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Times they are a changing…

Since our sponsor, Fantasiapelit, moved to a new location last month we lost our club space. Luckily we were able to band up with another band of like minded gentlemen gamers, Stadin Strategit and with the increased membership, together we were able to rent a twice as big club room than what they had previously. Certainly a change of pace for us since half of the walls are now covered with windows and you can see the fabled outside through them -quite a change of pace for the Gemigabok orcs who were used to staying underground. Unfortunately as there isn’t as much space available as previously, and we have have to take other players into consideration as well we had to dump plenty of material reserved for future projects away. Then again, if you haven’t used the several cubic meters of styrofoam to make those buildings you planned a decade go, it is a safe bet you won’t be doing so in near future either… We also had to let go of the five large 9 by 5 foot purpose built 1808 Russo -Swedish War terrains. Luckily we were able to hand them over to Ropecon who were also sponsors of the whole project so in the end it was very appropriate that they were the recipients of the terrain. They’ll most likely put them in good use in future Ropecons as terrain for miniature gaming tournaments and such. This was a huge relief since it would’ve  been heartbreaking to throw them to garbage. These babieseach  took around 110 to 140 hours to make and it would’ve felt like abandoning your children!   Here are even crappier pics than usually of each of the terrain taken with my crappy cellphone.   Lapua (Lappo in swedish) Oravainen (Oravais in swedish) Ruona Salmi Koljonvirta (Virta bro in swedish)... read more

18th & 19th Century Finnish Buildings – Part III: Modelling buildings

The models are intended to be used with 15mm Napoleonic figures where each figure presents X men, so it makes more sense to make the buildings match the used ground scale, i.e. something between 1:150 and 1:300. The exact scale has not been calculated for any of the buildings and in some cases the length-height ratio is distorted, because each building has to fit on one of the selected standard size bases (large house – small house – large utility building – small utility building). Materials needed for buildings in this scale are simply balsa and card. In addition to the obvious tools, a toothpick is handy for simulating gaps between logs or panels. The squares in the picture are 5×5 mm. Cut strips of balsa at various widths; from 1 to 5 cm, in 0,5 cm intervals. Use the toothpick to draw stripes to the balsa. Once you have a selection of prepared balsa strips, you can cut out proper pieces for your building; end and side walls, and roof. Notice that you don’t cut any windows as they are made from printed pictures. Also, make a narrow strip from which you can cut 1-2 mm wide short bits – reason shown in the picture below. In the corners the logs are overlapping. To make this effect easily, first glue walls together so that the other wall goes in 1-2 mm compared to the other. Then glue a short strip of balsa to be the leftover part of the first wall. The picture above shows this method. The buildings have been glued to card. I recommend selecting a few standard base sizes as this will allow alternating buildings on the yard bases. The chimneys can be made from wood or thick card. The chimney tops are thin card rectangles from which the center has been removed. On earlier buildings I used these for windows also, but printed windows are easier to make and look better. Here we have a simple house with a log on the roof to stop the lumber from flying away. The other building is a more complex, two-storey storage building. Studying the real world examples on the history pages you can start experimenting on different kinds of buildings. The picture above presents three types of roofs. From left to right; 1) a thatched roof, made by pressing lines in both directions, 2) vertical lumber and 3) horizontal lumber. Here is the vicarage in the... read more

18th & 19th Century Finnish Buildings – Part II: Examples of utility buildings

Examples of storage and animal sheds. The sheds looked more or less the same regardless where in Finland they were located – at least from the wargamers point of view. These are two-storey sheds. Most notable is that there are no windows in these, only small air vents. The ones used for storing grain could be lifted from the ground to prevent rats from entering it. Then some plain storage sheds. Sheds were often quite low, one had to crouch the go through the door and there might not be enough room to stand straight inside the shed. These sheds have lumber roof. For modeling purposes, any of these could be turned into a sauna by adding a chimney to the roof. Here’s an example of a two-storey building. Judging from the doors, the lower part is used to keep animals. The upper floor is a storage space. The roof is made of shingles. During summers the hirelings would move from the main building into the buildings in the courtyard. This one is a storage building as much as the others, only that here the roof material is straws that are kept in place with sticks and small logs. Over time there would be growing all kinds of plants whose seeds the wind has blown there, but nothing was planted there on... read more

18th & 19th Century Finnish Buildings – Part I: Examples of houses

This article is the first part on a series of how to make model buildings for the 1808-1809 Russo-Swedish war. The first two articles consist of pictures of old buildings that have survived to this day. The purpose is not to make exact scale models, but some passable model buildings that look good on the gaming table. As the building style varied in different parts of Finland and also over time, the pictures state the construction year and roughly from which part of the Finland it originates (like Western, Eastern (Karelia), Central or Southern Finland). Vicarage, 1797 The building below is a vicarage from Eastern Finland, 1797. The place needed to be at least a town size for the clergyman’s quarters to be this luxurious. Walls are covered with lumber paneling, painted red. Window frames are white. Each window consists typically of 4 or 6 smaller panes as manufacturing full size panes was difficult/expensive. As a decorative detail, there are round windows at the end of the building – otherwise there are scarcely windows on the 2nd floor. The porch is not covered – there could be a closed space porch just as well. The roof has more shapes than would be typical for most buildings. Covering the roof with full length tar treated lumber was quite standard, though. The walls could also be yellow. Some wealthier households could afford and preferred yellow coloring. See the Church of Oravainen article for reference on the tone of the yellow. Red was definitely the most common and cheapest color – if paint was used at all (see examples below). Living quarters Here are three examples of common man’s houses. The first is from the Eastern Finland (Karelia), 1820-1825. The style and construction method is very simplistic – round, untreated logs with very few and small windows. Shingle-roof with logs as weight. Even the chimney is not made of bricks, but stones & clay. Houses in the other parts of Finland could be of this simple design as well, but would usually have at least bigger windows to allow more light in the house. Windows do have class panes as the climate doesn’t favor open holes in the walls. The second one is from the Eastern Finland, 1842. Single storey house with shingle-roof. The walls have not been painted, but the time has patinated them with brown hues. Also the window frames have been left unpainted – only the thin strips holding... read more

German trench mortar 1916

Trench mortars made their first appearance in the Russo-Japanese war and were subsequently used by all belligerents in the First World War. It was found that the new, deadlier battlefield now demanded that all infantry troops be assisted by support weapons.

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