Monday 29 April 2024

Shoot 'n' Skedaddle

Just the briefest of posts to share some of the photographs taken of our game of Shoot 'n' Skedaddle.  Sadly the details are somewhat lost to the ravages of time, but essentially this is a fun, fast paced skirmish game that we played as a three header.  Each player had assembled a posse or gang of characters and charged around the board trying to capture the objectives whilst ducking waves of lead fired from an opposing player.  My understanding that these rules are free to play and can be found here.

An overview of the completed table, something that I found hugely rewarding and just revisiting the build in this series of posts has made me quite keen to add and develop it further.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

The smallest room

With the main village buildings for our game of Shoot 'N' Skedaddle completed, and in good time I might add, there was an opportunity to add a little local colour in the form of a few 'extras'.  The first of these pieces was the ubiquitous outhouse, a seemingly ever present motif in the western films of my youth, the crude, hastily constructed structure was often festooned with flies and proved to be the last stand for many an unsuspecting outlaw; one of those silly things that I just had to have a go at building!  After sketching out a rough design, I started to build the basic structure on a 60mm MDF base using scraps of balsa wood into which I etched a plank design.

I couldn't dismiss the idea of having a working door, which started life as a scrap of mountboard, cut to give the impression of reclaimed planks with some additional supporting braces.  With the moon motiff scratched in, a little nod to another 'famous' outhouse, albeit from animated gem that is Shrek, I set about fashioning the hinges.  These were essentially paperclips cut down to size and bent to form the staples fixed into the door frame and then a couple more pieces formed into hooks to attach the door.  Although not the perfect solution, it did work and allowed me to move onto the painting and detailing of the base.

This part was a lot of fun and the bits box unearthed a good selection of miscellania to give some additional colour to the piece with barrels, plastic cacti and even a bucket to put under the seat.  With a slightly troubling level of detail, I even carved a hole into the seat and added to toilet paper using pieces of tissue paper.

Next up was the village well, which I remember from the Magnificent Seven as being the venue for the stirring speech by Horst Buchholz playing the irrepressible Chico.  I was about to start scratch building when I remembered that I had bought a 'Sarissa Precision' fountain from the 'Streets of Rome' range.  I had imagined that this was going to form part of a war torn city for my 'wintery' Russians to fight over, but I had never got around to it, but with a little imagination it may find a use here.

Hastily assembling the kit, it became apparent that the ornate central fountain was a little too much for my sleepy Mexican village and so I decided not to site the central column, instead I offset part of it to one end and added a little 3D printed water pump that had surfaced earlier during my excavation of the bits box.*

*I can't say with any certainty where this piece had come from, but I found an almost identical version here

It was starting to come together nicely, but I felt that the side detailing was still a tad ornate so out came the wood filler again to give a more worn feel to the piece.  The base was then textured and the whole thing primed for the final stages.  Once painted to match the existing pieces, I filled the fountain base with some Vallejo water effects, lightly coloring the 'water' with a little blue ink.

Now very much on a roll, as it were, I decided to try my hand at another stalwart of the classic Hollywood Western, tumbleweed.  On reflection this wasn't as successful as I had hoped, simply because it is a device that is rather relient on movement, but nonetheless a bit of fun to end the proceedings.  Lengths of sisal string were cut and then the individual strands separated out before dipping in a bath of watered down PVA glue.  Once the crude structures were dried, they were washed in a sepia tone to give a little more depth.  This wasn't as successful as I had hoped as the PVA seemed to repel the ink, but enough colour remained to sell the illusion.  With hindsight, I am wondering if some rubberised horsehair might have been a better solution?

Tumbleweed under construction! 

All in all a hugely enjoyable series of diversions that added some fun talking points to the board.  I am sometimes guilty of forgetting just how much fun scratch building terrain can be, always seemingly looking for the 'perfect fit' kit or model to adorn the board, when actually just adapting some of the shop bought kits can be great fun.  

Thursday 4 April 2024


I make no excuses to my over romanticised, some would say naive, approach to the historical periods that interest me.  A perfect example of this would be my wholly sanitised foray into the Wild West inspired by the many Hollywood celluloid spectacles.  A lasting memory of those films was the tall cacti that seemed to dominate the landscape and so I set about to see if I could find some to add to the terrain around my village.  A rudimentary search of the infoweb unearthed a number of potential finds, particularly if I was prepared to 'print' my own, something I hope to get into one day, but at the moment I seem content with purchasing files that sit neglected on the computer, not that different to the unpainted miniatures in the wardrobe of woe.  

There were some Saguaro like models available in either white metal or plastic, but these were proving to be quite costly and were lacking the stature that I was after until, as luck would have it, I stumbled across the following 'how to' on the Western Role Playing & Miniature Games Resource site. 

So as to not be accused of plagiarism, I am happy to admit that I followed this wonderfully clear guide pretty much to the letter, so there is little point replicating it here, but I will share some of my 'work in progress photographs' to reiterate just how straightforward it was. 
I used a combination of 6" and 4" nails with aluminium, armature, modelling wire to form the basic structures.  These were then covered in Sculpey, not a material I had used before, but not unlike DAS modeling clay, which might prove to be an cheaper alternative.  Drawing lines into the clay would convey a sense of the cactus structure, but on reflection I rather rushed this stage, perhaps more modelling would have produced more varied and interesting results?  Once baked and cooled they were fixed to some MDF bases and the surfaces built up and textured accordingly.  I indulged in some Buffalo and Longhorn steer skulls from 'Dixon Miniatures' just to sell the piece a little more. 
With time very much against me, I fired up the trusty airbrush and covered them in a rather lurid green that was not nearly dusty enough.  Fortunately some drybrishing helped to get the project back on track, but something still felt as if it was lacking.  
In a bid to give my cacti some more texture I dabbed dots of PVA glue along the trunk and then sprinkled on some fine green turf that I had.  A final flourish was added with a course, red turf used atop to hint at the ripening fruit. 
With the bases painted to match the rest of the miniatures and the liberal application of some brown shrubs and tufts the build was complete.  Thoroughly enjoyable and with that sense of achievement that comes from a successful scratch build.  Huge thanks to Western Role Playing & Miniature Games Resource for pointing the way.

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