Thursday, 31 March 2016

Playing Around With: Silhouette Cutter

This is going to be a quickie this week as I really am still at the playing around stage with this gadget. What exactly is it? I don't really know. It is sold as a vinyl cutter, but I have been using it to cut card. I bought the smallest of the Silhouette range, called the Portrait, which will cut A4 sized cards.
The possible uses I can see you this are:
  • Cutting out printed card stock scenery. (Useful for Kaiju Rampage games.)
  • Cutting out a card base for a building, especially if I want lots the same.
  • Cutting out intricate stuff, like brick texture and tiles.
You begin by using the free software to map out the cuts, if you have one of the bigger machines you can also emboss, which would be pretty cool, but I don't. Above I am having a go at making some necromunda scenery, basically 2" cubes and bridges between them. I am using two layers of card, the pattern cut into the top layer.

Another thing I am trying is to draw an intricate pattern, such as the one above. This is a tile floor, but I am also trying brickwalls. Then scan this picture in and use the 'trace' function on the software. By setting the depth to 'paper' but using a thicker card the cut does not go all the way through. I then peel away the sections between tiles/bricks to leave the raised pattern.

Above is my trial for this process. I have sprayed it black and will then dry brush grey to pick out the detail.
Mounting card is a bit too thick for the cutter, which is annoying as it is my preferred building material. I cut out the above building, but had to finish the cutting with a scalpel, not as tricky as it sounds as the cut was already 90% through, but you know... you don't by a dog and bark your self.
Watch this space for some finished projects...
Coming Next Week...

Solo dungeoneering with Ganesha Games' Four Against Darkness 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Play Testing: Kaiju Rampage

Oh no! A giant monster is terrorizing down town Tokyo, there is only one hope: Super Size Steve Irwin...
Sensibly I would stick to one genre of wargames and expand my collection of miniatures and scenery. I am often accused of many things, but rarely sense. Like, I suspect, most wargamers my enthusiasm for new genres is only tempered by time and money.
It makes a nice change then to find a new game that only requires one mini to play, and a pre-painted one for £6 or so at that. Ken Lewis's Kaiju Rampage is one such game. It does require some scenery, but a) cardstock buildings do just fine and b) Jordan sorted all that out. 

We were playing Kaiju Rampage, a game of giant monsters fighting across a city, smashing buildings and generally causing mayhem. It is still in play-testing phase, and the book was somewhat disjointed, as is to be expected at this stage.
I had some doubts as to how strategic a game with one mini per side could be (you can have more but we wanted to keep it simple as this was our first game) but the fighting is complex enough to provide a number of options.

Steve Erwin kept using his special control power to flip the monster around, thus giving a bonus on combat.
Monsters are built from the ground up, with complete freedom to choose the initial stats as well as a number of powers and attacks. Not appreciating exactly how the system worked neither of us built our monsters as well as we should, in hindsight they should have had more attacks.

It took a while to get used to the system, but once we did it flowed remarkably smoothly for a system still in development, no doubt helped by the fact that this is a variant on another rules system. The movement particularly I found interesting, we have been asked not to go into details about the rules, so for now all I shall say is that it was restrictive enough to make you plan your moves, and means that even on a 3' table there was an opportunity for your enemy to evade your grasp and spit venom into your poor Australian face.
Expect to see more of Kaiju Rampage soon, Steve Irwin needs avenging...

Coming Next Week:
Playing Around With A Vinyl Cutter

Friday, 4 March 2016

Terrain Building: Static Grass Clumps

Back in the 80's and 90's railway flock was the thing to use on your bases. I'm not sure when static grass first started to come in, but when I discovered it it made a big difference to my basing. At it's simplest it can be added just the same as sawdust flock, splodge some PVA glue on the bases then dip it in the flock/static grass, pull it out, shake it (as the actress said to the Bishop) and Bob's your uncle.

Above is a hobbit based with just such a method, and there is nothing wrong with it. But when you are working at 28mm the devil is always in the detail. A small change can really make a big difference, and can help the miniature come alive.
This halfling was based with static grass and flower clumps, I don't know about you but I think the extra detail makes him seem far more finished.
The easiest way to get static grass and flower tufts is to buy them. At a few quid a box this is probably also the cheaper option unless you are going to be using lots. I do use a lot, plus I am a glutton for punishment so I decided to have a go at making them.

The most important thing you will need is a Pro Grass Box. This is the little green box in the centre of the above picture. You will also need the following:
  • Static Grass: I use a mixture of 2mm and 4mm in a variety of colours.
  • Glue: I shall be mostly using the little pot of glue sent with the Pro Grass Box but I am also going to try some Tacky Glue I bought off ebau.
  • Silicon sheet: A small piece was sent with the box, but I lost this so I bought some more. Several large sheets were only a few pounds, I cut one sheet into 6 smaller pieces. Also this way I can make several sheets at once.
  • Coloured Scatter/Sand: I am using both. These are only needed if you are making flowers. 

 Oh yes: you will also need:
  • Newspaper.
This is a messy process and I recommend covering your whole working area in newspaper. I also find it helps to do this at lunch time, when my wife is out.

Start by dabbing lots of blobs of glue over the silicon sheet. I try and make them a little irregular so all my tufts are no perfectly round.
Place a good pile of static grass on the Pro Grass Box. A mixture of length and colours will give a more natural look. Then clip the crocodile clip onto the silicone sheet.

Turn the box on and (being careful not to touch the metal) hold your sheet over the top of the box. The grass will fly up onto the sheet and will stand on end, where the glue will hold it in place. Move the sheet around a bit to make sure everywhere gets covered, the edges especially can need a little extra time.
If you are making grass then you are done. As soon as the glue is dry you can peal the tufts off (a pair of tweezers works best I find) and apply them to your bases.
However if you are making flower tufts there are a couple more stages to go. For flowers I used just 4mm static grass, and in a nice bright green.

After the tufts were made I put some more glue on top, just dabbed here and there, not too heavy handed but making sure every clump got some.

Then I dipped the sheet upside down in some coloured scatter. I have seen a method for making this by grating coloured sponges. I may try this in the future but for now I just bought some off t'internet.

These are my daffodils, made with yellow scatter.

The flowers on the left were made with coloured sand, those on the right with scatter. You can't see this too well in this picture, but the sand gives a finer, more intricate finish: it depends what type of flower you are making I suppose.

These tufts were made with the Tacky Glue from ebay. It isn't tacky. I'll have to do some more research on what glue to use, as the pot that came with the Pro Grass Box is running out. The idea with these was to make long thin tufts that could be used between flagstones etc.

These were made with just 2mm grass, and give a more lawn-like appearance, mixed in with other more irregular clumps they work well though. 

And these are the main clumps.

Coming Next Week:
Playtesting: Kaiju Rampage