Thursday 29 September 2011


Just finished a rehash of the Creeping Statues from Oubliette Issue 2. The original ideal, that I espoused, which was to keep drawings to a bare minimum line-wise in my endeavour to save people ink, has, by demand, now evolved to something a wee bit more complicated. Here's a comparison of the two styles.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Paint Log 1 - Otherworld Miniatures Giant Rats

I had a great meeting with Richard Scott of Otherworld Miniatures a couple of weeks ago.  As a result, not least because of the review samples I came away with, my interest in miniatures is renewed.

It's been about 20 years since I last painted miniatures on a regular basis, so I'm a bit rusty.  Issue 7 of Oubliette will have an interview with Richard and a feature on miniatures.  In the meantime, I plan to paint the selection of figures he kindly gave me, and post a paint log for each of them.  I'll include brief details of the paints and materials used, the basic techniques, and step-by-step photos.  I'm not claiming to be an authority on miniature painting, or to have a great talent for it, but beginners might pick up a few tips on how to paint miniatures to a reasonable gaming standard.  I'll also find the painting logs useful in case I need to paint more of the same type of figures and need them look the same as ones painted previously.

Paint Log 1 - Otherworld Miniatures Giant Rats DV3a

  1. Matt black undercoat (Humbrol Matt Black enamel).  If you have a matt black spray it will save time.  Sometimes I use a white undercoat, but  as the rats are going to be quite dark, black gives a better base.  The undercoat allows water based paints to be applied more easily and produces a stronger, more even finish.
  2. Dark brown basecoat (Miniature Paints Umber).  Gives a solid dark brown shade.  Thanks to the black undercoat only a thin coat is required.
  3. Medium brown drybrush (Vallejo Flat Earth).  The whole miniature is drybrushed quite heavily so it looks much lighter.
  4. Light brown drybrush (Vallejo Light Brown).  Again over the whole miniature but with a much lighter touch.  Then heavier drybrushing on the nose, paws and tail.
  5. Light flesh drybrush (Citadel Elf Flesh).  Only on the nose, paws and tail.
  6. Dark brown wash (Miniature Paints Umber).  Only applied to small areas as required to tidy up imperfections left by stray drybrushing.
  7. White (Citadel White).  Paint the teeth and also use as a base colour to help the eyes stand out.
  8. Red (Citadel Blood Red). Paint the over the white laid down on the eyes.
  9. The rats come with thin metal flagstone effect base and 25mm round plastic bases.  For me these are a little large so I made my own bases using pennies and cork discs.  I'll make use of the flagstone ones with some other figures though.
  10. Glue rats to bases.
  11. Black wash (Humbrol Matt Black enamel). Thin coat applied to cork base.
  12. Varnish (Quickshade Stron Tone).  This varnishes and shades the figure in one go.  It softens the effect of drybrushing to give a neater finish.
  13. Matt Varnish Spray (Army Painter Matt Anti-shine Spray).  This is optional and gives the flat matt finish that most painters prefer.
Here's the step-by-step photos:

Saturday 10 September 2011

Judges Guild Nostalgia Rush

I felt very lucky today when the postman delivered not one, but four gaming parcels.  A couple were sets of miniatures snagged on ebay, another was an item that I'll be reviewing in the next issue of Oubliette, and the final and largest one of the bundle contained these goodies:

I ordered them from Different Worlds Publications who have an enticing range of JG and other titles for sale on their website.  Best of all, many of them cost almost the same as their original prices from 30 odd years ago.  I have James at The Underdark Gazette to thank for posting about his recent purchases from Different Worlds, otherwise I would have never heard about them.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Choosing a Projector for Gaming

Following on from the photos of my projected game map yesterday, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the technical details about the rig I use.  Here's a list of the kit in my set up:
  • Acer X1230PK DLP projector
  • 10m VGA lead
  • Dell netbook
  • Cordless USB mouse
  • Old Paintshop Pro Software (just about any photo software should be ok)
  • Ikea 70x70cm Stave Mirror
  • 50" Projection screen mounted on 6mm MDF
  • Selection of bolts, angle brackets, hooks and 4 turnbuclkes
Assembled it looks like this:

To generate a 50" image the projector needs to be 6'6" away from the screen.  The only way to acheive this in a normal room is to use a mirror set at 45 degrees.  The mirror needs to be fairly rigid otherwise the geometery of the image will be distorted.  Initially, I wanted to buy a projector with a short throw range which would allow it to have been mounted directly over the screen.  However, I spotted this one at almost 70% off so I was happy to put the extra work in.

Here's a list of what to look for in a projector:
  • Brightness of at least 2,000ansi Lumens.  Most DLP projectors easily meet this.
  • A 4:3 or 1:1 aspect ratio.  Widescreen is great for movies but not so good for gaming on.
  • XVGA (1024x768) resolution or better.  Budget projectors are 800x600 which is ok at a push.  Also make sure your computer can output the correct resolution.
  • Options to flip (mirror) the image if you are planning on a set up with a mirror.
  • Options to rotate the image 180 degrees
  • Vertical Keystone correction this allows you to make adjustments if the angle of the mirror/projector isn't perfect.
  • Noise level under 30dB.  Depending on the setting used mine is 28-33db and I wouldn't want it to be any louder.
  • Some form of manual zoom for fine tuning the image to fit the screen.
In addition to these points, be very careful that the throw distance and range will allow the image size you want. has a great calculator which allows you to fine tune distance, zoom and image size for hundreds of different projectors.  My projector is now discontinued, but here a link to the details of a similar spec model:

InFocus IN104 projection calculator

And here's almost the same as mine but with a shorter throw lens:

Acer X1230PS projection calculator

Tuesday 6 September 2011

More Projected Game Maps

I first posted about using a data projector in April.  Since then, I've used it a couple more times and I'm really pleased with the results.  The photos below show the playtest map for Tomb of the Snake King which I'm busy editing for Oubliette Issue 7.  Each map has a second layer of solid black added which is then gradually deleted as the players explore each area.

Monday 5 September 2011

Other Old Schools: Number 1 - The LaserDisc

I really enjoy reading other blogs which discuss various aspects of the OSR.  It got me thinking: what else am I interested in that might be given the Old School tag.

I'll try and think of a new item each week and you can judge whether or not it deserves a place on the Old School Cool Wall.

First up: LaserDiscs

Until the DVD format was launched in 1997 (1998 in the UK), LDs were the final word in quality home cinema.  DVD pretty much killed the format overnight.  As people dumped their entire movie collections, I took the oportunity to build up my collection.  I still own about 300 LDs and a flagship Pioneer deck to play them on.  I love my collection.  I'll probably keep most of it even after my player kicks the bucket.

Much like Vinyl LPs, the discs themselves are a big part of the attraction.  Many have gatefold covers, booklets, slip cases or other design features that make them worthy of admiration on a purely aesthetic level.  A LaserDisc player in operation is quite a machine to behold.  They're very mechanical devices, with genuinely smart engineering including: autoturn a feature that plays both sides of a disc without having to remove it from the player, and an additional pop-out mini loading tray for loading audio CDs. 

At the weekend, I was reading about the imminent Blu-ray release of the Star Wars films, and the distress being caused by Lucas making even more CGI changes to the original films.  Thankfully, I own both the Special Edition LD boxed set and the Definitive Edition Boxed set on LaserDisc.  Which, along with my copy of The Star Wars Vault, is all I need to experience 1977 all over again.

Friday 2 September 2011

Heroica - Heroes and Baddies

I'm hoping to have a review of Lego Heroica in the next issue of Oubliette, but in the meantime, here's an image showing the range of different micro figures included in the range. One of the sets (Caverns of Nathuz) also includes some giant bats (which are not micro figures).

I think they look great, and I'm already dreaming up D&D stats for the Golem Lord and his Golem minions. However, given that there are 4 sets, I'd hoped that there would have been a wider range of monsters included. Hopefully, the range will grow with additional sets next year. They could actually do some very small encounter sets with half a dozen new micro figures, and a few new weapons and treasure items.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Oubliette Issue 6 Giveaway Results

The free download period for issue 6 is now over.  We chalked up an impressive 1,265 downloads, along with dozens of back issue sales.  In print, the compilation edition of the first four issues is still selling strongly, but it was also great to see orders coming through for the individual print issues of Oubliette 5 and 6.

Special thanks must go to our issue 6 advertisers, whose ongoing support will enable us to offer Oubliette as a limited free download for the foreseeable future.