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Saturday, 4 August 2018

WATER TOWER

My inspiration for scratch building a water tower came from reading, Chain of Command, At the Sharp End. page 12 describes the Terrain for a campaign, stating the presents of a water tower in the middle of a wheat field.
Hence I decided to add a water tower to my collection of buildings.



Completed Water tower

Poster added for a bit of interest
Water gauge is added next to the ladder on the water tank.
The tower separates , accommodating a maximum of one Team.

HOW I MADE IT:
To make the tower I raided the recycling bin and salvaged 2  containers, one made from plastic, the other cardboard.
I reduced the height of both containers to 7cm with the use of box cutters.

Trimmed cardboard strips into strips of 4cm x 1cm to the simulate the metal plates surrounding the water tank.
Glue the cardboard strips in place with PVA glue.
I was fortunate to find an inverted lid which was fixed in place with super glue. 
If you are unable to find such a lid, you can improvise by cutting a thick piece of cardboard and glue it in place about a cm above the lip of the on a normal lid creating a raised area.
This the lid for the bottom portion of the water tower.
cut out the inner portion of the lid with hobby knife.
lid is super glued in place on top of the stone portion of the water tower and glued a single layer of cardboard strips just below the edge.

Used a hand grinder to etch details onto the plastic container.

Drilled 2 holes thru the plastic lid to accommodate 2 water overflow tubes.


Glued in place tubes and below is the view from the inside of the container.



Based the tower on 15cm x 13cm MDF, the ladders where made with metal wire cut to size and fixed in place with a soldering iron.

Ladder glued in place.
Primed with black undercoat.




  • I used Tamiya color  Acrylic Paint XF-6 to carefully wet brush the exterior of the tank allowing the black primer to show through.
  • For the stone  portion of the building I use stone grey and highlighted with some ivory mixed in with stone grey. I then used different washes to stain individual stones.
  • For the water I first painted PVA glue on the surface of the plastic to create a bit of a ripple. Once dry I use Vallejo Model colour Black Green to paint over the PVA, while still wet I mixed in a bit of Vallejo Model colour Iquai sand into the Black Green paint  and painted the water close to the rim of the tank.
  • I applied two coats of Tamiya X-22 to the surface of the water to a bit of a shine.

some images found on the web of water towers I used for inspiration.




cheers John 



Friday, 27 July 2018

Saving the Honourable "Tootles" Ash Scenario , AAR

In the Toofatlardies 2016 Summer special, page 124 is a scenario:


Just before Operation Overlord "Tootles" Recon flight  was shot down ,captured and held   prisoner in a Chateau  near the coast of France.
Group Captain Ash cannot be allowed to be transferred to the Gestapo in Paris as he knows and carries a brief case  with vital information for the invasion of Normandy. 
 A rescue plan is put in motion to rescue him.

The table set up with a road leading to the Chateau where Tootles is held.


The British force put together  for the night rescue mission.
2 x Senior Leaders, 2 x Sections, 1 x PIAT team, 1 x ATR team and 1 Sniper (not in photo)
The French resistance has also provided a German truck.


The night of the mission.
 Chateau surrounded by barbed wire.
All the Germans are classed as Green.


2 guards patrol the perimeter of the barbed wire around the chateau using 2D6 for movement and 1D6 to determine which way they are facing at the end  of their movement.
 Another guard is positioned at the front door 1D6 is used to determine which way he is facing after each British Phase. 


A Senior and Junior Leader are on the 1st floor.
One soldier is guarding "Tootlels"


One soldier is manning the LMG on the ground floor day looking out thru the window.


2 x Junior Leaders and a section of infantry are asleep in the top level of a barn with a SdKz 222 and SdKz 250 parked near by.


A guard post is positioned at the start of the road leading to the Chateau.
one soldier is stationary using 1D6 to see which way he is facing each Phase.
Another guard is moving along the outer perimeter of the boom gate using 2D6 for movment and 1D6 for facing.

On the completion of a British Phase all the German guards are activated to roll for movement and which way they will be facing.
They may also attempt to spot thru the dark up to 12" forward and 3" either side of their forward vision rolling 2D6  and rolling higher than the distance as per grenades usage for a successful spot.

Once the general alarm is activated both sides will be is able to see up to 12" forward and 3" either side of their forward vision.

The start of the Mission.
The Senior Leader decides to by pass the road block and  split his  force with 
One Senior Leader, Section and ATR moving tactically thru the wheat field on the right.
One Senior Leader, Junior Leader, Section and PIAT moving on the left.
A Junior Leader and one rifleman are with the truck  off table yet to be deployed.
The sniper is deployed on the wheat field on the right.

As the troops made there way to the designated points they survived 3 close call spotting attempts  by the guards patrolling the perimeter of the barbed wire.


The troops on the right get into position.
the troops on the left also are in position and the senior Leader sends out a man to hopefully silently eliminate the guard but fails on his D6 roll. 

The local alarm is activated.(the images now in colour)
The troops in the Chateau and the barn house are alerted to the penning danger.
while the guards at the boom gate are not yet activated.


The British team on the left put the guard down with rifle fire while the bren kills the guard at the front door. 
With the gun blaring away, the General alarm is activated and the call for reinforcements goes out.

The phase now is the Germans and the LMG is about to be activated to fire but a INTERRUPT by the British allows the section to fire at the German gunner who smashes thru the window onto the ground to join his dead comrade. 


The German player continues with his Phase and moves his troops in the barn down to the ground level hoping to move to the back of the Chateau. 
while the 2 leaders position themselves at the top of the stairs waiting for the inevitable.
As the German has rolled a double Phase he moves his troops out of the barn with one Junior Leader and 2 riflemen rushing towards the Sdkz 222.

With the next Phase the British have entered the ground level of the Chateau but are meet with 5 deadly grenades rolled down the stairs.
3 riflemen are killed and a Junior is wounded and knocked out as can be seen thru the perspex floor.


The British rush up the stairs and engage the Germans in Close Combat eliminating  all the Germans but suffering 2 casualties and the Senior leader receiving  a wound.


Ash is free but the Germans near the barn have opened up on the Brits on the ground killing one and causing 2 points of Shock.


The Krauts are about to enter the Sdkz 222 so the Senior Leader orders the Bren and the a riflemen to man the windows start firing and throw grenades.


The Bren on the corner of the Chateau also joins in and the Section is wiped out.
The vehicle crew manage to enter their sdKz 222 and move to line up a shot.


The 222 opens up on the Brits on the 1st floor scoring 3 points of Shock.


Meanwhile the Junior Leader in the captured German Truck is deployed  and smashes thru the boom gate rushing towards the chateau. 



Desperation sets in as the British move their wounded and dead out the building and into the truck while the 222 struggles to activate with his Command Dice.
Not only does Ash need to be rescued but no wounded or dead British trooper are to be left behind as the Germans need to think it was a raid carried out by the French resistance.
1 man can carry 1 wounded/dead man using 1D6
2 men can carry 1 wounded/dead man using 2D6



As more wounded are loaded the Bren gunner positioned on the corner of the Chateau  fires at the 222 hoping that it will not roll any saves but its not to be.
The Senior Leader activates the PIAT and ATR to move closer to the 222. 


The PIAT and ATR in position starting down at the 222.


 The 222 finally gets a chance to activate, achieves 5 HIts on both Anti tank teams but all have  no effect.
The PIAT fires and misses .


The ATR fires, HITS and the 222 fails to roll any saves and is put out of Action bursting into flames.


The Troops that have loaded the wounded /dead buddies  make their way down the road on foot.


More men make their way to the truck.


"Mission complete" Tootles is safe and on his way home.


Unfortunately for the Germans they were not able to deploy their reinforcement. 
On the 3rd Turn after the general alarm sounded they were to be deployed and enter the road on the right side of the Chateau .
Fortunately for the British only 2 game Turns clicked over.

Regulars.
Gestapo with a SMG 
Schwinnwagen and 2 of his henchmen with SMGs
Opal truck with 1 Junior Leader and 6 riflemen.
puma with Junior Leader
Sdkz 250 9 with Junior Leader.

Their mission was to grab "Tootles" and exit off the road.

The following week we played again, this time I was controlling the Germans. 
The Brits managed to silently eliminate 2 guards  patrolling the perimeter of the Chateau but sadly failed to eliminate the guard at the front door who activate the alarm.
 The British went on to  rescue "Tootles". 
Again no German  reinforcements arrived.


Some mods we added to the scenario.
  • one figure is able to carry one wounded/dead man using 1D6 for movement
  • two figures are able to carry one wounded/dead man using 2D6 for movement
  • The German LMG on the ground floor was only activated with the local alarm
  • stationary in the wheat field = light cover
  • moving in the wheat field =  Open
  • Once free, Tootles was given a pistol for self defence 
  •  We only activated the German Command Dice roll once a Alarm was activated.
Some thoughts after the game.
I think the German player should be allowed to roll his Command Dice from the beginning of the game to start accumulating Chain of Command points to use to End Turns, to speed up the deployment of his reinforcements.


cheers John 

Saturday, 21 July 2018

MODELING TREES

This is a tutorial on "How to make Trees"
I equate adding trees to a gaming table like adding candles on a birthday cake,it just doesn't look complete without the trees.
Hope this tutorial is helpful.

The following images show examples of a number of different completed trees,they range in height from  22 cm to 9 cm and I use them for 28mm scale models but are suitable for other scales.






Tree in Autumn


Tree in early Autumn 

6 bare winter trees

Purchase  wire from the hardware store, the wire I used is 0.09mm thick.
Using wire cutter, cut 8 x 44 cm lengths of wire.
Note: the height of the trees can be varied by adjusting the lengths of the wire.  

Bend the wire in half.

Place a old paint brush in the middle of the wire and start twisting the wire 4 or 5 times.
"As a side note they are many great videos that people have shared that run thru this bending process.

Pull out the brush and separate the wire into 4 equal sections.

Grab 2 sections of wire and twist together about 4 or 5 times,  do the same to the other 2 sections of wire, this will create 4 section each with 4 wires.

Separate each section of 4 wires in half and start to twist each section of wires.  

Now you will be left with each wire extension only having 2 wires on each section. Continue to twist each of the 2 wires a numbers of times.

With the help of pliers pull out each loop section at the base of the wire tree, so that they lie flat on the mat.  

using wire cutters cut each loop in the middle.

Twist each of the wires together.

 Alternately you can use the same method of wire bending for the upper portion of the tree to create a more detailed root system. "your choice''
Once you get the hang of twisting the wire, you will find it does not take long to complete a tree and the added bonus  its a good stress release.


The tree supporting itself on the mat.

I use large mud guard washers for the base of the tree, these are much thinner and wider that standard washers. 

Superglue the tree onto the washer and leave to set.

Using Acrylic gap sealant  coat the entire tree and base using a cheap paint brush.

The Gap filler has a short setting time so only pour out small portions at a time.

Using the paint brush apply the gap filler and apply a thin coat of filler on all the metal surfaces.

Helpful hint, is to frequently wash your brush to avoid the filler setting on the bristles.

First thin coat completed, allow to dry.

Apply another thin coat of Acrylic gap filler and allow to set.

Next step is to reproduce the finer branches. 

This is done with the use of Rubberized  Horsehair and a glue gun.

(I recommend using Rubberized Horsehair as apposed to using Coco fiber as it is more robust.) 

Using a hot glue gun apply glue along the branch.

Pull off a piece of Horsehair and place in on-top of the glue.


Continue this process till you are happy with the amount of fine branches on the tree.

Hint: you don't need to go crazy and cover all the branches with the fiber, space out the fiber.
Also make sure you place some fiber on the end tips of the branches. 

You can also use scissors to trim stray hairs.

Again......Don't be afraid to leave spaces, remember less is more.

Undercoat with Rustoleum black primer.

Allow to dry and paint the large branches,roots and base with the following colours listed below.
When painting the trees at this stage, it will get a bit fiddly as you progress up into the thinner branches with the fiber, it does not have to be perfect as a lot of the surface will be covered by flock. 

Image of a deciduous  tree.
The paints I used are Vallejo Model colour flat earth,Grey Green and Vallejo game colour Stone wall grey.

Now there is no set method or order of colours to apply, so you can experiment.

example: 

  1. use the Stone wall grey to wet brush (dry brushing but with more paint on the brush) the whole tree allowing the black primer .
  2. highlight most areas with the Grey green 
  3. limited highlight of certain areas with flat earth.
Its up to you if you want the tree to look more greyish use the Stone wall grey as the base colour, or if a browner colour is desired use the flat earth as a base coat. 

This is a tree in winter (no leaves will be added) with a more greyish look.

Prepare a area with your PVA glue, brush, coarse flock and plastic container to catch any excess flock

Using a large flat brush I apply the PVA glue onto the fine brushes of the tree. 

I don't use a spray can adhesive as I want to be able to control the areas, I want to attach flock on the branches.

Apply the coarse flock onto the tree, till the whole tree is covered with flock.

I then shake off the excess.
You can use different colours of flock as well,darker flock   as a  base,  lighter coloured flock as a highlight.

Using the back of a paint brush I separate and free up the flock so that its not a big mass, you want to create spaces between the branches and the flock.

Image shows the separation.

Coat the base with PVA glue.

Apply some bits of flock that were used on the tree to the base.

Complete the coverage of the base with fine flock to match your gaming mat. 

Completed tree.
Allow the PVA glue to set and knock on the underside of the base a couple of times to separate any loose flock material.


I apply a generous coat of this product to fix the flock on the branches as opposed to spraing the flock with watered down PVA glue. 
I recommend making one of these model holders as it makes life easier while modelling the trees. clink on the link for more info: Modelling tip #1
Here is where I store my trees, there a number of trees missing as they are on the gaming table.





Here are two of my gaming tables that where fought over by the US and Germans, the inclusion of trees do help add realism to the tables. 


Cheers John