Jan 19, 2019

Constructing The Rock Pt. 5. - Test Assembly

I'm about 90% done with this project, which is good because I want it finished by the end of the month. Here's what's completed and what is lacking:

I need to finish the farm and port section. I think there will only be a single ramshackle building at the port and the farm will not be too large either. Now if you look at it, the island lacks vegetation, which can be remedied by adding static grass and the farm will have some green pastures as well. 

On the other hand, I've completed the cliff with its removable top (it can be used as a walled garden or somesuch in other games), and painted the internal space as well - it has a nice consistent look. I just used bright brown (cheap acrylic paint bought at a supermarket and titled 'Martian Brown') and sand for most of the groundwork, and grey, sand and white for the cliff and buildings.

And here's the small island with the rotunda complete. I cut out the walls from a single piece of pink foam and marked them with a pen. The rotunda and fortress door are removable single pieces so the attackers can bash them down. 
I had to think about what sort of cannon to place inside, finally I went with large naval guns that can strike fear in any approaching ship; also I though about building a stone bridge but then decided that a large wooden one will do. Those thick planks can support large artillery pieces, and if the wooden bridge is broken down by enemy gunfire, it's easier to rebuild; I think the water between the two islands is shallow enough to either wade or easily swim through anyway.

Jan 14, 2019

Constructing The Rock Pt 4.

Internal decorations time while the outside surface of the main piece is drying. Of course it won't stay pink.
I'll take more pictures with better light of the rest. Progress so far includes cutting out, painting and drybrushing the main island piece and the three sand banks, constructing the cliff and finishing up the fortress. Stay tuned!

Jan 6, 2019

Constructing The Rock Part 3

The fort at the second tier is made from a piece of pink foam and clad in corkboard. Another more grainy cork mat is used to create the barracks. I'm sort of out of white so what I mostly use is sand mixed with black.

I took my BB gun and shot a bunch of holes in the ruined keep. The only problem was that is splintered the balsa wood floor. Next time I do this I'll have to make separate floorboard which can be torn up individually. 

Jan 3, 2019

Constructing The Rock pt. 2 - Scale

So the hardest part is to decide from the line drawing what scale should each component be. Based on the photos, the entire island is about three times as large as the attacking pirate ship, and the ship is about 25cm in total length (10" for more conservative people). 
I've made the mistake of just starting to cut out the base from pink foam and then of course everything turned out to be too small. Don't worry, I can still use these foam pieces for other stuff such as building the rock face itself.

The better solution is to work the other way around and create the smallest components first, and scale everything to those. The two smallest parts are the keep and barracks. Neither are extremely large but I thought about making them larger than the originals (they were just a hut and a ruined building). This means there's more space for a skirmish or small tactical game. Once these two are complete, I can measure everything both to them and the 4'x4' table I have. I won't mind building a larger island that can be used for other games.

Here's an explosion drawing of all the components in a 3D plan:

Although the keep and surrounding walls are on the same base, the keep will be separate so the dungeon carved in the rock could be reached. I can also make a 'side entrance' to the rock face and both could be removed independently, which would be quite cool. 

I think I have a revolutionary way to make the ruined keep, stay tuned for the next episode.

Jan 2, 2019

Constructing The Rock

Building this island fortress is my hobby project for January. When I prepare for something similar, I make detailed drawings until I have a working concept of the thing. In the meantime, I can have some ideas about execution as well.

The island should be about 50-60cm in diameter so it would fit a 4x4' table with enough space for approaching vessels.

The first thing I had to do was look at the photos taken from the game where I used makeshift objects to build the island, and think about recreating these objects for the tabletop.
  • The islands and sand banks will be made of pink foam.
  • The structures on the fortress will be created with a composite technique, balsa wood core and corkboard outer layer. Corkboard looks very much like stone/brick structures and I had used it in smaller quantity when making buildings for the Neue Böhnstadt colony, the concept is the same.
  • The rock itself will be made from pink foam and will have a built-in dungeon where prisoners would be held. This means I can spare some foam for later. I would cover the outside of the rock with snow paste, bits of rock, tree bark and various other stuff. (The snow paste I bought is more like pumice and I mostly used it to fill out figures' bases instead of its real purpose)
  • The gun emplacement on the smaller island will most likely be built out of pink foam bricks instead of balsa because the rounded form is easier to do this way.
  • The piers and the wooden decking of the port will be made from balsa strips.

So the project now has multiple main pieces that shall be handled and stored separately.
  • Three low sand banks
  • The base of the main island
  • The base of the smaller island
  • The small farm
  • The port and separate buildings (can be multiple pieces)
  • The rotunda
  • The fort (with separate walls so it could be a stand-alone structure)
  • The barracks
  • The rock itself
  • The keep on top of the rock
  • The surrounding walls on top of the rock
  • Two staircases
  • A bridge
  • I'm also building a pair of small ships for the siege.

Improvements made from the original gaming table:
  • The upper tier of the fortifications has a gun emplacement which can cover approaches the rotunda cannot. It should have a pair of smaller guns. 
  • The dungeon cut into the rock was not originally there.
  • The fortress is a fortress and not just an upper tier. It can only be approached from the port.
  • There is a small ledge on the island on the western side where a few palm trees can be placed.

Jan 1, 2019

Looking back - looking forward

2018 was a rather hectic year and I wish to take on this new one with a more conscious attitude. This means regulating my hobby time and having a certain project commenced and finished each month.

In this year, I will make a complete inventory of my hobby stores and probably upload it so you all could see.

Looking back at my goals for this year:
  • 1/72 merchant ship - this was a success
  • Jungle terrain and colonial buildings - jungle terrain is complete, colonial buildings were done for another part of the colonies (see the Schultze-Böhnstadt blog for details)
  • 6mm Italian Wars - the project stalled after finishing much of the army, but I have the rules and a few more very small scale units so I could as well just start playing (and expand it to fantasy stuff)
  • More diverse 6mm terrain - nope, and very little 6mm gaming at all.
  • Finishing the Revell SYW stuff I got for the Christmas previous - well under way but there's still some things to do.
  • Getting the Secret Project completed - I have the figure count but not most of the terrain, and maintaining a large enough table is somewhat of a problem not even playing at a club could solve (I scaled the map to a 150x200cm or 5'x8' table).

Which is not bad all things given, but not too good either. What we learned from this is that one has to set reachable goals in both the short and long term in order to succeed. Hobby goals shall be able to guide you and stick with a project even if you stall. This is why having multiple projects, both small and large scale, simultaneously, might be a good idea - you can always turn to one if the other one stalls. I'm rather hectic in the choice of projects and whatnot, but this keeps me going at my pace and enjoy it. The problem is, as the lack of regular posts suggests, free time, but I think with a little management it can get better.

With this out of the way, let's see what 2019 holds for me.

Smaller projects:
  • Keep the Neue Böhnstadt colony growing
  • In January, the end goal is the Siege of La Rocca, which was a makeshift setup in one of my S-B skirmish games. I want to finalize it with quality terrain and buildings. Has to be modular, of course. This includes building a fresh pair of warships as well. (I'll visit a department store tomorrow and see if I could find the right materials.)

Larger projects:
  • Expanding the 1/72 18th century army
  • Building more terrain and more dioramas
  • Finishing most of the unpainted Napoleonic stuff I have
  • Rebasing (and maybe repainting) the 15mm WW2 infantry

Dec 24, 2018

Season's Greetings

The sun rising as we cross the last stretch of mountains before reaching the home country

There was a cold snap preceding Christmas and we hoped the snow would stay, but then warm weather, wind and rain washed it all away. 
I have been to a journey (phyiscal and spiritual) recently, driving more than 500km through the country [and back, of course - the country is not big enough to go 500km from one end to the other] to the place I have spent my childhood at. I know I have been a naughty blog owner, something I wish to address in the coming year; until then, I wish nothing less fulfilling to all of you as a Christmas present than this journey was for me.

Dec 20, 2018

A Christmas Scene

This was made using one of these very deep picture frames, a colored printer, some of the pine trees Peter gave me some time ago, Baccus figs and a cheap Chinese yellow LED installed from the way of the back drop. Also lots of baking soda. It's a tasty Christmas gift.
It only started snowing a few days ago and it looks like it won't last, so at least there's this miniature snow to go around.

Dec 15, 2018

More Ottomen

Just a small update with some Ottoman auxiliary forces, light cavalry, less light elephantry and bowmen.

The elephants and archers are made by HäT, the akincis are RedBox set #2.