Thursday 16 June 2011

The Colonel's Secret Recipe - Revealed!

Hi all.

Nothing much to show tonight so far - the walker continues to develop, but has now been through about five incarnations! Flywheel's looking great. Engine's been remodelled. Basically, a lot of work but not much to show - yet. Keep watching this space!

In the meantime, Sky has asked me:
"While we are waiting I was wondering two things. Would you share the ground cover recipe? Also what do you do when a player wants to chase some varmint into the saloon? All your buildings are solid."

OK - These are good questions.

I made the decision to model Leadwood without removable roofs because in all the games we played, characters entered a building maybe once or twice - which I did not feel justified having twenty-three loose roofs.

Removable roofs would be harder to store without incurring damage, and just like all other aspects, the more you can glue down, the stronger the model will be and the more detail you can achieve.

Additionally, lifting the lid off a building to show a black box inside would kill the illusion. Short of detailing the insides of every building and making all windows transparent (in which case, I doubt I would ever have finished the model!) I couldn't see any real benefit. This was meant to be a WOW! model, after all.

As far as Notorious Greg and I are concerned, running into buildings is for cowards, and there are enough nooks and crannies in Leadwood for some serious gunfight action as it is. If anyone does enter a building (rare, as I said) we simply remove the character from the board and make a note. Using The Rules With No Name, each player probably has only about five models - it's not hard to remember who is where.

We haven't yet had a "two guys in the same room" situation.

As for my recipe for ground texture (or goop):
  • One part paint
  • Three parts PVA
  • One part water
  • Half a part of coarse sand
  • Four parts plaster of paris
  • I use a test pot of paint as a 'part' - this makes quite a lot of goop, so I keep it in a plastic pot with a screw-on lid.
  • For Leadwood I used the above recipe, with Resenes "Kalgoorie Sands" as the paint colour. When dry, I then washed the ground with watered-down walnut woodstain and drybrushed with Resenes "Just Right." It may be worth giving your board an undercoat of your basic paint colour first. Also, pick out plaster 'lumps' if they occur where you don't want them. This recipe gives a very rough texture, so remember that if you are using separate scenic pieces, they may not sit flat on the table if you've spread it too thickly. 
  • Boulders, etc, were made using Das terraotta clay, sculpted with my fingers and smoothed with PVA. These were heavily highlighted with "Just Right."
  • Finally, I used three shades of Woodland Scenics static grass - Dark Green, Light Green and Harvest Gold. Applying these in small patches, from dark to light, resulted in a very dry-looking environment. Most of the buildings have 'weeds' and so on at their edges and tucked under the boardwalks.
Hope this answers your questions!

More soon.


  1. Great post Colonel. Very helpful.

  2. I have taken to gluing down my roofs as well - for the same reason. My terrain pieces have 2-3 buildings on a base and those roofs falling off were a pain.

    We had a game last night with 15 models (3 each) and only one person entered a building to use it as a way to get to the next street across.

  3. I have often thought about lift off roofs for my buildings, but I came to the same conclusions you have. I reckon you just about triple the work load by having to detail the interior aswell. Don't get me wrong I've seen some lovely model buildings on web done like this, but on balance I don't think its worth it.

    Whenever I have had models enter a building, we transport the figures to card floorplans, often used by RPGers, and these work quite serviceably. The boxed sets often come with features for doorways and stairs etc, and with a little imagination, do a good job.


  4. Very helpful post indeed, thanks for sharing!