Sunday, 6 August 2017

DIY static grass applicator for under GBP 5

Hmm, May and June were a washout for any progress - I managed to get the US Airborne figures prepared and based - then added fine sand to the bases - but holding off showing pics until I get some 'actual' progress...

'When' I do finally get the US Airborne painted up, I'll be basing them to reflect mid-summer, Northern European grasslands. To get the effect I'll be using static grass of various lengths, so I've ordered some from eBay - then I looked at some YouTube videos and saw the various applicators. Nice, but pricey - happily though there are plenty of tutorials to make an applicator for under £10 (GBP) / $10 (USD)...

So here we go... This isn't a comprehensive step by step as plenty of YouTube vids, but a brief description...

1x electric bug zapper (powered by 2x AA batteries) - cost £2.99 from The Range (I bought two, the second will be used for a bug zapper surprisingly)
1x small (7cm) metal sieve / tea strainer - 80p from Wilko's
Length of wire

Specialist tools: 
Soldering iron and solder

Basic instructions: 
Dismantle the bug zapper, cut the wires to the three wire mesh panels - these will no doubt come in useful for terrain pieces at a later date.
Cut the strainer handle down, then cut the plastic frame down so that the strainer fits and it looks nice and neat.
Given this zapper had three pieces of wire mesh, there are three wires - the wires going to the outer mesh are connected to the sieve (I actually cut one of the wires off, so just reused the other wire to connect to the sieve), the third wire I de-soldered from the control board and replaced with a longer piece of wire - this will have a crocodile clip added once I get one.

Basically all you do know is reassemble the zapper handle, with the sieve slotted in - I added a shaped piece of plywood to give the sieve a snug fit and reduce any movement when using the applicator.

There you go, a couple of hours work and we're pretty much done - just need to add a 5 amp crocodile clip (I have 25 in the post for £4.25, or 19 pence each... Will also potentially fill the end with some silicone sealant to give a neater finish. So total spend is £3.98 (not including batteries and wire that I already had).

Once I get the static grass I'll give a test and see how effective it will be...

Monday, 1 May 2017

A journey into Bolt Action

Back in the late '90s / early '00s I moved from 20mm WW2 into the murky waters of 28mm.  My main point of call for miniatures at the time was Wargames Foundry.  While several other manufacturers had extensive ranges of minis, Foundry always caught my eye, especially the German Sentries (WW2025) & Sentry Box (WW2G009) sets ( which were perfect for a series of games I wanted to play - loosely based on my experience of playing Medal of Honour (and sequels) on the original Playstation, or PS1 as it became to be known (a wonderful gaming console that I still have in the original box - although sadly I no longer have any games for it...).  This computer game just oozed class and I felt it was translatable to the tabletop being a FPS dungeon-crawler.  However, as often happens, I never quite got the lightbulb moment through to fruition.

The minis got painted and the collection expanded over the following years, with additions of a Westwind Tiger 1, Black Tree Design P.A.K 40 & Kubelwagen (no longer listed in their catalogue it seems), pre-Warlords Bolt Action Sdkfz 222 (appears to be a revamped model now on the Warlords site) & two British Commando canoes (available again via Warlord Games), plus some Foundry French Resistance fighters.  A few pieces of resin and metal terrain also joined the slowly growing collection...

After painting most of the figures, vehicles, artillery and some of the terrain, they found their way into storage and I moved on to other pursuits (incl. starting a family...).

Several years followed with very little hobby action, until a PC game was purchased - Soldiers: Heroes of World War II.  This was a truly tactical, real time video game with excellent graphics (for 2004), an atmospheric soundtrack and excellent game-play.  To this day, it remains in my top ten of video games.

I spent many hours huddled over my gaming laptop playing this, to the extent that it exacerbated some lower back problems (caused by poor posture habits both at home and work - let that be a warning to you) and ended up having to get some chiropractic treatment!  Health issues aside, the game, re-inspired me to re-visit the potential of tabletop gaming, especially the lighthouse scenario, with the British Commando squad needing to ambush the Germans, taking an e-boat and then take out a series of Atlantik Wall artillery guns.  Took me a few (read lots of ) attempts, but I finally took out the big guns and got my squad off the 'table' to safety (or the next mission at least...)

So, getting this onto a table is still the plan - I did though create a game with some house rules where the allies needed to take out a German command bunker.  The game was played on my home made 8'x4' terrain, with the Germans in 'patrol' mode and randomly controlled until an alarm was set-off.  This was controlled by how the British Commando player acted - for example, any sustained gunfire would set the alarms off.  At this point, the German forces would become player controlled, with potential for reinforcement to arrive from a nearby barracks in 'x' turns...

In play pictures...

IIRC, the Allies lost right at the end, but it was a close call...

So, where is this ramble going?  Well, following the release of Bolt Action 2.0, it was time to get back to WWII gaming - the Band of Brothers starter set was promptly purchased, as was a Sherman M4 (I also bought a 'not' Oddball from Studio Miniatures, just because...).  I remembered I had two Italeri 1/48 scale 88s purchased a few years ago and a box of Waffen-SS Grenadiers that I got for a birthday present in 2015.

These will be added to the existing minis, with some additional purchases along the way (such as another box of Warlord American Airborne and potentially some anti-tank artillery and/or bazookas.  Following this, some new terrain boards, possibly with a coastal theme and bunkers as per the S:HOWW2 game...

I'm also VERY tempted to scratchbuild a 1/56(ish) scale Schnellboote S-100 for this as well!  Let's see how we go with that one...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

I survived Salute 17

What a show - majorly busy at the start (arrived around 10:30) - a LOT easier after lunch...  Great time though - lots to see and buy, but limited myself massively to my £33 pre-order with Zinge, a Warlord Sherman M4 (£16) from PE2 Collectibles and a 'not' Oddball / Donald Sutherland figure (£4) from Studio Miniatures - Guess what I'll be doing with the Sherman... I missed out on a lot of freebies at various stands, although did snag an Element Games pen and sweet (quickly devoured)

Goody bag and purchases...

(not shown are a free dice from the Maelstrom Edge folk and three 15mm free minis from Ground Zero Games)

Zinge pre-orders...

Show summary...

Parking at Salute = £20 (flat fee)
Latte and pastry to start the day = £4
Queue to get in at 10:30 = rammed
Warlords = rammed
Wayland = rammed
Troll Trader = rammed
Forge World = rammed
Hasslefree = rammed
Main concourse at luchtime = ridiculously rammed
Variety of traders = excellent
Variety & quality of displays and games (demos and participation) = good, but could do better
My feet at the end of he day = worn out
Photos taken = 100+, mostly of the various games tables.  See below...

So here we go - lots of pictures, take into account that i'm no expert with photography and have a pretty basic digital camera in my (sometimes shaky) hands.  In no particular order;

Snaking queue to get in at 10:30 am - the joy...

And inside at the far end at about 11am...

Anvil - Afterlife game being played inside their rather cool Land Rover Defender...

Beautiful Oshiro table

Star Wars X-Wing game

Obligatory appearance from the 501st - love these guys and want to join :)

Discworld Witch Racing - Participation game

Animal Farm participation game

Crawley Wargames Club - Italian Renaisssance game (not on floorplans as a last minute replacement)

'A not so funny thing happened on the Way to the Forum'

Battle of Cambria - 1917

Avengers vs X-Men

Battlegroup Tobruk - 20mm 1941 desert battles

HALO - Ground Command


Mierce - Darklands


Battle of Dresden


Dragon Rampant in Frostgrave (I think)

Short Bill Coppers Treasure Quest - Pirates...

Congo - Wargames Foundry

Wild West Exodus (I think)

Falklands war



The Walking Dead - All Out War

Battle of Raphia

Pedion Modular Battlefields (Kickstarter)

'Cretaceous Camp' (or Jurassic Park...)

Freebooters Fate

Black Scorpion Games Tombstone Kickstarter figures

Fort Mosquito 1654

Inverlochy 1645

Lefthand down a bit (or sink HMS Eagle) - 28mm



Dark Sphere - Rogue One X-Wing battle

Konflikt '47

Command & Colours Napoleonic

Battle of Prague 1757

Mad Maximillian

Devil's Run - Route 666

Achtung! Cthulhu

Airfix Battle

Panzerfauste (I think...bit blurry...)


Sword Beach 1944

In Her Majesty's Name, Werewolves vs Vampires

Renedra plastic castle

WW2 - 15mm

WW2 - 28mm

Selection of painting competition entries

Warhammer 40k mega game

Real Time Wargames - Campaigns & Battles in 15th Century Italy

And that's it for another year...  Already looking forwards to Salute 2018...