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  1. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by josta59 View Post
    I hope this doesn't seem too much like boasting, because it's more a mix of astonishment and encouragement to beginning wargamers. Obviously I'm biased, but when I look at the wargame tables of experienced gamers playing in 10mm like me, I'm really surprised to note that their tables often don't look as realistic as mine, even though I'm sure most of them sank much more time and money into them than I did.

    Why do I think they don't look as good? It mostly comes down to basing. I made some non-traditional choices, but very easy and cheap ones, when it came to how my models and terrain would physically meet the "ground." I didn't want a lot of strange basing that subtracts from the realism.

    Here are the choices I made that I don't see more experienced 10mm gamers doing:

    1. Permanently installed hills and trees. I don't like how most trees and hills look on wargaming tables. Trees with bases look very unnatural, and so many gamers put four or five trees together and call it woods. And their hills look weird because they don't look like part of the landscape around them.

    Making them look more real probably means you need to install them permanently. This means either using the same terrain configuration for every game, or making your table modular, like I did. My table has multiple panels that I can fit together in a variety of ways. I have a permanent woods panel and a permanent hill panel, and they can be in different places every game, or not included. I "planted" my trees by literally digging holes into my panels and sticking them in, never to come out again. It was super easy, and yet it looks far better than most trees I see on other tables.

    For my hill panel, it was important to me that it looked like part of the landscape. So I simply used the same material I used for the surface of all the other panels and put clay and paper under it to make a hill tall and flat enough to be useful for gaming. I haven't seen anyone else do this, and yet it's my favorite hill of any I've seen. And so easy!

    2. Didn't base my 10mm infantry. This might be the most unusual choice I made. I don't have experience with 10mm figures from other makers, but mine from Irregular Miniatures were already sitting on tiny bases when they arrived. Most gamers make bases for four or five figures when they're playing in 10mm, but I wanted my games to be very flexible, so I chose not to. And the table looks much more real, as a result.

    3. Didn't base my vehicles. This is a funny one to me. You can give me practical reasons why you wouldn't make the choices I made above, but I really don't understand why everyone puts their vehicles on bases. It seems totally unnecessary to me, and it disrupts the terrain in weird ways.

    I hope people aren't bothered by this post. I'm really trying to help. I had no idea when I finally decided to make a table with as little money and time as possible that it would end up being one of the most realistic 10mm tables I've seen, especially with figures and vehicles on it, since they're unbased. If I can do it, literally anyone can. I hope this is helpful.
    I personally, didn't take this as boasting at all. I think you laid out the facts in a well thought out fashion. In fact, I'd like to see you expand on it by recreating the post in a thread, in the S2 area, as it contains valuable insight into your diorama making technique! Pictures would be great, too.

    Saying all that:

    On #1 - You hit on a key technique used by hoards of Flames of War diorama builders and players... Modular. (Actually, it's also very big in the model railroading hobby, but that's for another place ). FoW is a massive system, and like most wargames (miniatures or board), tons of scenarios can be played in multiple theaters and environments. Of course, that system is but one example.

    Frank and Derek have spoken in the past, of being at clubs or conventions where you see many modular boards sitting under camp tables, waiting for respective scenario builds. I have seen these most often at conventions. A fellow named Glenn had a wonderful Stargate SG-1 miniatures game that was set on modular bases. It was incredible, and inspirational (it started me on my quest to make my own version).

    In the end, I guess it depends on your view of diorama building; as either through the artists eye or practicality. For the latter, a clump of five trees = forest terrain. For the former, they will literally create a mockup of the actual forest terrain. Then you have the people that float somewhere in the middle. Again, it all depends on how much you consider the art of diorama building an art vs. practicality. I tend to strive for the artistic side, but have more often done enough to get the dang game moving

    I've been a culprit of what you talk about with the bases of trees directly upon the diorama base ....I use bluetac to anchor them onto the surface; though I will also, often use sand, flocking, and undergrowth/shrubs to mask them. (Depends on the game).

    I love modular diorama components. It offers an unparalleled flexibility that allows amazing results.

    On #2 - Metal miniatures often have the better chance of standing up well on their miniature bases, but the molded base is different depending on brand. I've seen yours and they have a great base. Axis & Allies Miniatures, for example, are light weight plastic infantry figures on small round bases. What I don't like about those is, that base is a disk, with a high profile (it's like they are on a small stand). On a paper map, it's more like a boardgame so, what the hell. But in a diorama, it can look odd.

    But what it really comes down to for me is, how you prefer to play. If your game treats the squads as individual squads (say, 6- 12 men), a *representation* of five figures in different stances and ranks, on one plastic base that is then tricked out with plaster, flocking and dirt will best help you and your opponent identify specifically which squad you are referring too; as well as the understanding that if you wiped out that stand of five figures, it would really mean you just killed 12 men. That's a very important thing to consider. However, if you are playing 1 = 1, where each figure is an individual soldier, separate unto itself, then you have a whole different can or worms here, and the method I've seen you employ with your modern infantry games is likely better.

    On #3 - I totally agree The only reason I can see to base a vehicle is: 1) if it's a multiple unit, like a deuce and a half truck towing an ATG, or a Command vehicle with commander and aide next to it; and 2) of you really want to have it in the environment, like a tank in mud or rubble (but that really limits the use of that particular miniature).
    If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning

  2. #92
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Thanks, Em. I really appreciate that feedback, and am glad to know you share a few of my opinions.

    This thread, now 10 pages long, has been a combination of things, but many of my posts in this thread have been showing people how to do what I did. It hasn't been organized except by chronology. It's been sort of an ongoing story about my approach, my methods, and my afterthoughts.

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