Saturday, April 30, 2011

Miniatures in photo paper

I always read on the Cardboard Warriors forum about how paper minis printed on photo paper look better, and even though I was interested in trying that, I can only find photo paper in very expensive bundles of lots of sheets. A couple of months ago, one of the forum regulars (Parduz) posted about using a photo printing service and that stuck on my mind. Recently, I found a place where 10x15cm photos may be printed at a low price, so I finally managed to get some miniatures done. Here are the first results, from Darkmook's Surival Horror set 6 (Unstoppable):
The colors look sharper and there is also a lot more detail. Obviously, part of that comes from the fact that it is printed on a much better equipment, so I believe that even if I used photo paper on my home printer, the result wouldn't be so good. For the sake of comparison, the following picture shows (from left to right) one mini printed on cardstock and covered with sealant, one simply printed on cardstock and the one on photo paper. The dark camo pattern on the operative's uniform is clearly visible, as well as details on the boots.

As one might expect, things aren't perfect, and there are some downsides as well. Scoring the paper so that it folds properly requires using more pressure than with normal cardstock so that you almost cut the two halves apart. Less than that, and the paper behaves like a spring, making the gluing process a nightmare.

The glue stick that I have been using very successfully also didn't work with this paper, so I had to get back to spreading thick PVA with a brush. I also found necessary to burnish the glued sheet well and leave it to dry under some heavy weight for hours before cutting. I didn't try spray mount on these, maybe that's a better solution. For the above reasons, my attempts at making tabbed bases in photo paper (shown in the first picture) didn't go so well and I don't plan on doing that again.

After this test, my opinion is that printing on good cardstock already provides good-looking and useable miniatures. Using photo paper (especially if using a good printer or print service) gives them a more distinguished look and thus could be used for player character miniatures in RPGs or special units in strategy games.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New World Disorder

I've been collecting some miniature skirmish rules lately and I intend to playtest them and post on this blog. One of the recent acquisitions is "New World Disorder" (or NWD for short) by Precis Intermedia Games (actually, I still remember them from the Politically Incorrect Games days.) NWD is a modern/near-future skirmish rules system. It comes with its own setting, which is that of a dystopic future where corporations openly rule the world and millions of people are left to fight for their own on the remains of old cities.

The basic book comes with a set of paper miniatures from their "Disposable Heroes" series. I was a little annoyed by the fact that they are meant to be assembled into "A-frames" that are about 18x15mm on the base, so I fired up the Gimp, scaled the minis to be 20mm wide and added an integral 20x20mm square base. Some cutting later, the result was this (shown along some of the excellent Ikubes and ISO container from TopoSolitario):

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Escape from the Labyrinth

I recently purchased The Labyrinth, a solo dungeon-crawling game and BilliamBabble's Inked Adventures Basic Set. After reading through the rules of the game, it became obvious that I could use the Inked Adventures tiles with it. So after some fiddling with The Gimp, downscaling to 80% to fit my 15mm fantasy minis, I got this:
This is the modular room turned into a 8x8 board, along with modular pieces for the walls, starting points, loot and exits. I like the result as it reminds me of both old-school dungeons and games like Gauntlet. As it will become clear from the following report, the similarities do not stop on the layout.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Napoleonic Skirmish

Since I saw some nice battle reports of Song of Drums and Shakos on the Song of Blades and Heroes discussion group, I was interested in trying that system. However, I would need to obtain a reasonable number of miniatures and painting all those uniforms, even if not worrying about being historically accurate, seemed to take a long while.

Then I came to know the works of art of Christopher Walker, of Walkerloo Toy Soldiers. He makes Napoleonic paper miniatures in 1:32 scale that are absolutely amazing. Each model is painted, digitized and scaled. The soldiers are very expressive and the uniforms are highly detailed. There are models for many British and French regiments of infantry, cavalry and artillery.
So I bought the Walkerloo infantry pack and the Song of Drums and Shakos book, and printed some soldiers at 55% size, to make them 28mm scale (which fits other models and terrain that I have.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Uncle Cucuy's Lucha Libre Solo Play

I got Uncle Cucuy's Lucha Libre as part of the Red Cross Earthquake Relief bundle and I'm slowly taking a look at all those books. I'm also always looking for games that can be solo-friendly and from the first read of the rules, it seemed so.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coyote and Cabins

Today I built a few more models, including a reduced version of the Coyote (from Finger and Toe) and a couple of Dave Graffam's rustic cabins in their original scale.
The reduced Coyote was challenging, as the slightest misalignment in cutting or folding can result in an ugly model. This led me to learning to use a ruler when scoring even the shortest and "easiest" tabs. I also had to use tweezers to actually fold most of the tabs, as many became just a few millimeters wide. In the end it was worth it and now I have a new addition to my 15mm sci-fi options.

As for the rustic cabins, what I can say is that it feels good to go back to building models in their original scale, after quite a while building them at 50%-70% (printing at four or two pages-per page) for my 15mm games. The cuts and folds are so much easier to do! On the other hand, heavy cardstock is a must: I used 120gsm for the cabins and they kept buckling, so the next things I build in this scale will have to be printed on or glued to thicker paper.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Flat-folding modular terrain for 15mm

Based on my experiences building terrain for the Grey City campaign, and inspired by the industrial game mat and ikubes from TopoSolitario, I decided to try my hand at building some modular terrain tiles and flat-folding buildings. I created them in Inkscape, using layers to organize the different layout and texture options. Here are the first few test prints:
After cut, the tiles are 19cm x 19cm squares including the tabs (15cm x 15m considering the tiles only.) "Border" tiles can be created by either folding the extra tabs or cutting them out on two adjacent sides. The building is 8cm x 8cm x 5.5cm, which looks like a two-story building for 15mm miniatures.
The building tabs are inserted on the tiles pointing outwards. The side tabs can be connected before or after. Either way, this combination keeps the building reasonably closed and in place.
These models use the concrete and hazard textures from OneMonk. The files can be downloaded from this thread on the Cardboard Warriors forum.

UPDATE: after thinking about it, I noticed that swapping the side tabs around makes the building more stable and less likely to open up, so I made those changes. Here's a picture with the second building -- the research laboratory -- and some extras.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tiny kobolds, huge elemental

I have recently created and played another solo scenario for Song of Blades and Heroes. This time, a kobold scout spots an uncontrolled -- and huge -- earth elemental moving in the woods, near his village. The kobold village chief consults with the shaman and finds out that he has an amulet that may hold the elemental in place, so that his archers can safely destroy it from a distance.
Kobolds (controlled by the player):
1x Kobold Chief (Q3+ C2, Leader)
1x Kobold Shaman (Q3+ C0, Magic-User)
2x Kobold Archer (Q4+ C2, Gregarious, Shooter: Long)
The Elemental Threat:
1x Huge Earth Elemental (Q2+ C5, Artificial, Huge, Savage, Tough)