Tag Archives: miniatures

Let’s Build a Miniatures Game, Ep. 1 – MM 42

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’re building a miniatures game!

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We’ve been building up to this.

I’ve always got a few game projects on the go, like my private He-Man boardgame expansion, but I thought it’d be fun to build a game. With you. We’ll be building a small, miniatures agnostic skirmish wargame, and hopefully it’ll inspire you to build your own.

How’s this going to work?

Each Mini Monday we’ll look at a different aspect of the game. We’ll look at many game design concepts and practices, and get our hands dirty with some prototype games. I’ll present a few ideas, pick the best of them for our game, then discuss why I think they’re great.

Sound off in the comments with your own ideas and feedback, and I’ll do my best to reply there and work the best ideas back into updated versions of the game. It’s also possible that you’ll only see these posts well after we’ve moved on, in which case you can follow our process or modify our results to make your own game.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover in this series:
Episode 1: Concept and Theme
Episode 2: Initiative and Turns
Episode 3: Movement
Episode 4: Combat
Episode 5: Powers and Playtesting
Episode 6: Polishing the Game

As we go, we’ll update a public document so that you can see the latest version of the game.

Concept and Theme

If our concept is to build a small, miniatures agnostic skirmish wargame, then we’ll need a theme to support that.

Our theme could be anything, like monkey pirates with banana grenades, or humans surviving in the grim darkness of space, but none of those ideas are worth pursuing if it pulls us away from our initial concept, unless we’re okay with changing it. For now, let’s assume the concept is rock solid. So we can’t build a Warhammer 40,000 clone, because that’ll need too many miniatures, and a monkey pirates game will need some very hard-to-find monkey pirate minis. Those themes would pull us away from our concept.

I like the basic premise behind Necromunda: gangs fighting it out in a massive hive structure. Gangs are easy to find miniatures for since they could be humans, aliens, robots, mutants, or even undead.

We could flip this on its head to get our own concept: You’re a fantasy crime lord fighting a bitter turf war.

Hey, that even gives me an idea for a name: Dagger Lords.

The theme of gangs of fantasy creatures supports a miniatures agnostic game and doesn’t need to get any bigger than 2-3 minis on a side. It screams Dickensian characters with a fantasy twist, or maybe a Steampunk, Peaky Blinders inspired skirmish game, but with goblins and scummy elves.

With that, we’re on our way to building a miniatures game!

You can check out what we have so far by clicking on the button, which will take you to the Dagger Lords working document. There’s not much there yet, but we’re just getting started.


DIY PJ Masks HQ! — Mini Monday #40

It’s Mini Monday, and this week we’re going to do something completely different. I’ll show you how to make the PJ Masks HQ, impress your kids, win fame and glory, and do it all on the cheap!

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Hello Heroes!

My post about DIY Gaming got me thinking that I could do a whole series on crafting your own games. I freakin’ love it! Make a game just for yourself and — if you’re lucky enough to have some — your friends? Nobody else, no fans, no gaming clubs? No big budgets for art or marketing. No Kickstarter campaign. Just you, the cardboard, and a few dice. Sign me up!

But that’s for the future. And now, as Mr. Cleese would say, “for something completely different.”

Let me tell you something, jackass! — Monty Python - And Now For Something  Completely...

The PJ Masks HQ

If you’re here, you know what the PJ Masks are all about — or you’re hopelessly searching for an RPG angle to this article! My kids love the pajama-wearing heroes and were lucky enough to get some of the action figures for Christmas. Dad here — overzealous idiot that he is — decided the toys needed a home. It wasn’t like Dad needed to do actual work or anything. Besides, the PJ Masks HQ is just a pipe with wings and funny ears… what could be so difficult about making that?

PJ Masks HQ Front

How Not to Lose a Finger

Sawing PVC pipe in half is easy. Cutting square holes out of PVC pipe without sacrificing an appendage requires the dexterity and nerves of a bomb technician.

I started with a thick PVC pipe and marked out three “doors” for each of the heroes’ rooms.

PJ Masks Tower PVC Pipe

A hand saw will get you started, but gets messy. The trick is to cut many horizontal lines — top to bottom in the picture above — while sawing over a bin. You can then use a drill to cut off these thin sections, and a vacuum cleaner to pick up all the white dust that misses the bin. Repeat until you have enough space to use your saw vertically, which is left to right in the picture.

Finish off the holes with a file and sandpaper.

On a Wing and a Pr(Ear)

I formed the ears with the sections I’d cut from the holes, forming them with my saw, file, and unwavering determination. We don’t need to mention the leg wound incident. It’s not important. Move along!

The wings were made from hardboard, more sawing, more filing, and even more cursing. The fact that Jesus never used the swears he picked up from papa Joseph just proves his divinity, let me tell you.

The wings and ears were then glued to the main pipe of the tower with PVC cement. It’s miracle stuff, and considering how often the darn pieces were smashed off, I can tell you it’ll get you as high as a bat, but it works.

Next Floor, Lingerie and PTSD

The floors and roof were made with the bottoms of tin cans, hot glued into place. A tin opener will get this job done, but there must be a better option. There must be. I still have nightmares about sawing, puncturing, drilling, bending, scoring, and doing whatever else I could to get the darn things off.

Making Faces

Each of the faces on the front of the tower were drawn on cardboard and cut out. I did the same for the detail on the wings. At this point I also superglued foil onto hard, clear plastic to make the eyes, which were stuck onto the PJ Masks HQ at the end of the build.


Miniature painters, beware. A creation this size takes a lot of paint. I’ve suspicions that PVC is really just dense sponge. I threw five cans of paint at this, and it still seemed to want more!

I painted the faces and the wing details with poster paints, then, when everything was dry, stuck on the eyes. I then used a permanent marker around the eyes, faces, and wing detail. Finally, I painted the whole thing with gloss varnish.

Then I stood weeping as my kids ignored this magnificent new toy and played with the cheap tealight I’d planned to install in the HQ’s ceiling. (Stick a magnet to the base, so it’ll stick to the tin ceiling like a spaced-out bat).

The final thing was an impressive abomination, like a kiddy version of Sauron’s tower. The symbolism isn’t lost on me.

PJ Masks HQ Front

PJ Masks HQ Back

More Occult Misadventure

And now for that RPG angle. Masters of the Occult: Play Manga d20 is the perfect companion to the best-selling Play Manga d20 ruleset, which builds on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Inside you’ll find archetypes and options for the occult classes, based on popular manga and anime franchises.

Open your mind to the possibilities of the world beyond the veil of reality!

Masters of the Occult: Play Manga d20



Get into Tabletop Gaming, Even if You’re Poor

Too poor to play Warhammer 40,000? No cash for Dungeons & Dragons books? I’m going to tell you why money is less of an obstacle than you might think, and why DIY tabletop gaming might do better things for you than paying for official products ever can.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Games Workshop, Wizards of the Coast, and every other tabletop publisher that has ever taken me on a great flight of the imagination. I want you to support them. I’m a game publisher, so I know how important your hard-earned cash is to the industry. But money shouldn’t be the thing that stops you. If you really want to get into roleplaying games, wargaming, or any other tabletop gaming, then there are ways and means that require very little financial investment.

DIYHammer and the Money Paradox

When I was in high school, it wasn’t a problem for me to buy loads of metal minis for my Ork army. It was my parents’ money, really, and I probably didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I should have. Maybe because I hadn’t earned them myself or because of some fear of not being able to paint them well enough, very few of my minis ever got a lick of paint. In fact, I can only remember ever playing one full game of Warhammer 40K, and it was with another person’s army.

Fast forward twenty years and I’m a freelance writer and editor, making a little extra from RPG sales. There was no money for minis. Any month we didn’t need to cut into our savings was a great month. But I needed a hobby, a space to unwind and think. That’s when I found that my paints hadn’t dried up. I unpacked my old minis and dived back into the fascinating world that had first intrigued me all those years ago. Turns out, I’d stumbled on the cheapest hobby ever.

You’d think that the hobby would start getting expensive as soon as I needed more minis, but I found the opposite to be true. I kitbashed two Ork Deff Dreads, some Runtherds, and a Grot Oiler, all using bits I wasn’t using for anything else. Now I have a Mek Big Gun in the works, lots of bikes, and two Dakka Jets, all in various stages of completion. The more I’ve gotten into the hobby, the more resourceful I’ve become, and the less I’ve spent. The only thing I’ve bought is one box of Gretchin and a few Reaper Bones minis.

Mek-krakka Deff Dread

Okay, yes, I’ve needed to buy the occasional paint, spray can, and lots of superglue, but these costs are low and infrequent. Since getting back into it I’ve only finished one pot of Chaos Black paint.

There have been some interesting benefits from taking the kitbashing approach:

  1. I’ve become more ready to take on DIY projects, including fixing things around the house or building toys for my kids, like a Captain America shield and a PJ Masks HQ toy that I built from PVC pipe.
  2. I look at trash in a whole new way, and more of it gets upcycled instead of being thrown into a landfill somewhere.
  3. My pile of grey plastic is shrinking.
  4. I understand the art of model making much better, so I’m closer to making those custom TMNT figures I always wanted.
  5. I’m more resourceful. If I need a thing, I can probably find a way to make it, substitute something else in, or do without. And this goes far beyond miniatures. I’ve needed a new skateboard for nearly a year now, but I’ve been able to repair and maintain it because of a shift in my mentality.
  6. I have a far greater sense of ownership over my army than I ever had before.

Make Your Own

Brett Novak, who turned skateboarding videos into an art form, said in his TED talk that we romanticise that if we had more money, we’d do all these amazing things, but, in truth, there’s usually a way to do them without the money. As an example, Reiner Knizia, the best-selling board game designer, said that, when he was a kid, he often couldn’t afford the games he wanted to play. He had to make his own. That process must have taught him a lot about game design, and probably has a lot to do with how successful he is today.

So forget about money being the problem. If high prices are keeping you from tabletop gaming and the games that intrigue you, make your own. It’ll teach you a lot and give you a sense of satisfaction that money just can’t buy.

Toys as Minis, a Boost for Your Table — MM 39

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week I’m going to tell you why you should use more toys as minis.

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I figure that tabletop gamers fall into two groups; those who supplement their mini collection with toys, and those who hate the idea. If you’re in that second camp, it’s probably because you think that toys just don’t look right on the gaming table. I was one of the haters too, but I changed my mind. Here’s why!

Toys as Minis
Most of these are from Japan, but I found the bear locally.

Hidden Treasures

There’s a lot of junk out there, but search hard enough, and you just might find the perfect additions to your collection. I found that toys from Japan can be particularly good, and tend to be on the smaller side, but keeping an eye on your local cheap or second-hand toy shop will pay off eventually, especially if you’re in a biggish city.

Lots of folks online have shown off their dollar store hauls, so that’s an awesome option if you have cheap shops like that in your area. You’re most likely to find animals and mythical creatures such as dragons, but you never know what might turn up.

Two other great sources for toys for minis are your own toy collection and second-hand sales. Such sources usually have a varied collection of toys to choose from, are dirt cheap, and might surprise you with what you’ll find.

Kitbashing and Converting

If you’re ready to do some converting and kitbashing, then toys offer a veritable gold mine of options. Some hobbyists on YouTube recently did a toy monster mashup, go search it out if you’re looking for more inspiration.


With some exceptions, toys are generally a lot cheaper than specifically-produced miniatures, and printing takes time. It’ll take time to find the right toys, but you can usually search while looking out for other things.

The Buying Strategy

Patience and a will to shop around are the keys to success if you’re going to use toys as minis. Buying a couple of odd-looking horses because you need horses for Friday’s game might be fine, but you’ll quickly collect a lot of ugly minis that way.

Rather, keep a list of what you want minis for and play the long game, buying only the best of the best.

Toy Traps to Avoid

Avoid buying online, unless you can find a good size comparison for the toy. Also, avoid cheap-looking plastic, as this can become brittle over time and break easily. Thin plastic is usually the biggest clue, but strange colour changes in the plastic can also give you a hint that the toy will be more hassle than it’s worth in the long run.

I hope this inspires you to start adding some toys to your mini collection. If you have more collecting tips to share, then throw them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

Kitbashing and Scratch Building Bolts — MM 38

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week I prove just how far I’m willing to go to find the perfect kitbashing and scratch building bolts!

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When you kitbash a lot of Ork miniatures, like I do, you get a little obsessed with bolts. My Deff Dread Gundams have them, my Mek Big Gun has them, and most of the Orks I’ve kitbashed have bolts on their weapons or back plates. Even fantasy minis can use a lot of bolts for things like doors, treasure chests, armor, and flesh or iron golems.

So I’ve spent way too much time thinking about kitbashing and scratch building bolts, and here’s what I’ve found. Below are three different methods:

kitbashing and scratch building bolts

Method 1: Plastic Cylinders

The bottom row was made with discs cut from a soft plastic cylinder. This method also works with harder plastics, so look at the sprues you have, since they might have rounded sections that are perfect for making these types of bolts or nail heads.

Pros: Looks like a fat nailhead or a flattened bolt head. The neat, round shape is consistent, even if you cut them at an angle.

Cons: None really, it just takes practice cutting them thin enough.

Method 2: Bread Bag Clips

Bread bag clips are the miracle material. Cut them into thin strips, then cut these into small squares to make rough-looking boltheads, which you can see in the middle row of the image above.

Pros: Cheap and readily available.

Cons: Looks too rough for modern or futuristic applications.

Method 3: The Secret Ingredient

Clothing zip ties. They’re my secret ingredient.

Secret ingredient X
Secret ingredient X

Look closely, and you’ll see all those little bolts just waiting to be cut out and turned into amazing decorations for your next kitbashing project. The top line of our example bolts is made from these, including the loose bolt lying next to them.

Pros: Looks just like the real thing.

Cons: The soft plastic makes them really difficult to cut nicely, and I’ve not managed to do any reasonable amount of sanding on them to perfect the dome shape.

Of the three, method 2 is my go-to for Ork conversions and fantasy kitbashing, while method 1 is great for neater applications. Method 3’s going to be saved for those times I need a higher level of detail, or if I need loose bolts for my Grot Oilers.

How about you, which methods have you used, do you have another trick to teach us, or do you have a question? Pop it in the comments below.

Scratch Build Tank Tracks — Mini Monday 37

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll look at how to scratch build tank tracks for your Orks, Adeptus Mechanicus, or that home-made Baneblade you always wanted to make.

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Why Scratch Build Tank Tracks?

There are a lot of options when putting together a mini, especially these days. I’m making a Mek Gun, so I could buy Games Workshop’s official Warhammer 40K miniature kit, buy parts from a custom parts store, find a model to 3D print, modify a WWII field gun kit, or scratch-build it. So why choose scratch building?

  1. It takes more time to get the same sort of end result you’d expect from anything made professionally, but it’s very rewarding when you do.
  2. Scratch building will teach you so much more about kitbashing, miniature conversion, and model making because it forces you to use that squishy organ between your ears in new ways.
  3. It’s a great way to create miniatures that just don’t exist, or that are too expensive.

For me, I simply wanted to know that I could do it. I love the Grot Tanks I’ve seen the community creating, so making a tracked Big Gun seemed like a good challenge.

Let’s Build It!

Scratch Build Tank Tracks 1
Read-side view of the wheels, track base, and track plates.

Here’s my process:

  1. Use pipes to form the basic shape of the treads and hull. Use thicker pipes as the main wheels, with small wheels as the guide wheels. Glue them together with supports (that black bar in the picture above connects the top three pipes).
  2. Glue sections of pipes over and inside these pipes to build up the wheel hub’s shape. I used lots of dead pen and marker tubes for this part.
  3. Add extra detail, such as shock absorbers. See Adding Springs below.
  4. Glue strips of thick craft foam around the wheels. You can find adhesive craft foam to make this a little easier.
  5. Cut rectangles of cardboard and glue them onto the foam. My strips were about 8 mm by 5 mm, bent two-thirds of their length to hide the craft foam. Glue a few of these on, then let them dry, otherwise it gets tricky trying to stop everything moving around as you work.
Scratch Build Tank Tracks 2
View of the left side of the scratch built tank tracks.

Adding Springs

You can add shock absorbers by putting a spring over a pipe that runs between two of the pipes that form the wheels. Details like these really bring the mini together.

Scratch Build Tank Tracks Spring

Here’s the final mini, bar some extra details and the gun crew.

Mek Big Gun 1

I hope that inspires you to scratch build some of your own machines for the tabletop.

Hello, My Name is Death

Our new, poker-based tabletop RPG, Hello, My Name is Death is out now! Outdo your friends, reap souls, and become the next #OffiialGrimReaper in this zine RPG.

Hello My Name is Death


How to Pick Colours for Mini Painting — MM 36

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll talk about how to pick colours for mini painting with colour theory.

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Pick colours for your mini painting projects thoughtfully, because it’ll give you a better end result, and, like painting, it’s a skill you can improve on. Build some understanding of the theory, then use that to inform your choices and achieve the results you’re looking for.

Colour Theory

Colour theory might seem like a deep rabbit hole, which may seem intimidating, but I highly recommend you dive in. Colour theory opens up the language of colour, an understanding of how colours work together, and an understanding of the emotional responses that colours can create.

Here’s a quick look:

The colour wheel below shows the primary colours (red, blue, and yellow) and the secondary colours (orange, purple, and green). You can make the secondary colours by mixing the two primary colours nearest to the secondary colour you want to make (and that’ll cost GW some sales).

How to pick colors for your mini painting.

Analogous colours sit side-by-side on the colour wheel. They give you a simple range of colours for creating rich monochromatic (single colour) colour schemes.

Complementary colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel, but still work well when paired together. As you can see, there’s more to the “red wunz go fasta” thing when painting Orks.

This is just scratching the surface of colour theory, and I encourage you to seek out more information.

3 Tips to Using Colour Theory

Like any theory, you need to put colour theory into practice to get a real understanding of it and make it stick. Here are three ways to help yourself implement colour theory in your miniature painting.

Limited Your Colour Scheme

I painted the mini below with two reds, two browns, black, white (mixed to make grey), and metallic paint. It is a simple mini, but restricting your range of colours forces you to get more creative. Using analogous colours for this type of painting will also give you a base colour, shading colour, and a highlight that compliments each other.

How to pick colors for your mini painting

Another way to think of it is to drop a primary colour or two. Forbid yourself from using it, and see how your colour scheme becomes much tighter.

Clash Your Colours with Purpose

If colours are not analogous or complimentary, then there’s no colour harmony; they are contrasting colours. That doesn’t mean you can’t use purple and green together, you just have to know why you’re pairing them. Think of the green Hulk with his purple shorts, or Superman with his red and blue spandex, they stand out. And sometimes standing out is exactly what you want.

A World in Black and White

Of course, real life is full of colour, but to really understand and successfully pick colours for your minis you could do worse than follow Frank Miller’s example in Sin City. Frank’s masterpiece is a master class in light and shadow, with pages in black and white and only occasional splashes of colour. You can explore this with nothing more than paper and a black pen.

As an example, here’s the cover of The Grimdark Pamphlet, which I thought was a good colour choice for a book of game options that challenges the often black and white world of most adventurers, where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. Or was it that I didn’t want colour so I could push the idea of the colourless, grim aesthetic most associated with grimdark settings?

Grimdark Pamphlet Cover

Now, I’m not saying you need to paint a mini only black and white, but there are plenty of great paint schemes that focus on black and white, such as drow with their white hair and black armour, the Black Templars, the Blood Angels Death Company, and Goff Orks. Notice how these schemes often use a third colour to accentuate items such as weapons.

You can take this idea further to explore light, as Miniac did in his Color is for CHUMPS video. Check it out and tell him I sent you.


Building Ork barricades from Trash — MM 35

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’re building Ork barricades from Christmas trash.

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Ah yes, the dust has settled after the strangest Christmas and New Years’ Eve in living history, and 2021 is picking up steam. Time to make something, and what’s better than recycling that Christmas trash to make something Orky. Of course, you might already have recycled/trashed/incinerated/buried the last signs of the festive season, but you’ll always generate more waste, so let’s go!

Da orky chant - Ork barricades
“‘Er we go, ‘er we go!”

Ork Barricades

These Ork barricades are similar to the ones you can get in the Mekboy Workshop, or the barricades Games Workshop used to sell as a terrain pack, but they’re very easy to build yourself using nothing but bits of scrap cardboard and plastic.

I cut out 6-inch strips of cardboard, then glued bits of cardboard and plastic onto them. That’s basically it. We’re done.

Okay, but seriously, there are a few tricks to making this look good:

  1. Cut the cardboard and plastic sheets at angles. Bend them and add damage like cuts or bullet holes to make them look even more Orky.
  2. Stick the sheets down at angles, leaning on each other. This gives a sense of three-dimensionality to the terrain and makes it stronger. Orky things are always off-kilter.
  3. Cut out “teef” of card to decorate the terrain.
  4. Cut tiny squares of plastic to make Orky rivets. I use those little plastic tabs that hold bread bags closed. Cut them into strips, then squares, then superglue them onto your model.

Ork barricades 1

Ork barricades
A wall with “teef” to show that the boyz own it.


I used a heavy-duty red primer to make the models more resistant to wear and tear. I then painted the “metal” sections black or stippled orange onto them. I also left some unpainted. I then dabbed brown onto the orange sections with a sponge to make them look rusted. I then dry brushed the edges of the models with silver paint and put a black wash over the whole thing to finish it off. The ground was painted dark gray and dry brushed light gray.

Just be sure to let your Ork barricades dry between coats. I had to redo a bunch of dry brushing because I was getting too happy with the brush, which just blended everything together. Patience, young grasshopper, patience.

And that’s it.

Ork barricade doorways
You can even make doorways to take little junk doors.
Ork barricade doors closed
And here they are again, with the doors closed.

The best advice I can give is to give it a try. I was skeptical about how good the cardboard would look, but in the end, I was very pleased with how they turned out. The only thing I’d change is that I’d base them on tongue depressors or hardboard instead of cardboard.

Why I Made All the Miniature Pallets — MM34

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week I’m talking about miniature pallets and scatter terrain.

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I found this great miniature pallet tutorial on Terra Genesis before going on holiday. So I took my hobby knife, steel ruler, glue, and enough coffee stirrers and matchsticks to fill a veritable warehouse to the inlaws, then got crafty.

Miniature pallet for tabletop gaming.

But why make so many? Well, I’m glad you asked! (And I’m going to tell you even if you didn’t.)

Scatter Terrain

They make great scatter terrain. Keep a bunch handy to scatter around the table to make your wargame table or RPG map more interesting. I keep a bunch of model train trees for the same purpose.

Other Builds

Use them in other builds. I could add barrels and boxes onto a few, or stick the miniature pallets onto piles of rubble. They’re so versatile that you’ll easily blast through a pile of them if you regularly build terrain. It’s a little extra detail for very little extra effort.

Weirdly Modular

Stack them into towers of pallets to hide miniatures behind, build walls with them, or make bridges. If you think about all the uses people find for life-sized pallets in real life, then it’s easy to see that the possibilities for using these are endless. Because of their uniformity, this can be taken to a whole other level, just by using matchsticks between the slats to join two pallets together.

And that’s it. A slightly weird one today, I know, but I wanted to point you to Terrain Genesis’s great article and hopefully inspire you with a super easy terrain project. I hope you enjoyed it.

Our Plans for 2021

So, what’s on the cards for 2021?

I’ve got way too many terrain projects on the go, which are sure to feature here. I’ll also be putting more work into my Angels Encarmine and Goff Orks, which will feature too. Those are all a given, barring anything major that life might throw in the works (touches wood vigorously).

I’ll probably focus on getting more fantasy minis painted, drawing heavily from the minis that came in the Dungeons & Dragons Legend of Drizzt Board Game and the Dungeons & Dragons Castle Ravenloft Board Game.  That first one is 10 years old this year, but both games contain a good range of monsters that most fantasy players will want to have, even if they buy miniature incarnations of them from a different manufacturer.

So expect to see new posts, from me, every second Monday.

Have a great 2021 and I hope you build and paint awesome creations!

Plan to Win with a Painting Plan — MM33

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll look at what a painting plan can do for your next painting project.

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I feel like I’ve come a long way since I painted my first Adeptus Astartes some 20 years ago, but I also feel like I’m just scratching the surface of what we might call the basics of miniature painting.

For the Emprah! My first Space Marine.

Below are some of the Space Marines I’ve painted since my very first. While painting the ones on the left I learned about varnish, brush selection, dry brushing, edge highlighting, and making my own transfers. And that’s on top of learning better brush control. Now we’re going to talk about something that will improve your painting, save you time, and help you assimilate everything you’ve ever learned about model painting: writing up a painting plan.

Get Organised with a Painting Plan

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as saying “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Drawing up a plan puts this wisdom into practice. A plan sets out your paint scheme for a mini, while breaking it down into steps. It can also guide you when batch-paint many models at once, so that you can have a table-ready army in less time than it would take to paint each miniature individually.

My plan for my Angels Encarmine has evolved with each model I’ve painted so far, and now looks something like this:

  1. Clean mould lines.
  2. Glue fine beach sand onto the base.
  3. White base coat, with a spray can.
  4. Red coat, with a spray can.
  5. Black parts.
  6. Balor Brown (was Snakebite Leather) on base and scrolls.
  7. Skin tones.
  8. Hair.
  9. Red touchup.
  10. Silver dry brushing.
  11. Edge highlight grey on black.
  12. Dry brush skin tone over the top of the base.
  13. Flesh wash on red and skin.
  14. Freehand company and squad markings.
  15. Add transfer for chapter markings.
  16. Glue on dry tea or flock.
  17. Glue on banners.
  18. Final touch-ups.
  19. First coat of matt varnish.
  20. Second coat of matt varnish.
  21. Do the dance of joy.

I have a painting plan for my Orks, Genestealer Cults, and for fantasy races like drow. But you don’t need to follow the plan step-for-step every time. The plan’s more like a set of guidelines, and breaking the rules is often a great way to improve your plan.

Guidelines GIFs | Tenor

Do you use a painting plan, or do you like to do it off the cuff? Let us know in the comments!

Christmas at Aurora’s

Christmas is almost here, and Aurora has a whole emporium full of goodies for your Dungeons & Dragons 5e party.

You can find Aurora’s Whole Realms Christmas Catalogue on the DMs Guild.

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas Catalogue

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas Barbarian Gifts

Until next year, keep improving!