DIY Jersey Barriers


I recently found a silicone ice tray at my local secondhand store for a whole $0.25 and thought they would work great for making a slew of jersey barriers.  I gathered up the usual suspects of tools including a wire brush, an awl and a flat head screw-driver.


After letting the hydro stone casts rest overnight I proceeded to scrap, scratch, dent and all around abuse the heck out of them.



After a dip in the wash and some dry brushing they turned out OK.


Shown here for scale next to miniatures from Sedition Wars, Urban Mammoth and Reaper:


Also had a bit of time this week to construct some simple track-side accessories such as the Repair Shop and the Weapons Depot:






Night Owl


Death Drive 1


This is a little project that has been ongoing in the background for while that now has enough content to make a post about.  A little sick part of me has always liked the idea of racing cars around and blowing things up and the new release of Mad Max has rekindled that fire.  I gotta admit I feel just a tinge of guilt while while creating these but luckily it’s short-lived and I carry on.


I always liked the idea of a tabletop post-apocalyptic racing game that isn’t chunky and plays more like an arcade game: fast, easy to learn and fun.  A little less Car Wars or Battle Cars and a little more Vigilante 8 or Death Rally.


My local super-center has Hot Wheels and Match Box toys for $0.86 to $0.99.  These are probably some of the cheapest game pieces you can find in the industry.  At any given time you can find a good selection of cars and trucks that can be converted to good ol’ post-apocalyptic mad machines.


The first thing I want to do is reduce the vehicle into the lowest common denominators.  Most of the older cars are made of steel while some of the newer ones are plastic.  Either way you’re going to need a small drill to drill out the rivets.



Then I want to figure out which parts I want to keep and discard.  On this vehicle I want to ditch the windshield but keep the pare tire so I use a rotary tool with a cutting disc to separate the two.


Next I prime the individual components and reassemble the car.  I find super glue works fine for the plastic parts but for the all metal components I would recommend J B Weld.



A little trick to add the worn and bare metal look is to run a #2 graphite pencil along the edges and seams.


Next I take some aluminum wire mesh from an old screen and replace the windshield.


I then added some random pieces from the bits box to simulate machine guns.



These are quick and easy projects and it takes little time to get a nice collection.

Again this is a hit-and-run project (sorry I couldn’t resist!) that is ongoing.  Next up I need to figure out how to implement some simple mechanics to keep it light and fun.


Night Owl

Hand Carts using Hirst Arts Doors and Floor tiles


Once again I found myself waiting for paint to dry and nothing to do but fiddle-fart around with random things on the workbench.  It occurred to me that some of these gear casts could make nice wheels.  Here we go!

First thing I needed to do was file off the teeth.  This is much quicker with a rotary tool.


Next I used an awl to scratch wood grain lines across the face of the disc:


I used the door pieces from the water cavern wall mold and filed off the base on one side (I used red paint to show the area to be removed for clarity):


I used the awl again to scribe wood grain into the newly filed area:


I added the wood floor tile and ramp from the cavern accessories mold.  Then I painted, washed and drybrushed everything.


Then I assembled the pieces like this:



I cut an axle out of a bamboo skewer and attached the wheels:


I added two more bamboo pieces for handles:


These are perfect little add-ons that will help detail a scene and easy enough to build that anyone could get a dozen or so in a couple of evenings worth of work.


I hear the sound of a market just around the corner…

Thanks for stopping by,

Night Owl

The Sodden Seraph: Part 2


A quick update on this build with more pics than words.


I’ve added some details to give the place a little character and while it’s not completely finished I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.




The smaller building in these shots is just a stand in for what will be a pump house or a tavern or both.





Although the main brewery building does have a lift off section it is the modular side components that give me several choices of configurations.


For instance:


I still need to figure out a method to attach a sign that will withstand the rigors of the gaming environment (magnets?) and add some more details and weathering to give some history.


Night Owl

The Sodden Seraph: Part 1


Messing around with the gear molds last week pushed some buttons in me and made me want to tackle a project I’ve had in the queue for a bit.  I’ve always wanted to have a brewery and a tavern as the centerpiece of my wargaming town.  A brewery with some clockwork and dwarven influences, generic enough to be used in multiple fantasy wargaming and RPG settings and the same time still blend into my Skyrim building series.  The social hub where everyone gathers and shares stories of adventures gone by and adventures just beginning.

I picked up this Fisher Price car wash toy a while back at my local thrift store and thought it had some nice conversion parts on it so the first thing I needed to do was disassemble everything.  Cool, lots of goodies here.



I wanted to make this piece architecturally interesting so I envisioned a multilevel structure with some vertical presence.  I started with a Hirst Arts fieldstone base building with a removable roof composed of floor tiles measuring 9 X 5.


I added a second story about half that size and a wooden deck.


Then I started to rearrange components until they made sense.  A brewing vat and stone enclosed fermentation vessel that could be seen from miles around.


The front:


The back:


This week I hope to get some time to finish it up.  I would like to really like to give this one a little extra character and attention.  There are so many little details I have planned that can be placed to create stories around the structure and things to help give the building a history.

More coming…


Night Owl

Interesting Mold Find at Craft Store


I was down at a not so local craft store the other day looking and pricing supplies for a different project and came across these clockwork molds in the glass department.  They are used to make powdered glass jewelry items (instructions mention something about freezing and microwaving?).  I thought they looked like something I could use so I picked them up. The package comes with four small square molds.  Two of them consist of gears and a clock face while the others, not shown, have wings, keys and a lock.  The firmness of the mold is less rigid than LINKA molds yet not as “squishy” as Hirst Arts molds.  So I took the bait, brought them home and messed with them a bit over the weekend.

First I gave them a coat of black spray paint as a primer, followed by gold spray and a dip in a black ink wash.  These look good as is for an antiquated clockwork project.


I am planning something a little more ancient, more of a lost civilization time frame for these.  I poured out some dark turquoise and emerald-green paint making sure not to mix them.


Next, using the spongy materials that many miniatures are packaged with, I took some hemostats (tweezers also work fine here) and dipped it in the unmixed paint and dappled the casts.



I followed this with some blacks and rust:



Lastly, I used a dry brush of bronze to tone everything back down and sealed with a satin clear coat.


Interestingly enough the new 1 inch bases that were included in the Bones II Kickstarter package fit perfectly on the clock face and would make a fantastic health counter or condition marker for miniatures.  Unfortunately it isn’t the size I’m using for my skirmish armies.


Maybe a Father Time turn counter?


The wings, although limited in use, can add a nice flair to some terrain pieces.  I used both sets, adding my own cracks by scraping an awl across them, on this pedestal and finished it up with paint, flock and autumn leaves made from Birch seed husks.





Now to figure what do do with all the gears.  Hmm…time to go rummage the parts boxes and see what we can come up with.


Night Owl

Back to Basics: Experiments with Sculpey

I’m no sculptor.  Plain and simple.  That’s a whole other hobby in itself that I have no knack for.  But there are some easy things that can be done with a little bit of Sculpey that can add some flavor to your latest diorama or gaming project.  Anyone can roll Sculpey into balls or into ropes.  Here are a couple of projects that I knocked out this week using these very simple methods.


First is a set of totems.  These are generic enough they can be used in just about any setting.  The tools I used were pliers, nail clippers, hobby knife, tweezers, some floral wire, and a lighter.  I also gathered some plastic skull beads, dollar store skull rings from the Halloween season and some plastic teeth from a dollar store necklace.



I rolled some “logs” of Sculpey about an inch thick and stuffed some skull beads into the sides.  I cut off the ring part of the skull rings and stuck the remaining skulls onto the logs.  Then I rolled them out some more.  This gave the appearance that the skulls were in the logs. I stuck some plastic teeth and some tips of dental flossers in them and then I took the tweezers and scrapped vertical lines to emulate tree bark.


I cooked the Sculpey according to the directions and after about 15 minutes I removed the totems and noticed that both the larger sculls and teeth had partially melted.


Cool.  Bonus side effect!  But now I had an unattractive gap around the skull.  After I base coated the totems brown I took some yarn and some superglue and wrapped the skull to look like rope.


A bit of dry brushing:


Nothing special here but with the 2 foot rule they’ll work great for objective markers, check points, spawning sites, triggers or just good creepy decoration.

Next, with the extra material to work with I rolled out a thin rope of Sculpey about 2mm thick, cooked and sliced it into candle sized pieces.


I  cut a generous length of floral wire and using pliers I heated it with the lighter until it was red hot (a candle would probably be a better idea here).


I carefully plunged it into the top of the Sculpey cylinder and let it cool off.



Next cut the wire with the nail clippers.


You can use them at this point or paint them whatever color you need.  I used the lighter again to add some charred effects to the outer edge trying to get an added creepy effect.


Two Sculpey projects so easy that even I can do them!  Give it a try and see what you can come up with.



Night Owl