Sunday 27 November 2016

TTCombat: the Construction Office


This has been a fairly busy weekend, with a full day's gaming on Saturday (2 exciting battle reports to come, in due course!) and my daughter's Christmas Dance Show on Sunday afternoon.  Consequently, I've not had much time to put together a blog article for today.  Still, here's a short discussion of a piece of MDF terrain that I was given for my birthday.

The Construction Office

This model is a "Construction Office" from TTCombat.  It looks very much as if it's intended to be the office for a construction site or a builder's yard - some form of Portakabin or other prefabricated building and is described as " use with...28-35mm wargames".  Very useful; I can think of many scenarios involving modern or even sci-fi scenarios where such a hut could be used.

The kit costs a mere £3.95 and (like other TTCombat kits I've built) is extremely easy to assemble into a very sturdy model.  The parts are relatively few in number and fit together very well indeed.  Although there is no interior detail in this hut, the roof can be left unglued to provide access so that you can decorate it yourself, if desired.  Excellent!

So why haven't I painted it yet?

As soon as I had finished gluing the parts of the hut together, I felt that something was wrong.  The building was fine in itself, but it just seems too big!  I placed a fairly average-sized 28mm figure alongside the Construction Office and my suspicions were confirmed.

Captain Haddock cannot see through the door window, even though he's mounted on a base that gives him an extra 4mm or so of height.
 My measurements confirm that the overall height of the hut is 3" (75mm), whilst the door alone is 2" (50mm).  If we assume that a Portakabin door is about 6' 6"" (2m) tall then the model door is at 1:40th scale.  This is almost half as big again as it should be for my 1:56th scale/28mm models.

So, this lovely, cheap model of a prefab building is so far out of the scale of my figures that I won't be able to use it.  It would work well for 42mm figures, though!  Or maybe 35mm models at a pinch, if they had fairly thick bases on the figures and you weren't too fussy.

Here's a last, slightly flippant thought.  I borrowed a Lego minifigure from one of my children for a few minutes, just to take this photo.  The hut is quite a good fit for him...

Sunday 20 November 2016

Let it Snow...


Earlier this year, I completed some stepped pyramids as scenery for my games.  So far, they've been used exactly once in an arid setting (Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Venus), but hopefully that will change soon.

Even at the time I made them, I intended the pyramids to be used in multiple different types of terrain, such as in frozen wastelands and steaming jungles.  However, the bare masonry wouldn't look quite right anywhere other than a desert, would it?


Fortunately, I still had a large number of offcuts of the blue polystyrene from when the pyramids were built.  Even better, the edges of these scraps were already cut to the same angle as the sloping sides of the models.

It was a simple matter to take my hot wire cutter to the fragments of polystyrene and sculpt them into irregular shapes.  I cut the ends on some of them square so that they could fit against the staircases; the remainder were rounded off all along their lengths.

Once the pieces were cut to size, they were painted white, with a little fine sand added to the paint for texture.  This took rather longer than cutting the pieces out, as I needed several coats of paint and had to wait for each one to dry before applying the next.  Still, it wasn't exactly an onerous task!


Although I haven't used them in a game yet, I think these add-ons should hold in position fairly well.  They are very light, but there's still quite a lot of friction between them and the main building so I don't think they'll be knocked out of position too easily.

The white drifts will allow me to use the pyramids in a snow-and-ice setting.  I'm wondering now if I could do something in this line for jungle?  I could use similar offcuts and paint them brown, then cover them with vegetation.  To look effective, I suspect that such jungle "drifts" would need rather more effort than the piles of snow, but maybe it could work...

Sunday 13 November 2016

Work-in-progress: the Space Fighter


This starfighter is my son's model, completed as the kit intended but then somewhat broken and missing parts through careless play
Some 6 months ago, I wrote an article about my acquisition of a couple of Revell EasyKit "Jedi Starfighters" that were in perfect scale for 28mm wargaming figures: here. At the time, I couldn't decide how to finish these kits, but that doesn't mean I haven't made any progress since!


I've built one of my own two models so far.  There were some modifications made to suit my needs, as described here:

1. The "R2-D2" droid protruding from the port wing has been removed and the gap filled with green stuff.  This detail was too recognisable as coming from Star Wars...

2. I cut the wingtip panels from their "folded out" positions and glued them back into the recesses in the wings.  This left an abrupt end of detail on the very ends of the wings, so I've added some fluted cylinders instead.  These could be extra fuel tanks, engines or cannons; I really haven't decided and I'm not sure that I care!  As you can see from the picture above, these extra bits have been built from the cap and end of some expired felt tip pens.

3 holes have been drilled to take the support pegs/undercarriage
3. I want my craft to be usable for land-based games, perhaps as decorations at a space port.  For a while, I wondered how I was going to scratch build a suitable undercarriage (probably skis rather than wheels).  Then it hit me: you won't even be able to see under the craft when it's placed on a table.

Instead of anything complex, I intend to use transparent pegs (cut down from spare posts for Games Workshop flying bases) just to lift the model off the dirt.  I can always claim that it's a grav effect of some kind rather than a physical undercarriage!

So far, this first tester model has been undercoated.  I used a white primer rather than my usual grey as I thought at first I might paint it up in Star Trek Federation colours (white with a red trim). Since then, I've changed my mind: I'll probably colour it dark green and use it as a Klingon machine instead.  Or maybe Federation white would be better after all?

Aargh - I just can't make up my mind!

Sunday 6 November 2016

28mm Terrain: The Greenhouse


It's been quite a while since I built and showed any terrain.  Indeed, I'm not a great terrain builder - I tend to prefer to paint figures - but it is necessary for when we play games!

The Greenhouse

Here's a small piece that I finished recently:

The greenhouse kit is produced by Blotz and comes with the outer shell and 2 full-length workbenches.  I've added glazing cut from clear plastic food packaging and a base made from a scrap of MDF.

You can see some interior details through the windows.  As well as a single workbench (I felt it was too full if I used both benches from the kit), this greenhouse contains some seed trays and a large potted plant.

  Since this is a model that I've built for wargames, the greenhouse does come off its base.  As well as allowing you a much better view of the inside, there is also space to place several figures.

For the record, the seed trays are adapted from a Supreme Littleness shallow box, whilst the plant and the plant pot are cheap model railroad products from Chinese companies.


I'm pleased with the way this outbuilding has turned out, though I think it could do with a lot more clutter (sacks of compost, trowels or other tools, a watering can, stacks of unused flower pots and the like).  Of course, there is always a tension between realistic detail and suitability for use in games.  Too much detail and the model will be vulnerable to damage & will probably not have anywhere to place figures.  Too little detail and it won't engage the player's imaginations in the desired way.

No, the real problem here is that I cannot use this piece in isolation.  It cries out to be placed in a realistic setting.  For example, such a greenhouse might be found in the property of a serious amateur horticulturist or as part of a commercial market garden.  And I haven't thought that far ahead & don't have plans to build any of the necessary surroundings...