my opinion. I later went to placing brown felt under the building to show the towns outline for troop disposition.

I had looked over the “net” for over a year at different building manufactures, comparing look, variety, size, and price. I finally settled on “Total Battle Miniatures” because their “Big Battalion-Black Powder Europe” line was not only beautiful it was extensive, giving me a selection of 20 different buildings and 3 different bases to use. The line is well thought out, well cast, and priced very fairly. I liked the novel hamlet, village, town, base system they have where all the buildings in the line have “foot prints” that fit into the village, town, or hamlet, so that you can vary the look of several villages infinitely! Some footprints allow either 1 big building or 1-3 smaller footprint buildings to be placed in them. The bases are made of a soft synthetic material and allow a bit of conforming to uneven terrain. The buildings could certainly be used with out the bases but I like to over all effect as well as it would give me a definite “boundary” to define units being in or out of the urban area.

Now that is not the end of the story or even the reason for this post….. the real reason is to talk about the decision I made to go with their “10mm line” instead of the 15mm buildings, YES they not only make this line in 15mm, they also do the line in 10mm!!! and they also have some of the buildings in 20mm and 28mm!!! So after a bit of discussion with the chaps (Pete & Mark) at Total Battle about the size difference in 15 verse 10mm they mentioned that a few of their customers had used the 10mm for 15mm games and had good feedback on this. They were also kind enough to send me some comparison pictures showing a 15mm figure next to the 10mm buildings. Looking at the pictures I was sold on 10mm and decided to order the complete line, well actually more… I ordered 2 Hamlets, 2 Villages, and 2 Towns, that gave me 6 bases and 29 buildings! This is plenty for even large Napoleonic battlefields up to 4’x12’. (we play mostly 4’x6’)

This shows the difference in the building scale between 15mm (left) and 10mm (right) with a similar foot print. The 15mm occupy an area of aprocimatly 9" by 10" while the 10mm are 8" x 8" to the base edge. Figures are "Old Glory 15mm.

This shows the difference in the building scale between 15mm (left) and 10mm (right) with a similar foot print. The 15mm occupy an area of approximately 9″ by 10″ while the 10mm are 8″ x 8″ to the base edge. Figures are “Old Glory 15mm.

We just did our first battle using the first of the painted 10mm buildings and both Steve and I were quite pleased with the look and playability the 10mm scale gives us. We used two “Hamlet” sized bases with 6 buildings, 3 finished painted, and 3 almost finished. They look awesome and give a great look. You now have several buildings representing a small hamlet instead of one and you have some room around them on the “base” to deploy troops, clearly defining who is “in” town and what bases are “out”. The scale of the 15mm figures is in my opinion fine compared to the 10mm buildings and the look on the field more than out weighs the slight loss of real scale figure wise after all the figures are already much larger than the ground scale so this puts the buildings closer to ground scale.

The whole picture, now that looks like 2 "Hamlets" instead of two buildings!

The whole picture, now that looks like 2 “Hamlets” instead of two buildings! Sorry forgot to place the “trees” in the green cutouts.

The battle we fought was fairly small 2 “division’s” per side with a small Cavalry Division…30 infantry stands and 8 of cav apiece. It was a meeting engagement with the Hamlets and control of the road net the objective. Steve’s Austrians reached one town first and deployed, other Prussian brigades turned both north and south to counter expected French thrusts. The French commander (me) however used the legendary French marching speed to fall instead on the center where the Prussians had occupied the town.

Wide

Austrians move around and into the Hamlet of Hoffbrau, drinking a bit to much on the way through…..

The French assembled 2 battery’s, a 6 pound horse battery, a 12 pound infantry battery, and 3 Brigades for the assault on the Prussian held Hamlet. Preliminary fire by the French got lucky and rolled very well disordering the Prussian defenders while only suffering “disorder” to one of their own brigades. The French assault threw the smaller Prussian force back out of town with a “breakthrough” charge catching and “shattering” the Prussians fleeing the town as well as over running a Prussian Heavy battery. This pretty much ended Prussian hopes and the game.

French Breakthrough3

While he Austrians set up to fight a proper battle the French cheated as usual and out marched them arriving in mass at the Hamlet before the other Austrians were were close enough to lend support.

People who know me “know” that I am the first to speak out when shits not right and conversely I like to sing out when companies get it right and in the “miniatures” hobby it is sometimes rare to find one getting right, well “Total Battle Miniatures” got it right start to finish! from their great packaging (from England), to the casting, the range of beautiful terrain pieces, and even prompt answering of all my email questions!!!

They paint up very easily, typical resin buildings, wash, dry, prime…paint. The bases however are a SOFT synthetic material so you must use paint that has the ability to flex over time as well. I was told no primer was needed…things are so far OK with only minor chips in just a few spots…I would have like these bases to be resin or at least had the choice…that’s just me. I will do a separate post soon on the painting of these guys, I’m currently on three out of the six you see here!

Here's the whole set as ordered.

Here’s the whole set as ordered.

Here are some more pictures to give you all a chance to decide for yourself, and if you buy from Total Battle Miniatures please tell them you saw it here!

 

 

ZULU Nation

 

ZULUHospitall

Alphonse_de_Neuville_-_The_defence_of_Rorke's_Drift_1879_-_Google_Art_ProjectThought I would post a few pictures of an ongoing project of mine. Years ago at the “HISTORICON” wargaming convention I picked up the “Old Glory” 15mm “Rourke’s Drift” ZULUHospitall3set. It’s a great set with all the buildings and figures you need to do the classic battle of the ZULU war where around 120 British Soldiers held of over 4000 Zulu warriors. The British finally defeat them and force their withdrawal!

ZULUHospitall2

Well it sat on my shelf for over 10 years without me painting it! Just to many other shiny projects got in the way….well I finally decided I was not going to ever do it and offered it for sale! it was bought by a good wargming buddy John Curran. Unfortunately John then convinced me to paint it on commission, dang I sold it because I did not want to paint it and now I was…lol!

ZULUMain

ZULUMain2Johns a good “egg” and has given plenty of time so I thought I’d put up some pictures of my progress for him as well as let those of you thinking about buying the set see them out of the box and painted! Below are the “Cook house”, “Kraal”, and the “Redoubt”

ZULUKrallThe castings are all pretty good and require only a little work to make ready for paint. The roofs do need a bit of work and I installed some little balsa wood blocs to keep the roofs aligned properly. I also hand made the porch roof supports on both buildings. The colors are as close as I could determine from evidence and I painted it with a fair amount of weathering. The casting were all washed, primed with automotive primer, painted, and thumbs_rorkes_drift-0001then coated in clear gloss followed by some matte spray.

Cant have “Rourke’s Drift” with out “Zulu’s” here are a few “regiments” married and unmarried. The different “Zulu” regiments had different colored and patterned “cowhide” shields for unit identification.ZULUfig2a

ZULUfig1

For now they are being stored in a custom case made out of an old wine box. So we have four 24 man regiments.

ZULUfig2  ZULUbox ZULUbox2

 

 

 

Dark Ages Terrain

I have a pretty busy life with work, family, and life’s other distractions so when I do paint or build I tend to be very, very intense and as such I have one bad habit that eventually causes problems for me while painting or building. The problem is that I tend to multi task or have several projects going at once in various stages…while that is not necessary a bad thing it can cause quite a mess on my work bench. Now before I start whining to much I must say I’m extremely lucky to have the work bench and tools I have since this is more than most miniaturist ever have, I’ve worked hard for years to put it together and I’m very thankful for it. This “gripe” is just about using it and that applies to all of us no matter how big small your setup is. So the problem in doing several projects at once or moving to fast through any “one” project is that I have a habit of just dropping one tool and picking up the next one, scraps, shavings, paint, and anything else is just pushed aside to save time, finish a project and get it on the gaming table….This leads to a work bench that although bigger than most only has a tiny space in the middle for working. I also find dust and scraps form other projects contaminating my current paint jobs! Well the other day I got fed up and decided to do a major cleaning and re-organizing of it and despite my initial unhappiness at doing it instead of actually painting something I soon got into the swing of it and actually had fun! I soon found items I had lost or forgotten, the barrel of a Russian T-26, the machine gun off a Russian JS3, half a dozen various minis in different scales and periods, a “new” bottle of glue, a long lost “favorite” paintbrush, and a dozen other little gems buried in the rubble of dozens of long finished projects. I cleaned and tossed large pile of old paint bottles, broken brushes, scraps of every type, pile of minis I decided I would not use, and on and on….ok long story short after going through the whole area including drawers and shelves and reorganizing them I had a work bench back that was 4 times the size I was working on, I had a spot that was organized and I could now be twice as fast as I was working in the “cluttered” space as before. I now did not waste time looking for things….”ah so much better!”

Ahh, the pleasant time I've spent here!

Ahh, the pleasant time I’ve spent here!

So after basking in the glow of a job well done I decided to rip into a new project that I had been putting off specifically because I had so little “working” room on that bench! Dark Age terrain and buildings.

The buildings as I got them off "ebay" the original owner had just given then a once over with brown paint....

The buildings as I got them off “ebay” the original owner had just given then a once over with brown paint….

I love terrain! Even badly painted miniatures look good on a nice bit of terrain! My latest foray in miniatures took me to a period I’m not very familiar with, the “Dark ages” and after buying and painting a few Warbands it was time to delve into some real “Dark Ages” terrain. A few scans of EBAY brought me someone’s cast offs, a couple of Saxon / Viking buildings (by Architects of War?), some Wattle fencing, and a couple of small fishing boats. These were either unpainted or just had a bit slapped here and there. In many games building and terrain need to be clearly defined to avoid disagreements as to who’s in and who’s out of it. In SAGA when troops occupy a building any enemy troops that come within “VS” (very short) or 2” must melee defending units or stay out side the “VS” range. This leads to lots of measuring and re-measuring, in some games. I like buildings with bases because it gives me a chance to better blend the terrain feature into my matt; the buildings I had bought had no bases. I decided to add my own and incorporate the 2” melee zone into them so that at a glance we could tell if a unit was in the zone or not.

First thing you want to do is find the proper basing material!!! I can’t stress this enough!!! Wrong choice here and all the rest of your hard work will be for nothing. I cry every time I see someone put their lovingly painted $40 building on a .50 cent base!!! “ok” you say smart guy “what should I use?”

You want a material that is;

1.    Is easy to work with and not to cost prohibitive. Remember though that going cheap here may cost you in the long run!
2.    Will not warp! (Art board, Card board, etc…bad choices) Plywood, MDF, and other materiel may work but HEAT and HUMIDITY affect these materials as well as the thickness you use. So consider local conditions and “chose wisely young Jedi”
3.    Is easily obtainable for later building projects to give your terrain consistency!

I have been in this hobby longer than some LAFers have been alive and one of the things I learned over the years was to base my figures and buildings well as this increased my (and others) enjoyment of them as well as later on if I decided to sell them they always sold faster and for a better price when the buyer realized he would not have to re-base!

Yes the plastic used in the base was also used to re-surface my workbench!

Yes the plastic used in the base was also used to re-surface my workbench!

I use plastic sheets (Styrene) from 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. Its easy to cut with many different tools and in a pinch can be just “scored” with a sharp knife and snapped in two. I having LOTS of tools available to me around the shop so I used a band saw but the same angled cut can be done with a “copping saw” (see picture) and they are handy and not expensive. A very good investment for the terrain builders work box!

Coping saws for fine cuts in wood or plastic. A great tool!

Coping saws for fine cuts in wood or plastic. A great tool!

The plastic used here is not from a hobby shop but direct from a plastic supplier. I can’t stress enough that many times we miniaturist need to think “outside” the box of getting all our materials from only “hobby” sources! Many times you can get your materials much cheaper from other sources, however you may have to purchase much larger pieces or quantities at first costing more, in the long run you will save a bunch! The sheet you see here came from a 4 foot by eight foot sheet!!! Yes and it cost about $50, but I had them cut it in half for transport and ease of working later. I have had and used this sheet for a dozen projects over the last 10+ years and saved $100s plus dollars it would have cost if I hard gone and tried to get the same stuff at a “hobby” shop and I still have another half sheet! There is also the fact that the largest sheets most hobby shops sell are 8”x12”!

The first cut of the bases showing clearly the contrast of the square base verse the roundness of the house. The base material is almost 1/4 inch thick. Not to worry it wont be very noticeable when we finish.

The first cut of the bases showing clearly the contrast of the square base verse the roundness of the house. The base material is almost 1/4 inch thick. Not to worry it wont be very noticeable when we finish.

Most projects I do I’ll think out a plan that gives me my general direction and most things are worked out in advance but since the miniatures hobby is visual there are many things that can change once you “see” the project develop in the flesh so to speak! On this one I was thinking of just have the bases square since I was having them determine specific gaming areas per the rules but when I looked at the base under the building I realized that the square corners would look way out of place on a “Dark Ages” rural battlefield! As far as the rules it would require to “fudge” a bit but would still be a clear definition of where your troops were.

You can cut bases perfectly square BUT I like to slightly curve and vary my edges on most base’s as this helps blend the base into the rest of your scenery since your eyes will tend to pick out straight lines as not being in nature. Of course the exception to this would be say in a town or fortification where it is man made.  I also like to “angle” the cut made along the base, at least a 45 degree angle to further soften the transition of terrain piece to game mat. Now some of you are saying “humph, I can’t be bothered with all that” well fine if that what you like but this hobby is all about the “visuals” and every little bit helps.

Base's re-cut with with a gentle curving pattern and the edges "softened" with the sanding block.

Base’s re-cut with with a gentle curving pattern and the edges “softened” with the sanding block.

After the base is cut I use some fine grit (220+) sand paper to smooth edges and also a bit on the top to give some “bite” to the surface to help the paint stick better. Wrapping the sand paper around a piece of foam to make a sanding block works a treat (they also make pre-made sanding pads) I then primer the base either before or after I set the piece to it. I use JB WELD (fast set version) a 2 part epoxy to affix my bases to the buildings as it make a very good bond (better than “super glue”) but any 2 part epoxy will work.

The bomb! one of my favorite epoxies!

The bomb! one of my favorite epoxies!

While we are on the subject of gluing with “super glue” I can’t stress enough about using GOOD glue!!! The cheap “super glues” you find at the super market just are not up to the task. Most people I have ever heard say they had trouble gluing figures together or have their models later drop pieces off have used CHEAP “super glues” Go to the local hobby shop or online and by the best cyanoacrylate glue you can find!!! After all it is one of the foundation items your miniature collection is built on.

2310 CyanoacrylateGlueNow many castings are not completely flat on the base so some work might have to be done to smooth it out so it sets flat on its new base. Don’t fret to much as the next step will hide any little gaps. I have been doing miniatures for quite awhile now (25-30 years) and have learned a lot from others in the hobby, I have also I think developed many ways of doing things on my own that over the years have gone out into the community and are now accepted practice. Yes I do have a bit of an “ego” about “raising the bar” for wargamers over the years and I have the trophies to prove it…lol…ok to the point…I learned a lot of build and modeling stuff from my father who was a great carpenter and all around builder of real stuff and also did some modeling and “train set” work. I was exposed to a whole world of materials and how to work with them that was absent from the “Wargaming” or “Miniature Painting” world. One of these items was wood fillers, a whole range of “putties” and fillers used to fill gaps in wood that I saw could be used in basing and modeling…yes parallel development that others around the world also see this over time, but I like to think that I was one of the first (ego creeps out!) and I’m certain the way I do it is unique to me (at least it was).

Always use "Quality" materials in your projects! This can of Durham's Rock Hard cost about $10 but contains enough for years of projects and NEVER spoils!

Always use “Quality” materials in your projects! This can of Durham’s Rock Hard cost about $10 but contains enough for years of projects and NEVER spoils!

I use “DURHAMS ROCK HARD” water putty. It’s a powder that you mix with water into a paste. Now by its self I found it works BUT is a bit delicate when put on thin and roughly handled as you might with your terrain. To toughen it up I add not only water but white wood glue in a ratio of about 65% water to 35% glue added to the Durhams powder. I mix this adding more water or glue until I get a mixture about the consistency of yogurt.

This little trowel is OLD and was found at a garage sale, used by sculptors of big statues it has a another end that is rounded, made in Germany its one of my all time favorite tools!

This little trowel is OLD and was found at a garage sale, used by sculptors of big statues it has a another end that is rounded, made in Germany its one of my all time favorite tools!

Basic baseing finished.

Basic baseing finished.

Using a small hobby trowel, butter knife, or even a wedge cut piece of card board I spread this onto the base, from the edge to the mini or in this case the building. The “filler” can then be worked smooth, rough, left high in some spots, or what ever you like.

On these buildings I also sprinkled broken sand and rocks to create rough spots as well as blend in the walkways from those on the original building casting to the “new” base.

Adding rock work and defining paths.

Adding rock work and defining paths.

I use a big medium stiff bristled brush dipped in water to move around and smooth the filler. Any of the additional materials such as rocks, pebbles, gravel, ect, can be added while the paste is still soft and wet to help it blend. Let the “Durham Rockhard” filler dry over night and then I prime the whole thing with “Krylon Automotive” black primer.

 

primed

Now your model is ready for painting, and finish details. I’m not going to detail my painting to much here as most of you are masters beyond me already. Questions will be answered of course…lol.

One thing I’ll mention is that for “terrain” I ofter use “cheap” craft paint for the big areas and save the good stuff for details. I also have a box of old paints that I try to use up on terrain when they they are replaced or deemed to old for first line use. The two bottles in the picture are the same color, the little Vallejo bottle is $3 for about 1/2 ounce (17ml), the big “Creamcoat” bottle from craft store is 8 ounces and $3.50. While I would not use the big bottle stuff on a mini as it just not near as good, it is fine for larger less important projects and will work fine generally it is so much cheaper!

Paint1

Then it’s on to flocking and such. Years ago I was able to pick up some stainless steel tubs in a few different sizes (flea market) and I use these when I’m flocking and applying terrain material it catches all the fall off and allows you to return excess flock clean to the flocking container as well as keeps your work area “flocking” clean!

Any kind of non-stick pan or tub is your best friend during the flocking process!

Any kind of non-stick pan or tub is your best friend during the flocking process!

I then let it dry over night. One step I will mention and it’s a good one you may not have thought of. To finish up I SPRAY clear gloss on the model as well as all the flocking, grass, bushes, and trees…. Why? Because it helps to “bond” the “flocking/brush” material more than the glue you used to lay it down originally. It seals the whole thing and keeps the flocking from not rubbing off from handling and game play. It also allows the gentile rinsing with cool water your pieces that gather dust over time. I use Testor’s in my air brush for mini’s but on larger projects I go with Krylon fast drying clear Gloss (in a spray can). The Gloss will darken the “flock/brush” a bit but it will lighten up a bit as it dries. Let it dry for a few hours and then you can DULL coat the entire model to taste! You now have a well protected model ready for some hard action!

I was toying with putting in a LED light and flasher to show the fire but this was deemed “overkill” since it would be seldom seen!

Here is the finished project, I was happy with it I hope you all enjoy it as well!

Bill W

My "Flemish Mercenaries" cant wait to plunder these baby's!

My “Flemish Mercenaries” cant wait to plunder these baby’s!

CLICK on photo for larger picture!

But wait there’s more!……One of the invaluable tools I use is a “hot glue gun” I use a bit of it on a nail of in the case of these larger building a short piece pf plastic pipe. This gives me a handle on the piece or miniature so I can firmly grip it and maneuver it almost 360 degrees in all directions with out touching it! I combine it with a few weighted upright “stands” to slip the pipe over, holding the piece upright while it dries.

RoofStands1RoofStands