Thursday, June 13, 2013

LAM Jesters arrive in Gierburg

Another set of beautiful figures from Simon Bradley has arrived in Gierburg: The Jesters, from Lead Adventure Miniatures' Bruegelburg range (BRU-15).

The Bruegelburg Jesters painted by Simon Bradley

Together with Omoklon from Guild of Harmony and the GW Bretonian jester, both painted by Tom List, and the unreleased Mordheim Jester, painted by Roman Lappat, I now have pretty much all cool jester models I can think of. At least I thought so until recently when Scibor released the Town Guard set which contains a nice jester figure as a musician. But since that figure is not available separately I will probably not add that to my collection.

Gierburg jesters dancing through the streets

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gierburg Head Hunter painted

About three and a half years ago I finished my first ever (and only) sculpt: Ty Cain, Gierburg Head Hunter. Now the miniature is finally painted. For obvious reasons this figure is especially precious to me so - like with the last batch of miniatures, the Gierburg Peasants, - I entrusted Simon Bradley with the paint job.

I think he has once again done a wonderful job. Check out the mini in his gallery on Stone Cold Lead.

Bounty Hunter painted and photographed by Simon Bradley

Ty Cain encounters a deranged jester in the streets of Gierburg

Sunday, June 9, 2013

IKEA Gaming Table

Yesterday my better half made me accompany her on a shopping spree at one of Berlin's IKEA stores to get some "much needed" things. As a true geek (and to make the best of the situation) I used the "opportunity" to go looking for a gaming table there. Since I am knee-deep in the works for my Port of Gierburg gaming table (quite literally if you look at the living room these days) the need for a proper table is getting more and more urgent. I didn't really have that much hope of actually finding something useful, but guess what: I did!

The LERBERG trestle
The LINNMON series of table tops has a perfectly sized 120x60cm table top for £15/€17,90. I really like the elegance of the black-brown tone, and without hesitation I decided to take two of  them.
Now the question was what to do about the legs. Normally you would screw the table legs underneath these table tops. But this is not an option since I need to store the gaming board away and only when I need it I will get it out and set it up. I was thinking about various solutions such as paste tables when a few metres later I came across the LERBERG trestles. For only £5/€6,00 this is a great table leg solution. With the board on trestles the table is about 73,5cm tall, which is a good height for both walking around the table and reaching for figures as well as sitting next to it and watching your opponent make their moves.

My basic gaming table now consists of two 120x60cm table tops and four trestles. I am quite happy with this because, as mentioned above, the table's color tone looks really nice and elegant and so do the trestles. They are more like design thingies than craftman's utilities. They come in a dark grey tone and fit the table top quite well. They are made of metal and the entire set-up is very stable so this is a pretty solid solution that looks good and still can be stored away nicely.

All four trestles in their storage position

One of the two tables set up

I will probably look for hinges or something at the local building centre to connect the two boards so that the whole thing is safer against pushes during the heat of battle. But for now I am already pretty happy with it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Port of Gierburg - Part 2: Dock Section I WIP

In the second part of this series I describe the building of the first big dock section for the Port of Gierburg gaming table.

Building the Docks

With the water board finished work on the Port of Gierburg continues with the first dock section. Basically this section will consist of three sets of harbour walls from GrandManner that I bought some time ago. Each set consists of various resin parts: a wall piece, a jetty, stairs and a flagstone board.
The Harbour wall/jetty
from the GrandManner online store (ME64)

Following my plans for the port set-up (see Part 1) the first dock section measures 75 x 12 cm. The harbour walls have a width of 31 cm so I had to do some filing to get them in the right sizes. Unfortunately (in this case!) the resin that GrandManner uses to cast their pieces is rock solid so it took me really long to file through the walls.

The plan was to incorporate two stairs and one jetty into the dock. I filed off the lower steps of the stairs so that they would fit nicely next to the jetty. The jetty also had to be cut to size. I could have used the jetty in full length, of course, but I want to be able to place three ships in the port and I have certain plans for additional jetties. This required the jetty section here to be rather short.

Like with the water board I used a 5 mm MDF board as a base. The rest was a lot of styrofoam.

I glued a beech moulding strip to the bottom where the dock would touch the water board. To stabilize the sides and to prevent them from damage I used thin wood boards.

I filed the corners of the wood boards so that they matched the stonework pattern of the harbour walls. Later, I would use modelling putty to fill the gaps and create a smooth surface.

Instead of the flagstone boards that come with the harbour walls I decided to use cobblestone boards from Vampisol. As I described in an earlier review these are very nice plaster boards that I highly recommend. I chose to use them over the resin flagstone pieces because the thin plaster boards can be easily cut into shapes so that they can be combined to create a big seamless surface.

Plaster boards with stretcher bond pattern from Vampisol

The Vampisol boards come with an extra pack of plaster powder to fill any remaining gaps after gluing the boards next to each other. I used both the plaster and fine sand to fill the gaps. I also placed some sand on various spots on the overall surface for a more realistic and less clean look. The last thing was to model the corners of the stonework and a step on each of the two stairs with modelling putty.

My focus during the entire process, or let's call it the "big goal", was to create one big piece that looks and feels like one coherent piece of terrain. I really don't like how terrain built with HirstArts products always looks like assembled Lego bricks. So it was important to me that the various walls, stairs, jetty and cobblestone boards all contributed to the appearance of one sensible piece of terrain.

The dock section in its entirety before undercoating

Lessons learned

It is important to put some heavy books on the sheets of styrofoam every time you apply the white glue. There was one moment - after I had already glued a few layers of styrofoam - where the entire thing started to bend heavily. I immediately placed my standard pile of books on it. At that point I had thought that the piece was sufficiently stabilized since there were already various layers, but, no, it bent. Luckily I noticed this in time and when the white glue was fully dried the docks were straight again. Still, don't trust these materials! All in all it took extremely long with daily cutting and gluing and nightly drying.

I also learned that it is impossible to build an accurate "block" by gluing sheets of styrofoam on top of each other. After a few layers you're always off by a few millimeters and I don't get better. For the second dock section - which will be a lot bigger too - I will use not only an MDF board as a base but also use one to maintain the correct measures for the upper layers. This is mainly important for the moulding sheets I like to glue to the sides.

So after all these days of slow building and waiting I'm finally done and ready to paint this sucker, now guess what - I ran out of undercoat spray and so did my local hobby store. His order of new spray paint is already over a week overdue. :/

Coming next in part 3: Dock Section I - Painted

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