Saturday, November 24, 2012

Casting my own terrain

 Over the last six months or so I had decided that I would try and cast some of my own terrain for gaming.  My inspiration for this came from the idea of having more realistic looking terrain on my battlefields.  So I took a cue from model railroaders and decided to cast my own piece this time.  There is a local railroad shop that sold a latex mold and some resin casting material.  The resin material is made by this company Bragdon Enterprises.  They also produce latex molds.  I'm not sure if the one I bought was produce by Bragdon or if the shop owner had made his own.  So heres what I did to create my piece of rock.

The mold is made of Latex and it is quite detailed.  According to the instructions of the resin I poured some water into the mold to figure out the volume needed.  It was a little over a 1/2 cup.

Resin it self is fairly easy to use. Pour equal parts of A and B into a container and mix and then pour into the mold.  Prior to pouring the resin into the mold, I sprayed Ease Release 200 onto the mold. This spray will help release the resin but also prolong the life of the mold.

After letting the resin dry over night.  Actual drying time is only a couple of hours.  One problem I did encounter while pouring the resin, was the uneven nature of the mold.  Some of the resin spilled out.  Once the initial layer I had poured into the mold had started to solidify, I mixed some more resin and poured that in to help fill in where the first mixture had spilled.  
The removal of the hardened resin from the mold was very easy and the mold is ready for its next use.

Now the fun begins.  Painting it!  I decided to try Woodland Scenics idea on painting the rock from their Woodland Scenics Scenery Manual.  Using a series of washes starting with Raw Sienna and then another wash of Raw Umber and then a final wash of Black. I didn't like the final look of the rock.  It was too dark for my tastes.  So I went back and hit it with a dry brush of grey.

It help tie the rock a little more into my terrain mat etc.. I decided to add some flocking to one area.  This gave it a little more color and the representation of growth on a old rock.

My overall experience with this has been positive and I will try it again.  I am going to try Woodland Scenics Hydrocal instead of the resin.  This one attempt with using the resin used almost all of what I had bought.  The Hydrocal is less expensive and can provide a lot of uses.  I will post more about this once I've had a chance to try it again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Battle of Pieve del Cairo, March 1859 (Week 4)

The early morning sun broke over the horizon and shone brightly on the town of Pieve del Cairo and the glittering steel of bayonets and canons.  The Italian Commander Mollard again faced the Austrian Commander Benedek.  Mollard followed up and closed with Benedek after a few days marching to engage the Austrian commander in battle.  Their last meeting went well for the Italians and Mollard had high hopes for another victory.

Both armies arranged themselves before battle.

The Austrian Commander Benedek (aka James) looks over his deployment and secretly wishes he had retreated farther.

The calculating Italian Commander Mollard (aka Garland) is never happy with his deployment but will the best he can.

The Austrians gain the initiative early and moved forward under their effective artillery fire.

The battle began on the Austrian left and the Austrian light troops took heavy casualties from very effective Italian rifle fire. 

The Italian Bersaglieri pushed forward in the center in attempt to engage the Austrian Cavalry. 

View from the Austrian center at the Italians.

The Austrians deploy in the town and wait for the Italians.

The Austrians crest the hill and take devastating fire from the Italians and their artillery. 

The view from the Italian right at the Austrians moving forward.

Looking down the Austrian line after the unit commander was killed and all of the units went out of command, halting the advance on the Austrian left.

The Italians follow up on the wavering Austrians and push forward.

The Bersaglieri in the center take heavy casualties.

The second in command for the Austrian left asserts command and halts the Italian advance.

A bloody melee ensues in the middle of the battle field.

The result being the Italians holding the tree line and destroying two Austrian units.  The Austrian morale chip count has shrunk dangerously low.

The Italians pour on the fire at the retreating Austrians after fail a tactical morale challenge.

The last Austrian hold out, the town on the Austrian right.  Accurate and deadly fire from the Italians routed the Austrians.

The crushing Italian victory filled the newspapers and taverns up and down the Italian countryside and the Italian ranks swelled with new volunteers.  

The after battle talk between myself and the two commanders, I had to ask the James why he attacked.  Since being on the defensive, one would think that an army would stay in place and wait for the enemy.  His response was he wanted to be bold and take the fight to the enemy.  He agreed that it was a mistake and his campaign has taken a hard hit because of it.