10mm Scenery

Spartan have been saying for a while that their Kickstarter Terrain is flexible, and can handle a range of scales.  Well, this photo well and truly demonstrates that you can build a very nice looking table in 10mm.


I love the look of the city buildings, but what really caught my eye was that a change of panelling and you can make a very nice looking bridge. Strange thing to notice I suppose – but it looks cool. Add to that the fact I can literally take the roof tiles off each building and fight on the inside with infantry assaults (imagine a series of objectives inside that large rectangular building – and having to fight room for room to take and hold them – while a ferocious battle rages around the table…).

Great for Planetfall and Dropzone Commander, this stiff is really neat (and next game I could be using it with my 32mm Legions models or DnD Game!)


From antiquity to the future

Ok, by now everyone who listens to the podcast and or follows this blog will now that I’m biased – I love what Spartan Games do, and they produce the nicest miniatures I own and the most enjoyable games I play.  However, beyond Spartan Games I play a lot of things, one of my favourite skirmish games is Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games, and I have a raft of rules sets, from Dux Britanniarium, to Infinity, to Dead Man’s Hand and Pulp Alley sitting on my shelf. In addition to having far too many little soldiers around the house, I also rather enjoy my role playing – I’ve been playing through a campaign with Edge of the Empire and are about to start another using D&D 5th Ed.  All of this brings us to the Terrain Kickstarter Spartan currently has running…

Linkety Link…

The thing is, I can see myself using this terrain for all of these games, in Dystopian Legions I can create a bunker system, towers, defences, in Dystopian Wars I can build huge structures – like a Metzger assembly line or similar (and I’m hoping Spartan do a range of birds-eye view streets, cobbles and other things so I can lay out the base tiles, and arrange a village or city layout on top).  In Song of Blades and Heroes I can make towers, build castles, organise a dungeon for when I play Song of Gold and Darkness.  Towers and walls could also be used in a pinch for Dux.  Buildings and other features can pretty easily made for Dead Man’s Hand, Pulp Alley and Infinity, and of course they can be used as the map floors for any RPG requiring one.

I guess all I have to say is that I’m excited! I really hope the KS funds – although I have to admit it’s looking shaky – I really hope it picks up speed as Spartan show us more of what can be done.

So anyway – from the most recent updates on the KS…


That’s a pretty sprawling layout – well over a metre from side-to-side…


Now this would be an awesome arrangement to play a special Legions scenario in…


With the WWII art.


This teased photo mentions 40mm Greeks!


Neat way of introducing fun events into a skirmish game or RPG…

Spartan Modular Terrain Kickstarter

A couple of days ago we posted a link to the Kickstarter that Spartan Games are running for their modular terrain.

Now we are two updates in and they have posted some excellent artwork and a link to a neat PDF that shows off some more possibilities as well.

Looking over the pledge levels I was wondering to myself – just how big a room could I make with each pledge level…

So at the Bronze level I could make a single room that is 54cm x 36cm – along with walls and whatnot I could use to break up the interior.

At Silver it could be a room 54cm x 54cm – half a metre square!

At Gold: 72cm x 54cm…

And Platinum: 90cm by 54cm… and of course double that for the double platinum!

As well as the fact that you can pull out the walls and floors and replace them with different art work means a single set with multiple skins could create sci-fi terrain, Dystopian Legions terrain, wild west terrain, World War II or modern terrain… and even more given the MDF and resin drop ins they have hinted at.  Their KS also makes mention of a Spec-Ops game – which sounds awesome.

I am really excited by this, I love my Spartan Games, but I also play a few other Skirmish Games and RPGs, and see this stuff getting a lot of use!

The PDF: http://www.spartangames.co.uk/wp/wp/wp-content/spartanimg/Kickstarter-PDF_LR.pdf

1488897_882748985128316_1296470493371485062_n 1926776_882748978461650_8240053688436491559_n 10292222_882749185128296_1626401888652144429_n 10686786_882749148461633_5292463542232477838_n 10968432_882748991794982_249374452474064484_n 10968537_882749191794962_7854840949387649845_n 10981864_882749171794964_1847403498527097308_n

Planetfall makes…erm…planet fall


I woke up this morning to find these amazing pictures supplied by Wonderdog on the Spartan Games Community.  Wonderdog visited Claymore 2014 and there was Spartan Games, Neil and …… Planetfall!

It appears the Spartan guys were demoing the game at this convention and, thanks to Wonderdog, we now have some very cool pictures.

If your a member of the forum, click the link to view more pictures http://community.spartangames.co.uk/index.php?/topic/10724-planetfall-news-and-pics-from-claymore-2014/


A Planetfall game in progress – Terrans vs Dindrenzi


Another view showing terrain, command vehicles and a huge mech!


Terrain mech, drop ship and tanks – Halo anyone?


Terrain Infantry – apparently the front left model comes separate while the terrain the and other three models are one mold.


Here is a shot of some Dindrenzi models and terrain.


Not to be outdone – the Dindrenzi also get a Mech.


Final picture is Planetfall again, but a 28mm version – Dystopian Legions in Sssssppppaaaacccceeee!

I am really looking forward to this game, especially the ability to link Firestorm Armada to Planetfall and now to Planetfall Spec Ops.  I’m sure a similar system won’t be far off for the Dystopian World either.

Till next time – watch of our those Exploding (RED) 6’s and giant Mechs!

Islands ahead Sir!

I previously wrote about making a sea board, and I’ve also written about making some large land tiles.  This post I’m going to talk about making islands; you might have seen these before in battle reports here on E270.  I had previously posted this article on my old Blog Castle By Moonlight, so if you think you’ve seen it before there, you’re correct!

Really, I wasn’t so creative as to have conjured the methods for making these from the air, I took the ideas from two places – the ideas for the forests were taken from this wonderful post over at the Spartan Games website.  The ideas for the islands were taken from the Dystopian Wars Australia group on Facebook (and I’ll henceforth refer to them as Lewis islands for that reason).

So, after reading both these posts I decided to make my own islands.  firstly I made a frame for the forest foliage, filled it with Woodland Scenics clump foliage, and liberally soaked it in PVA.



A nice mix of dark and light to add some variation.

I then purchased some cork tiles, and by a mixture of tearing them with my hands and pliers, and cutting them to have a bevelled edge with a craft knife, I had the following:


The islands in the foreground – a mixture of cut edges and torn edges –  the cut edges will be painted as the rest of the island, while the torn sections will be painted as rock.


For the sea rocks/mounts I glued several layers of cork together, and the tore and cut away at the sides until it looked more uniform.  In retrospect I’d have glued, then cut them away.  As they are they look like so many layers – and while some of this is ok, there is too much.

I had to decide how to manage the forests.  Being cork board I decided to use some small wood tacks – press them into the cork far enough to hold but not all the way through.

The flat top surfaces of the tacks would be a good base for the glue that would hold the foliage to the trunks.

An undercoat in black later:


The rocks were drybrushed in successively lighter layers of gray, from dark to light, and finally a very light drybrush of white.




The final coat of white really helps to delineate the edges and make the whole thing look better (in my opinion).

The islands on the other hand received a heavy coat of a rich dark brown:

I then drybrushed, heavily and progressively lighter with different shades of brown.  Finally a light flesh tone.  Of course – the rock was done the same as the rocks above.  Finally I added some static grass:


On the largest island here I left a large open area, eventually I’ll grab some Spartan town pieces to add there – just a manor house I think…

Finally I used some Woodland Scenics Hob-e-Tac glue – on top of each tack head.  Then once this had set sufficiently I pulled the foliage I had made earlier apart and pressed it onto the tack heads.  I tried to get some nice variation in tone across the islands, and I think they came up very nicely.




Well – that’s that for now.  Thanks to the guys on the Spartan forums and DW Australia for the inspiration!  I think my Lewis class islands came up well!  If you use a different approach or material for your island building I’d love to read about it – let me know, either as a comment here, via email (element270podcast@gmail.com) or on our Facebook group.

A foreign land…

Back in November I wrote about wanting to make some somewhat geomorphic land tiles for Dystopian Wars.  One of the charming things about the game is the way it deals with three theatres, and all three can mix it on the one table during the one game.  I already have my sea board sorted, and decided it would all sorts of fantastic to be able to have some land I could place over the sea board to facilitate landings, mixed theatre engagements and all sorts of scenario goodness.

I had some cork floor tiles left over from my island making, and wanted to make use of the left overs.  What I decided to do was to leave a bunch of the tiles uncut – they would form the majority of any landmass.  Then with a couple of others I would cut them into strips, and then bevel the edges roughly to form a coastline.  In the end I bought a second pack of tiles (which were 1ft by 1ft cork flooring tiles), left some whole, cut some in half (for spits of land), and sliced a bunch of the remainders up to create coast lines.

After the cutting (and cork floor tiles cut easily with a sharp blade, a cutting mat, and a steel ruler), I painted them all a dark brown, then successively drybrushed a series of lighter browns over the top – each layer lighter and more sparse than the previous.


After the paint had dried fully I sprayed the tiles with a watered down PVA (using a spray bottle and PVA mix from Woodland scenics).  Following this the tiles received a damn good flocking, using static grass from a shaker bottle.


I had already purchased a 100 gram bag of 2mm Summer Mix static grass, and was worried I would need a boatload more to cover so many tiles (7ft square in all).  In fact I was very pleasantly surprised that I managed to cover them all well, and still have some left over!

IMG_0077 IMG_0078 IMG_0079

All in all I am very happy with the results – although I’m already thinking I may need a couple more of the full 1ft by 1ft tiles (just enough to fully cover a 2ftx4ft board space with some extra bits for spits of land and the like).  But we’ll see – these are certainly enough for the meantime!

I think they came up rather well!




Planning on a Continental Scale…

Up until recently I have been predominantly interested in playing Dystopian Wars as a naval and air game.  I have my sea board, some island terrain pieces, other bits and bobs, and so I’m all set for any game set in those two theatres.

Recently however I have been collecting some ground forces for the Covenant, and some of the players in my area have been doing the same.  Land battles are on the horizon.

For pure land battles I have my GW gaming mat – a wonderful piece of kit that is basically a heavy 6x4ft table cloth covered in static grass style material (it is very durable).

But as fun as pure land might be, I want to be able to mix theatres, a combination of sea, air and land… it’s what Dystopian Wars is built to be able to do, and would allow for some wonderful story driven scenarios.

But how?  For the islands I made I used chunks of cork tiling, and was very happy with the results.  When I bought the cork, I purchased a pack of 6 1x1ft cork flooring tiles – 5 of them are sitting unused in my shed, so naturally these would make a good basis for the land I’m planning on building.

I want the land to be flexible – with 4 of the 1x1ft tiles dedicated to being land tiles, I can run a 1ft wide edge down my 4x4ft board, or I can run with two land masses separated by sea, or some big islands, or a mix of the above.  

The key question echoing about my mind is how to make the tiles, and right now I’m stuck between two choices: to build the tiles with terrain like forests and towns on them, or to make the tiles relatively blank, and make additional pieces, forest, town and so on, that I can use as drop ons.

Tiles will be used for the land mass, and an addition tile will be sliced up to create the coast line.

Tiles will be used for the land mass, and an addition tile will be sliced up to create the coast line.

So the choice…

To create tiles with built on terrain features...

To create tiles with built on terrain features…

Or to create blanks, and additional drop ons of forests, towns and so forth...

Or to create blanks, and additional drop ons of forests, towns and so forth…

To be honest I’m leaning toward the second option.  It seems to be a flexible structure, if I want a town I don’t have to use a specific tile, and the town could also be used in pure land games with my GW game mat.

So these are the plans… I have yet to decide which route I want to walk, but I’m leaning the second… hopefully the next few weeks will see some actual progress on the construction of these… you will read more on this later.



The Sea…

Dystopian Wars is a game with stunning models, that much is evident to anyone who has a look at the renders, and especially, the real things.  With such nice models I felt a real urge to bring the other aspects of the visual experience, but in exactly which way was something I was unsure about.

I have been predominantly playing the game using naval and air units, and while I have some land units I plan getting into action some point soon, (I will deal with making land tiles in another post in the future) I want to write about the open sea…

I was content with an old blue sheet thrown across the table top – this was enough in the early days!  Then, as so often happens, one stumbles across something someone clever has done on the internet.  In my case it was the following YouTube video:

Thoroughly inspiring stuff! So with little forethought and a similar level of planning I decided to try and do the same myself.

Firstly I was in need of the actual board – no sooner had this realisation popped into my head than I was  at the local Bunnings (hardware) store looking for required materials.  I bought two 2x4ft pieces of particle board, as well as the other sundry items featured in the excellent video above, including white base paint, three tones of blue paint, and lastly – some glass coat.

The first step was to undercoat them both:

A week later, when the weather seemed more appropriate to the drying requirements of paint (tricksy stuff), I base coated the boards with an acrylic blue, then using a torn sponge I added some turquoise, then a smattering of light blue, and finally a very small amount of white – I was going for a stippling effect.

With the painting done it was time to admire the achievements of the day thus far.  That done, I progressed to the next stage: the use of glass coat.  Glass coat is something I had never heard of until I watched the video above.  All I can say is that it is extremely thick and tacky as it goes on, really needs a nice warm environment to dry in, but adds a fantastic effect to the board.

Once the glass coat had been painted on with a brush I dabbed it with a dry sponge to add a stippling effect and to make sure it didn’t simply dry ultra smooth like it’s meant to.  I tried using scrunched paper towelling, but the tacky glass coat was pulling it to pieces, in the end I found a sponge worked most effectively.



Overall I’m very happy with the result.  If I had my time again I think I would use a thicker paint for the base, and perhaps roll it on.  I’d choose a slightly lighter mid-tone (rather than turquoise) and be more sparing with the lightest (white).  All that said, I won’t be rushing out and making another table tomorrow, I’m very happy with how it’s all come together.  With a few more players in my area starting to collect navies for Dystopian Wars, I am seriously considering grabbing another 2x4ft board so I can have a table 6×4… we shall see.

Thanks Viv for the inspirational YouTube vid.  Mine isn’t a patch on your tables, but is miles better than the old blue sheet!