Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Complete Diogenes...

Here are a couple more shots of the finished Diogenes frigate, just to complete the cycle...

Now to get the others done...


Friday, 26 April 2013

Testing Diogenes...

Since getting my starter fleet for the Covenant of Antarctica, and playing our first game of Dystopian Wars, I both absolutely love the game, and was for the longest time absolutely stuck on where to begin painting.

Not long ago I started to wonder what a white-toned fleet would look like.  It would be thematic, and should look good in contrast with a blue sea board.  The only problem is that I have never really painted white tones before.

Never one to let a task obviously beyond my skill deter me from an attempt, I finally put paint to model in an attempt to see what I could do.

The base coat of what I thought would be a very close-to-white creamy colour resulted in a model much more yellow and far from white than I had originally envisaged.  At this point I simply decided to run with it and see what the outcome would be.

I layered some white over the top in a drybrush and then highlighted – again in white.  It was then the details – and I should add that it’s really only when you have paintbrush in hand that you realise how minutely detailed these models are.  Very finely detailed!  I painted the bronze pipes, steel and windows, and finally game the model a wash.  I was originally going to run with a brighter cleaner white and a blue wash, but after my base-coat it was clear that a blue wash might add in too many tones, so I ran with a watered down black wash, and then highlighted with white on the top of that.  In the pictures here the engines are still unpainted – they will be green, reflecting the use of Sturginium – the magic element that has changed the 18th century irrevocably (according to the background of Dystopian Wars).

After all is said and done I am actually quite happy with the model – the scheme is simple, but I think it stands in fine contrast to the table surface.  It also allows the simple details to pop out.  Now for the rest of the fleet…


Thursday, 25 April 2013

A road to nowhere...

One of the small side projects I had on my list recently was to finish off some cobbled/paved roads for use in Song of Blades and Heroes and any other of the larger scale games I have waiting to hit the table.  A little while ago I bought some Gale Force Nine static grass to use on the hills I was making, and decided to add a pack of ABS Plastic sheets in as well - these are moulded with a brick or stone pattern, and come in a variety of styles.  I think the one I ended up getting was 1mm by 4mm sized bricks.

Really this one was simple - I wasn't planning on doing too much detail - cut the sheets into strips, undercoat them black, then drybrush 3 layers of gray over the top - from darker to lighter and heavily to lightly.

I wan't wowed by the result, the key reason being I used rather an old and stiff brush for the drybrushing, which left streaks indicating the direction of the brush strokes.  In retrospect I would have used a softer bristle brush - but oh well - they don't look too bad and are certainly serviceable!
Ready to cut.

Sliced at a width of about 48mm.
Undercoated and ready for the final drybrushing.

Drybrushing completed, roads done.  I could give them a dark wash before varnishing - but I think this will do.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The hills are alive...

Wow - it has been a month since last I posted.  Much apologies to those following the Castle - it is not dead, simply AWOL.  The last month has been extremely hectic here, with a couple of medical emergencies that have meant we've been away or otherwise occupied.  Sadly during this time I haven't had much opportunity to sit down and blog, and my podcast: Games in Schools and Libraries, hasn't had a new episode posted either (they're recorded and the next will hopefully go up later this week).  Happily however the worst of the medical emergencies are behind us.

Very slowly over the last month or two I have managed to get a couple of modelling jobs on my list done - no I haven't been strutting the catwalk, I've been making hills, forests, roads and the like - which isn't nearly as exciting, but suits the marketing potentials of my physique better.

Earlier this year I got hold of some plastic vacuum moulded hills from Amera Plastic Mouldings.

These came all on one vacuum moulded sheet, which I cut out and then spent a long time mulling over what to do next.  I wanted the hills to be able to serve multiple purposes, both as hills for the Song of... series of games I've been playing, but also as islands for my burgeoning Dystopian Wars obsession.  With this in mind I didn't want to add to much specific detail, just make something that looked reasonable on the table and could pass as either a hill or island.

The plan was to cover them with a little sand, basecoat them in brown and then drybrush sequentially lighter shades, finally adding either flock or static grass to finish them off.  However the brown basecoat I found ended up far too high gloss, so I resprayed them white and used cheap acrylics to add the basecoat and the other layers.

Sand added, the PVA glue I used was very reluctant to adhere to the plastic, but the irregularity suited well in the end.
You can see the brown basecoat I used in this shot - far too glossy, the shine would have come through beneath the top layers of the drybrush, I resprayed white.

These show the successive layers of drybrushing - medium brown, lighter brown and finally a very light layer of skin tone.

Adding static grass (from Gale Force Nine)


Overall I'm very happy with how they came out - they're not as good as some of the wonderful stuff one finds online, but are certainly more than serviceable for my gaming table.