Monday 30 May 2016

Hirst Arts Design with Sketchup

My next project using Hirst Arts blocks will be somewhat more complex than the previous ones. I have planned a multiple level building which will encompass a section of the walkway I designed earlier.

In order to plan this my previous method of just playing around with blocks really wouldn't work for such complex design. Instead I've been using a free 3D design package called "Sketchup". Helpfully several users have created Hirst Arts blocks in the package. Unfortunately they've done so in a couple of different scales.

I've plumped for using a set by user called "Itar". These cover all the moulds I have. Again though there is a downside. This time it's that they made some mistakes. Some of the blocks are miss-sized. Luckily it's not too difficult to fix the mistakes.

The design is now complete...

And whilst I was at it I've come up with an alternate design for the stairs at the end of a walkway,..

Thursday 26 May 2016

Hirst Arts Tower and Walkways in use

So Monday saw the first use of the Hirst Arts prison tower and walkways that I made in a game of Frostgrave at Cogs. They certainly enhanced the game for me!

I'm now working on the 4" round fieldstone tower...

Thursday 19 May 2016

Colour Scheme for my Hirst Arts stuff

I've been asked if I could provide the colour schemes used for the Tower I posted about last night.

I've used two colour schemes for my Hirst Arts models so far. I'll call them "Dungeon" and "Surface".

The "Dungeon" colours were an attempt to match in with the Master Maze colour scheme. The "Surface" I wanted to be more of a lighter ruined look.

Both start with a black undercoat. This is a thorough spray of Army Painter Black and then touch-up with Black Acrylic. I've been using two types of Acrylic, Vallejo Model Colour and also some cheap large bottles of Crafter's Acrylic, which is available from Hobbycraft in the UK, as well as other places.

After that it's basically a load of dry-brushing with a really big brush!


  1. undercoat/prime Black (Army Painter/Crafter's Acrylic)
  2. dry brush with Slate (Crafter's Acrylic)
  3. paint a few stones with Khaki Grey (Vallejo Model Colour)
  4. dry brush with a random mix of Black Grey. Brown Violet & Stone Grey (All Vallejo Model Colour)
  5. dry brush with Stone Grey (Vallejo Model Colour)


  1. undercoat/prime Black (Army Painter/Crafter's Acrylic)
  2. dry brush with Slate (Crafter's Acrylic)
  3. dry brush with Stone Grey (Vallejo Model Colour)
  4. dry brush with Light Brown (Vallejo Model Colour)
  5. dry brush with Light Grey (Vallejo Model Colour)
  6. dry brush with a mix of Slate/White (Crafter's Acrylic)  slightly lighter than the Light Grey
  7. dry brush with White (Crafter's Acrylic)
  8. Add streaks of Brown Violet (Vallejo Model Colour)
On the Surface models I've also glued some Decor Plus Leaf Litter and some Woodland Scenics Fine Turf Green Grass for the ivy. I did look at more realistic ivy but decided the price was too high. Both were glued on with the same PVA I used to build the models.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Hirst Arts Fieldstone Prison Tower

One of the sample buildings on the Hirst Arts site is the Prison Tower. It's usually made with their normal Castle blocks, but I've re-imagined it with the newer Fieldstone blocks.

I've also made it a bit taller so that there are more places on the stairs for models to stop on their way up.

This will be used on our Frostgrave games on Monday night at COGS.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Hirst Arts Walkways and Prison Tower

This evening I completed the first batch of the modular walkways I've been making with Hirst Arts fieldstone blocks. They were specifically made to allow accessed to the raised areas I have in my Frostgrave terrain and can be reconfigured in different ways. I'm rather pleased with how they came out.

At the same time I've been building the next Hirst Arts creation. This time its a variation on the Prison Tower from their website, I've used the fieldstone moulds and made the stairs go around the fourth side. This is so that I have plenty of flat areas on the stairs where models can be place. It also had the side-effect of making it a bit taller than the normal version.

Next will be painting it...

Monday 9 May 2016

Frostgrave Dungeon game

Tonight at COGS we had three Frostgrave games going. Two were in the classic town of most Frostgrave games, but the third was in the Dungeon I built in the last blog entry.

I played in there against my friend Steve, who thanks to a rod that crumbled walls looked like he'd easily get 3 treasures off before I had chance to do anything. However my Wizard soon despatched his Apprentice with an Elemental Bolt. My Apprentice lined up to do the same in the area his Wizard was exploring.

Unfortunately Steve remembered his Fog spell and filled the passageways so that I had to get in close to deal with him. Unfortunately my Wizard got in too close and found himself surrounded by soldiers.

Being knocked unconscious he succumbed to his blows and my apprentice has been elevated in position. She has hired a new apprentice of her own for future exploration but will forever mourn the loss of her Master.

The game worked really well in the dungeon and it was great to look at as well. We'll be using it again at the next Frostgrave session in a fortnight, but someone else will get to delve into it's depths.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Dungeon for Frostgrave - Master Maze and Hirst Arts

I had the idea a little while ago about running Frostgrave games in the Master Maze sets that COGS have. They've been stuck in my loft for over a decade unused and it was about time they got used!

Anyway, I built up a layout and posted photos over on the Frostgrave facebook group asking for suggestions. Everyone was very positive, but I think there was a general agreement that there should be more...

So I did some research and found that Master Maze in the form we have it is still available, though just as massively expensive as it was when we bought it years ago. So I looked around and found Hirst Arts.

Now I've been wowed by pictures of what is possible with this system for many years and I was impressed to see that some people had managed to make it compatible with Master Maze. The idea of Hirst Arts stuff is that you buy some latex moulds and cast your own dungeon or castle (or sci fi, etc) bricks out of plaster (or resin) and then glue them together to make whatever you want. The range of moulds is very extensive and there really are few limitations as to what is poissble.

So I chose a couple of moulds and put them in the basket at (a UK reseller).... My mouse pointer hovered over the "Buy" button...  I'd done this many times before over the years, but this time I clicked.

A few days later the moulds arrived. By then I'd bought all the stuff I needed to cast some blocks. After a shaky start, but no disasters, I got the knack at casting blocks and now have boxes and boxes of them ready to use. I started with Plaster of Paris, but have moved on to Crystacal R which is supposed to be more resilient. A 25kg bag cost £35 posted, so it's not that expensive. I've also bought 2 more moulds and am eyeing up even more. (I now have #70, #71, #260 and #701)

So what have I been making? 

Well first of all there's the task of extending the Master Maze dungeon. I first started with some basic corridor sections, but have decided that the strength of Hirst Arts moulds was in the detail and accessories, so I've been working on whole rooms. 

This has been dressed with some of the furniture from Dungeon Saga. I now have a reason to paint up the other set I of this I got with the kickstarter. I think there's now enough dungeon for the Frostgrave game, however I think I will make more... but first I have other things to do.

There is a scenario in Frostgrave that requires 3 linked towers so I think I'll have to have a go at that. They're supposed to be ruined so I'll probably have to buy the ruin mould. 

Anyway, before that I want to make some steps down from the raised areas I have for the normal Frostgrave city. Rather than just have simple steps I've planned out a whole modular system of raised walkways and steps. The first of these is pictured below..

Next up with these is to make the piece that will reach onto my old raised area of city. Oh and of course these should be compatible with the dungeon as well. 

There is a good reason for doing these before the towers though. I want them to be compatible and so the walkways will need to line up with something, a door or a roof, etc. on the towers.

Of course I also have made something else. One of my Wizard's favourite spells is "Wall" so I've made a few markers of the correct size. They're split into 4" and 2" sections, the 2" sections should work ok in the dungeon.

Monday 2 May 2016

Lord Fauconberg's Bowmen

So I spotted a painting competition on the "Lion Rampant, the medieval skirmish game" group on facebook. Painting a unit for the game during the month of April, finishing on 2nd May.

I decided this would be a good addition to my month's painting as I'd already finished my Mantic painting oath. It would be good to get back to painting some of my War of the Roses miniatures. Having painted several units of Edward IV's retinue I decided it was time for a change and so this unit is one of Lord Fauconberg's.

The livery is a simple blue and white pattern with rampant red lion and black fish hooks. All the insignia are made from transfers I printed myself and then in the case of the red lion had to paint over. The reason being that the transfers are transparent and so the blue background made the red darker.

The photos show 12 figures for the Lion Rampant unit, but there are an additional 8 models to make it up to a regiment for Kings of War.

Having got back into Wars of the Roses, I had intended to do some more in May, but of course I've already been distracted! First was with some Marauders for Deadzone, but I've been distracted even from that! Instead I'm now deep in plaster of paris making Hirst Arts blocks for various terrain for Frostgrave. At the moment I'm working on parts to extend the Master Maze dungeon system I have....

There have been many pitfalls during this process, but I'm getting there finally!