Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pizza, plaster and paint: CSW hosts hobby night

Last week a few Chicago Skirmish Wargames members gathered at my home for an extended evening of hobbying. Drop-cloths descended, bins of supplies emerged from storage and we completely took over my dining room and kitchen. About midway through the evening we paused to order Chicago-style deep dish pizza from the place down the street, which gave us fuel to carry on and make some good progress on various projects.

At the first table, Pat was hard at work on a batch of Stonehaven Dwarves, which he recently received in the mail following a successful Kickstarter campaign. They had only been primed gray, but he managed to get three of them block painted and highlighted to the point where they were ready for the dip.

He then proceeded to put a second layer of paint on a batch of roads I had been working on. They are made of latex caulk spread in sections on hardboard, then sprinkled with just a bit of sand and painted brown. After a bit of dry brushing, we'll have some nice dirt roads for our wastelands. We'll have photos of these roads on the battlefield soon.

On the opposite side of the painting table, Mike was arranging his Imperial Guardsmen for an epic mass painting effort. A veteran of 3mm, 6mm, and spaceship fleet painting, Mike likes to paint in huge batches and today was no exception. He was painting the pants and sleeves on 60 Imperial Guardsmen! Here's some of the progress he made.

Across the room, Josh was hard at work building a set of hills. He is a bit new to terrain building, so we started with basic styrofoam hills. Despite a few mishaps with the foam cutter wires, he managed to carve and prep one section of hills, and he cut out a few more beyond that. The hills are made from a four-section styrofoam shelf display arrangement that was designed to display Lemax Christmas houses. I picked up the display at an after-Christmas sale for $4!

Josh also brought along a few Pegasus Hobbies Gothic Ruins that he had glued to hardboard triangles. He took this cool project to the next level, though, by beveling the edges of the baseboard and adding real broken ceramic tiles to the floor, then scattering kitty litter around for rubble. The end result is pretty great looking.

I really like the substantial look (big pillars, etc) of the Pegasus gothic buildings. They don't have as many bits and pieces, but they look good -- and the fact that they are not covered in skulls gives them a much wider appeal outside of Games Workshop battlefields.

Lastly, I worked on a bit of terrain that is sort of a bunker or mine entrance. It was originally sold as the "Brendam Dock Playset" from the Thomas the Tank Engine toy line. I found the main section for a buck or two at Goodwill. It's scaled nicely for 28mm figs, with the walkway being the perfect height for use a firing trench. It would have looked like this when new.

I removed the storage rails behind the garage door -- which still opens, by the way -- and I also chopped off the various tabs on the building where the railway and roadway would have been attached.

I added doors, fencing, a fuel tank and some other bits. The doors and hatches are all made from a bag of precut wood rectangles that I picked up from Michael's. They come in three fairly standard sizes, give or take a millimeter or two, making them an excellent option for cheap panels for sci-fi modeling.

It's since been primed and ballasted, but I'll do a post about it later. A great time was had by all, and a lot was accomplished. We've only managed to have three hobby gatherings in the nearly three years the club has existed, but I hope we can do this more often. Maybe deep dish pizza is the key?

-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member


  1. Hurray! You Gents are definitely having almost-too-much-fun! Keep it up...this is an inspiring post!

  2. LOTS of lovely hobby goodness going on there and pizza as well!!

  3. Fantastic! Looks like a lot of fun. I only recently started going back to Michael's for supplies and had overload from all the bits and pieces that could be used. The squares are a good tip. I ended up coming out with the Liquatex Natural Sand Texture Gel for basing.