maandag 22 mei 2017


Waterways are not used here often as the Picts rarely come out of their box to do battle. This past week I have added four Middle Eastern armies two of which may make use of waterways for seaborne landings. This prompted another look at waterways and possibly improving what I already have in the terrain box.

The DBA 3 rule book does specify the dimensions of a waterway and the addition of beaches. The latter do look nice, however, the first waterway constructed had irregular shaped beaches protruding from the waterway which had a tendency to curl, thus spoiling the effect.

To avoid this, the newer pieces would have straight edges with sections of beach painted along the waterway’s edge. The first step was to sketch possible curvatures on paper and to maximise the amount of variation; I would construct the waterway in two sections (40 cm x 16 cm) so sections could be interchangeable with one another.  

From scrap material (vinyl floor sheets) I was able to produce six sections. Painted dark blue, these would later be painted a lighter shade to produce a wavy effect. With a pen, I marked the areas that would be painted as beach.

At a relaxed tempo this took a day to complete. 

zondag 14 mei 2017

An oasis.

In the past I have made several oasis, none of which are currently in my collection. These were eventually discarded as the palm trees and green were fixed to their bases made movement through them a problem and storing those required large boxes.   

I have standardised my terrain collection for DBA3 and to complete the ‘Dry’ category I needed to construct an oasis and dune. This time, I decided on a modular solution so palm trees are now fixed to separate and smaller bases which can easily be removed to allow troop movement. Both oasis and dune would eventually have a similar colour, therefore I cut three oval forms in progressively smaller sizes so these could be interchangeable as an oasis or dune.  

Palm trees are ‘cake decorations’ purchased from a Chinese manufacturer. The bases for these are just over 1BW. The palm trees were fixed to their bases using thick paper supports and covered with Milliput. I have used a glue gun in the past, but this method produced warping. The Milliput option added ‘weight’ to the piece which will not topple over during a game.

Both trunk and palm fronds were painted to reduce the glossy finish. The palm fronds were dry brushed yellow then later painted with a thin coat of mid-green. The palm tree base was covered with a mix of sand and white glue and painted to match the larger base. To complete the oasis, a water hole was cut to a similar size as the palm trees and painted dark blue with light blue highlights. The water’s edge was painted to match the large base and after this dried I added the green foliage.

Photo 1
Palm trees fixed to their bases.

Photo 2
Bases covered with Milliput.

Photo 3

The completed oasis.  

zondag 30 april 2017

Making rivers for DBA3.

Since the publication of DBA 3.0 I have taken steps to standardise all my terrain pieces; hills, wood, fields, rocky and scrub ground, enclosures and built up areas (BUA). One major benefit of the project was the storage of all the terrain features in A4 size boxes as seen in the first photo and secondly, I could easily reproduce many items to represent terrain of other temperate zones, such as dry and tropical in addition to the arable ones.

The same items are used for the DBA variants to include fantasy (D3H3) and gunpowder era (DBA-HX3).  

The following is a brief explanation of a river system was constructed for our DBA games; these include a basic number of straight and curved sections with short bends to offer variety of combinations. I recommend, after placing the river sections, to connect the sections with masking tape to prevent slippage; a major benefit when taking photos and of course moving troops over them.

Materials required:
Scrap pieces of vinyl flooring 1 mm thick with rubber underside (see photo).
Modelling knife.
Metal straight edge
Water base paint.

Sourcing vinyl flooring I would recommend first to query your local ‘Do It Yourself’ shop for scrap pieces. It matters not what pattern as the surface will be painted and a good size can also be used to make your game mat, waterways, gentle and difficult hills, roads, fields, bases for rocky and scrub ground,   

Cutting and Shaping
Rivers for DBA use game must be 1BW in width. I would recommend a length of 20 cm (8”) is best for both straight and curved sections. In the photo you will also see small curved section of 1 ½ BW in length are useful to add variety and will you help reach a board edge (Photo 2). Joined together, the nine sections will produce a length of 34 BW which meets the maximum allowed for an 80 cm x 80 cm board (20BW x 20BW).

The material with backing is about 2 mm thick. With a pair of scissors, I will cut diagonally each bank so as to slope down to the table surface as seen in the photo.

Painting and Flocking.
With a blue latex or water base paint cover the river sections and let dry. You can paint the banks brown, but I did not find it necessary.

I used electrostatic grass to match my game mat to cover the banks and later finished the sections with clumps of coarse foliage. At the water’s edge, I used a black marker to tidy up this last step.