Model railways

In my WW2 gaming I frequently have to represent railways.

Unfortunately no supplier is able to provide 10cm railway tracks. The maximum metal (Irregular Miniatures) or resin (Leven Miniatures) seems to be 6cm, which has become the standard length. So every 10 cm hexagon terrain tile with railways is a compromise, involving cutting at least two pieces.

Cutting the rail sections is a problem. I am using Leven by default, but the resin pieces do have a tendency to snap unexpectedly during the cutting process and fly off in odd directions.

Anyway, here is my latest effort, awaiting painting…

Painting progress

This morning I have spent an hour painting the windows of 1/300 model buildings. I only spent an hour on the job because I detest painting the windows of 1/300 model buildings. And the reason why I detest doing it is because I am no bloody good at it.
That’s why there is no accompanying photograph.

Apart from trying to fit the paintbrush within the framework without wobbling, trying to get a realistic look eludes me. Normally I use a metallic gun metal paint. Today I tried darkening with Coat d’Arms “Magic Metal”, but it’s still not right. I was sitting in the garden comparing my efforts with the windows of surrounding houses. They are a sort of reflective dark grey, lightening a little when the sun comes out.

What they are not – and I can never understand the use of this on models – is blue. I frequently see this and have bought professionally painted models with glaring blue models, so I am guessing it is a convention amongst painters.

The most outrageous example was on the timber temporary buildings used at the Waterloo 200th anniversary re-enactment, where full-sized windows were painted bright blue. Why?

But, until I can get it right, who am I to criticize?

More painting and printing

Today, apart from spending over an hour sitting in the doctor’s waiting room for an appointment that was “running 16 minutes late”, I have managed to do a bit more painting.
Today’s colour was Vallejo 70.875 Beige Brown.

Although I like Vallejo paints as a medium, I do not like the way they are bottled. Whenever possible I decant them into old Coat d’Arms pots.

Anyway, this previously decanted paint was applied to:
Irregular Miniatures 2mm “Tiny Town” roads for my “Bomber” project,
Some of the tree trunks on my 3d printed outline woodland for gridded wargames,
House fronts for 3d printed outline BUA for gridded games.
6mm Zulu huts,
6mm Zulu Krall, touching up bare patches of ground,
6mm ex-Confederates, overpainted to become more variegated civilian clothing and hats,
6mm mediaeval crossbowmen, leather jerkins.

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Returning indoors from the Shedquarters I found that I need more printed counters for my play by e-mail Market Garden campaign. This time it’s British glider-borne infantry and artillery. So an hour or so at the PC and they are ready to be stuck onto the plastic counters.

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I foresee an evening of cutting and sticking as we catch up with series 1 of the BBC drama “Line of Fire” on TV.

Getting the look right

Sometimes I play my wargames with mediocre models on mediocre terrain, but not often.

Nowadays a lot of my games are played using home-produced gaming tokens on a recycled board game map.  I would like to spend more time creating good terrain with good models, but I seem to have to many irons in the fire.

However, when I do play a “proper” game with 6mm models, I like to get the look of the thing as good as I can.  For example, this is from an e-mail campaign of Operation Sealion, the German invasion of Britain in 1940.

The German player was sent three “postcards” before the game, on the basis that they had been found for sale in the post office at Lewes, captured the previous evening.  These photographs are taken directly from the 1:285 scale wargame table.  Only the “sky” has been blurred to remove the background shed planking.

 

 

Measure twice – cut once!

Recently I have been working on how to use  Bob Cordery’s gridded wargame systems with my 6mm toys.

I have spray-painted and gridded a small cork board (already painted and gridded on the other side for another game).  I have been trying to find a way to satisfactorily reduce (or bathtub) large battles such as Blenheim into a grid of 18 x 12 squares.  Previous efforts at this sort of thing can be seen here.

From my viewpoint there is one major problem.  A battle like this has three or four villages that must be occupied.  If you put houses (a house?) in the square at this scale there is insufficient room for troops.

Yesterday I remembered the pictures I had seen in Chris Kemp’s ‘Not Quite Mechanised’ blog, where he uses something looking like cinema flats across the sides of the squares to represent towns.

I decided to create some outline towns in a similar method, using the 3d printer.  I also had the same idea for woods that could be occupied by troop blocks.

I use the free online site Tinkercad to create my models.  I created a trial town with terraced gables on a 40mm x 40mm base with a 2mm “wall” depth, and a similar woodland with greater depth to the trees.

After a few hours printing the town I was quite pleased with the result until I tried it on the board – and realised my squares are 30mm x 30mm!  Doh!

I immediately cancelled the woodland print half-way through, but realised that I can use the resulting half-model, inverted and cut into pieces,  to make 6mm gabions on a parapet.

So I reduced the size to 75% and tried again.  This time I was not impressed with the result and the wood was too small to accept a troop base.

And thus I started all over again.  This time I think it will work.  The woods need to be filed on the inside to insert the troops on a 2cm 2cm base.

Below are the undercoated pieces (and some fresh from the printer) awaiting detail painting.  I think that once the houses are painted in a variety of brick, stone or render shades, maybe with some half-timbering detail, they will do the job.

Front row, left to right:  original 40mm print, reduced 30mm print with command unit, typical “Blenheim” infantry unit, redesigned 30mm print.

Second row, left to right:  inverted half-printed piece (now destined as gabions), 30mm outline wood (too small), redesigned outline wood.

Third row, left to right:  hexagonal outline town, Heroscape tile for this town.

I may decide to make models of only two sides (3 sides for hexagonal towns) so that larger built-up areas can be constructed.

We shall see.  Far more pressing projects await.  Little lead men keep screaming at me in incredibly high-pitched voices things like: “I love the hat boss, but can you PLEASE get round to the breeches?!”

 

 

Middle Eastern buildings for 6mm

I cannot remember if it was Bob Cordery or Chris Kemp who recently alerted me via their blog to the board game Santorini.  Anyway, I ordered a copy forthwith.

Forget the game.  In the box there are component to make buildings:

  • 22 ground floor/level 1 square pieces;
  • 18 first floor/level 2 square pieces, which can also be stacked together to make higher structures or sit on the ground as houses in their own right;
  • 14 second floor/level 3 octagonal colonnades with a square base;
  • 18 hemispherical cupolas.

That’s enough for a decent sized town, and for less than 25 quid!

All the sections are hollow and the first two will take a 2cm x 2cm base of 6mm figures inside or on the roof.

In the photo’ below are the four components and one full building.  A 6mm Irregular Miniatures unpainted insurgent is added for scale.  Incidentally, each face of the first two levels is different, to add some variety to the street.

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A lick of paint and these will do nicely, thank you.