New Terrain Counters

Simply put a terrain counter is a small base (anything from 3/4 inch to 2-3 inches) that has representative terrain modeled on it. It can be used to represent blocking or difficult terrain or just for flavor. For myself I use them individually in Role Playing Games (RPGs) or on an irregularly shaped piece of colored felt on the war gaming table to represent large areas of difficult terrain (woods, swamp, etc.). In the war gaming context they are ideal in that the felt doesn’t move but the counter can be moved to facilitate the movement of troops.

Previously, I had made a couple dozen of these to represent scrub bushes, cactus and “junglish”looking terrain. I had planned to do more but that plan had lapsed into procrastination with other shiny new projects hitting the work bench. Recent plans in a RPG lead to a desire to take the game into the “fairy realm” and that posed the question, “How to credibly represent the fairy realm on the gaming table?”

I had some plastic flowers of the same variety that made the “scrub brush” counters that were pink/red and the idea popped to do specific terrain for the fairy realm.

One thing I wanted to try out was to try to create a terrain counter that would be more interactive with a miniature. Thus the inclusion of 2.25 inch bases along with my preferred 1.5 inch and a  few .75 inch bases. With the large base I attached flower bushes in a horse shoe patter around the outer edge leaving a space for a miniature to “hide” hide in the center using the bushes for cover. Additionally, the small base fits in the center and I can deploy this base on the table as an ambush- when a figure moves within a certain distance from it the small counter is removed and the ambushing figure is place in the middle of the large base.

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Quality and Manufacturers

Spent the day flashing and basing 50 figures, quite a bit more were done when you count the ones not flashed. Funny how the quality of figures changes from company to company. One group of 17 are German infantry that are to be painted as German military police and at least 1 in every single blister pack (4 packs in all) had a chunk of the rubber mold wedged in a crevice on the figure as well as super heavy flash- just poor poor quality in the production end. The sculpts and poses of the figures are very nice but the quality of the product left some to be desired.

Then there were 30 “Black Brunswhickers,” a Napoleanic regiment. I had seen these figures at Historicon but had not bought from the company as I currently had no real interest in the periods that their lines are in. Nice clean figures with little flash- just a joy to clean. The poses were  were fairly uniform for the rankers (you expect them to be in packed regiments for this period so standard poses are to be expected) however the command figures were  very nice. I particularly liked the drummers and look forward to painting them when I get to that part of the contract.

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Keep on the Borderlands and my kids

Aside from the propensity to throw the dice too strongly, move figures and terrain around, and scribble on character sheets when I  wasn’t watching the kids surprised me with how well they took to the RPG format of gaming. I was fudging the old Basic D&D rules for the game but will mix in some elements from 4.0 elements when I have time (namely detailing movement in squares instead of feet- easier for a child to count our their squares).

The 8 year old chose to be a warrior princess named Suzana and the 4 year old chose to be a magician princess named Miana Mia. The choosing equipment had a funny moment when I suggested that the magician princess could carry a knife (didn’t want to explain what a dagger was so I said knife) or a staff. She promptly told me that she couldn’t have a knife as knives were dangerous and she wasn’t suppose to play with them. That made the decision simple; staff it was. Since she was a magician princess she got to have a spell so I limited the choice to offensive 1st level spells but not wanting to try to explain "Charm Person" I offered "Magic Missile" and "Sleep" but since magic missile was sort of difficult to explain she sort of settled on sleep and spent most the game threatening to put everyone to sleep.

They made their way to the tavern and ate cheese, apple juice and stew before the bartender asked if they were looking for work. Promptly one said yes and the other said no. It turned out the merchant in the tavern had been robbed by the lizard men and was offering reward for recovering his goods. The princesses traveled to the swamp and searched for the lizard men till they found the lizard men’s mound. One challenged them and told them to go, they demand the stolen stuff back or the lizard men would be put to sleep. The lizard man said no and they he was going to steal all the princesses’ stuff. Suzana the warrior princess decided talk was done and charge the lizard man but four others jumped out of hiding. Miana cast her sleep spell and put 3 of them to sleep. Suzana fought with the leader and the other last lizard man charged Miana and hit her with a spear. The last round of combat saw Miana drop another sleep spell and take out 1 more lizard man and Suzana knocked the last lizard man down with a mighty blow, causing him to surrender.

The princesses made the lizard men return the stolen goods and promise to stop doing bad things before letting them go. However, the game master wouldn’t let them move the wagon without horses. So one stayed with the wagon while the other went back to the castle for horses. Then they got their reward and we ended the session and played Candy Land.

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Back From Historicon

I love Historicon! 6000 wargamers in attendance at a convention in PA. This was my 2nd year and the first it was in King of Prussia, PA. Awesome games, my club’s game won a game master award. I attended 2 painting and 1 sculpting classes (despite having read descriptions of how to sculpt chain mail numerous times I could never really do it till after 5 seconds of instruction in the class!). Played in some cool games: a Moby Dick game where players play a whaling boat trying to take down the great white whale. I got the highest victory points and still lost lots of crew to sharks. Also played in a demo game for War Lands (post apocalyptic zombies meets Mad Max) and one a prize at the end.
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Hover Sled 600

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Size comparison Hover Cycle vs 28mm & 32mm figures

Here’s a little size comparison to commonly used figures. The two yazerians riding the cycle are classic 28mm TSR figures and the one standing is an ICORE, figure, I believe, in about 32mm scale. The yazerians are on one inch fender washers and they mount the bike very well. When only one figure is on the bike both magnets kind of fight over it and it ends up centered between them.

I’ve used a lot of clear plastic champaign flute bases and stems as flying stands in the past. The local cross between a discount and a dollar store had a six pack for a dollar  but now they’ve sold out and only stock the ones with gold glitter or gold bases. I guess they wont reorder till those sell out too. So I’ll be using the one with gold glitter as a base as it wont show too much under the big hover fan. For the windshield I’ll try cutting up a one of the flutes with the gold stem and base for the nice one inch diameter curved plastic of the cup portion. It looks like a job for the new dremel tool.

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Hover Cycle #1

Small departure here from the previous blog as an idea took me an I followed it.
Designed a hover cycle based on a stand up/ jet ski inspired hover sled. Plus with a stand up model and high density magnets I’ll be able to mount any miniature I own on the hover sled as I’m fairly anal about giving all minis a metal base.
I pulled out another refrigerator magnet of a rotating fan and broke it into its various parts. Since the fan has a front and back cover there is a possibility of building tow but one had a higher profile than the other. In scale the higher one would be close to higher than a man’s head so it was cut down and a piece was added to the smaller fan. At this stage the "fan motor housings were modified till they would except a high density magnet which would be crucial to mounting a miniature on the model.

Once magnets were secured with super glue and the motor housing for the lower fan was attached work began on the cycle controls. The controls are a nice little mini from Mega Minis the ebay store. Sadly I only bought two of them last year and I can see I’ll need more as this is my last. Anyway I drilled and placed pins into the sides to help with attaching the handles then glued it to the fan motor assembly.

The deck started life as an acrylic sheet light cover that I’ve been cutting up and using for the nice texture that it has. I cut and measured and re-cut till I was happy with the look of it on the model. Even though it’s not two inches long it should be long enough to fit two miniatures so I added a second magnet to the underside at the back. Once the super glue dried I glued the deck in place.

All that is left is the handles, a clear plastic wind shield, painting and a clear plastic stand.
Also I still have parts for at least two more cycles kicking around so stay tuned.

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