Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Easy 28mm trees

I like making my own trees, not sure why. (probably something to do with my "Frugality", yes lets call it frugality)

I am happy with my scouring pad trees, but the other day I was in a dollar store and saw a cheap Toilet brush and had a wild idea.

It took less than 20 minutes for the wild idea to reach a point that I thought, with a bit more effort I could make something that would look acceptable.

My first attempt was with just laying some woodlands scenics flocked poly-fiber over the bristles and it looked pretty good, Then I thought these look like they will make passable K&M trees with just flock added. So I ripped off the poly-fiber applied some spay glue, then sprinkled flock on it and it looked much better, than the poly-fiber.

Poly fiber on the left, just a coarse flock on the right
Things needed.
Toilet brush
Spray adhesive
Coarse flock (I used homemade, colored sawdust)
Hot glue (and glue sticks)
Black or dark brown spray paint
Brown and green acrylic paint
Heat gun
3" circular MDF base
1 Roofing nail per tree
Razor saw
Basing materials

 First go to your local dollar store, and purchase 1 or more toilet brushes (it's just as easy to make one or more than one). My dollar store also had spray adhesive on the shelves, so I bought a can of that for $4.

 Remove the brush from its packaging and throw the stand and wrapping away.
 Unscrew the handle from the head.



Give your brush a bad haircut, so the final tree will look a little more realistic.
Whittle the bottom of the brush head to remove the straight edge.


I found while whittling the bottom made the finished product look a wee bit better, I need an even better way to hide the bottom of the brush. My first thought was drill some sloping holes then stuff bristles into them, then affix with hot glue, which would hide the bottom, but that's a lot of work I thought of just heating the bottom bristles enough so they would droop, another option might be to put a blob of hot glue beneath the bottom bristle clumps and pull some of the bristles into the hot glue until its sets.

Re-attach the handle and with your heat gun and gently melt the bottom bristles so they droop, set your heat gun to it lowest setting and start by hold it 2 feet below your tree and slowly reduce the distance, don't get too close or you will shrivel the bristles. You could try using a candle but I have a heat gun so i just used that (my hairdryer didn't get the bristles hot enough to sag).

What I eventually decided upon was a combination of heat gun drooping and scouring pad off cuts glued to the bottom and painted brown.


Spray the head of the brush black (or brown), you could paint the handle as well, but since it will be covered with glue, there is no point.


Spray the painted brush with spray adhesive. Sprinkle the flock on the bristles and let it dry. The messy part is sealing the flock, so most of it will stay on the tree. I am currently trying Spray lacquer (but that makes the tree brittle), so I am leaning to either watered down Modge Podge or Future acrylic floor polish.

When the tree canopy is flocked it is time to start on the trunk and the base. Cut the handle to 2" and hot glue it to your 3" MDF base. Then make roots with lines of hot glue, and smear the trunk with more hot glue that is spread around with the side of your glue gun's nozzle.

For added stability I decided to drill a whole through the base, countersink the hole on the bottom of the base and push a Roofing nail through, then glue the handle onto the nail, The handles are hollow,
Underside of the base with its counter sunk hole
Roofing nail awaiting base.
Roofing nail through the base
Being held in place.

Base your tree base as you want, and paint your trunk.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer Reinforcement Challenge 2nd wave

Completed another batch of Reinforcements for the Tabletop Commanders' Challenge.

This time I went up to 1/72 scale, Ruga-Ruga from HAT Industries.



Video

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Summer Reinforcement challenge

Tabletop Commander's Summer Reinforcement Challenge

I haven't done much wargaming related stuff lately, lack of motivation mainly.

The Tabletop Commanders (A facebook group) have a painting challenge and offered an excuse to do some painting. The challenge is to add more units to an existing force.

My first offering for the challenge was more 6mm Austrian units.

Here are a trio of videos showing my progress.




 

Friday, 3 March 2017

That's a lot of horse flesh

I didn't like the basing on my cavalry figures (4 on a 40mm x 20mm base), as they were. I was able to use about only half of what I have painted in my Blucher games (my preferred Napoleonic rule set) also 8 figures to a unit was somewhat anaemic looking. My first thought was re-base just some figures on 20mmx20mm bases and add make new cavalry sabot to hold the 60mmx 40mm cavalry units, then thought to my self why not just re-base them all on bases the same size as my infantry and I can then use my infantry sabot for both my cavalry and infantry units.

Here is the end result of 5 days.

All my painted cavalry.

British and Portuguese cavalry

Austrian cavalry

Finally the French cavalry

I still cant use it all though. When I originally started (with Napoleon's Battle) my main cavalry unit size was 16 figures and I am using just 12 for Blucher, but still looks better than 8.


Old based cavalry in cavalry sabot
New based cavalry in infantry sabot

Gratuitous close up
 While I was taking the pictures I decided to see if there is any difference in the quality of my painting. One of the units below I painted 25+ years ago and the other one a mere 2 years ago.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Better looking than an opaque cup

Inspired by a post on the Toy Soldiers for Old Gits blog here is my homage to his Dice Shako ... err shaker.

Where as TSOG made his out of PVC pipe, I went for more accessible and easier to work with components.

Needed:
Cardboard Mailing tube 2 1/2" diameter 2 feet long
Black Construction paper
Red Construction paper
White Glue
1 piece of Yellow Card stock
Thick card board (for the plug)
Cereal box card

Cut a 3" section of your mailing tube. I used a table saw.


Plug one end with cardboard or a circular base if you have one that fits and hot glue it in place.


Then glue, using PVA, a piece of cardboard from a cereal box or whatever over the top of your plug.
Hold it in place while the glue dries either a heavy book or clamps.
When dries trim it flush with the sides. Then glue black construction paper on the top trimming it flush with sides, then glue more black construction paper to the side of the Shako
Cut 10mm wide strips of red construction paper.
 Glue one red strip to the top and another to the bottom of the Shako.
 Now to make the Shako plate. I found a line drawing of one in a book, scanned it and printed it onto yellow card stock.
I then made a gold wash (didn't have a brass or copper paint) and painted over the printout of the Shako plate.
Which I then cut out and filled in the some of the spots with a Sharpie (i didn't want to try and cut out them).

Glue the Shako plate on (with white glue).
Then glued 4 more red construction paper strips, over where a wearers ears would be, in a slight V-shape.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A near run thing at HRGG

Last Saturday saw another Blucher game take place at the Hamilton Road Gaming Group located in the Crouch Branch of the London Public Library.
The players were Cecil (Craufurd), Mike (Hill) Jordan (Ney) and I (Drouot)
A battle using two 305 point armies using the 100 days lists.

Both sides split their armies into 2 all infantry corps and an all cavalry corps. The British attached all eleven of their foot batteries to brigades, opting for the additional die when shooting, but massed their 3 horse batteries and attached it to the Cavalry corps. 

The French attached a cavalry brigade to each of their infantry corps and massed all their artillery into 2 Horse, 2 Heavy and 3 Foot units.

Both sides had an army morale of 6.

The British set up with their cavalry on their right, Craufurd's corps on the hill and Hill's corps behind the woods on the British Left.
The French set up their cavalry corps on their Left, I Corps with Drouot attached in the middle and Ney's II corps on the right.
Stars represent the objectives
Ney sent II corps forward over the hill at Hill. French I corps occupies the village and sends 3 more brigades forward to fix in place (and reveal) the British on the hill.

The entire British cavalry corps races into the centre to threaten Ney's open flank, its horse battery opens fire and scores 3 hits.
II corps advances on the far side of the stream and the British cavalry rushes to threaten their flank. in the foreground French Heavy artillery opens fire on Craufurd's troops.
The French heavy batteries open fire on the British on the hill, causing some casualties, the French Cavalry corps waits in reserve.

Ney's lead brigade takes 2 more hits from the British Horse battery (they are down to 1 elan), Ney Swoops in to rally them, does and dies! (it's turn 5).
The death of Ney
Hill and Ney exchange fire for a few turns, with II corps coming off worse. Its actions only manage to fatigue only 1 British brigade, which cravenly retires. At one point Ney's successor got his cavalry behind the Hill's front line and charged a unit in the rear, with an infantry brigade flanking it as well, but was unable to break it, and the cavalry ended up retreating off the opponents table edge (counting as broken).

French I corps engages in a firefight with the Craufurd's troops on the hill, while Ney's successor fights both Hill's II corps and the British cavalry corps.

Ney's corps eventually gets ground up having 4 units Broken (counting the cavalry that left the table) and many units sitting at 2 or 3 elan, but drawing all the enemy cavalry to the far side of the battlefield, at which point the French cavalry corps goes into action, moving onto the flank of Craufurd's corps, which forms squares, and the French Artillery gets to work softening them up and cavalry charge them, quickly breaking 5 units in three turns.

On the far side of the British cavalry make another attempt to break some of Ney's troops but a series of bad rolls for the British see no French units lose a single combat.

Both side are sitting at 5 units broken.

Craufurd's surviving brigade falls back towards the Northern ford, looking to join with Hill, but a French cavalry brigade forces them to square. Five French batteries open fire on him, the first 4 (15 or so dice) and do a total of 1 hit, then a horse battery, barely in range, open fires with 4 dice and gets 3 hits (three 6's and a 2) breaking him.
The open spot just in front of the French Cavalry is where Craufurd's last brigade was destroyed by the fire of 5 massed batteries.
The British army has 6 units broken (in Blucher at the end of each turn victory is checked by asking is your army Broken?), so they regardless of what they do they have lost but as the French are one unit away from breaking themselves, we decided if the British can break a French unit they will get a draw. They launch 3 Brigades of cavalry at 2 French infantry brigades (a slim chance, but a chance) the French are in squares. The don't break either one and the game ends with a French Victory.
British cavalry preparing for their last ditch attempt to deny a victory to the much detested French.
Result: Crafurd's Corps was completely destroyed, Hill's corps had 2 units retire and a bunch of casualties (hill died trying to unsucessfully inspire his troops), Ney died and 5 of his Brigades followed him. Drouot did little, except attach himself to THE Horse Battery and claims it was him laying the guns that resulted in its exceptional last shot.

22 turns.
4 1/2 hours
4 Players (2 of which had never played Blucher before).