Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hunting for no gooders in capital city.

My newly painted heroes took to the streets of Capital city to hunt down a suspected terrorist armed with a bomb.
Two other super teams being run by fellow club mates Brendan and James (who supplied the fantastic city terrain!) were also joining in the search but couldn't resist getting into some super hero mischief.

My super team consisting of Back Breaker, Doctor Quantum and Mindstorm move into town to check out the civvies.


Backbreaker got into a scrap with a speedster but was unsupported. He pretty soon was hurting badly after being thrown through a pet shop.


On paper my I thought my team would work well but Doctor Quantum and Mindstorm proved fairly ineffective. I think I need to rejigger their stats to give them more punch.

As it turns out Back Breaker was beaten up for no purpose as it turned out none of the civilians were the terrorist but the Super Heroes will remain vigilant and ready to combat evil doers wherever they lurk.

The game was played with the Super System rules 4th Edition.

And so it begins.....Frostgrave campaign

After several practice games we have finally kicked off our Frostgrave campaign at the club.

To familiarize players with the rules we have mainly concentrated on the scenarios for the main rulebook and have not used any rules from the expansion books.

I still need to make one or two terrain pieces to complete the necessary scenario specific items from the main book. Luckily fellow club mate Brendan took on the challenge of making the library scenario (of which he has done a stirling job) so that is one less thing on the "to do" list.

My first game I ran a Summoner warband but the game was a complete disaster. My warband was virtually wiped out by one very stubborn ghoul. I recovered no treasure and my wizard received a permanent injury to boot!  I decided that it would be better to scrap the warband and start again from scratch. This time I decided on an Enchanter warband and he has faired much better. In the next couple of games I still haven't managed a victory, but I have been able to collect some treasure, level up my wizard and progress slowly. Some of the other players wizards are advancing quite rapidly.

I may have to look online for rules about how to deal with the issue of games involving wizards with high levels playing lower level wizards. Some handicapping may be required so new players can join in the campaign.

As of last Friday's meeting we now have around ten active players in the game. It looks like Frostgrave will still be quite popular next year!

Below are some pictures of the first couple of games. I'll post another update in the New Year to let you know how the campaign is going.

My Summoner wizard about to be mauled by that damn ghoul!


A treasure hunter secures some treasure. (A converted Eureka miniatures conquistador figure)


Two warbands getting stuck into each other during the living museum scenario


A brave (or foolish) thug goes toe to toe against a giant worm!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Battle of Croydon Bridge - an massive ECW mash up!

Last weekend we decided on a big ECW battle to finish the gaming year. We have quite a few players now at the club fielding ECW forces. I am quite pleased with how this period has grown in popularity at our club since I first started my army way back in November 2009!

I was for Parliament, ably supported by fellow Parliamentarian Leith, and stoic Commander of the Scots contingent Jon.

On the Royalist side I was opposed by John with my arch nemesis Tom taking the centre :) and fellow "wrong but womantic woyalist" Ian commanding their left flank.

We decided on a huge "everything on the table" game and ended up with five brigades per side. I was in command of the left wing consisting of one brigade of pike and Shotte (4 units) and the main cavalry force of four units supported by two commanded Shotte units.

Here are the initial deployments with Parliament on the right and Royalists on the left. (sorry for the blurry photos)

On the Parliament right we had our Dragoons and some horse but the terrain of the woods etc. frustrated that flank with neither side really getting stuck into each other. Leith our commander of the right flank was also in charge of a pike and Shotte brigade which advanced into musket range and began a firefight with the opposing Royalists lined up on the road.

In our centre Jon commanding the Scots was tasked with pushing the Royalists out of the village. He managed to occupy one building but the fight here was a stalemate with neither side gaining the upper hand.

Opposing my flank was the imposing massed Royalist horse, eight units in total outnumbering my horse two to one. 
My strategy quickly evolved to delay any cavalry engagement for as long as possible to give time to my commanded Shotte and a supporting pike and Shotte regiment (which protected itself in the small copse of trees) to frustrate and whittle down the opposing horse.

Here you see my defended left flank against the massed horse. John the Royalist right flank commander advance his infantry on his left and began a firefight with my infantry brigade. He had the support of two medium guns which started to tear holes in my ranks. He then moved a cavalry unit to the left of the trees to charge my musketeers and punch a hole in our line.


His cavalry charged into my musketeers and in the ensuing melee destroyed one unit of shotte. The fight had reached a critical stage. Another round of melee would most likely destroy the remaining shotte unit and my brigade would be close to breaking.

It was at this moment that Sir William Waller commanding the brigade took the initiative and attaching himself to a pike unit issued a follow me order and charged in to the melee. The ensuing fight swung back to parliament and the cavalry were forced to retire beyond his guns out of weapon range shaken.


The cavalry was defeated but the infantry brigade was still perilously close to breaking. Waller was able to successfully rally his ragged lines and pulling back out of musket range saved the brigade from breaking.

On my left my commanded shotte and the infantry in the trees were quite effective in their musket fire causing many casualties among the Royalist horse and causing disorder. The fire coupled with the fact that John was new to command and probably a bit more cautious than you would expect outnumbering his foe two to one. Hesitated in his advance, even at one point pulling his entire line back out of musket range. His single supporting unit of commanded shotte lost the firefight against my two commanded shotte units and was shaken.

Meanwhile on the rest of the battlefield the Scots were stalled in the centre as was our far right flank. Leith commanding the right centre decided to force the issue and charged his line into contact with the Royalist foot. A mass melee ensued.


Finally John launched his cavalry forward against my commanded shotte. These stubborn men held their ground and gave a volley tearing into their ranks as they charged home. The commanded shotte fell back leaving his horse blooded and ripe for my cavalry counter attack.


In the ensuing fight one enemy horse unit was destroyed and another shaken. As they fell back my cavalry followed up with a sweeping advance destroying another unit of horse and causing another to be shaken. However I lost one unit of horse who failed a break test.
But by now the damage was done with two units destroyed and three shaken units John's brigade was broken!

My brigade was still in good shape and had the battle continued on I may have swept the field and have been able to take the Royalists in the rear.
Leith and Ian had fought a massive melee with neither side claiming the honours.

As time was called on the game Parliament had a narrow lead but the battle in the centre was likely to determine the final outcome.

Another fantastic game. The Pike and Shotte rules really work well with these really big battles.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ere we go! Ere we go! Ere we go!

Painting miniatures is a funny hobby. For some people, the painting part of the hobby can be seen as a chore and a necessary evil that must be done before one gets to enjoy the "gaming" part. This may mean that figures are given a rudimentary paintjob or worse not painted! Some gamers who still appreciate the aesthetic of our hobby but can't stand the hours of painting, will employ the services of a professional painter.

For my part the "look" of the game ranks almost as highly as the gaming aspect and I always want my games to have the appearance of a moving diorama. I cannot stomach the idea of paying someone to paint my miniatures and I am blessed with having a reasonable amount of artistic talent that has been improved over time with lots of practice. I therefore spend most of my hobby time painting miniatures or making attractive terrain.

However inspiration is a fickle beast and my enthusiasm for a particular project can ebb and flow like the wind. One moment I am gung-ho attacking a project with gusto only for the energy to disappear overnight. This means my painting table is covered with many "in progress" projects.

This year I have flitted from Frostgrave to Russian WWII to Roman legionarys to Medievals to Mars Attacks to Russian Napoleonics to Super Heroes!!

And so I flit again....

I don't even know how this one happened. One moment I was painting Russians Napoleonics and then I find myself not only painting soccer players but also planning to build a football pitch to play my games.

Several years ago I purchased from Eureka Miniatures a soccer set. This set consisted of two soccer teams (15 figures per side) plus two linesman, a referee, two goal posts, corner flags and a streaker to boot! At the time I didn't have a particular rule set in mind to play a game. I do recall there being two commercially available rulesets (I think one was called Corner kick). However I didn't get around to buying a set and so the figures sat in the lead pile waiting. While I moved on to other projects.

It must have been a post or something on Facebook which lead to some web browsing and "hey the rules are available in PDF and cheap!"  A few mouse clicks later and a PDF copy of these rules arrived in my email inbox.


On a first quick read through the rules appear quite good and not overly complicated, which is what you want when playing a fast moving tabletop soccer game. It appears the author lives in Victoria which will make clarification of rules easier.

So now I have some rules so I need two teams and a pitch to get playing.

The Eureka soccer players appear to be around 20mm sized. Since you won't mix these with other games the figure scale doesn't really matter.
The poses are good, the players look realistically animated and there is enough variation in the poses that you will only end up with one or two of the same pose.

I gave them a quick clean up (very minimal flash), mounted them in 20mm round bases and undercoated them in white. My favourite team is Manchester United and I decided on Chelsea as the opponent mainly because the blue is a nice contrast with United's red.

Online you can find historical uniform guides for both teams. The figures uniforms are not strictly modern looking. I think they seem to have the style of the mid eighties so I checked the historical uniforms around this time and came up with an approximation of that look. The uniforms will not be an exact copy but capture the right feel. I have decided against adding players names or any sponsorship because frankly, it's too hard to paint!

Here are a couple of in progress shots of both teams. You can see the myriad of other projects in the background crowding the painting table.




I'll post again when I have finished the teams and started working on the pitch.

Bye for now.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Look! Up in the Sky! Its a bird? Its a plane?....

Hello again,

Something has been bubbling under the surface for a number of years at LLMV (Little Lead Men of Valour).

I am a fan of super heroes. Not a huge obsessive OTT fan, but I do enjoy super hero films, and in my time I did collect a number of different super hero comics (Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Actually on the comic front my main obsession was with British comics Eagle and 2000AD.

Fellow clubmate James Wright (his blog "Lead Capes" has a link on the right) has been running superhero games for a number of years. He has an impressive superhero collection and a fantastic city terrain set up.

His rule system of choice is Super System (now in its 4th edition). Its a nice tidy system that captures the flavor of superhero combat without being tied in to any particular franchise. His games could easily see Hell Boy, The Hulk and Batman battling it out on the tabletop. However the best fun is in creating your own heroes, inventing a backstory and working out their super powers.

Over the past couple of years I have picked up a bunch of heroclix figures (mostly leftovers from James' collection). I have planned to use some of them as the iconic heroes they are, but the more obscure figures can serve as a starting point for conversion into my own personal heroes.

James is planning on running a short series of linked games during November so I took the opportunity to finally get out the scalpel and green putty to modify some clix figures into a new three person hero team.

The three starting characters were The Phantom Lady, Blizzard & Colossus. Each character was removed from its clix base and mounted onto 20mm round bases. I covered the bases with milliput and sculpted in pavement. Each characters was modified with putty. 

Here are the original heroclix models:


The Phantom Lady had the least modification with a minor remodeling of her eye mask and covering up the cleavage a little.. The blizzard figure was given a cape, belt and jewel in his forehead. However the Colossus figure had substantial remodeling as I had to remove his forearm bands, belt and steel collar and re carve and sculpt his head. I then added putty to cover where I had cut away. There was little facial detail on the model so I sculpted in a mouth.

When cured the models were undercoated with the Vallejo undercoat medium and were ready for painting.
I then came up with a custom paint job and started working out their powers.


The Phantom lady hero has the power of flight and has basic combat powers but excels in mind powers to confuse the enemy or launch psionic attacks.


The Blizzard character has a ranged attack power, has reasonable physical fighting abilities and has foresight to see things slightly before they happen giving him an edge in combat.


Lastly the Colossus character is the brawn of the team. Super Strong, fairly fast and resilient. Not much in the brains department. Just point him at an enemy and let him loose!

I'm looking forward to getting these into Capital City and throw a few buses around!

Bye for now!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Those Warlike Lads of Russia...

Hello again,
Just a quick one. As I mentioned before I have started playing Sharp Practice 2 for Napoleonic skirmish games. The rules are a lot of fun and that has got me motivated to get back to painting some Napoleonics.
These stoic chaps have been on my painting table for over a year sitting about 80% done. So I put in a couple of days to finally finish them off.

I give you the 1st battalion, New Ingermanland infantry regiment.


All the miniatures are Perry Miniatures plastics. They are lovely figures!

With this finished battalion I now have three complete battalions and a couple of artillery pieces and limbers completed. On the painting table I have another battalion at about 30% complete plus a unit of Russian Dragoons which I'm looking forward to painting.

I am still a long way off getting in a game of Black Powder with these chaps but Sharp Practice will keep me busy until then.

Oh after taking the photos I realized that I had attached the regiment flag upside down Doh!
Anyway I have spare flags so it was easily fixed.

Flags are by GMB designs by the way.


BTW if you're interested in the reasoning behind the title of this blog post check this out:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ack! Ack! Ack! ( We come in Peace!)

We it has taken me nearly two years but I have finally got some paint on these Martians.

The Mantic Mars Attacks Martians are really nice miniatures that paint up very nicely however there are a couple of issues with them.

Firstly the Martians are made from a soft plastic type material that is called Restic (resin/plastic?)
This material is a bit of a pain to work with. Firstly when you look at the unpainted figure you may see bent rifles and warped bases which will not straighten no matter how much you try and bend them back. This is actually quite easy to fix.

You get two bowls of water, one holding boiling water and the other ice water. Using some pliers hold the figure in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then take it out of the water and using your fingers straighten rifles,bases etc. anything that is warped. The plastic has a memory in it and will easily bend back to the position it was in when originally injection moulded.
Then when satisfied with the final position (don't take too long) dunk the figure in ice water to set the plastic. You can do this several times until you are satisfied that everything is straight and in their original positions.

The next step in preparing the models for painting is removing the flash from the moulding process.
This was when the issues with restic material really stand out. Now generally with white metal figures or hard plastic i.e.. polystyrene, removing flash is a fairly straight forward process. Most of the flash can be removed by scraping the flash with the side of a scalpel blade. Any stubborn flash (particularly on metal) can be removed with a little filling using a small needle file.

Restic flash cannot be easily removed. You cannot scrap the flash off because the material tends to burr and not easily slide off. You also cant file the material as you end up with a rough finish.
The only way to remove the flash is to carefully slice it off with a scalpel blade. You have to be very careful to cut off the flash without cutting away part of the model. The scalpel blade must be really sharp to do this. Needless to say that this process can take a lot of time because the martians actually did have a fair amount of flash on then.

So after I had cursed and complained for an hour or so my miniatures were now straight and flash free and ready for undercoating. There appears to be some residual mould release coating on the miniature that can cause the undercoat not to adhere to the surface so you should clean the miniatures in warm soapy water with a gentle scrub of an old toothbrush.

Once dry I applied the undercoat. For this I used Vallejo undercoat medium applied with a brush.
I applied two coats and ended up with a nice grey base coated miniature. I almost never undercoat my miniatures in black anymore. Black obscures the detail and wrecks light colours. I used to use Black so I could get the black outline effect on my miniatures but I find that is easily achieved with a wash of Games Workshop Agrax Earthshade instead.

Below is the paints I used to paint my Martians. Most are Vallejo (excellent paints) with a couple of GW paints including the most important, the Agrax Earthshade wash which I use in about 99% of my painting these days.

The painting process was fairly straightforward. A nice neat straight paint job. No shading our highlights at all. Give the whole miniature a wash with Agrax Earthshade and when dry go back with the original colour and paint the highlights. Sometime I add just a little white to the base colour to give a final highlight.

Spray the whole figure with matt varnish spray  (I use Testors which is the best IMO) and then when it is dry you can attach the clear helmets. You will need to use PVA glue to attach the helmets. If you use styrene model glue or super glue you will fog up the helmets and ruin the effect.

Its time for you to die puny human!  Ack! Ack! Ack!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ice Ice Baby! (building Frostgrave terrain part two)

Back again! :)

In this post we will continue with our Frostgrave terrain making extravaganza!

Previously we had got to the stage of firing up the hot wire cutter and got stuck into some polystyrene foam to produce our first ruined wall section. We had sculpted in the detail and glued the foam wall to a piece of MDF.

While you were away I got a bit carried away with the wire cutter and this is what I produced...

Virtually all this terrain was built employing the same basic process we covered in part one. However there are a couple more tips you can use to add further complexity to the pieces. 

Some of my pieces have a second floor, or form right angles like the corner of some ruined building. To do this you will need to join pieces of polystyrene foam together. For this I normally use PVA glue or Liquid nails as before, but the most important addition is toothpicks. You take a standard toothpick (the slightly thicker type with a point at each end) and snap it in half. You now push the toothpick pointy end first into the foam to "pin" the two pieces together. I normally use several on each join. Once the toothpick is in the foam, use a tool like the reverse end of a pencil to push the end of the bit of toothpick still sticking out further into the foam to hide it.

Adding the toothpicks adds strength to the join and enables you to continue modelling without having to wait for the glue to dry.

Now we can move onto the next steps: applying texture to the base, painting, and finally applying the snow flock.

MDF is a wonderful material to use in your terrain making projects. Its quite cheap and easy to work with. However it can have some issues that you need to be aware of. The 3mm thick MDF board is very prone to warping when painted. I have had many terrain project ruined by the wood warping after applying PVA glue or paint.

So I have always been on the lookout for a texture medium that could be applied safely to MDF. The answer was... acrylic window caulking. This material is the wargamer's wonderstuff! You can use it for so many things. It is acrylic, so can be painted, or easily mixes with acrylic paints to make different colours. It is flexible (you can make excellent flexible roads with it) and because it's designed for sealing house windows it doesn't shrink. Because it doesn't shrink it won't cause the MDF board to warp.

For my texturing mix I take an old container (old ice cream tubs are good for this) and squeeze out a tube of caulking. I would normally use a brown coloured caulking but you can add acrylic craft paints to the mix to get the desired colour. I add a handful of fine sand and then some larger grit that I bought from a hobby store that sells model Railway terrain. Wooland Scenics is the brand and the product is called railway ballast. I then add a little water to make the mix a little bit more runny and to help with the mixing.  You can now apply this mixture to the base of your ruined wall section completely covering the MDF. You will now need to leave the mix to dry overnight.

A nice detail to add to your pieces is rubble. Earlier we used the left over pieces of foam to make larger pieces of rubble, but to make some general smaller rubble I use some cheap kitty litter. I mix some kitty litter with the texture paste and apply it next to the walls to simulate smaller rubble. This can then be handed painted grey after it's dry.

It's now time to paint our foam ruins. Now for painting all my terrain projects I use cheap acrylic artist paints. Sometimes, if I want to cover a very large area, I will go and get a cheap tin of acrylic paint from the hardware store tinted to the colour I need. To cover these ruins I would use this approach as we have a lot of ruins to paint!

The other option is to use spray paint. Spray painting polystyrene foam is a great way to destroy your foam! The solvents in spray paint will dissolve foam. Remember the acid eating through the floor scene in the film Aliens? That was done with polystyrene foam and acetone!

However I have recently come across a new spray paint that uses alcohol derived from sugarcane as the solvent. This paint does not dissolve the foam. In Australia the brand I found is called "Sugar". Google "Sugar spray paint" and you should find it. Not sure about an overseas supplier but some Google Fu may find a similar product. The colour range is pretty good and luckily they had both a darker and lighter shade of grey for my ruins.

If you are going to spray your foam I would apply the texture mix after spraying the foam otherwise it will also end up grey.

A gave all the foam a solid coating of dark grey and then after this was dry a light dusting with the light grey. If you are painting by hand I would start with a dark grey and then progressively lighten the stone work with dry brushing with lighter grey shades.

You can see the kitty litter rubble in this picture.

So after all this work we will have a series of nicely painted and textured terrain pieces ready for gaming. But wait! This is Frostgrave, and what do we need for Frostgrave? Snow of course!

The snow I use is made by Woodland Scenics and comes in one litre jars. It is not very expensive (it's amazing how much wargame companies charge for a small bit of snow flock!) , maybe $20-25 per jar which is just as well because we will use a lot of it!

The first thing I do when applying the snow is to make the snow drifts. These are the piles of snow that accumulate next to walls,on ledges, and in the corners of ruins. The snow needs to be thicker in these areas so I make up a paste consisting of undiluted PVA glue, white acrylic paint and the snow flock. You can add a little water to aid with the mixing. You want a mix that is the consistency of thick porridge. You can now apply this to the terrain pieces with an icy pole stick and then leave it to dry overnight. It will shrink a little once dry, but you can always add more to get the look you want.

We now reach the final step and this will take the longest time to finish. You need to buy a cheap spray water bottle (Cheap because you are probably going to ruin it when you're finished!) and then make up a dilute PVA/ water mix. It needs to be the consistency of thin milk. Spray your entire terrain piece. Really saturate the base area. Now sprinkle snow flock over the entire piece. Leave it for half an hour and then tap off the excess snow. Collect this snow to reuse. You now need to leave the piece to dry (normally overnight). 

The next day repeat the whole process but this time mainly concentrating on the base area. Keep repeating until you are satisfied with the final look. This may take several days. To finish give the whole piece one final coat of the PVA mix to seal the model.

After you are finished on each day, give your spray bottle a good rinse out with water and spray lots of water through the nozzle otherwise the glue will dry and block the nozzle.

So there you have it! Following this process you will quickly produce a great set of cheap Frostgrave terrain. You could easily use the same technique for Stalingrad ruins for WWII gaming or futuristic gothic terrain for 40K or Warmachine.

One final tip before I go. Woodland Scenics make a product called water effects. It's a thick white paste that you can apply using an old brush and with the brush you can tease out peaks to represent icicles. When dry the water effects dries clear and you have some cool looking icicles.

See you soon for the final chapter!

Bye for now.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Is it getting cold in here?? (building Frostgrave terrain part one)

Wow! two consecutive weeks with blog entries.

This will be the first of my dedicated Frostgrave posts. As mentioned in my last post, this game has really got the nostalgia bug going in me for D&D type warband gaming. It also helps a lot that the game is a lot of fun too!

I have had a lot of great comments in person or on Facebook about my Frostgrave terrain. Rather than just use what I had on hand I set out to make "proper" terrain i.e. snow covered ruins for the game.
I wanted a really cluttered table as a terrain dense table makes for better games because some spells have unlimited range (Bone dart! Man I hate Bone Dart!). You need to break up line of sight (LOS) as much as possible.

Explaining Frostgrave to a potential punter at Games Day 2016 - Nunawading Wargames Association

I also wanted to be able to make a lot of terrain quickly and not spend a lot of money. This post will outline how I went about making my terrain. What materials and tools I used and how I did it.
I am based in Melbourne, Australia so some of the materials and products may not be available in your area but you should be able to find something similar to what I use.

My basic idea was to use dense polystyrene foam to make the majority of the terrain. Its cheap. Its very light (which was important as I am not always gaming at home) and did I mention its cheap!
Polystyrene foam is a great terrain medium to work with but it can be very messy to work with if you have to carve/cut or sand the foam. You want to be able to cut and carve the foam without having a huge mess to clean up afterwards. This is where the most important tool comes into play...a hot wire cutter!

Now there are tutorials on the internet about how to make yourself a hot wire cutter with transformers and special wire but working with home made electrical stuff always scares the bejezzus out of me so I don't go near any of that. Especially when there are commercially available hotwire cutters that are not really expensive. Seriously you will be using this tool for years afterwards so get online and order a hot wire cutter!

The tool I use is just a straight piece of wire. There are other versions that are a kind of loop but I don't see the real benefit of that. The straight wire version is very easy to use and if you use it in conjunction with a metal ruler or straight piece of timber you can cut very straight long lines.
My cutter was purchased from Barnes in Richmond in Melbourne (for us Victorians) however the tool comes from the US and here is the website:

I purchased a sheet of 19mm dense white polystyrene foam (from Clark Rubber). The sheet cost me around about $20 or so and I think the dimensions were 900mm by 600mm. This one sheet of foam will easily make enough terrain for a 3 x 3 foot gaming board for Frostgrave. The polystyrene should be the dense stuff which cannot be easily broken into bits with your hands.

I also purchased a 900mm x 600mm sheet of 3mm MDF board which would form the bases for the polystyrene terrain pieces. If you cant get MDF then thin plywood or thick card will also work.

So plug in your hot wire cutter (you did buy one didn't you?) and wait five minutes for it to heat up.
We will start with something simple to start. Once you have the basics of cutting the foam sorted out you can scale up to bigger pieces and from then on you are only limited by your imagination.

One quick safety note: Cutting foam with a wire cutter produces some fumes as the foam burns so please do your cutting in a well ventilated area, preferably outside. You don't have to get sick for your hobby!

Starting at the edge of the foam sheet cut out an irregular shaped piece of foam maybe 15 centimeters long by about 10 centimeters high with one side being the flat edge of the sheet. As you slice through the foam move the wire back and forth so you are getting an irregular shaped cut. It is very easy as the hot wire goes through the foam like the proverbial knife through butter.

Once you have cut out your shape go back along the cut edge and with the wire slice off the squared edges and use the wire to put cracks and dents into the edge. You want the edge to look worn and crumbling.

Now we want to add a window in this ruined "wall". Push the wire point first into the foam and through the other side. With the wire still in the foam make a square or rectangle window shape. Pull the wire out of the foam and pop out the piece of foam with your finger. Don't throw that piece away as you can use it for rubble later. You now have your window. Don't be too precise with your cuts when doing this as we are trying to simulate ruins that are hundreds of years old. Messy is good!

Now we come to the slightly tricky part, putting in the brick pattern. To do this we will use the length of the wire but this time we will just lightly touch the surface of the foam to etch a straight line into the foam. Make a series of parallel lines evenly spaced along length of the wall and then do the same again at a right angle so you end up with a grid pattern on one side. Make sure you continue the brick pattern along the edges and inside the window. Try and line up these cuts with the grid pattern.

Now the technically minded will have observed that bricks are not laid like that. The brick layers are usually offset so they overlap each other. This gives the wall strength. Absolutely correct, but that is too much trouble! If you want to do that you can, it will just take a lot longer and the end result will not look that much better.

Now you can have some fun with the wire putting cracks into the foam and making pock marks, dents etc. This is the fun bit as the piece starts to take on some character. You will also by now be getting the hang of the wire cutter and what it can do for your terrain modeling.

The last thing I would do is take some aluminium foil and scrunch up a fist sized ball. Nice and densely packed. Now you can use this ball of foil to press into the foam and give the foam some texture. A nice piece of volcanic scoria rock also works well for this.

Congratulations you have made your first ruin!

Here is a picture of some of the first ruins I made with my cutter:

Now for the base. With a jig saw or fret saw cut out a piece of 3mm MDF board big enough to fit the ruined wall on it. Cut out an irregular shape and give yourself about a one or two inch wide border around the wall. Use some sand paper to remove the saw burrs and bevel the edge.

To glue the foam onto the MDF you could use PVA glue but I use a product called liquid nails (Selleys Liquid Nails). This is applied using a caulking gun. This glue is tacky enough to hold the foam in place so you can carry on with the next step. The liquid nails also gives a much stronger bond once cured.

Remember that piece of foam from the window? Use your cutter to put cracks etc. into that small piece of foam and then glue it to the base near your wall as a larger piece of rubble that has fallen to the ground.

Okay that is enough for today. Next up will be applying the basing texture, painting and applying the snow flock to finish.

Bye for now!