Helsreach buildings

The first instalment of Helsreach buildings is well on its way for BOYL.

  1. Surface – this is an old sheet which has been painted with a mixture of PVA and paint and then sprinkled with coarse sand. Newspaper is put underneath the sheet, which sticks to the sheet and stiffens it, helping to prevent cracking when it’s rolled up. Still needs more painting/drybrushing.
  2. Adobe buildings – one of these has been cut from foamboard, the other two from cork tile. I’m going to use cork for the others as it has a better surface texture. The two rectangular ones fit exactly inside each other so they can be packed into a smaller space. I think I could nest about 3 before the inside one gets ridiculously small compared to the outside one. I’ve kept them deliberately plain because it’s quick and it also makes them more generic. I’ll do some more that are more specifically sci-fi/Helsreach.
  3. Shack – this is cardboard, scraps of mounting board and cardboard. They are fun to make but very time consuming compared to the simpler adobe buildings. I’ve got some more half built, and this one needs more weathering and painting.
  4. Industrial buildings – The left hand one is a hot chocolate cylinder with a mounting board platform. In the past I’ve made some very complex industrial buildings. For this one I restricted myself (for speed) to just sticking a few bits of card on it to form panels and then gave it plenty of weathering. The right hand one is mainly CDs – it has a bit more decoration, but again, fairly simple.
  5. Courtyard – This was originally built to be the inside of the Mos Eisley cantina for 25mm West End Games Star Wars – the arches are the little booths like the one where Greedo got shot. It languished unpainted in a cupboard for a few years until I decided to press it into use for this. It’s a little low, so I made roof pieces with a larger upstand to disguise this is a bit.

Static Grass Applicator for £2.50

Hi, sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Health and 6mm Napoleonic distractions.

Was looking to apply static grass to bases, wanted it to stand upright, but didn’t fancy spending £40 on something I wouldn’t use an awful lot. Found this article; https://www.thespruce.com/build-grass-applicator-model-train-scenery-2381741

I went to Poundland and got a bug zapper for a whole £1, to wilkos to get a metal tea strainer for 80p, and to a hardware store for an alligator clip – 65p.

Don’t have a soldering iron, so used a small connector to lengthen the cable for the Alligator clip. The tea strainer had plastic handle within the wire handle. I removed that and used a pair of pliers to shorten the wire handle, then cut the plastic insert a bit shorter and re-inserted it between the remaining prongs of the handle, securing it in place with some electrical tape. I bared the end of the red wire in the bug zapper, wrapped it round one of the prongs and used more tape to secure it. The other terminal in the zapper had 2 white wires. I cut one away completely, bared the end of the other and used an electrical connector to extend it with another piece of wire and put the alligator clip on that. Didn’t need to pack the handle with wood – made a hole in the plastic handle of the tea strainer and screw the zapper handle back together through  it, which seems to hold it well.

Popped in some batteries, and it worked! Popped some blobs of pva on a plastic bag, attached the alligator clip to the bag, put some static grass in the tea strainer bowl, turned the zapper on and shook the tea strainer over the blobs to deposit the grass. The stuff I have used is very short, but I am very happy with the first go.

Helsreach buildings

Before I get started on making some buildings specifically for Helsreach, (that’s the Logan’s World city featured in Rogue Trader – nothing to do with the later book), I thought I’d collect up all the pictures for reference. Here they are in one handy image. 

Architectural elements are:

  • Adobe mud buildings
  • Small square or rectangular windows
  • Lines of wooden beams projecting from walls
  • Rough planking
  • Small projecting balconies
  • Signs – many vertical and mostly in an oriental character set
  • A generally ‘piled-up’ haphazard look

I’m thinking foam card (which isn’t perfect for adobe but looks ok once textured), combined with rough balsa wood and printed out signage. Does anyone know what the oriental characters that he has used are – I could do with finding some images that look similar to do a cut and paste with?

Antares game at Warlord

To celebrate the site working again, here’s a quick post. Rowan and I went to Warlord HQ last night and had another game of Antares. 1000 points this time – Concord vs Rebel Ghar.

I  fielded Concord with:

  • 1 Command Squad
  • 4 Standard Squads
  • 2 Squads of 2 Light Support Drones with Batter Drones

Rebel Ghar fielded

  • Fartok with 2 battlesuits
  • Battlesuit Assault Squad
  • Tectorists
  • 1 Squad of Outcasts
  • 1 Disruptor Cannon
  • 3 Black Guard Squads

I didn’t deploy particularly well – I put the Command Squad on one flank where I wasted the group activations. The Ghar got their dice early in the first couple of turns and concentrated on knocking out the support drones. Their

Ghar advance on pinned Concord

With the support drones out of action, the remaining Concord could do little to stop the battlesuits advancing – I concentrated on trying to knock out the basic Ghar squads in the hope of destroying enough command dice to break them. My most successful squad on the left flank took the Disruptor Cannon out, and then another Black Guard squad towards the end of the game, but other than that it was a disaster. Fartok lost one of his squad, but using his double activation dice stormed through the middle and wiped out a full Concord squad in one go. All that was left in my centre was the battered remnants of two squads. Desperately they shot at Fartok and his accompanying battlesuit in the hope of a lucky hit, and they got one. The battlesuit died and Fartok failed his break test. Their reprieve didn’t last long – bearing down on my right flank was a wall of Ghar, co-ordinated by a Command Squad, that advanced steadily and shot them to pieces, ending the game with a strong Ghar victory (again).

Site is fixed

As mysteriously as it broke, this WordPress site has fixed itself again. I got an email saying it had automatically upgraded, and I went to look at it, and other than the debug messages I had turned on, it was working again. I didn’t get round to investigating it much, but some of the logging implied there was a duplicate ID in the wp-options table (two rows in a database should never, ever share the same ID). Sort of implies an error in the MySQL, because the database engine shouldn’t really allow those rows to be created, whatever the calling code tries to do. Anyway, perhaps something in the update caused a regeneration of the tables at a level that cured it (even though database repairs in both WordPress and MySQL hadn’t worked).

Better take a backup right now!

Helsreach jet bike race

Inspired by the classic Carl Critchlow artwork in Rogue Trader (see below), Curtis and I are planning to hold a big jet bike race through the streets of Helsreach, Logan’s World at BOYL 2017.

Jet bike race test game – models from the Ramshackle kickstarter

We finally had the first test game on Sunday, where we changed the rules as we went along, until we felt it was running right. We tried it with 12 jet bikes (most of which sadly still unpainted), so it had to be simple fast and furious. Initially we were thinking along the lines of X-wing manoeuvre templates, but soon abandoned that as being far too slow and laying out templates was actually pretty inaccurate. These are machines with a maximum move of 300″ per turn in the original rules, so they needed to cover some serious distance.

It has turned into a much sleeker rule set where the riders have to size up what’s ahead of them on the course, and decide just how much risk they want to take each turn. Great moments as one rider with a lucky roll of 6 burned his way up through the pack to catch up with the leaders, while another rolled a 1 and disintegrated against the concrete boundary wall.

Jet bikes have jumped to the front of the painting queue (serious loss of discipline there, but hey), and I’m now really looking forward to the next test game.

Jet bikes race through Helsreach streets in the Rogue Trader rulebook

Sci-fi Vampire sculpt

After a bit of a break, I’ve picked up my sculpting tools again, partly spurred on by the Oldhammer Chaos Pig contest. I’ve also been finishing off some long run WIP in with a view to getting another casting run done.

Space Vampire sculpt

My recent sculpts are a bit of a mixed bag, but one of the themes is sci-fi undead. Vampires appear in the original 40K, but a suitable model is hard to find. Most models are very firmly fantasy, and would look a bit odd taking on some marines, so I did this much more minimalist rendition. The original sketch had his hands open, but I soon found that this was almost impossible to sculpt, and probably hard to cast too, so I went for fists – he’s calling down some psychic wrath on someone. I think he would also make a suitable chaos sorcerer, or something for your players to hunt in an Inq28 game.

Ornithopter with WIP wings

I’m building another ornithopter, which will be fitted with solid wings. It’s a resin model moulded for me by Curtis of Ramshackle games. Now all I have to do is finish the wings, which are well underway, as you can see below.


The original model had insect style wings, which Curtis made for me last summer when I ran out of time to finish the solid wings that I was originally planning. It was also unarmed – I’m building this next one as a gunship, with twin rocket pods and a chin mounted cannon.  Read how it was built in this previous post.

Original ornithopter at BOYL


Office Block

At the start of the month, I posted a photo from a battle with this building dominating the centre. Here’s a bit more about how it was built.

Large building scenery


It all started about 15 years ago with the roof, which is a base for a pair of ERTL tie fighters. I based them up separately, which left this big plastic rectangle covered in interesting detail. Hmm, I thought, that would make a great element for a building. At the time I was into the idea of Cyberpunk era skirmishing, so I decided to do a generic modern building. I built the


Foamboard corners

The walls are all built from 5mm foamboard. The regular sizes of the columns made it very quick – just slice it up with a metal ruler and a scalpel. To make the corners neat, cut one piece 5mm ‘too big’, so it overlaps the other, then cut a strip off the back so just the outer skin remains. This will then cover up the cut edge of the other piece. From the top, it should look like this diagram.

To hide the most prominent cut edges, I used mounting board rectangles for all the window cills. To add a bit of interest I stuck corrugated card on the panels between the windows (you can get this from craft shop – unlike cardboard boxes, it only has a ‘skin’ on one side of the wavy bit.

After I had built the walls, there was then a pause of a decade or more until a few weeks ago when I decided that I’d really like to see it finished.


This is 10mm mesh – you can get it from building suppliers like Wickes. You’ll need a strong pair of sidecutters to cut the heavier gauge like this. It also makes great ladders if cut in a single strip. I’m a big fan of balconies on buildings as they make them much more interesting when used in a battle.

Inside building


The main body of building has a removable floor. This makes it accessible and also means that it can have more scenery stored inside it (I’m always looking for ways to make scenery pack down. The floor is also foamboard with mounting board edging around the central hole.


These stairs are free standing, so they can also be used with platforms etc. The landing is just large enough for a 25mm base, and they are made from foamboard and mounting board. These were the fiddliest part. The stairs themselves have a foamboard ‘ramp’ underneath, then I folded a strip of heavy gauge paper (thinner than card) in a concertina style and stuck it on with PVA, smearing it the full length of each ‘ridge’ so that it was held very firmly to the foamboard underneath. This was much quicker and neater than making separate steps.


The concrete parts of the building were all painted with a textured emulsion. This has a lot of body to it, so it’s good for covering cracks, and it also gives a much more substantial look when painted. Everything was painted with emulsion – colours used were black, very pale cream, brown, turquoise (used on the stairs and interior floor). Emulsion is much, much cheaper than acrylic, and for something like this is just as good.

I didn’t add much detailing – signs etc because I was trying to stick to the bare essentials. and also it makes it more generic. This could serve for pretty much any period from WW2, to post-apocalyptic, to Necromunda. Here survivors deal with a typical zombie infestation. Figures from left to right are: 2 Wargames Factory zombies, 2 Copplestone Castings zombies, a converted GW Delaque ganger and an engineer from my Warfactory range.

Woodcutter’s son

“Make the boy see sense”, she turned to her husband in desperation. “I just want to make something of myself, that’s all”, her son retorted “that Tom from Top Farm bought Betsy ribbons at the fayre. Where am I going to get money like that if I stay here?”.

“At least trees won’t fight you back, or take your fingers with the cold. And Frank’s brother came back, but he’s not been right in the head since. Doesn’t sleep all night or say a word that a person can understand”

Woodcutter’s son

Sometimes when you are painting a model, a story comes into your head, and it was definitely the case with this one. He’s from the Frostgrave soldiers box, and I love this head with the woolly hat – it’s so basic and so real. He’ll serve as a Thug (doesn’t really seem the right term for him). I imagine him in the inn with the hard bitten veterans, trying to keep up with the drinking and waking up with a sore head.