Wednesday, December 7, 2016

1/2400 Tumbling Dice First Rate Ship - War Artisan Graphics

I was pretty happy with the way the War Artisan graphics look on 1/2400 Tumbling Dice models, so I have gone ahead and done up a second ship in that manner.

This is Tumbling Dice's 1/2400 1st rate ship of the line, with War Artisan graphics rescaled for application directly to the hull. Again, it's not quite as simple as scaling down from 1/600 to 1/2400, because the War Artisan graphics are more accurate in their proportions than the Tumbling Dice models. The two dimensions had to be scaled independently of each other to fit the miniature correctly. But once that is done the process is pretty straightforward.

Again I have replaced the topgallant masts and bowsprit with brass wire, so that they are much thinner than the cast metal. And I have rigged with nylon paintbrush bristles, just as I would for a 1/1200 model.

Again, you can find the War Artisan graphics at the address below. Definitely worth checking out, and you can download a free sample kit to try your hand at them first.

The stern graphics, visible here, have their own separate scaling. The Tumbling Dice models are rather chunky in the stern...

And here she is alongside the 74 gun 3rd rate, done in the same manner.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1:2400 Tumbling Dice 74 Gun Ship - With War Artisan Graphics

Every now and then I return to a scale I've only dabbled in so far. 1:2400 scale ships are a great gaming scale, but Ive never really been satisfied with my attempts to paint them in the past. It's always frustrated me that I couldn't create a nice looking checkerboard pattern at that scale, no matter how I've tried.

But recently I was working on some of War Artisan's excellent paper ship kits, when it occurred to me that they might be the solution to my frustrations in this scale. The kits are purchased as digital files, ready to print, which means you can scale them however you like in whatever graphics software you use.

I scaled the 74 gun kit down to 1:2400, then cut out the side panels and glued them directly to a Tumbling Dice model. Actually, I had to first alter the length and width ratios of the graphics, as War Artisan's kits are much more accurate in their dimension than the Tumbling Dice models. The stern pieces needed a totally different set of ratios, as they are very oversized on the metal miniatures.

I've been much more pleased with these results than any I have achieved with my own brushwork in this scale so far. It was a simple process to scale, cut and mount the graphics on the miniatures, and I'll definitely be doing this on more 1:2400 models.

I'd encourage anyone interested in the subject matter, whatever scale you may enjoy using, to check out War Artisan's catalogue of ship kits. They are extremely well designed, and very reasonably priced. When you purchase a kit you can print up as many models as you'd like, which makes them economically very efficient. And each kit comes with multiple color schemes, letting you add a lot of variety to your fleets. You can find them here:

And here is the Tumbling Dice 74 gun ship with War Artisan graphics. Rigging is done with nylon paintbrush bristles, just like with the 1:1200 scale kit's I've done. I also cut off the uppermost masts and the bowsprit and replaced them with brass rods, which are more in scale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shatterlands - New Fantasy Skirmish Game from Stonegate Forge

I recently had the pleasure of painting up some miniatures for Stonegate Forge's upcoming skirmish game Shatterlands. The figures were sculpted digitally by the clearly very talented Bobby Jackson, and produced by Iron Wind Metals. I was extremely impressed by the level of detail, the very attractive proportions, and the excellent casting. Stonegate Forge is a small family run company (though with a lot of experience in the industry - Mark Rubin's credentials go way back to his Ral Partha days) and they clearly prioritized quality in the production of the figures.

The setting of the game is the fantasy world of Atelon, in which two peoples with radically different cultures and ways of life have clashed for generations. One is a technologically sophisticated people, the other a more fanatical society of magic-using forest dwellers. However in the territory between their homelands where they clash - the "Shatterlands" - neither the most sophisticated technology of the one nor the magic of the other functions as they are accustomed to. The result is a "black powder" fantasy world where the struggle takes on the dimensions of a French and Indian War skirmish game.

The really distinctive aspect of game play is in the character cards that represent each figure. Each character's ability in any given task is represented by a color-coded die of few or many sides.  As you are generally trying to roll low in the game, a more capable character will use fewer-sided dice, making it easier for him to accomplish a task. As the character takes wounds or stress or becomes exhausted, he is penalized by having to use more or bigger dice. Wounds are attributed to specific areas of the body, and have specific effects on abilities. He took a major wound to the leg? He's not running anywhere for the remainder of the scenario, and may not even be on his feet any more, though he may still have a role to play.

The designers had the very interesting idea of using pre-printed cards with scratch off elements that allow most of the in-game wounds to be temporary matters that heal when the scenario is done, while letting more serious injuries become permanent changes to the character card. Experience-based improvements are also permanent. So the implications for campaign play are pretty powerful. If you take good care of your characters they will improve with experience. Bad luck or bloody-minded decision making will take a heavy toll on them.

The game is currently being kickstarted (it was demoed at the Fall In convention in Lancaster PA this past weekend) and you can learn more about it here:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

6mm Adler AWI and Scenery

I've slowly been adding models to the 6mm AWI Southern Campaign project, and while I was painting today I had the urge to set some up for a photo shoot - that is, to distract myself with an unnecessary bit of fun. I laid out some buildings and terrain and added some of the figure models, and here is the result.

The buildings are from Dave Graffam models, which I love. They come as pdf files, and many of them have lots of different texture options so you can create a variety of pieces, just by making different selections in Adobe Acrobat. You can scale them however you like, and even in 6mm they are easy to assemble and look great. I like to paint the edges to blend in, so the white card stock sides don't show, and then cover them in matt varnish to protect them and prevent shine. They are very affordable, and for the price of one digital file you can print as many as you like. They are very lightweight, but in 6mm the strength of the card makes them still pretty robust.

The roads are from Battlefield Terrain Concepts. The fences are from Paper Terrain. The trees and fields I bought from folks in the flea market at Cold Wars, but I'm afraid I've forgotten their names!

A company of the 1st Maryland marching down a country lane.

Here some troopers from the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons charge down the road.

Continentals in hunting shirts march to the fence line.

Some South Carolina militia take up position behind a fence.

And here two guns have been set up to cover the crossroads.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

36 Gun Frigate HMS Hamadryad - GHQ 1:1200

This is GHQ's model of the 36 gun frigate HMS Hamadryad.

Hamadryad was originally the Spanish-built frigate Ninfa, launched at Minorca in 1795. In April of 1797 she narrowly managed to avoid sailing directly into the clutches of the British fleet blockading Cadiz, but not without being detected. Ninfa and another frigate were pursued by the 74 gun HMS Irresistible and the 36 gun HMS Emerald, and sought to anchor in a protected bay where they expected the British ships would not follow them. They did so to no avail, however, and after a little over an hour of fighting Ninfa had struck, and the other frigate was run aground and later sunk. Ninfa was taken in to British service as HMS Hamadryad, but hers was to be a short career. On Christmas day of the very same year she foundered in a storm in Algiers bay.

Here Hamadryad is seen between a 20 gun Corvette on the left and a 32 gun Amazon-class frigate on the right.

An extreme close up - a 32 gun frigate very close on the port side