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By Rob Dean
I am not sure where to put this topic, so I have thrown it in general fantasy.
My hobby goals for this month include painting some 1/72 scale plastics for what I call the Portable Fantasy Game. I am considering the question of what the shape of this project should be, because, like a lot of the things I do, it has mostly grown organically so far.
To assist in planning, last week I unpacked the boxes and arrayed all the single-based figures for a photo inventory. I won’t add the small group closeups, but here is the overview:
As of then, I had 112 pieces, and have finished up another 4 this week. After I finish this post, I am going downstairs to spray some primer on another dozen or so, including the start of the baggage train, a couple of carts.
I am lucky enough to be able to attend several conventions most years, and I like to take a pick-up game with me, so the basic idea behind this was to have something portable (so size and weight limited) which would give me the flexibility to play different games, depending on the needs of the moment.
Most of my miniatures storage is arranged in Really Useful Boxes, generally the 4-liter size. In working up this idea, I found that they sell a 12-liter box with dimensions allowing it to fit under the seat on full size airliners. The 6-liter box is half the height and nests, and I have found, as shown above, that a 12, a 6, and a 2.5 liter box can be strapped together and still fit in the overhead compartment. That was from last year’s trip to Gencon. The “Strap-a-handle” gives me something to hold it by, and I run one lateral nylon strap around orthogonal to it.
That’s the outside of the boxes.
For reasons that made sense at the time, having to do with a failed Kickstarter for a magnetic portable dungeon wall set-up, I based the individual figures for this game in the reverse of my usual technique, with the magnet stuff on the figures and the steel element in the box. So the figure storage is steel lined, as in this shot of the 2.5 liter overflow box:
The 6-liter box is flex space. I have three of them, although, as shown above, only one at a time would fly. More would readily fit as part of a road trip. They are set up with my usual system, magnets in the box for steel bases. At Christmas this year, I loaded one of them up with two Dragon Rampant war bands (with some options) and fifteen or so Burrows and Badgers figures, all in 25mm metal, becuase that’s what my brother expressed interest in playing:
As I type, the other two 6-liter boxes are currently loaded up with all of my multiple-figure-based 1/72 scale fantasy figures, from an earlier road trip. I generally try to keep the 6-liter boxes empty, and swap troops in and out as needed for a specific trip, but I haven’t re-stowed things since the move in November.
Inside the 12-liter box, there are two figure storage boxes, a short one and a tall one. Here’s the short one:
In addition to the two figure boxes, the 12-liter box is loaded with a 3-foot square double sided groundcloth, a set of four hills, a village of seven buildings and a bridge (all Dave Graffam card models, to keep it light), a dozen or so trees, a half dozen plastic rock formations which more or less nest, a couple of primitive stone head statues, some low walls, a bag of lichen, a bag of aquarium gravel, some rolled cloth roads and streams, various gamemaster stuff such as dice, rulers, status token, three or four sets of rules, and some laminated scenario force sheets for a few preplanned situations, to make pick up gaming easier. Here’s most of the scenery deployed, with the green side of the cloth and hills up.
Here we are at Gencon in 2014, actually playing a game of Song of Blades and Heroes:
So why 1/72 scale plastics?
On the minus side of the ledger, the supply of typical fantasy things is somewhat limited. The figures are often irritating to clean up for painting.
On the plus side, a box full of them is light. That also helps the magnets keep them in place while traveling. I wouldn’t want to turn the boxes upside down and shake them, but even if I did, the plastic pieces won’t damage each other as badly as metal might.
They are on the low end of what it is practical to base and handle as individuals, so it would be difficult for me to imagine going with 15mm metal for this. On the other hand, they are big enough that I can paint some detail on them, so painting stays fun rather than being a burden.
I have painted some of these guys with the travel paint kit, so it’s possible to get to the double portable levels, where all the support infrastructure is portable too...in case we ever take up RV nomadism, I guess.
As individuals they are also broadly compatible with the 1/72 mass battle figures, a pre-exisiting project I share with both sons.
So, that’s where things are now.
The next question is what I want to fill out the remaining space in the 2.5 liter box with, which would allow support of a reasonable range of activities in a roleplaying game. I am thinking a few more non-human monsters, in particular, and then I can shape the scenarios to fit the figure collection.
Thoughts and comments?
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This looks interesting ... no, actually it looks too good to be true - the buildings are plastic and almost (?) correctly scaled.
Has anybody heard about that before? Or about the company? I hope they show better pictures of the minis as it looks a bit as they are light on detail.
By Rob Dean
I have reached the point in my life where I am a bit tired of work travel. While it's nice to be away from the office, travel is disruptive to my personal life. In an effort to make some lemonade from the lemons, last year I started to assemble a kit that I could squeeze into my carry-on bag, so that I could get some hobby work done even when I wasn't home.
I just got back from a trip last night, and had been posting some progress pictures to another forum. Since people over there were interested in the mechanics of the kit, I thought that I'd share it here too.
So, here is where we start. There is a small stuff sack, my TSA-compliant one quart bag, and a small box for the work.
The one quart bag has a little bit of space left in it, even after adding toothpaste and shampoo, but I currently have seventeen paint bottles. These are all dedicated to this purpose and are just left in the bag between trips. If I had to scrounge around for them, I'd be less likely to take the kit. The limited color selection does mean that I pick the work with that limitation in mind.
In the stuff sack are the tools. My most recent addition is a mini Ottlite. Its zone of illumination is a bit small, but I liked the compact bar format for packing, and it is rechargeable, so can be plugged in or moved around away from an outlet as needed. Hotel room electrical outlets are often inconveniently placed. There is also a pair of extra closeup glasses left over from photography needs in lieue of an Optivisor which I use at home. I haven't worked out the travel wet palette yet, so there are a couple of container lids, my standard palette tool for the past 25 years. I have two sets of Games and Gears travel brushes, which store the bristles in the handle. Because they are somewhat pricey, I have brush soap to attempt to keep them in good shape.
Here's a closer look at the brushes. One set has a 000, 00, 0, 1, and 2, and the other is a set of "technical" brushes acquired this past summer at Gencon, of which the heavy duty dedicated dry brushes have been seeing the most use.
Whatever miniatures I'm going to work on are in the box, loosely wrapped in tissue.
Here's what I had with me this week, mostly vintage figures, except for the Stonehaven gnome who didn't actually get any more paint. I don't usually brush on varnish at home, but I have a bottle with the travel kit to protect completed paint jobs in transit. As you can see, I finished three of the nine figures i had with me this week, which isn't lightning progress, but IS progress.
I expect to be able to scrounge disposable cups for water and wash water, and some newspaper to protect the furniture.
In action, it ends up looking something like this:
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