Hasslefree youth and some pine trees


Fresh off of the paint desk: Hasslefree Miniatures Albert

He was fairly easy to paint, and I’m pretty happy with him. He stands on a 20mm round base. I copied Orctrader‘s paintjob, with a few of my own touches.


I also made some pine trees for my Warhammer 5th edition table. Once again I followed a tutorial from the excellent Boulder Creek Railroad site. I will be making some more soon.

Welcome to the Jungle


The new(-ish) table in all its glory – 6′ x 4′ of flock and lumber…


Dear Readers, your humble correspondent returns to the intertubes once again with profuse apologies for leaving you waiting so long between updates. I must confess to very little hobby activity across the last 6 months in terms of painting and converting miniatures. This has been the case, however, for the happiest of reasons; I have been playing games!

Across the last 6 months or so, I would have averaged around 1 or 2 games per week of 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000, a few games of Space Hulk, and – across the last month – several games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 5th edition (of course).

What hobby activity I have been engaged in has mainly been terrain making to enable all of this gaming to be possible, and it is the results of those efforts which I report to you today.

Some of these elements you have seen before…. the Jungle Trees, the Scatter Terrain, and the Jungle Ruins…. but here they all are incorporated with some newer elements on a full size table.

No 2nd edition 40K setup could be complete without spiky jungle cacti, and so several bases of these were made up. I actually made them quite some time ago and they appear in a battle report on the most excellent Game of Travel blog (where you can see just how long ago they were made!).

The cacti were fairly easy to make, being constructed of Styrofoam balls, toothpicks, and with texture added from filler, sand, and dripping caulk from a caulking gun over them. Paint them before adding the spikes (which you should spray paint red on their own).

Another essential element for that authentic 1990s 40K look is moss covered rock spires, and I have prepared one so far, with plenty more on the way….


The other essential element is cardboard terrain. This is the old Imperial Bunker which I picked up on the WargamerAU Buy, Swap, and Sell forum for a good price considering it was in fairly poor condition. I fixed it up, and mounted it on a small hill. I ditched the tower and the forward position as I don’t like them anyway, and they were in very poor condition indeed. It makes a nice centrepiece for games and can be an objective in its own right if desired. It looks fairly good considering it took almost no effort to achieve this…


I also constructed a kidney-shaped hill (which I made so long ago it still has my old blend of flock on it!)….


… as well as a hill which has been dug out into a bunker, which utilises some Games Workshop terrain elements, namely the barricades from the Aegis Defence Line.


Also, I constructed some generic trees, which I think could pass for evergreen European trees on a Warhammer Fantasy table if required….


I used the method from this excellent tutorial on a great site called Boulder Creek Railroad (well worth a look if you want some tips on scenery making), and made them from old twigs, a plant hanging basket liner, and various grades of flock. They were pretty easy, but messy! They look better in real life than they do in this photo (flash photography… sigh).

Speaking of Warhammer Fantasy, I have been playing a few games of 5th edition, borrowing my gaming buddy’s Empire army, whilst I furiously put my own models together…. more to come soon!

Finally, for those sad pitiable souls interested in such things, here are some shots showing the construction of the table… it is a plywood top supported by pine battens. Pretty easy even for someone totally hopeless at DIY such as myself. It is quite sturdy, but heavy, and you do need somewhere to store it….


The Alternative Townhouse

The alternative townhouse

Not a house where…. alternative… things happen, but rather the Citadel Townhouse from the old modelling articles by Phil Lewis and Dave Andrews. This article appeared in White Dwarf 137 and in addition to the ordinary templates, it also featured templates for an extension to the townhouse, which was called the “alternative townhouse”. Being that I had very limited experience of building scenery, naturally I went for that option; and these are the results.

The only differences from the templates are the addition of the dormer windows and the windows under the gable on the end of the house.

Overall the construction was fairly easy. I blew the templates up to A3 size on a photocopier, and traced them for the walls. Otherwise I didn’t really measure anything, just using eyeballing to hopefully give it that slightly ramshackle Warhammer look (that’s the excuse anyway). I constructed it all from foamboard, which I found to be exceedingly easy; it was much faster to construct the basic structure than was the cardboard formers used in the barn and it weighs much less, though it is also much less sturdy.

Fantasy townhouse WIP 1
Foamboard and balsa
Fantasy Townhouse WIP 2
Blue insulation foam was carved for the chimneys

The only things that gave me any real trouble were the details. It took a while to work out how to do the windows properly; there being, of course, no explanation in the article. I also, on the spur of the moment, added dormer windows when I coincidentally had some offcuts that seemed the perfect shape to do it.

I used vinyl flyscreen to make the leaded windows….


…..following month after fruitless month searching for aluminium or steel mesh…. I know it exists; just not in Australia, and if ordered on the internet I only seemed to get mesh that was far, far too fine to use for, well for anything really.

I also think that next time I would use thick card instead of balsa wood for the timbering, as the balsa is too thick and stands proud of the plasterwork by no small amount. It makes the house look more like a modern mock-Tudor (where the timbering is purely decorative) when on a real Tudor house the timbering would be flush with the plasterwork as the timber was actually load-bearing and part of the walls (some pictures below illustrate what I mean).

Real Tudor timbering
Fake Tudor timbering

Once constructed, I covered the whole structure (apart from the windows) in gloop (a mix of PVA, sand, filler, and water) as recommended on Tony Harwood’s blog. At first I wasn’t too sure about this, but it actually worked out quite well in the end. I think I should have left the roof tiles clean though…. or perhaps use a finer grade of sand. I would definitely use a finer grade of sand or no sand at all on the roof if I was planning to paint the roof as slate (which I was for this model – to give it that 5th edition Warhammer look – but it turned out I had run out of blue paint so they became clay tiles instead).

WIP painting

Overall I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out and I learned a lot. I cannot recollect how long it all took (I don’t really want to add it up, to be honest) but I know the next one will be a breeze…. which is the idea, I guess.

I must also add, this is the only example of the “alternative townhouse” I have ever seen. The end chimney was also my addition, as were the decorative timbers; it felt too bland otherwise.

The doors are Milliput


Unfortunately I can only use flash photography at the moment….
…which has rather washed everything out….
….and made it appear far more glossy than it really is….
I also based it, which given I intend it to be a country manor seems appropriate, though future houses will not be based so that they can be used in both urban and rural settings.

These are some pictures from the articles itself… I think it turned out well all in all.

Fantasy townhouse Phil Lewis
From the article


Fantasy townhouse Phil Lewis White Dwarf 137 back cover low res
The back cover of White Dwarf 137






Barn Finished 1
Fantasy Barn – inspired by Phil Lewis and Tony Harwood’s efforts

Yes, I am alive. Due to various factors, the most I have been able to motivate myself for these last 5 months has been the occasional comment on the blogs of others; sometimes not even that. However, this is not the time nor the place to discuss those issues. Suffice to say, I am back.

Barn Finished 2
The other side….

Across the Christmas period, I constructed a Fantasy Barn. I chose this project because I thought it would be relatively easy, and a good way to lay down some skills for some more ambitious projects in the future. Also, I have started to paint some Warhammer (5th edition style, of course) miniatures, and so I need a suitable photographic backdrop!

Barn Finished 3
… and the back.

The barn structure was based on the templates from the old White Dwarf article by Phil Lewis.

Phil Lewis Fantasy Barn
The classic article which provided the model for this project, and the templates.

I blew them up to A3 size on a photocopier and used them to cut card-board profiles to build up the basic shape of the building. This is a technique I learned from Tony Harwood‘s excellent books.

Barn WIP 1
Cardboard profiles making up the basic structure – this is fairly strong, but heavy compared to most other terrain.

I then covered the structure in papier-mâché – a technique I have not used since I was about 5 years old(!), but which also came from Tony Harwood’s book.

Barn WIP 2
That is the lovely face of female Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Michelle Payne (who won me a goodly sum of cash).

I then clad the structure in balsa wood planks  and tiled the roof with cardboard tiles.

Barn WIP 3
I learned a lot from this project, and (apart from the door which looks a bit shit) I am pretty happy with it.

All in all it was pretty simple and turned out ok, I think. It took 2 evenings to build and about 1.5 hours to paint.

Tony Harwood Barn
This work by Tony Harwood (photo used with permission) was also studied very closely for inspiration. Taken from Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 1 Building Wargame Terrain By Tony Harwood, published by the author (2013) page 96.

Jungle Trees

Things have been a bit quiet lately, thanks to both extreme busy-ness at work, and consequent stress, and my brother unexpectedly coming to stay with us for a bit, which was nice though that meant lots of Diplomacy being played instead of painting….

I have been working away though and I have a few things which are 95% done, so hopefully I should be a bit more active in terms of posting over the next few weeks.

For now though, I have finished some jungle trees as part of my project to have a terrain set-up reminiscent of the jungle scenery from the 2nd edition 40K battle reports. They are made from Games Workshop jungle trees (no longer available, I believe) and some cheap model railroad palm trees which came from China via eBay. Quick and effective, I think.

Sorry for the awful photo - I had to take it on my phone whilst I wait for a new camera battery... Click for a bigger pic.
Sorry for the awful photo – I had to take it on my phone whilst I wait for a new camera battery…
Click for a bigger pic.

(More) Scatter Terrain

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I was planning to make some jungle trees as my next terrain offering, but an unexpected arrival of some Fenris Games parts meant that I used the bases I had cut for some scatter terrain instead. All of the studio photo-shoots for White Dwarf in the 1990s featured copious amounts of barrels and crates (as in the header of this blog, for example) and these are my modern versions. The tech crates and wooden crates are by Fenris Games, the wooden ammo crates are by Victoria Miniatures and the barrels are a mixture of Games Workshop and Tamiya 1/35 WWII German 200L oil drums (and also jerry-cans from the same kit).

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The flock is Woodland Scenics Golden Harvest with various MiniaNatur tufts and flowers added.

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The crate with hazard stripes is my homage to the 1990s 40K battle reports. The “Take and Hold” mission required taking a certain place on the board, which was represented in the White Dwarf battles by a crate with hazard stripes on top.

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