Chaturanga – The first War-game



By: Kitbasha Jay

Many people consider H.G. Wells the father of modern day wargaming. This is partially true since he was the first to take miniature soldiers and attach a simple rules system that used coin flips to determine the winner. This is not necessarily the root of war gaming. It merely marks the difference between wargaming for political and strategic reasons and doing it for purely recreational purposes.

Obviously the man did not invent wargaming. Clearly chess is much older than H.G. Wells by centuries. Many of us would probably think of Chess when we think of the origins of war games. That would definitely be where my mind would first go. But is there anything older?

When we think of the origins of chess we think of medieval kings and warlords playing in their chambers to see who is the better tactician. In fact, what makes Chess the perfect war game is that it is a game of pure tactics. There are no variables. There is a finite number of combinations and once you’ve mastered all the possible outcomes you can potentially beat any opponent.

Wells’ game had a probability factor with the coin toss which makes it more similar to our current games that require dice rolls or card flips. This doesn’t make it the first war game. In fact, even chess is not the first war game. There is evidence that it was based on an even earlier game. This game is called Chaturanga.

Chaturanga is a game that originated in India in the 7th Century. It pre-dates medieval chess by hundreds of years. It was quickly adopted by the Muslim world and obviously later by the European world and adopted into modern day chess. It was played on an 8×8 board very similar to chess. But the similarities don’t stop there.

The game has a “King” called a “Raja” can move a single square either straight or diagonally. So long as it cannot be attacked by an enemy piece. The difference between the Raja and the King from Chess is that it can be placed on either of the middle squares at the beginning of the game. Which really doesn’t make that big a difference except that it could create a mirror image of what we’re used to.

The “Queen” equivalent is a minister or “Mantri” which can only move diagonally. The difference seems to be that it can only move to an adjacent space. The Queen in Chess can move any number of spaces diagonally.

The “Bishop” is replaced with an elephant called a “Hasti” which can also only move diagonally. Unlike the Bishop it moves two spaces and can jump over the intervening space.

I found it funny that when playing Chess some people refer to the Knight as a Horse. In Chaturanga it is called a Horse or “Ashwa”. Much like the Horse in common Chess it was allowed to move to the diagonal space in a 2×3 rectangle.

The last piece in the back row is a Chariot called a “Rat-ha”. This is what became the modern day Rook. Much like the Rook it can only move in a straight line.

The final piece in the game is the foot-soldier called a “Padāti”. This is the Pawn. Unlike the common pawn it could only move one space forward not two like the modern evolution. Exactly like the pawn it can only attack on a diagonal. Also when you reached the opposite side with the foot-soldier it became a minister much like the pawn becoming a queen in chess.

We can see by these similarities alone this game is clearly the precursor to modern day chess. I may have not needed to go into such detail but I always considered Chess the first war game. Guess I was wrong. When I discovered this I had no choice but to share it with you. It just goes to show you learn something every day.

I’m interested to hear what you think about this. Is this the start of wargaming? Do you know of any games that pre-date this? Let me know through the comments or by email at encounterwargaming@gmail.com

Until our next Encounter!

What is Miniature Wargaming?



By: Kitbasha Jay

How many times have you found yourself trying to explain your hobby to someone who has never heard of it before? Personally it’s been quite a few times throughout my life. The truth is it’s not an easy thing to do. Especially if the person you’re talking to has never even heard of anything like this.

Sometimes we mention it and they’ve actually heard of it. “Oh like Warhammer.” they say. Other times they have never heard of anything like that. At which time we are stuck trying to describe how we collect toy soldiers, paint them and then have a war game with them on a table top that we’ve also constructed and painted. Sometimes we’re left looking like fools. Other times they actually think it’s really cool and want to know more. Usually the former rather than the latter.

Today I’ll talk about some of the strategies I’ve used to explain this hobby to “muggles”. I’d like to also discuss ways we can better explain what wargaming is so that we don’t look like fools or wierdos. Finally, I’d like to get your feedback on how you have confronted this hurdle and what that means to you. So let’s start off with some personal anecdotes.

When I was in college I started dating a girl who I really liked. At the time I had been out of the hobby for a bit and only dabbled in it on occasion. I wasn’t playing much, but was still assembling and painting when I found the time. We dated for about a month before I even mentioned Warhammer to her.

It was kind of a weird way of telling her too. I was living with my parents at the time and they were out for a while so we had the house to ourselves. At that time I had a workshop in the back room of my parents’ basement where I did all my painting. The rest of the basement was a finished living room.

We were making out, and it was getting pretty heated and clothes started coming off. Then my parents came home. We jumped into the back room as quickly as we could so that they wouldn’t catch us naked and that’s when she saw it. A wall of miniatures on shelves.

Luckily for me she thought it was wicked cool. Once we had composed ourselves she was legitimately interested in what it was all about. Not the best way to tell someone you’re into the hobby but it could have worked out a lot worse. Especially since I had never mentioned it to her before.

Another anecdote I’ll mention is the complete opposite. After I got laid off from Games Workshop I began to work in a wood shop. I was learning to become a cabinet maker. That being said, the guys I was working with were generally the beer and hockey type of guys. Not the nerdy type for the most part.

One day I was talking with a couple of my co-workers while having a cigarette outside and they asked me what I used to do before this. I told them I worked at Games Workshop. For people who have never heard of this stuff their minds immediately thought I sold video games.

Once I explained to them that it was fantasy and science-fiction miniatures that you assemble and paint in order to play a table top war game with, they looked at me like I was nuts. Obviously without a frame of reference it just sounded like something completely foreign to them. Needless to say the topic was changed relatively quickly.

The third anecdote I’ll throw out there is when I told my current wife about my hobby when we were first dating. At this point I was living on my own. We had only been dating for a few weeks and she came to my place and saw the desk I had in the corner covered in miniatures and paint. I quickly explained to her what it was and to my surprise she said her dad was into that stuff.

My jaw dropped. Never had a dated a girl, especially one who was as hot as her, that had any idea what miniature wargaming was. Her father was into Napoleonic War miniatures and had a basement full of regiments and terrain. Talk about an easy time telling someone you are a massive nerd. At least she had a frame of reference and didn’t think it was really weird. It wasn’t something she was into but she had an opinion of the hobby that it was healthy and constructive.

So what can we do to make it easier for people to understand this strange hobby? I think the first thing we can do is be precise. Don’t give any illusions as to what it is or isn’t. You have to be descriptive. Especially when the person has never heard of it. Also don’t act ashamed of it. Some of us feel reluctant to explain it to people because they may look at us like we’re crazy. Explain it with confidence and they’ll give it the respect it deserves.

My automatic go to phrase is: “It’s a tabletop war-game that uses model miniatures as game pieces. You collect and paint your own armies and then use them on a miniature battlefield against other peoples’ armies that they have also collected and painted.” I feel that is about as concise one can be with as little words as possible while still doing it justice.

Sometimes this is responded to with positive feedback. Sometimes with further questions. Sometimes they look at us like we’re out of our minds. I’m interested to hear what funny stories you have about explaining your hobby to someone. What have you done to help them understand? What strange reactions have you received? What strange ways have you introduced someone to the hobby? Have you had anyone actually want to get involved after seeing it for the first time?

Give me your anecdotes in the comments below, comment on Facebook or email me at encounterwargaming@gmail.com

Until our next Encounter!

The Hobby Room Pt.2 – Organizational Ideas



By: Kitbasha Jay

Before I get started I’d like to thank all of those that commented on yesterday’s post. Both here on WordPress and on Facebook. I’m glad to see such a strong online community. Thanks for being a part of this. Today we’re going to be continuing where we left off by discussing ways we can keep our hobby space organized and efficient.

Having seen most of your hobby spaces at this point, I see that some of you have some great ideas for organization of the hobby space. Some of you need a few suggestions however. Either way, we can all benefit from a discussion on how we keep our stuff organized.

In case you guys don’t know I am a cabinet maker by trade. This means I used to build furniture and cabinets to a high level of quality and detail. So for me to make the next suggestion is probably heresy in many ways. GO TO IKEA!

Most of us use what we have available. Usually it’s an old desk that someone threw out or a bookcase that someone didn’t want anymore. Basically something that you don’t mind ruining with paint and green stuff.

As I discussed in yesterday’s blog, I am in the process of transferring my hobby room from our spare into our master. Up until now I had been using a cabinet that I originally made as a kitchen island as my painting table. When I decided to move bedrooms I realized I needed a proper desk. Both to paint at and write these blogs at.

There are many cheap ways to get your hands on a desk. Find one that someone is throwing out or doesn’t want anymore. The truth is when I took a look around the west end for desks I wan’t finding much for less than $200. Then my wife finally convinced me to go to Ikea.

A year ago if you told me I would be shopping at Ikea I would have told you that you were nuts. No way would I be caught dead in that place. But I needed a table that suited my space and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I found these.

The tops come in varying sizes. The smallest one that you see against the back wall with my laptop on it was $10 for just the table top. The one in the right of the photo was the second biggest one. There are four sizes and they go up incrementally in prices of $10. So it was only $30 for the top. I can’t build them cheaper than that. Plus the price is so low that I won’t cry when I get paint all over it.

The legs of the tables were only $4 each. Therefore, I was able to purchase an L shaped desk, which we had been looking a long time for, for under $60. The closest thing I could get to the same surface area was $200 used. Talk about savings.

The better part of this deal is that all the pieces are fully customizable. They have file drawer units you can replace the legs with for $80. They have bookshelves and cubby units that are fully attachable and stackable with these desk tops for totally reasonable prices. So trust me when I say that Ikea is the best deal you’re going to get. Trust me I did a lot of looking. Both online and in person.

The next item I will mention is this bits box I found at Canadian Tire. I bought it about 2 years ago intending it to be used for Hogtown 40k. Once we realized it had to remain upright at all times it meant that it couldn’t be transported from member to member, or even from the storage locker at The Sword and Board to a work bench.

This meant that it had to remain stationary. Which is just fine because it only cost me $20. I think it was intended to drill bits and screw and things like that. It has been invaluable to my hobby work over the last couple years keeping my bits organized. And as you can see I’ve only used up 2/3 of it.

I’m interested to hear your ideas. What cool deals have you all found for your hobby space? What items and devices have you found that make your life more efficient? Please leave a comment below or on Facebook. Or you can email me at encounterwargaming@gmail.com

Until our next Encounter!

The Hobby Room – The Geek Cave.



By: Kitbasha Jay

Those who are into miniature games generally are REALLY into miniature games. Our hobby become a huge part of our lives. Obviously some more than others. Some of us have been into the hobby right from childhood. Others got into it into their teenage years or even into adulthood. Some of us have been playing for a few years, others a few decades.

One of the things about this hobby that unites us all is that it requires a large amount of space. Both for assembling and painting, as well as playing, and even just storage or display of our collections. No matter what your circustances, we all have a hobby space.

When my wife and I first moved in together I was living in a bachelor apartment in East York. I had a large corner of the room carved out for my hobby before she even came around. It took up a large portion of the room.

Once we finally got a place that was ours together, we rented a two bedroom house in Scarborough. There was no way she was gonna have toy soldiers all over her house anymore. In all fairness, if she collected hello kitty memorabilia I’d go nuts having it all over the place. So I got the spare bedroom as my geek cave.

For those of you that have not had a full room for your hobby, it is a dream come true. I had shelves of miniatures displayed. Armies spread across the room as I assembled and painted mass legions. It was not for long though and due to a change in employment we had to relocate to a one bedroom apartment in North York.

This is where I sympathize with those out there that don’t have their own Geek Room. In this one bedroom there was storage under the staircase. It was a basement by the way. So all of my armies got put in cases and boxes and stored in the “Harry Potter Bedroom” as we called it.

When I wanted to paint something I had to find the case. Open it up. Pull a box that contained all of my paints out of a drawer and set up a foldable TV tray to paint on as I watched TV. Usually some horrible reality crap that the wife wanted to watch.

A year and a half ago we moved into another two bedroom apartment in Etobicoke. This time I got the spare bedroom. Not as big as the one I had in Scarborough but it did the trick. A few months after that I started Encounter Wargaming. The room served as a great studio to make terrain and display my miniatures for the camera.

Now that the channel has become a much bigger part of my life I’ve transferred into the master bedroom. The plan is to use the room not only for painting and filming, but also enough space for a gaming table. This will not only afford me the ability to film more battle reports, but also the space required to build gaming tables and terrain for clients.

I’m in the process of moving everything from one room into another and so am starting from scratch as far as organising the room to function as a studio, an office, and a gaming room. There are a lot of good organizational ideas for hobby spaces on the interwebs. There’s also a lot of inexpensive sollutions for making a hobby room all that it can be.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you all what I’ve done with the studio and what I plan to do. Today I’d love to hear from you about what situation your in. What kind of space do you dedicate to your hobby? What efficient ideas have you come up with that made your life easier?

I’d love to start a discussion about this since it is something that unites all miniature hobbyists regardless of your age or the game you play. Leave a comment on this blog, facebook or email me at encounterwargaming@gmail.com I’ve told you all the spaces I’ve been through. Let’s hear yours.

Until our next Encounter!

40k Podcast – Inches and Cubes Ep. 15



Old Grudges Part 2: First Blood.

In this contentious episode, Paul, Nick, and special guest, Connor Collie discuss the newly released Chaos Codex. Tempers flair and tensions rise as friend becomes foe.

Scratch Built Stompa



By: Kitbasha Jay

Last year I decided I needed a Stompa for my ork army. So rather than put a hole in my wallet buying a Stompa that looks the same as everyone elses Stompa, I decided to build my own. Since all the other walkers in my Ork army are either heavily converted or scratch built, I figured I would give a good shot at scratch building a Stompa.

First of all, Orks build things from scratch. So it actually doesn’t make sense that every ork player and their brother has exactly the same model. Second, after 20 years in the hobby I’ve accumulated a stock pile of old vehicles and other bits left over from conversions or miniatures that are beyond repair.

At the time of construction I was given a truck model by my wife’s grandfather. I had no idea what I would ever use this model for but I took it figuring I would use it for something someday. I suppose I was right because when I was looking for something to use as a skeleton for this monstrosity I saw it and immediately realized that standing on it’s rear it made the perfect pot belly.

I also had the remains of a Battlewagon I had chewed up for past conversions and the body of a Leman Russ that was missing a turret. The Leman had also been painted over so many times it would have been hard to restore detail and I figured it would be better used as random armour plates throughout the Stompa.

I had seen the front of the Battlewagon used as a head on an Imperial Knight once and figured it would be the perfect head for my Stompa. So that’s where I started. I glued the Battlewagon head onto the truck frame and started to build from there. With any conversion, especially if you’re winging it, you should start with a frame and build out from there. So that’s what I did. The rest is details.

Now that the basic frame was in place to guide me I pulled out a couple boxes of random bits. Like I said, when you convert everything you end up with a lot of random crap that can really only be used for something orky. So I found a couple more Battlewagon bits that are used to mount the turret for the Battlewagon. I glued these in place on either side to act as a base for the arms to be build out from.

The next step was the feet. Once again I had a large assortment of bits left over from Battlewagons and used the flat pieces that would have been used as the passenger bed. I cut them into Stompa size feet and trimmed pieces that could hang down as toes. This gave the feet a much more 3D shape and kept with the ramshackle look of most Ork technology. In combination with the Grabba arms and Kannons from the Battlewagon, as well as, the tires from the truck model, I had more than enough to construct some large “Sentinel like” legs for my Stompa. Since I use Sentinels as Kans it was extra appropriate.

The next step was to figure out the arms. I intended on making a Standard Stompa and so decided to chew up an old Basilisk and use the Earthshaker Cannon as his big gun and the tracks as his combat weapon. I later decided to create a Kustom Stompa and so he didn’t end up getting a close combat weapon, but that’s ok.

By using the hood of the truck model and some city fight pieces I started to build out the shoulders so that the arms could be mounted to the piece. At this point the Stompa was really starting to take shape.

Then it was time to start building out the body with the remaining Basilisk pieces, as well as, city fight and Rhino bits.

I then made a sweet lower jaw using the hood of the original truck model. Just added some random sharp cut offs from other chewed up flat bits as teeth. Also adding more and more random plates to the shoulders and body. This not only covers up the truck model but also adds a lot of strength to the body of the piece. On top of that, random armour plates always make Ork vehicles look cooler.

At this point it was starting to look like time to attach the appendages. I glued the legs and the Kannon glued in place. After doing some hard thinking I decided to not use a combat weapon for the other arm. Instead I wanted to create a lifta-droppa. I found the remains of an old 2nd edition Ork artillery piece. With this I was able to create an appropriate arm to use as a lifta-droppa.

At this point it’s just adding random bits to taste. A few grots here and there and lots and lots of armour plates. Some banner poles and other random bits and bobs and we have a completed and fully scratch built Stompa.

The final step is to paint the bad boy. I also decided to add a base to the piece. Since his legs are so skinny and the regular Stompa doesn’t require a base I figured I would make a base for this guy that was the rough diameter of the Games Workshop Stompa model. I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

In 7th edition you needed Mekboss Buzzgob to get the Kustom Stompa for like half the points. So I scratch built one of him too…and his little grot buddies.

Until our next Encounter!

Building a Bunker Continued



By: Kitbasha Jay

I hope you all read yesterday’s blog where we made a foam core bunker for our 40k tables. Today we paint it. We’re also going to some foliage to the piece to make it appropriate for a jungle table.

The first step after the alcohol/glue mixture that we used to seal the sand has dried I spray painted the entire piece with an espresso coloured rust paint. This is quite a bit more durable than using a water based acrylic. It covers really well and seals everything in nicely.

Pro Tip: Make sure if you use a spray paint that all the edges of the foam core have been covered up. Covered with spackle, glue and/or sand. Also make sure you use a matte finish. If you use gloss spray, your pieces will be shiny and not look realistic. Plus any acrylics that you paint on after will likely peel in the future. No one wants that.

After the brown has dried I paint on all the base colours. The bunker was painted with a dark grey craft acrylic. The sand bags were painted with Tan and the trees with Cinnamon. I suggest using craft paints for terrain since it usually requires a large amount of paint and doesn’t necessarily require the high level of detail that miniatures do. So don’t waste your good model paints. You can pick up most craft paints at your local dollar store or craft store and generally go for $1 Canadian per bottle.

Make sure to put on a couple base coats. Most cheap craft acrylics are somewhat thin and very granular. Sometimes they can show streaks and so I suggest putting on at least two coats before moving on to the next step.

The next step is washes. These I also created by watering down the craft paints in a small paint bottle and shaking them profusely in order to make sure that they are thoroughly watered down. I use a dark or emerald green first. I begin by painting about 1 cm or a 1/4″ up from the ground on everything. The bunker, sandbags and trees all get a green near the base. This creates the illusion of moss and mildew build up from remaining ground water.

The next step is to wash the sand bags with the cinnamon paint that you used on the trees. You can use other medium browns if you wish. I just had an abundance of the cinnamon and so decided to use that. You can see the green and medium brown in the pic above.

The final step of wash is to cover everything (except the ground) with a black wash. This will soften the other washes that you put on and help blend all the colours together. Once that is dry, go around and touch up any areas where the wash ran onto the dirt with either a water based house paint or an acrylic that matches the espresso colour we used to spray paint it.

After that we pull out the colours we used for the base coats. With a large brush go over each piece with a dry brush of the original base colour. This will soften the stark colour difference of the washes and bring the pieces back to their original shades. At the same time it leaves the washes in all the nooks and crannies in order to add subtle detail that the piece would just not look as good without.

You may wonder once you do this why we even washed it in the first place. No one is going to see the wash colours from a distance. Trust me on this. It makes a world of difference when looking at these pieces up close and will make them feel much more realistic.

After that I gave the ground a dry brush of a yellow brown colour. The exact shade I used is called yellow oxide but it’s the same as what GW used to call Snakebite Leather. This adds a nice transition between the dark espresso and the final dry brush we will do to complete the piece while at the same time differentiating it from the trees and sand bags.

The final paint step is to tie all the colours together and create the final highlight for the piece. This is done by dry brushing every inch of the piece with a light bone/off white colour. I used a can of acrylic house paint for this but a craft paint will do just fine. Aim for a similar shade to what we used to call bleached bone. What Citadel now calls Ushabti Bone. Make sure to get a nice dry brush on everything. Bunker, trees, sandbags, all of it.

And that’s all there is to painting the terrain. We’re not done though. This was just the painting. Now we’re going to decorate the piece with foliage and plant life. I purchased a large amount of plastic plants at my local dollar store. They generally have stock of these type of things depending on the season so make sure to check these stores regularly as seasons change for a nice variety of fake plants.

Some come in bushes, others in vine configurations, some even come in topiary balls. Whatever form it comes it just take your hobby clippers and start cutting pieces off these plants that are approximately 1″ long or just above the height of a Space Marine.

After you have all of your plastic plants cut and ready to attach just go around the piece and roughly decide where you want the various types of plants you’ve decided to use will go. Once you have a good idea of where you would like the plants to grow out of, take your pin drill and drill small holes where you want the plants to grow from.

Pro Tip: If you just glue the plants on without drilling a hole first they are more likely to break off in the future. Filling the hole with glue and sinking the small plants into the terrain piece will make them a lot stronger and less likely to come off in the future.

The final step is to glue in the plants. I decided to use a 5 minute 2 part epoxy. This stuff will literally glue anything to anything and dries both clear and quickly. The one depicted above comes in a syringe that dispenses equal amounts of the 2 parts. Sometimes they come in 2 separate tubes. This is fine, just make sure to mix relatively equal parts. Pour the two parts onto a disposable pallet or a piece of foil, paper or cardboard that you don’t mind throwing away after.

Mix the glue well with a toothpick or popsicle stick. Once you have a good mixture simply take a plant, dip the tip of it into the glue, and place it in the hole you drilled. Go around and do this on all of them and you should have a pretty cool looking terrain piece.

I actually found that this looked really cool but wasn’t enough foliage for me. I decided to finish off the piece with some clump foliage in random spots. This just adds another type of foliage that is different from the plastic plants just so it doesn’t look like only one type of plant grows in this jungle. You can also add static grass, flock and other types of foliage as you wish to. The only other thing I will be adding to this piece to complete it is large palm leaves on the tops of the trees to create the appearance of a jungle canopy.

As I told you guys in yesterday’s blog I am building this piece as a prototype for the rest of the terrain to go on this table and so will be adding the large palm leaves once all the other pieces with trees are complete. Keep an eye out in a few weeks. I may do a tutorial on those. Otherwise, make sure to stay up to date with our terrain tutorials on the Youtube channel. There will be a whole series based around this table. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little taste.

Until our next Encounter.

Terrain Tuesdays – Building a Bunker



By: Kitbasha Jay

For the last few weeks I’ve been showcasing various companies that manufacture terrain. This time I’m going to show you the terrain I’ve been building. I landed a commission a few weeks ago to build a jungle 40k table. Today I’m going to take you through the prototype terrain piece I’ve constructed for this table step by step.

I will be building 2 large bunker pieces for this table. Each will include dense foliage and sand bag emplacements. These pieces will absolutely be featured in terrain tutorials on our Youtube channel in the coming weeks. Until then I thought I would give you guys a taste of things to come. So let’s get started.

We begin by constructing the skeleton of our piece. For this I decided to use foam board. There are other materials I would recommend for the bases of terrain pieces other than foam board. Since I no longer have access to power tools that can cut expanded PVC or masonite board I decided to use foam board because it is easy to shape. Don’t worry, we’ll be adding layers on top to both strengthen the piece and prevent it from warping.

The next step is to cut the walls for our bunker. I believe I cut the side and back walls 1 3/4″ high. This way I figure even a Ogryn size model will be able to fit within and still fire out the front. The front walls I cut 3/4″ high so that a Space Marine or Imperial Guard figure can still see over. Once I had plotted out where I wanted my walls to go I used the cut offs from these pieces to create a staircase at the back of the bunker to create the illusion it’s dug into the ground. All the wall sections and staircase were assembled using a hot glue gun.

I then covered the entire bunker with spackle. This seals in the foam board to prevent warping and peeling once we begin to paint it. It also will create the illusion of a similar texture to concrete once it is painted.

After that I build up a hill on the outside with spackle. At first I used air dry pottery clay but found that once it dried it began to warp the piece and the clay began to crack, especially where it was thin. I scraped off what I could and built it back up with spackle. Something like Dap or Polyfilla will do the trick. As you can see in the pictures I did not cover the entire piece. I would suggest covering the foam board completely, which I did after building the sand bags before I put down the glue and sand.

So word to the wise, don’t use air dry clay to build up the hill. It would be much better to use something like milliput. Or you can just use layers of spackle on top of each other. This is where you guys get to learn from my mistakes. If you want to stay on the cheap side just use spackle. You may have to do many layers but the finished product will be just as nice as any other material. Especially since you want to cover the entire piece with spackle anyway to prevent the foam board from warping once we put down PVA glue and sand.

What we will use the air dry pottery clay for is building our sandbags. You can also use materials like milliput or green stuff but the air dry clay is a much less expensive material and will dry nice and hard making it durable. I achieved the shape of the bags by rolling the clay into a snake and then flattening it with my thumb. Then with a knife I cut 3/4″ rectangles and pinched the corners to create the illusion of a sand bag.

Then you just have to stack the sandbags however you feel necessary. Make sure that when you place a row on top of another you give them a little press to make sure they stick to the row below. Not too hard though because you don’t want to ruin the nice shape you have created. I left these for a day to dry and then after they had hardened I painted the bags with PVA glue just to make sure that the stacked rows would never separate from each other. Better to be safe than sorry. Also this will stop the clay from absorbing the paint. Once you apply liquid to the surface of the air dry clay it will begin to soften up again. The PVA just ensures this will not happen once I apply the water based acrylic.

The final step in constructing the piece was to add some jungle trees. These were done by simply going to my neighbourhood park and gathering fallen sticks. After collecting all of the sticks I intended to use for the entire table I left them for a week to dry out.

If you don’t want to wait for them to dry you can always place your sticks in the oven at a very low temperature to evaporate all of the water out of them. This can be dangerous due to the fact that wood, especially when dry, wants to singe and burn in the oven. For safety sake simply lay your sticks out in the air at room temperature for about a week. With no weather getting at them they will dry out completely. This ensure that once you paint on top of these sticks they do not rot or decay underneath your beautiful paint job.

I then chose where I wanted to place my trees and glued them in place with a hot glue gun. Once they were where I wanted them I painted them with 2 coats of PVA very similar to how I painted the sand bags. This will not only strengthen the sticks but also prevent them from absorbing the paint too much. Also it seals in any bark that I left on them and if they are cracked anywhere it will make sure that these cracks don’t crack any further.

Once these were dry I finished covering the rest of the foam board base with spackle. Again this should have been done before we constructed the sand bags and the trees. This piece was intended as a prototype for the rest of the terrain I will be building for this table. This is why you need to do a prototype. This way you learn from your mistakes on one piece instead of having to fix errors on every terrain piece. Luckily for you guys, I made the mistakes for you. Don’t do what Donny Don’t does.

Once the entire piece of foam board was covered in spackle and the sand bags and trees are painted with PVA and both have dried we can paint the “ground” with PVA glue and apply our playground sand. I also put sand on the floor inside the bunker and on the roof to make it look like it’s been buried over time.

I would suggest going to your local hardware store and buying a big bag of playground sand for this. Using the sand that they sell in hobby stores is going to be way too expensive. For bases it’s fine but for a large number of terrain pieces it will cost you an arm and a leg. The playground sand cost me less than $6 Canadian for a big bag.

The very last step once the sand has dried is to take an empty spray bottle. Fill it with a mixture of 2/3 PVA glue and 1/3 rubbing alcohol. The alcohol has less surface tension than water and will permeate the sand much better than a water/PVA mixture. Take this mixture and spray the entire piece with it. This will make sure that the sand is sealed in and is less likely to flake off in the future.

Tomorrow we will go through the process of painting and decorating this piece. I know that Tuesday is our usual terrain day, but there is simply too much to cover in one post. So take your time and build yourself a sweet bunker. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to paint it beautifully and make it a terrain piece to be proud of.

Until our next Encounter!

Getting back into 40k – Old Friends, New Game.



By: Kitbasha Jay

This weekend I took a little trip out east of Toronto for the wedding of a good friend of mine from childhood. It was a beautiful ceremony and I’m so glad to see such a good friend of mine finally with someone who makes him happy. I had such a great time and I think everyone else who attended also had a spectacular day.

The reason this is relevant is because, since I was in Oshawa, I was unable to do any hobby work. But the great thing about this hobby is that it follows us where ever we go. Even if we don’t have our miniatures with us. So stay with my while I give you guys a little back story to set the mood for this post.

I met this friend back when we were in grade 9. His name is Andrew and we met one day when I was at the Scarborough Games Workshop location playing some pick up games. I was with another good friend of mine names Darrin who happened to take math class with Andrew. So we hung out for a bit and when we got back to school we began to become good friends. In other words, it was the game that brought us together in the first place.

Andrew and I came up through the school of hard knocks together. We stayed friends through girlfriends, part time jobs, parents splitting up, and a whole lot more growing pains. There were times when we dropped the game and got back into it. But it was the game that brought us together in the first place.

Eventually, once I got into my twenties, I got a job at the same store we had met. He used to drive out and play games while I worked my shift and then we would ride back home together. There was usually a blunt involved but we always had great conversations and our friendship, though started through 40k, was much deeper than just pushing toy soldiers around together.

Both of us are now living on complete opposite ends of the Greater Toronto Area. He is living in Courtice and myself in Etobicoke. We still make an effort to get together every few months and catch each other up on our lives. It was beautiful watching my only remaining friend from high school get married.

So now that you’ve heard the history it’s time to get to the point. Due to life getting in the way, as it always does, he has been out of the game for some time. With the new edition of 40k out it’s an exciting time to get back in. Especially since the last couple editions were so difficult for not just new players but also for those that have been out of the hobby for so long and are trying to get back in.

I have noticed as being a member of the Hogtown 40k gaming club that a lot of our new membership are guys getting back into the game after many years of being dissatisfied with the state of the game. So thank you Games Workshop for finally creating a user friendly gaming system.

Anyway, while I was hanging out with my old friend the night before his wedding day he expressed an interest in getting back into the game after many years of not playing. I mean he stopped playing back in like 4th edition. So it’s as good a time as any to jump back in.

So how do we get a friend back into the game? What advice do we give them? I’m sure many of you out there have a similar situation. There are those of us that have seen the game evolve over time and now that the new edition is here all our old buddies are coming out of the woodworks wanting to play again. So how do we as friends help them get back into it?

The first item that Games Workshop has gifted us with is the rulebook. It used to be that when someone expressed interest in the game we hit them in the face with a massive tomb and said “read this”. Now all we have to do is show them the 8 pages of rules for the game and they can start playing the new Warhammer 40,000 in an afternoon. Thanks GW!

The second item is the new Datasheets. The Codex was another massive book we had to throw at our friends that were interested in getting back into the game. There is still codeces slowly being released as we speak but we no longer have to navigate these ridiculous books like we once did. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have to flip back and forth through various sections of the book in order to find the rules for whatever unit it was I was trying to play.

Now all of the rules for a unit, for the most part, are included in their data sheet. This makes it super easy for both new players to the game and players that have been out of it so long that they don’t know where to start. Now you can just grab some models, take a look at the data sheet and start playing in a day. Once again, thank you GW!

The final item that seems to come up when either getting a friend back into the game or bringing someone in for the first time is “What army should I play?” In 7th edition if someone has asked me this I would have probably answered “play whatever models you like the look of”. Which was probably not the best advice since so many people were playing ridiculously cheesy formations and units that started to put fluff players, like myself, to shame.

Now in 8th edition my answer to that question would be the same as it was then. In this edition however, this is actually good advice. It seems that from my experience so far in this new edition that pretty much any army can be as formidable and competitive as any other. Yet another way that Games Workshop has opened up the hobby to people who actually want to play this game for the right reasons.

So if you have an old friend that is thinking about getting back into 40k, or even a friend that wants to start playing for the first time, you should let them know that it is easier than ever to play 40k. Finally has Games Workshop created a balanced game where people win on tactical prowess instead of just buying whatever’s the new hotness. For these reasons, it should be easier than ever to get an old friend back into the hobby. So to my best friend Andrew, if you’re reading this, jump back in buddy. The water is warm. Welcome back.

Until our next Encounter!

40k Podcast – Inches & Cubes Ep. 14 – Bloodline Campaign – A Journey into 30k Narrative Campaigns

Paul and Nick sit down with fan-favourite Connor Collie for an extended discussion about a recent Horus Heresy campaign. They intended to talk about the Chaos Codex, but the campaign provided just way too much fun.

Stay tuned for next episode where maybe we actually get around to the Chaos Codex!