Daily Archives: August 18, 2019

Knocked-Out Tank Markers for What a Tanker

Mark A. Morin

With my having committed to multiple upcoming games of my What a Tanker© Normandy Breakout scenario, I wanted to have everything as good as possible.  I made smoke/blast markers with tea lights in the past that I have used in multiple games.  They are great as mortar and artillery, especially with 28mm scale stuff, but not suitably-sized for use on 15mm scale tanks as markers.  In the game, I wanted to be able to designate a knocked out tank better – and if possible – differentiate between a tank that was just knocked out (where the crew survives) and one that was both knocked out and brewed up (where the crew does not live).  These are important distinctions in the game, as I allow crews that survive to get another tank and keep their training and experience (and bonuses) as they reenter the game.

I also wanted to have a better looking tabletop where the tank wrecks are more visible and frankly more realistic smoke-wise.  My older smoke markers are good for artillery-delivered smoke screens, but as you see below, I needed an improvement.

4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
My tea light blast markers look great here…
1 current smoke markers
…but are way too big here – especially on even smaller vehicles.  Additionally, they do not stay easily on the vehicles due to their size.

I set out to create a new set of markers that would look better, stay on the vehicles, and differentiate between brewed up and just knocked out tanks.  As I use neodymium magnets in most of my tanks’ turrets and they are all similarly oriented in polarity, it was easy to devise a marker using a ceramic magnet as a base.  The magnets I used were small enough and heavy enough to stay on the tanks – even those without magnetic properties.  I used ½” ceramic magnets, #10-24 steel machine screw nuts, and more used ¼” (approximately) steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s broken fairway mower to build the core of the marker.  Making sure that the polarity was correct (markers that would be pushed off the vehicles would serve little purpose!), I used Gorilla Glue to fuse the magnet to the nut, and the nut to the bearing.    Then, I mounted the cores on screws and primed them.  I planned for 20 to be black and grey smoke for disabled tanks, and for 20 to be full-on flames.

After the primer had dried, I painted the flaming cores red, orange, and yellow with cheap craft paints to simulate a ball of fire.  Lastly, I applied gloss varnish to the cores to give more reflection.  The smoke ones just got painted black.  If interested, you can see a list of the materials I used at the end of this post.

2 materials
The ball bearings, nuts, and ceramic magnets I used.
3 magnet, nut, and ball bearing
The core.
5 mounted cores for painting
The flaming cores mounted here after red paint was applied.  Later coats would be yellow and orange to simulate a fireball.

For surface smoke, I went with pillow batting cut off in thin strips of 1-1½”.  As each core needed 4-6 strips, I cut nearly 240 strips.  I hot glued the strips in a flower pattern on the cores.

2a materials (batting)
“Limited only by your imagination” indeed!
4 cut up batting
Batting strips cut before hot gluing to the cores.
6 after batting glued
Here are the cores after hot gluing the batting.

Now, I used a different product to connect the batting in a smoky shape.  As I have built tanks, I have used decals.  The best way to revitalize decals is to coat them with Microscale’s Liquid Decal Film.  However, using this product on the decals as they are on your tanks themselves can ruin the underlying paint (unless used over varnish).  But, this stuff makes a solid protective and nicely tacky coat – as I learned making placards for my Attack of the Warbots game.  I applied the Liquid Decal Film to the strips, forming the small smoke shapes around the cores.  I let these set up and dry.  The stuff worked well, and I got the effect I wanted where you can see the cores on the flaming ones.

7 after batting assembled with liquid decal film
After the Liquid Decal film formed the smoky shapes.
8 close up of ready to paint marker
Close up of the core after the smoky shape was formed.

When I paint fire, I like to go from bottom to top with yellow, orange and red.  Here, I decided to use glazes and inks for these colors with my Iwata Micron airbrush at 28 psi.  This allowed me to really blend the colors –  which were Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (a glaze), P3 “Blazing Ink”, and P3 “Red Ink”.  I then used two Vallejo Game Air paints –  “Black” and “Wolf Grey” – to create a smoky effect.  I also used these latter two on the smoky black/grey cores.

9 completed markers
A view of the flaming markers and ¾ of the smoky ones as they dried.  
10 using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
The new markers with one of the older (previously made) larger ones in back that I will only use as smoke now.
10a using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
These fit nice and snug on 4 Aleene’s tacky sheets in a 4-liter Really Useful Box.
11 Sherman comparisons
For comparison, these three Shermans have (l-r) a new smoky marker, a flaming marker, and the old large blast marker.  What you cannot see is how well the magnetic ones stay on the vehicles – and these are plastic.  The neodymium turret-mounted magnets and ceramic magnets attract well and effectively, which the larger one does not.
12 M10 comparisons
The M10 (Battlefront) on the left has a turret magnet, while the Old Glory type on the right is lead/tin.  The weight of the magnet keeps the marker on the Old Glory M10 very effectively.
13 light US vehicles
Even on smaller vehicles, these work well.  Here an M3A1 Stuart, an M8 Greyhound, and an M24 Chaffee are all well-marked.  The M8 has no magnetic turret, yet this works well here as well.
14 StuG G and Panzer IVH with knocked out markers
Some vehicles have no turrets like these plastic StuG G’s  – but the markers work great on the deck or the top.  The plastic Panzer IV H magnetic turret holds the smoke marker well. 
15 Tiger II burning
Last but not least, a Tiger II is brewing up.

I also participate in my Australian blogging buddy Azazel’s mothly painting challenges.  This month is “Awesome August” – and submissions were to be HUGE…or… as he wrote:

“If you really prefer to skip the biggies – that normal sized model that you’ve (ideally) done a job that you’re proud of converting or kitbashing, painted to the best of your ability. Remember, it’s not a competition – it’s a showcase – so your only competitor is yourself.  So, the TL:DR is that August’s challenge is to complete something big. Ideally, really big. Or something small that’s ideally converted – and painted really well by your own standards.”

I think that converting ceramic magnets, nuts, used ball bearings, and pillow batting counts as a conversion!  And not for nothing, I really like the paint jobs on these markers.  So, this is my entry for Azazel’s Awesome August ’19 Community Painting Challenge .

I hope that you enjoyed this and maybe got some ideas – please share your thoughts in the comments section, and look you can forward to seeing these used in my after-action battle reports!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE MARKERS:

  1. Magnet Source ½” “Ceramic Disc Magnets”
  2. Everbilt #10-24 Steel nuts
  3. Used ~¼” steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s fairway mower
  4. Gorilla Glue
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  7. Americana “Primary Red”
  8. Craftsmart “Orange” (satin)
  9. Martha Stewart Crafts “Duckling Pearl”
  10. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish
  12. Loops & Threads “Classic Loft Batting”
  13. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  14. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  15. P3 “Blazing Ink”
  16. P3 “Red Ink”
  17. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  18. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”

Always love to get your feedback and read your thoughts?  See you next time!

from Mark A. Morin https://markamorin.com/2019/08/18/knocked-out-tank-markers-for-what-a-tanker/
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Gencon 2019 AAR

Rob Dean

It has taken me longer than I like to get this report written, but here we are at last.

After the usual months of planning, Team Dean started arriving in Indianapolis for Gencon this year on Tuesday, 30 July.  I wondered whether the airport would have welcome mats out by then, since they didn’t last year, but they did, on the individual jetways instead of a big one at the bottom of the escalator as they’ve had in some years.
My brother, a resident of nearby Bloomington, Indiana, picked Irene and me up from the airport, and we spent the night at his house.  He found himself up against the deadline with things still needing doing for his convention games, so he spent the evening painting.

The airport had the welcome mats out in the jetways this year
Wednesday remains the unofficial and trade day at Gencon.  Attendance is light, at least in the morning, but we were dealing with the consequences of a poor draw in the room lottery this year.  We had a hotel out by the airport and my brother wanted to park early, so that we could haul a handcart load of miniatures from the parking space to our assigned game table.  We arrived, therefore, around 9:00AM and had some breakfast.  We were signed up to run two Wednesday games, one being the Burrows and Badgers game at 3:00 requiring the hand cart, and the other being a warmup session of the Carcassonne board game.  We had none of the ticket holders for the Carcassonne game, but a wandering gamer from Sweden stopped by, so we recruited him and played a quick four-player round.  
The city was welcoming too
The Burrows and Badgers game was more successful.  We had five of the six pre-registered players show up, and could have filled the sixth seat as well, but the walk-in player also had a friend, and we couldn’t take them both this time.  We dodged the question of how to play this game in a multi-player mode this year by setting up three one-on-one games, so six seats was a hard limit.  My brother ended up playing the sixth position.  For convention purposes, I went away with a few minor lessons learned specifically for this game, about information I could have included on each players’ order of battle sheet, so a next effort will be better yet.  All of the players were actively engaged and required little referee intervention, both of which count as strong recommendations for this game.  I suppose I should post a full review one of these days…
   
Burrows and Badgers in progress

Two of my war bands clash in B&B
The B&B game took us up to supper time, so we deposited the packed up miniatures gear back at the car and headed out for a nice dinner.  William had arrived by car in time for dinner. We noted that the convention had basically come to life in the five hours we’d spent in the basement of Union Station.  After dinner we headed out to check in to the hotel and to await Norman’s arrival by air.
We got an early start on Thursday.  My brother and I were running a Chaos Wars demo at 9:00, for people who didn’t want to be part of the initial crush in the exhibition hall.  Four players showed up for this, and it was also a good game.  We had a brief break, enough to grab some lunch and plunge into the exhibition hall for a couple of booths’ worth of time, and then it was time to run B&B again.  I got so busy running that I didn’t take any pictures of the second session.
My brother sets up a Chaos Wars game

I wasn’t signed up to run anything on Friday.  Irene and I did two dance classes by Counts to Nine.  These ladies do historical dance (English Country, Renaissance, etc.) for fun and professionally, and we had tried and enjoyed their classes last year.  This was a pleasantly physical interlude between all of the mentally challenging gaming, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have on offer again next year.  We also wandered out to Lucas Oil Stadium to see how the gaming was getting on there.  It’s an interesting space.  This year they had the field lights turned on, so it was well lit, and the enormous volume dampens the sound, so it wasn’t too noisy.  Apart from being a dedicated walk from the rest of the convention it’s not a bad space.

Overview of the Lucas Oil Stadium floor converted for gaming
Since my second year at Gencon (and this year is the sixth consecutive), I have been signing up for speed painting (45 minutes, limited color selection).  You usually get a miniature and a brush for $2.00, so what’s not to like.  This year, I managed to get two sessions into my schedule, back-to-back on Friday afternoon.  One was a Reaper Miniatures round, and the second was a Wyrd Miniatures round.  As painters go, I’m a decent wargame painter, and couldn’t even begin to compete in the Gencon artistic painting event, but speed painting is pretty much what I do all the time, so I usually can hold my own.  In fact, I’ve been in a final round every year before this that I have entered, so I was hoping that I might be able to pull that off again.  For the Reaper event, we got a Chronoscope modern figure instead of a fantasy wizard, which was a pleasant surprise. I was first in my heat (of 16) for this, and once again had a seat in the finals on Sunday, and an extra miniature as a prize.
Reaper speed painting preliminary round figure

I don’t play any of Wyrd Miniature’s games, so I was curious to see what they might throw at us.

You have to love magnification

 Our figure ended up being this reasonably straightforward steampunk lady with a big axe(?).  I ended up second, which didn’t have a prize but did come with a seat in the Wyrd finals on Sunday.

Wyrd Miniatures speed painting preliminary round figure

With that out of the way, we could go out to the stadium for a meet-up for cooperative games with the host of Nelly’s Nerdy Adventures.  If you’re curious, we show up at time 18:00 in the linked video.  From there, we picked up the kids and had the traditional all hands dinner, and then called it a night.  The kids and I played a little Keyforge back at the hotel, before I crashed for the night.

There was more dancing on Saturday, and my brother and I ran the fifth (and last) of our games on offer, another round of Chaos Wars at 6:00PM.  The timing of this, perhaps, was not good, since we only had two players.

Chaos Wars second game

On Sunday we finished up shopping, and I sat down for my two speed paint finals at 11:30 and 2:00.  The Wyrd event was first.  We got this inexplicable figure of an old man perched on top of a demonic clock.  At least we had 60 minutes instead of the 45 of the first round.  I ended up third, so I got a prize in addition to the miniature.  The Reaper round was less successful.  We had a mechanical wizard of some sort, and my use of the metallic colors didn’t quite work.  I’ll get around to touching him up sometime soon.

The Wyrd Miniaturees speed painting final round figure

 Between rounds, the kids had to head out, so we gathered for a final group shot in front of the speed paint tables.

Team Dean on Sunday

Following the painting, the convention closing was rapidly approaching, so we decided that we were done and headed out for one final dinner.
Irene and I had extended out stay through Sunday night, so we were able to pick up a hotel shuttle back to the airport on Monday morning.  I was pleased to see that the gaming space was set up again this year, and the departing Gencon crowd was making good use of it.  Our plane was probably more than half Gencon returnees, so we were in good company on the trip home.  We finally walked in the door around 3:00PM on Monday; another Gencon for the books.
The airport’s dedicated gaming space

Everyone has a different Gencon experience.  This year, I ended up not actually playing any games except the co-op game with Nelly, and my shopping was quite limited.  (I came home with one indy roleplaying game, Companions’ Tale, and a solo dungeon crawl game, Four Against Darkness, from Ganesha), plus a shirt and a new dice bag.) While not unsatisfactory, it was quite different from previous years.  We shall see how next year’s planning evolves, but I am considering whether there would be an audience for some sort of historical miniatures game, and perhaps a seminar on how to get into that branch of the greater hobby realm.

via The Sharp End of the Brush http://sharpbrush.blogspot.com/2019/08/gencon-2019-aar.html
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