Monday, September 25, 2017

Into the Bush (Galen's Vietnam Project)- Tutorial: Jungle Scatter Terrain.

So the Vietnam War has been a fascinating subject to me for a long time. Probably due to hearing stories about the press coverage from my parents who grew up during the war. So when I started Wargaming, naturally I wanted to game the conflict. Over the past year or so, I've begun collecting forces and vehicles. But the most daunting part of gaming Vietnam is probably to model the dense jungle that makes up the Vietnamese Highlands. I've conducted numerous experiments and now I feel confident to share one of the methods I came up with.

Materials:

  • Your prefered terrain basing material
  • Plastic Aquarium/Terrarium Plants
  • Clump Foam
  • Flock/turf 


Step One:
So I decided to use balsa wood for my scatter bases, because I'm limiting my spending to save for a trip to Normandy in 2019. Also it's easy to cut without power tools. In fact you can just use a hobby knife to cut it. I shaped it in an oblong shape, trying to remove any super straight edges. I also sanded down the edges to make a bevel.

Step Two:
I spray painted it with Army Painter "Leather Brown" Primer, so if the flock gets rubbed of it looks like there is dirt.


Step Three:
With PVA glue I flocked around the edge 


Step Four:
Now using a punch to make holes to place my plants in. I like to make them in triangular patterns. Then just with a dab of super glue stick your plants onto the base.


Step Five: 
Keep adding plants around one edge of the base.


Step Six:
Once you have about a third of the perimeter suitably foliage. You may want to go in and put flock/turf among the plants to hide the base. 


Step Seven:
Another way you can hide the base is to use clump foliage to make the plants appear more dense than it really is. This is just up to personal taste. I like the way it looks.


Step Eight: 
Keep adding plants and clump foliage until you are happy with the look. This took me maybe two and a half hours, leaving time for the glue to dry.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Editorial: Wargamers and The Judgement of "Normals"

Normals (noun)- someone who is not a part of a hobby that the user of the term is a member of, and will probably not understand what the hobby entails 

As a wargamer I have often gotten the feeling that some people look down on me believing that I want a war. Quite the contrary. Having studied military strategy and learned about war, what it does to people, and the cost in civilian and military lives. I've seen pictures of combat zones, I've read first hand accounts of people who where in combat zones, Hell, I have friends in some of those combat zones. I do not want war.

The fact that I have studied wars, has made me want all wars to end. I do not wargame to make light of war. Yes, I do have fun playing the games that I play, but that's because I'm playing with little glorified toys. That's what they are, toys. It's no different than Call of Duty, Battlefield, and all those other video games that depict armed conflicts, except that my hobby, and all those in the community's hobby, cost more money and time.

If I am going to be looked down upon for playing war games, then why should we not look down on chess players. Chess is a "war game" It's a game about a battlefield. It's just abstracted into black and white squares and black and white figures. The only difference between chess and the games I play, is that they are clearly defined conflicts opposed to an abstract board game.

At the heart of my hobby, it is a way for me to remember and to honour those brave souls who have decided to fight for their countries and for what they believed in, regardless of country, nationality, or beliefs. A way to remember all those people who died and those who still have not gotten to go home.

Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to read this.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Galen's Musings: RPGs vs. Wargaming

So I've been talking with a friend about how dissatisfied I am becoming with role-playing games. We began to talk about the frustration of trying maintain a continuous campaign and the elements that can make or break an RPG. We also discussed why wargaming has been more satisfying to us.

One of my biggest complaints with attempting to GM an RPG campaign is how difficult it is to get a group of players on the same page, much less getting them in the same place at the same time at regular intervals. It becomes a constant struggle for the GM to share this world he/she's created and this epic adventure they've written. It's very frustrating, and even when I can get everyone together I sometimes didn't feel satisfied with how it went.

Now on the other hand, wargames have always been satisfying, even when I don't win, or the dice turn against me. There's something inherently enjoyable. Maybe it's because you get to create a story around the game with your opponent. I'm not exactly sure why I see things like this. Maybe it's because I've had so many RPGs fall apart around me.

Now, in conclusion I've come to the conclusion that I'm not as interested in RPGs any more. I'm tired of having to fight to get players and to keep them interested. Where as with a war game, I know that person is wanting to play and I don't have to struggle.

Feel free to leave a comment about this! I'd love to have a discussion on this subject

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tutorial: Let's go Muddin'

So where I live, apparently "mudding" is a thing. I guess it has something to do with driving a truck, dirtbike, or four wheeler through mud. I think. Someone correct me. But let's get real... You're not here to learn about southern pastimes. You want to know how to make mud for your models!

Materials:

  • Realistic Water or substitute
  • Weathering Pigments

Alright, so usually I do steps for my tutorials, but I didn't really take steps, it was more of a making it up as I go sort of deal. 

So what I did first, was get a container to mix my pigments. I will note that I made the mud for the panther a little to "clay-like". I wanted it to be a bit more dark dirt like, if that makes sense. 

So mix up your pigment till its a solid colour. Next I mixed in some leaf material and static grass. Then pour some realistic water into the cup and mix it up with a stick. You want it to be kind of a batter like consistency. But it really comes down to personal preference. 

Take a really really old shitty brush. You do not want to use a nice brush. This will gum up your brush, faster than sticking a piece of gum in that girl you hated in third grade's hair. Okay, now i slathered it all over the tracks. I was going for a really muddy look. 
 

 As you can see this turned out a bit more orange than I would have liked, so I took some of my lighter pigment and with a toothbrush, I brushed the pigment to lighten up the mud.


 This was the the result of the lighter pigment over the bright orange.

Hope this helps!



Friday, January 20, 2017

"No Tiger Fear"; A Review of Stoessi's Heroes Miniatures

So a while back I posted on Stoessi's Heros Faceboook page about how much I would love to review his models, but I had no money to purchase them. Wonderfully, Thomas Stoesser got in touch with me and we arranged for me to get three models to review for free! But since shipping was an issue I decided to order four models, and then shipping wouldn't be an issue. Due to my incredibly clever idea, I was able to pick up the whole line! Even though Stoessi has been so lovely to deal with, I am going to be honest in this review. It wouldn't be a good review then, would it? Anyways, let's talk miniatures.

So, Stoessi's models are wonderfully detailed and very characterful. Which complies with his motto, or catchphrase, "Adding Character to Your Battlefield".

 I already liked the models, but finally to see them in person has been great. They sculpts are very nice and I hope my painting skills can bring them to life. The models were very easy to clean up with very minimal mold lines.

Donny Dumpf and PFC Miller
Probably my favorite model is "Donny Dumpf". Being an American I think that this model is absolutely hilarious. I can now proclaim while using this model, "MAKE WAR GREAT AGAIN! Back to the way things were in 1918!"

Stoessi's first model(?) was "Otto Hottenrott", a German Late-War Sch├╝tze. I would have liked him to have more field gear than just a bread bag and canteen, but that was an easy fix with adding spare parts to flesh out the model.

I'm not going to go in to what I think of all the models here, but they are all wonderful. My full thoughts on them will be during the Step-by-Step articles which I will be writing.

I also got a button that says "No Tiger Fear", and a Bottle Opener that says "We don't have the proper facilities to take you all prisoner. Sorry!"
Very thick tabs

My only true complaint with the models are the incredibly thick tabs that the models come on. I use flat bases like those that come with Warlord Games' kits. After a while of trying to figure out how to remove the models without damaging them, I decided on simply shaving the tabs down.  It's a bit tedious, but it doesn't end up bending the feet. This isn't a comment on the models themselves but it made prepping the models a bit more difficult.

I did accidently snap the rifle stock on "Red Army Sniper, Liudmyla Pavlychenko", during this process, but I just had to reattach it with some glue.

My rating of these would be 4.5 Star General. (For those unaware the highest general is a Five Star General)

Check out Stoessi's Heroes webpage here and his Facebook page here

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tutorial: Elephant Grass/ Bamboo Stalks

So I've had a fascination with the Vietnam War for a long time now, and I've always wanted to game it. But only recently have I begun to build and collect models and terrain for the conflict. One of the things I've been scratching my head at is the infamous Elephant grass. I've seen a lot of references to using grass mats for the grass, but upon looking into this, I've never liked the way it looks. It looks too fake for my tastes (even at tabletop distance). Thus I came up with a scatter terrain idea.


Supplies:

  • A hand broom
  • Washers (I used 50mm)
  • Green stuff
  • Super glue
  • Scissors 
  • X-acto knife

Step One: 
First off, you're going to get your scissors or x-acto knife and cut the bristles off of your broom. You can super glue the bristles first but I've found it doesn't make the nice splayed look that plants have.

Step Two:
Take a bundle of the bristles and wrap green stuff around one end. You can also wrap it around both ends to get more coverage for one bundle.

Step Three:
Now stick your green stuff onto the washers. I always place a tuft over the hole.  Then repeat steps two and three until you are satisfied with the base. You can also supplement the bristle tufts with long grass tufts, but wait until you've painted the bristles.


Step Four: 
Trim the top of your tufts with scissors to get the tops a fringed look.

 Step Five:
Paint your bristles with green paint. I like to mix the the colours in small amounts to create an interesting and realistic look. It looks strange if all your grass is the same colour. I also paint the base.

Step Six:
At this stage I would glue your long grass tufts onto the base. But, I would use them sparingly because they aren't the most sturdy. 


Step Seven: 
Now just flock your base in what ever manner suits you.

One thing i've noticed, that due to not priming the grass, light catches the bristles and give it that sort of translucent look that plants have. I've found that this method will work well with 28mm and 20mm. You could also paint them in different colours for alien planets!

Size comparison of my grass with a 28mm and a 20mm figure.


I just want to say that this is the coolest thing ever.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tutorial/Painting Guide: Galen's US Infantry/Airborne

This is the painting guide I have developed for my United States Army forces. Is it completely historically accurate? No. But it's close enough! For those of you that have an issue with non-historical accuracy for miniatures I'd like to direct you to this article on Warlord Games's site.

All paints listed are Vallejo, unless otherwise noted. The base and highlight are divided with "//".

Uniform

  • M41 Jacket: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Khaki 70988
  • M41 Jacket Variation #1: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Khaki Grey 70880
  • M41 Jacket Variation #2: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Highlight Japan Tkcr. 332
  • M43 Jacket/Trousers: Gnarls Green (P3)// Brown Violet 70887
  • HBT Uniform (Dark Shade): Olive Grey 70888// Brown Violet 70887
  • HBT Uniform (Light Shade): Gnarls Green (P3)// Italian Tankcrew 327
  • M1942 Paratrooper Uniform: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Khaki Grey 70880
  • Service Shoe/Jump Boots/Buckle Combat Boots Lower: Walnut Brown (Reaper)// Ruddy Brown (Reaper)
  • Buckle Combat Boots Upper: Walnut Brown (Reaper)// Oiled Leather (Reaper)
Field Gear
  • Web Gear: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Highlight Afrika Korps 340
  • Web Gear Variation #1: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Highlight Ge.II (Feldgrau) 339
  • Web Gear Variation #2: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Khaki 70988
  • Web Gear Transitional: Olive Grey 70888// Japanese Tankcrew 328
  • Web Gear Transitional Variation: Olive Grey 70888// Brown Violet 70887
  • Bayonet Scabbard: Gnarls Green (P3)// Traitor Green (P3)
  • Bayonet Scabbard Variation #1: Rucksack Tan (P3)// Highlight Afrika Korps 340