About Me

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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Making Trees - inspiration

Now that my bocage project is done, I want to make more trees to round out my table. I actually own more than I can use, but colors, man, colors! So many tables are drab...and Spring and Fall (and heck, even summer!) offer such natural beauty!

As there are more ways to make trees than there are rulesets to play in 28mm...

I did some research, as always, and finally decided that these two videos were what I wanted to replicate. The first is by an Aussie (?) who is clearly a master woodworker and into making terrain "on the cheap". The second is a more conventional project.

I made the jig from the first video for pines, and hand-twisted wire trees to replicate the second. I hope to have something to show soon.

As mentioned, there are so many other worthwhile tutorials out there - here are a few more.

This is a great option for Wargaming trees, as opposed to some of the more complex "train terrain" versions out there:

This is a neat series about one modeler's attempt at trees

A simpler blog:

This link has a really cool way of making trees from aquarium plants - he wrote it for 15mm:

This gent in the UK models for 28mm, but his scenery is gorgeous:

These guys do a cool series of How-To's - the 6mm version is featured further down:

A really good option that uses steel wool (I tracked this one down after reading the one above...)

This is more for dioramas, but the concepts are the same - and since I'm currently working on a diorama for my wife, well...

And for realism over usefulness:

Some articles scaled specifically for 6mm, or for "Canpoy"-style groves:

Building 6mm Bocage Hedgerows with popsicle sticks and clay, Part 2

A quick link to Part 1.

Before I show you the rest of my project, let me say that I love seeing new products, and Shawn Morris at the Terrain Studio has some very cool Youtube tutorials (his latest seems to be this amazing WW2 European field for 15mm; see below).

Skip to 2:30 to see a walkthrough of some items from Scenic Express that look like they might be fun to use.  4:20 is where he talks about the plowed fields - I bought 2 on this recommendation and am looking forward to seeing them in action.

Back to the Hedges!

Here are the Hedgerows with 2 layers of paint: Beastial Brown and Graveyard Earth. The third, lighter color was Country Tan by Apple Barrel - I've never really been happy with the highlight color to go onto the Earth color. Khaki was recommended to me, but this was what I had on hand. I also hit the scouring sponges with a bit of English Ivy color, also from AB.
As you can see, the sand that I sprinkled on during the clay phase is mostly still there. The primer I painted on was quite thick, and basically glopped it on. The rocks are highlighted with 2 colors of gray.

Finally, the fun part. I mixed up a few different colors of flock, including Woodland Scenic's Green Grass, and some tans, browns, and an Earth mix. A 50/50 water/PVA solution is the usual suspect here:

The English Ivy, once dried, barely showed. I hope to go back with a lighter Leaf color just as an accent.
You can clearly see that there was indeed shrinkage with the clay, and it is evident on many of the ends of the hedgerows. This is probably the most frustrating part of the project for me. It is certainly something I can live with, but it is there nonetheless.

The other thing is that I made some of the berms very narrow. This worked artistically, but when it came time to add the clump foliage, didnt give me a lot of room to balance some of the pieces very well. Still, it turned out OK, I think. See for yourself:

As I ran the Hob-e-Tac along the berms and let it sit, I started sorting the clump foliage. When you pull the pieces out of the package (or the bins I keep them in, in my case), there are all sorts of dingledangles and gribbly bits hanging off them. I pulled a lot of this off and made three piles: bigger pieces (for where the berms were flatter or wider and could accommodate a larger  piece), small bits (for the narrower spots), and the leftovers (for filling in places, or covering left over glue bits).

Here are some 15mm scale shots, with models from Khurasan:
Here are some 6mm scale shots, with bits from my Eldar Epic collection:
Of course, some obligatory storage shots:

There you go. I cannot wait to get them onto the table!

ps another blog of a similar project:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Super Leaf - or how to make Spring trees

I made some fun purchases at Scenic Express last week. One of them (some of them?) were Super Leaf packs in many Spring colors - pinks, purples, etc, so I can continue in my quest to add color to my boards. I already have Fall colors for my trees, but I decided that Spring has great color and I wanted to experiment.

A Japanese Flowing Cherry tree:

 Flowing Dogwoods:

Purple Leaf Plum Trees

One problem I found with my desire to add Spring trees to my table was the apparent lack of ways to do so. I usually either buy trees off Ebay, or use various methods combined with Clump Foliage to make them - but this didnt seem like an option for Cherry, Dogwood, or Plum trees.

I found this product: http://www.sceneryexpress.com/JAPANESE-CHERRY-LEAF-PETALS-16OZ-SHAKER/productinfo/653-6542/ and shortly after found this review by TerranScapes...but as you can see, it still doesnt really give a good example of how to make these trees (yet?). Skip to 2:16 for the review...or follow the link he adds in the upper right hand corner as the video starts.

I'm still at a bit of a loss on how to do this, even though I have this neat product - because it doesnt seem thick enough to make trees with in my usual way.

More research is needed. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this product?

NOTE: I found a new item in Catalogue #17, called "Pull Apart Plant Cluster" (an example is here):

It looks to be an undercoating, if you will, in the vein of the Polyfiber product. I may look into this.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Warmaster resources

Not sure if these are relevant still or not, but this seemed like a good place to mark some of the things I've found over the past month while surfing the internet.

The best place to get the game itself. Look for "Warmaster Living Rules" :)

The Specialist Games forums - this is a link to a lot of what I have below:

THE most inspiring Blog I've found on Napoleonic building as mini-dioramas - and because of this, my wallet went KA-BLAM over at Total Battle Miniatures and Levin Miniatures!

Campaign rules and a repository of Warmaster rules supplements

This seems to be a fully functional army builder online, with links to some of the Warmaster PDFs.

This guy has some neat entries on terrain and Warmaster units he has done.

Another repository of Warmaster files, including counters for gaming

In case you don't have models and want some counters to play with:

Some reviews of 6mm Buildings

A fantastic PDF on making small-scale forests - like, FORESTS, not individual trees clumped around each other :)

My foray into 10mm Warmaster - Wood Elves

[EDIT] This was originally a dual post about Wood Elves and Vampire Counts, but I separated the VC into their own post...

It's time. I've wanted to own some 10mm armies for some time now - mainly for Mayhem, but also for Warmaster since it is the more dominant game locally.

I decided to get Wood Elves because I'm an elfy-kind of guy, and for the bad guys, well, I love vampires, so Vampire Counts was an easy choice.

Of course, any time you enter into a new game system, the army list you write up to buy may not be what you end up playing with. This can be for a number of reasons, but I find it usually stems from lack of knowledge, unfamiliarity with what actually works, or just being attracted to the bling (or all of the above!). Since finding army lists was a challenge, I wrote up some lists of what I thought I'd need, and then sourced out the models.

Athens Fantasy was KEY to my feelings of success (I suppose "success" will only be determined once all my moving pieces arrive and are assembled into what will, ultimately, be my final product).

He also wrote a list for Wood Elves which I combined with This and this. The Wood Elves Warmaster army list is here.

One problem I found with selecting the different manufacturers was the lack of pictures on different websites. I turned to the web for help.

Ultimately I settled on these quantities. For ease of reference, I will link the model's entries on their respective website - I apologize for any broken links in advance.
WARMASTER - 10mm Wood Elves

2 units of Dryads
  • 6 bases, 18-30 models [3-5 per base, TBD]
4 units of Glade Guard
  • 12 bases, 120 models [10 per]
2 units of Wardancers
  • 6 bases, ~30 models with dogs [5-ish per, TBD]
3 units of Wild Riders
  • 9 bases, 27 models [3 per, because of model's size]
3 units of Treekin
  • 9 bases, 18-27 models [TBD, models undecided]
3 units of Warhawk Riders
  • 9 bases, 9 models [1 per]
2 units of Waywatchers
  • 2 bases, 10 models [5-ish per]
2 units of Treemen
  • 2 bases, 2 models [1 per]
2 units of Giant Eagles
  • 6 bases, 6 models [1 per]
1 Dragon
  • ?

2 Generals (1 mounted?), 2 Heroes, 2 Wizards (1 on a Unicorn?), 2 Branch Wizards (magical Dryads - models TBD)

My Order list [NOTE: I love variety, and have mixed and matched excessively, compulsively, and in some cases, maybe foolishly...]:

Miniature Resellers links:
Eureka Minis in Australia
[163.75 from the US store, and 124.03 from the Aussie store [qtys in US were limited] - $43AU for S/H!]
Eureka mini's USA branch
Copplestone Castings in the UK [$43.18 USD w/shipping]
  • Evil Characters [TM9] x2 - for Heroes, etc
  • Heroes on Horseback [TM16] x1 - for Wood Elf Heroes
  • Rangers [TM17] x1 - to sprinkle into Waywatchers, etc
Kallistra in the UK [$117 UK pounds w/shipping and "Buy 6-pay for 5" sale]
  • Historical Miniatures:
  • EEM The Impaled  [H-3019] x1 - for fun
  • 100YW Men-at-Arms [H-901] x3 [4 bases per] - for my Grave Guard based on this link (I'll paint skin/faces as white with black gaps and hope for the best)
  • 100YW Command [H-908] x1 - because Command :)
  • Fantasy Miniatures:
  • Skeleton Warriors [301] x5 [4 bases per] - for my main Skeleton horde
  • Zombie Horde [307] x3 [4 bases per] - my main Zombie horde
  • Undead Command [309] x1 [30+ figs] - Command/Heroes and fun
  • Tormented Spirits [308] x1 [4 bases, 16 figs] - for Ethereal Host, combined with Pendraken Wraiths
  • Skeleton Cavalry [302] x3 [4 bases per] - Black Knights
Pendraken in the UK
Pendraken's models through the War Store (US) [I placed this via email request to Neal, since some of the SKU's werent on their website] [$76.90 USD w/shipping]:
  • FE4 (Wood Elf Command) x1
    FE10 (Wood Elf Hero) x1
    AC24 (Mixed Ghouls) x6
    FU14 (Wraiths/Spirits) x2
    FU5 (Undead Command) x2
    FU26 (Undead Hero) x1
    FU13 (Undead Vampires) x1
    AC12 (Swarm of Bats) x6
    SYW12 (7 Years War Civilians) x1
    SYW10 (17/18th Century Carriage) x1
    AC2 (Helpless Maidens) x1
    AC4 (Zombies rising from the Grave) x1
    AC23 (Crucified Mummy) x1
Magister Militum in the UK [$37.38 USD w/shipping]
Khurasan Miniatures in the US [$24.65 USD w/ Shipping]
  • 15mm Fantasy items: 
  • Vampires [MYST-200] x1 [2 models] - for Heroes
  •  Zombie Wolves [MYST-202] x3 [6 models per] - for Dire Wolves
  • Jon Laney, Werewolf [MYST-203] x1 - for Hero or to lead DWs
Microworld Games - 6mm in the US [$23 total w/ shipping]
 > Because Kerynne.com offered some great ideas
Splintered Light 15mm minis in the US [$34 total w/ shipping]
DRYADS: I want the bases to look a little like this from Kerynne's site:

I also added 2 dragons from Ebay for silly prices...I got a High Elf on Dragon and a Chaos Dragon as well. I think this is looking pretty complete. Now that it's all headed in my direction, I get the tak of assembling, painting and basing, etc...I'll report back as I get more action done on the forces.

[EDIT 6/5/2015 - Rebel Minis just announced a "line" of 10mm figs for their Mighty Armies game, which currently consists of Wood Elves and Orcs. Well, damn! I'll be picking up an army for fun's sake!]