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Thread: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

  1. #1
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Summer grasses,
    all that remains of great soldiers'
    imperial dreams.
    (Basho)



    After almost a year of telling myself that I wasn't going to get sucked into the world of Ronin, I've broken my own cardinal rule and bought into a new game system and a new historical period... and I love it!
    Greatly inspired by Mr. Dampfpanzerwagon and the way he manages to create beautiful, complete settings for his games (games which much like my own, appear to be few and far between) I decided that I need to follow a similar approach and craft a whole world for some samurai action- and further inspired by (the frankly essential for everyone to watch) The Seven Samurai, I came to the obvious conclusion that this world needed to be a rural hamlet of subsistence farmers and their houses.

    you might remember my diorama from this time last year...


    ...well it failed to serve its purpose of curing my sengoku urges (bad diorama! You were supposed to stop me buying shiny new models), it merely allowed me to put them on hold for a short while, while at the back of my mind things were ticking along and plans were forming.
    A quick spot of late night shopping later and I found myself in possession of this little bundle:


    then paired up with a few choice books from my collection of Japanese titles I was ready to start working some things out. (The two titles on ghosts in Ukiyo-e and Yokai give a little hint at what I hope will eventually materialise in my games)


    Anyway, skip forward a few days and we get to the stuff you really want to see, models!
    To help me work out sizes and basic plans for my houses, I made a proof of concept model, a prototype of what was to come, quickly bashed together from foamboard and balsa wood, followed by a quick paintjob and I had what I think is a pretty decent starting point:

    Taking into account that my models were going to be based on Games Workshop round bases, I needed my buildings to be slightly taller than they really should be, but I don't have a problem with that- to be quite honest, I'm more interested in the world I'm going to create than the people who will occupy it, so playing a little fast and loose with scale isn't going to hurt me any.

    After making my prototype, I set about making a real model house- I left the roof off at this stage, deciding that if I was going to mould and cast duplicates, then an easy way of making the buildings look less like copies of each other would be to make the roofs different on each one- since the main view of the buildings will always be from above, a gamer's eye view rather than a model's eye view.


    A splosh of silicon later and I have myself a mould:


    A drizzle of polyurethane and a bit of waiting gave me my first three roofless buildings ready for cleaning up and individualising:


    Next step will be to sand the bases of each building level, decide on how many will make up my settlement (probably 7-8) and start making the board that they'll be based on- this is going to be a non-modular board, everything will be in place, blended into its surroundings and immovable, ready for toy soldiers to get angry over at any point.
    Let's finish in the same manner that I started, with a spot of poetry to set the mood, this time from the priest Saigyo:




    At the roadside,
    Where a clear stream bubbles
    In the shade of the willows,
    "just for a while," I said,
    And still have not gone.
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

  2. #2
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Outstanding stuff!
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

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    Librarian Engel's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Outstanding starter.

  5. #5
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Thanks for the support guys :-) I think I'm going to like it here in the historical plogs...


    While waiting for some balsa wood to arrive, I've started making a few bits of characterful scatter to help my village look lived in, first up is a small lidded barrel, possibly for storing miso:



    The barrel is made from a piece of plastic tube, clad in thin strips of wood veneer (intended for inlay in marquetry etc.) then with 2 strips of styrene as reinforcing bands. I'll pour up a mould of this one later today so I can have a few of them littered around. For scale I've used one of the brilliant Perry samurai villagers- beautiful sculpts and the only company I've found that doesn't represent all Japanese women as geisha or over-the-top caricatures, nice work Perrys!


    Sweat dripping down,
    as you drill away at
    the arts of the sword:
    That they're no use,
    may this reign be praised.
    (Moto Mokuami)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

  6. #6
    Commander dangermouse425's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    How are you "basing" the terrain? Are you permanently securing it to a board, or another option?

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Chapter Master duffybear1988's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Excellent start to the project.

  8. #8
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Thanks guys, yes the buildings will be permanently attached to the board.

    The clutter for my little village is starting to take shape nicely- here I have a couple of hand carts, one with a pile of rile bales and the other with a couple of miso barrels (well, once they're painted and glued on):



    The handcarts are from 4Ground's MDF range- now, let me get this out of the way- I don't like flat pack MDF terrain or buildings. This is for a number of reasons: the dovetail joints and obvious connection points, the flat cardboard looking nature of them, the uniformity of the buildings, and their paint-sucking absorbancy (which may or may not be a word). They definitely have their uses, if I wanted to build a whole town in a weekend, or if I wanted to use one as an underlying structure on which to add other textures etc, then they'd work fine, but they just don't do it for me in their natural state. Right, now I've said that, I'll say this- the 4Ground carts are quite lovely little kits. You can't really make out where each component ends, they're authentic designs, they're cheap, and with a bit of freehand woodgrain and a nice cargo load, they'll look ace I think. The only thing that lets them down in my mind is the wheels and axles, which would be easy to swap out if you felt the need.
    The rice bales are cut down from some Perry Miniatures barricades, with a bit of green-stuff 'cloth' to hide the cut edges, and the miso barrels are casts of my previous scratch built model, again with a bit of 'cloth' to cover a couple of air bubbles and to break up the uniformity.

    Over the next day or so I should finish the modelling of the houses for the village, then things should start progressing at a quicker pace...


    Earth is despair and shame.
    But I am no bird, and I
    Cannot escape from it.
    (Yamanoue Okura)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

  9. #9
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    I have one of the 4ground carts and I think they are much improved with well sculpted cargo such as yours. You are right about the wheels though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

  10. #10
    Modinator Lord Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    There are only a handful of plogs on this forum in which I read every part of every post, and I'm happy to admit that yours is one of them. I can't wait to see more.

  11. #11
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Thank you guys

    I've just about gotten all the main buildings for my village roofed and individualised- all the added details are just more balsa wood, coated with watered down pva to firm it up a bit and make the difference between the resin and wood less noticeable.









    These black and white photos show the texture of the walls pretty well, it'll look a bit less pronounced once they're painted but I'm pretty happy so far with them.
    I've also made some basic progress with carving and landscaping the board for these and a yatsuhashi style bridge (can't have those pesky evil spirits crossing the river now can we?), once I've got a basic undercoat on it to unify all the colours I'll get some photos up.

    While I have it fresh in my mind- do any of you know of any tutorials for making ploughed fields? I was thinking that I would make a comb-style device and drag it along some filler/plaster to form the furrows, but if anyone has any better ideas I'm happy to hear them :-)


    On an onion tuft,
    A butterfly settling:
    Lonely, sad.
    (Matsumoto Takashi)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

  12. #12
    Chapter Master StygianBeach's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Love the houses, and the cart...

  13. #13

    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    This is some fantastic work, Juxt. The terrain looks great and that diorama above is gorgeous. The poetry is also a nice little touch. I already feel more cultured.

  14. #14
    Veteran Sergeant
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    I can tell that this is one of those logs I really shouldn't be following, for fear of finding myself with a loads of mail and an empty credit card. More than good work, this makes me want to throw even more money at the Perry twins.

    I think you'd get some strange shapes trying to make furrows in plaster or filler by dragging, to be honest. When I've used it, no matter if I wet the tools, there's always some adhering to the tools and I think that'd give you trouble here. Perhaps pushing into a layer of plaster/filler with a long, sharp-ish tool would work better to create the furrows?

  15. #15
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Thanks for the support guys

    Things are starting to look a bit more like a village now- The board has been contoured, textured and I've started to attach fence posts and a rather rickety yatsuhashi bridge crossing a stream.



    The photo isn't great, but nearly everything is the same shade of sandy brown/balsa wood so things just blur into one at the moment- it'll make a lot more sense once some paint is applied. In the top right corner you can just about make out the furrows of a ploughed field, I made the ridges with a piece of plasticard cut into the profile of the furrows like a comb, which I then pulled through a layer dry sand. Once I had 'sculpted' the ridges in this way to a standard I was happy with, I sprayed the area copiously with a mixture of pva, water and a drop of washing up liquid (to break the surface tension of the liquid a bit). It took about 2 days to dry fully, but now it's pretty rigid and should survive models being dragged across it.
    Out of shot, at the bottom left of the board will be a large bushy thicket, completely impassible to people on foot, and although impossible to make out on this shot due to the colouring there is a pathway worn into the contours of the land that runs from left to right beside the stream.
    Slow progress, but soon things will start to move a lot more rapidly...

    Slowly, Slowly climb
    Up and up Mount Fuji,
    O snail.
    (Kobayashi Issa)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

  16. #16
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Lovely work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

  17. #17
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Paint! I've actually applied some paint to something

    The basic ground colour is now on the board, I wanted a dusty, poor quality soil, so the farmers living in the village would have problems surviving and growing enough food (is it unnecessarily mean to wish ill on the farmers in my settlement? It's kinda like when you built a Sim City and then released giant monsters and earthquakes onto it). Areas with a high foot fall like paths and the central 'square' for the village got a lighter colour airbrushed on before hours of drybrushing ensued. This may well be the most drybrushing I've ever done... All done with Liquitex tube acrylics, unbleached titanium, burnt umber, titanium white and a splodge of mars black.





    The ploughed field worked out pretty well I think. I'm undecided on what type of crop to plant in it- a low-lying crop won't interfere with game play and will allow miniatures to be placed anywhere in the field, but tall crops like barley would allow more visual interest and a bit of cover for hiding in... The field isn't really big enough for multiple crops, but it could possibly have two different crops growing, I'm quite taken by the idea of kabocha squashes which were introduced to Japan in the mid 1500s so would be historically viable and visually pleasing. Anyway, that decision doesn't need making quite yet, I've got the arduous painting of the fences to do first


    On the dust-heap,
    Morning glory flowering:
    Late autumn.
    (Tan Taigi)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

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  19. #19
    Veteran Sergeant
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Neat idea with the field, the end result looks spot on. I hope you don't mind if that technique goes straight into the notebook. You continue to impress.

    I'm not sure if I've missed it, but is the table going to be larger than this, or is this area all there is to it? Because that kind of size would make it a lot easier to make terrain for, if one were to try something similar...
    Not that I'm going to, I've got far too much going on as it is. Far too much.

    But it is tempting...

  20. #20
    Librarian juxt's Avatar
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    Re: Summer grasses, all that remains of great soldiers' imperial dreams...

    Thanks guys
    @TwoByFour- sure go ahead and give it a try, I'm sure it could be improved upon with some fiddling. This is going to be the overall size for the table, just 3' by 2', it'll probably be a little on the small size for games really, but I'm ok for that, I don't have storage space for anything bigger, and it means I won't need too many miniatures to go with it.

    A short trip abroad has meant very little progress this week- I've managed to put a few washes of colour and shading down on the riverbed, got the yatsuhashi 90% painted, and made some progress on the perimeter fence...





    I've learned a hard lesson from painting the fence- glueing it down before painting was a big mistake as was using thread to tie the wood together. Yes it resembles the rope that would've been used traditionally, but it is horrible to try to paint. The time I've saved by not sculpting rope I'm going to loose in painting thread and having to contort myself into ridiculous positions to reach all the angles. It should still look acceptable when finished but it'll not be as perfect as I really want. Anyway, that is the first small problem I've had in this project, so that's ok really. Hopefully progress will be a bit faster this week.

    Unaware, all grew old:
    Even the mountain's cypresses, standing like spears,
    Grew moss thick at their feet.
    (Kamo Taruhito)
    Senex Puerilis- just your average model making blog.

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