I'm a great fan of vac-formed plastic for terrain. It's light and cheap and easy to work. Some people may find the lack of detail to be an issue, but it doesn't bother me. I have fond memories as a child of buying many of the old Bellona pieces, though sadly they are long gone and there doesn't seem to be much archive data about them on the internet.
|The parcel from Amera, with a 12" (30cm) ruler for reference and some of the packaging material removed to create a better view.|
The Castle Keep (F214)
Rather than describe all the pieces in the box, I'll show how I handled just one from start to finish. This is mainly because it's the model that I've finished; the others have all been started but progress on them hasn't been as swift. Hopefully this will also give you the idea that these pieces are really quick and easy to prepare.
Once trimmed, I coated the non-masonry parts of the model with tacky glue and then sprinkled this with grit (in clusters), followed by sand.
Finally, flock and clump foliage was glued to the model fairly liberally. In doing this, I tried to follow the following principles:
- don't flock over the "standing spots" where miniatures might be placed.
- vegetation often looks better in clumps, rather than spread evenly over the whole area.
- foliage is very good for covering up imperfections - either where the painting isn't very neat or where the underlying model isn't as good as it might be. I placed a lot of clumps around the edge of the base, especially in the slightly unnatural "gulley" where the hill starts to rise from the flat base.
Big isn't difficult! This model took no more than an hour or two of effort (though considerably longer than that in drying time). It was also cheap; the castle keep cost no more than 2 or 3 28mm metal miniatures from the likes of Hasslefree. or maybe 10 plastic figures. It's not a perfect representation of any real-life building, but it is designed for gaming and will work very well in that role.
Hmm, I wonder if I should have added a flagpole right in the centre?
Simon Quinton has asked how big the stairs are on this model, so I've added another picture to the article. The lowest flat part of the staircase is the smallest, but even that has the width for a 30mm base (just). A small part of the 30mm base overhangs the step below, though I think it wouldn't be enough to destabilise a model. The 30mm base fits easily on any of the other platforms and on many parts of the path leading up to the keep as well.
The 25mm base has no trouble at all in fitting on any of the steps or other flat spots.
To see this castle in use, have a look at this battle report: Robin Hood's Escape.
Thanks for showing this I will check their website now as I have an idea forming! You have pushed Vacc forming to the front of my mind. It is a nice castle bit I hope you will be showing more I really do.ReplyDelete
Sure, I can show more of these pieces in due course, if that's what you'd like.Delete
I'm interested to know what is your forming idea :-) ?
Funny you should ask. I was actually thinking of sci fi walls! I think they would be great for skirmish games and a lot cheaper to make and therefore sell than resin ones.Delete
Just a thought, nothing more!
Oh my.. I have fond memories of the Bellona stuff... Sure looks like this lot works tooReplyDelete
Amera are very much a spiritual successor to Bellona, at least in my mind. Well worth a look, I think.Delete
I, too, have fond memories of Bellona when I first started wargaming. Although I don't have any vac-formed models in my current collection, I can appreciate their value. What you've done here shows how easy it is to transform a piece of plastic into something any gamer would be proud to own. Well done, Hugh.ReplyDelete
I did consider converting this piece to add further interest, probably by removing some of the "floor" of the keep and then building a courtyard below this. In the end I chickened out, but these models are so cheap that one can afford to experiment with them.Delete
That's a great piece and very reminiscent of the Bellona stuff.ReplyDelete
I still have a Bellona hump-back bridge that I have used many, many times.
Your tutorial is an ecellent "how to" and I found many similar problems as you've have (with Bellona items). Cutting the plastic I found tricky and can easily lead to tears/rips - slow but steady was the order of the day ! I also reinforce my efforts with a mixture of plaster of paris (I'd probab;y use stone cast or resin these days) mixed with wood glue.
As for the flagstaff - RESIST the urge ! Instead glue a small tube to an outside corned that would allow for different flagstaffs to be inserted. Other than the ovbious utility of depicting several different factions, it will also keep the integrity of the 'roof'. - Just a thought.
"glue a small tube to an outside corne[r]" - absolutely brilliant Joe!!Delete
Ah, I had a Bellona humpback bridge - many, many years ago. I think I had both an intact and a destroyed version, perhaps?Delete
The Amera plastic is actually pretty sturdy; I've not felt the need to reinforce even such a large piece as this.
I'll certainly have to think further about adding a flagstaff :-) .
Damn fine work - as always Hugh!ReplyDelete
Thanks! Part of my goal in describing this model was to show how easy it is to achieve a good result :-) .Delete
Not as flashy as the theater, but a cheap piece, that doesn't need much work.ReplyDelete
There is a limit to how much detail a vac formed pieces like this one can hold, and given the price nobody should be too picky. Not to mention the pieces could always be improved.
I really like how they tackled the gaming suitability vs visual appearance on this one. As for the flag, Joe's suggestion is great - I would avoid putting anything in the centre of the castle so you can put miniatures with larger bases on top (like artillery!)
Some of the other pieces in my Amera package are models of ruins. I think that the lack of sharp edges is much more acceptable for them, as it could be explained by weathering or as a side effect of the building's destruction. Anyway, the pieces can always be converted or enhanced by a skilled modeller!Delete
good paint job. it looks great! I have looked at these before but assumed that the postage to nz would be prohibitive due to the size of the box. Maybe I should look again......ReplyDelete
Vac-formed plastic is very light, so that won't be much of an issue for postage. However they can be bulky. I guess it depends on just what factors count when the postal services decide their charges for packages...Delete
Oooh, Amera stuff! I have a huge hill/mountain (Weathertop?) with a tower ruin on top that needs some love, somewhen.... Plus some river sections I reallyt should get done, and maybe buy or make some more.ReplyDelete
Yes, I know the one you mean - a very big hill indeed, isn't it? It probably wouldn't take much time at all to make it presentable.Delete
Lovely job as ever C6! Do they have anything contemporary in their line?ReplyDelete
Yes, there are quite a few buildings and defences in their "Future" section. The non-ruined buildings are probably quite a bit of work, but the rest is simple. Check it out yourself though: www.amera.co.ukDelete
Looks good mate. How wide are the stairs? would they fit a 30mm base or would that be to big?ReplyDelete
I've updated the article with a picture of a 30mm base on the stairs. Bottom line: yes, they will fit, though not in quite so many places as a 25mm base will.Delete
Thanks very much for the picture addition. Its useful to know. Was thinking of something to pick up for relics. But just realised some of the larger figs use 40mm bases. Will have to have a play with the rules especially the ones for movement and terrain and see how something like this would work out.Delete
It would still make a good piece to put in the middle of the table I think.
Thanks for another great review! and for anyone interested we offer personalised shipping quotes outside the UK all interest welcomed. Colgar6 have a favour to ask...would you let us print out some of the reviews you have done of our products for use at our next trade show at Salute? they complement our own painting guides and are so informative, of course full credit and link to your blog! thanks for consideringReplyDelete
I'm very flattered that you should ask this. Yes, you may make whatever use you see fit of my articles and pictures, as long as credit is given. Thanks!Delete
Excellent thanks very much!ReplyDelete