Rusgo, Terrapin Driver: Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

     This past week I painted Rusgo, Terrapin Dirver; the human figure that goes with the Land Terrapin set.  I’ve been looking for ward to doing the Land Terrapin set since I got my Bones 4 Kickstarter delivery, and it was one of my favorite parts of the Dreadmere set.
       I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and when dry, glued the washer to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s glue.

     I began by painting his face and hands a mix of Reaper MSP “Tanned Flesh”, and Reaper MSP HD “Umber Brown”.  I then painted his shirt Crafter’s Acrylic “Orange Spice”, and what looked like some studded armor peaking out at his waist and under his right arm with Ceramcoat “Black”.   After that, I painted his coat with Americana “Cranberry Wine”.

     Next, I painted his hat with Accent “Golden Harvest”, and his scarf with Crafter’s Acrylic “Citrus Green”.  After that, I painted his boots with the “Umber Brown”, and his leggings and wrist guards with Accent “Mustard Seed”.

          I then painted his belts and pouches with Americana “Asphaltum”, his canteen with Ceramcoat “Territorial Beige”, and his scabbard with Apple Barrel “Burnt Sienna”.   Next, I painted the back tucked in his belt with Americana “Mississippi Mud”, and his staff with Americana “Light Cinnamon”.  After that, I painted the metal parts of his staff and his scabbard/sword handle, as well as the chain around his canteen,  with Americana “Zinc”.

     Next, I over-painted the metal parts I had just painted with the “Zinc”, as well as the studs on his studded under-shirt, using Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”.   Then after everything had a while to dry, I gave the entire figure a coat of “Agrax Earthshade” wash.    When the wash was dry, I painted his eyes, and then highlighted his face with a mix of the base “Tanned Skin” and “Umber Brown”, along with some Reaper MSP “Tanned Highlight”. After that, I painted his beard and hair with the “Black”

      I then highlighted his shirt with Reaper MSP “Pumpkin Orange”, and his scarf with Americana “Margarita”.  Next, I highlighted his hat with Americana “Moon Yellow”, his coat with Crafter’s Acrylic “Deep Red”, and then did some highlights on his hair and beard with  a little of the “Zinc”.

     Next, I did his shoes with the “Mississippi Mud”, and then his leggings and wrist guards with a mix of Ceramcoat “Maple Sugar Tan” and Ceramcoat “Raw Sienna”.   I then did the highlights on his belt and pouches with Americana “Sable Brown”, the highlights on his canteen with Crafter’s Edition Taupe, and the highlights on the bag tucked in his belt with Americana “Fawn”.  After that I did the highlights on the shaft of his staff using Americana “Khaki Tan”, and then highlighted all the metal bits with Ceramcoat “Metallic Silver”.   Lastly, I painted the entire base with “Americana "Mississippi Mud”.
       I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

     I’m very happy with how he came out.  It was a fun figure to paint.

     I plan to have the terrapin done for Thursday, so check in then to see the pair together.

via All Bones About It
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Blood and Sand


In my copious free time, I’ve continued to think a bit about gladiator rules.  There are some nice sets of rules already on the market, and I don’t see this as a commercial project.  I am looking for something quick and easy for one-off games.  Greg has been looking at distinguishing special abilities to make the various types of gladiators seem different.  The working title of these rules is Blood and Sand.

I am pretty sure the game will be run on a hexagon grid to make it abundantly clear the gladiator’s facing.  The discerning gamer who already knows the unbounded joy of Blood and Swash, will find some of the mechanics very similar.

Above is a sample, working draft of a “character” card for a gladiator.  Note that gladiators can attack into their front three hexes.  When a player rolls up the gladiator’s attributes, one of the attributes is Attack.  That goes in the hex with the dark border.  The other two hexes have the Attack number modified as shown in the leftmost card.  Similarly, for defense, the dark hex contains the Defend attribute, and Defend is modified ginghams around the figure as shown on the right two cards.

Each class of gladiator (heavy, medium, and light) will have a different chart for rolling up attributes.

Attribute generation chart (DRAFT) for heavy gladiators, such as Murmillo, Secutor, and Thraex. These are the more armored gladiators with large shields.

Attribute generation table (DRAFT) for light gladiators, such as Scissor, Sagittarius, Retiarius, Laquearius, and Dimachaerus. These are gladiators who carried now shields.

Gladiators were most frequently grouped by class (e.g., heavy vs. heavy) to provide the most even, balanced, and entertaining match (sort of like the forced mediocrity created by the draft system in professional sports).  I’m not exactly sure how that will work in the game.  Greg is working on the scenarios and matchup.  Like recent sets of rules like Jugula and Sons of Mars, Greg has the idea that a player will have a stable (ludus) of gladiators and select the right one for the upcoming match.  I’m sure that will appeal to many gamers, but for me, I am looking for some quick games to fill and hour, not a campaign where I have to manage resources.  That sounds like work, not play.  Also, while the head of a ludus sounds interesting as a gaming mechanism, apparently they were considered about the same as pimps or flesh peddlers in their day.

Three Foundry gladiators

I have created a “middleweight” gladiator class that doesn’t seem to have existed formally.  Gladiators in this class include the Provocator and Hoplomachus.  These are armored like heavy gladiators but carry a much smaller shield.

Two Foundry gladiators and a Bad Squiddo shield maiden I plan to use as a gladiatrix.

Greg is also researching special abilities for the gladiator types within a class to distinguish them from each other.  Where Sons of Mars has a lot of special abilities, many of those are already taken into account in the attribute generation tables.  We are looking for things more like a foot sweep tripping attack, and shield bash (using your shield as a weapon), etc.  More to come on that.

Two more Foundry gladiators

You may note a Speed attribute on the character cards.  I envision two uses for this attribute.  First, it is the number of hexes a figure may move when it activates.  The second use will be to determine the activation sequence.  Instead of cards, I am thinking that at the beginning of each turn, players will roll d20 for each figure and add that figure’s Speed number.  The highest resulting number goes first and then on down the line.  I would like to do a d6, because that will make the Speed attribute more important than when rolling a d20, but I am worried about too many collisions requiring a “roll off.”

Two Foundry gladiators and an attacking lion

So that’s where I am today.  I am waiting for my sand-colored hex-grid cloth to arrive so that I can do the first play test.  Also, Greg is still working on the special abilities.  Stay tuned for more information as the concept matures.  I am hoping to have the cloth and be ready to run a game at Barrage, 27-28 September.

The gladiatorial arena of Surdu-kahn. Tickets go on sale soon.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

The Deep Ones are Coming!


Pulp Figures deep ones from their Cthulu range with some German WWII weapons added.

At Historicon I had a chance to look at the Black Sun figures from Bob Murch.  These are Vietnam figures but with two pulp science fiction forces added.  One are these Deep Ones, for of Creature from the Black Lagoon looking.  The ones for Black Sun come with AK-47s.  Very similar Deep Ones are available in the Cthulu range.  I bought the starter box of those and added a bunch of extra German WWII weapons.  I was also told that the next pack of Black Sun Deep Ones will be armed with rifles, instead of AK-47s.

More Deep Ones with WWII weapons. The starter packs come with the large Deep One on the rock.

I have a giant alligator from Reaper that is crying to have a German infantry gun or heavy machine-gun mounted on its back!

Deep Ones with AK-47s.

If you value the lives of your pulp figures, tell them to stay away from the water, or a lot of little lead widows will be getting sad telegrams.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr



I have been working on a Roman gladiator project recently.  I recently bought three sets of Foundry gladiators and painted them along with a bunch of Steve Barber Roman spectators.

I also purchased a Playmobile Roman coliseum / arena.  My daughter painted it for me.

I bought a copy of Sons of Mars and read through the rules.  I think they have a good amount of period flavor, and they seem to be okay.  I have been toying with a concept for a die progression system that is tailor made for something like gladiators.  Then today in a text conversation with Greg, I hit upon the idea of using mechanics similar to Blood and Swash.  I still have some of the details to work out, but I think I am going to call it Blood and Sand.  Stay tuned….

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

Jakob Knochengard, Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

     This past week I painted the Jakob Knochengard figure from the Bones 4 Dreadmere Epxansion set.
 I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued him to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmers glue.

      I began by painting his face with Americana “Shading Flesh” and his outfit with Reaper MSP Bones “Cinnamon Red”.   I then painted his coat, hat, and boots, with Ceramcoat Black; and then his pants, the mail under his coat’s cape, and his sword, with Americana “Zinc”.

      I then painted his gauntlets, ascot and hat band with Americana “Dove Grey”, and his belts and pouch with Accent “Rea Umber”.  Next, I painted his flasks(?) on the back of his belt with Americana “Terra Cotta”, and the cover of the book with Accent “Forest Green”.  After that, I painted the pages of the book with Americana “Antique White”

      As I began to figure out (or guess at) what everything was, I got the “Zinc” out again and painted his scabbard, the metal parts of his pistol, and what is either another gun barrel or another scabbard, half under his coat.   I then painted the stock of his pistol with Americana “Light Cinnamon”, and his hair with Nicole’s “Brown”. After that, I painted the zombie head with Americana “Reindeer Moss”, and its hair with the “Black”.  I then got out some Apple Barrel “Apple Maroon”, and mixed that with some of the “Black” to pat the gore around the head’s neck and mouth.  I followed this by  painting his badge, cross, and the amulets(?) hanging from his coat with Accent “Mustard Seed”.

      I then  painted the sword, leg armor, and the chain mail on his shoulders, with Ceramcoat “Metallic Silver”.  Next, I painted the scabbard and the metal on the pistol with Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”, and the badges, amulets, and cross with Ceramcoat “14K Gold”.    Then after everything had time to dry, I gave the entire figure a wash with Citadel “Nuln Oil” wash.   When the wash was dry, I highlighted his face with a mix of Crafter’s Acrylic “Flesh” with the base “Shadow Flesh”, and I highlighted his hair with some Ceramcoat “Territorial Beige”.  After that, I highlighted his red clothing with some Crafter’s Acrylic “Orange Spice”. 

     Next, I highlighted his cloak and hat with first some of the “Zinc”, and then a little of some Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”.  I then highlighted his gauntlets and hat band with Americana “Snow White”, and his belt and pouches with Americana “Sable Brown”.  I painted the buckle on his belt and hats with the “Gunmetal Grey”, and highlighted all the silver metal with the “Metallic Silver”.  I highlighted the gold metal with some Ceramcoat “Wedding Gold”.  I then highlighted the book cover with some Crafter’s Acrylic “Holiday Green”, and added some gilded decoration to it with the “14K Gold”.   After that, I did some highlights on his boots and the hair of the severed head with some Citadel “The Fang”, and I painted the eyes on the severed head with Americana Moon yellow".  I highlighted the head with the base “Reindeer Moss”.  Lastly, I painted the entire base with “Americana "Mississippi Mud”.
       I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

     This is a great sculpt and really full of character.   It was a fun one to paint, and I’’m happy with how it came out.

via All Bones About It
from Tumblr

Armies for Kids Feedback


The HAWKs recently received an Email from John Spiess about his daughter and the Armies for Kids project.  With his permission, I am sharing the letter:

Hi guys,

I know you are probably getting busy planning for Barrage, so I wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks for all you do for our Hobby. Please see the two photos below. The first one was taken at Historicon 2011 which I believe was the first year the “Armies for Kids” project took place. Notice the little nine year old girl on the far left.

Armies for Kids participant in 2011.

Fast forward eight years to Historicon 2019, just held in downtown Lancaster. The same girl, now seventeen, just won the Best in Show Award for her Saturday “Siege of Paris” game.

Erin Spiess wins an award at Historicon 2019.

If you haven’t figured it out just yet, her name is Erin Spiess, my daughter. I remember her first convention was spent entirely in the HAWKS room, and she has been completely hooked since then, thanks to all your efforts. So give yourselves a nice pat on the back.
I’ll also share some details on her game. First, I ran the same game on Friday. I had six slots, but let 15 people play (I don’t like turning people away, so I always bring extra figures). Erin ran the game on Saturday and let 19 play, nine of which were kids from our education program. When I tried to help she just said, “Get lost dad, I got this”.
Anyway, it turns out that one of the kids was also a special needs student. He showed up late and just expected to be turned away. Not only did she give him a warm welcome, but the way she handled the game mechanics to keep him and the other young kids involved, while making sure everyone was having a good time was pretty inspiring. Guess what, she learned a lot of that from the HAWK gamemasters. The young man actually went to the Awards desk afterwards and told them that he had the best time of his life.
So thanks again and good luck with Barrage. Hopefully, I’ll see you both at Fall-In.
Best regards,
John Spiess
HMGS, Inc.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

First Game of “A Gentleman’s War”, Using Imagi-Nation Armies

Chris Palmer I got to play my first game of “A Gentleman’s War” (AGW), by Howard Whitehouse and Danial Foley, this past Saturday under the GMing/tutelage of fellow HAWK Rob Dean; with his son Norman Dean as my opponent.  We used forces drawn from our homecast 40mm 18th Century Imagi-nation armies, normally used with the classic Charge! rules; my North Polenburgers, vs Norman’s Wachovians.  We used the random force generation from AGW, which, when rolled up, looked to us to be some sort of pursuit scenario of Whachovians trying to overtake a retreating North Polenburg army, and being met by a North Polenburg delaying force.
     Wachovia had a flying column consisting of: 3 Light Cavalry units, 2 Light Infantry units, and 3 Line Infantry units; while my North Polenburg army had: 3 Line Infantry units, 2 Field Artillery batteries, a Light Cavalry unit, and a Light Infantry unit. So after a brief scenario discussion, we ruled Norman’s army needed to exit 4 of his 8 starting units off my table edge, and I had to prevent this with my 8 defending units. It was an exciting battle with the fortunes seesawing back and forth and the outcome undecided until the last turn.

North Polenburg Initial Deployment

     We both sketched out our opening deployment on paper, and then set up our troops as per what we had drawn.  This allowed us to set up simultaneously, though we were locked in our deployment without having any idea of how the enemy was deploying.
     I set up symmetrically with my Line Infantry brigade in the center to block the road, with a Light Infantry Unit and Artillery Battery on each flank; figuring the maneuverability of the Lights, combined with the long range of the cannon, could help deter any attempt to sweep around my flanks. I deployed my Light Cavalry in the center, behind my Line Infantry, where I hoped it would be in position to catch anything that got by the Light Infantry and Artillery.  I had hoped to push forward quickly to give myself more room to delay them farther from where they hd to exit.  This did not happen.

Wachovia Initial Deployment

      Norman set up somewhat similarly, with his Line Infantry straddling the road, with a Light Infantry unit on each side.  He brigaded his Light Cavalry together, and set them up just below a low hill on his right.  It was clear his plan was to punch a hole through my left flank with the mass of cavalry at his disposal.

The brigaded Wachovian Light Cavalry come thundering over the hill towards my Light Infantry and Artillery on my left.

      Things started off ominously for North Polenburg, as Norman’s Wachvoian’s got the 5 first Activation Cards, allowing his cavalry to come storming over the hill, and smash into my Light Infantry holding the left flank.  My lights repulsed the first unit, leaving both units bloodied and the Cavalry falling back on the field in disorder, but the second fresh unit of enemy cavalry swept them from the field.  This left my Artillery extremely vulnerable.  Luckily, the charge of the third unit of enemy cavalry fell less than an inch short of my cannon, allowing me to let fly with a round of canister at point plank.  While it didn’t have as big an effect as I wanted, it did disorder the horsemen.

A swirling battle develops and I turn my left Line Unit to help secure my flank. before my Artillery is overwhelmed. 

      Quickly, I was able to swing around my leftmost Line Infantry unit to face the enemy cavalry and protect my line; but it was an inevitable fate for my guns.  The remaining enemy Light Cavalry swarmed over them.   My Light Cavalry now also moved to protect the flank, as the enemy cavalry found itself all disordered and spread over the field.

Overview of the table about midway through the battle.

      My infantry shot a few rounds at the closed unit of enemy Light Cavalry as my Light Cavalry charged another.  The Wachovian horsemen countercharged and we met over the silent cannon of my battery.  In a fortunate turn of fate, I not only caused a number of casualties on the enemy, but the attached General with them was mortally wounded.

Cavalry vs Cavalry over the silent guns, and the enemy General falls.

      Meanwhile, on my other flank, my Light Infantry unit and Artillery battery had, from the beginning of the battle, been pushing forward while conducting long range harassing fire.  They had finally worked their way onto the flank of the enemy and were close enough that they were becoming a serious threat.  The Wachovian Light Infantry finally felt the need to come forward and discourage me rather than sit as a potential threat in the safety of a nearby woods, and my Lights found themselves split between fending off their enemy counterparts on a low hill forming the enemy right flank, and  sniping at the enemy Line Infantry in a nearby field.

Action on my right flank as I get dangerously close to their line, and their Light Infantry come forward from the security of their woods.

      With my left in an uneasy state  and the remnants of three enemy cavalry still on the field, the Wachovians seized the opportunity and were able to push a unit of their cavalry off my table edge, achieving their first victory point.  However, with a bit of luck, I was able to stabilize my left flank enough, to drive off the remaining two enemy cavalry units using my own horsemen and fire from the Line Infantry unit I had turned to face them.
     However, the distraction of dealing with my collapsing flank had allowed the other unit of the enemy Light Infantry, and their brigaded Line Infantry to get very close to my Line Infantry; the Lights pouring fire in the turned flank of my leftmost Infantry unit, and the brigaded enemy infantry firing at my infantry with a numerical advantage.

I prepare to drive off the last of their Cavalry, as their Lights rush forward on their right to stabilize their line.

       At that point a disaster happened on my right flank, as an effective volley from the enemy Light Infantry on the hill caused my lights to fail morale and fall back.  Their path carried them directly into my artillery, effectively blocking its fire.    The enemy Lights then seized thier opportunity, and raced passed my disorganized troops towards my table edge.  My guns were only just able turn in time to issue one round of ineffective fire, before the enemy Lights made the table edge, and were off.   A second victory point achieved for Wachovia.

Disaster hits, as my Lights fall back off the hill into my battery. Everybody’s disordered.

      The end came quickly after that.  I was able to drive off the enemy lights on my left, with an effective charge; but the charge took my infantry unit well past the enemy line, and they were never able to get effectively back into action.  This left only two of my Line Infantry, and the remnants of my Light Cavalry, to hold the enemy line of three Regular Infantry units.  While my remaining Artillery and Light infantry were able to issue a few ineffective shots, their pursuit of the fleeing enemy Lights on my right had taken them far enough away from the center that they were’t able to play an effective part again.
      With masterful use of the Hold cards, a well timed charge,  and good fire and morale results, the enemy was able to one by one eliminate my two blocking infantry units.  This left them with enough firepower to brush my cavalry aside, and evade my remaining light infantry and artillery; escaping off the table for the 2 remaining victory points and thus winning the game.

The end, as my Cavalry tries to futilely hold the road.

     While the game started off with some bad luck with the activation deck for my North Polenburg forces, things soon swayed in the other direction; and the fortunes of war swayed back and forth throughout.  While initially the enemy felt confident following his destruction of my left, things soon turned my way with the reestablishment of my left and the advance of my cannon and Lights into close range on his right.  It looked like I would be able to overwhelm him with firepower.  Then, with the breaking of my Light infantry on my right, and them falling back into my artillery, things seemed to sway back towards the enemy.   The battle then came down to the desperate fight in the road, and in the end, I think my inexperience with the rules, lost me the day.
     Nonetheless, I had a great time and look forward to having another crack at these fun rules. They really have a great old school feel to them and seem the perfect thing for Imagi-nations and big “toy soldiers”.

via One More Gaming Project
from Tumblr

Fruella, Dreadmere Mercenary: Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

    This past week I painted the Fruella, Dreadmere Mercenary, figure from the Bones 4 Dreadmere Expansion set. 
     I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and when dry, glued the washer to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s glue.

     I  began by painting her face with Reaper MSP “Tanned Skin”.  I then panted her shirt with Folk Art “Butter Pecan”, and her under skirt with Reaper MSP “Holly Wreath”.  After that, I painted her outer skirt with Folk Art “Poppy Seed”, and the bit of armor in the opening of her skirt with Americana “Terra Cotta”.

     Next, I painted her boots with Americana “Charcoal Grey”, and her coat with Apple Barrel “Apple Black Green”. After that, I painted her gloves with Americana “Fawn”, and the fur on her collar and boot-tops with Americana “Asphaltum”.

     I then painted the axe handle with Americana “Light Cinnamon”, andd the axe head with Americana “Zinc”.  I followed up by painting the wrapping on he axe with Accent “Mustard Seed”, and using some Reaper MSP HD “Umber Brown” to paint her belts, pouch, and scabbard.

     I let everything dry for a while, and then I gave her face a coat with Citadel “Reikland Fleshshade” wash.  When it was dry, I gave the rest of a coat of Citadel “Agrax Earthsdahde” wash.  When all the washes were good and dry, I painted her hair with Ceramcoat “Black”.    I then did her eyes, and then highlighted her face with Reaper MSP “Tanned Highlight”, and Reaper MSP “Rosy Highlight”.

     Next, I did the highlights in her hair using Americana “Grey Sky” and then moved to her blouse, highlighting that with a mix of the base “Butter Pecan”, and some Americana “Bleached Sand”.  After that, I highlighted the armor piece hanging down between her skirt using Accent “Golden Oxide”, and highlighted the underskirt using Crafter’s Acrylic “Holiday Green”.

    I then highlighted the outer skirt using a mix of the base “Poppy Seed” and some Folk Art “Gray Green”; and then highlighted the coat with some of the base “Apple Black Green” mixed with some Folk Art “Hunter Green”, and then the “Hunter Green” mixed with a little Apple Barrel “Apple Christmas Green”.  After that, I did the fur trim on the coat and the boots with some Ceramcoat “Territorial Beige”, and then a little of the lighter Americana “Khaki Tan”. Next was the gauntlets, and I highlighted them with some of the base “Fawn” mixed with Americana “Buttermilk”, then I highlighted her bag with some Americana “Sable Brown”, and I did the axe handle with some of the “Fawn” mixed with the base “Light Cinnamon”.
  At this point I painted the axe head with some Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”, and then highlighted it with Ceramcoat “Metallic Silver”.  I also used the “Metallic Silver” to paint the belt buckle. Lastly, I painted the entire base with “Americana "Mississippi Mud”.
       I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

   Another good tabletop mini.  Nothing fancy with this one.  Though what’s in the bag?! 😀

via All Bones About It
from Tumblr

Experimental Sci-Fi Chemical Plant Scratch-build Project

Mark A. Morin

Sometimes you need to try new materials, new techniques, and change up your hobby projects to keep fresh.  My tabletop battlefield for my Attack of the Warbots game scenario (using the Combat Patrol


rules system) needed some more ruined industrial terrain.  I also wanted to try some new painting techniques with chipping medium, as well as using some crackle paint.  The goal was to make something ruined, rusty, with some degree of verticality that would complement my tabletop.

As far as building materials, I had been saving different bits and pieces of this and that for a few years in anticipation of scratch-building something to meet that need.  I say saving, my wife says hoarding – (it’s not hoarding if the stuff is organized, labelled, and put away out of sight in drawers dear


).  A previous employer had supplied us with kits that contained dummy vials (empty) that we could use to teach the process of reconstitution of the real thing.  At one point years ago, because the FDA drug labeling had changed, and the packaging that the kits had on them was no longer valid, we were ordered to throw them away.  I did, but threw the vials into a drawer.  I also had some oddly-shaped caps from body sprays, and a purloined cover from my wife’s blow dryer.  To be fair, the cover no longer stayed attached, so that was fair game.  I also had bits of polystyrene sheets and tubes, and leftover foam rubber pads (packing material) from something I no longer remember.  So basically, I had a lot of trash to work with.

As the community painting challenge (run by Azazel) that I participate in for July was “The Jewel of July ’19 Community Painting Challenge”, I thought I’d switch up from doing tanks and make a scenery piece.  The scenery qualifications were:

“It’s for the more impressive scenery pieces. A desert oasis or a (ruined?) temple or a bunker complex or a single bunker or a skyscraper or a Ferratonic Incinerator or a Kwik-E-Mart. A forest worth of trees or a jungle worth of plants.”

So, dear reader, you can be the judge of this project as a “jewel”, or not.  It will have some good points and some not – I hope that if you have some feedback (good, bad, or otherwise) that you share it so that I and others can learn.

Construction and Planning

I assembled the assorted junk, and made a plan.  The glass vials I decided would work well glued together top-to-top as chemical tanks.  I had two vials that were plastic that I scuffed up, and I removed any paper labeling from all of them.  The blow dryer screen would be the centerpiece.  Using a leftover piece of polystyrene sheet (Evergreen #9060 – .06″ thick), I plotted out a chemical plant symmetrically.  I made two elevated concrete pads for the shorter vials with thinner polystyrene (Evergreen #9020 – 0.02″ thick) and the foam pads, and Plastruct Bondene.  For the vials, my epoxy of choice was E6000, though that did leave a lot of glue strings to clean up later.  The tubing was Evergreen 3/16″ #226, complemented by cut plastic straws.  Applying E6000 to the strws made them relatively solid.  I used green stuff as the piping joints.  The plan for the vials was to sequentially prime, apply rust paints, apply chipping medium, apply metallic paints, chip, and rust.  The bases were to be done using AK crackle paints, with washing and dry brushing.

0 hair dryer
The missing cover came from here.
1 Sci Fi plant scratch build unpainted
The assembled terrain piece, unpainted.
2 Sci Fi plant scratch build unpainted
A side view of the unpainted piece.  The smaller vials were plastic and held old normal saline.  All were ordered to be discarded.  This is how I did that.


I airbrush primed the piece with Vallejo Black primer, allowing 24 hours to dry.  Then I airbrushed it with Vallejo Model Air “Rust” (#71.080).

3 Sci Fi plant scratch build primed and base coated with rust
Airbrushed with a rust base.

I then applied a liberal coat of Citadel “Ryza Rust” and a different Vallejo “Rust” (#71.069) that I hoped would show a nice rust effect under the final color coats.  Then, I applied Vallejo “Chipping Medium” over the rust.  I was very unsure of the amount to use here, or the pressure with which apply it with the air brush.  Add to that the dry time, which I gave 24 hours – too much?  I don’t know.  Due to the terrain piece’s layout, it was also hard to get into all the areas with the chipping medium.

I then chose the final metallic colors for the vials, the pipes, the caps, and the screen. Those, and the other materials, you can see listed at the end of this post.  I applied a caot of gloss black to the base to assist later “crackling”.

6 Sci Fi plant scratch build after painting base gloss black and vials with colors
After applying the colors onto the vials.

At this point, I applied water with a stiff toothbrush to the vials, and that was supposed to cause the chipping.  It did some places, but not everywhere.  I had to resort to a toothpick in a lot of places, and that pulled ALL of the paint off.  As repair, I used Citadel “Typhus Corrosion” trying to simulate rusted leaking tanks.  I washed the vials with a light rust wash, and that turned the purple tanks pink/orange!  I went back to the Typhus corrosion and tried to compensate.

7 Sci Fi plant scratch build after chipping
After the chipping work.
8 Sci Fi plant scratch build after chipping inside after dried
After the chipping work – I tried to make it look pretty contaminated and old.

Then, I needed to add the two different crackle paints, along with washes and highlights.  Before that, I applied a gloss varnish to help the crackling effect and to help protect the chipping effects.  I knew I could use a matte varnish later to dull it up.

9 Sci Fi plant scratch build after crackle paint, drying in sun
Crackle paints drying in sun on the base.  Glossy vials…for now anyways.
10 Sci Fi plant scratch build after crackle paint dried with glossy varnish
After the crackle paint got a glossy wash.
11 Sci Fi plant scratch build after crackle paint washed with Nuln Oil Gloss
Close up – definitely need to remove the gloss.  But first, some dry brushing of the crackle paint was in order.
12 Sci Fi plant scratch build after crackle paint dry brushed
I sequentially dry brushed, washed, dry brushed, and washed the piece.

Finally, I airbrushed the piece with Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”.  As I had foam rubber part of the piece, I needed to avoid any use of rattle cans to prevent a real chemical meltdown!

14 Sci Fi plant scratch build after matt varnish drying, top view
Using the heat of my driveway to dry the piece.
15 Sci Fi plant scratch build after matt varnish drying, side view
Complete and drying in the 90 degree sun.
15 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat
On the gaming mat.
16 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, center close up
Close up of the crackling effect and the screen.
17 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, side close up
Corroded tanks.
18 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, side close up
Corroded tanks, opposite side.
19 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, end close up
The smaller tank and its pad.

20 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat close up

21 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, Space Roos moving through
Space Roos reconnoiter in the plant.
21 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete on mat, Space Roos see Martians
Space Roos are surprised by Martians in the plant.
22 Sci Fi plant scratch build complete
Well, at least it is done.

So, do I have a “Jewel of July” here.  Maybe at least a garnet anyways.  I think this is OK for the tabletop, given that it was basically made of trash.  It hits the game tabletop today!

If you want to see a real “Jewel” – check out Alex’s piece here.  THAT is impressive!

Back to my project, I was somewhat disappointed at the Vallejo “Chipping Medium”.  I could not find much information on its use, and a lot of that was negative.  The AK crackle paints are very good in my opinion, and I will look to see if they have a chipping product.

Any feedback – especially any thoughts on my process and the product – is always appreciated.  As always, hope you enjoyed this post.


  1. Discarded dummy vials
  2. Hair dryer screen
  3. Body wash bottle cap
  4. Fragrance bottle cap
  5. Foam rubber packing pads
  6. Evergreen #9060 polystyrene sheet
  7. Evergreen #9020 polystyrene sheet
  8. Evergreen 3/16″ polystyrene tubes
  9. E6000 epoxy
  10. Plastruct Bondene
  11. Green stuff
  12. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  13. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  14. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Rust” (71.080)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Rust” (71.069)
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Signal Red”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Blue”
  19. Vallejo Mecha Color “Metallic Green”
  20. Vallejo Mecha Color “Purple”
  21. Vallejo Model Air “Med. Gunship Grey”
  22. Armory “Gloss Black” (used this 1996 paint up!)
  23. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  24. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  25. Vallejo “Chipping Medium”
  26. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust Wash”
  27. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture”
  28. Americana “Black Tie” (satin)
  29. AK “Light and Dry Crackle Paint”
  30. AK “Dark and Dry Crackle Paint”
  31. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (wash)
  32. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  33. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  34. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish




from Mark A. Morin
from Tumblr

Updated Barrage Recruiting Posters for 2019


I have updated the Barrage recruiting posters.  Everyone should feel free to repost any or all of them as widely as possible.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

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