Accessories

Forrest Ground Cover from Warlord Games range of Battlefield & Basing range.

I saw this scenic scatter in use on a demo table in a game store and it looked pretty good at naturalising the scene. They had used it around some buildings and under hedgerow. Anyway, I was taken enough to buy a tub.


My understanding is that this is man made, so should not 'compost' in the way that natural material taken from a garden might. This year I am thinking a bit more about making battlefields nicer and this just seems to be one more thing that will help achieve that.

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Lighting for photography. (Updated March 2017)

My table location is subject to variable lighting and is dependent on how bright the day is for a good supply of natural daylight and then as I lose that light, the household lights do not really illuminate the space well enough for photography and being overhead, the household light tends to blow out the shadows that were there when the light flooded from the side through the window, so that things can look a little flat, especially contours and hills which can be so blown out that they disappear altogether.


My camera flash unit is one of those small cube things, so it is good for close-up shots, but I get substantial light fall off as I photograph down the table and of course the flash is useless for doing video. I am guessing that this situation is common to gamers, so this post is just to show the solution that I eventually arrived at - the main problem being that as with all photography that is a step above what the 'snapper' might want, it has the potential of becoming expensive.


This updated article looks at two bits of LED lighting kit. My original solution of a Manfrotto Lumie (8 cell version) and my new addition of a NanGuang Luxpad43.


The Lumie is a small portable lighting unit that can sit on the camera via a cold shoe or be put onto a tripod to give a bit of side lighting. It comes in three versions, the 3 LED, 6 LED and 8 LED. Fixed at 5600 Kelvin, it gives a bright natural light that for White Balance purposes can be considered as being daylight. It has 3 brightness settings and comes with three filters that includes a diffuser. The smaller 3 LED unit would be fine for things like doing e-bay for sale shots, but for using at the gaming table the bigger 8 LED is the better choice. 


However, I was finding that even on just a 3' x 4' space, it was not throwing enough light out evenly to satisfy the video and I was getting spotting, with quite rapid fall off towards the edges of the lit area. This was not particularly obvious to the naked eye, but it was detectable on the video footage and was causing the camera to choose a higher ISO.


After some research and getting a hands on look at the kit in a camera shop, I picked up the NanGuang Luxpad43. Think of an oversized iPad with over 250 LEDs. This is pushing out 1412 Lumins and is plenty powerful enough for my table. In addition, I can still use my Manfrotto Lumie for side lighting or have it on the camera for when I go close in and do low level shooting and need to illuminate the front of figures from directly ahead rather than from overhead.


The NanGuang came with a mains adaptor and I bought a cheap lighting stand. It was tempting to get the next model down due to cost, but it only kicks out 619 Lumins and does not come with an adaptor (both models can take batteries), which you would want to buy and this then starts to make the smaller unit look less value for money versus the power needed for the job in hand.


The NanGuang has a brightness controller and also a light temperature controller (5600K - 3200K)  - though I prefer to keep mine at full brightness and at the daylight equivalent. I am advised that professional users might have three of these lamps to illuminate their subjects from different positions, but for my needs, the one lamp will do.


Anyway if you are having some lighting issues with video, these two items should be on your research list. 

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Using flow agents.

The Windsor & Newton Flow Improver is a good quality product designed for tubed artist quality acrylic paint and I use it to keep my modelling acrylic paints slick.

The small dropper bottle on the right contains a mix of 2 parts water to 1 part flow improver. This can be added to the paint on the paint on the palette (rather than just water) when paint needs to be loosened up, but it is VERY effective, so just dip the tip of the brush into a droplet to see how it works best for your needs. 

I also use it after using a Games Workshop paint pot, by adding two drops from the dropper bottle and then give the paint a shake. Occasionally I will open up a Vallejo dropper bottle and do the same.
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Airbrush system.


I bought the following kit to get into airbrushing and to have something that suited a newbie while being capable enough to grow into as experience improved.


Airbrush - the Neo for iwata, is a gravity-feed, dual-action airbrush. There are plenty of YouTube videos on it. It comes with two sizes of cups and the machining feels like it has a quality to it. The impression I get is that for its money, it punches above its weight.


Compressor - A generic airbrush compressor, piston type and oil-less. Described as Model AS186 (this is searchable on google with some good videos available). This has a water trap and adjustable pressure. It also has a reservoir air tank to ensure a constant uninterrupted flow of air. The first thing I noticed was that it was quieter than I anticipated and it has a carry handle, which helps as it is quite heavy (5.2 Kg).


Hose - A two metre hose to connect the airbrush and compressor. A three metre hose was also available if required.


Cleaning Station - The iwata tabletop jar is of a nice quality, the airbrush is inserted into it and the all unused paint and any cleaning solution (including good old water) can be blown into the receptacle, so that everything is captured and then easily cleaned up afterwards.


The instructions for everything is only just about good enough to get you going, so I would suggest looking at several YouTube videos to help getting through the learning curve.


Appreciating properly how to thin paint and how to strip and clean the airbrush after use seem essential ingredients to successful and enjoyable use. There are plenty of Internet videos that explain how to do this. Also have regard for good ventilation. I am using Vallejo Air paints, plus their thinner and airbrush cleaner. I have also taken to having a tub of water at my side, which I regularly dip the front end of the brush into to fill the cup and then spray the cup empty, just to keep it running clean.

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 This is an idea that I took from Ringo Simpkin's YouTube channel on one of his regular 'Monday Musings' (thank you).


Basically it allows for easy individual handling of figures for painting.  I made the block take 18 figures so that I am encouraged to paint a whole unit at a time. The two rows are slightly off-set from each other as this maximises space and ensures that figures with wide bases (such as Bolt Action figures) will not contact another figure.


The dowels are all three and a half inches long and 12mm thick. My largest drill bit is also 12mm, so the sockets were too tight and when I went in to re-bore the holes,I lost all sense of accuracy, hence the dowels are tilting all over the place. So it ain't pretty, but it does it's job! 


I am using Copydex glue to attach the figure.

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Dice Bag - I have recently picked up two game designs that use dice to drive the activation system and accordingly need a dice bag to draw from. I decided to have a go at making my own and here it is.


It is made from the sleeve of an old fleece top (I wanted to use an old sock, but Mike might not have fancied that!). Basically, cut a circle out of card that is roughly the same diameter as the end of the sleeve. Then cut two bigger circles from the fleece (from the upper arm if you are intent on still keeping the rest of the fleece top and looking like Worzel Gummidge). 


Sew the two circles together with the card sandwiched between them. Then sew this reinforced disc into the bottom end of the fleece (the cuff). Decide how deep you want the bag, cut it off from the rest of the sleeve, fold the top over about a centimetre and sew that down to make a sort of hem thing. 


Job done. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just needs to work. Do all sewing inside out.


The fleece makes a good bag as it is soft enough to use without drying out the hands of big hairy arsed Wargamers with sensitive skin. You might be pleased to know that there is unlikely to be any more sewing related posts in the future.

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Bob Cordery at his blog, has flagged up 3 fold down light weight tables for sale at Lidl Store (UK) for £40.

Each table is around 100cm x 60cm, so two can be placed sie by side to give a playing area that is 3'3" x 4' (sorry for the mix of imperial and metric). 

The significant thing is that they have adjustable heights, so you can get the table surface as high as 37", which will help those with a bad back (less leaning into the table). 

For more inforation, go to Bob's blog at LINK - http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/with-lidl-help.html

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BASING TOOL

Artist shops sell palette knives of various shapes and styles. 

This one has a long and particularly thin blade, making it the ideal tool for taking base filler deep into a figure base and placing it around the feet, hooves and wheels of whatever is being based, with some precision. Even getting right under artillery carriages etc is easy.

It has a useful pointed tip for getting between the feet of smaller figures (example here are 12mm on a 40mm x 20mm base) and the handle is long enough so that your hand does not get in the way of the model or the light source.


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